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So what if City have bought their success?
Don’t understand what all the fuss is about with regards to Man City and their FFP problems? So what if they rigged the system and bought themselves a wonderful squad with a superb manager? The way I see it, they took an average club and have turned it into an international football powerhouse. Man United were, and have been, an international powerhouse over the past 25 years and they have closely matched City with regards to spending over the past 5 seasons. City’s net spend being £507 mil, with United’s being £400 mil. However, the quality of football is so far apart. City will probably win another league and Man United will probably finish mid table. So the question should not be who allowed Man City to spend all this money because it isn’t fair – it should however be, why haven’t United gotten the same return on their investment? Especially since they started off with a considerably large advantage, being a top club and all for the past 25 years, while City have built it from nothing.
Man United players in City’s side
Gregg asked which of Man U’s players would get into Guardiola’s Man City, and based on last night, concluded that only Martial and Shaw would make the bench. However, what Gregg really means is that none of Man U’s players as they are coached by Mourinho would make the team. An important element Gregg’s mail (at face value) discounts is the coaching. If I were Pep looking at the Man U team and wondering which of these can I coach to replace any of Man City’s current regulars, I suspect several would be deemed good enough after further training.
Martial and Rashford – probably interchangeable with Sane/Sterling. Pretty sure Martial can be trained to play like Gabriel Jesus too. Lukaku’s too different in his skill-set to play for Pep, i feel.
Pogba – will be good replacement for Gundogan and Fernandinho if trained right. Perhaps even De Bryune.
Lingard – not sure about this, but wondering if Pep would look at Lingard and decide that he’ll be a full back or something
Shaw – could replace Mendy.
De Gea – i actually think De Gea’s distribution is pretty good. Less aggressive than Ederson, but i think can develop to be more proactive but calmer. Like Lloris of 2 years ago.
Mata – pre-Guardiola, i think one may think that Mata and David Silva were equals, in style, and impact on team tactics. The gap that’s widened since is testament to the importance of tactics and coaching. But Pep may see a Mata as a player who could be trained to be like David Silva.
Herrera – could replace Gundogan, if trained by Pep from a younger age. Probably can say the same for Smalling, though Lindelof and Bailly are probably too different in style.
In short, i think the issue isn’t that Man U’s players are worse than City’s; they’ve just been coached very differently. Coaches like Pochettino, Klopp and Pep have such complex and fixed tactical systems that they probably hardly ever see players who can slot right in immediately. But they’ll notice traits, habits, and think -that guy is coachable. Which is what’s happening to Fabinho, Sterling, Walker, Firminho, Dembele, etc. So, if they were coached by Pep, I think many of Man U’s first teamers have what it takes to play for this Man City.
Which is a really roundabout way of saying that Mourinho’s training and tactics aren’t at the cutting edge of football thinking anymore.
Marcus Rashford needs some love
The plight of Rashford reminds me to that of Alex Iwobi.
Both players broke on the scene to much fanfare and thrilled fans with their performances.
Like Rashford, Iwobi lost his way towards the end of Wenger’s tenure.
It’s up to United which way they go. They can keep trying to muddle through with the Jose or they can accept a few years in the doldrums and appoint a manager, who will bring through youth, resurrect careers such as Rashford’s and get everyone buying into a brave new project.
Who is that manager? no idea but it’s got to be worth trying. Look at the difference with Iwobi under Emery as opposed to Wenger. Rashford needs some love, attention and a lot of direction. Don’t write the boy off – I’d take him at Arsenal.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Jose: right man, wrong time
A couple of years ago I wrote into this fine publication bemoaning the fact that after 40-odd years of watching United, I actually left a game
early (vs Liverpool, Europa League) thanks to the tactics and performances under LVG’s stewardship.
Yesterday, into my 51st year of supporting United, for the very first time I switched off a Utd match on TV before the end. Never done it before, I normally watch through gritted teeth no matter how bad the game is unfolding, but after the third went in yesterday that was it.
The club these days belongs to the noodle partners, the tractor partners and whichever institution money can be sucked out of, it certainly
doesn’t belong to the supporters anymore. I’ll still be going to games, but these days it is for the camaraderie, and for the sheer excitement
of turning up at the ground, but it certainly isn’t for the entertainment.
Jose: right man, wrong time, but the managerial situation is just the tip of a very large iceberg just under the surface at United.
