One Mailboxer may have spent lunch in the pub in suggesting Van Persie could go back to Arsenal. Also, some Premier League meh-ing and a fine Acewatch suggestion...
Even the lesser teams have players like Luis Suarez and Romelu Lukaku so it's all bloody good fun. But mostly the mailbox features United fans being told to grow up...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Few Conclusions From Old Trafford
Rooney was immense for United, it was a success in keeping him. If Utd's bid for Baines and Fellaini was derisory and insulting, I am at a loss to describe Chelsea's supposed valuation of Rooney
The real Valencia showed up last night. His crosses were actually dangerous and he beat his man with purpose and finally took a shot or two at goal. Sometimes derided for being a one-trick, one-footed pony but cares when that foot and that trick is effective?
Kagawa showed a few nice touches but looked like a player who needs a few more games to become sharper, and it is a pity that he looks destined to play from the left. I do worry about his physicality at times though.
Chris Smalling had a great game at right-back and I would suggest he is better at right back than Jones. When playing against a team with a big physical presence, especially up front, Smalling and Jones are useful options at right-back.
They along with Evans, however, are also very useful options at centre-back and the form of Rio and Vidic is bit so-so. Rio undoubtedly has the tactical nous to organise and marshall a defence but can be found wanting when called upon to do the actual nitty-gritty of defending.
De Gea did flap at the corner for the second goal but does that make the goal his fault? Yes he missed the cross but the Leverkusen player still won the header cleanly over Utd's defence and the same defence failed to deal with the scramble afterwards. Not convinced that had De Gea stayed on his line that they wouldn't have scored anyway.
Van Persie looks slightly off form despite his goal, yet he is still scoring.
Fellaini didn't look out of place but some of his passing wasn't great but that will improve. Physically he is very useful to have in there, especially when Utd play against the likes of Toure.
Leverkusen looked a bit dodgy throughout but this team is third in their league behind the two teams who played in the Champions League final - does this mean the German league isn't as good as suggested or that Utd actually beat a relatively decent side?
United still aren't playing that well, still trying to get a rhythm going and finding that right mix of pace, power and skill but still winning.
United's squad isn't as bad as some fans would have you believe.
De Gea has an assist in Europe - over to you Ozil.
...* Starting from the back - De Gea showed his talent and inexperience in equal measures last night. The long punt upfield to Rooney was what Sir Alex had spoken about in his debut season - his distribution for a keeper is brilliant. But Bayer's second goal was due to his flap - a worrying sign of regression perhaps under a new goal keeping coach. Hopefully this was an one-off.
* Ferdinand had the worst game in a long time. Gave away the corner for the second and then could not stop his man from scoring. He looked startled in possession and was guilty of more than a few nervous moments in the penalty area. Aguero and co must be relishing the thought of playing against him.
* United may have paid extra for him but Fellaini showed why they needed him so badly. His desire to play deep makes Moyes's job easier. United now have the perfect personnel for a 4-2-3-1 with Carrick and the Hair holding. While the one up front should always be Van Persie - based on the opposition, Moyes can deploy two wingers (choose between the four they have) and Kagawa/Rooney in the hole. Or choose to play narrow with Wellbeck, Rooney and Kagawa swarming behind Van Persie. Either way, the attack looks more potent having been freed from their defensive duties to cover the gaping hole in the centre.
* #FreeShinji did not really help. There is no point in shunting him to the left because he is deadlier when played in a role behind Van Persie. He looked devoid of match fitness and though he played some exquisite passes - it was well short of what he is capable of. But given Rooney's devastating display last night in the hole - it is hard to see Moyes swap Rooney to the left and play Kagawa in the hole. Which means that he's still got a big headache in choosing between these two.
* Both strikers were superb in their play but there are still signs of ego battles. Rooney should really have passed to Van Persie to score and Van Persie for his part looked to shoot when passing would have been easier. On the whole though they looked good during build up play and if Moyes can find a way to fit Kagawa into this system - there will be a lot more goals.
* The last goal was remniscent of the United sides of 08-09. Five touches from box-to-box and Valencia capped off one of the best counter-attacks seen by them in the last few years. Fast, effective and deadly - Arsenal used to be hit by these all the time and it looks like Moyes has slowly brought that style back. Valencia for his part looked average for periods but as the game progressed - he found his crossing boots and the last cross for the sitter that Van Persie shinned wide was a peach. Hopefully the goal will give him the confidence going into some crucial matches over the next ten days.
* The jury is still out on Moyes but so far it has been encouraging to see him adapt and start moulding the team the way he wants to play. There are complaints all over the internet that United are becoming like his old Everton side but last night was a very good performance for a debut in Europe's biggest competition. He still speaks as if awestruck by the fact that he is managing United but with the kind of players he has - it has been an easier job than he would have thought. And I hope that this is the same line-up that faces City - I'd really like us to go there to win rather than play for a draw as often was the case.
