If you’re tired of laughing at Man Utd, you’re tired of life…

Date published: Tuesday 8th March 2022 8:57 - Editor F365

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

The Mailbox is thoroughly enjoying Man Utd’s latest act of self-sabotage. Also: how good were Spurs, and how much trouble are Everton really in?

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com

 

16 questions after derby trauma
Somebody suggested in today’s mailbox that AWB might have had PTSD after having to deal with Grealish, Silva, and Cancelo. I feel like I’m suffering from trauma after watching that game. So many questions, so few answers!

1) Why do City players run faster than United players?
2) Why is it that City players are sprinting at De Gea when he has the ball but United players are only ambling in the general direction of Ederson?
3) Why is De Gea so brittle?
4) When City players win the ball why do United players sprint back to get into position instead of trying to win it back?
5) Why don’t United players tackle?
6) How come City have an extra man or two almost everywhere on the pitch?
7) Why can’t United players pass and move?
8) Who thought that going toe to toe with City was a good idea for this United team?
9) Why did we discard the Solskjaer template that earned us 4 wins out of 8 at Man City?
10) At what level of intensity does the United team practice? (I remember Keane talking about how in his time the practice sessions at United were at a higher level than the games themselves)
11) Was creating one chance the subtotal of Pogba’s game?
12) What did Telles do for 90 mins?
13) What was the half time team talk?
14) What was Lingard’s brief?
15) When will United stop appointing managers based on reputation rather than performance?
16) Why do I keep watching?
Ved Sen, MUFC.

 

Mercurial mail
What is Ian King doing to us readers? Is he trying to wind us up? His most recent article is a calm and considered look at what Manchester United face given their lack of plan.

But I’m not so sure it’s a lack of plan that’s Manchester United’s problem. Their plan seems clear as day to me, and it’s to make as much money as possible. Of course that’s not much of a footballing plan, but it’s still a plan and one that goes a long way to explaining the decisions that baffle those fans and observers that want trophies and victories.

I wonder if over time the fan base of Manchester United will drift away from those that like football and trophies toward those that like balance sheets and profits?

Now, back to Ian King and his wind up. Well, it winds me up and I’ll be shocked if hundreds, if not thousands of other readers didn’t also go full steam mad when they read, and I quote ‘One player who United would dearly like to attract, for example, would be the mercurial talent that is Erling Haaland’.

Mercurial? Haaland? Really? It can’t be in the sense that he contains the element Mercury because he’s human and that would be poisonous. So Mr King must mean in the sense that he’s prone to unpredictable moods and changes of mind. But Haaland is nearly the exact opposite, he’s incredibly consistent. His mood is almost robotically predictable (in the voice of a Dalek I suppose: Exterminate the net. Ball. Kick. Destroy!)

A mercurial talent isn’t one to covet. They frustrate, they give false hope from 2-3 game runs when they show a bit (or a lot) before turning seemingly invisible and becoming anonymous again. David Bentley and Mario Ballotelli are/were mercurial. Heck! Manchester United already have at least two proper mercurial talents in Pogba and Rashford!

I worry that mercurial is being used in place of boring words like ‘wonderful’ or ‘excellent’ or some other garden variety of word meaning really good. But come on, mercurial really doesn’t mean that! You can’t just use a word because it sounds great, makes the writer seem smart and looks like it should fit. Shame on Mr King, he should set a better example, and example it is as I’ve seen mercurial’s improper use creeping into the mailbox of late.

Now I’m off to assuage some sugar from my mercurial neighbour who always has a veritable cacophony of kitchen staples because he’s so damned precipitous like that.
Dr Oyvind, Earth.

 


Man United are drifting towards a re-build with no plans


 

So many Winstons
Surely it is no surprise that with the ever increasing wealth of the EPL its clubs have more dross( Winston Bogartes) than ever clogging their squads. Man United have almost an entire squad of players underperforming and paid to an extent that no one else is likely to buy them. There is no race or queue to buy Martial, Rashford etc and the players likely realise there is not a fatter contract for them elsewhere. Barca have had a huge fire sale, Madrid sales of Isco , Bale etc drag on and Arsenal now pay their unwanted dross to go which has probably improved the harmony there as the people carrying the team were likely paid a small percentage of the wages of the seldomly scoring captain. Now the bean counters at clubs will say a player is worth X based on a transfer fee and thus an asset on the balance sheet. This is only true if someone will buy that player off you because at the end of the contract the player can go on a free and is worth nothing. Surely the time will come to have mid- term contract breaks where the Winstons can be ditched or else put onto play for pay so they are not getting 10m a year to see out their time at fans expense.
Ted Bythesea

 

Maguire, Rashford and attitude
I would also just like to point out on what on earth Maguire was doing for the 2nd & 3rd goal City scored. For the 2nd goal, just react and kick it out for a corner, simple as that. And for the 3rd goal, Keane mentioned this and he is right, sprint towards the ball in blocking it. Tbf the 3rd goal is more of a collective lack of concentration, someone has to be sniffing the danger there…

