Finding It Harder To Defend United

We have some Sunday thoughts on Manchester United's latest league point, plus farewells offered to Daniel Agger (fond) and Fernando Torres (less so)...

Last Updated: 31/08/14 at 11:53

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Match Report On Burnley v United
United are s**t this season.
Kirk, MUFC


Thoughts On The Latest Struggle

So we earned a draw at mighty Burnley... thats 3rd of our "Easy" fixture gone. I'd like to make a few points

- Blackett is better then both Jones and Evans... I hope he's not the one to make way when/if Rojo or Shaw plays for United

- People have been so caught up discussing midfield and Defense issues that it has gone completely unnoticed that none of Rooney, Mata or RvP have made a bright start to season either.

- None of United's signing since Fergie retired (Fellaini, Mata, Herrera, Shaw, Rojo, Di Maria) ended the game at Burnley... only 2 started... am hoping once players come back and we settle down as a team, we'll start to see some bit of cohesion in the team... Right now it's all too dis-jointed

- Clearly current set of players available to Van gaal are not adapt to play 3-5-2... then why does he persist?... Young and Valencia can not defend... Also Januzaz is not a mid field player... Is he still trying to get to know this?

- Young is the master of back pass... Valencia, the master of Blocked cross... Our new no. 11 must be thinking what he needs to do to start.

United haven't signed a central mid field player of real quality and authority again... neither a Quality CB... we should be very scared of the "tough" fixtures...
Ricky, MUFC

...I am not a fan of Man U. Far from it, in fact. But this didn't stop me getting incredibly frustrated watching them fumble their way through an admittedly difficult game at Burnley earlier on. They seemed almost unwilling to create any chances, and were more content over-hitting passes and generally arseing up any good openings that came their way.

This is, of course, a team in transition, and the combination of an inexperienced/incompetent back line and a talented but fragmented attack is rarely a good one. However, is there really any excuse for quite how poor they are playing at the moment? Up front today they had Di Maria, Mata, Rooney, Van Persie. To varying degrees, form and confidence are factors behind their performances today, but how many club sides in the world would not have perhaps all four of those in their matchday squads?

Coping with change after decades of success is all well and good, but when you have some of the finest attacking talent in Europe at your disposal, I'm afraid the transition argument doesn't wash. It is of course possible that injuries/lack of personnel are having an effect, the system is not suited to the players currently available and confidence is low. However, you should expect a lot more going forward with those 4 in your team.

Another issue that sticks out is the fees paid for Mata and Di Maria. Many (especially myself) have criticised Fergie over time for his manipulative nature - something that was also evident in his transfer activity - but you have to say that he would have negotiated a better price for these two.
Ed, Exeter


Disgruntled (And Venting)

Having just watched a shocking performance against Burnley, I'm finding it more and more difficult to defend United. Last year I was one of those United fans who put the full blame on David Moyes. Even this season I cursed him for buying Mata and Fellaini to create this incredibly unbalanced team. It now seems that blame must go on certain aspects of the squad too.

There were 2 penalty claims in the game and perhaps United could have got a win but it was the way United played that was troubling. In every game United have struggled to create chances. It was the same for the whole of last season. There is no point in having Rooney and Van Persie up top if chances aren't going to come their way.

On that note, how is Young not only still a united player, but actually starting games as well? He simply isn't good enough to play for a team with aspirations of top 4 football. Further, I like Valencia but what happened to the days when he would try and beat his man then get the cross in rather than trying to defy physics by kicking the ball through the player? He has gone from being a one trick pony to a no trick pony.

Then there's the clubs transfer policies. Ever since Abmramovich came along and bought Chelsea United have had to look for value in the market and they managed to get by. They would splash out occasionally but not in the same manner that Chelsea or City have done. Then post Ferguson something seems to have completely shifted in the club and the way they do business. 26 million for a mediocre target man and to then play him in midfield as a defensive shield? 37 million for an attacking midfielder when we already have a player in the form of Kagawa who can fill that luxury role? Offering a new highly inflated contract to a disloyal overrated player when we already have more than enough cover in his position and then handing that player the captain's armband as an added reward?

