Sir Alex makes the right midfield decision for Champions League squad

by Sam Peoples

Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick have not been included in the 21-man squad travelling to Romania this week for the Champions League fixture against CFR Cluj. The full squad is as follows:

De Gea, Lindegaard; Büttner, Evans, Evra, Ferdinand, M.Keane, Rafael, Wootton; Anderson, Cleverley, Fletcher, Lingard, Nani, Powell, Tunnicliffe; Hernandez, Kagawa, Rooney, van Persie, Welbeck.

Sir Alex has depended on Scholes and Carrick for all the big games this season and it has hurt us on occasions, none more so than the 3-2 loss to Tottenham this Saturday. Our midfield was ripped to shreds by Dembele and Sandro as we couldn’t cope with their energy and pace, so seeing the two veterans out of the Champions League means we will be treated to something different on Tuesday night – hopefully the same trio that played against Newcastle.

Fletcher, Anderson and Cleverley were superb in last week’s Capital One Cup victory over Newcastle United. Fletcher sat himself in front of the defence and protected them – I believe it is a sign of a change to his style of play after overcoming his chronic bowel condition, so I don’t expect so much energy from him anymore and understandably so. Regardless of that, he did an excellent job.

His reliability meant that Anderson and Cleverley were able to run riot. Safe in the knowledge that Fletcher was always going to be protecting the middle, they surged forward multiple times and helped bolster the attack with numbers through the middle. It’s successes were obvious with both Anderson and Cleverley scoring on the night.

Having that midfield trio gives us a great combination of level headed experience and youthful, energetic exuberance. It was a formation that breathed new life into our stagnant side and I don’t know why Sir Alex didn’t use it against Tottenham.

Although I am surprised to think that the same tactic might be used in a midweek away Champions League game in Romania, it is the right choice to make. It plays to our strengths. Having Cleverley and Anderson bursting through the middle behind Kagawa, Nani, van Persie and Rooney would bring such a versatility and unpredictability to our attack that it is almost guaranteed to make chances.

I hope it is a sign of things to come. Whilst I am a massive fan of Scholes, we need to use him properly and not depend on his services. Remember, last season we didn’t miss him until Anderson and Cleverley got injured but that seems to have been forgotten.

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33 comments

Oseni 10/02/2012 - 14:14

I only blame SAF…we need young players to boost our midfield…we can all c chelsea,arsenal, and city…u gonna enjoy todays match cuz d energetic anderson and cleverly wil suprise evry1

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abiodun fagbemi 10/02/2012 - 11:58

I am of the view that no team can exist without a missing link, otherwise it will always be difficult wining in a competition. We don’t need to abuse Carrick but to tell him our expectation of him. I still don’t see him as the weakest link in Man United. The truth is that other teams have grown up as well.

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Mike 10/02/2012 - 11:52

Some of the comments here are over-heightened! Calling people bastards is taking things a large bit personally! If you don’t like a player just say so don’t insult his person, those are two different things! Anyway, you say people forget that United were ‘fine’ last season with Anderson and Cleverley, but that’s with excellent play and assistance from some in form players including Valencia and Nani! Anderson against City was completely dominated, wouldn’t have been any less useful on the bench! Cleverley in the Europa league was equally ineffective! And if you’re trying to say they need to play together to be effective, well then that’s not very effective either! Scholes can roam the park with anyone! That’s why Sir Alex brought him back! It’s only because he’s 37 that he’s being saved! He needs longevity rather than games! What Cleverley and Anderson have to bring into their game more is attacking play! Especially Cleverley! Too often has he made runs into the box then received a pass only to run back out again or pass it back out of the danger area! Possession is important and so is a patient build-up but that’s all useless if no end result is clear at the end of it all! I mean, not even a shot on target! Turn your man and run for the goal because that’s where victory is! Anderson is starting to realize this and it’s paying dividends for his career!

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spoon 10/02/2012 - 11:05

People calling Carrick crap are just mindless idiots. Carrick is a good player and gives a lot to the team. The way he is deployed sometimes means he takes the brunt of the criticism, when Fergie had made bad decisions for his partners.

Giggs looks to me like he is settled on retiring this season. He should be a sub only now…

Cleverley, Anderson and Kagawa is a mix I am looking forward to seeing tonight, hopefully

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ADETORO ADEYEMI SEMIU 10/02/2012 - 11:00

Carrik should go and seat down somewere 4 now is a liability player so should saet down 4 now.

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David 10/02/2012 - 10:35

Giggs, Carrick, schole and Ferdy served man utd well and they continue to do that.. Carrick especially who comes up when we need him most. If there is someone to blame is SAF and Phelan especially who jst siya there like a dummy… We shd start with a young team and bring in scholesy and giggs sometime in the second half when the long balls will actually work. And Nani has been shit a lot this time. He needs to get out of his head and play like he wants to be world best…

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Josh 10/02/2012 - 09:53

Carrick plz retire…. He’s such a problem to us .. And Fergie have refused to understand that..

