‘Selfish’ Marcus Rashford is Man Utd’s biggest asset and liability

Editor F365
Marcus Rashford in action v Brighton
Marcus Rashford in action v Brighton

Man Utd continue to dominate the Mailbox and Marcus Rashford is in the crosshairs as others keep blaming the owners.

Send your mails on any and all subjects to theeditor@football365.com

 

Some rare Man Utd optimism
It’s hard to be optimistic as a United fan but here I am doing it anyway. I’ve seen up close and personal how bad my team have been over the last 10 years, I’ve seen them play well for a few games then crumble into hapless woeful form for months, I’ve seen the promise of a new way that never materialised. This is not that.

Despite the rhetoric and talksport-style bollocks spouted by some fans United really haven’t been that bad so far this season. They started sluggishly and have been guilty of a few too many lapses of concentration but overall the play has been good. The loss to Spurs was not reflective of the performance at all, and the last two games could have been dramatically different but for a few millimetres of VAR calls.

Ten Hag does have a little naivety against certain opposition, or perhaps its blind stubbornness, where he’s devised a gameplan but seems unwillingly to change up. This hurt us yesterday as De Zerbi adapted to early United dominance but Ten Hag failed to adapt to the Brighton change. Yet the primary problem was confidence and determination, when Brighton scored against the run of play then to have another goal ruled out by such a fine margin obviously effected the team. Combine that with all the shit encircling the team off the field, the litany of injuries, and Casemiro returning from 180 minutes played for Brazil in South America then its little surprise they struggled.

Those saying Ten Hag is our worst manager since Fergie are just stupid. I fully expect the team to improve over the coming weeks and still fight for a top 4 place as predicted in the summer.
Dave, Manchester

 

Mounting a defence
Mason Mount has zero talent?

Guess all those chances he created at Chelsea were just everyone’s imagination, or he created them by running around a lot, apparently.
Manc From SA (The rot starts from the top. Actually.)

 

Touching the Void
I remember the dark periods of Arteta’s early reign at Arsenal, and I remember my favourite line from the documentary Touching the Void (on Netflix, heartily recommend) where one of the climbers says, “Sometimes you have to go deeper into the abyss, before you can rise” and it may sound silly, but that idea got me through those rough periods. I remember thinking, there has been a decade of decline, in mentality, in the club, and the players, and we needed someone to fix it. Rip out the rot, root and stem, and then plant something new. That takes time. Which brings me to the point of this message, and that is, ‘United fans, I recommend patience.’

Not with your players, I think it is apparent that you have individuals, on huge salaries, who provide nothing to your first team. Sound familiar? Sounds like the problem Arsenal had. You have a rot in your club leadership culture that needs replacing with new blood. We had a broken scouting network and were reliant on super agent address books, sound familiar?

I’m not saying ETH is necessarily the solution. I don’t watch enough of their games to see if on occasion they play good football or have solved their problems or if you can see green shoots. But when your club has been left to stagnate, you can’t imagine immediate results. I don’t think Pep could take over your squad and turn them into world beaters over night.

So go into the abyss, and after you’ve solved the countless problems you face, you can rise. But know this, the world of football is constantly moving. You shouldn’t have been surprised by the Brighton result, because they are the better team. Accept that, and you will see how far you have to go.
John (My dad was a United fan so I empathise) Matrix AFC

 

Marcus Rashford is Man Utd’s biggest asset and liability
Manchester United is a football club that lost its identity and sense of direction and purpose ever since the Great Sir Alex Ferguson left. Only during the days of Luis Van Gaal did the club have some sort of identity and direction. Alas it was the other factor (the media) that led to his sacking.

Never have I felt that this club has a direction or plan that they’re implementing and the fans, as impatient as ever, are breathing down the necks of the owners and the board.

The coaches don’t seem to know what they’re about, and the players look like they are there for the payday. Issues are thrown to the media and they feast on it like a pack of wolves and amplify the negativity the more. Those calling for Ten Hag’s head must be way over their heads. Even Pep won’t be successful at this mess of a football club and he probably knew it and that’s why he didn’t accept the job.

Clubs like Man City, Liverpool (in recent times), Bayern, Real Madrid are successful; because the fans have standards and those standards are in line with their owners and the board. Even Newcastle is reaping the rewards. At Manchester United, it’s not the case: owners want to make as much money as they can without investing a lot, fans want “glory days back”, the board and managers…well…I don’t even know what they want. Every manager comes in with his idea, and they board are just going along with it hoping it works. And that’s why this club is a mess.

Have you asked yourself this: why do good players and managers suddenly become bad when they join Manchester United?

Until everyone in this club is in sync with one vision, one goal and deal with any negativity from the media, the standards will continue to drop and not even the Great Sir Alex Ferguson can do anything about it.