Di Maria will prove to be an excellent buy but £60 million for a player that Real Madrid were looking to get rid of? Surely that fee could've been reduced by around £10 million? This sort of business is not something I would expect or associate with a club like United. It is rash and seems like they're just conducting transfers spontaneously. Is there any consideration going towards the sheer size of the squad at present? United should focus on creating a balanced squad and selling before they buy. Saying that, they should not be selling players like Danny Welbeck! He is one of the better players in this squad and is hardly on extortionate wages. We could probably have 3 or 4 Welbecks for how much we pay Rooney.

Finally I'm not impressed by rumours linking United for Blind. Granted he may be able to put in a shift but I think United should put more time into identifying players who are right for the club and have potential to be among the best rather than buying players on a whim because they have played for Van Gaal in the past. I'm also not the biggest fan of the 352 formation. I believe that we should be looking towards 433 long term and the purchase of Rojo and Blind just to fit this formation is worrying to say the least.

What frustrates me most is there is clearly so much potential in this United team and they're not displaying it. De Gea, Mata, Kagawa, Van Persie, Rooney, Januzaj, Di Maria, Jones and Welbeck. So much quality and they're unable to convert that to on field success. It brings back memories of watching England during their 'golden generation'.

Having said all that, I know it is early days and there will most likely be drastic improvements. As a fan I'm more than happy to see how this plays out and sit through many more games like this because I have faith in Van Gaal. It's just that sometimes frustrations need to be vented.
Pete, disgruntled United fan


Van Gaal Teams Don't Play Football

So much has been said of LVG and his alleged tactical expertise.. The fact of the matter is Van Gaal was a very offensive-minded coach back in his early/mid 1990's with Ajax and was widely regarded as the best coach in the world for his magnificent all-conquering Dutch machine which won the Champions League playing 4-3-3 formation. Fast forward 20 (twenty!) years... that is the sole European Cup to Van Gaal's name.

After those magnificent Ajax displays that left us all stunned instead of becoming the greatest manager in history, LVG reverted to becoming something of a "tactical" genius.. while he did win league titles in three countries he hasn't lived up to expectations and his style of play has been leaning on boring for the most part. Think about his alleged 3-5-2 formation. That's not true unless you have personnel such as Robben and Ribery on the flanks. 3-5-2 is often a euphemism for 5-3-2 which is what he wants because he's obssesed with protecting his own goal and having a system that allows him to be 'flexible' enough to fall back to defensive setup. He's gonna play with 3 CB and Marcos Rojo on the left and someone in the mould of Rafael on the right. There you go.

Look at his Netherlands team, lauded for demolishing Spain and then... hardly setting the tournament alight often serving borefests. He played with RVP and Robben up front. The Van Gaal of twenty years ago would have played Robben on the left with RVP and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in tandem. The same Huntelaar who came from the bench to win the match in injury time against Mexico which would have seen them off in the round of 16.

There's a conundrum about Man Utd, a club which I love to hate, in appointing Van Gaal after Moyes. The latter didn't know how to play football. The former doesn't want to.
Raúl H. García


Farewell To Agger

So long to Daniel Agger, a legitimate Liverpool legend for being one of the few modern day footballers to understand loyalty can be more important than honours. He will retire a two club man, incredibly loved by both Brondby and Liverpool supporters, while some of his former team mates such as Fernando Torres will retire with more trophies, but disliked at Liverpool for his lack of effort at the end, and his choice of Chelsea, and a laughing stock everywhere else.

I would have liked it better if Agger could've got his place in the team last season, and I believe we'd have won the league if he was playing at his best as the leader of the defence instead of Skrtel, but it was not to be. It seems best that he gets his return to Brondby now, and leaves as a recent Liverpool hero in the same class as Gerrard, Carra, Alonso, Hyypia and Kuyt in my eyes.

