Manchester United midfield prompting pleas for patience in mid-August

Editor F365
Manchester United midfielder Mason Mount
Manchester United midfielder Mason Mount.

Manchester United need time to make a new-look midfield work, while we still have views on Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp.

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Give this Man Utd midfield some time
Phew! It is quite astonishing to write this mail after just one game in to this season. Yes Man Utd played badly and should not have gotten the three points. But to write off Casemiro who is still finding fitness and form heading in to the new season is ridiculous to say the least. Last season he was our Saviour and touted to be one of the greatest signings in the post SAF era. All this because we think we have ready made replacements in Onana and Amrabat for whom we have not even bid yet. Even if we sign them both or one of them, how is it that they are guaranteed starters ahead of Case?

Last season there was this belief that we don’t lose matches when the trio of Bruno, Case and Eriksen play together. In a long time we actually had a spine because of this Midfield. Case was easily among the first names on the team sheet. And suddenly everyone is slating him left right and center on what was the first competitive game he played partnering a new signing Mason Mount. Yes the performance was poor but it was not down to one person but the formation as a whole and the positional play needs improvement and fine-tuning.

I’m sure ETH knows that he won’t be able to please us Fans with another Carabao and top-four finish. He wants the squad improved and is keen on building one with proper replacements. Give the team some time and with one or two more additions expected we need to be patient for the team to integrate and develop.
Vasanthan Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India


…Just wanted to make a few counter points to the doom and gloom surrounding United over the last few mailboxes.

Ten Hag is trying a new formation and tactics. Last season we effectively played with two 6s in Casemiro and Eriksen with the roles weighted for attack or defence plus Bruno as a roaming 10. It looks like this year we will mostly be playing with one 6 in Casemiro and two advanced 8s in Bruno and Mount, the midfield defensive cover coming from inverted full backs.

This will make the team much better at the high press and help them keep teams pinned in their own half. It’s a move to a more dominant style of play but whilst the players learn their roles there will be teething problems. Against Wolves the full backs were not supporting Casemiro effectively so when the press was broken he was alone in midfield and Wolves could easily attack through the middle, this risk will reduce as the team learns the system.

There were just too many bad performances against Wolves. Sloppy in possession and slow to react were common throughout though I very much doubt that number of players will be as bad again in the same game. Casemiro started last season in a similar way but came very good after only a few games. I do wonder a little though if the team have started the season purposefully undercooked. The number of games and poor squad depth last season was very frustrating for Ten Hag as the team’s performance levels dipped around March/April. Perhaps he is aiming to hit peak performance later to help with longevity.

Hojlund should make a significant difference to how effectively United attack the box. Rashford, Garnacho, Anthony, and Sancho are all wingers who prefer to carry the ball into the box whereas Hojlund is a player who wants to receive possession inside the box. I only expect 25-30 starts from him across all comps but I have high hopes for his impact.

Spurs now high possession style will likely see Ten Hag revert back to last season’s tactics and give Rashford some room to run in behind though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sancho start in the place of Garnacho.
Dave, Manchester


Open letter to Harry Maguire
WTF man? What the actual f*ck. So, it appears my club Man United had already agreed on a deal with West Ham SIX DAYS AGO for you to leave for $30m (can’t be arsed to type the pound sign). And YOU REFUSED TO LEAVE. Again, WTF?

First of all, no one respects you in the club. The manager doesn’t respect you and stripped you of the captaincy to show you how much he doesn’t rate you. When you see Ten Hag smiling at you when you arrive at Carrington in the morning, just know that deep inside, he’s angrily hating your guts. And when he tells you that he loves you to stay and fight for your place, he’s lying straight to your face.

Your teammates don’t respect you. Even the new boy Onana tore you a new ar*eh*le just to emphasize the point. Your teammates are hoping that you’d bugger off so that they can get an upgrade and yet here you are refusing to leave and stinking out the pace. Behind your back, your teammates are cursing you.

Just leave the club. Except for your mummy and your siblings, no one wants you at Manchester United Football Club. Heck, they may be feeling what I’m feeling but choose to spare your feelings.

The majority of the fans don’t want you at the club. Only the most deluded of fans think you can turn around your fortunes at the club. Add in a couple of jingoistic English journos.

