Manchester United Crawl-ey Back Under A Rock And Look To Buy Three Midfielders


After taking a day to digest the narrow F.A. Cup win over Crawley Town, the match showed some clear deficiencies in the Manchester United side. Wes Brown’s header was enough to put us through to the quarter-finals of the competition but the performance can be classed as nothing short of woeful.

Many of you here commented after the game about Bebe and Gabriel Obertan being the two worst performers on the Old Trafford pitch, and I’m afraid I have to agree. Both had absolutely terrible games and it casts a shadow over their respective United careers.

Bebe looks as is he has no clue and Sir Alex Ferguson’s judgement must surely now come into question as he looked out of his depth against a non-league side with an inability to cross the ball that is beyond belief.

But I am more disappointed in Obertan, a Clairefontaine graduate, played in Ligue 1 and has been at United for almost two years, yet he only seems able to run in a straight line with his head down, his distribution is poor and he is often caught trying a silky flick rather than the correct pass.

One positive note was the interview given by goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard who stated that ‘we cannot be proud of that performance’, and too right he is Regardless, for now as we are through to the next round and either Arsenal or Leyton Orient await.

Some more positive new now, the academy side recorded a magnificent 6-1 victory over Manchester City in the league, with Larnell Cole grabbing a magnificent hat-trick and Sean McGinty scoring from a cross. Check out the highlights below.

Sticking to the young player theme, there was an excellent article posted over the weekend at the Guardian regarding Ravel Morrison and his ongoing troubles. Many have speculated about the reasons of rumours that have been circulating over the last year or so.

The basic crux of the matter is regarding a court case in which he was accused of intimidating a witness. He subjected the victim of a knifepoint robbery to threatening phone calls, and appeared in the victim’s garden with 15+ people before their front window was smashed.

He admitted two charges and has been given a 12-month referral order. But read the full piece to get a better idea of our newest superstar in the making.

Finally what would a morning update be without delving into the world of transfer speculation? Once more it is the midfield, which has been spoken about, and this time we have three new candidates apparently on their way to Old Trafford.

According to The News of the World Luka Modric is the preferred replacement for… you guessed it, Paul Scholes. But with a £35 million price tag he won’t come cheap and Harry Redknapp has already said he won’t be going anywhere.

Next up is Jordan Henderson who is valued at around £15 million. Apparently Steve Bruce is willing to do business as long as Darron Gibson, Jonny Evans or Danny Welbeck are thrown in as part of any deal.

Last but not least we have Jack Rodwell, the Everton midfielder is thought to cost a cool £25 million, but with the finances always fragile at Goodison Park, the youngster may be sacrificed in the summer.

Today I will leave you with some words from Sir Alex regarding the Champions League ticket prices where the cheapest seats cost £150: “It’s unbelievable and disappointing. It’s a killer and a corporate deal, that,” he told reporters.

“Managers and players can’t do anything about it.

“I don’t know what you can do. You have a booking fee also of £26 or whatever it is, so dearie me.”



  1. @Jay wire: You seem to think players are robots, and they’l play like programmed machines. Firstly if tactics were deployed like you seem to think they should be, then it would be easy for defenses to break attacks. One of the most tactic intensive game is the NBA, but you will never see the same tactic and play run more than twice, because the defence will pick on things. Its even harder to run a play in football.
    If for example the left winger gets past the right back and scores, the caoch may not immediately do anything but if it happens three or four times he’ll probably double up on the attacker.
    Tactics are meant to help with formation and keep a certain basic structure but the structure is dynamic. In football the player has to make the correct decision to benefit his team while on the pitch. The all have roles to play, but its not stamped in stone, thats why they are not stationary figures. Even a defender is allowed to attack if he finds himself in a favourable position.
    A perfect example is to compare with barca, even if you set up players with the same formation, positions and instructions they wont be able to replicate barca. And thats the whole point really, the players are just not good enough. I’d expect players to be able to get on the pitch and win comfortably against a non league side, it doesn’t matter whatever formation is used or team talk, they should be able to get out there and know how to play and beat crawley. Simple question Jay, you know you have a job to do,you have been doing it for a while know, but every morning your boss has a sitting with you to lay down some basics, are you telling me that you should be completely useless at that job just because the boss failed to issue his all inspiring speech.

