Please, Real Madrid… take Paul Pogba off Man Utd’s hands

Date published: Monday 12th August 2019 9:02

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com

 

Pogba’s got to go
Two assists will gloss over what was an abysmal performance from Pogba. By my count he lost possession 12 times (could be more), and generally just ambled around. When he has space and time he can pick a pass, but it’s all well and good doing it against a ramshackle team that were already 2 down. If Real offer €130m before September 2nd, United should bite their hand off. The match was barely over and he’s already been telling the press how much he wants to leave. Cheerio son, enjoy Spain. I’d rather have the kit man in midfield.
Conor, Dublin

 

Pogba needs a partner
When I saw the United starting lineup I was shocked. Ole played the team most fans & I would have picked. No Matic, no Mata and thankfully no Ashley Young. They played with pace and power and on the counter. The scoreline was deceiving as Chelsea played well and are not a bad as the United haters will try and pretend they are.

The obvious problem & why many United fans were disappointed when the transfer window slammed shut, as we could desperately do with a quality midfielder to partner Pogba. United will now be totally reliant on Perrera stepping up and being a quality midfielder. He has the skill, but not sure if he has the mentality to handle the pressure. The other option is using Lingard there. Either ways we are going to lose a lot of our midfield battles this season.

On the flipside, the defense looks great. Wan Bisaka was everything I could hope for and more and Maguire looks composed. The lack of pace of both him and Lidelof will still be a problem, but it was nice not seeing the clown show of Jones and Smalling and the defense looking confident.

Rashford, Martial, Lingard, James, Greewood will be fun to watch. Though I expect them to find it a lot harder against packed defenses.

The 4-0 changes nothing. United will still be fighting for the 4th spot with Arsenal and Chelsea. We don’t have the depth or the midfield to compete. However it was fun seeing United finally press and attack with pace. Will make watching the games a lot more fun this season.
Jarron, MUFC.

 

United are back-ish
So, how many mails will be sent in on Monday morning along the lines of United are back and OGS is the new SAF?
None. Obviously. As everybody knows it was just one game. Right?
Mark (Right?) MCFC.

 

…Told you – can’t really ask for more than that – beating a top 6 side 4-0 at home. Clean sheet. Check. superb counter attacking goals. Check. 3 summer signings slotting in nicely. Check. Great team spirit on show. Check.

I have supported Manchester United for 29 of my 36 years now, and have seen plenty of games against top 6 sides under fergie at home where we didn’t play that well, didn’t create that much, won 2-0 and it was seen as a superb, professional and clinical performance. This team is not yet a patch on any of those great teams – we still need another world class centre midfielder and a striker, but it is a very promising work in progress.

Including friendlies, United have now won 7 straight games, including wins against Spurs, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Chelsea. Scored 16 goals, conceded 3. I think F365’s comment (seconded by Jamie Carragher over the weekend) that Solskjaer’s early form last season should not be discounted is correct. He will do well in this job. He is no mug (especially not with Mike Phelan there) and has won things, even if you think they are mickey mouse trophies, which a lot of them are. The point is a manager with a knack of winning is important, and hopefully he will instil that mentality in his players.

If we can get rid of Woodward, get a Technical Director we could really go places.
Rohit Trivedi

 

…Well, I don’t think anyone saw that coming. Still plenty of work to be done of course, but 4 goals and a clean sheet against a fellow top 6 team is just about the best way to start the season. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of it was that the team didn’t start flagging in the 2nd half. Hopefully Ole focusing heavily on fitness means that we can continue in this vein.

Chelsea definitely didn’t play as badly as the scoreline suggested. What really separated the teams in the end was the fact that United were just far more clinical in front of goal. We’ve really lacked that ruthlessness in recent times, and hopefully the attackers can continue in this vein. Our defence also looked far more assured than it has in years, and this was absolutely the ideal way for Maguire and AWB to bed in. There will be off days, but so far it looks quite promising.

