There is pre-season excitement over the new attacking partnership developing at Man Utd. Cristiano Ronaldo had better not spoil everything.
Send your thoughts to email@example.com.
This Is Manchester United
So I have just watched the first half of the Man Utd v Palace pre-season game and thought I would give you my two peneth.
Ten Hag has really got Martial doing the hard yards, pressing all over the pitch and really wanting the ball all the time, perhaps he might just unlock the undoubted talent in him. Palace were, to put it bluntly, industrial in their desire to stick the boot in and generally foul and break up play. Ayew is not a footballer, he looks like a 42 year old plumber from Essex. At the half time whistle the palace players surrounded the ref whining about some perceived injustices, presumably because the only booking of the game was a palace player for all of Ayew’s attempts to get a Man Utd player booked.
Ten Hag seems to have found a few extra yards in all the players legs and it really shows, palace players had no time at all on the ball being rushed into mistakes from the Man Utd high press. McTominey looks like a bloody UFC Fighter the amount of muscle he’s put on, shrugging players off the ball and surging forward, it was really nice to see.
Let’s hope we can take the momentum we are building into the start of the season with hopefully a couple more signings dropping in things are looking a lot rosier in the red part of Manchester.
Martials goal by the way was excellent.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
Let’s hope Ronaldo doesn’t ruin this
Like I’m sure very few sane people, I’ve been watching a little of pre-season (although not training sessions, I’m not a Spud), looking for those green shoots to get hopeful and optimistic about after a number of pretty sombre seasons for Man Utd with the false shoots of Ole’s time already well buried under terrible negativity.
I’ve already written to these pages to talk about ‘what might be’ this season, the chances of us closing the gap and where we sit in the chasing pack of Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal, West Ham and possibly Newcastle (first of that collection, closer to second than recent third places have been, maybe pushing further up if things go well).
Today, let me just go one further. After watching the lads play, the linking up and the clear change in mentality and style, I think we may have the new Rooney Tevez Ronaldo three ready to go. Maybe that’s bold, but the skill, speed and fluidity of Rashford, Sancho and Martial together is very exciting; this is what was meant to be. They are aware of each other, they are working for each other and they all look sharp and hungry. Watching them play each other in, being aware of each other’s runs is just delightful. I know it was “only” Palace in pre-season (sorry Ed Quoth) but it had something of the Rooney and Ronaldo counter vs “only” Bolton back in the day. I just hope beyond hope that Ronaldo does leave and doesn’t break up something that’s working. Be great to add Antony to the mix, but with Amad, Elanga and Pellestri, I’m not too bothered about that.
McFred has looked perfectly decent, fairly solid if uninspiring – I still hope we bring in one or two of Tielemans, Bennacer and De Jong, but if we have to rely on our current incumbents that now include Eriksen, with the likes of Garner, Iqbal and Hannibal providing cover, that will give us enough to get back to the CL positions and attract the calibre of players needed to improve on what we have. But to be honest, in a year, we probably won’t need additions. Yes, I know everyone always mocks Man Utd fans bigging up academy products, but this is not without cause. If you’ve watched the players in question, you might change your tune. Ask Nottingham Forest fans what they think of Garner, while Hannibal speaks for himself.
You may notice that I didn’t mention Van de Beek. It’s not accidental, he’s still done nothing to warrant inclusion. He pops up in exactly the same positions as Bruno, you can’t have them both, standing on each other’s toes. I don’t really know how he fits in, but I trust the manager. And that is quite nice to be able to say.
Final note: what the f**k, Palace? Just remember it’s a friendly in pre-season, eh? No need for playing like that. Too much channelling Vieira, maybe. Young Ebiowei looks good, though, hope he gets games when the season starts!
Final friendly thoughts
No, I did not watch Man Utd.
Paul H (Manchester)
A hate square?
What’s the opposite of a love triangle? The De Jong – Man Utd – Barcelona equation is one of those weird scenarios that makes everybody look bad.
Man Utd are spending much of their energies wooing a player who on the face of it is decidedly lukewarm about them. That never ends well. Or they come for the money, which is rarely a great motivation for players already earning in the millions.
For De Jong, there is the apparent desperation of holding on to a relationship that has run its course. With Barca firmly pushing him out and De Jong refusing to go. It’s the stage where she’s thrown your clothes out on the street, but you’re still pretending its all okay as you curl up in the doorway for the night.
Which brings us to Barcelona, and the reports that the real cause of this stickiness is the small matter of unpaid salaries. Given that Barcelona have just done deals for Lewandowski and Raphinha, and have been publicly in financial distress for a while, this seems immoral, if not downright illegal. Presumably there are legal clauses and subclauses and the club are looking for loopholes to avoid paying the balance. For the most sanctimonious club on the planet, it’s a poor look.
On which note, Barca – dubious moral standards? Check!. One set of rules for us and one for the others? Check! Ambiguous sources of wealth? Check! Regular reshuffle of leadership? Check. It’s official. Barcelona are the tories of football.
Ved Sen, MUFC
With Joe Gomez signing a new five year contract, is there any chance that we might see some changes in Klopp’s thinking? I mean, it must be fantastic to be a part of Liverpool right now, so perhaps being a bit part player is enough for Gomez, rather than (as was rumoured) being a first team player with a team like Villa.
But as he can play right back, I wondered if TAA might be about to have a change of scenery on the pitch? Gomez is fourth choice as a CB, and if TAA stays fit and stays as RB, then he will only play in cup games or when there is an injury problem. A few years ago, he looked like a proper player, and he has at best been treading water since. It would seem to be lacking ambition to me to be a perennial bench warmer.
