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Van Gaal is building f**k all
Some Rafa facts for us all to think about:
Since the 3-0 shellacking by Arsenal at the start of October, Van Gaal has picked up 13 points from a possible 24, went out of the Champion’s League behind the two teams that everyone is hoping to be drawn against in the next round, and was knocked out of the Coca Cola Cup (I don’t know what it’s called now) at home by Championship opposition.
When Tottenham beat Newcastle tomorrow, United will be out of the Champions League places. If you take all games together, league and cup, since that Arsenal defeat, United are averaging less than a goal a game. He has also spent, I think, 980 million euro on making the squad worse than it was last season.
He’s not building anything. Get him out, now, before he leaves the club in a worse state than Moyesiah did.
Stephen O’S, MUFC
Some United conclusions
I’m sure you’re going to receive a barrage of Man United and Van Gaal related mails for the mailbox today. I don’t want to be “one of those people”, cause I’m sure readers are sick and tired of this issue which has been covered to death, but I need to write this in order to vent, consider it thinking out loud if you will. So thank you in advance to anyone who reads this long, disorganized rant.
* It’s strange how to interpret the Van Gaal issue because it is a head vs heart situation, the heart wants fearless football and a show of real desire from the players, and the head thinks that it is a results-based game. Since Van Gaal seems to be losing a lot of the fans right now, the only way he can stay in the job is by winning more games, not drawing, winning.
His “trying not to lose” approach towards some games is frustrating enough as it is. Not that he should be going all out to leave the defense exposed like in Wolfsburg, but there certainly needs to be a balance which isn’t present in the side right now.
* The strong suit of the United side this season has been defense, and it seems like Van Gaal is trying to strengthen the side from defense up, so to concede 5 goals in the space of a few days is shocking. But then again, has the defense really improved THAT much? Or is it a combination of a few factors coming together?
United still concede quite a lot of chances in games, good chances that too, so of course De Gea has a part to play in the clean sheets; his minutes per save have gone down from 42.5 last season to 33.75 this season (compare this to Hugo Lloris, whose Spurs team have conceded the same amount of goals as United, he averages a save every 45 mins) which suggests that the back line isn’t as solid as the goals against column in the table shows.
The way to stop teams from scoring is by thwarting attacks, not letting them create chances at all, not hoping that the keeper will pull off some miraculous saves to bail you out every damn time.
* What’s frustrating is the way Van Gaal reacts to games, nonchalant as ever, blaming some stupid reason like the fact that the other team was pressing. Oh really, did you just expect them to sit back and make a cup of tea for themselves while they wait for United to get an accurate punt up to Fellaini?
Come on, give us a reaction, show us you care, get up onto the touchline and show some passion. I’m sure the fans would be more willing to wait if we were shown some desire and passion, something that seems to be horrible absent from this United team at times.
* Remember that infamous “long ball” press conference where Louis blew his head off and gave the press a dossier after Big Sam suggested that United were a long ball team? Well, United average the third most long passes and crosses per game in the league, congratulations Louis.
* To be fair though, we did start with a back 4 of Varela, Blind, McNair, and CBJ tonight, the injuries aren’t the fault of Van Gaal (I’d like to think) and he only has a team that is severely depleted at the moment. He’s doing a good job fusing the youngsters into the team as well, and I do think all this hoopla will bode well with the team in the future, probably after he’s gone as we’ve seen with Bayern and Barca in the past.
I guess United fans are just a little too spoilt with success, and a rebuilding phase such as this is turning into more of an identity crisis with which the fans are failing to wrap their head around, I know I’m having a hard time with it. So, just another year and a half until GNev and Giggsy co-manage United back to the upper echelons of football and make the team score 100 league goals in their first year in charge, right? Right?
HJ (I’m not part of the LVG out brigade, I swear), MUFC
Inexperience is killing United
Words can not describe my feelings after the Bournemouth vs Man Utd game. Credit to Bournemouth who harried well and attacked with real conviction. However, LVG has to be looking at himself after making them look like Barcelona. This surely has to be the most inexperienced Utd team to have ever played in the Premier League and this is after £250 million spent on new players!
To end, can anyone name a team to have a finished a premier league game with fewer total top flight appearances than Utd did tonight? (MC – Pretty sure Michael Carrick, who finished the game, has more top flight appearances than all of Bournemouth’s players put together. So yes, we can)
Joseph (2nd attempt at being published) Weggoro, Tanzania
Van Gaal paying for his negligent squad management…
The loss to Bournemouth yesterday summed up what I feel has been the biggest failing of the van Gaal era at Manchester United. A lot has been said about the style of play and the resultant lack of goals, but a lot of that is surely down to the incredibly poor management of the squad.
