Mails: United will miss Herrera when he’s at Barca next year

Date published: Thursday 26th October 2017 3:21

Send your thoughts to


Campaign against Herrera needs to stop…
Long time reader, first time writer.  What is up F365s collective a** with this campaign against Ander Herrera?

A cursory glance at the results of the 7 games Herrera has started for United shows W4-D2-L1 — hardly a despicable record — with further wins in all his sub appearances.

Over those 7 games, furthermore, he has averaged a 7.3 rating on Whoscored, just a hair below Nemanja Matic’s seasonal 7.35.  Note that Matic at 7.35 is the 8th highest rated DMC in Europe currently.

In the 5 games that Matic and Herrera have started together, their numbers are remarkably similar in terms of touches, passes, passing %, defensive contributions in terms of tackles, clearances, etc.  Whoscored has Herrera averaging 7.2 to Matic’s 7.3 over those 5 games, even with Herrera being withdrawn on 77 minutes in the Stoke “disaster,” which was Ander’s first start of the season.

It is the outcomes of those 5 games that seem to be your problem.  A record of only W2-D2-L1.  But perhaps the key stat in those games is not Matic or Herrera’s whoscored ratings but rather goals scored to goals conceded?  Only 8-5 in favor of United.  Throwing out the CSKA match, where United hit 4 against them, the ratio is 3-4 against United.

What that suggests to me is not that Herrera is a bad player, given that his stats so precisely resemble his partners, but rather that United doesn’t do particularly well offensively with 2 defensive mids in the side together.

United has won all the games it has played when using only one DMC, whether Herrera or Matic. (And please don’t try and tell me that Fellaini and Pogba can be considered defensive mids.) Despite F365s apparent loathing of Jose Mourinho, you are choosing to enable his campaign against a player who is true class on the ball and a fan favorite of Manchester United.

As for Huddersfield, the idea that Herrera and Matic were harried by the intensity and pressing of the opposition is, in a word, absurd.  Or that Herrera is incapable if playing “triangles” around such a press. Pshaw! He’s Spanish, ffs!  He was BORN to play around that kind of mindless chasing.

United had 78% of the ball against the Terriers. Herrera and Matic both had more than 130 touches and passed the ball at a 90% plus rate. What stands out in that game — besides the two big red “Es” on the stat sheet for Mata and Lindelof — is the number of tackles and clearances for the Town.  United got behind because Mata got loose with a ball and Matic got lazy when the rebound came off of De Gea.  (Watch the tape–Matic is ball watching when the original shot comes back out even though he’s standing almost right in front of Mooy.) This was compounded by Lindelof missing a ball that ended up being an assist for the Terriers keeper. 5 minutes of lack in concentrating in the game.  That United could not come back is down purely to the “passion” of the Huddersfield defense, not high pressure.  Good grief!

Herrera’s play has not noticeably deteriorated.  In fact it’s sort of remarkable that he has played this well when it has become so obvious that Jose’s attitude towards him has changed and that he will almost certainly be dropped when/if Fellaini and Pogba return.

It’s bad form to pile on to Jose’s kicking of Herrera. He’s the only player in United with the guts to say what he thinks after every game.  He’s never insulted or implied that there’s anything wrong with Jose’s treatment of him or of the purchase of Matic despite his completely re-engineering his game to play the Matic role in the United team.

We will miss him when he’s racking up double digit assists for Barcelona next year.
PJ (Virginia)


Why ruin everything, Stan?
There’s been some real optimism about Arsenal recently despite my latest mailbox missive.

We’re thrashed the Toffees and may well have discovered a real gem in Nketiah but then Stan has to pipe up and tell everyone he’s committed long term to the club.