Just a thought…
Poor Ben Davies
Marc wrote an interesting mail on poor Ben Davies’ treatment by Liverpool wasting a chunk of his career and yes made a valid point or 2.But couple of things. Rangers didn’t always want him. It was actually Celtic who were keen before Liverpool swooped in and bought him when a move to Celtic was imminent.
Also Sky Sports and the Scottish press are reporting the fee to be 3 million with another million in add ons , I wish it was the £1.3 million Marc quotes as a total of 4 million feels like we ( yes I’m a Rangers fan) are paying over the odds for him .
Marc, please remember when Davies signed he got a once in a lifetime opportunity to play and train with one of the most iconic and successful clubs in the world, training under one of the best coaches in the world surrounded by world class facilities and players he could never have hoped to train with. Oh yes, and his salary probably quadrupled at the very least so by the time you add on his share of the fees and additional signing on bonuses, I don’t think he’s going to be crying into his Frosties about his nightmare at Anfield’ any time soon….
Ian (Utd fans comparing Nunez to Carroll will regret it soon enough) LFC
I suspect Marc was trolling but what a load of tosh on his part.
Liverpool have done nothing for Ben Davies except having him train with better quality players, coaching him with top quality, champions league/premier league winning coaches, probably showing him a level of conditioning/diet and fitness that teams at the very top do more so than Championship clubs.
He’s gone from the team that finished 13th in the Champo with a goal difference of -4 and next season will play for Rangers in the SPL and Europe and we paid him a fair wage in the mean time.
If Davies chose to come to Liverpool then he probably knew there was a risk he wouldn’t play as others found fitness but we also figured that it was worth a gamble. I’d say for both club and player it was a deal that has worked out brilliantly.
Super Dan Burn
I read your piece this morning about premier league players who’ve been replaced by new signings but haven’t been sold. I was very interested to see Dan Burn at number 10! With all respect, you clearly haven’t been watching many NUFC games, Dan Burn is an absolute colossus at the back, Sven Botman is not going to waltz in and take his place, and to suggest Lascelles or Schaer would be chosen above Big Dan is also a bit ludicrous. Lascelles has been a Championship level defender the last two seasons, regardless of if he keeps the armband or not.
Dan Burn might be the best defender NUFC have had since Jonathan Woodgate, and he’s one of our own!
So, several weeks ago I wrote in asking why Tottenham was ranked ahead of Arsenal in the transfer allure rankings. A couple people responded with what I will just quite plainly deem as insanely weak responses. One of them was a fellow Gooner whose words I cannot remember but I try to refrain from getting into spats with my fellow Gooners in public (trust me I’ve been tempted several times). After all, aren’t we just a happy family?
Another proceeded to say something along the lines of “that’s just how betting works.” Wow, thanks guy whoever that was. I understand how betting works. By the way, I’m about to not mince words at all here cause I’m tired of wildly superficial opinions being spewed all over the world. It really makes the world a worse place and this lovely mailbox is just a manifestation of these problems. Prime example: that dude Bill EFC from Texas who apparently doesn’t think there’s much racism at all in America. Try telling that to my black father who grew up in South Central Los Angeles in the 50s and 60s. He’d be f***ing shocked to find out.
You either have to be insanely shallow or extremely arrogant to the point you think the person asking that question is a borderline dumbass to think that that was a sufficient answer to the question. Yes, the betting public is betting on those two going to Arsenal over other clubs. The actual question if you and seemingly every other person in the entire world who gets asked questions could take more than just a cursory glance at them is WHY IS THE BETTING PUBLIC PLACING THEIR BETS ON THEM GOING TO ARSENAL?
Like I said, I know how betting works. Obviously, the lines could have been favorably set by the providers, who may have had inside knowledge in doing so, in order to trick the public into heavily favoring a losing bet which would result in a killing for them.
Or, OR, people are putting money on those two to go to Arsenal cause they are using common sense combined with a little bit of research. At the very least, shouldn’t the question of “Why is the betting public favoring Arsenal” be taken a little further than just that? Is humanity now that f***ing lazy that I can no longer expect people to do this? Whoever was complaining about punditry a few weeks ago – this right here is your problem.
We already have one of the two in question and we now KNOW BEYOND A DOUBT he only wanted to come here when also being approached by Chelsea and Spurs. Now, we know he definitely wasn’t guaranteed game time at Spurs (Kane/Son). So it’s understandable he didn’t think about them at all. But Chelsea, who needed a striker? And a right winger? I think it’s definitely possible that it occured to Jesus and his team (because it literally just occurred to me) that competition would inevitably be created by a new owner splashing the cash. However, you’re expecting me to believe a 4-time PL winning champion who worked his a** off to get where he is is just going to fold in the face of theoretical competition like that? Or because he wants to play for his former assistant coach? Or even some combo of both? Not impossible to believe but I mean, come on. We talk about players as if they are not complex human beings at all.
Anyway, the point is two-fold. For one, this is the type of critical thinking that question was supposed to provoke and is just, to me, a more appropriate (i.e. holistic) way of thinking about it.
Secondly, Jesus, and now Zinchenko…and if all reports are to be believed then Tielemans (not a former City player) were/are all clamoring to get to Arsenal. Even if you’re going to be Stewie Griffin (great mails, btw) and take the most insane hyperbolic counter position to this you AT LEAST have to wonder why this is happening. Just like everything else.
MAW, LA Gooner