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United humiliated at home as Palace go through

Manchester United suffered a shocking 2-1 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace as they were knocked out in the quarter-final of the League Cup.

A Glenn Murray strike in the first period of extra time deservedly sent Palace through, punishing United for a spineless performance.

The Carling Cup might not be the most glamorous of occasions and Palace might not be the most glamorous of opponents but when a semifinal place is at stake there are no excuses. United let themselves down tonight, while Dougie Freedman’s side can look forward to a famous semifinal against – possibly – Liverpool or Manchester City.

United haven’t been firing on all cylinders for a while now but, while a first look at the score line might suggest a shock, the story of the game tells a completely different tale.

Palace, fielding 7 different players in their formation from the team that drew against Millwall on the weekend, with Easter the lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation, controlled the game from the start, showing much more desire and hunger and winning almost every 50-50 challenge.

United, on the other hand, looked lethargic and, at times, almost uninterested. And, to think, that this was a great occasion for a lot of players to show their worth.

For all their effort, it’s hard to see Diouf and Macheda having a future at United, while Gibson might as well be in his last season at Old Trafford.

Ferguson fielded a completely changed starting XI, with Berbatov and Diouf up front, Valencia and Macheda on the wings, Park and Gibson in midfield and Evans and Smalling at centre-backs with the Da Silva twins as full-backs and Amos in goal, and he’ll be disappointed that none of the younger players grabbed their chance to shine.

To add insult to misery, Fabio, Berbatov and Rafael went out injured, leaving the team severely stretched for the near future.

The Brazilians’ talent is beyond doubt, but the same can’t be said of their fitness. It is definitely an issue for Fergie and his staff.

After the first half passed by with both teams failing to create a chance, the game suddenly came alive in the second half when Morrison, who had replaced Berbatov, forced a brilliant save by Price after being played through by Valencia then, with 64 minutes played, Ambrose put Palace ahead with a wonder strike from 25 yards out. Amos had no chance as the former Newcastle man’s effort swung into the top corner.

That was Palace’s first goal in all competitions, having gone 549 minutes without scoring.

United were level three minutes later when Macheda converted a penalty after having been tugged down by McCarthy in the penalty area.

Normally, in this situation, United would push on, but they were strangely subdued as Palace looked to finish the second half strongly.

Despite having a lot of the ball in the latter stages of the game, the Reds looked unable to create any clear-cut chances, with the only threat coming from Valencia down the right channel.

The game seemed destined for penalties, then, ten minutes into the first half of extra time, Murray headed in from Ambrose’s free kick, to stun Old Trafford and send Palace through to their first semifinals since 2001.

 

Daniele

109 Comments

109 Comments

  1. Ischern Hades

    30 November 2011 at 23:16

    😥 humiliated beyond words 😥 evans, kiko, gibson and diouf are nowhere near the quality of MAN UTD!!!

  2. Mel

    30 November 2011 at 23:23

    If SAF does not finally and urgently reinforce his middling midfield in the transfer window, better expect more of this!

  3. John Tring

    1 December 2011 at 06:44

    Shocking? No. I saw the team sheet and was prepared for the inevitable. Evans, Gibson,Park are not Utd class playersagainst any opposition. SAF should have gotten rid of these guys along with da Silvas, Diouf,Macheda a long time ago. Football is not about sentiment and SAF can’t talk his way out of this crisis,.

    • RedDevilEddy

      1 December 2011 at 14:07

      I agree about Gibson, Diouf and Macheda… But Park and the Da Silva twins? 😕

    • Traverse

      1 December 2011 at 14:09

      I think that’s unfair on Evans who had a good game. Deserves time.

      Gibson was solid too, but not a creative bone in his body. A shitter Fletcher. Appalled we’re still paying his wages. Park sells shirts, until we sign Kagawa or someone he’s going nowhere unfortunately.

      Macheda needs regular football. Should have gone on load to Sunderland or Everton where would play every game. A lot of the things people are saying about him you were saying 18 months ago about Welbeck.

      For Diouf read Manucho.

      The twins is a weird one. They are 21 now. I expected them to be playing more games. I guess we’re blessed with players like Jones and Smalling who at 20 and 22 look like the real deal. Some players take longer. If they still haven’t cemented first team places by the end of next season then it’ll be time to move them on.

      Might have been too soon for Amos to be featuring when Lindegaard needs a game. Would have marshalled our defence much much better.

      • Ian

        1 December 2011 at 17:56

        Agree, thought Evans was good, very good towards the end when chasing the game.

        Agree Macheda should’ve gone on loan. Bolton I thought.

        A bad night that’s becoming all too frequent.

        I imagine SAF will be more pissed off than any of us though….imagine thinking there’s a bevy of untapped talent just itching to walk into the team and provide competition for places…..only to suffer consternation.

  4. Daniele

    1 December 2011 at 08:01

    It’s shocking only in the sense that we won the league last year and got beaten by a championship team at home last night. But, if you read the article, i said that it wasn’t shocking at all for what we saw on the pitch. Diouf and Gibson are not United class, couldn’t agree more. I wouldn’t be too harsh on Park and Evans, Park isn’t world class but he’s proved crucial for us time and again. We should’ve sent Macheda on loan to a Premier League club last year instead than sending him to Serie A. He’d have gained valuable experience, just like Welbeck and Cleverley did. I’m a big fan of the twins, but their fitness needs to be addressed.

    • Ian

      1 December 2011 at 18:04

      I agree Dan, the shocking part is the whole aspect of it. Not the performance as a team or as individuals but the whole thing, SAF included.

      It’s shocking he chose to field a weaker team than he did against Aldershot for a start off.

      Shocking that he thinks he can just put *that* many unfamiliar faces in a team and expect it to win despite the amount of times he’s come unstuck doing it. Southend, Exeter, Coventry. That’s not even going into the 8 changes he made 2 years on the spin v Bolton at home when we got beat 1-0 on both occasions (Nolan both times I think, about 6 or 7 years ago). He advocates ‘learning’ yet he sometimes appears not to have learned from his own lessons.

  5. Jay wire

    1 December 2011 at 09:02

    posted in the wrong thread so here goes.

    I touched nerves the time I was perceived a Glazer supporter. But I think, now more than ever, it’s ridiculous to blame them for our transfers. Okay, here’s the thing. We spent £60m last summer in transfers in. Hardly an insignificant amount. But here’s what we were lacking.

    1. Goalkeeper
    No matter how you look at things, this was our number one priority. We got one of the most promising young goalkeepers at a more than insignificant cost. Sorted.

    2. Central midfield
    Paul Scholes retiring, and Hargreaves being released, meant central midfield was our next big priority. It was not an option. We needed to get at least 2 central midfielders, one a playmaker of some sort, the other with holding capabilities. We got zero. That makes no sense at all. But was it because we had no money?

    £60m suggests otherwise. Mind you, Ferguson revealed that we had been tracking Phil Jones for some time, and the intention was to get him after next season or later. But because of pressure from other clubs, we “had to act quickly”. So it clearly shows he was prioritized above central midfield requirements. But did we really need to spend desperately given the clear emergency in midfield? I think not. For all his talents, Wes Brown and O’Shea are superior in the centre back role. Both can play fullback roles and one is competent in midfield. We proceeded to sell them both at awful amounts. Besides, our defence has Smalling, Evans, who are capable of covering for our first choice centre backs. Look at Madrid, Barca, Milan, Munich. Besides their first team centre backs, who do they have of great significance?

    We offloaded Gabriel Obertan who is doing relatively well at his new club. We proceeded to buy Ashley Young. Great player if you ask me, but that was never a priority. We had Park, Nani, Giggs,Valencia,and we could have given Obertan a bit more time, to be the back up’s back up, in desperate times. If he’s doing well at Newcastle, surely he was not the worst player to give more time. But at least a first team collection of the other 4 was not a disaster. But we spent a significant amount on a “luxury”. Besides, we have players in the Reserves that should have been allowed a chance in wide areas.