Finally, a word on Dan James. What an absolutely beautiful moment for the kid! When you lose a parent, every minor accomplishment reminds you of the fact that they’re not there to share it with you. And you never stop trying your hardest to do them proud. Scoring on your debut for one of the biggest sporting clubs in the world – I can only imagine how emotional it must have been for Dan and his family. His dad would have been so proud.

Wolves next week will be a tough test, but here’s hoping the team can rise to the occasion.
DJ, MUFC (midfield is still a worry, but I’m sticking with the positives today) India

 

DJ calling the tune
No conclusion for Daniel James?

I am being very soppy but his celebration really pulled at the heart strings. The catharsis must have been incredible for him, given the way his dad passed away right as he was supposed to be signing the biggest deal of his life.

Good on him. I hope he scores a hundred more and feels that way about them every time (just as long as Man Utd still lose afterwards).
Theo, LFC, Liverpool

 

More conclusions
*Brilliant result, but Chelsea outplayed us in the first half and could easily have gone in ahead. At times our attackers were taking far too much time and touches, as if waiting for space to magically appear for them. We seriously lack creativity.

*We only started to dominate once we went three up, but the fact that we were ultimately able to dominate Chelsea (albeit a heavily depleted Chelsea) at home is hugely encouraging. Our backline looks far more secure than last season. De Gea looks back to his best. Hugely encouraging that Tuanzebe made the bench ahead of Smalling and Jones.

*We lack technical ability, the amount of times our forwards, McTominay and Pogba in particular lost the ball was worrying. Sensational assist from Pogba though, and our main (only?) creative outlet. Keeping him in form will be key to a good season.

*Rashford had some great finishes, really hope he can step up for us this season and grab 25+ goals. Martial looked sharper than last season too, looks hungry which is important for a moody player like him.

*AWB is a phenomenal talent – at 21, he was an absolute bargain at £50m. So secure at the back. Maguire made a great start to life at Old Trafford too.

*Delighted for Greenwood to make a (brief) appearance – hopefully there’s much more signs of him, Gomes et al. this season. Great for McTominay to play ahead of Matic too – he really seems a warrior in the centre of the park, though needs to improve technically.

*We’re a much better team than Chelsea on paper, and I’m delighted we showed it today – onwards and upwards for the season with our young squad.
JaimeL_, MUFC

 

…1) Wan-Bissaka does look like the real deal. Clearly will take a little bit of time to adapt to the attacking demands, and not leaving too much space in behind, but he looked so at ease from the get-go today.

2) I’m no Paul Pogba fan, but that assist for Rashford was absolutely scrumptious.

3) It’s so nice to see a dominant centre half performance for United again. Ferdinand had a few where he rolled back the years in that 2012-13 season, but I can’t really remember a single instance of a defender taking ownership of a game since. Mind you, seven saves from De Gea doesn’t scream defensive solidity.

3) Harsh on Chelsea, mind. It seems obvious, but Kanté coming back in will probably resolve a lot of their issues pretty quickly. It must be quite strange having to play without him when you’ve gotten used to him doing his thing.

4) Mourinho is going to drive people nuts as a pundit on Sky. Lampard’s face when asked about him was a picture. I’d pay good money to hear a manager (preferably Guardiola) call out all those football Einsteins who sit in the studio and criticise.

5) How does Football355 write 16 conclusions so quickly? As you may have guessed, this is a pretty rough draft with minimal effort, and I’m bored already. Kudos.

We moan about it, but I sure do miss the premier league when it’s not on!

Cheers
Jamie

 

Homegrown explosion
The first weekend of the Premier League season was a fantastic fillip for fans of the national team. Out of all the 220 starters, 84 of them (38.2%) were qualified to play for England. This is a sharp rise on last season’s 30% average, and a 15 player gain on last season’s equivalent game week.

We should get used to it; looking at each squad and seeing those you’d expect to be regular starters, this number should hold around 35% even at a conservative estimate.

