‘Harry Maguire is sh*t’ and more reaction

This is just a small selection of a lot of mails. But send more to theeditor@football365.com. Read 16 Conclusions first.


Let’s talk about Harry…
At least Lindelof can’t be blamed for this one. Can the English press finally start talking about how terrible Harry Maguire is now? This lad is the David James of central defenders. He brings Luke Shaw down as the lad is trying to stop Ndombele from scoring. That’s actually not the first time he’s impeded his own teammates as they’re trying to stop goals going in either. Kane is unmarked on his side of the box and practically has an empty net to fire at. Halfway up the pitch for Son’s first. Makes no attempt to stop the assist for his second. I know it’s hard to recognise your own bias. Irish fans have talked up every Irish Premier League player who’s put in two 7 out of 10 performances in a row as the next big thing; from Sean Thornton to Stephen Hunt. Trust me on this one. Harry Maguire is shit.

It’s not like he’s the only problem though. From day one of his reign, Ole’s entire attacking strategy was to rely on Pogba, and now Fernandes with him, to do something magic. The problem is they’ve Matic and Maguire to worry about behind them and a couple of forwards who’ve been on the brink of their supposed potential for five years now to feed in front of them. And what does he does the manager do when they’re chasing three goals? Takes off his playmaker and brings on two more plodders at half time to make sure they don’t concede again, which they do after five minutes.

Unless Jadon Sancho is in the next United starting XI, which is being managed by Mauricio Pochettino, these lads are dead certs to finish outside the top 6.
Eamonn, Dublin


…Harry Maguire has the look of a lad who dominated the local Astroturf against the striker from the subs team who gets a text 25 minutes before the game. If you ever wonder how the better Astroturf defender would get on at the highest level, this game against Spurs shows that the jump is just too big.
Jamie, Eire


…Said it before and I’ll say it again. Maguire needs to be sold, he not only defends so poorly that he may as well not be there, but he just makes so many mistakes it looks like he’s constantly playing for the opposition team.

Ole’s not the problem, Maguire is the biggest problem, followed by De Gea who can’t save a penalty to save his life, and Shaw who’s just naff. Rest of the team is good enough for another top 3 finish.


Maguire and Gomez…
…..at the back for England next week v Belgium? Should be fine!


What Man United need
So I make that a Right Back, two Centre Backs, a Left Back, a Defensive Midfielder, a Right Winger, a Striker, a rocket up Pogba’s arse, a coaching department, a Manager, a Director or football, a kitchen sink and a partridge in a pear tree, all required yesterday.

Pull your finger out Woody.
Mark Danger Endicott, MUFC


What has Pogba got on Ole?
While the headline of this email might indicate I am about to unleash a Souness-like tirade against Paul Pogba, Paul Pogba the individual is not my prime concern. My concern is more one of formation and team balance.

Wind the clock back to the first half of the 19/20 season. Solskjaer primarily used a midfield base of Fred and McTominay. While hardly Xavi and Iniesta, this hardworking, hard running pair were the foundation of many counter attacking victories, adept as they were at winning the ball from the opposition and quickly releasing the pacy forwards of United. See the victory over City in December as a great example.

What this didn’t help with was picking holes in a packed defence. Fast forward to January and the (eventual) purchase of Bruno Fernandes seems to have absolved this problem at least somewhat. With the hardworking pair behind him he was free to feed United’s forwards and the club starts to make up ground on their rivals.

Then Coronavirus hits and football is shut down. This gives Paul Pogba the opportunity to get fit, United fans and neutrals salivate at the prospect of Pogba and Fernandes in the same team, OIe duly obliges once football returns and the results are excellent. Notably, Nemanja Matic also returns to the side, presumably to provide a specialist DM to offset Pogba’s attacking tendencies. The cracks begin to show against Southampton however, Pogba being complicit in the early opening goal they score as he dawdles on the ball in a dangerous area. United somewhat limp to third in the remaining games, however this was still a notable achievement for this squad.

