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Quick question for United fans
Does Juan Mata have the deckchair surgically removed from his arse after every match?
Steve, LFC (London via Bootle)
Man United fans should just stop going…
“Liverpool created a fantastic atmosphere…Fellaini was very good…We couldn’t cope with Liverpool…We should also create an atmosphere like Liverpool when they visit…last time there were 75000 people in the stadium – Fans enjoy the Europa League…you shouldn’t live in the past”.
This is no less than what the United fans deserve – specifically those that visit the stadium. For filling up the stadium and cheering on an inept team and a charlatan of a manager for so long now. For tolerating an abject and indecent return for their hard-earned money. For letting Ed Woodward and the board believe that they can get away with anything. For just being fools and conscious victims of a scam that Manchester United currently is.
Don’t waste your money flying ‘OUT’ banner planes. Don’t waste your energy booing United when they lose to Sunderland and Norwich (and Liverpool and West Ham). Just don’t waste your time going to the matches – anyway you are not being entertained. We shall see how many weeks United can afford the PR/marketing disaster of willfully empty stadiums.
I’m not asking for them to be spoilt like Madrid fans. But atleast show some self respect for your time and your energies.
Bala (David Moyes was better) MUFC
We are about to do an Arsenal…
Well, we really cocked that up, didn’t we?? So many things were off, but I’ll only hammer a few:
– Let’s go ahead and get Fellaini out of the way. A lot will be made about his return and the fact that he went 90 mins. He wasn’t terrible. But he wasn’t very good….because he isn’t very good. No shame in that. It’s not his fault Ed and Co. spunked 28ish million gbp on him With that said, he is not of the required quality, especially in what amounted to a two-man centre midfield (because Mata doesn’t track back, nor should he after we saw his “tackling” on Sunday). He adds very little besides an extremely supple chest and hard head going forward so you need more foil around him in the center of the park.
– De Gea kept the scoreline somewhat respectable. He really is something else. If you were to make a five-man depth chart for each position in world football (Friday mailbox challenge?), he would undoubtedly be the only United player in the entire 55-man world-class team. That’s a terrible indictment of our current plight. Or blight. Yeah, that seems a better term.
– I’m sure much will be made about Rashford and his poor performance. I put very little, if any of it on his young shoulders. Playing his fifth game and out of position. Not much to go on.
– The tactics tonight were truly shocking. Likely the worst I’ve seen from LVG, especially given the magnitude of the contest. It bordered on arrogance really. Martial’s best position, at least from what we’ve seen, is out wide running at defenders, right? And Rashford’s best role is poaching inside the 18-yard box, right? Why oh why would you switch the two??? I could understand making them switch as an in-game tactic, but not to start off. Rashford was wayyyy out of his depth and it showed with Moreno constantly having him pinned back. I’d love to see a heatmap of Rashford’s positions. I’m sure it would be labelled ‘wing-back’ by most orthodox standard. Because of this, among other terrible tactical decisions (subs, formation changes), we were under the cosh from the off. There were long stretches where it appeared we were playing as if a man down We made a decent, but by no means great, Liverpool team look capable. It’s embarrassing, really. We offered nothing going forward. We could have played for 1000 mins tonight and wouldn’t have scored a single goal.
– The last two weeks were a true false dawn. Our four-game winning streak was a complete fraud. We’ve been exposed. In those four games, we beat mighty Shrewsbury, FC Midtdyllandndnannd, perennial bottlers Arsenal and Watford, unconvincingly. When viewed in the scope of our last 7-8 games, we won those and lost of FC Midtdydlllanddn, West Brom and Liverpool. Simply put, we look like $HIT because we are currently a $HIT football team. Not much more to it.
– We are certainly odds on to “do an Arsenal” and get dumped out of all remaining competitions within the next 10 days. It really is a terrible feeling.
Seth, Birmingham, AL, USA
Oh the tactics…the sodding tactics
Usually with even a Football League coach, in success or failure, you can at least see what they were trying to achieve. There is a plan. Structure. Aim. It might not be better than your opponents, but you always have one.
