Why Man Utd need their very own Fernandinho

Date published: Wednesday 4th September 2019 2:16

Fernandinho Jesse Lingard Manchester City Manchester United

If you have anything to add on any subject, you know what to do – mail us at theeditor@football365.com


Statsbomb, statsbomb, you’re my statsbomb
**Warning, this mail contains stats**

Pey, Mexico throws up some interesting stats as regards Pogba, although it would have been useful if he gave us the source of these and the time period concerned. Given Pey’s stats suggest Pogba retains possession better for France or when he played for Juve, it could imply he is trying to make more happen at Manchester United rather than keeping it simple and spreading the attacking responsibility. Perhaps the players he has/had around him makes that more possible. But whoscored.com stats paint a slightly different picture.

I’m not sure why Isco forms part of Pey’s comparison (different league and more a forward than CM) so I’ll ignore him to keep this a bit lighter on content. The 18/19 season isn’t an ideal year to assess KDB as he only had 11 league starts. Nevertheless, Pogba (34 starts) was dispossessed 2.5 times per game and had a passing success rate of 82.8%, whereas Wijnaldum (32 starts) was only dispossessed 1.1 times per game and a PS rate of 91.1%. However, Pogba attempted twice as many dribbles and scored or assisted 22 times (an attacking return rate of 0.65 per game), compared to Wijnaldum’s 3 (rate of 0.09).

The season before, when Utd came second under Mourinho, they all played a decent amount of football but KDB (1.6) had higher dispossession rates than Pogba (1.5) who made one more dribble per game and had a similar attacking output to the season before (started 25, scored or assisted 16, rate of 0.64). This was similar to KDB (started 36, scored or assisted 24, attack rate of 0.66). Wijnaldum ceded possession the least (1.1) but, again, had by far the lowest output (0.11). Pogba (85.3%) actually had a higher passing success rate than KDB (83.4%), but both were lower than Wijnaldum (89.9%).

So what does all this mean or perhaps, more importantly, does this actually mean anything? Well, if you want your CM to be solid, not lose possession but not do very much in the final third then Pogba is not your man (look to Wijnaldum). Secondly, Pogba’s game was tighter the season before last and it raises the question of whether this was to do with what the manager has asked of him or his game not being as sharp, or a mix of both. Needless to say, for us to be successful this season he needs to improve in this area but not at the expense of his output – which he has shown he can do to a level as good as KDB at City. So perhaps the answer is to find someone as good as Fernandinho to plug the gaps and have enough quality around him to lighten the load, rather than just blaming him for all our “woes” when he is only responsible for some.
Garey Vance, MUFC


In response to Pey’s interesting insights on Paul Pogba in this morning’s mailbox, I would hazard a guess that those figures are significantly influenced by the players around him.  Indeed, as Pey pointed out, his stats for giving the ball away are twice as good playing for France or Juventus.  If the movement of his team-mates is lacking, then of course he’ll give the ball away more often.  I imagine he also tries harder to create something-from-nothing more often than, say, KDB who is part of a very successful Man City team creating chances from all over the pitch.
Rob, London


Ole’s tricks are getting old
Some good observations about Ole in the Mailbox. He’s nearing almost a year into his tenure as Manager and I do think the observations about him being a Championship Manager are dead on. Ole seems to have only one strategy in his book and that is to counter attack. He has some fast paced players in Martial, Rashford, James etc who are perfect for that. But the minute, the other side closes shop, his team aren’t capable of even attempting decent shots on target let alone scoring goals.

When Ole came to United, the club was reeling and others thought United were there for the taking. Consequently, they got sucker punched on the counter. Since then, clubs have found him out and are easily keeping United out which would explain the sudden downturn in results. The exception seems to have been Chelsea where it was only the naivety of Lampard that allowed United to dominate. Similarly, United have fared better against bigger teams who are more likely to attack.

I’m happy that some of the deadwood got cleared out with him in charge but it has been done in such a careless manner. Losing Lukaku without replacing him. Losing Herrera on a free transfer and knowing Matic is past it but not getting even a single midfielder to replace them.

I for one to not see an uptick in results as long as Ole is in charge. Let’s see how long before Woodward loses patience to. Come to think of it, I can not see an uptick in results as long as United don’t get a capable DOF either who has full control over the football side and without Ed butting it.


