The Bottom Corner: Has Michael Owen Answered His Critics Yet?

Salaar Shamsi@SalaarizationSenior Writer INovember 14, 2009

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20:  Michael Owen of Manchester United celebrates scoring the winning goal in injury time during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on September 20, 2009 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Sir Alex Ferguson took a massive gamble during the summer. When the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez had left Old Trafford, he had to find adequate replacements to ensure they would retain the Premier League for a fourth consecutive time.

It might be worth mentioning that Ronaldo and Tevez, between them, scored almost half of all the goals United had scored in the past two seasons.

Needless to say, United needed a big name signing who could guarantee goals, Sir Alex Ferguson though begged to differ.

The Scot brought in Wigan's Antonio Valencia, who despite his overwhelming physique wasn't recognized as a regular goalscorer.

Valencia's arrival was followed by the signing of former Liverpool striker, Micheal Owen, a free agent after his contract with Newcastle had expired on a 'pay-as-you-play' deal.

The move received a mixed reaction from the football world and the Old Trafford faithful in particular.

Some weren't particularly happy with the signing of Owen because he was too 'injury-prone'.

Others suggested Sir Alex was a genius for pulling off such a shrewd business move because Owen was known as a deadly finisher and recognized as a phenomenal striker.

Liverpool fans weren't too happy, they termed Owen as a 'joke', a 'traitor' and even drew comparisons of Owen's move to Judas' betrayal.

The former Real Madrid man accepted the fact that he would be behind Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney in United's pecking order.

The transfer window eventually slammed shut and nobody else arrived at Old Trafford except for relatively unknown French prodigy, Gabriel Obertan.

Sir Alex Ferguson backed the likes of Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney to step up, he also said he would give more opportunities to the likes of Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck.

Owen's first start for United ended with 1-0 defeat to newly promoted Burnley and the skies came shattering down , it appeared as if Sir Alex had got it all wrong, he was blamed for failing to strengthen United's squad during the summer.

Owen missed two straight forward chances in the games against Birmingham and Burnley and came under scathing criticism for it.

However, United's title defense eventually picked up the pace with a 5-0 thrashing of Wigan and 2-1 victory against Arsenal.

Owen scored his first United goal at Wigan, with a fine left footed strike that recalled his halcyon days.

If he was looking for a chance to become an Old Trafford hero, he certainly got it when his predecessor Carlos Tevez and new-team and United rivals Manchester City came to Old Trafford.

In the most dramatic circumstances, Owen scored an incredible winner in the 96th minute of play and thus becoming an instant crowd favorite at the Theatre of Dreams.

Arguably his best United goal came in the Carling Cup against Barnsley, where a sharp turn and a stunning finish silenced the whole crowd.

Owen didn't have the happiest time on his return to Anfield, he came on as a substitute and was put through on goal before being brought down rather controversially by Liverpool's Jaime Carragher. United went on to lose the game, 2-0, as Nemanja Vidic was sent off for the third consecutive time against the Reds.

He couldn't help United losing to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge either but Owen has scored in all competitions for the Red Devils after opening the scoring in 3-3 draw with CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford.

In his brief stint with the Red Devils, he has already picked up a knock kept him out of action for three weeks.

Despite being five points behind Chelsea, I think United are still quite well placed and in competition for a fourth consecutive league title.

Now, the real question is, has Michael Owen answered his critics?

He was labelled as 'too old', they said 'his time is over', they said 'he's too injury prone', they said 'he's a traitor', they said 'United will regret not signing somebody like a David Villa or Luis Fabiano'.

Hold that thought for now.

That's it from The Bottom Corner , here's Salaar Shamsi signing off, until next time, it's goodbye.


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