Merry Xmas everybody. Do us a favour and watch a shedload of football on Boxing Day. Then mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jose will not be here next season…
Just one conclusion after that match: Jose Mourinho will not be the manager of Manchester United at the start of the 2018/19 season. I’m not saying I want him gone, or anything like that, I just sense a change in the waters. My reasoning? This quote:
“I feel great. One thing to feel angry as manager and another thing to feel great as a man.“
This is the first quote in which Jose Mourinho the man has been separated from Jose Mourinho the Manchester United manager. He already laid the groundwork earlier in the season, claiming he wouldn’t finish his career at United, and this is the next step in his program, following on from leaks to the press that he’s not received transfer backing from the club this summer.
Next it will be that individual, influential players aren’t performing, probably Lukaku, De Gea or Pogba, closely followed by some kind of off the field controversy. Then it’ll be trouble at his next club, with PSG probably talking about sacking their coach and that’ll be that. He’ll be gone.
He has realised he can’t beat Pep, he has realised he can’t win the Champions League and he has realised that he can’t buy his way out of trouble, so he’ll look to move on, and PSG is perfect for him. Somewhere he doesn’t have to worry about Pep, he can challenge for the Champions League, and where he can buy the title. Plus it’s a much nicer city than Manchester, where I’m sure his family will have no qualms about joining him.
This step is just the next in his plan to move on. Mark my words.
What an absolute cock-up
What is going on at United? Mourinho has the reputation of ‘parking the bus ‘ yet didn’t close out the game against Leicester. Work that one out if you can because we were leading until well into time added-on. And no, I’m not moaning at all about the extra minutes because they were justified.
Smalling was clearly injured and was obviously fairly immobile, yet Jose stuck with Smalling as one of his central defenders. The obvious choice/solution, given that United had used all three substitutions was to move Smalling into midfield where he could do what an injured Smalling could do and to put Matic into defence. It was so blindingly obvious that even the commentators I was listening to picked it.
Smalling simply could not jump to defend the cross that lead to Leicester’s second goal. And I put that down to a simple lack of nous on Mourinho’s part.
Watching Rashford go backwards…
Anyone else watching Utd getting real sick of Rashford’s Cristiano impression? It’s like he has regressed in intelligence and maturity this season. I’m guessing being second option to Martial is not helping. While most fans have been hoping he would be more selfish to compete with Lukaku for the #9 position in the long term, what he’s doing right now is just silly. I don’t understand if it’s a confidence issue or he is nowhere near the kind of player he thinks he is.
I watched the Leicester game till the 90th minute, went out for a smoke knowing I was likelier to come back to a 2-2 than a 2-1 or 3-1 and that’s the scary part. We’ve got so used to the frustration part of being a Utd supporter over the last few years, that you begin to expect it in advance. There is no real joy to be had from watching Utd. Simply frustration and on good days, avoiding that frustration. Games like Brighton come to mind, where no one’s really happy at the end, just happy to be less annoyed than we could’ve been.
Mou seems to have broken poor Mkhi. He plays like a lesser player in his desperation. I’m guessing anyone would be a little out of his element if they’ve played as much as Mkhi has over the last two months. I hate our defence without Bailly, it just seems so error-prone and malleable. I guess we’re still on for second as Chelsea seems to be having issues of their own. Still hoping for a bit of a nervous breakdown over Xmas for Morata. That’s the only thing that justifies buying our big Belgian battering-ram over him, although to be fair he makes Martial and Rashford look like children in terms of effectiveness so still a good buy.
Burnley and Southampton at home. ‘High-flying’ Everton after. Still hoping for a nine-point haul from those, but as mentioned earlier wouldnt be surprised if we got four or five either.
…Rashford runs into space and receives the ball on the counter-attack and swiftly lays it off to Lukaku who finishes it first time. That would’ve been Manchester United under Sir Alex with United 2-1 up in stoppage time. Instead, I’m assuming Rashford was asked to slow things down by Mourinho. And that’s exactly what he did with Lukaku desperately crying out for the ball. FFS, how do you expect to put up a title challenge with that crap when you’re conceding to 10 men in the 94th minute?
