The main Man Utd problem is hiding in plain sight, Ten Hag should play the youth team and…

Date published: Sunday 14th August 2022 3:59 - Editor F365

Man Utd goalkeeper David de Gea salutes the crowd

Man Utd have their biggest issue ‘hiding in plain sight’ as they prepare to face Liverpool next. Plus, Ten Hag should play the youth and lots more…

Get your views in to…


The problem is hiding in plain sight
De Gea is the cause of so many of Man United’s issues. There is no denying he is one of the greatest shot stoppers in world football (usually), but what else can he do? He doesn’t seem capable of organising a defence, he doesn’t seem to have any kind of command of his area, he doesn’t look like he has any confidence with the ball at his feet.

I refuse to believe that Maguire, Varane, Lindelof, and now Martinez would be this bad behind a proper dominating goalkeeper.

I watched two games yesterday – Man City followed by Man United – and the gulf in quality was so extreme it was astonishing.
Bagpuss (despairing, but not surprised)


A more balanced perspective
So a day on from the shambles of a deserved 4-0 loss to Brentford and I see nothing but knee jerk reactions and panic from the Utd supporters.

Don’t get me wrong, yesterday was absolutely horrific on so many levels but looking at it objectively we lost that game through four inept pieces of football.

Goal 1.. yeah nothing need to be said, we know what happened here.
Goal 2.. I feel for Erikson a bit here, why is he being played in this position exactly? He’s a cm or acm yet we deploy him as a dm.. strange choice this.
Goal 3.. I do feel for Martinez, the guy is being targeted already and whilst I think he could be a very good player, maybe not in cb in the prem. I will reserve full judgment for later down the line, but I think dm is calling out for him personally. I also think Maguire hasn’t helped him much on this goal, he basically stood still watching it happen.
Goal 4.. Luke bloody shaw! I’m sorry but your one of the faster players in the prem, yet you stated ahead of your man, dropped behind him running back and then barely broke a sweat to recover. I don’t know what’s happened to him in the last year but his regression is staggering.

Looking at Utd as a whole there is a few things I am concerned about but please remember we are two games in! It took Klopp a long time to get Liverpool ticking and ETH deserves time too (we defo need signing though).

Our biggest problems are right back, Dalot is good as backup but too many times did our attack go dead down there, Cm is also a weak spot! I personally think play Martinez dm with Erikson and either Bruno or Fred next to them depending on opposition McTominay is back up at best and finally our attitude/fitness levels.

Rashford and Sancho are absolutely pathetic at tracking back and currently they are also offering nothing in attack without Martial.

Too many times yesterday did I see half hearted jogs and imitations of tackles, even Bruno who ran for fun is joining in with this currently. There is a virus in our squad and I personally believe it’s Rashford and Ronaldo, both of whom need to go for us to progress.

Losing games is fine but to not even give close to 100% is unforgivable at this level!

By the end of the transfer window we could look a lot better (I don’t see it myself though) but either way we need to back ETH give him some time to turn this around and back out team (but not the glazers.. less said about them the better… vampires).
Joe B


The rot…
It’s very easy to see where the rot is with Utd.  Recruitment.

When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.  They should have cut their losses on SO MANY PLAYERS.  De Gea should have been gone years ago.  AWB should have been gone years ago.  Luke Shaw, Fred, Martial, Rashford, VdB should have all been gone years ago.  Every year it seems Utd make a mistake by spending big on players who just don’t work but then continue to pay for those mistakes for years after by not selling them for a loss.  Subsidise their wages to get them off the books.  They spend big on players who immediately upon arrival are surplus to requirement and they don’t know what to do with them for 5 years.  When you do this for long enough you end up with a team entirely composed of overpaid, underperforming players who have no other players to look up to and aspire to be as good as.