E.T. King (MUFC)
I have to say I’ve been really disappointed in Gary Neville’s punditry these last 2 seasons when it comes to covering Manchester United games and issues. I remember when he first took over from Andy “multiple allegations” Gray and Richard “smash it!” Keys a lot of people, me included, were worried about how biased Gary would be with issues surrounding United, Liverpool and United rivals basically, but he proved a lot of people wrong, he had/has great analysis and tactical knowledge, honest praise for all teams who deserved it and is genuinely funny commentating on games, but I feel recently, especially since Jose Mourinho became United manager I feel like he’s getting way too emotionally involved in United and United related issues that it’s really clouding his opinions which isn’t great considering he’s on there for his honest opinions. I have to say he is still a great pundit and I still love all the things I listed above but it’s now starting to ruin any United game that he’s covering, I really think he needs to check himself sometimes, especially after the last 2 weeks of “Why I loved Jose’s celebration”, “Neville reacts furiously to Joe sacking rumours”, “Neville slams FA after appealing Jose charge” and after the Graeme Souness debate yesterday, it was quite cringe to watch in places the way he tried to argue that most of the players at United had “never been a top player”, it sounded like a football argument I once had with my 15 year old cousin! I’m hoping he’ll take a look at his own coverage this international week and tone his Mourinho rhetoric down a tad and go back to the old pundit we all loved
16 Conclusions on Chelsea v Everton
Dear Esteemed MC,
Here are some conclusions on Chelsea v Everton as viewed from the away section in the upper shed:
* What a game that was! I can’t remember the last goalless draw I watched which was so entertaining;
* I’m proud of the way we are playing for the first time in a long time and Silva deserves a huge amount of credit for that. We’re only 12 games into the season but are already unrecognizable from last year. Under Koeman, Unsworth and Allardyce, I would have dreaded going somewhere like Stamford Bridge (even Moyes always played the percentages against wealthier clubs) whereas now I feel as though we could give anyone a game;
* With Yerry Mina slotting in nicely on his debut, credit must go to Marcel Brands as well as Silva for our improved transfer activity. Every single player brought in over the summer has lifted the quality of the team. Quite a contrast to the shit-show of the previous year;
* MOTD and your own Ian Watson praised our defensive organisation (which was great) but there was more to it than that. We were composed on the ball, played it out from the back, worked some overlaps on the flanks and matched their attacking endeavour for a good hour before the frenetic pace and press & counter-press started to take its toll and Silva switched to a more defensive shape with 3 centre halves. Even then we were still capable of hitting them on the break and could have nicked it if Bernard and Walcott hadn’t both had brain farts in promising positions and lost control of the ball;
* You could see it in the way Chelsea played too. Having grown used to having things mostly their own way this season, they resorted to niggly kicks, “tactical” fouls and diving. How Jorginho got away with a yellow for that assault on Sigurdsson (you can’t even call it a tackle as there was no attempt to play the ball) I’ll never know;
* Hazard is some player, though. Idrissa Gana Gueye did a great job of limiting his impact but he still managed to make chances. He glides around the pitch and somehow always seems to be able to find space;
* I genuinely believe that Richarlison has the potential the be spoken of in similar terms in the future. The lad is seriously talented and now appears to be able to win aerial duels against one of the league’s best defences too;
* The contrast between him and Calvert-Lewin was, unfortunately, quite stark and was highlighted by one breakaway move when he chose to check back and hold the ball up rather than take his man on. As close as the first 11s had been for the first 70 mins on the pitch, the quality of the subs showed the huge gulf in resources. Pedro and Fabregas for Chelsea, DCL and Jagielka for Everton;
* Props to Jagielka for taking us back to the old skool though by leathering a late free kick as hard as he possibly could to nobody in particular. The wasted opportunity and the moment of fury it provoked in the away section served to highlight not only how much we’ve improved but also how well the fans and the players have come together again after the disharmony of last season. It’s not just about playing the ball to feet – it helps to have likeable players (Mina, Gomes and Bernard, for example, have all featured prominently in the club’s recent community programmes) who seem to enjoy playing together too. Even Lookman (who looks like he might have come of age since going out on loan – not only did he take people on but he was working hard and mixing it too) made a point of thanking the fans, which I hope is a sign that he is happier now. Long may it continue!
