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How does Ole lose his smoke arse?
‘This Manchester United side has had so much smoke blown up its arse that we have felt the need to remind you that they are still fifth and still in danger of a disastrous season of no silverware and no Champions League qualification.’ – Big Midweek.
I think you’ll find that you’ve spent pretty much the entire season criticising United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. And, dare I say, enjoying it. If any smoke has been blown (arsewards or otherwise) it has not come from ABU365 Towers. Even when January brought in Bruno Fernandes as the missing piece of the puzzle and Solskjaer had the team purring there were constant reminders that you don’t think he’s the man for the job.
Compare this with Arteta at Arsenal. I have literally no idea what he’s done to earn your almost daily praise on this site but I don’t recall one reminder that Arsenal are in tenth (where they’ve been for quite a while now) (Actually, they have flitted between seventh and tenth since the restart – Ed). There seems to be a concerted effort to paint him as the second coming of Pep, yet when Ole harks back to a Ferguson-led United it becomes a stick to beat him with.
If Arsenal finish outside of European places and get beat in the FA Cup final by Chelsea (presumably allowed to continue their tactic of an additional 48 hours rest) and United earn their Champions League spot with a fourth-place finish how does your narrative work then? Is there going to be any revision? Or is Arteta still Arsenal’s bright future and Ole just has a smoky arse?
William Douglas Foster, Stretford
…The glee of ABU fans since Sunday night has been nauseating. Not because United lost the game but their arguments are rarely, if ever based on logic and I do happen to share a low tolerance for stupidity.
Manchester United went into the tie less than 48 hours after their game against Chelsea.
(Not true. They went into the tie less than 72 hours after their game against Crystal Palace – Ed)
You need at least three days’ rest between games to be able to recover for the next one at this level. That it told in their performance against Chelsea was hardly surprising given how knackered the players must have been, Chelsea didn’t have to be great to beat United, they just had to not play like a Championship club. Fair play to them, they got the job done. But FA sure deserves censure for not delaying the semis till after the PL games were over to give teams equal if not proper time to recover.
With United performing so well and FA Cup within touching distance, Ole may have been a little too eager and he did make some judgement errors. Ole opted for a mix of his first-team players and some squad players. He should have simply let the squad players play this one out whatever the result and ensure players were rested for the upcoming games which will decide their CL fate. This was his first mistake.
Second was bringing on the rest of the attack when United were 2-0 down. At this stage, the game was pretty much over. He should have brought on the kids but instead did the complete opposite. I am now concerned that they might not be 100% for the remaining two games and may well have put CL qualification at risk as well.
What the match did prove was that we do not have any depth. Outside our first 11, we don’t have any game changers and there are major gaping holes inside the first 11 too. No wonder Ole is reluctant to switch the combination.
We have just come off a 19-game unbeatable streak, have been the best team since Project restart and our front three have scored more goals than Liverpool’s this season. Sure, they are nowhere near challenging for the title yet but Ole has certainly earned the right to continue managing for another season.
Lampard is roundly praised for Chelsea’s performance this year. Let’s not forget this is the same Chelsea (except Hazard) that finished third last year unlike United who finished 6th. United may have strengthened in the back by buying Maguire and Bissaka but we also lost Herrera (free transfer), Pogba (injured for most of the season) and Lukaku (our top goal scorer). So yeah we strengthened our defense but were far worse, at the start of the season, in both attack and midfield and even top 6 did not look a cert at the start of the campaign. Again, Ole gets the credit for rejuvenating and getting the best out of Rashford, Martial, Greenwood, Matic and even Pogba.
Oh but the defence is a joke you say? Sure, both Lindelof and Maguire have made multiple mistakes. But they have also given a number of solid performances too. United have conceded 35 goals across 36 games in the PL this year compared to a whopping 55 this year. That’s a major improvement over last year wouldn’t you say? How good is 35 goals conceded though? Let’s see how many teams conceded less than 35 goals in the PL in the last 5 seasons:
On retrospect, I would say we have done quite well in the defense. Sure, we may buy a new center back if one becomes available, and De Gea has had a few howlers, but on the whole this side is showing a lot of promise and as a United fan, I am actually enjoying United games for the first time since Ferguson left.
Man United fans getting taste of their own medicine
It’s a bit amusing seeing Manchester United fans getting defensive about the large number of calls they have been getting in their favour from VAR especially since the restart as epitomized by Phillip Lim’s recent email. Being on course for being awarded the most penalties in Premier League history is certainly causing a few raised eyebrows from non-United fans especially when one of them is the recent Fernandes one as well as Palace being denied one of the more clear-cut penalties of the season.
I’m not a conspiracy theorist and I have no doubt that officials-both on the pitch and VAR- are doing their jobs in a neutral and unbiased way albeit getting some things wrong. That said, many United fans spent the first half or so of the season moaning about LiVARpool and how our march to the title was being greatly aided by referees and VAR officials. Few of them were willing to entertain a detailed and nuanced discussion about it- they had made up their minds.
Now the shoe is on the other foot and United fans want us to get into CSI mode and deal with their calls on a case by case basis and weigh the calls in their favour against those that have gone against them. I’m glad to see they have rediscovered their desire for nuanced analysis. You’ll forgive me for being less than sympathetic.
Turiyo Damascene, Kigali, Rwanda
De Gea has been a outstanding player for Man u over the last few years. But it’s clear he’s no longer up to the standard required . While he’s no Karius or Mignolet, Ole is going have to be ruthless. How long did City wait before getting rid of Joe Hart?