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samp 10/02/2012 - 08:56

There’s far too many mindless comments about Carrick being useless here. He is the exact player we need to depend on now but playing him in a midfield pairing is leaving too much work for him to do. We need to see what a 4-3-3 of Carrick with Anderson and Cleverley in front of him can achieve.

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joshua 10/02/2012 - 07:57

Useless Carrick should not start any game until he is fit. He was over powered by dembele. SAF needs to utilise the young ones.

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Ak 10/02/2012 - 07:18

Today fergie will know that he make big mistake in tottenham match with oldies to face tottenham’s young midfield.

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Ak 10/02/2012 - 07:15

Today man utd will win 3-0 with cleverley and anderson pairing in midfield i also hope that buttner plays today and rooney partners van persie

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Amos arstley kogonji 10/02/2012 - 07:04

We should sign a defencive midfielder

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Ak 10/02/2012 - 07:02

Thats true man i also agree

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manuforlife 10/02/2012 - 06:59

man united dont have wingers now with valencia and young injured…..4-3-3….is the best formation now for united….they should have played like this with spurs….and de gea should start more games……

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Emmanuel 10/02/2012 - 06:44

Saf needs to try Anderson and tom cleverley because if you watch the match against Tottenham, the cmf is very poor. We need those old players to take a seat on the the bench. So that those boys will try their talent and saf, we like buttner.

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sammoh 10/02/2012 - 06:36

i dont know why you people hate carrick so much….although he is one of the most unsung player i have ever seen since, i dont think he is so bad as you people are describing him to be… I’d love to see ando and tommy rocking our midfied but both are stil average players. Dont be decieved by the sake they scored against newcastle recently.

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Strik3rr 10/02/2012 - 04:08

Carrick, Scholes and Giggs all have a virus, and that is the reason for their exclusion. Not simply to give them a break.

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samp 10/02/2012 - 08:46

Incorrect. Carrick and Giggs have a virus and Scholes was simply rested.

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tofergie 10/02/2012 - 03:53

Veteran players at united should know that their refusal to retiring from football are slowing united midfield pace.united are very slow and weak when this old shit plays.Chelsea has evolve,city has evolve and arsenal also got midfield pace..fergie need to wake up..

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Chibueze umekesiobi 10/02/2012 - 00:29

Don’t even know why ferguson is still hesitating to sell nan and ferguson should go for a defensive midfielder and stop depending on that weak carrick, i advise ferguson should start de gea ahead of lindegaard…

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Jossie 10/01/2012 - 21:21

This should be our starting line up, carrick is a poor midfielder. Carrick and giggs should better retire beccause they have nothing to offer to man united again. Anderson is better thank Michael Carrick 100%. Scholes, giggs, carrick and rio ferdinand should better retire now. they should stop deceiving their old age.

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Clemmoh 10/01/2012 - 21:17

we need both pace n creativity in the team to compete with the best. young players like Cleverley, Anderson and Kagawa have both pace and creativity in them, they shud be starting games. bring the likes of Giggs, Scholes and Carrick in the second halfs of games, not starting them. Why does SAF prefer Lindegaard to De Gea? Honestly,Lindegaard conceeds very silly goals. De Gea is far better than him, we need him in goal.

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Niyi 10/01/2012 - 21:14

Gigs should keep off from the team for now

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Lauren 10/01/2012 - 21:09

Fergi must stop using that stupid carrick and lindegard i hate both of them

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Kolemo 10/01/2012 - 19:08

The midfield needs energetic young players like Anderson and Cleverly. Evra replaced by Buttner. When Smalling comes back he should replace Rio and play alongside Evans while Rafael maintains his position.

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Adeyemi 10/01/2012 - 17:19

De gea is better than lindegaard. Tom cleverley and Anderson is ok in the midfield. Please fergie stop playin old cargo like poor carrick.

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Olamide 10/01/2012 - 16:54

I think that should be our first XI for now.

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Ogonna Ezimorah 10/01/2012 - 16:50

Thank God Carrick is not traveling.

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Boy flani 10/01/2012 - 16:00

this should always be our startin 11…scholes should only come in as a 2nd half sub…

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juninho 10/01/2012 - 15:34

Lindegaard should remain on the bench with that bastard carrick I dunno wah SAF is doin with carrick he’s not suppose to feature for united again he’s lazy and doesn’t commit himself to tackles he should remain on the bench!!!cleverly and anderson shuould start pls dis dayz football needs pace!!obviously carrick has non!!!

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Ray 10/01/2012 - 23:30

Totally agree with you, Carrick is useless!

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Prince 10/01/2012 - 15:16

having Anderson, Cleverley, Kagawa, Rooney and van Persie in the same starting line up is the solution to our problem. Not forgetting De Gea because he is better than Lindegaard

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markos Haile 10/01/2012 - 14:43

Please use the youngest team.

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