FFS, Fred. One immediate solution to Man Utd’s midfield problem…

Date published: Monday 22nd March 2021 8:14 - Editor F365

Fred Man Utd

Manchester United losing to Leicester has sparked some predictable mails. Chief among those being targeted is Fred.

Keep your thoughts coming to theeditor@football365.com…


Brendan would make United title contenders
United will win nothing with Solskjaer.

Tactically he is Cardiff rather than United, with his insistence on two defensive midfielders at all times meaning that United are always reactive rather than proactive.

Van De Beek is a progressive central midfielder. He plays as one of a pair in the centre, breaking lines and enabling those ahead to make their runs and create space for him to either find passes or runs.

Solskjaer’s cowardice means he is played as an attacking player ahead of two defensive midfielders who do nothing. That’s not his game. That’s not what he is good at.

United may well win this game that currently is 70 minutes in, because United have world class players who can win games despite their manager.

But Brendon Rogers with this United squad dominates this game, and improves his players.

Solskjaer doesn’t.

United will win nothing with Solskjaer.
Tim Sutton


Iheanacho stars as Leicester secure statement win


FFS, Fred
So we went out of the CL thanks to Ole’s decision not to substitute Fred. Now again we go out of the FA Cup for the same reason. Did not close down Tielemans for the second goal and gave away the ball (a simple pass) which led to the free kick for the third. What a liability!
Manoranjan (83rd min Fred substitution too late)


…So 63 minutes in and Ole has made 4 substitutions and somehow Fred is still on. The worst footballer on the pitch by a clear distance, putting in easily the worst performance of any of the players. He was directly at fault for the first goal and should have done better in closing down Tielemans for the second goal. So is it that Fred is on the pitch when Pogba and Van Der Beek came off? It was Pogba who got the assist and Donny who’s dummy gave space for Greenwood. And again, it was Fred who gave away the first goal. OK so Pogba might not be fully fit having just come back from injury. Matic’s legs have gone. But was Donny playing worse than Fred? Does Ole really think Donny was offering less than Fred? I’ve been pretty vocal about not thinking Ole is good enough and this is just more ammunition. Ole should have hooked Fred at half time.

And to piss me off even more Jenas suggests that Pogba should do more. He got an assist, looked competent in a midfield that also had Fred and Matic in it, against a very good Leicester team with a very energetic press, on his first start after a few months out with injury. What more should he have done? And why single out Pogba? Why should Maguire or Matic not have done more? Why not ask the question of Ole who is the manager of the team? Why not ask questions about the lack of a plan beyond “hit ’em on the counter” after over 2 years in charge? Why not ask why none of the defenders look better at defending? But no, Jenas snidely asks why Pogba didn’t win the game single handedly. Ridiculous.
Daniel, Cambridge


…So United are playing a huge cup game in which Fred decides to have an absolute stinker, but somehow despite falling behind and playing poorly they’re able to equalise. Ole, deciding he likes playing Russian Roulette, leaves Fred on the pitch, and because of his idiocy and mistakes United end up losing 3-1. This was against PSG earlier in the season. To do it once, is ridiculous. To do it twice, is criminal.

There is no way this man should get a new contract.
IP (Matic was just as bad)


Poor Donny
I honestly think Donny van der Backwards to be one of the worst midfielders to ever grace the Premier League. That you can be stand-out terrible in the same team as Fred and Matic is beyond achievement. He is so bad I almost feel sorry for him. He reminds me of that kid at school who was no good at sports and just aimlessly ran around the football field, and when the ball did happen across him, some bigger lad would just come and take it from him. He looks absolutely terrified during every moment he spends on the pitch.

There was one moment in that first half against Leicester, when United had a rare chance to break on the left, VDB on the ball, ran a few steps up the left, when a Leicester play came within about 30 yards of him. He immediately stopped, did this weird pirouette in one direction, then another and then just passed the ball to an oncoming Leicester player as if to say ‘here you have it’

Thankfully Ed didn’t pay that much mon…. oh… bugga.
Richard, Manchester.

I just really, really need somebody to explain to me why Manchester United and England – both teams in desperate need of options in deep midfield are not deploying Aaron Wan-Bissaka as a defensive midfielder? I cannot possibly be the only person who sees that his skill set is perfect for the role? For United, this move would allow them to invest in an attacking right wing-back or look to re-integrate Dalot into the wide and for England, it provides strength in depth in a position where the options available are limited to Kalvin Phillips or Declan Rice. Perhaps, at a stretch, we could say Henderson or Dier and this is working on the assumption that the likes of Isaac Hayden and any number of English defensive players in Brighton’s ranks (Webster, Dunk, Burn, White) are not in contention.


Chelsea’s reality check
Well that was certainly a bit of a reality check, we do indeed head into the Semi finals with a 2-0 win, but i do have to chuckle to myself that we can beat teams like Liverpool and Atletico (twice) quite comfortably, yet we took on Barnsley and a bottom of the table Sheffield United side and struggled, i suppose the argument to put forward would be that in the cup you have nothing to lose when you are one of those two sides taking on a member of the “Top Six”, especially Sheffield United who know their Premier League fate is nearly sealed now, special credit to Barnsley since they are in top form in their division, so almost answered my own question right there.

However when i say this was a reality check, it is in regards to looking at the Champions League Quarter Final draw, we may have rotated the squad but every member of the squad has to be 100% focused for the Quarter Final against Porto, there are no easy games and we cannot just assume we have one foot in the Semi Finals of the elite European competition just because it is Porto.

