‘Dressed up’ Solskjaer would have been fired by Chelsea

Date published: Wednesday 5th August 2020 3:02

Also... a manager XI, Prem play-offs and the remnants of Pep's lunch.

Keep your mails on Ole’s underacheivement and anything else to theeditor@football365.com


Ole dressing up
In light of johnny wicky’s recent mailbox entry regarding his ranking of Arteta, Ole and Lampard, I have to agree with him on the fact that Ole’s season is being dressed up as a success by Man United fans, but it is clearly a massive underachievement.

It is truly remarkable to note that Ole has spent more money than any other manager in England during his tenure. How is this massive fact being ignored so willfully by United fans?? The truth is, that there is simply no way he would have finished in the top 4 if it were not for a) Leicester collapsing like a house of cards and b) Bruno Fernandes. This is not a cause for alarm to Man United fans?? That your manager has out spent league and champions league winning managers since his appointment, yet was completely dependent on a single player and another teams collapse on making it into a champions league spot? I am only shocked at some of the defensive responses I am reading from Man United fans over the last couple of days, trying to sweep these facts under the rug.

As a Sheffield United fan, I generally tend to stay out of the swinging of fists between fans of the bigger clubs, but the fact is that I can quite clearly see a wilful ignorance from the Man United fans with regards to the generous situation that Solskjaer finds himself in, and I would have to agree with the fact that Lampard and Arteta would probably have done better in that situation, based on the evidence I have seen this season. I would go as far as to say that if Man United do not win the Europa League and end up trophy less,this season could be dubbed a failure for Ole.
Dean, SUFC

MAILBOX: Man United are the plucky underdogs to Aston Villa ‘bullies’


Solskjaer would have been fired by Chelsea
Solskjaer would have been fired had he spent the amount he has on transfers at Chelsea and failed to challenge Liverpool or Manchester City. Similarly, Lampard will have no excuses next season. With Werner coming in with Ziyech, he needs to challenge the top 2 or else he will be gone.
Wezzley from under the bridge


Arteta has improved players
Nero Chello is absolutely correct when he says that Arteta has improved players during his time tactically and technically. For crying out loud, he has made players like David Luiz and Mustafi look like competent defenders. Mustafi was superb against Man City in the FA Cup, and Luiz has been excellent for a run of games now.

I have seen nothing of the sort to suggest that Ole has really improved any players at ManUnited. He has inherited a very expensively assembled squad with players who seem to have responded to bringing in Fernandes more then anything the manager is telling them to do. Lampard has basically achieved what Ole has without the ability to bring in any players, so in essence he has indeed had a better season.

I would say that Arteta has proven thus far to be the best manager out of these 3, and Lampard follows in second.
Charlie Pedelston, Sydney 


Maguire the best since Vidic
I absolutely get the worry about United signing Sancho. Our record with signings since RVP has been a mixed bag at best and utterly terrible if you’re being realistic. So faith in Woodward is low right now, and rightly so.

However, we have seen the shoots of recovery in the last 18 months. Maguire and Wan Bissaka are undoubtedly the best defenders we have signed since Vidic and Evra. Bruno has had the biggest impact of any player we have signed since RVP. Daniel James hasn’t pulled up trees but his assists record is respectable (he’s contributed to more league goals this season than £70m rate Wilf Zaha and is only slightly easier to knock over) and he was relatively cheap and is still relatively young. Ighalo was free and has plugged a gap well and we love him.

The big question mark over our recent activity for me is why we didn’t sign Bruno in the summer transfer window and this probably says something about Woodward’s negotiating tactics. Ed clearly thinks he (or whoever does the negotiating) is some sort of genius and can negotiate a price down. Unfortunately, what he’s proven over time is that he either doesn’t get the player or he ends up paying exactly what the other team was asking for. In Bruno’s case, we seemed to have paid the asking price, just 5 months too late. And we came within one game of not qualifying for the champions league because of it. Clearly there was no guarantee Bruno would be a success in the Premier League, and he may still turn out to be cack. But the first half of the season would’ve been much more bearable with him in the side. Again, with Maguire, there was an attempt to negotiate which failed very publicly though he was at least brought in before the start of the season.

I don’t mind United paying top dollar for the right players, they can afford it and the selling team sets the price as far as I’m concerned (realistically though, obviously). Liverpool identified that they needed a top quality centre back and goalkeeper and they paid the money to do it. United needed Maguire and Fernandes and identified them as top targets. Instead of pissing around they should’ve just paid the money and signed them up early. Or if  we are going to negotiate, do it privately.