Case for the defence
In response to Mark the City fan, I actually do think United can compete for top 4 like I said 2 missed penalties away from another 5 points would have us on 9 rather than 5 points. Also although we are making hard work of putting teams away we are creating a lot of chances so with Ole working on the finishing and we can manage to start converting these chances then we are going to start picking up 3 rather than 1 point per game.
City and Liverpool are currently the benchmark but the rest are all very much of a muchness, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs all have their strengths and weaknesses same as United, oh and as for any grammatical errors I do apologise in advance for any grammatical inexactitudes but I am at work and typing quickly so I don’t get caught out okay?
Paul Murphy, Manchester


Bobby Duncan
I’ve been reading a lot of articles about what happened with Bobby Duncan and I think Liverpool handled it well. The boy wants first team football, he’s not going to get it this season at Liverpool as he’s behind Firmino, origi, Brewster and probably Glatzel if he didn’t get injured. I’m sure klopp probably wanted to develop him but his agent put a stop to that. Why should a club Liverpool size tolerate what his agent accused the club of doing?

The answer is the shouldn’t and didn’t. If there’s a shred of truth behind what he said why did he delete his account? Liverpool don’t need that kind of drama with a 5th choice striker so they granted bobby his transfer and will never do business with that agent again I presume. I feel Duncan is just a hungry kid who is looking to show what he can do, is the viola the right place to do so? Everything in my body screams no and that he’s made a mistake but if he’s as good as he thinks he is, maybe he will make a fist of it. I wish you well purely because of who you’re cousin is but Liverpool will be just fine without you. Ps sack the agent.


It’s the international break and there’s not much else to talk about, so let’s prolong the Bobby Duncan + response discussion, because Unknown J’s mail this morning is preposterous.

John Collins’ initial mail deserved to be rebuked, for each of the reasons mentioned by the contributors in yesterday’s afternoon mailbox. I’ve re-read them and there really wasn’t much “problematic” about it at all. Unknown J himself admits that “it’s quite possible that Liverpool have done nothing wrong here”. Why is it a problem to respond providing background information and context to a discussion that was lacking both?

To answer Unknown J’s specific wrongful accusations: (1) nobody inferred the player was lying, rather that his agent was lying and acting poorly on his behalf. (2) there was one reference to him being well paid, rather than “constant references”. (3) Absolutely nobody has attacked Duncan’s character, neither ex-players nor fans. Again, attacks have been restricted to his agent. The agent who was cut out of the deal to bring Duncan to Fiorentina.

John Collins and Unknown J both seem to have completely missed Jurgen Klopp’s heartfelt comments on the subject ahead of the Burnley game. They also both seem to have missed the part where Liverpool sanctioned the move the player had his heart set on. Calling Liverpool’s statement “unsympathetic and self-serving” is absolute BS – it was a perfectly acceptable acknowledgment of the situation. You expected the club to publicly discuss a young man’s mental health? Are you joking, or are you Duncan’s agent in disguise? That would be the biggest PR gaffe since those Suarez tshirts.

I do not blindly believe everything the club does is whiter than white. I took the claims of Bobby Duncan’s agent (where he publicly discusses his client’s mental health) and the counterarguments of journalists with contacts at the club, in conjunction with considering the details of the player’s situation, and drew a conclusion. Can John Collins and Unknown J really claim to have not blindly believed Bobby Duncan’s agent?
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland


Interesting to read some of the responses to my mail regarding Bobby Duncan and Liverpool. I certainly don’t want to get involved in some long running spat, as they get very boring very quickly. I would like to say two things however; I’m a Wolves fan, if the mail had come from a City, United or Everton fan I could understand people suspecting my motives. But I have no skin in this game and have nothing but admiration for Liverpool’s on field performances. Secondly, can the Liverpool fans who responded so vociferously,  say with their hands on their hearts that they wouldn’t be asking the same questions if Bobby Duncan had left City or United under similar circumstances?

I actually enjoy the tribalism of football, I think in the right amount it’s a great part of the game we all love. But suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in this country – we are in the middle of a mental health crisis. Tribalism has no place in this debate, none at all.
John Collins, WWFC, London


A lukewarm but long defence of Liverpool fans
Tom, Vancouver (7,455km to English landfall so robust appraisal of actual Liverpool fans…) expects a few replies if this gets published from his AM submission, apparently. And I’ve never been one to disappoint! He doesn’t state which EPL club is lucky enough to have his support from such far flung climes but first, Thomas, allow me to educate you and lift this from the Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins:

‘The word Fan means “enthusiast, supporter” is short of Fanatic.
Latin word “fanaticus” means ‘inspired by god’ and come from “Fanum” meaning ‘a temple’
It’s uses are trace back as early as 17th century.
There is one off example of its use in 17th century in New News from Bedlam 1682.

