His decline is sad, but how much longer can Manchester United afford to keep carrying Wayne Rooney? Also, Anthony Martial and burnout, and an Arsenal fan wants #WengerIn…
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A much needed 3 points for United. A few F365 conclusions from the game…
* It has been pointed out a few times this season, United looked the most dangerous when we moved the ball quickly. We got in behind a few times in the first half from fast, direct passing. When we gave the Wolfsburg defense time to organise, the lack of movement gave United no way through.
* Terrible defending all round for the German’s opener. Valencia proving why he’s not a natural defender by being about 5 yards behind the rest of the defense. We will miss Shaw.
* Rooney was absolutely anonymous in the first half. I would call him awful, but you have to have the ball to be awful. The only meaningful impact he had on the game was his miskick that lead to United’s second.
* Juan Mata’s pass. Sublime.
* Smalling continued his transformation into one of the best centre backs in the country. He was the best player on the pitch tonight. Didn’t put a foot wrong.
* The game then changed with the odd decision to bring on Pereira combined with Schurrle being brought on for Wolfsburg. Pereira was very slow tracking back too often and left Darmian exposed to often. Wolfsburg probably deserved an equaliser, but lacked a final ball.
* Finally, I hadn’t had a chance to use it before tonight, but credit where credit’s due, the BT Sport app is actually very good. All 8 games available through one click, unintrusive goal updates from other games, with a live tracker to take you to all chances. Good work. Saying that, the only reason I had to use it was that it’s taken them a week to send someone out to look at my broken set top box. So there is that…
*Juan Mata’s pass. Again.
James “Flash” Hamilton.
– Juan Mata is on fire at the moment. He looks the most dangerous United player and seems to be involved in every goal we score.
– Schweini also looks very comfortable in the midfield. His organisation, composure, energy and enthusiasm shine through in each match now.
– Memphis Depay wastes the ball in so many promising positions. His poor performances can’t have gone unnoticed and it wouldn’t surprise me if Ashley Young gets the nod at Arsenal.
– Martial again looked a quality centre forward. It’s great to see a kid so young with such confidence, ability and willingness to get stuck in. It almost reminds you of a young…
– Poor Wayne Rooney. What can you say about his game at the moment? He’s offering almost nothing over 90 minutes of football. He definitely shouldn’t be in the side on current form. No pace, no creativity in the final third, no confidence on the ball even. I really hope it’s one of his lulls rather than his new standard of performance because he won’t last in the side like this. How could he?
– Sniederlin (spelling?) (and is that a French name?) was very lucky not to be sent off. That’s the most clumsy performance I’ve seen from him for United so far. Still he offers a higher standard of steel in the centre than Fletch or Cleverly did for a number of years along side Carrick.
– Darmian was excellent throughout. Great work ethic and just clever defensive positioning at important moments. Redemption for his shocker in PSV a few weeks back.
– Smalling was excellent again. Keane and Dixon had a go at him for the first goal on ITV but surely that was down to Valencia playing the lad onside? If he had held the line then the danger is snuffed out. Fair play to Chris Smalling. He’s been woefully inconsistent since joining but this year he really looks like a top drawer centre half. Keep up the good work.
– Valencia cannot be trusted at RB. It’s just too damn risky.
– De Gea again did all you could expect from him. What a stroke of good fortune retaining him for this year was. It could make the difference in winning a trophy or not.
– Ander Herrara must be getting frustrated sitting on the bench watching the skipper stumble his way around Old Trafford for 90 minutes. LVG really doesn’t seem to like despite all his good showings. Hopefully he can play his way back into the side as Mata has.
– United are in good shape at the moment. Get Carrick and Rojo back from injury to provide competition & cover, whip fat boy Wazza into some kinda form, keep the rest of the performance levels up and it will be very interesting to see what LVG can get outta this season given the troubles at other Premier League rivals.
– 5 points from the next 3 league games would be about par. Anything additional to that and we can start to really consider United as challengers his year I would say.
