Man Utd have bottled it. But Harry Kane and a keeper would sort them out…

Editor F365
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea, manager Erik ten Hag, and Tottenham striker Harry Kane.

We have mails on Man Utd and exactly how close they are to being fixed. Also: Liverpool’s anthem boo-ers; Brighton battered; Sunderland; and vertigo at Newcastle…

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Seagulls slaughtered
Ouch for the Seagulls. Here’s my two cents worth on what went wrong for anyone who’s interested.

Our squad has been hit with injuries of late, and with a hectic schedule in the final weeks of the season, I understand the need for rotation. But I think Roberto picked the wrong team. Buonanotte (while still only 18) doesn’t look like a winger. He rarely tries to take his man on when the ball comes to him. Compare that to Enciso. Solly March in the second half looked much more dangerous. Possibly losing March for the rest of the season will hurt more than the five goals. Undav’s second and third touch is ok. His first on the other hand. Today was a prime example. I don’t think we’ll be seeing him next season. Especially with new record signing Joao Pedro in the post. Simon Adingra could be our next Mitoma when he’s back from loan which will probably see Buonanotte playing centrally when Mac Allister goes.

We don’t have a right back at the moment. Four of their five goals came from attacks down that flank. Gross probably ranks as one of the clubs best ever signings. A full back he is not though. I’ve seen milk turn faster and Everton exploited that. We miss his creativity in the midfield too while he’s filling in for Veltman.

Brighton can struggle at home against teams in the lower end of the table. Everton looked like they were playing with six at the back. Similar to the Forest and Gerrard’s Villa games. A goal after 35 seconds doesn’t help. In the first half the triangle passing was stifled leading to crosses aimed at the far post to possibly the shortest player on the pitch, Buonanotte. And then the counter. 77% possession is Man City-esque. Without the Man City players to break teams down. While only 18, Ferguson coming back for the run in is huge. No pressure son.

Our keeper reverted back to Jason Steel-ing a living today. Five shots on target. He saved one of those and scored a goal himself. Meanwhile, Webster did make some crucial interventions but was asleep for the first goal.

Fair play to Dyche. I hope Everton stay up. I hear they could be in serious financial trouble if they go down. Which is never nice. And not having a Merseyside derby would be weird. Although what is that high pitched chant about? On the positive side, they already have an excellent Championship striker in Maupay if the worse happens.

With Spurs and Villa still to meet, two wins and two draws would likely guarantee Europe given the goal difference. Looks like our final match of the season at Villa Park could be the decider. Although I worry whether we have the depth to make it that far.
Danny (missing our previous record signing Mwepu) Brighton


Mad Monday
Yesterday’s 3 matches included:

-21 goals, which is more than some entire game weeks

-A relegation contender thumping a european hopeful away from home in one of the shocks of the season

-A hugely entertaining 6-pointer at the bottom of the table

Wish we had days like this more often

DZD (Dublin)


Kane and a keeper
Before the new pile on happens, let’s remember that this is our first season under Ten Hag. So far he’s on track to do better than Klopp or Arteta – to name just two – did in theirs.

Of course we’re not suddenly an unbeatable force again after one season. And that season has been pretty good so far, with – to coin a completely appropriate and ironic phrase – the ball still in our hands.

Now obviously we need a new striker. I love the lad for his running but Wout is no top level striker. You can give him all the space you like, it’s not a risk.

Similarly, De Gea is not good enough and never has been. He had talent but he’s not developed enough and frankly his mistakes increasingly outweigh his big moments. Too many this season alone, and no one but him to blame. I mean, that was an utterly terrible mistake. Taibi and Robinson’s famous mistakes weren’t any worse. He is unreliable and that’s not ok.

If we do nothing else, those two things need fixing.

As for the Antony abuse, I don’t get it. The lad has been doing well, was unlucky not to score and is linking up nicely. He just needs a proper striker to work with regularly. It’s not like he plays in isolation is it.

Get Kane and frankly any other keeper in, we’re in a good place. Let’s just not throw a good season away now to the halfwit National Anthem boo-ers.


Has Ten Hag really improved United?
It seems like it’s every day that the truism is repeated that Ten Hag has “of course” improved the team, and “of course” got us playing better football. However, it’s only been two years since we finished second in the league with 74 points; scoring 73 goals and conceding 44. The numbers this season (with four games to go): 63 points, 49 scored (!), 41 conceded. Not only this, but that season we actually became only the fourth side to be unbeaten away from home all season (just lol at comparing that to now).

