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Derby Day Defeat Dims Successful Start for United

Often enough, we see Manchester United stutter at least somewhat over the course of the first few months of the season, then catch fire and show their best at the right time on the way to a successful season. But unlike, say, last season, United started fast this season, and for the most part, the first couple of months of the season were full of positives.

Then Sunday came, and that’s upset the apple-cart a bit, to say the least. However, derby defeat notwithstanding, United have done a lot of good things this season. Not only are United ahead of last season’s pace point-wise, Manchester United statistics show a six-goal increase from this point last season, and until Sunday, United had fared far better defensively early on this season than they did at the start of last season. And if the side responds as we should expect them to, there will be much more good to come.


Last season, United didn’t hit the 20-point mark until their 10th game, so they’re ahead of the pace from that standpoint, with 20 from nine games.

United started the season with five wins from five, outscoring opponents 21-4 in the process. United recorded only five victories by three or more goals five times all of last season, but there were three such victories in those first five wins, and all in a row, with Tottenham, Arsenal, and Bolton all being dispatched convincingly.

Things have slowed since, with United’s lone win in their last four matches coming against Norwich City. There have been some inexcusable mistakes in that stretch, like Jonny Evans’ double whammy on Sunday, and United have also not been as threatening in attack as they were at the start. But there are still injury issues to contend with, along with having to face some tough opposition, and with that in mind, the next few months look a lot more pleasing to the eye, after Saturday‘s tricky visit to Everton.


At the halfway point of the group stage, Manchester United are halfway to the qualification target of 10 points, and as it stands, are well placed to advance the round of 16 for the sixth season in a row.

However, things could be even better, were it not for throwing away a two-goal halftime lead at home against Basel. Not only did United contrive to throw away a comfortable lead, but they fell behind with less than 20 minutes remaining. But in the end, the shock defeat was avoided, thanks to Ashley Young’s late equalizer.

After last week’s 2-0 away win against Otelul Galati, United are in second on five points, two behind Benfica and one ahead of Basel. United have Otelul Galati and Benfica coming to Old Trafford before finishing group play with a trip to Basel, and all three of those are very winnable fixtures. If they can indeed pick up maximum points from those matches, which they should, to be honest, it’ll mean a group win and a chance at a fairly favorable round of 16 tie.


Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal, 28 August

Well this certainly wins the award for best result of the season to date, no doubt about that. United were ruthless against the Gunners, starting with Danny Welbeck’s 22nd-minute opener and not letting up until Ashley Young’s second stunner of the match with time winding down.

Along the way, there was also a penalty save from David de Gea that perhaps marked a turning point for him after a rough start to Premier League life. Since then, we’ve seen De Gea produce several fine moments and performances, showing just why United invested so much into him this past summer.

Manchester United 3-1 Chelsea, 18 September

This was a strange game, on the whole. The final scoreline could have looked more like a baseball score had each team put away the chances they had, but it ended up that three first-half United goals and a quick strike from Chelsea moments after the restart were all that we saw.

There was Wayne Rooney doing his best John Terry impression, Fernando Torres producing a miss that won’t be forgotten any time soon, and a number of others, not to mention some goal-related controversy, which seems to be par for the course these days when United and Chelsea meet. In terms of entertainment, it was certainly that, but it was more comedy than action thriller, by the time it was over. On a more serious note though, it was a big win for United, who didn’t play their best but still managed to walk away with a two-goal win.

Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United, 15 October

The day that you’re over the moon about a draw is the day that your expectations have officially lowered, so it’d be wide of the mark to say that there’s reason to be happy about the draw at Anfield.

However, given the three consecutive defeats there preceding this result, there’s reason to be satisfied about coming away with a point, especially when Liverpool had so many chances to salt the match away. In the big picture, getting draws and wins in situations where you could or should have lost or drawn can prove to make a real difference in a tight title race, and that‘s how the result should be evaluated.

But it must be said that their goal was an incredibly soft one, on a free kick that had no business getting through the wall much less into the net, and United didn’t create nearly as many chances as one would hope. The formation that was sent out there, head-scratching as it was, was sent out there to not lose, and on that note, the mission was accomplished, thanks in no small part to David de Gea’s heroic efforts. A sign of things to come for the Spaniard? I believe so.

Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City, 23 October

The less said, the better. It still makes me ill to look at that scoreline, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

It could have been a much, much different game were it not for a couple of crucial moments, both unfortunately involving the same two people. But you can only look at ‘what if?’ so long before you pick up and move on, and that’s what United have to do very quickly in the wake of this defeat. Sure, it was one of the club’s darkest days for quite some time, for multiple reasons, but it will not make the title race, and it will not break United’s spirit.

While everything that Sir Alex Ferguson says is not gospel, his vow that the team will bounce back will be taken to heart by every one of those players who were part of or had to witness the disappointment and humiliation on Sunday, and it should be taken to heart by the United faithful as well.

United will bounce back, because that’s what United do. Simple as that.

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  1. Moscow is my heaven

    25 October 2011 at 12:49

    Nice wrap up Eddie, assuring article as always.

    City are yet to play Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. If we survive at Goodison Park (not a happy hunting ground for us recently) we have a great chance of taking the lead in the league by Christmas.

    Against Everton, I want Carrick to start, and in the 2nd half of fixtures, he should be an automatic starter for all of our big games. He is our best midfielder, and he can inject the composure and class in the middle of the park, because we need our imperious style back.

