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Friday afternoon question: Should Villarreal draw worry United?

September 19, 2008

Last time Manchester United were drawn in the same Champions League group with Villarreal in the 2005-06 season, most fans and pundits predicted a stroll into the last 16 of the competition with Lille and Benfica also looking as little more than stepping stones for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.

United finished bottom of the group and bowed out of Europe before the winter break after a dreadful run including a pair of 0-0 draws with Villarreal while the Spanish side reached the semi-finals in their Champions League debut.

Should the English and European champions be worried that history might repeat itself after a third barren stalemate with Villarreal in this season’s Group E opener at Old Trafford on Wednesday?

Ferguson, who seemed unaffected by a largely lacklustre perfromance in his post-match comments, believes it was a mere glitch ahead of matches with Danish rivals Aalborg and familiar foes Celtic.

But United’s patchy start to the season, in which they have won only one match, suggests the early stages of their European title defence might turn out to be anything but a walk in the park. The Premier League also looks far from easy with a trip to Chelsea up next on Sunday.

Give us your thoughts.  

Comments

I never really thought United (or any successful side) were a one man team but those first few games without Ronaldo almost proved it. Now he is fit I expect them to perk up but I think Berbatov’s arrival will further hamper Rooney’s development and England’s only decent striker will end up as a quasi right winger.
The decison to let Silvestre go is also strange as Fergie is now considering playing the untested Evans at Chelsea while Evra’s only deputy is the right-footed O’Shea

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive
 

Good points Mark. One think though: Rooney, for all his hard work, has not delivered as much as we would have liked him to as a striker because his first task is to score goals and he is not scoring.

 

All depends on how Cristiano comes back. If he plays like last year, they will probably reach the final. If he suffers the not-playing-for-real-Madrid blues they could be in trouble. They been crap so far, lets face it.

Posted by lauder | Report as abusive
 

Fair point, Red Devil. But wouldn’t he have scored more if fergie hadn’t played him out of position (on the left)so much? Fergie admitted this recently.

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive
 

I don’t know about that, Lauder. They’ll have enough up front to get through whatever happens. Whether they win it again may be to do with Ronaldo matching his form from last season, as you say…

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

@ Mark: I don’t think Rooney’s goal drought is due to him playing out of position. He’s been played down the right only a few times and in my opinion it’s largely due to his lack of clinical finishing.
@ Kevin: Ronaldo can’t be expected to repeat last season’s performances or the goal tally, that’s why we signed Berbatov. But it remains to be seen whether it was the right signing because the Liverpool game showed you can’t play Berba, Rooney and Tevez at the same time. Even less can you play all three of them with Ronaldo in the side, one of the three strikers will have to be a sub and Fergie will have to rotate them.

 

@Mark: Rooney has only been played out of position a few times and it’s his lack of clinical finishing that’s causing the goal drought.
@Kevin: I don’t think you can expext Ronaldo to repeat last season’s performances or the goal tally. That’s why we signed Berbatov but it remains to be seen whether he was the right signing. One thing is for sure — as the Liverpool game showd — Berba, Tevez and Rooney can’t all play at the same time, especially not with Ronaldo back. Fergie will have to rotate them.

 

I think so, two draws on the trot.. oh no!

Posted by Alfred Green | Report as abusive
 

Good comment

Posted by Loginoffski the greatest russian player of 96' | Report as abusive
 

I think that Manchester has a lot to worry about with Villareal. The spanish team has been playing great the last few seasons and it has become one of the strongest teams in La Liga. Moreover, the spanish team has a great defense and also a south american perspective with playing soccer (play well in defense and counter attacking when playing as a away team and control of the ball as home team). They have also a great bench and well defined identity (thanks to maintaining the same base of players for so many years). Moreover, they have the best goal keeper in Spain and one of the best defensive midfielders in the world (Senna). I think it will be very tough for Man United to avoid what happened the first they the two teams were drawn together.

 

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