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Given that we’re using one-off games in a cup (that is the lowest priority for most involved) to judge teams’ ability to compete in the league, I suppose we can also write Man Utd off now then
Dziva ( MUFC)
Memphis the ‘new Nani’
Dear Editor ,
Writing this mail during the frustratingly horrible united vs middlesborough game trying my best not to punch through the screen.
Contrary to most of the other united games this season where we have been sterile in possession and slower than sloth with a football. This game was even more frustrating due extreme wastefulness you will have ever seen in a game of football. So many good positions and half chances wasted due to some horrendous decision making in final third. The chief culprit in that would have to be Memphis. Given his age and stage at he is in, there are two possible ways he can go, either step up his game and be atleast as half decent as ronaldo or become nani. Based on what we have seen from him so far, especially in this game against middlesborough, it is mostly likely going to be Nani. I called it first. Memphis the new Nani!
Happy to eat humble pie if he becomes atleast one fourth of what ronaldo was.
On the whole, middlesborough defended well. But one can’t really say, since this attacking “force” of united is not a standard to measure standard of defence. Secondly, by second half, Lee Mason got so bored i guess he forgot to referee and didnt really care much (he was bad for both teams).
Santa Klaus ( the NEW “insert name” trend should also be used for sh*tty players), Stuttgart
Memphis the ‘new Di Maria’
I must admit a growing concern over the performances of Memphis Depay. This is not just from last night, I had these concerns when he was signed. From the highlight reels I saw of him, the player I thought he most resembled, was Di Maria. He liked to run with the ball, liked to shoot from distance and try play the odd killer pass. He generally took a lot of risks with the ball (that did pay off quite a few times), and certainly gave it away a fair amount. This is completely at odds with van Gaal’s low risk, possession at all costs approach. These types of players are at their best when they are un shackled, allowed to run with the ball and take on risky passes/shots. Not when they are constantly cutting inside to try play simple passes because they are afraid of giving the ball away.
Van Gaal tried to temper Di Maria’s natural instincts and it seemed to drain his confidence. I’m worried that Memphis is under such huge pressure to adapt his natural game to what van Gaal wants, that the same could happen to him. I know they worked together at Holland and Memphis was close to him, that relationship probably brought him to Utd but could also be putting him under further pressure to adapt to his mentor’s demands. I’m concerned that Memphis could lose his natural game, the game that prompted bids from several large European clubs.
He definitely needs to improve his decision making (most players at 21 do) and needs to improve his work rate, but these should be added to what he already has. I really hope he doesn’t get coached into playing like Antonio Valencia. Van Gaal is a good coach and has done very well at Utd to improve the midfield, tighten up the defence and bring in some good young players. However I do fear, the attacking side of the game won’t get any better under him.
Dan, Ireland MUFC
Enough is enough, Louis
I’m now absolutely convinced that Rooney’s got a clause in his contract stipulating he has to play when fit. That’s the only way to explain how LVG could drop Rivaldo at Barca and Luca Toni at Bayern, and not do the same with Rooney now. Rooney coming on for James Wilson must have shattered the young man’s confidence, yet was it any surprise that we continued to look slow and ponderous upfront with Rooney leading the line? Only with Martial’s appearance did we start to look threatening. The most conspicuous aspect of all of United’s best moments was that Rooney was absent in all of them, save for the header he totally fluffed before Lingard hit the post. And let’s not even talk about the penalty miss. At this point, it’s tempting to point the finger at Davy Moyes for putting that clause in his contract, but surely even he couldn’t have envisaged Wayne Rooney sinking to such levels of sh*teness.
It also baffles me as to why United fans criticizing Rooney seems to be out-of-line to supporters like Harry The Manc. Let’s get this straight, when he wears the red shirt and steps on the pitch, I’m sure we as United fans all wish him well, hope he scores a goal or two or three and gets out of this looooong slump. I don’t doubt that he gives it his all when on the pitch. But off-the-pitch is a different matter. Our loyalty is to the club, not to one player. And if we fans think it’s in the club’s interests for him to be dropped, then why shouldn’t we voice that out? Isn’t this similar to when Rooney asked for a transfer in 2010? Gave it his all on the pitch. But off it, when he felt that the club wasn’t doing enough to sign the top players (i.e. acting in its best interests), he voiced it out. Harry The Manc says us United fans should consider what a great servant Rooney’s been for the club before voicing out our misgivings about his presence in the current first team. But did Rooney stop and think “But wait, these United fans have been supporting me for years, singing my name every week and buying the kit with my name on it every season…” before changing his mind on the transfer request? Did he f**k!
