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Could this be Ole’s plan?
It’s been a terrible start to the season for Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. There are many questions being asked of the squad and manager. But could it be that this year is a planned “gap” year?
I think this squad would really struggle to make top 4 anyways so maybe Ole is planning on ensuring they do not qualify for Europa League next season…. wishful thinking but if United were to avoid Europa league next season and sign 3 players who improved the starting 11 like last summer, arguably this would give the squad the best chance of top 4.
There has been positives this year but more questions than answers…. not sure how long Ole will last but it would be foolish if United were not looking at Poch, especially when they have planned to avoid Europa League.
Paul (MUFC) Dublin
Stick with Ole
For months now I’ve been reading how out of his depth Ole is and how no other club in the league would have him as their manager. It’s an easy case to make when you look purely at results (which have been bloody awful) but I’m still firmly in the “Ole in” camp. And here why:
1) the squad. It’s shit. It’s been getting steadily worse since Ferguson left and for a little while we had some fancy dans showing up probably on the strength in the name with a nostalgic sense of who Man Utd used to be. Once is became clear that and potential glory was a long way off and required a lot of work most of them just couldn’t be bothered. That situation had to be fixed and other than Pogba, Ole has cleared out the lot of them. That’s good management
2) the alternatives: it’s been said before but we’ve trie the serial winners, the legends and “the chosen one” and none of them fit the bill. Now it’s Pochetino we should be after but come on now, he’s won literally nothing, anywhere. At least Ole has won the league with and unfancied side in a minor league. A certain Scot started somewhere similar.
3) injuries. Seriously, we’re playing with Fred and Pereira in midfield. What do you expect to happen? We’ve been struck by a string of injuries all season and a lot at once. Maybe a result of Ole’s style but if we’ve got players who’s body can’t handle running a lot then we’ve got the wrong squad.
4) them upstairs. The state of the squad is clearly not his fault, the boardroom have been screwing up for years and you can’t make silk from shit. The squad isn’t going to change over night and there really is no evidence that anyone else would do better.
5) results against the big boys. I can’t understand people saying he’s tactically inept. That’s nonsense and his results against the bigger teams demonstrate this. I’m not saying we’re spanking everyone (except Chelsea) but since he’s come in our results against the big six are definitely improving.
6) the squad play for him. They haven’t downed tools, there is no sulking and that for me means they still beleive. If they do, so should we.
Give him some time, some money and a director of football and I wager her gonna come good.
Bring on the vitriol
Burnley vs Man City
Just when I thought we were in a rut, Pep pulls that out of the bag. Much, much better from City and the first game in ages where they actually played like they did for the majority of last season. Crisp passing, hard-pressing and clinical when required. More importantly, I wasn’t overwhelmed by a feeling of dread or outright panic every time a Burnley player got near, or in, the City box.
Negative points in no particular order; Sterling was largely anonymous again, though far too early to get seriously worried. No clean sheet but I’ll take 4-1 all day long. I’m all for letting your opponent ‘know you’re there’ but there were too many crunching tackles, so beloved of REAL PFM’s and the ref should’ve clamped down on sooner. Before anybody has a ‘snowflake alert!’ reaction yes, I’m fully aware that it’s a contact sport but I’ve come to realise that the fan that loves their players to ‘leave something on him’ are generally supporting a team without much quality in it. I know, I was one of ‘em and City have put their fair share of bruisers out on the pitch in their time. If, like us however, you are gifted a situation where you have the likes of KDB, the Silvas, Sterling and Foden then I really don’t want to be regressing to a Roy Keane scenario where, by his own admission, he deliberately went out to hurt Alf Inge Haaland and effectively ruined the latter’s career. It’s football not a street war ffs.
Positive points: Four beautiful, beautiful goals. Still can’t decide which is my favourite although Jesus’s first is pushing out at front. Outstanding display from Rodri, as well as his own super goal (Wow). Great to go into the derby on the back of that and hopefully Spurs can do City a favour on Wednesday night although I have a sneaking feeling that that game might be a stinker. Certainly hope I’m wrong.
Finally, and following on from Johnny Nic’s article, my take on the Amazon Prime experience (I’ve had Prime for a couple of years). When first loading the game, the first pictures on my TV resembled those dodgy streaming services but cleared up fairly quickly. Also, the signal dropped out three times without warning. What really struck me though, was that the game on the screen was a good two minutes behind my club and footy apps and even TalkSh*te (which was on in the background) when it came to the key points in the game. Maybe it was a phenomenon confined to East London, but thought I’d highlight it for any 365ers who are looking to view any of Wednesday’s games.
In summary, and I know it’s only one game but am looking forward to pitching that City side against the current Utd one a whole lot more tonight than I was this morning.
