There’s a lot of excitement over Anthony Martial from Manchester United fans in a Sunday Mailbox. Also: Arsenal should still be worried, Brendan Rodgers gets an unnecessarily bad rep and Sam Allardyce could save Chelsea from the drop…
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So as predicted the season is following its pre-destined path to its inevitable conclusion. Man City have proved they are all-conquering and their procession to the title should be fairly free of obstacles.
All those pundits claiming the season was as good as won, should be heartily back-slapped and given pay-rises for their genius foresight.
I didn’t see the result of the Spurs v City game but I can only imagine the devastation wrought upon poor unsuspecting spud defenders by the unstoppable juggernaut collective that wear sky blue. I assume West Ham was their only blip, since then they have beaten off (ha) all comers and shown us all why this season is going to be a one-horse race.
Thoughts on the league leaders
Some thoughts on the United match
- Wouldn’t you know it? All this time, I’ve kept faith in Hart and Harry Kane. And yet, as soon as I substitute Kane for Wilson, the former scores and the other goes off with a (worrying) injury.
- Other than the goal, Depay was pretty useless in the first half. Didn’t penetrate the Sunderland defence without running into cul-de-sacs repeatedly. Didn’t play any eye-catching passes or through-balls. Happened to be in the right place at the right time for the goal, thankfully. Shooting directly at Pantillimon in the second half is case in point. Ashley Young making United’s third goal with a clinical cross begs the question whether Young should start matches while Depay gets used to the Premier League, especially considering the latter’s consistency last season. Makes me wonder has there been a single game in the Premier League that Depay has been good?
- For me (Clive), Rooney hasn’t broken his goalless run. He was barely aware of what happened. I don’t think he even saw what happened, the ball just bounced of his knee into a favourable direction. Credit for that goal must go wholly to Martial …
- … speaking of whom, just how good is this lad? Before today, he proved to be a cool finisher (cliché alert, apologies). But his overall play today was fantastic. Played well with his back to goal, holding up the ball very well, ran out wide when required, left defenders trailing in his wake multiple times when he went wide and his delivery into the box was better than Depay. There was a point in the second half when Martial received the ball out wide and ran cut in, just like Depay. But instead of continuing his run into four defenders, he passed it to a team-mate, retaining possession in a dangerous position of the pitch. I’m chuffed for him, now I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he continues shrugging off the hype and the transfer fee and just focuses on his game.
- Someone in the mailbox a few days ago predicted (or wanted) Darmian to play on the left and Valencia to play on the right. We’ve got a prophet in our midst (slightly hyperbolic, I concede). Darmian was brilliant on the left, and Valencia seems to have embraced the full-back position quite well. He’s much more defensively aware of what he needs to do and is not bad at marking his man and tracking back.
- I’m not done with Rooney yet. It would be mildly unfair to say he was anonymous. But it wouldn’t be unfair to say that other than his knee being in the right place at the right time, he didn’t do much. So many times, Martial and Mata flicked the ball forward, but no one was there to take advantage. So frustrating!
- Rooney’s first half lack of input can, however, be attributed to just how good Cattermole was. He was everywhere in the first half, making interceptions, being a nuisance to United, making tackles (cleanly) and leading his troops. Very impressive.
- This is not the first time, and it will not be the last time that United fans will say “THANK GOD FOR DE GEA”. It’s almost magical how he moves his limbs in a manner that magically positions them between the ball and the goal. Half the times, it looks as if his arms and legs have a mind of their own. Wowzers! And what a heart-warming sight to see him come out strongly and punch the ball clear in Sunderland’s first corner. A couple of years back, he would have been bullied away. We’ll miss you when you leave in 2016, David. * sniffle *
- When Martial went down in the first half, my heart sank. Partly because Martial did everything Rooney’s failed to do this season as a centre-forward, and partly because the camera panned to Fellaini *gulp*.