Which brings me nicely on to Sancho. Sancho is a top talent and the only other two young players I can remember having watched live and subsequently being similarly excited about playing in a United shirt are Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo, so I hope this happens. Profile wise, he’s fits in well and would’ve done so in Fergie era United as well. Concerns about his behaviour off the field? Look at a young Rooney (or an old one), there’s no comparison. Sancho also plays in a position that we have neglected for years. You could argue Greenwood has made it his own in the last few games, but he himself is young and two footed and will probably mature into a central player anyway. Sancho is also just as good, if not better through the centre and on the opposite flank. If anyone of Rashford, Martial, Greenwood or Fernandes is missing, Sancho can play in their place. Whilst some have argued Sancho doesn’t improve the squad, merely the first team, the above suggests this is nonsense. For these reasons it makes absolutely sense that Sancho is United’s number one target this summer. What doesn’t make sense is United briefing this to the press and then similarly briefing that we won’t spend more than £50m.

Yes, Sane went for about that to Bayern. But he hadn’t played for City all season through injury and had a year on his contract. City don’t necessarily need him (certainly not as much as they need a centre back) and that price was good business for all involved. For Dortmund it is different. Sancho is established in their side and they have a better chance of winning things with him in the team. They will have to figure out how to replace those goals and assists next season, which is something City don’t really need to do with Sane. Whilst I have no doubt Dortmund are brilliant enough in the transfer market to do this, it’s never a guarantee and they’re right to name their price for Sancho. Around £100m is reasonable taking into account his age, productivity and also the “English Premium”. If Maguire is worth £80m then Sancho is easily worth £100m, even with Covid and all that. If United can’t afford it, then they shouldn’t be insulting Dortmund, United fans and anyone stupid enough to listen by suggesting they’re even attempting to buy the player. If he’s the number one target find out how much he’ll cost and if you can’t afford it, cross him off quickly instead of yanking our cranks for weeks on end.

What I actually expect is happening is what Fabrizio Romano is reporting – negotiations are ongoing about the structure of the payment whilst personal terms are agreed. He generally tends to get things spot on. Certainly more so than James Cooper, BILD or the hacks at ESPN. Ultimately United will pay exactly what Dortmund asked for, albeit over a number of years. And Woodward will be made to look an idiot again and subsequently there’ll be something in the press about the guy that “really” does the negotiating. And if we don’t get him then I fully expect we’ll hear some “didn’t fancy him anyway” bollocks.

And while we’re here, I have no idea if Jude Bellingham is a good player or not. I suspect he went to Dortmund because, as he says, they’re excellent at bringing the youth through. But if United were turned down because the Glazers wouldn’t pay £3m a year to someone who Ole thought would immediately play 20 games a year then they have completely lost it. We currently pay around £7.5m for a year for Jesse “One Goal” Lingard. That’s a pretty low bar the Glazers were expecting Bellingham not to meet. I politely suggest that Ed and the owners are excellent at marketing (milking) a brand but know absolutely nothing about the football business. They should probably leave that to the experts.
Ash Metcalfe


Remnants of Pep’s lunch
So the runners up of Europa League, the team which finished on 70 points with 22 goals scored in the league by Aubameyang and finished 5th is now a team that “couldn’t string a few passes together” and since that sweater-weather Arteta is manager, they’re clearly doing better.

Auba has scored 22, team finished 8th on 56 points and was knocked out in the round of 32 in Europe…by Olympiacos.

Won the FA Cup though, so he must be the remnants of Pep’s lunch yesterday.
N.V.M. (The hypocrisy hurts my giblets)


Is 2nd good enough for United?
Re Ryan in Bermuda,

“66 points across a season is absolutely not good enough for Man Utd. But 32 points in 14 matches very much is.”

The issue if 32 points over 14 games projects to around 87 points in a full season. Which wouldn’t have been a title winning total since Leicester won the title with 81. So even assuming that United could replicate their absolute best form under Ole over a full season, being 2nd/3rd is good enough for United?


EFL playing favourites
I’m not sure if anyone else has mentioned it yet but I cannot fathom how unbelievably inconsistent and unjust the EFL has been in applying the punishments to both Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan. I’m not disputing that, technically at least, Wigan broke the rules – by the letter of the law, they did. What is absolutely criminal, however, is the fact that their sanction has been applied this season, consigning them to relegation, while Sheffield Wednesday have had theirs deferred to next season. On what basis? How is that fair?

I know that Sheffield Wednesday’s deduction being this year wouldn’t save Wigan from relegation, but considering Wigan were told that the deduction would be applied this year if they stayed up and next year if they didn’t, why have Sheffield Wednesday – in the same boat of the deduction relegating them – have had theirs deferred to next season? Have any reasonable justifications been offered for this clear bias and discrimination? I certainly haven’t seen any.

Arguably, Sheffield Wednesday’s violation of the rules is so much worse than Wigan’s too. For a start, how in the shuddering f*ck did the EFL let the situation which led to Wigan entering administration come to pass? How the hell did any of the people involved in the ownership of Wigan possibly pass the laughably named fit and proper persons test? And all the alleged criminal activity around this has only been done to financially benefit the individuals who own Wigan. Sheffield Wednesday and Derby, as I understand it, have flouted the rules to cover up their losses for footballing gain, by selling their stadiums…to essentially the people who already own the club?!