  2. @Phoenix- Eh dude, I’m speculating. Not a conspiracy theory given how generally training regimes in the Premiership are centred around fitness and conditioning. Also we get a lot of non-contact injuries and muscle injuries at United, and one of the major contributors of such is rigorous physical training. Not saying it’s fact, just looks the likely cause. By the way, I don’t believe in luck, but even those who do should believe bad luck ceases when a consistent pattern forms.

  3. @colver: Bebe is a long term project. He hasn’t come through a youth team structure, so has no proper tactical grounding. To expect anything useful out of him other than a Carling Cup game or two over the next two years is to expect too much.

    Fergie knows this, our scouts knew this, and the fact he’s only come in for a cup game when we have seriously depleted options on the wing tells us this.

    He’s too good for reserve football, which is another issue. I’d imagine we thought he’d spend a year or so developing there, but in the games he’s played he is far above them. Training with the first team and learning is the best way for him at the moment.

    I guess time will tell. If we buy a LW in the summer, we will have enough options to not have to worry about him for a few seasons.

  4. @Traverse: also Madrid were supposedly interested too… however, from what I have seen, I don’t understand what he offers besides raw pace. Seriously! He cannot dribble, hold the ball, cross, or shoot.

    However, I will not call for his head until after 2 years with us. If he does not improve over the next year, I will be greatly disappointed.

  5. @colver: @Eddie Griffin: @colver: I know all that I was trying to illustrate a point that nobody has an identical battle at United for getting playing time, but people always act like they do. Ando didn’t have competition? So I guess the manager calling you “the Paul scholes replacement” while scholes is in the squad isn’t competition. I guess Hargreaves(first year) carrick and Fletcher aren’t competition either.

  6. @Spizzy: In regards to basketball you are a little confused. Basketball has the sane plays that are run over and over again. In fact when I played in college we would watch video of our next opponent for days and by the time the game rolled around you knew all their plays and even what they called them. But knowing the play doesn’t mean you can defend it. Good plays don’t trick the opposition, they force the defenders to make a “choice” between bad and worse. Meaning as long as the offensive player reads the defensive right he will get an open shot. So on defense your constantly playing the odds because no one can cover everything, you give up a jump shot because it’s a lower percentage shot than a lay-up which is basically guaranteed money.

    It’s the same in all sports, tactics by themselves don’t score goals or win games, players do. It’s the tactics that put player in positions to succeed. If you remember for a few years the Americans with vastly superior talent where having a hard time beating top European teams in basketball. The Americans with their collection of stars was having a hard team guarding relative nobodies, and the reason was pure and simple. The team sucked, but had loads of talent. It wasn’t until we scrapped the while program and rebuilt it that we regained our spot as #1

    This is how a pub team like crawley can compete with a disjointed United side. Do any of you guys honestly think anyone on their team could make it at united? Of course not, so let’s ask ourself honest questions as to why we struggled to beat them. You can hate Anderson bebe obertan and Gibson all you want, but don’t act like those 4 couldn’t walk into that crawley first team.

  7. @Spizzy- I don’t think players are robots but it’s not an excuse to apply wrong tactics. All you did there was give me out of context examples. I gave an example of the City game and it applies to United and it occurred. The tactics were poor.
    “if tactics were deployed in the way you think they should be, it would be easy for defenses to break down attacks”

    Not too sure what you were referencing there.

    Anyway moving on, you seem to trivialise the value of tactics. That’s unfortunate but the fact remains, if you employ stupid illogical tactics the performances are guaranteed to be poor. Another thing is you seem to think formations and tactics are synonymous. Formations are just structures and are based on general position. Tactics are the way the team plays within that structure. That’s why it’s actually possible, contrary to popular belief, to play within a 4-4-2 and be extremely defensive or an attacking 4-5-1. Formations give you the idea of where and tactics say how.

