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Please Play Herrera Again
Some United CL observations:
Ander Herrera playing behind the striker scored, assisted and did everything that Januzaj was supposed to but didn’t. Here’s hoping that LvG gives him a couple more opportunities to play there in the league.
Sergio Romero is apparently “absolutely f*ckin not” a good signing, as a fellow mailboxer said to correct me. Well, he has kept 4 clean sheets now, was only beaten by a flukey own goal and made an excellent save in the one on one last night. Considering how little first team football he’s played in 2015, I am more than happy with him so far.
That Hernandez performance just about summed it up for him; slipping over taking a penalty and spooning it over the bar from 5 yards. I love the guy but you can’t help but feel he needs a fresh start somewhere.
What a difference a goal makes; Rooney looked a totally different player after be scored. He’s already United’s top scorer and has hopefully given himself the boost he needed to start scoring regularly now.
That said, we still look like on options up front, with or without Hernandez. We can probably get away without a centre-back, considering we still have Rojo to come back, and midfield seems sorted. A Pedro-type player would be ideal really, though we obviously messed that one up. Maybe Berahino is worth a look, with Wilson going the other way on loan? The transfer business feels about 80% done, so I really hope they just take that final step and get the player to finish it off.
United attacked with style and fluency and, once they settled down, showed a real goal threat. The next aim has to be to translate that form into league games. Last night’s performance doesn’t herald the dawn of a new era or anything, but it’s another step on the journey back to where we were 3 years ago. Swansea will pose a much greater threat but this was a decent performance to boost the confidence going into that game.
Memphis Reminds Me Of Ronaldo
I know it was Only Brugge, sister club of only QPR, but there are positives (and one or two negatives) to take from the CL qualifiers.
Now, I’m not for one minute saying that Memphis is going to turn into a Ronaldo-esque demi-god (last Wednesday’s mailbox… eesh), but there are things about his game that remind me a lot of Ronaldo’s early days at United.
Clearly very skilful, quick-footed and lightning across the ground but not really finding an end product. Ronaldo, once he gained his (now unsurpassed) self-belief, and improved his decision making and composure, only needed to do a bit fine tuning with his technique and improve his physique to become the goalscoring freak that he is now.
Memphis already has the physique but has only shown flashes of brilliance so far and often looks wasteful. Despite this, his presence in the team is secure, with the wastefulness offset by the sheer unpredictability and potential for the sublime – when he does pick out the right pass/cross, it’s usually pinpoint.
The second half midfield las night looked magic. Herrera and Schweinsteiger could be a formidable partnership – both capable of sitting back, but also both very capable of unlocking defences and, at least in Hererra’s case, scoring goals as well. I guess that’s bad news for Januzaj; the team looks much more solid, as well as much more able to work the ball in tight areas. Januzaj was probably selected due to a perceived greater goal threat, but Hererra is actually more prolific and is more useful in deeper areas too.
Rooney took his three goals well and it’s good to see him bag at last. Hopefully this could be the start of a spurt (shudder). He was also a tad unlucky not to get a fourth, but for a really good save. What I liked was that he was playing on the shoulder of the last defender quite a lot yesterday, and was occupying a centre-forward role the majority of the time, which he has failed to do for what feels like an age. The major negative was the tumble in the box that was as clumsy as it was obviously simulated. Personally I think it showed a lack of belief in his own agility, to be able to turn back quickly and keep the ball – so he just fell over like an elephant in a tutu.
It is concerning that performances seem so hard to come by against Premier League opposition, yet Club Brugge were dismissed with relative ease. Ho-hum. Hopefully we luck upon the solution to this, sharpish.
Chris, SAF Stand
United Are A Laughing Stock
What Chris the sheep was correctly pointing out is that currently we are the laughing stock of club football globally.
For the past 3 seasons we have openly missed out on top player after top player. This has a damaging effect. The really top players are no doubt questioning whether we really are the Giants of England that we once were.
There is absolutely no merit in stories coming out regarding Neymar, Muller, Bale etc as we are leaving ourselves wide open to criticism. That is damaging our reputation. You ask ANY utd fan, and they would rather we just conduct ourselves quietly and without notice rather than going “Balls out” and claiming that there is no one that we can’t get and that the pockets of the glazers are extraordinarily big. That is damaging!
Citeh have without doubt that biggest pockets in world football, but yet you don’t hear them saying as ed did “we can do things in the transfer market that other clubs could only dream of” That is damaging!!!