What it all comes back to is the fact that the EFL know that they royally screwed up in letting Wigan be owned by such crooked individuals, and by not dolling out the standard punishment they would be admitting as much. If there was any justice, Charlton and Wigan would both be staying in the Championship next season, and Derby and Sheffield Wednesday would be relegated in their stead. Of course that won’t happen – I’m sure the right wheels have been greased at the EFL. But at what point is football going to wake up to such institutional corruption? Speaking of which, I see Gianni Infantino of FIFA is also being investigated for criminal wrongdoing. He’ll have done well to out-corrupt Blatter but it should come as no surprise that corruption still exists at FIFA.

It just stinks. If Wigan had been relegated due to football underachievement I could understand it, but that’s not what happened here – they team had done more than enough to comfortable survive – it’s just the EFL, once again, blatantly playing favourites and applying punishments for similar transgressions but in entirely different ways.
Ted, Manchester


One inch punch
Going back a few weeks, Dan Hassocks posed a great question re why some footballers could absolutely leather a football harder than others with less back lift.

I think a good place to look for answers is MMA and Boxing, where the likes of Conor McGregor and Nas (Prince Naseem) seem to sleep people with one punch even though they are very small, slight humans.

In fighting circles it is called the touch of death. Some say you are born with this mystical gift and it cannot be acquired through training. I am not so sure. I personally think it is the absolute pinnacle of technique and timing. Thousands upon thousands of hours practising and perfecting said technique. It then becomes ingrained within ones muscle memory as you have mastered the shot and can be unleashed at will without thought.

A good example is Bruce Lee’s one inch punch. The guy is 9 stone yet sends a 200 pound plus guy sprawling several metres. Replace his fist with say Aguero/Defoes foot from one inch.

Keep up the good work guys. Much love.
Ben (It’s like a finger pointing a way to the moon, do not concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all of the heavenly glory) Howarth.


Prem play-offs
It’s been said before, and it seems like momentum is gathering as more and more of the media state it, but something needs to be done about the bottom of the Premier League. This season 4 teams finished with less than a point per game and West Ham just about finished with more than 1 PPG.

To evidence just how poor a team must be to achieve such a paltry points return, Palace lost 7 in a row and still finished on 43 points.

I think the Prem should introduce a play-off for teams who don’t finish in the bottom 3 but get less than 38 points in a season. Or perhaps it could be teams from 16th & 17th v teams finishing 4th and 5th in the Championship, with a straight swap between the Prem bottom 3 and top 3 in the Championship.

They need something to shake it up, I’m sure this end of season will be sold for it’s drama, but the reality is 4 teams were terrible and only separated because somebody forgot to turn on the goal line technology for the Villa v Sheff U game.

Furthermore, why do we have to pay for Sky/BT Sport and still have to endue adverts? Isn’t the point of paying a subscription meant to negate the need for adverts? E.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC?
James LFC 


Manager XI
As the season winds down, I thought I would go a little off topic and see if the Premier League managers formed a team, how would it look and where would they finish.
So, firstly, heres the team, all in their prime.
4-4-2. Im a traditionalist.

GK – Nuno Espirito Santo
Part of Joses Porto squad that w9n everything in the 2000’s, albeit as back up. 6ft2, commanding presence. Solid foundation

LB – Graham Potter
1 England U21 cap and a left back by trade so..

CB – Steve Bruce
Gets in ahead of Klopp here as he is a Premier League winning captain as a player and a goal threat too. Takes the penalties in this team.

CB – Pep Guardiola
Bit Crooks here but I had to put him in.
Taking a leaf out of his own Fernandihno shaped book, Pep drops back into the back 4 as a ball playing CB. Glittering playing career with buckets of experience.

RB – Slaven Bilic
Full on Crooks now but it was him or Moyes. Plenty of height in the back four. I better organise some set pieces.

DM – Mikel Arteta
Controlling things as a new fashioned Quarter Back. Brings a level of calm to the side.

CM – Carlo Ancelloti
I will let Wikipedia take over here “A world-class player, Ancelotti was a creative, cautious, and efficient midfielder who was known for his leadership, skill, composure on the ball, and organisational ability; he is regarded as one of the best Italian midfielders of his generation”
Note – Lacks pace

CM – Scott E Parker
Bit of muscle and bite to the midfield. Not quite an enforcer but plays on the edge.
All without a hair out of place.

AM – Frank Lampard
All time leading scorer for Chelsea from Mid Field, no better person to be at the tip of this midfield diamond. Doesnt have to worry about whats going on behind the midfield (no change there then arf!).

CF – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
No super sub role here as Ole has to start. Deadly finisher.

CF – Ralph Hassenhuttl
As we are playing 442, we need a big man to lump it up to. Only found out 15 mins ago he was a CF, which fits the purpose of this mail.

Jurgen Klopp, David Moyes, Sean Dyche, Jose Mourinho.

Marcelo Bielsa

I think top 10, possibly Europa is well within this teams grasp.



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