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...
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A Portion Of Doom-Mongering
I distinctly remember suggesting that appointing David Moyes wouldn't work, and that jettisoning Fergie's coaching team perhaps wasn't the wisest idea.
Doesn't seem quite so much like doom-mongering now, does it?
...Just to confirm, a squad:
With the two best strikers in Europe
That won the League at a canter
That outplayed Real Madrid last year
Cannot win the Champions League. Not "might not win it" or "has an outside chance of winning it" but is simply "not good enough" to win it. After a transfer window where we had "unlimited funds" and brought in a clumsy, slow Everton player.
Cheers Dave, don't think it's the squad mate.
Simon (In the style of Martin O'Neil- small squad, no money) MUFC
Or Alternatively, Have A Little Patience
I've had enough of these complaining Manchester United fans. They make us sane ones look bad.
The last time we played West Brom, we gave up a 3 goal lead in 45 minutes. We've lost 3 of our last 4 league matches to Manchester City, before this season. Our record against Mourinho was abysmal before Moyes, and Liverpool away is always a difficult match for United.
My point in saying all this, is that our fixture list has been a little hard, so give Moyes some time. His side has played some good football at times (see Swansea Away, Leverkusen in the UCL). Besides his two losses have come in an extremely competitive league this season, which can easily be made up.
Would you rather have had the two losses in the Capital One Cup and the Champions League? That would've knocked us out of one cup, and made it much harder to qualify in Europe.
Give the man some time you knee-jerking b*stards!
...Some of the recent comment from fans and the media has been ridiculous. It's been repeatedly pointed out that the OT gig is one of the biggest in the world and therefore one of the biggest managers in the world should have been appointed. Well, he wasn't. Get over it. Either Moyes will find his feet or he won't. In the meantime, being pissy about it is hardly going to help him or the team you profess to love more than life itself.
As fans we've enjoyed unprecedented levels of success over the last two decades, down to the feats of an extraordinary manager. An extraordinary manager who just doesn't and won't exist anymore in the modern game. I think it's fair to say even Sir Alex himself, if he didn't have that marvelous, unbelievable record being him, would have been facing the same immediate backlash if he'd just taken over the role from a similarly successful Moyes.
Long email short, give the guy some breathing room. You can't have it both ways; either the current squad are inherently brilliant and therefore Sir Alex's contribution wasn't all that, or the squad was over-performing due to the Herculean efforts of a manager immersed in the club for almost three decades.
Given time Moyes will figure out his first team, figure out his second-string cup squad and figure out that by being frank and up-front at press conferences he's on a hiding to nothing.
Or he'll be fired and you can all go back to wa*king over Pep / Klopp / or the next unobtainable flavour of the month.
...I know that it is easy to rubbish the thought that Man United are moving in the right direction but humor me for couple of minutes
When a new coach is appointed, you want him to try things. You want him to learn from his failures. You want to see improvements. I know we at United have been protected given Sir Alex being around forever.
Moyes seems to be doing that. He realized the defence was horrendous against Man City. He dropped the entire defence for the Liverpool game. Picked up a combination of Evans and Buttner as a warning to the underperforming Evra/Vidic. Will now drop Ferdinand next and replace him with Vidic or Smalling. In midfield, he picked Nani and Kagawa to go along side Anderson and Carrick. I am pretty sure ten games into the season, Moyes will know what works and what doesnt. Managers take time to figure out combinations and formations and players. That is why a long standing manager has so much value. At the same time, try as you might, pre season at half throttle never helps provide much value.
I think changing Kagawa at half time was a bold move. Januzaj seemed a bit overawed and started to click into place in the last ten minutes. I think bringing on Fellaini and RVP was also the right substitutions. Made at the right time too.
I think a lot of players need to regain their confidence. At the start of the season, Kagawa, Rooney, Nani, Anderson, Valencia all seemed out of sorts. Moyes seems to have helped get the best out of Rooney. Valencia and Nani have started to recover as well. Kagawa will follow suit as well.
The biggest issue today stands with Ferdinand's form. Given that Moyes had the guts to drop Evra, it is a matter of time before Ferdinand warms the bench while Evans and Smalling/Jones will take care of our defence. It is a transitional season and the failings of the squad are only starting to get clearer. Rafael coming on the right should make us potent too.
