Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to another week of United e-mails.
Cheesom(I enjoy the mails by the way)
1) We are an average team
2) We have an average manager. Our manager might have given us countless moments of joy in the yore, but sadly, he is not one for the future
3) We have an average coaching staff
4) We are so average that the perceived lesser teams like CPFC, Seagulls are dominating the run of play against us. We sit deep, defending as if the mighty Barca or Real Madrid are attacking us
5) We are so average that the so called lesser teams are not lumping the ball to their center forward but creating chances from open play
6) We are so average that these teams now have the self-belief and courage that they can beat the once high and mighty United
7) We are so average that we substitute a supposed wonderkid with a center half when the game is not even secure
8) We are so average that opposition is creating chance after chance from their left flank and our entire elite coaching staff is sitting there literally twiddling their thumbs
9) We are so average that had it not been for the Woodwork, we could have shipped in 4 or 5 goals
10) We are so average that Woodward has the time to attend the match in person rather than actually working on the plan to strengthen the team
11) We are so average that no player with some level of ambition would want to join us as I do not foresee us winning anything for foreseeable future
12) We are so average that our midfielders cannot dominate the midfield. This includes a supposed world cup winner
13) We are so average that our elite left back Shaw cannot string 2 coherent passes together
14) We are so average that our entire game plan is to pass the ball to Bruno and except him to conjure up some magic
15) We are so average that our game plan relies only on the pace of our stickers
16) We are so average that our first choice center half is Lindelof
JM (Woodward out, Glazers out, OGS out)
Man U stole this one, but it’s a good sign for the top 6 because Man U are not even making top 6 based on that performance. This is a league that now has the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Jurgen Klopp, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola. Those are 4 teams that will definitely finish above Man U just by management. Then comes coaching, Man U look really out of pace, the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Leicester, Wolves look better prepared and ready for the new season.
Man U coaching has to improve tremendously, whomever is coaching those players is doing an atrocious job, they look unfit and untrained. It’s almost like these players have to pull something out of the bag in order to win. It’s not the training that got the win, its players just doing it themselves. I don’t think this works over a season.
Man U may have won, but most managers will look at this and know they have better systems to beat this team. The individual skill of a player like Pogba or Rashford could be hard to contain but whatever system they are employing is easy to deal with. Some of those players saved the manager, but everyone whose watches football can tell poor training when they see it, and to see some of the best in the world looking so poor is absolutely disappointing.
Dave(hater of resource wasting), Somewhere
United going out of style
Spat my Corn Flakes out reading Ved Sen’s email in which he says Ole “has achieved a well defined approach at United.” He was being a bit too precious in calling out Matt Stead for using the word ‘style’, and no team wins points for ‘style’, hence mooting a ‘well defined approach’ instead.
In reality Matt is correct. Just look at the just completed Utd vs Brighton game. Sure, Utd won in the end but it was not due to some overall master plan or a group of players enacting anything like a well defined approach. It was a comedy of epic proportions.
Sheff Utd and Wolves play to a plan/style/approach, that gains them points above their financial status. As does Brighton. That is the point. Utd, with their financial muscle should have play much better than they do, more consistently than they do.
Liverpool, who are causing all this Utd angst have a clear ‘style’, coach them to play within it better and replace with players who are better but can fit within that style. They don’t buy random ‘stars’ that won’t fit. No Pogbas, Sanchezs.
Picking a bunch of fast forwards that you think will catch the opposition out on the counter is not really a style. How do the defence, midfield work with the forwards in attack and the opposite in defence. Utd’s defending is woeful, they couldn’t play a low line let alone a high line. They lucked out in the back half of last season bringing in Fernandes who added more creativity and added goals as well as assists. But leveraging one new player is not a plan.
Utd truly has no style, no plan, no hope of catching Liverpool and City until they do and will have a hard time against teams of significantly less financial clout who have maximized their chances with a plan and a style.
I’m trying my best not to say what I should say. That performance was quite frankly embarrassing. Outplayed and out worked by Brighton. How many warnings did AWB need from Solly March before he scored?
Players need a good hard look at themselves and take blame for their performance but ultimately ole has to take most of the flack. Game by game he’s losing my confidence.
Rub of the green
Can Ole really afford to use up that much luck in one game?
