The ability to judge talent: A small element of the "mainstream" press have really started to annoy me with their assessments of some of our recently flourishing players. Park ji-sung has been given quite a few back-handed compliments since his awesome performance against AC Milan, with most dismissing his footballing talents, labelling him a work-horse and the worst, being critized by Patrick Barclay of the Times as "a footballer who suffers from the affliction of having two bad feet". So explain to me how a world cup semi finalist, scorer of some truly amazing goals and creater of countless opportunities can get so badly degraded by the fish-like-memoried press? Just because he combines athleticism, hard work and stamina with tactical prowess doesn't mean he doesn't have the technical ability to compete on the highest level. If anything, it could be said that Sir Alex is to blame for Park's lack of reputation, and that he's been wasted on the wings. Even Fletcher, who's been brilliant this season, has copped some flack for being a "destroyer" and nothing more than a hard man, but when the wingers, Nani and Valencia, make more tackles, more interceptions and foul their opponents more, it does seem ludicrous that those making comments, can write such utter nonsense without checking the facts.
Importance and value of Micheal Carrick
Man United vs Liverpool
Player Completed Unsuccessful Total Passing
Passes Passes Passes Accuracy %
Darren Fletcher 49 (+1) 3 52 94.23% (94.34%)
Micheal Carrick 53 6 59 89.83%
Ji-Sung Park 23 5 28 82.14%
Antonio Valencia 25 6 31 80.65%
Wayne Rooney 19 7 26 73.07%
Luis 'Nani' 19 10 29 65.52%
Jav. Mascherano 40 2 42 95.24%
Lucas Leiva 31 3 34 91.18%
Maxi.Rodriguez 27 4 31 87.01%
Dirk Kuyt 26(+1) 5 31 83.87% (84.37%)
Steven Gerrard 24 9 33 72.73%
Fernando Torres 6 7 13 46.15%
The prevailing notion that Carrick had a poor game baffles me, although he may have been amongst a quartet of players responsible for Torres' simple free header, and the slip-up that lead to it was certainly his, compared to anyone else on the field, he attempted the most passes, completed the most number of passes, and did his job, "being a conduit between defense and attack" perfectly. Guardian.co.uk's "Chalkboard" service shows he covered more ground, was available in different areas of the pitch more often than Fletcher. I think Carrick "looks quiet" compared to the running style of Park and Fletcher, especially when Park plays centrally, and Rooney drops deep, Carrick pushes himself out wide to open up the opposition defence by creating angles of vulnerability which provide the side more attacking threats. But for Fletcher's cross, much of which must be credited to Neville for peeling defenders off of him with his run, Darren had an average, but not exceptional game.
On the whole, one must not be tinted by the final few actions/minutes of a game when properly analysing the whole thing. That is a problem most "journos" make. The whole notion that a last minute goal "sends the notes out the window" is utter BS.