Time to take Wayne out back
Great win for United tonight after the disappointment in Eindhoven. Wasn’t vintage by any stretch but showed great character (sorry Brendan!) and are now actually creating more than enough chances to win games. With better finishing we could have easily had 4.
There is still this burning annoyance though surrounding our captain, how much longer can we afford to carry him?. I’m more than happy to concede that by definition a streaky player has to remain playing even when in a bad run of form, but this isn’t just a temporary slump from Rooney, he doesn’t actually benefit the side in any way. Tonight, just like most of this season, his touch was poor, he looked slow, lethargic and was infuriating when on the ball, often looking at the pass he should be playing and then dithering about without actually playing the ball and losing possession. Then there’s the chance he missed, he didn’t even try to shoot, he just prodded at the ball without much conviction.
He has the look of a player bereft of confidence and whilst I agree it will only harm his confidence further to be dropped, he is actually holding the team back at the moment. We are top of the league and beating sides like Wolfsburg whilst our captain, ‘star player’ and highest earner is absolute sh*te, how much further along would we be this season if we actually had a performing player instead of Rooney?
I’m not usually in the business of slamming my own teams players, but it’s been evident for at least 3 seasons now that Rooney has been declining but at least previously still provided something. Now he’s just a passenger.
Ben (Mike Smalling is superb) Gleeson, Cardiff.
Yet another sub-par performance from Rooney. Slowing down the attack again, dropping back into midfield but having no effect, and scoffing his best goal chance over the bar for good measure.
Which means he is odds on to score the winner against Arsenal on Sunday isn’t he?
Brian (seriously though. He needs some bench-time), Wexford.
I don’t think United have gotten enough credit this season, seeing as how whenever they play with Rooney, it really is like playing with 10 men. I can but hope that he falls of the stool at his next pie eating contest, badly injuring himself and ruling him out for the rest of the season.
Louie says United are looking tired (which they were and is understandable) but there has been one player who has looked tired, slow, worn out all season…..we all know who he is. Rest him for a couple of games….maybe a season!
Stoky-Boy MUFC Happy for the win though Louie! Keep up the good work (LVG reads F365 right?)
Anybody who has followed mailbox or your esteemed website would be familiar with the terms ‘Peak Arsenal’ , ‘ Peak Brendan’ etc. But in today’s United Vs wolfsburg champions league game, I think we we have seen the ‘Peak Rooney’. There was a moment in that second half i think (maybe also in first half?) where he was running with the ball and he got tackled by the grass ! Amazing! At this point I wasnt even tearing my hair out (that was after that brilliant miss by Rooney), rather more like laughing .. pretty sad.
On the whole pretty satisfying performance , last 20 mins was horrible to watch as united fan , but then should have killed the game in first half, rooney and memphis should have killed it. Smalling is seriously developing into a top defender and darmian was solid as usual.
Santa Klaus, MUFC , Stuttgart
Anthony Martial was again fantastic for us last night but one of my friends (yes people who read f365 can have them) came round to watch the match and we had a discussion about the young French man last night. We were both in agreement that at the minute he has to play and I don’t think that can be denied. What we were discussing is if a) it was van gaal’s plan to do this when he was signed and b) if its good for him long term.
My opinion was that no, he didn’t plan on playing him every week ( I think he was going to put depay, mata and young behind Rooney, he thought last night’s formation was the plan).
The other point is the one I think deserves more thinking about. We all have seen Rooneys struggle this season and its been partially blamed on the amount of games he played at a young age and I brought this up backed up with Michael Owen’s career as a second example. He used Steven Gerrard and Ryan Giggs as examples of people who played a lot of games young and still played superbly in there 30’s..
We both won’t remember the conversation in 12 years so the whole point of my email is a poll to see what others think. Do we think we’re risking Martials long term career by playing him so often or do we think we need to play him as often as he can get on the pitch and risk him burning out, either later on this season or more damagingly to him later on in his career.
