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Manchester United in search of goals to make up for loss of Cristiano Ronaldo
Published : 30 Jul 2009 12:12:15
Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov will be expected to shoulder the goalscoring burden. But all of Sir Alex Ferguson's players will be challenged to raise their goals output from last season to fill the void left by Ronaldo. Ferguson is toying with 4-4-2 and 4-3-1-2 formations in the build-up to the new season and this is what he will expect from his first choice outfield line-up. John O'Shea The Irish defender's goal in the Champions League semi-final against Arsenal last season highlighted his ability to break into the penalty area. His height and attacking instincts should ensure more goals from set pieces this season. Last season: 2 goals. 2009-10 target: 5 goals Nemanja Vidic Vidic's aerial ability is no secret and the Serbian centre-half is a regular goalscorer from corners and free-kicks delivered into the six-yard box. Ferguson believes Vidic has the potential to emulate Steve Bruce as a great United goalscoring centre-half and he will be expected to maintain his goal threat. Last season: 6 goals. 2009-10 target: 8 goals Rio Ferdinand The England centre-half has genuine room for improvement in front of goal having failed to his the target for United last term. Has proven to be a threat from corners in the past and Ferguson wants to see Ferdinand rivalling Vidic in the goal charts this season. Last season: 0 goals. 2009-10 target: 6 goals Patrice Evra Defending is Evra's number one priority and the Frenchman has scored just 4 goals in almost 300 career games. But he has the ability to break into the penalty area from the left and any goals from the 28-year-old will be viewed as a bonus by Ferguson. Last season: 0 goals. 2009-10 target: 2 goals Michael Carrick United must find a midfielder who can hit double figures in the manner of a Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard and Carrick has the attributes. He has displayed ability to score from distance and inside the box, but last season's haul of four goals was below par and he must score at least ten this season. Last season: 4 goals. 2009-10 target: 10 goals Antonio Valencia The Ecuadorean underlined his attacking prowess with a debut goal against Boca Juniors on Wednesday, but that must be just the start of it for the £17m new-boy. Three goals for Wigan last term was a poor return and Ferguson wants at least eight strikes from Valencia this season. Double figures would be even better. Last season: 3 goals (for Wigan). 2009-10 target: 8 goals. Darren Fletcher Fletcher has scored just 12 goals in his United career, but his emergence as a box-to-box midfielder has increased the pressure on the Scot to score more often. Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes can no longer be expected to hit double figures from midfield, so Fletcher must raise his game this term. Last season: 3 goals. 2009-10 target: 8 goals Wayne Rooney Ronaldo's exit ensures that Rooney is now the man shouldering the goalscoring burden, but he needs to be deployed in a central role to hit 25 goals. Ferguson is keen to end Rooney's roaming days, so a career-best return this season is by no means beyond the England forward. Last season: 17 goals. 2009-10 target: 25 goals Michael Owen Ferguson will use Owen sparingly and keep him fresh for the key fixtures, but he has already set a 15 goal target for the former Newcastle forward. Four goals in four pre-season games suggest that Ferguson has set the bar relatively low and, if he stays fit, Owen will expect to break the 20-goal barrier. Last season: 10 goals (for Newcastle). 2009-10 target: 15 goals. Dimitar Berbatov A big season for the £30.75m man, but he has been promised a role as centre-forward this season by Ferguson. The Bulgarian's height and presence will suit that role and, combined with Owen, the pair could even strike a 50-goal partnership if they avoid injuries. Last season: 14 goals. 2009-10 target: 25 goals.