Time to move Alexander-Arnold, and Man Utd lost – but they were better under Ten Hag

Date published: Monday 8th August 2022 9:18 - Editor F365

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag watches the defeat to Brighton.

The Monday morning Mailbox suggests it’s time to shift Trent and drop Mount. Plus: Lots on Man Utd. They showed an improvement, apparently.

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com


So that was quote an interesting opening weekend, I figured after all the predictions, Its the perfect time to give KneeJerk reactions to the 1st set of results.

1. Spurs will challenge City all season long win the league on Goal Diff
2. Haaland will score over 50 goals this season
3. Liverpool will be mid table mediocrity as they now have no midfielders (only fit ones are ‘children’ or ‘pensioners’..)
4. Man Utd are truly in a relegation battle
5. Arsenal will finish 3rd
6. Sadly Forest wont be the nice surprise team
7. Newcastle will finish above Chelsea (who scraped past Everton) and in the 4th CL spot
8. Graham Potter to be in charge of England / Man Utd or Chelsea by November / End of season latest
9. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are rubbish at managing.
10. Footballs back and is unpredictably brilliant
Al LFC (packed schedule but we have to wait 9 days for our next game…)



United were better
I only half watched the United game as I was also re-watching my Fulham stuff Liverpool and F365s hopes for the season at the same time, but honestly.

United were miles better than they were last season. They dominated possession, had more shots, more shots on target, an actual mode of playing, created actual passing moves etc etc. Even with McFred.

I personally think that playing Eriksen wide left and Rashford up front would have been the way to go but that isn’t how they have played all pre-season so I understand why Ten Hag tried to minimise changes.

I think United fans should feel annoyed but happier than for a long time.

Fulham on the other hand have no caveats, we were sodding great. Paulinha is immense, I think he could have the same level of importance in a similar role for us as Kante did for Leicester, and Mitrovic will, and write this down, score 20+ league goals.

If Mitro outscores Nunez this season then Liverpool have to give us back Elliot and Carvalho.

Also, Nottingham Forest.

12th, you say.

Tim Sutton (Haaland isn’t allowed what the hell)


Ten Hag shellshocked by Potter as Man Utd boss fails to avoid blame despite countless caveats


Dat Guy
In case you didn’t notice, Danny Welbeck just tore the Man Utd Defence apart. Danny Welbeck, let that sink in, Danny flippin Welbeck.

Erikson ain’t turning it around, he’s a slightly better Mata.

We’ve successfully improved nowhere on the pitch. Same faces, same utterly miserable football.

Still chasing a Barca player who doesn’t want to come.

It’ll be the same Keeper and back 4 that will concede almost every game. Martinez is gonna get bullied by almost every front man.
Same McTom and Fred.
Same Rashford, Sancho and Martial.
Same Bruno passing to nobody and crying on the floor.

They’ll be a few swapping abouts from time to time, but the main stayers who have been awful for years will still be there.

Garnacho should start, so should Garner, give Zidane decent minutes. It ain’t gonna happen though. Give us something different, please. I can take losing, it’s a game after all, but we should at least get some enjoyment out of it. It’s just so awful to watch and if something drastic doesn’t happen, this will be worse than last season. I ain’t joking when I say, this could be a relegation scrap.

Ronaldo should bugger off, trouble is, who else is going to score? Rashford? The goal scoring king with 4 last season? Martial who lit up La Liga? Sancho? I’ll put money on it that Nunez will score more than those 3 combined.
Ronaldo will be gone by next weekend and we’ll replace him with……nobody.

People say we had a good pre season!! Did we? Why, because we beat Liverpool?

What an incredible summer. ETH is a sitting duck, he doesn’t stand a chance. The fans will stick by him as the sensible ones see that it really is the players that have been signed over the last 2/3/4 years. Even this summer’s signings are hardly inspiring.

Normally I’d say it’s a knee jerk reaction, first game and all that, we’ve seen though, Utd with these players are doomed. It’s mental to think they’ll change, it’s complete insanity.


First impressions
My observations after the first match in charge of ETH:

Maguire acknowledging that he had very little cohesion with Martinez. Does it make sense playing them together considering they hadn’t played a single pre-season match before?

Martinez is clearly not suitable in CD considering his height and presence. He is best placed in CDM. No brainer.

Fred and McTominay starting another season in midfield. It’s borderline insane and utterly embarrassing for a club of this stature.

Rashford doesn’t deserve a starting spot anymore. Think everyone’s seen enough of him by now.

Team cannot afford Fernandez and Eriksen on the field at the same time. Players who are essentially crossers, one of whom seems to have completely lost the plot. I’d keep Eriksen, but only on the right, if at all.

VDB and CR7 seemed to do well while coming on. I’d play both going forward, provided they’re fit and ready.

My team would include Dalot, Shaw, Maguire, Varane in defense, Martinez in CDM, Fred in the middle with VDB, Erikson on the right, Sancho on the left and Ronaldo up top until Martial recovers.

Still clear to see that the team is short of three players, two midfielders and a forward.

Enough said.
Saby MUFC Swindon
P.S.- the less said about our transfer strategy and ten plus “surplus to requirement/not fit for United” players, the better.


‘Making do’ with Carrick and Scholes
I’ve been following football quite a long time, and one of the endearing truths of modern football is that Manchester United shall simply not have a decent midfield. It’s been 20+ years since the club fielded a consistent, effective pair of central midfielders. Even the CL wins were basically built on an outrageous attack and defence, with Michael Carrick and a semi-retired Paul Scholes making do.