I just feel the need to defend Raheem Sterling from criticism from people (including his own manager) for his showboating at the end of the game. Whilst as a United fan, it hurts to see City being so utterly dominant against us, I completely accept that City (and Sterling as one of their standout players) have earned the right to showboat against us. We were complete pap and had we actually attempted to win or keep the ball at any point over the 90 minutes then they wouldn’t have been in a position to showboat. We deserved to be humiliated.
I’d love watching if I was a City fan and I’d love watching it as a neutral. I loved watching it when United did it, you know, when they were actually decent and capable of scoring more than 2 goals on a game. Football is entertainment for the fans and what do we want to see if not some flamboyant skill and flagrant disrespect for a fallen giant? Frankly, messrs Young and Mata need to worry more about the dross their team is putting out on the pitch than a superior player and team taking the piss out of them. Or if they were that worried about it they should have just kicked him (assuming they could get near him) and taken the red card. At least the United fans would’ve appreciated the effort.
And what was Pep doing? Was he concerned about what people would think about a player (already wrongly vilified in the press) taking the piss out of one of the most hated teams in the land with the biggest twunt of a manager? If so he probably ought to consider more about what people think of his evil overlords and the way they’ve run roughshod over UEFA (not to mention the potential human rights issues). Also a little bit rich coming from a manager who instructs his players to foul opponents as soon as they lose the ball.
Maybe he was actually just worried that Sterling might have given the ball away. To this I say I’d much rather see players trying something interesting and displaying their skills late in a game that is won than just keeping hold of the ball (kudos on the third goal though).
Anyway, in summary: more piss taking please.
Ashley (the Neviller’s love for Jose is getting weird) Metcalfe
As Arsenal fans, we really enjoyed our winning run recently, but all good things come to an end, and so it has been for the Gunners. Sure we’re in a great position, all things considered, especially under a new manager, but the last 3 draws suggest there is far more work for Emery to do. And I am ok with that. We weren’t expecting to challenge this year, and frustrating as it is to struggle at home to a very well coached Wolves side (they deserved more than a draw in IMO), it is all to be expected. I didn’t expect things to change overnight, and that we’ve shown progress already is pleasing. But Wenger and the mentality he instilled is still there, and we need time to undo it.
Hopefully we can get a good result under our belts again ASAP, and get building some momentum again. Otherwise we will fall further and further behind Spurs, Chelsea, Liverpool and City.
Oh look, here’s another international break. Great!
John Matrix AFC
Welcome perspective from Jonny Nic
I wanted to write and say thanks for a welcome perspective on football owners from John Nicholson.
I always thought his lack of anger at ‘sportswashing’ was a bit of a blind spot given his focus on other issues affecting the sport. I know City fans think other fans are jealous but when Amnesty are calling you out I’m afraid it transcends sport.
On a more positive note, the Dortmund Bayern game was the best game I’ve seen for a long time. Very much a game of two halves, with Bayern dominant in the first and Dortmund cutting them to pieces in the second.
A game of two halves for Jadon Sancho too: overawed in the first and dangerous in the second. Very impressive how he managed to brush off his travails in the first and he looks a real talent.
Adam (loving how many of our young lads are now trying their luck abroad), LFC, Macc
15+ years of reading and writing in to the mailbox, and only now with Der Spiegel’s revelations are we now finally addressing one of my two biggest bugbears in football: Financial Doping. (The other bugbear is simply Doping).
I can see both sides of the argument for FFP. Side one is that FFP exists to ensure clubs spend within their means. Side two is that FFP exists to ensure the biggest clubs remain the biggest clubs. I can see both points, and both points have merit.
I’ve always wondered which side Man City fell on. I mean, yes, sure, they have been taken over by Abu Dhabi (ADUG) and they are squillionaires with massive money and the owner wants to put a lot of that in to City so they can spend it on players and coaches and whatnot. On the other side, FFP doesn’t allow for a mega rich owner simply spending their own money (and why not I wonder, I really don’t see the issue to be frank?), and so Man City need to make their money from outside investment, from true and legit sponsorship deals, because FFP dictates that’s how you run a football club’s finances.
Soooo… it just so happens that ADUG is made up of a load of big, legitimate, wealthy and well-known companies such as Etihad Airways and AABAR Investments. Who, erm, also just so happen to be owned by the owner of Man City and many of his friends and associates, many of whom appear to be in the hierarchy of Man City, as well as one of them being the Prime Minister of Abu Dhabi.
