Man Utd 1-3 Crystal Palace: The Mailbox

Date published: Sunday 20th September 2020 11:23

Lots of conclusions on Man Utd and some love for everyone's second team...

Great mails today. Keep sending your conclusions to theeditor@football365.com

 

Your Man Utd conclusions
It’s 1:30 am in SG and I am watching this abject performance from Manchester United, it seems like OJS has finally taken out a page from Messrs Jose M notebook.

OJS being the good loyal supporter of the club that he is, can’t go on an war path that perhaps someone from the outside (read Jose) can. But, and a big but, OJS can field a weak team against a team that perhaps everyone else would expect MUFC to beat.

Watching the supposedly MUFC huff and puff against a perceived lesser team would further anger the United faithful’s and would add more to the already burning fire of United being left behind. The transfer gurus that Mr Woodword and Mr Judge are, shall perhaps now be more persuaded for the reinforcements that they currently just cannot seem to find. I also hope that patented negotiation technique of Mr Woodword of lowballing before and paying through the nose afterwards shall be duly deployed post this game.

Mr Woodword perhaps is forgetting that whilst OJS would not openly rebel against the regime but displays like this would further alienate an already simmering United worldwide fan base against his and his cronies overall transfer brilliance.

I do seriously hope that playing Fosu Mensah, McTominay and James  is a ploy rather than some tactical mistake, I also assume that sacrificing these 3 points shall augur well for our season in general.

I do not know if the tide would turn in the second half but I am too sleepy and dejected to keep watching till wee am hours.
JM (the other one)


F365’s early loser: Ed Woodward, witness to his own incompetence


 

I know it’s funny because it’s VAR-chester United, and no club gets more fans laughing at them than United, but seriously? So a VAR decision on a ‘handball’ which for all my years of watching football should be deemed too close to the body, followed by a save – during a penalty stutter step – where perhaps De Gea’s heel was elevated, again done by VAR.

I 100% guarantee you they’ll change that rule on keepers next season, because it’s patently ridiculous. So not only is a keeper at huge disadvantage during a spot kick, but now an attacker can stutter, jump, skip, pause and do whatever they want, and the keeper can’t even jump in the air. Do they just write these laws so they can get controversy, respond to it, then change it subsequently?

United were/are awful and deserved to lose against a pretty solid Palace team, but if this is the standards defenders are going to be upheld to, we might as well give up now, and just make it a game of penalties.
Ryan (Atkinson absolutely loves it doesn’t he?)

 

Just watched United’s central defenders audition for a place on the bench but man alive even though Palace deserved their win the referee and VAR have made the most abject decision with regards to the penalty, and then to compound matters they decided that De Gea was an inch off his line so it should be retaken. On the retaking of the penalty should it not be the same penalty taker? Totally changed the game especially the retaking decision, Palaces heads dropped when he saved it then redemption in the form of a collosal refereeing shitshow. Ah well surely can’t get any worse after that can it?
Paul Murphy, Manchester

 

  1. You may not be able to read this (!) as the internet may have exploded.
  2. MUFC may now be 432-1 in front on VAR penalty decisions but the 1 is truly awful and once again shows the difference between people who officiate the game and people who understand/have played it, shocking.
  3. This doesn’t detract though from the fact that the better team, on the day, won the game, my least favourite LFC manager had a game plan and it worked superbly.
  4. This may be why he struggled at LFC and for England, when expectation and the quality of player is high, he doesn’t know how to get the best out of the situation.
  5. Never rated McTominay but he was by far MUFC’s best midfielder today.
  6. Never rated McTominay but he was by far MUFC’s best defender today and without him, Palace would have been out of sight after an hour.
  7. Will this email make the 3rd or 4th mailbox devoted to this game?
  8. Comments were made recently that DDG was still better than Alisson, apologies to the editor please.
  9. Harry Maguire should have a big audio device fitted to let people around him know he is turning, turns slower than Maggie Thatcher.
  10. Mason Greenwood should be at Carrington at 6.30 a.m. Monday morning to a) ask why Daniel James started ahead of him and b) ask how much longer is the transfer window and can he get a move.
  11. Have Zaha/Ayew/Townsend now entered the “Who’s got the best front three in the Premiership?” ( The answer is no by the way)
  12. Marmaduke Sakho could be that 4th choice CB LFC still need.
  13. Who will MUFC buy out of a) panic and b) with the £50 million they could con somebody out of for Pogba.
  14. Will there be a F365 poll for someone to take blame, options include OGS, Woodward, SAF, David Moyes, Pogba and Phil Neville.
  15. Has the bubble burst? Utd have now lost to Sevilla, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, maybe OGS has run them into the ground.
  16. Hope this doesn’t bite me on the arse come 6.30 Sunday!!!

