Mails: Who should line up for Man United?

Date published: Thursday 8th September 2016 9:57

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How will Man United fans cope with Jose tactics?
Now that the international fixtures are done and the mailbox seems to have a self-imposed ban on the man who shall not be named, you know the bloke, the best friend of Guy S, the guy with the wig, plays where he wants.

Anyway. I wanted to shift the focus to the Manchester derby. As a neutral I’m very interested to see how this plays out from a Jose
Mourinho point of view. When Jose took the job as manager at Manchester Utd, apart from his questionable attitude, the other grumblings from a few Utd fans were about Jose’s style of play.

Usually in these fixtures, even at home, a Jose team will sit back in numbers (park the bus) and try and hit teams on the break in limited numbers and grab a 1-0 win. Fair enough, nothing wrong with that.

If he does that and gets the 1-0 win, gives up 65% possession I don’t think too many Utd fans will complain, what I’m interested in is if he does that and Utd lose or maybe draw 0-0 without hardly crossing the half-way line. Will the section of Utd fans that questioned his style before his appointment come out of the woodwork? Will it create pressure on Jose to play a more expansive style of football in the big games in future?

The other possible scenario is that Jose has already thought about playing in a more attacking style and will attack City. This could provide him with a terrific win and all is well but it could also open Utd up to a hammering a la Pep’s Barca taking his Real side apart.

I for one will be fascinated to see how he sets his team up. Over to you Jose.
Jimmy (I’m going for a 1-1), Spain


Some pre-derby thoughts
So, the Manchester derby, or Ye Olde Classic (?) is upon us. With the added twist of Pep vs Jose. Some pre game thoughts:

* First off, stating the obvious, thank god Aguero’s not playing. The United defence although doing quite well so far is facing its potentially toughest test of the season and any advantage is welcome.

* That said it’s still making me a little queasy imagining Valencia and Blind having to deal with a revitalised-looking Sterling, Nolito and Iheanacho. Not so worried about Shaw and Bailly, though the latter hasn’t faced such quality so far, I have faith.

* Clearly Pep’s City are going to play the possession game and Mourinho is known for a well-organized defense, so Fellaini’s and Pogba’s break-up play in the middle is going to be crucial. If they and Rooney can keep Silva and de Bruyne subdued, that’s half the match won. I predict it’s going to be hard to watch the beginnings of the two halves for United fans, it’s going to be assault after assault from City. But as long as we hold on and gain control the space in front of defense, we can get a result.

* Can’t avoid talking about him, so apologies in advance; Rooney has been saved from his performances so far by moments of brilliance and inferior opposition. He will not have that luxury this Saturday. His mistakes could be a big liability.

* Ibracadabra has his stage set. The other actors have their scripts, the props are ready and the music is cued. If anyone has the talent to belt out his lines perfectly it’s Zlatan. Dropping the metaphor, I’m sure the last person any ‘keeper wants to be faced with is six foot man-bunned goal machine. Least of all one who’s making his PL debut. Stones will have silenced all doubts if he can stymie Zlatan.

* Usually these overhyped games end up being anticlimactic borefests, but that’s the last thing I expect from this one. Goal fest and a brouhaha would be lovely, but I’ll settle for a solid Utd 2-0 City, though it just as easily might be the other way around.

Each day of the break has been filled with excruciating anticipation and it’s only getting more exciting as we get closer. I’m likely to drive my uninterested house mates up the wall before kick-off.
Prashanth (Piazza Grande is the catalan Wings) Barcelona


What should Jose do?
I am super excited about the upcoming Derby. Pep with his full-backs pushing up may present Mourinho with his first tactical battle of the season.

City are expected to hold up a lot of possession and you can be rest assured that they will dominate the ball. If I were Mourinho, here is what I would do.

Line United up as a 3-4-2-1

De Gea
Smalling | Baily | Blind
Darmian | Fellaini | Pogba | Shaw
Rashford | Herrera (Martial or Mata)

This team is set up to counter-attack and pace on the wings is going to be key. I left Rooney out because we need accurate cross field balls and unfortunately, he thinks he is good at it.