I’m not one to curse anyone but you can bet your sorry a*se millions of disillusioned fans want you gone. Thinks of these fans before you annoyingly refuse to leave and allow the club to get Benjamin Pavard, who in case you didn’t know, can play in central defence AND right-back. Can you play right-back…can you balls?

Melvoe Adams in Nairobi, Kenya


Oui to Pavard
Why on earth don’t Liverpool get Benjamin Pavard already?! He’s definitely affordable, he’s full of international experience, he provides class cover both on right back and in central defence (Liverpool need exactly that!), and he still has a few good years in him. Why not?! Come on already!
Eirik (trying to find a way to feel less frustrated without having to resort to something the equivalent of pissing my pants to stay warm), LFC, hiding in the Corner of Embarrassment


Chelsea ruin kids
Being a Liverpool fan, I’m not overly bothered over not signing Lavia or Caicedo. But can someone please make up a list of all the Chelsea “youngsters” they’ve signed in the past 10 year let say and how many appearances etc have they all made for loan clubs rather than actual Chelsea.

Every single transfer window I see Chelsea sign young players, never play them and loan them out and then they are a Fugayzi, fugayzi, a whazy a woozie, fairy dust, never to be seen or heard from again. They just ruin young players.

Anyhoo, I’d wish Liverpool went for Palinha from Fulham.
Chris LFC


Bandwagon, anyone?
Your site, in an attempt to feel prescient, is now predicting the demise of Klopp’s Liverpool career, along the lines of Arsene Wenger. Well for a site that loves to point at other outlets who offer knee-jerk reactions, that seems a little premature. One match played. An away draw against a team that has spent a billion pounds in the last two years.

You draw together many threads to support your argument but you also decide that Liverpool should be somehow embarrassed by not ‘winning’ these transfer battles. It’s all systematic failures and crises and shit. And nobody feels that Chelsea should be embarrassed by all of this? Nobody thinks that maybe Liverpool lost these two ‘battles’ because footballers are a bit greedy.

Does anyone feel that offering more money to a player and a ridiculously long contract is the sensible option. Chelsea are today a model of common sense, while Liverpool are a basket case? Is that the story you’re peddling? Get a hold of yourself F365.

Chelsea have been an embarrassment since Abramovich took over and they continue to be an embarrassment. It is not the first time Liverpool have had Chelsea pick their pockets and it won’t be the last. The same thing happened a few years back with a young Egyptian player named Mo Salah. How did that work out for them?

I’m not saying Chelsea haven’t achieved things over the last 20 years but it’s hardly a cause for celebration is it? What I do like is that Liverpool have appeared in five European Cup Finals during that 20-year period and Jurgen Klopp has delivered every trophy during his reign as manager.

So celebrate the insanity at Stamford Bridge if you like. Tell us that something is rotten in the state of Liverpool. But shorten your article because the two transfers you refer to are about one thin g- money. Nothing more.

I look forward to an article in a decade or so when you examine whether or not these 7-8 year deals represented good value, based on form, injury, etc. I imagine we’ll be all concluding that they weren’t. But that’s not the fun narrative for today. Today is all about predicting the demise of Liverpool – and blaming them for it. Thanks, but in future please do better.
Michael, Ireland


…I read the article on Klopp’s ignominious end with a hopeful smile; however, as much as I want to see it happen and for Liverpool to implode into League One, talk of demise is a touch premature.

They have made a couple of decent MF signings this summer (no not Caicedo you cheeky scamp) and their forward line can score goals, especially when Utd come to town. They don’t, however, seem to have the same ability or intensity to press and defend as a team. This won’t be popular advice but they could do worse than take big money for Salah (read Coutinho) and build a new defence.

VVD is not the player he was for those couple of seasons – there was a moment on Sunday when Jackson broke free and VVD chased him down like he was towing a caravan. Luckily Konate was there (he’s a decent player who would not need replaced). The fawning over VVD by Drury made this incident even funnier (“born to be a captain, just watch him purr” – boke).

This season is a big one for them, no doubt. And obviously not just for them, a lot of teams around are hoping to kick on, so another season out of CL football could be critical for Klopp and Liverpool as other teams bed themselves into top 4. But we’re one game in so I’d refrain from tolling the death knell just yet. Unfortunately!
Garey Vance, MUFC


Brighton and Caicedo are the real winners here
Very much enjoyed the skewering of Aldo’s one eyed commentary on L’affaire Caceido. Seems to be par for the course these days that pundits are more like cheerleaders than analysts. I blame sky sports fan comm thing from years back. It’s hard to think of a neural pundit – maybe the excellent Pat Nevin?