In all honesty, MUFC looked like a team short of competitive games but also a plan B, I’m sure they’ll get better and a tilt at the Europa League will not be beyond them, not sure they’ll cope with Arsenal though.
Howard (the fallout is going to be brilliant) Jones

 

  1. We can all now agree Fernandes is a one season wonder.
  2. Slab-Head getting outjumped by Oompa-Loompa Jordan Eyew was amusing
  3. Shaw seems to look more rotund with shorter hair. Maybe Greenwood picked him up some treats from Iceland.’
  4. Pogba constantly losing the ball in midfield to a Palace midfielder and someone will still try and call him World Class (Hi Garey).
  5. Palace will be disappointed not to have scored more.
  6. Calling Roy Hodgson ‘Woy’ was always disrespectable but maybe we should change the Utd manager’s name to ‘Wole Gunnar Solskaer’. Geddit?
  7. Paul Pogba is a spoilt footballer that has asked to move away for 3 years and Utd still pick him.
  8. Maguire looks so lost, he used to better players around him to cover his inadequate ‘skills’.
  9. It takes a big manager to change De Gea with Henderson. Utd have Ole.
  10. New penalty rules are rubbish and then it evened out with all Utd’s ‘penalties’ last season.
  11. Gary Neville sounded sad throughout.
  12. Making 16 conclusions is very difficult.
  13. I don’t know who is more disgraced in front of The Palace – Manchester Utd or Prince Andrew.
  14. Seriously, how does F365 get to 10 conclusions and I have a shocking Man Utd to work with?
  15. Zaha is better than anything Utd have bought in years.
  16. If Utd keep OGS it will just be another year of a few good results and things like this, all season. Enjoy

Jimmy (Still sunny in lockdown) Spain

 

I am a long time reader of Football 365 and its mailbox but never posted anything.

Today’s Man UTD loss To Crystal Palace was atrocious. But how much can we blame Woodward for it.
All 3 goals and nearly all of Palace’s chances were due to defensive errors. The common theme was Lindelof. Any competent defender like say BaIlly, Smalling, even Rojo would have done better. A more defensive minded Wan-Bissaka would have helped instead of T.F.Mensah.
How Lindelof is faking being a Center half when he can barely head a ball is a scam that needs investigation.
On to my second point of why we lacked creativity. You think players like Martial, Rashford, Bruno and Pogba would have done better.
Yes, Pogba was horrible, but he clearly looked unfit. Whether it was after effects of covid, or just lack of match practice, you would expect a much better pass completion than 75% from World Cup winner, world’s most expensive midfielder.

Yes we need a right forward/midfielder/winger but how differentky would he perforn from Rashford, Martial or Bruno.
I think what we really need is someone like Scholes or Carrick or even a Rooney to quickly move the ball to wide areas. How often we see in match where the opposition has parked a bus, and due to lack of any opening, the ball goes back from one wing to mids and CBs , who in turn slowly pass the ball to the other wing. By then opposition  has shored up the defence on the other side and the other side wing back/winger passes the ball back to the mids/cbs again. Then we repeat cycle.

Someone like Paul Scholes would have sent a quick pentrating Diagonal long ball , creating an extra half a yard to the winger on the other side, giving opposition lesser time. This would have helped put in an early cross, or better opportunity for the winger to dribble past the defender.
If I am not wrong in my observation, Tony Valencia started struggling after retirement of Scholes and Giggs and the change in style of United’s midfield.
Yes, someone like Sancho would help in dribbling into opposition defence. But such players are rare and very expensive. Maybe Zaha could do a job now if we re-sign him. He woont be cheap either. Instead a good midfield with pentrative long passing wouldn’t need a right wing worth 100 mil. Pogba was supposed to be the answer to that creative mid but isn’t. It is so frustrating to see him try to dribble on the edge of his own penalty box instead of quickly passing the ball away. Imagine a better midfielder, pinging the ball immediately to Pacey wingers like Daniel James or Rashford
Both Fred or Matic haven’t been the answer to  a Scholes type mid. Bruno isn’t that type of player either, and shouldn’t be asked to play so deep. Nor is Mctominay. I am not sure what role Van Beek is supposed to play but he didn’t look like a Deep lying playmaker either. On a side note, good job for the consolation goal for the debutant (did anyone see the abject horor on his face while seated on the bench observing the football being served by his team mates).

