Manchester United optimism kicks in again…

We have some Manchester United optimism again. Send your mails to


Martial, you hero…
Pretty enjoyable game to watch from a United point of view. They are purring right now, and that performance was certainly one of the more professional and complete in recent weeks despite all the changes.

So let’s start with a few of the cons then:

Van de Beek offered nothing really. Ole was heard shouting at him to keep running in behind and it seemed like he was playing a kind of false 9 role, which didn’t really suit him. He has shown glimpses of his ability thus far, but I’m a little bit worried. Maybe a run of games in the first team would help him, but he hasn’t done enough to warrant that in his fleeting appearances.

Tuanzebe can’t do much in attack. AWB isn’t great in attack either, so United currently don’t have any potential attacking threat from right back. Telles on the other hand looks pretty useful.

Pogba was average again. No harm in cutting our losses on a player who offers no more than Fred nor McTominay.

Now the good points on that performance:

Martial’s impact was immense and he showed the type of attitude that allows him to shine. Good driving run and pass for Cavani’s goal, and then helped set the wheels in motion for his own excellent goal.

Cavani has been a great signing. We’ve not had a striker in that mould since RVP. Whether as an impact sub or a starter he will always be a threat.

Maguire has been pretty good since his terrible early season form. He is suited to playing against strikers like Calvert-Lewin, but he looked both classy and strong throughout. As ever, Bailly mixed the good with the risky.

Ole managed the game really well, brought on subs at the right time and got the tactics spot on. Tuanzebe nullified Richarlison and Maguire snuffed out Calvert-Lewin.

For probably the third or fourth time during Ole’s reign I’m really positive again about United. I don’t think they will deliver the consistency over the entire league campaign for a really meaningful league challenge, but throughout his two years in charge the team has gradually gotten more appealing to watch and delivered more consistent excellent results.
Paddy (Irish exiled in Oz)


Ole not backed? Really?
Is Dave for real claiming Ole hasn’t been backed financially??
I know he didn’t buy them all but Utd v Leeds had:
The highest paid keeper on the planet playing in goal.
An £80m centre back(Ole bought)
A £50m right back(Ole bought) .
A £25m left back.
A £50m midfielder(Ole bought).
A £15m left winger(Ole bought).
A £40m midfielder(Ole bought) AND an £89m ON THE BENCH.
A £30m left back on the bench(Ole bought).
They also are paying a guy £200k per week to play for Inter Milan.

I am sick of Utd fans, managers, ex managers whining that “Ed didn’t get player X or player Y,Glazers out blah blah blah ”
Pep wanted Sanchez, Maguire and Bruno.
Utd got them as they financially outbid City.
Do City fans whine and complain about it?

Klopp won the CL and got Liverpool’s highest points total ever. That Summer he bought NOBODY. Not one single player came in.

Did he whine?? He went out and beat the record points total and won the league.

This past Summer everyone could see Liverpool needed another centre back. We didn’t buy one. We all know what happened and what did Klopp do??
Just got on with it, played a kid, another guy who nearly joined a league 2 team and has used 10 different CB partnerships already this season, including our regular defensive midfielder who is now the best CB in the league. The result was topped our CL group, top of the PL and 10 clean sheets in 15 games in all competitions.
He wasn’t happy with the thuggish challenge by that toe-rag Pickford alright but that was understandable.

Since he took over Klopp’s net spend is £110m.
Utds spending in the same time is £520m.
“Not backed”
Good one Dave.
Ferg, Cork


Chelsea and Big Sam
Kevin from Nottingham put it out there that would any fan of a Top 6 side take Sam Allardyce as their manager to lead them to glory, to lift Premier League titles, Champions League titles and potential World dominance, I personally would not, not even during that final season of the dreadful Mourinho second spell at our club, it is not a dig at Big Sam, but I just do not see how his style of play would take the club further forward than any of our previous bosses, I will break down some quick points on why I do not think he would have been a good fit.

First up, Everton fans will testify to this, he never played the youth, he has never had a reputation of playing the youth and our fan base especially in recent years have been crying out for our academy to finally get used, during his tenure at Everton, which is arguably his biggest club of his career to date, the only under 23’s he played were Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was already established in the senior side at this point, alongside Mason Holgate and Jonjoe Kenny, both brought in due to injuries to Michael Keane and Seamus Coleman.

Second he would have likely signed Ashley Barnes or Andy Carroll, most fans remember those rumours, in fact there was a Peter Crouch rumour at one point under Antonio Conte’s reign, none of the fans wanted any of those three at the club, I can remember the response on Social Media, oh boy that was an interesting read at the time, can just imagine for those two reasons alone, a Big Sam tenure at the Blues would not have lasted long as the fans would most likely never have stayed on his side for to long.

Perhaps one of the top contributors at F365 should boot up a copy of Football Manager 2021, install Sam Allardyce as a manager at each of the sides that finished in the Top 6 last season, sim a few seasons and then share a series of articles on how each tenure went, I would love to read that, I am sure many other readers would to!
Mikey, CFC (Started watching Ted Lasso on Apple TV, wow what a series that is!)


Scared of Arsenal
As a Chelsea fan I’m convinced that if a team is going to break its winless streak it’ll be against us. I don’t know if this holds up in the actual numbers but it feels like any game where a “weaker” team has been on a bad run and they come up against us it’s touch-and-go if we win it or not. If there is a banana peel lying in the corner of the room Chelsea will still find a way to slip on it.

