Let’s hope Tuesday’s mailbox is not quite so angry. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next to the carriage clock
Seriously lads if nobody wants it, I’ll take it….
Robbie DFC (already moved pictures of the child on the mantle)
Felliani as striker. Again. F#ck.
Goodbye Van Gaal. You won’t be missed.
Kay (I would even take Rodgers now)
noun, plural philosophies.
1. the ability to waste 90 minutes doing absolute cack all.
Get the cancer out.
…The biggest sign of how far Manchester United have fallen is that it comes as no surprise that Stoke beat us.
Shawcross, Bojan, Afellay, Arnautovic,Bojan…even Glen Johnson..so many of Stoke’s players will get into not only the Manchester United squad but the first XI.
Mata must be shi*ting himself at the prospect of Mourinho taking over.
Don’t see how Van Gaal can survive this.
Shehzad Ghias, MUFC, Karachi
…A lot has been made of the commitment of this Man Utd side. I think that the spotlight should actually be on the manager.
The opposition has finally worked out his style of play, and all they need is to be committed, set up right, and take their chances. Easy really, when you know what you will be getting from them on match day. This is why I think Ed Woodward may have made a mistake in hiring LVG. In him, we have a manager convinced only of his methods (read: philosophy), with no will to vary approaches according to the opposition, with Utd playing like they are 3-0 up when they are in fact 2-0 down, as against Stoke today.
If this continues, I think Utd will finish below 7th (under Moyes, Utd finished 7th). I think the panic button should be pressed hard now.
Femi, MUFC fan
…The hits just keep on coming. Defeat to Stoke in the context of a single match is not a disaster; they are a team who have beaten very good teams this season, and played very well doing it. Defeat to Stoke after three other consecutive defeats and without a win in seven is borderline apocalyptic for Manchester United. Worst United team ever? It just might be. Worst team since 1961? Unarguably.
This charlatan of a manager has to go. Get rid of Giggs and the rest of the coaching staff while you’re at it – there is nothing to suggest that a single one of them deserves to be there at this point. Next to this shambles, Moyes’ United look like world-beaters – at least he didn’t spend £250m to be this bad.
Eight conclusions on Stoke 2 Man United 0
1) The Blind experiment should be stopped when trick wingers line up against him. He’s not got the pace. Play him in midfield where he can use his now cultivated defensive abilities as a defensive midfielder.
2) I’m so sorry to say this but Herrera was at times ghastly. His passes were off my meters. He lacks match sharpness. I hope Van Gaal sticks with him against Chelsea. You stuck with Rooney for so many games when he misfired, give Ander a chance. Second games back are easier.
3) Memphis made all the right sounds/war cries midweek but that was a pathetic mistake. Just hook it clear lad! He has improved. But not by much.
4) Against Stoke, that dreadful Memphis’ error and wonder goal apart, (defensively) United really looked okay. Far better than what City were reduced to.
5) And that is what’s worrying about United – they are looking scared, and pathetic. Rooney came on and got things going in the second half. But as a tweet said, if this was the players playing to save their manager’s job, Van Gaal has got problems.
6) I’m glad Herrera went across and slammed Shaqiri down when he was trying to showboat against Blind. Set him straight for the rest of the match.
7) Aranautovic is a poor man’s Ibrahimovic.
8) The Chelsea game will have a cup final feel to it. I recall beating a high flying Chelsea 1-0 (Alan Smith) in 2005 when Mourinho’s team were so strong. It was a desperate, gritty win. Something like that would be welcome.
I don’t want him to fail. I have nothing personal against Van Gaal. It’s just that he has not been able to do the job. It’s as simple as that. Lost to Chelsea and he will be sacked. In comes Giggs till the end of the season. Sign a couple of players in January, recal Januzaj and Wilson, and see where it takes us.
On F365’s Rooney narrative
What a passenger Rooney was in the first half against Stoke. No chances created, no shots on target, no touches in the opposition box, I think even De Gea touched the ball more. It was the same in the turg-fests against West Ham and Bournemouth. No wonder Man United are so bad and can only create chances from set pieces or long ball ricochets.
Hang on a minute, after closer study it seems he wasn’t even playing on these occasions and actually United are at least as bad (and probably worse) without him in the team.
It also seems when he came on at half time at the Britannia United improved and Rooney did what none of our other players did all game and created a (very good) chance from open play. Though obviously this was never going to get a mention in your match report.
Could it be that F365 are just as guilty of what they sniffily accuse other media outlets of doing – massaging the facts to suit the pre-decided narrative?
