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That Manchester United’s squad is in dire need of quality players is not in question. What is puzzling is United making enquiries about a host of players and not putting money on the table or rather not signing any. Many of us United fans had expected Bruno Fenandes to arrive by now given injuries to Scot and Paul, but there we go again. The Fernandes deal is stalled and about to collapse.
The question arises: “is the United Board willing to replenish the squad”? Always there is an excuse to cool off our interest in the final stages of the deals. This is not the club I have followed for over 40 years. It makes me sad and annoyed at the same time, especially as Liverpool has invested in quality players and we are just relying on kids who actually need leadership from quality players.
I disagree with the notion that Man Utd have a lack of planning with Ashley’s move to Milan. Granted, both Shaw and Dalot have their injury problems, but surely carrying 5 fullbacks plus Rojo, Jones is not financially healthy for a club especially when Dalot has played on the left and Williams is right footed. Isn’t removing a large wage off the payroll when he wouldn’t be playing is exactly what IS needed, and a further example of how the Man U are getting slightly better with recruitment/retention? I know they offered a contract, but clearly they also said you won’t play.
Contrary to Ted, Manchester’s (Ted’s, Manchester ??) opinion in the last mailbox that Young’s departure shows that there is no plan at Old Trafford – I beleive it is a splendid piece of business and in keeping with what the management (including Woodward) have been doing this year.
Before we can start recruiting again, it was paramount that we bring some sanity to the wage structure at the club. Young’s departure (along with Sanchez who hopefully is also permanently shifted somewhere in the summer) means there is one less average starter in the team earning 140k. This is also in stark contrast to the earlier years where we just kept buying, never shed the deadwood and for some reason kept renewing these guys’ contracts at ludicrous wages. This year itself we have shifted 4 overpaid deadwood (except Lukaku) players from the first team (and dont say you didn’t want Smalling gone..y’all been moaning about it for years) and got good hungry replacements in at sensible wages – sensible even for Maguire because he is expected to be the captain and leading CB for years to come).
The sooner we achieve this the better for recruitment because not every player coming in demands a starting wage of 150k since Ashley Young earns about the same. Also I don’t believe this leads to depth problems because he plays mainly at LB and we have Shaw/Williams who are both having decent seasons.
Is Ted, Manchester just trying to wind people up, is any Man Utd fan that mad about Ashley Young leaving in any shape or form, for whatever reason?
He’s been a very good servant to the club and I wish him the best on his move, a move that doesn’t affect the first XI, a move that doesn’t affect the squad (Wan-Bissaka, Dalot, Laird at RB, Shaw, William’s, Rojo at LB….. not amazing options at any stretch but Young doesn’t massively improve them), a move that doesn’t affect the leadership of the players as its clear Harry Maguire has been in that role since day one and a move that doesn’t even paint Ed Woodward in a negative light as we’ve moved on a veteran player on high wages
Sometimes feels like Ted rants for rantings sake
An ode to the great fella
I get that a lot of Man United fans are glad to see Young go, and he should as he doesn’t work for us anymore but I always have had a soft spot for him. I still remember that famous game ten years ago where Macheda scored the winner against Aston Villa. Young was just awesome for Villa at the time and I really wished he was one of us, and when we signed him I was elated.
He was never was our best player at any time or anything, but he was always there and happy and doing what was asked, an important cog in the machinery. You’ll always have players like Pogba or Rashford who gets all the headlines (and sometimes the controversy) but you’ll always need squad players that are just happy to be there and do what needs to be done to support.
They were times where he was important, such as I believe one of the Man City games during the Van Gaal era where he scored an important goal while were one down which I believe we went on to win. There was also that time right after Liverpool’s VVD purchase and they were in the ascendency where Young basically nullified Salah and earned an important victory for us.
They were of course also plenty of subpar moments in addition to the greats. Hell there was even that period when he was a winger where he dived a lot, which I am not a big fan of, but at least he was our diving ba*****.
He was happy to be playing and even when he in strestches times when was in the bench and not the No 1 anymore in a position (remember that all players still have to go to “work” by training everyday so its not like they just sit around), I can see him chatting and having a good time with the manager. I can see why he was made the captain.
After reading his farewell message, I just feel touched. Whether it was from the heart or standard marketing speak, it struck a chord with me and made me remember a lot of the moments. In fact, I went and started composing this right after reading it.
Goodbye Ashley Young, many Man United fans won’t think much of you, but I do. For what its worth, you will always be a United legend in my heart. I hope you will be successful and happy at Inter.
