PASSIONATE COMEBACK MASKS MAJOR PROBLEMS:

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DARKSIDE CHRONICLES: Edition 002

Let me start off this week by saying that originally I was planning to offer up a different article that dealt with other problems regarding Manchester United. But due to the big game and glorious comeback that the lads fashioned on the weekend, I think I should stick to the match and all the talking points.

Let me start by going against the grain and congratulate Fergie and the club on a great comeback under testing conditions and adversity. It’s never easy to come back from 0-3 down yet alone against Chelsea at the Bridge, so we must all bow our heads and praise the lads for showing a lot of heart to fight back and steal a point. That Chelsea club is a shadow of itself also but still, they were at home and we had not won there in ten years. I honestly felt that despite our troubles, this game was the game for us to win if ever we were to end the Sdtamford Bridge jinx. Well we didn’t win but the draw feels almost as good as a win now doesn’t it?

Sure, two goals came from penalties and one of the penalties given was dodgy to say the least but if one is truly fair, we should have had three or four penalties given so I’ll try not to cry for Chelsea too much. In truth, I didn’t think we played too badly and the first half was really ours despite the 0-1 score line. The first ten minutes of the second half truly looked to have sunk us good as Chelsea scored two goals that came from nothing. I’m still fuming about the David Luiz goal as I do not blame Carrick for being so out of position and completely vacating the left post only to allow a cross into that area which allowed Luiz a free header. Rio Ferdinand hasn’t only lost a step and been a source of constant frustration with his injuries but now his decision making and barking of orders to others is way off the mark too. What he was doing directing Carrick to move away from the area he was marking only to have Luis score from that same spot is beyond me? And to add insult to injury his shoulder redirected a header that De Gea may just have saved.

I am tired of Rio, Evra and our flip a coin selections for RB every week. Evra was at fault again for the Mata goal because he wasn’t doing a good job marking the player who made the cross. And where was Rafael or Fabio for that matter as I can never tell which is which nor can I remember who wears which number because neither of the twins has ever had a long enough run in order to help me get used to them and the number they wear. The RB was nowhere to be found near the far post marking Mata and preventing such a goal. Our fullbacks may like to maraud forward but they are so often caught out of position defensively that it has become comical and absurd to say the least. At this point I would have preferred Bardlsey and O’Shea playing the fullback positions just because I know they would stay put and stop giving away easy crosses or not marking players who score from headers.

As for Rio, well all I can say is hang them up pal. You have been a great player over the years and a loyal servant but it is clear to me and many others that you are well past it and that you no longer can be counted on to be a world class defender alongside Vidic, who also may be past his best. As for Jonny Evans, he’s been playing better of late but still he is plagued by the dynamic duo of sins that follows him around. If he isn’t giving up a penalty and getting carded he is allowing an own goal. The lad seems a bit cursed even though his game has shown marked improvement of late.

Now let me speak more about the last match. Sad really that it takes a once retired and mothballed Paul Scholes to bring ability and presence to our game and help us play better. Indeed, Scholes has infused energy and forced better movement and discipline from the team. His passes outside of a few hiccups were very precise and his vision albeit still a bit conservative allowed us to have good possession of the ball, especially in the last half hour.

On the other hand, Ashley Young was invisible and although he was injured for a long time, I wonder how long it will be before we see the Young from the first few weeks of the season. No Nani hurts our club a lot but thankfully Tony Valencia continues to improve and give a very workmanlike effort. His ability to outplay his marker and get in a cross led to the third goal even though Rooney’s shot didn’t go in, the parry by Cech was right to Giggsy who once again defied father time and offered up a world class cross to Chicharito to head past the besieged Chelsea keeper and into the net. My God how I have missed the Little Pea play this season. Too many injuries and too much time on the bench and in the infirmary have made his second season with us seem more like the infamous sophomore jinx has struck again. No way should Welbeck be playing over him. And that is not a knock on Danny as I feel he has been really making positive strides this season. It’s just that against a top team like Chelsea, I want to see Chicharito simply for his ability to attack the eight-yard box and poach goals. One day I am hoping he adds passing to his arsenal too. Then he will truly be indispensable to the club.

