Manchester United face a lifetime in City’s shadow

Date published: Thursday 25th April 2019 11:16

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United

Empty threat
‘When Sane the sub belted in the second… United punters started streaming out’ – The Sun

‘As the goals went in, the tension evaporated. A disturbing number of red seats were revealed as home fans left’ – Daily Mail

‘With five minutes remaining, Manchester United supporters were flooding towards the exits’ – The Times

Weird. Why didn’t they stay until the end to celebrate the result they all wanted?


Life sentence
It’s a disappointingly sane response from most of Her Majesty’s press corps to Manchester City outplaying and ultimately defeating a team not as good as they are, but the conclusion to Neil Ashton’s otherwise reasoned and reasonable analysis of the place currently occupied by the two is still a bit of an eye-opener.

‘When [City] play like this, keeping United at arm’s length inside their own stadium, you wonder whether they will ever be rivals again.

‘Chances are, it will never be in my lifetime.’

Steady on, Neil. Fingers crossed you’ve got a good few decades left in you yet, and it’s only been a few months since Solskjaer was ‘a throwback to the Fergie period’ and delivering football ‘the United way’.

Last night certainly provided stark evidence of the gulf that currently stands between the two teams, one accurately reflected in a 25-point gap in the Premier League table. Apropos of nothing, 25 points was the exact gap between Manchester City and Liverpool at the end of last season.

A lifetime is a very, very long time for anyone to be a hostage to fortune – the recent history of the two clubs Ashton watched last night is testament to that. Another one to keep on file in our bulging Ashton Hot Takes drawer.


Rate Said Fred
‘Woeful. Gave the ball away in the move that led to City’s second. 3/10’ – Daily Mirror

‘Composed and classy, and did all of the running expected of a holding midfielder. 7/10’ – The Guardian

Manchester United’s woeful, composed £50m man Fred was either their worst player against Manchester City or their best. We’ll leave it up to you…


Emery bored
Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at Wolves was a) very bad and b) an all-too familiar away day story for the Gunners. But The Sun‘s comedy cockney Paul Jiggins is surely jumping the gun(ners) a teensy bit by suggesting this result ‘must surely raise questions about whether [Unai] Emery is the man to take the club forward long term in the post-Arsene Wenger era’.

They are a point outside the top four with three very winnable games remaining and already have more points than in Wenger’s final season, when they finished sixth. They are in the semi-finals of the Europa League. Let’s at least wait a few weeks before declaring Emery a failure in what Jiggins himself acknowledges ‘was never going to be an overnight job’.

Not everyone can finish in the top four. That’s just maths.


Just Seventeen
Sticking with Jiggins and indeed maths, he declares apparently very loudly: ‘Emery made SEVEN changes to his starting line-up after Sunday’s debacle. On this evidence he could have made SEVENTEEN.’

Well… no, he couldn’t. Because SEVENTEEN is more than ELEVEN.


Express delivery
If it’s shouty Arsenal maths you’re after, though, you need to head to the Express website where the following HEADLINES are currently shouting NUMBERS at you in a vaguely THREATENING way.

Pundit reveals ONE reason Unai Emery could save Gunners’ season after Wolves

Arsenal fans demand Unai Emery sells ONE player after Wolves horror show

Arsenal boss Unai Emery reveals his side didn’t do ONE thing in Wolves loss

Manchester United and Chelsea are JEALOUS of TWO Arsenal stars

Arsenal remaining fixtures: Emery’s side have THREE games to clinch top-four finish

Arsenal transfer theory involving FOUR players dropped after Man Utd defeat to Everton

Arsenal boss Unai Emery ready to axe SEVEN stars in mass summer overhaul


Recommended reading of the day
Barney Ronay on Manchester United

Jack Pitt-Brooke on Manchester City and the FA Youth Cup final

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