On Saturday we were unable to field one senior defender, on the basis that Daley Blind is definitely not a centre back. Full debuts were given to 2 academy products, and while the development and promotion of youth is something to strive for, it should not be something that is borne out of necessity at a club like United. But it was inevitable that this would happen at some point this season. I could go in to more detail about my opinion of the failings of the squad and the amount of money spent to have no strength in depth, but it’s Sunday morning and I’m hungover so that will have to wait.
In a nutshell, it’s the responsibility of the manager and the board to ensure that the squad is as strong as it can be utilising the resources available. Letting players go without adequately replacing them is negligent. Not addressing areas of the squad that are so blatantly in need of strengthening is negligent. And bringing on Nick Powell, who has been out for over a year with injury, when Ashley Young is still sat on the bench is simply madness.
I’m not in the van Gaal out brigade just yet but he is making it harder and harder to keep faith in him.
…Or he’s stuck to his seat
With each passing game I keep resisting the temptation to join the #LVG out brigade but the Bournemouth match is a new low. I wonder what LVG excuse this time will be, definitely not the injuries. The blandness is getting depressing.
The problem with LVG is that he has refused to evolve with the game as the game of football is evolving. He is still stuck to the past with its mentality. He can’t motivate his players, be it in words or action.
There is no positive emotion from him on the bench, no chemistry between the bench and the players. He just sit down and jots away dog knows what.
Let him stand for once and bark an instruction, let him stand for once and gesture tactics, let him stand for once and encourage his players. Let him applaud, let him thump up. Let him just do something apart from just sitting there and jotting.
United players just stand still
As I am watching the Bournemouth – Manchester United game, it has just occurred to me that United´s players seem to be losing the duels for a many second balls due to the fact that they are standing still when a shot is taken while the Bournemouth players are already moving, giving them that vital edge to win the duel.
I wonder is there a statistic, OPTA or otherwise, about the time players stand still on the pitch? I´d love to see that statistic on Manchester United, compared to the rest of the league. Working is starting to feel like a better choice for a Saturday, than watching United.
Don’t forget how well Bournemouth played
United have lost. Much rage will ensue. Before all that though, let’s celebrate Bournemouth’s sudden coming of age. From the spirited last minute draw against Everton to the smash and grab against Chelsea to a controlled performance against Manchester United. Forget baby steps. They’ve taken massive leaps and finally given us (and, I’m guessing, themselves) reason to believe that they belong in these parts.
United’s starting back four spoke volumes of the extent of their injury problems. Bournemouth haven’t been without their own so no one can take anything away from them. What is most captivating about Bournemouth though is that their game isn’t typical of newly promoted sides. Their style isn’t underscored only by spirit, character and desire (the traditional characteristics of the underdogs) but by a willingness to play football that reflects the manager’s philosophy (take note, Louis).
While the squad isn’t very talented they’ve shown that they can do more than just ‘runnaranabit’. By refusing to play pedestrian, brutish football they’ve refused to take the crutch often resorted to by minnows and for that they have my utmost respect (though it probably means the square root of fuck all to them). It reminds me of Swansea’s maiden season in the Premier League back when Brendan Rodgers wasn’t an experiment in absurdist comedy.
At the time of writing, they stand one point ahead of the Champions and 24 points away from the magic number. They’ve put themselves in a decent position to mount a realistic survival bid with Sunderland, Villa and Newcastle seemingly weary of life in the top flight while Norwich don’t inspire a great deal of optimism. The season will go on and weeks like the last two will be few and far between for Bournemouth but the belief big results can instill combined with the return of injured players may just be what they need to take them over the line.
Cleverley: So bloody frustrating
Just watching the Everton Norwich match, and couldn’t help but write in about Tom Cleverley, I haven’t seen someone’s team mates as visibly frustrated with someone since the glory days of Ronaldo’s petulance resulted in him trying to shame other players into giving him the ball by getting the crowd on their back if they gave the ball away trying to pass to anyone else or God forbid shoot themselves.
So many times Cleverley has just been slightly crap, not enough to really be noticeable to Robbie Savage on commentary (does he see anything?) but the Everton players are throwing their hands up to heavens and generally getting very frustrated with him.
He can manage the basics but whenever any real quality or athleticism is required he’s immediately found out. It’s like playing a 5 a side with your one friend who doesn’t really play and there’s the moment you’re really hoping he can for once just avoid doing something ridiculous and make a run off the ball for him he loses the ball. It’s the hope that kills you and it’s the professional footballer’s version of that I reckon.
PS – he’s just nearly made Lukaku cry on the edge of the box as Lukaku tried to play him in. Storey would have hated it.