    So in effect, we desperately needed at least 2 central midfield players, and went to buy luxuries. It’s like going to the local store, having left the fridge and pantry empty, then you get to the store and buy the latest 3-D television, to replace the “old” LCD TV, which you proceed to sell at a laughable amount to your good friend. You can’t blame poverty. There’s clearly something wrong with your head. We got no meaningful money from selling Brown and O’Shea, whereas we could have used the wasted money to get at least one central midfielder. Honestly, £20m could have got us many,viable midfield options. I’m not even talking about the Schweinsteigers or Xavis. Cheikh Tiote,Mata,Diarra,Keita,Toulalan, Sahin all are competent players who would have covered well for Scholes and Hargreaves. And I know most of them are holding players or box to box, but that would mean Carrick can be moved further up or at least assume playmaking duties as in his first season. Solved.

    Cleverley clearly impressed last season and definitely deserved a shot in midfield. I wouldn’t mind a central midfield of Carrick, Anderson, Cleverley, Tiote(who offers something similar to Carrick and Toure) and Diarra(who was not going to cost more than £15m). At the very least, that’s a pretty solid midfield particularly if youngsters like Pogba and Morrison had been treated well.

    So where do the Glazers come in? I don’t get it. For me the Phil Jones transfer made very little sense. First of all,what position was he brought in to take? Is it centre back? Is it right back? Is it holding midfield? When it comes to centre back, he clearly has no big future there, and Evans and Smalling are way ahead of him there. In midfield, he is a clear liability just like Fletcher, with his total lack of discipline and tactical comprehension. Still I’d rather have Fletcher ahead of him. O’Shea was a solid centre back option. In fact he was solid everywhere he played, and anyone who argues that Jones could be on a par with Brown in centre back is taking bad drugs. The only place I’ve seen him play well, is right back. But he has played more games in midfield and central defence than in his clear best position. So what was the point of having “to act quickly”? He clearly solved no problems for us. What was the point of marginalizing Brown and then selling him? Whilst Jones is admittedly an exciting talent, can anyone tell me if he has made our defence better? No. Except when played at right back, which is rare. Has he improved our midfield even marginally? Again, no. We could have bought Diarra and Tiote for a combined £30m maximum and neglected Jones and Young. Diarra is well capable of the following roles.

    1. Defensive midfield
    In the mould of Arturo Vidal or Edgar Davids or Javier Mascherano. One of the best in that role if you ask me.
    2. Box to box
    Perfect energy. He is definitely an improvement to any of our midfield players in that role. All of them.
    3. Right back
    Exact same impact Jones has been having there. Pace, dribbling and powerful defending.

    Cheikh Tiote
    Basically another Yaya Toure and exactly how Pogba was being groomed in France.
    1. Regista
    His passing range, control and technical ability is not a joke. Can dictate the game as well as Carrick in his regista days.
    2. Holding midfielder
    Impeccable timing and interception. Physical presence and intelligence.
    3. Central defence
    Not his best role, but is way better than Jones there.

    £30m would have been a rip off in getting these players, and £20m on De Gea was fair. We could even sell both Brown and O’Shea and still be significantly covered and in a way better position than we are in right now. On top of that, none of them would have rejected a move to United, especially Diarra,who just like VDV and WS openly admitted to a willingness to come to United. Both have proven themselves in the exaggerated “rigors” of English football. Even Vidal,would have been easy to acquire. I can list 10 midfield players who would have improved or at least given us solid depth,and still be under £20m. So is it the Glazers fault that Ferguson felt he “had to act quickly” to get Phil Jones? It’s now pretty ridiculous to keep playing the Glazers card and quite frankly a less than logical shielding of Ferguson and his team, who have been displaying a distinct lack of ideas in the past 3 years.

    • Daniele

      1 December 2011 at 14:27

      You make some interesting points mate but i don’t think Young and Jones were players we didn’t need. Young has impressed since joining the club and we had lacked a set piece threat since Ronaldo left, with the exception of Rooney stepping up every now and then, and look at how dangerous we were from freekicks earlier in the season, not just in terms of scoring from them but also in terms of scoring off them via headers or tap-ins. Also, Obertan might be doing well at Newcastle (although i’d consider it debatable) but doing well at a mid-table club doesn’t mean a player is United class.
      Phil Jones is a superb talent and I’m glad we got him now, otherwise he might have cost us even more next summer. He’s far from being the finished product but, at 19, he could be a much worse player.
      We sold Brown and O’Shea for nothing, I completely agree with you on that. If you ask me it’s a case of us wanting to sell more than other teams wanting to buy, therefore we couldn’t command a bigger fee.
      The CM debate is an everyday one, I’m glad i’m not the only that sees an enforcer (or destroyer, if you prefer) as a need as much as a playmaker. I’ll go as far as saying that the player we are missing the most is a Keano type of player rather than Snejider or Gotze. Unfortunately, there aren’t many players out there that we could get to fill those two gaps. I’m not convinced by Diarra and Tiote seems a bit of a liability too, but at least he’s got Premier League experience. Schweinsteiger would be ideal, he can tackle,score and has bags of experience but i can’t seem him leaving Bayern. We are badly missing Fletcher of the 2008-09 season, which means that we have to look for a defensive mid (which Schweingster isn’t, at least in the strictest of terms) as well as for a playmaker.

      What worries me is that we don’t seem to have a strategy in the transfer window

      • shraga

        3 December 2011 at 15:21

        I agree, nice point of view 🙂

    • Ian

      1 December 2011 at 17:58

      Jaywire:

      Where’s the scope?

      😈 😈 😈

  6. Jay wire

    1 December 2011 at 09:05

    oh my bad. I was right initially. It’s a reply to OPTI among others.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      1 December 2011 at 15:36

      Re: Glazers.

      I am not saying they are shutting Fergie’s wallet – I can add to 60 as well. However, since the sale of Ronaldo, United have pursued a strategy of MARGINAL SUCCESS, in the sense that we field teams that should just do enough to win every games — marginally better than opponents. This means we (on average) are consistently successful but never destroy opponents or impose ourselves on any games. ECL group games (over last couple years) come to mind.

      Our winning margins have decreased dramatically on average (*Note: I think data backs this up…*) over the last couple of years. Employing this strategy means we can utilize a large squad with *above average* qualities to create teams, which can slightly outperform most opponents. This will keep us in the Top 3 (all that really matters), make us progress *far enough* in ECL and FA Cup. The Carling Cup is barely profitable and is used for tinkering/warming bench-bodies/testing youth and I do not care about the particular loss to C-Palace, but it is the ATTITUDE of our team and the SELECTION of players, which make me gag from boredom (read: efficiency) during games.

      Glazers ONLY care about profits (they’re businessmen, not footy-fans) and this strategy strikes a compromise between lynching the fans (for money), paying for fancy players, maintaining “success” (which means “not-disaster” from a fan’s perspective), and satisfying Fergie’s ambitions.

      Is Fergie conspiring with his bosses, who pay him extremely well to be at the helm? Probably, however, he still needs to be successful in footballing terms because he is a footballer and without him, United would be left with a technocratic manager, who would take this strategy of marginal success to the extreme…

      Love United, Hate Glazers — bastards^3!!!!

  7. Traverse

    1 December 2011 at 14:54

    Mad transfer news coming out of Italy. Inter Milan we’re interested in signing Gary Cahill, but have withdrawn their offer because he is going to Manchester United?!

    I like the idea of having a defence so good that we only need one goal to win a game. Ferdinand, Vidic, Cahill, Jones, Smalling, Evra, Evans, Fabio, Rafael is easily the best defensive list in the league.

    But we need to overhaul our midfield. Fletcher a neither this or that player. He’s not good enough as a true DM in the mould of Viera/Mascherano, he isn’t the all action Hargreaves/Keane type and he hasnt got the finesse in attack of Scholes/Silva. To be honest I’m not sure what type of midfielder he is, which after what seems like 10 years in our squad is insane.

    Javi Martinez is a mix of the DM/all action player we have been missing since Hargreaves got injured. Constantly.