Or maybe I have got it all wrong and football tactics have moved to tiki-taka and other stuff.

Again I won’t blame Woodward for the defensive errors today.
Whether we could still sign Sancho or someone similar,   a competent LB, an additional CB, and get rid of all the excess baggage (Jones, Rojo, Perrera, Jesse, Dalot and one of Bailly/Lindelof) by the end of the window, will help us decide whom to blame.

Can we ask Scholes to reconsider his retirement. Also why on Earth did we not try signing Ziyech or Bergwijn as  right forward/mid. Sack the scouts along with Woodward please.
-Rahil, MUFC from Mumbai

 

– Palace are the ultimate counter-attacking team. Roy is Jose done right. When United had the ball, it felt like Palace had 15 men in the box. When Palace broke, it felt like United were down to 10 men. That’s tactics and coaching.

– Speaking of which, Ole may want to try that one day. Palace’s excellent two banks of four was hardly unexpected, but seemed too advanced for the Norwegian to come with any plan to get through it. He seems a lovely fella, but outside of getting fouled in the box alot, do United have an attacking plan?

– Zaha is the ultimate player for this type of match. He’s too fast for both CBs, too skillful for McTominay and was excellent. But if he signed for a ‘big’ club, all his faults would be clear. He’s just not useful against a packed defence. Palace is perfect for him.

– The rules on keepers in penalties will change, and soon, because forcing them to stand still with no momentum against an attacker who can hop, skip, pause and jump is patently ridiculous, and one of the worst ideas to come out of football refereeing – which in of itself is impressive.

– Similarly, I’m not sure what defenders are supposed to do against tricky attackers. Referees should have to backtrack at full speed without using their arms and see how it goes. Expect a lessening of that rule next season as well. Lindelof was tragically bad, but there’s not a human being on Earth who can move their arm fast enough from two feet to avoid that.

– Has United’s luck run out? I’ve watched the Schlupp cross 3 times, and at no point in the entire phase of play did he look up. Not once. And the ball was pinpoint, perfectly weighted to Townsend, in front of Maguire and behind Shaw. Either psychic or just one of those things.

– Pogba will take a lot of criticism, but he’s been ill, had no preseason and it really showed. Let’s wait a little while before putting this all on him.

– The real United culprit is the shadow of Marcus Rashford. He is an attacker that no longer attacks. A winger that doesn’t cross, a forward that doesn’t move forwards. He looks beyond disinterested, and should be treated as such.

– Make no mistake, United will finish well out of the top 4 with this squad, and that is of little to no worry to Ed and the Glazers. Their dividends are coming along quite nicely thank you very much. This is the depressing future for United: we will not progress under Glazer ownership. I just don’t know how low we have to finish to become cheap enough to get rid of them.
Ryan, Bermuda

 

Obviously there will be lots of fuming about Woodward’s inability to get players over the line, and  it’s probably his fault that someone like Fosu-Mensah can start Premier League games for Manchester United, but the fullback situation in general at United is what baffles me the most. When you play with inside forwards, surely you need attacking full backs to get the opposition full backs pulled wide in order to open space for the forwards to play in. And these fullbacks can also progress the ball to allow the forwards to stay high up the pitch.

We can talk Sancho all day long but if Wan-Bissaka/Fosu-Mensah/Shaw/Williams aren’t a threat out wide the way that Trent Alexander-Arnold or Andy Robertson are then there’s no reason for the opposition fullbacks to come meet them, which cuts out the attacking threat. It allows players like Sancho/Greenwood to be double marked. The only player on the pitch for United that should be playing as a fullback in 2020 is Daniel James, who should be retrained as he has none of the qualities required to play in attack in the current setup.

