Long before Crystal Palace scored their extra time winner in Wednesdays Carling Cup tie with Manchester United, a penny had dropped. While United’s first team when all fit are a match for anyone, the squad underneath is largely pretty poor.
Firstly now both da Silva twins look not only liabilities when they tackle, they have both become to fragile and injury prone. Undenyably great going forward questions remain over the Brazilian pair. Another defender struggling is Johnny Evans. He appears to always have a mistake in him and that seems to transmit through the team.
Both Diouf and Macheda do not have the United look about them and neither contributed much in the whole match. Berbatov didn’t look remotely interested and his Old Trafford future is in doubt. Darron Gibson didn’t affect at all from midfield and the usual reliable Ji Sung Park was a disappointment. If Gibson is at United come February I’ll be very surprised.
The only plus points were Ben Amos in goal despite the defeat, Chris Smalling had his usual outstanding game and Antonio Valencia looked the only decent United player going forward. United didn’t look a decent team until the introduction of Morrison and Pogba during the second half but even impressive displays from both couldn’t inspire what had gone before them.
It is a big change from early season when United had an apparent abundance of riches. Given the highlighted problems in their squad depth, could this be a problem going forward for league and European glory.
Maybe going out of the League Cup to a lower league side will focus the team. Many who played against Palace may not play for the first team for a while and some may never appear again. Certainly United won’t complain unless it is Man City who lift another piece of silverware.
With the semi final draw pairing Man City with Liverpool and Cardiff with Crystal Palace it is definite to be a Premier League v Championship final and that is all I’m predicting. It won’t be easy for Palace to beat Cardiff away so I think that will give Cardiff the edge on aggregate. Obviously Man City will be favourites but I have a sneaky suspicion that Liverpool can match them over two legs. I go for a Cardiff v Liverpool final.
Introducing the neat little app that’ll pay you to view content tailored to your interests:
ThisisFutbol.com are seeking new writers to join the team! If you’re passionate about football, drop us a line at “email@example.com” to learn more.