As for Wayne Rooney, well he did a good job putting those two penalties away. He was much more aggressive and assured from the spot. But his overall play did not impress me. Once again his passing has seemed to betray him and his first touch at times seems to totally disappear. He looks to me like a man who is pressing and who is feeling stressed, which is hindering his overall play and decision making abilities. Basically the game is not fun for him right now and who knows when it will become fun again? Mark my words, expect another eruption of attitude from him come this off-season. He will go to the EURO’s and come back disappointed but with a full head and the first thing that will come to his mind is how he feels this club is underachieving due to our owners penny pinching ways. Once again he will threaten to leave unless we buy big and thus the soap opera will continue. I could be way off on this but lets just call it a gut feeling based on his body English of late and his look of dissatisfaction and discontentment with the manager and his team-mates over that past month or so.

As far as the result goes I think all of us took a deep sigh of relief when United scored that third goal and even a greater sigh when David De Gea made that incredible world class save off of Mata’s free kick. Top drawer stuff and a sign of what the lad has for skill. Now if he can get his eyes corrected in the off season and also find that much needed confidence and feeling of comfort for England and the English game that he is still lacking, then I believe his best is just around the corner. When we were searching for van der Sar’s replacement he certainly was not my first choice or even in my top ten choices but I kind of believe in the kid. He is definitely a shot stopper but it’s other areas of the game as well as focus and concentration where he needs to work hard in order to win me over as well as Fergie and all of Mancunia. I believe in the end he will be a success because shot stopping is the toughest of all the fundamentals in goalkeeping and he seems pretty damned good at that.

De Gea saved our collective bacon with his miraculous save as it would have been a real tragedy to come back from 0-3 down only to allow a goal from a free kick near time. We somehow seem very susceptible late in games and seem to not have the killer instinct we used to have where we would always seem to steal a win with only minutes or seconds left. Yes Chicharito’s goal was fairly late but still, we had another fifteen minutes afterwards in which to win it but we seemed content with possession, and yet Chelsea still fashioned a couple of real chances to almost steal the match. Make no mistake, this club is certainly not the club we have become accustomed too watching over the past several years where a comfort zone existed when van der Sar manned the goal and Vidic and Rio would halt anybody trying to score on us. Nowadays we resemble Swiss cheese more than an iron-clad fortress for a defence. Too many weaknesses and very little cohesion and communication at the back have left our team’s defending in a shambles and much easier to breach. And yet, somehow we seem to survive most of our battles despite ourselves.

Now prepare yourselves. This all might shock you but great credit has to go to Fergie for somehow patching the whole leaky ship together and keeping it from sinking. I have my issues with the Boss but I still think the man is a miracle worker and that he deserves nothing but praise for the job he does with this patchwork team with major holes and underachieving talent. He is incredible in instilling belief, passion and the ability to never say die and never quit no matter what. Very few teams would have faced such diversity such as a 0-6 humiliation at home to City, a loss to Liverpool in the FA Cup, humiliation at the hands of Blackburn at home and being embarrassingly knocked out of Europe by a second rank Swiss outfit, and not folded the tent and surrendered. But certainly not United and definitely not Fergie. He somehow manages to rally the troops and bring them together and believing again in their quest and in themselves when most managers would have lost the dressing room by now after such demoralizing defeats.

Please understand, I do not like or trust the man. I believe he is a bald faced liar and a willing ally of the Glazer’s but he is also a legend and the man who has brought us over 20 years of incomparable success and trophies galore. I don’t like him, I don’t trust him as it comes to the finances and transfer market business of the club but I respect the Hell out of him as a manager anyway. I don’t always like his tactics or his rotations but he is a master at doing what he does and nobody runs a marathon better than Fergie. 12 EPL titles tell me this. We will probably win the EPL again this year despite the significant challenge of City. Experience, United magic, Fergie’s luck and City’s inexperience, lack of character and brotherhood as well as arrogance will eventually bring a 13th title to Old Trafford. And it will be a title won with what I feel is the least talented United club in the last twenty years but a club that has a lot of heart and flair for the unexpected. Winning ugly is our new motto and as long as it brings a title most people are content. I certainly am not but what the Heck, I’ll go along for the ride.