These extra players aren’t merely making up the numbers; several players who came up with promoted teams are actual prospects who have a genuine shot to play for England, such as Aarons, Grealish, and Godfrey – a player whom Rio Ferdinand has marked out as one to watch.

With the famous U17 World Cup winning group also chomping to break through, it’s clear the quality is improving as well as the quantity. In fact, apart from Wolves, every single premier league team fielded a side with an attacking or midfield player in the starting XI. What midfield crisis? What a time to be alive!
Rob S

 

You’re sh*t, VAAAAAARRRRRRRR!
VAR is sh*t, it’s so sh*t if couldn’t be sh*tter if it had been shat out of Scudamore’s ar*e.
John Collins, Wolves, London

 

Be careful what you wish for
Watching united’s demolition of a star-less chelski I’m left to ponder about two things; first their fan-base & second the media. Their fan base, well, historically there’s not much depth to be expected of ‘noveau riche’ types; those who shelved multiple decades of mediocrity, treading in obscurity with the odd title to show every ten years but live entirely off of recent exploits occuring in the past two decades as a result of being artificially injected obscene amounts of inorganic money not produced by the club’s own resources.. That’s the Chelsea, Man City, PSG model & in football, financial doping clearly buys success on the pitch and fans worldwide. And their fans all of a sudden believe they are Real Madrid… Remember how the terraces chanted ‘f*** Sarri ball’ & how #SarriOut trended after every defeat?? One is left to wonder how they’re feeling now that they got their wish…
Secondly, the media’s role. It’s extraordinary to me how media and this site F365 as well would write hit piece after hit piece on Sarri’s Chelsea addressing its “broken chemistry, dysfunctional nature, Jorginho obsession”, overhyping training ground bust-ups & a dressing room in near mutiny… with all that levied at Sarri one has to wonder what kind of magic he pulled to win a European trophy, get to a local Cup Final (lost on P.K.’s) and finish 3rd in the Premier League in the same season. Think Emery gets cut so much slack and he doesn’t have those numbers and accolades to show. Why? Saddest thing to life is that you don’t know what you got ’till its gone and lord knows the long season that awaits the blue half of london. Now, probably #LampardOut is trending. And while no-one can predict the future, I’m certain betting houses have opened bets on lampard being sacked within 10 games, well before Christmas. Am i rite??
Raúl H. García (♫”We are liverpool.. la la la lala”♫) LFC1892-YNWA

 

Blue but not downhearted
Well losing 4-0 on the opening day of the season is not how you want to start your new campaign under a new manager, however, as many a pundit have said the game itself certainly was not a 4-0 all one way dominate performance by United, individual mistakes cost us at Old Trafford and United were happy to punish us.

But for 45-60 minutes we were the better team and looking at the stats (other than the goals) we created more chances, had more of the ball and overall were the better side, Mason Mount looks like he has a huge season ahead of him which can only be good for not only the youth at Chelsea but also for the England national side, time to look forward to the Super Cup and Leicester in our next game.
Mikey, CFC (Naturally Twitter was an awful place to be, some tweets are quite ridiculous)

 

…I want to go back to the fall of 2014, when Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea (arguably) were playing some of the best football in the land and blitzing away to a sensational title win leading the table from GW1. In the summer preceding this challenge, Chelsea made some really quick short term moves (at the cost of long term sustained success). But, the biggest move happened across town, where a certain Maucirio Pochettino had taken over Tottenham. Pochettino took charge of a Tottenham team with the burden of known collapses sustaining for a number of years. The team he took over would have a soft belly and could be easily walked over by bigger teams (and even smaller times occasionally). That team boasted some very good young talent, some hand picked from academy, and some signed. When Pochettino’s Tottenham visited Stamford Bridge, they bossed the game in the opening few minutes, with a young unproven Harry Kane hitting top of the bar and coming close to scoring twice. As luck would have it, when you visit a ruthless counter attacking team and don’t make your dominance count, you pay. The game ended 3-0 but in no way did the scoreline tell the real story – Chelsea were simply ruthless in their attack, while Tottenham kept the ball in midfield and just did not have the experience to play Chelsea away and get a result i.e. make their dominance count. Tottenham displayed the very qualities that defined them in these games – naive. Pochettino admitted that much that season and he knew his job was difficult.

