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Horny horny horny
More horny football please Louis.
Dave P MUFC
Please do that again in the Premier League. Pretty please?
Saladinho (And every United fan)
Loving the United way…
There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the ‘United Way’ and how it’s a bit of a myth but I beg to disagree and believe that last night’s match against ‘strong password’ was exactly the ‘United Way’.
I am not going to hail Rashford as the coming of the new messiah but the tradition at United has always been to promote from within and give youth a chance and boy did Rashwood take that chance! I defy any supporter to disagree that there is nothing better than to see one of your ‘own’ players have a debut like that, a night that regardless of what happens in his career Rashwood will remember for the rest of his life.
With the youngsters spread throughout the team and a smattering of experience in there to help them out we looked the most vibrant that we have all season, none of the young lads let themselves or the club down and should be immensely proud of their efforts. Yes Midtjylland are a minnow who, with all due respect, United should be playing off the park but it was a great night for United and I sincerely hope that the young lads go on to have long successful careers, at United or elsewhere.
With regard to LVG I have always been in the ‘give him time’ club because I do think he is turning us around and it is the impatience of us fans demanding instant success that is creating all the pressure. Yes, our performances this year have been largely lacklustre and extremely boring at times but I do feel that last night’s performance was a sign of what LVG is trying to build towards, if that future means more performances like last night with the youngsters leading the way then I for one will be proud and will be cheering them all the way.
If this is life without the likes of Rooney and other overpaid prima donnas then I’m all for it.
…Whilst there are the usual disclaimers – it was only Midtjylland, the real test will be Sunday, we still left ourselves with a lot to do and we still have a lot to do to save our season – that was by far and away the best United performance of the season and the only time we have looked like a Manchester United team.
There’s been a lot of talk in the mailbox (and elsewhere) about what exactly ‘The United Way’ is. Some suggest it’s attacking, free-flowing football, some have suggested it’s a pragmatic approach, doing whatever to win, and others have (erroneously) suggested it is not far off the Mourinho way. Whilst under Fergie we evolved from the former to the latter, United fans with a memory that stretches back to before the treble year will know what ‘The United Way’ looks like and it’s something akin to ‘small boys in the park, jumpers for goalposts?’. It’s all about playing with pace, breaking quickly, great wing play, the players expressing themselves. It’s about mixing great players from around the world with home grown talent. Think Cantona, Keane and the class of 92. Think Law, Charlton and Best. Think Ronaldo, Rooney and…er…Fletcher?? This is almost exactly what we got last night, albeit last night was a very embryonic performance from a ridiculously young side (Carrick aside).
The vim and vigour of United’s play has been on the wane since we lost Ronaldo. His replacement, Antonio Valencia, was indicative of the play Fergie took in the dying embers of his career – direct, solid, hard working but definitely not exciting. (If Valencia or Young have ever made the hairs on the back of your next stand up as the likes of Giggs, Ronaldo, Cantona – Kanchelskis even – did mine then you need to see a doctor as you probably have some sort of thermoregulatory disorder.) After David Moyes did his best to turn United from men into mice, LVG has continued the approach of neutering United’s play in an attempt to make us a possession-based ljuggernaut, like Barcelona but with slower play and worse players. I was starting to fall out of love with United, and out of love with football.
But watching that second half last night gave me everything I remember about being a United fan. Passion, speed of thought, speed of play, a mercurial winger, bombing full-backs, the young players coming through the ranks and of course a squeaky bum every time the opposition approaches our penalty area. Riley and Depay combining was an absolute dream to watch, like Giggs and Irwin, Varela was excellent, Mata in the hole orchestrating events, Schneiderlin covering the pitch like an actual midfielder (we don’t see many of those in a red shirt at Old Trafford these days) and, of course, the young 18 year old scoring twice on debut. THIS is the United way. They were brave and confident, continuing to attack at 3-1 where conceding would’ve been catastrophic. THAT is the United way.
Depay is such a joy when he’s free to express himself. Sure he gives the ball away and probably tries too many tricks. But does anyone remember the first ten years of Giggs’ career? He was exactly the same. As was Ronaldo. But that is part of the joy of a winger and has been forgotten in the successes of both men’s careers. And I’m sure it will be forgotten in Depay’s too. I’m not telling you Depay will not mistakes when he matures, I’m telling you when he’s ready, it won’t matter.
