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I think David de Gea is part octopus.
How the f*** did we win that?
I’ve written in before about how most people look at what Lingard “can’t do” as opposed to what he can. I won’t rehash the same points, just wanted it to be made clear I loved Lingard before loving him was cool (probably not cool yet, but just you wait).
De Gea was amazing as usual, but it’s been a while since he’s had one of those ‘had to save the team’ games, the double save from Lacazette and Sanchez was both crucial and mind-blowing, he even got fingers to Lacazette’s four-yard smash.
I don’t believe in witchcraft or magic spells, but how else do you explain Arsenal missing all those chances? How many times did they hit the post? That first half was a madness.
Matic has been rightly lauded this season, but the last few games he’s been poor, especially in possession with no Pogbeast for the Manc Derby he needs to get back to self, FAST.
One day Rojo is going to cost us with his rash and unnecessary challenges, having said that and though he’s getting better, for the derby I’d have Bailly in for Lindelof, with Rojo and Smalling.
No Pogba is huge, massive. My other Utd favourite (apart from Lionel Jesse) Ander has been nowhere near his form last season and Fella is many things, but a creator definitely not, so..hmm actually I have no plan, I just hope we are as lucky and clinical as we were today.
Cortez (Lukaku didn’t score, but he was good) MUFC, Botswana
On brilliance of De Gea and loss of Bailly
So once again De Gea went cat human mode against Arsenal, played just as well against Liverpool away in which he kept a clean sheet and Morata goal for Chelsea was a fantastic header but was poor defending.
It’s amazing how De Gea keeps improving in his performance and his loyalty has been fantastic too. Real Madrid have won three Champions Leagues over the last four years and the temptation must be so high since interest could drop, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he left for Madrid if United don’t become champions within the next 2 years.
He is the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment in my opinion, he managed to come in and replace Van der sar, one of the most calmest keepers I have seen in football, and lost Vidic, Rio and Evra with them leaving the club in 2014, who were true leaders in defence. He had a bad first year, but since so the key defenders he has left, he has improved dramatically.
I do think the defenders need to up their game because United can’t afford to play like that to City, otherwise United will lose badly. Hoping Bailly and Jones are back for that since they can man mark very well and see a bit of Vidic in Bailly especially but with better technique.
Roll on City next weekend, we have to beat them if we want to put some doubt into them and got to play as a complete unit against them.
That was such fun…even for a Liverpool fan
* I don’t think I’ve seen a game of football that good since Liverpool-Dortmund in the Europa League. It was so good that at one point when Arsenal missed a huge chance at 1-2 I actually screamed at the TV. I don’t even do that when Liverpool play (anymore) so I knew there was something wrong with me and this game had taken over my soul.
* Ozil was Arsenal’s best player I thought. He can’t run fast like Salah and he isn’t skilful like Suárez and he’s not energetic like Sànchez but he always just seems to discover a pocket of space in which to operate.
* Jesse Lingard was brilliant too, his work rate was pretty impressive. Him and Sterling could be incredible on either side of Kane at the World Cup I imagine; decent skill and pace combined a guy who basically scores every type of goal.
* David De Gea is literally not human.
* Pogba wishes injury upon fellow professionals and gets a straight red in the next game. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
* This is bugging me and I don’t want to sound insane but has anyone noticed that Lukaku has quite a fat neck? On the back of his neck there are these tiny rolls of fat. Whenever I notice them I then check every other player’s neck in any close ups that follow and am yet to see anyone else who has this. It weirds me out a bit.
* I know there’s lots of praise for Matic’s block on that Ramsey chance but I also think Ramsey could be slightly at fault for taking so long to react. After the ball started to move into the open space he definitely took a bit too long to start running towards it. I appreciate he’s human but it’s top level athletes and fine margins so think it is still a reasonable point.
If Mourinho is bringing this Man Utd back for the game against Man City then I literally can’t wait. The only thing that would’ve made this game better would’ve been if Arsenal landed more of their punches to keep the contest even. One suspects Man City will put away more than one chance if they get that many next week but you can’t rule out Man Utd scoring a few as well.