Therefore, what on earth was LVG doing with Rashford? You’ve unearthed a raw talent: electric pace, confidence, and most important of all, ability to kick the the round thing between the two sticks, with a reasonable amount of power and accuracy.
So rather than leave him up front to continue this effective, albeit simple plan, LVG puts him at right midfield. Why? It’s almost like he can’t stand the fact that for the last few games Man Utd started playing *their* way. Pace and intent and goals. Did it all get too much for Louis? Did he discover that Giggs was giving them secret attacking tactical plans in the canteen and insist upon dragging us all back down to earth with a reminder of his miserable reality?
The game had all his hallmarks. Put your most exciting players out of position. Isolate Mata somewhere on a wing. Stick Fellaini up top and play hoof-the-ball-to-the-tall-bloke. Go 3-5-2 for a bit and expose the defence. Put Blind on a wing and see just how slow he is. Leave everyone unsure quite who the centre forward is. Bring on Schweinsteiger but play him dangerously deep so he can’t influence the game. Bring on Carrick, but play him at centre back so you can make absolutely sure he won’t complete any of the probing passes he’s based his career on. Before even kicking off, let all the fans know that those expecting success are “living in the past”.
How do David Gill and Fergie sit there and watch their legacy get trampled further and further into the dirt each week, by a manager who would rather pretend the fans have unrealistic expectations than accept that he is unable to ever fulfil them?
Michael ‘at least I won’t be called a glory supporter again for a very long time to come’, Manchester
…Here are three key tactical points based ONLY on last night as to why this man is clueless. I’d be here all night if this was based on his entire reign.
1) Marcus Rojo = Natural centre-back, a fairly shoddy, ineffective left-back. Daley Blind = Very comfortable left-back, an uncomfortable looking centre-back (in high tempo games particularly).
LVG’s answer: Rojo left-back, Blind centre back.
2) Marcus Rashford is an 18-year-old striker who shone as you would in two home games on your debut for Manchester United. Firstly against a terrible Midtjylland team and then against a waining, nervous Arsenal side (standard). The buzz had left after we struggled against a Watford team at home and then an awful team showing against West Brom away. It was clear that Rashford wasn’t quite ready for a game of this magnitude. So…
LVG’s answer: Play this ’striker phenomenon’ on the right side of midfield to mainly mark Moreno and track his runs down the left flank. Pure genius. Rashford spent more time chasing shadows around our own penalty area than anywhere near the Liverpool goal.
3) Fellaini = Big lump, proven fairly useless to us unless sticking himself right up top and staying there to elbow and cause mini havocs to mainly his own team mates by getting in their way. Sometimes it pays off. What doesn’t pay off is playing him in a deep lying kind of central midfield forward thinking attacking midfield tree sort of role. That’s the only way I can explain his positioning. Herrera = Energetic, forward thinking, buzzes around and gets up players arses without elbowing them. Doesn’t always pay off and hasn’t been entirely at his best (but who has?) but will always be fully committed and has the ability to start attacks with his vision and link up play with Mata.
LVG’s answer: Starts tree, drops Herrera.
I could go on…I haven’t mentioned the substitutions when chasing an away goal (Mata for Herrera, Schweini for Schneidi). What’s the point in that?!? The quick, long balls from De Gea whenever he gets it which ultimately leads to absolute zilch as Memphis or Martial are left stranded to win it and then do something with it. Bringing Carrick on to play centre-half…again…no need to elaborate on that one.
I just don’t know how this man still has his job. This is Manchester United for God’s sake!
…Peak LVG: playing an eighteen-year-old future prospect out of position on the right wing, without affording him any sort of rest in the first place. It came as no surprise that he had no influence on the game. I know LVG should be lauded for putting his trust in the youngsters, but he risks burning them out, which has kind of happened to Anthony Martial, who through a lack of a reliable back-up has played far too many games than his embryonic career warrants. Speaking of which, how many more anonymous games will it take for the Frenchman to receive criticism? If only there wasn’t a complete overhaul of the squad of the last two years. Rashford argueably saved Van Gaal’s career, and in turn the Dutchman is systematically trying to burn him out before he even gets going.