- This point is dedicated to affirming what everyone else has been saying … Chris Smalling – what improvement. I think having Blind beside him (who is clearly a featherweight defender) forces Smalling to assume leadership in the heart of United’s defence. And I love the fact that he’s taking that responsibility to heart. He was tough and tight and didn’t do anything silly throughout the match. Good on you, Chris!
- That being said, Sunderland had a couple of very decent chances. If it was Romero between the sticks for United, they might seriously have had a goal or two and the match would have been much tighter.
- I think it’s also fair to say that United’s midfield vulnerabilities have been plugged very effectively for the foreseeable future. Herrera was golden last season, and Schneiderlin’s tenacity warms the cockles of my heart. When you consider the fact that we have someone of Schweinsteiger’s calibre to call on to marshal the troops, we’ve got a veritable bounty compared to a few years ago. Ok, I’ll concede this point is pretty matter of factly and can probably be discarded if the length of this mail is too much.
- Pantillimon’s save to deny Mata in the second half was very good. In fact, I think Pantillimon had a pretty decent game. He couldn’t really be blamed for either of United’s goals, and he made some decent saves. That moment in the first half when he handled the ball outside the box … that’s partly his fault, and more Kaboul’s fault in my opinion.
- United’s set pieces in this game were sad. That is all. (Have I covered all the mailbox cliché statements yet?)
- I feel for Dick Advocaat, I really do. He was ready to sign off in style after having saved Sunderland last season, he really should have rode off (ridden off? What’s the grammatically correct way of saying this?) into the sunset, shouldn’t he?
– PhX, MUFC (‘Hard broken, Willy beaten’ – never change, F365, never change!)
Thoughts on Liverpool
Yeah you might get a few of these but that was the first time in a while I enjoyed watching Liverpool play, when Gestede headered in his quite wonderful second I openly laughed and said “let’s just enjoy the madness” few thoughts.
Coutinho is approximately 3846753191x better creating the play that being on the end of moves, keep him deep, keep him pulling the strings
a few people may liken Danny Ings to a cut price Suarez but nah thats way to lofty, Ings is closer too a low rent Tevez similar attribute but not as good, hopefully he will be really good in the future his control is excellent for an english striker and works his arse off for his team mates more than himself, a fine, fine addition whatever his price may be in the future
Moreno was again excellent in attack exposed at the back but f*ck it he gets us goals
Sakho had a hard time against Gestede but imgine if it was Lovren dealing with him … okay?
Sturridges finishing is f*cking excellent
why didn’t we hunt down the Man United defence and midfeild like we did today? serious question because we have the players for it, not the greatest passers but great energy and defestating at a high counter attack so why didn’t we chase United down like we did Aston Villa? to keep the score low? it’s why Rodgers is going to be sacked and I can only think he will be sacked despite this enjoyable madness that got us so many wins two years ago and the time is right for Rodgers to go and if he does soon then this reprieve was a reminder that Rodgers can delivery joy, joyous, joyous madness.
also one last thing if what Tony Barrett said this morning about Rodgers is true in the he won’t use the players that the commitee have scouted for him properly (Sakho, Markovic, Firmino nearly didn’t sign Sturridge) then why is he there? he is just frustrating everyone, idiot.
Tyla (thanks Rodgers but man you need to combine the attack with some sort of defencive nous) Roxburgh, Merseyside.
An alternative view on Brendan
I wanted to provide a perspective on Rodgers, I’m not a Liverpool fan.
Yes, he loves a bit of corporate talk, but nearly every Manager loves the sound of their own voice. Yes, he is egotistical, and loves himself. But so did Clough, Fergie, Shankly etc…
Yes, THAT season owed much to Suarez. But, Rodgers was the Manager that was in charge when Suarez reached his best career level in that moment (yes, I did that on purpose).
Sturridge reached his career peak under Rodgers. Sterling was blooded by Rodgers when many Managers aren’t brave enough to give technical youngsters the freedom to express themselves. Cough jose cough.