Believe me when I say, no club in world football would still be fighting for a league title after suffering the rash, or should I say plague of injuries that this club has had to endure this season. Sure I believe many of these injuries are based on substandard training and fitness regiments, but that’s a topic for another day. Today I must praise the manager and the club for at least still keeping faith and still fighting for the League title when many of us, including myself had written them off. We may not play United style football like in the past but we still hold true to our hearts what it is to be United and what is most vital in order to succeed at Old Trafford, that is heart, determination and a never say die attitude. Hopefully one day the talent will follow. If only the cancer known as Glazeritis would stop inflicting itself on the club and it’s legions of devoted and ever so loyal supporters. Despite Malcolm and his brood, I say United for Life and the owners be damned for handcuffing but not completely halting this great club’s drive for twenty, not it’s beating heart.

Grognard

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43 Comments

  1. Gotta disagree with you on Rio, he was Man of the Match for me. Evra was at fault for the first, Rafael/Valencia the second, with the third goal being poor defensive play by everyone. They gave him a free header, and watching the replay it didn’t look like anybody was thoroughly marking him. Rio had a great game and didn’t give him a sniff, he marked Torres away from the action and won every 50/50 duel. Together with Scholes he installed a calmness with the ball and we managed to retain it well, and it was his magnificent pass to Valencia that started off the attack for our third goal.

    I’ve been one of Rio’s biggest critics this season, but he was a rock against Chelsea.

    • @RedDevilEddy: Evra was 100% at fault the first goal. Got dragged inside following nothing and then he was too far away from Torres to stop his cross. The cross was perfect as was the finish, nobody in the box could have done anything differently. Evra let Luiz go for his header and Rio had no right to get anywhere near him he was so far back and still almost managed to block it.

      Our biggest problem has been lack of defensive continuity all, and massive injuries. Our midfield, while useless has dragged itself kicking and screaming towards usefulness, and our strikers if given chances will always score goals.

      Too many defensive injuries is killing us. Hopefully Smalling and Jones can come back and stay back til the end of the season and we’ll be ok. Cleverley is going to be another boost, and I expect him to make the bench against the dippers.

      • @Traverse: The problem with the Luiz goal was Carrick’s positioning but it wasn’t Carrick’s fault as the defensive general for the club, Rio was directing everyone where to go. By moving Carrick out of the area where Luiz eventually moved to and scored was a tactically stupid move on Rio’s part so it’s not just about losing a step or constantly being injured. His focus and decision making hurt us in that instant because even to the untrained eye, forcing Carrick to vacate that area of the box seemed like such a fundamentally wrong choice to make. I agree about Smalling and Jones also. We need their presence on the pitch and much less if any of Evra’s presence.

        • Evra’s main technical flaw nowadays is his persistence to stand square on. Whichever way Sturridge wanted to go Evra was unable to tackle him with either foot because his weight wasn’t distributed properly. It’s a fundamental aspect of defending that nowadays he thinks he’s too good for, he thinks he’ll get away and I can’t understand why, he needs to get back to basics and stop costing us goals week after week after week. You watch every other defender out there, always adopting a side on stance with their weight on the front foot, it’s basics. He stands with his legs apart waiting to get megged.

    • Jones???? back in defence for who now? Surely our memory cannot be that short. Jones has got to be our worst CB option this season. The boy never gets anything from the air unless he is directing it towards our own goal. Besides Evra I dont think our defense has been too bad in the last two matches. Probably to instruction I feel Evra is also doing too much offensively to be really effective in defense. more like the Luiz syndrome IMO. Looks like Fergie has an arrangement for the central midfielders to cover for Evra with one of the CBs moving left that is why he is very casual about the whole issue.Problem is in attack he is creating the chances now but cancelling them in defence so its a tough call but balance is what’s required.