I expect City’s full-backs to sit in midfield alongside Fernandinho. The gaps are going to be in the wide areas. The key player for United would be Blind. Instruct Mikhitaryan and Rashford to occupy the space left by the full-backs. They could alternate between RB and CB or CB and LB. Have Blind launch long ball after long ball for these two to team up and chase. If nothing, have them win corners. The height advantage would be key for us to win.

How do you think Jose should set this up?
Sudarsan Ravi


Dear Wayne…
I don’t know how connected Rooney is to the rest of the world, but, can someone, somehow, send him the results of the latest F365 poll? Please?
fatmanwalking, Sydney, MUFC


Arsenal, optimistic and proud
I meant to write this at the start of the season but seeing as we’re still in the interlull I thought I might give it a shot.

I have a mailbox confession. I feel the need to confess a trait that I know enrages other football supporters, even fans of my own club.. especially fans of my own club. I’ve seen friends, enemies and people who couldn’t care less about me all become snarling monsters because of it. I am an optimistic Arsenal fan. I can’t help it. At the start of every season I think we’ll win the league even though I know we probably won’t. Theo Walcott? This is the year he scores 30 goals and morphs into Henry. Oxlade-Chamberlin? This is the year it all clicks and he becomes a beast. Giroud? 20 goals and 20 assists. Wenger? Knows.

I know none of that’s going to happen, but I just can’t help believe. And what brought me to this realisation? What made me write in to confess? I can’t help but think Bendtner (TGSTEL) is going to f***ing smash the championship to bits, carry Forest to promotion and finally fufill his potential leading them to glory not seen since Clough. There something quite poetic about the thought of him doing it in the red of Forest given their connection to Arsenal too.

It’s a sickness, a curse, but honestly, I’m not sure that I could put myself though it all without it.
Matt, AFC


I only want to watch Liverpool, thanks
I completely agree with Paul M’s view on the absurdity of not being able to watch 3pm games. I have also gone to many lengths to watch 3pm games, once myself and three mates stood outside an Eastern European satellite shops on the Hommerton Rd Hackney watching a Liverpool game at 3pm.

However, I totally disagree with Terry H from Switzerland. I am a Liverpool fan, I am not a Tranmere fan, or a Southport fan. I only want to watch Liverpool. I work reasonably hard to pay for Sky, BT sport and (hopefully soon an ultra high speed) an internet connection so I can watch Liverpool. As the girlfriend is doing the Great North Run this weekend I will watch the Man U v City game, and all other games and/or sport that I can as I have already paid for the channel.

I will not however pay extra for something that I do not want to watch, and I think that Paul S’s view that people who only want to watch the Big Teams started watching football after 1992 is an argument that does not hold water. I simply have no interest in paying extra money to watch other teams that I do not support. Likewise when I go to a restaurant I will order a steak, not the fish. I will also go to the cinema and watch the new Bourne film, not Woody Allen’s latest debacle.

So please do not hold the view that people who only want to watch the so-called big teams are new supporters – I for example feel that paying extra money to watch something that does not interest me is stupid.
Ian Hewison


…Terry’s letter of yesterday suggests that, instead of watching Liverpool on the TV, there are plenty of available options to ‘just watch the football’.

A lot of my friends have talked about going to watch Chester or Tran mere for a season but the price they charge, for what they’re offering, is ridiculous. Their season ticket prices are:

Chester: £345

Tranmere £380

Both teams charge more than Stoke’s cheapest ticket (£344), for bog standard main stand season tickets.Admittedly, there are cheaper tickets but £289 (Transmere) and £310.50 (Chester) are hardly what you’d expect from a club four divisions lower than Stoke.

I don’t claim to know the state of either club’s financial affairs, or how they survive, but there are reasons, other than the omnipresence of the Premier League, why they don’t even begin to fill their grounds.. It’s very expensive and doesn’t appear to be competitively priced when compared to Premier League and Championship football.
Matt, Liverpool


Stop patronising Premier League fans
Reading Terry and Paul’s emails on the alternative to Premier League football, I can see some sense in what they are saying and there are many problems with the Premier League…but they rather undermine any point they are trying to make with their patronising view of top-flight football and supporters of those clubs. For a start, Paul says lower-league football is ‘real’…presumably Premier League football is ‘fake’? Not sure what this means. But I am curious as to at what point football goes from real to fake? Presumably it depends what league your team play in? So by definition, upon promotion, even if a club keeps the same players, they automatically and instantaneously become ‘fake’? Very strange.

