It wasn’t supposed to go down this road. The path to glory had but all been laid but somewhere, somehow the script got stolen and roles reversed. This Monday night, United fans around the globe realized their worst nightmare much to the delight of blue half of Manchester. The red half of Merseyside and ABUs also came crawling out from their caves in every nook and corner of the globe. The once unassailable eight point gap had disappeared and now City have an eight goal cushion. The champagne turned sour and United fans ended up with egg on their face after a few weeks of premature ejaculation.

Worst of all, various media hounds who had hitherto proclaimed United the champions elect and Ferguson the master of mind games suddenly turned like the English weather and itai??i??s the United manager under fire now.

Furthermore, the criticism of the 4-5-1 and the cautious approach seem baffling. Surely, the journos and experts would have guessed by now, Fergie has often deployed a three man central midfield away from home. Especially against the bigger clubs the likes of the Arsenal to be precise, happy to concede possession and hit them on the break. After criticizing the Scot for his refusal to alter his preferred 4-4-2 even against Barcelona in the Champions League final, they should have been more forgiving after the United manager heeded their demands. Dammed if you do and dammed if you donai??i??t. Goals change games and sadly for United, Vincent Kompanyai??i??s winner came at exactly the wrong time. Although there is never a wrong time to score a goal, this one was perfectly timed for the Citizenai??i??s. If United had held on from that corner, pressure would have been on the home side, only if.

Ferguson, no doubt, isnai??i??t without his follies. He is rigid sometimes to the point of annoyingly exasperating even for United fans as his constant refusal to indulge in the transfer market gets on the nerves of a large section of the support. However, if there is anyone who has passed with flying colors this season then it has to be the gaffer, domestically at least. The feeble squad, at times crippled with injuries missing important personnel throughout the season, has been managed to such heights by the genius of only one man.

Interesting summer ahead for him

.
Nevertheless, there were a lot of questions raised and fingers pointed at his team selection in the derby debacle. But letai??i??s just go through the changes and see how many were really that mind boggling as the media and the fans seem to portray.

Chris Smalling for Jonny Evans:Ai??There is absolutely no way Fergie should get any flak for this forced changed. The Rio-Evans partnership had been omnipresent and had succeeded beyond most expectations. However, Evans went down with a niggle and Smalling was drafted in. The ex-Fulham man has been a smashing center-back during his short stint at Old Trafford and at the start of the season most would have preferred him over the much maligned Evans.

Phil Jones for Rafael Da Silva: Again, Jones has had an outstanding start to his United career and become an instant hit with fans. Lately though, after a few injury concerns his season has plateau-ed out. Rafael, on the other hand, swings from sublime to the ridiculous in a matter of a week and his rather ordinary display against the Toffees spelt doomsday and Phil Jones’ muscle and height was preferred. Hardly outrageous call, was it?

Valenciaai??i??s exclusion: As the ever so brilliant Gary Neville in the Sky studio pointed out Clichyai??i??s inclusion could have dictated Nani starting out on the right wing as the Portuguese winger has in the past proved to be Clichyai??i??s nemesis and given him a torrid time. But, alas, the Frenchman fared exceedingly well and the plan backfired.

Giggs and Scholes in midfield: Hardly surprising, Ferguson still trusts his fledglings when it comes down to the really big occasion and domestically they live up to his beliefs as they have for almost two decades. Also, with Anderson and Fletcher being ruled out of the season and Cleverley not in his elements since coming back from the injury lay off, did the United manager really have that much of a choice?

The Inclusion of Park: This oneai??i??s probably the most undefendable. Park hasnai??i??t set the world alight for some time now and while his big game pedigree has often been paraded around, the three-lung Park looked like a duck out of water up against the likes of Yaya Toure. Fergie trusted the Korean for one last hurrah on the big stage, perhaps. This one looked a bit iffy from the onset but there was logic and perhaps some sentiment involved as well.

Park Ji Sung ai??i?? Has he played his last game at United?

There will never be one quite like him; Ji Sung Park has been a scorching success and the first Asian to break through in one of the really big European leagues. His determination, hard work and unparalleled desire has guaranteed his place in the history of this club, and carved out a niche of his own. Every time Park has walked on to the pitch, the man has given his all to the shirt and at times to unimaginable levels. The quintessential big game player, always proving his pedigree on the truly colossal occasion, Parkai??i??s importance has often gone under the radar among rival fans, but at United his presence in the big game has always been reassuring.