The modern word Fan used as ‘Sports Supporters’ Started  in late 19th century  by Americans.’

Now, I would argue that by this definition anyone who makes a significant monetary and / or time investment in a club or national team is a fan. Or to put it another way if you are not fanatical about the club you state your allegiance to then you’re not a fan at all. Still with me Thomas?

So what do you expect Thomas? It is actually this degree of fanaticism that sets Liverpool fans (and notable others) apart from those of, say, Arsenal. Arsenal fans seem to think their job is to roundly boo their players, manager and results whereas Liverpool fans seem to think it is their job (Wetched Woy and the two snake-oil salesmen Hicks & Gillett aside) to help in the only way they really can and sing and chant from the rafters to try and make up this mythical 12th man (unlike United’s normal 12th man: the Ref). Think about Liverpool as a club and how many extraordinary results have they achieved down the years. How many times have they prevailed against seemingly impossible odds? Bested superior teams or impossible situations with, arguably, Istanbul being the zenith? Very often the atmosphere has played a huge part in this. It is more than just lip service from the gaffer and players when they thank the crowd or gee them up before yet another Famous Night At Anfield. Now, of course, I have been to many games at Anfield where the atmosphere has been fairly muted and the argument of fan gentrification / modern stadia dulling the noise level is one for a completely other day. But it is exactly this level of fanaticism that unarguably makes Liverpool fans, for the most part, advantageous to their team and the club.

That written as he laughingly, blindly stumbles around Thomas does bump into a reasonable point and that is Evragate. I can assure Thomas that I and many other Liverpool fans wish it have never happened and did (then and now) wince at the clubs handling of it all. Now, let’s be clear, only two men on earth know what really went on and neither are angels or behaved in a fitting manner on the day or since. Yes, absolutely, it was a PR disaster with the shirts and Sir Kenny’s public defence of Suarez simply wrong. And both sets of fans were firmly entrenched behind their man. It was less Suarez vs Evra more another Liverpool Vs United face-off. Lest we forget Evra has previous for both claiming racism wrongly and indeed being racist himself. They’re both wrong ‘uns but I do believe on balance that Suarez knew exactly what he was doing and saying and the weight of his words*. He’d shoot his Granny in the head if it meant he was guaranteed a hat-trick in the next game.

Of course there is a rubicon and certain sections of our fanbase do cross it (whilst massively overstated the projectiles at the Citeh bus were but one example) but the vast majority know where the uncrossable stream is.

That’s not to say we should be blind in our staunchness but I feel Thomas’ innate prejudice against LFC is the root cause of his need to embarrass himself as he did this AM. He should know that Duncan did exactly the same to City and will no doubt do so again to the viola, especially if he retains his current representation who is straight out of the Aidy Ward school of slipperiness. As late as last week Klopp spoke in glowing terms of the player and restated his wish to keep him but that didn’t mean we should accept Fiorentina’s initial derisory loan terms and fairly low-ball transfer offer. I daresay the club might have some culpability in proceedings as we’re want to play hardball these days but Duncan’s agent is yet to substantiate his claims AFAIK and likely never will.

I don’t know Thomas from Adam but there is more than a degree in his tone of the time-honoured self-pity city and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is one of those rival fans who still blame Liverpool fans for Hillsborough…

TL:DR I don’t currently see the club did much wrong in any of this and Liverpool fans defence of the club is mostly and broadly positive.
Gregory Whitehead, (*don’t want to open up the whole poring over the court papers and balance of probability thing again) LFC 


Hello Tom (via Editor),

In response to your query: “Why is it Liverpool fans more than any that cannot abide the slightest criticism of their club?” – I think you’ll find we can. The problem is that people like yourself and countless others who write in or comment on Liverpool based stories seem to have an opinion on all things Liverpool; call it an obsession, if you will, as the amount of mails about Liverpool and anything Liverpool related form non-Liverpool fans in the mailbox is absolutely staggering at times.

Perhaps you find it annoying that our fans are willing to defend the club but defending the club’s stance on anything is another way of supporting the club. Its what football supporters do. Maybe if people like yourself worried about your own clubs more than worried about Liverpool and what our fans think or what the club is doing, you’d have a happier life?

