Sunday, August 23, 2009

First Goal for Michael Owen as Manchester United routs Wigan 5-0

Finally in his third game in Manchester United's colours, Michael Owen has scored his first goal for the club. And it will be the first of at least 15 goals this season. After missing several gilt edged chances against Burnley and Birmingham, Nani spotted a trademark run from Owen along the line of defence, and Owen promptly obliged with a precise finish past Chris Kirkland. The gloves are now off! Watch Owen score a sackload from now on.

Owen scores first goal against Wigan - Image from Sunday Express

As far as goalscorers go, Michael Owen is up there with the best. His scoring rate of one goal in every two games is not something to laugh at and he remains a dangerous player in and around the six-yard box. The one flaw that one can point to Owen is his poor goal-to-chances conversion rate. In his previous seasons with Newcastle United, his goals to chances conversion rate was 21%, world class strikers typically have a conversion rate of 40%.

Since Ferguson clearly sees Owen as an impact substitute, he will definitely need more chances to attempt to score from. This United team unlike Newcastle, have the quality and creativity to provide Owen with the chances he needs. An even better formation for United, in my opinion, is 4-3-1-2, with Berbatov as the midfield link man. Owen and Rooney up front is a guarantee for goals and lots of it.

Against Wigan, United looked menacing upfront but were made to work very hard for their goals because of some determined defending by Wigan. However this win could not hide the Red Devils previous dependence on Cristiano Ronaldo. Without his direct penetrating runs and pace, United looked blunt down the attacking centre, causing Wigan problems through industrious wing play. Admittedly, Berbatov had a super game, with his intelligent link play and excellent distribution. If he can add goalscoring to creativity and vision, then maybe Ronaldo won't be missed as much. 15-20 goals each from Rooney, Berbatov and Owen should compensate Ronaldo's 68 goals (in two seasons).

Until then, the loss of the "winking one" will cost Manchester United this season's Premiership title.

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