- All the strikers have started firing early..not always a common feature of previous pre-seasons. Owen has looked very sharp. Berba looks fitter and more mobile. Kiko looks like he his 28 years old...and Roo is just the same ol' Roo.
- Nani and Anderson have shown consistency in their performances. Both have got on the scoresheets and their standing in the first team is now growing. Downside is that Nani's final ball still looks quite suspect, and he needs a cure for that Trickeryitise he caught off Ronaldo before he left. (no need for 6 stepovers when 2 will do)
- Antonio Valencia looks sensational. Quick, powerful and balanced. (Everything our young Nani should be thinking about achieving) He is going to terrorise the Premiership this season. I like it that he is a genuine winger..something Ji Sung Park, Fletcher and Gibson are not, when they play at wide right. He is also uncomplicated. 'If i can beat my man i will. If the space is not there I will play the ball to feet' Brilliant! He is gonna shine, and feed our pack of wolves up front.
- Craig Cathcart looks like he is becoming a man. He is a welcome addition to our squad of defenders. Both he and Evans are great youth developments. They are the sort of players that can save a club tens of millions of pounds in the years to come.
- Fabio has also looked more than comfortable at both full back positions. I think he and his brother are gonna scare the life out of some wide midfielders this year as they bomb forward..they will need radar, just to track them.
- We have three quality keepers. Now im not Tomas' biggest fan, but it will pay to have three internationals vying for the sticks position. Is there another club in Europe with the depth in goal like United has? Nope.
- And of course the biggest thing in pre-season? DONT GET ANY SERIOUS INJURIES! Minor knocks to Vidic and Brown are not problems. There is nothing worse than taking a team on tour, to then lose 3 or 4 to bad injuries. Its the difference between winning and losing trophies: keeping your squad in shape and fit. (Fingers crossed that i haven't jinxed us now for the Valencia and Chelsea games! No injuries please!!)
So all in all, more good than bad.
It appears that we will play something of a more traditional formation this year. No Ronaldo means more balance. Were we too reliant on his goals for success the last three years?Maybe. But the point now is that we do what United does best.....ATTACK!...(and defend well of course.) The three centre forwards will rotate with Rooney to form a pair. If we can get the service right, and i do not think we are too far away from that, then we will push hard for honours once again.
So, I'm off to Old Trafford now to pick up my new shirt for the season. It is a tradition and superstition that i have fulfilled now for a while, and makes me feel that the new season is here and tangible. I will walk around the hallowed grounds outside and think about Birmingham City. I always only think about the next match. And i will touch the feet of the statue of Best, Law and Charlton in reverence, hoping again. Hoping that 2010 will be our year.