    Tactics are the critical part. And that’s what we’re getting wrong. There’s what they call the narrow system of football, from which formations like 4-3-2-1(what we keep employing) and most of its variations are based. Narrow because your play is mainly through the middle. It’s not a system based on crossing the ball. There are logical reasons why this system does not base it’s game on crossing from wide so it is evidence of poor tactical planning to base your game on crossing from wide when using a narrow system. It doesn’t mean there’s no crossing from wide. But it’s mainly done by the wingbacks not by employing wingers. It doesn’t matter how good the players are, if you apply wrong tactics it still results in poor performance.

  8. Kinda digressed there, but this is what I want to ask you.
    1. Do you know of any team in world football, that employs any version of the narrow system and plays two of the front 3 out wide to whip in crosses to the one centre forward?
    2. Does the same team also play the midfield 3 close to each other and considerably deeper and further from the front 3?
    3. Do you think it makes sense?
    4. Since you believe the team should have just destroyed a non-league team regardless of poor tactics, how do you explain the same players beating the likes of Arsenal(Anderson,Rooney,Carrick) completely destroying Birmingham, Blackburn(same as above including Gibson), or the game changing 20min sub app from Obertan creating one goal and tormenting Wolfsburg in Germany(the midfield was marshalled by Scholes and Gibson)? By your logic they should have been destroyed.

  9. Did anyone else listen to mondays Football Weekly? number 1 They read out redranters tweet to sean ingle,and number 2 they brought up a good question about chelsea.

    Chelsea are already facing a uphill battle with coming into compliance with the FFP rules. They already spent 75m this january and they might not even make it into the champions league. If they dont roman will be forced to spend even more to rebuild his team, but that will dig them a deeper whole in the FFP, especially if they continually miss out on the CL.

  10. @johnsom33: they are not gonna miss ECl (tottenham will as they pursue ECL glory this year).

    It would be quite humorous if Chelsea fail to quality… especially for Torres 😀 😀

  11. I think Chelsea will finish BELOW Liverpool.


    Spurs have a game in hand of Citeh, which would take them above them, and I think between now and the end of the season Spurs will take more points.

    Chelsea have to play us twice, and everyone is talking like that’s our problem. It’s their problem. That’s 2 weeks, they’ll take no points, and Liverpool are only 6 points behind them, albeit having played an extra game. Chelsea have been dogshite for months, and the only reason they are anywhere near the top 4 is the blistering start they had.

    Their legs have gone. Fergie said it a year early. Too many old players, a bunch of decent young players, nothing in the middle. Torres is Shevchenko II. David Luiz is quality, but he wont be enough.

    The problem that poses is Citeh will be in the Champions League, and they’ll invest on truly world class players, not just mercenaries and the odd player taking the money.

  12. @Traverse: City have one MAJOR problem regardless of ECL qualification: their wages… why would anyone City player leave city and get paid less?

    Look at the trouble City went through just to get rid of Bellamy (who just went on loan)! They will end up paying all their players’ wages even when they are sold on, because NO ONE will be able to afford anything near City wages.

    There are talks of Tevez getting a new contract offer (ultimatum from Tevez) worth 300K/week… not even Madrid would pay that much!

  13. @Traverse: I don’t think Chelsea will finish below Liverpool. You are forgetting that Liverpool themselves will drop many points the rest of the season. I think Liverpool have a tough 5 games in a row coming up soon.

    Chelsea are old but still capable of beating anyone in the EPL on their day. Let’s hope you are right and we beat Chelsea twice!

    If we win against Chelsea and Arsenal, I think the title is ours.

  14. The way I see it, is the players should really be commended for coming out victorious most times. It’s a testament to their quality and ability. I wish ppl would ask more appropriate questions. Like why do we keep winning, playing badly? Why is it the majority of the players some ppl here declare to be not good enough etc eg Nani, Berbatov,Rafael, Welbeck, Valencia turn out later to actually be good enough? How come we can completely outplay teams like Sunderland,Chelsea(Community Shield), Birmingham, Blackburn playing some slick football, but in other games the same players struggle against relegation heirs like Wolves, Stoke City and non league Crawley? In all honesty, we can’t assume that Crawley’s team is anywhere near the standard of our Reserves, let alone first team players like Rooney,Carrick, Anderson. So there must be something else wrong. That’s what we should be asking.