In this case it being ‘we’re so much cleverer than the tabloids so we told you years ago Rooney wasn’t very good’.
His form has been poor but not to the extent – or for the length of time – that you like to make out.
Although your narrative may be cleverer than the likes of Talksport, it is no less boring or self-serving.
Ronnie Buzzard, Manchester
This is still not Van Gaal’s team…
There are accusations that Van Gaal hasn’t spent well for £250m but how many of the players who played against Stoke were bought by him? Just Blind, Martial and Depay. I’m presuming Schneiderlin is being saved for the Chelsea game or has a minor injury.
The team that finished the match (and the manager that bought them) was like this:
De Gea – Fergie
Young – Fergie
Jones – Fergie
Smalling – Fergie
Blind – Van Gaal
Carrick – Fergie
Perreira – Youth Team (by Van Gaal)
Mata – Moyes
Fellaini – Moyes
Martial – Van Gaal
Rooney – Fergie
So some signings from Fergie’s era, only De Gea has fulfilled his potential and the rest haven’t progressed sufficiently or have completely declined. Two signings from Moyes that were never good enough. I’m sure Van Gaal could name 100 players he’d rather have than that eleven, the trouble is they’re not available. I’d prefer to see him gradually bringing in young players which leads to a decline in results than a bunch of mercenary stopgaps.
The football is crap because the team is disjointed and in transition, we can’t play expansive attacking football because it leaves the defence exposed and the defence isn’t good enough (yet). The defence also contains the only British players in the squad under 30 (add Shaw, McNair and Borthwick-Jackson) so it makes sense to build the team around that core and play to their strengths until they mature.
Things aren’t great at the moment but that’s football we’ve been spoiled for years now we get to suffer. Busby and Fergie both had times seasons where their teams were low on confidence and close to relegation. We’re not being slaughtered, the games are tight and no fun to watch. Enjoy the pain. It’s like that bit from Little Miss Sunshine about tough times building character.
Eddie, ‘When the going gets tough’ MUFC
P.S. That games was even more proof that Herrera is a liability in possession when there’s pressure. Has no composure.
You asked how exactly Arsenal were going to mess this one up.
Well, there you have it.
Pelumi, Lagos, Nigeria
Some Saints-Arsenal conclusions
Well that was fun!
The question you asked after the Man City game was if Arsenal can mess this up?
I think the answer lies somewhere among the following:
* This was a game where Arsenal needed to score first – a Southampton side low on confidence would have retreated into their shell with a nervy crowd – instead they score a Roberto Carlos special and we fail to respond quickly enough.
Arsenal have a habit of conceding ‘worldie’ goals. Think Danny Rose, or even Toure last week.
* John Moss is not a Premier League referee, he was poor for both teams and missed a deliberate trip by Long for the second goal, but he is not the reason we lost this game.
* If that was Aguero in the same positions Long got into then it could have been 6-0. He ballooned an easy chance over the bar and hit the post when he should have scored. Still, ‘A’ for effort…
* This was the fifth game in succession that Wenger named an unchanged side, they looked flat from the first minute to the last.
* The injuries finally took their toll, a bench including attacking options of teenagers like the Jeff, Iwobi and an out of form Ox left him with no choice (again, if only he’d signed an outfield player).
* Having said that, he spent 16 million on Chambers and has barely played him this season. Chambers played in our annual loss at St.Mary’s last year, this game would have been perfect to see how much he’s developed – he’s playing that position in training this season – it would have injected some energy into a flat midfield. He looked good when he came on and showed how slow the rest of the team had been playing.
* Starting Giroud up top was the wrong move, I know he has 5 goals in 6 but you’re away to Southampton – a ground we don’t do well at- and you know Koeman always sets up to press Arsenal high up the pitch. Start Theo up top and play on the counter, that way if you break the high press you’re through on the back 4 of a side low on confidence.
* Both Giroud and Walcott had free headers from corners and both missed the target completely.
Not good enough.
* I don’t really recall Stekelenberg having a save to make. Not once were Southampton under extended pressure.
* Campbell was poor, but what do you expect when you spend five years out on loan and then all of a sudden you’re asked to play every game and in an intense Christmas schedule.
What a way to follow up a win against you’re title rivals…you have a chance to go top after Liverpool beat Leicester, instead? concede three goals for the first time in a year and our heaviest defeat since THAT Chelsea game.
What Wenger does in January will determine if he can ever win a title again. With Pep coming to City next season, Klopp improving Liverpool and the unknown futures of United and Chelsea this could be his last chance.
