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On the Rooney stopped clock
Every now and then even a blind squirrel finds a nut.
Ted, fed up, Ireland
This made us laugh
I just sighed when Rooney scored and turned the TV off. He didn’t even direct the header. Did you see his attempt at finishing Mata’s centre about ten minutes earlier? He looked like he was trying to unhook a bra with his feet.
Stephen O’S, MUFC
Happy with Lingard, and well done Cameron/Wayne
Well, that’s was more like it. That felt like a United of old, a normal European night at Old Trafford.
Biggest star of the night was Lingard by far. He showed no fear, no desire to cut in and pass backwards or cross the ball into the first man without beating him first. Some of the times he lost it was when trying to beat the third or fourth man, and I sodding loved it. Unlike Memphis who tries and fails to beat the first, Lingard was running all day and beating people with feints and body movement rather than stepovers and flash tricks. Very exciting performance from him.
Rooney resembled a footballer. His touch was decent, he mostly found his teammates, a few pathetic moments were there but overall it was much better from him. He played decent and got his goal, sort of like Cameron Jerome. No way is this man world class or great, but he was fuctional. The problem with Rooney is he is too blinded, he doesn’t ‘see’ the game and know what’s on. If you look at passages of play with him and Schweinsteiger you can see Basti get frustrated that Rooney chooses the wrong option.
Here’s an example from last year of this
— John Brewin (@JohnBrewinESPN) August 31, 2014
…that should have been a simple one-two and we’re on their penalty area. Instead it’s running back, turning and pinging it out to Valencia to do nothing with. Never going to be a great player again but if he can control the ball properly and score a goal, we can’t moan.
Who else screamed “Oh f**k off” at the screen when Sideshow Bob appeared to start warming up? He’s a coward, if there’s no time to bring it down on his chest then he doesn’t want to know. Sh*ts out of the physical challenges in the air, he doesn’t even jump. Go back to Everton.
Well done Lingard
The big question for me, is this: Is Jesse Lingard the player that Memphis Depay should be? Tonight night he was quick, direct and ambitious, and yet he was diligent and focused on his defensive duties as well. He never let his chin drop; he never allowed his failures to over-shadow his night. His end product is hit and miss, but that’s par for the course from a young attacker. But the upshot is that he played as a player who believed that he belonged in a Champions League team, rather than one trying convince everyone of that fact. He looked far more comfortable in his skin than Depay who often looks as though he’s holding back for some reason. As though he’s scared to fail.
He’s been a welcome addition to the squad this season.
Harry The Manc
I wonder who it was that wrote in a couple of days ago, saying that Rooney scores from crosses?
That was poisonous
What a poisonous atmosphere at Old Trafford. CSKA sat back throughout the game and had almost everyone in their penalty area for long periods of time. But that was no excuse for Utd fans. They didn’t expect a deluge of goals. They just wanted to see some clear chances at least.
The problem, I think, is not the sideways or patient passing or lack of pace. One issue is that we have stopped crossing the ball, either because we are not playing proper wingers (Martial, Mata) or because we are just bad at it. And we also seem to get outnumbered in certain areas of the pitch, which means we go for the safe backward pass. I don’t know if it’s because of our lack of movement or because our players don’t trust each other to receive the ball in tight areas. Also, what’s the deal with corners and free-kicks? Why do we need that idiotic player-running-over-the-ball thing? And why can’t we just pump a corner into the area? How difficult is that? The ball is stationary as is the bloody penalty area!!
Finally, I just wanted to applaud the lively performance of young Jesse Lingard. The stadium shook with deluded chants of Rooney’s name after he scored. But the goal was made possible by Lingard’s excellent assist. He was also a handful throughout the game. I think he worried CSKA much more than Martial or anyone else did. I hope he gets more minutes on the pitch. He could be special if he keeps his head down instead of going down the Depay road (still early for the young Dutchman though).
Jay (Why do we chant Rooney’s name?), MUFC
I’ve just read the article and this is a ridiculously harsh analysis of what was actually a pretty good performance against a team that simply came to defend.
While far from great this was a massively one-sided game which Utd more than deserved to win.
There is a fairly clear anti Van Gaal narrative in a lot of your articles…often justified but not this time I feel. Even Scholes thought they were pretty good!
No, he deserves criticism
Forget tika-taka, the new force in football is LVG’s shi*ty-kakky style. Withdraw the main threat in favour of a six foot six talentless thug and play him up top in a dual carthorse attack. Make sure you have wide men incapable of crossing accurately and so lull the opposition into thinking there is nothing to worry about. Then hit them with the first piece of joined-up attacking play in months. Genius.
Denis Cohen, bored to death, Cambridgeshire
From July 2014: ‘Tom Cleverley is confident he can revive his Manchester United career because he ‘is a (Louis) Van Gaal type of player’.
‘The midfielder struggled under David Moyes last season starting on just 18 Premier League games but is convinced he can thrive under new manager Van Gaal.
”I watched the manager’s Holland team in the World Cup and from that I think I’m going to be his type of player,’ said Cleverley.’
What a bloody visionary genius. Cleverley was actually spot on right – He IS a Van Gaal type of player.
Hailing the City slickers
What an accomplished performance. It’s an amazing coincidence that our two best European matches (last night and Roma away last December) have both been achieved with Yaya not one of a midfield two.