Why must he piss on our chips?!
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


I’ve already lost
I have been reading mailboxes and the comments sections recently and have been pulled into the evitable black hole of finding myself annoyed and wishing to react. I’ve already lost by writing into this mailbox. However, I have recently found myself getting irrationally annoyed at the “Team Harry Kane” comments which makes little to no sense as a Manchester United fan from Ireland. It’s just infuriating that people think it’s clever to call a team after their superstar despite the fact that they have so many top players. Barcelona were never called “Team Lionel Messi” in a team where Messi was the driving force, the superstar of the team. Or United in 2008 were not called “Team Cristiano Ronaldo”. I’m not saying Spurs are as good as either of those teams before anyone gets mad (I’m also not saying that they’re not or ever will be) but I feel fans of the premier league tend to go out of their way to make fun of Spurs. Personally, I think it’s jealousy. Arsenal fans hate Spurs being better than them player for player (bar Sanchez who would be the only player from Arsenal that I would put in the Spurs team), Chelsea are scared of not being the stand out big boys in London (sorry again Arsenal, you fell away from that a good while ago) and Manchester United don’t like the fact that if they went in for a bit for Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen or Harry Kane, they’d probably all turn around and say “why on earth would I leave Tottenham for United?’. I totally admit I am jealous but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect this spurs team for what it actually is, a well structured, technically excellent group of high quality footballers spearheaded by one of the best central forwards in the world.
Darragh (Still hoping for a United win this weekend), Dublin


England youth and Rhian Brewster
It always shames me to admit that I tend to mainly read the mailbox only if I have submitted and expect [hope!] to be published but I wondered if people have been keeping up with the U17’s? If not our very own Rhian Brewster scored a second successive hat-trick to knock out the much vaunted Boys From Brazil. Now, given my previous point I might have missed some Giddy Scousers turning the excitement level all the way up to 11? But it has already started with even the Torygraph getting carried away. This has got more than a touch of the Pacheco’s about it.

I hope he comes good and doesn’t waste the burgeoning talent but if he does might we start referring to unfulfilled potential due to the financial reward for hot prospects as Brewster’s Millions rather than Baby Bentleys?


I make no excuse for loving that film!
Gregory Whitehead, LFC


How many managers will survive this season?
I am interested to know from mailbox readers what is the record of manager fired in one season? the reason for my question is the rate at which clubs are firing and hiring managers, but am more interested at the record, while also looking at the possibilities of those that could still be fired this season.

The few that look to be safe are, Poch, Pep, am on the fence with Silva, because i am not sure what will be the reaction when the going get tough at Watford, same as Benitez at Newcastle. Burnely (Duyche) look safe as well… Clement on Swansea, i am not sure what side he falls in but he has promised that Swansea wont be fight relagation.  The other 2 new promoted teams, look to have a good start and if they continue like this, their coaches will be safe.

Bilic, does not look safe, and he might or let me just say it, he will be fired before Christmas. i see the same for Mourinho, but for him he wont  last the whole season.  Manchester United are bad, yes they have just lost one but now the going  getting tough and he just cant copy, lose to spur and if or when United lose badly saturday, its gonna be ugly for him. Pellegrino, does not look good, no does he look like he will get it right, as soon as Saints face them big boys(top 6) and he does not do well, he will be fired, now my team Arsenal, if the performance dont change for better and come January we lose both Sachez and Ozil,( i want them gone) and as we know, Wenger does not like to sign players in January, that will be the end of him. Crystal palace  will fire their current coach (Roy) before season end and Sam will be back to save them. Pulis will be sucked as well before March.

That is just my prediction for the season and PUEL is back, so i cant say much there till i see Leicester plays.
Lwazi ( Wenger need to go this season) Cape Town


Question for you…
Are Spurs going to be the best side to never win anything?
Thom, Newport


Spurs’ shocking record against PL teams in the domestic cups
Fair play to the Hammers, it was a very un-West Ham-like performance in the second half, showing grit, determination, and impressive defensive organisation. I won’t lie and say it didn’t hurt – the Carabao Cup is obviously not a priority for this season but you never want to lose a game to a local rival that you’re winning 2-0 at half time.