* This brings me to my final point, in the second half of the season Arsenal have to play away games at Liverpool, United, Man City and Tottenham, with a home game against a potentially resurgent Chelsea.
Strevs, Afc Canada (Arsenal need Sanchez back as soon as possible)
…I don’t like writing in straight after a game but…I’m too angry.
– In my anger, I want to firstly say Southampton played a superb game. Everyone did their job perfectly, Wanyama, the two centre-backs and Mane were excellent.
– I wanted to give Long a mention as he played well too. However, that trip on Kosc for the second goal is something I expect from Costa not him. It disappointed me but if we had done that to get top, I would be happy through the disappointment.
– “Mr Wenger, next week they will be playing Long upfront. He is very fast and pacy.” Wenger: “Perfect, the BFG needs to stretch his legs after the Christmas dinner.” This summed up a large part of the evening. When you look at the team Southampton had available, you knew they were going to play quickly on the counter. Well Wenger clearly didn’t. Gabriel isn’t the best, but at least he can move. This meant we were permanently on the defensive.
– With a chance to go top, you want to play a professional, calm game. Patience is a virtue sometimes in football and we had patience for about five passes then looked for a wonder pass. This was immature from Arsenal and needed someone like Cazorla to help Ozil patiently probe. Ramsey and Flamini do not offer this.
– When your options to change a game from the bench are a misfiring Ox and two teenagers, it’s a good job the January transfer window is here. Please Wenger, we have such a good chance this year, please…
– I think we would have preferred to play on the counter. If the opposition decide to do the same, we have to come up with a new game plan. We didn’t and we were punished.
I had more, but I’m too angry to remember. That was an immature, unprofessional and frankly rubbish performance. Nobody played well, we had the wrong tactics, no adaptive tactics and we were thoroughly outplayed.
Bournemouth will play a similar pressing game. Come to think of it, so will Barca. S***
Rob A (when Cech has a bad day, there’s no saving it) AFC
Worried but optimistic about Arsenal
We haven’t suffered a shellacking at the hands of counter-attacks for quite some time. Coquelin’s mobility helped to stop this I think. Since he’s been out this is the first time we’ve had to fight back from behind. This is very worrying going forward.
Same goes for our lack of opportunity to rotate. Giroud needs a rest and he’ll probably get it against Bournemouth. I can’t see how Ramsey or Ozil can be rested for a little while though. We really need some players back. Oh to have Wilshere, Rosicky and Welbeck waiting in reserve right now
Why does a high press sometimes completely destroy us? Can we only fight it with our own high energy levels? Can we withstand it as long as we don’t concede first?
Why did Arsenal players spend so much time slipping over, but not Soton players? More practice on soggy pitches? More appropriate footwear? Greater concentration? Thanks the Lord our upcoming game against Newcastle’s at home. Praying to the big man we’ve got some more players fit when we travel to Stoke on Jan 17th.
I don’t think this is a case of us being found out. If Arsene felt rattled by this we would have seen one of his more petulant post match interviews. He know wonder goals by obscure right back on quagmire pitches against opposition with rockets up their behinds won’t happen every week. I think we got this.
Oh bloody hell Arsenal
I actually suspected we’d lose or at the very least drop points at St Mary’s. Although Southampton had been in poor form they’re still a very good side with a very good manager and sooner or later a result was going to go their way. Also the hype machine had unfortunately gone into overdrive after the City result. Annoyingly some our fans seem to think seasons are decided after we get a good result and jump the gun as far as celebrations are concerned.
Furthermore, our defensive frailties were evident even during the City game, especially during the last 10 minutes, we were just lucky they didn’t capitalise on them.
I didn’t however expect to get thrashed and absolutely outclassed. I think I’d go as far as saying the performance was as bad as the 6-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge a couple of seasons ago. Credit where credit’s due to Southampton, they played fantastically and they’re definitely better than their previous form and league position indicate, it could have easily been 6 or 7 by the end. However our players made it so easy for them and were like ‘fish up a tree’ to quote Merse.
I’m not Wenger’s biggest fan but I don’t think any blame can be put on him for the result. He played the strongest team possible, a team that has been in good form and had just beaten City. Maybe the defensive line was slightly high considering how much of a counter-attacking game Southampton but unlike the 6-0 defeat at Chelsea which I believe was mainly due to his tactics, this defeat was almost exclusively the players’ fault.
