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Is The Axis of Success Braking? – Has Manchester United’s centrebacks lost their way?

October 26, 2009


When discussing Manchester United’s success over the past three seasons many people will point towards the mercurial talent of Cristiano Ronaldo as the cause for such riches. His gazillion goals, his one hundred stepovers a game, and his obsessive winking. He was the reason why United triumphed and climbed that rainbow where all the pots of gold reside


The reason United have been untouchable for these years is down to two specific players. Two players that owned the keys to the door…a door they liked to keep well and truly shut!

The two i refer to are Ferdinand and Vidic

I have consistently said now that they were, and are, United’s most important players. Because when they play well, it is almost impossible for us to lose. For me, Rio has been the most glorious centre back i have ever witnessed in the flesh. The best in the world for the last five years. When i watch him at Old Trafford you realise what a football brain he has. He is position perfect. He anticipates everything. He starts off almost every attack with a clever pass in too midfield. And Vidic offers him the perfect foil. Animal-like. Destructive. Heroic. Willing to put his body on the line

So what the fcuk is going on at the moment!

rio vidaRio has turned into a bumbling fool. It is the lowest his confidence has ever been. The string of minor injuries that he has had in the past 12 months have obviously taken their toll. He has always had the reputation of making silly mistakes, but all in all this rep is totally unfounded..yes he was a bit prone to a disaster here and there as a kid at West Ham, but for United he rarely has fluffed his lines.

Vidic’s issues seem to be mental. Despite the fact that many will lead you to believe he was world class for all of last season, this was not entirely accurate. To be a little more specific, he was great up until mid-March, when he ran into a certain Fernando Torres at Old Trafford, who committed an act of football rape on him. The Serb has not been the same since. Despite his tough exterior, many are starting to question if he is a tad more softer on the inside that perhaps he should be.

There is no doubt in my mind that it is not times for panic stations just yet. All players go through bad patches. But i cant help but feel that maybe the twin towers at the back could be coming to the end of their shelf life as a partnership. Neither are particularly old, but especially in Ferdinand’s case, injuries are starting to become more prevalent. Who knows what this does to his biggest asset on the pitch..that being his concentration.

Sometimes, things that have previously been so perfect go horribly wrong. A relationship that once seemed unbreakable. Unstoppable. Well….shit happens. Things can go wrong. Im sure Fergie has his eye on this. Of course last summer there was a lot of rumblings about Vidic looking at a potential move to Barca. Is this still on his mind? This could all be a bit of a ‘Jaap Stam Deja Vu’ moment, come this summer me thinks (none of us saw that coming at the time)…he has a good World Cup, his stock rises, do United cash in?? With Jonny Evans on the sidelines, i think this is very possible. If we stick with Vidic, then is it Rio that gets the bullet? As it stands i can not see us finding a direct replacement for him. We have Wes Brown, but i think we would all agree that he is the ‘poor mans Rio’. Can be excellent, but just NO. Its not a long term option.

For now, us United fans will just keep our proverbial fingers crossed. Yesterday’s performance against Liverpool does not fill you with hope, but it is only one game. We will not know anything for sure until the end of this season so we can review the situation then. I hope the boss uses Evans more to keep his progression on track, because he will definitely be one of the two future players  to fill Vida and Rio’s boots…eventually! Rumblings have quoted that Fergie is interested in a £20m bid for Bolton’s Gary Cahill. No thanks, i say. Who could fill the void i just do not know. Lets just pray there will be no void to actually fill


Like this article? Click here for more at ViewFromTier3 –Rob’s blogzine

12 Comments leave one →
  1. sultan permalink
    October 26, 2009 1:07 pm

    rio’s performance has been shaky dis season, no one did comment on his woeful performance against city cos we won d game… i think the guy’s best days r behind him… Vida on the oda hand makes silly mistakes his problem is psychological.

  2. maserati4200 permalink
    October 26, 2009 2:07 pm

    Vidic is a far better player than the one we saw on Sunday. My guess is that his game is being affected by Rio’s poor form and lack of concentration. Ferdinand just wasn’t tight enough on Sunday. His head’s somewhere but it’s not on the game – same with England.

    Was that Jaap Stam in the stand at OT on Sunday?

  3. shallowgirl permalink
    October 26, 2009 4:02 pm

    “The string of minor injuries that he has had in the past 12 months have obviously taken their tool.”

    Well, what can you expect from a bloke who’s lost his tool.

  4. October 26, 2009 4:05 pm

    Good post, Rob. I agree that the “Holy Trinity” of Vidic, Ferdinand, and Van der Sar has been broken somehow. Much of it does have to do with these two men and after VDS’s injuries, I wonder how much confidence he has in his defenders.

    Vidic is a powerhouse of a player…Ferdinand has the brain that is constantly computing the next move. We need these men to get back in synch and work in tandem once again or our defense is what will keep dirtying our sheets.

  5. maserati4200 permalink
    October 26, 2009 4:30 pm

    Based on Sunday’s performance, if I were Van der Sar I’d wear a nappy every time Rio and Vidic pitch up for a game. Both are/were class players – but now? As someone said in an earlier post – they looked like pub team players on Sunday.

    Rio’s brain seems to be constantly computing the next business venture to invest in and not what’s happening on the pitch. I’m really concerned for England if this is the sort of stuff Rio is going to be serving up in South Africa. If he doesn’t get a grip soon he’ll be humiliated at the World Cup.

  6. October 26, 2009 6:40 pm

    i expect them to bounce back.. these two perfectly complement each other, when one breaks down, the other one gets dragged down too..

  7. October 27, 2009 8:10 am

    Rio has turned his attention too much towards the glamour world, with his magazine etc, and thus somewhat neglecting his football, while vidic as well seems to be unfocused, may be prob with the missus, fed up with the manchester weather and wanting to bathe in the sun in spain (barça??)
    unless saf manages to shake up the duo to give better performances, i can see evans slowly creeping in the starting 11 for good, with either men being the scapegoat

  8. Conor permalink
    October 27, 2009 2:55 pm

    Wasn’t Evans a key contributer to string of clean sheets last season? If I remember correctly Vidic/Evans played in more clean sheet games than Rio/Vidic.
    Rio is a muppet, I am in the Roy Keane school of thought on the one-time top wage earner in the EPL … he’s been flattered by the goal-keeper behind him and the other three defenders in the line. He drives me nuts with the ball at his feet, how many times does he take the ball for a leisurely stroll only to make a lateral, or back, pass? When United are on top of their game they are exploding out of defense and catching teams on the break, this cannot happen with Rio initiating the attack. Besides the bloke had a trained owl fly up the aisle to deliver the rings at his wedding … ’nuff said!

    • October 27, 2009 5:38 pm

      sorry but thats just crap about rio..over the years he hasnt been flattered by anyone. if you watched the team for the last five years he organises everything from the back..maybe that doesnt transmit on the tv. he has been our most vital player since 2005 with Ron and Roo

      his form is shocking this season, but if he can get fit he can get back. But yes about Evans. He will fill the void if he or vidic continue the fcuk ups

  9. maserati4200 permalink
    October 27, 2009 6:28 pm

    ESPN reports that Fergie has fired a warning across Rio’s bow. In effect…

    Shape up or ship out.

    I would imagine that Capello nods in agreement.

  10. October 29, 2009 2:49 am

    Rio is doing a Stam. Distinct loss of pace maybe even as much as a yard. He was certainly at least that on sunday against less than 100% torres

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