Some Man United thoughts
* David Da Gea is simply the best keeper in the world. He is bloody brilliant
* Messi Lingard, I remember the article on F365’s Early Winners for the midweek games praising him then stating that there is every possibility that Lingard will be woeful if used against Arsenal. And it is quite telling that even here, in 16 conclusions to the Arsenal game, that tone of surprise to his performance for the day and doubt of his ability persisted. Maybe the reactions are a bit justified, but Lingard continues to prove his worth. Praise is given to Pep for improving Sterling and Just maybe, Lingard can become our own version of the Sterling story. Just wait till he scores a hat trick against City.
* Speaking of City, it’s very ominous the kind of luck City seems to get from all angles. Offside goals not spotted, Last minute winners, Fortuitous Pks and red cards, deflected or own goals. And now, Pogba gets sent off just as Utd are about to face them. This just shows that the force is really with them. Guess Mou’s Second season trophy record just met a higher force.
* A quite entertaining game, not quite what most people expected. Jose’s Bus both drove all over the Emirate and still parked well.
* 14 saves? gosh! Utd’s defence wasn’t poor but for the keeper to make that number of saves in a single game is still telling. Dave is bloody brilliant.
* Lukaku has scored just one of Utd’s last 14 Goals in the league despite playing every minute of it. It just tells you that this Utd team is not reliant on any single individual for goals unlike last season’s reliance on Ibra. This bodes well for the team.
* Dave is bloody brilliant.
Emmanuel (Bring on Citeh) Utd
…Just got back from the game, and here are some conclusions:
– First off – what a game. That was rollicking from start to finish. How Arsenal only managed to score one is beyond belief, and having said that, the amount of times United got in behind their defence and were a poor touch or a poor pass away from making it 3, 4, 5 goals was astonishing. A crazy result and a crazy game.
– What a player Messi Lingard is becoming for us. He ran his socks off, pressing from the off and often playing ahead of Lukaku just to press their defenders and hurry them into a clearance. His running was direct, his head was up and always looking for an option rather that slowing down play. The third killer goal came from his break and pass out to Pogba, and he fully deserved his two goals. He’s becoming a real important player for us in these matches in which we don’t dominate the ball. He played today exactly the way Ji Sung Park used to under Fergie versus Arsenal – an absolute nuisance, with a killer finish.
– Pogba is really starting to show why he costs £89m, and is turning into the player we’d hope he become. When the chips are against you, you want your big players to stand up and be counted, and he did that today (I’ll come back to the sending off). The opening goal for Valencia, he attracted three players, feinted to shoot and played in Valencia leaving him with time and space to pick his spot. And his technique and intelligence on the ball for the 3rd goal was exquisite. That’s why he’s talked of as one of the world’s best midfielders, and our football suffers when he’s missing.
– David de Gea – just when I thought you couldn’t out do your previous performances, you do something like that.
– We need to talk about Lukaku, 1 goal in (8? 9?) now, and he doesn’t look very high on confidence. His first touch is really poor and he is very immobile. Lingard’s off the ball movement is second to none, and it’s that type of movement that can open games up. Lukaku is very static, and easy to defend against. I don’t see Mourinho persisting with this much longer when we have Ibra ready to step in.
– The majority of Arsenal’s attacks in that first half came down their right, ie Man Utd’s left. And that was mainly down to Antony Martial, providing very little or no support to Young. Martial is a mercurial talent and can prove to be one of the world’s best players, but when you aren’t pulling your shift in defending from the front, you won’t last long.
– The red card on second viewing looks a little harsh, but fair by the letter of the law. It wasn’t intentional. Not sure what type of challenge Bellerin is trying to make, but it’s clear Pogba was trying to poke the ball up and over and then evade it – he got it wrong and ended up landing on the back of Bellerin’s leg.
– Pogba will be a huge miss for the derby next weekend. His calmness and composure in the middle of the park will be sorely missed, and who could we bring in? Carrick and Fellaini are injured, and Herrera has been very poor this season.
