Sacking Ten Hag would solve nothing. Man Utd should look at Fergie, Arteta for inspiration…

Editor F365
Erik ten Hag watches on as Rasmus Hojlund is replaced by Anthony Martial during Manchester United's defeat to Brighton.
Erik ten Hag is under pressure after Manchester United's defeat to Brighton.

The Mailbox comes out in support of Erik ten Hag amid Man Utd’s rotten start to the season. Also: a Chelsea fan feels nothing for these Blues; Eddie Nketiah; and Liverpool chaos.

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Erik ten Hag: the defence
The knee jerks to United’s defeat at Brighton (and the pretty bad start to the season) are both understandable and foreseeable.

Ordinarily I would have jumped on that bandwagon too, but I already did that last season after the first 2 games. I lost it when at 3 down ETH took off the best players at Brentford and wrote in to this mailbox saying he doesn’t have what it takes and should be sacked there and then. I was proven wrong for the rest of the season.

Is ETH the second coming of Ferguson or Guardiola. Probably not. But is he as incapable and inept as Solsjkaer/Lampard/Gerrard. Definitely not.

We have gone through the entire bouquet of managerial styles and accolades. We have also gone through the same thing with players. We have had winners. We have had rookies. We have had world beaters. We have had the exciting young hungry lot.

And yet every possible permutation has failed. What’s the constant through all of it – Glazers. If there is anything that Brighton can teach us it is that a club is much more than the sum of 25 players and a manager.

You can sack ETH sure. But it wouldn’t change anything. There is criticism around transfers and contracts. Ted Boehly has taught us all how much influence owners and boardrooms can have on those 2 aspects and where priorities often lie.

I think United’s scouting system as well as the finance have been broken for a long time. So it’s easy in hindsight to say why Casmeiro, why Holjund, why Antony. ETH is not responsible for the United transfer market premium which means we overpay for each player. ETH is also not responsible for the bloated salary structure. ETH also couldn’t have foreseen the issues with Antony’s personal life.

I believe the best thing for the club right now (outside of change of ownership) is to keep ETH and back him. Another managerial change means another disruption in tactics, playing style and transfer strategy. And if we have gone 1/2 step forward with ETH we go 2 steps back.


…Firstly, judging this United so early in a season where I’d argue EtH hasn’t been able to field even 8 of his first XI in a single match is ridiculous, even by modern football standards. I quite like the comedy of some contributors pointing out how Liverpool took a year off last season, how quaint, must be nice. United played almost 70 matches in a WC year, how strange that players are dropping like flies.

I know today’s media eco-system and hence younger fans have an attention span of a week, but let’s go ahead and give the best manager we’ve had since Fergie (last season, look it up) a bit of leeway shall we?

I feel like MAW, LA Gooner is really close to getting the point, but let me help. It’s not United fans that believe the club ‘deserves’ to continue Fergie’s success. We acknowledge that we have the worst owners (for being good at football) in the league, and have to overcome that. We acknowledge that any purchases we make are drawn out, expensive and not numerous enough to actually change a squad that was fundamentally broken when EtH came in. That the uncertainty around the ownership is a circus that no one needs. Most of us would be perfectly happy with a few quiet seasons, finishing somewhere around the top 4, letting our clearly talented coach develop a style. But, here’s the point: United don’t get to do that.

Because a coach makes an offhand comment about a bit-part player in one line an interview: back page news. Sky Sports headlines. ‘Camps’ briefing left and right. As an Arsenal fan I’d expect LA Gooner to be appreciative of how pending legal cases should be treated by the media, but United don’t get that and a player is now essentially suspended pending public opinion results. In the UK, no other football club gets the attention United do, it’s simply factual. City win a bloody treble and I assure you more clicks and views will have been driven by whatever United were up to. I hate it. I wish it weren’t so. But it is.