We are only 6 (It's actually eight, Ed.) points off the top after having a tough start. We will win nothing this season but given that we are in transition, it is okay. Also, this will be the year where the top team will win the championship with possibly the least points total. I suspect something closer to 80+ should win the title this year. Makes it incredibly fun to watch as a neutral, makes it a long season ahead as an United fan.
Sudarsan Ravi (Clutching at Positives), MUFC
Arsenal's Vorsprung Durch Technik
In response to Strevs - Canada's observation on Arsenal's new-found consistency... You could say it's Teutonic in said efficiency. Maybe like that associated with the German national side.
You may be forgiven for thinking that perhaps there was a German core to this new Arsenal. I mean that tall chap at the back; that new assist-genius signed from Real; that lad up front with a left foot of thunder; all look like they could fit into the German national team. Even the new kid on the block scoring his first goal on Saturday, could have played for their U19s.
Facetiousness apart, Wenger seems to have passed on from his interest in French and Spanish players (mostly), and had his scouts work overtime in Deutchland. If interest in Gotze, Reus, Bender, etc. is to be believed, then I think there may be a few more on their way to the Emirates.
If current form is down to this, then please let it continue...
A Solution To Liverpool's Second Half Syndrome
As Nick Miller wrote in his reaction piece, something happens to Liverpool at the half-time break.
Clive Woodward noticed a similar problem when he was in charge of the England rugby team. His solution was to give the players clean shirts at half-time and psychologically restart the game.
Rodgers would probably love such a lateral solution. And will likely be ridiculed for it.
Pete Spitithisis, Sweden
A Pessimistic Liverpool Fan
I'm not trying to talk myself out of the excitement I want to, but am scared to, have, but really don't, while kicking myself for being pessimistic.
- Simon Mignolet is going to give me a heart attack. I really rated him at Sunderland and think he'll come good as he's still very young for a Keeper, but he's got some work ahead of him. Fortunately, he's Belgian and right now that's fashionable.
- I thought Sunderland looked the better more energetic side at the beginning of both halves so as a Liverpool fan, I'm pretty happy with the resiliency this team seems to be showing. 3-1 flattered them I thought though, but about that I could not be more (willing to talk myself into being) excited.
- Reducing Steven Gerrard's workload is paying off with his passing. Sure he still mishits some really ridiculous chances but holy hell that was a beauty to Sturridge for Suarez's goal. And he's had a fair few since transitioning to a deeper role. It's been suggested before in this space that football take up hockey's assist policy (the last two players to pass to the scorer are given an Assist so long as they pass the fairly lax standard for helping "create a chance") and that was an example where both he and Sturridge deserve probably more credit than the actual scorer
- On second thought, considering recent Liverpool history, putting the ball in the back of the net should never be taken for granted. Ever.
- I'm not sure whether Lucas just seems like he's not quite himself or we're just a better attacking team so the defensive midfielder stands out a bit less. In the NFL there's an old adage an All-Pro punter means your team had a bad year. Makelele and some of the other elites aside, could this also be true in proper football? Is Lucas looking a bit more anonymous a good thing?
- I'd like to light a bag of flaming dog sh*t on the doorstep of any Liverpool fan stupid enough to crow about our position in the table, just to distract him while I sneak in the back door to steal his television and sh*t on his floor. Last year at this time (no disrespect) West Brom fans were (rightfully, they looked great) talking about Europe. There is a long, long way to go.
Ian, LFC (procrastinating) Hartford, CT USA
Some Early Season Conclusions
I know I'm not supposed to look at the table until after 10 games but... some early season conclusions:
- Swansea will be "the best of the rest" so to speak. While Moyes has complained about Man Utd's fixture list, Swansea have played 4 of their 6 games against teams from last season's "top 7". While only taking one point from these games, they have gained 6 from 6 against the rest of their opponents. If they could keep that form going all season (obviously they wont), they would achieve 72 points without gaining a single point against the top 7 teams. I honestly believe Swansea are only a stronger defence away from something special (Chico Flores was dreadful on the weekend).
- Man Utd will be fine. I know everyone thinks it's doom and gloom, but dropping 8 points to Liverpool, City and Chelsea is not THAT bad.
