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Manchester United Half Time Report: The Attack

This is the second series of posts that will review our season so far. We ran a ‘season in review‘ series earlier.

We will look at the players and rate their performances. We will also try to give an overall report on the team performances, so far. In this post we will talk about our attackers. To make it a little clear, we are talking of our wingers as well as strikers.

Wayne Rooney
With a good summer break, many of us thought that this would be Rooney’s season. And he didn’t disappoint. After a slow start the goals started flowing. He was scoring for fun, and as is his wont when he starts he usually does go on free scoring runs. Unfortunately, a training ground injury forced him out for a few weeks that saw us drop points against Bolton. He returned for the Fulham game, and crucially against the ‘dippers. He had a hand in Tevez’s tap in; it was his shot towards goal.

His presence lifts the team and its performances. So there is little doubt about how good he’s been for us.
Rating: 8.5/10

Louis Saha:
Another injury-ridden start to a season, it is surprising the amount of trust placed on him by the club management. His mental/physical state has been a topic of debate and ridicule for many fans and he will need to really turn things around if he hopes to stay on in OT.
Rating: 5.5/10

Carlos Tevez
After the long drawn transfer wrangle Tevez did take some time settling down. The jury was still out on his ability to play with Rooney, although I always believed that they could play together. That view was vindicated as they hit it off to make it potentially our best strike pair after Yorke and Cole.

Tevez has impressed with his constant running at the defence, his work rate, his movement and telepathic understanding with Rooney. He has been an excellent buy and the ‘Argentina’ chants prove how popular he already is with the fans.

The only gripe may be his ability to finish, at times. But 9 goals half way through your first season in a new club isn’t too bad, is it?
Rating: 8/10

Nani
He was pressed into action due to injuries and suspensions. He had a decent start considering what was expected of him. Two cracking goals against Middlesbrough and Tottenham were highlights. Besides, he has an excellent ability to deliver crosses. But he tends to give the ball away far too often and tends to dilly-dally with the ball.

He should get better with time. But at the moment, he’s endured some frustrating times.
Rating: 6.5/10

Ryan Giggs
He’s been criticised during the start of the season but he’s been our best bet so far in the left wing. He has had great performances in spurts. But he’s 34 and there is only so much you can expect from an ageing winger. The problem with Giggs is the standards he’s set for himself throughout his United career. And after a while those exalted standards become difficult to live up to with age. This happens to all players. The thing with Giggsy, though, is that he’s always managed to turn it around when he’s been written off — last season was a striking example. We always think he will do it again and again. Such is the Welshman. It will be a sad day when he retires.

His lack of pace this season was telling, but he still continues to amaze us with his close control. He is on the decline, without doubt. But he still gives the ball far less than the contender for his position, Nani. And his decision making is certainly far better than him. Evra’s pace and overlap does make up for his lack of pace. Although, one would hope that Nani would ‘grow up’ enough by the end of this season to permanently take over the reins.

All in all, I think Giggs hasn’t fared too badly.
Rating: 7/10

Cristiano Ronaldo
I can’t say any more than what people have already said about him. He’s better, stronger, and we are a better team with him on the pitch. And that says enough about how much that boy has come along ever since he moved here. He looks on course to eclipse his scoring record of last season. And (touchwood) he rarely gets injured, considering the way he gets kicked around the pitch.

His pace and trickery and the cutting edge that he provided is what keeps us going. And it can be safely said that his presence (along with that of Rooney) is what makes our attack that potent. And guess what, he’s getting his free kicks over the wall more often, of late.
Rating: 9/10

Park Ji-Sung
Has made just two appearances since returning from a horrific injury. It would be unfair to comment on him on that evidence. However his performances look encouraging and augur well for the title run-in.
Rating: N/A