I’d happily take the relative shadow afforded to Arteta for the best part of 3 seasons please. If LA Gooner could let us know how a United manager can be similarly judged, that’d be great.
Ryan, (do wish we’d listened to Ralf on signings though)


Learn from Fergie
The defeat to Brighton hurt every United supporter, it was embarrassing to be played off the park by a team that cost less than we paid for Mason Mount.

But we’ve been here before at the beginning of Alex Ferguson reign. It took Fergie five years to turn around United fortunes and it’ll take Ten Hag at least another two to clear out the mess left by previous managers. Champions League football and two cup finals was a better first year return than anything Sir Alex, Klopp, Pep ever returned. Ten Hag needs to be backed and the fans need to trust the process, however painful it might be at times.


United stereotypes
Gary Neville can blame the Glazers for all what ails MUFC (partially true) but we the fans are not stupid. Most of us have played football at various levels and we have all played with these types of players:

The Mason Mount – The coach’s son, who turns up on time and does everything right in training, but on the field, has zero talent but is fit so can run around.

The Bruno Fernandes – The fair weather player but when the chips are down becomes toxic stops making an effort. The anti Roy Keane.

The Marcus Rashford (Garnacho) – The guy with bags of pace but can’t finish for toffee. Never looks up to pass, and lacks the basic skills of dribbling or crossing. His only trick is to kick it upfield and outrun the opposition.

The Anthony – The foreign guy (often from a Latin country) blessed with outrageous skills in training but cannot transfer it onto the pitch. Will try and beat the same player over and over. Learned one move and repeats it constantly so that everyone knows what is coming.

The Wan Bissaka/Dalot/Shaw – No football brain but incredibly fast so is stuck in defense because they can recover. Relies on their speed as they are always out of position.

The Harry Maguire – The old pro who played during the era of steel studs and no shinpads. With a turning circle of an Aircraft Carrier, he is usually the only guy to knows how to head the ball properly.

The Raphael Varane – One of teams’s sister’s boyfriend/husband who slums it with the team but actually plays his serious football for another team in another league, so just phones it in when he can make it.

The Martinez – Maybe grew up rough and possibly once in a gang, so always has a chip on his shoulder and purposely tries to take out players. Guaranteed a yellow per game and a few reds in the season.

There is no cohesion, or discernable game plan and no team chemistry, so when things go bad, they all down tools and do their own thing. Fernandes sulks, Rashford tries to take on everyone and everything and Martinez or Shaw lose their rag and get sent off. The “midfielders” just stay up and never track back. The whole team lacks basic fitness. So unless one of the players can produce a piece of outrageous skill, they are always outpleyed by fitter, well-drilled teams of supposedly lesser talent.

Did I miss any stereotypes?
Adidasmufc (Do you think ETH is purposely trying to tank the stock price so the Glazers will sell?)


Not feeling blue
I was at the Vialli tribute match last week, and good lord did it show just how far the club has fallen. Watching players who loved playing for the club and brought success (both pre and post Abramovich). I watched with my dad and got genuinely emotional at seeing players I never got to see live as a kid like Tor Andre Flo, Frank Sinclair, Frank Leboeuf, Jodie Morris and of course, Gianfranco Zola.

Chelsea now are a joke. An expensive waste of time. I don’t look at those players and have a connection to them the same way I have Chelsea players for the last 30 odd years. And I think it’s because I despise the new ownership. They’ve soiled any ounce of passion for the team I used to have. Stripped away everything that made Chelsea a strong team, both on and off the pitch. There is no one at that club that actually gives a shit about the team anymore. Not outside of financial gain.

So many people, including journalists I respect had Chelsea finishing top four this year. They said that the squad was so talented that it would have to come good at some point.

What talent? Go through that Chelsea team against Bournmouth and explain what talent CFC have bought. Nothing exemplifies the insane transfer strategy than Jackson – a player with 13 career goals. He can run fast though. I guarantee he will end up going on loan next season and spend the next 6 years touring europe at various clubs.

The new owners stripped the club bare and filled it with insanely expensive mediocrity and I’m not just talking about the players. People like Granovskia and Cech were so incredibly important. Now we’ve got the chuckle brothers of Winstanley and Laurence.

