Three alternative Man Utd manager candidates better than Southgate and co.

Editor F365
Xavi, Unai Emery and Simone Inzaghi with Man Utd badge
Xavi, Unai Emery and Simone Inzaghi with Man Utd badge

We’re assuming Erik ten Hag will lose his job at the end of this season but how bad are the options? What about Xavi?

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Three options to replace Ten Hag
Frankly, that is a pathetic list of potential new managers for Manchester United you have got over there. But with ETH keen on getting himself sacked, let’s add some better names to the list-

a) Unai Emery – pound for pound (read as transfer spend) the best manager in the Premier League. Now you might wonder why he would leave CL chasing Aston Villa for a team below them, but mid-tier clubs tend to ebb and flow (e.g. Leicester or Everton). With Ratcliffe, Man Utd seem to be preparing for a step up back to title contention and the best surfers are those who know when to catch a rising wave.

b) Simone Inzaghi – Two-time Serie A winner & CL finalist with Lukaku as striker, he is the best in Italy right now. The Manchester lifestyle ain’t no Dolce Vita but did you know ETH makes twice as much as Inzaghi? And Klopp three times.

c) Xavi – Nope, not the best in Spain (that would be Don Carlo). But he’s a La Liga winner and the toxicity of working at Barca would make Man Utd smooth as a creme catalan. Plus just imagine enjoying the Catalonian civil war between Xavi & Guardiola right there in Manchester.
Gaurav MUFC Amsterdam


Ten Hag out is MAGA territory
Yes it was horrible! If Coventry had a toenail width more luck, they would be in the F.A. Cup Final. I could not believe how embarrassed I was at us just getting over the line.

But now I’ve had a chance to reflect upon it, I find the media and pundits’ agenda against ETH bordering on the ridiculous. This is probably why there are so many MAGA people in America.

Remember, up until about 20 minutes left, we were coasting and had a actually played well, bear in mind that included Casemiro as a center back and some dude on the left wing doing sweet FA.

Sure, in hindsight ETH maybe should not have taken off Mainoo and Garnacho but that implies he currently doesn’t have more than 11 players he thinks are good enough. Isn’t that what we have all been saying all season? Look at the rest of the bench. The remaining 6 subs to choose have literally a couple of appearances under their belt, collectively!

You can question ETH’s tactics all you want and he has made mistakes but this is about passion and desire and a will to win. This team folds quicker than my Mum’s Pavlova!

It’s almost inevitable that ETH will lose his job at the end of the season and we’ll start another rebuild. But around who? Three teenagers?

The definition of insanity…
Adidasmufc (It’s unlikely but ETH could be one of only THREE managers to win a trophy this season)


Open-heart surgery required at Man Utd
So back in February, I indicated that 5 United players should be sold in the summer, and this consisted of Varane, Casemiro, Sancho, Lindelof and Wan-Bissaka. Now its 100% safe to say that Varane, Casemiro & Sancho will leave United this summer, whether it’s for a lot of money or not, Ten Haag has clearly failed managing any of these players with any real success, yes some of these players are asking for it, but why was Casemiro so good last year and a literal donkey this year? Even Varane wasn’t half bad last year either, but looks like he has serious fitness issues.

I would like to add a few more players to that list now, as well as Ten Haag to go too, because he has ultimately failed, even if he somehow wins the FA Cup. Yes two cup finals in the last two years is a good accomplishment, but just look at the teams United have played this year on the way to the final. Wigan in the 3rd Round, Newport County in the 4th Round, Forest in the 5th Round, Liverpool in the QF (Got super lucky, Liverpool at their best would have won 2 or 3 nil), and the absolute shitshow performance against Coventry the other day in the semi final at Wembley.

The only impressive victory out of these games was Liverpool and that is because they are a side that have actual quality and consistency. 3 out of the 5 teams United face are ALL in lower English divisions. It’s been very lucky with some players showing up in some games.

The additional players that should be transfer listed this summer as well as the 5 mentioned already are Rashford, Antony (How is he even a footballer?) and Malacia, maybe Shaw as well given he is so injury prone and shame given he is actually a good player. So out of the 9 players in total indicated, realistically 7 of them have to be sold if United want to make any real progress in the next 18 months. These players are simply not good enough or just past it physically & mentally.

Rashford is the biggest disappointment of them all after last year. A combined total of 43 goals in the last three seasons as a United number 10 is simply not good enough, and if he is so ‘unhappy’ on 350K a week, then sell the ungrateful git to PSG for 50 million after Mbappe leaves for Madrid, cash in on him if he doesn’t care anymore and only shows up for the so called bigger games.

As someone who is United born and bred, fame has gotten to his head and beaten him, he thinks he is Cristiano Ronaldo. 131 goals in 399 United games so far in his career isn’t even 1 goal every 3 games. He doesn’t even defend, at least players like Welbeck & Chicharito worked hard for the team, had ten times the attitude Rashford did.