  2. No way was this written by a Utd fan.Absolute drivel.
    Firstly,Utd lost 6-1,not 6-0 to City.
    Also,your bashing of Fergie,what the hell is wrong with you?Go support Arsenal if you want to do that.
    Rafael had a great game.Chelsea’s goals were all freak goals.
    Utd were not ‘content’ with trying to simply play possession in the last 15 minutes,Chicharito had an offside from a through ball in stoppage time.
    Rooney had a great game and was deservedly man of the match,of all the players to pick on from the game,you’re really clutching at straws finding much at fault with our best player out there.
    Blaming the owners,come off it,look at the price tag on players like Young,Jones,De Gea,Berba and others.If Fergie wants to buy,he’ll buy.
    Worst United article I’ve ever read. File under : Must try harder

    • @stephen: Hey man I completely agree with you. The game ended 3.3 but I was extremely impressed with our play. We were always willing to attack with fluid movement and quick neat passing on the counter. Chelsea scored ONE good goal in mata but the other two were lucky to say the least. Our future is bright 😀

    • @stephen: I think you should go back and read the article for real this time. When you do I think you will find out that I was very complimentary of Fergie other than my usual gripe about his allegiance to the Glazer’s and lies to the media and fans. I spoke at great length about the outstanding managerial job he has done despite my unhappiness with tactics and squad selection. So why don’t you get off you pulpit and just stop attacking me for the sake of attacking me. It sounds more like a grudge or a vendetta rather than a criticism.

      The fact that I honestly have to sit and take such unfair abuse for voicing my honest and sincere feeling about the club I love is just nothing more than a lack of class and tolerance on your part. How dare you question my love and allegiance for the team. Being a fan does not mean sitting there and taking it in the ass from the owners and manager regardless of the past and all the championships. I choose to follow my team in my way. You do not have to agree with my views but it would be a breath of fresh air if you showed some respect and were less inclined to act out like an ignorant zombie who follows yet does not question. Your views often piss me off but you don’t see me attacking you or putting your loyalty in to question. And sorry I goofed up, yes it was 6-1 and not 6-0, like that one goal makes it all better. SHEESH! Get a grip. 🙄 🙄 🙄

      And to all those who checked the like button for Stephen’s comment, I suggest you all read the article also and then bite me.

    • @stephen:

      Read it again and see that for every bad remark directed at Fergie there are three that praise him.

      Now prepare yourselves. This all might shock you but great credit has to go to Fergie for somehow patching the whole leaky ship together and keeping it from sinking. I have my issues with the Boss but I still think the man is a miracle worker and that he deserves nothing but praise for the job he does with this patchwork team with major holes and underachieving talent. He is incredible in instilling belief, passion and the ability to never say die and never quit no matter what. Very few teams would have faced such diversity such as a 0-6 humiliation at home to City, a loss to Liverpool in the FA Cup, humiliation at the hands of Blackburn at home and being embarrassingly knocked out of Europe by a second rank Swiss outfit, and not folded the tent and surrendered. But certainly not United and definitely not Fergie. He somehow manages to rally the troops and bring them together and believing again in their quest and in themselves when most managers would have lost the dressing room by now after such demoralizing defeats.

      Please understand, I do not like or trust the man. I believe he is a bald faced liar and a willing ally of the Glazer’s but he is also a legend and the man who has brought us over 20 years of incomparable success and trophies galore. I don’t like him, I don’t trust him as it comes to the finances and transfer market business of the club but I respect the Hell out of him as a manager anyway. I don’t always like his tactics or his rotations but he is a master at doing what he does and nobody runs a marathon better than Fergie. 12 EPL titles tell me this. We will probably win the EPL again this year despite the significant challenge of City. Experience, United magic, Fergie’s luck and City’s inexperience, lack of character and brotherhood as well as arrogance will eventually bring a 13th title to Old Trafford. And it will be a title won with what I feel is the least talented United club in the last twenty years but a club that has a lot of heart and flair for the unexpected. Winning ugly is our new motto and as long as it brings a title most people are content. I certainly am not but what the Heck, I’ll go along for the ride.

  3. Don’t know if people have been able to read/watch all that’s said and done concerning Suarez, but personally I don’t think his kick on Parker is a red card. He’s a ****, but if that’s a red card offence then fuck me sideways.