At first I was disappointed Brighton didn’t get a deserved point, but then thought that at least Utd’s win makes it less likely Ole will get fired before Christmas. Every cloud…
Aidan, Lfc (didn’t realise ‘Fergie Time’ was still a thing)
After seeing the end of the Man U-Brighton match, I can’t help feeling that a big old can of VAR worms has been opened. The ref blows the final whistle, but the game isn’t over? Not until one team surrounds the referee to complain (not sure if that had an impact but the optics aren’t good) and VAR has been checked.
Seems a pretty slippery slope. Why not go back to earlier incidents? Maybe replays will dig something up a day later? Do it all, in the name of getting the decisions correct, I say.
Paul (oh well at least poor Neal Maupay looks foolish), Gooner
PS- Why were they still playing 90 seconds plus past added time? Let’s review that.
Please, anyone, explain within the context of the “rule of the game” for the BHA vs MU game: The 4th official shown time added as 5 minutes. Brighton’s equalizer was at 94:28.
How on earth did the game got extended for another 5 minutes? Wasn’t it supposed to be ended right after United’s kick the restart?
Is Fergie’s time back on the card?
Can Brighton’s side lodge a complaint regarding this excessive added time?
I’m not complaining because Bruno is my player on the FPL. Just curious. In all fairness, BHA was robbed. Is it not?
Khairur (Referee kayu) Penang
The optimistic view
When United win the league by a solitary point next May, we’ll look back on today as the day they won it.
Shane Tallon, MUFC, Dublin
Yes, United were shit. Yes Brighton should have gotten a point. No it wasnt unfair as Maupay forgot to be a footballer and threw his hands up in the air like he dint care.
We were crap, but this has been one of the most elating 99th min win i can remember since the 2-3 PSG one. WOW.
I dont care how shit we were, I am just overjoyed at the win. LETS GO UNITED !!!!
Who will blink for Pochettino first?
Another game whose blood is on Lampard’s hands – here are thoughts:
1. CHO is a sensational player. Why Lampard has been benching him and playing Mount out wide is bizarre. CHO not only boasts amazing skills as an attacker but he is highly football intelligent and does a great job while on the defensive side of the game also. If Lampard wants someone on the wings who just runs without end-product, then Willian was the man.
2. Mason Mount is another sensational midfield player. I have followed Mason from his youth days and his best is deeper as a number 8. He has amazing work rate, can create, can score and is technically superb with the ball. It’s an absolute pity Lampard just sees work rate and uses Mount, wait abuses Mount to the point he is played all over the place for running cluelessly. My gravest concern is Lampard is doing to Mount what Mourinho did to Oscar (who was another sensational player when he arrived).
3. Does Frank Lampard and his coaching team have a footballing idea? I mean, how Chelsea play with the ball and how we play without the ball – the plan for an average game? 13 months and this is still clueless to me. Only thing that is clear is Lampard wants hard work, players pressuring opponents. My gravest concern is like how many coaches and teams hilariously tried to copy Pep’s method last decade without knowing what it is, Lampard is trying to do same with Klopp’s method. Liverpool press efficiently and importantly they have a plan on how they attack once they win ball back and a plan on how to defend without ball. Chelsea now seem to have no clue how to play once we win the ball back.
4. Jose Mourinho’s method of coaching was to structure defence and midfield, and then create an environment where attackers can do their business – operative word is create an environment. Again, Lampard seems to have taken only let attackers do their thing without the environment. As a consequence with ball Chelsea always look clueless. No runners running to space to drag opponents, no one trying something creative with ball. So, players dawdle on ball and make mistakes. Individual mistakes costing goal is a variance event if it happens occasionally, but when it happens each game, it is a structural problem – which is what is happening at Chelsea. When there’s no plan, everyone is all over place around pitch and those with ball don’t know what to do – making it easy for opponents to nick ball and attack us.
5. In my end-season note, i wrote Kepa is a big problem, but an equally big problem was with our (lack of) football idea. Yesterday no Kepa to blame, no Rudiger to blame (make no mistake Rudiger is a bad defender), yet the issues were clear – Lampard and his coaching staff need to create an idea of football.
6. To me, there are two aspects of management. Consistently play players in their best positions so that they produce their best (e.g. Mount and Havertz as proper 8s, CHO as a wide man etc.). This has to be consistent because if you don’t coach an idea, then playing them in their best position consistently will at least get expected results from their performances. After that, a coach becomes top class if he/she can enhance this to a new level like what Klopp, Pochettino, Pep etc. do – more than sum of parts. Does Lampard do either of it – I don’t know yet.