Marcus Rashford is undoubtedly Manchester United’s greatest asset now (on the field anyways). He scored 30 odd goals last season (his personal best). He’s also the team’s biggest liability. Against Brighton, his liabilities were clear for all to see. He doesn’t press well (almost like he’s jogging about), he looks to shoot every time he is the box, he goes down way too easily for my liking, he doesn’t get involved in duels and he looks disinterested at times. When was the last time Marcus Rashford won a 50- 50 ball? Opposing teams know this hence they play the ball to where he is the most because he won’t press that much. Probably saving his energy for the runs when the ball is played over the top.

It’s no surprise that strikers don’t score lots of goals when they come to the club. He’s so selfish he plays like he’s still 19.

Ten Hag looked lost today or he simply just gave up on the match. The subs didn’t make sense both logically and tactically. I think Onana needs to hold bench in the next game. He looks like he can’t make a save. And why is it so easy to play through this team?
Kay, Nsawam, Ghana

READ: Premier League’s worst finishers 23/24: Marcus Rashford joins Bruno in top 10

 

Man Utd are Hated, Adored But Never Ignored
After Saturday’s defeat to Brighton, and the amazing letters from ABU fans, esp. LA Gooner’s novella, here it goes:

– For someone who supports another club, your obsession about United is very similar to the media that you complain about. We get it, the name United sells.

– I agree that two great individuals did for our club that your club could never achieve (read that you guys are 3rd favourites to win the UCL in spite of not even winning it once but good luck!). Apart from Wenger your club doesn’t have a manager that anyone can even remember to write about.

– Calling United fans entitled is very rich coming from an Arsenal fan, you guys had the biggest choke job after printing t-shirts with the table around new year’s, carrying mini PL trophies on fan channels last season. Except for Mourinho’s second season and Ole’s start of his last season, United fans have never even discussed the possibility of winning the PL as we know that first you need to challenge and get close before thinking you can win the league.

– And these are the same entitled United fans who hated Glazers back in ’05 when they took over the club, the same entitled fans who protested with Green and Gold scarves (incl. Beckham sporting it) during a Carling Cup final in 2010 while winning the PL that year.

You may be right that the biggest club in the world is Madrid, then Barca, but we are not just a ‘normal’ club. So don’t think you and us are the same.

United is in a pretty bad place but it all stems from the greedy owners who have taken away the most important thing any successful club needs and that is being RUTHLESS. They don’t aim for excellence, they go for bare minimum success that will keep their dividend checks rolling no matter what. Worst part is that it is not even their money to invest in the stadium, facilities, backroom staff, etc. It is simple, if we were not saddled with debt, United can manage to run on its own and compete with any team without owner funding like some of you need. But I don’t expect other fans to know or care about that, so enjoy this time, sooner or later United will be back for you to detest us more. Hated, Adored But Never Ignored.
AVM, Phoenix
(Last point: I get that you learnt the word ‘Transcendent’ recently but don’t need to slap it up every chance you get, use synonyms to make it more readable.)

 

…I counted no fewer than four, probably five non-United fans (plus Hugo, who the jury is out on) writing in to Sunday’s mailbox to say how crap we are. With absolutely no hint irony, MAW, LA Gooner wrote a particular long piece (snooze) about how United aren’t special.

I was wrong to think that United fans could remove the Glazers with apathy. Apparently the rest of the world is more interested in United being rubbish than everyone else being good (far fewer words dedicated to praising Brighton in the same mailbox). As long as that continues, there’s money to be made from the misery.

It seems the European Super League idea is about to be resurrected, which United would almost certainly be relegation candidates in (they’d have to have relegation as that seems to be what killed it last time). If everyone is so interested in a team that has lost three games to much lauded sides, albeit early in the Angeball era, imagine the schadenfreude for all non-United of United being relegated from a competition of their own making.
Ash (can we have some actual football at Ild Trafford from the home team occasionally?) Metcalfe

READ: Man Utd and Erik ten Hag are stuck in the cul de sac of dysfunction

 

Arteta boiling piss again?
I see Arteta is boiling everyone’s p*ss again by daring to have 2 exceptional GK and choosing to play one and not the other in a game. I completely understand the conversation for GK is different than an outfield player but why should it be. I don’t think I’ve read a single positive piece on Arsenal upgrading their GK position for a net -£4m for the season with a tried and tested prem GK who is brilliant with his feet, great on crosses, good shot stopper, counts as a homegrown player and suits the way Arsenal play in a way Matt Turner didn’t.