Sell as many of the players above in the summer, and play the youth team and give players like Diallo & Kambwala a chance to show they are at least squad players. If United want to take the long route in improving, it needs to start by making some serious changes and decisions this summer.
Rami, Dubai


Musings from a Villa fan
Wow, what a weekend of football! A bunch of thoughts that have been knocking around my noggin for a bit….

* In the words of Lucas Digne via Villa’s Insta account….”ANOTHER ONE!!!!”. I’m trying so, so hard to temper my expectations and hopes until it’s mathematically over the line but it’s getting harder and harder not to get excited about getting 4th place and our first ever CL campaign (see, it’s not all about 1982).

* A question for the rest of the Villa fans out there. You can either win the Europa Conference League or get Champions League football next season, but not both – which do you go for? Personally I’d want the trophy as even a step up into the Europa League is progress on last season, plus a bit of silverware in the cabinet always looks nice.

* Dear Dom Solanke, if your team has been battered for 30 minutes straight and you somehow manage to take the lead from a penalty it’s probably not a good idea to give it the big ‘un in front of the opposition fans TWICE. Chances are you’re probably going to get your pants pulled down by full time and end up looking like a bit of a twunt. Speaking of….

* Antony. That is all.

* To the Coventry fans, I think you all know that any non-United supporting football fan was right behind you and if you didn’t, we were. Unlucky on the result but your team did you proud and you can walk out of Wembley with your heads held high. Hopefully you have a great season next time round and can get promotion to the Premier League. Hats off to you!

* Forest proper shit the bed, didn’t they? I had sympathy for them when I saw the replays (first one takes the man and not the ball = pen, second one is a bit more subjective so I’ll be generous to Everton = no pen, third one again takes the man and not the ball = NAILED ON pen) but that absolutely disappeared after seeing the club response. Absolutely embarrassing.

* Still, looking forward to seeing what Howard Webb has got to say to little Micky Owen about it. Wonder if the audio will give us another “Well done boys, good process” moment if it gets released?

* Consider me a drooling no-brained Brexiteer. I don’t hate VAR, it’s just not properly implemented. Yes, it can be a bit OTT (just how much of an advantage does an attacker get when they’re 2mm in front of the defender really???) but the stats don’t lie in terms of correct vs incorrect decisions since it was introduced. The one thing I would change if I could is that if a decision can’t be reached in 30 seconds or less, it’s not “clear and obvious” so the on field decision of the ref stands. Balls to all of these 4, 5, 6 minute waits, nobody wants them – not the players, not the fans, not even the overlords at Sky.

* I also hate the “celebrate – wait – celebrate again/other team celebrates” that VAR has introduced, but I dunno what we can do about that. Maybe allow play to continue whilst VAR checks it in the background. If the goal then gets chalked off after celebration, put it up on the screen for all to see.

* And while we’re at it, scrap this absolutely pathetic rule about linesmen / lineswomen / assistant referees not flagging for offside until the phase of play has completed. Whoever thought that up should be absolutely hounded out of anything to do with football, it’s the most ridiculous change to the laws of the game I’ve ever seen and serves absolutely no benefit to anybody.
Jeff G, Villan in West Brom


What Trent does…
Watching Trent’s return against Atalanta it was glaringly obvious within five minutes just what he provides to the team.

During our struggles over the last month one of the biggest issues is trying to play it out from the back against teams which press high. We just kept losing the ball. Whenever we did go long we’d just give it back again. This was inviting tons of pressure all the way through the game.

With Trent back in the team Atalanta pressed high only to find Trent ping balls over their press and straight to the feet of an attacker, they didn’t always end up in goals or shots but most of the time it did relieve the defensive pressure and retain possession at the same time. It was the same against Fulham.

For ages I couldn’t figure out why we were having such a hard time from high pressing teams when earlier in the season we didn’t have that issue and often punished them on the counter. Now I know. Of all the injured players this season it wasn’t Salah, Jota, Szoboslai or Endo who we missed the most…it was Trent. After he left the game against Atalanta we went right back to trying to play out from the back and constantly giving it away.

It’s a part of Trent’s game I didn’t really notice before but it’s a very important one. It’s unlikely we’ll stop City’s inevitable march to the title but we look a bit more capable of at least trying now.

Also Salah has been pretty ineffective all year, we’ve won more games, lost less and scored more without him in the team. We held on a season too long and should have taken the £150m in summer. It probably won’t be offered again.

READ: Alexander-Arnold runs the show as Liverpool do what’s needed in rare supporting role


Clatt chat
Now that the collective hissy fit from Man United fans is dying down (how can it be embarrassing to do something you’ve only achieved 21 times in about 150 years?) hopefully, us more mature folks can get down to more serious topics…like Gladiators.

Thank goodness I’m not the only one to have noticed and got irrationally annoyed by Mark Clattenberg’s complete inability to count down for 3 seconds accurately. It’s really weird isn’t it?

Best wishes
PhilT (I’ve got 2 small children OK? It’s difficult not to see it.) Everton, England and OG Jet fan club


No such thing as xP for Forest
Nottingham Forest’s insistence they should have had a penalty against Everton seems to be based on, subject to the reader’s preference, either a variation of the totting up process or a variation of expected goals.