Five years have gone by, and Frank Lampard has taken charge of a Chelsea team that has gone staler year after year due to baffling decision making top to bottom. Lampard has some of the best young talent in the land, hand picked from arguably the best academy in Europe in recent years, added with one or two additional signings, and a bunch of older players from years gone by. Lampard has taken charge of a Chelsea team which in the last 4 years is known for collapses of the highest order during games, where the difference between a 1-1 draw or a comeback 2-1 win and a 3-0 to 6-0 loss can be traced to panic in 90-200 seconds. Lampard has taken over a Chelsea team with the softest under belly in the Abramovich era. A team that does not know how to manage games and situations. Yesterday, the game at OT resembled the Tottenham game at SB from late 2014. Chelsea should have been ahead by half time. Chelsea managed to keep the ball in mid-field at OT. Yet, Chelsea were naive and had no idea how to manage a big game. The loss was entirely due to lack of composure and managing a game which I understand given most of the team were youngsters. They did not make their dominance count and were ruthlessly exposed by an opponent who took the only chances that came their way (in fairness, United did not need to play us off the park to win).

Yet, there is a slight difference between the journey of Pochettino, who has done nothing short of a 9/10 job at Spurs and the journey of Lampard which has just begun. Lampard is a serial title winner as a player. He takes charge of a club who despite not even being a top 3 team in PL over the last few years still manages to win a title here and a cup there. Unlike Pochettino whose team (as of now yet to win a trophy) genuinely were having troubles in big games, and a lack of mentality to win the moments and trophies, Lampard takes a club whose DNA is trophies. Given what Pochettino has achieved at Tottenham, Lampard must take a leaf out of Poch’s book. Poch will eventually win titles (it’s a matter of time), but the process he built along with the club is what Lampard and Chelsea must borrow (also how they built the stadium). I am quite sure a big bunch of Chelsea fans are already ranting extreme opinions, but here’s the thing – you guys can’t have it both ways. You can’t slag coaches who pick experienced (but average) players with different tactics for playing the personnel/philosophy yet once you have one of your own playing your own players, slag him again. When we play inexperienced young players, especially in a big away game, this is bound to happen. They will make mistakes – this was expected. We always need patience with younger people, and players. So, my advice is to stay calm.

I could have done a tactical breakdown of Chelsea also, but I figured given Frank likes 4-2-3-1 he must again look at how Pochettino has developed his version of the formation – especially the aggressive defensive line. Frank needs to drop Azpilicueta ASAP and play a defensive line that is higher and is closer to mid-field with aggressive off-side traps. We’ll be good!
Aravind, a definitely optimistic Chelsea Fan.

 

Relishing Rodri
One of my favourite reactions to what we must now call “GW1” have been the fits of the vapours some people are having that Rodri – how shall we put this – likes to put his foot in.

I too was absolutely shocked that someone who played as a defensive midfielder for Atletico Madrid under Simeone appears to have been schooled so extensively in the dark arts. I had to have a lie down to recover from the enormous surprise and I agree that his prowess at the tactical foul did not cross Guardiola’s mind for a moment before he chose him over the excellent Ndombele or the potentially generational Frenkie de Jong. The fact that he’s a hybrid of Busquets, Vieira and Yaya Toure with a pinch of Robbie Savage thrown in was I am sure of no significance at all in the buying decision.

