Moyes is lacking 'charismatic authority', Kieran Gibbs is defended, Chelsea's problems are examined and a dreadful chant attacked. It's a glorious mailbox...
Fear is stopping Moyes dismantling Fergie's team, we are told. Plus, one Arsenal fan digs at Gibbs and mails on Martinez, the Group of Death and a Spurs Christmas list...
If you have anything to add on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
It's Finally Over
Thought I'd start everyone's Monday off with a thought.
According to my crude calculations, Gareth Bale is worth about 35 times his weight in gold.
Heartfelt congratulations to David Moyes on extending his fantastic record of never having won away at any of the big four! Let's be clear...he's not the Moyesiah; he's just a crushingly average manager. He's small time in every conceivable way. I bet United fans are wishing you'd gone for Brentan earlier? He's serving up some breathtaking stuff...and not just in his post-match interviews. Enjoy Moyes, you deserve him.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC
...So this was gonna be the NLD that showed that Spurs had a better team than Arsenal...don't make me laugh!!
The Spuds have spent £100m on new players yet our team of academy players and freebies completely played them off the park... what exactly has changed???
After the Villa result I'll be the first to admit I was calling for Arsene to get sacked but today's result show what a genius he is... we don't need any new signings - we already have a team that is good enough to win the Premiership this season and who knows, maybe good enough to win the Champions League!
I'll tell you who knows...Arsene knows!
Matty, I wouldn't take Bale for free even if Spurs offered, Cheltenham
Have United Lost Their Late Goal Threat?
* Liverpool were the better side in the first half without really testing the keeper, whereas Man Utd were the better side in the second half without really testing the keeper.
* Having said that, Liverpool were slightly the better team overall, but they still had to rely on a goal from a corner to secure victory. If they want to compete against the Top 6 sides they will need to find other ways to score and win matches as corners only result in a goal approximately 3% of the time on average.
* I was genuinely surprised that Man Utd were on the right side of possession (57% vs 43%), passes attempted in the final third (128 vs 100) and passing completion rates in the final third (71% vs 62%). Statistically, when teams outperform their opponents in these aspects they are more likely to achieve better game outcomes, yet it still felt like Liverpool were the more likely of the two teams to win.
* Sturridge was the threat for Liverpool that Van Persie needed to be for Man Utd. Credit to the English striker for his performances for Liverpool thus far in the absence of Suarez.
* Michael Carrick put in one his of worst performances for Man Utd in a long time. Hopefully he doesn't repeat that type of performance against Man City.
* I'm slowly becoming a fan of Tom Cleverley. He's not the creative force that Man Utd really needs, but his energy, movement and willingness to make himself available as a passing option are vastly underrated qualities, especially against teams such as Liverpool that flood the midfield.
* Speaking of creative forces, where was Shinji Kagawa? Man Utd desperately need his creativity, vision and quick feet in the final third as he has the ability to make those passes that can suddenly open a side up.
* Thank goodness Patrice Evra has discovered his form as Ashley Young played terribly. While the rest of the Man Utd players were moving towards Liverpool's goal, he spent most of the night playing back towards De Gea. Only 21% of his attempted passes were played forward (compared with 59% for Giggs on the other wing) and at no point did he successfully beat an opponent one on one. Nani and Zaha are both inconsistent players, but at least they offer a threat to the opposition.
* Moyes needs to name more positive starting line ups against the bigger teams. While players like Welbeck, Young and Giggs have fantastic work rates the side becomes slightly unbalanced without the more creative and attacking talent of players, such as Kagawa and Nani, who are capable of producing moments of individual brilliance
* Nevertheless, credit to Moyes for the three substitutions he made as each was attacking and ultimately improved Man Utd's performance in the second half.
* Was it just me or did this Man Utd side without Alex Ferguson look less likely to get that last ditch goal that they have become well known for under his managerial reign?
Matthew Leach - New Zealand
Let's start with the positives....um...Moyes will have learned that Ashley Young is not actually a footballer. Perhaps, he has talents that lie elsewhere, but it's probably time to give up on football. I hear the X-factor is back on, maybe he should give that a whirl. Not really a positive, but it's the best I can come up with.
Now, the negatives, and I'm afraid I have to start with that old chestnut that is Michael Carrick. I don't care what anyone says, he's just not of sufficient quality to be the main man at the heart of midfield. I won't go on about it, because no-one will listen to me. Next, Cleverly. Oh dear. That was awful. Again, just not good enough - but he may be, one day.
Anyway, Moyes has two days to sort it out.
Finally, and this was pretty disappointing, twice Liverpool played on while United players lay prone on the ground. That smells like a tactic, which given the recent negative attention they've received over a lack of respect to their fellow pros, they may want to rethink.
Grow A Pair, Moyes
- In some respects, I actually feel sorry for Moyes. He's inherited a terrible, unbalanced and ageing squad, whilst Fergie drove out the academy's best players, and refused to sign necessary players for the squad.
- Similarly, the match would have been very different had United not conceded early, as Liverpool wouldn't have been able to sit back and play on the counter.