I’m no fan of Stevie Me, but nobody can argue that the two seasons before Rodgers arrived, he was an important player and had legendary status at the club. Rodgers had to manage both his decline and a system to replace him (t’was never going to be an individual replacement). Add to that Carragher too. He has had a fair amount of restructuring to do in his time there.
Only Sturridge (of the five) remains, and he is seemingly broken. That is a lot of restructuring to key playing staff.
We can criticise his transfers, but plenty of legendary Managers have signed plenty of duds (Djemba Djemba/Kleberson). We can criticise his lack of silverware, but he is 42, and has achieved a lot more in the game than many historically successful Managers had at that age. He hasn’t had a player profile like Steve Bruce, Bryan Robson or Roy Keane to give him a Managerial kick start.
Hidden beneath the corporate spiel is a good Manager, with the potential for longevity and success. In an era of knee jerk, results based reactionism, I still believe he could be a Liverpool legend. Or if not, a very successful Manager. I do not believe he is a fool or a charlatan. He is no Redknapp.
Time will tell. And I might look stupid saying it if he is sacked in the coming weeks or months, but I wanted to say it.
Naz, Gooner. (Yes, I’m also a “Wenger in” man).
Love for Tactics Tim
Is Tim Sherwood the biggest fraud in football?
The reason why the premier league isn’t up there with other leagues is because you have people like Tim Sherwood managing in the top flight. No tactics, all mouth.
The players are better than last year. The tactics worse.
16 Conclusions from Saturday
1. What a cracking day of premier league football.
2. Manchester United finally reach the top since Fergie left. LVG was even in a jubilant mood for once. And the 25goals sojourn begins for Rooney thanks to the ‘overpriced’ Martial.
3. Manchester City were Celta Vegoed, the end is near. From a spectacular start to the season and the game to back to back defeats now, well…
4. Spurs’ win and the margin of the score should be the narrative. Brilliant! Harry Kane was one of the scorers, you say? So was Erik Lamela, Toby Alderweireld and Eric Dier. Move along.
5. Arsenal strikers/forwards finally do the job required of them. In six games prior Arsenal had only managed to find the back of the net five times. Now the final piece of the jigsaw would be that January signing… Welbeck!
6. Despite losing, Leicester City wouldn’t be too worried. They lost to a decent side and a brilliant Alexis. How they would love to play Chelsea or Man City!
7. Newcastle United and Steve McClaren let down by their defence. They threw away that game didn’t they? Having said that…
8. Chelsea’s Brazilians really came to the rescue because that would have been rather embarrassing. What’s it with that stadium and Mourinho by the way?
9. Norwich City’s Nathan Redmond looks like a player doesn’t he? I think Sarah Winterburn in her season predictions was spot on about watching out for him.
10. How has Sunderland managed to not relegate with that kind of dross year in year out!
11. Gradziano Pelle may not have scored but he was man of the match, and Southampton now look like the team as they were last season.
12. Bafetimbi The Black Panther Gomis was nowhere to be found with only 7 touches in the game. Dire.
13. Finally the Potters get their first win of the season at the 7th try. Signing the whole of Barcelona hasn’t brought the required results yet. Toughest league in the world?
14. How will Eddie Howe deal with the loss of Callum Wilson? They look short of quality. Is this the end of the fairytale?
15. Hold on a second! West Ham are third!!!
16. Damn 16 conclusions are difficult I even forgot Tactics Sherwood’s team has lost to an “outstanding” and “dynamic” Liverpool side. Watch as the pressure is back on next weekend.
Posab (Would you believe me if I said I haven’t watched any of the games today?) Botswana
Currently watching the Spurs v City game at the moment and Demichelis has just been booked for dissent. First of all, despite not personally liking Clattenburg, fair play to him for giving the yellow card. Something needs to be done to stop this.