So if City are planning on spending £billions on players and therefore need £billions in sponsorship to pay for it, let’s just get the ADUG operated businesses to spend those £billions. Is there a problem with that? Genuinely, is there really a problem with that? Morally yes and legally probably not. They’re not cheating per-se, but they are doing what they need to do to comply with FFP’s rules. Competition-wise, it’s grossly unfair but personally I never thought Man City were big evil nasties for doing what they’re doing. It just makes football boring is all. Beautiful and Pep and boring.
However then I read about how they composed Roberto Mancini’s contract. Basically they paid him a fairly low/average wage for a Premier League Manager and then supplemented that by also making him a, basically, a coach/advisor for some random Athletics Club in Abu Dhabi and paid him £10m a year.
All of a sudden, that’s not circumventing FFP or being clever or douchey. Now that’s cheating. It’s disgusting.
Der Spiegel are promising revelations about Doping before the year’s out, and to be frank once more, I think the headache City may have now about FFP will be nothing compared to the Pep Guardiola doping story when that breaks (and assuming it will be about Pep, which it will be I’m sure, #nycsabbatical #operacionpuerto #sackingthebayernmedicalteam).
Dale May, Swindon Wengerite
A long rant on all things United
After my last email was published I am buoyed to write a larger one on a lot of issues that have been bothering me all related to the derby last night.
First is the whole FFP talk. I would say that it is very obvious to me that PSG and Real Madrid and Man City have broken these rules and there was some legal acrobatics done to save the clubs from any harsh sort of penalty.
However the whole concept of FFP to me seems unfair. Why shouldn’t a rich fan be able to inject cash into a club of their choosing? Its not a God giver right of my Manchester United to be at the top (or Real Madrid who even with their earnings still in my opinion spent way too much and broke FFP in recent years). You must earn it and having a moral outrage about breaking an immoral rule to me is dumb. Now the money laundering and the nature of such “fans” is a different debate which is a bit more complex. I would say if you are going to set the owner through the court of public opinion then everyone from the man cutting the grass to every player should abhore to the same acceptable standards. And im not being sarcastic. There are things which fans shouldn’t accept (though they do, as rapists names will be chanted if they play well enough) but it is very complicated to say where those lines are.
The second issue is the Manchester United so called crisis.
Neville had it right, its hard to blame Mourinho for all this when its been like this since Ferguson left. And frankly I expected it. We are talking about the greatest manager that has ever lived. It was always going to be hard. How many titles have the Chicago Bulls won since Jordan left? True fans must keep on keeping on and support the team through the lean years.
Which leads me to the whole Guardiola Mourinho debate. Its been popular to bash Mourinho recently because he is a d**k. And I would say in terms of character that is fine. I didn’t want him at United not because I don’t think he is a good manager, only a moron would think that after the things he has won and with the s**t he has won them with. But his treatment of the Chelsea female doctor, whose name I forget, and his throwing her under the bus left a sour taste. Irrelevant of her sex to ruin a subordinates career (she quit her post if I remember correctly) just to have an excuse for your failings is unbecoming.
Pep Guardiola seems to be a much nicer character and good on him. This however has nothing to do with their coaching ability. There is no doubt Guardiola has won a lot of stuff and also no doubt that City are the best team in the country. My problem with him is that he always has it a bit easy. Mourinho winning the CL with Porto is probably the managerial achievement of my lifetime (along with Leicsters premier league win). That team had no right to be playing around with the big boys and yet he led them to the greatest trophy in club football. His win with Inter over Barcelona was also a great achievement as that Inter team really shouldn’t have been able to beat one of the greatest if not the greatest club side to ever play.
Now I can hear some people saying that greatest club side that was Peps side to which I would say no. Pep inherited a side that was already pretty great and made it a bit better. Same as with City. And when you are already great a bit better is enough to dominate. I think the main reason for Barcas (and Spains) dominance of that period was the Xavi Iniesta midfield pairing, best that ever was (sorry scholes and keane).