  2. Craig Mc

    25 October 2011 at 18:45

    Anybody know tonights team for the Aldershot game yet? I hope Owen and Berba make appearances. They will be rusty though 😀 . Maybe Cleverley will get a run out tonight and Zaki Fryers in Evra’s place???

    • tonymontanna4united

      25 October 2011 at 19:13

      Yep correct mate, all of them starting, with alot of youth sitting on the bench too.

  3. Craig Mc

    25 October 2011 at 19:07

    I so fookin respect Mickey Owen – just heard his pre game interview on MUTV, and he is as fully enthusiastic and totally positive about playing a CC game at Aldershot of all places, as he is about playing in a CL game. The man is out and out total professional – he wants to play and win even if he was just kicking around on hackney marshes. Well spoken Michael – hope you have a great game tonight mate. Hope Berba is of the same mind and heart!

    • tonymontanna4united

      25 October 2011 at 19:08

      Yeah, always little mickey. Even when we was playing for the scouse cunts, always had a little bit of love for the guy 😳

  4. tonymontanna4united

    25 October 2011 at 19:12

    Fabio Jones Vida Fryers
    Valencia Clevs Park Diouf
    Berba Owen

    Looking forward to seeing my boy fryers, really like the look of this kid, and of course its great to see clevs back too.
    Real surprise at the bench though, not a single senior player amongst them except for the keeper. Apparently its De Gea, Vermijl, Michael and Will Keane, Pogba, Cole and Morrison.
    Am liking that bench, some really exciting young talents there. Really want to see ravel, pogba and will keane get some game time tonight.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      25 October 2011 at 19:58


      Didn’t see Berba…

      Fryers looking good alternative to Evra with his physique

  5. Craig Mc

    25 October 2011 at 19:13

    Berba and Michey Owen so much fooking humility from them – love them even more! I mean they have had to sit out games and watch lesser lights struggle to produce – not easy for them but not a complaint from either of them. I tell you if it was Rooney or mi man Nani or Evra they would be demanding out the door. I still think Rooney was going to City and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wants to cross the City – so sorry Stephen Bro, I am not trying to upset you and Roon fans, but I still got this feeling if things continue to go askew for United Rooney will be wanting out! I truly hope I am wrong, but I don’t see it – he had a lot of City players at his B’Day gig – mmmmmm?

  6. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 19:18

    Wonderful article. Agree 100%.

    United never give up, because we’re United!!!!

  7. Craig Mc

    25 October 2011 at 19:22

    I hope United fans shout down the rafters at Aldershot tonight, because their fans will be shouting for Man City and 6-1 scoreline to rattle our lot. But I have every confidence in our AWAY faithful – they WILL BE HEARD and dish out some stick themselves. I pray for an early goal from Owen or Berba! 😀

    • tonymontanna4united

      25 October 2011 at 19:29

      Hopefully we rack up a nice little cricket score of our own tonight. We should do, as the spine of our team is pretty solid and made up predominantly of first teamers/experienced members of the squad, so we should be too much for them.
      Would love fryers to have a good game tonight, as id love it for fergie to consider him for saturdays match against everton. Yes hes still a young, inexperienced lad, but to hell with evra, hes had enough chances.
      Would also be good to see ravel get a good 30 mins, show what he can do.

  8. Jay wire

    25 October 2011 at 19:38

    i know Aldershot are official nobodys, but what the heck is that midfield about? Again, we keep insisting on the most illogical options. Is it yet another box to box-box to box combination? Fantastic. How did that turn out on Sunday? Where in the world did they find Mike Phelan?

    • Grognard

      25 October 2011 at 20:10

      What I will never understand about the game of football being a proiduct of American and Canadian pro sport conditioning is the fact that big clubs like United have to waste time, fatigue themselves and add congestion to their already loaded fixture list by playing shite minnows like Aldershit? I could care less if there is an upset once in a blue moon, my feeling is these games are worthless and big teams should only be saddled with having to play in their own league and in Europe and not waste their time with such silly pursuits as the Carling Cup. Sorry but I just see no point to this kind of invitational tournament.

      • [OPTI]Madschester United

        25 October 2011 at 20:37

        I think the tournament is fine. Blood youngsters, play rusty players into form, try new tactics.

        CC is far more interesting than NFL/MLB/NBA pre-season which is a US pro-sport concept with far less of a point.

        Obviously no big team (except Mickey-Mouse and Liverpool) care about Carling cup trophy.

        • Grognard

          25 October 2011 at 21:28

          Sorry, I can’t be bothered to sit through two hours of boredom. I’m not that needy.

      • Craig Mc

        25 October 2011 at 20:38

        Can’t agree with that Groggy, because CC is good opportunity to take a better look at our youngsters – especially when we play the bigger teams in CC if we progress. Also it is good for the big clubs to give somethings back to the grass root teams – the smaller clubs who get real financial help to survive from the gate money. So I am ok with it really! I believe in giving back to the game where we can.

        • Grognard

          25 October 2011 at 21:35

          Sorry mate but there are small teams in hockey in my country too and some are affiliated to NHL clubs but the big club never gets involved in tournaments where they have to interrupt an already busy fixture list to waste time playing these minnows. Football like other sports needs to segregate the best from the chaff. Teams, towns, communities all need to know their place and their damned roll and stop feeling delusions of grandeur and just play teams within their own skill level. There is no shame in a club like Aldershot playing another club with a stadium capacity of 7 to 10k. They have no business playing clubs that deal in millions, and not handouts. It’s all about realistic expectations, wasting of time and resources and just plain simple elitism from my perspective. If they cannot make ends meet without the once a year cash cow that game vs United brings, then perhaps they don’t deserve to exist. Who said that there needs to be a football club for every bloody burrough in England? Ludicrous and terrible over saturation of the product if you ask me.