Mark (Gabby Logan post-match: “You could say it was Jesus 2, Pope nil”. Not bad Gabs, not bad at all!) MCFC
Every so often we need a reminder that football clubs are still social institutions as well as multinational corporations, and that they are far less without a connection to their local community. As such, regardless of results in games, it was great to see Crystal Palace fans protesting against kickoff times that suit Amazon rather than matchgoing supporters, and even better to see the club are going to be opening Selhurst Park for use as a homeless shelter in extreme weather.
*If there’s such a thing as The Palace Way TM, it’s that the Glaziers lose games they should win, and win games they shouldn’t have a chance in. Last night was the perfect example of both: entering the game on the back of a hard-fought win over Burnley to face a team who are starting to slide a bit should have made them favourites. Then, our already thin back line gets doubly depleted, first when Mamadou Sakho needlessly launched into a tackle he didn’t need to make and got himself sent off, and second when Patrick van Aanholt went off injured ten minutes later; turning advantage into adversity in short order.
*When Jeffrey Schlupp was at Leicester City, he was a left-back. He’s been mainly used in midfield at Palace, and on the odd occasion he’s been pressed into service at the back, it hasn’t always gone well.
*Roy Hodgson is notoriously fixed in his tactical mindset, but made a bold call at half-time: perhaps to get the best out of Schlupp, he switched to a three-man central defence, with Cheikhou Kouyate alongside James Tomkins and Martin Kelly. Hodgson also withdrew Andros Townsend in favour of James McCarthy, playing four in midfield and enabling Schlupp to play as a wing-back. It was very much a needs must situation, but it clearly worked.
*Playing up front on your own while down to ten men is one of the most thankless tasks in football, but Jordan Ayew played his role superbly. He was absolutely tireless and kept the Bournemouth defence honest.
*Eddie Howe isn’t the most popular of managers in South London, probably to do with his combination of snide comments insinuating Wilfried Zaha is a diver while simultaneously instructing his players to kick lumps out of the Ivorian at every opportunity. Generally though he is an impressively upwardly mobile manager, but his side’s inability to break Palace down, despite the introductions of Lewis Cook and Ryan Fraser, as well as the way his players allowed Schlupp to waltz through the entire team, do not maybe show the best of his tactical abilities.
*In the end, it was another old-fashioned Palace win. They scrapped for everything and gave their all for the cause. This was a team built on grit and determination, earning their chances through sheer hard work. Not one to live long in the memory of neutrals but the sort of victory greatly appreciated by the supporters.
*Next up for the Eagles is a trip to Watford, who always seem to have the edge over us in league games; cup semi-finals and playoff games are a different matter, of course.
Roy at Liverpool
In response to Eamon, Dublin erm yeah OGS, give him a chance, keep him, or don’t, whatever.
No, sorry, the thing is I can’t have inaccuracies and grey areas re: Hodgson and LFC. The current owners, FSG, employed Roy in that he was the manager when they bought the club in October 2010 and they didn’t sack him there and then. He remained on the payroll that FSG inherited for just under three months until he was given the boot.
The decision to actually give him the job and employ him at Liverpool Football Club in the first place was made by the previous, also American, owners – the ‘bad yanks’, the absolute sh!thouses, that were Tom Hicks and George Gillete. Glad we’ve cleared that up.
Of all the Americans who’ve been choosing Premier League managers these last few years, i’m pretty sure FSG view themselves as not too shabby.
Couple of things:
In response to Eamonn Dublin: FSG didn’t hire Hodgson, they did fire him shortly after arriving though.
Did Pat Nevin really say “somnambulant”? That’s amazing, verticulous, almost.
Every time Liverpool fans see Martin Atkinson involved in our games, we curse the footballing gods.
Just in these past few weeks, we had the farce of Firmino’s armpit being offside, and the other farce of letting Lewis Dunk take a freekick with Brighton players disrupting the wall.
And we get Atkinson on VAR again tonight. Betting on more “interpretation” of the rules.
A better question for the five big questions
I read one game, 5 big questions, and while I can certainly see where the writer was coming from, but I also felt there was regurgitation of old stereo types around Mourinho. A question I’d have liked asked is, which club allowed Mourinho to train and develop a new attacking philosophy? I thought he has been jobless and stuck at home for a year now? From his time at Porto, all the way to his second stint at Chelsea, it has always been about being solid at the back, and using a group of top quality forwards that can create something out of nothing. I’m sure to some degree he coaches attack, but he seems to be at his best in getting the ball back and limiting the offence, and then giving the ball to the likes of Ronaldo/ Benzema, Hazard/ Costa, Drogba/ Robben and asking them to make it happen up top.
