Thursday, March 26, 2009

Time for Ronaldo to step up

With nine games to go in the Premier League and a mini-crisis to avert it's time for Cristiano Ronaldo to step up to the plate.

The champions looked to be in cruise control before Liverpool crashed the party at Old Trafford and the response everyone expected never materialised at Fulham, despite United dominating the second half for long periods.

The two defeats have left Sir Alex and his men licking their wounds and how United could do with an on-song Ronaldo for the run-in.

The talented winger has been a shadow of his former self this season, but after a staggering 42-goal haul last term, how was he ever going to better that this term?

It was an almost impossible ask but after setting such high standards last season the Portuguese ace has not quite been on top of his game, although many people have overlooked the fact that Ronaldo has scored 18 times this season.

United return to league action against Aston Villa and only a win will do as the champions aim to fend off Liverpool, who are a point behind but have played a game more.

Ronaldo is currently on international duty but does have a calf strain - which has been seen with a heavy strapping on - and if he misses out for Portugal the player could be a doubt for United's tussle with Villa.

Ronaldo has come under fire from critics this season for looking disinterested and this has continued to ignite speculation that his move to Real Madrid is a formality.

The winger undoubtedly pondered a switch to the Spanish capital in the summer and a move at the end of the season may not be an unwise football bet to make. However, another league title for United would soften the blow for Fergie and United's fans.

By Phil Tomlinson