But my main point is this- it is clear that Caceido’s agents have been playing fast and loose with the truth the entire time. As funny as it is to imagine Liverpool simply slapped down £110m for a player without any inclination he wanted to join, that simply doesn’t really happen.

Caceido’s agents have been trying to engineer a move to Chelsea, with insane wages and enormous contract length and signing on bonus, all summer. But brighton wouldn’t budge on price (spoilsports!) so the agents get in touch with Liverpool, tell them Moses is keen if they can agree a price and bang: auction begins, Chelsea are stung into action!

Who are the winners in this? Obvs not Liverpool who look like fools. But also not Chelsea who are mortgaging their future on a 21year old with limited PL experience, zero CL experience and an agent that has the moral compass of, well, an agent. The real winner is of course Brighton, who’ve made an insane profit on a good, but not great player – and have got rid of someone who has shown themselves to be a disruptive force in the changing room.

And of course the agents, who have no doubt pocketed an insane signing on bonus.

And Fabrizio Romano, aka the mouthpiece of every agent in the world who’s looking to shift a player or change a narrative!
Dan, London


For amortisation, read amoralisation
As a Liverpool supporter I’ve had a pretty great time since Jurgen arrived in 2015. It coincided with some pretty tough times in life and many times (as in the previous 25 years as a fan) it’s been my lifeline for when I need to just feel good about something.

I’ve been a Jurgen believer all that time, from someone who doubted my club the previous 20 years! As yes I really felt like “this meant more.” Rival fans jeered and sneered but when I saw Liverpool competing with financially superior clubs and doing it with brains, guile and talent it felt like that.

Our manager believed in something, our players did too and so did we.

But lately I’ve been turning into a doubter again. At the weekend my brother in law asked, how can you follow a sport that is so amoral? I defended it as usual and in particular my own beloved Liverpool. But the doubts are back, is football just too corrupted by money now to defend anymore.

And yes I know the gutter fans will say it is sour grapes and if we had Saudi backing, unlimited resources or were signing the players for eye watering amounts I would be happy, and maybe I would, I’m no saint, I want the best players, like any fan would, but is there a point at which this doesn’t mean more anymore?

Few hits this summer, players who I thought believed in something and defended to the last have walked for Saudi money. Breaches of financial fair play don’t seem to be enforced in the Uk or seem likely to be. Clubs flaunt the rules and the latest phrase for this now I read is amortisation. That may be the word that kills football for me!

For I read amoralisation. And that is all I see now. The fun is gone, the belief is gone, the hope is gone.

I heard a Buddhist teacher say once that it is hard to become enlightened when your head is stuck half way up the Devils ass. That looks like where football is now, and it’s hard to enjoy.
Dave LFC


It’s a shame about Ney
The absolute genius that is Tim Vickery has spoken before about Ronaldinho and the fact he really wasted a career that could have had him as the best player in the world for multiple seasons. Instead he took his natural talent, coasted, and went partying. Fair play, do what you like in your own life, but undoubtedly could have done so much more on the pitch.

Neymar. The bright hope of Brazil for the last 12 years. THE gifted player of his generation. A player so good he could have spent 12 years at Barca and been remembered a true legend of the game.

He pushed for the move to PSG seemingly because he didn’t think he would win the Ballon D’or while playing in the same team as Messi. Probably correct. Except he went to PSG and spent his time in Paris partying and giving only the mildest s**t on the pitch. Why wouldn’t he? His talent far outweighed anyone else in France.

That move as Peter Fizpatrick said, f**ked everyone over. Neymar stopped giving a damn because he could give the minimum effort and win the league every season. PSG allowed him to do whatever he wanted and Barca didn’t spend the transfer money they got well. At all.

How will Neymar be remembered? Considering his insane levels of talent, I fear he won’t be remembered for anything near the player he has been and could have been. Again, fair play. Live your life as you want.

But for a player who is possibly in the top 5 most talented players of the last 15 years, ending up in Saudi at 31 is a crying shame.
Will (Let’s not get started on Hazard)