With only 1 gameweek remaining in the Premier League, I thought that I’d take a look at how the leading Premier League wingers have been faring this season.
Unsurprisingly, Manchester United’s wingers have been the best for actual wing play. The way Manchester United play requires them to be exactly that. All have a good crossing average. Young and Nani are the best goalscoring wingers and Antonio Valencia is the best assisting winger in the Premier League. The Manchester City duo of Silva and Nasri, who have been central to the way they have played this season, are two of the best creative wingers, 2nd only to Juan Mata who has had a fantastic season for Chelsea. Liverpool’s summer acquisition Stuart Downing is still searching for his first meaningful contribution this season.
With Manchester United linked to numerous players who can play on the wings (Hazard, Kagawa and Gaitan) the question which sticks out more than any other is ‘why?’ Clearly Manchester United have the best set of wingers in the Premier League. With Dimitar Berbatov set to leave and an attacking midfielder to come in, could this be the end of the 442 system at United? It’s certainly a possibility.
Wayne Rooney has been sacrificed and required to play the stop gap between the midfield and the attack. Despite scoring 26 league goals this season, in terms of performances, he has not had the best of seasons. Moving him back to a role spearheading Manchester United’s attacks as he did in 2009/10 seems the only reasonable explanation. Surrounding him with technical and creative midfielders in a system where he plays as the lone striker may well be the way to stifle the challenge of Manchester City next season.
Is my praise of Manchester United’s wingers deserved? Do you think any other wingers have had a better season? Feel free to comment below.