    The game has evolved around Carrick. For years he was our most consistent player, and his cool head in midfield won us many a game. But a midfielder needs to have more than just great passing. There is a young crop of European midfielders who have grown up watching Zidane/Scholes and want to do everything, and at breakneck speed.

    Carrick passes and takes a few steps left or right. Cleverley and Anderson pass the bass and then turn and run. They run with the ball. One of them is better than the other, obviously, but it’s noticeably different watching them play. We need another player who can do that. Sneijder would have been great in the summer, but I don’t see us going back in for him in January, and next season he’ll be 28. I just don’t see it happening.

  8. godzilla

    1 December 2011 at 15:09

    Looks like Grog, the real United and my sex life have all vanished !!!

    • Onkar

      2 December 2011 at 05:20

      I dont want to be an advocate for any one here but then I could not stop but laugh when I went through all things that have been written here in kast two threads post loss against Palace. I could see all the things written here so called fans which even Grog used to say i.e. Glaziers, wrong tactics, wrong team selection, rubbish MF, wrong trasfers etc albeit in an aggressive manner. And for which he was criticized to an extent that he opted out of place where he was ever present for around three years…

  9. RedDevilEddy

    1 December 2011 at 16:10

    We have an overreliance on our wings these days. And when we use Park there, we don’t get much width. When we use Cleverely or/and Anderson, we really get tu build up from the back, with an option to go THROUGH the middle! Carrick is good, but his passing is always towards the wings. And if the ball moves forward, centrally, he his movement doesn’t give us an option to play quick one-two. He’s done brilliant at his job, but compare that to Ando. He suffered when playing with Fletch, as the Scotsman always slows our game down. But Ando has great movement, likes to play one-two. I’ve critisiced him for being stupid when doing those long-range diagonal passes, as they often aren’t necessary. Rooney offers us one thing as a holding striker, being so deep in the pitch, and that is quick movement and passing. Ando has also got that, but he, like Rooney, often choose to go long and diagonal to make himself look good, and spare his energy. I mean, there will always be room for our midfield to expose. There are 22 players on a very wide, and huge pitch, and although top teams manage to close areas down they will never be able to block them completely. Ando is a success when he tries to do it simple, and move his sobby ass after making a pass. I can’t really fault him for not doing so when he is partnered with Fletch, as he’ll never get the ball back, but when partnered with Carrick or Cleverely he really looks on form. He runs, he passes, he gets other into play instead of just wasting a 50 yard ball because he doesn’t want it anymore. Same goes for Cleverley. Although categorized as a runner for our midfield, it’s very rare you see him have more than three touches on the ball. It moves, he moves. He did well against Everton, although United didn’t. Why is that? I blame Fletch for it. He can be a brilliant player when paired with Carrick, as our main game will go through the wings. And if there is one thing Fletcher is good at, except running all day long, it’s getting into areas from crosses. He doesn’t possess a lot of Scholesy, but he does have his ability of arriving late and unnoticed in the box. But pair him with Cleverley or Anderson and both will suffer.

    The kind of game we play with Cleverley and Ando in midfield is what I will call “organized chaos”. Everything looks out of control, with everyone everywhere, but they do it on purpose and they know what to do. It’s pretty simple, and joyful to watch. Total football is what someone may call it, but I wouldn’t take it that far. We’ll always look our best going wide, we always do, but having the option to build up an attack centrally, and drag the opposition wide players either more central, or higher up the pitch, is vital for our game. Look at our goal against Everton. Clev starts wide, goes centrally, plays the ball centrally, then it goes wide, then cross and goal. Same with our goal against Spurs, by Welbeck. It all starts centrally, then the ball goes wide, then back centrally, then cross in and then goal. Then there was Ando’s goal, which started wide then got central, just as Nani’s goal against City. It’s not because of creative players. I tell you, having a Gøtze or Sneijder in there when we play such static football as we did against Swansea and Sunderland wouldn’t help us at all. No, great movement, flexible play, short passing is what made our goals. Of course it’s easy to put a cross in, but playing out the opposition, having the movement to get people out of position while also creating enough space for the crosser to expose is brilliant. We score the most goals coming from crosses by all the teams in the League, although never getting goals from corners? Why is that? Our strikers are Hernandez, Rooney and Welbeck, I don’t see any real force in the air there. Their movement is vital for us, but you can see how they suffer without any real movement in central.

    Fletch is a great “forward-mover”, meaning he does well when timing his runs forward, but he is woeful centrally. Cleverley, Ando, Carrick, all brilliant centrally. If Giggsy offers us something in the middle, it’s movement and getting another man to help out wide. Suddenly the opposition CM becomes their second right back! I’d love someone like Gøtze here, but it wouldn’t make us play better. No, I’d only give us some flash supermodel eye-candy to watch during games. Individual brilliance. We don’t want that do we? We rather want United to play like they did at the start of the season. You can stop players, even the most brilliant ones, but you can’t stop a whole team. It’s impossible. We need Cleverely back, and hopefully Ando as well. He’ll probably gain some massive weight while he is out, but if he gets back to top form towards the end of the season he could be the difference to whether we win 3 trophies or none. Of course, if Cleverley and Carrick can form a partnership together it would be amazing, but it definately would be easier to stop than Clev-Ando.

    • Moscow is my heaven

      1 December 2011 at 17:19

      A Cleverley-Anderson combination cannot succeed against good opposition because it does not have discipline nor technique. Movement is nothing without intelligence, without direction. Quick passing means little without composure, without conviction. Their brief stint together as a partnership resulted in perhaps the most defensively vulnerable period of the season, where teams good or bad created so many opportunities simply bypassing the midfield that De Gea faced the most shots on goal than any other keeper. Gung-ho football will look heroic against poor teams, but will be systematically cut down by superior midfields.

      Anderson is an embarassment of a footballer, who after showing his true face against top opposition has now gone into hiding with injury, and I am grateful for it. I very much hope not to see his fat ass usurp Scholesy’s position in midfield. It is too painful a contrast to what we had with the Ginger Ninja (control, tempo, elegance, intelligence, breathtaking technique). Can you tell me with a straight face, that 3-4 years from now (the age Sneijder is right now), Anderson will be sharing the spotlight as one of the top candidates for Ballon D’Or? He is a failure of epic proportions, someone who is championed as an attacking midfielder, but who has an embarassing scoring record, can’t dribble, can’t pass and cannot shoot to save his life.

      We look out of ideas, we have a gaping hole in midfield, and more worryingly, we lack an identity that so many of our vintage teams used to have. I refuse to believe that we are still meant to be in transition, because I’ve been hearing this shit ever since the sale of our true superweapon, Ronaldo.

      If the likes of Sneijder or Goetze indeed do not fit our system, perhaps we should change this ‘super-successful’ system accordingly so that we CAN accomodate these special talents?

      • RedDevilEddy

        1 December 2011 at 21:04

        How can you say they won’t work against top oppositions? We haven’t even seen them challenged, and in the one tough game they had together we turned a 0-2 loss at half time to a 3-2 win against City. Anderson may be dumb as fuck, but Cleverley isn’t. He’s clever, he knows how to play football.

        As for changing our system, I don’t really want that. It’s the Manchester United way of playing, I don’t want us to turn into Barca, or Real Madrid, or even City for that matter. We are Manchester United, and we’ll play our game.

        • Ian

          1 December 2011 at 23:02

          But we have/are changing the clubs football philosophy, we’ve always had flying wingers of the highest available calibre.

          But who do we have now?

          Ok Young and Giggs on left but one’s 83 and the other isn’t an orthodox winger.

          On the right we have Valencia who swings from in-form to out-of-form in a heartbeat, when he’s good he’s excellent but when he’s bad he’s worse than the great Ralph Milne!

          Nani: Again, not your orthodox winger.

          The philosophy has changed, you won’t see the likes of Olsen, Blomqvist, Beckham or Coppell again, well not for a long while anyway.