From players in that squad who made 30+ starts in all competitions, we’ve “lost” Pogba and Greenwood – while Ten Hag has had the use of Eriksen, Casemeiro, Antony, Martinez.

On the negative side, Ole had the misfortune of having to play Man City in the League Cup semi-finals instead of Nottingham Forest; and had to lose on penalties in the Europa League final instead of getting humiliated at the quarter final stage.

I would be of the opinion that we were better two years ago than now, and an unprecedented purple patch for Rashford in the middle of the season has totally obscured that.
David, Atlanta (forever an Ole apologist apparently)


De Gea at the wheel
Goalkeeping requires the following skills :

Saving shots from play
Saving penalties
Passing out from the back
Organizing your defence
Commanding the penalty area
Confidently collecting crosses
Pretending to be injured when anyone touches you

David De Gea is very good at one of the above.

He is not and never has been a world class goal keeper. He is a world class shot stopper.

If David De Gea was a bus driver, he would be great at picking people up on time. He would however have a tendency to knock over school children, consistently drive over the speed limit and would often forget to collect people’s fares.

If David De Gea was a bus driver, he would be out of a job.


Read more: Premier League keepers ranked: De Gea down after West Ham clanger

United have bottled it
As a die hard United fan, I genuinely don’t care much if we miss out on the CL. Because if we do, it will be because we don’t deserve it, and that is fair. That’s the whole point of this sport where merit and skill over 38 games will show you where you stand at the end of the season.

Unlike Arsenal fans in denial, I can admit that missing out on the top 4 will definitely be a case of United “bottling it” from an excellent position. This can be a learning lesson for the team as well as ETH who maybe has a little too much trust in this talentless squad of players. What else can he do when his main strikers are Wout & Martial, attackers who cannot score (other than Rashy) to save their lives, and defenders/GK who suffer from regular brain farts (DDG, Maguire, Malacia et al). He got us a trophy, and that is what matters the most. I fully expect City to whoop us 5-0 in the FA cup finals, and that is because we have a rubbish squad, not because of whatever decisions ETH takes.

Just a reminder that our 2nd highest scorer has just SIX GOALS. We have no finisher, a rubbish defense and have ridden on the Rashford train as far as we can. Without him, we would be right around where Chelsea are. Please understand that THIS IS NOT A GOOD SQUAD.

Here is to hoping we make some smart buys in the summer, and avoid the usual pitfalls of 80-100m failures (Maguire, Pogba, Sancho etc)



Fergie’s type
I’m not a Man United fan but I was thinking the other day, as it is 10 years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, which players of the last 10 years would have been ideal Fergie players had he stayed? I can think of 5:

Adama Traore – quick, strong, direct, I reckon he’d have been a good squad player in a Ferguson Man U side. A starter against lower teams, an impact sub against bigger teams.

John McGinn – low centre of gravity, good on the ball, a fantastic work rate. Would work in a Ferguson 442 as a starter.

Jack Grealish – the maverick. Would Ferguson have signed him and moulded him when Villa went down?

Dele Alli – When Jose Mourinho joined Spurs, he told Dele that he was the only player Ferguson told him to sign at Man U.

Erling Haaland – Fergie would have gone all out for this guy, surely.

That’s as far as I got and would be interested to hear everyone else’s thoughts on who would have been a good Ferguson Man U player since 2013.


What a result for Sunderland. We needed a big performance, and the result of the Milwall v Blackburn game to go our way, to make the playoffs and thankfully we got both.

After numerous years circling the drain in the Premier League, back to back relegations, and four seasons down in League One it finally feels like a club on the up again this past year.

They may not be the most talented group of players we’ve ever assembled but credit to them they’re fighting for the team, the badge, and the fans. As fans of smaller clubs, we don’t ask for the moon and the stars. Just a bit of fight and pride in the Jersey. After years watching over paid Prima Donna’s phone it on for big bucks it’s a pleasure watching these players leave it all on the pitch.

Not getting ahead of myself or saying we will go up but a very successful first season back at this level. Never looked in trouble of a relegation battle and held in and around the top of the table all season.

The only worry with successfully navigating the playoffs is we do appear to be a little light to compete at Premier League level next season. Think Billy Davies Derby light and possibly don’t have the funds to do a
Forest pre-season but that’s a problem for another day.