Wisam, Lahore (I’m hoping to get published this time)
Rashford and Martial are problems
I will lose my mind if I see someone try blame Mourinho for that loss. That was the epitomy of ‘individual errors’. He is hamstrung by having to use Martial and/or Rashford, both very talented players but nowhere near good enough at the moment. They frequently miss presentable chances, put in patchy performances and until they become more consistent, Utd are carrying them. I can think of at least 10 players in the league I would rather have than either of them. I’m sure I’ll be slaughtered for saying it but anyone who can’t admit it is delusional.
…Getting my two cents in. Already seeing Mourinho being blamed for the draw by various Utd fans on message boards. Can I just say we played brilliantly and thoroughly entertained. Sure Leicester could’ve scored, but we ripped through their defense a number of times too. This could’ve been 5-2 to Utd on another day. That we didn’t score is down to poor finishing, and given how good we’ve been on that front across the season (maybe not City good, but hey…), we’ll just chalk this down to a bad day at the office. They happen you know. Except to City.
Niraj CT USA
Football. Bloody hell
Was there ever a quote to so succinctly describe the beautiful game as ‘football does not need to seek perfection to entertain. There is just as much fun to be found in error-ridden farce as fine-tuned excellence.’ This, to my mind, is what sets soccer apart from all other ‘sports’.
I recall Peter G’s introductory comments in his first full piece in the summer sparking similar save for future reference thoughts but perhaps G’s comments brought some clarity to various conflicting perspectives on the use of stats and various thoughts on football in general that are perhaps less overarching however nonetheless both will live long personally.
My obligatory third paragraph will reference my least favourite F365 catchphrase of ‘The answer probably lies somewhere in between.’
RC, Canada (I genuinely wanted to know who tasked Smalling with tracking the runner on the back post but it hurt to much to fully articulate my thoughts).
Can we talk about Chelsea?
Individually, great players – Courtois, Christiansen (best young player of the season?), Kante, Hazard, etc.
But collectively, pass, pass, give the ball away (or hoof it long). Opposition pass, pass, Chelsea intercept, break at speed from own half, and usually shut down. Rinse and repeat.
Not much of a game plan, and not that much fun to watch, particularly against a Big Sam team that is ready and waiting for it.
And just quietly, is there much point relentlessly crossing the ball if you’re playing with a false 9?
…1. No need to play multiple defensive mid for a game against defensive team. Fabregas should have started.
2. Over reliant on Hazard, every shot and attack going thru him. If he is marked then we almost have no where to go.
3. No pressing and creativity against solid defensive minded team.
Missing Costa’s aggression for these games to ruffle the feathers of opponents and getting them to make mistakes.
Lovely Xmas greetings
I’m in remote Ethiopia, so, hoping that this email does make it over the feeble network in time for Christmas at F365 Towers.
Yesterday, walking around the town of Gonder, I heard the sound of Premier League commentary. I peeked through a door and saw the screen airing Everton vs Chelsea. I turn my head to inspect the establishment. It’s some sort of a dimly lit bar, high ceilings, and chairs laid out like an auditorium, packed with local youth. A few 30+ year olds line the back walls. The kids up front invite me in. Screw the castles and churches, for now, I say, and find an empty seat near the back, drawing quite a few curious stares as the only non local, South Asian in the bar.
I’m sitting with three young ones, must be between 10 and 14 years old. All of them United fans. Their favourite players? Rashford says the first. Ashley Young (!) says the second. Lukaku says the third. Then corrects it to Pogba. A fourth one joins us. He adores Martial. An Arsenal fan then sheepishly joins us. He likes playing in the Jack Wilshere position. Poor guy.
The group size changes over the next hour as Sam Allardyce numbs Conte. We talk about the El Clásico. Mostly Madrid fans, these blokes. One Barcelona fan among them is grinning ear to ear, holding up three fingers at all of us.
They play for their local under 13 team. They lost their football recently, and haven’t been able to practice in a while. Can I be their sponsor? I walk with them to a corner shop and get them a football. They might be gypping me, but hey, they didn’t ask for money, and a football can’t go to waste, I tell myself.
The one who speaks the most English thanks me and says he wishes he could thank me more.
We do a first bump, they run away to check out their new ball, and I walk off into a happier evening.
Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018.
Fatmanwalking, MUFC, Sydney