I believe I may have jinxed Joel Campbell with my letter praising him after the City game. He was completely anonymous which meant the great connection he’s provided between the defence and Ozil and Ramsey in the last few games was completely absent. However I actually feel his anonymity in the game was more forgivable than Walcott’s wastefulness. He seemed to have morphed into the Ox, when he did get the ball he’d hog it and run himself into cul-de-sacs when he had plenty of passing options, the fact he attempted only 20 passes despite playing 78 minutes highlights this fact.
As for the defence, they’re ironically indefensible. I’ve seen Koscielny make mistakes in games and not play great but I think this is the worst performance I’ve ever seen from him. He made Shane Long look like Messi. Mertesacker meanwhile showcased every weakness in his game, from poor passing and clumsy footwork to speed suited more to a geriatric ward than Premier League football. And although Saints’ first goal was a fantastic strike, why was he not closed down? It seemed he had about 10 years to tee up the perfect strike. As for Cech I don’t think he was at blame for any of the goals, however some of the Hollywood saves he started pulling off towards the end did annoy me.
In conclusion this isn’t a ‘Wenger out’ or ‘I told you we’re actually sh*t’ email. I’ll leave that to Stewie Griffin. However the result is a harsh crash back down to earth and highlights just how mental and unpredictable this season is, and we can’t go acting like we’ve won it after a very good result at home. The upside however is that it will hopefully prompt Wenger to strengthen when the transfer window opens next week.
Hit the road Jack…
Firstly, well done Southampton.
They may have benefited from some questionable decisions but so will we over the course of the season.
But this was just one match too far for a squad being asked to carry too many players doing a Diaby.
As well as a defensive midfielder we need a replacement for Wilshere.
It isn’t Ozil nicking a living, it’s Jack. He hardly ever plays and spends his spare time acting like a gobsh*te.
Time to sell him on.
Oh yes and kudos on your ribbing of gooners, this site is now almost as funny as Citizen Khan.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Well done Saints
I know there will be a deluge of #wengerout mails (despite examples of Chelsea and Man United showing how beneficial long term stability can be), but I just want to praise Koeman and his players for a stunning performance.
This is my first year as a season ticket holder, and I’ve seen a few duff games at home; the team understandably finding it difficult to replicate last season’s form after another summer of losing key players, but this was superb. Wanyama is an absolute machine, and Mané would improve nearly every side in the league. Shane Long is the epitome of a mid-table striker, but my word he works hard!
Wenger said the ref let a lot go. He was fairly gracious in defeat but Saints won from making a very good side look inept (admittedly, a worldie from a right-back helps that!).
What a performance.
Some (largely Liverpool) conclusions
* With the plaudits Sean Dyche most certainly earned last year with Burnley, with all due respect, I’m quietly rooting for Eddie Howe to keep Bournemouth up.
* I disagree with people have said Aston Villa’s season rested on getting a win in the next 2 (or, depending on source three) matches. They are, of course, nine points from safety and the smart money to suffer the drop, but at the bottom of the table, a short winning streak changes all perspective… not that they look capable of that…
* For my club (Liverpool), I’ve targeted the League Cup semifinal as a must win…. If Citeh get by and we assume they will qualify for the Champions League (or Europe) by league position, that means LFC get into Europe as League Cup finalists.
(No it doesn’t – the Europa League place would revert to the league – Ed).
* Part of why I tend to be critical of the (stereotypical) English attitude toward the Europa League is that, for a club which aspires to put to together a full, 23-man squad, it’s a great opportunity to rotate and get players on the pitch, it’s not worth the Champions League, but it’s a lot closer than people think, plus the club coefficient bonuses are excellent (and valuable).
* Liverpool need all the money they can get to augment their revenues elsewhere and the prestige of playing in Europe and the BPL might not attract the highest echelon of player, but that’s not even the market we’re shopping in anyway… plus, at this time, nobody outside, the Spanish Big Two, Bayern or PSG can compete with a big English club for wages. Even “only” Europa qualification, when augmented by the new TV deal, match-day revenue (plus licensing/kit sales/other marketing revenue) makes for a cash orgy that the 4th to 7th team in any other league can even dream of…
* You gotta love Arsenal, no? I can’t decide if they’re impersonating us or we are impersonating them… Either way, I want to rip my toenails out some weeks, other weeks I’m happy and satisfied that, finally, after six long years, we are taking true steps forward…
* Jurgen Klopp got his tactics spot on by giving us some width and (clearly) practising how to slow down pacy counter-attacks. Watching them sub off their two best players must have giving him a little boost. He earned it.
