Player Reviews 2007/08

Our player reviews for the season just gone, what do you think of our rantings:

van der Sar :

It’s no coincidence that since signing van der Sar we’ve looked infinitely more composed at the back, and have won back to back titles. Towards the end of the season he did look a little shaky (the Riverside and Ewood Park visits in particular) but great saves at key moments in key games – the Arsenal game and the Champions League final – ensured this was a successful personal season for the Dutch stopper. 8

Brown :

Had to fill in all season for the club captain and ended up with a new contract and two trophies, as well as professional applaud for being part of the meanest defence in the league and Europe. No mean feat. 8.5

Ferdinand :

Too easy to put “simply the best defender in the world”. Rio has matured immensely since signing for us, progressing every year, and was immaculate in almost every game. A worthy wearer of the armband in the absence of Neville and Giggs. 9

Vidic :

The perfect foil for Rio and in world football his closest rival for best centre half. Vida is tough as nails and popped up with a vital goal early season at Everton – while his absence at Stamford Bridge was costly. 9

Evra :

Doesn’t get nearly as enough credit for his brilliant defensive work, which he too has improved over his time at United. Arguably the best left back in the world – it’s certainly baffling to see Abidal in front of him in the French side. 9

O’Shea :

Subject of much derision from opposition fans but the truth is if he or Fletcher were products of youth systems of any of the other teams in the top 4, he would be heralded as a great player. As it is, O’Shea had to relinquish his mantle as vital scorer to Tevez, but still managed to play more games than the likes of Hargreaves, Anderson, Scholes and Fletcher – no mean feat, and a reflection of the managers faith in him. 7

Carrick :

Seemed to have a little confidence crisis early season but after Christmas it was clear to see he finally felt he was worthy of a place in the starting line up – and a string of top performances in important games left him almost undroppable. 8

Hargreaves :

Injury hampered his first season but Hargreaves impressed at key times with crucial contributions – none more so than his stunning free kick against Arsenal. His addition, in so much as his cultured approach, seems to have eased the nerves and naivety that threatened to engulf the team in key European games.8

Scholes :

Returned from a mid-season injury to instant criticism of a loss of form – the Ginger Prince was not the only legend to suffer from a post-winter slump but it was worth remembering that his control of the tempo in critical games was key, as was his contribution to the amazing football of the autumn. His goal against Barcelona was stunning and fitting after the 99 story. 7

Anderson :

Fighting it out with Tevez for best signing, Anderson may not have scored the goals of the “little witch”, but the way in which he burst onto the scene in October and proceeded to outshine and outplay Fabregas and Gerrard TWICE has laid quite a foundation on which to build next season. Has a box of tricks that rivals Ronaldo’s and with a full pre-season, “Jiggy”, as he’s affectionately known to team-mates, could be a surprise contender for player of the season next year. 8.5

Giggs :

The physical embodiment of how fate can play a part in football – Giggsy too suffered a post winter slump that enabled the bashers to quickly and conveniently forget his brilliant autumn form. But goals to win both trophies overshadowed the fans’ critical comments. 7.5

Ronaldo :

Of course, without doubt, the player of the season, the best player in the world – seemingly motivated by the incredible decision by FIFA to name Kaka with the official title in December, Cristiano played on a different planet for 6 months of the season, not only showcasing his incredible array of tricks, but adding to them goals, and incredible goals at that – the strikes against Sunderland, Villa, Portsmouth to name just 3 will live long in the memory, as will the arrogant twitch of the lips and snaky shake of the hips. Potentially, with the right attitude, Ronaldo could well go on to be the best player in the history of the club. 10

Nani :

Nani showed real flashes of his undoubted potential this season – I’d even go as far as to say that he showed a little more consistency than Ronaldo when they both started, respectively. Numerous assists and two amazing goals from United’s struggling start to the season helped in immeasurable terms – though theatrics and his ridiculous red card were a let down, these are the things that can be cut out in time as he adjusts to the culture. 7.5

Rooney :

Roo comes in for some incredible criticsm, and I don’t use that term lightly – his goal tally this season was frowned upon, 12 in the league – but, when you consider that those were scored in 27 games, notch it against an impressive 18 in 43 games, then refer to the fact that Eric Cantona, in the season widely acknowledged as the one where he led us to the double in 1996, scored 14 in 30 league games (with penalties), then you begin to realise that the only criticsm you could level at Rooney is that he has, as yet, failed to surpass the total career record of Pele or Maradona, or that at the side of Ronaldo he hasn’t surpassed the number 7. United fans in the know recognise that Rooney is perhaps the most important cog of this current team machine, an opinion supported by the fact that of United’s 5 league losses, he was absent for 4, and came off injured after scoring the equaliser in the 5th at Chelsea. Without doubt England‘s greatest talent, the scorer of great goals, and the greatest football mind in the team after Giggs and Scholes. 9

Tevez :

Given the overwhelming goal tally of Ronaldo you may initially think that he had the most important role in United’s success in 2007/2008. However, the last of Fergie’s summer signings proved that he was worth the hype and more appropriately the hassle of the chase. Without Carlos Tevez there would have almost certainly been defeats at Ewood Park and White Hart Lane, which would have broken the title chase, and there would have been no draw in Lyon, making for a potentially disastrous home return. As it was, and as mentioned in our season review, fortunately for United he was a proper Johnny on the spot when it mattered, rescuing crucial results at crucial points in the season – not only in terms of scoreline but in team confidence. 9

Saha :

On “his day”, as he showed in 06/07, Saha can be a real handful. Unfortunately for him and United fans, his days are few and far between, and perhaps the final straw of Fergie’s patience was finally taken when Louis cried off after a warm-up in mid season. He contributed little of worth or worthwhile note throughout the season, and though he has been touted as a possible departure in the summer, it’s difficult to see which club would take a chance on him. Even Newcastle. 5

By Yolkie

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