Klopp AND Guardiola couldn’t turn this Man United around

Date published: Monday 2nd September 2019 9:46

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Arsenal fan here, quite happy after that result because you have to take your happiness where you can in this world.

That’s because I’m in the position to say I told you so.

To all those Arsenal “personalities” who’ve been making money off of misery for years, who spent the past week working the fanbase into a frenzy over Emery’s timidity, negativity etc. – I can’t believe you can watch that much football, write and talk that much about football, and be that level of clueless. Congratulations on your assertion of Arsenal ‘identity’ – let’s just get Arteta/Henry in and have done with it, it’s not a joke if you’re playing yourself.

Emery is a paid professional, and the basics of accountable management dictate that his position is now more (albeit not impossibly) difficult as a result of continually picking Xhaka, of consenting to the Luiz purchase when we already had enough ‘front-foot’ defenders, and of then drawing a home derby playing 4 at the back* without the players for it.

I just wonder how much he felt the pressure to make a ‘statement’ after that Liverpool game. I hope he didn’t – better to fall on your own judgment than to lose your identity catering to the caprice of the most vocal, most deluded slice of the fan base.

On identity – pragmatism and tactical flexibility is very much an identity. It’s not confusion, and it’s not beneath Arsenal, especially if it was good enough to win Ol’ Red Nose thirteen league titles. It doesn’t seem to be an identity too many Arsenal fans are interested in – fair enough. Maybe Klopp will be tempted by the prospect of managing that front three. You know, the one that would have put six past his current employers if only somebody had the cojones to play them. Heh.
TG, Arsenal

* Extra points to the genius with a podcast who keeps asserting that 3 at the back is ‘negative’ and 4 at the back, hell or high-water, is the ‘Arsenal way’. Maybe stop calling Michael Cox on your show and just read his actual books a bit more.


Harry Dive, more like
Any of the major media outlets going to finally call out Harry Kane for diving? He’s an enormous cheat who has been conning refs for three years. Except now they don’t give these decisions because of VAR. I think spurs would have won both the last two game last season as ref would have given late penalties in both.

There’s no doubt what he does is a skill. Evident yesterday. Slow down from a sprint sharply so the defender has no choice but to run into you. I absolutely despise VAR with all my being, but the one good thing to come out of it is Kane’s comeuppance as a cheat.

Long may that continue.


Granit worktop
How many points does Xhaka need to cost Arsenal before the management gets wise and gets rid? He’s got the same enchantment that Mignolet/Lovren had at Liverpool.

David Luiz, the defender was once bought for £50m. No seriously, he was. He was never the solution to Arsenal’s woes at the back, surely that was clear from the outset?

I wish Emery would never open his mouth. His teeth really bother me. Why does he always look like he’s grimacing?

Spurs do not look good this season, they seem flawed pretty much everywhere except up front. Lucky for them so are all the competitors for 3rd and 4th.

The game overall was great viewing but my goodness, both teams miscontrolled so many passes and made so many unforced errors. This added to the entertainment but you didn’t get the impression you were watching two of Europe’s best from last season.
Minty, LFC


Dear Mailbox,

Granit Xhaka must be the most deflating Arsenal captain ever to wear the armband (at least permanently).  The player that Emery needs at the base of the midfield is somebody who is calm, has good passing range and most importantly does not do stupid things when pressured.  Xhaka is obviously not that person, he implodes with the slightest change in atmosphere and I don’t see him fitting anywhere else on the pitch.  Hell, even the unwanted Elneny could do a better job there and for the squad.

Having Xhaka as the captain must be a kick in the teeth to some of his teammates.  I know captains are mostly just a figurehead and all, but captains should at least be one of the most reliable if not remarkable players in the side, so that they can inspire some sort of calm and confidence while on the pitch.  I don’t believe a person who keeps stuffing up under pressure like Xhaka would even command the respect of his teammates.