7. The worst part of last night’s game was not even the starting 11. It was Lampard’s in game management which in general is not the greatest! At h/t, he did what he must have done from beginning – don’t play Kovacic with Kante (I’m sorry F365, you did write that this midfield can win the title with our front 4, I don’t think this midfield pivot will be good, despite my not so great views on Kovacic), play Mount deeper, use CHO on wing where he can easily beat player, make key passes and score. Lampard did that in h/t and I thought ok, he is not that naive. But as the game wore on and we scored two goals, and were on track to equalize and even nick the game, he showed his issues – he fluked the playing 11 and play in second half.
In trying to be over smart, he removed Silva (who apart from the mistake had a good game), brought Giroud (Tammy scored a goal but he should’ve been subbed for Giroud) and wait for it – made CHO the game changer, into a left wing back. Whatever momentum we had went away with that one substitute. This entire game mirrored Lampard’s last season – started wobbly, then fluked a winning 11 and by thinking too much tinkered with it and lost momentum.
8. Lampard is my joint all time favorite player. He clearly knows the game, he knows who’s a good player who isn’t. He just needs to do simple things simple and not over complicate things or try to mimic Mourinho the personality. (e.g. Why Tomori didn’t start after being brilliant vs Pool I would never know). I really want him to succeed as Chelsea have finally begun to recruit well – its the coaching that’s the issue.
9. Oh btw, Kai Havertz is some player – he was unbelievably brilliant. Again, with a proper coaching idea, Chelsea can catapault into a force with the players we have.
10. I am not Lampard out yet, but practically speaking, who between Man United and Chelsea will blink first if the process (and results) go worse? Funnily, both teams were badly run till recently, and both teams have recruited genuinely better. With Pochettino waiting (like Klopp in 2015 when Pool blinked ahead of us), who will blink first?
Aravind, an annoyed Chelsea fan.
Football is a game of two halves, how very true that statement was when you’re a Chelsea fan watching that game, the first half was one of the most embarrassing displays I’ve seen since that Mourinho second spell decline, defensive mistakes, Marcos Alonso being, well, himself, it was painful.
Second half we complete the comeback, which is the positive and we should be happy with the reaction, but we shouldn’t be to happy with a point against a WBA side who are likely going to be fighting relegation this season, one thing I must add is I feel I do not understand this handball rule because surely Kai Havertz handled that which resulted in our third goal
Now I pride myself on being rational and sensible, so this is the closest I’ll get to a “hot take or knee jerk” opinion, now I must stress I’m certainly a fan who will always back the manager, always, but even I at halftime did start to wonder if Frank Lampard was starting to show he may MAY be out of his depth, it’s difficult and it is still worrying how defensively we are not showing any improvement, that was our 21st away game under Frank and we have only kept 1 away clean sheet, it’s worrying, I would like to hear what other fans think of the current situation.
If ever there was an argument as to why you need a manager with a formal strategy, you only had to watch the first half of the WBA vs Frank Lampard’s Chelsea game.
After spending copious amounts on attacking talent we saw Chelsea completely implode – again – in defence.
Chelsea fans were complaining that people were being too hard on Frank Lampard and Chelsea after the Liverpool game – especially because half the ‘first team’ were missing.
Well, the 36 year old talismanic defenseman completely failed. How did anyone think this would be successful? Too old and too slow for the EPL at the best of times but not with two full backs constantly raiding forward and a midfield that doesn’t track back well. It was all a bit too confused. Chelsea bought the wrong Thiago.
Werner seems like he doesn’t know where he fits. He just seems to be running around with no purpose, into dead ends or into his own players.
I didn’t know Havertz was in the field until he played the one-two with Hudson-Odoi. Hardly a stellar start.
But it’s not all on the newcomers. Is Kante the worst midfielder when going forward? He rarely passes forward and when he does they are misplaced. I don’t know where he is supposed to be playing but it isn’t in the role he played at Leicester and when he first arrived at Chelsea.
After shelling out oodles if dough it turns out the best players on the field were Mount, Hudson-Odoi and Abraham. They looked like they had played together before.
Sure, Ole gets a lot of flack for not seeming to have a plan, but Lampard is clearly floundering after being backed by huge investment.
