Arsenal: Pray Mustafi is as good as Bailly

Date published: Sunday 28th August 2016 10:53 - Matthew Stead

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Oh, Wayne
Ok, as long as Wayne Rooney keeps assisting and creating goals while also scoring a few himself i’ll refrain from gorging out my eyes every time he miss controls a pass or falls all over himself trying to pass to to a team mate.
Ken Ezra Chipa (good times at Old Trafford)Manc in UG


Rooney was pant all game as is the norm this days, but came up with the goods for the crucial goal.
Teejay, Lagos (“Fergie Time”)


You know those thought scenarios of the “if aliens came to earth and had to compare X to Y” type?

Well, I just experienced the next best thing. I was on a hike with no internet connection for the whole day. I returned to watch a short 2 min highlight reel of the utd game. All I saw of Rooney is that he skinned his man and put in a perfect cross for the winning goal. He looked like a fast attacking winger playing with hunger and desire. Clearly has a long and fruitful future at utd 😉
Niraj (yah I know, he was probably pants the rest of the game) Finger Lakes, USA


I no longer understand what Rooney is. In the beginning he was raw and explosive, as he grew up he became truly dangerous, even world class for a time. As his speed and impact faded his work rate kept him relevant. Now we get one good moment per game, not a great moment, just good. That his one moment against Hull was an assist for the winning goal was frustrating, despite the ensuing joy.

There was a mail last week saying Jose is the only manager without a blind spot. Well it seems he’s developing the same one as Moyes, Van Gaal, Hodgson, every ex-player turned pundit, and just about all journalists. Every time Wayne recieved the ball the attack stopped via either a backwards pass or loss of possession. Even the workrate, his final redeeming virtue, has gone. At one point whilst defending and with Maloney in possesion only a few yards from goal he stopped, turned away from the ball a complained to the ref about an apparant block. Luckily nothing came of Hulls attack but a yellow card for dissent soon followed. I threw my shoe at the tv.

Jose has said he is an attacking player and has no place in midfield. In Zlatan, Mkhitaryan, Martial, Mata, Rashford, Pogba, Herrera, and Memphis we have 8 players who would offer more in the no10 role than Rooney current does. Yet i bet he starts the next game, as a no10, for United and England. Its embarrassing.

United’s performance against Hull was reminiscent of a time not too long ago. Relentless pressure with a late goal by a wonderfully talented academy graduate, it was comforting. I hate that my overriding feelings afterwards are of frustration and anger.

Rashford though eh, what a player.
Dave, (Jose acknowledging ‘Fergie time’ in his post match interview was nice) Manchester.


And justice for Guy
Guy’s gonna have a field day.

And rightly so! Beautiful
Brian Badonde (bourettes)


Someone didn’t wait until full time…
Martial, Rashford, Mata and Mkhitaryan all outperformed Rooney, despite all being on the pitch for less time.

It’s getting closer to the time that Rooney will be dropped. I can FEEL it.

Rooney wasn’t actually actively bad today in that he didn’t lose the ball much and remembered how to control a ball,  but he’s just not an asset to a side any more.

Mourinho will see that. He will.
Tim Sutton


Moments later…
I sodding knew Rooney would do that after another game of nothing.

For f**ks sake, he’ll play forever.
Tim Sutton


Eric Bailly could be a bargain
The more I think about it, the more I realise that this is my first time writing in to F365 since Sir Alex Ferguson departed Manchester United. I suppose I didn’t have anything of interest to add that wasn’t already being said. Things are different now. The team is different, the management is different, the club seems different. The club finally seems to have an identity. Winning games seems to inspire more creativity than 81 crosses or 60% average possession.

The narrative for Manchester United has changed. No longer is the club being compared against some previous iteration. Moyes was always going to be compared to Sir Alex. That was the unfortunate situation that, win, lose or draw, he found himself in and the pressure destroyed him. Van Gaal had the enviable task of just not being David Moyes, which worked for one year. Three games into the new season, and no one is really talking about new regimes against the old. The focus is entirely on what’s happening on the pitch now.

People have highlighted the simplicity of Mourinho’s approach in the transfer market; identify problem areas, identify targets, sign targets. The second and fourth transfers have already generated pages worth of headlines and commentary, but it is the first signing who has really taken the league by storm. How Arsenal supporters must be praying that Shkodran Mustafi takes to the Premier League with the ease, strength, and grace that Eric Bailly has.

The Ivorian has three out of a possible four Man of the Match awards. With the attacking talent as disposal to Jose Mourinho, there is an easy implication that the four games have been dour affairs, more akin to the pathetic offerings of Messrs. van Gaal and Moyes. The simple fact is he’s been that good.

His physicality brough memories of Nemanja Vidic and United supporters were finally seeing that toughness at the back replaced. However, with each game it is becoming apparent that he is also an incredibly adept reader of the game. He rarely gets caught out of position. If he does, though, he has the pace to get back in position and make important tackles and blocks. Suddenly there is a feeeling that he is the best of Vidic and the best of his defensive partner Rio Ferdinand.