        • Moscow is my heaven

          1 December 2011 at 23:14

          Each to their own mate, if you think the ‘Manchester United way’ is some sort of moral code to stick to, suit yourself. I believe in winning football matches, and doing so convincingly, and right now, ‘our game’ isn’t exactly working wonders in that respect.

          People on here ridiculed Jose’s football for it’s boring, pragmatic style but oh how the tables have turned… they are playing lightning counter attacking football (something we prided ourselves in during the Ronaldo years) and possess the only midfield capable of beating Barca in a flat-out showdown.

          45 minutes of football doesn’t prove much, especially when it’s played in a glorified friendly. A 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford proves a lot, however.

        • Craig Mc

          2 December 2011 at 10:16

          Have Real M beaten Barca this season then Moscow?

        • Craig Mc

          2 December 2011 at 23:29

          Errr WTF – who gave thumbs down to this post comment – where I was asking Moscow a legitimate question – I know Real M are 6 points ahead in La lIga and I just wanted to know if any of those points came from beating Barca – Jeez! I want Jose to do a number on Barca with Real M, because I am sick to death of Barca’s little diamond shaped dinky passes, and also of how they become total dirty bastards and cheats every time someone goes into the lead against them or looks like stopping them!

        • Moscow is my heaven

          2 December 2011 at 23:50

          If it wasn’t a rhetorical question, then I will answer: no they haven’t. My point is that right now they are by far the closest side to trumping Barcelona AND they play some stunning football. I also had to use Jose because he has been treated unfairly by Utd fans when he has only shown his respect and admiration for who he calls ‘The Boss’, our gaffer. Mourinho is special to me, and should be praised as a hero if he brings down the evil that is Barcelona.

        • Craig Mc

          3 December 2011 at 14:38

          I agree and thankyou for answering my question.

        • Stephen

          2 December 2011 at 10:24

          Well he played that brand of football in Italy and the Premiership. We also played good football before Ronaldo played for us also……..
          We are still 5 points ahead of where we were last season, lets not give up yet… 😯 🙄

        • Stephen

          2 December 2011 at 11:01

          Didn’t Barca stuff Real 5 nil last season, were you saying that proves a lot then?

        • Moscow is my heaven

          3 December 2011 at 01:45

          Yes. Real had to improve, and they did. That’s why they now have a 3 point lead (with a game in hand) over Barcelona.

    • Onkar

      2 December 2011 at 05:29

      Read the whole thing in One line in my opinion and that is ” WE ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH IN THE CENTER OF THE PARK”..

      See when the team of the calibre of Man UTD is putting their hopes on a Mediocre Anderson and a Very good Cleverly who has just played about 5 matches for Man UTD you know that where this club’s MF is heading isnt it??? One can write pages full of analysis but then at the end of the day the FACT reamains that Man UTD’s MF is not good enough anymore…. And may be thats what all the so called doom merchants like Tony, Moscow and Groggy were saying in Summer.. Isnt it???

      • Craig Mc

        2 December 2011 at 10:18

        Errrr Onkar that is what ALL THE POSTERS ON HERE HAVE BEEN SAYING, and we have all been saying it for last 4 seasons – so you are not saying anything none of us have said before!

        • Onkar

          2 December 2011 at 12:03

          I know bro.. That people like us I mean myself, you, tony, moscow have been saying this for long but then I cant take a fact that if the same albeit with lot of agression said by Grog got such an abuse that he chose to leave. I mean I am just trying to point out the double standards… Abusing someone for some reason and then coming up with the same reason in there own assessment doesnt go well with me….

        • Stephen

          2 December 2011 at 13:28

          Grog did not leave due to him stating we need to improve the midfield mate.

        • Craig Mc

          2 December 2011 at 14:30

          Onkar Groggy left mate because of the last article he wrote for this blog was not received well by many. It was nothing to do with his stance on the Glazers – I think most fans agree with him on that. It was to do with the numerous complaints and the responses Grog got to the article that started a whole debate, and sadly Grog felt he didn’t want to continue on here. I personally wish he would come back and just post in the comment section again, because when he did post comments long or short, many of the regulars agreed with a lot of what he said. He got more thumbs up than thumbs down Onkar -and that is to his credit and the regulars who knew where he was coming from in a good few things of what he said. Groggy was a big personality on here – and he is missed by so many of us. It was the article that caused uproar as many felt the tone of it was over the line – but I think Grog would be welcomed back if he ever decided to return and comment – which I hope he does!

        • Stephen

          2 December 2011 at 14:41

          We would all want Grog back mate and he will. His pink feather bower is still in the hallway of Red Rants Towers after his diva style walk out a few months ago. We all know how much he loves it! Come on Grog get yourself back here! 😆

        • Craig Mc

          2 December 2011 at 14:54

          Groggy that’s 2 red rants regulars asking for your return – come on mate swallow your pride and come debate with us again in the comments section. Rimmers please do what you can to try help this happen. Any other red ranter regualrs here who would love our Grog back – please let him know by making your voices heard. Then hopefully Grog will come back by popular consent!

        • Onkar

          3 December 2011 at 05:40

          Add my name as the THIRD bro.. Though I know I am not as regular as I used to in contributing here but I am still very much aware of the situation and comments that goes on here. I know which article you were refering to and I have to though it was a bitter article I for one agreed to many things wrote. Anyway, I hope just like you said that he would come back and may not be as writer but as commentator…

          Hey Ian can you pass on the msg to Groggy…

        • Ian

          3 December 2011 at 07:31

          Done.

        • Onkar

          3 December 2011 at 05:45

          Add my name as the THIRD bro.. Though I know I am not as regular as I used to in contributing here but I am still very much aware of the situation and comments that goes on here. I know which article you were refering to and I have to though it was a bitter article I for one agreed to many things wrote. Anyway, I hope just like you said that he would come back and may not be as writer but as commentator…

          Hey Ian can you pass on the msg to Groggy…

          Hey Ian I qouted wrong E Mail Id on my previous comment plz delete the same…

        • Ian

          3 December 2011 at 07:38

          You might believe this, you might not but…..I’ve been working all night and yesterday I emailed Van to ask him how his health is/was. Anyway, he’s ok etc and we mailed overnight. The conversation included me saying I think his illness played a part in what happened and how I know people here blame me for what happened which I can accept.

          I suggested he returns to comment when he’s better (he’s getting better btw) but he’s not interested right now.

          I did all that before I read these comments so please don’t think i’m keeping him away, I’m not.

          I’d love to see him back, but I’d also hate to see him back before he’s well enough.

          If anyone wants his email contact me.

        • Onkar

          3 December 2011 at 08:57

          See Ian dont take it otherwise. i never meant you played a part or anything. All I wanted to say was you have been in touch with him for RR purpose then why not pass on the feeling that even though there were people who slatted him there are like me who would want him back.. Just that.. Good to know you are trying.. I hope he will be back atleast commenting in full swing if not anything else…ONce again I apologies if I came across as offensive against you…

        • Ian

          3 December 2011 at 12:36

          There’s no need to apologise mate., no offence taken.

        • Craig Mc

          3 December 2011 at 09:32

          Ian nobody blames you mate – what happened is we all said what we thought we had to at the time – so don’t shoulder it yourself. Grog made the decision to leave, and he will decide whether he wants to return or not. We have just let him know that he would be welcomed back with our post comments. So good his health is improved. That’s the most important thing.

        • Stephen

          3 December 2011 at 10:13

          I second that, certainly no one can blame Ian, he has done a great job with this site and hats off to him.

        • Ian

          3 December 2011 at 12:44

          Thanks Craig. I don’t blame myself I blame Van 100%, but I do wish I’d handled it a bit better.

        • Ian

          3 December 2011 at 07:40

          Onkar, there’s a difference between leaving a comment of that nature but an all together bigger problem when it’s an official RR post that’s beamed around the web via newsnow, twitter, Fb etc etc.