    But how on earth is Skrtel tackle only a yellow?? I mean… Jesus Christ, if that’s not a red card offence what is? Had Bale not had his foot in the air that would be his football career over, and marks from Skrtel studs were there for all to see. It’s un-fucking-believeable, that yellow card is the difference between us facing the most solid defence in the country or Carragher on Saturday. Yeah, the FA is against Liverpool my ass, absolutely shocked about how there hasn’t been written more about that challenge. 🙄http://redrants.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form

  4. Supporting FAS is not same as supporting Utd. The Club is bigger than any one, including SAF. And Chelsea game? same old, same old. SAF sounded negative even before the game and that made players nervous. And if you have a certain dud aka Evans in your team, you must fear the worst. I dion’t care if we got a draw but why, oh why did we fall back 3-0 within an hour in the first place? I must say again and again: SAF’s failure to strengthen in right positions( right back, midfield ) is damaging the team. How could he embark on a long, hard season with Welbeck,Cleverley, Evans, Park, Evra ( the most degraded player ), Ferdinand ( a history and a liabilty ), Da Silvas ( totally Un-Utd calibre )?? I don’t think we’ll retain the title as City’s wobble is perhaps over and Utd’s stutter will continue. Lack of real quality can’t be masked by hyperbole and pretexts. Period.

  5. What a dork!! Can’t even get facts right (1-6 not 0-6 against City) … and when was there ever an 8-yard box on a football pitch?

    No credibility, mate!

    • @Graham: What an asshole, making a mountain out of a molehill. Big fucking deal, 6-1 or 6-0, was it any less humiliating. What is really humiliating is having to read you shit droppings for a criticism. Have anything to say on this blog other than slagging the efforts of others? Grow the fuck up already WAAHHHHH!!! 😥 😥

  6. Good to see you back grog 😈 …its not been the same without those spirited discussions you incite…no doubt Jaywire’s been lonely without ya.

    More to the point..I agree on a few things, first the decision to pick Welbeck over Chico this game and it highlighted something that many have picked on repeatedly in previous posts and that is our tactical preparation or lack of. Chelsea were playing with a make-shift right back playing at left back and two of the worst ball watching defenders in the league in he form of the Cahill and Luiz. Its beyond me that Fergie went for Welbeck who has improved dramatically this season over our own fox in the box and “born offside” striker Pippo*cough*..Chichorito. This games outcome was decided then and there and when i saw the lineup i had a sinking feeling that we would have won this by a mile if not for it.

    Secondly our right back situation is a serious problem where Fergie doesn’t seem totally convinced by Rafael there and if so why not Fabio who played there for our better runs in last seasons campaign? (Oh yeah cos we don’t have a back up for Evra). i think a lot of people love to slate Evra but the guy has been a machine for us so much that he has played a complete season without Fergie having to worry about injuries for the past 4 years. He has no doubt been regressing with age. i think Zeke Fryers might get a shot at playing there next season. But our center back situation is just as week, i agree Rio has been in the same situation as Evra and was in this game dragging Evans all the way back. He has lost his pace which means he can no longer cover like he used to.

    At the halfway point of this season, I believe our current placement in the table, the fact that we were knocked out of the cups and our crippling injuries are a consequence of our own early season success. Unlike the past many season we didn’t rotate enough early on and caved it in for eye candy football and no we are paying the price for it with lengthy lay offs and persistent injuries. i hope we can win the league but we are too much in a transitional stage and it will be interesting what we see this weekend.

    • @RMJ: Thanks mate. As for Jaywire, I have no problem with him and he and I made peace a long time ago.

  7. GROGNARD- You state that we are winning ugly! How do you justify that? 8-2 against arsenal- 5nil against bolton- 3.1 against chelsea – 3nil against spurs 5nil against fulham. Thats not winning ugly by any means.

    And you say the least talented team in 20 years- well thats just not true considering I remeber having a squad with the likes of bellion, djemba djemba and kleberson. So that statement just makes me laugh.

    Our squad is so full of talent such as clev, welbz, chico and pogba being our bright future. And also the likes of rooney, berba and nani arent too bad either 😉

    • @ash is the man: You actually went back to the beginning of the season in order to attack my statement about winning ugly? REALLY! REALLY! Honest to God man, why don’t you and a lot of the others who seem to think I am all negative go back to that first month of articles I wrote and you will witness a Grognard who was amazingly positive and brimming with joy over the football we were playing. Then came our first loss of points on the road and our first game in Europe and from then on it has been winning ugly as well as losing ugly. And anyone who thinks we have been playing beautiful football since that Arsenal game is seriously in need of a reality check and good taste.