Annoyed with games in the daytime. It’s nothing new, but a solution is offered
As someone who enjoys matches between Home Countries, I was delighted to see England draw Wales in Group B. Since I believe that England have the better players and Wales have the better team, I expect it will be a classic and I was excited to find out when the game will be played.
At about 11pm on Saturday night I went to the UEFA website to find out that the game will be played on a Thursday at 2pm!
2pm??? are they serious? everyone will be at work! don’t they want fans to actually watch the games? we always complain about games being moved for TV purposes at the fans’ expense but this idea isn’t good for anybody!
Because I’m a football geek, I decided to see if I could come up with a better schedule than the one UEFA currently have. I didn’t expect I’d be able to do this, as I assumed that UEFA had had their best brains working on the timetable. Sadly, and perhaps rather predictably, this wasn’t the case. It took me about 45 minutes to come up with a timetable that I think is fair to everybody.
A maximum of two games on a weekday with four games on Saturday and Sunday would leave the following…
1 – Fri 10th France vs Albania 5pm
2 – Fri 10th Albania vs Switzerland 8pm
3 – Sat 11th Wales vs Slovakia 12pm
4 – Sat 11th Poland vs Northern Ireland 2:30pm
5 – Sat 11th England vs Russia 5pm
6 – Sat 11th Germany vs Ukraine 8pm
7 – Sun 12th Turkey vs Croatia 12pm
8 – Sun 12th Republic of Ireland vs Sweden 2:30pm
9 – Sun 12th Spain vs Czech Republic 5pm
10 – Sun 12th Belgium vs Italy 8pm
11 – Mon 13th Austria vs Hungary 5pm
12 – Mon 13th Portugal vs Iceland 8pm
13 – Tue 14th Romania vs Switzerland 5pm
14 – Tue 14th France vs Albania 8pm
15 – Wed 15th Russia vs Slovakia 5pm
16 – Wed 15th England vs Wales 8pm
17 – Thu 16th Northern Ireland vs Ukraine 5pm
18 – Thu 16th Germany vs Poland 8pm
19 – Fri 17th Czech Republic vs Croatia 5pm
20 – Fri 17th Spain vs Turkey 8pm
21 – Sat 18th Iceland vs Hungary 12pm
22 – Sat 18th Belgium vs Republic of Ireland 2:30pm
23 – Sat 18th Italy vs Sweden 5pm
24 – Sat 18th Portugal vs Austria 8pm
25 – Sun 19th France vs Switzerland 5pm
26 – Sun 19th Albania vs Romania 5pm
27 – Sun 19th England vs Slovakia 8pm
28 – Sun 19th Russia vs Wales 8pm
29 – Mon 20th Germany vs Northern Ireland 8pm
30 – Mon 20th Poland vs Ukraine 8pm
31 – Tue 21st Spain vs Croatia 8pm
32 – Tue 21st Czech Republic vs Turkey 8pm
33 – Wed 22nd Austria vs Iceland 5pm
34 – Wed 22nd Portugal vs Hungary 5pm
35 – Wed 22nd Republic of Ireland vs Italy 8pm
36 – Wed 22nd Belgium vs Sweden 8pm
37 – Sat 25th Runner Up Group A vs Runner Up Group C 5pm
38 – Sat 25th Winner B vs 3rd placed A/C/D 8pm
39 – Sun 26th Winner D vs 3rd placed B/E/F 5pm
40 – Sun 26th Winner A vs 3rd placed C/D/E 8pm
41 – Mon 27th Winner C vs 3rd placed A/E/F 5pm
42 – Mon 27th Winner F vs Runner Up E 8pm
43 – Tue 28th Winner E vs Runner Up D 5pm
44 – Tue 28th Runner Up B vs Runner Up F 8pm
45 – Fri 1st Winner Match 37 vs Winner Match 39 5pm
46 – Fri 1st Winner Match 38 vs Winner Match 42 8pm
47 – Sat 2nd Winner Match 41 vs Winner Match 43 5pm
48 – Sat 2nd Winner Match 40 vs Winner Match 44 8pm
49 – Tue 5th Winner Match 45 vs Winner Match 46 8pm
50 – Wed 6th Winner Match 47 vs Winner Match 48 8pm
51 – 10th Winner Match 49 vs Winner Match 50 8pm
The group stage, like the actual one, would start on the 10th and finish on the 22nd. The knockout stage is exactly the same that UEFA created, though some games are on different days, and every team has at least 4 days between matches, whereas the current version has a semi final just three days before the final!
I genuinely believe this schedule to be superior to the actual one (or I wouldn’t be willing to share it on Football 365).
What are your thoughts?
Lloyd Stiles, THFC, Vienna