Mails: Too many of United’s squad are ‘bang average’

Date published: Thursday 23rd November 2017 3:13

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Everything that’s wrong with Mourinho
Zlatan had a great season for a struggling team this season, but already after two substitute appearances the fear of his return is bearing fruit. Trying to cram him and Lukaku into the same team WILL NOT WORK.

On Saturday we looked like scoring a couple more until Zlatan came on, even after Pogba went off, but once he came on the last 25 minutes of the game became a drab reminder of Van Gaal with no attacking flow or rhythm. Then last night forcing them into the same team, left us overloaded and overlapped at right-back, then Blind’s custom doziness costs us the game. I don’t know what Mourinho ‘likes’ in Blind, he is lazy in defence and non-effective going forward, whatever it is with Shaw it must be personal as there is no-way he can perform any worse than Blind has for the last two seasons.

Mourinho makes the same subs every game, no matter the situation, his tactical nous has gone as when we are chasing games this season it will be the same answer with no result.

Then the crowing jewel he is already talking of just needing to draw with CSKA. The commentator on BT said we just need to win the last game and he immediately corrected him after suggesting he didn’t know what was required to point out a draw is good enough….To save you time Man Utd 0 CSKA 0 the game was boring, United were poor.
Duncan Clowes


The problem with Man United’s passing
Today is not a good day to be a Manchester United fan working Basel… particularly not for a cocky Manchester United fan that made some pretty bold (an inaccurate) predictions yesterday…

I have noticed something about Manchester United which I think is a major contribution to so many of our poor or lacklustre performances of late. Far too many accurate passes to feet. I know that’s probably counterintuitive but we kill so much of our fluidity and transition from defence to attack by playing balls to players standing still – even when there is no pressure on the ball – instead of into space in front of them where they can run onto it and keep some forward momentum. When we are playing out from the back, it’s so static, not because the players are slow but because every ball seems to go direct to feet and then they need to play everything from a standing start. One of the big differences in having Pogba in the side, is that he passes to where his teammate should be (five yards in front of them), not where he currently is. Everything moves faster, the opposition can’t organize as well and space magically appears.

I can’t really understand why we pass this way though – does Mourinho tell them to do it? Are they frightened of misplacing a pass? Do they not trust their teammates ability to run properly? Are pass completion stats becoming that important? Am I just wrong? Is Chris Smalling trying to pass five yards in front of Rojo but is just really inaccurate?

Interested to know if other United fans notice this?
Iain MUFC Somewhere Foreign


Rojo and a ramble
Not sure he can truly count as a winner after yesterday, but it was great to see Marcos Rojo back yesterday, which would have been unimaginable to say 18 months ago.

I particularly enjoyed his brilliant sliding block before getting up to (rightly) shout at Smalling and Darmian, who are both desperately mediocre.

Yesterday highlighed for me that United seem to have a lot of players but that most of the alternatives to starters are bang average. Smalling and Darmian are the worst offenders but Blind and Lingard also stand out for the wrong reasons. Herrera is playing abysmally (sadly, I love him) and Shaw has dropped off the face of the Earth, so we’re now in a bizarre situation where we have a big squad and no real depth except at centre-forward, the ever-rotating left wing jobshare, and goalkeeper.

I think a ‘summer clearout’ is needed so we can see Fosu-Mensah, McTominay, Tuanzebe and Perreira next season – if we’re going to have an average second string, they may as well be young and homegrown.


More on Herrera
After my mail was published this morning on Ander Herrera I was worried I was a bit too harsh on him and was just lashing out in frustration after the shit show last night. So I decided I would actually research it to be fair and what I have discovered not only confirms my earlier mail, it shows that Herrera really shouldn’t be in the team ever.

This season our record in games Herrera has started:

P11 W5 D2 L4 F16 A10 – A win percentage of 46% with a goal difference of just +6. Also two of these wins were in the League Cup.

This season our record in games where Herrera hasn’t started:

P9 W9 D0 L0 F28 A1 – A win percentage of 100% with a goal difference of a massive +27!