Its like ed is trying to convince himself. Stepaside Ed, we appreciate that you have done a medicore job in addressing the midfield issue, but its time for the real negotiators to step in and sort it out once and for all.
Regards, Stevies Devils
The Emperor’s New Clothes
Whenever I see Van Gaal sitting smugly on the bench I find myself singing “the emperor’s new clothes”, care of Sinead O’Connor, over and over again. I even copy her waily style.
When he first signed on I was really pleased, his big Dutch nuts were just what were required to sort out the Moyes mess. Or so I thought.
It turns out that absolutely nothing he has done is remotely ground breaking or innovative. I was honestly hoping for a new version of total football. He may talk about ” philosophy” and try to create an aura of tactical genius but it’s b******s. He has players out of position (swap Mata and Memphis, play Herrera with one of the S’s), and the tactics are typical premier league.
LVG talks about phases of play as if it is something revolutionary. How dare you question me, I am a genius. Any C Licence coaching course in Australia covers this. The amazed response in the recent mailboxes to the existence of “triggers” for pressing suggests a serious lack of knowledge from the average football fan. This perhaps explains why people are in awe of Van Gaal. Again triggers for pressing are covered in lowish level coaching courses. 10 year old’s know them.
What have we got from LVG? Rigid formations, static players, slow ball movement, players out of position, key players omitted, poor man management, predictable sub’s.The only difference between United and Swansea, Liverpool, Spurs et al is better players. A bigger budget. The only way United can win the title with the current management is by buying the best players eg Muller and Bale etc because currently the end product is less than the sum of the parts. This is damning.
Finally, it doesn’t take 18 months to implement a new style of play. This is also a myth. Full-time players should be able to adopt a new style after a preseason. That Van Gaal is still struggling is a blight on he, Giggs and co. And the players. Mind you, is it even a new style of play? Pass it around a bit and chip it in for a Fellaini knock down.
Fadida, Australia (the emperor’s new clothes, the emperor’s new clo-oo-othes)
Rooney Is The Best I didn’t watch the match last night but I reckon Rooney is better than Best, Cantona, Beckham, Ronaldo and Depay put together.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC
Chelsea’s Transfer Policy The One To Follow
I read a mail here from a Manchester united fan complaining about the post SAF transfer policy. Though I share that opinion with him, one should also remember the complaints against his later day transfer policy, where United were starved of star signings, particularly in midfield. So there was some merit to slightly revamping that transfer policy, but I feel they took the change too far.
I cringe when I say this, but Chelsea’s transfer policy is now the model to follow. Yes, there was a time when Chelsea was signing players left, right and center; if you look at their policy now, they are identifying weak areas in the team, plugging them and not mindlessly going after star signings
Ramos, Bale, Neymar, Ronaldo. Really? I do not think any sensible fan would have complained if we had just signed Otamendi and Pedro and called it done for the summer. And we could have wrapped both deals up a month ago.
Same thing with De Gea. Asking for Ramos in exchange for De Gea was bizarre. De Gea is going to leave, one way or the other. Just get the maximum value and get another keeper (Cillessen would have done just fine). Again this could have been done a month ago.
That would have made us serious title challengers. It would have given us time to gel the players together and concentrate on racking up points rather than securing unrealistic targets at the tail end of the transfer window.
Instead, it seems increasingly likely that we will either end up with:
1. No additional signings and an unhappy / not committed De Gea, or
2. A sub-par goal keeper in Ramero and addition of a mid-table premier league hit and miss or
3. A combination of the two
One might say it is easy to say these things in hindsight, but that is what separates good management from bad management: ability to have foresight about things that normal people like me can only see in hindsight. Its another thing though that most of us could see the writing on the wall a month ago.
More Tactical Insight
Having enjoyed the tactical insights offered up in the mailbox yesterday, have one to offer myself.
I indirectly heard from a former Scottish Premier League academy player that players are now trained to make a play in the first two seconds of having the ball in the attacking third of the pitch. So basically their options are pass, shoot or dribble. If they wait longer than two seconds it kills the attack as the defence has time to get their shape and defend against every other players attacking position.
The example given for how successful this can be was Ross Barkeley, and it’s blatantly obvious that he does this when you watch him play. He might have a lot of shots off target or misplaced passes, but everyone knows he makes things happen. I watched Memphis Depay doing this last week and you could see every time he received the ball that he never dallied for more than one second. As a result he can be wasteful but equally when you watch United you know he’s the most likely to make something happen for them.
Phejoc, (I enjoyed the insight anyway…) Dublin