        • Grognard

          26 October 2011 at 07:29

          Lets just agree to disagree mate. I come from a different culture where mediocrity and wasting time with minnows is not good business and isn’t tolerated. I live in a city of over 2 million people and there is one football team, one hockey team one soccer team and that is more than enough. We do not need a hockey team for every district or for every twenty blocks, it’s madness. Also, we do not tolerate mediocrity which is what happens when you have too many teams in one sport fighting for the same prize. If these minnows draw in England it’s because something else is missing in their lives because I wouldn’t waste a buck on a club that played in my neighborhood.

        • Jonny

          26 October 2011 at 08:57

          speaking of mediocrity, how ’bout them Canucks? 😈

  9. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 19:47

    what’s lineup?

  10. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 20:00

    AYAYAYAYAYAYYA!!!! We’re leading and Berba scores a neat exchange of Passes!!! RELIEF!!!!

    😳 😳 😳 😆 😆 😆

    • Grognard

      25 October 2011 at 20:11

      “AYAYAYAYAYAYYA!!!” Was that your Ray Hudson imitation? 😆 😆

  11. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 20:03

    Berbatov is a bit of an enigma… always wanting the ball but not passing very much…

    • Grognard

      25 October 2011 at 20:12

      If you were busy picking slivers out of your ass due to sitting on the bench all season, would you pass if you got a chance to play and as a striker score some goals?

  12. Grognard

    25 October 2011 at 20:04

    So I hear that Vidic did not play on Sunday due to the fact he showed up for his country and played during the international break. This supposedly pissed Fergie off and although I too might be a bit pissed off about this the reality of the situation is Fergie needs to wake the fuck up and get a clue. Players love playing for their countries and they feel national pride, honor as well as a lot of pressure to suit up for their respective nations.

    For a long time now Fergie has always been against his players being picked for international duty but I hardly think he is that daft or out of his mind. This is going to happen whether he likes it or not so punishing Vidic for doing this is helping nobody and in fact hurt his team on Sunday because I have no doubt a Vidic-Rio partnership would have been far better than a Rio-Muppet Evans partnership. He needs ot get beyond this petty crap and accept the inevitable and be less bitter and less defiant over this subject. Stop hurting the team over trivial and hopeless pursuits. Vidic, like Rooney has every right to play for his country and coming back from injury and playing for his country first is not a new thing. Both Rooney and Rio have done the same and they were not benched. Yet again a show of Fergie’s double standards. How this man still has control of the dressing room with his double standards and antiquated thinking boggles my mind. If I were Owen, Berba or Vidic, I would have quit on him long ago. I just cannot play for a man who shows such inconsistency, unfair bias and favoritism in his leadership. At least that is how it looks to me from the outside looking in.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      25 October 2011 at 20:09

      New dawn, new day. Get over your Fergie hatred…

      • [OPTI]Madschester United

        25 October 2011 at 20:10

        btw… source for Vidic rumour?

      • Grognard

        25 October 2011 at 21:27

        It’s not hatred man, it’s disappointment and disenchantment. Look the words up. I couldn’t hate the man after what he has done for this club. Get serious. Did you never ever argue with your father or defy him or show him anger or disrespect because you thought you were right? Of course you did. So why then can I not rant and show my disappointment over a football manager who doesn’t even know I exist? Seriously, some of you people need to gather a more mature perspective when it comes to be a club supporter. My angst is not personal, it’s only business.

        • 19Champions

          26 October 2011 at 09:54

          No one forced you to support United. As you say, its business. You can as well look for another business venture. If you think Fergie’s ways are antiquated, you can look for a club led by a manager with more modern ways.

    • gator

      25 October 2011 at 23:58

      I read yesterday that vidic retired international football this week. so I guess it was effective

  13. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 20:05

    Fabio missed a sitter! Owen = unselfish to the extreme 🙂

  14. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 20:07

    Berba just pulls an amazingly intelligent play off… intervenes on a missed shot to create a real opportunity.

    Ref could have called 2 pens for us.

  15. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 20:11

    Fryers mis-calculating a bounce gives Aldershot their first chance – blazed well over bar.

  16. Grognard

    25 October 2011 at 20:18

    Seriously mates, my high school (US style)football field had more seats in their grandstand than this fire hazard at Aldershite. Still, that didn’t bring the Dallas Cowboys or Pittsburgh Steelers to my school to play us.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      25 October 2011 at 20:19

      haha… it’s true. My highschool had 2500 students and a 5000 capacity US-football/soccer stadium/stands.

      It’s a bad economy 🙂

  17. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 20:20

    Vally seems rather 1D compared this Young and Nani. ALWAYS goes right + high cross to far post = Vally.

  18. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 20:24

    Jones has a lot to learn. Tries to call for a foul with his hands up as Aldershot players runs past him… priorities, young lad! PRIORITIES!

  19. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 20:26

    Berba-Owen combine for a quick counter-attack goal. easy peasy

  20. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 20:37

    I OWN REDRANTS NOW!!! Muhaahhaahahahahahahaha 😈 😈 😈

  21. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 21:01

    Berba just sets up a Blackburnesque goal but pulls shot wide. Would have been pretty sweet

  22. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 21:04

    Pogba on, finally!

