Ferguson screwed Ole over, Man Utd’s ‘fragile man-child’ and more…

Date published: Sunday 17th October 2021 9:37 - Editor F365

Send your thoughts on Man Utd, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Mo Salah or anything else to theeditor@football365.com…

 

Looking at the season so far…
Rather than pick through the shambles of losing 4-2 when your keeper was your best player I’d rather look through the season with Rose tinted spectacles to see how we’ve progressed (LOL) from last year.

The positives so far are, Ronaldo banging in the goals again, De Gea back to his best and….

Is that it? Let’s try mitigating factors for our performances, Maguire and Varane have barely played together. Pretty big one there admittedly.

However, utds summer transfers are now seeming to have been incredibly poorly thought out. Strengthening the positions that didn’t need strengthening has just caused a competition for places problem upfront that Ole is not managing well while the neglect of the midfield is looking incredibly stupid now.

It is not Ole’s fault that his preferred central defensive pairing is unavailable but to choose to drop the double pivot over the last few games while the defence is even weaker than normal is criminal. It is one thing for transfers to exaggerate the imbalance of the squad but to allow that to affect the team balance is just stupid. Opposition managers must love playing utd as our threat are so obvious to prepare for and weaknesses even more so.

Where to from here? Somehow utd have spent lots of money and made the team worse. Lindgard proved over many seasons that he is not good enough yet he is back in the managers plans? It feels to me that he’s just putting him in the shop window as the hammers weren’t willing to pay utds valuation.

Utd need Varane and Maguire to work, or Varane and Lindelof or whoever. Shaw needs to remember that when he gets the ball he should not stop and think. He is not good at thinking, he needs to just bomb forward. Utd need a solid midfield base. How can a team with trophy ambitions have a mid-table central defence and a lower table central midfield? Not to mention too many forward players in the squad that feel defending is beneath them.

No doubt, with the attacking talent we have we’ll beat one or more of our title rivals with some counter attacking play over the next few weeks and make it look like we’re not as far off as we thought. But reality is that Ronaldo, for all his goals, has probably made us worse and we are not going to win things without sorting out the midfield and the defence.

The next few weeks will probably effectively end utds title challenge before it’s even started but I retain hope that we might sort out our playing style soon enough to make us capable of being a very good cup team who can beat anyone on our day. FA Cup maybe? Or 3rd time lucky in the Europa league?
Jon, Cape Town (it doesn’t take long for pre season hope to be blown away)

 

Ferguson screwed Ole over
You could put Makelele at his peak in the middle of the park for United there yesterday and we would still concede 4. The fanbase and Ferguson have screwed Ole over here – the backlash to having Ronaldo on the bench for the Everton game meant Ronaldo had to start here.

Gary Neville keeps talking about how they carried Ronaldo in 2008 – yes in 2008 Gary. Football is different now, teams lower down the table also press high now and have capable defenders who can play from the back. You cannot dominate these teams without pressing from the front.

For all their skills, Salah, Mane, Jota, Firmino, all run their lungs out each game pressing from the front. As do Bernardo Silva and KDB.

No team in the league can carry Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood, Sancho and Ronaldo. For all the criticism he receives, Matic was actually very good yesterday, he was just outnumbered in midfield. Putting a Declan Rice in this team won’t fix things.

With the personnel United have behind him, Cavani works better as a number 9 for this United team than Ronaldo but there is no way Ole can bench Ronaldo, even though he would be a phenomenal option to bring from the bench each game, especially against tired legs.

Ronaldo will now become the Albatross around Ole’s neck and will get him sacked.
Shehzad Ghias, MUFC, Karachi (FREE DONNY)

 

Joke of a performance…
I just finished watching United and Leicester. What an absolute joke of a performance from United. I generally try and be rational about this stuff but bloody hell. Maguire looked at bare minimum partly at fault for all 4 goals. He didnt look fit, he didnt look game ready, and he barely looked engaged. Basically he looked like he was rushed back too soon. Ive done the Ole hokey kokey and been in and out but i am now fully out. The roster United have should not be losing 4-2 to any team in the league. Losses here and there in hard fought games is fine, its going to happen. But the shambolic defending we showed today and in many previous occasions, especially from set pieces, at some point has to fall on the coach and the staff and heads need to roll. I know the question is always who is out there to replace him but that shouldnt be an excuse to justify keeping someone on who is not living up to the role.
An Utterly Disgusted United Fan, NJ, USA

 

Behold the future: it is a frigid, dark, miserable mid-February night in early 2022. A lingering wave of covid continues to haunt the world, as do global supply shortages. The masses are tired, cold and depressed.