Harry Maguire is the shining example of where the rot is.  The answer to Utd’s defensive problems isn’t to keep the biggest lummox in the league and buy a 5’9” partner for £50m to play alongside him.  To think that teams aren’t going to pressure Maguire and cross at Martinez is embarrassingly naive.  It’s laughable.  Harry Maguire’s still the world’s most expensive defender by the way, kind of represents the whole problem with Utd.

When was the last time Utd had a striker that wasn’t a stop gap?  Rooney?  It feels that since Ferguson retired Utd have failed to recruit a striker that lasted more than 2 years.  They seem content to squeeze as much as possible out of geriatrics who are out for one last payday.  Falcao, Ibrahimovic, Cavani and now Ronaldo have all just kicked the can down the road to the point where it seems like Utd are never going to sign a striker in his prime ever again.  It’s honestly weird.  Seriously, how does it happen that the “world’s biggest club” hasn’t been able to sign any of these strikers that have been moving clubs this year?

Take a leaf from the teams in the league who are punching above their weight.  Don’t buy players, build a team.  If you buy turds the only thing you’re going to end up with is a pile of shit.
SC, Belfast (It is very, very funny though)


Up next for Ten Hag…
Up next for United…a team which regularly gives them beatings which would make Andrew Tate wince – Liverpool.

I can’t be the only fan hoping that we can record a double figures boost to our goal difference. Last season at 4-0 it was very obvious klopp had instructed the team to ease off and just hold possession.

There are some truly hilarious looking match ups across the pitch one though is quite interesting – midfield. Who’s midfield is worse? We have a 32 year old Hendo a 35 year old milner and a fabinho so bad last game that he was subbed before 60 mins, which is very rare. And the back ups are two 18 year old youth players who have an abundance of talent but a death of experience and a player so inconsequential to Liverpool if you travelled back in time and removed him from history Liverpool would actually have no difference in trophies at all.

And United….well they’re United. On every other area of the pitch it’s a laughable mismatch but midfield might actually be interesting. I don’t think it will stop United getting slapped about like one of Sean Connerys lovers but I’m trying to give y’all something to be hopeful over.

I said before Erik flew in on his broomstick with his ten hags that he was the wrong man for the job and I don’t feel like I’m going to be proven wrong. United now is a job of such massive proportions that it will take a very galvanising and determined character to fix it, there’s maybe two or three managers in the world capable of fixing them. And two of them play for their closest rivals.

Gonna be a rough season for you guys. But the fans don’t help themselves, there’s tons of problems but you can help by supporting the team when they play and easing some of that tension and anxiety which courses through your team every match day. Protest before and after but while they’re playing give them support. Don’t boo them, even when they play badly because that only makes the problem worse.


Experiment: play the youth team
So, with Man Utd’s stock at an all time premier league low, I’ve been thinking about Ten Hag’s options. My question is: what would be the downside to him just dropping the majority of the first team and playing the youngsters for the next few months (at least)?

First of all, everyone loves youth players being developed, and it would make Man Utd interesting again after the horrors of the post-Fergie era. The results surely would not be much worse than they currently are; would the youth team concede more than 4 against Brentford? Even if they did, at least there would be some goodwill towards the youngsters learning their trade.

Secondly, we appear to be in a groundhog day situation where the current players’ confidence is absolutely shot, and there is really nothing to be gained by playing them. Even Man Utd fans (like me) find it hard to support the current shower when they barely even put in the minimum effort. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and if we are to finish in mid-table, or lower (presumably they’ll have enough to stay up!) I for one would much prefer them to do it by taking the short-term hit of poor results – which is happening anyway – but with the benefit of developing a new young team which at least would be more likeable, more interesting and it would be cheaper too for the villainous Glazers.

Lets face it, it can’t get worse. None of the current first team could justify their inclusion if challenged. What’s there to lose? Serious question…


A rare email on Man Utd
Dear F365,

Hats off to the thinkers at Manchester United and shame on the critics.

The World Cup is only 100 days away.  Losing players mid-season is going to be hugely disruptive to the effected teams.

