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Marcus f***ing Rashford
1. Marcus Rashford is a superstar. No doubt about it now. His pace, running, finishing, movement, energy, drive, enthusiasm are all excellent, but he has grown into himself, seems to have gotten stronger and all of this is positive for the future.
Sod that, the future is now!
2. The movement of Rashford, Mkhitarayan and Martial was excellent. Rooney mus have been sitting on the bench thinking he is never going to get into this team.
3. Pogba was excellent. His “goal” should have been a deserved cap to an excellent night for him. His and Rashfords Rabona/Bicycle kick combo would have been a goal for the ages.
4. People saying that Ibras injury is a blessing in disguise are wrong. Yes, it should allow Rashford a longer run in the team, but you would rather be going into a Eurpoean Semi Final with Ibra than without.
5. The injury to Rojo is far more troubling. He and Bailly at the back have developped an air of solidity and he will be missed if out for a long period of time. Who would have ever said that 12/18 months ago.
6. When United had to replace Ibra and were needing a goal, Mourinho looked at his bench, saw the clubs record goal scorer, and thought no, and put Martial on instead. This is the end. Thanks for the memories Wayne, but sadly your face dont fit anymore.
7. I am not sure if I mentionned it. Rashford is a F**KING SUPERSTAR.
The full time whistle has just blown on the Utd / Anderlecht game and I hope Mourinho blows the whistle on this formation as it is utterly ineffective. I screamed for a change in formation to 3-5-2 or a 4-3-3 to give Pogba two midfield partners, he needs it and is painfully obvious. With Carrick alone beside him tonight, they were completely dominated in midfield. Our performance of the season was a 3-5-2 with Pogba getting two partners. I also called we would revert back to a 4-2-3-1 straight afterwards and be abject, and that is precisely what happened.
Despite Lingard’s Chelsea performance I was confident he would revert to type for the next game and he was rightly hauled off and Rashford’s composure in front of goal also reverted to type. I know he is young but his ball placement has been dogsh*t all season. There is a real stink of the Welbeck’s off that kid and I genuinely do not see him leading the line as an out and out striker at Utd.
As for Pogba, he has got to be the biggest transfer disappointment in history given the fee paid for him. Not only is he not positively affecting the team, he is making them weaker and more vulnerable. He offers very little going forward bar the odd over the top ball, and defensively he is not reliable.
United’s biggest problem is not personnel however, but the formation. Having too many play makers is forcing Mourinho to accommodate 3 of them just behind the striker, and it is killing our midfield. This is so disappointing after the Chelsea result. If we play 4-2-3-1 against City / Arsenal or Spurs we are going to get obliterated.~
Red Devil Dub
What actually happened?
I will not be around this afternoon as I have checked myself in the Dr’s for a full body and sensory scan. This reason I have taken this drastic action is due to last night’s Man U V Anderlecht game
From the game I saw 3 main points
1 – Man U deservedly beat a stubborn Anderlecht side in extra time and they were quite nervy towards the end
2 – M Rashford scored a goal from a long ball into the box that was headed down, Rashford did a great turn but his shot was deflected at point of contact that took it past the keeper
3 – M Rashford has had 2 good games recently and is quite promising for a teenager.
However, my eyes and ears must be wrong and my ability to analyse what I see must be impaired as the impartial BT commentary team commentated like the following was happening.
1 – Man U played with the style and swagger of the treble winning Barcelona team of 2015, cutting a path through a pitiful Anderlecht team who were lucky not to lose 7-0
2 – Rashfords goal was a combination of great team play and individual brilliance. Circa Brazil 1970 and Maradona 1986
3 – M Rashford is the second coming and is a future great who is a combination of the follow 3 people combining their best features into an unstoppable force. i) Jason Bourne style assassin ii) with Oscar Wilde’s wit and iii) Enrique Inglesias’s sex appeal.
So either I need to get a full body scan and my senses checked or that was the most ball achingly biased commentary I have ever heard. I am asking did BT have commentators or did they just use the MUTV feed? It was embarrassing
I originally sent this a few days ago, hoping to make it a 100% conversion rate for my three mailbox attempts, unfortunately this one was kept out. However, given the recent news about Zlatan’s injury, I’m hoping to tuck away the rebound.
Having ousted Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the starting line-up against Chelsea, Marcus Rashford has every right to feel satisfied. Ibrahimovic is responsible for 28 of United’s goals; with the Swedish hitman absent, United started Easter Sunday with only 12 goals between his disciples. Whether Mourinho was merely opting to rest his #1 forward for Europe; whether he thought that Rashford would be an unexpected tactical change, throwing Conte’s plans into disarray; or whether Rashford’s performances and training simply merited inclusion – it is clear that the 19 year old has the trust of a manager often accused for lacking faith in youngsters.