Anyway, in regards to the Bobby Duncan situation, if he truly has had mental health problems which have stopped him from leaving his bedroom for days, then I find it truly incredible that he has managed to leave his bedroom to sign for a club in foreign country, where he doesn’t speak the language and where he probably won’t get much first team action either. Pretty sure anyone suffering from mental health problems would love to know what Bobby has being doing or what medication he has been taking to make such a miraculous return to health that has enabled him to accomplish all this in just a few days. Perhaps Bobby and his agent will give an interview explaining this…or maybe they won’t?

Neil (Bobby Firmino is the only forward called Bobby we need right now) Mulvaney


The posts about Liverpool fans discussing the Bobby Duncan issue has been an interesting read. I am happy for a welcome debate on mental health, player power and agent influence and the lines where they merge or are inappropriate. Clearly if you’re write an email you are welcoming a response with in reason (Suarez case is mostly indefensible) to argue the other side. As long as it is done in fair and intelligent way it’s a good thing. And I’m sure the editor is happy for the emails. An email is there to be discussed. Don’t jump on the “oh look at the Liverpool fans go mad” bandwagon. It’s lazy, just continue the debate
David (most discussions can go both ways) Morris


Transfer market question
Dear 365 Team,

For me, one interesting feature of this year’s transfer market was the number of loan deals and the general focus on deal structuring. Maybe I just had not been paying attention to it before but it almost felt like the usual player-moves-for-cash deal was the exception, with numerous loans deals even at the top end of the market. The question is why?

My guess is that it is due to the intricacies of FFP, but I would be interested in an expert opinion explaining how the different structures play out. For example, I find it hard to see much difference between a one year loan with an obligation to buy and a straight sale… Any chance of an article on this topic?

Daniel, Vienna


Frank Lampard
There’s normally a distinct anti Chelsea flavour to any article written regarding the club on the Football365 website so I wasn’t expecting much else going into the new season but Sarah’s piece on “Super” Frank Lampard seemed to be written on the basis that he was a villain because he wasn’t receiving the usual opprobrium that every fan , player , coach and owner of the club usually faces 24/7 across the world of global media .

In a nutshell , “how dare he be receiving support when he’s doing a crap job” appears to be the tenure of the argument.

Well ,why shouldn’t he be?

It certainly makes a refreshing change from the usual intense ramping up of pressure that we normally experience from the moment anyone steps over the clubs threshold .

For the record , I , unlike Sarah , watch Chelsea on a regular basis and let me tell you something , despite signing a £58m winger to replace Hazard ( a £58m winger i’m certain nobody at the club canvassed his opinion on ) , there will in football history with the possible exception of the CR7 Madrid era never be more of a “one man club” than the current Chelsea side were with Hazard in the side .

He did everything better than any other Chelsea player , scored the most goals , made the most assists and not by a little, by an awful awful lot , take Hazard out of the side last season and we don’t win the Europa League we don’t come third we’d be exactly where we are now currently under SFL around tenth .

Lampard has made mistakes ( blimey , has he ) but surely you must see through the massive Hazard shaped hole and look at the club and despair at the horrendous state of affairs that the board has left Lampard with , we have three defensive midfielders and only one appears to be able to defend properly , our attacking options are a kid and a statue of a footballer and our attacking midfielders are well past the days when they should be looking if not to retire then to drop down a few leagues and I include ” Mr 3 goals a season” Willian in that assesment .

Defensively we have a Captain unable to get up and down the pitch like he used to , leaving a massive hole on the flanks as we wait for yet another kid to pass his fitness test and replace him.

Rather like John Coffey in “The Green Mile” the Chelsea board are killing Lampard with his love , he was probably the only candidate to take the mess on and I for one thinks he deserves any easy ride he can get from it , in my opinion it will be a miracle of biblical proportions if he can steer us to the top four with the squad he’s inherited.

He’s not perfect , he’s definitely “learning on the job” so to speak and his tenure at Derby looks to be a tad more successful than Philip Cocu’s is likely to be . ( what’s that ? Give Cocu more time ? Exactly)
Mark Kelly


Interlull musings
This first international week frustrates more than most. It feels like we’re just getting going and suddenly the momentum stalls.

To try to avoid frustrations boiling over and resulting in pointless inter club fan bickering, I thought I’d open up the conversation to something left field.

I’d love to know peoples match day snack rituals?! Given the international fanbase of F365 I think we could get some interesting takes.

For me it’s always been a cheese and onion (Tayto) crisp sandwich and a cuppa

Looking forward to hearing more exotic takes
Mark, Cork


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