Jack Cavan (top four almost guaranteed.)
Zidane’s bald jealousy
Rich’s suggestion that Zinedine Zidane is jealous of Gareth Bale’s personal success is the best thing I’ve read this morning. While it may well be true that Zidane trembles with envy whenever he sees that Euro 2016 semi-finalist medal glinting at him from the substitutes’ bench, I think it’s more likely that Zizou simply can’t stand the sight of Bale’s world-class hair.
If Gareth actually wants to get back in the team, he only needs to break out the clippers and prove he can be the number one guy. That ridiculous topknot is a blatant affront to the manager, and an act of disrespect that will only ensure he remains sitting in the empty stands, far from the pitch.
…Interesting point brought up by Rich in this morning’s Mailbox about Gareth Bale, now I may have misunderstood his mail in parts so correct me if I did in the comments but here are my thoughts on each point he made;
Why don’t Real Madrid pay up his contract? – Because financially it makes no sense, his current deal is spread out over two years, for FFP reasons that is much kinder on the books than one lump sum in one given year, as well as the fact they still have an asset who could easily provide something for the team, maybe Zidane is sacked next season and their new manager uses Bale and his redemption arc begins, that potential is always there, I always do not recall ever a high profile footballer ever having their contract paid up in full so they could move, naturally players have been sacked for various reasons but never paid up in full, again may be very wrong there.
Does Gareth Bale think he cant cut it at another top league anymore? – Gareth Bale reportedly earns £350k per week after tax, that was after a few Google searches and it was the most consistent number I found, now Bale during his time in Spain has won 2 La Liga Titles, 1 Copa Del Rey, 4 Champions League Titles, 2 Super cups and 3 Club World Cups, that is an impressive haul of trophies, he has also been key in the victories in the Copa Del Rey final, and in two of those Champions League title victories too, he has proven he is a World Class player, now many of us will never become professional footballers, but if you were 31, achieved what Bale has in the time he has, would you want to leave and potentially earn less money a week or continue to earn £350k a week for doing absolutely nothing but train?
Conclusion is, we are all different, we all are motivated by different things in our lives, money, happiness, family etc, but right now, I cannot blame Gareth Bale for his actions, he has done a lot for Real Madrid in terms of trophies and being a key part, yet has never truly been appreciated in Spain for multiple reasons, one being he doesn’t speak Spanish, which I always found strange, Sergio Aguero doesn’t speak English yet is truly loved and cherished in England and for good reason.
Mikey, CFC (Would still love to see Gareth Bale back in the Premier League and be appreciated for his talent one though)
Should Matt Stead be in Mediawatch?
Regarding Matt Stead’s article about players who declined since 2018 and Dele Alli.
A little harsh I thought on Alli, so had a check on his numbers for this season. So in an injury hit season: 24 games, 8 goals, 4 assists.
Now compare those numbers to 2018/19 (the season the new contract mentioned in the article was signed) – and his stats were……25 games, 5 goals and 3 assists.
Something for media-watch this as he’s arguably improved on last season, not declined.
If only there was some kind of free search your writers could use to check these things….
(Matt literally refers to 2018/19 as ‘perhaps the worst season of Alli’s career’ so we think he knows – Ed)
Four Everton thoughts
This morning I woke up and had four thoughts.
Andre Gomes is excellent.
I don’t know what Tom Davies is supposed to be.
Carlo has a big job on his hands.
I’m actually quite worried about the state we might find ourselves in next year.
Aidan, EFC, London
On the wider impact of relegation
When Bournemouth were promoted to the PL five years ago, the feeling was always that the stay would be a short one, and every successive season was treated as an extension of the ‘dreamland’. Plenty has been written about ‘where it went wrong’ so I won’t re-hash any of that. All I will add is that in early November 2018 we lost 2-1 at home to Manchester United. If I remember right, these pages described AFCB that day as ‘playing the best football of their entire existence’. We led, but lost to a Rashford goal in the last minute. The players looked bereft at the end of the game, and since that day the trajectory has been inexorably downward. I think that was the high water mark, as a few freak results aside since then the swagger and attacking threat has gone from the team.
The team now will not be lamented by many in the PL bubble and should relegation be confirmed, possibly as soon as tonight, I don’t expect to return any time soon. So what I wanted to write about was the wider impact to club people and the town. This is not a traditional football area but the last few seasons have seen a noticeable and easily understood increase in the number of kids wearing Bournemouth shirts. Fundamental to this has been the club Community Sports Trust, who run any number of sessions for children, adults and even in local nursing homes. Up until 2015 the idea of the club having such a large and dedicated team was laughable. Now there are hundreds of families – mine included – who take advantage of these sessions every week.
Secondly, for those who haven’t been to Dean Court, it is in a large public park and the training complex is next door. To get from the pitches to the pavilion the players and coaches have to cross a public footpath. I have to walk up this path to get essentially anywhere in the town, and frequently cross paths with the squad or technical staff. Before the virus, every one of the setup would be happy to stop for chats, photos, autographs etc. This engagement again goes a long way to keep people interested in the club.
With relegation the focus will be on which players are sold, and this will of course positively affect the financial situation but it would be a big surprise if there is a financial case to keep so many of the ancillary staff in their jobs in the current numbers. The loss of the community courses would be a real shame to local families and children will undoubtedly drift away from supporting the ‘local’ team.
So while speculation is inevitably on the players’ futures, the future of those on much lower wages, in much lower profile roles, but no less important to the future of football in the area should be a much more emotive subject.
Andy J, Bournemouth