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Manchester United on a roll

Even before the season kicked off all eyes were on Manchester United. How will they cope up with the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo? Current FIFA player of the year has helped Manchester United win three premier league titles and one Champions League title almost single handedly in last three years, writes Abhishek Nandwani.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2009 14:25 IST
Abhishek Nandwani

Even before the season kicked off all eyes were on Manchester United. How will they cope up with the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo? Current FIFA player of the year has helped Manchester United win three premier league titles and one Champions League title almost single handedly in last three years.

Critics were lashing out at Manchester United’s policy, as they did not get any big star to replace Ronaldo. Man United are always slow starter as they usually get their bearing after Christmas when other teams start feeling jaded and drop points due to heavy schedule. Man United mostly takes advantage of those mistakes made by the opposition. But this season even without Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez in their kitty they have made a decent start to the season winning 4 out of their 5 matches and are sitting comfortably in second position behind leaders Chelsea. Even though Manchester United have been convincing in all the wins. Against Spurs on Saturday they showed what they are capable of. Trailing 0-1 within 47 seconds of kick off, it was a brilliant all round performance by Manchester United when they humbled Spurs convincingly 3-1. In this match United showed that they are playing as a cohesive team and they are just not missing Ronaldo’s class.

In Ronaldo’s absence everyone was watching Wayne Rooney as he had played second fiddle to Ronaldo all along, sacrificing his playing position for him. He is one of the best players in the world playing as central striker, so before the start of the season Manchester United’s coach Sir Alex Ferguson said that Rooney will be given his natural position to play and he has to show what he is capable of, its high time he should start taking his chances in front of goal. He has always been praised for being a hard working team player but on the other hand he has been criticized for being less selfish in front of goal. But this season he has been the most outstanding player for Manchester United- scoring 5 goals in as many matches.

Darren Fletcher said that Manchester United players were sacrificing a lot for Ronaldo, every attack was built in such a way that Ronaldo can be effective but now, the players have freedom to play naturally and will display more lethal side of United this season.

Right now only problem for Manchester United is the pace. They have lost two good sprinters in the world football Ronaldo and Tevez. So this has led to the change in style for United, as they have stopped playing in famous 4-4-2 formation and are playing in 4-5-1 or in 4-3-3 formation.

So the biggest question and test for Manchester United this season is can they continue their superb run and go on to win their fourth consecutive league title.