Third weekend of games and the first draw this season is a 3-3 game with Chelsea coming back from 3-0 down.
It’s going to be some season.
On the Mend
WBA v CHELSEA…One conclusion
The keeper wasn’t the problem….God help Mendy with that defence in front of him.
Maybe Kepa isn’t entirely to blame after all…
James CFC Gravesend
Unless one or more of the following happen, our cavalier approach to defence will continue tickling our opponents pink:
Granovskaya finds Van Dijk’s long-lost and equally-gifted twin playing for Chukotka United.
Mendy turns out to be one of those rare footballers who play better than they look on YT.
Thiago re-gains the ability to jump higher than a pizza is thick
Our defenders master Esperanto and finally understand their positioning relative to each other.
Gaffer Frank sees tautology for what it really is: stating that the very defenders he’s trained and selected commit “mistakes” doesn’t take us anywhere. Energized by this revelation, he hires a defensive coach.
Godot shows up at Stamford Bridge. He is omnipotent and a Chelsea fan.
Last but not least , of course we must urgently deal with KEPA!
Yet again, against WBA he failed to stop a single shot on goal!
For the greater good of the entire commonwealth he must go now.!
What? That wasn’t Kepa? It was Willy Caballero?
Oh, never mind then..
Radu “Челси” Tomescu, Taipei, Taiwan
As a Liverpool fan, can Everton be my second team or is that frowned upon?
Love James, hate Keysie
I’m not going to bang on about it, I’m just gonna say it, and leave it there. I love James Rodriguez. He’s the sort of player everybody likes to watch play football. He’s all-action, plays with intensity, does a bit of everything and is technically the best player on the pitch. He’s great. Lucky Everton. Mad that they got such a free run at him.
I read F365’s article about him, and was actually blown away by how much of a parody of himself Richard Keys is. This quote is literally what you would expect if you were trying to create an algorithm for British football commentary clichés regarding new signings.
“Everton? Anything other than a top half finish would be a total failure. Having appointed Ancelotti they had to back him, but I’m not convinced by James Rodriguez. If he was top drawer he wouldn’t be signing for Everton, whoever was in charge.
“I wouldn’t fancy him at Stoke on a wet Tuesday evening in November, but he’ll look great when the Toffees are 2-up at home. For Everton to make an impact, he’s GOT to dominate games. If I was Ancelotti I’d be going after Troy Deeney. That’s what Everton need – Reid and Gray again. Deeney would be fantastic around the club. Like Jagielka, he’s a ‘proper’ bloke.”
The mind boggles. How does he earn any money from this, let alone his fat gulf state pay packet. But it got me thinking – does anyone remember ever enjoying watching Richard Keys? I can honestly admit that Andy Gray had his charms, we were all prone to enjoying him screaming “YOU BEAUTYYY”, matter of factly stating “you just don’t save those” after every goal, or imagining conversations between players throughout matches (“if I’m the centre back, I’m saying to him ‘…'” etc).
It wasn’t particularly clever, but it was at least a bit of fun. But Richard Keys is a charisma black hole. He has no sense of humour, he’s not a particularly strong speaker and his knowledge of football is mediocre at best. Happy to be corrected on this, but does anyone actually like Richard Keys?
Handball rule proposal
I sent in the following suggestion for handball decisions in Nov 2019, but given the debacle at Selhurst Park, it seemed worth revisiting. Simply:
1. Hand to ball is always handball.
2. If the time between a struck hand or arm and the previous touch of the ball from another player is not sufficient to reasonably allow the hand to be moved away, and the hand does not move toward the ball, and the arm is not raised above the shoulder, then no handball.
I was going to write a third statement regarding the scenario when a player hits the ball onto their own arm, but I think #2 takes care of that case as well. Yes, it requires referees to make a judgement call, but that’s their job, after all – not to mention that VAR could even measure the reaction time if it stopped showing replays in slow-motion.
It also takes the guesswork out of whatever the hell “unnatural position” is supposed to mean. (The only arm I’d say has been in a legitimately unnatural position so far [last] season [was] that of Hugo Lloris when he dislocated his elbow.) It would give so much more clarity to players and managers about what to expect from officials and how to defend. Basically: keep your hands down.
Any scenarios the above does not appropriately cover?
Danny (VAR is sucking the joy out of football) Austin Spurs