- Everton, still undefeated! However, they haven't had the hardest run to start the season and dropping 6 points in 4 games against "the rest" (I'm defining this as outside last season's top 7) is not fantastic. I expect a fantastic end to the season, hopefully with a close battle between Everton, Swansea and Southampton.
- Man City are in a dire situation. Picking up only eight points from 15 against "the rest" does not a title challenge make. These are the games they need to be putting away, particularly with their star-studded line up. How is it that Pellegrini still isn't copping the shit Moyes is? I tip them to fall out of the top 4 (big call, I know).
- Mourinho is a genius and Chelsea will win the league. WHAT?! WHY? Seriously look at what he's doing. Six games in and they've played three of last year's top 7, drawn two and lost one. Against the rest they have taken maximum points. This is a perfectly functional team designed to win the league without anyone ever thinking they're spectacular. Mourinho will ensure that they take maximum points against non-competitors and aim to draw the games at the top so as not to over-exert themselves. As with the Swansea example above, that projects 72 points from the bottom 13 teams + anything they pick up against the teams around them. If they can pick up another 18 points from those games (from a possible 42) they would win the league in every one of the last five seasons - I could not be bothered checking the stats going further back. Having said all of this, I think Mourinho is making a mistake leaving Mata on the bench and I would just play him up front. He is more than capable and a much better option than any of their strikers (resisting the urge to say "false 9"... glad I dodged that bullet).
- Liverpool are making my heart soar. I am absolutely loving this but I know it cannot last. In our first 9 games we are to face only one of the top 7. We'll look good until Christmas (hopefully) until we play Tottenham, Man City and Chelsea within two weeks. Also, if Brendan could stop saying we're going to win a trophy/make the top 4/set the world on fire it would help.
- Arsenal are thoroughly entertaining but are papering over some serious cracks. They have numbers in central midfield but are sorely lacking in depth elsewhere. The perennial problem has not been addressed. Injuries will take their toll. However I hope it doesn't happen soon and they can strengthen in January (unlikely?) to give us a genuine title race. People also need to keep in mind their only strong opponent so far has been Tottenham, and I guess Swansea (they played an enthralling encounter this weekend).
With all of this in mind, I think this will be a fantastic season that will hopefully go down to the wire. However, I think it will be another season of functional football (Chelsea) triumphing over anything approaching the spectacular or beautiful (Arsenal).
Well Done Atletico
Watching the derby on Saturday I realized that though Atletico may be too mainstream to replace Dortmund as the hipster's choice - they're certainly the favourites to break the duopoly of the La Liga. Their performance at the Bernabeu was nothing short of immense. Full of confidence, they kept their shape and refused to commit men forward thereby nullifying all of Real's attempts to counter attack. It was enjoyable to see Zidane and Ancelotti throw their arms up in frustration as the back four denied Real time after time. Matthew's key battles as part of the preview was spot on and Atletico won all of them.
Diego Costa had Pepe and Ramos scrambling to keep up with him while Arbeloa should probably never play again. Courtois was superb in denying Morata and Luis rarely looked in trouble against Bale. They matched Madrid man for man and came out top in every key battle.
A lot of credit to Simeone who has transformed this club into a team of dedicated and passionate players. With the loss of Falcao, he was quick to bring in Villa for peanuts and if anything - this has spurred the team on as a whole to perform even better. Tim Stannard keeps writing about the fear he instills in them and you could see that in the performance. With ten minutes to go, an Atletico player went down looking to waste some time with treatment and Simeone was immediately on the touchline edge bellowing at him to get up and play on. It's not often you will see a manager refusing his player a chance to waste time and hang on. I really do hope Atletico break the top two this season. Saturday's performance showed they deserve it.
Finally...Zings Can Only Get Better
Here we go again with the knee jerk united fans. As a liverpool supporter, I'd like to say stop worrying as we have been there many times. I for one am convinced that with moyes at the helm, and the quality on the pitch, united will comfortably stay up this season.
John ( my under 15s had record win today) Isle of Man
...I've read quite a few comments about how Man U are fast becoming a 'Mid-Table' side and I'd like to point out that this is really quite derogatory to West Brom and Cardiff in 10th and 11th place.
Man U are bottom half.
Chris ITFC, (Hey, the Scousers took it, thems the rules!) Liverpool