Signing Telles and getting Dalot back in the side would be a big help to the team, but you also need confidence in your centre-backs and a proper defensive midfielder to play this way, none of which the club currently has. So really fourth is probably the limit the current squad can achieve as they’ll struggle to break teams down and will lose games to teams that are able to counter at speed (half the league).
Stephen, Ireland

 

For how long will OGS keep insisting with selections that don’t work or keep justifying players who are bang average. The best example is James and Greenwood. Why in God’s name is James starting any game? What’s this he sees in training that we don’t see? James is too one dimensional and useless for lack of a better word. Most importantly he is ineffective. He should be loaned really or sold. No title winning team should be playing James. Unless we have accepted our fate to be that of a mid table team.

The second is Lindelof. Lindelof doesn’t make the cut to be a top CB. Whatever others see, I have never seen it. Too weak, has no aerial conviction and he is prone to so many mistakes. While Maguire isn’t perfect, Lindelof is culpable for so many mistakes. I can count 10 goals Lindelof conceded last season to his own mistakes. Recently he made a blunder again Sevilla. Yesterday he made 2 howlers. He still gets played in all matches. Would Pep allow such? The answer is No!

Just see how Rashford always plays all games no matter how poor he is. Lindelof and Rashford will keep playing despite having poor games. Are they immune to subs or benching? Don’t we have alternatives? If you don’t bench a player, how do you expect him to step up? Rashford earns 250K, but all he does he make useless runs with zero end product. He has been poor in the last 6 months. He needs to be benched or subbed early. Lindelof needs to be dropped for our best defender Baily. I wonder why the manager never rated Baily much. Why is it easy to sub Pogba and not Rashford?

Finally a manager who does not his bet team yet worries me. Why didn’t Greenwood start the game? Why didn’t Bissaka start? Why didn’t Fred start.

It is really sad!
Let’s also not blame the lack of buys because Jason Sancho playing won’t make Rashford world class. He is still bang average and overrated! Sancho won’t make James effective. Jadon being bought won’t make Lindelof do basic defending. Jadon coming won’t make OGS select his best team always. The team has poor selection decisions by the manager, overrated players immune to being dropped and the lack of an authoritative manager. Not sure if a buy or 2 will change that.

I feel lost as a fan!!
Abner…Kenya.  

 

This has been coming a while. Why do people think United is that great. Jesus. History apart we’ve done sweet F A since SAF left.

We have a mediocre manager and no DOF. We miss out on transfer targets every year and the United board have the cheek to blame people on Twitter.

We plod along. That’s it.

F me if we finish top 4 this year I’ll take it as a success. There are so many teams better than us and who are so much better run.

Its 820 am and I might be delirious from not sleeping at all and watching all the games but that was shite from United.
Rahil, MUFC Melbourne 

 

It’s no longer “can they do it on a cold, wet Tuesday evening in Stoke”

It is simply, “can they do it against Palace”

On their day, the hardest team to beat in the league.
Fat Man (keeping it in my pants about Everton for the moment tho)

 

Sancho desperation
Dortmund can slap on another 10mil on Sancho now. We so desperately need him. Whether we overturn this deficit or not won’t change that.

Do United have the worst fullback options in the entire league?
Hakim, Sri Lanka

 

I’m in no rush, but me and my mate Al have simplified things for Ed in his pursuit of Jadon Sancho:

So Dortmund want €108million

Which is £99million sterling.

So sell Rojo, Dalot, Jones, Romero, Lingard & Smalling for a combined £75million.

Take that away from £99million.

And Sancho will only be an outlay of £24million.

*£25 million actually, as our consultancy on this deal is a cool £1mil.

Let us know where to send the invoice Eddie, been a pleasure working with you.
James & Al, London

 

Daniel, you make some valid points in your rebuttal, and I expected more vitriol for my attempt at defending Woodward, so thanks for the constructive tone! Yes Woodward is bad some aspects of his job and that’s partly the reason we are where we are, BUT, let’s just focus on the transfer business for a second. I think we’re more in agreement than you might think.