I understand that Liverpool are widely disliked by some other fans, and therefore some of their players are, but I believe Agger deserves to be, and probably is, respected by other fans who can see his love of the clubs he played for. Anyone who turned down Man City, Barcelona, Athletico Madrid and Napoli across the past 3 summers as you don't want to play for any teams other than your boyhood local team and favourite English team, is a little bit of a legend.

And fair play to FSG and the board for respecting his wishes to return to Brondby in favour of getting another £10m in the fee.
Matthew, Belfast

...Daniel Agger was once considered once of brighter prospects in Europe and in turn a pretty damn good defender when he was on top of his game. Yet arriving after the glory of 2005, his Liverpool career boasts only an Fa Cup and League Cup medal, with Pippo f*cking Inzaghi denying him a potential European Cup winners one.

He stayed through (supposed) interest from Man City and Barcelona, where he could've earned more, won more, and been more famous. Now just as Liverpool seem like they're getting back to challenging form he is regarded as obsolete, which makes sense given his performances, injury record and newly purchased talent. Yes, he could have stayed and "fought" for a place but it's obvious the club also needed to free up his wage bill.

Any conversation about loyalty in modern football makes me nauseous, but goddamn is Agger an anomaly in modern football. It's easy to be a Neville or Terry and be "loyal" when you're team is winning, or even a Carragher when you're roots are in your club. But an International player? spending the prime years of his career through a hostile take-over and truly shitty seasons when having the option for wealth and success?

And they say all those nasty things about foreign players.
Stanley Millworth, Portland Timbers


There's An Obvious Answer To This

Why does Harry Redknapp always Make out he has no idea what is happening at his football club?
Chris L


And So Long To Fernando, Too

And so departs the most expensive flop in Premier League history.

Described as a two year loan to Milan, possibly to disguise the fact that no fee will be exchanged and Chelsea will cover part of his wages, Fernando Torres is essentially being shown the door and asked not to call. A somewhat acrimonious end to 7 years in the Premier League.

It's true that his decline at Stamford Bridge has been spectacular, but I can't help reminiscing about the real Torres. It's easy to laugh at 20 goals in 110 league appearances, coinciding perhaps with Emile Heskey leaving England (if you're willing to forget about 20 months in between). It's the 65 goals in 102 appearances when he first graced the Premier League that he should be judged on. The majestic movement and deadly finishing that he displayed on the Anfield turf is the real Torres.

I can't help but feel that the contrast in circumstances around arriving at each club ultimately determined his success there. At around 25mil Liverpool still paid a hefty fee at the time (only 7 years ago, mind!). His arrival was greeted with great optimism I'm sure by Liverpool fans and he seemed to quickly identify with Benitez' playing style and his teammates' strengths.

In stark contrast, his move to Chelsea was for a staggering 50mil and with that price tag brought a weight of expectation from the dugout, the boardroom and the stands, that he may never have felt before having come through the youth system at his only other club. A new set-up seemed to unsettled the previously settled and silky Torres. An unsettling which he never overcame.

Personally I hope he does well in Italy and rediscovers the form he left on Merseyside. He will go there without any fee and the a weight of expectation off his shoulders. He should grab the opportunity for a fresh start with both hands and ignite his goal scoring instinct.

But then again maybe he just needs to grow his hair back!
Chris( ), Nottingham

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m only commenting on this (I don't care about Liverpool) because F365's twitter said I had call Matt Stanger a tw*t (which I don't agree with anyway) but I just wanted to be the first. Am I the first?

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Trial And Error Rather Than Transition

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unday, Sunday. Will there be a fan of either team, who if they are winning after 80 mins, won't still be nervous? This could be anything from 0-0 to 5-5, and no one would bat an eye.

megabrow (cufc)
A Season Of Continuous False Dawns

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his year I am getting F365 a whack-a-mole game but with Brendan instead of the mole (Like the one with JD on Scrubs) and every time he pops up he says something. Outstanding Whack!, Character Whack!, Magnificent Whack!, Wonderful Composure Whack, Whack f**king Whack. Hours of fun.

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Trial And Error Rather Than Transition

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