If a player commits a number of minor fouls they may be booked for persistent infringement and effectively receive the same punishment as someone committing one more egregious act, but that doesn’t mean they are the same thing.

An xG of 1 is not the same as scoring a goal and, if we’re honest, Forest’s three penalty shouts were collectively more than enough offence for one penalty, but unfortunately for them, that isn’t how football works.

I don’t particularly like VAR but there is no easy way to just get rid of it, as John Nicholson and others would like. Replay technology, challenges, reviews and all that work well in sports like cricket, both codes of rugby and American football, for two main reasons: there are lots of natural stoppages, and there is a general willingness to accept the officials’ decisions that go against you and get on with the game. Neither of these applies to football, and this will always be the biggest obstacle to making any changes to how football matches are officiated.

The second biggest obstacle is that everyone who speaks out claims to be doing it for the benefit of the game as a whole but in reality is entirely self-interested; people don’t want fair, they want everything to go their way every time, and it just physically cannot.

It was heartbreak for Coventry City that Haji Wright was ruled offside by a tiny margin but unfortunately that’s how offside works. Also, let’s not kid ourselves: if there hadn’t been VAR and it was only after the event that people realised Wright was offside, would Manchester United and their supporters have taken it on the chin and said “fair enough, sometimes you get these decisions and sometimes you don’t”, or would their response have made Nottingham Forest look calm, measured and magnanimous?
Ed Quoththeraven


VAR needs to be less accurate to work
Just a thought on VAR, specifically for offside decisions. While it’s still being operated by humans (unlike goal-line technology, which seems to be Hawkeye-based), there’s always going to be scope for (mis)interpretation, potential errors and arguments.

Trying to make each offside decision accurate to the nth degree by asking the human to position a line with absolute precision on a blurry, long-distance still-frame of a toe in a boot is never going to work, because the humans won’t get it exactly right every time.

Which leads to decisions that seem at best arbitrary, and at worst incorrect, unsatisfying, and unfair (I’m a United fan and I was gutted for Coventry on Sunday – which possibly says more about the apathy I feel towards United nowadays, but still).

My solution, which having thought about it for about five minutes I’m fairly sure is foolproof, is to make the lines a bit fatter. Click the mouse (they use a mouse, right?) on the body of the relevant players (in the centre of their chest, as it’s a good indicator or where the player is on the pitch, ignoring dangly appendages that can be waved around) and draw a band across the pitch of the approximate width of a human. If the bands overlap, it’s onside.

To summarise, there’s no point trying to be scientifically, empirically accurate when there’s human influence at play. Also, I’ve said ‘human’ a lot which makes me sound like I might be a robot. Off to identify some traffic lights to prove otherwise.
Dan, (One of us is a robot… It’s… Not… Me…) Worthing


…In the Dutch Eredivisie, there’s a margin of error for offside calls. I think it was introduced at the start of this season. Basically, it does what it says on the tin; because it’s always debatable whether the frame was freezed/frozen at the right time and the lines they draw aren’t 100% reliable, the Dutch FA decided the attacking team should have the benefit of the doubt (as it was pre-VAR). If the lines – which are slightly thicker than in the PL – are touching, it’s NOT offside. For those who say ‘offside is offside, whether it’s a mm or a metre’, well, obviously not. Not in the Netherlands anyway.
G Thomas, Breda

Other leagues please
Quite enjoyed the change of pace with the MLS winners and losers article.

Obviously it was done purely for the sweet, sweet Messi related clicks, but it was genuinely nice to read something other than more VAR debate or Man United based cobblers.

Please could we get a weekly or monthly edition for other leagues, like Spain or Italy or Germany?

Ta muchly,
Dave (it’ll be Saudi cus of Ronaldo won’t it) PBFC


On the Shane Long, on the Shane Long…
Following on SC from Belfast, I’d like to throw a few of mine in. Me and my brother never failed to say “dorf” everytime the commentator said “Seedorf”, I can’t not call Raheem Sterling, ‘Raheem Pounds Stirling’ and finally, any mention of Shane Long requires me to sing his name to the tune of Wet Legs ‘Chaise Lounge’.
Jerome, Bristolian Spur


…Thanks to SC from Belfast in this morning’s mailbox, I love singing 90s/00s hits to player’s names when the football is on TV.

Two of the more niche favourites:

Jordy Clasie (“you already knoooow”) by Iggy Azalea
Darren Moore (“let the rhythm take you over Bailamos”) by Enrique Iglesias
Jon, London (VAR robbed football of a great FA Cup moment last Sunday and the removal of replays is another nail in footballs coffin)


…Always love a fun niche question from the Mailbox to let my mind go wild on, so pop song intrusive thoughts after hearing a footballer’s name you ask? Here are mine:

Andre Onana – it’s instantly followed by “What’s my name?”
Marouane Chamakh – always triggers “Return of The Mack” in my head.
Harry Kane – “Rock you like a Hurricane”
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod