Watch all the action this afternoon and send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org…
There were a few years where the joke question was whether Harry Kane was real.
I have a similar creeping doubt about defenders. I always think young defenders flourish at first because they have the naive confidence of youth… roaming forward with gay abandon, flying into tackles and generally have the fitness of a butchers dog. But then the maturity curve comes and the previously forgiven mistakes need to stop happening.
Trent gets found out a lot. He is wonderful in whole number of ways but he does have flaws that have been there for a long time and are still there. I call it a case of the Flanagans. When the scouse Cafu burst onto the scene we were in raptures, then he smashed Steling in his first game back at Anfield and we collectively Knighted him, but eventually you can’t overlook the immaturity any longer.
I am desperately hoping that Trent doesn’t go down that path. Same for Wan Bissaka. Now, I’m positive that neither will go full-flano and end up turning out to be a colossal disgrace off the pitch but I hope both truly kick on. Young defenders seem to be quick burners.
That was so incredibly similar to the way we started last season. We looked a bit sketchy in a variety of areas but got the job done. If Mo was banned from shooting he would get 2 or 3 assists a game. Firmino was utterly astounding except for when he had the ball one yard from goal. If Origi (1 goal, 1 assist) is the drop off in quality that Stef LFC was worried about in the afternoon mailbox then I’m personally going to feel pretty relaxed for now.
I loved Gini’s movement for Divock’s header. As the ball gets passed to Trent he drifts from the inside of the box towards the ball and drags the centre back with him. It creates a dual threat for the defenders as if one doesn’t follow then Trent can pass to Gini who can turn and attack but if they do it creates the chance for Origi to cut across and have a goal side chance to head the ball. I thought it was a really sexy and intelligent moment, capped by amazing execution of the cross and header.
Alisson is the big shame in it all, obviously. I also felt that Klopp waits too long to use subs. At 4-0 he could’ve justified removing Firmino and Salah at half time for Shaq and Ox. With Wednesday in mind that would be a good rest for two players who played a lot this summer plus more minutes for substitutes to get fitter and fresher.
Ole will pay for latest transfer shambles
It’s rare that any club, even the top sides, have a perfect transfer window – by which I mean that all the players they sign go on to be an unquaified success. Invariably some of the signings don’t really deliver for one reason or another.
A brief glance at United’s transfer history speaks volumes. You have to go back to the mid noughties before you start seeing a high percentage of Sir Alex signings for any year actually being players that went on to be outstanding. After 07/08 the ratio of Hit/Miss starts to fall off really quite noticeably. From Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Van der Sar, Park and Foster all being signed in the space of 14 months (a conservative 70% success rate which is very high) we then started to see names like Bebe, Manucho, Obertan, Tosic, Powell, Buttner, Kagawa appearing year on year.
Our ratio of wins to misses fell off a cliff. It obviously got far far worse when SAF left. I don’t think there’s been an unqualified success in the last 6 years. I think it extremely obvious that there has been a dreadful problem with not only our forward planning but also our scouting and youth development for a very very long time – predating Sir Alex’s departure for quite a while in fact.
Which is the reason I would take a very skeptical view of this summer’s transfer window. I don’t object to the signings made. But if we get a return of one outstanding performer and one decent performer out of the 3 we’ll be punching well above our average over the last 10-12 years.
We really needed more (as much behind the scenes as on the field) to address the shortcomings in the squad and I suspect that Ole will pay the price for it next summer – barring either absolute catastrophe or something quite extraordinary.
Your old pal Stevo, Dublin
…Hello all, Weighing in again as a Manchester United fan again and while I would commend Ed and Ole for their business on the defence, I don’t think that enough work has been done on the midfield and defence. Especially considering Nabil Fekir moved to Real Betis for 15 mil. A world-cup winning midfielder (admittedly on the fringes) who Liverpool were chasing for 50 mil last summer. And he’s moved for 15. I think Arsenal, Liverpool, and ourselves could all do with a creative midfielder, and Chelsea too if they didn’t have the ban. Last season we were desperately struggling when pogba was off form, and he can be brilliant at bits and a waste of space in others, but he is still an asset. With fekir, and Fred/Mctominay (surely fred will pick up eventually) there is better thrust, and more assists. But, he moved for 15 instead because, well I don’t know. In January I hope to see Ed buy Ben Yedder, a cheap release clause, a forward who is experienced and can score goals. He would be around for 3-4 years, scoring goals until the youth come into a better time to be a first-team starter. I would also like to see someone else, maybe Bruno Fernandes, but someone. Matic is looking turgid, and Mctominay can’t play every game, especially at his age. We needed a replacement for Herrera, and why not someone young like Aouar from Lyon, or Van de Beek, just someone to add something to the midfield, where we are awfully light on quality and quantity.
A more optimistic view
There’s no doubt that Man Utd could have done a whole lot better in the transfer window. But here’s 1 reason why I still believe we’ll challenge for the league.
Our defence will grind out many 1-0 wins. With Solskjaer’s new counter attacking style, despite a so-called weaken midfield and forward line, we can grind out a series of narrow wins. And we need not be prolific goal scorers like Man City and Liverpool as this season goal difference counts for nought. Teams will be separated on head-to-head records for the first time.