Except a small pocket. The Manchester United fans. Because the day has come: due to Brendan’s motivational magic, Leicester have moved the 16 points clear of 12th placed Manchester United to ensure that Ole’s boys will not be in the Champions League next year. A small, global cheer goes up, as it means finally, after 6 months of tearing a tiny strip of bandaid off each week, the team can appoint an actual football manager, and see what this talented squad can do when coached.

For now one can only wait and endure, I’m afraid.
Ryan, Bermuda

 

2 wins in 7 and 4 losses in there. The 2 wins were against Villareal and West Ham, both games where they played terrible and in the Villareal case, should have been 4-0 down by half time. The whole team bar De Gea were terrible today although Maguire was on another level of terrible. Pathetic defending for 1st goal and ball watching for the other 3. A team with no intensity, no plan and no ideas, can’t defend set pieces and dont create alot of chances. A captain who is not a leader with a manager and coaching staff who wouldn’t get a job at any other top tier club.

Liverpool will destroy them next week.
Ken  Cork, Ireland

 

Maguire is a ‘fragile man-child’
I’m fine with Solskjaer being criticised for almost anything these days but Maguire has made plenty of mistakes before that were just as bad, and worse, than the ones he made against Leicester. There was no question about his fitness when he was jogging towards his own goal in an FA Cup final and did a literal double take before noticing a Chelsea player tearing it up down the wing 20 yards ahead of him, for instance. Nobody was blaming an injury when he yanked on Luke Shaw’s arm and stopped him from keeping out Spurs’ first goal in that 6-1 smashing at Old Trafford.

Even these well balanced collection of football journals seem set in their idea that he’s elite level. Since Maguire joined, this site would constantly talk about United’s need for a partner for Harry. Lindelof and Bailly not good enough but no question mark over good ol’ slabhead’s place. Injury or fitness didn’t cause his terrible performance earlier today, the blame has to go to the fact that he’s a terrible defender. He has the awareness and the physical ability of a stoner.

Also, and I’ve said it in the mailbox before, he doesn’t have the metal for it. Multiple people have said he’s blocked them on twitter despite never interacting or tagging him in any tweet but they do remember criticising a performance of his so this guy name searches himself and takes conscious action to exclude total strangers from his life because they said to their friends that he played a bit shit. Ole talking about Rashford needing to focus on football when his captain is some fragile man-child obsessing over strangers saying mean things about him on the internet and doing an “exclusive” important looking news interview on the BBC like he’s the fucking prime minister all over him being a drunk dickhead on holidays.

Please, for the good of your own national team, get over this guy. We’re all susceptible to tribal bias. I wanted Kevin Doyle at United because he was Irish. I remember getting excited over Graham Barrett scoring a screamer for Arsenal reserves. United and England football teams don’t appear to be run by the smartest of people. Big club bias very evident in the England team and United gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the job of permanent manager. These are the kinds of people who are heavily influenced by public perception so the sooner everyone talks about how Maguire is a fucking donkey, the sooner England fans will be spared of his love for making game changing mistakes.

Help yourselves here lads.
Eamonn, Dublin

 

Solskjaer out
I wrote in a few weeks ago talking about how I would struggle to want Solskjaer out.Ok. I’m there now. Please leave. Low you as a man but a manager needs to do more than send players into a pitch happy.
Chris P

 

Don’t do it, United…
In a sea of entitled fans, let me be the voice of reason.Ole needs time. They’ve got Ronaldo, Bruno, Sancho, but if these players don’t play to the plan, then blame should be on them, not Ole. Let me bust a few myths about ‘Ole is the problem’.1)      The players are world-class. Ronaldo doesn’t track back. Ridiculous in today’s football that players doesn’t want to help out the defending. What can Ole do?

2)      The 4-2 score. Freak goals beat United. First Leicester goal will never happen again. I know because Tielemans tried it a couple of times after that and was nowhere near. Second goal was offside. Third goal, please don’t tell me Vardy didn’t slice that.

3)      Ole has no plan. United’s second goal showed part of a balanced plan. Diagonal run, in behind the defence. Goal.

4)      Ole is a novice. He took United to second place. Highest position post Fergie. A poor manager doesn’t do that.

5)      Sancho played on the wrong side. Is Salah and Mane playing on the wrong side then?

6)      Maguire shouldn’t have played. Sure. With Varane out, the best defender shouldn’t get minutes to get up to match fitness.

7)      It’s only Leicester. United is the team to beat, every team put in 120%. A 120% Vardy is very dangerous.

8)      He’s always smiling. You had sourpuss Mourinho, how’d that work out?

After Arsenal, United has the worst fans in football. Every draw or defeat is accompanied by scores of moaning videos. It’s all Ole’s fault. Bruno dives more than play football, Pogba wants to leave, Rashford is a social worker, Ronaldo is waaayyy past it. But Ole is the problem when serial trophy-winner Mourinho couldn’t get a tune out of this bunch.