Mourinho may cite statistics about the number of young players he has brought through but in truth there are few who have actually been nurtured by Mourinho throughout a Premier League season (or in any other league). And who can blame him? Mourinho’s mandate is to win trophies. He is not a manager brought to secure long term stability, he is a here and now sort of guy – a Mr Wolf from Pulp Fiction: he’ll sweep in, boss you about in your own house and tell you to do things that you won’t necessarily want to do. But he will get results. So when the corpse of Chelsea ended up in the Old Trafford household, it was surprising to see it wasn’t as a result of Mr Wolf’s customary tactics.
Aashay, in yesterday’s mailbox, suggested that United should refrain from offering Zlatan a new contract at the end of the season. Whilst I disagree with the Champ Manager style shopping spree he believes the club can go on, maybe devolving the reliance on the Swedish frontman and bestowing some of that responsibility on Rashford may prove pivotal in United reaffirming their position at the top table.
The presence of Rashford, who bounded around the pitch like a springer spaniel chasing a runaway tennis ball, caused havoc for the best defence in the league. With the tearaway English striker forcing the defence to drop deep, N’golo Kante (who has thrived in the Chelsea system this season) was found stranded between the shorelines of midfield and defence. The subsequent ocean of space allowed fans to see Herrera’s Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde playing style in microcosm, first trapping the ball using his hand and halting a promising Chelsea attack (the glorious bastard), then playing the crispest of through balls onto the on running Rashford to slide home the opening goal.
Perhaps opting for Rashford was merely a way of catching the usual guard dog Conte unaware; mayhap Mourinho genuinely believed that the key to victory was to use a mobile front man who would play either side of the two wide centre backs or maybe it was simply to save Ibrahimovic for more important fixtures to come. Whatever the reasoning, the result was positively bright.
With Zlatan subsequently picking up, what sounds like, a pretty lengthy injury, Mourinho has the opportunity to trial-run a Rashford-led forward line. It is often injury that brings about opportunity. It’s time Rashford seized it.
So after watching yet another turd of a game, where we seem to have no plan beyond stand goal side of big defenders and rely on our aerial ‘prowess’ to bang in the goals, a lot of the points I made in my unpublished email last week stand. We’re toothless and I’m still not convinced Mourinho will ever change tactics to make a more effective team.
I want to raise three points, however. I’m glad Ibra is injured and part of me wants him to leave or stay on as a coach, because his lack of mobility is costing us games. People keep on saying ‘where would Manchester United be without his goals?’ as though no other system could be devised to fit the plentiful talents of Martial, Rashford, Mkhitaryan, Mata, Pogba and Herrera. This could be one that is fast, direct, mobile and plays behind the defence, rather than simply relying on long balls in front of defenders. Who knows, such a fluid, dynamic system might result in goals and increased confidence for all those players. At the moment, it looks very much as though Ibra is holding us back.
Rashford was probably our best player tonight, but I found him incredibly frustrating at times. Hes clearly young and maybe lacks a little experience. I think sometimes he tries to take on too much himself (a bit like Pogba). He’s definitely a fantastic talent, and clearly has the skills to match the hype – and he can actually finish unlike Danny Welbeck. But sometimes I don’t think he’ll ever be as good as Henry or Brazilian Ronaldo. A 19 year old Ronaldo would not have pushed the ball too wide on that one on one, and Henry would probably have had the balls to go for the lob. Maybe it’s a little unfair to criticise Rashford for not being as good as those players yet, maybe ever, but were he to add a little more finesse to his game, he could be and I hope he works as hard as Cristiano to get there.
Lastly, I seem to remember a player bossing the game last Sunday. He’s not huge, but he marked Hazard out of the game completely, out-Kante’d Kante, scored a goal and set one up. I keep on saying he’s probably our most effective midfielder this season, and yet Mourinho left out Herrera again, in a game that again demanded his tenacity, steel, thoughtfulness and energy. And he brought on Fellaini instead. In fairness to Mourinho, two of his subs were forced by injury but it is increasingly frustrating seeing a missing piece be overlooked.
Daniel (wishes Fellaini would jog on) Cambridge
Bless the Europa
Wow, what a night in the Europa League. 3 games ending in extra time or penalties ! I decided to watch Lyon-Besiktas and I was not disappointed. The game was spectacular, with incredible saves and opportunities on both sides. However, man of the match must go to Fabricio, the besiktas goalkeeper, who pulled two incredible saves.
Also, everyone should watch the penalty shoot out, because the first 10 were some of the best penalties i have ever seen. Most of them were unstoppable, hugging the bottom corner as it went in. Both goalkeeper were often going the right way and unable to stop them. I’m a firm believer in praticing penalties. Even if you can not recreate the atmosphere, it still takes skill to score penalties, not just luck
Spurs not ready to be crowned champions
Pochettino’s press conference saw him quickly snatch the under dogs tag for tomorrow’s semi final, why? Spur’s run since Xmas has been then best in the PL and with momentum now sit four points off a stumbling Chelsea.