For those chasing the league and Champions League spots there will be almost no first-teamers around.  It will be pretty similar for the sides in contention for a spot in the Europa League and Europa Conference League.  There will also be some impact on clubs hoping to lift the League or FA Cup or at least go on a run.

Keeping players out of World Cup consideration and fresh for comfortable lower mid-table safety / mildly alarming relegation battle is the strategic mark of a football club operating on a level everyone else could only dream of.
Dr Oyvind, Earth.


Martinez < Fellaini
58 million pounds. Let that sink in.

When Arsenal were sniffing around, it had a fraction of merit to it; assuming the thinking that he could cover left back (which was necessary) and that he’d play as a deep holding midfield battler. At the 40m being quoted at the time, it seemed overpriced. Not because I’d extensively watched him play. Purely because he looked physically lacking for those roles in this league.

I didn’t entertain the idea of him being played as a centre back. He’s 1.75m (that translates to 5″7′ , I’m unsure why everyone keeps saying he’s 5″9′). Shorter than Theo Walcott. I’d be surprised if he starts another game at centre back, he was singled out so effectively by Brentford it was hard to watch.

The narrative around ManU from fans, pundits and onlookers seems to be that they need to be better at buying players. This feels like it could be one of the most ill-informed, overpriced transfers we’ve seen. Is this ETH’s Fellaini moment?
Mark (starting to pity them at this point) Football Fan


What’s going on?
It’s beyond me what’s happening there. The demonic Glazers are apparently to blame for everything bad since the crucifixion of Christ, but they seem to have invested many hundreds and hundreds of millions from where I am. If they’d spent multiple billions on players, things would be no better. Red Nev is just ranting total tosh, as he seems increasingly likely to these days.

Ed Woodward was undoubtedly promoted beyond his competency, but he’s no longer there. Some very serious managerial names have come and gone with their reputations diminished. Ole wasn’t good enough, no argument there, but he did take them to second. How out of reach does that look now?

Ten Hag came in with a good reputation and a summer of disciplinarian stories followed. Hand in hand with a summer of utter failures in the transfer market. End result, they’re even worse than last year.
He’s clearly not to blame, it’s too soon, but he left his magic wand in Ajax apparently. The new manager bounce is ove….. never actually started.

Right now, they would be every club’s favourite team to play. Manchester United. Is it possible for an entire club to be sick to the core? If they were a horse you’d do the humane thing and put them quietly to sleep. There will be nothing quiet about things there for the foreseeable future.

The players seem allergic to putting in a shift, vulnerable to anyone who wants to press and playing several mighty chasms away from their collective reputations. It’s very easy to criticise David, Harry, Cristiano et al but all these guys can play and in most  cases really bloody well. One of them is a top 5 all time legend but you wouldn’t know it right now.

Everything is wrong at this club and the solution is not readily available. I did think Ten Hag would start a lot better than this but obviously the club sickness is very infectious.

Relegation is, of course, unthinkable apart from the fact that it really, *really* isn’t. Right now this is the worst team in the league and by a distance to. 2 games in is ridiculously early to make that statement but this is simply a continuation of the second half of last season. If anything has changed it’s for the worse.

No player who is any good is going there now. This is it for the rest of the season. Manchester United are in very real danger of being in a relegation dogfight. And they’re in even more danger of losing.

When we were knocked off our perch I spent the next 30 years watching some occasionally brilliant, frequently frustrating and ultimately not very successful football. But I never saw this.

The entire club looks like it’s given up. Literally  no one there knows how to get it going again and I haven’t got a clue either.

It’s going to be a very long, painful  season for Manchester United.
James, Liverpool

Harry Maguire of Manchester United reacts during the 4-0 Premier League defeat at Brentford

Further observations

My observations after my initial observations with ETH in charge:

Maguire acknowledging that he had very little cohesion with Martinez. Does it make sense playing them together considering they hadn’t played a single pre-season match before? – Vindicated.