More relevantly, he may have a very long career in Sky Blue, but if he does I can see Fernandinho being contracted to City into his 40s and wheeled out to cover the frequent and inevitable suspensions
Mark Meadowcroft

 

Satisfied Gooners
Not an extremely impressive display by the Gooners today but a traditional old school 1:0 victory. Good stuff as far as I’m concerned. I have to say that Chambers was, for me, man of the match. Very professional and I think we can build from this. Lots of potential in the team for covering different areas. Arsenal are George Graham at the moment and look at the success he brought to the club. Wenger built on that whatever Stewie Griffin thinks! Emery’s approach looks positive but reserved and we are on the up.

Up the Gooners….by the way get the comments system worked out !
Chris, Croydon

 

…I know it’s only one game but I have to say I’m really impressed with the way we started this season.

Most of what you would regard as our first XI didn’t start the game while three of the back four weren’t even in the squad as they were out through injury and yet we actually looked pretty good at the back.

A lot of that was due to the fact Mustafi was not even in the squad – you could see how we would have conceded towards the end when we successfully caught Newcastle attackers offside as Mustafi doesn’t seem to even the know the rule.

So all in all – some great performances from the youngsters, plenty of players to come back and job done.

As for Chelsea, again, it may only be one game but if I was one of their fans I’d be worried. You see, we’ve seen that script play before. A manager shorn of transfer funds tries to make do with youngsters, controls possession and gets hammered. I disagree with Lampard – that was a 4-0 game and it will get worse unless he restores Giroud to the starting line up.

As for that guy that thought he would play Mustafi and Luiz at the back – Luiz didn’t even get on and will fall further down the pecking order once Holding is back, while there now really is no reason to play Mustafi. We have three potential centre back partnerships if you promote Medley for the league cup games and Mustafi shouldn’t get in any of them.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

 

…When I saw the team sheet I thought – B team:
Pro’s
1) Willock was excellent and again made Xhaka look slow and ordinary, one run Willock did down the left flank – wow he is so quick for a big guy, and he was by far the best midfielder out on the pitch in the first half – he will be a STAR!

2) It was great to see a more dynamic midfield moving the ball quickly and direct with vertical passes – much better than the slowness from last year

3) We looked very solid at the back (admittedly it was ONLY Newcastle) – looked very calm in possession – played out from the back but also went longer when required to do so – Chambers had a really assured game, Sokratis looked ok and calmer than usual but it will be good to get Holding back and Luiz fit and integrated

4) Clean sheet – was that our one for this calendar year 🙂

5) AUBAMEYANG – AUBAMEYANG – AUUUBAMEYANGGGG, 30 goals this season – and that pass from AMN was excellent!

6) Sp*rs were lucky – they really don’t look very good, Chelsea – hahahahahahha, Man Yoo – lucky to play Chelsea first up, will be rubbish for the rest of the season (Not worth mentioning Pool and Citeh as they did what was expected) – we are nailed on for third!

Con’s
1) Mickytardian – Did a couple of decent runs but crap product at the end, he really does not deserve to start any more Arsenal games – would rather have Martinelli start or Kolasinac

2) Xhaka – hit two sweet passes – apart from that looked off the pace and no where near as good as the other two (Willock and Guendouzi)

3) Too many geordies at the game – was expecting a protest, 10’s of thousand’s of empty seats – cmon guys – look at Blackpool for how to protest – if you give it all the big one before the game then only 4000 seats empty, sigh – was their a sale on at JD Sports 🙂 – if you want to change anything then stop going!

Nice – 3 points with our B team – will be the best team in London this year!
Joe (F*ck the Europa league – play the kids in all the cups!)

 

Catch up, everyone
Currently sat at HT in the Spurs game, and the one moment of the half that has astounded me was when the ref stopped play because the ball hit him.

Now I knew this was part of the new rules brought in this season; but judging by the reaction of the majority of fans sat around me, no-one else did.

This utterly astounds me?!? How can you follow football, to the point of spending £1000+ on a season ticket, to sit in the 5th row behind the goal, and not have kept up on the new rule changes!?!?

