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SOS: Paul Scholes returns to save the midfield
Manchester United once possessed one of the strongest midfield teams in the country.
However, it can be argued that, since the departure of Roy Keane in 2005, the club has still not added a dominant midfielder of his sort to its ranks.
The frailties in the team's midfield were there to see in 2011/12, and their desperation to bolster the position was emphasised when they brought back Paul Scholes from retirement.
Michael Carrick, Scholes and Tom Cleverly all have their attributes, but neither tackling nor strength are part of them.
Despite the passing ability of Carrick, when it comes to a physical midfield battle, he is inevitably going to come up short.
Without a settled back four due to an injury to Nemanja Vidic and with Darren Fletcher sidelined for a lengthy period, Manchester United were in dire need of a defensive midfielder—something that had, for example, previously served Chelsea and teams managed by José Mourinho since well.
This continued weakness was made all the more startling by Sir Alex Ferguson's inability, or even reluctance, to fix the problem.
The side's frailty in this area was exposed on a number of occasions in 2012, including in the first game of the current season away at Everton.
Marouane Fellaini demonstrated all on his own why this position is the Achilles' heel of Man Utd, and it has been for a number of years.
2012 passed without the issue being resolved, and you have to wonder if it ever will be under Sir Alex.