Anyway, after sulking for a bit, I got to thinking about how badly we have done in the domestic cups over the last 10 years or so, particularly against Premier League sides. I did a bit of research and results are frankly ridiculous. On November 12th, 2008, a Tottenham team featuring Alan Hutton, Jamie O’Hara and Fraizer Campbell beat Liverpool 4-2 in the 4th round of what was then the Carling Cup. Since then, we have lost every single one of the 10 cup games we have played against other teams in the “big 6”. That’s 3 defeats against Arsenal, 3 against Chelsea, 3 against Man U, and one against Liverpool. Against other Premier League sides our record improves slightly, having won 10 of the 23 games played, although a full list of the teams we have beaten reads a bit like a who’s who of Premier League mediocrity: Aston Villa, Bolton (twice), Burnley, Everton, Fulham, Leicester, Newcastle (twice) and Wigan. If you extrapolated our full record against Premier League sides to a 38 game “season”, we would finish with just under 43 points. This is a staggering underperformance when you consider our league form during this time.

I’m not quite sure what to read into this though – I don’t feel like we rest more players in cup games than other big teams. Nor do I feel we have a particularly bad record against these teams in the league over this time. Perhaps subconsciously, as a result of our improved league performance over this time, the club and fans invest less effort and energy in cup games, which leads to below-par performances. I wonder if any other mailboxers have any theories. Or if anyone can be bothered to see how this compares to other teams.

Anyway, bring on the weekend!
GM, Spurs


Chelsea youth policy is non-existent
Since 2003 to current year 2017 these are the managers of Chelsea FC with estimates of their period in charge. So out of 14 years since Roman Abramovich took over the club has only produced one youth player John Terry who was already at the club since 1998.

Estimates of time in charge

Claudio Ranieri – 1 year

Jose Mourinho – 3 years

Avram Grant – – 7 or 8 months

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s – 7 or 8 months

Guus Hiddink – 3-4 months

Carlo Ancelotti – 2 years

Andre Villas-Boas – 9 months

Roberto di Matteo – 9 months

Rafael Benitez – 7 or 8 months

Jose Mourinho – 2 years

Guus Hiddink – 5-6 months

Conte – 1 year

So please tell me how come Jose only gets battered for not playing youth when it’s clearly a Chelsea policy?
Lynton (It’s all about winning….nobody likes a loser)


League Cup matters
As a Bristol City fan I can wholeheartedly say that the league cup matters. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for a cup draw. Greater than a 50% chance of pulling one of the big boys.

I’d also just like to stick up for Palace a little bit, they could have been out of sight after thirty minutes, then contrived to give us the game. It kind of highlights how fragile their confidence is as a unit. They showed little to no fight after conceding the first goal, but had they put their chances away and frankly punished city for how poor they were in the first thirty the narrative could have been very different. I’d also like to point out how good RLC is, he really should be playing for a side considerably better than Palace.

Also, Joe Bryan was magnificent again, his screamer was joyous, one of those where you could hear the crowd wowing when they showed the replays.

Can’t wait for the draw, knowing City’s luck it will be Bournemouth away. No disrespect to Bournemouth but they do really deserve a big tie now.

Bring them on whoever they are, 3 games from a major Wembley final is frankly the best thing that has happened to City in my lifetime. So this cup does matter and managers who say otherwise are foolish to disregard how important this competition can be.
Gary (Would love to see Pep’s chinos at Ashton Gate, whilst being serenaded with ‘I’m a Cider Drinker’ his face would be a picture)


Planning my next penalty
You know that bizarre penalty that is doing the rounds at the moment where the ball hits the bar, is projected into the air and backspins into the goal while the keeper wheels away celebrating like an idiot? I was wondering whether it would be within the rules for the taker to stamp  a goal facing crevice into the ground while the ball is airborne, to help the ball goal ward should the amount of backspin on the ball not quite be enough to reach the line? Any refs out there that can clear this up? I need to know before I take my next penalty…
Dave, Spurs

More Related Articles