  8. Also why are so many bloggers here anti welbeck? ( as in that he shouldnt start )Do people not see the partnership him and rooney are developing- signs of cole and york. That incredible because rooney is a player that is not easy to find a partner for. Welbeck was great on sunday. His movement and link up play and he was through on goal when taken down by cahill. He didnt score but he play half the game on the wing and he was creating so many chances. Chico is great at scoring but welbeck is just a touch better in class. But quite frankly I dont care if it is him or chico starting as they are both classy players. Just dont understand how so many are doubting welbz crediantials 🙄

    • @ash is the man: Again, read my article closely. I am far from anti-Welbeck. I really like the lad and feel he has made great progress this season. All I said is that I prefer a healthy Chicharito simply because he is a true poacher and I love poachers. Hell, these days I would prefer a partnership of Welbeck and Hernandez as I am growing increasingly tired of Rooney’s attitude and inconsistency.

  9. Good article Groggy!

    Agree with you on:
    1) Rooney being poor and the EUROs making him hint at a move,
    2) Rio sucking. Great leader, poor player. He has lost all his pace and it will be punished soon,
    3) After making it 3-3, taking off Park for Welbz was the mark of “satisfaction” with a draw. Fergie should have went for it… we could have won. Chicharito marked offside exactly shows that United were sitting back.
    4) Only Fergie can keep the United ship from sinking with the long list of injuries. Mark of a genius

    I honestly don’t think the FA Cup loss to liverpool was that embarrassing nor the loss to Blackburn… sometimes s**t happens. The City loss and ECL exit… now that was embarrassing.

    • @Opti: I hate any loss to Liverpool and I always feel it as an embarrassment losing to scousers. As for my article being good. I was more positive than I usually am and seem to be getting more hate for it. You were one of the few who commented in a positive manner. Thanks for that. Isn’t it wonderful when one actually takes the time to read what I write as opposed to skimming over it and just focusing on the negatives?

  10. Great to see you back grog mate, you’ve been missed.
    Agree with alot of this, cant really see why your getting so much negative feedback (again), when this article really seems quite tame by your own standards and overall quite complimentary about alot of what we saw on sunday, but there you go.
    My thoughts quickly, are that evra was and generally is, a complete and utter waste of space pretty much EVERY week (how many times have i said this), that rio looks slow and uncomfortable without vida beside him and his days playing in big games like this should be coming to an end, that chicha should indeed be starting games like this over danny due mainly to his ability to finish off chances when they fall to him, that giggs’ pass completion ratio must be about as high as lady dianas pulse right now, and that the fact were still looking to scholes to add something to our midfield is embarrassing and should once again be a major concern to fergie and the team.
    Im not going to get into our general style of football or glazers here, because you know full that i agree with you 1000% on that and always have done, and dont want to open a can of worms again 😆 so i’ll leave it there.
    Anyway great to see you back mate, really hope you’ll be sticking around for the long term.

    • @tonymontanna4united: hanks buddy. I’m glad to be back…….I think. I too am taken aback by the negativity towards an article in which I was very positive and in which I shoved a lot of appreciation and praise towards the Boss. Some of these people are just nasty buggers who hate me even if I say anything positive. They have a bug up their ass when it comes to me and nothing I say or do will change that. Problem is I honestly care what others think. Disagreeing with me is fine but seriously, why all the abuse? And why do I constantly get insulted with challenges to my allegiance. I am United through and through but the fact that I speak out on things that bother me, I am made out to be an enemy.

