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United scrape past Philly, but Fergie’s comments on Vidic grab headlines

Or should we say his lack of comment? His economy of phrasing ought to get tongues wagging.

When quizzed about speculation regarding Vidic leaving OT, he said, “I can’t clarify it at all.” Journalists pressed further and asked if he was going to play at United this season and he replied, “I believe so.”

By not saying much, he’s not only cast a lot of doubt, he’s essentially confirmed what was till now routine speculation doing the rounds in hushed whispers. It is different if Vidic was vague about his future. Ferguson is usually protective about his players. He was vehement in denial about Ronaldo till the day news of his transfer popped-up as a terse statement on the official website.

Perhaps he’s had enough of his or his agent’s machinations behind the scenes? I can’t say. To the optimists, he’s going to play for us this coming season. At least they’ll believe so.

In the event of his transfer without adequate replacement, it would mean a reliance on an injury-ravaged Ferdinand, a young upcoming Jonny Evans, Wes Brown who has his own injury history to deal with, a stop-gap like O’Shea, and a debutant in Chris Smalling. Not the worst defensive line-up, but the strength of a successful side is in a settled defence.

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Meanwhile, United got another pre-season friendly under its belt. I think this pre-season tour to North America has been pretty good, insofar as the competitive levels of the matches. Both Celtic and Philadelphia Union gave us a good game. And it’s upto us to make good use of it. I’m not reading too much into pre-season though, but I had a few thoughts on it anyway. Rafael when he came on was impressive; Evans looked alright. The midfield seemed to be run over at times, although I felt Cleverley seemed to have an eye for a pass whenever he got the chance. We should see a lot of him this time during the Carling Cup. Maybe even a few appearances in the league. Obertan was frustrating nearly throughout the game despite his goal. Welbeck ran around a lot, put in a good shift, but his first touch was dreadful, finishing poor, and generally happened to make the wrong decision while making a pass. Maybe this is my personal opinion on Welbeck in general—that I don’t think he’ll become a United regular—but he wasn’t all that great yesterday. Macheda seemed to have lost a touch of pace and was out of sorts.

This is one thing we should accept about our strikers—Welbeck and Macheda—in terms of their pecking order: they are going to be below Rooney, Berbatov, Owen, Hernandez and Diouf. Our formation last season favoured more of a single striker (with Rooney up front). At any rate, we are still going to see fierce competition for striker berths at the Carling Cup level. One of Macheda or Welbeck will have to go out on loan. And Ferguson will probably decide which one after this pre-season gets over.

Berbatov was a calming influence and actually led to a more fluid attack when he came on.

And that’s all I have to say about the match.

Your thoughts in the comments welcome.