Connect with us

Manchester United Players

Manchester United Player Ratings: The Midfield

This is part two of our three part series, looking back at our season so far. Player ratings are, admittedly, an objective way of looking at things. But with the current break giving us only pointless transfer rumours to chew about, we might as well look back at some of our players who’ve featured so far.

For those who missed Part I where we dwelt on our attackers, you can have a look at that here.

Today, as mentioned in the title, we will be taking a look at the midfield — more specifically this will be central midfield. We discussed wingers along with our attackers.

Paul Scholes
He’s been criticised by fans, much like Ryan Giggs, for being poor in games that we’ve played. I have a slightly different opinion of Scholes. He hasn’t been as bad as has been made out to be. The team on the whole has been giving away the ball far too often and has been lackadaisical in their approach that it’s unfair to single out one player. But we will have to get a verdict out on him and I, for one, would fault him for only one thing — he has been staying way too back this season and for someone like Scholes who revels in moving forward, this would be only bad for him and the rest of the team. Although at times, like in the Wigan game, it was the best thing to do, especially when Anderson was stringing passes at will. Again, in the absence of holding midfielders, and with his ageing legs, staying back looks like the best thing for him to do at the moment. That is certainly not good for the team though. Nothing spectacular so far, nonetheless, better than Giggs. Rating: 6.5/10

Michael Carrick
He has been an enigma this season. Just when you get a feeling that he may not be justifying his place that he turns out a brilliant performance — especially the one against Chelsea. Looks like a big match player. Last year, he won the MoM against Chelsea, was again masterful against Roma in the UCL quarterfinal. But as a United player, one would demand consistency from players. Having an excellent game followed by three mediocre displays just won’t do at the highest level. Call me spoiled, but those are the standards expected at this club, simply because there are others behind, knocking at the door for a look-in. Whether it is because he was shaken by the arrival of Owen Hargreaves or the pressure of having to fight for his place — something he’s never had to do for so many years at West Ham and Spurs — his form isn’t quite at the level of last season. He needs to buck up after he gets back from injury. Because, we might have Hargreaves (and possibly Anderson, if he does a repeat of Wigan) who could take his place. Rating:6.5/10

Owen Hargreaves
Leave aside his injury problems. He’s had to adapt to the place, although not entirely alien to him, and he’s had to get a feel for the pace of the league. But when he played — for three games, if my memory serves me right — he integrated seamlessly into the side. He clearly gave our midfield the cutting edge and dynamism we’ve so lacked, and especially the way he rendered Elano virtually anonymous in the City game gives us hope for optimism once he gets fit. And his impact showed, he was voted as the fans’ player of the month of August despite having played in only two of the five games. I am personally quite impressed, although, if anything, his injury situation would be the only dampener, so far. Rating: 7/10.

Darren Fletcher and John O’Shea
Both players have been and will continue to be our perennial fringe players. It is unfair on them, because they give their all when they play for the club. Fletcher has grown as a player, despite being limited, and O’Shea’s versatility has made the pair quite important to us. It’s no wonder then, that last season Fletcher played 40+ games. This season Fletcher has managed 5 substitute appearances and no starts and O’Shea’s had one start and four sub appearances. So it would be unfair to rate them at all. I reserve judgement on them only after I’ve seen enough, but they will certainly have important roles this season as they did last season.

Thanks to readers for pointing it out. Anderson slipped my mind suddenly. Anyway, here it is. He had lot of things to contend with when he came to OT. Injuries, environment among other things. He couldn’t train all that well in pre-season because of Copa America so it took him time to get himself acquainted with our style of play. Despite being among the better players in the Carling Cup he was panned by sections of the media unfairly. But he showed glimpses of undoubted talent in the Roma game, and loads of it in the Wigan game. While it was very encouraging, the jury would still be out on him. After all, he’s just 19. Give him time. And we hope he turns out as good as we expect him to be. Having had one outstanding appearance, I will not go head over heels in my rating. Great future for the lad. Let’s keep it that way for now.

That should be the analysis for the day. Get back to us tomorrow, as we shall look at our defence. Feel free, in the meantime, to agree or disagree with us in the comments. If you haven’t seen Part I yet, this might be a good time to read that.