      I’m a massive New England Patriots fan and they losing the Super Bowl was disappointing to me but even more so, I was pissed off at the dropped balls, and poor decision making of the coaches and QB. And so were legions of Patriots fans. They as well as I love the team but must we all shut up and not direct criticism over such a demoralizing loss? Some United faithful would have us think so. You, I and other like minded individuals would be told to shut the fuck up for seemingly have the sheer audacity to question and disagree with the way things are or the status quo. To all these individuals I say #$%^#$^^&$. Some even have the audacity to argue that I am no fan because I got the City scoreline wrong. How week can an argument be? In fact they never sit down and try to write but a sentence and challenge or debate my points. For them it’s all about policing and keeping the likes of me in line with insults and false accusations and assumptions. Not a single trickle of a thought comes out of their pea sized brains because the hate they have for me and the world is all consuming. Sad and sorry little people with serious issues against freedom of speech and expression. Sorry for the rant mate but I know you understand where I am coming from. I left the blog last time because I could not tolerate the hate and unfair accusations directed at me. Today I am having major second thoughts about returning. Unfortunately the positive feedback from you and a few others isn’t enough to drown out all the hat these other have for me. I’m too old school for the way things run on blogs these days. No respect and decorum or etiquette regarding conversing and debating. Cowards just feel so strong, empowered and imposing as they insult somebody while they hide in front of their computer. I am not intimidated by it but I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t bother me. It does because regardless of my views, I am like everyone else, a person who likes to be liked and respected for their views. Instead I get hate directed at me as if I was a Liverpool supporter.

      • @Grognard:

        just as i thought. look mate. Its your opinion, end of story. Obviously not everyone agrees with your pieces but there’s enough in there to get constructive conversation going. You said it your self; you’re not intimidated so why should it bother you if some posters don’t agree with your views. Its not as if you’re on a “everybody must like grog crusade”

        That said, if you air your views the way you do,surely you have to expect the backlash. Look at it this way. If some of what you say plays out,you’ll have the right to say “told ya so”. I can’t tell you to stay -keep writing or not because truthfully i couldn’t care less, but it seems you’re part of the furniture on red rants. Would be a shame to miss the sofa now wouldn’t it.

      • @Grognard: Again you write something controversial, which is provocative and upsets some people.
        And yet again you can’t take it back, typical Grognard…….

  11. What has Rio done? Or Evans? They seem to just get blasted everytime we concede a goal. I thought Rio was supreme and his partnership with Evans is growing into something useful and complimentary. One question noone seems to ask is why is our defence being put under great pressure. How many teams in Europe can maintain a clean sheet with the amount of pressure we face? I’m guessing none. VDS is a legend, but how would he have fared with such a flawed defensive system? At one point De Gea had the highest number of saves in the league, conceding the most shots at goal. Why? Evans before his injury had blocked more shots in and around the box than all the other defenders put together. That’s an amazing achievement for our alleged weakest link who also happens to be among the league leaders in aerial duels and is still our best passer overall. What else is he supposed to do? The only time people talk about Evans is when he makes a mistake. When Vidic is at fault it’s quickly brushed aside. “Vidic- apart from penalty and red card, was my MoM.”

    • @Jay wire: Evans has been fine but Rio for me has been rather very difficult to watch and reminds me too much of whenever Ben Foster had the ball with him. Rio without his pace means we are pushing our defensive line back too much and causing all sorts of mismatch. Its caused imbalance on the wings as well. AS for Vidic he too had a rather poor season by his standards and it just goes to shows how vital central partnerships are be it in defense or midfield..Everyone’s quick to point out these days that how good Carrick’s been of late but in reality he has always been pretty consistent in how he has played or rather the timidity he plays with. He has been playing exceptionally all of the year 2011(the year not the season and except against Barcelona who isn’t bad against them?) and this. So what is the difference? The answer is Fletcher or the lack of who hasn’t played thankfully and even unluckily a whole stretch of games the past year. We all remember those lovely undefeated streak we had when Fletcher and Carrick together destroyed football by allowing none to string a pass for either us or them don’t you all? Partnerships are vital and I think we ave one in the making between Rafael/Fabio, Smalling and Evans for the future. Now if we could only get Fergie to get or play a left back other than Evra

    • @Jay wire: Rio is risky in his passing (and rather poor) with multiple passing errors that put us under direct pressure. He has lost pace (and a lot of it, too) and it is hard to see him try to sprint… like a wounded horse. His leadership and ability to bring a disjointed defensive lineup together is unmatched, but eventually that is not enough to warrant “best CB in world” tag that he carried during his pre-prime and prime.

      Evans, I am impressed with him this season. Nothing bad to say about him, except my rate goes up when he slides for the ball inside the box. That’s all.