...1. Valencia beat the left back! Did you see it? He slipped the ball up the touch line, ran past his defender, and got on to the ball! Simply amazing! Not only that, but he scored as well! I had to take a breather after that, about time we had some more of this Mr Valencia, we knew you had it in you. Please Sir can I have some more?
2. Fellaini looks the part in the middle of the park with Carrick, is it just me, or does he look like he's been playing there for a long time? I was dubious that we didn't get any other 'marquee' players this summer, but Fellaini has impressed me already, winning headers, always ready for a pass, won the ball back plenty of times, and looks every part the player we've been missing. Sorry Cleverly, you're good (yes I said he's good), but not that good yet my friend, keep your head down and learn from these guys around you and you will be. If that don't work out, you could replace always Tommy in Corrie.
3. How do both RVP and Rooney both miss sitters in the same game they score two of the most awkward looking goals I've ever seen?
Valencia aside (It shouldn't have counted), I've lost count on the amount of potential goals I've seen blown by that shot where it gets smashed into the ground first, then proceeds over the bar, or loses all momentum and gets gathered by the keeper, but Rooney's goes in? Okay, that was fair enough!
But RVP's volley looked like he had to try and shape his right foot into something of a golf club shape, and almost sweep it torward goal, how the hell did he manage that?
4. Kagawa had a goad little run-out, looked lively early on, please play him more Moyes! I've got a feeling he's one of those players who needs to play regular or his form drops off big time. Some great flashes of skill from him as usual.
Also, What's up with RVP's temper lately?
Si (Looking forward to Sunday!) MUFC
About a week ago I wrote in to the mailbox arguing that Kagawa wasn't playing because Carrick and Cleverley did not provide enough defensive cover for him and that Fellaini might change this.
With Kagawa operating nominally from the left but definitely playing as a roaming attacking midfielder, I saw Fellaini covering back far better into that left side when he was needed, and he provided a much stronger defensive shield thus allowing Kagawa to attack. I feel a sense of vindication that it happened in the Champions League and yielded such a good performance (and was also picked up by Miss Winterburn).
As an aside tonight was the first Man Utd match I'd ever had the opportunity to go to. Yes I'm a southern, glory-hunting, cockney b**tard but because of a missed birthday I was given the use of a season ticket and am now sitting in a hotel after the game. The stadium was incredible, the whole scale of it was just unimaginably amazing and the atmosphere was completely off the charts. I loved it so much and I implore anyone out there who hasn't yet seen there team at home to go and do it as soon as you physically can. If you have to scrimp, save and steal (don't steal) to do it then just do it. I realised a life dream tonight and it is helping me through a really bad time, you should do it too as you will never regret it.
Calum, MUFC, Reading
Kagawa's performance last night displayed why he is a hugely talented player but not a left winger. In the final third Shinji was excellent. He was constantly in space, he played neat passes and threaded one beautiful ball into RVP which should have led to a goal. He gave United fans that little something they crave for: craft through the middle.
However, as impressed as I was with Kagawa's silky football, he was also the team's biggest liability. Everything Leverkusen had came down the left wing because Shinji gets caught on the ball in deep positions and offers nothing defensively. Evra was constantly exposed and only for Carrick and Felliani providing excellent cover from the centre, the game could have been different. It is difficult to blame Kagawa for these faults as he never has been required to do a defensive job, no more than Silva or Mata have. United therefore need to set up to cover his left-wing deficiencies, like City do with Silva, or he needs to be stuck up top with RVP.
Dave (By far United best performance of the season) Ireland
Watching the United game last night I though I would try my hand at 16 conclusions.
But then my mind wandered, somewhere around the 83rd minute as to the biggest conclusion of them all.
When is Javier Hernandez going to remove that ridiculous nickname from the back of his shirt and put his real name on it instead?
Also, don't ever take off your magic helmet Wayne.
What A Devious Plan By Sir Alex
Sir Alex Ferguson, for all the trophies and glories refused to look at the elephant in the Manchester United squad. He failed or rather, preferred not to fill in the gaping void in the United central midfield. More on that later.
David Moyes however, with one single swoop in the market (the other swoops are not his fault, he does not the contracts or bids make, there is a whole boardroom you know!) has gotten in the man of steel (pun intended) that made United look classy and formidable yesterday against Leverkusen.
Defensively providing cover for Rio and Vidic, which also allowed Rooney to run rampant on the opposition without having to huff and puff back, showed a glimpse of things to come when this particular United squad begins to gel.
Trophies will follow in their due time, but what was required more importantly for Moyes in his first season was to create a footprint of his own at the Theatre of Dreams. Slowly but surely the nightmares of the summer are being banished and we the Reds are beginning to dream again.
