Keep your mails coming on Man Utd and anything else to firstname.lastname@example.org…
A false hope or a new dawn?
There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. That phrase sums up this current United team in my opinion. We’re incredible in periods but brain dead in others. We lacked someone who could dictate the tempo of the game yesterday especially in the last twenty five minutes. When we needed someone to step up and put a foot on the ball, we did not have anyone of that capacity. Matic came on and literally just kicked Grealish. He’s our most senior player and doing sh*t like that! Pogba had a great game then selfishly game the ball away in the dying moments of the game! who’s coaching these clowns?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… we have far too much individual talent now so we’re always going to have moments in games. However I still feel if we can’t counter attack teams we are not cohesive. I just feel that these close wins could easily turn into an onslaught for us.
I’m trying to remain positive but the pessimist inside is telling me not to get ahead of myself. Do not get me wrong it’s phenomenal we are joint top but I’m still not convinced my friends. Imagine what a proper coach could do with this squad? Imagine if we we’re truly UNITED again? 💭
Lee Panton. (Bruno is the signing of the decade)
This could be United’s season…
Well that was a great way to wash the taste of Everton v West Ham out of my mind (seriously, Everton should be docked points for that ‘performance’). United probably just about shaded it and were worthy winners, but If Villa had come away with a point there could’ve been no complaints either. I’m beginning to think this could be United’s season, and I can’t even really bring myself to begrudge them it.
But never, ever, not in a million years was that a penalty.
Have a great new year one and all!
J (not been out of pyjamas this year)
Very soft penalty to go joint top.
United are back baby!
I’m in this weird place as a United fan. I’m used to the failures if the team, now that there’s potential success, it all just feels weird.
Cheesom (who feels like Cheesom at the moment?)
It’s been a good week for Man Utd and we’re now second, behind Liverpool only by goal difference if you just read the table. But please, can we just enjoy not playing awful football and not get carried away? The defence still needs to learn how to defend, our football is still, frankly, quite a way behind Liverpool’s and there’s a lot of games to be played still.
I still don’t think Ole is good enough, I still don’t think we’ll win anything this year, but I’ve said all along that I don’t care if we don’t win things immediately so long as we’re up there and challenging. At the moment we are so I’ll take whatever joy out of it that I can, I’ll enjoy every flick and pinpoint pass that Pogba plays knowing how upset a certain kind of people are getting on Twitter about him, and I’ll delight in every time I see Juan Mata because he’s a bloody delightful man. I recommend United fans cool their jets and do the same.
Daniel (Shaw was excellent again) Cambridge
Man Utd are not joint top
Can we please lose this joint top narrative. You are not joint top. Your goal difference is worse than ours. If the league ended today we would win by goal difference. Get a grip.
Well there we go, as what nearly everyone is referring to it as – equal top. Same games played. Able to put on the field starting XIs just shy of half a billion. Their very own Pens4U service quickly, conveniently and regularly at their fingertips and suddenly weak limbs. Their rival and co-leader beset by injuries.
There’s only one winner from here on in surely? No pressure.
Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To avoid the accidental Man United title tilt.
We should have won 9-0 to go top of the league on goal difference.
In the morning I read Chris, Canada’s view on Liverpool and really quite enjoyed his take on things. Then Jamie, Eire took a slightly more pessimistic view on things in the following mailbox.
The truth is that both arguments have merit. If someone told me that we would lose to villa 7-2 and lose Gomez and VVD for the entire season by October then I would’ve bitten your hand off if you told me we would be top at Christmas.
Klopp likes to play similar teams weekly because he thinks too much rotation causes a loss of rhythm. When we look at the past two seasons it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. There has been a lack of fluency on the pitch and it’s hard to know whether it’s because Salah had a moan in the press, if they’re all just knackered or if they all can’t be bothered anymore now they’ve won the league and champions league.
The thing that made this team great, in my opinion, was that there were no superstars and no egos as such. We have no Messi or Pogba in our team to take all the limelight. That said over the past few years maybe the issue is that all of them are now superstars. There are arguments that we have a GK, RB, CB, LB, DM, LW, RW who can all be considered top 3 in world football in their positions. Maybe the reason we looked better at various points in the season is because Jota and Thiago had points to prove amongst their new teammates and they were doing enough to remind all of them that they’re only human. In their absence it does feel like standards have slipped.
This is why Fergie was a genius; his ability to transition from winning team to winning team was remarkable. I do back Klopp to figure it out but also accept that it might take not winning the league this year in order to win it next year. I just really hope it’s not Man Utd who lifts it.
A different perspective on Wan Bissaka and right backs
F365 have labelled him Man United’s weakest link, and I can understand the logic, though I don’t agree with it. I’d like to offer a slightly different take on Wan Bissaka and the right back position.
Let me start by saying that United’s benchmark right back was Gary Neville and anybody who remembers Neville will recall the commentators cliche about him bombing up the flank or into the box. (He never ran or sprinted, he always ‘bombed’.) Anyway, Neville, in 400 premier league appearances, managed 182 crosses and 35 assists. That’s under 2 crosses a game and under 1 assist every 10 games. Yet somehow we think of Neville as a highly successful and effective right back. On the other hand you have Alexander-Arnold who is Mr. Assist. The difference perhaps lies in how teams are set up. It has become fashionable to have front players cut in on their scoring feet, so left footed players play on the right and vice versa. Salah and Rashford are good examples. This creates up to 3 scoring forwards but it narrows the frontline and it becomes critical in this formation for the wing backs to be the wingers. Note that Alexander-Arnold doesn’t cross from the corner flag, but usually from halfway into the opposition box. Gary Neville on the other hand usually had Beckham or early Ronaldo, or latterly Valencia in front of him – all bona fide wingers who would hug the touchline, beat a man, and cross. So when Neville went up the pitch, it would be a really overlapping run, meant to create a 2 v 1 against the opposing left back, and create a crossing position from high up the pitch. Not necessarily crossing himself, but just providing the full back with a second or two of distraction which allowed Beckham to line up the cross. It was also common in that team to have strong strikers who were good at meeting crosses.
