Un-sung Park

"If it’s a big game, Park has to play. You and Sir Alex Ferguson were right, I was wrong!"
- Stewart Gardner
14/12/2010 12:26, Report by Stewart Gardner
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I'd be a bad boss

I've come to the sad conclusion that I probably wouldn’t be a particularly good manager of Manchester United. One of the pre-match rituals that I always do at MUTV is to pick my own United starting line-up. Ji Sung Park was not in the team that I would have picked.

Instead I had Rooney, Berbatov and Nani as my front three. I put my predicted team on twitter. Within seconds, the replies came flooding in: “What about Park?", “we need to fit in Park”, “how can you not play Park?” etc. I got the message loud and clear. If it’s a big game, Park has to play. You and Sir Alex Ferguson were right, I was wrong!

I should have known better, really. Think back to last season. Park scored against Arsenal, AC Milan and Liverpool. He’s also scored at Stamford Bridge in the past so he has a wonderful knack of finding the net when it really matters.

It’s a real shame that he’s going to be missing for a few weeks after Christmas. He’ll head to Qatar after Boxing Day to play for South Korea in the Asia Cup and could miss seven United games - a blow at a really important time of the season when squad strength is so important.

Whilst Park was the match-winner last night, it would be remiss of me not to mention the defence. They were simply outstanding as a unit and Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic showed why they are the best central defensive duo in the Premier League.

Their positional play was brilliant and they shut the door every time Arsenal threatened. If only they hadn’t missed huge chunks of last season then we’d surely have won a fourth consecutive title.

In many ways it was familiar story last night. United have the know-how when it comes to winning games without being outstanding, while Arsenal always seem to come up short in the big games. As easy as they are on the eye, I think Arsene Wenger’s side will miss out on the title yet again.

Talking of Arsene, what was he talking about when he criticised the Old Trafford pitch? It’s like a carpet. I know we used to have problems with the surface, but not anymore. Tony

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