  23. [OPTI]Madschester United

    25 October 2011 at 21:13

    Ooooh… maybe more youngsters to see 😀

    Michael Keane and Ravel Morrison are on 😀

  24. Grognard

    25 October 2011 at 21:23

    Could somebody please explain to me why Paul Pogba did not start a game against such a shoddy opponent? Is he so inferior that he isn’t good enough to even face Aldershite? Honestly Fergie, what are you waiting for?

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      25 October 2011 at 21:25

      Because Clevz was coming back from injury and Park needs games to stay/become fit(ter).

      • Grognard

        26 October 2011 at 07:14

        A lot of risk has gone into planning for Pogba. I think the time has come to test him out and if you ask me, the Carling Cup is for that purpose, not for starter or first squad players to flex their ego’s.

        • 19Champions

          26 October 2011 at 09:57

          But I thought you wanted the CC scrapped. So it has a role after all.

        • Ian

          26 October 2011 at 15:58

          You’ve got a point there, you can’t have it both ways Grog

        • Stephen

          26 October 2011 at 11:40

          Totally agree, lets be honest he cannot be any worse than we have already… Give the lad a chance, Arsenal did with Fabregas and Wiltshere.

    • Craig Mc

      25 October 2011 at 22:56

      Groggy if you don’t know the answer to your own question here – well I can’t help you my friend. My answer is we need players like Berba Owen Park Valencia Clevz and Fabio etc to get games so that they keep some fitness. I fully understand why Fergie did what he did and his choices tonight. Pogba’s time will come Groggy!

    • tonymontanna4united

      25 October 2011 at 23:33

      Well i have to say, i do agree with you groggy mate, i think we are far too slow blooding some of our young prospects. Probably the reason why whilst arsenal, dortmund, barca etc are lauding over their great talents like gotze, wilshere, thiago etc, were still fretting over how many years giggs has still got left in him and whose going to replace him when the great man steps down in about 15 years time 😆
      To coin one of sir matt’s famous sayings “if theyre good enough, theyre old enough”. I agree 100%. Pogba and particularly ravel, should both be getting serious game time along with young fryers.
      For me anyway id take fryers, ravel and pogba any day of the week ahead of evra, carrick, fletcher or park, but im sure i’ll get shot down for saying that.

      • Grognard

        26 October 2011 at 07:22

        Honestly mate at the time of writing this reply, 4 people clicked the dislike button for what I said and it truly shocks me. Not because they disagree with me but because my point is a valid one and something that I would like some answers to. My God how long do you wait before you give a kid a chance and above all like you said, look at how other teams are willing to risk playing their teens and how they are paying dividends. Thomas Muller was a full international at a younger age and although he may have developed faster it’s also because van Gaal had the guts to take a chance on him with Bayern Munich and played him despite his age.

        I’m not even saying play Pogba in EPL games. But for Christ sakes, use him and Morrison and other potentially good youngsters in the Carling Cup and not just as subs. A lack of guts and vision to look forward at a time when this club really needs to look forward because the old guard is starting to slow down and break down and can no longer be counted on. It’s so very frustrating that only you and a few others can see this club is stagnating in waste deep sewage.

    • Grognard

      26 October 2011 at 07:16

      OOOOOH! I hit a nerve with a few who do not feel our young player should get a chance to perform, rather lets just waste time with Park and never allow Pogba a chance to prove himself and learn on a bigger stsge. Real intelligence from some of you. 🙄 🙄 🙄

  25. AndyCR7

    25 October 2011 at 21:36

    Berba looks like Sheldon Cooper from the big bang theory with this new haircut…

    • Grognard

      26 October 2011 at 07:12

      I wonder if Fergie has to sing “Soft Kitty” to him every night before he goes to sleep to keep him from melting down over not playing? 😀 😀

  26. Moscow is my heaven

    25 October 2011 at 21:37

    WHAT A MAGNIFICENT WIN. All is forgiven lads 😀 😛

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      25 October 2011 at 21:58


  27. Craig Mc

    25 October 2011 at 22:57

    What did you all think of Fryers game at Lt back tonight???

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      25 October 2011 at 23:01

      pretty good. Physically far stronger than Evra and very quick too. But against Aldershot, it is hard to say something positive.

    • tonymontanna4united

      25 October 2011 at 23:28

      Very solid id say. Always getting himself up and down, and his positioning i thought looked very good too.
      Im a big believer in players keeping their places if they have a good game, so regardless of whether its against aldershot, arsenal or ashton athletic, i wouldnt be at all worried throwing him in against everton. Him or fabio anyway, just anybody but evra, whose had chance after bloody chance, and still looks like he couldnt give a shit. Stick him in the reserves, let a reserve like fryers step up and take his place, and see if patrice gives a damn enough to fight for his place. I suspect he doesnt though.
      Gonna be interesting for saturday though regarding the team sheet. 10 years ago fergie would have made damn sure neither rio nor evra got anywhere near the 1st team for a good long while after a performance like sundays. Nowadays however.

      PS- Was anyone else impressed with ravel in his 20 minute cameo, because i was. Ok i know it was against aldershot, but talent that shines as bright as his shows through, and its clear to me the lad is immense. I dont buy into this “he needs longer” rubbish with players like him. I honestly think you could throw him against everton, and he wouldnt let you down, hes that good.
      Not going to happen though, and maybe i am getting ahead of myself, but id love to see this guy get some serious game time, and i mean soon.