The most successful managers had time. Ole deserves some.
Vinnie Pee

 

Patience at Newcastle
I was glad to see the new Newcastle owners let Bruce manage his 1,000th game
and not a knee jerk reaction of sacking him to make the red tops and fans feel good. Bruce had every right to call out the media for stoking the flames – and getting it badly wrong. But what about the fans?

I wrote and email saying Ashley had financially managed them well – unlike many other teams trying to win back former glories like Derby or Sunderland. Which was shot down by Kevin, Nottingham, claiming he could have done more to increase commercial revenues. Hmmm. But truly my email was about the fans sense of unfulfilled current glory based on Newcastle’s history of glory.

Sure, you can look online and if you count trophies, Newcastle comes in at 9th with 14, but there is a big drop off from 8th (Everton with 24.) Newcastle’s last league win was in 1926/27, FA Cup win was 1954/55. Of course the most recent wins were a Fairs Cup in 1968/69 and an Intertoto Cup in 2006 which included teams like Kilikia, Zrinjski, Nitra and Vetra (nope, me neither.)

I mention this because this sense of past glory is what fed the idea Bruce should be sacked and a better manager brought on. Because he would also wallow in such past glories? I have seen discussions around what players might be attracted to Newcastle – because of their new wealth. Because let’s face it, it won’t be because they know of their past glories. And it certainly won’t be because of location – even Utd and Pool struggle to attract players over Paris, London or Madrid.  Granted a name manager might convince the players they have a ‘project’ but Newcastle are going to have to start the project first.

In the end, Newcastle are going to have to do what all up and comer clubs across Europe have been doing to advance – and that is build a proper structure, bring in a Director of Football to determine the overall style and direction and be the consistent factor as they progress. The likelihood is that they get good younger players in to play the pressing style that works so well for those up and coming teams; young players who will follow the plan. Until such time they achieve enough to bring in better players.

I am sure Bruce will go once a DoF is in place and finds the manger s/he wants to execute the plan but until that plan is in place, what’s the point of sacking him now? I am sure it will cause a lot of grief among those fans who are already wearing their fake sheikh outfits and expecting miracles from day one. Patience my friends. Patience.
Paul McDevitt

Steve Bruce rubs his eyeSaturday…
Claudio couldn’t have asked for much worse opponents than us for his first game back. In form, confident, fit – we really do look terrific. Obviously though we have faced much tougher teams than Watford and we will again.But Ranieri won’t last long. He won the Premier League with Leicester by basically doing nothing and just letting the team glide it’s way to the title powered by emotion, Jamie Vardy and all the big clubs being in transition. As soon as he tried actually managing he took them speedily in the direction of relegation. Watford will fire him before he takes them down.All that being said, you wouldn’t want to face us at the moment. Mo in particular is in the form of his life, even compared to his debut season. The assist for Mane’s 100th was absolutely glorious and his goal was even better. Practically a carbon copy of the City goal, which is just astonishing really. If anyone in Europe is playing better than him right now I’d love to see them.I always said Suarez was the best player I’ve ever seen play for us, even better than Dalglish, although he didn’t have the trophies. But Salah is right up with him and may even surpass Luis if he stays.As it stands, providing we don’t get anything like the injuries of last season we really will be in contention for trophies at the business end of this season.

And what a season it is shaping up to be. It has all the hallmarks of a genuine three way title race. 3 world class coaches, 3 fantastic teams – it’s a terrific time to watch the Premier League. And all of them should be in contention to do well in Europe as well. There’s nothing to fear in Spain and Italy. Bayern will be very tough and PSG aren’t going anywhere. But that’s it.

United, however, will not be in contention. Yesterday’s result has been coming and it could or even should have been worse. They have so many talented players but they don’t remotely resemble a coherent team. Greenwood’s goal was fantastic and Rashford’s was very well-taken too but my goodness the defending was so bad and the ball given away far too easily in midfield.

Ole came second last year because of Liverpool’s injuries and Chelsea not hiring Tuchel until too late into the season. He won’t come second again and fourth is all he can aspire to now. Will he get the chance though? The ‘ who can replace him who’s better’ argument is increasingly unconvincing, because the answer is basically ‘quite a lot of people’.

He’s not good enough. He won’t get better. United is not an easy job and the competition is so fierce right now with all the qualities of the top 3. But they can do better than him. Which they should know of course. If Moyes, Jose or Van Gaal were in charge of these results and performances they’d be fired. Ole’s history with the club is keeping him in a job. But that’s a damn fool reason to make certain United will continue to underachieve.

Liverpool didn’t want to fire Dalglish a few years ago. No one has more history with us than King Kenny. But his time had gone, the results were awful and it was only going to get worse. Sometimes you just have to do what’s necessary. This is that time now for Manchester United and Ole.

