Two years ago, if you heard the names Falcao, Di Maria and Van Persie, you would feel terror and dread, these players would not only be debated into world 11’s in playground talk at school or a gentleman’s talk over a pint down the local pub, they would crucify defenders and give them nightmares. Falcao 2 years ago was a predator, his goal record for Atletico Madrid meant he was hot property, only Monaco were lucky enough to sign him. Angel Di Maria 2 years ago was one of the best midfielders in the world and would week in week out be one of the first names on the team-sheet at debatably the biggest club in the world (of course behind Manchester United) Real Madrid. Robin Van Persie two years ago, was an English Premier League champion in his first year at Manchester United as well as top goalscorer, he was undoubtably the best striker in the league.
Recently these players have gone through a tricky spell, now this does not mean the players are bad players, because to say this, you must be a living lunatic, the players are in an unfortunate spell in their careers, they are just “finding their feet”.
Firstly Falcao, such a shame to talk about his time at Manchester United, it will soon come to an end with the option to buy him, although this is incredibly unlikely due to the state he is in, he has an icepack after every game due to the awful injury he inflicted during the time at Monaco, Falcao will probably never be the same player, and for such a nice person at heart, this is a true shame, but as Manchester United fans we must “suck it up” and move on, we need the best for our club, we shouldn’t let emotions get the better of us, we must be realistic. He has 4 goals in 20 appearances, when I try and defend Falcao in front of others, they always bring in stats from players who are considerably worse than Falcao’s ability, and with social media how it is today, Falcao is slaughtered in the media and this will progressively knock the Colombian’s confidence.
Secondly Di Maria, at the beginning of the season he was on fire! He was ripping defences, scoring beauty’s and pulling off magic where fans would simply be stunned, to watch the Argentine live is a privilege every United fan must go and see Di Maria live, and just expect the unthinkable. The next stage was when the cards turned for Di Maria, the November Northern weather came, and Di Maria kind of “hid in his shell”, he was not used to the freezing conditions and when you see his tiny helpless build come up against a huge strong Ryan Shawcross, you feel sorry for him, but he needs to adapt, he must adapt.
Last is Robin Van Persie, “Mr Dutch Dynamite”, when we watched him glide through the World Cup without and injury and in superb form United fans were chuffed, were we going to see the 20 goal a season player again? Unfortunately not, he has been in and out of form like a traffic light in the city centre, he always looks frustrated and was almost absent for the entire game against Arsenal and Swansea, both away form Old Trafford. But then he is scoring screamers at home to Hull and last minute goals against top of the league Chelsea. His recent injury has now ended and he declared himself “fit to play”.
These three players have all the ability in the world, Falcao will probably not sign permanently but Di Maria and Van Persie have genuine contracts and any reports of them going elsewhere I just laugh off.
The 433 now looks to be a formation we shall use on Sunday, is there a place for all three of them? Van Gaal is stubborn on what is the meaning of “match fit” so on Friday his press conference will probably be the final say on Van Persie’s chances of playing. Will Di Maria play instead of in-form Young? Although Young’s game-style includes a lot of stuttering and stopping whereas Di Maria will continuously run at City’s fullbacks, Falcao deployed will mean a change in tactics but could confuse City.
These once three world-class players, are still world class players, but how will they perform in the Manchester Derby?