Now we are here in October and Man United are carved open at will by Spurs (as well as Brighton who could easily have scored 5). It turns out, having a slow veteran DM and a less than committed deep lying midfield player who likes to try and dribble past the opposition in his own half, generally failing, can leave you somewhat open. The defence, praised last season (despite some flaws) for their stinginess, are suddenly the worst defence in history.

To sum up, while there’s plenty wrong with this United side, Ole needs to start making some decisions that require some balls and reshuffle this midfield. Two from McTominay, Fred and DVDB behind Fernandes please, leave Pogba on the bench as an understudy to Fernandes, he hasn’t justified anything better. Given this decision would require some testicular fortitude, I’m not holding my breath.


Ole is in a class of his own
There’s no point in talking about signings, the executive side of United is an entirely different shitshow. United have no money despite being incredibly rich and are run to maximise the money that can be extracted, not to maximise the football that can be played, we all know this.

But Solskjaer is simply not up to the job of managing anyone in the Premier League, let alone United.

Scott Parker and Frank Lampard are the only two Premier League managers who I would say Solskjaer could argue he might be equal to.

Every other manager in the league would absolutely do better with any given group of players than Solskjaer can.

Liverpool got stuffed, United got stuffed, Ollie Watkins and Calvert-Lewin look so great.

I’m really enjoying this season so far so long as Fulham aren’t playing.
Tim Sutton


Would love to have been in the Spurs dressing room at half time.

Jose: ‘Lads…it’s only United’.

Kane: ‘Lets F****** have it lads’.
Riccardo WHL


Ole out…but not yet
Today we saw an actual top manager easily outmanoeuvre a mid-level one. It’s over for OGS. But it can’t be over.

This disaster proves conclusively Ole is a nice man, but not a capable manager for United. But we can’t sack him yet.

Who could United get now? Rafa? Big Sam? Has Max Allegri learned English already? No, a midseason replacement isn’t the answer. Let OGS steer amid the mess he built.

United needs to plan for the future now – identify our 2021-22 manager, hire him, get his list of players, start working on it. But for now OGS must stay.

The season has hardly begun. Throwing it away by sacking Ole is stupid. Let the man guide the team until the end of the season. Then we move on.
James Wayne
PS: Lost in the middle of this, we just hired a 27-year old Brazil left back. That seems like a MASSIVE upgrade on poor Luke Shaw.


From a Spurs perspective…
Well what a lovely day this has turned out to be.

Neither Man Utd or Spurs will finish in the top 4 unless they improve their defence

If Skriniar is interested in moving, Spurs should spend the money. This season could then be quite interesting.

How hard were the whole Spurs team working today? They pressed and harried all over the pitch

I’ve always had a soft spot for players who fluctuate between wonderfully skillful and downright awful; Benoit Assou-Ekotto used to be a favourite. On that basis I think I love Tanguy Ndombele – there were some times today I don’t know how he kept the ball.

Edinson Cavani will not improve this Man United team.

Martial should not have been sent off, but it does give Ole and the Man United hierarchy an excuse for a loss that might well have happened anyway.

Would that sending off have happened if there was a crowd in the ground?

Erik Lamela is the type of player who is hilarious when he plays for you and infuriating when he’s on the other side.

When Serge Aurier is scoring against you, you’re in big trouble.

What is Dele Alli doing with his facial hair?

Any guesses on how many goals will be needed for the golden boot this year?
Chris, Birmingham (Spurs, naturally)


This season is a farce
It’s great watching these big teams conceding all these goal but if you want an asterisk after a season this is it.

The worst defeats for Guardiola, Klopp and record home defeat for Man Utd all in the week you get the feeling they don’t really want to be there.

Who would have thought those thousands who paid to watch were so important but they clearly are. This could go on until March and quite frankly it’s a bit of a joke.

This is not sour grapes this is an observation, I went to a Sunday league game with more fans.

Everton have their best team in a generation and their fans can sit on their sofa and not join in with their fellow supporters.

I have just heard Napoli have decided not to turn up it’s a farce.
Gary in Germany


…Having just watched my side get gubbed for 6 at home, I wouldn’t have written this mail, because it would sound like sour grapes, but then our bitterest rivals just got done for 7 to back up my point, so here we are… The 2020/21 football season is a total farce.