I know refs will inevitably come in for abuse from fans when a subjective decision goes against your side; but absuing him because of your personal ignorance of the laws of the game really does take the piss!!!
Paul (Spurs) T.Wells

 

Why’s that, Martin?
The biggest joke of the weekend is when Martyn Tyler said that the next train back to Norwich was at 6.47 the next morning. Absolutely disgraceful the way fans are treated
Ryan, Liverpool

 

That’s all, folks
Thanks for coming. That’s it. Make your way to the exits in an orderly fashion folks.

With an unassailable lead at the top of the table, City have again pipped Liverpool to the title, this time on goal difference.

Exciting stuff. At least there are goals I guess.
Dr Oyvind, Earth.

 

…Liverpool win convincingly despite playing badly and City demolish a team while playing wonderfully…think I’ve seen this show before and I don’t like the ending.
Aidan, Lfc (number 7 would be quite nice I suppose)

 

Money, money, money
Matt Judge showed Exactly (capital E because it is important apparently) the same financial knowledge as Ed. At least he did acknowledge that it is only a “profit” because of how amortisation is accounted for FFP.
However, the club bought a young player with great potential and sold at a loss, after spending millions on training and development, and his wages.
Some players are bought knowing that they are at their peak (RVP) and will do a job for a couple of seasons. Others, like Lukaku, who at 24 should have served united as their main striker for 8 years, or provided a profit after a few years if they wanted a move away.
Claiming that his move away, especially without a replacement, as a win and a profit because of amortisation is close to Liverpool fans claiming net spend is important.
Thank god there is actually football now.
Blue Chelsea Blue

 

Eagles and Flowers
*Saturday’s game between Crystal Palace and Everton was only ever going to go one of two ways: either it would be a season-threatening disaster for one side, or it would be a goalless draw.

*The Eagles lined up in a 4-4-2 with two actual strikers. As they were Jordan Ayew and Christian Benteke, surely goals were going to be plentiful. To give them their due, they both worked incredibly hard for the team, but true to form, could not find the net.

*One of the frustrations Palace fans have with the club is that they simultaneously allow negative PR to fester for a long time, while not really doing a lot to play up the positive PR. On Friday evening, it was announced that Luka Milivojevic has agreed a new four-year contract. This was something that deserves a lot more noise than it got. Though he gets attention for his prowess taking penalties, he makes the team tick and through strength of personality he is a proper leader on the field.

*Wilfried Zaha started the game from the bench, because his international duties meant he did not get a proper preseason with the club, and came on in the 65th minute. Though he is a genuine game-changer, he struggled to have an impact here, mainly because his teammates were trying to funnel all the play through him, possibly out of a bit of tiredness. Once he is starting games, it won’t be long before he is back to his best.

*After the match, a clip was doing the rounds from Roy Hodgson’s press conference, when he cut off a question about January. While it was amusing to see Hodgson get a bit cantankerous, his answer of “it’s August, I probably won’t worry about January until December 31st” was not exactly something the fans wanted to hear. Ultimately, it showed him to have an incredibly short-term mindset, when just about everyone else in the Premier League is planning for the medium term at least.

*Last week’s Non-League Paper ran an interview with Tim Flowers where he was allowed to moan that it’s hard for English managers to get jobs in English football. This week, there was an excellent letter in the same publication pointing out that actually, it’s not being English that prevents you getting a job, it’s not being able to coach; once you’ve put your hard work and studying in, it starts to pay off, as it has for Flowers at Solihull Moors.

Further up the pyramid, there are eight English managers in the Premier League: generally speaking, these are managers who have earned the right to manage in a lucrative and high status league through their performances in lower divisions (or lower-profile leagues). Moreover, the likes of Sean Dyche, Eddie Howe and Chris Wilder are flourishing because they are at clubs they love and who love them; after they nearly earned the most unlikely of promotions last season, Flowers likely has the same relationship with Moors. Ambition is admirable, but the ugly trait some British managers have, that they are only in their current job until something better comes along, isn’t – not least because the “something better” is usually a club struggling for form or finances, rather than a thriving club in the league below.
Ed Quoththeraven

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