September will see the games start coming thicker and faster. This will test the young centre back’s stamina and concentration. On the current evidence, though, £30m could look a bargain.
Chris (Manchester, formerly Hampshire)


More United thoughts
Rashford was a beast and will grow wonderfully alongside Zlatan.

* Pogba was good but needs to curb his ambition to be a hero on every single play.

* Rooney needs to be dropped. I know he did assist Rashford on the goal, but his performance before that was horrendous.

* Bailly could become United’s next Vidic and is easily the best United signing of the summer.

* Very very concerned by Martial at the moment. He is half the player we saw last season. Hope he can get his head back into the game.

* Lastly, we were struggling to find a breakthrough and Fellaini was not in penalty box looking for the long ball.
Times have changed. Thankfully.



* It looks like Fellaini won’t be available for the derby. And hell, I’m worried! Another round of warmth and praise for the big man who looks fitter, mobile and vastly improved with the ball at his feet. To play on a soaked pitch on a yellow card for a long time, isn’t easy. Yet, he won his duels and tackles. It may force Jose’s hand to play Herrera vs City, which may be more suited when you think of the more urgent need for pace and perseverance to win a midfield battle against City’s faster, shorter midfielders and attackers.

* Word of praise pt. I – Rooney (yes!) was again, below par for the entire match, and I was constantly hoping it would be him subbed off for Rashford or Mkhitaryan, but the goal was made completely by Rooney on the wing. Paul Merson had this to say about Rooney vs Iceland – “Rooney gave the ball away cheaply against Iceland, but there were a lot of players hiding… he always wanted the ball in the final stages when it was going horribly wrong. Many of his team-mates didn’t.” Whilst that is debatable, what isn’t is his appetite. Even with his limited pace and poor touches, he kept getting involved right in the thick of it and showed the intelligence on the wing to skip past his marker and find Rashford. Well done, captain.

* Word of praise pt. II – Mkhitaryan. Wow. From adjusting to match’s intensity immediately, to blinding pace to scream through defenders, he had it all. The level of intensity, graft and running associated with Dortmund-Klopp-esque was there for all to see. In the latter stages of a match when you need to keep shifting the ball and players around to find that opening, he was immense. I would love to see him start against City, at the expense of…

* Anthony Martial. The young boy looks jaded. It’s showing in his body language. Maybe right now he needs more of an arm around the shoulder than a hair dryer. There have been some off field controversies regarding his wife’s sister. It seems like it’s bothering him. Jose did mention that apart from Pogba, he was the last man to join the squad. Let’s hope he gets what he needs – be it a shot in the arm or some rest. I hope he comes back better after the international break. Because after him and Mkhitaryan, Young and Depay are maybe a level or two below.

* Juan Mata – MoM first half and Blind + Bailly – MoM second half. They both look imperiously calm and solid at the back. Blind did the business vs Aguero last season. I may be biased but I think this partnership holds ominously for City’s forward line come Derby Day.

* Final word – bring on City. I hope Jose gets his full squad, injury free after the international break. It promises to be a very tight match. With attacking talent on show, the probability of both sides cancelling each other out without scoring a few goals is very less.
Akshat Pande
Man United fan, Mumbai


A disgruntled Spur
I can’t wait for the backlash at having a go at our untouchable manager but I’m going to do it all the same…

-Having no replacement right back on the bench, when a perfectly good one is available is reckless. No surprise that the penalty came down our right. Liverpool are a very good attacking team, they should have been given the due respect with a like-for-like replacement

-4 youth team players on the bench who’ve never started a premier league game when Chadli and Trippier are available is crazy.

-That two of them get a look in ahead of Son is bonkers.

-I will never understand what Chadli did wrong. I just don’t get it.

-Put Onomah in the same category as Carroll and Mason, he isn’t quite good enough. Someone who is good enough like Son or Chadli might have taken the chances to win a game we didn’t deserve to in the last ten minutes.

-This manager seems to have a bit of a pattern. 4 crap games at the start while we get going, 4 crap games at the end when we’re knackered and 30 great ones in the middle.

-He doesn’t know how to balance Janssen and Kane. Work something out and stick to it, stop experimenting in matches or have the balls to drop Kane.

-Kane. I don’t understand the logic. He’s clearly tired but yet Pochettino won’t give him a break. He moans about fixture congestion but won’t give Janssen who had no Euros, a full pre season and looks really sharp the chance. Say what you want about Wenger but he sticks to a strategy and only brings a player back when he believes he’s ready. For all the flack you give him isn’t Kane a perfect demonstration of why a player should be given more of a break?

Andrew, Woodford Green


The Liverpool view
If you were offered a draw at White Hart Lane there are very few teams that would have turned it down. It’s just mildly infuriating that Liverpool could play so well and not win that game. 5 or 6 points would’ve been an outstanding start from those three away games but 4 isn’t the end of the world.

