In the third installment of the Champions League Scouting Reports, I'll cover one of the most loved and successful teams in soccer's history. Manchester United, or the Red Devils as their commonly referred to as, are one of the most exciting teams to watch and are currently leading the English Premier convincingly. Led by Christiano Ronaldo, this team looks to be a monstrous opponent for anyone they meet.
Where to begin? Man U have arguably one of the best midfielders (and free kick takers) in the world in Christiano Ronaldo (though SoccerNation thinks otherwise), who alone strikes fear into the hearts of defenders, keepers and pretty much everyone who isn't and Man U supporter. C Ronaldo leads the English Premier League in goals with 25 (in 38 games, 34 goals in all competitions) and has already scored six goals in the Champions League, sharing the lead with Lionel Messi of Barcelona.
Along with Ronaldo are the fearsome striking tandem of Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez and fantastic midfielders like Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Owen Hargreaves, Nani and Darren Fletcher, plus other attacking options in Anderson and Louis Saha, which make Manchester United's attack almost as fearsome as Barcelona's. With a Goal Deficit of +49, which is 14 higher than any other Premiership team, the offensive attack is their most dangerous weapon in their arsenal.
Man U are coached by possibly one of the greatest managers of our time, Sir Alex Ferguson, who has helped make Manchester United even more dangerous than they were when he became manager in 1986.
Anderson and Christiano Ronaldo after Ronaldo's goal against Sporting Lisbon
I've thought long and hard about this, and like most of the teams remaining in the Champions League, Manchester United really doesn't have any weaknesses. A team that dominates year long in the best league in the world and consists of world class players in the starting XI AND bench usually will not have any weaknesses. Unlike Barcelona, their egos aren't really much of a problem, as most of these players seem to have a team mentality, rather than individualistic mentalities like Barcelona which can prove deadly.
But I suppose if I had to pick a weakness with the squad it would be their contentness. I'm a bit worried -- only a bit -- but a bit worried that Man U may be content with winning the English Premier again, which they currently lead in by five points over Arsenal. Most are fairly assured that they will finish in the top spot, but nothing is definite and the emphasis for this last lap of the season is defidently on winning the English Premier, rather than the Champions League. Once again, this is not really much of a problem for them, but if there was a problem, this would be it.
Their weakest position on the pitch is keeper. Though Edwin Van der Saar is doing a good job this season, he is aging significantly, and at 37 years old, his agility, awareness, reflexes and prowess in front of the net have weakened some. He is still playing well, but his career is coming to an end and the two goalkeepers Man U has on the bench lack in experience.
United have a rich, successful history as one of the greatest clubs in the world. Here Sir Bobby Charlton, who has the most Man U caps ever, takes a shot on goal.
Manchester United have impressed for the entire season and have played fantastic soccer the entire stretch. Not once have they strayed away from their fantastic play, unlike other top teams remaining in the Champions League. Man U have won convincingly constantly and do not look to be slowing down any time soon. It is for this reason that I'd put my money on the Red Devils to win the Champions League this year. It will defidently be tough, but they're more than capable of beating all teams in their way (as they showed just last weekend in beating Liverpool 3-0).
What's your opinion? As always, shout back at me below.