Manchester United are suffering from midfield inertia

Sir Alex has yet to identify suitable replacements for Paul Scholes and Roy Keane, writes Kieran Beckles

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
sir alex ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson's side have slumped to consecutive away defeats Photo via Flickr - AtilaTheHun

sir alex ferguson

Manchester United’s defeat to Liverpool in a bad tempered North-West derby last weekend highlighted the frailty currently undermining their title bid: Sir Alex Ferguson’s men are suffering from midfield inertia.

United have now slumped to consecutive defeats on the road following last week’s loss at Chelsea – and in both games their midfield has looked fragile.

Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick endured a torrid 90 minutes at Anfield, where they were dominated by Liverpool trio Lucas Leiva, Steven Gerrard and Raul Meireles.

Scholes has been a wonderful servant for United but the 36-year-old is fading, and Ferguson desperately needs a creative midfielder to act as the linchpin between attack and defence in the centre of the field.

Carrick, who joined from Tottenham for £18m in 2006, too often slides into anonymity and lacks the ability to stamp any kind of authority on a match.

Darron Gibson, meanwhile, has yet to prove himself as a contender to fill Scholes’s boots.

The 23-year-old Republic of Ireland international, who has only made nine league appearances this season, has been unable to cement a place in Ferguson’s side and looks unlikely to be the man to drive United forward as Scholes edges closer to retirement.

Another cause of United’s midfield malady is Ferguson’s failure to bring in an adequate replacement for former captain Roy Keane.

Darren Fletcher has gradually grown into his role as United’s holding midfielder since Keane’s exit in 2005, but despite possessing grit and tenacity in abundance he lacks the Irishman’s world class ability.

Anderson is yet to fulfil his potential since arriving at Old Trafford with great promise in 2007 and Owen Hargreaves -who went some way towards filling the void left by Keane in his first season with United -has seen his career brought to a stuttering halt by a string of knee injuries.

If Ferguson intends to leave a squad capable of winning trophies behind when he eventually steps down at Old Trafford, finding worthy replacements for Keane and Scholes is key.

Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand: Chelsea FC have made the signing of the summer
Michael Owen
Michael Owen states his prediction for Arsenal v West Ham
Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand predicts where Liverpool FC and Man United will finish
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Man United could sign 33-year-old midfielder on a free transfer – report
Jurgen Klopp
Kai Havertz and Timo Werner warn Chelsea FC team-mates about Liverpool FC
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang makes prediction about Arsenal this season
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Billie Jean King (Photo: Srdjan Stevanovic / ITF)
ITF announces that women’s tennis world cup to be renamed the Billie Jean King Cup
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang makes prediction about Arsenal this season
Timo Werner
Timo Werner: Why I chose Chelsea FC ahead of Liverpool FC