But, not anymore; Parkai??i??s probably lost one of his three lungs and without any natural flair as a winger the Korean canai??i??t cut it at the wings. Furthermore his industry doesnai??i??t seem enough. As a central midfield player Park doesnai??i??t have the passing abilities or the physique to be a success. Itai??i??s painful at times to watch him fall down over and over again when up against players almost twice his size.

Spent Force?

.
Parkai??i??s been a great servant but the time has come to cut the cord; the summer promises to see winds of change at the Theatre of Dreams and Park Ji Sung could very well be a major casualty. The squad limit rule could finally prove to be his undoing as Ferguson will have tough decisions to make and the man who let Kanchelskis, Ince, Hughes, Stam, Becks, Nistelrooy et al leave, would make that gut wrenching call.

***

The season has been amazingly topsy-turvy and one of the most difficult ones to predict in recent memory. Itai??i??s excruciating, the wait that is, with destiny out of your own hands and as they say ‘I can take the despair, it’s the hope I can’t stand’.

One final twist will be long cherished at Old Trafford, for a few days at least every Red Devil will also be a Magpie.

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8 Responses to “Manchester Unitedai??i??s Corner: Standing Up For Fergie & Waving Park A Goodbye”

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  1. Real Mancs are RED, Manchester says:

    For all the drama and knee-jerking, the fact is that if Vidic was fit United would have won the game and the title. Imagine Kompany missing the whole season for City? how would they have coped with savic playing every week? United have been unfortunate this year with injuries, but next year their defense will be stronger. After all the berties are only ahead on goal difference, thats not much of an achievement for a club who have spent a billion against a supposedly weak injury hit United team is it?

  2. kavi says:

    ever so brilliant nipun excellent article keep it up

  3. Darren says:

    Brilliant article. The fickle audience and critics that are the fans and media are ridiculous. But Manchester United thrives on doubt and pressure, so bring it on. In the world of soccer, it is so hard to please everyone. Everyone wants to win, but winning is tough. Fergie has won time and time again, and whether he continues to win or not, we have to support and believe in him. No one appreciates what he did, and still is, doing for the club anymore. But I do, and I will always be a Red Devil. Give Fergie a break. I – and whoever else that is a true supporter – will stand United behind Fergie!

  4. chongo says:

    This is bullshit. Park is a better midfielder than Scholes, Fletcher and Carrick. It is ok to say this. I go by what I see, not shit from Fergie or the fans or even English press. What did I see on Monday. I saw only one MU midfielder charge forward into City’s box and he was not English. Scholes, Giggs and loser Carrick had neither the skill, desire, heart, lungs nor legs to support Park and he was forced to 50/50 passes when he got closed down in isolation. This isolation is only recognised in terms of Rooneys poor performance. Everything English saw this as Park’s shortcomings. Even my grandfather expected Scholes, Giggs, or Carrick to be subbed and a midfielder with some drive to be drafted in to support Park. But after watching Ferguson all these years it was easy to predict that Park and Nani would be subbed rather than either gerriatric. The hurt and heat coming Ferguson’s way, in the coming years, should he stay, is well deserved. The role of the English media is to protect English football from reality.

  5. Sathya says:

    Park was in the game to carry out a job and he DID IT in the first half. IMHO, Our team selection was spot on! If we had won or tied that game, it’s probably another masterclass from Fergie rt?
    Bottomline: Rooney was poor. our midfield was poor. Man city wanted it more. PERIOD!

  6. Vikas Ganjave says:

    it is really surprising that park is getting all the flak.he perfectly did his job the other night but made to look ineffective coz carrick and scholes cudnt support him and i dont think park will be shipped out.if anderson can get 5 years to settle in that midfield then park shud be spared from this not so effective display.And point made here is absolutly spot on it has to be
    one of the greatest achievement of SAF…..but still it was hard to believe that team of united caliber who scored 83 goals this season cudnt hit a shot on target in the whole game after goin down in the fast half……any manager on planet wudnt want that.

  7. Nipun says:

    Park is getting the flak as frankly he has been pretty poor this season and was no different on Monday night. We all love the man and his contribution to club will always be cherished but lets not let his former god will come in the way of evaluating his recent performances and his worth to the squad.

    Here’s a stat: United have lost 8 of the last 10 games Park Ji Sung has started!