If they do not support a club, fair enough but I would say the VAST majority of football fans support a specific club. If you do, it is something of a juxtaposition that you support your club and want them to be successful ..but only to a point, so as to avoid the fake and ‘privileged elite of millionaires’ that is the dreaded Premier League…lifelong Bournemouth fans don’t know whether to celebrate or curse and go support Poole Town.

So in summary, supporting a club or not, watching Premier League or League Two, watching at the ground or on TV…consume football however you enjoy it, but don’t look down your nose or ‘feel sorry’ (seriously!?) for others.

…I guess some people understand and love the actual football, whereas others see it an excuse for a socialising event ‘with mates and a few beers and a sing song’…those are the people I ‘feel sorry’ for (see, I can be ironic and patronising too ;-))
Dommy S


Why even have Premier League 3pms?
Just (belatedly) throwing my two pence worth in on Paul M (First World Problems) LFC ‘s mail and the responses. I am an LFC fn who is lucky enough to go to all home games and some aways. When I can’t make an away I will always find a way to watch the match on TV whether at 3PM or not. When LFC don’t clash with them, I sometimes go to Tranmere with a couple of mates who are long suffering fans. If I can be dragged out to watch that rubbish, then surely there are plenty of others who also are more likely to watch EFL if it does not clash at all with their team.

This in mind wouldn’t a simple solution be to just stop having Premier League matches at 3PM on a Saturday? They could easily show two games across different channels on each of the early and late slots for both Saturday and Sunday as well as one on each of Monday and Friday. All ten games and having a choice of two for each of the four weekend slots sounds ideal to me.

There would then be room for a 3pm showcase spot where BT and Sky could both select a match each from a division of the EFL or other UK leagues and hopefully they could be encouraged to throw some decent funds at the league for the privilege.

Millions of armchair fans could watch any Premier League game they liked, zero competition between watching Premier League matches and going to 3pm KOs in alternate leagues and to cap it of you would be able to watch even more football. The only downside I can see is that the 3pm Saturday is the best slot, particularly if travelling, but this still seems the best compromise to me.
Simon Beer


…So both sides of the argument have beenput forward as to whether football should be on the TV at 3pm on a Saturday.

Heres the solution, have Championship and below kick off at 3pm on a Saturday (with select TV games kicking off at other times as is done now) and Premier League games kicking at various times on a Friday Sunday and Monday.

Problem solved….now where did I put Greg Dyke’s number…
Graham (bored of listening to people moan about big clubs) LFC


Defending Riquelme (and Storey)
Juan Roman Riquelme not world class, William?? Please. Aside from the fact that he, quite obviously, was one of the best players in the world circa 2006, I notice that you didn’t write in responding to the pieces written on, e.g., Le Tissier, di Natale, McGrath, Nakata, Dalglish, Adams, Zanetti, or Bobby Robson, complaining that they were merely “pretty good” but “never world class outside Championship Manager”. (Not saying any of those were or weren’t WC, whatever that even means, just that Riquelme had at least as much a claim to that accolade as any of them.) Does William really think each of these obviously should be included in a list of the “world’s best ever players” ahead of Riquelme? Or do they get to count as Icons because of their status as “club legends”? Ever heard of Boca Juniors, William?

It’s almost as if your view of the world from Leicester might just have rendered you somewhat ignorant about, and biased against, football in other parts of the world, like, I don’t know, South America. Just a stab in the dark…


…I have to say, I am enjoying the Portrait of an Icon. I don’t understand people’s gripes with Riquelme having his own portrait. An Icon isn’t just a who’s who of previous Ballon D’or. And it is full of players who never fully reached their real potential for a consistent period of time. It can easily be argued that Cantona, Best, Hagi, Stoickov and Ronaldo should have had better careers and failed to reach their full potential for various reasons.

What makes an Icon is subjective. But clearly the approach taken by Daniel Storey is to not just look at what they accomplished in their careers. He takes into account the legacy left by these players, and the magic they created. Ask any Argentinians, and they will tell you that Riquelme is lazy, but a legend. He runs on diesel they used to say. But what he did with the ball, few players can do today. I love these series because it goes beyond how many ballon d’or someone one

Please continue with the great job.
Guillaume, Ottawa

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