- But, as with the Chelsea match, Moyes set up far too defensively. It couldn't be plainer that he'd have been overjoyed to have taken another 0-0 from today, and in both fixtures United have looked genuinely threatening, and more defensively solid, in the latter stages when they've pushed forward and played more aggressively. Grow a pair David, and have a go.
- The formation was wrong, and has been for several seasons (really, since Quieroz left). United lack the defensive midfielders and wingers to make a reactive 4411/4231 work well. In one off, genuinely major games (such as the Madrid matches last year), this hyper-defensive, reactive and rigid set up can work, but generally it leaves United flat in midfield, and prone to being over-run by more fluid teams that have three central midfielders, and more mobile and technically competant wingers.
- Both Cleverley and Welbeck showed, again, why they're squad players at most. Cleverley lacks the passing range to threaten as a deeper playmaker, the technical skills to create further up the pitch, and the physicality and intelligence to play in a more destructive role. And Welbeck is basically in the side as a defensive option, to press, harass, and make room for van Persie.
- Ashley Young: why? He's terrible. He's living proof of Tucker's Law. However well Liverpool played, pressing United and harrassing them in possession, Young still posed no threat, and asked the Liverpool defenders no questions. Every team knows Young will jink, shift the ball to his right foot, and cross, and he isn't sufficiently good at it for this predictability to be effective (also, would any other United player be trending globally on twitter simply with people abusing him?).
- If Young, Valencia, and Giggs (who was equally poor) are going to pose this little threat, and Kagawa and Nani are indeed seriously underfit, Moyes really ought to give game time to Zaha and Januzaj, off te bench if nothing else. At least they have the technical ability, pace, courage and creativity to pose defences questions.
- As United spend all summer doing bugger all, did it never cross the minds of United's hierarchy that Christian Eriksen would be an excellent addition for £11m (he's better than any of our starting attacking midfielders thus far), or that Adem Ljajic was worth a punt from Fiorentina?
- Sign some midfielders. Now.
- The sooner Rafael returns to fitness, the better. Jones will be a fine centre-back, but offensively he's so much less accomplished than Rafael.
- The performances of Oscar and Hazard against Bayern showed that attacking midfielders can offer responsibility and work-rate without sacrificing creativity and quality. Why do United fans justify the contined mediocracy of Valencia on the grounds of their work-rate?
- Liverpool actually look pretty good. I still think Gerrard is a bellend, on principle, but Coutinho is exquisite, and Sturridge is lively.
Praise For Rodgers
I think Miller got it spot on for yesterday's clash between Liverpool and United. More than United's failings, the reason behind victory was a superb tactical plan set up and executed by Brendan Rodgers and his team. The commentators identified this within the first seven minutes after Sturridge's goal when Liverpool were pressing hard for a second. Aspas and Coutinho kept getting tight to Cleverley and Carrick making it impossible for them to spray the passes around and forcing them to play it back to Vidic and co who then had to rely on De Gea to hoof it long.
Even in the second half, Liverpool were happy to concede lion's share of the possession to United because of their shape that they maintained throughout the game. Any given attack saw their back four in a straight line and Lucas, Gerrard and Henderson shielding them. Van Persie was anonymous except when picking fights with Skrtel and Agger while the rest of the midfield was simply not good enough to pick the final passes.
Moyes looked lost and even though the second half was a much better showing - United really looked out of ideas. That's 180 minutes against Chelsea and Liverpool and no goals scored. Another worrying aspect maybe?
Rodgers deserves all the credit for yesterday's win. I just hope the mailbox Liverpool fans take a more balanced view rather than 'this is our year'. Same goes for United fans - it's just three games into the season. Let's wait for December before we start judging him please.
Arsenal Still Have Problems
Following a derby day victory you have to give Wenger and Bould their due for overseeing a North London Derby victory.
Having said that it still doesn't negate the need for business to be done and currently our squad is being spread painfully thin. In years gone by if the likes of Sagna and Wilshere were not fully fit they wouldn't even be considered to play - these days they're forced into participating because there's no plan b.
It's a very long season and this squad isn't capable of getting through it without reinforcements which brings me on to Ozil. Great player as he is -just which problem is he going to solve in this Arsenal team? We need a centre half and we need a striker and unless Wenger thinks Bendtner can fulfil both he's going to actually spend some money.
There's been much gloating over Arsenal having spent £0 while Spurs have spent £100m but looking at the two squads I know which is better equipped for the demands of a full season and European campaign.
Graham Simons, (Please don't let Gallas be the surprise), Gooner, Norf London
Spurs Going Backwards?
Overall it was a fairly disappointing weekend of action. Very few goals and defences mainly on top. There were a few discussion points though:
- Spurs look to be attempting to build the most expensive set of identikit midfielders in world football. Granted, it may take time for them to perform to their potential, but at the moment the only way you can tell them apart is by the colour of their boots. The only one who stood out yesterday was Townsend, and that's only because he reminds me of a young Lionel Richie. It may be too early to be sure, but without Bale's goals I think Spurs are going to regress this year, despite the influx of new players.