As you say, there’s the important matter of whether Thiago would come to United. A player who has spent time in Germany, where I would think Klopp has a huge cachet, given a choice between joining this Liverpool team and this United team? The only way you would get him into United would be to double his wages. That is the very strategy that’s landed us in this mess. From Di Maria to Sanchez, we’ve brought in players because we could pay more, not because they wanted to be here. And that always shows up in their level of commitment. I’d be interested in knowing why you think Woodward didn’t put in the effort? Why do we think we know exactly what went on, in what has to be an extremely confidential process?

To the negotiation strategy point. Yes, Dortmund don’t need the money. So we just pay them? Is that how you would negotiate for anything? Forgive me for disagreeing on this one, but before somebody spends a 100 million buying anything, I would expect them to have tried a hundred creative ways of bringing the price down. Offer players, pay in instalments, and research every aspect of Dortmund’s model to find weaknesses to exploit. Clearly, history suggests that Dortmund are a selling club. They like to buy, polish and sell talent. And they don’t win a whole lot, so players do want to move on when their time has come. So please don’t tell me that Dortmund don’t want to sell. If Woodward didn’t try every trick in the book to shave a few million of the price, that would be incompetence, as a CEO.

United have for long been THE club to come to in the premier league, with usually one other club in the mix – for a while it was Arsenal, then it was Chelsea, then City joined the party. Today United are one of six clubs that a player wishing to play in the premier league might join. Eight if you include Everton and Leicester. Nine, if you’re Portuguese and Wolves is an attractive destination. So we feel aggrieved when the CEO doesn’t rock up, and drop the sackful of cash and return with the player under his arm. We want all the deals to be done like Sir Alex and David Gill did. Saw Ronaldo, liked him, bought him. Job done. Woodward and Solskjaer operate in a different Universe. And much as I like Ole, he doesn’t have the pulling power of Klopp or Pep.

Woodward has done a terrible job appointing managers, and not having a director of football, so these deals can be negotiated round the year, and talent can be spotted early. Yes, there are plenty of other structural problems. But I still don’t think we should be blocking him in the current transfer environment because he doesn’t “just buy Sancho for £108m” or gazzump Liverpool for Thiago. The last 1 year has been particularly constructive, as along with Ole, we’ve seen the single biggest improvement in the team, the style of play, and the overall vibe at the club. He may still have a long way to go, but why not recognise that Woodward may have learnt some lessons as well?

I don’t know any more than the average fan but I would like to believe that United will try all the way to the end of the transfer window to land Sancho and meanwhile, have a back up option on Sarr, who looks pretty good on his day. Worst case there will be a deal for Perisic, who will be good enough for a season or two.
Ved Sen, MUFC

 

Everyone’s second team
So how quickly are Everton going to become everyone’s “second” team???

I’m not *quite* old enough to remember their heyday in the 80s, but with the exception of a few brief flirtations with the top 4 or 5 and the odd cup final, they have largely underachieved for much of the last 30 years. Has been hard yards for the Goodison faithful.

Quick bit of two-game knee-jerk: Something seems to have clicked and under the watchful eye of a top class manager; it could be sustainable and potentially a lot of fun.

Hope Toffees fans enjoy the season! Could they even be an outside bet for top four if Manyoo or Chelsea find the limitations of their inexperienced managers exposed?
Chris Bridgeman, Kingston upon Thames

 

Come on BoJo – do the decent thing and announce an immediate lockdown, with all sports results standing.
Aidan, EFC, London (it’s 14.32 on Saturday)

 

Everton are going to qualify for the Champions League this season folks… you heard it here first btw.
Oliver, London

 

It’s not life and death
Excellent e-mail from Jon, Cape Town, fully agreed with the rivalry comments, great to hear a similar minded soul!

I dont hate Everton fans (I’m married to one), or United fans (my favourite cousin  is one), I do love shouting abuse at them for 180 minutes a season though. And I love getting it back.

I’ve been lucky enough to have my nonsense published in these hallowed pages a few times and the theme is usually related to the fact that we all should be mates. We love football, I dont like your team, you dont like mine but if we met in a business situation, for example, we would probably get on.

My mrs was 50 last week and we  couldn’t have a proper party, we were supposed to be in motherwell today celebrating with her family, but we’re not. Football is very important, I literally still have dreams about scoring in front of the Kop, but it’s not life and death.

Good luck to everyone in the coming weeks, be healthy.
Mark Jones, LFC, Liverpool

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