Five Players Who Turned It Around For Manchester United

Following the 6-1 humiliation at Old Trafford, a shock exit from the Champions League and defeats to Newcastle, Blackburn and Wigan, there were five players central in turning Manchester United’s season around:

5) Michael Carrick

He still remains one of the unsung heroes of Ferguson’s squad but that never seemed to bother him on the pitch. The fact that he has played just under 1600 consecutive minutes of Premier League football this season highlights the faith Ferguson has in the 30-year-old. That run includes 19 league fixtures in which Carrick holds a passing accuracy averaging 90 per cent. Calm and composed at the heart of the midfield, Carrick plays simple passes and keeps things ticking over. After United lost Tom Cleverley, Anderson and Darren Fletcher to injuries, Carrick provided stability in United’s midfield which has been vital in the Red Devils’ title run-in.

4) Paul Scholes

After United’s early exit from the Champions League, those demanding Wesley Sneijder and Luka Modric began voicing their concerns. Ferguson stunned them all when Paul Scholes was named as a substitute in the FA Cup tie against Manchester City. Critics dubbed the move as an act of desperation from Ferguson. The connotations of a lack of finance and academy talents did little to dissuade his detractors. Not that it bothered Scholes as he proved his class on the pitch. The former England international brought much needed creativity in the United midfield as well as experience. He orchestrated United’s midfield – rarely losing possession yet always available to make a pass. There was a sense of positive force working around Old Trafford that made them more determined than ever in toppling City from the top spot.

3) Wayne Rooney

A team’s talisman is often judged by how they respond to adversity and Wayne Rooney could not have done more. United have moved five points clear of City with four matches to go largely on the back of Rooney’s terrific form. The former Everton striker has found the back of the net 24 times this season. In truth however Rooney’s contribution is far more than mere goals and assists. His work ethic often sees him drop back whenever the situation demands. Coupled with his clever movement and link-up play, Rooney has been a central figure for United as they looked to secure the Premier League title once again.

2) David De Gea

Nothing highlighted David De Gea’s transformation than his performance at Ewood Park recently. Of course credit must also be given to Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans – their partnership flourishing in front of the 21-year-old but it’s De Gea’s metamorphosis from a timorous, shaky goalkeeper to a confident custodian that proved to be the turning point for the defending champions. Among the goalkeepers with at least 10 Premier League appearances this season, De Gea has the best saves-to-shots ratio at 79%. A solid goalkeeper often lays the foundation for success and De Gea has done exactly that for United.

1) Antonio Valencia

Arguably the most ruthless attacking player at the back end of the season, Antonio Valenica has become a potent weapon for Sir Alex Ferguson. Since his return to full fitness, the Ecuadorian has run riot down down the right flank with his pace, movement, strength and accurate crossing. Despite playing only 20 league games, Valencia (along with David Silva) leads the Premier League in assists with twelve. Valencia has also netted 4 times, including an stunner at Ewood Park that gave United three priceless points. The former Wigan man has been pivotal in the ten point-swing at the top of the table which appears to be enough to guide the Red Devils to a record 20th league title.

15 thoughts on “Five Players Who Turned It Around For Manchester United”

  1. Totally agree with the selection. Carrick doesn’t get enough mention in my opinion, he’s been great. He’s been much more dynamic and reminded me of a younger and more vibrant Michael Carrick in his Tottenham days. One player I also feel has stepped up his game is Jonny Evans, after the criticism of the Manchester derby he came back stronger. He’s arguably carried Ferdinand for the bulk of the season, who would’ve thought Evans carrying Ferdinand.

  2. I know I was down on him at midseason but since the defense gotten better despite the loss of Vidic, DeGea has also gotten better. As long as Jonny Evans continues to play good ball and not draw cards at the wrong time, he could be one of the better point players on defense. Question is, if Ferdinand goes at the end of the season, what plans will there be to shore up his spot?

    Also one name that didn’t make the list is Rafael who I think has been flying under the radar over the past few weeks.

  3. You say these players have turned around Utds season but what exactly have they turned it around from. Other than a week or so around x-mas we have never been more than 5 points behind City. Our season and our form was never that bad, yeah we lost some games but thats going to happen. Don’t forget up until the first Derby match utd where playing great football and scoring goal for fun. Siince then we have been solid and you can’t ask much more than that. I’ve heard people say “city bottled it” but to me that isn’t giving enough credit to what we have done this year, if city let 10+ point lead slip then that argument might be valid but the truth is we have been right there with them all season long.

      1. The refs have done tremendous job for man utd, not that I am complaining, I would rather see united lift the title than city.

        1. That is bale mate, and there is a lot of difference between anticipating contact and playing to win penalty. Which is what young did.

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