I’ve never been a big fan of stats but this was just too much of a whopping difference for it to not mean something. Jose take note.
Bradley Kirrage


Shaw is ineffective and frustrating
This stuff on United’s Shaw bemuses me. He was a good, young (and I’m not going to say English…oops) player of enormous potential when he joined us but I think he’s been a disappointment. I really do.

He’s obviously got bags of pace but what does he do with it? That’s a serious question by the way, because he quite frequently squanders (or perhaps that should be squandered since Jose seems to have all but side-lined him?) his superior speed by repeatedly smashing the ball against the nearest defender’s leg when attempting to cross, just like the earlier version of Ashley Cole and the current version of Valencia. We have too many players on the books that have lost the fairly straightforward skill of making a simple cross, especially when they have enough space and time to do it. I find him ineffective and very frustrating.

Anyway, those with an eidetic memory (read perfect recall, if you prefer) will remember my mail of a few years back slightly mocking Michael Owen for joining United and sitting on their bench, rather than prolonging his playing career joining a team lower down the Premiership table or, indeed, joining a lower division team and helping that squad to become better. After Owen left us, I said that the next player to take over his seat on the bench would probably have to sand it down because Owen was so comfortable in it for so long that he worked an ‘arse-crack’ into the leather. You know, that really comfortable groove that works its way into lounge chairs everywhere by regular users.

Shaw, sadly, is becoming a bit like Owen, a player I admired a lot. Except Owen joined us when his career was winding down whereas Shaw is still practically a baby. It seems inevitable that Shaw will leave United at the earliest opportunity as he has lost the confidence of Jose and he needs to make probably the hardest decision of his life in choosing his next club – if, in fact, he has many suitors. I hope he chooses wisely.

As a final thing, Ed, if you are going to include this mail, can I ask that you submit it to ‘Anon’ first for proof-reading to make sure all my commas, hyphens and the other what-nots are in order? I would hate to upset him or her. Or is that he or she?
Jonesey, Melbourne


The perfect window for Liverpool…
A couple of days ago a mailbox contributor asked for ideas of perfect January transfers. Unfortunately since then Liverpool blew a 3-0 half-time lead, Spurs won a Champions League group containing Real Madrid and Dortmund (wow) and Utd got rolled over by Basel and it got lost in the noise. I liked the idea though and so I have adapted it to what do I want for my club (Liverpool)?

In – Julian Draxler – in the gossip this morning so not outrageous. Very talented, knows Klopp and (somewhat) surplus at PSG (especially if they go for Sanchez). I think he would suit the English game and especially Liverpool’s game. We can hopefully offer the knock out stages of Champions League and a run at the top four.

In- Christopher Schindler – Klopp should pick up the phone to his bessie mate and get this done. Forgot all about VVD, this would suit us much better.

Out – Daniel Sturridge – I love Studge, I really do. I love the wavey arm celebration and I think he has a great attitude. However, my heart sinks when I see his name on the team sheet. He doesn’t suit the system and the system doesn’t suit him. I would rather see Solanke or Woodburn get game time and I would rather see Studge starting every game and banging in loads of goals for someone like Newcastle, Southampton or West Brom (under new management).

Out – Alberto Moreno – because, deep down, I am the king of wishful thinking.
In – Javier Mascherano – more wishful thinking, especially for January but we need a defensive midfielder (probably more than we need defenders). We have Naby Keita coming in the summer but someone between now and then would be lovely.

So, what are you wishing for in January for your club?
Micki (seriously, Lionel Messi can talk to other clubs officially in five weeks’ time… that is incredible) Attridge


Win-win situation
Sturridge on loan to Southampton in January as a ‘sweetener’ in signing Van Dijk
Southampton desperate for goals – win
Liverpool desperate for Van Dijk – win
Sturridge desperate for games – win

…might also prove he’s not that broken and we can either sell him for a decent sum or play him!