          Blame me no problem, but there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

        • Onkar

          3 December 2011 at 09:01

          I totally agree bro.. And thats why I have been saying that he should come back when fit to start commenting on the Topics rather than Contributing the same. See, whether you know it not, but for long time now I have been his one of the admirer and that was the reason that I may have sounded as bit offensive towards people who went after him. BUt then I understand the difference between writing in comments section and contributing the topics. Soo I would like to see doing commenting again..

        • Ian

          3 December 2011 at 12:43

          Me too, and like I told Van, it’s not from a rating point of view either, it’s from a personal point of view. Many of his opinions I agreed with, I mean who could argue with some of them….no one, they’re plain to see.

          I wish I hadn’t posted the article that eventually did the damage but, being true to Van and keeping my word that I wouldn’t censor him, I did, and that was a mistake.

          Me getting dragged into it openly in the comments was also a mistake.

        • Craig Mc

          3 December 2011 at 14:33

          Ian you had to get into it – as site administrator you had to make decisions. There was too big an outcry both in support of Grog and against him – I didn’t envy you having to deal with both the situation on the board and the fall out afterwards. Admin’s have a tough job to do and all the decisions they have to take are not going to please everyone. Damned if you do act, and damned if you don’t eh? Well we have all been there including Groggy and so we understand that your job running such a vocal and contentious site as Red Rants is not easy.

      • Stephen

        2 December 2011 at 10:22

        We all knew that to be true in the Summer. Fergie make a massive mistake in not investing in the midfield, the side bar the centre of the park is still good. The idea that Anderson, Fletch, Carrick and Cleverley were going to be able to dictate the midfield let alone on the Premiership but in Europe was a joke, Fergie hang your head I am afraid.

  10. colver

    1 December 2011 at 17:35

    A bit harsh on the twins, Park and Evans. All are useful squad players to have. The twins have both excelled as right backs when they are fit. That is my only criticism of them-made of glass. Evans is just fine when played alongside Vidic or Rio. Park is great to have in big games and I can understand Ferguson wanting to give him some game time as he will probably be starting against Basle next week.

    Jay Wire I agree with you. Jones was ridiculously overpriced and not even necessary as we already have Rio, Vidic, Evans and Smalling with Carrick as back-up. I have no problem with selling Brown but it was a strange decision to sell O’Shea as he can play anywhere across the defence and if anything we lack quality full-backs with the twins unable to stay fit and Evra monopolizing the left back position.

    Young was a good signing for the price we paid. And he allows us to play Nani more frequently in his preferred position on right wing, even if it is at the expense of Valencia who has been frozen out of the team despite having undeniable quality. So I have no real problem with that signing especially as Giggs is due to retire soon.

    But yeah had we bought Rodwell or Tiote (I think Diarra’s wages would be a sticking point the same way I think Nasri’s were) instead of Jones we would being dramatically better at home and in Europe.

    So Ferguson definitely deserves a lot of the blame. There are other managers who aren’t given huge quantities of money and have a wage structure who make the right signings and still do well. But I can almost guarantee that the next signing Ferguson makes will either be a striker or a defender. The old man is that predictable.

  11. Ian

    1 December 2011 at 18:24

    Last time I looked football was a team game. Seems to me too many people see names and attributes and think ‘hey, they will win!’

    It takes time to build a team, and every GREAT team needs a nucleus.

    Too many players at the club
    Too many average players in the squad
    Too much emphasis on technique throughout the club is strangling creativity. Players are concentrating on getting the simple things right so much that they’re not looking for killer passes or doing something spontaneous. (except for Anderson who A. Doesn’t have the ability to concentrate for 90 minutes. or B. the passing ability to match his vision)
    Doing the simple things right is being hindered by continual squad rotation.
    Not enough players are nailed on starters for every game

    Problems problems problems……

    Thank fook for the academy! :mrgreen:

    • Stephen

      2 December 2011 at 10:34

      Agreed, we have too many mediocre squad players. We need to get back to a core squad and work within those bounderies. Diouf, Macheda, Gibson, Kuz, Bebe and even Berba need to be sold and re-invest in the FUCKING MIDFIELD 😈 😈 😈 😈

      • tonymontanna4united

        2 December 2011 at 17:08

        Evans too id say. A decent player, who i would say is capable of having a very solid game for 80 minutes, but in that 10 minute period where he inevitably screws up, is responsible for giving away a goal or 2. Just not dependable enough in my opinion, always likely to make one mistake thats costs you and his inclusion in the team and the fact we conceed atleast 2 goals a game everytime he plays, tells you the effect he has on the rest of the defensive line.
        Shame its turned out this way, as when i first saw him i thought he’d be quality, but hes had enough chances now, its time he was moved on and someone else brought in.

  12. Yang

    1 December 2011 at 20:19

    It was very weak team selection. SAF consider league cup game as no significant game. I suppose that Berb or Owen could play then we would win.

    It is very difficult to play well when most of team consisted with reserve players so it is about taking the chances when it come up. Both young forwards keep fluff the chances.

    Park in center with one of senior strikers is good enough to win but Berb got injured and twin too.

    Reserves and youth prospect is no match for even lower league pro’s team working. Last league cup games were same as this game. Few senior players asked to carry the whole team but this game Fergie seems like fall short options, I guess.

  13. Craig Mc

    1 December 2011 at 21:00

    Fergie is learning some lessons with his team choices – and last nights team was totally ridiculous. I mean he expected to beat a v.good championship team with just a few of our 2nd team players and a lot of KIDS. I mean the whole bench was made up of kids. Fergie doesn’t do things by halves – does he? This is why I find it very hard to understand his thinking these days. Instead of sensible decisions he goes all gung ho with either no kids or then what NINE of them in one night. Crystal palace thought their birthdays and christmas had come all at once – Fergie so gifted them! 🙄 . We gave that game away with bad team selections and United fans are getting sick of it happening so often.

  14. Craig Mc

    1 December 2011 at 21:02

    By the way I still remember a similar Fergie comedy team selection when Coventry beat us at our place – deja vous!

    • tonymontanna4united

      2 December 2011 at 16:58

      Pique was in the team that day wasnt he, amazing to think less than 2 years later he was lifting the CL.
      Looking back at that coventry game, we ended up moving on the likes of lee martin, danny simpson, fraizer campbell, chris eagles, and similarly after last years shocker at west ham soon got rid of o’pie, tommy k, obertan and bebe, so heres hoping we see the same over the coming months, and gibbo, diouf, evans, macheda and the like, are moved on too along with some more of the deadwood. Not before bloody time either.

  15. Craig Mc

    2 December 2011 at 10:25

    Calling on all United fans to boycott carling cup games at OT – if Fergie isn’t going to take the CC seriously and give the fans some value for the money they pay, why should we keep coughing up? 😀 I am one of the fans that other football fans used to say would turn up at OT to watch the grass grow – but watching football is so bloody expensive these days that we should be given by Fergie at least something to shout about for our money. Maybe you all might not agree, but I think a good few fans have already started staying away from our CC home games.

    • Stephen

      2 December 2011 at 10:32

      The fans on Wednesday were also terrible, too many day trippers go to CC games. The singing was non existant, all I couldhere were the Palace fans singing, “Your support is fucking shit” Which it was.

      • Craig Mc

        2 December 2011 at 10:38

        Were you singing Stephen? 😀

        • Stephen

          2 December 2011 at 10:39

          I was singing blue feckin murder mate :mrgreen:

        • Craig Mc

          2 December 2011 at 10:41

          😆 😆 😆 😆 good for you!

        • Stephen

          2 December 2011 at 10:47

          Can’t wait for Saturday now. I hope this exit will be a wake up call for Fergie, it is abundantly clear where the issues are with our side and with the Jan window opening in under a month hopefully we will spend, spend, spend…

  16. Craig Mc

    2 December 2011 at 10:33

    I will be cheering on our lads from the terraces at Aston Villa, and hopefully the 1st team will do us proud and get the win. Come on Chicharito get your goal scoring boots on Son, and Wazza FFS all we are saying is GIVE US A GOAL mate. I know the United players and staff read this board among others – so Mi man Nani get those crosses in to Wazza and Chicharito – sneak a goal or 2 yourself while you are at it. The United faithful – will be in full voice on the terraces at Villa watching – our away fans are the greatest for atmosphere.