I could be wrong but that’s how it appears to me. He doesn’t drill his attack the way a Pep or Klopp does where you see an actual repeating pattern of attacking, it’s almost always counter-attack or controlling a game. That to me is the essence of Mourinho, which is why I think it might not be complete disaster at Spurs. Teach them to lock it down and then give the ball to Alli, Son and Kane and ask them to create magic and those 3 have shown us enough to know they can certainly create magic. I remember sat at a pub watching a Chelsea game during his second stint when they won the title. They guy sat next to me said, Chelsea have barely touched the ball, but they are more dangerous when the opposition has the ball. I think it was a Chelsea v Man U game and a Man U midfielder lost the ball and boom, nanoseconds later, Chelsea goal. Watching his games from that angle and they become quite intriguing, it’s when he employs that tactic against a relegation team that it gets annoying.
Dave(Also, is that why Spurs keep conceding, is Mou neglecting his defence?), Somewhere
I have to say, I think the Man United vs Tottenham questions get it wrong on the first point. United are not at their best when shown too much respect at all; United are at their best when they are the underdogs and expected to lose.
In our best performances this year we have had less possession and played mostly on the counter. If Spurs set up with a more attacking formation and mindset then this would actually play into our hands a little bit; if Mourinho does go with 3-5-2 then I actually reckon that United have half a chance of a positive result. Attacking United from the off would leave more space in behind and having Aurier anywhere near as high up the pitch as Kane, as suggested in the article, would leave so much room for the pace of Rashford and James to exploit.
If, however, he sets them up with a more defensive 5-3-2 or 4-3-3 with two holding midfielders then the usual thing will happen; United will get to the edge of the box, find it crowded with players and not be able to find a way through, resort to long shots and dribbling right into the Spurs back line. Now that Martial has been ruled out, it even further reduces the likelihood of United exerting any real attacking pressure. Martial’s absence only makes it more likely that we’ll see one of Pereira, Lingard or Mata in that number 10 role behind, presumably, a rough front two of Rashford and James, which again will nullify any attempt to exert consistent pressure on Spurs.
I reckon that, if Jose does go defensive, then you’re more likely to see Spurs race into an early lead. Letting United have the impetus and encouraging them to attack will leave our extremely shaky midfield and defence completely exposed, and I can see Spurs hitting us on the counter really effectively. In fact, if he does go down this route then I can see it being 3-0 to Spurs before half time. United’s only hope this evening is that Jose comes to attack and that we can chuck enough bodies between the ball and our goal for long enough to draw their defenders out so we can use the counter attack. Needless to say, I’m not looking forward to the game.
Reading the article on the lack of scrutiny that Eddie Howe faces it reminded me of every post-match report I’ve seen for Arsenal this calendar year.
He’s getting the job, isn’t he?
Mike, gutted that Arsenal vs Leeds is at the wrong stadium
Trevor Sinclair ‘banter’
Now I know this week is a fantastic week if you’re a football fan(a fantastic 4 weeks really)but I hope no one missed Trevor Sinclairs’ idiotic,moronic tweet last night.For those who missed it after Jesus scores he tweeted “Bin dippers,we are coming for you.”
Ha has of course since come out and apologised for any offence caused and it was only “banter.”
Banter Trev?? If you boil it down you are in essence laughing at adults and kids living in poverty and deprivation.You find it hilarious that innocent kids are going to sleep in 2019 hungry??.
Many struggle to concentrate at school because they had no breakfast in the morning,that’s amusing to you?
But hey,apparently he grew up a working class kid so that’s ok.
Pardon my French but what the f##k is wrong with people?? You can bet your bottom dollar that Utd fans will sing their Xmas “classic” that they bang out every December “Feed the Scousers” which is also just of course “banter.”
Never mind the fact that Food Bank usage is on the rise over in the UK(& here in Ireland too) & the place it has risen most is-Salford in Manchester-a stones throw from where these uneducated plebs will be singing their classic..talk about moronic. The FA have a lot to answer for,this song has been sung for years and they have done nothing.Real shock eh??
No child in 2019 should be going to bed hungry and no idiots should be singing about it or tweeting about it. Will it stop?? No chance. As someone said when asked what we can do to save the planet he replied “the planet isn’t in trouble,people are in trouble.” When you have the likes of Sinclair engaging in such “banter” can anyone disagree??
I see that Wenger is calling for the stadiums to have screens to explain decisions. Unless I am missing something, almost everyone has a screen in their pocket, so why not just give free wi-fi access to relay the decision and move on? Am I missing something?
