No Rashford? No Bruno? The Man Utd kids are alright, actually

Editor F365
Man Utd kids Garnacho, Pellestri and Hannibal are alright
Man Utd kids Garnacho, Pellestri and Hannibal are alright

Man Utd won a game of football relatively easily? Whoop. So does that mean they should now bin Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes?

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The Man Utd kids might be alright
Ok, let’s not get carried away with Utd actually winning a game comfortably for the first time in about two years. However, it did reignite something I’ve been thinking for a long while.

Utd love to sign expensive potential and expensive proven players past their peak. Neither are working out. Last night, arguably our best players were Garnacho, Pellestri and Mejbri. They ran their asses off, won balls they were second favourites to and showed plenty of skill and ability. People assume the class of 92 was a fluke never to be repeated but maybe the reason it will never be repeated is no manager has the balls to try it like Fergie did. Utd also have Mainoo ready to hit the first team and I would hope the players mentioned above get the run in the first team their performances deserve.

I don’t believe a Utd team made of mainly kids would even make top four right now but I do think that if E10H or Poch had the backing and the balls to do it they’d be in a much better position to build from next season. The overpaid players in squads are the ones that should be working harder to prove their worth yet they are the quickest to coast through games when things get tough. I guess they have to play though otherwise their value depreciates too fast and the accountants get involved.

Interested to hear other peoples thoughts?
Jon, Cape Town (you’ll win nothing with kids)


…It was a cup game and it was Palace at home, we should beat them but we always huff our way through these games. I ain’t giving Hag any pats on his back for merely doing his job tonight.

We were crap against Burnley, a good goal by Bruno, basically the only thing he did all game. Sorry but Hojlund isn’t looking great, maybe he’s still not fit but I’m getting Weghorst but a bit faster vibes with him.

Anyway, tonight, what a surprise, rest two apparently undroppables and we play a lot better. We had some movement going forward, a bit of spark and some of the unknown.

See, we don’t need Rashford or Bruno or soon to be loaned out Antony and ditto sancho, we don’t even need Martinez. They’re all benchers for me, all one trick show ponies.

Garnacho, Pellestri and Mount should all be starters. I’d also have any of our back up CB’s right now instead of Martinez. Yes I said it, even Maguire and a 35 year old Evans over Martinez. I’m also doubtful on Varane but he’ll be crocked in a couple weeks so he doesn’t matter.

We’ve not conceded in two games with a makeshift back 4. Then, the first game this season we scored more than 1 was when Bruno and Rashford were out the way. We even created chances and made their keeper have to make saves. Yes, it was Palace but….


Play the kids plus a 35 year old man at the back, then bring the other grown ups on when we’re three up as surly they won’t f##k it up from there, will they?

But we all know, come the weekend, Rashford and Bruno will be back and we might scrape a 1-0.


Call that a crisis?
I wish my club was a crisis club like Manchester United.

For all the talk of utd not being a top club anymore, their worst ever league finish is 7th. It happened 10 years ago.

Every other “big 6” club, bar man city, has done worse in the same time frame. Most on multiple occasions.

They’ve finished ahead of Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs as many times as they’ve finished behind them.

They’ve won three domestic trophies, one European trophy and 2 community shields.

No club seems able to consistently challenge City, bouncing back and forth, from competitive to top 4 hopeful, season to season.

I realise that the standard at Manchester Utd is lower now than when Fergie was there but it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that in a league with man city, every (rich/formerly successful) club is a crisis club. Half the time at least.

Conversely, my side only just picked up our first win of the season, in the championship, a week after losing our first game against our fiercest rivals for years.

I’m willing to swap, is what I’m saying.
G (Swansea)


Sancho does need to say sorry if he wants paying
Being a professional footballer at the very top level is a butal, gruelling job that we all pretend we’d like but really know we couldn’t. You have to have discipline, focus, a high pain threshold and ridiculous self-belief.

It’s not for everyone, regardless of their talent. So if Jadon Sancho has decided that this life is not for him, that’s entirely his prerogative. Good for him, I hope he finds something that makes him happy.

Just as you or I can decide to change our jobs, so can Jadon. But here’s the rub. You can’t decide you’re not going to do your job and also get paid for it. So if Sancho would like to leave Manchester United and try something different, go for it. Just call your agent, have him get the lawyers round to terminate your contract and we’re all done. United will agree in a heartbeat.

If you want your paycheck young man, apologise to your boss and get back to work.
Ryan, Bermuda

READ: Life after Man Utd? Ranking how the post-Fergie departees have fared away from Old Trafford


Harsh on Liverpool outcast?
Given that Bajcetic picked up a long term injury in March and has only played one U-21 game for Spain while getting back to fitness, surely depicting the kid as an outcast is a bit OTT no?
Sean Horan

(He played in the Champions League and has been on the bench for most Premier League games so no – Ed)


Endo a disappointment? Not so much
From this LFC fan’s perspective, Endo could be seen to be disappointing.

But given recent history, I’d take that rather than disastrous, as say Arthur Melo was this time last year.

But let’s see how he gets on in a few months, eh.

