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Chocolate teapot > Wayne Rooney
Slightly unfair to suggest that Rooney is as much use as chocolate teapot, as the teapot at least has a value in illustrating metaphors, whereas our glorious leader can’t even summon a decent performance against League One opposition.
Can he please be dropped?
Next for Rooney?
F*** it, just stick him in goal.
Man United: Player by player
I’ve broken this down into player summaries, rather than conclusions, because I’m not sure you can draw too many real conclusions from a game like this.
Romero: looked dodgy all night. Flapped at every cross and his decision-making was very suspect indeed. Is he really better than Victor Valdes would have been?
Fosu-Mensah: did well generally, both defensively and attacking, and was unlucky not to score when he hit the bar. One momentary lapse of concentration in the build-up to the Northampton penalty put us further in trouble, but he had plenty of company when apportioning blame for that goal.
Smalling: had relatively little to do, but dealt with the long balls pretty well. I don’t know where he was during the penalty incident, but I’m not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing. Needs to start taking on more responsibility and mature into a leader quickly if he is to keep his place in this team.
Blind: a very clumsy and lazy challenge for the penalty overshadowed any other good work he did. It’s moments like those that are costing us on a regular basis – as in the Manchester derby.
Rojo: so suspect defensively and a very poor ‘clearance’ in the penalty build-up. He did work hard in the attacking third and put in a few decent crosses which deserved better. Luke Shaw simply has to stay fit for the whole season or we have a problem.
Carrick: pretty much your standard Carrick performance. Neat and tidy in possession, organised his midfield colleagues well, defended well too. Excellent finish for the goal.
Schneiderlin: on the whole, was very good. Very composed defending and was very bright bringing the ball out from the back. The few mistakes he did make could be attributed to a lack of match sharpness, but his scuffed clearance in the penalty build-up was disappointing. I would still rather have him alongside Herrera in midfield instead of Fellaini.
Herrera: along with Carrick, one of the few starters to come out of this game with any credit, and my man of the match. Excellent both defensively and going forward, his work rate was brilliant throughout. Was unlucky to hit the outside of the post with a long shot but got the goal he deserved with a cracking strike later on. The more matches he gets, the better he will be, so a consistent run in the team would give us the perfect midfield partner for Pogba in my opinion.
Young: just not good enough for us. His work rate is decent and he gets into some good positions but he dithers in possession too frequently and rarely looks up before putting in a cross, so they often fail to find a teammate. That said, looking up to see no one in the box almost every time you attack is hardly his fault.
Depay: one of his brighter performances and was slightly unfortunate to be one of the players to get hooked. The wayward shooting was removed from his game and he kept hold of and used the ball well when in possession, though against tougher opposition he needs more time on the ball than he was afforded against Northampton. Didn’t put in too many crosses but, as with Young, rarely had a target to aim at in the box.
Rooney: Harried and hassled the officials really well tonight. Nah, he really is just bad. Rarely in the right place at the right time, but consistently fluffed his lines when he was. Kept dropping deep and left us with no one in the box when a cross could did come in. Constantly ignoring the game going on to appeal to the referee, which is infuriating to watch. I genuinely can’t think of a single thing he did well tonight. How many more chances is he going to get – and in how many different positions – before he’s removed from the starting eleven?
SUB – Rashford: another typical performance from him; he is the antithesis of Wayne Rooney. Brilliant energy and such composure, his pause and look up to search for the right pass when assisting the Herrera goal is exactly what we need from the wide positions. Got his reward for not giving up on the long ball forward from Herrera, and yet another reason why he is both so popular and so bloody brilliant.
SUB – Ibrahimovic: another pretty quiet performance but he’s not the sort of player you want getting involved all over the pitch. I’m more than happy for him to play like this because he invariably takes his chances when presented with them.
SUB – Fellaini: didn’t really have too much to do at either end but I thought we actually looked shakier at the back – particularly at set pieces – when he came on.
I think praise has to go to Northampton for their performance. I don’t think I saw one of their players stood still all night, and there is definitely some talent in that team. They didn’t really deserve to be on the end of a 3-1, with the first and third goals down to a couple of unfortunate misjudgements from their ‘keeper. The emotion on Revell’s face after scoring was a nice moment and I’m pleased for him personally.