    • tonymontanna4united

      2 December 2011 at 16:50

      You can always count on our away support mate, best in the country by a bloody mile. Havent been to villa park for years now, but was always a great day out. Hope you have a good un mate, and the lads give you something to sing about. I think its gonna be a mighty scrappy game, boring for long periods, but ultimately we’ll probably see them off 1-0 as seems to be the norm these days.
      (Fact which amazed me even though its not that surprising on reflection, its been over 2 months now since we scored more than a single goal in a PL match. Not since the 2-0 win over norwich on october the 1st. 2 fucking months 😯 )

      • Stephen

        2 December 2011 at 17:16

        Away support is superb, you get the old school supporters going, The Jibbers. Villa Park is one of my favorite away grounds, I remember seeing Ruud coming off the bench and whacking in a brace there, great days!

        • tonymontanna4united

          2 December 2011 at 17:29

          You talking about the FA cup tie stephen, 2-0 behind we came back to win 3-2? I was there that night, 12 years old thinking it was game over, my dad saying we should think about leaving so as we could get away early and avoid the traffic, right when ole got the first.
          From there you just knew we were going to get the win really didnt you.
          Still remember the fans going crazy and running onto the field. Wanted to get on too but couldnt manage it. One of my best memories though without doubt.
          Was also there when scholes scored that piledriver in 2006, again great game. Need to get to villa park again some time.

        • Stephen

          2 December 2011 at 17:32

          Yes mate, it was a brilliant night great support and a fantastic game.

  17. ash is the man

    2 December 2011 at 11:45

    what time is ko?

    • Stephen

      2 December 2011 at 11:54

      17.30 Uk

      • ash is the man

        2 December 2011 at 11:57

        cheers

  18. Jay wire

    2 December 2011 at 16:23

    OPTI

    With all due respect that is really a far fetched conspiracy theory. We’re winning poorly and losing as well not because of lack of money, but a clear lack of technical authority. Simple. Money is money. If £60m was available, noone can convince me it’s the Americans fault we didn’t get a central midfielder. How does your theory of “marginal success” account for the fact we didn’t? If it’s about getting these so called above average players, then football is full of above average midfielders. Was midfield not a clear priority? I mean, it has been screaming “State of Emergency” for quite some time now. So why spend the apparently low cash on Jones and Young? Here’s a list of cheap options from the top of my head that would have definitely added value to our squad. All of them cheap, underrated and easily available options. All of them logical and would have stabilized our midfield and all better than most of our current first team players

    1. Cheik Tiote
    Immense last season. Plays like Yaya and is just as strong.

    2.Diarra
    Has been regular in Real Madrid’s midfield. Need I say more. Okay. He can play right back.

    3. Arturo Vidal
    Currently undroppable in unbeaten, league topping Juventus midfield alongside Pirlo. Physical Roy Keane type.

    4. KP Boateng
    Was in real danger of playing Championship football until Milan got him. Impressive in South Africa. Milan’s key midfielder. Barca game says it all, and he’s been doing that all season

    5. Toulalan
    Impressive in France. Now impressive in Spain. Technical player. Solid. Cheap

    I haven’t even researched anything. Ask me another time and I’ll list at least 7 other players. It’d be a travesty if we paid more than £15 m for any of them.

    • Stephen

      2 December 2011 at 16:39

      Young was relatively cheap and Liverpool’s and Arsenal’s interest in Jones forced our hand. Both were good buys, although I am somewhat sceptical the need for Young as he is yet another right footed winger.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      2 December 2011 at 20:02

      I love conspiracy theories..

      But seriously, money matters a lot and the 60 mill we spent was on younger players and one free-kick / corner specialist (Young). Our midfield is going through birthing pains. Let me put this is brutal terms:

      Either our midfield gives birth to the future (i.e. sorts itself out with Anderson and Cleverly cementing first team spots and Pogba and Morrison showing great promise in their appearances) or we adopt a couple beautiful babies (i.e. buy 2-3 quality midfielders) from Europe and abort our midfield experiment (i.e. sell Carrick, Fletcher, Anderson).

      Which option is cheaper?

      On money, why do you think we sold O’Shea and Brown for pennies? It was to lighten our weekly salary payments… 80K/week for 52 weeks > 4 million. Do you think Glazers would sell our players on the cheap? Same reason we don’t buy anything on the expensive or anything old. Same reason we buy younger players — A.M.O.R.T.I.Z.A.T.I.O.N.

      Do you not believe that Fergie is told by Glazer Regime to cut luxuries such as Brown/O’Shea or do you think Fergie decided this independently? If my conspiracy is a result of believing the former, then yes. I BELIEVE!

      Glazer are rotting out the club from the core with this MARGINAL SUCCESS strategy. I fully believe this. I also believe that under Glazers, without Fergie, United would never win another trophy — it’s too expensive to win trophies without Fergie (ask Chelsea, City, Portsmouth, Leeds, Barca, Real Madrid, PSG, Lyon, Bayern).

      Rant off 🙂
      PS: Can you come up with a simple non-conspiratory line of thought to explain why Fergie did not buy (read; avoided) a midfielder that is not tied to Glazers’ money-making / debt?

  19. Stephen

    2 December 2011 at 16:54

    As much a I love Giggsy, him being offered another contract for me is a retrograde step. We keep banging the drum about our youth, but we never seem to trust them. Pogba, Morrison need to be given first team football, at least from the bench. Giggs has arguably been the best player ever to wear the shirt, but surely his time now must be up.

  20. Jay wire

    2 December 2011 at 17:13

    Ian. My bad man. Check your mail please.

  21. Jay wire

    2 December 2011 at 17:36

    Stephen, Young was not cheap. He was priced fairly. Anyway, my point was it’s not the Glazers fault we decided to prioritize Young and Jones instead of central midfielders. Tell me in all honesty, you feel both were higher priority. We could do well without both of them. If Arsenal and Chelsea forced our hand on Jones, why didn’t Common Sense force our hand in getting a midfielder. It’s elementary stuff. There’s just no defence for Ferguson. We have no midfielders because to him we have enough quality there and he prefers strikers and defenders. Enough money has been availed to him in all the transfer windows and he has gone out to get a zillion defenders and strikers. Bebe was more important than say VDV. How much beeffing does the defence or attack need? But the point is, the decisions and therefore the blame is on Ferguson. I haven’t come up with conspiracy theories or obscure explanations, just the facts. Let’s blame and accuse the Glazers for actual crimes, but not Ferguson’s illogical decision making

    • Stephen

      2 December 2011 at 17:41

      I don’t disagree Jay, young was fairly cheap considering what Liverpool payed for two Englishman in Henderson and Carroll. Young was an International and would have commanded a higher fee if his contract wasn’t winding down. The midfield should have been the main area to strengthen, Bebe was a disaster signing all be it on low wages. Would I have wanted lets say Sneijder and Diarra above the two you mentioned, yes mate. Fergie sometimes is too obsessed with looking to the future, sometimes he has to look after the now.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      3 December 2011 at 04:48

      the decisions and therefore the blame is on Ferguson. I haven’t come up with conspiracy theories or obscure explanations, just the facts.

      I respectfully disagree. You don’t know anything of what goes on between Glazers and Fergie; therefore, by definition, you are not speaking the facts, and, therefore, you are merely perpetuating another conspiracy theory.

      Are you claiming that these statements are any different in their amounts of truthfulness:
      1) “It is common sense that our midfield is weak, therefore, Fergie should be blamed for making these (independent?) illogical decisions”
      2) “Fergie was told by owners to cut Brown, O’Shea, and Hargo, and give younger midfielders a chance before being allowed to spend on more midfielders”

  22. tonymontanna4united

    2 December 2011 at 17:39

    Arrgh dont know why this hasnt shown when posted above but anyway just wanted to say in response to craig asking for regulars to make themselves known in regards to showing their support for grog and his return, im in agreement with that. Always loved grogs style of writing, the way he wouldnt hold back and would always speak his mind.
    Lets hope he returns in the near future as i for one miss him and his input.