      • Craig Mc

        26 October 2011 at 00:48

        He’s a striker though Tony, and I cannot see him getting in before Chicharito Rooney etc – if he was AMF might be different, but I think Cleverley is 1st choice there if fit. Soooooooooo

        • tonymontanna4united

          26 October 2011 at 02:30

          Whose this mate, morrison? If so i think hes the sort of player that can play pretty much anywhere. On either wing, up top, behind the front man (probably his preferred position) so all round i think hes a player that can play in numerous positions.
          I probably am getting a little ahead of myself with some of our young lads, but i think after last weeks debacle it should signal the end of any players thinking they have a devine right to walk into the side. Evra, rio, carrick, nani, and yes, even rooney (infact id start berba ahead of wazza at everton, purely because i think rooney has been awful since his return from injury, to also illustrate the above about not being guaranteed a start, and also because he never performs against everton, ever), none of them should expect to just automatically get in the team every week.
          So to tell you the truth mate, i dont think it should matter whether weve got wazza, welbeck, hernandez etc expecting to start ahead of him, if those players dont perform, they dont start, simple.
          Fergie might not see it that way anymore, as he has mellowed in his old age, but thats the way things should be.
          Anyway its a long old season in the end, and theres plenty of games that he could see game time in. Players need resting, or get injured, so it cant hurt to rotate now and then. I doubt fergie will give a chance to him, as it seems we much prefer leaving them in the reserves until theyre 20 odd, and pissing away alot of their talent, but im just saying, theres plenty of games he could and should be given game time in, over the course of the season.

        • Craig Mc

          26 October 2011 at 12:43

          Mate don’t quite agree with you about Fergie leaving players in reserves until they are 20-ish. Fergie has proved IF they are good enough and ready he will pick them NOW. He picked Rafael as a regular and he was only 18 – but good enough. Just a pity that Rafael is very injury prone, because he is a great little defender. Fergie will play the 17 and 18 year olds IF he thinks they are able to do it in PL now – otherwise he will send them to another club for experience. He very much cares about bringing youth through, and I feel that has been part of our latest woes – as the younger players and new players were trying to settle in and lets face it are more than a bit green 😀

        • tonymontanna4united

          26 October 2011 at 18:21

          I think when its a young player we’ve bought, then yes, we’ll throw him right in there, regardless of his age (rafa, smalling, jones, nani, ando must have been 18/19 when they were given their chance).
          I just think though, when it comes to our own lads, were still too slow at giving them game time. I mean fair enough, some lads do need to go through the whole “out on loan” process, and with clevs and welbeck, it has worked brilliantly.
          But i still think, players like ravel, pogba, fryers, hell even tunni, should all be getting game time, especially those of whom are midfielders, what with our awful midfield showings the last few years.
          Dont get me wrong, im not talking about doing an arsenal and throwing young ravel in and expecting him to be a first teamer every week, i just mean putting him in the team, or even the squad, now and then, and giving them 10/15 minutes here and there. That in my opinion, will serve the young lads better than sending them out on loan, where its no guarantee they’ll even see regular football (see tunni) where they seem to later go off the radar.
          So basically what im saying is, id like to see the young lads get more regular playing time, but im not for 1 minute, getting over carried away and saying they should be starters.
          Just that with all the experienced players weve got in the squad, i think we could most definitely afford to throw a few young lads in, in the way that arsenal for example do, whilst not over awing them and using them too much.
          Its about finding the balance at the end of the day, and i get that. I just cringe when i see such talented young lads, chomping at the bit, who want to go out there and show what they can do, but just always seem to be overlooked in favour of older, past it, un hungry players.
          Pisses me off really mate.
          I suppose we’ll have to wait and see to saturday, where fergie will either prove my point, or prove me wrong, with the selection of who starts at LB. Because if its evra whose given the starting spot ahead of fryers or fabio, then there really is no excuse.

        • Ian

          26 October 2011 at 20:38

          I think the fact our midfield is so weak is a reason NOT to play the lads you mention. Except Morrison, he’ll step up whenever and against whoever he’s put in against. The lad’s different class, he should’ve done a Norman Whiteside/Ryan Giggs but his behaviour/attitude’s let him down and held him back.

          You say we’ve got an experienced team/squad. I don’t think we have Tony, this team’s actually one of the youngest, most inexperienced squads we’ve had in years.

          If you put players like Pogba and Tunners in with Anderson/Fletcher and ask them to learn you’ll not improve them. That’s why Sneijder/Alonso/Senna/Schweinsteiger or other players with proven quality should’ve been purchased, if nothing else they would be thete to learn from. WTF is Anderson going to teach someone? And also tbf to him, who’s he had at United to guide him and teach him the art of central midfield…..Carrick? Jesus, Carrick could’ve been a seriously close to world class player but he’s stagnated in a stagnant midfield that’s been neglected for way too long.

          Let’s not expose the likes of Tunners and Pogba to the same misery, get someone in who’s proven and world class.

          Doesn’t matter with Ravel, he’s an enigma, whoever he plays with THEY look for him and HE pulls the strings. I can’t wait to see Rooney and Ravel in the same team, Rooney WILL look for Ravel to make things happen, I promise!

          Ravel = Special, been saying it for years.

