Manchester United won a game of football 1-0 to make it just one defeat in ten. They truly are in a mess of 1990 proportions.
This is (not) a low
Manchester United were truly terrible against Aston Villa on Monday night but they still won 1-0 and they have now lost just once in ten games since the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
They are still in the FA Cup, still in the Champions League and are just four points adrift of the fourth Champions League spot with a game in hand on an Arsenal side who lost to a Championship club on Sunday.
So of course…
‘The FA Cup might just prove Manchester United’s salvation once again – 32 years on.
‘This is probably the lowest point the club has been at since then.’
That’s Neil Custis in The Sun, keeping things in complete perspective about a team that has lost just once in ten games.
Off the top of our heads, we present in post-Fergie times:
- That time David Moyes celebrated a 2-2 home draw with Fulham that left Manchester United nine points adrift of fourth-placed Liverpool in February. They had already exited the FA and Carabao Cups to Swansea and Sunderland.
- That time Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United lost back-to-back games to Bournemouth, Norwich and Stoke to leave them behind Crystal Palace on Boxing Day 2015, having already exited the Champions League after defeats to PSV and Wolfsburg. The latter saw the Dutchman bring on Nick Powell for Juan Mata.
- That time in March 2018 under Jose Mourinho when, well, this.
- That time Mourinho’s Manchester United lost 3-1 to Liverpool to make it just one win in six games to leave United 19 points behind their rivals in mid-December 2018. He was sacked.
- That time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United failed to win any of the final six Premier League games of the season – including a 4-0 defeat to Everton and a 1-1 draw with a terrible Huddersfield Town side – to finish the season in sixth.
- That time under Solskjaer when Manchester United picked up just 13 points in their first 11 games – their lowest at that stage of a top-flight campaign since 1986/87 – to leave themselves in 10th place in early November.
- That time under Solskjaer when they lost 6-1 to Tottenham as part of a disastrous start to last season that left them in 15th after six games.
- That time they crashed out of the Champions League in December 2020 under Solskjaer with abject away defeats in Istanbul and Leipzig.
- That time they somehow contrived to lose the Europa League final with yet another abject performance.
- That time less than two months ago when they lost 4-1 to Watford on the back of 4-2, 5-0 and 2-0 defeats to Leicester, Liverpool and Manchester City to leave themselves six points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham.
But apart from those ten instances when things were undoubtedly worse for Manchester United, this is the lowest point for the club since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013. But probably not as we don’t have all day to do research. And we’re being generous in not counting the rare but undeniably real low points suffered under the great Scot in the previous 23 years.
We repeat: This Manchester United side is a bit shit. But they have lost just one of their last ten games. This is not ‘a season that threatens to end in mid-table mediocrity’ however much you try to spin in favour of a sacked manager responsible for at least six lower points over the last three years.
Drop it like it’s hot
Over on the Mirror website, there is no time to talk about actual football when you can pretend that other contentious things have happened at Old Trafford. The biggest was this:
‘Ralf Rangnick explains why he dropped Cristiano Ronaldo from Man Utd starting XI’
Dropped? Dropped? The opening line literally says ‘Cristiano Ronaldo was left out of the Manchester United squad to face Aston Villa in the FA Cup due to a minor injury, Ralf Rangnick has confirmed’.
There’s clickbait and then there’s a bare-faced lie.
Then there’s this:
‘Steven Gerrard had special moment with booing Stretford End minutes before Man Utd clash’
A ‘special moment’, is it? Let’s read the description in full:
‘As Gerrard made his way out of the tunnel and headed towards the away dugout before kick-off, the Stretford End erupted into a chorus of boos and jeers.
‘The Villa boss, clearly not phased, turned around and stared intensely in the direction of United’s raucous supporters.’
Think you might mean ‘fazed’. And we think you might have slightly exaggerated a ‘special moment’ which was basically a man looking towards a group of other people.
And then there’s this:
‘Alan Shearer in agreement with Gary Neville after criticism over Man Utd’s “whinge-bags”‘
Yes, because there’s absolutely no difference between Neville’s words – “They’re a bunch of whinge-bags. Watch them on that pitch. I’ll not go into names, but they’re whinging at each other, arms up in the air complaining about everything” – and Shearer saying “when you look at the body language of some of those players…” before suggesting that Marcus Rashford has lost his confidence.
And then this:
‘Ralf Rangnick’s touchline reaction speaks volumes as Man Utd stars ‘split into two camps”
He ‘celebrated wildly’ when Manchester United scored. Sod all to do with any splits in the dressing room but why let that get in the way of a clickety-click headline?
In other news, Manchester United won a game of football. You might be forgiven for missing that fact amid the narratives.
On the back page of the Daily Mirror itself, we are told that ‘STEVEN GERRARD said a lengthy VAR delay sabotaged Aston Villa’s FA Cup hopes after his side were dumped out by Manchester United at Old Trafford’.
Did he f***. He literally said, “it’s not the reason we lost. We need to focus on other things, not just VAR going against us.”
If only the media could follow your excellent lead, Stevie.