Keep those emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
If Mourinho says it, believe it
Mourinho said Pogba would soon be seen as cheap, and thanks to Neymar, he is.
Mourinho said Mikhitaryan needed time to adjust and he did.
Mourinho signed Zlatan and it worked.
Mourinho signed Bailly and it worked.
Mourinho signed Mikhitaryan and it worked.
Mourinho signed Pogba and it looks very likely to work.
Mourinho signed Matic and it looks very likely to work.
Mourinho signed Lukaku and it looks a good buy.
So if Mourinho says Lindelof will take time, he’s probably right.
Jose must be even more chuffed with himself than he ordinarily is. Lets see how next year goes but I believe him when he says he wants to stay for years. He’s doing a very good job at United.
Andreas Hunter, St Albans
These are the games that Man United cocked up
I fully expected to see a slew of “it was only West Ham” mails in response to the giddiness, and I wasn’t disappointed. I also happen to agree with all those who wrote in – it was “only” West Ham (no disrespect meant).
However, it was precisely in games like this that we came unstuck last season. We created plenty against the so-called smaller teams, but ended up drawing, and that cut us further and further adrift from the pack challenging for the title.
While I am in no way suggesting that we’re favourites for the title (we’re just one game in, FFS), it was refreshing to see us ruthlessly dispatch a team that we really should be beating at home. Most encouraging was that we didn’t sit back at 2-0, and instead went ahead and got two more. Let’s just hope we repeat the trick against Stoke, Burnley, Bournemouth and the rest.
DJ, MUFC (will only get carried away if we’re still playing like this in November) India
…Opposition fans are quite correct in the assertion it’s only West Ham and some of my fellow supporters were getting rather giddy, but can I just say last season it was only West Ham, it was only Burnley, it was only Swansea etc. The reason United fans have grounds for optimism is watching United play with attacking verve, actually converting chances into goals and beating a team who came to park the bus convincingly. To be tarred with the same brush as Liverpool fans is so wide of the mark it’s not worth a comment (well maybe just one) United fans can still remember winning the league in 2012/13 not quite the 27 years Liverpool have been waiting (by comment I mean thinly veiled dig). People just love to pour cold water on any joyous celebration by opposition fans (tin pot cups etc) but if you can’t enjoy watching your team spank 4 past anyone why bother watching football?
Paul Murphy, Manchester
…As I was one of the United fans excited about our first game I feel an explanation of sorts is due.
Although the phrase p*ssing on one’s chips does spring to mind, I agree it was JUST West Ham. It was also just Watford, just Burnley, just Brighton, just Newcastle… Ad nauseum.
At the risk of repeating myself: our failure in the league last season was owing to our inability to kill games off. Not putting the ball in the back of the net when we were dominating was an unwanted feature of our game. 1-0 or 1-1 was a nightmare scoreline for us going into the final 15 minutes, and the more it became a ‘thing’ the more nervous the crowd and subsequently the players became. I mean that was at home and away.
But it’s that type of game we drew at home…consistently. Let’s look back at this exact game from last season: 1-1. Ah. Okay. Let’s look at some of the other teams we drew to at home: Burnley, Stoke, Hull, Bournemouth, West Brom, Swansea, Everton and even Arsenal scored a last minute equaliser. We should have won those games comfortably with the chances we created. Listen, we still should have scored more yesterday but I’ll be happy with four. If the finishing becomes even more clinical as the season progresses United fans are in for a treat.
My optimism, personally, stems from the evidence, that like the United teams of old, we may well swat a few of those teams aside this season. If you think that’s unreasonable then…well, I guess that’s football, isn’t it?
The response to the response to the response to the win. And this is the last.
Wow, what a bunch of killjoys! Reasons United fans were cheerful:
– We won comfortably at home (i.e. by two or more clear goals) – something we only managed five times in the league last year (Southampton, Leicester, Sunderland, Watford & Chelsea)
– In this fixture last year we drew 1-1, despite having 68% possession and 17 shots
– Our £75m+ striker, making his debut in the Premier League for us, scored two well-taken goals and created more chances than any other PL striker
– Two players who struggled for goals last season – Martial and Pogba – both scored
– 80% of our shots on target were goals
– We scored from a set piece
– We didn’t shut up shop at 2-0 and play the match out, we kept attacking and scored two additional goals – something we rarely did last year
And as for this “it’s only West Ham” and “West Ham were awful” nonsense, West Ham:
– had more possession (44.6%) than Liverpool (40.4%), Leicester (30%), Newcastle (26.9%), and Brighton (21.8%)
– took more shots than (9) than Leicester (6), Newcastle (6), and Brighton (6), and as many as Everton (9)
– completed more passes (79.6%) than Watford (79.2%), Liverpool (69.3%), Leicester (63.5%), Newcastle (64.1%), Brighton (61%) and Everton (79.1%)
– made more key passes (7) than Leicester (4), Newcastle (5), and Brighton (2), and as many as both Liverpool and Everton (7)
– completed more tackles (76.2%) than Watford (68.4%), Liverpool (55.6%), Leicester (47.1%), and Newcastle (75%)
It wasn’t the best performance by West Ham by a long shot, but let’s not pretend that it was against some League 2 minnows, or littered with catastrophic errors – we were just better than them on the day. You can only beat the team in front of you, and we did that; I officially apologise to football fans around the globe that we didn’t beat the classic Barcelona side of a few years ago, I know that would have been more impressive, and we have really let you all down by completing the scheduled match instead.