        • tonymontanna4united

          26 October 2011 at 23:03

          Yeah i can see what your saying ian, it is about getting the balance right as i said.
          I do agree regarding morrison though and said as much last night. You could throw this boy in against aldershot, barrow united, arsenal or blackburn rovers, and he’d take to it like a duck to water. A very special player.
          I do get the worries about his off field problems, but do you not think it would actually help him overcome them, if he was in amongst the 1st team squad getting some decent game with the first team.
          I mean if you cant be arsed when your playing for uniteds first team then theres no helping you right.
          As for pogba and tunners, well yeah i do get you mate, and i do agree.
          They probably arent really ready yet. Well pogba anyway, as i said yesterday, still looks like he lacks the confidence to step up and take the performances we see with the reserve team, into the first team. Not yet anyway.
          My point though really was just that ive always felt its better to go down the arsenal route, maybe throw them in a bit earlier then you ideally would, to give them a taste of what its all about, and really use as a scare tactic to get through to the experienced players that their first team spots shouldnt be taken for granted.
          Thats why, in many ways, citys thrashing could actually be a good thing for the team.
          Because after a performance like that, the players know it would be perfectly understandable for fergie to drop absolutely any player he’d like. To show the squad, that after performances like that, nobody spot is guaranteed.
          So when i said throw the young lads in, i did really mean generally into the first team squad, not the first team. That we gave them 10 mins here and there, or just saw them sat on the bench, even if they dont come off it.
          Thats alot more beneficial in their development afterall than leaving them in the reserves forever.
          But anyway to conclude my article on the young lads, i will say that i do think both fryers, and morrison, should be getting some game time right now. Fryers especially, i wouldnt flinch for a second throwing him in against everton. He couldnt do any bloody worse than evra anyway.

          As for the thing about squad experience, well yes your right again mate, the first team weve been seeing has been unusually youthful so far this season. I just meant that unlike arsenal, even if not playing, weve still got the experience of rio, vida, evra (regardless of how poor he’s been), carrick, fletcher, rooney, so its not like were throwing in morrison and pogba, and the most experienced player in the squad is jones for example, and hes the one expected to lead by example.
          Even if the elder lads arent playing, theyre experience even in the dressing room could be invaluable, and is something arsenal for example, desperately lack.

  28. gator

    26 October 2011 at 00:06

    did paul go play well. we need more options in midfield and he could be 1

    • tonymontanna4united

      26 October 2011 at 00:24

      Paul pogba you mean? If so yeah he was pretty solid. Still looks like he lacks a little bit of confidence at the minute, needs a bit more time i suspect. But saying that, he still kept the ball extremely well, and didnt misplace a pass in about the 20 he attempted.
      As i said though, he still looks to me like he needs a bit of time for his confidence to go up to the level whereby he feels confident spraying the 40 yard passes around he does so well in the reserves. But getting game time here and there will only help, so i hope he gets his chance in the coming weeks, 10/15 mins here and there.
      Morrison meanwhile looks quite the opposite. Like he took it all in his stride, and this was just another reserve team (well i suppose they were reserve level really) and he was going to get forward and do his thing whenever possible. Some lovely little bits of skill, some nice passing, and everytime he runs, the ball just seems to stick to him. Very very impressive, as ive said before, i think hes the kind of person you could throw straight in there against everton, arsenal, stoke or whoever, and he wouldnt be phased a little bit, hes that good.
      His off field problems seem to be holding him back though, but i must say, i think throwing him in the first team and giving him his chance, that he deserves really for his on field performances, will only help curb his distractions off the field. I mean, if getting game time in the manchester united first team at 18 years old dont set you right, nothing will.

  29. Jay wire

    26 October 2011 at 21:09

    I am in shock. Don’t get me wrong, I was pretty confident we were going to lose given our recent form. But honestly, I have never seen such in my life. Now I know how Real Madrid felt. I totally appreciate how Arsenal felt. Easily one of the worst days in the history of Manchester United. So now let the blame games continue and I’ll participate.

    First and foremost, I blame the exceedingly poor coaches of Manchester United Football Club. We have, not just incompetent coaches, but the worst in the league, never mind Europe. From a technical viewpoint, I never blame Ferguson, because I know he’s not the trainer and doesn’t participate much in training. He is the manager and his turn will come for blame. But Mike Phelan is probably United’s worst coach ever.

    I had my reservations about the Anderson-Cleverley combination as well as the Anderson-Fletcher one. There’s no balance. I have long complained about the awful technicians we have, but this has got to stop now. I’m tired of this nonsense. Does anyone know of any world top 100 football team, that plays with no holding midfielder in this day? Does anyone know of any top club, that plays different combinations in midfield for every game? Who knows of any world class team that has rigid movement? Yes I know one team like that and they just got beat 1-6. We deserved it for employing incompetent coaches in the first place.

    I see a lot of people are blaming the midfielders again. I have to say, Anderson and Fletcher are just not on a level with Yaya Toure and the magnificent David Silva. That is obvious. But they can both compete with anyone. Anderson competed with the same players last season. He competed toe to toe with the likes of Essien and Gerrard and Alonso. Fletcher at one point was regarded as the player that would have made the difference in Rome 2009. Don’t get it twisted, we have the players to compete. What happened on Sunday was United getting technically exposed. Again. For the hundredth time in the last 3 seasons.

    What people keep focusing on, is players. Apart from Aguero and Clichy, it’s the same squad. What happened? They’ve been playing together for 2 seasons. 1 basic formation. Same tactics. Same players. Unchanging roles. Same basic team. Hart Richards Lescott Kompany Barry/De Jong Yaya Toure Silva. Seven players who have been a mainstay of a 4-2-1-3 for a very long time, with a good representation of defence, midfield and attack.

