Manchester United: What Manchester United Need to Rule in EPL and UCL
Manchester United may very well lift the Barclays Premier League trophy at the end of the season, but by no means will it be a successful campaign. Manchester United are supposed to be winning the league year in year out.
A truly successful Manchester Untied campaign is determined by what they do in Europe, and this season they performed atrociously.
They were dumped out of the group stages of the Champions League and defeated by Athletic Bilbao. Despite Bilbao being a good team, they were seventh in La Liga at the time they soundly beat United over two legs, who at the time were leading the English Premier League.
This goes to show that there are still some chinks in the United armour, and with teams around Europe bolstering their squads for a European assault, United need to do the same in the transfer market.
This slideshow will go through the United team from goalkeeper to attack and highlight where they need to improve.
At the start of the season there were many fans and pundits chucking abuse at Fergie for his £18 million capture of rookie goalkeeper David De Gea.
Despite the high profile mistakes he made, I kept faith in De Gea knowing he would come around eventually. The reason for this is because unlike many of the pundits and fans who were saying De Gea was rubbish, I had actually seen him play before coming to United, and I knew he was a quality keeper.
The English Premier League is the hardest league for a foreigner to come into and play well straight away.
Evra and Vidic had shocking debuts when they both played in a 3-1 defeat to a not so impressive Manchester City team. Many were saying the same about them as they are now saying about De Gea, but these players just needed time to adjust.
Six months down the line they are being heralded as two of the best defenders in world football by the same people who were their biggest critics before that.
Manchester United will be alright in this department for many years to come, and De Gea will only get better with the more games he plays.
Many people said that Manchester United would struggle in defence after their captain Nemanja Vidic was ruled out for the season in that 2-1 defeat to FC Basle. However their younger crop of defenders, along with Evra and Ferdinand, have played well in the absence of their stricken captain.
Although Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand have been getting most of the accolades and rightly so, I believe that the versatility and maturity shown by both Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have gone somewhat unnoticed.
At times this season they have been asked to play several positions such as right-back, centre and, in Phil Jones' case, in the centre of midfield. However they have not kicked up a fuss, and they have just performed admirably for the team.
The plan for these two would be to form the foundation of the future United team whether it be both of them in the centre of defence or if Phil Jones plays just in front of Smalling and Evans.
Whatever happens one would think that Man Utd are well equipped in this position for years to come. The only question mark that could possibly arise is with the Da Silva twins, as they do not seem to have convinced everyone. However these two boys are still young and can both learn to make the right-back and left-back positions their own.
Father time waits for no man, and it would seem that this is the biggest area for United to worry about. I believe that it needs a major overhaul, and with it being one of the most important parts on the football pitch, it probably gives a better insight as to why United have struggled against ball playing teams.
Although Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are two fantastic players, they are coming to the end of their careers, and what's to stop them both from retiring at the end of the season?
Should that happen United will be in big trouble.
In the wide areas, United are stocked with excellent variety and quality in the likes of Antonio Valencia, Nani, Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck, who I believe will be a better player cutting in from the left.
In the middle, however, United are struggling badly.
They have Michael Carrick who does a very important job of protecting the back four, and with his range of passing, he can create new attacks for the team. Park Ji Sung has been deployed in that area this season, and it has not quite worked out. Darren Fletcher is out with a long-term illness that will probably dictate the amount of games he can play a season for the rest of his career, and Anderson is just not Man United quality.
There is hope though in young stars Paul Pogba and Tom Cleverly (who made United tick in the early part of the season before his injury).
However, I think that within the next two years United need to add two more central midfielders to their team with the impending retirements of Scholes and Giggs.
They need a new creative spark in that team, and there is always the constant speculation of Luka Modric moving to Old Trafford as an instant replacement for Paul Scholes. A few weeks ago I would have said this move would not happen, but with Spurs now struggling to hold on to the fourth spot, how much longer can Modric stay at a mid-table team?
Eden Hazard is another player who has been linked with United, but I feel that his best position would be just behind the striker, and that role is currently employed by Wayne Rooney, and I feel he will carry on in that position for many years to come.
As a United fan, I would be more interested in a player such as Chirstian Eriksen, as he looks like another player who could control a game from midfield.
Should United sign these two players, their squad of midfielders would be Cleverly, Pogba (if he stays) Carrick, Fletcher, Modric and Eriksen.
Any combination of three out of the six would vastly improve United's general possession play and could be the final piece in the jigsaw, which is the building of Sir Alex Fergusson's last United team.
With one on the last shoulder of the defenders and the other dropping deep to find space, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez make a lethal partnership full of goals and movement.
The only additions United need to make to their attack, if any, would be the backup strikers to these two.
They have one in Danny Welbeck; it is just a question if Federico Macheda will be happy sitting on the bench as the fourth choice striker.
In any case, this is another area that United do not need to worry about because if these two stay fit then they can score as many goals, if not more, than the legendary strike force of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole.
If United want to carry on winning this trophy along with competing on the European front, then they are not far off in terms of their squad.
Should they bolster their ranks in midfield with the players that I have mentioned or similar players to them, then United will be one of the best teams in the world for at least another 10 years.
If anyone agrees or disagrees with my thoughts then please feel free to leave a comment and discuss this topic.