* I’m half Dutch from an Ajax-supporting family so it’s with zero joy that I watch van Gaal suffer like this (LvG is also my mother’s initials, which has been weird) but if they aren’t negotiating some sort of separation then I don’t know what to say. Personally, I don’t rate this Man U squad. I know the 250 million figure gets thrown around a lot but… dare I say?” … it’s been offset by some big departures… Regardless, this doesn’t look like a squad that’s had hundreds of millions of pounds invested. I think Pep goes to Citeh, but I’d definitely try my damnedest…
* I don’t know why I keep reading that Divock Origi was anything other than absolute gash before his injury. He missed several passes, not including the one where he missed Firmino in front of goal, just basic square touches, he wrestled for one or two balls, but gave away other fouls when he wasn’t getting muscled off the ball, mistiming runs and, genearlly, demonstating all the areas he needs to work on to be a top level striker…
I’m worried I’m seeing another David N’Gog in a red shirt.
* If I had my way, the minute the transfer window opened Adam Lallana would be out the friggin’ door. He’s a good player for a team looking to finish in the top half and maybe challenge for a Europa place (insert joke here… “That’s what Liverpool are!” … Not for long, hopefully!)
* Following him, depending on recruits, either in January or the summer would be Joe Allen, Divock Origi (on loan), Martin Skrtel (thanks for the service, though…) and Mignolet/Bogdan and that young kid people apparently rate (forget his name, too lazy lazy… but send him on loan)
* Every time I want to write a bullet excoriating people who slag off Jordan Henderson he gives Match of the Day a highlight (low-light?) like when he charged into the box, converged on the goal and tried to lay it off to someone with absolutely no space whose angel was so close and … by the way.. wasn’t expecting it… all the while, he should have just fired it in… The move would have been to try to side-foot it with his left into the far corner but,despite the fact that he appears two footed often running box-to-box, he seems to always run around that weaker foot…
For 4 years (?!?!?!) I’ve been waiting for him to add goals to his game, I was hoping this would be the year and continue to hope that the foot injury just held him back and he’ll start showing the form of a 15 goal per year midfielder. He’s got the technical ability. People who criticize that are either misspeaking or stupid. The problem looks mental. He always seems to take the hopeless shot, make a pass too late to avoid shooting or too early to whatever.. He’s got pace, he makes excellent runs, but he only seems to have an end product when it’s reactionary … I can’t figure it out other than to just say it’s something in the water in Sunderland… Maybe he’ll just never get past that “good but not great” level… too bad.
* The big thing I’m hoping to see is Klopp make a decision on Benteke sooner rather than later. It’s doubtful he can get a striker in during this transfer window but this summer, if Benteke continues to look out-of-place and indifferent, we’re better off cutting the cord.
I don’t think I can recall another expensive striker (not named Andy Carroll) who looked as immobile and unable to pick out a run as Benteke… I’ll admit, I wasn’t really excited about this transfer (more like “dead set against”) but this is worse than I thought. Klopp’s players need to move, the strikers certainly need to make clever runs, press to win back the ball and be able to score off nifty triangle passes in the box…
Unfortunately I think Benteke’s Liverpool career will be defined by that failure to score with the keeper out of the box.
Ian, LFC Medellin
Did Hendo cost Brendan his job?
Look I do like you guys and I think you do an excellent job but would you please stop writing negative things about Louis Van Gaal. I am certain I’m not the only one that would like to see him given more time to make an even bigger mess of things. It’s frustrating enough that you kept pointing out what a bad job Mourinho was doing when really he should’ve been allowed to carry on spoiling everything at Chelsea until at least 2017.
Last night I said to a few friends that when you think about how long Liverpool have been defensively dodgy for, the only constant is Martin Skrtel. I also discovered today that of the six times that Lovren and Sakho started together this season, they’ve had 4 clean sheets. I don’t know who the other three came against but I was fairly impressed at the manner in which they shut Leicester out today. Central defenders work as pairs, which I g
uess is why it’s sometimes risky only buying one half of a pair if you don’t know what the other guy brings. When we look at Lovren and Fonte back at Southampton, maybe it was Fonte that brought the positional control to Lovren’s game. When we look at Skrtel, we know he isn’t a verbally commanding type so it’s unlikely he gives that to Lovren, but maybe Sakho does. I remember on my twitter a couple of summers ago that everyone was raving about Mangala being the best defender in the world since time began. Perhaps even the issue for him is who he is partnered by at Man City and how they complement one another. I don’t strictly buy that a football can be £30m of value in one country and £0.30 in another, I think there are always a variety of factors that determine how they perform on the pitch and for center backs in particular who they partner is hugely significant in my opinion.