I feel like Ralf may have wanted to remove the captaincy for Maguire, in maybe taking that extra bit of pressure off him, but probably didn’t in the end and would worry it will impact his confidence? If that is the case, its a complete lack of skill in decision making from Ragnick. If you think it would be better for the team and player, do it. He will get over it he’s a professional and I think he would understand it. If ego comes into it, learn how to bloody man manage! Look the whole ‘Captain’ charade is a bit obsolete to be honest, and is being made a much bigger deal in the media than it should be, but think its ultimately being brought up due to the lack of leadership and chemistry (very obvious) between players in the group. Ferguson once said communication is one of the most important things in a club. When it isn’t even happening naturally in a dressing room, you either need a manager that knows how to handle conflict or get rid of the bad eggs on the dressing room.

Also, Rashford really needs to start improving soon, surely he must be thinking himself his form is worrying. Last two seasons he’s been a leader and shown up consistently with 20 goal seasons, been one of our best players. People are giving him a bit of a lashing and understandably so, and its completely understandable due to expectation that he is low on confidence, but looks like he has just lost his head since the Europa League final. He did an interview after the Villareal game and something has just snapped there I think, a lack of belief maybe. He is young and will bounce back, he’s got the potential + ability to play for the club unlike other players (E.g. Fred & Maguire). Mind you its no excuse, once the expectation is there and you’re a striker too you just have to find a way of getting more goals and contributing and it starts off with doing the basics right and ultimately working hard. He has been SO lazy in some games and he knows it.
Rami, Manchester

 

United players’ value
Wow, some pretty deluded emails regarding poor United in the mailbox, not the ones hammering Rashford et Al but the ones sorting out the problems by selling all the players for tons of moolah.

Rami wants to sell 5 players for £125m. First off, you might want to check who will be free agents this summer with Lingard and Pogba’s contracts expiring. So no sales there and you have the problem of replacing someone you didn’t want to sell, on top of the 5. Plus, Cavani does a pretty decent job and is worth keeping meanwhile AWB is only on £4m a year while Ronaldo, who has completely unbalanced your team is on £26m. Having said that, getting rid of Ronaldo, Cavani and Martial, and knowing Pogba will leave, frees up approx £67m a year in salary alone.

With Arsenal likely getting a CL place next year over United, they will have more pulling power for players, while United will have less – not having CL football. So yes, while United can still throw cash at the problem, another year of atrocious football and lack of trophies is not going to endear any decent player to a team going into (champagne) supernova (see what I did there hahaha.)

On top of that, United are also going to have to compete with the nouveau riche in Newcastle, with oodles of money to spend. And let’s face it currently playing more attractive football. Along with the rest of the league who are better at finding those bargain nuggets.

This United team can’t be arsed to put in more than a half at a time and, this weekend, looked like half of a half. It’s not that there is no plan, it’s that, for whatever reason, the team can’t put it into play. Can’t be bothered, don’t want to, just not able to get it, who knows, but when you look at the extreme effort players from City, Liverpool and Chelsea put into every game, on top of the great coaching and players skills, you can see why they succeed. Based on recent performances it looks like you have to change the entire squad.

Rami, what your team needs is to reset. By thinking that with one or two new players or getting rid of one or two players, we can win the league, just puts more pressure on the club to do exactly that and completely miss the boat. There are so many fundamental things wrong with United right now from coaching, training, physical conditioning, talent recruitment etc United have a big gap to close.

When teams like Liverpool are working on Clive Woodward’s ‘marginal gains’, with throw-in coaches, a team to enhance mental acuity on set pieces, better player analysis and so on, United are still trying to spend big on another new player. While the top 3 can drop in a medium cost or junior player into their team and still do well, United drop in an expensive player who struggles – because the existing team plays so badly.

Anyway, while not a lover of Arteta the man, there was a lot of discussion early doors as to why he got no flack and Ole copped it all. Now we see an Arsenal team turning the corner. Arteta hit the reset button, stripped things back and got them working on a new system. Took time to get the existing players to buy in while newer players came in. (Same as Klopp when he arrived.) Takes time but is worth it in the long run.

As long as United keep going down the path of a short term solution, the longer they are going to wait for the rewards.
Paul McDevitt

 

…In response to Rami, ye the players you have chosen to get rid, fair enough. But I stopped reading and had to reply once I seen your expected value!
Where are you going with your 120 mill?
Martial or AWB will fetch nowhere near 60 mill. Cavani is old. Fred , he’d go to Italy or something but they won’t pay big money either. Lingard barely gets a game. I don’t think anyone would pay decent money for any United player at the moment.
Chris, LFC

 

The Fergie Way
There’s been lot’s of talk about how poor United were, again. Little talk of how good City were. There’s been lot’s of talk about United need a new manager. They have an interim one. There’s been lots of talk about “The United Way”. There is no such thing. I’ve spent lot’s of time thinking about it over lunch. If there is a “United Way” then it’s synonym would be “The Fergie Way”.

