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Boro v Man Utd: Preview

Boro are a mad team. They are capable of the atrocious, like their current league position demonstrates. Yet, they have had their fair share of big team scalps.

And that’s all I can say about them, really. An away game at the Riverside can always be tricky, would be the other cliche I could trot out.

Or I could talk about our side. Yeah, I’ll do that.

Ferguson talks about ringing in the changes and finding the ‘right balance’. He mentioned Giggs played for 20 minutes against Arsenal and Scholesy being fresh. There are rumours that Macheda may make his first full start for United in the league.

All this seems all and well to say. But we are a side gunning for the Champions’ League and the Premiership. It could be argued that we are reasonably placed to advance in Europe, but too much mix and match at this time of the season sits uneasily on my head. We have about 5 games to go in the league including today. And we have to get our best possible sides out from now on, with minor changes. Because, to me, it makes little sense to ‘save’ our best players for the ‘future games’. We have five games left in the season in the league and, if we beat Arsenal in midweek, seven games overall. So what the heck are we going to keep players fresh for, if we don’t do the job today?

I hope Fergie realises that and makes one change at most in attack with an enforced change to come in defence, in the form of Jonny Evans. I suppose we could have Wes Brown making an appearance in right back — which really isn’t bad considering he’s had some reserve outings under his belt. If Macheda plays, then we could have Tevez upfront with him. We could also have Nani, possibly, in the wings, going by Fergie’s plans to freshen up the squad.

In an ideal world we should be able to beat Boro however we mix things up. But the world is far from ideal and we know all too well the perils of tinkering with a side that just seems to be getting into gear and re-learning its fluent attacking side.

I think Giggs will make the starting XI. Fergie hardly likes to drop Carrick. And I suspect Rooney will be on the bench. SAF’s press conference didn’t give too much away either, because he did mention that players were quite buoyant in training following the mid week performance against the Arse. That is nice to hear and one hopes not much is lost in attacking verve today.

In passing, there is something amusingly wrong about this article and headline — in another edition of Daniel Taylor does it again shocker. It states that Ferguson risks the wrath of Premier League football managers of clubs that are in relegation scraps because Middlesbrough will face a weakened United side. Weakened, perhaps. But a team that will nonetheless try their best to win — rather a team that’d better win. The article compares this with United fielding a weakened side against West Ham in 2006. Well, there are two minor details the author apparently forgot to consider: 1. United are currently not beyond reach of Liverpool and, 2. The West Ham game happened after we’d already won the title. So, in short, another shockingly pointless article.

Right, onto our predictions: United 2-1 Boro.

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