– I think most United fans will agree – the best thing about this season is how we have radically improved from last season. Our big game record is a lot better (7 points from 4 games when last year we got 10 from 10), our away scoring jinx is gone, and we put a real marker down. The home draws are a distant memory, and even when playing poorly, we’re managing to grind out a win. If it wasn’t for the ridiculous form shown by our nosy neighbours, our own efforts would look a lot better.
– Lastly, the derby – it’s one of the more intriguing ones. Do we go all out for it, and risk being 11 points behind? Or set up to not concede first, and potentially end up with our eight points difference (but with a tricky Xmas schedule, hoping tiredness and flurry of games drops them points?) It’s a toughie.
LeChuck, (A new regular), London
…1. Wow. Best game I’ve seen this season. Terrifying defensively, amazing attacking, end-to-end action. Just fantastic Saturday night football all round.
2. Messi bloody Lingard. Keep this up, sunshine, and you’ll be going to the World Cup. Another absolutely storming performance from him. His pressure for the first and the finishes for his own were excellent, and his defensive work was crucial. I did wonder what we’d get after such a great performance in midweek, but I was disappointed only in seeing him withdrawn. You little belter!
3. Matic was again imperious in midfield. What a signing, and one I’m happy to be wrong about – I was a little worried when we signed him but he has made such a difference so far.
4. If you’re still having the argument about whether De Gea is the best in the world: you need to catch up. The argument should have moved on a long time ago to whether he is the best of all time – he’s that good. No other ‘keeper currently playing even comes close. Should have been MOTM.
5. Arsenal were actually excellent tonight. The only difference between the teams was clinical finishing and stunning goalkeeping. They were good value for at least a draw, if not the win at times.
6. Ramsey definitely meant that pass to Lacazette and it does him a disservice to suggest otherwise. As soon as he knocked it down he was looking for his teammate, and not at the goal. Excellent and unselfish play from him.
7. Ozil is possibly putting himself in the shop window a bit but it was still a brilliant performance. The only thing he did wrong all night was the foul on Herrera. I’d be tempted on a free if he was interested.
8. I’d like to dedicate this next point to the Facebook commenters at the bottom (it takes balls to make a permanent record of your abusive and aggressive behaviour using your real name and entire life story): it wasn’t a red. Part of this is United bias, but the ball was there to be won, and he did so. Obviously he caught the man too, but to suggest it was either aggressive or reckless is harsh in my opinion. Just unfortunate timing. It wasn’t a stamp, it was more unlucky that Bellerin had his leg in that weird position more than anything.
9. So now we go into the derby without a crucial player. Any momentum and good feeling gained from the win has now been hugely reduced by his absence. Obviously we can’t rely so heavily on one player, but I would have fancied giving City a good go with him in the team; without, not so much.
10. Arsenal should have had a penalty for the foul on Welbeck. Yet another example of players trying to stay on their feet not being rewarded the same as divers. Something really does need to be done to encourage positive play and discourage deception.
11. Speaking of the derby: the defence will have to seriously sort their act out next time. We cannot afford to give City so many chances because why won’t spurn as many as Arsenal did. Each player made some important contributions individually but we were carved apart far too frequently for comfort.
12. Lukaku had another poor game, to the point where he should definitely have been replaced instead of Lingard following the Pogba red card. He is cutting a frustrated figure up top, and many times threw his arms in the air to complain at anyone else when things didn’t go his way; that’s not a goood sign. A few games on the bench would do him good at this point I think.
Gary Neville said seven out of nine for the last three games would be a good return, so maximum points is excellent. Okay, we’ll probably be 11 points behind after next weekend, but there’s no shame in hat against such a fantastic opponent. Second place and the League Cup would be fine by me.
Thoughts on that Liverpool cruise
There were many positives to take from the game against Brighton. Let’s start from the back.
1) Mignolet : made a crucial save, no mistakes. Dived the right way for the penalty.
2) You have to pick one player to play centre-back from the options of Henderson, Wijnaldum and Milner. If you picked Gini, then you are Jurgen Klopp. Baffling choice, but worked a treat.
3) Lovren was decent, Robertson solid and TAA largely good but lacked positional discipline at times.