Yet when he has a chance to make a statement of confidence the guy runs to under dog status. Compare this Chelsea team they had a disaster of a season last year, lost huge club stawalts. Club was gearing up for a top four challenge but have quietly accepted the favourites tag for the last 3 months.
For me this is why Spurs more especially Potchettino will not win the league he is not mentally ready to accept the pressure champions deal with week in week out. This Spurs team have evolved over the last 3 years and have the capability to win the league, the next step to being champions is to stand up and say we’re ready.
Big Weekend‘s little brother
Bournemouth-Middlesbrough. Boro are suffering from Gestede’s Syndrome, defined as insufficient attacking quality to win football matches. But they’re still in the race, and can cash in their extra game this Wednesday (home vs Sunderland, not too bad). It’s Man City and Chelsea to follow, though, so a win here would be a good idea. Fortunately they’re facing a team that likes to attack, and is ready to let loose after a difficult run of games. Gastón Ramírez scored a brilliant solo goal when Boro won the reverse fixture, so he figures to start again, and so will Stewart Downing after that sumptuous cross against Arsenal. But Adama Traoré might be a good choice to catch Bournemouth on the counterattack. Eddie Howe has been playing a tight 4-4-2 recently, but mostly against the better sides; here he figures to go back to his flying 4-2-3-1 with Josh King behind Benik Afobé.
Stat: Boro are a surprising 10th in possession percentage, right behind Bournemouth.
Hull City-Watford. Chapeau to Walter Mazzarri and the Hornets, who have reached the 40-point mark with several games to spare. It’s been a classic plod, with no winning or losing streak longer than two matches, but also with wins over Manchester United and Arsenal. Yesterday he admitted he’s worried the players will relax now. Meanwhile Hull are doing their best Burnley impression, having lost only once at home in all competitions since late October (I don’t believe it either). I’m guessing they’ll play two strikers, the system that’s brought them their last three wins. Marco Silva’s biggest worry is who to play at right back against M’Baye Niang; not sure Harry Maguire is up to that one, but Ahmed Elmohamady hasn’t been in good form either. Abdoulaye Doucouré played well at DM for Watford against Swansea, and hopefully we’ll see him again here.
Stat: Watford are 19th in shots taken inside the six-yard box, ahead only of Sunderland.
Swansea City – Stoke City. Paul Clement has started blocking fans on his Twitter account, which can’t be a good sign. He also seemed defeated in his press conference after the loss to Watford, which might indicate why his teams have suffered Pardew-like bad runs. Stoke are coming off a so-so performance that just happened to include three superb goals, and since November have won only one away match, against Sunderland. Jack Cork is still missing for Swansea, and both Jay Fulton and Ki Sung-yeung were ineffective replacing him last week. If Clement is in a gambling mood, which doesn’t happen often, he might consider starting Jefferson Montero to go at Glen Johnson. Most fascinating matchup should be Stoke’s centre-halves against Fernando Llorente: Bruno Martins Indi is a much better marker than Ryan Shawcross, but Shawcross is much better in the air.
Stat: Stoke have had more unsuccessful touches (defined by Whoscored.com as “bad control”) than any side in the league.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Serie A: The league to watch next season
I really think that its time that the Serie A came back into the limelight, I have a feeling that the glory days are going to be returning. Everyone already knows how great a team Juventus is right now but there’s so much boiling just under the surface and I hope the good folks of the footballing world don’t miss out on this renaissance.
Napoli has an exciting squad with the fantastic talents of Hamsik and Insigne leading the attack. Roma have had a pretty good season and are a shoe in for the champions league. Even teams like Torino have abundant talent with the likes of league top scorer Bellotti (yet they’re in 9th!!).
But the biggest reason for this new dawn has to be the money that will flood into AC Milan and Inter. With their super rich Chinese owners at the helm, they’re expected to spend BIG this summer and could be competing for the top prize next season. Inter already have a really good squad which I think has under performed this season but the general sense is that they will only get stronger with more investment from their billionaire owner. Milan’s rise is a little bit more questionable at the moment because of the complex ownership terms that have taken shape since Berlusconi finally gave up his reign, but its fair to say that there is more optimism around their future.
I guess my point is that over the next couple of years, the Italian league might become must watch football not just for the hipsters but also for the mainstream. I also have a hunch that their national team bubbling with young talent, are going to be the dark horses for Russia 2018. Get on board this train just as its about the leave the station, it could be a really fun ride!
Forget David De Gea…
Where the F**K is Toby Adeweireld in the PFA Team of the year?
A drunk person mails in
Take A Bow, Matt Stead.
Possibly the most enjoyable article I’ve read in a while.