Why? Well, because when he came to United and got his way, he started to win. When he wanted a player, he damn well got him. When he wanted rid of a player, he damn well got rid (including the ones he damn well wanted that just never worked out).

So the “United Way” is to get in a head strong manager, that knows what he wants. And if you’re not on board you’re gone. And that’s what’s needed in my opinion. I hope they don’t do that though, I’m having far too much fun enjoying their sh*t show.
Culk the Younger

 

Carry on laughing
Dear Veni

I share your concerns at the dwindling lack of gratification in each successive Man United failure. You must stay strong. You must dig deep. You must not pity them. They are the richest club in the country. They have the biggest stadium. They have the biggest noodle deals. They have the best share price. They have spent the most money on transfers over the last 10 years. The have the worlds best paid keeper, the most expensive centre back, the former most expensive teenager before Mbappe, the most expensive player with fewer than 50 appearances in AVB, the former most expensive midfielder in Pogba. They dropped the best part of £80m on Sancho, they literally have Ronaldo. They have ex-players all over the media defending them whatever they do. You must remember this.

They tried to win the league this year and may finish as low as eighth! They may not win a game this month. They are the best part of 25 points off competing for the title. They were knocked out of the FA cup by lower league opposition – at home. Their fans paid money to watch that. They did a riot because they weren’t spending enough money. They are still playing Lingaard who would rather be at West Ham.

But one day, they won’t be in this situation. They have and can spend under FFP the most money, they command a huge amount of influence and can attract the best players and coaches in the world. One day, they’ll be back. And maybe Liverpool won’t have Klopp or maybe the next player will chose Spurs over Liverpool. When that day comes Man United fans won’t remember you went lenient on them. They are terrible losers and worse winners.

As Samuel Johnson would have probably said: He who is bored of trashing Man United is bored of life. Find a friend. Tell them how you are feeling. Find the energy to carry on and keep laughing at Man United.
Alex, South London

 

Moyes after Conte
Sitting here reading the Spurs line-up and I just realized that when Conte eventually gets fed up, Levy perfect match would be … wait for it, DAVID MOYES. I mean he’s already coaching another iteration of Spurs; striker prone to injury but still being the all important piece of the attack, a great winger who seems to step up in absence of injured striker, keeper who until very recently bailed them out regularly. Finally, a good and proper first XI but sh*t bench and others.
Whether David Moyes would accept what would be technically a downgrade in clubs right now is another question all together.

(Actually just realized the mid and defense mirror each other too).
Vashow, Kenya.

 

Satisfying Spurs 
Decent that.

And it’s over to Barry for some hyperbole.
Jon (Conte has made Doherty quite the player), Lincoln

 

Dejan > Diaz
When Spurs signed Kulusevski instead of Luis Diaz in the winter transfer window, we were subject to much taunting about Diaz apparently “rejecting” us and Kulusevski being a “Juventus reject”. Kulu now has three assists and two goals, that’s five goal contributions in six games. Diaz has one goal and no assists in six games.

Who’s laughing now?

Assuming we beat Man Utd at the weekend the race for fourth place looks like a straight shootout between Spurs and our neighbours. Bring it on.
Barry Fox

Sergio Reguilon celebrates his goal
Super Spurs, or sh*te Everton?
We’re back, baby!!! Doherty with two assists and having one of his best ever performances in a Spurs shirt, Kane back in full glorious goalscoring mode, our two central midfielders actually working together to control a game of football, a clean sheet!!! The top 4 race is back on!

Or we just whipped a shambolic team that are crashing towards the Championship.

However good Tottenham were, Everton were worse and then some.

After the match Conte said the real barometer will come against Utd as he knew these 3 points from Everton were as easily won as you’ll ever get.

Spurs’ best winning streak in the league this season is three in a row, and that’s only happened twice. Beating Man Utd will equal that.

We beat a broken Leeds 4-0 and shambolic Everton 5-0. Before these wins, we lost to Burnley and sandwiched in between them
we lost to Middlesbrough. Are we good? Are we very average? Will beating Utd change any of this?

If only there was a word to describe this supreme level of streakiness from this club. If such a word did exist, Spurs would be that.

Here’s to a draw against Man Utd on Saturday because both teams are too much of a parody to have the decency to lose and do the other club a favour.
David, Battersea

 

Lampard over-promoted
Do people still think Frank was harshly done by at Chelsea? Never a manager. Next stop West Brom. Hate that!
Luke D15

 

Sticky Toffee time
Surely its about this time that we start saying “they’re too good to go down”….
Robbie DFC

 

Been here before
A gooner waxing lyrical about Arsenal being fourth and probably the “happiest” of the top seven. Weird feeling of déjà vu.

#WengerOut
Dazza, Dublin

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