Nick in Woking
Football TV Rights, a battle for the customer and their cash
So with Amazon showcasing their first batch of games last night it made me look into how much it would cost to watch all of the major European Leagues on the TV, so that would be the Premier League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga, now of course I will include the Champions League and Europa League also in this too.
£30 p/m – BT Sport (EPL, UCL, UEL, Bundesliga, Ligue 1)
£23 p/m – Sky Sports (EPL, SPFL, Championship, MLS)
£12 p/m – Premier Sports (Serie A & La Liga)
30 Day Free Trial – Amazon (EPL)
£65 p/m in total.
Now of course Sky Sports has some extra leagues in their package such as SPFL, MLS etc, however let’s assume Amazon wins the same package again for next season, that would mean the trial period would have expired and be roughly another £10 on top of the bill, so for a whole season anyone who wishes to watch all of the games from those leagues is looking at £75 p/m, to some people that is just over a day’s pay after tax, when you look over at our friends in the USA they have much better packages, the USA you can subscribe to both ESPN+ and BEIN Sports for a total of $25 per month, a third of the cost that we pay (I may be incorrect, was using Wiki as the source for the TV rights).
I feel if in the UK they packaged the rights better, instead of splitting it up into segments, it would increase viewing figures, it would increase engagement and it would reduce illegal streaming.
Naturally it is NEVER going to happen because the Premier League makes so much money by splitting up the packages, any fellow mailboxers have any ideas on how they should improve the viewer experience and make it better and more importantly cheaper to the average football fan?
Amazon lets you turn off the commentary!
Just a quick note that I’ve not seen mentioned anywhere: last night Amazon allowed a changed audio setting called Stadium Sound that shut off the commentary, an option I’ve seen called for about a thousand times here and elsewhere over the past few years. I strongly recommend you look into it if you’re watching tonight. I switched over to Palace-Bournemouth at half time of City-Burnley, just in time to see Schlupp’s goal and spent the following ten minutes thoroughly enjoying the sound of the Holmesdale Fanatics.
Also, to Simon, Southampton: watching through my Amazon Fire stick, I did actually have the option to pause and rewind. I don’t know what device you were using but the option is there.
Harry, THFC (Still not a Mourinho fan, but it’s not been as bad as I expected)
People will obviously have different experiences with the Amazon Prime showing, personally I thought it was very good and I had almost no problems streaming the football. Even if I had had a bad experience, I will try and watch as many games as physically possible (TV, Phone, Laptop, PC, Playstation etc.) for one simple reason. I want them to buy more games. I want other people to buy more games. I want more choice. I want to be able to watch what I want not what Sky thinks I want to watch or BT can afford.
I want to be able to subscribe to an Arsenal streaming for £15 a month where I get all their games with decent commentary, production and no strings attached. If Amazon is going to come in and disrupt the monopoly Sky has on the Premier League, I will support it all the way. BT has shown with the European games just what is possible, now lets get a proper giant of technology come in and give us what we want.
Rob A (I can what the mutterings of “armchair fan” already) AFC
Football on TV
If you want to know what’s wrong with football on TV you only have to look at the moment when Joe Gomez was coming on for England and ITV cameras focused on Raheem Sterling in the stands. Football on TV used to be about football but now it’s become part of the media machine that exists to turn football into soap opera. The machine exists separate from football, it’s a feedback loop that takes new outrage on Monday morning and cycles it round and round until everyone is saying the same thing despite there being very little truth to be found anywhere. I don’t blame the tabloid hacks, it’s pretty obvious that none of them care about football and would just as easily write about gardening if it paid the same and gave them the opportunity to appear on TV. However, the current cabal of ex players who seem to appear on every channel don’t seem to have any original thought or offer any valuable insight into the world behind the curtain and prefer to parrot back the same negative half truths that the tabloids have decided “people are talking about”. This is despite them having been on the receiving end of the machine not that long ago.
TV channels actually pay Paul Scholes for his opinion, wit and knowledge of football. When asked to tell us something interesting about himself, Michael Owen told us he’d never drunk a cup of tea in his life and, the sad thing is, if you Google that fact you’ll find that people have actually written articles about it for major publications. TV channels can’t seem to decide what they want to be and who their target audience is. They’ve tried bantz with Savage and Crouch, they’ve tried in depth tactics with Neville, they’ve tried the old boys club on Soccer Saturday and they seem to currently be trying curmudgeons who suck the joy from the game. If you knew any of these people in your own life you’d be trying your best to not know any of these people.
Living in a country with a modest football league, most of my best footballing memories have come from TV but they come from a time where the machine didn’t exist. The machine has alienated me and it has become harder and harder to watch a game of football without getting exposed to it. Hopefully Amazon with the ability to turn off commentary will signal a new way.