4) Can opened the scoring when Liverpool were finding it difficult. He’ll be gone soon and we haven’t got many in the team that can do it from setpieces. Also, Matip who generally plays is the worst offensive header of the ball I’ve seen. He gets on the end of deliveries by virtue of his height, but i think he’s never scored one for Liverpool with his head.
5) Coutinho was unbelievable, three assists (counting the og), one goal and the pass just before the assist to Salah. Magical. Had two amazing dribbles as well. And he’s been hitting free-kicks under the wall since his time at Espanyol. Will miss him next season.
6) Firmino won back the ball a lot of times, and scored a couple goals. He’s such a unique player.
7) Rested a few players for midweek, Ox is getting better each game. We have a lot of squad depth in midfield and forward positions. Won’t fade away like last season. I think.
Ananya B (Liverpool to finish 4th again this season) India
…1) Brilliant management from Jurgen Klopp. I think in his second full season in England, Klopp had understood the rigours of English football and the gruelling winter schedule. I always felt the turning point of our season last year was the draw away to Sunderland. Less than 48 hours before, Liverpool played magnificently to defeat Manchester City at home. Despite the short gap between games, Klopp hardly rotated and the effects were profound. Sturridge and Henderson got injured and our momentum stalled. Another mistake he made last season was that when we were playing well and destroying teams at Anfield, he rarely played the fringe players to give them any confidence.
This year Solanke, Sturridge, TAA, Robertson et al have seen enough minutes to know they will have to play a part in the upcoming games. A look at Spurs’ recent failings only further enhances Klopp’s management skills. Fair play on the new formation too. Like Klopp said in his post-match interview, we now have a few formations to chose from depending on the opposition.
2) Has Henderson finally found a sort of game where he could play an active part in and probably thrive? I have been extremely critical of his leadership, positional ability and overall midfield play, but against a team with limited attacking ambition, Henderson can be a capable No 6 tasked with recycling the ball with quick short passes. That Brighton could not attack the space behind him only eased his job.
3) There should be no doubt about the pecking order of our full backs. TAA and Roberston were decent, but Moreno and Gomez are a cut above. With Matip’s injury, I would prefer Gomez at center back to partner Lovren and TAA to keep his place.
4) The 4-1 mauling at Spurs as a result of four individual errors from defenders could have been a turning point in Jurgen’s head. Till then, he would rarely blame his own players and instead attribute the mistake to a one-off situation. Since that game, Liverpool have taken 16 out of a possible 18 points and have looked much improved at the back.
5) Can we please keep Can and Coutinho for another year. I fear that both could leave in the summer and we will have to rebuild again. The arrival of Naby Kieta will not compensate for the potential loss of both.
6) The most important game of the season awaits on Wednesday night. Win that, and Klopp’s first expectation for the season would have been wait. Crucially, momentum would increase two/three fold.
Criticism for Rafa
Just wanted to make a point about your early loser being Rafa Benitez. It says in there that he has tried everything at his disposal, well that isn’t true. Far from it.
As a Newcastle fan, I know for a fact most fans don’t want to hear or acknowledge this but our Spanish messiah has been holding us back over the past couple of months and it needs to stop.
He has only selected Merino and Shelvey together in central midfield once this season. Once. And that was the spirited draw against Liverpool. It worked. Our two best midfielders playing together was a success. He has not done again since. Ridiculous.
Alexander Mitrovic has been in hot form this season for Serbia, helping them qualify for the World Cup. He also showed some form for us when he played earlier in the season. This lad hasn’t started one league game this season. NOT ONE. Despite Joselu being a waste of space up front and Gayle having his issue early in the season. Quite pathetic.
Rolando Aarons, who is our most talented winger in the squad, has not started one league game this season. NOT ONE. Despite Atsu being injured for the past few weeks. He has chosen Murphy instead.
Now, both Mitrovic and Aarons did start a League Cup game together, and guess what, they both scored.
Rafa needs to shut his face about missing out on Tammy Abraham and Willy Cabelerro because a) you aren’t playing your best players available anyway and b) who gives a sh*t about missing out on Abraham and Caba-f*cking-lerro?!!
Shelvey was on the bench against Chelsea with Diame ahead of him. Mo f*cking Diame. Is Rafa trying to make a point that no one cares about here or what?