Furthermore, if you can’t be pleased about winning 4-0 then when the hell can you? We aren’t celebrating like we’ve won the league, we’re just pleased to see an actual improvement on last season. You bunch of rotters.
Changing the transfer window dates
According to reports, Premier League clubs are discussing plans to close the summer transfer window before the start of the season next year. The thought process seems to be that squads will be finalised prior to the first kick-off and will not lead to situations such as that with Van Dijk and Coutinho. I seem to remember Wenger coming out a few seasons ago in favour of this on the basis of it being fairer, given each team will face the same opponents in terms of personnel.
This is all good and well except it ignores the fact that transfer windows throughout Europe will still close at the start of September. So the position would then be that English clubs could not buy any players but players could still move to somewhere else in the continent. If anything, it would make the situation worse because if someone like Coutinho throws his toys out of the pram when Barca come calling then Liverpool would not be able to find a replacement. Furthermore, other European teams would not be in a rush to sell their players as they know their window stays open longer. Therefore, it will make it more difficult to buy players from foreign leagues and could inflate prices even more.
In terms of Wenger’s point, I believe he said “The other handicap is that a player could play against you three times for two different clubs”, well this doesn’t solve that issue at all given the January transfer window still exists and would remain unchanged. In fact, I am not even sure if it is an issue. So what if a player can face you three times? I could understand if it was Messi!
In conclusion, unless there is a consensus across Europe and the January window is removed, it should be left as it is and people should just dry their eyes and get on with it.
Garey (just where do banal trolls go on “holibobs” anyway?) Vance, MUFC
Some unheralded weekend excellence
A few more standouts from the weekend that haven’t been mentioned much:
Steven Defour was superb for Burnley as a fairly deep-lying midfielder. Since he fits better in a three-man central midfield than in a two, he didn’t see as much time last year as his quality deserves. But he was great in both attack and defence against Chelsea, and might convince Sean Dyche to stick with only one striker for a while.
Also excellent was Alfie Mawson for Swansea. The Swans were under pressure all game, and he didn’t put a foot wrong. He’s picked up where he left off last year. Federico Fernandez was pretty good too, although one rash challenge looked like a penalty. And speaking of defenders, Nathan Aké looked the part for Bournemouth.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek was deployed too far forward to start the game, but did a fine job once he was dropped deeper in midfield, where he belongs.
Best of all, Jay Rodriguez looked fit and lively. He tired a bit in the second half, but he was moving into space freely all game and got off several good shots. He should be a real asset for West Brom.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA (a hairless David Silva is worse than no David Silva at all)
People get really annoyed about pundits
I have seen a few emails come in about some of the punditry on TV at the moment and I have to agree.
I think it’s time for a revamp and upgrade on some of these faces. Before I start, I used to live in Dubai and couldn’t wait for BeIN sports, Richard Keys and Andy Gray, a blast from my childhood. But they are so far past their sell by dates, Keys makes the football about him, asks questions then doesn’t wait for an answer – the two of them argue non stop. Anyway, Who needs to go (in no particular order):
1. Graeme Souness – sour, glum, monotone, outdated, actually depresses me sometimes
2. Michael Owen – yes recently retired but again, provides no excitement to the viewer
3. Phil Neville – Cant articulate his thought process, comes across stupid. also awkward.
4. The entire Soccer Saturday brigade of ex-pros.
– Charlie Nicholas – even as a Scotsman his accent is off putting, provides no real analysis
– Matt Le Tissier – great player, not the worst but there has to better
– Paul Merson – how he is paid for expert analysis is beyond me.
– Phil Thompson – Old fashioned – argumentative
5. Alan Smith – Horrendous accent, again, not sure what he brings
6. Paul Walsh – describes what he sees
7. Andy Townsend – wasnt a great footballer, isn’t a great talker
8. ESPN haha Shaka Hislop and Craig Burley…. could be worse
In this day in age, surely it cant be difficult to find good, well informed and educated people to bring expert analysis and get away from these ex players with BANTZ… I’d throw in Tim Sherwood, Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton, Robbie Savage.. and a lot more but that’s ad many as I can recall at the moment.
Kudos to Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, Jamie Redknapp (sometimes), Henry (Sometimes).
The Ox logic
Contract negotiations between Arsenal and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have stalled because he isn’t happy playing at wing back. Yet it’s being reported, quite a few times, that Chelsea are increasingly optimistic on landing him… to play at wing back.
I must be missing something?
Mike (really hope he stays, mind) AFC