The big positives today were the midfield and the defence with Matip. Henderson, after a few dodgy games, looked excellent and cleaned up everything. He picked a lovely range of passes and made good decisions throughout the afternoon. Matip was comfortably the most accomplished ball playing defender we have had since Agger, it was lovely to watch. I can’t help but think that once Karius comes in we could look more solid than we have done since Benitez’s final season at Liverpool. Maybe that’s me dreaming optimistically.

I actually thought the only disappointing thing was Klopp leaving Sturridge on the bench instead of Origi. Origi is not long back from injury and it really showed today. Sturridge scored two at Burton and maybe was being scolded for talking to the press but I can’t help but think that winning the game should’ve been the priority over all petty squabbles. Ultimately management is a tricky game, I hope Klopp had some other line of thought behind the change.
Minty, LFC


16 Conclusions from the Lane (ours are better)
* If Tottenham were the second best team last season before the wheels came off in the end, they are nowhere near that this season, the energy is gone, the quality is gone, and their confidence looks shot. They need to recover from that loss to Hazard quick, because they don’t even look top 6 right now.

* Liverpool should have won that, an away point isn’t too bad in the bigger picture, but having so many good opportunities and dominating away should usually mean 3 points. Even after Spurs scored, Liverpool looked the more threatening side.

* Will Liverpool have the mark of a good side that somehow never seems to pull it off(see Everton last year). Everton had a great side on paper and played brilliantly at times but could not seal the deal at the end in most games last season. Klopp/Martinez similarity may not be such a crazy idea.

* Sadio Mane is a real menace, has blistering pace, and looks a quality signing already for Liverpool, if he continues on this path, he should be joining city on a record transfer in a few years.

* Matip looks the kind of defender who managers will pinpoint as a weak link. He had a good game but looked awkward at times, not sure freezing out Sakho was a good idea.

* Coutinho did not appease with his performance, his miss early on, was his highlight of the game, he continued with those ridiculous attempt outside of the box that looked desperate instead of confident hits.

*Sturridge looked angry at not being used. As an individual, I understand his anger because he knows he is better than Firminho, Coutinho, and even Mane, but, Sturridge is perpetually damaged, Klopp cannot build around him because, he only plays 2-3 games before he is back on the doctors table. His place is now on the bench, not because he lacks quality, but because Liverpool fc cannot rely on him and need to build around more consistent players.

* (Henderson = Henderson)< Gerrard.

* Pochetinho is doing a LVG, having found a winning formula on his previous season, he decides to tweek it and the result is ugly.

* A few stats after the Euro’s showed that Tottenham players had played more that any other team players in England, may be a reason for the lethargic performances.

* Spurs get a point from a game they should have lost, they say that’s a sign a a good team, but this early on, I’d say that’s a sign of a struggling team.

*Kane was awful, he has now acquired Rooney-like control and even his pace seems shot. While not a particularly fast forward, this version of Kane, is running in slowmo compared to Kane v1 and v2.

* Died is quality and so was Wanyama, everyone playing beyond them was pants, and Alli doesn’t even look the same.

* Poch claimed Pool were a counter attacking side, when a counter attacking side has more possession than you, at your home, these are worrying signs.

*Spurs had a fizzle about them last season, they now look like a beer than has been left open for the last 48 hours.

*Those liverpool who think Klopp should win the league this year are delusional, there is a Mr. Mourinho and a Mr. Pep who will definitely finish above Mr. Klopp, because they have better tools, but everyone else is fair game, Liverpool should definitely be aiming for top 4, Spurs on the other hand, the sloppy play, lack of energy, and a switch of tactics that is not working could end up being their undoing, they need to recover and recover fast.
Dave(ChelseavLiverpoolvArsenal for 3 or 4)Somewhere


Why Fabregas doesn’t start
Okay I have a theory for why fabregas doesn’t start. It’s not because Conte is amazingly defensive and boring, it’s because Chelsea doesn’t have a single competent left footed player in their squad outside of matic.

The same reason matuidi got games for France at the Euros- payet drifts in (hazard anyone?) And a left footer is needed to cross the ball. Our situation is worse because our full back (Dave) is also right footed. We need a semblance of balance and that’s why matic gets a game.

Also, fabregas can’t play in Oscar’s role because he’s a deep lying playmaker and doesn’t directly contribute to a high pressing style or provide an extra pair of feet in a counter attack- something Conte loves.
Sood CFC (Kantae is bae)


Lovely weekend
1) Has Mark Hughes forgotten the ridiculously soft penalty he got against City? Selective memory is really something.

2) When are the BBC, or anyone for that matter, going to employ people who don’t get audibly excited when Manchester United are attacking? It’s bugged me for about 25 years.

3) I feel sorry for Shay Given.

4) That was impressive by Chelsea.

5) Barkley has started well for us. I’m a bit nervous about what happens to us this year, but I think a lot will depend on how consistent his performances are.

6) Spurs v Liverpool was a really good game to watch. Both sides look as likely to tear someone apart as they do to drop a b*ll*ck. Should be fun to watch.

Lovely weekend. Lovely.
Aidan, EFC, Redditch

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