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"Bruce, Pallister, Stam and Buchan were all tremendous. But if I had to have someone to defend for my life, it would be Vida every time."

- Stewart Gardner, MUTV

About the blogger: Stewart's profile

17/01/2011 12:29, Report by Stewart Gardner, MUTV
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Vida the invaluable

Have United ever had a better centre-back than Nemanja Vidic?

Bruce, Pallister, Stam and Buchan were all tremendous. But if I had to have someone to defend for my life, it would be Vida every time. He was absolutely awesome at the Lane yesterday. He marked Crouch out of the game and I can’t remember him missing a header. It was a truly dominant display and was befitting of someone who wears the captain’s armband. The best bit of business United have done over the last year has been tying Vidic down to a new contract.

Of course, it wasn’t just the Serbian who was responsible for United’s point in North London. The whole back four showed a huge amount of durability. “Thou shalt not pass” appears to be the motto of the defence and goalkeeper. Ferdinand was imperious once again – it makes you realise just how remarkable it was that United went within a point of winning the league last year when Rio and Vidic barely played together due to injury.

The two full backs were also superb. Spurs give opposition left and right backs a really difficult game with the explosive pace of Lennon and Bale. Just think back to Maicon’s utter humiliation in the Champions League against Spurs earlier this season.

The Rafael/Bale battle was fascinating - two great young talents. I’m a big fan of Rafael and thought he played Bale brilliantly again yesterday before his harsh red card. His first yellow card for the foul on Palacios shows that he does still have an impetuous streak but for the most part it was a controlled performance from the Brazilian who also producer some dangerous forays forward. He could be United’s right back for the next decade and play hundreds of games for the club.

Rafael probably won’t play quite as many as Ryan Giggs though. Six hundred league appearances is another milestone in a landmark career and there were a couple of moments near the end of yesterday’s game when I thought he might actually get a dramatic winner which would have been fairytale stuff.

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