Are Manchester United the biggest one-man team around?

Date published: Monday 23rd October 2017 9:20

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Justice 4 Winty
Calm down Huddersfield fans, it was only Man United.
Mike, LFC, Dubai


Guess we should have seen that coming
Dale (Congrats Sarah!) Leeds 


So Jose Mourinho has no idea why the United attitude was so poor in the match against Huddersfield. Surely that is his job, to motivate the team. Perhaps he might realise that the seeds for the defeat were planted a week ago  with the tactics used against Liverpool. The United team were on a high, playing well, scoring freely, and surely in a frame of mind to go to Anfield and put it to Liverpool. But one man did not believe in the team, and their ability to beat Liverpool, and that man was their manager. His tactics showed that he lacked confidence in his team and that undermined their confidence.

Cue the match the following week, and surprise surprise the team are hesitant, and the manager and players agree that it is an attitude issue. Players are human, not machines. Confidence is harder to instil than shake. Saying one week to his team, you are not good enough and the following week expecting them to switch back to full confidence is just bad management. The point at Liverpool now looks a bit stupid when set against three lost at Huddersfield.

Best Regards


Respect is gone
Man United lost this game today last week against Liverpool. Had they played Huddersfield before that Liverpool game, there’s no way they’d have lost. We would be talking about 4-0 again.

But David Wagner seeing that display against a fragile Liverpool team would have told his team that this United aren’t as invincible as first thought.

Attack. Press them. Harry and hassle them into mistakes. Easy team talk you would say. There would be many Huddersfields this season for United because of Jose’s stupid tactics against the Top-6 this season.

All the respect United have earned before Liverpool’s game is gone.


One-man Man United
This Manchester United team are a one man team right now. And that one man has been injured for a while now. He may not score or assist in a game, but with him in his centre of the park, you know things will spark into life rather than later. He controls the pace, he drives the team forward, he is also the most talented and confident player at the club (maybe 2nd if Zlatan is counted).

It is no coincidence that United have been mostly rubbish this season since Pogba got injured. There is also no way they would have played like that against Liverpool if he were available. There is only so much Matic can do on his own in the middle especially with Fellaini out too (imagine that!). Jose knows that better than anyone else and hence has been setting his teams up extra defensive since then. Clearly, he sees that at present, United are incapable of out scoring the opposition and therefore the best strategy is to not concede at all. This in theory would work assuming your players avoided brainfarts in dangerous situations, and it was working until the Huddersfield game where it all went wrong. First Mata, then Lindelof made terrible errors and it all unravelled. I am still 100% sure this game would have been a 1-0 or 2-1 to United if the first choice centre back pairing of Jones and Eric Bailly were playing (the full game in Jones’ case). It has now also been proved that Herrera is not good enough to start in a midfield two for a title challenging team. What happened to Mikhitaryan and Martial though? They have tailed off badly.

Fact is, until Pogba (and Zlatan) returns, Jose will continue to set his teams up primarily to not concede and and sneak in tight wins. Lukaku also seems to be missing is best buddy more than most and his goals are beginning to dry up. It is highly likely that City will be out of sight by the time we regroup/reinforce and the chasing pack of Spurs, Chelsea and possibly Liverpool would have also caught up to add to the misery.

We will not win the league this season as we are relying on one player to make it all tick right now. For comparison, City have Aguero, Silva, Jesus, De Bruyne, Sterling etc contributing game after game. We will also not win the league because our (converted) full backs are dog s*** at contributing offensively.
Rahber (hand the title to them already) India


Come back, Marouane
I can’t quite believe I’m saying this but…

United are missing Fellaini. Just look at the results since his injury. The bore draw to Liverpool, very lucky win at Benfica (thanks to a goalkeeper brain fart) and now losing to Huddersfield.

Please come back you beautiful elbow happy man.
Chris (mufc)


So for £300 million, United have purchased a bus which doesn’t even park itself right?
(Just imagine the sanctimony we would get if United had got Guardiola and City had gone for Mourinho)


As a Man Utd fan, the start of this email is going to be pretty easy to write but the end is going to be like poking hot skewers into my own eyes.