Anyone surprised when United are once again outplayed by a ‘lesser’ side is simply not paying attention. Brighton’s midfield is better than McTominay and Fred. It is smarter, it is recruited into the system and it has better players. The last decent midfielder United bought in their prime was Paul Pogba, who obviously has extended a contract and left. It is playing a youth striker who can barely get a match as a centre-back for Scotland, and Fred. Outside of that there is..some kid whose basically never played in the premier league. And that’s it. At a club that is in Europe’s top 10 biggest spenders.

There is no part of me that understands how we’ve basically had 5 managers come in and fail to build a midfield. Without it, teams can pressure us easily, play through us and most importantly we can’t get the ball to our dangerous players.

I’ll put it in starker terms: would a single other premier league club trade their midfield 2 for McTominay and Fred?
Ryan, Bermuda (we need to talk about Bruno)


… Liverpool in 2 weeks. Bet big on a 7/8-0 now.

This 11 is finished for the season, only 90 mins in.


Just delicious

Can I just say as a neutral, after all the summer build up, getting Ten Hag, buying the players he actually wants, players that supposedly will actually fit his system, so much talk that Man United finally, finally, are back – that Brighton result is absolutely hilarious.

Literally the most Man Utd thing I can possibly imagine.

A Hull fan whose optimism about his own team may still be rewarded.


Back to the future
Once they get Arnautovic over the line, I’ve heard that United will add Paolo di Canio, John Terry and Peter Beardsley to the backroom staff. They’ve also booked a pre-season tour of 1980s South Africa next summer. Always planning for the future at Old Trafford.
Eamonn, Dublin


City’s cheat code
A £150m player bought for £54m, and many saying he won’t cut it in this league.

First player to score twice in the PL on his debut since that other pretender, Agüero (wonder what happened to him?).

There are lots of very silly people out there.
Mike D (I don’t do brackets).


Shifting Trent 
The two most troubling issues for Liverpool from Saturday are clearly Trent’s defending and Thiago’s injury. Fortunately Thiago’s hamstring will heal, but let’s face it, Trent’s defending will never get better. He bloody ducked for chrissakes. It’s embarrassing.

But luckily, there is a ready solution. Since for some reason there doesn’t seem to be any interest in signing Youri Tielemens, which at the rumoured fee seemed a no-brainer even before we had an injury crisis, it is clearly time to move TAE into midfield. Get him further away from our goal. Re-jig the attack to employ him further upfield or possibly through the centre alongside or in front of Fabinho. We have plenty of cover at right back with Gomez, Milner, and Ramsey. Maybe go to a back three and add another midfielder. Who knows? Something. Anything. It’s going to be a long year waiting for Jude Bellingham unless the midfield is bolstered. It seems a needs-must no-brainer to me.

Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic scores a header

Drop Mount
Chelsea’s performance against Everton was all too familiar and could well have ended in the all too familiar draw So what is the solution.

I think Mount should be dropped. That might sound like heresy but he’s below his best and has played so many games he’s lost his edge. Even given that he’s still a good player but could do with a rest.

Alternatives ? If Tuchel wants to persist with his favoured 3-4-3, then put either Gallagher or Broja in the front three. Chelsea need some players in the front three with a nose for goal and it is in the plural. Sterling has that but can’t be the only one. Havertz i a very good player but doesn’t have that. So both Gallagher and Broja is a possibility or a change in formation is also one. Either way Chelsea Ian (C)Cà Hugoneed to change things very soon and I think Mount needs a rest to recharge his batteries.
Ian (CFC) Hugo


Bet on Spurs
I’m picking on Ian, LFC because he’s top of this morning’s mailbox, but his email really was a classic example of the confirmation bias that drives people’s assessment of teams at this point of the season. I’m going to guess he doesn’t like spurs much, as it’s ‘inconceivable’ Kane will make it through the season, Conte will blow up in March and spurs have a lot of key players going to the World Cup, so are predicted to come 6th. Let’s take those in order:

Kane has played 72 PL games over the last 2 seasons, missing only the opener against city last season. He’s never played less than 28 games in a PL season, and has appeared in 87% of spurs’ PL games in the last 5 years. But yeah, it’s inconceivable he will stay fit. Conte will blow up around March, just like he has err, never. Conte blows up when he isn’t backed in the transfer market, and left all of Juventus, Chelsea and Inter at the end of the season. Maybe he’s at spurs next season, maybe he isn’t, but there’s no reason to expect him to blow up in March. Lastly, those ‘key players’. Yes spurs have key players going to the World Cup, just like every other top team in England and everywhere else. But actually, Spurs look in pretty good shape. Key players like Kulu, Dier and Bissouma aren’t going, nor a raft of important squad players. They are one senior striker short of being able to put out a pretty handy side of players who aren’t going – Forster, Doherty (or spence or probably royal), Sanchez, Dier, Lenglet, Sessegnon, Skipp, Bissouma, Kulu, Lucas. If they can get 90 mins out of Kane, Son and Richarlison between them they should be ok. If Ian is interested, I’d be happy to take a wager on whether spurs come higher than 6th. He can choose the amount.
Phil, London


Season-ticket rules
So inbetween all the crying from Liverpool fans (soft penalty given against you? Can we all just go HA and move on?) and presumably Man Utd fans also upset that a team didn’t roll over for them I have a question for the mailbox.

Watching the West Ham game it was announced record season ticket sales of 55,000, with a capacity of 62,500. My missus is a Wolves fan and she disputed this saying that there are rules that limit how many season tickets a club is allowed to have. She said this is why clubs have waiting lists, but a quick Google search was unable to get any answer on this.

Any mail boxers out there know the answers? Or is it just a club by clubs basis?
Sara (league one bound HTFC)

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