The success of Van Gaal’s United tenure will eventually be his undoing. His decision to keep a small squad to let the young players have game time will probably benefit United in the long run but short-term results have been affected and are likely to cost LVG his job. He can hide behind the injuries but when the best performance of the season comes without the presence of Rooney, Schweintseiger, Darmian, Shaw, Smalling, De Gea and Martial you have to ask who inspired last night’s performance. While the DDG, the defenders and Martial are unlikely to have adversely affected that performance (though Riley and Varela would not have had a chance to shine) the pedestrian Rooney and Schweini would have been very out of place. It is also perhaps because Carrick and Blind had to play defensively that our attacks were so quick and free flowing (though Blind did well coming out of the back at times). So whilst last night was brilliant the only credit LVG can take is ensuring the squad is tiny – a dubious honour given the other performances we’ve all endured this year.
United can’t play like that on Sunday and win. Arsenal’s pace would destroy Carrick and Blind, especially with our full-backs bombing forward. But at this stage I really don’t care. This is a United side ravaged by injuries playing in the probably the most boring style of the club’s history. All United fans are asking for, for the rest of the season, is a bit of excitement. We are supposed to play at the Theatre of Dreams after all.
Ash (I know, it was only Midtjylland) Metcalfe
…A great European night for Manchester Utd again and a second high score win for LvG. I have been critical (and still remain critical) of his stewardship but he deserves commendation for the emphatic victory over Midtjylland. The play was easy on the eyes and goals flowed. Above all, he showed that his specialty lies with youth development. Whether this is the vision of the board leaves much to conjecture but for us fans good football, lots of goals and trophies to crown it is all we crave. LvG needs to make results consistent and I suggest he continues his legacy of working with youths. Injuries to some first-team player has seen some promising youths unearthed and I daresay he continues to do this as their energy helps to over-run teams who sit back. Finally, the mix of youth and experience was good as well as using only one holding midfielder (Scheiderlin) as against his usual two.
Osama (LvG needs a transfer committee to handle transfers if he is to remain in charge) Nigeria
…A magical night of European football at Old Trafford. Just like the old days. Okay not really at all, but let me have this.
Rashford. What a debut. Going from being on the bench, to unexpectedly starting, to scoring two vital goals. Regardless of what happens with the rest of his career, Rashford (United supporting Mancunian) will never forget the night he scored two goals at Stretford End to save United in Europe. Beautiful, magical moment.
Memphis Depay had the type of performance we’ve all been waiting for. He looked full of confidence and full of energy. He seems to be a completely different player when confident, it was wonderful to watch. And that piece of skill that nutmegged the right-back, that was nice.
Varela and Riley both stepped up tonight too. Both were composed and both attacked well, particularly Varela.
Jesse Lingard is not good. All I ever see him do is run into players or pass backwards and I do not understand why some United fans rate him highly. I would much rather see Pereira starting for United.
It was a good night against weak opposition, but it felt amazing after all the low points of this season. No one expects us to get anything against Arsenal due to injuries (and us being terrible most of the time) so I’d love to see some all out attacking football. With a confident Memphis and a youngster whose dream just came true, who knows what could happen.
Gaaavie, (expect an angry mail complaining about how bad we are in a few days) Cape Town
…* Don’t tell me it was “only” FC Midtjylland — that was utterly, totally, balls-out brilliant from Manchester United. Without their best attacker, best defender, and number one keeper, and needing three goals to win, they threw everything they had, never wavered, and finally blew past the opposition like they were standing still. That, folks, was a Great European Night. (They’ll get at least a draw against Arsenal this weekend.)
* I know this is a big “if,” but if Coutinho, Firmino, and Sturridge can stay healthy together for any length of time, Liverpool are going to win a lot of football matches next year. Klopp will have added a player or two, and will have had more time to work with the squad. There’s no reason they can’t threaten the top four. (They’ll beat City in the cup final Sunday.)
* Spurs. What a pleasure. It’s been a long time since a Premier League side outclassed a strong opponent in a knockout tie. They look like the complete package. (And they’ll win the title.)
* Great night for the coefficient!
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Some Man United conclusions
* Rashford! Movement off the ball, attacking intent with the ball. Does this mean Rooney can be sold? Please? Can’t wait to see Rashford and Martial on the pitch at the same time.
* When Mata kept the ball in play at the goal line, all the United players were standing still, except Rashford. This has to be something they have been coached to do, because game after game, balls are fired across the goal with nobody attacking the goalmouth. Rashford kept his feet moving, and the result speaks for itself. Cue the camera on LVG, who is scowling and taking notes. It’s almost like he viewed Rashford’s actions as a mistake.
* Memphis has found his level. His best games in a United shirt have been against Club Brugge and Midtjylland.
* Varela did well, but Riley was excellent, at least in attack. Luke Shaw will have competition at his position when he returns.
* Hats off to all the youth players. This was their night.