The question is whether Wan Bissaka needs to be more Neville or more Alexander-Arnold. And this is a matter of how the manager sets up the team to play. If we have a strong right sided player, focused on attacking, and really occupying the right flank, then Wan Bissaka’s role is more Gary Neville. Whereas if we play a Salah (or Mahrez) style player on the right who is almost always looking to cut in on his left foot, then United will need an Alexander-Arnold style wingback.
The point is that Wan Bissaka does not need to become Alexander-Arnold mark 2, to be successful. He is highly accomplished at the other end at 1v1 situations, obviously, but even to be G Nev mark 2, he needs to improve on one aspect of his game, which is communicating with his fellow defenders and not being blindsided by runs in behind, which happens too often now. If Solskjaer gets a strong right sided player who is good on the ball, has the engine to track back as required, and is a an actual right footed player, like Beckham, or even a young Valencia, then there’s every chance that Wan Bissaka can focus on defending and the occasional overlap, and still be an excellent player. But as long as it’s Greenwood (or an inverted winger) on the right, Wan Bissaka will always look like a poor imitation of Alexander-Arnold.
For the record IMHO United’s weakest link is the right wing position, which is reflecting on Wan Bissaka.
Ved Sen (MUFC)
It seems that the mailbox has been pretty good in offering reasoned points of view on Leeds twitter-gate, but just a couple more things…
I read the Suzanne Wrack article you suggested in Mediawatch, and was instantly turned off by her asserting that “the club’s official Twitter account [went] after her”. Really? A throwaway tweet directed at amazon prime is “going after her”? It’s meaningless emotional propaganda that deliberately mis-represents what actually happened, relying on the “cold heartless capitalist corporation against an individual” narrative.
It then staes “Carney perhaps was clumsy in that phrasing…”. Now misspeaking is human, but the author either didn’t think about repeating the same mistakes in the article, or did and didn’t care. Terrible journalism in my opinion. but it’s not really journalism, it’s woke virtue signaling. Ben White (I hope Brighton get relegated and he can come home) re-tweeted the post with cry laughing emoji’s, but I have not seen any condemnation of his actions.
Interestingly, one of the (publishable) insults she received was “twat of the week”, sounds awfully familiar doesn’t it? The article then suggest it is “more” wrong because females already receive abuse on the daily, referring to abuse received during the world cup. Well, if abuse is already happening, and Leeds didn’t abuse, or call for abuse, how are Leeds responsible? The logic it professes is that women already receive abuse for no reason, therefore you can’t disagree with women publicly.
How can people see a pundit, rather than a female pundit if any criticism of them acting as a pundit instantly gets portrayed through thelense of their gender?
In terms of whether Leeds were helped by the covid break, I don’t agree they were. Brentford’s form before the break was 1 win, 3 draws, and 1 loss (the win was the last game and a 5-0 thrashing and the only clean sheet in those games). 6 points from a possible 15. Following the break they won 5 in a row conceding only 1 goal (15/15). I’d argue Brentford were helped by the break, which directly resulted in Leeds requiring more points to secure promotion, so in fact were negatively affected. It would have been sealed a few games earlier if it were not for Brentford’s impressive run. (In that run Brentford played Fulham and West Brom so I acknowledge that wins for either of them may have made Leeds’ task more difficult).
Additionally, in the amazon documentary, there is discussion about the trail off the previous season, and how this may be prevented in the future. Perhaps 5 wins and zero conceded in the games running up to the break suggests Bielsa succeeded? We can’t know either way, but it’s a possibility.
The most recent Mediawatch article directly names Darren Bent and questions the validity of his opinion based on Brewster’s selection statistics. If I abuse him on Twitter, will you feel responsible? How many abusers/how vile does the abuse have to be before you delete the article as you have suggested Leeds should do with the tweet? And I don’t mean this facetiously, the situation is fundamentally the same. Would you feel accountable? There are racist idiots on twitter, you know this but wrote it anyway.
I’ll answer for you, no, you wouldn’t. And you shouldn’t. Unless you have called for people to abuse someone. To blame you, or Leeds is to absolve individuals of the responsibility for their own actions, or Twitter for making it so easy to abuse people. If Suzanne and Karen choose to slip into tiny cocktail dresses for a night out and get felt up by idiots, are they going to blame the perv’s for acting inappropriately or think “you know what, I knew there were pervs out there and it’s my fault for my actions which led to them being pervy?” Obviously the former, and rightly so, because people are responsible for their own actions.
P.S. Don’t worry, I don’t use twitter so won’t be abusing anyone, OR getting abused. I know, the best solutions are often simple ones.
Sarah et al.
That is why we won’t qualify for Europe.
Happy New Year. Urgh.
Aidan, EFC, London
Great read Dave! Thoroughly enjoyed it!