  15. Catastrophe!!!

    Rio and Giggs not lpaying against Marseille.

    Who’s going to play on the left wing? Gibson? Rooney?

    Not only our midfield is shit, but half of it, or rather, our very good wingers, are the ones injured.

  16. “Anderson got injured in the first half on Saturday,” Ferguson added.

    “We have sent him to Portugal to see a specialist he has dealt with over there. That will be two weeks, three at the most.”

    Hopefully we can get him back sooner than 2 months

  17. @Jay wire: I blame it on mentality of players… when they are sharp and up for it, they perform. When they are expected to win comfortably, they tend to look lazy and slack off too much for my liking.

    This mental problem is partly down to lack of competition for most spots on our team. Which spots are competitive?
    Strikers? No, we have Rooney+Berba starting every game.
    Midfield? No, it is not really competition when Scholes is rested and Carrick, Fletcher, and Anderson are the only first team midfielders. Maybe you can make argument that Nani had competition from Vally and look what happened to Nani…
    Defense? Only Rafael had competition for his spot and look what happened to him. Smallings is a new recruit who is competing well, but Rio+Vidic is unbeatable for now.

    United lacks competition for places.

  18. So it’s lack of competition and mentality? So sometimes when the moon is on the right side, the players suddenly decide to play better? I don’t know how you figure a midfield with 5 players all vying for two or 3 spots is a lack of competition, especially given the mega rotation policy we have. In the striking department, all our strikers are scoring. Well except Rooney. But Hernandez and Owen can hardly buy a spot in the starting line up, yet they are scoring in almost all the games they play. In terms of wingers, all of them have done well when called upon. Nani, Park, Giggs and we all know the competition Valencia brings.

  19. @Jay wire:
    On the midfield, we have 3 spots and a TOTAL of 5 midfielder to play: Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson, Gibson, and Scholes. I don’t need to make an argument here, but Scholes needs perpetual rest and Gibson is not competitive. That leaves, on a regular basis, Carrick, Anderson, and Fletcher. 3 players, 3 spots and no real competition.

    In attack, Rooney can screw around with a prosty, raise hell over his wages, and complain about his team-mates, and play like shit, yet still start EVERY game. Berbatov and Rooney are sure-fire starters. Owen is constantly injured and Chicharito has no chance of displacing these two up front. NO COMPETITION.

    Only Valencia brings competition to this squad and their performance (and that of his competitor Nani) show this.

    Look at our results in big games (Liverpool, Arsenal, ECL, City) vs. less fancy games (Wolves, Stoke x2, Blackpool, Crawley, Southampton, etc)… we don’t need the moon here 😉

  20. @[OPTI]Madschester United: Lack of depth throughout the squad has created many problems, including, as you say, “lack of competition” for first team places.
    We can add the fact that younger/newer players are being blooded way before their time, and it’s really because we have no choice if we’re to put 11 players on the pitch.
    You cannot realistically compete at this level if the gulf between your first team and their backups is as large as the Atlantic Ocean. Similarly you cannot expect progression in player development if they’re always in the shadow of their counterparts.
    It’s time to address our immediate needs with new WC players, use the fading stars such as Scholes, Giigs, Carrick, Rio, as their backups. Jettison all the dead wood we’ve been collecting over the last several years and build a sensible youth program that can feed into the reserves in a sensible manner.

  21. @[OPTI]Madschester United: I’d live with Lindegard and PIG if it meant bringing in 3 CMF’ers. I think, though, the spending needs to go much further. We need wingers, a striker and another young center back.

    It’s time for United to get realistic about the quality of its squad and their prospects for the future.

  22. @Redrich: maybe that’s our problem.

    We look at success on the quality of football, but Glazers only look at success in the terms of profits. Why pay 50 million for a super star when we can achieve just as much (financially) with a 5 million pound player?