Bernard (put 2 sets of brackets in the email so don’t need to put anything clever in here) MUFC
It’s a squad game, Louis
I know this is a wierd time to be critical of United but I’m sick of being able to predict uniteds lineup. On one hand van gaal complains that the team is tired in the last half an hour of a champions league match, but he won’t even rotate the squad for a capital one cup game.
Wilson hasn’t seen a minute this season despite rooneys troubles. What does the guy have to do to get some game time? I can’t understand loaning januzaj out. We need a full squad if we’re going to last the season. Hererra hasn’t seen much game time either.
Fergie was a master at rotating the squad and making sure that fringe players could be called upon at any stage but van gaal seems to be happy to play the same team week in week out, much like Chelsea did last year. It leads to a level of predictability that we’re going to be punished for at some stage. We need a team that has options, that leaves the opponent guessing. Maybe I’m being too critical but I’m genuinely afraid that this team will be burnt out before the end of the season.
Gary Neville’s wet dream
For all of their faux pass this season, Manchester United’s scouts and Ed Woodward deserves credit for the smooth transfer of Darmian. More over Azpilicuetta, Gary Neville has a new wet dream full back in the Premier league.
-Shehzad Ghias,mufc, Karachi
In answer to Mark, Dublin Re Wenger.
I want Wenger to stay because I’m scared of what might happen when he leaves and because I love what he stands for. I also believe the guy continues to do a good job despite our latest set back against the Greeks.
My perspective is a bit different to the majority in this country as I don’t see it as failure if Arsenal don’t win the very biggest trophies assuming we are scoring goals and are entertaining to watch. I do also see achieving a top 4 finish to be something worth celebrating as it means there will be more football for me to watch and against more exotic teams. (Olympiacos was awful though). To me football is primarily entertainment.
Not celebrating entry into the Champions League seems a bit sad to me, are we saying that only 1 team and their supporters can allow themselves to feel content at the end of a season? Live a little, surely being the 3rd best team in a football crazy country isn’t such a disaster is it?
We play nice football, we have a great stadium and a great shirt. Our players seem like a nice well educated (by football standards at least) bunch. Most of the time with Arsenal teams you feel like there is a genuine team spirit and that they are actual mates off the pitch rather than just insular/thick/plastic modern footballers.
Arsene is stubborn in his philosophy – I like that too. Is loyalty over outcome actually a bad thing? Perhaps in elite level competition it can be a hindrance but if Arsene feels there is a “right way” to manage his player turnover based on both results and loyalty to a player then I’m ok with that. If he can win something big without compromising his ethos then will it not count for more than winning the same trophy with a team of out and out ‘Galacticos’? I think it would.
The Premier League is clearly no place to learn life values/morality. That said in an arena that has has cultivated an almost sociopathic requirement for success (instant, paid for, hollow success for the most part) I like what Arsene brings to the table. I think he is both stubborn and brave and I love the fact that he has the backing of the board – it suggests that his ethos is shared throughout the club.
Basically I think this toxic league/media/Jose/country have probably forgotten what sport and competition is all about.
James [ (.)(.) Boobs] ]Barkstriker
The last part of James, Gooner’s email must be one of the most depressing things I’ve ever read on this site. Surely the point of being a football fan is that you support your team through thick and thin, in all competions, regardless of your chances of success, as you never know what might happen (see Wimbledon 1988, Denmark 1992, Greece 2004 and Liverpool 2005 to name but a few).
He must look at the perrenial mid-table and lower league teams with sympathy and wonder how and why their fans bother week in week out, counting his lucky stars that he supports a team that has won a few trophies.
The obvious zing would just be to say that I presume he’ll just be going to the FA Cup and League Cup games for the rest of the season.
Chris (someone said Man Utd had the most boring chants, trust me they don’t, it’s Arsenal, when they bother), London.
Arsenal ‘fans’ really are k**bs.
Deepak ‘Arsenal the laughing stock of Europe.’
2 successive FA cups, 3 points off top, in Europe, great football, superb stadium, well run, no debts….wish my club were the a laughing stock!!
‘Win the league… But it is time.’ Really? Listen to yourself dude, if Arsenal win the league you should be giving Wenger a good massage with a happy ending. Know your position.