Peak LVG. At 2-0 down after not even managing a solitary shot on target, the tactical genius brings on two midfielders in hope that they will change the game for the good. One, Bastian Schweinsteiger, is more noted for his tempo-controlling style of play then his game-changing attacking pedigree, while the other, Ander Herrera’s all-action manner was better suited to a starting berth (out of position on the right with Martial up front. Continue the Spanish tandem he has with Mata). That double switch followed his interval introduction of the clearly regressing Michael Carrick, who slotted in at centre-back rather than his preferred deep lying playmaker role. Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce get ridiculed for their putrid style of play on this site and beyond, but at least they aren’t afraid to switch to a more attacking orientation when the situation requires, and only ‘shut up shop’ when they are holding on to a lead or an unlikely point. Van Gaal’s ‘philosophy’ is literally the anathema to the United way. Although, considering the regression they have suffered since Fergie retired, perhaps this is the new United way. God, that is depressing.
One more thing, it’s often considered foolhardy to sign a player off the back of a decent World Cup campaign. Heck, United themselves have a track record plumping for Kleberson (who incidentally currently plies his trade for Fort Lauderdale in the MLS second tier) after his World Cup performances in 2002, and indeed signing Karel Poborsky after his star turn at Euro 96. Salif Diao is another stand-out “World Cup signing” that failed to impress, and the massive money spent on James Rodriguez hasn’t exactly torn up trees at Real Madrid either (although I do take on board the injury he sustained). With that in mind, surely clubs take a big risk in appointing managers based on having a good international tournament as well? I know Louis had a good CV to boot, but was generally experiencing the swansong of his career before Manchester United came knocking with cap in hand. I say he couldn’t believe his luck.
Brian (bracing myself for years of nothingness), Wexford
Some Man United conclusions
* De Gea is a wonderful keeper. He makes everything seem so easy and the confidence he instills makes me very jealous.
* Fellaini (and his elbows) have no place in any team that isn’t managed by Tony Pulis. I almost feel sorry for United fans when he plays. Almost.
* I’ve never seen Sakho have so much time on the ball. The United players just let him do what he wanted and he did it.
* It makes me so happy to see how angry and upset Paul Scholes gets when talking about United? He looks on the verge of tears at times. Bless him.
* How do you drop Lallana at the moment? I’m still nowhere near convinced (and to answer the question posed elsewhere on this site, yes Gotze would play in his place) but to be fair to him he’s doing everything asked of him.
* The lack of an away goal is the most important part of tonight. I can’t see United keeping a clean sheet next week which would mean them having to score four. It’s a long way from over but that gives me immense hope.
To go off topic slightly I can totally understand why Spurs fans might not be arsed about their result. I long for the days when we can afford to ignore the Europa as we are chasing the league. Anyone who says anything else is missing the point.
Carl (trying to work out how I can spend a week at work with my fingers crossed) the Welsh
Fellaini and time travel
Scientists claim time travel is probably not possible. Our man Fellaini has proved it is possible and he is the master of it.
There was a moment in the first half, buried deep in amongst the turd, where United managed to string together a few neat passes towards Liverpool’s penalty area, culminating in I think Schneiderlin laying off a pass for Fellaini to theoretically have a shot on goal. Instead time came to an agonising crawl. He looked like he was trying so hard to move. Every ounce of his being trying to get those limbs to move. The ball was only a few yards away and coming towards him. Just a few yards…Just a few strides to get onto it…Almost there…Why is this taking so long?! Several minutes later while the rest of the game had moved on to a different phase of play, it seemed Fellaini was still struggling with herculean effort to latch onto that ball that had long since been intercepted.
