F365's Midfielders Who Divide Opinion...

Michael Carrick has silenced his critics this season, but Aaron Ramsey is still struggling to make an impression at Arsenal and should make way for fresh blood in the summer...

Last Updated: 15/02/13 at 09:43 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Luis Garcia On Liverpool's Title Challenge

8 comments

Liverpool cult hero Luis Garcia is returning to Anfield on Easter Monday to take part in the 'Celebration of the 96' charity match. Jon Holmes caught up with him...

Eye On The Experts: Niall Quinn

7 comments

You just can't sit and get angry at Niall Quinn, say Johnny and Al. Even if he's talking rubbish it stills seems quite nice rubbish coming out the mouth of a friendly, normal man...

All Articles

Come this way for our take on the goalkeepers and defenders who divide opinion...


Gareth Barry
Although Rafa Benitez once considered selling Xabi Alonso to finance a move for Barry during his time as Liverpool manager, the midfielder has never convinced everyone of his worth. Much of the criticism aimed at Barry derives from England's shellacking against Germany at World Cup 2010 when his woeful lack of pace was exposed by Mesut Ozil. But speed isn't an important part of Barry's game as he sits deep in midfield, wins back possession and provides short passes to allow Manchester City's more creative players, such as David Silva, the time and space to unlock defences. It may be a relatively simple role, but the 31-year-old is disciplined in the execution of his duties and, with 34 appearances last year, he played a crucial part in City's title victory. Barry remains a key cog in the City wheel - even popping up with the winning goal against Reading (as well as an embarrassing own goal in defeat to Southampton) - and his form and fitness are vital to a squad that has struggled for convincing options in central midfield this season.


Aaron Ramsey
Arsene Wenger has persevered with Ramsey despite Arsenal fans growing frustrated at the midfielder's below-par performances in what seems a make-or-break season for the 22-year-old. Ramsey has often been deployed on the right of Wenger's 4-2-3-1 formation this year, and while he doesn't do an awful lot wrong, he doesn't do much right either, lacking the pace or incisive movement to challenge opposition full-backs. The Wales international's main strength is retaining possession to keep things ticking over in the Gunners' midfield but his jack-of-all-trades role has become indicative of the team's general decline as they face their hardest battle yet to maintain their long-standing position in the top four. If Arsenal fail to secure a Champions League spot, it will surely be time to sell Ramsey as part of a squad overhaul.


Jordan Henderson
Unlike Ramsey, Henderson has started to grab his chance at Liverpool (aside from his dreadful performance against Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday) and the midfielder has started the last six matches, including the trips to Arsenal and Man City. It's unlikely the 22-year-old will ever justify his hefty price tag, but there are encouraging signs of his development and he has worked hard to force his way into the Reds' first team after being frozen out earlier in the season. Rodgers made it clear that Henderson was set for a limited role following his arrival at Anfield in the summer, but the England U21 captain has gradually convinced the manager of his worth, often acting as a replacement for the fatigued Raheem Sterling on the left of Liverpool's midfield (albeit in a narrower role). Henderson's superb goal against Norwich was just rewards for his hard work and it's almost certain that he will remain with the club to continue his development next season.


Michael Carrick
Carrick has been a love-hate figure for Manchester United fans for some time, but the midfielder has excelled this year and played a crucial role in the team's healthy position at the top of the league. Although the 31-year-old's main strength has always been his intelligent and disciplined use of the ball, his improvement can be put down to the fact that he has more teammates to pass to. While United often struggled in central midfield last season - with the 3-2 home defeat to Blackburn a notable example - they have looked a more cohesive unit in the current campaign with Tom Cleverley thankfully remaining injury-free and Shinji Kagawa also playing a part. This has allowed Carrick to operate as a deep pivot, similar to Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, and he has made more tackles than any other United midfielder as well as contributing four assists in a successful campaign thus far.


Cheick Tiote
While Tiote was tipped for a big-money move to Manchester United, Arsenal or Chelsea 12 months ago, the 26-year-old has struggled for form in a stop-start campaign that has been disrupted by injuries, suspensions and Africa Cup of Nations absence. After his recent arrest on suspicion of fraud it seems Tiote's woes are set to go from bad to worse and following Newcastle's January spending the midfielder has found his position in the team increasingly under threat. Not only is Tiote making fewer tackles per game than last season but his pass completion rate has also dropped and he is no longer the combative presence that helped the Magpies secure an unlikely fifth-place finish. The Ivory Coast international faces a difficult battle to regain his form and it's unlikely we'll hear him linked with anyone in the top four again in the near future.

Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Mike_Christie
Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

H

ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

TheWhiz
Wenger hails important win

I

s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

redbornandbred
De Gea's Europa League target

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Premier League: Roberto Martinez hails Everton players after win over Manchester United

Roberto Martinez saluted the focus and adaptability of his Everton squad after a 2-0 victory over Manchester United.

Transfer news: Atletico Mineiro to take Nicolas Anelka to FIFA

Atletico Mineiro president Alexandre Kalil has said that he is considering taking Nicolas Anelka to FIFA.

Premier League: David Moyes admits defensive errors cost Manchester United at Everton

David Moyes feels Man Utd conceded 'terrible goals' on his return to Everton and says missing out on the top four hurts.

Mail Box

That's Why We Didn't Want Jose At United

There is plenty of reaction to Mourinho's antics (Isn't that exactly what he wanted?) plus thoughts on Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini, beach balls and Tim Sherwood...

Kieran's Not The Only One Keeping Notes

Another chap in the mailbox has been keeping notes on comments made by optimistic Man United fans. Plus, Garey Vance is offering a double-or-quits on his new tattoo...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property