The importance of being…Rio Ferdinand

So Manchester United march on, triumphant in the two legged affair with Chelsea, sandwiched in between that a comfortable 2-0 victory over Fulham, a team who’ve caused United trouble in recent years. 

United may not have been at their formidable best in recent fixtures, but they have been efficient and picked up important points to help keep the title well and truly in their sights.

We are now into the business end of the season, injuries to important players, bookings pile up and suspensions handed out. This is the part where futures are decided.

 The points picked up from here on out are crucial in deciding a title race that is far from over, a season where the fight for relegation is separated by 4/5 points, and the race for a champions league spot is far from over. 

The return of defender Rio Ferdinand to the United set up could not have come at a more important time.  It is true that there has been one figure that stands tall amongst the rest of some defenders in the league, and that is Nemanja Vidic. But one man cannot do it all alone, With Ferdinand out, United have been shaky at the back this season.

There has been plenty of shuffling around at the back, to some extent it has been a considerable success. Chris Smalling has stepped up to the plate on more than one occasion for United, looking comfortable and more than at home alongside Vidic. But Smaling lacks a crucial factor.

 Experience.

Experience is something that Ferdinand has in abundance, and alongside Vidic, there seems to be something of a telepathic understanding between them, a partnership that seems impossible to match.

 You only have to cast your minds back a few years to see how strong that partnership has become. The powerful partnership helped Manchester United complete 14 games without conceding a goal.

An impressive feat by all means.

Ferdinand’s form may have been questionable as of late. Some catastrophic errors of judgement, like the friendly against Holland, or the attempted flick that conceded possession against rivals Manchester City and allowed Craig Bellamy to score, moments like those are hard to forget. 

His injury record recently has also been questioned, missing the World Cup and a repetitive back injury has blighted his season.

 But now Ferdinand is available for selection, he is back in the squad.

Three games with Ferdinand in the squad, and three successive and more importantly crucial victories.

His return against Chelsea reminded fans of his defensive prowess,  Slipping back into the team like he’d never left. Against Fulham, he and Vidic were flawless. Last night against Chelsea, he looked to have pulled up with injury, but after running it off he helped Manchester United power through to the semi finals of the Champions League.

Now the rest of the season awaits, rivalries reunited this weekend in a huge game.

With Ferdinand back in the squad alongside Vidic, United’s chances of progress look all the more superior.

 

Dale Benton

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