Please enjoy these 23 whatever-you-want-to-call-them, because they’re not really conclusions:
On Eriksen: can’t blame him.
On Alderweireld: masochist, otherwise why did he commit?
On Lo Celso: what must he be thinking?
On Aurier: does he think?
On Mourinho: that didn’t take long.
On Levy: dogs and fleas.
On VAR: beyond salvation.
On Michael Oliver: see above.
On Gedson: see Lo Celso.
On Ndombele: fragile, handle with care. Returns not accepted. Caveat emptor.
On Sessegnon: where’s Poch? See Gedson.
On Winks: plays midfield like he’s learning to cross the road.
On Dele: not a CM.
On Tanganga: not a LB.
On Vertonghen: (sadly) not a future.
On Son: too ambitious and deserving for this rabble.
On Kane: plays to injury. See Eriksen and Son.
On Moura: ‘The Plumber’ since he runs so hot and cold.
On Lamela: take 2 parts Aurier, add 1 part Ndombele, 1 part Moura and a half measure of Kane, and there you have it, the poor bastard cursed with all the bad bits.
On Gazzaniga: on borrowed time.
On Loris: on borrowed time.
On goalkeeping stocks in general: in Levy we trust.
On Spurs: Rottenham, it’s well and truly over, folks!
Dr Oyvind, Resignedland.
I was not surprised one bit at our result last night at Newcastle. Its a very alarming pattern and here are some of my observations on where Frank Lampard’s Chelsea need to improve:
1. Michael Cox wrote a brilliant piece in the athletic recenty about how the recent title winners (Conte’s Chelsea, Pep and now Pool*) all attacked with a front 5. The way these teams went about their attacking and transition structure were different but effectively it was a 5-5 (5 attackers and 5 defenders).
I recall writing in the summer of 2016 before Chelsea kicked a ball under Conte that it seemed like Conte and Pep favour a 5-5, based on pre-season. Even Jose has realised this and to some degree Tottenham do that. Now, I’m not wedded to a 5-5, but what alarms me when I see Chelsea is there is no choreography in the attacking phase. The way our attackers move is very random and chaotic. Jose Mourinho got away with this for large parts of his career because he always had ready made attackers and not younger players in need of coaching. Lampard, Morris and Edwards need to go back to the training room and find attacking patterns to create space.
To put it simply, Chelsea do not attack in a method (or reduce chaos like Klopp) manner that enables a good 1v1 for a winger or forward or even a good shooting spot. We just shoot from random places, cross randomly from ridiculous positions and always seem to run into traffic. All signs that attacking moves are not choreographed.
2. The Chelsea midfield is a joke. I am saying this a second time. I did write about this, but people immediately respond about how some are injured, etc etc. Even if everyone was fit, there is no midfield balance at Chelsea. Last time we had a good midfield was when there was Nemanja Metic. It is not surprising that our decline coincided with our inability to replace a deep lying midfielder who was defensively good!
Whatever combination of midfield players Frank puts in, we won’t win a title. Reason is the ball does not stick in our midfield. If a team does not have good retentive possession in midfield, then there will be a scrap in midfield leading to turnovers. Something Chelsea have been going through since Conte left (Conte adjusted for it elsewhere). Ideally over a period of time, I’d sell Jorginho, Kovacic (who’s impressed me but I’d still let him go), Barkley and get in a good defensive midfielder like Mikel, pair him with Kante and RLC/Mount. Or transition Kante to a deeper role asking him to win balls only in midfield and defensive zone and pair him with two good 8s. This is a priority.
3. I’ve spoken enough about our goal keeping situation, so a new point. I don’t care if Kepa cost 70m, I don’t care if he has 5 more years. Chelsea need to sign another GK. Don’t go big but scout and get a young GK. We can’t keep giving excuses that Kepa cost much and has a long contract. Correct mistakes. Make Kepa the second GK albeit the most expensive reserve GK, till he comes good. You can’t fool with the goal keeping situation. Just ask Klopp and Pep. Teams make mistakes in transfers. We’ve made the biggest mistakes in transfer since 2017. 350 million of utter dross spent. Not a single player after signing of Kante can be termed world class and we’ve outspent City and Pool. And the owner put 250m last year, so money is not a concern. Cut the losses and get the signings right.
4. Antonio Rudiger. The man who can’t head a ball (120% his fault how we conceded last night), the man who can’t win a 1v1 duel, the man who has zero positional sense and the man who hilariously scolds other defenders who play better than him. Sell him ASAP. I doubt any decent team would buy him. Gary Cahill, I owe you an apology. At least Cahill was good given his strengths. What annoys me about Rudiger is his attitude – the man berates others and hustles as though he’s JT reborn, but stinks on the pitch each time he plays. Chelsea, cut him off.
