Manchester United rocked by boffins and brainiacs as Gareth Southgate develops ‘complex’

Date published: Wednesday 5th October 2022 10:01 - Editor F365

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag walks across the pitch

Manchester United have been ‘mauled’ and the supercomputer was not impressed, while Gareth Southgate has deep psychological problems that result in him not picking not quite the best English players.


Haal or nothing for Nunez
Andy Dunn writes very sensibly in the Daily Mirror that Darwin ‘Nunez and Liverpool is obviously a work in progress but his runs are consistently intelligent and he has shown in the past that he is a good finisher’.

‘But regardless of the number of wasted opportunities against a deeply unambitious Rangers side, this was a step in the right direction for Nunez.

‘You can forget the comparisons with you-know-who but Nunez and Liverpool will eventually be a good match.’

The headline on the Mirror website?

‘Darwin Nunez took a step in right direction for Liverpool – but he’s no Erling Haaland’

‘Forget’ them. Unless you want those sweet, sweet clicks.


Copy cat cocoa
Obviously the biggest story from Liverpool’s win over Rangers was the way that Jordan Henderson ran behind Mo Salah as he took his penalty and the Mirror website give top billing on their football website to this story:

‘GENIUS, JORDAN! Kop captain Henderson mimics Salah and copies run-up in distracting new role at Liverpool penalties.’

It’s so ‘GENIUS’ and ‘new’ that the Mirror reported on James Milner doing exactly the same two months ago.

It wasn’t a story then and it’s definitely not a f***ing story now.


Odds against
All hail the supercomputer. Also known as a naked attempt to rank highly on Google for powerful keywords ‘Premier League’ and ‘Premier League table’.

The Sun website have embraced this concept like a mother embracing her first-born.

Now let us first consult Wikipedia to find an accurate description of a ‘supercomputer’:

‘A supercomputer is a computer with a high level of performance as compared to a general-purpose computer. The performance of a supercomputer is commonly measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) instead of million instructions per second (MIPS). Since 2017, there have existed supercomputers which can perform over 1017 FLOPS (a hundred quadrillion FLOPS, 100 petaFLOPS or 100 PFLOPS).’

And since long before 2017, such machines have been used to calculate predicted Premier League tables, which seems like a perfectly reasonable use of all those FLOPS.

‘Supercomputer predicts final Premier League table after Man Utd are mauled by Man City and Arsenal’s win vs Tottenham’

‘Mauled’ is excellent, by the way, and in no way hyperbolic for a football match that ended 6-3.

‘MANCHESTER UNITED have been tipped to miss out on Champions League football AGAIN… although Arsenal could finally return to Europe’s premier competition.’

Well, MANCHESTER UNITED are sixth and finished sixth last season so we’re not sure we need a supercomputer to tell us that they might well miss out on Champions League football.

‘That’s according to a supercomputer tasked with using data and betting market analysis to predict how the season will play out.’

Ah. It’s starting to sound less like a ‘supercomputer’ and more like, well, a list of odds in return for an SEO link.

‘Boffins and brainiacs over at OLBG reckon Man United are set for a sixth-placed finish and another season in the Europa League.’

Boffins and brainiacs? Are those different job descriptions? Did they absolutely need both to write down a list of odds? And a supercomputer?

Let us at OLBG because we think we could save them some serious money.


Complex situation
One of the themes of this season has been the anger directed at Gareth Southgate for NOT PICKING ALL THOSE PLAYERS WE LIKE.

If it’s not Trent Alexander-Arnold then it’s James Maddison.

Or both if you’re the MailOnline, who claim that Southgate has a ‘complex with creative players’.

Yes, the England manager has ‘a related group of repressed or partly repressed emotionally significant ideas which cause psychic conflict leading to abnormal mental states or behaviour’ when it comes to creative footballers.

Did this group of repressed or partly repressed emotionally significant ideas come before or after he took England to the semi-finals of the World Cup and the final of the European Championship? Has he seen a doctor?

‘England’s 12-minute goal flurry against Germany may have fought off yet another chorus of boos last week, but overall the Nations League taught Gareth Southgate one valuable lesson: his side simply do not score enough.’

Prior to the Nations League, they had scored 35 goals in nine matches. Can the Nations League teach anyone a valuable lesson if the problem only occurs in the Nations League? Is the lesson not to play in the Nations League? Now there’s an idea.

‘Yet, whether by fear or obstinacy, the Three Lions boss has stood by his tried-and-tested model, calling on well-rounded and industrious players rather than creative specialists such as James Maddison and Trent Alexander-Arnold.’

We think the clue there might be in the words ‘tried-and-tested’; it has worked. It has worked to the tune of two major tournament semi-finals.

Also, and this seems important, of the seven English players who have created the most chances in the Premier League this season, only Jack Harrison and Maddison were not included in his latest squad. He is calling on creative specialists. Just not the creative specialists that you like.

‘In addition, star playmakers Jack Grealish and Phil Foden have struggled to perform as well on international duty as they have for Manchester City, suggesting that perhaps the system is stifling England’s most threatening players.’

Or suggesting perhaps that Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Rodri do not play for England?

We are then told that ‘Southgate must make room for Maddison’. He must?

‘With five goals and two assists in his first seven Premier League matches, Maddison is statistically England’s most in-form player at the moment, excluding captain Harry Kane.’

Well, as long as you ignore Phil Foden and Ivan Toney, who have exactly the same record and were both included in Gareth Southgate’s latest squad. It’s almost like he has not got a complex about creative players but just does not want to include Maddison.

They then refer to Maddison as a ‘central playmaker’ (which he is demonstrably not, and we have been through this before), an argument that is weakened somewhat by the player himself starting the last few games from the right for Leicester.

There follows a lot of guff about Southgate being married to his 5-2-3 which leaves no room for Maddison even though Southgate literally picked a 4-3-3 three times in June, with the experiment ending with a 4-0 dicking by Hungary.

‘Let’s imagine England need a goal late on during a tight match and no matter how hard they prod and probe, nothing seems to be working: it’s frankly a situation Three Lions fans know all too well.

‘This is arguably the perfect time for a player with Maddison’s goalscoring nous and imaginative skillset.’

Or the perfect time to bring on Mason Mount and Bukayo Saka, which almost won them the game last week. For the record, Saka is the Englishman who has created more chances than any other Premier League player this season. Southgate seems to like him, despite his ‘complex’.

We then move on to Alexander-Arnold and are told that ‘Alexander-Arnold boasts an incredible win percentage for the Three Lions, triumphing in every single match he has played excluding England’s third-place face-off against Belgium at the 2018 World Cup’.

That’s simply not true; he played in a draw v Denmark two years ago and was part of the England side that lost to Hungary in June of this year, which is literally the last time he played for England.

‘If Southgate insists on not playing a conventional No 10 to unlock defences, Alexander-Arnold seems like the perfect solution, competent at flooding the box with pinpoint crosses and threading passes over the opposition’s back line.’

You know who else does all that but is a better defender? Kieran Trippier, that’s who. And he has created more chances, and produced more accurate crosses, than Alexander-Arnold this season. And yet Southgate does not have a complex about him.

We are then asked whether Jude Bellingham was ‘too late to the party’?

‘With Bellingham only starting eight matches for the Three Lions ahead of the World Cup, England have had little time to adapt to his offerings in midfield.’

He’s 19. But presumably if Southgate did not have a ‘complex’ then he would have been integrated into this England team at 13.


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