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A manager grows with his team…
Never really bought into the whole ‘this manager has a style of play’ malarkey.. issue with that is once they are found out, it can go down hill pretty quickly and be hard to come back from – See Jose, more importantly see Poch. Is it happening to Pep now, happened to Klopp at Dortmund, will it again?.. A manager who has strings to his bow and can adapt on the opposition offers much more of a long term substance.. people talk about the ‘United Way’ the United way was winning, when required Fergie wasn’t scared to park the bus, go direct etc it wasn’t always pretty.
What other manager is showing equally adept at playing 3 formations? whether 5-3-2, 4-2-1-3 and now a diamond, Solskjaer is growing with his team and personnel, I don’t doubt their will still be some tough days and learning curves, but be patient, this is what building looks like (spoiler you don’t win every game).
Not quite a diamond
I’m going to resist taking digs at all those in the mailbox who have vehemently asserted that Solskjaer would compare unfavourably to most Championship managers, let alone the Premier League, and make an observation instead about the formation. Everybody has been calling this a diamond (great email from Megan btw), but I submit to you that Solskjaer’s formation was the much more prosaic rectangle, rather than diamond.
Fred and Matic both played at the base of the rectangle. Both covered the defence and Fred in fact had a good shout for being a man of the match before Rashford’s pyrotechnics. And in front of them Pogba and Van De Beek played on the left and right respectively. Both looked for spaces behind the front two. Both drifted to the bye-lines on their respective sides, and contributed defensively when out of possession. And neither made too many runs into the box in the first hour of the game. DVBD may have been more naturally forward running but it was really a 4-2-2-2 formation. It was only when McTominay came on and provided a more box to box threat with Fred dropping back and Fernandes being the tip, that the United midfield really became a diamond.
I hope this game has also (temporary) settled the discussion about Van De Beek. What a fabulous player – great tight control, good vision and a great first touch. The typical Ajax pass and move player. If Pogba heads off due to a contract issue, we have enough cover for him already.
Lastly, I’m sure we’ll see the usual knee jerk revisionism about Upamecano was made to look rather static by Rashford and co. One game doesn’t change the quality of a player. Especially a defender whose best years are ahead of him.
Ved Sen, MUFC
Van the man not Dan
First thing I would like to mention is how refreshing it is to see us play to our potential every now and again and put teams to the sword. Unfortunately we can’t do it enough but it’s nice when it happens. That diamond formation definitely looks the way forward atm with the personnel we have which brings me to van de beek. In my opinion he is essential to this formation. He has to start when we play this way. His movement off the ball and his ability to play in such tight spaces and play round the corner is ridiculous. He creates space for everyone around him and it makes it so difficult for the other team to mark. Mata is probably the best I’ve seen at doing all the above especially for United but I don’t think he could sustain it over a period of weeks.
So for me van de beek has to be first on the team sheet. But and there is always a but. This is where ole really frustrates me. Instead of using last night as a catalyst and moving forward he will revert back to type and start Dan James on Sunday on the left to try and counter arsenal’s wing backs. And for this reason alone we won’t win the game because other than his speed which he doesn’t even use to his advantage anymore he offers little to nothing. The start of his tenure at utd was quite clearly based on adrenaline and the only reason for his decent return on goals and assists. He should count himself lucky that he even makes the bench now. So Mark my words, if ole starts Dan James on Sunday we will not win the game. The end.
Charlie, Northern Ireland
The ‘Big Six’ are no different to the rest
I’m getting a bit fed up of the ‘Big 6’ narrative. We’re told that their greed is ruining the game and writers such as John Nicholson tell us that the league is better off without them. I get frustrated with this spin, not because I’m a fan of one of the aforementioned clubs, but because it’s completely detached from reality.
The members of the ‘Big 6’ are no different to any other club in the league. And I’m not trying to say they aren’t greedy, ruthless and out for themselves. Quite the opposite. I’m saying that all clubs are. All football clubs, certainly in the Premier League and most in England, are out to make money. All of them will do whatever they can to try and maximise their profits. I’m not saying that’s a good thing but it’s the truth.
Does anyone seriously believe that other clubs wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to be one of the elite if given the opportunity? If Everton had been offered the 6th spot in Project Big Picture instead of Spurs would they have said no? Would West Ham? Everton? Of course not and it’s utterly naive to believe otherwise.
In a different world the current Big 6 would have a different make up. If the investors from Abu Dhabi had pitched up in Newcastle instead of Manchester, they’d be getting one of the spots. Perhaps if Leeds had sustained their Champions League participation in the early 2000s, they could have been there instead of Spurs. If that were the case, Spurs and City would be fuming, arguing about the unfairness of it all and demanding the ‘Big 6’ show respect to the rest of the league.
There’s a dream scenario John paints where football goes back to the 60s and we have a different winner every year? But who’s to say that would happen? Who’s to say that Everton, Newcastle, Villa etc. wouldn’t begin to dominate in the same way the current big 6 do?
Liverpool, United, City, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea are no different to the rest of the league. They’re not any greedier, any more ruthless, more money driven, they are just in a position to do something about it. Is that a good thing? Not at all. Am I in favour of the proposals put forward? No. But lets at least be realistic when we’re talking about it.