* Does LVG have a rule against forwards attacking long balls played up to them? In the 59th minute, a United attacker challenged for a long ball from the back. I can’t be sure, but it seemed like the first time all game.
* If Midtjylland had started with both Sisto and Onuacho against Blind and Carrick, the outcome might have been very different. Both of them looked like they were too much to handle for LVG’s strange selection. What must Paddy McNair feel when he sees two midfielders playing in his position?
* Who doesn’t like a game with crap defending at both ends?
* It was not an excellent penalty save, it was a poor shot by Mata. LVG wanted horny, but Mata’s penalty was limp.
* Fortunately, Herrera doesn’t suffer from performance anxiety.
Imagine those United kids v Barca…
What a great performance that was from such a young, inexperienced, barely played together team. Two makeshift CBs, our fifth-choice LB and fourth-choice RB, a (normal) under performing winger and a fourth-choice striker. Dominating possession, brilliant movement and physical throughout the game.
I was up all night thinking about that performance and how I can see why LVG wanted a ‘thin’ squad to give these youngsters a chance because look how good they are…but also LVG wanted to be playing in the Champions League this season, probably wanted to win it! If United were still in the CL with this injury crisis, how would these players have played against some of these teams? It wouldn’t have been fun to watch Barca’s three strikers run circles around these kids…it would be soul destroying!
If LVG’s plan from the start of the season was to play with this squad in the CL then I admire his trust in the youngsters…but is it just naive?
Stoky-Boy – one step along the longest round back into CL done!
Wenger has no excuse against those kids
In 2011 Arsenal went to Old Trafford with a team of: Szcesney, Jenkinson, Djourou, Koscielny, Traore, Coquelin (pre-Charlton), Ramsey, Rosicky, Walcot,t Van Persie and Arshavin.
Injuries decimated our back line with both Nasri and Fabregas sold that summer to rip out our midfield.
We lost 8-2, when you look at the full-backs, a young Szcesney and Djourou, it’s no surprise.
We go to United with them potentially fielding Romero, Varela, Carrick, Blind and Riley as their back five.
Not to mention there is no Rooney or Martial to face.
Wenger really has no excuse.
They were there for the taking when we lost 1-0 to Moyes led United, Chelsea were there for the taking this season but Gabriel fell into the trap of Costa.
Arsenal need to show a ruthlessness not often seen under Wenger.
I feel that Graham Simons Norf London touched on it in Wednesday’s mailbox, Wenger’s mentality. Adeybayor and many others have often said Mourinho prepared his teams for war, Much the same from Fergie – always telling his players they could win, whereas, we went into the Barca game accepting we had no chance just like we went into the Moyes-led 1-0 loss with Wenger saying “they are still Man United and deserve respect”.
No, no they don’t, this is a United team decimated by injury, unrest and inconsistency, a team who have lost four of their last ten in the league with only three wins. They’ve only scored 33 in 26 games (unheard of for a united team).
It’s time we showed why the bookies have Arsenal as favourites.
A champions elect Arsenal would win this game, comfortably.
But will Wenger get his team to believe?
Strevs, Afc, Canada
It’s coming together for Liverpool
Watching Liverpool you do get the sense that our forward players have got some sort of really exciting understanding cooking. The interplay between Coutinho, Firmino and Sturridge was great but it had an all-too-familiar profligacy to it which was a tad frustrating.
Although we did bowl over City once before you can’t help but have a huge amount of uncertainty going into this cup final. I think the large Wembley pitch will favour both sets of forwards, and it’ll make the battle for full-backs to overlap and get involved in attacks hugely important. Whilst they do have the better players I also hope that their thoughts will be more heavily on the league and Champions League and so maybe they just won’t want it as much as our lot do.
Would both sets of fans be happy if we won the cup but they won the league match, assuming you couldn’t have both? I’d definitely take that now.
Also if we draw Man Utd in the Europa League I will be ridiculously happy and excited.
Spurs will win the league title
Well, that settles it. Spurs will win the Premier League title. The reason? It is now clear that they are the only contenders this season who have the three things a title-winning team must have:
1. A top manager/coach whose game plan the players execute faithfully and without question, every time they go on the pitch.
2. A group of talented, and more importantly, hungry players who don’t know when to stop.
3. Players who all have absolute confidence in each other, on the pitch.
These were the characteristics that also marked out Liverpool of the 70’s and 80’s, Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd., and Brian Clough’s Notts Forest.
Kirit, North West London (Please don’t wake me up from this sweet dream…just let me lay here and enjoy it…)
I’m loathing it…
Would love to agree with Jon Nic’s article about there being no place for hatred in football, but Michael f**king Owen is on commentary duty…
Lewis, Busby Way