That said, Guendouzi was great again and showed Xhaka how to be a proper central midfielder.

Arsenal shouldn’t have conceded those two goals but I guess a draw was a fair result given how many unforced errors they provided Spuds with.  The look of Lacazette when he angrily blasted that goal in says it all: even Arsenal’s attackers are frustrated with their own defence.

Lastly, a shout out to Nacho Monreal who left after 6-7 years of service.  He arrived as a squad option but managed to establish himself as one of recent Arsenal’s better defenders.  Great servant, solid player, would be very much missed.

All in all, it was a good game, on to the next!


Genuine question, what is Granit Xhaka?

Doesn’t offer anything going forward, has conceded more penalties than any other PL player, haven’t qualified for the CL since his signing, and the moron in the dugout had Ceballos, Willock and £350k a week Ozil as an option.

If we fail to make CL again and Emery doesn’t get the renewal, I’ve a feeling our ‘captain’ will be to blame.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Why is no one talking about the red card Xhaka should have had ? Not even a yellow…

That foul on Son was :

both feet off the floor
studs showing
connecting with the players ankle
and last but not least: ball no where to be seen.

Anywhere on the pitch that is both a dangerous and reckless challenge which warrants at least a yellow if not a red.

I couldn’t believe he wasn’t sent off… then I was equally surprised when there was no yellow, and not one pundit discussed this.

Perhaps it was a beautiful tackle-foul and thus no card was needed…


Emery concerns
When it became clear this Summer that Arsenal were finished with Mustafi, I was optimistic that the club finally had a manager with sense – who could look past statistics and align with what every fan and pundit could see… a huge liability.

However, after the game vs Spurs, I’m not so confident anymore that Emery does see sense and I’m rather concerned with his judgement.

I would describe Xhaka as a limited player and one who’s too limited to succeed in the Premier League (let alone support a top 4 challenge). His passing range is very good but everything else is sub-standard. For a defensive midfielder, he tackles worse than a striker, he has the tactical positioning of a spectator and the mobility of Gunnersaurus. Not to mention the fact he is incapable of learning from mistakes – since he joined Arsenal he has conceded 5 penalties in the league and committed 11 errors which led directly to goals conceded. Both more than any other player in that time.

So when I see Emery:
1) Play Xhaka when he already has Luiz in the side to play those long diagonals and balls over the top from deep;
2) Never substitute him regardless of how poorly he plays;
3) Praise him after a game in which I would generously give him a 1/10 score…

I have to question Emery.
Great that Emery’s trying to clear out the Wenger rot of Mustafi, Elneny and (hopefully) Mkhitaryan but unless Xhaka is shipped off to Italy too, his team will be as vulnerable as ever.

When will he learn? It’s clear Xhaka won’t.
Ben Ford, AFC


More thoughts
Another great North London Derby. The World’s End was full and loud and, unlike during Wenger’s endgame, everyone was behind the team from start to finish. The entire game.

Apart from when Xhaka did a Xhaka and gifted a needless penalty by needlessly taking out the ball-less Son (steady). Another brainfart from a man who specialises in them.

Aside from that a fair result that I felt we could and should have edged during a rollercoaster final half hour. Having started the game looking like they couldn’t be arsed, Arsenal, led by Lacazette, turned it round and could have had it.

And Kane can shove it, his little dive was just that, a dive. There was contact from Sokratis but nothing more than that. Kane didn’t make the most of it, he didn’t get pushed over, he dived. Like the divey little diver that he is.

Not a bad point, not a bad performance, great work from our trio up front who are starting to show signs of something exciting. God I love the derby.
Alay, N15 Gooner


No speed dial solution
Responding to Ben’s mail on Sunday on Allegri does it honestly matter which manager comes in to Man Utd? World class or not.