  12. To be honest, I’m sure everyone has realized that this Utd team has been blowing hot and cold all season long. From 8-2 to 1-6 we have realized this team is not consistent enough. As a proud United fan, that upsets me because that squad is simply world class. Although injuries haven’t helped, progressing further in cup competitions especially the Champions League, has never been out of United’s reach. The way I see it, there are few things that really need to be sorted before we reach the Madrid/Barca level.
    1) Money Problems : Although I’m hardly knowledgeable about this, I do know that Fergie is working on a cut-throat budget, and just using a square peg in a round hole.
    2) Leadership : We all know Fergie is a real leader, rallying the troops on, but who takes up that role on the pitch? Evra? Are you kidding me? We need a leader who defines Man Utd, who lives and breathes with the club. Someone who has the passion like Roy Keane or Gary Nev.
    3) A defensive midfielder : Which was the last great United side in the past decade? 2007-2008. What is the difference between that side and this? Owen Hargreaves and the position of CDM. CR7, Tevez have all been admirably replaced but for Mr Glass. Fergie uses Carrick in that position and he looks hopelessly out of depth. We need a fully fit Darren Fletcher or a Cheick Tiote or a Micheal Essien, that workmanlike midfielder who would run around all day just to win the ball.
    Offensively, we are very good, the main problem lies in shielding the centre-backs. 😐

    • @utd forever: while I agree we are a team in transition, we are on a path towards the high levels that the club is known for:-
      1. Go to Andersred blog and look past some of rhetoric there you can see that while we are indeed burdened with a heavy debt, we are by no means strapped for cash as made out by the media. Simply put we wont pay over the odds(we never have) and we have a 50% pay hierarchy in place meaning that we will remain healthy financially long term. We will pay top wages for our best players but by no means will be held to ransom. Real and Shitty buy for the next two to three years while we have youngsters for the next 10.
      2. The game has moved on in the last 10 years, on field captains are perennial at best these days. gone are the epic clashes of skippers like Keano, Viera etc. Skippers these days are nothing more than intermediaries between the referee and fellow teammates in my opinion. Do I wish we went back to the old days but the game has changed.
      3. This is where you have no clue what you are on about. Look up appearance stats for that season and you will see that even in that season 07-08, Hargreaves was far behind compared to everyone of import. The fact that Hargreaves was the midfield impetus that drove us to our successful season that year is just plain ignorance at best. A good chunk of his appearance that season was at right back alternating or rather rotating with Wes who was phenomenal at Right back that year. Hargreaves played(when fit!) in the middle only when Carrick or Scholes were unfit or rotated. And if you had watched the past two season then you would have realized that Fletcher offered nothing other than an additional physical presence in midfield and our best performances of late came with Giggs and Carrick through the middle. I like Fletcher and while he always gave his best; that meant we didn’t, and the opposition didn’t as well play any football in general.

  13. I get the feeling that you write your pieces simply for the sake of getting feedback and stirring people up. Almost to the point where you wish United to perform poor, just to rant about it afterwards. Well written, but your negativity is beyond me. Do you even enjoy football in the true sense of the word?

    • @norRed: Sorry, bro but I have to say, more often then not now days Brand of Footy that Manchester Utd Plays is somethging that I can at least cant enjoy. I mean, the way play wont is not attractive anymore. To be very honest, just because I am a lifew long Man UTD fan and will remain ONE I turn the Telly on see them Play, but if you ask me, if I would have been a neutral I would have rather not seen them play. Though I have to the Chelsea Tie was one of the most entertaining one in recent history…

      • @Onkar: Fair play, mate – we have a different opinion. However, it gets my blood boiling reading some of the things posted on this blog. People are chanting “buy, buy, buy”, saying Fergie should go and so on. Jeezuz! Yes, I would like on world-class CM, but the United way is to produce our own players from the academy – or buying them young and then develop them. Fergie is doing just that (Jones, Clev, Welbeck, De Gea, Chicha etc). When they come really come good and gel – the “beautiful” football you guys rage about will come automatically! What will some of the people on here say then? Christ sake, we are more injury ridden than Europe in 1350 and we are still second! Media raving about “decline, decline”, but they have been doing that for 10 years. I respect different opinions, but to see other United fans jump on the sinking-ship bandwagon makes me sick. Rant over! A RED rant, to be precise!

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