This is why I take some issue with the love in Pep gets and the hate Mourinho gets. Armchair fans calling the most succseful manager of the past 15 years (as Neville put it) a buffon irritates me to no end. Mourinho inherited a very different situation at United. This is a team in transition there was no Silva no Aguero waiting for him. Theres really only one truly world class player at United and its De Gea (to whom I deeply apologize as he slipped my mind when I called Mata the greatest player at United, he is the greatest outfield player). And in my opinion we haven’t bought a world class player. I don’t think Pogba is at that caliber or ever will be or ever was. I think Bale was a big miss. I think he would have given us a lift in a position we needed help in. But he didn’t come. And what we have is not enough to be a contender. Its not Mourinhos fault. Nor more than the current success at City is all down to Guardiola. It’s a team. In Ferguson we had a one man army that nobody could match. But his persona also helped him. Players today are entitled because they know that they are worth more than the manager and push come to shove the club will be on the players side. This was not so at United. I think this was a big reason for Fergusons success and I think we should aim for the same with Mourinho. Show the players that the club will stand by the manager the same way it did with Fergie and you will empower him to try and match Fergusons achievements.
Winners and Losers adroitly summed up how much Spurs have done so far this season with so little. Praise indeed to Poch, who will probably end up dusting the skirting boards and sweeping the boardroom in preparation for the new stadium. What is staggering is the personnel, and state said personnel, he’s be handed since this start of the season. Let’s take a little look:
Lloris – Blowing as hot and cold as a nuclear winter. Came back as World Cup Winning captain, did something monumentally stupid and arrogant, got knacked and now has a giant question mark hovering over his head.
Vorm – Knacked. Played himself out the team with poor form.
Gazzaniga – It says something when one of the stand-out performers of the season is your third choice goalie.
Trippier – Knacked. Came back from World Cup as England’s stand out player and is suffering from poor form and a poorly groin.
Aurier – A full back who can’t take throw ins.
Danny Rose – Knacked (again)
Davies – Reaching nowhere near the heights of last season. Has complacency set in knowing he’s preferred over Rose, who’s perennially knacked and casting doleful eyes up north?
Alderweireld – Still a top player, but we now know why Poch isn’t paying him what he wants. To be fair, he’s been a rock since Vertonghen has been out, but brain-farts and yellow cards creeping into his game show he’s not the player he was two seasons ago. Spent 2/3 last season knacked.
Vertonghen – Knacked.
Sanchez – Knackered.
Foyth – It says something when the manager has to rely on a 20-yr central defender with no Premier League starts – a player who almost single handily won and lost each game he played in. Great potential though.
Kyle Walker-Peters – Can only hope to get some game time if Trippier is out and follow the excellent example set by TAA.
Lamela – Knacked for a year and easing himself in. Currently subscribing to the Ledley (can’t play two games in a week) King model. Like a new signing.
Wanyama – Mostly knacked.
Dier – Knacked, knackered and needs to change his game ala Henderson
Sissoko – It says something when the stand out performer over the last 3 or 4 games is the man derided as the worst signing in the club’s history (and there’s been plenty of them). To be fair, Moussa has raised his game, taken his opportunity, <insert cliché here> and absolutely deserves his standing ovations and crowd chanting his name. Keep it up…!
Dembele – Knacked.
Alli – Knacked, out of form and believing too much in his own hype.
Eriksen – Knacked and knackered. Ease him back gently, Poch
Moura – Like a new signing. Can’t work out if he flatters to deceive, or he’s given the team a new dimension. His introduction is responsible for Kane’s change in style, but that’s no bad thing.
Winks – Spent last season knacked and is working is way back. What a tackle on Messi though.
Nkoudou – Failed to add flair to a Burnley team.
Son – Poor bloke must be more knackered than everyone after a World Cup and Asian Games. Off form.
Kane – Running on fumes, but podium finishing. Perhaps he isn’t real?
Llorente – A plan B for a team who bypass plan B. Mostly knacked.
Janssen – Knacked, but does it matter?
I know all teams get their fair share of bad luck and injuries, but combine this with the stadium fiasco, a nightmarish Champions League draw, and.. Lad’s, it’s Tottenham, and you get an idea of the miracles Poch is working. Imagine if he had fit players, a new stadium and a war chest (why is it always a war chest?) of transfer funds.
Let’s hope Real Madrid don’t need a new manager anytime soon…
Andy (like a new Mailbox contributor), London
PS – the view will likely all change in 2 weeks’ time after losses to Chelsea, Inter and the Gooners. But, hey, let’s live in the moment…
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