As would seem likely, with the journey Robbo and many others have had, Endo may well be fully integrated and up to speed by December, which is when the club would really need him, with Europe, the FA cup, the league cup if they are still in it, and muscle ache inducing cold weather.

The media collectively lost it’s bloody mind over LFC in the summer, and that unfortunately led to a lot of tiresome vitriol from the more rabid end of the fanbase. Unfortunately, I’d add the previously reliable Anfield Wrap in that. Increasingly loud complaints at the ownership whilst literally at the same time, the manager was saying positive things and reiterating he was happy enough.

Throughout it all, Klopp’s public comments have consistently been positive. That he seemingly likes and has faith in his squad. That Joe Gomez’s form has proved him right that he didn’t need to sign a right back etc. That Diaz’s return from long term injury has breathed new life into the forward line.

Overall. I’m not massively positive, as I – like you – expect City to win the league by 20 points and add to their collection of asterisked titles. But certainly not negative either. Very much not disappointed. Things are good. I like the team. Hoping for a repeat of 2001. Endo could just as easily become another Lucas; a fan favourite whilst perpetually being utterly bloody useless, apart from a golden period where he was the best player (or at least the only one trying) in a mid table side.

Would utterly love Endo to be a 2024 David May in a series of photographs in the summer.
Tom G


Arteta being a bit of a d***
I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but yet again Mikel Arteta spent most of the game outside his technical area and trying to influence the action on the pitch. He was trying to put Dejan Kulusevski off, just like he got in Hojbjerg’s way two years ago and was nearly cleaned out

Apparently PGMOL and the FA have brought in rules to curb behaviour like this, BECAUSE of Arteta’s behaviour, and yet he still goes unpunished.

There were instances last season of him outwardly mocking officials movements too.

He needs bringing down a peg or two and is pretty classless and lacking humility in general. The only positive I take from his childish schtick is that his overly emotional behaviour, the overcelebration of goals and his general ‘Pep from an evil dimension’ demeanour really affects his team. It affected them when they bottled the champions league run in during the 2021/22 campaign, and when they absolutely bottled the league last season.
RossH (@Birkenshaw_Spurs)


Arsenal in transition
I’ve seen all the Arsenal criticism in the mailbox and I thought I’d chip in with my reasonably unbiased view. Arsenal last season played a mostly settled first 11 in the Premier League, with for example, Saka playing in every game. And that consistency of selection helped bed in the new players and get great results over the first three quarters of the season. They only had three domestic cup games, so only really had to manage the exertions of the Europa League with the Premier League and Arteta rotated his teams in the Europa League, which is how he could mostly keep his first XI available in the Premier League.

Conventional wisdom (as Matt Stead wrote here) is that second place Arsenal should be better than last season after spending £200M and losing one player. I actually think this is a transitional season for Arsenal. Arteta realises that you can’t play your reserves in the Champions League, like he did in the Europa League. And you can’t mostly play the same XI in all the PL games, as the team will wilt at the business end of the season (see April & May 2023). The transition this season is to rotate his players more, as Pep does with City. He is moving to a squad game with rotation needed to balance the demands of four competitions and keeping a bigger squad happy and involved.

This is why only 5 players have started all 6 PL games for Arsenal this season. And it is this adaptation that will improve Arsenal over time, but it may be a sideways step this season to improve more next season. And that is also why I agree that Liverpool look most likely to be City’s biggest threat this season.
Andy D. Manchester. MCFC


Fans are not as objective as VAR
So Calvino is back in the mailbox (admittedly after a coherent, rational mail on trump) decrying the VAR agenda against the best biggest team in the world (TM) on every metric including throwing a kettle over a pub roof.

With the news that he is keeping a list of ‘dodgy’ VAR decisions I am sure Howard Webb has already been on the blower offering big money for access to the list.

Before we go further why can’t we (mailbox contributors) admit that our view on whether VAR decision are correct or not depends solely on our bias when watching ‘our teams’. For most of us if the exact same situation arose at both ends of the pitch we would be screaming blue murder that one was a stonewall penalty and the other 100% a dive. Only by accepting the bias can the discussion move forward.

Yes the standard of refereeing (including VAR) is currently poor and they are making too many mistakes for comfort but they aren’t doing it for any other reasons apart from 1) they are human and 2) as big ange P pointed out, no one has a fucking clue what the rules/laws currently are.

For the record I was always of the opinion that VAR would not benefit the game in any way and I have seen nothing since it’s implementation that would make me reconsider even for a second.

The screaming of ‘all we want is consistency’ is disingenuous because what is really means is ‘i want the decision to be in favour of my team’.

Case in point is Calvino’s false equivalence on the Man City goal against Fulham against Man Utd disallowed goal against Burnley. For city the goal was given (akanji does not make a move for the ball he literally jumps over the top of it so factually the mail is nonsense) but immediately after a city player, followed by the head of PGMOL on a national broadcast, saying they got the decision wrong.

Humans make mistakes, we all do – move on. Fulham can fell aggrieved and rightly so

Consistency in this scenario is ensuring that if the situation (or a close equivalent) happens again then the mistake is not repeated and the goal is disallowed.