Project restart was making the best of a bad situation and I thought it was handled well, on the whole. However, to expect elite athletes to play such an intense, congested schedule and then give them almost no time off has brought this about. Both Manchester clubs have started dreadfully, but both clubs’ pre-seasons consisted of 30 days of which half was an international break. Is it any surprise that the players look under-prepared physically but, most importantly, mentally shot. The level of concentration required to play football at this level is unbelievable; the players look mentally exhausted and this is borne out by the generally awful standard of defending. Is it any surprise that the clubs doing the best are the ones that didn’t go deep in the domestic cups or europe? Not really. It almost feels like teams are being punished for doing well in 19/20.

The calendar that has been implemented is a nonsense, and whilst some will say it’s just a “big 6” fan whining, it’s hitting sides like Wolves too. The results this season look they could have been decided by rolling dice before kick off for all the sense they’ve made. That’s how you go from Leicester doing City for 5 away and then getting hammered (pun intended) by West Ham at home. How or why they’ve decided to pepper international breaks through the season, including a friendlies, as though nothing is different is totally beyond me.

I’m sure there will be many fans loving the chaos of all of this, but it’s not for me. The clubs doing well at the moment and riding high, enjoy it while it lasts, because the injuries will soon start piling up and you’ll have your day getting blitzed. Then there’s the lower leagues, where without some serious intervention, a raft of clubs won’t finish the season due to going to the wall, which sounds like a minor point in my grumblings, but really isn’t.

Getting the 19/20 season completed was a good thing, but rushing it through so it can deliver this? Yeah, not sure that’s going to work out so well.

Sorry to be a party pooper Spurs and Villa fans…
Lewis, Busby Way


Let’s talk about Grealish
I’m sure the morning mailbox will be full of fellow Liverpool fans tearing their hair out about that performance and to be honest, rightly so – completely unprofessional from several players but the game was so mad and so many Liverpool players so bad that I can only hope to chalk it up as a crazy day.

However, I wanted to lavish some praise on Jack Grealish instead.

I can’t say I’ve been his biggest fan.

From what I’d seen (which is more than just the MOTD highlights but obviously far less than Villa fans would) he was a bit of a fancy dan who was overindulged by his team and their fans as a local lad, all too easily forgiven for poor work rate, selfishness and ‘breaking’ a team’s system by playing for themselves because on occasion they were capable of outrageous skill and that if he was to move clubs and become a small fish in a big pond he would flop – Wilfred Zaha, I’m looking at you.

Having watched him tonight I thought he was absolutely outstanding and that that was possibly the best individual performance I’ve seen against Liverpool in a decade. From the first minute his technique shone through. His eye for a pass was superb. Repeatedly he cut through Liverpool’s defence with a slide rule pass to a runner from midfield – Barkley should’ve had a hat-trick from Grealish assists. He seemed to chose the right option every time including for the opening goal when it would’ve been very easy to try to take advantage of Liverpool’s generosity himself rather than calmly slide it to Watkins. His finish for the last goal was wonderfully cheeky.

What impressed me most though was his work rate. I honestly didn’t think he had that shift in him. While Jota and Robertson were having a field day on the left against the overwhelmed and under protected Cash, Targett was afforded all the support he needed from Grealish working back and nullifying any threat Alexander Arnold posed. I’d expect his heat map would be most impressive.

I don’t see him making inroads for England as he just doesn’t have the pace to play in his position for this England team but Villa getting him to sign a new deal after the speculation of early summer is by far their best signing on that basis.
Lindsay, Dublin


Ha ha ha ha ha
Null and void the season.

The safety of the players is paramount.
Vinnie Brownlow, LFC, Glasgow


…I imagine you will get lots of these, but I imagine that Boris has already sent the fine to Liverpool for letting more than 6 in.
Jon, Lincoln


…Obviously that result is gutting and unacceptable for United.

But I think we can all agree that the Liverpool result meant more…
Andy (MUFC)


Sack them all

Dave Out