  23. @[OPTI]Madschester United: No duh, mate. It’s the age long conflict between the need to succeed on the pitch and the need to to put massive amounts of black ink on the balance sheet. My take has always been that the one should shake the hand of the other – and not to squeeze the lifes blood out of it!!
    Unless, of course, you have a soft spot for the Glazer family’s well being. 🙄 🙂

  24. If anyone had any doubt that the London tabloids can be sloppy with their reporting, get a load of this.
    Sensational headline, OK. But at least get the fucking score right! 😯 😯 😈

  25. @Redrich: seriously though, Manchester United does not produce anything for the public. If football ceased to exist over-night, nothing would change… surely it would be sad but nothing would change.

    Why do clubs need to make a profit? Obviously, now they do because we have owners that want to profit and before shareholders that sought profits, but before United became a business, when did people decide to make a lot of money on football?

    Why not invest everything into the club or community? When did personal wealth become so important and the team secondary? (OK, I am being naive and live in some alternate universe where we all drink rainbow juice).

  26. @[OPTI]Madschester United: Well a little naive mate, but I get your point.
    The massive disconnect between a fans passion for his/hers team and an owners desire to get a return on their investment, is certainly an issue. It makes you wonder about the Barca business model that involves its fans and their desire for success, adn the United example, where the fans and the ownership are constantly distrusting one another.
    Time will tell, but common sense would answer that question right now!

  27. @Jay wire: The reason I base on the poor performance was incentive. They lacked the hunger to beat crawley. If they had gone out and smashed 6 past crawley, no one would have cared, matter of fact it wouldn’t have been even headline news because that was what everyone expected. If they had won the game even the young players wouldn’t have gained alot of praise because the main line would have been, yeah the won by 6 but it was a non league side.
    That was what was expected, the worst anyone expected was for a win but with a few close calls. The kind of game where we dominate and are comfortable for long periods but have a scare every now and then. This was the worst case scenario, no one imagined we would be played out of the park and be second fiddle to a non league side.
    They weren’t going to get alot of praise for beating crawley but everyone expected them to atleast win comfortably. Thats why fergie came out and said maybe the players didn’t understand the importance of the cup, and that why they showed zero hunger and drive out there.

  28. @Jay wire: I think you didn’t get my point, i was trying to show you that its up to the players on the pitch to make the correct and right decisions inorder for the team to succeed. I’d say inter used 4-3-3 last time out and etoo used to whip in some crosses but also cut in at times. Even last season, valencia used to do the same thng with rooney alone in the box berba was usually somewhere between the midfield and the box so it can be said the only united striker present was rooney and he scored alot of headers.
    Aside from giving you examples where crosses have resulted in goals for teams playing with a single striker, my point was a footballer has a brain and as einstein once said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you put in ten crosses and they all get headed away, then it’s time to try something different. I personally believe you shouldn’t even attempt a cross if you are not atleast 50/50.

  29. @Johnsom33: If you know the play, you have a very big chance of stopping it. Its like having insider information to how something will play out.Once a particluar move has been compromised then the coach has to change it because it becomes ineffective. And you put it quite well

    Meaning as long as the offensive player reads the defensive right he will get an open shot. So on defense your constantly playing the odds because no one can cover everything

    At some point they have to break away from the play, read the game and the defence and make decisions. The ones who do it best will most likely win 80% of the time. But then you have your Kobe’s and Le bron who are so good they’ll basically decide to go it alone and win it all by themselves.

  30. @Spizzy: Your not understanding me, “you don’t have to break away from the play” the play is designed to get you a open shot. It’s up to the players to execute the play.

  31. @Spizzy-“it’s up to players on the pitch to make the correct decisions”

    It’s also up to their superiors to define the way they play which defines the decisions they make. If your coach instructs you to play wide when you’re a striker, and doesn’t structure the tactics in a way that you can interchange eg Rooney vs Stoke as Ferguson admitted, you can’t just get into the box of your own accord without disorienting the rest of the team. So the decisions you make are directly affected by the instructions given. If you see a player making unsuccessful cross after unsuccessful cross, and there’s no reaction from the bench, it’s because he is doing what he has been instructed to do. It’s not his prerogative to simply decide “enough is enough, I’m moving in field from now on”.