Thank you Sir Alex for having left room for improvement in the current squad, even in departure he was shrewd enough to ensure that the quality of United would grow upwards.
Not A Mourinho Fan
When I first heard the rumours about Mourinho that were going around, I broke into a cold sweat. No...not him again. We were already playing decent football and needed a bit of tweaking before realising the full potential of the squad. All that was needed is a new striker and we already had Lukaku lined up anyways. Torres should be heading out the door with the arrival of a new coach and the triumvirate of Mata, Oscar and Hazard would only get better with time. And then this whole Mourinho brouhaha started making headlines and I thought to myself, "we're as good as done..." like an overcooked steak, an over-spiced curry and soggy pasta all thrown into one bowl and expected to be lapped up unquestioningly by the fans.
Thank you Mr. Jose Mourinho for delivering all the past glories. It was great while it lasted but if I remember correctly, you did turn slightly bitter towards the end and we did play pretty ugly football then as you were grasping at straws. Not unlike relationship that go downhill after too much familiarity, even the sex sucked and became mechanical (throw in some fake orgasms here).
Well....NOT ME. I am not a fan of Mourinho's football and feel he's just too much of an egomaniac to allow the players to shine. There are no superstars in Chelsea bar one. And that person is him. He needs to hog the headlines and will never allow any of the players to shine bright enough to overshadow him. And most of all, I detest Mourinho's football. It's boring, to sum it up in one word.
Did we have a reasonably good squad that needed a small amount of tweaking? Yes. Were we playing exciting football? Yes. Did we really need to go back to Mourinho? NO!
I am dreading the rest of the season which I suspect will be full of press conferences where 'The Special One' will be deflecting blame onto external forces and every defeat in Europe will be accompanied with conspiracy theories of how the UEFA is out to chop him off at the knees.
Sigh....Do I really have to endure this man for a season or two? And watch him drive the club I love into the ground? I guess I just have to, what choice do I have?
Paradiz (I can't be the only Chelsea fan that did not want him back.), CFC
Real Favourites Because Of Ancelotti
I know it is too early to predict the winner of Champions League, since it is only the matchday one. However, it is always fun just to write and guess which team will go all the way to win it.
Judging solely by the performance last night, for me Real Madrid can finally reach their coveted 'La Decimá' in Lisbon.
First, it's their sheer player abilities. Yes they miss their most creative playmaker, Mesut Özil, to Arsenal. But they've got arguably better and younger Spanish virtuoso in Isco. I am an admirer of his talent and surely he can make Madrid's attacking firepowers even stronger. Oh, and do I have to mention that they have two most expensive footballers? Gareth Bale can make a huge impact and Cristiano Ronaldo is just a huge phenomenon. His hat-trick last night, his 21st in Real Madrid shirt, totally destroyed Galatasaray who are supposedly difficult to beat at home.
The second reason, which I find the most crucial, is the presence of Carlo Ancelotti at the management. He is one of the most successful managers in the game, for sure. His resumé with Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, and PSG yields many league titles and two Champions League medals.
Ancelotti is so much calmer than Mourinho. He is more introverted but gets the job done. He stays away from unnecessary controversy, which will be useful for Madrid to win the European title again. For me, once Ancelotti gets the full squad and able to maximise the potentials, he is the right man to bring the Galacticos to glory again.
So many people are talking up possibilities of José Mourinho or Pep Guardiola winning their third Champions League titles this season, but I am not surprised if Ancelotti gets that status first - and ultimately brings La Decimá to Bernebau.
Vincentius, Newcastle upon Tyne
English Away Fans Get Raw Deal
Why is it that when European sides come to English grounds (the Emirates, Etihad, Anfield, Stamford Bridge, WHL - with the exception of Old Trafford), their fans get a lovely big allocation right on top of the players, behind the goals or in the corners? But in most European grounds, away fans are perched miles away from the players? This surely has a big impact on the role fans play in generating atmosphere.
At the Bernabeu, Camp Nou, San Siro, Allianz, etc...you can hardly hear the away fans, let alone see them.
Is it down to the home clubs to choose where they place the away fans or do other parties have a say in it? Are English teams missing a trick by not tucking away the European away support into the upper tier like that do to us?
Just a thought. To be fair, as an Arsenal fan, it wouldn't make a difference if you put the away support in a nearby hotel because they would still be louder than the home fans at the Emirates.
The Last Word On Diving
My old man came up with an idea to stop diving years ago. "They should rub dog s*** all over the pitch, that'll stop them diving." I said, "what about to people who genuinely fall in the dog shit without diving"...."meh" and a shrug of his shoulders was his answer.
Baz, Dublin (Still avoiding dog s*** 20 years later)