    Not only that, there’s no team in modern football which plays without a holding midfielder. If top teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea,Munich etc- never play without one, who the heck does Mike Phelan think he is to set up United without an anchor? In fact, City in full acknowledgement of the threat posed by United’s attack, played with two holding midfielders for close to 70minutes. Even after the red card, they were reluctant to have Toure and Barry advance. Yet we were playing two box to box midfielders. I’m not an expert, but by simply watching a wide range of football across the globe, I’ve noticed one thing. Over the last 5 or so years, there has been a real emphasis in football to form systems around a holding midfielder. Since South Africa 2010 that emphasis has become an absolute necessity for all teams. Let’s face it, Barcelona have revolutionized modern football, yet they never, ever, get onto any pitch in the world, without a holding midfielder. Even freaking Stoke City employ one. Some teams even play the double pivot. What further evidence do we need, or maybe we’re trying to start our own technical revolution? I don’t know if there’s any expert here, but you and I are far better coaches than Mike Phelan. Easily the world’s most incompetent coach.

    • Grognard

      26 October 2011 at 21:56

      WOW JayWire, you are starting to sound an awful lot like me. I feel your pain and frustration. Totally agree with all your comments and it must be seen by all finally that what I and others like yourself have been complaining and crying about going on three years now. For me this is a systemic failure that comes from the top down.

      Yes the coaches are greatly to blame, yes the players, especially our midfielders are inadequate and not on the same par as other great teams and the fact we play with no holding midfielder is not just strange but alarming to me. The blame for all of this must start with Fergie and end with the Glazer’s. Yes I am back to blaming the owners but hear me out.

      The Glazer family has limited the potential of this club with their penny pinching ways. Yes they opened their wallets this season and allowed Fergie to buy three players but we never got Sneijder or any other central midfielder to help address the urgent need at those positions. An archaic and miserly wage structure is to blame because any central midfielder with the moniker of “world class” next to his name demands and deserves more money than what United is willing to pay. The fact is that at least a half dozen other major clubs in Europe would have paid Sneijder the money he wanted for him to sign with them. Instead we decided to count on Anderson, an unproven Cleverley, and the myth known as Paul Pogba to be our salvation.

      Bayern, both Milan’s, Juventus, Chelsea, City, Barca and Madrid would all have had no problem meeting his wage requirements despite the fact they were high and a bit outrageous. But outrageous ius what is required these days if you want to compete with these teams. City is willing to pay outrageous money to get a Toure, Aguero, Silva. Madrid is willing to break thebank to get a Ronaldo, Ozil, Benzema. Barca is willing to follow suit to get Fabregas, Villa, Sanchez. Bayern had no problem breaking the bank and their wage structure to land the best keeper in the planet Manuel Neuer because they knew the major weakness in their squad was goalkeeper. Chelsea were prepared to spend outrageous money for the overrated and out of form Torres etc etc etc. They all may look like silly deals for these teams but the fact is all these players are paying dividends and helping their clubs achieve the goals they bought them for.

      United has just become a smaller club than they used to be. In the past Fergie never always went for the most expensive player but he had the financial freedom to go and get what he really wanted even if that was unproven but potentially great kids like Ronaldo or Nani. Today I feel a lot of our buying strategy reminds me of my mom shopping the bargain bins of the local department store for a deal or a poor person walking into the local goodwill second hand thrift store looking for a used jacket to keep him warm in the winter. We are nickel and diming it despite the fact the club continues to record record profits from a plethora of solid marketing sources and a loyal but seemingly gullible fellowship of supporters.

      Instead of buying a Silva or a Sneijder we go out and buy players like Jones and Smalling who are good but who are not what we need most of all. I am gload we have those two but I would have been a lot happier had we signed an Ozil, a Ya Ya Toure, a Sneijder or a Schweinsteiger instead. Since Roy Keane retired we lack a take hold midfielder with leadership skills and a no nonsense attitude. And we still struggle to find that artist in midfield who can split a defense in two and deliver that telling ball to free a striker or winger for a crack at goal. Silva and Toure achieve this for City. Alonso and Ozil do it for Madrid, Schweinsteiger and Kroos do it for Bayern and I won’t even mention the players for Barca because they are too good and too many to mention.

      What do we have to counter all this talent? Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs, Cleverley in on a wing and a prayer. It’s all so depressing because lets face it, it just isn’t working. The Glazer’s are not freeing up enough money and Fergie is too much in their corner to demand more and also to sack all his coaches, and physio quacks and hire a much better and more updated group that do things with a 21st century style rather than a 20th century backwater style that the Muppet Mike Phelan and the others use. I’m sick and tired of the lot and fed up with Fergie sitting on his hands and doing nothing. He is too old, too mellow and at this point in his life he needs to retire with dignity and allow a younger man with modern ideas and energy to come in and recharge the United engine.

      Fergie should not be sacked but he needs to finally get the hint and retire. He is too stubborn and to set in his ways and is not willingly adapting to the modern game and the requirements that are needed of a manager and club at this level. But as long as the Glazer’s are in town and do nothing, Fergie will continue to take the paycheck and just float along doing very little to really help this club keep up with other clubs that are passing him on the highway to success and silverware. Fergie is afraid to retire because he is afraid of dying. But instead he sticks around and by doing so he and his staff are slowly killing the club he built into a one time juggernaut. It’s all so bloody depressing.

    • Craig Mc

      26 October 2011 at 21:58

      I would agree with you Jaywire EXCEPT Mike Phelan isn’t the main coach – from what I undersdtand Mulensteen is!