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      3 December 2011 at 04:50

      Would like him back, but I am barely here anymore either… what was Groggy’s own blog / site again?

  23. RedDevilEddy

    2 December 2011 at 18:09

    I really want us to buy a midfielder, I do. But I want him to be able to fit well into the team. A complete midfielder who could tackle, pass, shoot, position himself well, dictate the play, dribble, while also being strong AND agile… I wouldn’t mind that. Not at all, I say let’s get him! They’re just very rare to find… As I’ve said, Rodwell would be amazing. Tiote is really good as well, how old is he? Modric would be splendid, but other than those three I can’t really see anyone who is worth splashing the cash for. Except for Sweinsteiger, but then we wouldn’t be able to get him for all the money in the world either!!

    • fatboy

      2 December 2011 at 20:02

      no need to find the “perfect Midfielder” anyone who has the ability to make a visible impact -defensive/offensive is most welcome. Midfielders in the Keano mold are extinct and should one be out there, we must bide our time till we get him. No reason not to go out and find a suitable candidate though. There are loads of them out there

    • tonymontanna4united

      2 December 2011 at 20:02

      Yeah i get what your saying eddie, and i agree. Really hate the way so many players today only seem capable of doing one particular role.

      “I can put my foot in, and protect the back 4, but forget about me ever playing a forward pass or making a forward run”.
      “Im a creative midfielder, i need space and time to do my thing, and need protection from atleast 2 midfielders who will give me just that. So forget about me ever putting my foot in, dropping deep, offering protection etc as thats just not what i do”.

      I know players have their own roles, and obviously im not saying everyone should be all action, do everything type players. Rooney for example, despite being a tireless, unselfish, work horse, is obviously losing something from his game when hes dropping too deep and spending too much away from the opposition penalty box, so im not saying everyone can or indeed has to play like that.
      But i do quite agree, its no good, particularly in a 2 man midfield, having players who are only capable of performing 1 set role in the team.
      An out and out DM, and an out and out creative/AM in a 2 man midfield just isnt going to work.
      We need complete midfielders as you say, players who do it all. Getting stuck in, good range of passing, intelligence, positionally sound, all rounders.
      Not alot of them around sadly these days, but thats not to say they dont exist, just a lot harder to spot.
      Rodwell, martinez, tiote, vidal who we unfortunately missed out on, khediera, clevs and our very own ryan tunnicliffe (am a massive fan of this lad, keep your eyes on him), are all capable of doing all of that, and in the case of rodwell and martinez, i believe could be had for decent amounts of money ie below or around the £20m mark (rodwell certainly with the lack of money everton have at the minute).
      Just seems like a bit of a mental block on fergies part though, think hes still a little nervous after his last few midfield signings ie veron, miller, djemba, kleberson, anderson, have all pretty much been gigantic wastes of money, and thats still playing on his mind.
      He needs to realise though, that 4 years without any sign of new blood or activity, is always going to have a negative effect on the team.
      New arrivals are needed to keep the first teamers on their toes, to increase competition for places, to offer something new where needed.
      The decision to stand still and stick with what weve got, is completely foolish and shows a lack of forward thinking by fergie and his staff.
      We didnt stand still and say in brown, vida, rio and evra weve got the best defensive unit in the world so lets just stick with what weve got did we. No, we realised that wouldnt last forever so went out and brought in 2 of the best young prospects in the world in smalling and jones, both of whom have been outstanding in their time here imo.
      Why havent we done the same with the midfield? Well only fergie knows. Hes got some fantastic young prospects in tunnicliffe, morrison, pogba, petrucci who in the case of tunners and morrison, i believe are ready to start being blooded as of right now.
      Leaving them to rot in the reserves forever though, never buying anyone new in the transfer market, just sticking with the same old same old, i just dont get what fergies trying to do there.
      Its all just such a bloody mess really, and with holes starting to form in the backline now with the likes of rio, evra and evans, looking less than solid, and rafael and fabio looking like saha/hargreaves clones, it all points towards one thing; money, and quite a lot of it, being needed and quick.
      Not something gill and the glazers will like to hear.

      • RedDevilEddy

        2 December 2011 at 23:09

        To be honest, the only player I see close to being “perfect” is Pogba. There are waaaaaaaay too few midfielders out there who actually fit the criteria. Every top team out there has a great pair of midfielders, but each sticking to their own role. I guess it’s the modern way of playing football, but it’s not what you want. As I’ve said, Sneijder is an amazing player but he’s the laziest son of a bitch you’ll see out there. He can’t play in a two man midfield, simple! Same goes with Nasri. Then you have Parker, who can only defend, and has a good shot, but you almost NEVER see him in the opposition end of the park. Tiote, Lass, all great defensive midfielders with decent attacking contributions, but they don’t really use that. Tiote scored 1 goal last season, if I’m not wrong? And Lass plays right back more often than not at Real these days! Pogba can pass, dribble, defend, shoot, tackle, add to that he is tall and strong with great agility as well. But he’ll need times, lots of it! People seem to demand too much, and if we are to get an attacking midfielder it should be one who can deploy in a two-man midfield. Goetze can’t, Sneijder can’t, Özil can’t… Even Xavi doesn’t play up to his usual standard without two men helping him out! Scholes and Keane were brilliant back then, Robson even! They could both attack and defend whenever necessary, and of course that is what we’ve come to expect. These days we only have players who can fill roles, and maybe that is the modern football way kicking in but it’s not joyful to watch.

        Unless we all stay patient and wait for Pogba to be properly groomed, there are only a couple players that I know of that can fill the criteria that everyone is asking for.

        Rodwell
        Schweinsteiger
        Prince Boateng
        Owen Hargreaves(at top form)
        Jack Wilshire
        Modric

        Other than that I can’t really see the “complete” midfielder everyone is raving about. None of our midfielders fill that criteria, but then again I look around in the Premier League and I don’t see many better! The only midfield I can see out there better than ours is Spurs and maybe City, but I’m still to be impressed by the latter. Toure is a beast, I’ll give him that, but De Jong and Barry wouldn’t get a spot in our sorry midfield. Silva is, in my opinion, the best player in the Premier League, but could he play in a two man midfield? I highly doubt it. Charlie Adam is a hollywood player, and Henderson is a sorry excuse for a footballer-now(who knows in the future, but he’s pathetic these days). If Liverpool can get Gerrard fit, and maintain Lucas’ consistency, I’ll say their midfield is better than ours, but those are very big “ifs”. Don’t give me Chelsea or Arsenal, although they players may be good we’ve fucked them over time and time again in that area. I mean, Giggsy and Carrick themselves tore Essien, Lampard and Ramires to shreads last season, if that doesn’t say anything I don’t know what will!! 😆

        • Moscow is my heaven

          2 December 2011 at 23:32

          Why do we have to play a 2 man midfield?

        • RedDevilEddy

          3 December 2011 at 00:12

          Ask Fergie…

        • Moscow is my heaven

          3 December 2011 at 01:46

          I do not value Fergie’s tactical acumen so highly at the moment.

        • RedDevilEddy

          3 December 2011 at 03:02

          Not meaning to be rude or anything, but when I say “ask Fergie” I genuinly mean ask Fergie. He is the only person who decides who plays for us. I know a lot of people are on his back at the moment because of tactics, or results, but frankly I know it must be hard for the man to satisfy the needs of the fans along with going with this clubs tradition.

          We will never play like Barca. Or Real for that matter. I’ve been watching United ever since the Premier League era began, and we’ve stuck to the same type of system through the whole period except for maybe 2001/02 and 2009/10, both being seasons we didn’t win the title after 3 on the trot. Of course the players, roles and formations have changed, but he’s adapted to how football has changed over the years, which really is extraordinary… But as said, he still has laid the same base for it.