To compare to the Rugby World Cup (yes I actually like rugby), it wouldn’t even be commented on as the yellow card would be straight out as there are clear rules in place to stop this. It means even if players are annoyed about a decision they act like adults and walk away. If you actually want any respect campaign to work you need clear rules to implement it.
However, many refs are afraid to give yellow cards in my opinion, probably due to the fear of the reaction if a player picked up 2 yellow cards and then they were blamed for the red card.
To pull an idea from another sport (GAA), I think a black card and 5/10 minute sin bin (a variation from the GAA rules) for any dissent whatsoever should be brought in. It would be much easier to enforce, and the rules should allow for any backchat at all to result in a black card. Players will find it difficult at first and you might end up with 5 players on the pitch at one time in the first week, but if we treat players like the children most of them are, they will adjust and hopefully it will become a thing of the past.
Arsenal should still be worried
Okay call me pessimist but this is real, Arsenal have won a game with the rubber-stamp of a complete Arsenal performance. All the strikers scored and missed too, they dazzled and scored five but still managed to concede which is very much Arsenally.
Now my point is that, Wenger has hailed his team’s ‘technical quality and dominance” this week, but I know the coming week his post match interview and conferences is surely going to be filled with ‘…to show we can respond to defeat…”
Here is why Arsenal will lose against United.
1. We are three points behind the league leaders, so with a chance to top the league (far-fetched? I think NOT) we always manage to not win such games.
2. We always seem to want to lose to United no matter how poor they are *unless it’s the FA Cup*
3. We always cock up the big games. Nuff said!
4. ‘Coquelin is back in training tomorrow’ watch as he has a minor setback which keeps him out for the rest of the season. Flamini *in a truly Arsenal fashion* today lasted only 21 minutes. Arsene will call it a minor setback but don’t we all know what that means?
5. Lastly we currently occupies fourth on the league which is Wenger’s favourite position. If it ain’t broken…
Posab (Oh Alexis you beauty!) Botswana
With all the talk about the Premier League season being too long and players being too tired when it comes to major tournaments and this and that and blah blah blah. Also over the last few years we have seen occasions where more than 3 teams could easily have been relegated(and probably deserved to), so should we not come up with a new format for the Premier League/Championship promotion/relegation? Here’s my plan with years inserted to make it easier to understand.
2016/2017 season relegate 4 teams from the Premier League but only start the 2017/2018 season with 3 promoted teams, keeping the Championship promotion format exactly the same.
2017/2018 promotion/relegation format stays the same as 2016/2017.
2018/2019 Premier League season starts with 18 teams. Now 2018/2019 season ends so you have 4 relegation spots, 3 automatically relegated(16th,17th,18th) and one play off relegation spot(15th). As for promotion from the Championship you would have the usual 2 automatic spots and playoff winner but then the playoff final loser would play the the team that finished 15th in the Premier League in a two legged playoff also.
Its madness I know and changes would have to be made to promotion/relegation in all divisions to accommodate but at least it would be more exciting. And England might actually win a tournament though that’s unlikely. Any other promotion/relegation manifestos people would like to share?
Yeah, fair enough
“Martial has taken to English football in impressive fashion, scoring four goals in his opening four games. Although he didn’t find the net against Sunderland, he starred as a lone striker and assisted a strike from Wayne Rooney.”
I think it was more like a “nudge”.
Matthew (LOL) T. David
Big Sam for Chelsea
I think that Chelsea should seriously consider employing Sam Allardyce as manager. He has a proven track record of keeping struggling teams up.
Rordog (MUFC- natural order has been restored… For now!)
Go on Degsy, lad
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Degsy is back!
Aidan,(still no winners)Balscadden FC
Cheers for jinxing Martial’s career, Degsy. I look forward to him bombing out like Possebon over the coming seasons.
Wayne ( Why couldn’t you have ‘tipped’ Rodgers to get the sack instead), Manchester
Headline Of The Day
“Hart broken, Willy beaten”
I doff my cap to thee.