Manchester United’s performance on Saturday showed that the burst of sewage pipe in their dressing room at the Stadium of Light wasn’t the only thing that may have been temporarily fixed.
United sunk to their fourth draw of the season – matching the amount of draws from the entire 2009/10 season – and it shows that there are gaping holes in the squad, which shows the leaks and could eventually lead to an unwanted burst.
It seems as though that the sewage not only got onto the player’s designers suits, but the fumes affected everyone’s intelligence as well, because some of the performances were absolute garbage.
The performances on the field were not the only ones under the microscope after the nil-nil draw, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s was as well.
The questionable selection of the squad – inclusions and exclusions – and the lack of balance in the midfield, which led to an onslaught of chances for the home team down their right-hand side needs to be quickly addressed.
To be fair to Sir Alex, no one could have foreseen the horrific injury that Antonio Valencia suffered against Rangers, but his replacement was in the waiting with Nani more than willing to switch wings, but who was going to replace Nani?
Sir Alex has recently said that he is going to have a real selection headache when the players come back from international break, but does he realize that he still does not have a left winger?
Oh, that is right, Michael Owen, because he is very agile and quick and able to zip up and down the left flank with ease.
United, like they always are, was linked with a few players to provide cover in case of rainy day or injury, but those cries fell on deaf ears and those players joined other clubs.
However this criticism – right or wrong – of Ferguson was already on the wall this summer for not buying this player or that player, because the apparent cracks in the squad were there for all to see.
Ferguson has admitted that the transfer market is inflated, and the players that were available would not have helped United this season, but that was definitely not the case.
Yes, David Villa was one player that Sir Alex admired and inquired about, but even if he worked his magic, he would not be able score if the ball never gets to him.
Missing out on Villa left a bitter taste in the Scotsman’s mouth, because his stubbornness set in.
And Because he did not get the player he craved, he went without instead of searching for players who would have been just as beneficial to United’s 2010/11 season.
For example, last season Real Madrid made two players available for relatively cheap transfer fees, because their manager at the time, Manuel Pellegrini, did not want them and saw them as excess.
Both Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben were offloaded to Inter Milan and Bayern Munich, and both of those players had the qualities that were missing to help United compete both domestically and abroad, but instead they led their respective clubs to the UEFA Champions League final.
Again, this summer Real Madrid hired a new manager, Jose Mourinho, and, of course, wants his own style of players at the club, so there top-class players available to inquire about, and no one knows if any phone calls were made.
Rafael van der Vaart even made a come-and-get-me plea for Sir Alex by saying that he would love to play for Manchester United, but instead, the impressive midfielder signed for Tottenham Hotspur for just over a reported £9 million.
If true, that fee was just £1.6 million more than Ferguson paid for an unknown, unproven player wit the capture of Bebe that will be a fringe player for the next couple of years!
A club like Manchester United needs players that are of the highest quality and skill to handle the pressures of “What can you do for me now.”
There are clubs in the Barclays Premier League that have the mentality that they are not good enough to win the league, so they realistically aim for a top-four finish or a place in Europe.
However, the thought process of Sir Alex has changed the supporters’ mindsets that we, United, only compete for trophies and anything less is a disappointment.
Now, it’s time for the supporters to remind the manager of the expectations and standards that he, himself, has set for the club, because four points from four away matches is not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination.
This is in no way encouraging United fans to call for the sacking of Sir Alex, but a simple friendly reminder that he needs players that will make United successful now – not in five years.
Yes, there are transition periods that we will go through, however, Sir Alex has not stated that he is doing that with squad and he did say that once Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes call it a day on their incredible careers is when he will make the changes.
However, the signings of Bebe, Javier Hernandez and Chris Smalling make one believe he is already starting to make those inevitable implementations to the squad.
Sure, Sir Alex will never reveal his true intentions and plans, because he always has to have that bit of mystery about him, but the product on the field that fans are being subjected to paying top dollar to watch is not worth the anticipation of his next move.
After winning 11 out of 18 Barclays Premier League titles and two UEFA Champions League trophies, Sir Alex Ferguson has certainly raised the level of the expectation of the Manchester United supporters and now he needs to fulfill his end of the bargain.
Editor’s Note: An interesting statistic: Sir Alex Ferguson and his BPL managerial proteges (aka former players) – Mark Hughes, Steve Bruce and Alex McLeish – have a total of 19 draws this season. They also have just four losses in between them in 28 matches.