Consistency is not ensuring that every other team gets one of those goals allowed as alluded to in Calvino’s mail on the evans disallowed goal – that would be ridiculous.

During the course of this season I am sure that a big mistake will be made that goes in Man Utd’s favour – off the top of my head maybe in the dying embers of a match their goalkeeper will rush off his line and in attempting to punch the ball clear will miss it and clean out an attacker. If that happens maybe I am the new mystic Meg.

Consistency doesn’t mean that the other 19 clubs get to avail of this decision in a match – it means if the scenario (or close equivalent) happens again then the mistake is not repeated and the correct decision of a penalty is made.
J Belfast (thé VAR discourse is utterly tiresome)


…Another correspondence in the wonderfully bonkers corner of the internet called the mailbox popped up regarding refereeing conspiracies.

Guys, you know it’s not true, right? Right?

All the inconsistencies, all the odd decisions can be easily explained by organisational failures, a set of laws that few people can agree on and mistakes made in high pressure situations. There is not a cabal of referees/officials in a smoky room deciding who they are going to favour to ruin YOUR weekend. The fact that EVERY team moans about the officiating surely indicates there is no inherent, active bias. VAR has led more and more people down this path as instead of blaming one referee for a poor performance we can now accuse the whole system of being corrupt.

Compiling a list of ‘shady’ decisions and noticing ‘trends’ in decision making is not categoric proof of conspiracy. The most you might have evidence for is unconscious bias which I’m pretty sure referees already know about and will try and mitigate. You will need actual evidence of match officials deciding to conspiratorially affect games in this way BEFORE the match has started. Audio recordings, emails, videos. Then you can shout CONSPIRACY as loud as you like.

Conspiracy theories are mainly for emotionally unstable people who are angry at their lack of control over events in their life. They direct their blame at an unknown group of people for things that can never be proven correct as a psychological crutch and a way of establishing some self-worth in ‘working out what’s really going on’. They will never be proven right but, more importantly for them, there is no amount of evidence that can prove them wrong either. Almost always the truth is more complicated and nuanced but that isn’t simple enough for them to process.

I am not sitting here as some paragon of virtue. I can get far all too emotional for an adult human being over what I perceive to be poor refereeing against my team. I can however, after the moment is passed engage the logical part of my brain and understand that it is, you know, football. I also believe improvements can be made in both the laws and their implementation; I’m not sitting here saying the old days were better. They were though.

There must be only a handful of games in the history of the sport where both teams agree the referee got everything exactly correct and perfect. Ultimately, you either have to accept poor/borderline decisions are an integral part of the game or give up and go and watch snooker.
Funstar (It appears by the tone of the press coverage that Chelsea played better and beat us at the weekend? London press conspiracy?) Andy


Chelsea the new Newcastle?
Having watched the Chelsea vs Aston Villa highlights, they probably maybe deserved at least a draw, but even that in my opinion isn’t a good enough result at home. Vill are good, but the issue with Chelsea is the complete lack of creativity. They have scored 5 goals in 6 games in the league so far and last year they scored 38 goals in 38 games. So essentially, they average a goal a game, which for a team that has spent a £1 billion on new players since the new regime (Bring back Roman, the man got completely disrespected purely due to his nationality) is bloody worrying.

Yes Pochettino has only walked into the door, and the guy needs at least 6 months to more or less figure out his best XI once 80-85% of the squad is match fit again, but I think he made a massive mistake to join Chelsea instead of a team like Napoli, as Spaletti left to go manage the Italian national team. Given Pochettino is an ex Spurs manager too, I don’t think the fans will give him a chance and try and back him. Napoli have great respect for Argentinians & South Americans in general, but decided to opt for coming back to the Premier League for well purely monetary reasons and is probably being paid a shitload a year as Todd Boelhy seems to crap out cash on a daily basis.

I am telling you, Chelsea are slowly becoming the new Newcastle under Mike Ashley, and to be honest, I think it could be potentially worse than that. Give it another year, and I think you’re going to see BIG protests regarding the owner, because he is simply signing players he wants while swinging his massive cock around with cash, rather than sign players his manager wants/needs.

Without Thiago Silva, there doesn’t seem to be a leader in the dressing room. Sterling should be, but he’s bang average now (Was only a decent player because of Pep) and has probably lost confidence since arriving from City. Chelsea are genuinely in big trouble. I don’t think they will finish as low as last year, but I think 9th or 10th is probably an appropriate guess, but I think Poch will get sacked if this happens, and there will be a new manager that comes in that has to work with a bafoon of an owner. Its going to be a constant cycle of changes and no progress.

I would say Abramovich was the best owner the Premier League has seen, perhaps behind the City owners, but under his regime they more or less won a trophy every year on average, while making some fantastic and difficult decisions along the way.

Don’t get me wrong as a United fan, I can’t talk much given something seems to go wrong every week at United off the pitch, such a lack of stability at United, but Chelsea have literally sold their whole team thinking it was real life Football Manager.
Rami, Manchester