Clearly for me, those mails following Utd 4-0 wins earlier in the season saying “it’s only…” were spot on. Utd are probably better than last year but nowhere near title contenders. Chelsea are the yoyo club having gone title – mediocrity – title – mediocrity again this year ? Arsenal are Arsenal (nuff said), Liverpool still can’t defend and don’t have a peak Torres or Suarez that would hide that better. I forgot about Spurs…I guess that says it already, which leaves us…

The hard bit… I didn’t rate Pep that much as anyone can win with an embarrassment of riches in uncompetitive leagues but actually he kicked “the special one” Jose’s ass in La Liga and the team he has built now is on another planet. As much as I hate admitting it City should win the league by a landslide and probably seriously challenge for Champions league (which would be no big deal if it wasn’t for the fact english teams and especially city have been tommy tank in Europe for a while now), maybe it is one of these times where the bar needs to be raised for the rest of the other teams mentioned in this mail to realise what is possible and necessary to win things. It was only possible for Leicester to win the league by the top teams being complacent and maybe they need to wake up and realise money alone doesn’t get you anything. I think that complcency is clearest in the champions league when you considet how much money premiership teams have spent over the last 5-10 years yet we’ve been nowhere…

I think I may be able to stomach City winning the league this year if it makes the rest of the teams wake up. And I wish I could watch then and appreciate their play but I’ve been a Utd fan too long.

Knee-jerkery maybe as we still haven’t gone past the Christmas crazy period that sorts the men from the boys but I’ve had lots to drink and felt compelled to write (I hope my spell check was on form)
Jon, Joburg (“I hate technology, Siri, tell Amazon to drone me a beer” Homer Simpson”)


Winner of the season so far
Would you like to know who the winner of the season so far is as we are almost a quarter of the way through?

Rafa Benitez.

Not been giving a pot to p*ss in by Ashley and yet has the most organised team in the league and sitting in 6th place with a takeover (possibly) on the horizon to spend sh*tloads on whoever he wants…

We’re top 6 with Joselu up front. Rafa is a genius.


Chelsea conclusions
– In my opinion, the biggest technical issue Chelsea had in 2015-16 was the midfield problem, rather a lack of midfield problem.  In that disastrous season, a hallmark of our game was the number of times opponents could turnover our midfield, making life hell for our defenders who got all the stick.

– In one stroke, half the problem was solved when Kante was signed last season.  But we only solved half the problem.  One thing we have clearly lacked since the Lampard-Essien-Ballack axis is a midfield control.  That was Chelsea’s best midfield I’ve ever seen (maybe Makelele for Essien also).  Kante does one job spectacularly well, but we still need that player to replace Ballack.  Bakayoko is the box to box guy, so get a cultured passer (Drinkwater?)

– Back to 2015-16, the technical midfield issue snowballed and became an attitude problem and Chelsea were often outfought in games.  From a technical hole, it became an infernal hole by end of the season.  There were N other factors (board, manager, etc etc) but it all began with lack of midfield options.

– We are in 2017.  Kante is injured.  Our midfield has been turned over more times than the entirety of last season since the Man City game.  However, there’s a crucial difference this time around.  Conte has got the fire fighting attitude (that went missing 2 years back) with the team.  Every team would go through a bad phase in a season and how the team deals with it (cliche) determines its ultimate league position.

– On that note, boy was I not happy at what Chelsea did last night? Yes, we were poor.  Yes, Fabregas despite some hilarious statistics showing he ran the most was often bypassed in midfield and was culpable for Watford’s goal number 2, yes Bakayoko seems 60% fit, yes Azpilicueta for the first time looks human, yes Hazard is playing ok-ok as he thinks rest of them aren’t doing great, but yet we came out of a game we should’ve lost big time being 4-2 winners.