Football is cyclical. City’s dominance wont last forever (even though it may feel like it). I can accept Chelsea falling away or going through a period of transition. If we were playing this badly, I’d take it with a team of academy players. I’d get into the battle of mid table mediocrity, maybe even possibly getting into the Europa Conference league. I Cannot accept £1BILLION spent to turn a top 4 team into a mid table one.

Because that is who Chelsea are now, mid table at best. That shouldn’t be acceptable but that is what the new ownership has done.

I think in the end the thing I’m most angry about is the feeling of losing something I identified with and having it replaced with a Frankenstein version. I want to connect but I cant. I’m not looking for nor expecting sympathy, schadenfreude is one of the most enjoyable things in football. But I’d just like to feel like a Chelsea fan again.
Will (would I feel like this if the club had been successful under Boehly, maybe. We are fantastically hypocritical us football fans)

Read more: The Mauricio Pochettino Question will be asked for as long as Chelsea stutter and stumble


Get Poch a mirror 
Goodness knows what it’s doing to him inside, but sadly it already looks to be taking its toll on Pochettino’s appearance. He’s gonna look well battered and decrepit soon.
Finlay x


Don’t pass to Eddie
Yes, this again. But am I wrong? Eddie is simply not good enough. 8 touches after 55mins v Everton.

You can say this is down to service from others, but I say it’s because they know he’s rubbish so why pass to him? England call up? Crazy.

We’ve dropped Havertz, tried Raya, so why not drop Eddie and get Jésus on asap ?

The 65m spent on Havertz should have gone towards a striker but Arsenal felt we had enough in that regard.

Arsenal are wrong. I think Everton might nick this.
Stu – Frustrated Gooner in France

Leandro Trossard and Bukayo Saka celebrate a winning goal

Are Arsenal any better?
I’ve seen 4 out of 5 of the Arsenal games this year, bar the Fulham draw. Despite the reports about how great they are there is still an old failing that is showing its head that I’m sure all long term Arsenal fans are concerned with.

We’ve had 70%+ possession in all the games, bar Utd which was probably close to 70% second half. There is very little end product to show for it, the goal scored column should be far greater and games should be far more comfortable at this level of possession but this is not an Arteta phenomena, it goes as far back as the start/early years of the AW era and to me its been a very big concern. The efficiency here means guys have to work much harder than they should have and its one of the reasons we ran out of steam last year. The pace is far too padestrian and we are far too one dimensional, we really only have one player who REALLY can mix it up and vary their play. (its Odegarad BTW). Saka/Martinelli both really good footballers BUT don’t mix their approach enough for me. (Queue the apoplectic backlash!)

One last point, are we really seeing value for the money we spent this summer? The decision to buy players already in the league is very sound, and its provided dividends last season, and who knows it MAY well work out, but I think you should expect a shorter bed in time for these guys, Rice should kick on after the Utd goal but I have no clue what we were doing buying Havertz, and just for the record, there will NEVER be anyone like Theirry Henry in the league again and certainly no one currently in an Arsenal shirt.

Jury still out on whether we’re improved or not. Time will tell.


No chaos at Liverpool
I read numerous reports suggesting Liverpool were “chaotic“ against Wolves, and this was consistent with their season. The reality odd somewhat different.

It’s true that the first half was very poor, but Liverpool had key players returning, jet-lagged after 14-hour flights from South America, and three of the first-choice back-for missing. It’s unsurprising they struggled, but impressive they recovered and dominated the second half.

As to the precious games, Villa and Bournemouth, (and the first game at Chelsea) were hardly chaotic, and Newcastle was a very mature performance after the early sending off.

For a team with a completely new midfield, the performances to date are better than expected, and the outlook is extremely positive. I see no chaos here.
PS other than Captain Chaos, and that’s a good thing


Celebration police
I am assuming that Richard Keys will be roundly condemning Sours after their celebrations on Saturday after beating Sheffield United.
Andrew Goonerabroad Brown