Man utd are well on their way to becoming champions for the 20th time. The title challenge is not over yet and with five games to go and five points separating the top two teams (with a derby to come!), it`ll be a thrilling finale. City shall try their best to rein in the deficit while SAF`ll use all his experience to ensure that there are no slip ups from his side. Let us have a look at three players who have formed the bedrock of United’s title defense.
1) Rio Ferdinand - He is 33 and is past his prime. Or so most critics would like to think. But the way the player has stood up and fought back has been brilliant. He isn`t that fast anymore as SAF pointed out and so has had to tailor his game to still be a defender to reckon with. He is a great reader of the game and brings a calming influence to the backline, something which Jonny Evans has derived a lot of benefit from. Evans knows he can occasionally bomb forward because Rio is behind to cover for him.
2) Wayne Rooney - He is United`s talisman. And he has stood up to the challenge of defending the title this season. He has been very consistent and has chipped in with his fair share of goals and assists. He delivered stand out performances in the big games and has scored plenty against United`s top opponents. He is five goals away from equaling his career best of 34 goals in a single season. His increased consistency and maturity has been a boon for the team. He has not been booked at least once in the league this season. He is the fulcrum of United`s attacks and his ball distribution is brilliant. He links well with both Welbeck and Chicharito and always looks to be in the thick of the action. The calmness around him has led to an increased determination to make sure United win their 20th title and with Wayne firing on all cylinders, the next title is not too far away.
3) Antonio Valencia - He had a horrific injury last season. Nani`s good form kept him out of the side during the starting period of this season. But it is a testament to the character of the guy that he was described as the `best winger in the world` by Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola a few weeks back. He has been a driving force behind many a United goal in recent times. His stunning opener at Blackburn was followed by a celebration which showed how much it meant for the club`s title challenge. With 13 assists, he has become the go to guy for the club. His direct style of play and defensive responsibility are qualities which are well appreciated by the boss and the fans. Rooney himself has said that he is happy when Valencia plays as he knows that a barrage of crosses will be coming his way! Left backs don`t know how to deal with him as he has the answers to almost every question that is thrown at him. He can probably work on timing his crosses better and crossing quickly sometimes. At 16m pounds, Valencia has been a steal and with his best years yet to come. United fans can expect a lot more of him in the upcoming years.
Honorable mentions for Giggs, Scholes, De Gea, Carrick. They have been brilliant as well. The whole team has clicked and is well on its way to becoming BPL champions for the 13th time in it’s 20 year history!
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