Now’s the time for LVG to show what he’s made of and drop Rooney for the good of the team. Here’s hoping his marbles didn’t come off together with his pants in the Bayern dressing room.
Andrew C (UTID)
But the boy is irreplaceable
Wayne Rooney is now taking the heat for being too good to replace for more than a decade
I´ll start by admitting two things:
1. I am a Wayne Rooney fan.
2. I think he looks shot now, and might not even break the Bobby Charlton goal record at Man United.
But the unprecedented amount of criticism Wayne Rooney might have another twist than his world class salary and, up until now, Louis van Gaal´s persistent blind faith.
Might it has got something to do with the fact that Wayne Rooney has been as good as irreplaceable for more than a decade at Manchester United?
Man United moved on, eventually, after Eric Cantona, after David Beckham and, almost unaffected, after Cristiano Ronaldo. It seems they won´t cope as easily with the demise of Rooney.
The first to realize that, was probably Sir Alex Ferguson.
After famously axing Wayne Rooney for the deciding game vs. Real Madrid in the 2013 Champions League (this at a stage of the PL season where Rooney, with one goal or assist every 75 minutes, more effective than Bale and Suarez at that stage of the 2012/13 Premier League season) – causing an irreparable rift between the two.
Having the league title basically wrapped up already by then, United went on to one of their worst spells under Ferguson, losing four home games to big rivals in Real Madrid, Man City and Chelsea (two times, second through a replay after Old Trafford home draw in FA Cup).
Ferguson then resigned.
After the 2012/13 season, Daily Mail showed the simply staggering statistic that over Rooney´s nine year spell at the club, the win ratio was 10% (!) better with Rooney playing (72%) compared to him not playing (62%). I´d like to see something similar for other world class players at world class clubs.
He´s matched the leagues greatest players in terms of goal contribution for more than a decade.
Here is another stat: When Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney played together, Rooney matched Ronaldo´s goal contributions per game in PL (both at 0.7 goals/assists per game). He did the same with Luis Suarez for the years those two played together. And then he matched Sergio Aguero for the Argentinians first three years in England, until Rooney´s statistical decline speeded up rapidly upon the arrival of Louis van Gaal.
That´s probably not Louis van Gaal´s fault. But even though he can now be considered overpaid, like a few other footballers on the slide, it´s not Wayne Rooney´s fault that his club simply cannot deal with his decline.
Every football player has his day. But very few, if any, were as irreplaceable as Wayne Rooney for Manchester United.
I checked my phone about twenty-five minutes into the United game last night to see how they were doing. According to the BBC website they had 73% possession, 0 shots on target, 0 shots of any description and 0 corners.
I don’t think I could imagine a set of figures defining Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United more accurately.
He brought on Rooney at half time you know.
Stephen O’S, MUFC
I keep seeing “Peak Arsenal” plastered all over the place, everywhere.
We all know that when we start the season well that “Peak Arsenal” doesn’t arrive until early February at least.
James (and I was like “duhhhh”) AFC
Nice piece by Sarah this morning on Nacho Monreal but I feel that she has missed a key reason for Monreal’s improvement.
Early last year Arsenal being Arsenal had injuries in defence which meant that our Nacho had a stint at centre-back. Initially he looked pretty uncomfortable there and his performances showed that but he eventually grew into the role and I genuinely feel this has helped him become the player he has become today.
Tackling, positioning, aggression. All the basics for a centre-back Nacho has now added to his game. He already had some composure and the ability to pass the ball so all these attributes seem to have helped him cement his place in Arsenal’s back four, and deservedly so.
Next step for Nacho would be to break his way back into the Spain squad but with Gaya, Bernat, Azpilicueta, Alba and Jonny all being called up recently this may be easier said than done. To be honest I couldn’t care less if he’s never picked for them again.
He is ours.