Scholes says the club is a write off for the next few years, Nev says the club is ‘sick’ and has Japanese knotweed at its base. Manager after manager fails and the holes in the squad are there for all to see. Yes, poor recruitment is to blame and that is partially down to the manager but the buck surely stops with Woodward. It doesn’t matter who he has on speed dial if he lets his manager down time and time again in the transfer market.

It seems Dan James might work out, though it’s still early days. However, the club allows two first team CMs to leave without a single replacement, the top scorer of the last two seasons to leave without a replacement, don’t have a recognisable/consistent no.10 or RW and because Ole is more ‘on song’ he masks this terrible summer by claiming it will allow him to promote youth.

I agree with Sarah Winterburn’s article that this group of players have reached a ceiling of what they can achieve but I’m not sure having a super manager on speed dial will change all that much if the aim of the game is profit and not trophies. 4 managers all with the same problem hints another change will simply bring more of the same.
Matty C, Vietnam 


Who have Man United actually improved?
Sarah’s right. It’s going to be a long season for United fans and we are looking like a mid table team at the moment. How many players do we have that deserve to be playing in the first 11 of a top 6 side. De Gea (although badly out of form), Bissaka (massive talent but still developing), Maguire (world record fee for a defender but is he world class?), Lindelof (can play well from the back but guilty of mistakes; particularly vulnerable from the lobbed ball), Pogba (great talent but doesn’t track back enough, low work rate and gives the ball away too much), and maybe Rashford if played as a winger. That’s it. We have 6 decent players, not great, not world class, just 6 decent players who need good coaching to develop (which we lack) and experience, leaders around them (again, completely absent). The rest are all squad players or still in development.

Woodward gets a lot of flack for the poor recruitment over the years. But that’s not the only problem. How many players have we seen come into United and become better players? We have had so many players come in with great potential. Rashford, Martial, Depay, Fred, Bailly and many others. But for each of them, their first season was actually their best season and they have all regressed since. Fred actually went from being dreadful to fall in the pecking order behind even teenagers. Even the players who have been in the squad for years are not showing any improvement. Shaw, Smalling are case in point. They both have had great seasons years ago and it only went downhill from there. Look at what happened with Blind. He looked mediocre at United but looked like a star the moment he left and got some good coaching.

There’s no doubt the club needs a major overhaul. Woodward needs to focus solely on the business side as he is sorely out of his depth when it comes to the footballing side. A Director of Football is the only way to go and I can’t believe how stupid United are being about it. The club needs a major revamp. It’s just not working at all. We may well just be going down the Liverpool way.


Eds must roll
I read Sarah’s piece on United with interest.  The Cambridge Dictionary defines ‘myopic’ as “Disapproving. Unable to understand a situation or the way actions will affect it in the future”.  And this, it seems to me, is a fair description of a lot of United fans.  To clarify, your club is NOT one excellent manager and two world-class players away from challenging for the title.  Your club is not “In transition”.  Rather, and as things continue to stand, your club is actually f**ked.  And I say that as someone whose club yo-yo’d up and down the leagues with more changes of owners and managers than I care to remember whilst, at the same time, United won everything there was to win.

I had a mail (sympathetic to United fans) published a couple of weeks ago outlining why this was and described this current set-up as the ‘new Arsenal’ so I won’t repeat the whole thing again here. Suffice to say that the main issue was/is Woodward.  Firstly because of his utterly dreadful transfers, both in and out, over the past 5 or 6 years.  Secondly because of his refusal to appoint a (and this is vital) quality DoF.  Thirdly, Because. There. Is. No. Coherent. Plan.

