12 November 2009

Fergie needs to unleash Michael Owen a bit more perhaps!

So why only give Owen five minutes at the end of the game?

Fergie set Michael Owen a target of 15 goals in a United shirt at the start of this season.

Three months into the season, Owen is almost a third of the way there having struck four goals in 16 appearances which included United's most important goal of the season in a Manchester Derby when Michael Owen came on as a substitute and scored and secured 3 points for United. But a closer look at the stats adds a touch of polish to Owen’s strike-rate with the 29-year-old having started just six of his 16 outings.

Once again, as United lost third time this season at Chelsea on Sunday, Owen was named as a substitute by Ferguson.

By the time he was called from the bench on 85 minutes, United were approaching desperation as they attempted to salvage at least a point. Owen barely had a sight of goal when he came on, but what else could be expected?

United’s defeat at Chelsea was undoubtedly a blow to their title hopes, but their performance was impressive and only wasteful finishing (+ thanks to an awesome performance by Czech), and the absence of a strike-partner for Wayne Rooney, denied them a point or even three.

So why only give Owen five minutes at the end of the game?

After luring Owen to Old Trafford, Ferguson spoke of patiently building up his fitness following four injury-ravaged years on Tyneside. But Owen arrived in June, so he has now had five months to get himself back up to speed. In that time, he has suffered one minor injury setback, so if he is not ready now, he never will be.

Rooney was awesome in the lone striker role at Stamford Bridge, but the England forward works better when he has somebody to feed off and create chances for.

So what about Owen? Has the time now come for him to be given the Premier League opportunity that his patience and track record arguably deserve? One certainty is that he won’t score goals while sat on the bench. He has shown glimpses of his predatory instinct, so perhaps he should now be unleashed from the start of games.

Let's talk about his form this season. He has appeared in nearly every game for United (mostly as a sub). He has missed 60-70% of the chances he got. A few of the chances were nothing but sitters. I guess he's nervous! coz the mistakes he does sometimes are the ones done by amateur footballers. He has hammered plenty of shots right into the goalkeapers. BUT! the talking point must be his contribution to the 4-3 win against Man City. I reckon that was the most important goal scored by United so far because derbies are not meant to end in draws ;) Overall i would give him 6/10 considering his performance this whole season.

But those pointing to the loss of Carlos Tevez as another factor behind United’s blunted edge miss the point that Owen’s record this season is better than the Argentine’s. Tevez has scored four goals in 13 appearances for Manchester City, but while Owen has started six games for United, Tevez has been a substitute just once. Two of his goals have come against the might of Crystal Palace and Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup. The other two against struggling West Ham. Owen has found the net against Wigan and City in the Premier League, CSKA Moscow in the Champions League and Barnsley in the Carling Cup... fairly important goals.

And while Tevez cost City £25m plus huge wages, Owen is a free transfer whose salary is a fraction of the £110,000-a-week he picked up at Newcastle. Owen is a better bet than Tevez for United, but he needs to be on the pitch.

And with United now trailing Chelsea by five points, there is no better time for Ferguson to unwrap the cotton wool and allow Owen to chase down that 15-goal target.


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