I’m glad Pellegrini has come across the right formation eventually but wonder what will happen when Aguero, and more importantly Silva, are fit again? Can you really leave them two and de Bruyne on the bench? We shall see!
Well done City, some great performances last night, particularly the midfield three, Sterling and Navas!
James (you always moan that no City fans write in!) May, Cheshire
On Savage’s side v Terry
I must admit I do not know what Robbie Savage said about John Terry that rattled the former England man so much, but can I just point out how silly John Terry looks after his comments about Robbie Savage?
Firstly, to insinuate that Savage has enjoyed a ‘bad’ career just sends all sorts of wrong messages to everyone involved. Every child, or indeed even amateur coach/manager doing their coaching badges, aspiring to break into the sport would happily have the career Savage has had. Without doing much research, a decade and a half-long career in England coupled with thirty-plus international appearances is more than par for a decent career in football. It also seems disrespectful for all the current Chelsea loan-army who are playing at a ‘bad level’ according to their club captain.
Secondly, as a United fan there might be heavy bias here but Terry should not consider himself as a player equal to the Nevilles, Carraghers and Rios of English football. Yes Terry has won a shedload for Chelsea but I’d point to his failure to turn up for Chelsea’s biggest moments (penalty miss in Moscow and then absence vs Munich followed by full kit w*nker). He’s also contributed next to jacksh*t internationally, primarily because he’s sc*m as a person. Even Jonathon Greening has a Champions League medal, mind.
Chelsea’s siege mentality is well-documented but its a very thin line to walk to make sure the club itself stays united. I’m sure Mourinho will turn it around but there’s now a heavy-metal German threatening to gate crash the top four this year, with Chelsea increasingly looking like the casualty. Jose needs his main men (such as Terry) to actually start listening to and heeding the criticism coming their way.
Bow before the king
So Micki Attridge doesn’t rate The King? Let me take you back to 1996, and the season Eric returned from his ban. If you remember, it was the year Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle were 12 points clear at the top. We’d whittled down their lead from 12 by the time we went to St. James’ Park on 4th March. Look at the following sequence of games:
4th March Newcastle (a) 1-0 (Cantona 52′)
16th March QPR (a) 1-1 (Cantona 90′)
20th March Arsenal (h) 1-0 (Cantona 65′)
24th March Spurs (h) 1-0 (Cantona 51′)
6th April Man City (a) 3-2 (Cantona 7′)
8th April Coventry (h) 1-0 (Cantona 47′)
Of the 14 league goals he scored that season, 12 were worth points. This was the beauty of Cantona. Much like his successor in the mad-French-genius department, Zidane, the flash of brilliance wasn’t superfluous, it would generally be what won you the game. Or occasionally they might violently assault someone and get sent off. You just knew though, if they game was tight, they’d do something. That’s what kept you on the edge of your seat and that’s why I, and many other United fans, adored him like no other.
Oh, and the FA Cup final that season? 11th May Liverpool (n) 1-0 (Cantona 86′)
Lewis, Busby Way
Fanmail for Storey and Baggio
I want to congratulate, and thank, Mr. Storey on his article on Roberto Baggio. Since the series started, this is the one I’ve been hoping for. If John Barnes and Peter Beardsley were the reasons I became interested in football, Roberto Baggio was the reason I fell in love with it. The reason why I’m always drawn to the genius that can manipulate a game of football like he has it on a string.
One of my favourite things about Baggio is that if you watch highlights reels of his career, without having actually watched him, you’d wonder what the fuss was about, apart from a couple of particular goals. He was all about space, touch and timing. A player with a perfect, innate understanding of how football ticks. A genuine case of a player who had something that you just can’t teach.
USA 94 is the first World Cup where I was old enough to really understand what was going on. Many people will tell you that it was Romario’s World Cup. For me, it was Baggio’s. As far as one man shows go, it’s up there, just behind Maradona in 86. He dragged them to that final, and in spectacular style. Italy underwhelmed in the group stage, squeezing through in third place. Then, Baggio came alive. Look at the knock-out stages. Nigeria in the Last 16. 1-0 with two minutes to play – genuine upset on the cards. Baggio scores a bloody wonder goal to equalise, then gets the winner in extra time. Spain in the quarters – 88th-minute winner. A brace in the semis against Bulgaria to fire Italy into the final. And then THAT penalty happened. I remember sitting in stunned silence, genuinely upset that my new hero had failed. As far as tragedies go, even Shakespeare would be proud.
It’s fair to say he spent a good few years in the wilderness after that miss, but I was pleased to see him tearing things up in Serie A in his mid-thirties with Brescia, scoring double figures four seasons running, and almost earning a call-up to the Euro 2004 squad at the age of 37.
Excellent work, Daniel.
Recommending the recommendations
Sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to Munich and thought I’d drop you a line to say thank you for the recommended reading thing you’re doing.
Much better than learning about the most recent human action man.
Rich (Bucketlist) AFC London
Comments and hearts and sadness
First you guys make a lovely new website but ruin it by going with Facebook for your comments (resulting in zero debate now within these pages) and this morning my Twitter now has stupid hearts instead of favourites.
Not impressed with the Internet this year.
Stu (Jose Out), London