Manchester United Players Who Must Find Their Form ASAP
Sir Alex Ferguson has told the press he will not be making any new signings in January. While sceptics may take this comment with a pinch of salt, it appears Fergie seems happy enough with the current squad as it is.
Whether this may be because he believes they are an exceptional group of players or that the chasing pack will continue to self-combust is irrelevant
But if we take Sir Alex's comment on face value, there are certain individuals that must make a bigger impact on the pitch if they are to reclaim the EPL title.
Winning a championship is never straightforward, and there will be a challenge at some point.
Cue four players that need to step up....
4. Ashley Young
Young signed for £16 million in the summer of 2011 and had an excellent first season at United operating predominantly on the left wing.
Eight goals in 33 appearances was an admirable effort not to mention the endless assists the England international produced for the likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck.
However the 27-year-old has not had the same impact this season and is yet to find the back of the net in any competition to date.
Ferguson will be looking to Young to become more involved in the attacking aspect, especially with the form Robin van Persie is in at the moment.
Maybe it's the dreaded second season syndrome or hopefully just a slight dip in form, but the winger will be keen to regain some of his lost confidence and continue the effective relationship he formed with Patrice Evra last season.
3. Phil Jones
No one is doubting Phil Jones' ability, he has put in some quite splendid performances both in defence and midfield justifying his huge £16.5 million price tag from Blackburn Rovers
I actually think he should be playing in midfield on a regular basis, judging by some of his displays last season.
However, the injuries he has picked up since joining United have started to become very concerning.
Everyone picks up niggles and knocks from time to time, but Jones has been kept out for prolonged periods at least four different times since arriving at the club last summer.
Facial, hamstring, back and knee problems have all affected the 20-year-old over the past 12 months, and fans now gasp when the youngster is slow to get up following a tackle.
If he can stay fit, Jones undoubted talent could be a huge player going into the second half of the season, but it's a big IF.
Watch this space....
2. Antonio Valencia
There is a trend developing with the wingers this season, and Antonio Valencia is another one needs to contribute more if United are going to be successful on all fronts.
The Ecuadorian international (like Ashley Young) is yet to find the back of the net this season, which is a huge surprise given his effectiveness down the right.
And with the emergence of Rafael, many believed United have would be unstoppable but again, injury and loss of form have resulted in a real dent to Valencia's production and Ferguson will be looking to the 27-year-old to recreate the magic touch that has made him a big fan favourite.
Maybe the pressure is becoming a little too much?
This is without doubt the most difficult season the Portuguese winger has had since his arrival five years ago from Sporting.
A combination of injury and lack of form has seen the 26-year-old reduced to sporadic cameo appearances from the bench with the occasional start here and there.
It's a far cry from the previous two seasons, where he was virtually an ever-present force, notching 17 EPL goals in the process.
But the introduction of Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia has meant Nani is no longer a first-choice starter. Add to that a succession of hamstring injuries including the current one that has now ruled him out over the Christmas period and you have a real problem.
There is intense speculation that the Portugal international will be leaving the club in January; however, if he can find the form that allowed United fans to forget about Cristiano Ronaldo so quickly, then United would be huge favourites to regain the title they so cruelly lost to City in the dying seconds last season.