Martinez is clearly not suitable in CD considering his height and presence. He is best placed in CDM. No brainer. – Vindicated. This will not work. Varane has to start. With the quality on offer in midfield, Martinez may just be best suited there.

Fred and McTominay starting another season in midfield. It’s borderline insane and utterly embarrassing for a club of this stature. – Fred in CDM does not work, been there done that.

Rashford doesn’t deserve a starting spot anymore. Think everyone’s seen enough of him by now. – Vindicated, though with an aweful midfield like this, it’s beginning to affect the forwards. I’d suggest no further tinkering in that area until the real issue is fixed.

Team cannot afford Fernandez and Eriksen on the field at the same time. Players who are essentially crossers, one of whom seems to have completely lost the plot. I’d keep Eriksen, but only on the right, if at all. – Vindicated.
VDB and CR7 seemed to do well while coming on. I’d play both going forward, provided they’re fit and ready. – Fernandez needs to be dropped immediately, and VDB given a run in.

(New point) Think this season would have been perfect to replace De Gea with Dean H, but we’ve already missed the bus with that one.

My team would include Dalot, Shaw, Maguire, Varane in defense, Martinez in CDM, Fred in the middle (make that McTominay until we land someone else) with VDB, Erikson on the right, Sancho on the left and Ronaldo up top until Martial recovers.

Still clear to see that the team is short of three players, two midfielders and a forward. Time’s also coming when ETH will have to give fans the confidence that he understands the league, what tactics other teams are coming with, if he’s able to counter it by selecting the correct players and if his players are up to it. My guess is this will change soon once our midfield targets (hopefully) come in.

Enough said.
Saby MUFC Swindon


Surrender Monkeys 365
After years of faffing about with nonsense articles on the reasons for united demise, Football365 finally hits the nail on the head… uniteds players are  a “bunch of braindead surrender monkeys”.

But thats meannnnnn, you cant say that…. what about the players mental health… they may need a big huggy wug after reading such hate speech from the now alt-right Football365.

No,no. Its just the nail hitting the head. Its not smart modern progressive journalism, but its just plain old reality. Sometimes a big punch of reality right in the face is whats needed. These players are a disgrace, they need to hear it. It needs to be said right to their faces. They can cry all the way home to their million pound mansions in their million pound sportscars.

A few weeks back we had an entire mediawatch lambasting gammon head Piers Morgan for making the valid point that uniteds players are mentally weak. F365 have now realised they have been overthinking this journalism lark for years. Just think like Piers… just write like Piers. If it looks like a braindead surrender monkey, then call it a braindead surrender monkey. Easy peasy. CTRL ALT DELETE ENTER. Close laptop. Off to the pub.

So going forward, lets just maintain this back to basics journalism approach. No more nostalgic, melancholic articles on Marcus Rashford. Just call him a diagrace who demanded 200k a week and failed to make an effort for the rest of his united career.

But but but what about his charity work and the time he STOP!STOP!STOP! Hes a money grabbing disgrace to the jersey like the rest of them. Save the praise for Charity365 or some other website. We are here to talk football.

I dont need any articles on how De Gea needs a new challange and an arm around the shoulder… he simply needs to spend 4 extra hours a day on the training ground learning the basics. Hes a diagrace, like the rest of em.

Heres to the new and improved football365!


Where is Varane?
I keep asking. Why is Varane not playing? He is United’s best and most experienced defender. Pairing Maguire and Martinez in central defence can only result in one outcome, leaking of goals like a leaking tap. So, where is Varane?
Professor (Dr) David Achanfuo Yeboah


4-0 is the least they deserve from that kit.  It reminded me of the days when my older relatives had televisions with the analog ‘Contrast’ button that you’d have to twist to get the color right, but sometimes the signal wasn’t very strong, so part of the screen would just look like that shirt.

