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Analysis Opinion Insight

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cautiously Optimistic

After a successful 2008/09 campaign, one that concluded with United winning its record equalling 18th Premier League title, there is hope that United can go on to win an unprecedented 4th Premier League in a row. Whilst there is no need to feel overly confident about the fast approaching 2009/10 season, an optimistic yet cautious approach is needed.

The sale of Ronaldo, on face value, seems to be a massive blow for Manchester United, both on and off the pitch. After all, he did win the Ballon d'or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award, scored 68 goals in 2 seasons and sold millions of shirts worldwide let's not forget. Despite this, there are many benefits to be gained from the departure of Ronaldo.

Whilst Ronaldo's spectacular displays of skill were magnificent to watch, the fact is that because he was given the license to roam around freely, players like Nani were not able to live up to their full potential because they were forced to give way to Ronaldo.
Throughout the pre-season tour of Asia and during the Audi Cup, Nani, along with many other players, has shown significant improvements, not only in his individual game but also in his overall contribution to the team. The whole squad, along with Nani, will greatly benefit from the Ronaldo sale for two reasons: one, they can all have their share of the spotlight and two; they will no longer play as though Ronaldo is the central figure.

The arrivals of 5 new players to date, most importantly Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia, will give the already high quality squad a boost. Owen and Valencia could be seen as replacements for Carlos Tevez and Ronaldo in one sense, but they could also be seen as bringing something completely fresh to the team. Both will be interesting to watch this season.

The re-emergence of Dimitar Berbatov is certainly something that's worth taking note of. He has been significantly far from his best, purely because he has been forced to play as a support act for the main man, Ronaldo, similar to the situation Nani found himself in. Berbatov's playing style does not cater for him being the supporting man, but the best of Berba comes out when he plays as a target man, a position which he played very well for the duration of the recent Asia Tour.

These are just a few of the many reasons why it is important to hope for the best, whilst still being slightly cautious, for the upcoming 2009/10 season.

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