Back in December when our club captain Nemanja Vidic tore his cruciate ligaments in the Champions League encounter with Basel, I was one of many reds who really struggled to see how we could go on to win the Premier League title for a second successive year.
Personally, I think we coped without him for best part of 2012 admirably, but there were glimpses in some games where we missed the big Serbian’s presence at the heart of our defence, there were occasions when we missed his leadership and his determination. The most notable occasions being the 4-4 home draw with Everton, the 3-2 Boxing Day defeat at home to Blackburn, and the game we do not speak of. I’d like to think that whoever the opponent, it’s so unlike us to score three or more goals at home vs. anyone, and I just cannot help but think if Vidic were in the side, we would be celebrating title number 20 as we speak.
Vidic had to be one of the best centre-backs in the world before his injury, if not the best, and obviously the team would miss not having him, but how good has Jonny Evans performed in his absence? You felt that if Jonny had a bad season this year, it could well be his last in a red shirt, but he really stepped his game up and showed real guts and determination. If Vidic is to recover in time for the start of the new season, the prospect of a partnership of Jonny and Vidic at the heart of our defence is mouthwatering. They both love to get stuck in and their presence alone would make it much harder for our opponents to break us down.
It remains to be seen whether Vidic will get back to his best after so long out of the game with such a serious injury, but there is no doubt that the team as a whole perform better with him in the side. As good as the experience was for some of the younger lads the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling this season, a fully fit Vidic in the side would certainly give us a massive lift in our bid to win our Premier League trophy back.
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