    As for the teams that played narrow, Inter played the defensive version of 4-3-2-1 with Eto’o left as a support striker not wide as a winger. Most of their play came through the middle with Sneijder operating behind the forwards with two holding midfielders behind him. The crossing was mainly done by Maicon. Last season when Berbatov was available he played the support striker role so Rooney was not isolated because one of the centre backs was drawn out by Berba. When Rooney was lone, we played the 4-5-1 sometimes with Giggs in behind and Nani and Valencia wide. That means at all times one of the centre backs was occupied or drawn out,thus creating room for Rooney in the middle. That is, he was never outnumbered in the box.
    This season however, we’re playing 4-3-2-1 or the Christmas Tree, but the midfield and front 3 are operating as 2 detached units and to make matters worse, the front 3 are spread out,meaning the centre forward is completely isolated. In fact all 3 front men are. That’s why, the same Rooney who was playing the lone striker so well last season is struggling this term. Like against City, he was marked by two very big centre forwards in the box and no wonder the likes of Giggs and Nani were struggling to support him with crosses. City were playing similar formation and got behind our defence a number of times, but did you see Silva and Kolarov hugging the touchline the way Nani and Giggs were doing? Even in the last game, the rare times Bebe seemed to do better was when he went through the middle, probably once or twice.

  32. @Lars:

    To be fair, what I’ve seen of Bebe in the reserves has been good.

    I agree that both Obertan and Bebe were pretty shit the other night. But anyone can look at people playing shit and label it. It’s like looking at a piece of dogshit on the floor and saying, “oi lads, that’s a piece of dogshit there you know.”

    I think when we look at the actual facts, the players mentioned weren’t winning the ball in the second half. So they didn’t have a chance to show what they could do.

    Look at Bebe, his first performance for United was decent. So we all know that the best he can do at this moment in time, is decent, so wait, does this mean… he isn’t shit!! 😯 . Football fans (and I’m not accusing anyone here) are far too melodramatic and fickle. Like me, most have little clue about the actual technical and strategic side of football. We’ve seen glimpses from what we’ve watched over the years, but we don’t know what it takes to be a winner.

    One man who does – FERGIE. So I’ll trust his opinion 99% of the time, only he knows what’s going on with the players at this moment in time, everybody else can speculate. I prescribe to the opinion that the players are not performing, not that they’re shit, because that’s a blind alley.

    What if Obertan suddenly breaks out and does something good or even amazing, what if he’s decent consistently? Like with Berbatov and Nani, everyone’s opinions will change. The only difference here is everybody can hide under their blankets hoping he won’t come good because he doesn’t have much of a past reputation like Berbs. I look at Bebe, and people can say he’s shit and his crossing is awful. I was there when he was smashing the ball out for throw ins against Wolves when Hargreaves was taken off. I’ve seen it. I’ve also seen the TYPE of cross he can put in, they look dangerous, just because they weren’t picked up in the Crawley match doesn’t mean they were bad crosses. I’m hoping this young man is going to evolve into a better player, then I’m certain we’ll see people reading his crosses better and arriving in the right place. The ball was in the box, in a scoring position, how can that be so terrible?

    On Gabby. Most likely, Obertan won’t be amazing, but people should look beyond a few games and actually think for a second that their opinion isn’t gospel, he might come good and if he does then the ones who said he’s shit, will look stupid and then praise him, with their fickle ways.

    To all foreign fans :

    You’re not as unlucky as you may think not getting to visit Old Trafford. Yes it’s brilliant watching the greatest team on earth, but you’re surrounded by self important fools, who think they know the lot. There’s a shit mentality with footy fans. Have some humility, your opinions aren’t more important than the team, I know this because they will change, constantly.

  33. @Johnsom33: You are showing a lack of intolerance towards posters who show to much passion and exhibit a bit of a temper. You go all Rodney King when the blog seems to have a little cat fighting which I for one think adds a little spice to the boring humdrum conversations that go on here that are soaked with pablum. And my comment came once you again criticized the group for acting out bit. It just makes you look a little to pc mate and truthfully, I hate political correctness. I may be left of center but I am not a member of the pc movement that calls for calmness and always doing the polite thing. From where I sit, you seem quite pc and that’s ok, it’s just that I’m not and some others on here are not either and we don’t like our wings clipped every time we want to fly off the handle a bit. It’s not a criticism, it’s an observation.

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