Last season, United won the premiership in imperious fashion with Ronaldo and company surprising everyone to topple Chelsea and become champions. Scholes, Giggs, and Gary Neville played important roles in that triumph.
Scholes rolled back the years to remind the Old Trafford faithful of the treble season with splendid goals of the season contenders like the one against Aston Villa.
Giggs played a more central role; supporting the attacking trio of Rooney, Ronaldo, and Saha incredibly well.
Fast forward to this season and the arrival of Nani and Anderson; things are not looking good for the old brooms. In recent games, every time United started with Giggs and Scholes, they have either drawn or lost. (With the exception of Portsmouth at Old Trafford in the league.)
They seem to slow down United’s play. One would think they are well suited for the champion’s league, but against Lyon at Stade Gerland, it was no different until Fergie made the decision to withdraw both and replace them with Tevez and Nani.
Against Manchester City at Old Trafford, had Fergie made that bold decision and withdrawn Scholes and Giggs instead of Nani and Anderson, I have a feeling United would have secured at least a draw.
Against Spurs, at White Hart Lane, he withdrew both of them and United attacked Spurs into submission for that late Tevez equalizer. All the signs are clear: Scholes and Giggs should give way for more youthful players in the starting line up.
Many a United fan got worried when Scholes had surgery and was to be out for three months. But little did they know it was to be a blessing in disguise—we saw the emergence of the eccentric Anderson and Carrick also stepped up his game to match his debut season displays. In that period, United won all that was before them with the exception of Bolton at the Reebok.
But when Scholes returned to the first team set up, he was quickly drafted into the starting 11 and United started struggling. (As so evidenced against Spurs, Manchester City and Lyon.)
In between those games, there was the mauling of Arsenal, a game dominated by Anderson and the skillful Nani, which Scholes came on as a substitute and Giggs was only a spectator.
The question is: Should Scholes and Giggs be restricted to the last 20 minutes of a game to apply their experience?
I think so, the time has come for Fergie to realize that Anderson is and will be important in United’s system of play and that Nani should be given more playing time to learn his trade.
So for Giggs, Scholes, Gary Neville, and “Sick note” Saha, I feel the time has come for them to grace the bench and give way to more youthful and enterprising players.
There is also the question of whether, after a full season of in activity, Gary Neville is still essential to the United set up as both player and captain? Maybe not, considering his age.
I think Fergie should think about appointing a new permanent captain—preferably Ferdinand or Vidic. And with the problem of Brown’s contract, a new right back is essential in the summer; but he should spare a thought for young Danny Simpson, the early signs are impressive, and he could become a very good player for the club.