Hey you’ll never know, stranger things have happened before.
Eugene Leow, Singapore
Ole’s won two titles
Just read the first of Alex Kebble’s five big questions and had to call him out on something.
Alex says that Solskjær only managed at Molde “without distinction”… he won the league! Twice! Is that not a distinction? For a team who’d never won the thing before!
Now I know the Norwegian league isn’t the biggest in the world, but to make a point of saying that winning it is less impressive than when a kid did particularly well in their grade 1 clarinet is a bit harsh…
United made a profit
I know! Shock horror!!
F365 have been so keen to play up the few million of apparent ‘loss’ that Man Utd have made on Lukaku that I’ve decided to actually weigh in with some actual financial accounting knowledge (I know. I didn’t want this. Nobody did. But you brought it on yourselves.)
The thing is that man utd actually made a profit from the Lukaku sale, at least from a pure accounting perspective.
You see, financial fair play regulations in football require transfers to be accounted for through the process of amortization, in which the total value of a players fee is spread out in the club’s accounts over the course of their contract.
If a player is sold, the total fee is recorded in their accounts minus their current ‘book value’ as either a profit or loss.
In layman’s terms, this means that a 76m player like Lukaku, as he was signed on a 5 year contract, is amortized at 15.2m per year. Two years into his contract, his book value in man utds accounts is around 46m. So selling him for 73m, even if you have to give Everton 5m in sell on fees, still equates to around 25m or so of profit.
Now, you could argue that this is just fancy accountancy, but apart from the fact that is Exactly how accounts are done in the football world, it also reflects the real world situation as well. Utd bought a player who was most definitely a better prospect that the one they sold, but still managed to recoup most of their money. It’s like buying a car, putting hundreds of thousands of miles on it, and them selling it for almost as much as you’ve paid for it.
More importantly, amortization is a pretty simple concept, and something that your writers should really make the effort to try and understand if you’re compelled to comment on the financial dealings and management of clubs.
This isn’t the first time this summer I’ve seen lazy, confused articles on this site about club’s finances and management in general. It seems like in your eagerness to prove that ‘chartered accountants’ like Ed Woodward are not qualified to make football decisions, your ‘football writers’ have gone down the rabbit hole of thinking they are qualified to make accounting decisions. And it’s really making you look a bit silly.
Winners and losers
I think you guys are mostly right about Manchester United in your Losers section of Transfers.
That said, putting “selling Lukaku at a loss” beside ”allowing Ander Herrera to leave on a free” is unfair because United did good on the amount they got on Lukaku unlike how they screwed up with Herrera.
Its not a Levy sure, but it was still a fairly good recovery especially given his performances lately.
I read that Klopp “sweats” that Allison will not be able to make the trip to …. Istanbul? (Really?) for the “UEFA Super Cup Final” fixture on Wednesday against Chelsea.
This is the first real test already of Frank’s approach to his season. Chelsea play Manchester United in the late game on Sunday, head home then presumably take a shower, grab a few hours sleep, jump on a plane, have some light training on Tuesday and play a meaningless game on Wednesday. Liverpool are already tucked up in their beds and … actually, who cares?
I’m not crying foul on fixture scheduling, I’m not accusing anyone of conspiracy, but right now Frank Lampard has a great opportunity to blood the academy, throw them into a competitive match in a remote stadium, and tell them to enjoy the moment and learn from it. You think the Community Shield is a trophy to chase? Tell me you remember who won the “EUFA Super Cup Final” last year and I’ll call you out as a liar.
If Lampard announces a team anywhere near full-strength, then we are, my friends, proper f*cked. Liverpool won the Champions League (strangely no apostrophe) and Chelsea won the Europa Cup. I don’t think we need to fly 1,500 miles to accept that fact and prove it so.
Yours, buried in the mailbox amongst the deluge of Liverpool will win/come second/Norwich are screwed emails …
Steve, Los Angeles
P.S. – The delay in the start of the second half of the Liverpool vs. Norwich game was nothing to do with VAR. It was because the referee could not communicate with one of his assistants, so please climb down from that bandwagon before it gets rolling. It is certainly not the first time it’s happened. I’m talking to you, Arlo White from NBC Sports. You don’t have to fill airtime with “OH MY – THE FIRST TEST OF VAR AND THE EQUIPMENT FAILS” baloney. It didn’t, and as a professional broadcaster you should know better.
Up it, Tyler
Amid all of the discussion about standards and performance levels on the opening weekend, I just want to raise concerns about Martin Tyler’s opening ‘And its Live!!”. It lacked the dynamic press of last season, certainly the season before and I found myself unsure if it was live.
After tonight and the Champions League last season, one thing stands out for me on this which is misleading!
When an offside is not flagged and a striker has a shot on goal which the goalkeeper saves or a defender blocks, the referee waves play on because VAR then doesn’t come in to play, unless the said striker scores, and then it’s subsequently ruled out correctly via VAR, it actually shows on the match statistics as a shot on goal which is blatantly misleading!
Anyone else agree, I just find this wrong, as everyone can see they are offside, but under the new VAR laws this is acceptable, but totally invalidates the true statistics of the match!