I definitely think that a midfield three of Schneiderlin and Herrera with Pogba slightly further forward would be a much better fit than Fellaini, Pogba and Rooney. Those three together, plus Martial and Rashford as part of the attacking three, would be so much more dynamic and I’m certain would make much more sense if we’re going for a more counter-attacking style of play. But at least we won, and I wasn’t terribly confident we would after the last three games.
P.S. Anyone else catch Phil Neville repeatedly referring to Rashford as ‘Michael Rashford’? Silly billy Philly.
Rooney as a striker? Just awful
Two minutes to half time and he’s managed to give the ball away twice (one of which led to the Northampton penalty), missed a sitter from six yards, had a Fosu-Mensah header hit his offside head, and spent the rest of his time on the halfway line hitting crossfield balls to the right wing.
This is an out-and-out central striker.
How the press are going to spin this if it continues will be interesting.
Oh Philly Phil
Phil Neville just said that Rooney changing positions so often is the reason for his drop in form. He said “he wants to be a striker or he wants to be a midfielder, he doesnt want to be stuck on the right wing”. Not a word on his dwindling talent or physical deficiency. No mention of his inability to keep up with League 1 players.
I’d like to congratulate Phil Neville for managing to steal a living from BT Sport. I’m so glad they’re using my hard earned money to finance your blatant nepotism.
Michael? F***ing Michael?
Anybody else notice Phil Neville referring to a young Man Utd striker as ‘Michael Rashford’ last night?
Jeez. I pay good money for these channels!
Massive respect to Wenger after 20 years
As is my norm after a long day – goofing off from work to read football news, I came across the Guardian article celebrating 20 years of Arsene Wenger.
I cannot find the words (cut me some slack – I’m not Brendan after all) to express admiration for a man who has managed a top tier football club through ups, downs, frustrations, heartaches and celebrations – for 2/3rd of my entire 30 year life.
Contrast that to the millennial attitude. The longest time I have been at one job is three years. Or in football timelines, where one loss to Burnley means ‘Klopp’s been found out’, and three wins later ‘he is the next Shankly’. (I’m a Liverpool fan obviously)
I am sure there will be plenty of Arsenal fans saying “enough is enough, move on Arsene”. But can we for one day appreciate a man who actually:
(a) shows commitment to an idea.
(b) believes in principles that transcends to more than a specific number of titles.
(c) cares about his subordinates (in this case his players) and trusts them.
(d) is relatively successful by most counts.
You know – all the things we are taught are good principles to live your life by, except not in the crazy world of football. If nothing else, I owe him, for teaching me about humanity and resilience in the face of adversity, and to stick to your principles despite the sticks and stones.
Hoping for a round of applause for him from the classy Anfield crowd when Arsenal visit.
Vinod (Chicago Red)
Klopp’s methods are refreshing
It seems all the talk in the media over the start of the season has been about philosophies and style of play of the new managerial faces in the League. One aspect I feel which is not getting enough coverage is the coaching abilities of these managers. I feel that this doesn’t get enough air time, possibly because it must be a given that manager will positively influence physical, technical and mental attributes of professional footballers.
Liverpool seem to have profited very highly from Klopp’s insistence that signing new players as short-term solutions is a behaviour doesn’t always have to be the only option. He has gone about coaching players and improving their individual games, thus improving team performance and cohesion.
Yes LFC and Klopp have signed 30 million pound players, but they have also re-invented players such as Lallana, Firmino, Lovren to name a few. The same can be said of Pochettino at Spurs and to an extent Ranieri at Leicester.
Klopp’s constant reminder during the transfer window and even toward the end of last season to train his squad is nothing new, only now are we beginning to see the rewards of a full pre-season.
Make no mistake, it’s still early days, but it should be very interesting to see how this pans out – if performances continue upward toward January or if he deviates from his methods and dips in during the January transfer window.
Yes, it’s important to sign new players to fix problematic positions in a squad in elite football, but what managers like Klopp are doing requires patience and backing of owners and a board – that’s refreshing to see.
West Ham’s problem? Full-backs
You could probably write numerous articles on what’s going wrong with West Ham so far this season, because a lot is (on and off the field) But the main reason? Full-backs.