Hopefully we will start to see more of the historic sleeping giants of English football wake up and give the fans of their great clubs something to smile about again. Congratulations to Ipswich in that regard.
Edward Canhands (If you haven’t seen Jack Clarke’s goal against Reading I highly recommend Youtubing it)

Liverpool fans hold banners in protest

Anthem boo-ers
Sarn Smith, wt actual f?

Holy cow. Sarn Smith said that they were all for free speech and then instantly went on to say that UK citizens should hand in their passports after publicly displaying their disaffection for an undemocratic head of state. Wow. I’ve never been so hard and fast to agree with Stewie Griffin.
Simon, Norf London Gooner

John Nicholson: Liverpool fans gave us our voice at Anfield on Saturday; football should thank them


…Allow me to correct you John -the booing Liverpool fans ARE an extremist minority. However many percent of the population are not interested in the royal family, it’s safe to say a minute fraction of that percentage are so puerile as to boo the national anthem. Its performative outrage and it’s pretty pathetic.
Mark Burton, Belfast


Killing time
Read an interesting and quite depressing article from Opta Analyst today about time wasting in the premier league. It turns out that the average time the ball is in play is just under 55 minutes, the lowest it’s ever been.
There are many detailed stats team by team, but let me just bring few I found most shocking:
– On average, Newcastle games have 52% match minutes with ball in play compared with Manchester City 61,8%, this being the lowest vs the highest.
– Average delay time before restarting the game has Liverpool on top with 23,3 seconds compared with 31,4 seconds from Brentford. Again, a very significant difference.
– In goal kicks, it takes average 21,5 seconds for Liverpool to take one compared with 36,8 seconds from Newcastle

In single matches the numbers are just mind boggling:
– In Leeds vs WH, the ball was in play for 42,3% of available match time compared to a maximum of 71,6% in the game with Manchester City against Southampton.
– Everton took an average of 51 seconds per throw in against Manchester CIty in their 1-1 draw. Crystal Palace took an average of 63 seconds per goal kick against Newcastle. These are just absurd figures.
– Of course you dish out what you receive. Southampton took 13 minutes, on average 44 seconds, for their 18 goal kicks against Arsenal and Arsenal took even longer, on average 57 seconds, when they played against Liverpool.

The article made me realise why I watch the games the way I do. I put the game on, pause it for 45 minutes and then start actually watching it. The 15 second forward button is essential for enjoyment as I get to actually see the game instead of players taking 1 minute for goal kicks.

As an endnote to recent conversation about Manchester City. Words have power. When you look at the most unpopular and controversial legislation in the US for example, they have names such as Freedom Act or Patriot Act. You wouldn’t want to be against freedom or patriotism right? The same can be said about financial fair play. It has nothing to do with fair play, on the contrary. It gives freedom for the clubs with a lot of income to spend more than clubs with small income. How can any team rising from Championship for example ever compete with the old guard when they can spend fraction on the new players and their salaries? Maybe it works to protect the clubs from overspending, of that I have no knowledge, but from the fair play point of view, the effect is just the opposite as the name implies. Just imagine if Burnley would now spend 50% of the amount on new players than any of the top 6. They would probably get punished by the FFP. Is that really fair?
Matti, Finland


Game’s gone?
Not specific to any team, those who see my comments know I’m a United supporter. The article on Southend got me thinking of the ups and downs teams go through, it’s that agony and ecstasy that draws us all in. I enjoyed the years of success under Sir Alex but equally I know that eras pass and new teams rise to the fore, and I don’t begrudge better teams winning ahead of United, I just want my team to play with heart and passion, I’ll cheer them forever if they at least try to win.

Hasn’t the influx of money corrupted football? Wasn’t there a better system previously where wages started low and had to be earned, appearances and international caps were markers for an increase. Apprentice footballers washed kits and polished boots, paid their dues and appreciated when they got their chance. Teams had youth systems and looked to develop youth players into first team starters, now everyone(mainly United) chases the next record fee for underperforming mercenaries.

I used to see matches on my grandad’s tv growing up, when we’d visit on a Sunday, he had BBC and we didn’t. Football was free to view, not hidden behind a pay wall, the greater exposure a sport has the greater its reach to potential future stars in the audience.

Can we all agree that we love football?
Séamus Kelly(Irish Man Utd Fan)


Toon trek 
Genuine question, how come Newcastle are allowed to put away fans up in the gods? If that’s generally ok why doesn’t everyone do it?
Nice one