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On An Inauspicious Start
18/20 teams haven't even tied their boot laces yet this season and already United's bubble has burst.
Come back David, all is forgiven.
...Can't believe United lost to Swansea. Sheesh.
Some things that were Louis Van Gaal's fault--
1) Picking Ashley Young instead of our friend Reese James.
2) Bringing Ander Herrera off... for Fellaini? Wowzers. If Moyes had done that, he would have been literally dragged from his seat and impaled on a spike.
3) That's all I can think of.
Some things that were not Louis Van Gaal's fault--
1) Bad defending by people who either weren't defenders, were out-of-position defenders, or were about twelve-years-old.
2) The crowd and the awful doom-laden atmosphere they bring to Old Trafford these days. Must be dreadful to play in.
3) The Moyes-induced belief that there is no way back from being a goal down.
4) Having a squad actually worse than the one that finished last season.
5) Nerves, I suppose.
6) Jim Beglin getting co-commentator work.
The big question, then, is how much of that can he affect? You'd hope all of it - even the Beglin thing if he can make the right contacts - but Ed's really, really going to have to get moving Monday morning. Try calling over instead of emailing, Ed, it usually works better.
Stephen O'S, MUFC
...So I fully expect the F365 mailbox to be full of knee-jerk reactions to the opening day and, in particular, the United result. Amongst the panicking United fans and gloating rival fans, I thought I'd at least attempt to be the voice of reason.
Yes, we lost. In my eyes we were pretty unfortunate, but our performance was certainly still far from what we would have hoped. But it's one game of a 38 game season.
This time last year, Arsenal were beaten 3-1 at home to relegation candidates and came back to lead the league for the majority of the season. Elsewhere, Moyes' United thumped Swansea in Wales, and we all know how well that season went! So just as everyone went on about not reading too much into pre-season, let's also not read too much into a single result in our manager's first competitive game at the club, with half the squad out injured.
...Easy fixtures my arse.
The Obligatory 'Happy We Lost'
Hahahaha yes you've all had a good laugh after our absolutely horrid display against Swansea, now can we move on? Thank you.
I for one am happy we lost. Why? This serves as a wake up call for us to go into the market and get the right kind of players. A pair of wingers who are more direct and fast wouldn't be a bad start. I swear I will gorge my eyes out if I have to see Ashley Young pass the ball back to defence when there are forward options available one more time.
In addition, if we are going to play with a back 3 then we need a proper defensive midfielder. Fletcher isn't the tough tackling type he promised to be and Herreira is a bit too silky to sit in front of the defence. Then we need to go out and get another centre half.
I think one should do it. We already have Jones who was an absolute beast, young Tyler Blackett did ok (yes I know his mistake led to the second goal but he's a baby we can forgive him), Smalling is ok and Evans will get the job done. Therefore one more centre-half will leave us with a cover of two. I think if we can manage that fair bit of business by September 1 we should be fine.
Oh and a wee bit of a reminder... Arsenal lost their first game last season, they went on to buy Ozil and that didn't go too badly for them did it?!
Tinashe, Man Utd, Harare
A Strange Game
This Utd game was a strange one. It seemed clear that a 3-5-2 didn't make sense given that Bony was a lone striker. I suspect 2 central defenders would've been sufficient to deal with him.
I can understand the switch to 4-4-1-1 and personally I might've withdrawn Blackett to bring on Nani but at that stage I thought united were likely to get at least 1 point from the game. It all felt a bit familiar and annoying when Rooney scored.
Bony had an awful game in my opinion but it was his quick thinking which created the second goal for Swansea. Gomis was pretty impressive when he came on.
Lots of Man Utd fans seemed convinced this past week it was their God given right to win the opening 6 fixtures, their pre-season form convinced them that things would simply revert back to normal. I hope some tails are between some legs.
Also found it vaguely sad that nine minutes into the opening game of the season all Utd fans could think of singing about was Stevie G. Perhaps a bit more concern about the players on the pitch would help next time out.
Swansea (8/1) Beating United (4/11) Wasn't A Shock
So Swansea claimed a shock 2-1 victory against Manchester Utd? When did this shock result happen?
The result yesterday wasn't that surprising. Given the sad state of affairs at Man Utd last season, the paucity of adequate defenders and the arrival of a new manager, it was always quite possible that they could start slowly and perhaps lose a few games.
Mediawatch wouldn't allow a Red-Top to get away with such a headline.
Praise For Lambert
Well, myself and precisely none of the Vila faithful I'm friends with expected that. A crafty away result. Nice.
Apparently we can defend now. Who knew. I believe this not entirely unwelcome, if surprising result is down to a new, potent and previously unknown secret power, wielded by a desperate Lambert. It's a new season, but the pressure is on already.
If the one thing we Villa fans know, it's dull/crap footy when we see it. Home form utter rubbish for two seasons, away form getting worse, club up for sale etc etc.
Lambert knew he needed a result. He has turned to the darker arts. Utilising the power of Roy Keane's Beard (tm), he was able to nullify Stoke despite having no one any more than average at his disposal. Apart from Ron Vlaar, who LVG in his his genius, replaced the disaster-waiting-to-happen Ron Vlaar previous to the World Cup, with a robot from the future, found in an abandoned secret Dutch laboratory. It defends like a proper centre-half, but it's cunningly disguised as Ron Vlaar.
There's a certain elegance to its simplicity. But remember kids, this is the Villa. It's not the despair that kills you, it's the hope.
Steve Kavanagh, somewhere in Birmingham
Don't Get Ahead Of Yourselves
I think mostly all of Saturday's results go to show how crowning transfer window/off season winners & losers can be a bit of a folly.
Now don't get me wrong, I understand that it's reasonable to analysis a club's moves in the offseason (I enjoy reading f365's pieces on it as much as the next football enjoyer) and there are valid points to be made about the strengths and weaknesses of squads as they would appear before any games are played, but watching again on Match of the Day crystallised my thoughts on the matter.
One could argue Swansea had a bad offseason, with questions about the quality of their manager and selling off first team players pointing to a troubling start at a supposedly galvanised United and yet they came out winners looking like their 2012/13 vintage. Easy response here is to say United had a worse offseason but I'd disagree politely there and ask you to bear with me.
Sniffy noses have been turned up towards Leicester, Hull and Palace's offseasons, with seemingly silly money thrown at a Champo striker, the Snodgrass and Livermore near £15mill combined fee and the parting with Tony the Messiah, but that there were commendable performances in those three instances is undeniable.
However it's really the Stoke v Villa game that is best evidence. Several pants needed washing with Sparky's supposedly top, top off season. Pants-cleaning was also the case for Villa, albeit for different reasons. Villa are as good as down if you'd believe the previews, with many citing the lack of quality business, but a good defensive set up and some exciting counters belie those predictions. Reports of their demise have been greatly exaggerated.
The main thing to take away from this is that whilst there is value in seeking meaningful conclusions from transfer business and offseason drama, having a tight squad yet getting ideas across and installing the right system efficiently and effectively is just as important. Of course buying players is an important aspect of any teams offseason, but it's buying key players that really makes the difference. So whilst I look forward to your piece come the 2nd of September, it'll really take 6-8 games to get a true read on who should've made better use of their offseason time.