- I like Giroud. I think he gets a lot of undeserved flak. Ridiculous haircut though. Marvellous finish yesterday, and he has the ability to hold the ball up which gives Arsenal another dimension to their play. That said, Arsenal are desperate for backup because they basically have no other forwards. If Wenger could recruit Benzema and Di Maria then suddenly Arsenal would look like a team with options.
- Manchester United are looking extremely poor at the moment and, despite Moyes' protestations, need urgent strengthening today. Their midfield problems have been discussed ad finitum and, despite all their possession, they never looked like breaking down a solid Liverpool rearguard. Liverpool themselves produced another performance of two halves, and were severely lacking an outlet to hold up the ball and relieve the pressure in the second half. An encouraging start to the season nonetheless.
- With Rooney, Lennon, Johnson and Wilshere either injured or ill, England's squad is looking threadbare for the forthcoming qualifiers. I've almost got to the point where I'd prefer us not to qualify than to go and embarrass ourselves again on the world stage.
Then again, perhaps I am wrong about everything. Arsenal will go the whole season without suffering any more injuries, Spurs will be the PL top scorers, Man U will win the Champions League, England will win the World Cup, and Suarez will become a UN peacekeeping ambassador.
Jamie Bedwell, Cheltenhamshire
Focusing On The Positives
Since there will be plenty of Arsenal and Liverpool fans laughing at us in the mailbox today and F365 doesn't like any of the net spend talks, can I just say we have actually reduced our wage bill in this window as well.
The likes of Lamela, Eriksen, Paulihno, Capoue, Chadli, Chiriches and Soldado will be earning less than the combined total of Gallas, Dempsey, Parker, Hudd, Bentley, Caulker, Bale and Livermore.
Not to mention Benny (gonna miss him) and Ade should they exit the door today as well.
Nabil (still feeling upbeat) THFC, Bangladesh.
Moyes' Team Selection Cost United
First off, congratulations to Liverpool and their fans. They played well in the first half and defended stoutly in the second. Skrtel and Agger worked well to frustrate Van Persie while Johnson gave Young absolutely no joy on the left flank.
Not to sound defeatist or be a "knee-jerker" but to me, the problem from the get go was Moyes' team selection. The absence of Rooney was obviously a big blow, particularly after a sprightly performance against Chelsea. But what I cannot understand is how he chose to start Young and Giggs in a match of this magnitude.
I love Ryan Giggs as much as any United fan but the man is almost 40. His job should consist of coming on for the last 20-30 minutes to see off any late resistance if we're winning or to provide that bit of quality/experience if we are chasing a goal. He most definitely should not be starting when we have the likes of Nani, Valencia, Zaha and Kagawa who can all play on the flanks.
As for Young, the less said about him the better. I've never rated the man. For a winger, he doesn't beat his marker often enough. For a right-footed player playing on the left, he doesn't go round the outside often enough. Last night, he was horrendous and it was his mistake that inadvertently led to the Liverpool goal and every time he received the ball he could not beat Johnson and ended up slowing down play. That said, Johnson had an absolute storming game.
Moyes' team selection was the embodiment of his footballing style. Proper, tidy and cautious. However, that doesn't cut it against opposition like Liverpool or Chelsea. His fear of losing is greater than his desire for victory in these big games, which is causing a vicious circle.
Nick Miller's assertion that Liverpool did not allow United to be good was laughable at best. United were dominant in the 2nd half and could only blame themselves for not creating more chances. The fact of the matter is, United lost the game the moment Moyes submitted that team sheet.
Ming Kiat Tan MUFC Singapore
A Poor Weekend
After watching not such a super Sunday, I've decided to present an opinion on Sunday's events to help cure the boredom
* In a game devoid of any real quality, my team Liverpool were more aggressive and out worked an average looking United. Neither side could claim they outplayed the other
* Thank God we don't have to endure the tedium of hearing that we haven't beaten a top team and that we haven't won a game and September is nearly over. Nipped that in the bud nice and early
* My fellow Liverpool fans should not get carried away and start talking of the title. 3 wins. 1-0 each time. Hardly tearing up trees, but it's a solid start that should spark optimism/confidence of Europe come the end of the season (top 6 finish is not beyond us yet)
* Victor Moses does not inspire confidence. If we are gonna pillage Chelsea, Lukaku should be the name we go for
* United looked short of ideas. Maybe it's a transitional period for them, maybe this is just life under Moyes. According to him they were fantastic and played their best football of the season so far. Yikes....
* Now Ozil is being lined up by Arsenal, united should shaft them and get the midfielder they need.
* Arsenal did a number on Spurs. Showed that money isn't everything by fielding a few crocks and then adding insult to injury literally by taking out Capoue. AVB needs the new boys to gel sharpish
* Football died a death this weekend with the lack of quality. The good news for everyone regardless of their teams results is bale has finally left for pastures new so we don't have to see/hear about the saga for much longer
Ricky P, (A pint to whoever bounds and gags Jim white for the next 24 hours) Exiled to Selhurt Park