This transfer window has been quieter than a Bjork convention, but here are ten examples of why panicking in January could be a recipe for disaster. Oh Fernando...
It's been a month since Danny Welbeck started a PL game and, sorry Daniel, we have barely noticed. It's difficult to see him forcing his way back into this team...
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That's Palace, Burnley and one more to go down then.
Hats off to Parish, makes the new Leeds chairman look like a world leader.
Paul (such a shame, there fans deserve a lot better) NUFC
Is Louis Making A Point?
Considering the many column inches devoted to Louis van Gaal's bloody mindedness and gargantuan testes, both during the World Cup and after, it is something of a surprise that United's grisly performances thus far have brought about such a panicked response. Sure, the team looks an utter shambles, shoehorned into an unfamiliar system and terrified of shadows, but don't you think that might be what the manager is after? Why would he choose 3-5-2 if not to highlight the squad's inadequacies? The man is trying to prove a point and you know what? It might just work...but maybe not this year.
Jeremy, LFC, Potters Bar.
Van Gaal Is Criminally Overrated Apparently
I put it to you that Louis Van Gaal is a criminally overrated manager. My evidence is his track record since the year 2000.
- he failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup with the Netherlands which, when you consider the players at his disposal, was criminal.
- he won a Dutch title at AZ Alkmaar - a feat matched by Steven McLaren with a similarly unfancied club. This isn't impressive.
- he won the league and cup with Bayern at a time when they faced minimal domestic competition (Dortmund hadn't emerged as the power they would become by that point). In the Champions' League he finished six points behind Bordeaux in the group, went through against both Fiorentina and Man Utd on away goals, hammered Lyon, then (fair enough) lost against Inter in the final.
- His second season at Bayern was an unmitigated disaster; they finished third and LVG was sacked in April.
- He took Holland to the World Cup from an easy group in which Romania and Hungary finished second and third respectively.
- The destruction of Spain at the World Cup was impressive. They scraped past Australia and (again fair enough) beat Chile. After that they again scraped past Mexico and Costa Rica in the knock out rounds.
Based on this, you could conclude that LVG is a criminally overrated manager, who I believe will have been fired by this time next year with Man Utd again floundering. Who they will turn to instead, I don't know, but Van Gaal is not the answer and this fact will become increasingly apparent over the next few months.
He's better than Moyes though.
As someone who was very hopeful and excited for the beginning of the season, my smile has slipped a little in recent weeks, I have to admit.
Amazing how a set of easy fixtures can suddenly become hard when a bunch of injuries hits. New training measures maybe. But I am still hopeful; there have been plenty of experiments with personnel, signs of something very interesting at the core, and if anything this bum start highlights the weaknesses in the areas we already knew were weak. To Van Gaal's credit, he's had the strength of personality to give players a chance; some have taken it, others not so much.
I don't really understand the purchase of Di Maria, but as with Mata, when someone of that calibre comes available you have to jump in, and it's a given he'll be a great asset. But there is a growing list of players who need to be replaced for us to seriously challenge in the next few years.
Added to the list is Evans, who now has a serious question mark over him which wasn't there before; maybe this humiliation will give him the kick needed, maybe not. And sadly Fletcher is maybe another to join that list. He has made a heroic comeback, he is still getting himself up to speed after a long time away, and he may be important to the squad, but so far he's not the man to fill the gaping midfield void. Nor is Januzaj, though obviously he's going nowhere.
There are players out there. If deals aren't done before closing time, Woodward needs to take the long walk, because no matter the lack of Europe, there are plenty of talented midfielders who we CAN get. It doesn't need to be a Vidal: Goretzka or Song would be great, the scouts must be aware of plenty of others and this season is the time to chance our collective arm on someone. Just get the hell on with it!
Guy S (At least we have Jones)
We were told to be patient with Moyes. We are sick of waiting, we need to start winning. If LVG thinks he can struggle the first 3 months and come back and win the trophy he's kidding himself. This is the Premier League the best league in the world today, wake up Louis!
It'll Be Okay
As a United fan, I watched last night with a level of disbelief until I noticed that a common feature of the game (not to disrespect MK Dons, fully deserved) was the gift of possession by United on a frequent basis. I was concerned by this until I saw why this was happening and I believe Van Gaal may have just been following his game plan all along. He has a ridiculously large squad to assess, including the youngsters who played last night, and I think he is just testing who can deliver the brand of football he wants the team to play. His comment on Kagawa not being able to live up to his philosophy in midfield makes a little more sense in this respect, in that I think he is trying to get the team to play fast, one-touch passing and has instructed the team to do exactly this, no matter who is in the first 11 for any given game.
It may be a little arrogant to assume he can do this and still win games but I think we will see better results and one more signing before the transfer window shuts, in the shape of another defender who is comfortable on the ball. I, for one, have faith in that he is sticking to his philosophy and the type of football he wants to play and deciding who can and cannot deliver this before settling on his best 11, with the players to come back from injury it might take a while before we see significant improvement but I already feel he has more faith in himself than Moyes ever had. The football may be dire to watch at present but I honestly feel we will see improvement on a ramping up basis, not just the odd game where someone manages to do something brilliant, which was what Moyes seemed to rely on.
A long way to go but I am still happy, despite last night's result.
Paul Milton, Man Utd
Best European Clashes (Includes A Banter)
Just been looking at the current European line ups so far, and here are three match ups I would like to see this year in Europe.
After the Suarez move, Liverpool v Barcelona. I still can't find odds on Suarez biting Gerrard, but I saw it in a vision much like that chap who backed Alonso to score from his own half, and let's face it that would just be in his nature, like The Scorpion And The Frog fable. Even if he didn't it would be a great night at Anfield on their Champions League return, helped of course by Suarez.
After the debacle in the last round of the Champions League qualification, in the Europa League, Celtic v Legia Warsaw. Who wouldn't want to see this match up, and who outside Parkhead wouldn't support the Polish, especially after their tweet last night after Celtics exit. #footballwon. I wonder if they would exchange pennants as a friendly gesture before the game? Pfft would they.
After Di Maria saying he never really wanted to leave Real Madrid. Man U v Real Madrid. Because... Oh yeah, sorry, my bad!. Still, if Man U can win the FA cup this year, then win the Europa Cup the following year, in two years time they're back in the Champions League. Louis van Gaal has called for patience, maybe that's what he means (I jest of course, but he really does need this philosophy thing to work soon). I must admit though, I like the way Van Gaal works. There's a touch of class about him, he reminds me of someone...
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Kagawa To Start Over Mata
Having watched Kagawa run at pace in the number 10 role and thread a beautiful through ball to Welbeck (you know what happened next), I really wonder this. Would Kagawa be better than Mata at the running at Number 10 role? He has quick thinking, can run at pace and can unlock a defence with willing runners.
Now that we have Di Maria, would Kagawa not be a better "10" than Mata?
Sudarsan Ravi (LVG - Play a 4-3-2-1. Have Kagawa and Mata in the 2 and ditch Rooney when RVP is fit and raring to go. You heard it here first)
I wonder how much Sir Alex and the rest of the board at United are regretting not going for Jose Mourinho last year when he was available.
Comparing Chelsea and Manchester United over the last 13 months or so it's quite difficult to tell which club has gone for stability with their managers and which is the overspending manager-churning stain on the game.
It stopped being embarrassing for United a long time ago, long may the "stability" continue.