Mike, LFC, London
Happy if Wan-Bissaka plays like Irwin…
In general I agree with most of what Megan said in this morning’s mailbox.
However just on the note of Wan-Bissaka being a 90s full-back. What I want to know is why is it suddenly a thing that 90s full-backs were just defensive players that couldn’t string a forward pass together.
We had Irwin in the 90s. One of the most attacking (and still defensively brilliant) full-backs I’ve ever seen. He would regularly score 3 or 4 goals a season where he burst into the box having played a one-two and finish really well. We’ve not had a full-back that attacking since.
On the other side we had Neville. Not a goal scoring defender like Irwin but we scored many goals where Neville overlapped Beckham and then put in a pinpoint cross right on the striker’s head.
In summary, if our full-backs could attack like our 90s full-backs did I would be incredibly pleased.
The Ole sine managerial sine wave
It’s nice to see that we’re back at the top of the Ole managerial sine wave where his knowledge of the club and tactical astuteness has him leading the mighty United back to glory such as the PL or the Champions League – all bad results were merely the lack of pre-season.
Perhaps this time it will stay at the peak and these things will happen but looking at the history it suggests we’ll be back at the bottom by the start of December where he’s a glorified PE teacher and they’ll never win anything with him as manager
Mark C, St Albans
I wrote in last week (I think? Time no longer has any meaning since I started working from home) when a United fan compared Fred to prime Makelele and Demebele, laughing at the hyperbole inherent to such claims.
Ladies and gentlemen, Ken.
Better than Hodgson…
Martin Mwangi – erm, Hodgson took FULHAM to a European Final and is currently 7 places ahead of you in the league. Oh and they also won 3-1 at OT last month. But yeah….
Steve (EL Night, wohoo!)
Golden oldies and Barcelona…
Let’s not get too carried away, Mike, Oxford.
Barca were pretty great though. Actually it was the best I’ve seen them play for ages, but that probably has something to do with one of the aforementioned ‘clowns’ quitting the club and taking his board of directors with him.
I’m not saying that Jo Mary himself moonlights as an F365 staffer, but I’m pretty sure he cried salt tears of regret after reading my e-mail and decided to do the honourable thing.
Juve were rank though. On the subject of Italian clubs, and if we’re still talking golden oldies, human highlight reel Fabio Quagliarella is worth a shout. Capocannoniere at 35, Italy’s oldest goalscorer and still banging them in. Even a five-year ordeal with a stalker couldn’t derail him.
Quarantino Asprilla, Chairman of the Bored, ITFC
PS: This pandemic has truly exposed the big clubs for the bloodless disaster capitalists that they are.
Ole, the worst manager in the league
Thank you for posting my mail this morning. Also thank you for asking me to provide you with the link to your own website where you had called Ole the worst manager in the league. Ser Davos Fronts and here it is.
I’d like to draw your attention to the following line:
“Say what you like about Moyes or Van Gaal, even at their worst moments they were never the worst manager in the whole division”
The line that preceded it was
” …the fact remains that not one of the other 19 Premier League clubs – not even Fulham – would currently swap managers with Manchester United”
Several comments invited F365 to justify those comments as you failed to do so in the aeticle. So how about it F365? Where are we at now?
Ser Davos, The Onion Knight
There was definitely an article in F365 a few weeks ago which referred to Ole as the worst in the league. Fingers crossed someone else will do the hard work of finding it but if this isn’t corrected by someone else in the next mailbox I’ll do the task myself!
Calling out someone to post a link of an article you definitely wrote, edited, and published was a pretty weak attempt at a cover up for claiming Ole is literally the worst manager in the premier league.
A lot of “say what you want about LVG/Mourinho/Moyes” before attacking Ole also tended to keep appearing, yet most United fans I know would still rather have Ole than any of the above.
I do not think Ole is a genius tactician. I also do not think he deserves to be spoken about like a high school coach considering he has victories over some of the best managers and teams in world football today.
He probably won’t be our long term saviour, but Ole will leave United with a better reputation as manager than he had before joining (I suppose he didn’t have much of a reputation before but still.)
Kind regards, still love you,
Julian Nagelsmann wants the Man Utd Job!
How else will you explain his turning up at Old Trafford all dapper and fresh faced.
He’s probably read F365 a lot and believed your agenda that Ole’s a one trick pony who only knows how to counter attack, in his mind he’d play Ole off the pack with all of his “tactical innovativeness” and seduce the marketing department with his charm and sense of fashion.
Thank you F365, keep pushing the agenda with both hands.
Obinna. Nigeria. #EndSars. (Brackets)
Winners and losers…
Is it just me or does the Winners and Losers column always come out late when Manchester United have had a good win?
Takura, Harare (Zimbabwe)
2+2 is 4, quick maths
Is anyone else concerned for DONP’s math skills from yesterday’s mailbox? Since Everton, these are Liverpool’s scores: Ajax 1-0, Sheffield 2-1, Midtjylland 2-0.
Isn’t that 5 goals scored and 1 conceded? Where does he get 7 and 4 from?
So Patrick Bamford got us thinking about absolutely random Premier League hat-trick goalscorers. Justice for “busy” Kevin Lisbie.