Liverpool, Spurs and City all have clearly defined structures with all key appointments pulling in the same direction.  What have United got?  So, I continue to be baffled at suggestions that Max Allegri, or Jadon Sancho would bite United’s arm off to go to Old Trafford.  Why would they?  The longer United stay out of the top 6 and Europe the less appealing they become as, indeed, has increasingly been the case for the last 6 years.  If, right now, you offered Mbappe the chance to play for Liverpool, City or United, who do you think he would choose?  Who is likely to enable him to win trophies?  Which of the managers will make him a better player?  Paul Pogba is a quality player.  The reason why he is so inconsistent, IMHO, is because he needs to be surrounded by equally capable players to produce his best. Hence why he is a world cup winner but struggles in the PL most weeks.  You could parachute Klopp and Guardiola together into OT tomorrow and I’m still not sure if they could turn this current United squad around.  There simply aren’t enough quality players.  They’d get funds sure enough but who’d be deciding which players come in and which leave?

Which brings us straight back to Woodward.  Since the departure of SAF there has been absolutely no evidence to suggest he will change his ways any time soon and, as long as the money rolls in, it seems likely he won’t have to.  Poor team performances won’t change his views or have him removed and neither will any number of fan protests (Mike Ashley anyone?).  No pun intended but the bottom line is that United can, at the moment, still recruit top managers and players for one reason only and that’s because they still have plenty of dosh.  That however, and again in the absence of a sound recruitment structure, only guarantees the ability to bring in the mercenaries and still wouldn’t solve the lack of a clear vision of where this massive club will be in 5 years’ time.

It occurs that the current sponsor deals and shirt sales surely will not remain as they are if United are a mid-table club.  And that perhaps, may be the only way the current owners force real and meaningful change on the club and/or Woodward as now is.
Mark (That James kid looks decent mind) MCFC.


The perennial Holy Grail for Ed Woodward is Champions League qualification but United have a squad which do not look like finishing in the top four this season. Therefore I can only conclude that like a child who thinks outcomes just repeat over and over, Woodward  believes that United will just win the Europa League this year.

He has form with this mentality: give the manager job to a Scottish man like Fergie; throw money at players and surely it will lead to success (Sanchez); give the manager job to a high profile figure and they will sort it all out (Mourinho, Van Gaal). However it’s not his lack of football nous that blows my mind; it’s his lack of logic and reasoning.

Ed Woodward is the kid at school who would ask: “When do Man United play England?”


Trust the process
I’ve been a regular visitor here but this is my first time mailing and this is directed at Man United fans who think Solskjaer should be winning week-in-week-out (hey Ben) or should start packing the bags for the long flight to Norway. No No No. This is exactly the type of thinking that brought us here.

Let’s face it: no manager in the world will get us at City’s or Liverpool’s level without taking two years at the very least. See, it’s the fucking process all over again!Solskjaer is getting rid of the players he doesn’t want and that will take a bit of time.

All his three signings also look like they will have a good season and what a plus that is! We’ve finally stopped buying bad so I’d like to think in a few years we’d have assembled a team ready to challenge.

Enough of short term thinking. Trust the process, guys.
David, Ibadan.


Average Rashford
Everyone is discussing all that is wrong with Man U but why is everyone afraid to pick out Rashford. The mid started well for OGS but his form tailed off for the last 8 or so games. He began well against Chelsea but he had picked where he left last season. When your “top striker” misses a goal in 11 games, we have issues. Rashford represents the mediocrity that is Man U. He is simply not good enough. The board spoilt him. Mourinho spoilt him for handing him the number 10 jersey. Barca then flirted with him and this went to his head. Then OGS sent Sanchez and Lukaku away as a show that Rashford is the future.

Our future is mid table.

Rashford will never win you a title.

Cocky attitude, poor penalty taker, poor in one on ones, horrible freekick taker and generally bang average. Coupled with a manager who can’t drop him no matter how poor he players, this had led to our issues. Amazing how English pundits and the press pick on all players except this average bloke!!!
Baros -Kenya


After another game which United contrived to inexplicably allow the opposition back in, i fully expect a horde of United fans to assault the mailbox, commenting on Ole’s ineptitude, the team’s lack of mental strength etc.

I was part of that group when Van Aanholt squeezed his shot underneath De Gea’s body to give Palace their first win at Old Trafford in an awfully long time.