Oh and cannot wait to take on Manchester City in the Semi Final of the FA Cup, that should be a much better game than when we last played them under the tenure of Frank Lampard.
Mikey, CFC


Tuchel shows following Wilder might not be impossible job


Ah, forget it
I have a question for Man U fans. Would you rather

A) win the europa league
B) get drawn again City in the FA Cup Semi final and beat them (thereby making your 99 achievements untouched ) then go on to lose the final.

It’s got to be B right ? Would any of you take A ?
Scott (invincible gooner)


West Ham’s paint job
It is halftime of the game, and I am watching the replays. On West Ham’s second goal, the foul is committed, the ref blows his whistle, Xhaka (I think) picks up the ball and rolls it backward, beyond the spot of the foul, then THE REF REACHES BEHIND HIM FOR HIS CAN OF WHITE SPRAY AND STARTS WALKING TOWARD THE SPOT OF THE FOUL TO SPRAY THAT SPOT, and while the ref is walking toward the spot of the foul West Ham score. WHAT THE HECK!!! What would you think if you saw the ref reach for his can of spray? You would obviously think that play will not continue until the ref has marked the spot, the ball is on the spot, and the ref has blown his whistle for play to continue. We are screwed by the refs again.
Ron Jeremias, Woodbridge, Virginia, USA


…What a beautiful mess of a match. Anyway I think the second goal of West Ham by right should have been chalked off by VAR due to the free kick not taken at the location of the foul. Same offense was called by a lot of referees even before VAR days, surprised no one picked up on this.

Syfq Amr, MY

West Ham Arsenal F365


Villa’s relegation form
Villa are bloody lucky they got enough points for safety before the Covid outbreak in the camp cause on the evidence since, we would be down the bottom.

Managers in the last couple of weeks who have arrived under pressure have been under pressure are Wilder, Bruce and Mourinho and all were made to look world class.

We are a one man team and he is injured and too busy promoting Nike to help us out.

Poor poor second half of the season. Summer can’t come quick enough.


…Not mine but one tweet summed Villa up.

At the moment Villa without Grealish are like the Coors without the sisters.


Mourinho could *still* have the last laugh in this stupid season


Southgate’s too safe
Newanda’s point is pretty spot on regarding Southgate. But I would take it further. When I was criticising Southgate’s comments regarding TAA, it was not to say he should pick TAA, I am happy for him to get the break. No, it was what Southgate says to justify his decision. In reality, he could just say nothing. But clearly there is a sense that here is a great talent being left out.

Southgate is constantly talking about what players can’t do. In discussing his midfield options, which is frankly the area he has always and continues to have problems, he talks about what Mount, Foden and Grealish can’t do – in his eyes. These are young players. Today’s young players are far more adaptable than in his day. They are used to playing for teams that change formation not just between games but within games. He uses what they have and have not done for the clubs as the only yardstick for what they could do. And then goes and plays Delph at full back or wing back, Trippier at wingback, Walker at centre back and so on.

Ultimately it makes whatever he says as to why he is or is not picking a player meaningless.

The one game we truly excelled was against Spain in Spain. They played 4-3-3. They took risks. They used their pace and pressed. Normally Southgate plays a very defensive and negative style against what he considers better teams and the results show it. Just as you hear complaints when a team going to the ‘at the time’ PL powerhouse (City, Utd, Chelsea, etc) simply park the bus, hope for the best, offer no ambition and eventually get rolled over – England lately do the same in games against top rated countries. And just as sometimes happens when a team has the impudence to take the game to the big clubs, win, draw or at least make it entertaining- I have only really seen it in the Spain game under Southgate.

He is calmer and more considered as a manger than many of his predecessors. He generally handles the players misdemeanours well. But he is so risk averse there is only so far he can take this team.

The shame is that he has a generation of young talent we have not seen in a while. Many were successful in winning European and world age group competitions by taking their chances. He may waste it with tactics all about what he thinks they can’t do rather than what they could do.
Paul McDevitt


Sunday’s mailbox: Taking Tuchel over Solskjaer and wanting Rafa at Spurs


Tuchel over Ole?
I have no problems with a Chelsea fan preferring Tuchel over Ole (I’d be surprised if there was a single Chelsea fan that thought otherwise) but Aayush questions whether Ole could achieve immediate results over a small number of initial games. Are we talking about the same Ole that took a previously underperforming United squad and broke the record for more points in his first 10 games than any manager in Premier League History?

I too have doubts that Ole is a top level manager, but he is at the very least a good manager. He is worthy of criticism but to make statements that fly in the face of facts and proven reality is irresponsible and reeks of the same lack of awareness as those that pose with their newly coloured passports (that offer less freedom) as a clear indicator of brexit success, or those that still insist the current government is doing a stand up job.

If you’re going to criticise him, use a stick that exists to beat him with.
Monjur, UK


Firing blanks
Watching McBurnie and McGoldrick for Sheffield United yesterday got me thinking about what are the worst forward lines in Premier league history. This is what I could come up with in no particular order;

Danny Dichio + Kevin Gallen QPR 95-96

Depoirte and Mounier Huddersfield 18/19

Jon Stead + Le Tallec Sunderland 05/06

Robert Earnshaw + Kenny Miller Derby 2007/2008

Interested to here other suggestions.
Joel, (Firing Blanks) Nottingham

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