I am convinced this was Fellaini operating in a different plane of existence at that moment, where in his world the ball was still rolling towards him and he was absolutely about to smash it in from 20 yards before the space time continuum collapsed in on itself and he found himself dazed and confused in the present.
16 conclusions stated the best thing about Fellaini’s performance is he wasn’t sent off. I beg to differ.
Chris MUFC, Barnet
At last…LVG out
I’ve been knocking on the door recently of the LVG out campaign but when the doors open I can’t step inside. Last night I was again banging on the door and as it opened I decided again “no, give him the three years he is planning”.
Then walking away I hear the post-match interview “…I have to say Fellaini was one of the best players on the pitch.” Well now I am relaxing around the LVGout pool, sipping on a LVGout and coke with my LVGout friends because that is a worse comment than Rodgers!
…I expect a lot of angry LvG out mails in the mailbox this morning and who will argue in his defence? The man is way out of his depth in team management, tactics and game management. After the four steps forward, we have taken two big steps backward and will continue to do so unless our next opponents decide to lose the coming games to us. Now to some observation:
1. Martial (a good player no doubt) has added little to the team since being rushed from injury. No goals, no assist, maybe one shot and plenty loss of possession.
2. Fellaini is the player that probably sacked Moyes and will sack LvG too; 16 conclusions was spot on in analysing him
3. Carrick should be playing CB instead of Smalling (people will want my head on a plate) who to me does not add any cover for De Gea anyways and does not pass forward. Carrick and Blind do pass the ball well and have good awareness and should be the CBs.
I think this season will define Man United future as a mid-table team with a glorified past (Liverpool) or a slumbering giant on the rise (sacking LvG and bringing in a winner as coach)
Osama (All the players deserve another chance with a ‘good’ manager) Nigeria
Why did you bloody change things, Louis?
What a God-awful performance from United, a throwback to the 3-0 at OT under the wonderful David Moyes reign. We’ve got some serious work to do to salvage anything from the tie and, on this form, we won’t be playing Europa League football next season (Champions League? You’re having a laugh)
I’m not going to sit here and demand that LVG should go, I’m sure there’s other mailers that will champion that. What I will do is raise the question as to why LVG has felt the need to dispense with a winning formula. The players that took us through that wonderful little patch of form have been chopped and changed and the formation was also altered last night (still not sure what formation it was, give me a bell if you figure it out). I’m a firm believer in the idea that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it but King Louis must believe in another philosophy.
The end of the season can’t come quickly enough.
Leon, Gibraltar. (It didn’t help I had to sit in a bar jam packed with jubilant Liverpool fans..)
De Gea is an actual ninja
I’m watching the replay of Liverpool’s victory over an insipid Manchester United side (I hesitate to call them a team) as I type this mail. I was tense watching it live, now, all relaxed, I have come to realise that David de Gea is an actual ninja.
Like a ninja, he is nowhere to be seen until he does something suddenly and violently spectacular. For an outfield player, this could be seen as a criticism, for a goalkeeper it is the ultimate compliment.
With the penalty he puts his weight the wrong way and still almost saves it. With Firmino’s goal, which was impossible to save he was still only a handful of inches away.
Were I not a Liverpool supporter, he’d be the sort of player I’d pay to watch.
Justin, LFC (United should change their ‘keeper kit to an all-black one)
Just how bad were Man United?
Wow, just wow. Not by the amazing performance that Liverpool produced last night which could have meant utter humiliation for United, but rather at how bad United have become under LVG.This was a big big game, yet they should no passion, commitment or skill. Not a single corner in the game for United. When last did that happen???
The tie is not over yet though. I still feel an early goal next week for United will make things very interesting. However, I also feel that this Liverpool team are definitely good enough to score at OT, which would effectively kill off the tie. With United now 2-0 down, and having not scored an away goal, LVG will have to show his big balls and pick an attacking line-up, which could suit Liverpool very nicely. With Sturridge, Coutinho (how the hell did he miss that !!!), Firmino and Lallana, an away goal is almost certain.