Jurgen, Pep and Tuchel are amongst the best in the business and have the trophies to prove it. All League and Champions League winners with settled teams and coherent styles. All of them would walk into another European giant’s job should they become available. None of this applies to Ole. His level is Molde.

It’s time to send him back there.
James, Liverpool

 

A surprising statistic
Is there a bias against Mohammed Salah?

It’s a question which I was ready to dismiss when a friend suggested this to me because Salah gets plenty of praise in the media.

That is until I check how often his exploits are professionally recognised. You might find it surprising that a player who won’t the golden boot two years in a row and is up there every other season has only been voted player of the month three times. And none since 2018.

For context Ronaldo won it pretty much immediately after returning to the premier League. And I’m not trying to imply any favourtism toward united or Ronaldo just that Salah is underappreciated by people really. A player who helped his team to a very easy premier League title by scoring 19 goals did not win player of the month even one time.

Is that strange? It seems to be considering players have won it more often for doing less.
Lee

 

Cheat code?
Not sure how you define ‘cheat code’ when it comes to football players, but Salah must be close.

Doing that once in your career is amazing; 2 games in a row is ridiculous.
Aidan, Lfc (don’t care if people think he’s the best in the world, just very happy he’s on our side)

 

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of watching Mo Salah. Today he decided that simply scoring and assisting was too easy so he decided to be utterly sublime in all the key moments of the game. I don’t really know what to think about his long term future because ultimately he’s a consummate professional and a hard worker and it’s easy to imagine him being just as good in four years time but it’s also possible that his pace will wain slightly and his output could fall away.

Watford were atrocious. I’m glad we got to play them now because I’m sure Ranieri will get his teeth into them and they’ll improve week by week from now on. With any luck they might put in a more heroic performance and take some points off Chelsea or Man City in the coming weeks.

The final Firmino goal just shows how stupid the offside rules are. That Watford defender only gets involved because of Mo playing an active role in the game in an offside position. Mo should’ve been deemed offside even though he didn’t touch the ball and the goal should’ve been disallowed. Still, at least we have VAR to make sure your fuzziest pubes aren’t playing you offside.

A massive week ahead for Liverpool. Beat Madrid and you have basically qualified for the knock out rounds of the Champions League by game week 3. Beat Man Utd at Old Trafford and it possibly means the last straw for OGS.
Minty, LFC

 

A year or so ago, someone wrote into the mailbox suggesting that the reason Mo Salah didn’t get rated as one of the games elite players, was that he didn’t score great goals. It was one of the most bizarre arguments I’ve ever read in the mailbox, and that’s saying something. If anything, Salah only scores great goals.

If Salah was underrated, he certainly isn’t now. It’s clear to everyone that we are watching the best player in the world, on current form.

The quality of Salah’s goal yesterday and this season, got me thinking. Has there ever been a player to be such a consistent goal scorer and score so many stunning goals?

Most players that come to mind when you think beautiful goals are players like Le Tissier, Hazard or Bergkamp. But these are not 20+ goals a season players. Salah is. He averages 23 goals a season in the Premier League. Who else has such a high output, but also scored goals of such quality?

In world football there’s obviously Messi, but the Premier League? Suarez is up there, but didn’t have as many seasons of consistent goal scoring as Salah. Henry would be a contender and maybe it’s my Liverpool bias that puts Salah ahead in my mind so I’d be interested to see what the mailbox thinks.

Who is the greatest goal scorer, who also scored the most great goals?
Mike, LFC, London

 

One season wonder, they said.
Dedy J

Quick Chelsea thoughts…
So Chelsea come away from Brentford as the beekeepers
, three points when teams like Arsenal and Liverpool couldn’t, but it was certainly no walk in the park and as we all know by now this newly promoted Brentford side are here to stay in the top flight of English football.

My two takeaways from the game are Brentford had so many long throws that I’ll be having nightmares about those for weeks to come, humour and jokes aside the performance from Edouard Mendy was just sensational, another goalkeeper signed from Rennes for a bargain fee has proven to be one of the greatest signings in our recently and perhaps long history, his saves are the reason we leave with three points instead of one or dare I say none, this player as Sadio Mane and Koulibaly said this week should have been nominated for Ballon d’Or.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod (more thoughts from that game will be on our podcast Monday, just had to plug it really didn’t I?)

 

Makelele & Crespo
I’m loving the ongoing back and forth regarding Makelele and Crespo. But let’s not pretend that they ended up at Chelsea for any reason other than Roman paying them fat stacks of cash. In terms of their ability Crespo was never world class, but a brilliant player nonetheless, and I would say Makekele was world class in his position. The quote about getting a new coat of paint on your car when you’re losing the engine really sums up Real Madrid selling Makelele and getting Beckham.
Edward Canhands (Not been published in a while so mailing just to let everyone know I’m still alive) 

 

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