For this reason the Arsenal game scares me.


Looking for Arsenal optimism
These are dark days for my beloved Arsenal.

We are clearly lacking in footballing support and quality.

The league does not lie and we are were we deserved to be.

I trust Mikel Arteta because he has the knowledge, character, hardworking effort to lift us up where we belong.

However, he needs help from the owner; unconditional backing from the board and a chance to implement a new structure on the playing side which will in my view take at least two or three transfer windows.

Meanwhile, we have to take on media lumps, who are beating the sack him drum beats, from media pundits most of whom would not have the background to manager such a club and even former players who should know better and would not make a proper club manager if molded together. That is their opinion and so be it.

As for the players, I never played to that standard, but from a human nature point of view, when things are going so badly wrong, it is time to meet, demand from each other more, back the cause and fight for those of us who cannot be there. You do not need to leak to the media the old trope that the manager has lost the dressing room…a consistent old trope. And for those who want to go, tell the manager, so you can be quietly excluded from the playing staff leaving those with the heart and soul for Arsenal to fight the cause. It is really that simple.

It pains me seeing the defeats but we as fans can get behind Mikel and those willing to playing for Arsenal.

This maybe a simple and optimistic view….and I have not even addressed our lack of technical playing style…but we need too keep hope alive.
Tony Laforce, Hackney, London


Should we embrace relegation?
If Pep is going to give his totally biased opinion on whether his friend should lose his job or not, I’m going to throw my two cents in as well, since nobody asked.

I’d be torn on the issue. On the logical hand, yeah, they should absolutely sack him. The form is out the window, the team look aimless and clueless, to use a cliche; “they don’t look like they’re playing for him”. This non-club legend cannot motivate this squad at the moment. Sure, Arteta might be the next best manager ever, he might go on to win all the European Super Leagues forever and ever, but now; right now, it isn’t working. Whether that is down to Arteta himself, the club, the players or all three, doesn’t really matter. The manager will always be disposable, and Arsenal are in need of change. On the other hand, it seems a bit pointless to sack him. As F365 wrote – which swayed me – why bother sacking him when he is in the middle/start of a project? Why hire a manager with no experience and back him in the market to only sack him at the first hiccup. Give him the season, which will be a write-off for any new manager, so why not let Arteta see out the write-off?

But the answer to the ‘other hand’ is relegation. Absolutely a possibility, despite the sheer dross below us, the unlikely possibility that Arsenal will be relegated is looking like a probability with each passing game. If you look at footballing history, it’s about time that a ‘big club’ gets relegated against the odds due to years of boardroom mismanagement and poor recruitment, I just thought it would be United. However, unlike most Arsenal fans I imagine, I welcome relegation, for no other reason than the banter.

Sure, on the logical hand again, relegation seems like a catastrophe. Big egos on big wages, no strong backroom staff, no good, loyal players, an inept boardroom. All the hallmarks of another ‘Leeds’. The only difference is that Arsenal seem to be in a healthy financial situation as a club – or so we have always been told -, so relegation shouldn’t cripple them totally. It might force the board out, and we can get someone in who wants to pull in the same direction, to build a proper club once again, rather than use it as an ATM – provided they were the highest bidder of course. But then again, the craic. Being in the mixer once again, winning games on a weekly basis, seeing Arsenal in the bloody Championship? I’d actually care about football once again. A much needed shot of excitement. And think of the football manager game, bringing them back to the top of the game. What’s not to like?
Neill, (Rafa is who we need, relegation or not), Ireland


VAR vindication
And there we have it. After 59 mins of the Arsenal v Manchester City League Cup quarter-finals, Phil Foden zipped through Arsenal’s defence onto a lovely Fernandinho pass and dinked the ball over the goalkeeper. 3-1. Game over.

But what, pray do tell, was that noise? Why it was an army of people (alright mostly mad ones off of Arsenal Fan TV and journalists) chuntering about Foden being marginally offside and therefore a goal that should have been chalked off if VAR was in place.

Hang on, is this not the same VAR that everyone has been saying is an absolute shambles, ruining-the-game, I’m-ripping-up-my-(non-existent)-season-ticket, game’s gone! VAR, no?

Let’s just say that no one had invented VAR yet, you can guarantee that the above-mentioned war crime will have been added to the list of other terrible injustices we will have witnessed this season as poor benighted defenders everywhere cry themselves asleep as their best laid offside traps are deemed not effective despite an errant knee/ear/little pinky clearly being beyond the last defender. Will somebody not think of the centre backs!!

This heinous assault on the common good will have the press and twitter monsters frothing at the bit and demanding JUSTICE in the form of a video reply system. After all – we can all clearly see it was offside so why can’t the officials?!?

Now I don’t want to fall into ‘be careful what you wish for territory’ but the above scenario is exactly what would happen had we no VAR at all. And the call to introduce it would be getting ever more louder.

So back to reality (is 2020 real?) and VAR is now here to stay. If you are offside, even if by a gnats c*ck hair, then you are offside, cos all else is arbitrary and subjective.

So can people please stop moaning about VAR – if we didnt have it then the self same people would be demanding it be brought in. Such a tedious debate now so I do hope we can move on.
Rob (peace, love and 9 points over the festive period please Santa), Leicester