Shiraz (LVG IN), Johannesburg
The Manchester United blame game
Now that The Biggest Club in the World are even worse than Liverpool, it’s time we finally put to rest the debate about who’s fault this two-and-a-half-year descent into irrelevancy is. The only way to do this is by playing The Man United Blame Game, which I have just invented.
Basically all you need to do is read the list below and highlight what you think are the five most important reasons. Once you’ve done that, check the name with the most reasons highlighted, and you have your winner. Get to it.
1. Fergie: Definitely, one hundred percent chose Moyes, no matter what he says now – left a team with an aging (defence)/non-existent (midfield)/fat (Rooney) spine – abandoned us to the harrowing and dubious mercy of the world, like a deadbeat dad who temporarily showed us what it meant to be loved.
2. David Gill: Resigned when the club needed him to aid the post-Fergie transition – didn’t insist on Mourinho, even though he apparently was his first choice – abandoned us like a deadbeat dad, if you had no emotional attachment to your deadbeat dad. Actually, nobody blames David Gill.
3. The Glazers: Indirectly restricted player investment for years – hired Ed Woodward, thereby forever defining Manchester United as a business activity, not a sporting one – something something debt something.
4. Van Gaal: Atrocious man-management – forcing a philosophy onto his players which objectively, evidently, empirically JUST DOESN’T WORK – writing in notepads.
5. Moyes: Atrocious at seemingly all aspects of management – having no philosophy at all, other than Buy Leighton Baines – looking a bit like my aunt (he does).
6. Ed Woodward: Terrible at transfer negotiations, a fact he repeatedly leaks to the press for reasons unknown – genuinely seems to not care at all about football or what happens on the pitch – let the youth system rot like bacon at the bottom of his fridge – won’t sack Van Gaal – looks like Ed Woodward. Actually, Ed has a lot of reasons to be blamed.
7. The fans: Being self-entitled, apparently, because that’s a thing now.
8. The players: Who am I kidding. In football, players are never, ever to blame.
I’m genuinely interested to see what results people get. You’re all very welcome.
Stephen O’S, MUFC
One Liverpool fan still worrying…
As a Liverpool fan I thoroughly enjoyed the result and the performance last night, and yet I’m filled with trepidation about the second leg, but I can’t quite put my finger on the reason.
It could be the risk of the inconsistent Liverpool turning up next Thursday. It could be the thought of how devastating it will be to cock it up from here. It could be the thought that Van Gaal picks players in the right position. It could be the thought that after another 90 minutes my non-football loving girlfriend is worryingly even more obsessed with ‘that Klopp fella’. It could be…oh hang on, got it. It’s the thought of listening to Michael Owen and Trevor Francis blundering their way through another match. For fcuk’s sake.
Just how bad a commentator is Trevor Francis?
He said that he was surprised Origi didn’t come on for Sturridge, but at that stage, United had a foothold (albeit a small one) in the game after their tactical switch to three at the back
Liverpool brought Allen on to counter United’s slight early second-half dominance in midfield. Making this change left United clueless at the back in terms of who to pick up, gave Liverpool control back in midfield and subsequently forced the second goal
Trevor, that is why you are not a manager of a football club, and Jurgen is….
As a Liverpool fan I am obviously happy this morning, but having watched the Spurs game as well it scares me what that Dortmund side would do to us (or Utd for that matter)…
Mike D, Liverpool fan in London
Who would you sign for?
Not to overstate the meaning of one leg of a two-legged Europa League fixture, but if you were to sign for Manchester United or Liverpool this summer who would you choose? One club has significantly more recent success and the other has little in the way of silverware in the past 10 years. That being said, one has a boss who may not be around next season (and whose odds on favorite replacement is not known for playing anybody but established superstars, and doesn’t hang around for more than three years) or one whose manager is known for his tactical acumen, recent success, and (if you’re not awful) cuddly man management.
Probably Manchester City.