      • Ian

        26 October 2011 at 23:54

        Maybe that’s causing confusion aswell then, because as far as I was aware an ‘Assistant Manager’ was the number 2. Perhaps that needs addressing too?

    • Ian

      26 October 2011 at 23:51

      Over the last 5 or so years, there has been a real emphasis in football to form systems around a holding midfielder.


      This emphasis has been born out of the insatiable appetite of most coaches throughout Europe to get marauding fullbacks, and rightly so. SAF has attempted to employ the marauding fullbacks for many years BEFORE other managers/coaches but, for a reason unbeknown to me, he hasn’t fathomed the need to ‘occasionally’ use a man to screen the exposed centre backs when the fullbacks bomb forward . I can see it, you can see it, yet the tactical power men at Old Trafford can’t/won’t see it.

      It’s hard though when the wingers mentality is so ingrained in MUFCs DNA, to contemplate such a tactical shift to 4-2-3-1. It’s also hard when the standard of player we have is, as you say, technically inept.

  30. Jay wire

    26 October 2011 at 21:17

    Last season, in the same fixture, I was the only one complaining as people were celebrating Wayne Rooney’s fantastic winner. Okay, at least then we had a defensive screen. But why in the world, did we keep our wide players hugging the touchline, sending dismal cross, after dismal cross, to the lone midget Rooney. He was isolated in the box,being crossed to by players who were supposed to be cutting in to support him. Against the towers of Lescott,Richards and Kompany. Now you don’t need to be an expert to discern the cataclysmic stupidity being applied there.

    You’d think with the technology of video reviews, the coaches would learn. Cue buzzer. Wrong. On Sunday, facing the same defenders, we came in with the same brilliantly stupid tactics. The worst part is, we kept using the left wing, particularly in the first half. Okay, at least if we’re gonna insist on being stupid, we might as well do it wisely. Clichy was one of the shortest players on the pitch, so maybe we could have tried concentrating our crosses from the right. At least with Nani, our best crosser, you wouldn’t bet against the ball actually going past the first man. But the solution was pass the ball to Ashley Young to cross, and he almost always couldn’t get his cross past Richards. When he did, it was a poor cross, because his vision was obviously blocked by the big defender. Did the coaches actually think through such a game plan? And if you’re gonna cross to players like Wayne Rooney,here’s some advice: hit it low.

    Big defenders all over, hate the modern day short forward, just like short central defenders are never eager to compete with players like Crouch, Zigic or Ibrahimovic. Short quick forwards are too mobile and play on the ground. They are closer to the ball and have better balance. Pass around the big defenders and you see them start to panic. Yes, Kompany is now definitely the league’s best defender and Lescott is not too shabby. But their strengths are size, literal strength, power and aerial authority. So you don’t play against them by complimenting these characteristics. In terms of strength, Welbeck can definitely compete with both. Same as aerially. But not Rooney.

    So the best thing is to get the ball moving as opposed to trying to bulldoze your way through such powerful defenders. Both Rooney and Welbeck moving around looking for spaces, deep, wide, central. Anywhere. Not Welbeck in the box waiting for Nani or Young to cross. Width should be provided by the fullbacks, not together with the wide players. The wingers should start wide in order to cut in. We were outnumbered centrally so it’s elementary stuff for the wingers to move infield to offer support to the central players in midfield and attack. It’s too elementary to even discuss, yet it wasn’t happening.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      26 October 2011 at 21:56



      I was baffled at the constant (and poor) crossing. Corners were even worse.

      Either Cleverly is the Messiah, Fergie spends big in January, or we get a new Assistant Manager with technical skills.

      I hope for the first, pray for the second, and hate FAB Phelan.

  31. Robbie

    27 October 2011 at 08:45

    The problem for me is that fergie is too reluctant to play people sometimes, I mean why can’t pogba and morrison get starts in the carling cup? Against aldershot? Same with Rossi and a few other talents we have. Players like park and diouf should have made way.

  32. Robbie

    27 October 2011 at 08:50

    Sometimes with young players, I believe they should be thrown in the deep end. If they have quality they won’t let the team down to a great extent, I mean right now we have the most senior players in evra and rio making all the mistakes, Morrison looks to be such a gem,would love him to start say a game against a team like fulham at Old Trafford.

    • tonymontanna4united

      27 October 2011 at 17:08

      Agre 100%. If anything the 6-1 thrashing could actually do us a world of good, as it might wake fergie the fuck up and force him to make drastic changes to the team. I somehow doubt he will, but you never know. The fergie of 10 years ago would have made damn sure rio and evra didnt start again for a very long time after the type of performances they had, and that in turn would allow chances for fabio and fryers (who i rate very highly).
      With the way the midfield has performed recently an all you’d think morrison especially, would be given 10/15 mins here and there. Again i doubt it, but potentially that defeat could be a blessing in disguise, if fergie’s still half the man he once was.
      If its just another case of same old same old again though, well, not good.

  33. Nurhan

    20 November 2015 at 18:17

    haha you know the answer to that. It is very amibuiots to think a double figure haul is possible each week as captain. I am happy with 9 points and can deal with 7 on an overall bad week. It’s seriously a toss of the coin Very much sums it up I want to go into more detail but it will just be fence sitting. Sunderland have more injuries at the back but it is RVP and Rooney duel roles upfront where as Suarez is the solo man for Liverpool.Rooney or RVP will double figure haul it not sure which oneSuarez well he cleaned up Wigan at home could very well do it to Villa, he will be keen to go after a week off combine that with Liverpools upturn in form.

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