– If you asked me at what stage of the season would I prefer a bad phase for Chelsea, I’d say season start.  It would mean we are out of the title race but I look at the bigger picture.  Coach and board (if at all they exist) now have an idea why things are happening the way they do.  In January I expect Chelsea to sign players in forward positions for sure, but hopefully a quality midfield addition would also do.

– Jose Mourinho was all about allowing players freewill, he was used to characters like JT, Lamps, Drogba, Cech, Essien and all those Inter players including Zlatan.  He brings a collective best when he has such characters.  He is a manager for big characters who take it upon themselves.  One of the reasons he’s not been as successful since his move to Real is because of the profile of players he has managed.  In my opinion he did not understand (then) that he was managing personnel badly in 2015-16.  Conte on the other hand is the opposite.  He micromanages every move and pattern.  He trains and asks players to do specific things.  Chelsea players have no excuse to under perform.  If they could not take responsibility which was one major factor behind Jose sacking, they better listen to Antonio and do as he says.  I am unhappy to read their displeasure at his coaching methods.  You had your chance with Jose, you blew it, now better do what Antonio says.

– A note on Silva and Watford.  In this very column when I saw Silva first manage a game for Hull I said he is going to be one heck of a manager. I wrote saying Silva reminds me of Pochettino.  I have never much happier to say I told you so.  I’ve been very happy with his progress and I felt bad for the result.  Watford and Silva did not deserve the result they got last night.  They were superb with and without the ball.  That team will be alright.  I see Silva potentially replace Pochettino at Tottenham when one of the bigger sharks lure Poch.  If Silva goes directly to a top team also I see him doing very well.
Aravind, Chelsea Fan


Slide tackles
Watching Chelsea vs Watford and Chelsea were very lucky to get 3 points. While rest of the match get disected by everyone I want to touch upon the seemingly dying art of sliding tackles.

While no one wants to see players flying around making stupid challenges… there is nothing better than a perfectly timed slide tackle which takes the ball off the attackers. And from Chelsea defensive point of view there were options outside the box available to the defenders to slide in and steal the ball before the goals were scored. I for one was screaming for one of the defenders to make a challenge esp as there was a backup defender in vicinity.

Not all players are Kante who almost never needs to make slide tackles due to his astute positioning and reading of the game. I believe Chelsea (others??) need to work in this aspect quite a lot and prevent chances being created… a la John Terry who almost specialized in perfect sliding tackles.
B cfc


Pulis out
West Brom have won two out of their last 18 Premier League games, yet remarkably Pulis is never mentioned in the sack race.

You could hire a cat as a manager and do no worse than that.

Tony Pulis plays for 1-0 every week at the cost of everything else. But, if we aren’t achieving that even once in every eight games, what does Pulis even offer?

I don’t expect anything as a WBA fan – no European push or even silky football, but we don’t keep the ball, don’t shoot and don’t score. Whatever team you support, that’s incredibly difficult to justify funding £100 days out for.

People say we’re hard to beat but it’s a myth. We park the bus away from home and at home to any of the “Big 7.” That leaves 12 games a season where we theoretically “have a go.”

If other fans think Pulis is the epitome of mid table respectability you have him. He increasingly looks like a man who has been found out by the evolution of others.

Only Pulis could see a side struggling for goals and buy three holding midfielders in six months, all naturally crowbarred into the same team.

I’m sick of seeing him, foaming at the mouth, screaming at James McClean to, “Go on son!”

No Tony, you just go.
Andy Jones


Away days
If Bournemouth can do it on “Storm Brian” day in Stoke, please can we stop using the “can they do it on a wet night in Stoke” cliche as a barometer for overseas players to cut it in the Premier League.
Brian (Non storm variety) BRFC


England U17
Well done to the England U17 side for dispatching the US (including the son of George Weah), and advancing to the semi finals. The England youth tactic of all the players having double barrelled surnames is really paying off at every level, probably because the opposition players can’t work out who to mark or even how many players England have.
Terry Cheesemania, Tunbridge Wells

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