It is amazing how much they have missed the extremely solid Aaron Cresswell who is unfortunately injured and James Tomkins. A player who I thought was great at RB last season, who funnily enough by all reports left West Ham to play in the middle of the park at Palace.
Masuaku has been absolutely dire, Antonio isn’t a ful-lback (that has been realized though) and Byram the youngster probably isn’t really up to week in, week out Premier League yet. Arbeloa should be fit and (hopefully) firing soon, but I think it’s amazing sometimes how he overlook what many people see as a less important position.
Or they could go in for Rooney at right-back in January?
This kid looks quite good
Terrific virtual debut for Jake Hesketh last night (he played a bit part in a couple of games back in December 2014). Three terrific through balls in a 10-minute period just before half time, at least two of which we should have scored from, and a very composed finish.
Watch from 0:55
However I have three concerns:
– When will he get a game for Saints, as he is playing as a No.10, which is Tadic’s position, with Boufal still to come in.
– He needs to spend a bit more time in the gym.
– He looks worryingly two-footed, which is not the English way.
Midweek Palace thoughts
* Well done to Southampton on their deserved victory. Especially well done to Jake Hesketh for his first senior goal. Soton had four times as many shots on target as Crystal Palace, who simply weren’t good enough.
* I doubt anyone is losing sleep about being knocked out of the EFL Cup. It’s nice to win games, and good to progress through in a tournament lower-level Premier League clubs often have a decent shot at winning, but losing far from disastrous. This competition is usually a chance to rest key players and give fringe players a chance to show what they can do, but both teams in this one featured many players who were involved at the weekend.
* Alan Pardew was delightfully b!tchy in his post-match comments, describing Shane Long as having “a bit of history in those situations”. I haven’t seen the penalty but I’m guessing from that reaction it was a correct decision by the referee.
* At the end of the January 2014 transfer window, Tony Pulis bolstered his side’s defensive corps by spending around £1.5m for a defender who had played parts of two Premier League seasons, both of which ended in relegation. However, as part of the ex-Gills gaffer’s Eagles, Scott Dann became an assured presence at the heart of the defence, and is one of the Premier League’s highest scoring defenders, making him football’s answer to the NHL’s Erik Karlsson. This led to some people championing him for an England call-up – admittedly this was mainly Alan Pardew and various Palace-supporting journos.
Last night Dann made his 100th appearance for Palace. It didn’t go exactly to plan, as he limped off after 20 minutes with a suspected hamstring injury. As yet, there hasn’t been too much said about the injury, but I’ll be over here, fearing the worst.
I realise I’ve said it 427 times before, but in their promotion season, the Eagles reached the top of the Championship because their first team was so good, but ended up in the play-offs because their replacement players were not of the same quality. Similarly, we now have a first XI I believe is upper-midtable (but not European qualification) quality, but not the squad to match it, and this will be our downfall. Three of our starting back four are now injured (Dann, Pape Souare, James Tomkins) to varying degrees, meaning there is a chance that Martin Kelly, who was signed as a right-back, but has been deputising for Souare on the left and who replaced Dann last night, will be playing at centre-back at the weekend – having away a penalty and struggled against Shane Long, what odds something similar happens with Jermain Defoe?
It doesn’t feel right, somehow, looking to January’s transfer window already, but defensive depth has to be the main objective.
* That said, the good news is that Yohan Cabaye played 90 minutes, having missed time through injury. Let’s just hope he doesn’t get Cattermoled at the weekend.
On with the showboating…
Just finished reading a Skysports article, the ‘Is Neymar going too far?’ story, referring to some of his recent ‘showboating’ in games, particularly against Leganes where Barca thumped them 5-1.
First off, just want to highlight a comment from Guillem Balague:
“As long as he doesn’t go overboard, he can do as much showboating as he wants, but as a coach, I want him to be effective with it…”
Skysports and many others, including Balague, are rolling with the term ‘showboating’, saying that he is doing too much of it. By definition, showboating, whether a little or a lot, is deemed to be when a player ‘will do something flashy before (or even instead of) actually achieving his or her goal’. So, if every trick he does is deemed to be showboating, he is always deemed to showing off and/or ‘disrespecting’ his opposition.
Frankly, that’s utter bollocks.
Yes, if by definition the player is showboating, or to term it better, taking the p**s when the their side is three or four goals to the good, and has no other purpose (not attacking the goal, nor trying to score etc.) than to embarrass an already flagging opponent, then yea it’s not very sportsmanlike. But, if this player is using brilliant skills to go past players with a target (e.g. moving forward in the attacking third, maintaining possession etc.) is it really showboating? He’s just using the skills at his disposal, and if the opposing player can’t deal with it, then more power to the more skillful player right?
We want the best players doing things average ones can’t, it’s entertainment, that feeling when you are amazed that the player was able to do such a skill, especially at the top level, in front of the cameras, and regardless of the opposition (if a team has made it to the top division, the players are pros and deemed good enough to be playing at that level). I don’t understand this griping over ‘disrespect’, if you’re playing at the top level and you can’t handle a player, or he di*ks you every time you try to tackle him, then he’s just better than you isn’t he? Set-piece specialists don’t get sh*t for curling in amazing, unreachable free kicks do they? Jay Jay Okocha performed some brilliant pieces of skill in his time but was never, to my knowledge, given stick for doing it, perhaps simply because he wasn’t playing in an elite team (One such moment springs to mind, when Okocha scooped the ball over the head of an onrushing Ray Parlour if memory serves).
I for one am happy to see the best players in the world outdoing others, if the trick comes off, awesome, if they mess it up, we can have a laugh, and most importantly that’s what critics will ignore- that whenever these players try out a fancy skill, they know there’s a risk that it might not work out and that they’ll have to take flak from team mates too.
Jon (great recommended reading on Joey Barton), NUFC, Guangzhou
It all comes back to Beckham
Daniel Storey’s portraits have been simply astounding in their accuracy but in fact some of them just point back at Cantona.
He was the best player at United but famously worked harder than anyone else there too. Who can say what a profound effect this had on Beckham, Scholes and countless others. Was Gary Neville really the best right-back of his time or just a product of incredibly hard work to be the best he could be, influenced by those he saw around him striving to achieve as much as possible? Even his retirement speaks of a player who developed unrelenting standards that he saw he could no longer live up to. Imagine if Rooney had the ego of Neville; he would’ve left a long time ago or renegotiated a contract to exclude a ‘must play’ clause, should it really exist.
People are so quick to point at Ferguson’s ability to turn good into great…or average into good if we are looking at some of his integral squad players like O’Shea etc. I can’t help but wonder if Cantona affected a generation, who in turn affected a generation…
La Masia had a similar power; I have read that Xavi signed a no. 8 shirt for Fabregas as a youth player with the words, “one day you will wear this shirt”. The importance of a heroes impact on a young player can’t be understated. Who’s to say Ronaldo would’ve achieved his magnificence anywhere else but United?
In short, I am deeply jealous of what United created over so many years of brilliance. And I’d never understate Fergie’s impact on that team through his own brilliant success. But I also think the greatest masterstroke in all his work was signing Cantona from Leeds; a player who was seen as troublesome at the time. When it’s look back upon, a £1m transfer fee, even at the time, was incredibly cheap.
Football365 and the Guardian deserve praise for the independent and free work they do. Tony Barrett now at Joe writes wonderful stuff too and we are incredibly lucky to still live in a time when we can read their work for free.
Much love to all of you, you biased b**tards. Long may it continue.
What about this Beckham assist?
Really liked your Beckham article, for me, he is the only footballer from these shores worthy of the ‘icon’ status.
He carried England for years, culminating in his 10th free-kick actually going in to equalise. It was brilliant yes, but must consider that he missed all his previous attempts, it was an equaliser not a winner and all it did was to qualify us for a tournament where we ultimately got spaffed. When people talk about this as their best England moment, you have to question whether we, as a nation, have the right mentality to ever win the world cup again.
If taking part and enjoying ourselves is all we care about then we don’t have a right to win a thing. Unless we get a bit more nasty, start cheating a bit, winning at all costs, moments like this will be all we can ever hope for.
Anyway, my favourite pass of his is this one for Real Madrid.
I think this might win the best assist/best goal prize.
fat man scouse, EFC