But all I felt this weekend was an acceptance. Have I finally reached the final stage of grief? I don’t know but it felt ok that United did not win.

Gary Neville was right. This is the life cycle of a football club. A period of dominance followed by a period of “meh”. What is most important now is what the club does to find their way back to the top.

In that regard, Ole is doing what he promised and I feel that the club is moving in the right direction. He’s clearing the deadwood, moving on players that are not good enough/cannot be arsed to play for United. With that said, our squad looks v thin in midfield and attack and I hope he gets the chance to bring in a few more players in January.

United are basically Liverpool of the nineties and early 2000s now. An average side capable of a decent cup run but never really threatening the top of the table. And I think us fans need to be realistic and accept that reality.

It took Liverpool about 30 years to get back to the top of English football. (Ignoring City who pretty much bought their way to the top) Whilst I hope it won’t take that long for United, I’m not holding my breath. I’ll keep supporting the team and celebrate the victories but I will (try) not to get my knickers in a bunch with every draw/loss against supposed lesser opposition.


Everything is actually fine
So the schadenfreude continues , Why is the article about Man U? Utd got a draw without Martial in the first 11 and suddenly we have no cavalry just drummer boys. Newsflash  ladies and gentlemen this is a very open premiership with two pretty  good teams and several mid table sides capable of two or three results before crashing and burning .

Currently Crystal palace who this very website told us are   in trouble  at the beginning of the season are   ahead of  Utd , Spurs who were billed  to challenge are behind us ,Chelsea who are using the same strategy and where hailed last week as early winners for ” having found their feet ” aren’t even in top half.There are currently only 2 points between all these teams.Could we wait till maybe 10 games are played to announce whose going to do well this year.

The deadwood you complained were taking up so much space and claimed no one at the club would have the guile to get rid off are all but gone .Daniel James has already scored as many goals as Sanchez and if  Martial and Rashford do not seize this opportunity to score the amount of goals Lukaku scored last year they should have no complaints when Utd replace them with someone ,more and shunt them out to the right or left.

That really leaves  replacing Herrera  and Utd will have to make do with a revolving cast of Pererria ,Matic and Fred for the remaining half of the season  especially as a tweak is needed to  remove Pogba  from the 6 role and pushing him further forward so we  can recover from his inevitable Cryuff turns before giving the ball away.This probably the reason for a lot of the loss of possession.

As for calls for Allegri,  if I may ask are you basing your argument on watching his team actually play? Taking a Juventus team that already won 3 titles before he took over and will probably still snatch the title, without him is not that big a deal.If thats what you want  just get Novak from Bayern. His teams where considered too defensive so we would be back to the miserable boring days under  Jose and Van  Gaal. Even the signing of players on the cheap was more of a team policy and had little to do with him.What Utd need right now is to discover more players who want to be there like Mctominay and James and find  a way to eradicate the inconsistencies,

I believe if we can avoid relegation this year and get the three players we need ,another striker a midfielder and a right winger  and chop off some more weaknesses in the team like Jones, Rojo Matic  and if they do not step up Perreira and Fred , we still be several steps closer to our goal.This is Liverpool and City’s time fine let’s focus on building our side.


Time for action
Having just read that Cagliari fans racially abused Lukaku it really does beg the question; why are Italian fans such c**ts?

I ask this genuinely because it seems nearly every week it’s Balotelli, Pogba or some other talented kid having to deal with that sh*t. I’ve said it before, but I love the fact that Italian football has been in the doldrums for so long, with dwindling attendances and less and less significance on the world stage. Long may their irrelevance continue if nobody wants to make the effort to rid their game of that kind of filth in the stands.

It was a disgrace when it happened to Sterling last season but at least it prompted a load of outrage here. Last season the same set of fans abused Kean and the Italian FA didn’t even punish them.
Minty, LFC


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