Ivanovic the terrible
Mourinho is a brilliant coach but some of his mistakes are inexcusable. He gives up on players too easily. De Bruyne and Filipe Luis could have done a world of help right now. Salah scores every week in Italy if given free reign. And while Cuadrado was truly terrible for Chelsea, so no blame on coach-even he is playing well for a bad Juve team. Jose must have seen Ivanovic’ decline. Why not integrate F. Luis on one side and move Azpilicueta to the other? Both could have been easily accommodated, without freezing out Luis. I don’t think he can complain to Abramovich now.
Mourinho’s Haiku lament
You used to be fantastic
But sadly not now
English clubs in Europe
Am tired of hearing our league is competitive so that’s the reason we can’t perform in Europe, it is like saying am failing a simpler test because I am used to tougher tests it doesn’t make sense, mind you the leagues are only a few matches in the season so it would have made sense if your teams have played a lot of games, again you say that other teams In europe can manage to rest players and get away with it have you ever watched Barcelona play in the league and Champions league I can tell you that they only rest about 3 to 4 players and still the try to perform at a high level.(Just accept that the truth its not that good after all)
Lubingu (Zambia) (I believe am the first from my country)
Odegaard and wonderkids
After reading the latest new on Odegaard it seems he has been left out of the latest madrid squad to face Malmo, which itself i dont think is a major issue due to his age. However he has also been left out of the squad for the equivalent UEFA Youth league tie. Apparently things havent been going great for him at Madrid which leads me to the question. Do players not see what fans see? That clubs like Madrid, Chelsea, City are basically cemeteries for young players? When was the last time any of these clubs gave an extended chance to a young player and he succeeded?
Anyone could have told you Odegaard would have a tough time breaking into Madrid’s first team, am I sure he would have at any other big club, however more youth oriented sides such as Barca, Bayern, Arsenal or United i feel would have been a better fit for him, and actually give him a fair shout at making the first team. I know its early days and he could easily go on to be a regular in their side in two or three years time, but i just feel like his talent is being wasted since he isnt playing for the first team or Castilla regularly.
Julio (Probably the only Dominican MUFC fan since they are all RM or Barca ) Dominican Republic
Great question, Dan ITFC. Looky-likeys need to come back. They were guaranteed to have me maniacally laughing to myself at my desk in the office.
It’s 2015 and Sky ownership is long gone. Surely time to bring back the Neviller diaries, perhaps now featuring Carra, and via a homage to Morecambe and Wise cohabitation. Intl mailboxers might have to YouTube that, soz!)
Long time reader from India. F365 has seen me through high school to college and now multiple jobs. While I still crige when I don’t see “Frank Lampard” as the compulsary last option in any poll on your site, I miss the satire pieces the most. Ballack, Gallas, and Henry’s imaginary diaries were golden. Also, I particularly want to thank the mailbox contributor who many years ago annointed the analogy for Arsenal’s profligacy: “Could’nt hit a cow’s arse with a banjo”. It still has me in slpits every so often and is the only thing keeping me from smashing the screen everytime I watch Giroud play. I understand the business sense underlying becoming a more serious, data driven opinion site, but it would be nice to uplift the mood once in a while with a tight investigative piece about Arsene Wenger’s fantasy monologues in the shower, as he berates SAF for getting out in time (go ahead, you know you want to write that!)
Ameek Singh (AFC, India)
Is Edquoth whoever actually Daniel Storey?
My points as follows:
- He works in an office in Notts – oh come on, anyone who’s actually been to Notts knows there’s shopping, Hooters and Forest, full-stop.
- Mr Storey supports said Forest
- Ed is prone to over-thesaurused (that’s my word, I’m coining it) ramblings like our Mr S.
- He suggests this awful nickname for Crystal Palace that will never catch on, something a Forest fan would do.
So in response to Andy Wilson’s email – isn’t “Ed” already there?
Dylan (if this doesn’t get printed I could be right) R, NFFC