It also reminds me of the color of Nickelodeon slime.  I’m enjoying the thought that the designer who walked in recommending “puke green” for the away kit was a 5th columnist fan of a rival playing an elaborate, ironic joke.
Ian, LFC Harford CT USA


Oh my God. Oh my gosh golly God.
Man Yoo. Jesus. The first was reminiscent of Massimo Taibi. The second was a pass from United into f*ckupsville. The third, well, he kinda just fell into heading it didn’t he.

The fourth? Cut United open like I used to cut open my doner kebab wraps after a night out (with animalistic ferocity, I must confess)

What else is there left to say? This team doesn’t just need a makeover. It needs gutting and rebooting to the point where they are never embarrassed again like they were today. I think Ten Hag is a good manager and to write him off now is just pure nonsense.

But what a job he has on his hands. United are rotten and, truthfully, this is as bad as it’s ever been. Good luck Erik. Because you are gonna fucking need it.
Jack, 28, London (when it’s this hot, going commando is a horrific yet necessary act)


Conte and Pochettino
Conte and Poch must be feeling pretty relieved they were passed over for the United job, eh?

I honestly don’t know where United will pick up their first win looking at the fixture list. They are awful on the road so losing to Southampton, Leicester and Palace isn’t beyond the realms of plausibility. Last season they lost 2 of those 3 games and scraped a draw at Southampton. Oh, and their next 2 home games are Liverpool and Arsenal. I don’t think ten Hag is a bad coach but (considering they just got thumped by the only(?) team they took six points from last year) we could see him matching de Boer’s awful record unless something changes fast.
ThaiWolf, HK


New signings/managers
Has anyone noticed how peripheral (relatively speaking, considering what he’s done for us the past 2 seasons) Saka has seemed in these first two Arsenal matches? An Arsenal side where Saka isn’t the expected dangerman every match is one that will be extremely difficult to game plan against (given the lack of familiarity other teams will have with this dynamic) and it will allow Mikel Arteta more flexibility to enact his gameplans.

By the way, I want to address the mail from Stewie from the other day. This isn’t going to be an overly defensive riposte to his trolling. I think far too many Arsenal fans are so sensitive to the point that they’re too unreasonable to realize that – under all the insane hyperbole – there are actual underlying grains of truth in the things Stewie says. They’re tiny…but they are still there for the time being. Note the vestigial (this is totally from the Arsene-Emirates days) tendency to often completely break down at the back when our press or high line is broken.

Anyway, Stewie asked about Mikel’s 5 year plan and whether or not he specifically mentioned it before. I don’t think we were ever privy to his specific 2-year, 3-year, 5-year plan but what struck me watching Manchester United today was how 10 hog seems to be trying to implement his style of play without actually having the players he wants (let alone needs) to do this. And it reminded me of how Arteta actually avoided this exact mistake. People forget, but the entire Arsenal system has shifted from a back five (really a 4-4-2) from when the pandemic started to a 4-2-3-1 to finally his preferred system (the one we always knew “Pep-lite” would gravitate towards) which is the 4-3-3. If you really think there isn’t any sort of process or plan then you’re not paying attention.
MAW, LA Gooner (This isn’t just Stewie who has questioned Arteta’s process, btw. Multiple Man United fans have as well and I would just recommend you maybe focus on your worthless club for now because you have massive problems. Even we never went down 4 nil to Brentford before halftime…)


Saturday fun…
By no measure am I pleased for Arsenal, but my word Jesus is a player unleashed, isn’t he. Love to see it.

Almost a much as Brentford winning 4-0. Against United.

And that debruyne goal?!

Fucking love football, I do.
Jon (Spurs tomorrow…), Lincoln


Before Christmas, on current form , only two fixtures offer hope of points .

Southampton away and Leeds at home . A. couple of points in the bag by Boxing Day should keep the Red Devils afloat .
Peter ( start the kids ! poor Erik) Andalucia


More Related Articles