An injury to a big player has proven in the past to derail teams, why should gk be any different in that respect? How about Raya providing competition to push Ramsdale to even higher levels. I mean you can swing this as a positive or a negative and the media seem to have collectively chosen the negative when the positive is far more obvious and likely. If the negative is that Ramsdale gets his nose put out of joint and sulks (doesn’t seem the type) and eventually moves on then Raya will have won the place by being a better GK – isn’t that what being an elite club is about – constantly improving? I remember when George Graham replaced John Lukic with David Seaman and people thought he was crazy. Arsenal fans love Ramsdale but he needed competition. We have 2 great GK on our books, simple.

Surely this isn’t just another stick to beat Arteta with. Just because no one has done it before doesn’t mean it is wrong. Traditional old school football pundits are scared of the likes of Arteta because he thinks about the game in a way they could never comprehend, they are theatened by him and so will try to take him down. By the way Wenger was treated similarly (but worse) when he arrived with his innovations. As Arteta hinted in his post match interview, one day he’s going to sub a gk during the game and the likes of Richard Keys and his cronies are going to absolutely lose their minds! He’ll probably step outside his technical area and wave his arms around a bit when he makes the sub too! Does Arteta not know the values we hold dearly in ‘our’ league and ‘our’ game?!
Rich, AFC

 

Giving a Tross and more
Some random thoughts. How wonderful to see a genuinely two-footed player score with a fantastic finish with his supposed wrong foot, Leo Trossard is a very classy player. Far too often you see players refuse a shot or cross because it is on their weaker foot, it is pretty crazy seeing as they have countless hours to iron out any weaknesses in their game but refuse to work on their weak foot.

Declan Rice, once again superb. Everton tactics would be clear, they picked a very physical midfield and would pump everything long to Beto, people might have worried with an Odegaard and Vieira midfield Arsenal would get physically dominated, but Rice dominated Everton’s midfield 3 all by himself. Saliba and Gabriel made sure Beto didn’t have a kick. With Arsenal’s superb away record over last season and this, the ability to deal with physical teams and assembling a team with quite a physical presence of its own I think its beyond time to put to bed the notion that Arsenal can be bullied.

I was interested in Paul Heckingbottom’s rant on refs not understanding the game and I agree with a lot of what he says. I don’t have any sympathy with teams genuinely wasting time but it feels like the new directives are being handled badly by refs. I mean who would have thought that adding another subjective decision to refs who have proven incapable of being consistent in the past would be anything other than a disaster. It has led to more criticism as fans are now looking at all minor incidents “player X kicked the ball away 5 yards and didn’t get a yellow”, “player Y took 20 seconds at a throw in”.

We now have Sky putting a timer clock on the exact number of seconds Arsenal took to take a corner that led to the winner – this is surely just looking for controversy for the sake of it. Are we to believe that Arsenal, the only team actually trying to win the game, were time wasting with 20 minutes to go at 0-0? Obviously Heckingbottom is going to be sore after conceding in the 98th and 100th minute but his points are still valid about refs not understanding the game.

I saw a few complaints at Rashford at the weekend, he is a strange one, at times he looks unplayable coming off that left side, but when he’s not on form he looks like he lacks technique and football intelligence. He’s far too greedy and his off the ball work and ability to execute the pressing structure ten Hag wants is really poor.

Also, last year Man U fans were lauding Casemiro as the greatest defensive mid in the league – the problem was they weren’t comparing apples with apples. Last year Casemiro operated at the base of midfield but in most games had another midfielder nominally alongside him – Eriksen or McFred. In most games this year he’s operated as a lone defensive mid and teams are walking straight through the middle of Man U’s midfield. Whereas last year City and Arsenal had Rodri and Partey as genuine lone midfielders (Rice this year for Arsenal) – the two other mids play in the attacking line.

It is probably the hardest position to play in elite football as you’re responsible for so much. Look how Mac Allister (a classy player) got overrun trying to do this role for Liverpool against Wolves. Suddenly having to do this without the comfort blanket of another mid alongside him has made Casemiro look very leggy and old. Rodri is the best in the world at this, but Partey was phenomenal last season and I think Rice will surpass those levels this season.
Rich, AFC (bring on the Champions League, it’s been too long)

 

Knock it on the head
I have written in many times about the time wasting issue – in a nutshell my solution is for every game to have the ball in play for say 60 minutes – totally fair – all games would be the same length and the effect of tactical subs and of course feigned injury would be massively reduced …which leads me onto the ” head injury” scenario. You can’t really blame the referees for adhering to the directive to stop play if there is a head injury but it is now frankly embarrassing to see teams using it as tactic to stop play . The solution? well why don’t we insist on sending the payer to the dressing room for a proper examination and allow a temporary “concussion” sub who must remain on for at least 10 minutes.

I am fed up of players lying on the ground after half clearing a corner as a clear and obvious tactic to stop the game. The dark arts indeed have no moral scruples.
Phil (or maybe the players could just stop doing it??) Liasides