It's not entirely Radamel Falcao's fault. It really isn't. The Colombian hitman, who has struggled to adapt to life at Manchester United, has been the subject of much criticism of late after netting just four goals so far this term.
Ok, after a serious knee injury in January of 2014, Falcao was never going to return the same player. And, in truth, 'El Tigre' is not the tiger he once was.
Yes, he's missed chances that he would have previously netted and he's not looked quite as sharp as before, but he has not lost it, and he will become a force again...but it may not be at Manchester United. It's starting to look increasingly unlikely that he will prove his credentials in the red of United.
However, he shouldn't be blamed.
The real reason?
It's obvious, isn't it? He's not been given a chance. Ok, he has been handed opportunities in the starting XI, but has he really been handed the chance to showcase his abilities on the grandest stage? No, he has not.
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Falcao works best inside the penalty area: he uses his physique, his aerial ability and his spacial awareness to create and ultimately score goals. How much time has he actually spent inside the opposition box this season?
Often, despite playing alongside Robin van Persie in attack and starring in the same team as the likes of Angel di Maria and Wayne Rooney and Co., Falcao has looked an isolated figure.
Manchester United are not creating opportunities; they do not appear to be a team. Falcao will only ever be at his best in a team. The Red Devils are far from being one.
It's time to cut Falcao some slack and look towards the system that Louis van Gaal is trying to implement at Old Trafford.
If the Colombian played on his own up top with Wayne Rooney roaming around behind him, then things may well be different. United would have more players in midfield; the likes of Adnan Januzaj and Angel di Maria would have more freedom to deliver balls into the box. Falcao would ultimately prove a far greater threat.
Signs of class
There has only been four goals in the red shirt of Manchester United for Radamel Falcao, but one really does stand out.
The Colombian's header against Aston Villa was a thing of beauty; it was truly tremendous. In that one leap, Falcao proved exactly what he's about. However, that kind of opportunity has been all too rare for the striker at the Theatre of Dreams.
Manchester United legend Denis Law certainly believes Falcao will come good for the club, as he only recently told United Review: "He has been absolutely excellent throughout his career and everyone was looking forward to seeing him play when his arrival was announced. He’s a goalscorer, a good player who gets involved, and again he’s needed time to settle in, especially coming back from such a bad injury. But once he starts scoring regularly then you’ll see an even better player.
"As a goalscorer, you go through spells where everything is going in and other times when nothing will go right for you at all. You miss the target, hit the woodwork or the goalie makes a fabulous save, and it feels like a lot of things are conspiring against you.
"All you can do is keep trying, keep doing what you do best and nobody can ask any more than that. There’s no question about Falcao’s commitment at all; he’s proven that beyond any doubt."
Yes, Falcao has the commitment and he probably still has the class, but things may never work out for him playing under Van Gaal. It's a shame.
Manchester United fans: Do you agree? Would a different system help Falcao prove his credentials? Have your say in the comments section below!
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