Due to Tom’s busy summer schedule, other writers from the Can They Score team will continue the MUFC class of 2013 end of term report. With Chris snapping up the easy job of rating the forwards in the team, I, Frenchy, have been left with the nightmarish duty of evaluating and grading Manchester United’s rather lacklustre midfield.
I have evaluated every player who made a minimum of ten appearances over the season. For each I have followed a standard school report format: identified what I considered a realistic objective for the start of the season (OBJ), identified what went well (WWW) and even better if (EBI). Each player has also been graded. The judgments are based on performance against expectations and in no way should be considered a hierarchy of ability.
OBJ: To establish himself as one of the key players in the team
WWW: He achieved that and more. His performances throughout the season have been near exemplary. Nomination for PFA Player of the Year more than justified.
EBI: Even though his job doesn’t require it, number of assists in the league (4) could perhaps be improved, but I’m nitpicking here- that ball to Hernandez against Newcastle was more than enough.
OBJ: To establish himself as a regular starter
WWW: Good start to the season where he showed glimpses of potential.
EBI: Needs to start showing more consistency. Despite playing 22 times in the league this season, he disappeared far too easily from games and it remains difficult to remember any stand out performances from the young Englishman.
OBJ: To show that he could remain fit for an entire season and play consistently.
WWW: Provides energy when brought on and showed that when starting regularly (Novermber) can produce very good performances (notably vs QPR, Reading and West Ham).
EBI: Fitness and injuries remain the main issue. Only started 9 games in the Premier League and managed to complete 90 minutes only four times this season. Perhaps needs to leave to further his career.
OBJ: To prove that he can still compete at this level and show that age is not an issue.
WWW: Was still able to display his outstanding passing skills whenever he came on. Regularly appeared up until Christmas.
EBI: Age and lack of fitness showed, especially in his performances later on in the season. Now retired. We all wish him the best.
OBJ: To prove that he can still compete at this level and that age is not an issue.
WWW: Still showed that he is capable of changing a game around and playing a major part at the club when called upon. His performance vs Real Madrid in the return leg demonstrated his ability to still play at the highest level.
EBI: If he is to stay another season as a player at the club, he needs to tell Moyes not to play him as a central midfielder. His performances there were his Achilles heel last season. Never seemed as influential as when played on the wing.
OBJ: To show more consistency
WWW: Not a lot. Despite still remaining capable of creating something out of nothing, this seems to be happening less and less. Good performances vs QPR and Galatasaray were few and far between.
EBI: Needs to either leave or, if he stays, find a way to eradicate his lacklustre performances. Hopefully, a change in management is just what he needs.
OBJ: To show that he is not a one trick pony and continue his 2011/2012 form.
WWW: His fitness remains exemplary (30 appearances in the PL). Had a few impressive performances and, when he wants to, can cause huge amounts of threat down the right hand side.
EBI: Needs to regain the confidence needed to take on his man and get past him. Another aspect of his game that needs drastic improvement is his ability to use his left foot. The select few times he has done so, it seems to have worked.
OBJ: To establish himself as one of the main wingers at the club.
WWW: Showed that he is a reliable player, capable of covering for Patrice Evra when the Frenchman finds himself out of position. Never seemed to have a terrible game, but also never seemed to have a fantastic one.
EBI: Needs to find and add the wow factor to his game. Has shown himself capable of scoring long-range goals but needs to improve his end product, whether it be his finish or a pass, in the final third.