Lamela is sh*t
I’ve always thought Spurs fans have historically had a bit of a problem with letting go of players who they want to be good but just can’t cut it. I remember back in the day, must have been the late 90s, when Ruel Fox seemed to be on the way to Leicester City after a couple of underwhelming seasons in what was a truly dreadful Spurs side. I remember hoping he would stay at the Lane, he’s bound to come good, he played in that swashbuckling Newcastle side, he cost over £4 million, he will prove everyone wrong! Of course, he did stay for another season or two in the end, continued being sh*t and eventually sodded off to West Brom.
Fast forward a decade and a half and we have Pamela, masquerading as a quality forward, always on the verge of breaking free of whatever shackles are holding him back. He did a few nice things against City, his stats are ok. He scored a rabona don’t you know. But please, just accept the fact that he is sh*t. He’ll be remembered as a mediocre squad player who, inexplicably, was our record signing. His average game can be summed up in one continuously repeated cycle until he is substituted in the 66th minute: collect ball, run in general direction of full back, stop, obligingly wait for further opposition defenders to retreat behind ball, attempt to run through defenders, lose ball, fall over, repeat.
And no, £30 million is not “the going rate for this sort of player”. Dusan Tadic, Dimitri Payet, Georginio Wijnaldum, Sadio Mane, Bojan Krkic, Xherdan Shaquiri, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli. There’s a handful off the top of my head who are far better for less than half the price.
For the love of god, put the man out of his misery and let’s move on.
Justice for Skrtel
I’ll keep this quick. I’m a United fan and maybe Liverpool fans can shed a bit of light on this for me, but what the hell does Martin Skrtel have to do to be named captain? He’s been there years, seems to put his heart and soul into every game(he does tug a lot of shirts too) and then Klopp names Toure as captain! Her highness Brenda wouldn’t give him the armband either? How many more slices in the head does he have to take before he gets it?
Paddy(tasty front four for United) Ireland
The FIFA circus
Fresh revelations out of the circus in Zurich many call FIFA. Apparently FIFA had already agreed that Russia would host the 2018 World Cup and the U.S would host 2022 prior to the voting procedure. What a disgrace they truly are. What makes it worse is how casually Blatter seems to divulge this information as though no wrong has been done. I imagine him after a hard days work defrauding the footballing world this man sits down and cackles to himself like Mutley.
FIFA has to go or radically alter its structure but I just can’t see any way that things will change. The main candidates who have elected to run for the candidacy all have their flaws (if human torture doesn’t make your eyes water, I don’t know what will) which doesn’t fill me with any great optimism and sponsors have threatened to walk away from their deals yet nothing seems to materialise, even with scandals seemingly developing on a weekly basis.
The last Sir Bobby anecdotes
Great article on the great man and like many others I found my top lip quivering.
As for the quotes, this one isn’t from Sir Bob but Shola Ameobi.
Not long after joining Newcastle he was being interviewed and was asked, ‘Does Mr Robson have any trouble pronouncing your name?’ Quick as you like the reply was, ‘ He has no problem, he just calls me Carl (Cort)’.
I arrived late at night in a quiet Newcastle Airport. (Flying in from Cork I often made these flights then.) It was around the end of November I’d guess, really windy and cold and it was pitch black in the sky, the contrast of the bright airport and the brisk black sky both sharing relative silence makes me a fan of late night flights.
I Collected my bag and went through revolving doors into the arrival area and I noticed everyone in front of me going over to a man almost in single line. They each just shook his hand, said “How are ya Bobby” and walked off down towards the metro. No one bothered him any more than that the respect was seriously surreal. Everyone who came through the arrivals did this and so did I. Bobby Robson was standing there in a modest coat and scarf looking genuinely pleased to shake all those hands with the most gracious smile for everyone Robson rarely stood anywhere with anything else.
The man had passed a year or so later and this is what I think when I think of him. Simply waiting there for someone at his age with his reputation happy to shake a plain full of people’s hands on a cold Newcastle night. Top Man.
R.R Sofia BG
Hopefully not too late on this, but I reckon I could say he could take charge of your most hated rivals and you’d develop a soft-spot for them.
I love the Bobby/Brian anecdote, but my other favourite was when Jermaine Jenas was trying to tell people how his name should be prounced (Jenas/Genas type of thing) and he was asked what his manager at the time Sir Bobby Robson called him, the reply….”Keiron Dyer”.
If anyone knows of any decent biographies on Sir Bobby I would love to know, he was a truly magnificent human-being.