(…also Moreno is a numpty, I have a puppy with a longer attention span)

this will clearly never happen as it makes far too much sense…


Potential World Cup draws ahoy
Today’s publications of the FIFA rankings list means that wannabe stattos like me get to start playing around to come up with theoretical groups that could emerge in the December World Cup draw. We now know that the four pots will be as follows:

Pot 1 – Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Spain, Poland
Pot 2 – Switzerland, France, Peru, Denmark, Colombia, England, Mexico, Croatia
Pot 3 – Sweden, Uruguay, Iceland, Senegal, Costa Rica, Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, Serbia
Pot 4 – Australia, Morocco, Nigeria, Japan, Panama, South Korea, Saudi Arabia

We can further narrow down the possible outcomes as we know FIFA’s rules of the draw mean that ‘no teams from the same confederation, with the exception of UEFA, which could have up to two teams in the same group, will be drawn into the same group.’.

Pot 1 has 6 UEFA teams and 2 CONMEBOL teams. Typically, Pot 1 will be drawn first – therefore from Englands narrow perspective, they would have a straight 1/8 chance of being drawn against any of these teams – but England is actually more likely to be drawn against Argentina or Brazil, as Peru and Colombia cannot be drawn against them – in other words, the odds of a UEFA Pot 1 team being drawn against England from Pot 2 is 1/8 (12.5%) – whereas the odds for a CONMEBOL pot 1 team is 1/6 (17%).

Next up, Pot 3., and we start to get more complicated. If England ended up drawn with another UEFA side (less likely), that would mean that they could not now be drawn against either Sweden or Iceland. Therefore, it would be a straight 1/6 chance of drawing any of Iran, Senegal, Tunisia, Egypt, Costa Rica, or Uruguay. If (as is more likely) England were drawn against CONMEBOL from Pot 1, then the odds are 1/7 across the remaining teams. (as Uruguay cannot be drawn against either Argentina or Brazil)

Pot 4 becomes statistical madness with variables upon variables, and my lunch break sadly doesn’t last long enough for my limited brain power to get through it. Suffice to say that based on probabilities, a realistically likely group for England to draw would be


The good news is that equally plausible would be


Surely even we could qualify from that one…?
Terry Hall, Switzerland (fully expecting there to be some massive statistical mistakes in my workings.)


Stop it with the victim-blaming
Just so I’m clear on this, I understand from Adonis Stevenson and B Cfc (isn’t that what f**ked up the ozone layer?) that Adam Crafton brought it on himself. That he should have expected such a response. He wanted a response and he got one. That this is the internet and that’s just how it is. That he should have known better. Oh, and it’s banter anyway.

Really? You sat down to write something about this and your primary motivation was to suggest he somehow got what he deserved? Oh don’t worry, I noticed the brief ‘well of course homophobia and anti-semitism are bad’ snippets in each mail. I’m sure you have friends of every sexual persuasion, every colour and creed. Two sentences in one and a single line in the other, interspersed with dozens of lines as to why it’s actually fine. Definitely feels like you think that was unnecessary abuse. Definitely. B Cfc’s point that “Adam…needs to learn to be a balanced journo” seems to contradict his own assertion that this kind of reaction is a given, no matter how balanced the opinion. So it doesn’t matter, right? Say anything, someone is going to abuse you. That’s the internet, if you don’t like it then get off social media. I mean, I appreciate that he’s a Chelsea supporter and therefore his views on racial and sexual equality are up there with Donald Trump, but B is outdoing himself. “The hate/banter is well-deserved”; is it? Is it really? Because I thought he picked a combined XI that only included players from one team. Does that justify homophobia? Anti-semitism? Calling him a c**t? Getting angry at all? Because, as inflammatory behaviour goes, it seems to be up there with saying, “Personally, I prefer cheddar to brie”. It’s a simple opinion that isn’t remotely f**king offensive. Yeah, you might want to get all internet-screechy about it to show off to your followers, but if you honestly found yourself getting enraged by it then you probably have issues. And if you feel it necessary to justify that massive over-reaction by saying, “I know I burnt his house down but he started it miss; he said he didn’t like my shoes”, then you are reaching in order to justify being ever so precious.

It’s not acceptable. It’s not justifiable. It wasn’t provoked. It wasn’t deserved. A large number of dickheads behaved in a disgusting manner because someone had the brass neck to say something totally inoffensive that they disagreed with. Don’t defend it. Don’t tell c**ts that this is okay. Tell them they’re c**ts.

Or, in phrasing B may prefer: you expressed an opinion. I disagree with your opinion. And as this is the internet, I hope you die in a fire. BANTER.

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