5. Identify the best centre back combination and stick. Before season, my CB pairing would’ve been Christensen-Zouma. Christensen finally is looking as good as I thought he would (long may this last). He’s the best ball playing defender we have, is our paciest (yes this is true) CB, has amazing reading of game, positionally good. His weakness was always mental and recent games he’s getting over it. For rest of season it has to be Christensen-Zouma-Tomori – some combination of both. Ask Conte if he’d like Rudiger at Inter (along with Moses, Emerson etc.).
6. Frank Lampard needs to learn to make good substitutions. Arsenal game aside, he has been awful in his in game management. We needed more men in the box, not like for like substitutions last night. It was about the angles of attack. He failed miserably in his substitution of Abraham-Bats swap. Frank, you’re better than this!
7. Finally, a word on Abraham, who’s been superb, but high time he got a proper competition. He could easily have 5-6 more goals this season. One thing I’m unhappy is that there is no character in this team now. People at Chelsea would fume when they lost a game at our pomp. It seems that is no longer the case. We need that attitude back. Can’t lose games and keep hustling (Rudiger, I look at you). We need to be angry at a loss. Not zig-zag b/w a win-loss.
Make no mistake, this season has been lovely, but these are some issues I think Frank and Chelsea need to tackle in coming months.
Aravind, Chelsea supporter.
Just enjoy it
I’ve read all the commentary about ‘one season wonders’, that they’ll be like Ipswich was when Ipswich was like Ipswich (which feels about 25 years ago now btw). That they’ll not do as well next year because teams will have ‘worked them out’ -> like Premiership teams scouting network for opponents just ignores any promoted team because they must be rubbish.
But…let’s say they do find it harder next year. Who is to say Chris Wilder can’t tune that side like Klopp did with Liverpool or Guardiola after his first season ? I’m not saying Chris is comparable to those managers, I am saying he’s clearly not a rubbish manager – he’s running one of the Top 20 teams on the country right now, so he must know a bit about the game. As an aside for context, I once went to a meet the fans event with Nicky Southall in attendance (lovely chap btw) and the level of knowledge he dropped in 5 minutes peeled my eyeballs back. He’s the current assistant manager at Maidstone United. No disrespect to Nicky intended – but we’re talking another level of capability managing top end Championship / Premier League sides.
So. They might be better / worse / the same next year. That doesn’t mean we can’t stop enjoying watching a team of really hard working pros live it up and shaking up the landscape of football. It’s the same as Leicester winning the title – that was fantastic to watch. A bunch of players achieving what nobody said was possible and just being overcome with joy at it.
After all, for most football fans, isn’t watching the extraordinary become reality the thing that really gives us misty eyes ?
After reading for the millionth time that Klopp is moaning that there are too many games, I felt compelled to write in. I am a Liverpool fan and obviously love him to bits but I do wish he’d shut his pie hole about this “problem” for the following reasons:
(1) It’s a problem that challenges all teams so it’s hardly a Liverpool only problem
(2) It makes larger teams to blood the youth teams in the minor tournaments (The League Cup and the FA Cup) and as such gives the also-rans (Huddersfield, Aston Villa, Arsenal) a chance to win some silverware
(3) There’s a simple solution – buy a bigger squad and rotate more often. It’s not like Liverpool couldn’t afford it.
Well, it’s now clear that headbutting your opponents face with the back of your head is acceptable in the Premier League. No other league in the world would have allowed the West Ham player to stay on for what he did to Holgate, but not the Premier League. No, they’re going to review a clear red card offense and say, “Nah, not a red card.” Richarlison was sent off last year for much much less. So either the VAR officials are incompetent, or something worse.
VAR has made a mockery of the game and the officiating. For the referee, or even the linesman not to see it is understandable. If only we had some video technology that could catch those offenses or help the officials.
TX Bill (Just bin VAR….just bin it. It’s done more harm than good and as the FA like to say “It’s bringing the game into disrepute”) EFC
Full-back to the future
So many good English fullbacks, so why not a stab at an all English 11 of fullbacks. 1-4-2-3-1 back to front:
Trippier – Wan-Bissaka – Tanganga – Chilwell
R. James – Maitland-Niles
Max Aarons – Alexander-Arnold – B. Williams
Future Champions of Europe
-Jimmer, USA, USA, USA
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