Stay tuned, tomorrow we wrap it up with the Defenders and Goalkeepers.
Section 312: Wasn’t sure where to put Giggs but he seems to be playing more out wide this year. Giggsy hasn’t been as influential as he was at the start of the last campaign. His final ball is important to United as is his delivery from set pieces. But he has been a little wasteful at times this season. This break will be good for him though, as it will for Scholes, and I am looking for Giggs to get better in the coming weeks.
CPC: Ryan Giggs doesn't know the meaning of "old." At an age when most players have either hung up their boots or have finished off their careers with lower division sides, Giggs continues to be one of the top midfielders in the game. No, he doesn't have the pace he had 20 years ago, but he doesn't need the pace because he plays smarter. His balls have a knack for finding the player on a run and his crosses are as accurate as ever. On at least two occasions, Paul Scholes has launched a pass to the left corner and Giggs has been there to receive and cross the ball. One of those occasions resulted in a goal. The other one was nearly a goal. In exactly the same position as Scholes, he won't play every single game and he play in all the "important" matches, either....and he seems to be happy in his role.
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Section 312: Picked up where he left off last season providing United with the quality final ball that he lacked in years previous. It does still seem as if he has another step or two forward that he can make into that elite group of "world class" players but he is getting closer.
With the injury to Valencia more attention will be focused on Nani as our provider in chief from out wide. He is likely going to see more teams doubling up on him in big games and will have to find ways to contribute to the team when maybe he isn’t getting the room he would desire.
CPC: Nani's game has improved so much since he first arrived at Old Trafford, to the point where he's nearly a fixture on the left side. When he first arrived, it seemed like he was always trying to emulate Ronaldo and he's not just as talented as his fellow countryman. But since Ronaldo left and Nani's playing minutes have increased, so too has his skill set. His crosses are much more accurate, his runs to the box are smarter and his defending are all areas where his improvement is evident. Of course, he still has areas to work on (ahem, penalty kicks) but for now, I'm happy with how far he's come and the future ahead for Nani.
Image from the Daily Mail
Section 312: It’s been a rough start to the season for Park. He hasn’t had the same impact on the big games and the important matches that he normally does. He has admitted as much himself. Park needs to improve in order to feature for United. He usually only gets 25 matches a season and he is in danger of getting even less this term.
CPC: Yeah, it's been a little bit down for Park, but after playing in the World Cup and missing the preseason, he's also had two trips to South Korea for national team matches. So he's well-traveled. Park is a lot like Fletcher, in that I seem to forget he's on the pitch until he does something. His crossing, tackling and runs have all been pretty poor to start the season and he recently missed South Korea's friendly with Japan due to soreness in his knee ( I hope to have an update about his knee in tonight's FTBP.) I haven't looked to see who/where South Korea has during next month's international break, but with Valencia out, I'd imagine Park is going to have plenty of chances to improve his game over the coming months.
Section 312: What an unlucky time to pick up a serous injury. Valencia was just really getting settled into his second full season which was really when I was expecting him to take a big step forward. Instead he is now forced to sit on the side lines for months on end. Hopefully he will be back in time to provide a lift for the end of the season. His crossing ability is important to this team and his service was one of the major reasons behind Rooney’s improved scoring rate last season.
CPC: For a few years now it's been obvious that a player can't just be brought in and expected to perform at United. Certainly not one who's spent the majority of his career in Ecuador and at clubs like Recreativo and Wigan for the bulk of his career. Last year, his 7 goals and 49 appearances were both career highs and this year already had a goal in 4 appearances. So much for a 'first year United slump'.
Unfortunately, his season his a bit of a snag with a dislocated ankle and damaged ligaments. If all is well and he does indeed return in February, then he makes United that much more dangerous down the stretch.
THE REST OF THE WINGERS
Section 312: We haven’t seen much of Obertan which makes me wonder about how well his development is going. He looked pretty good in preseason so I was hoping he would push on and fight to get into the first team a little more this season. It hasn’t happened yet. Bebe I am not sure is a winger at this point. He has looked quick and powerful in the brief glimpses I have seen.
CPC: I'm not so sure I've even seen Obertan yet...He played some on the US Tour, scoring the winner against the Philadelphia Union and made his only regular season appearance as a second half sub during the Carling Cup. He's a product of the Clairefontaine academy in France along with Thierry Henry, Louis Saha, William Gallas, Abou Diaby, Hatem Ben Arfa and Nicolas Anelka. So the coaching has always been there, hopefully it'll all pay off for him at United.
I didn't realize Section 312 didn't mention Bebe yesterday, but I did...here's what I wrote:
Bebe has come in amid a ton of press and looked...ordinary. Nothing really overly impressive other than his stepover. He does have a good frame for his age and maybe he'll develop into something special, but I've only seen him in his 2 appearances for United and a U21 Portugal game.