          We have two wide wingers, one holding striker and one leading striker. The central midfield area is where we suffer these days, but it’s never really been our threatening area. Of course I would like us to get a player in there who could chip in with 10-15 goals a season, but would I want that if it meant he couldn’t defend? Personally, I wouldn’t. But that maybe comes from me being a defender/defensive midfielder. Others may agree, and of course I see their point. Scholesy, for all his goalscoring brilliance back in the days, never left his defensive duties. If Sneijder could work in a two-man midfield, and wasn’t a lazy ass bitch, I would want us to sign him for all the money in the world. But during his time at Real, Ajax, Inter, even when playing for Hollland, he always seems a shadow when given defensive duties. Give me a Sneijder who could defend and I’d give you my left nut as a Christmas present! 😀

          But it’s always worked the same way, at least during our succesful periods. Two attacking full backs, two wide wingers, two midfielders who mainly defend(but can attack when needed), one holding striker and one leading striker. It’s “The Manchester United way”. We tried to change it when Rooney had his 34-goal season, having Fletch, Carrick and Scholesy in the middle with Nani and Valencia on the wings, and in 2001/02 when we had Becks and Giggs on either side of Ruud, with Veron/Butt, Scholes and Keane in there. As noted by Ian, wingers have changed. We went from the fast-and-furious Kanchelskis to the slower, but more presice winger in Becks, then to the Ultimate Footballer in Ronaldo(who revolutionised the role, making way for players like Di Maria, Ribery, Robben and even Messi, who may not like to admit it). Ronaldo was never an ordinary winger, playing centrally and making us more flamoyant and flexible, but he did give us something our current width gives us, which is room. His movement brought others into play, by creating more room for others to expose, either wide, centrally, or even on the counter. That’s what our width gives us now, it let’s us stretch opponents so our central areas get more room. Then in Valencia, we got a combo of Becks and Kanchelskis, someone who could run at pace and swing a cross in, but who stayed wide enough to lick the white shit on the sides. Nani and Young are both very unorthodox wingers, but their set-movement starts out wide. Their “off the ball” movement is exactly what you want from a United winger, but their ability to cut inside is really something. Unlike Becks and Valencia, most of Nani’s assists come from wide areas way out of the penalty areas range. He doesn’t chip them in, or curve them, he forces them into areas with the kind of dip that is a strikers dream. Same goes for Young. And I do think we need two strikers to take full advantage of that, so taking out a midfielder would mean fewer chances and fewer goals. Better play and more possession, maybe… But fewer goals from that areas, definately.

          If you want to see a more narrow system, you’ll have to wait until Sir Alex has stepped into retirement. He’s used it very rarely, and when he has tried it never came off.

  24. fatboy

    2 December 2011 at 19:59

    so now you guys want grog back. i thought the general consensus was that he was too negative. tut tut. Take a peek at his last article and the abuse that was thrown his way. I’d be very very surprised if he did come back

    • [OPTI]Madschester United

      3 December 2011 at 04:53

      OK, groggy 😉

      If he comes back, he should realize that the internet is like drunk bastards and little children all rolled up into one big shitfest: it tells the shit out of the truth… his articles stunk and he couldn’t handle the truth, even if it was (sometimes) mean-spirited.

    • Craig Mc

      3 December 2011 at 09:53

      If he comes back – then fine and dandy, if he wants to continue to lick his wounds – well that’s his prerogative too. Some of the regulars on here have put out the olive branch – if Groggy doesn’t want to take it then its ok. We just wanted him to know that he has s welcome still here.

      Opti you are greatly loved on here – so show your face a bit more mate! 😆 . Cut out the women and the wine-ing and dining which is probably taking up your time right now – 😉 😀

  25. Jay wire

    3 December 2011 at 06:28

    OPTI

    Yes they are facts.
    1. We lost two experienced midfielders. Fact
    2. Michael Carrick cannot be expected to play every single game. Fact
    3. According to Common Sense, midfield needed reinforcement, especially after selling O’Shea. Fact
    4. There were and still are plenty of midfielders available for less than £15m, the bulk of which I’ve mentioned were all under £10m. All of them, would have been actual improvements to our midfield. Mega Fact.
    5. Ferguson, for the millionth time, prioritized a defender and an attacker over midfield. Fact
    6. Even if forced to sell Brown and O’Shea, which is not factual anyway, by buying at least one midfielder,and not Jones, we would have spent less than we actually did because all these players and more were valued at significantly lower costs. Most at half of or a quarter of Jones’ transfer price. Fact
    7. Ferguson declared that we had good enough midfield personnel, even implying Paul Pogba was destined for greatness, therefore should not be blocked. Fact
    8. Money is money. There’s no discrimination. If you have £15m, you can choose to buy a truckload of Bentleys or a 14 acre mansion or a winger or a freakin midfielder. The choice belongs to the person in whose hands £15m is placed. Fact
    9. £40m would have been enough to get David De Gea, Ashley Young and any one midfielder after selling Obertan. £50m would make it 2 midfielders based on official values and actual transfers. Fact
    10. We spent well over £50m, which could rise to over £60m based on Jones and De Gea’s appearances and performances. Fact

    I drew all my statements from these actual facts. If you can prove that these are not facts and indeed are theories, be my guest. Another thing, I actually made my arguement on the basis of your “Marginal Success” theory being true. In other words, even if it were true that we have no money, disregarding actual financial statements which contradict that,Ferguson still had more than good enough opportunity to get a minimum of two midfielders PLUS David De Gea and Ashley Young and still sell O’Shea and Brown and be in a MUCH BETTER position on the pitch and most probably in the league and actually in a better position in the bank. Everyone is happy. Ferguson, the fans and the stingy Glazers. Whichever angle you look at it, even theoretical, whichever vantage point, the man to answer is still Ferguson.

    • Onkar

      3 December 2011 at 06:58

      First of all they are assumed to be FACT, by taking what I call as “Educated Estimates/ Guess”. For me that is not at all wrong but then it does not mean they are FACTs.

      Secondly whole point of Glazier hatred comes from only one point which you put across (albeit unknowingly) and that is

      6. Even if forced to sell Brown and O’Shea, which is not factual anyway, by buying at least one midfielder,and not Jones, we would have spent less than we actually did because all these players and more were valued at significantly lower costs. Most at half of or a quarter of Jones’ transfer price. Fact

      Why because of simple reason and that is Man UTD never had a tradition and history of looking at Transfer Manrket and Thinking of how can we save MOney which is the biggest FACT. Too add to that we were always accused by the rival fans that we bought this success and we are responsible for this inflated market etc again a FACT. After the Glaziers enter the scene we suddenly this rhetoric of Value Buying started and NO matter how big Glaziers supportor any person is this particular things will remain the BIGGEST FACT of them all.

      • Stephen

        3 December 2011 at 12:36

        Also if we went for the players mentioned, we would have had to pay a lot higher, the United tax….

    • Stephen

      3 December 2011 at 09:41

      Also in reality we could have also sold Berba, Gibson, Kuszczak and even Evans. This could have generated further funds to strengthen the much needed midfield. Fergie is liable, but so are the Glazers, we made massive profits every season and they do not spend excessively in the market. The Fergie argument about “value” has only been a recent party line statement, which for me is a clear sign they don’t want to spend.

  26. Spizzy

    3 December 2011 at 06:44

    Since we are talking conspiracy theories in here I have one about fergie. I have been reading articles about fergie since we celebrated 25 years of the great man and
    Contrary to popular belief I have come to realise united are never really interested in winning the champions league, infact I might add fergies priority has always been to beat liverpool and dominate the domestic league. This explains why he has only won the champions league twice, this is a man who has managed the greatest club in the world for 25 years, 20 of which we have been winning trophies left, right and center. Our goal in the champions league is to try and make it to the semis and get the money. The only time we ever, ever invested with the aim to conqure europe was 07-08 when we had a squad that dominated england but went out and bought a couple of foreign players with the view of conquring europe, nani, tevez and anderson were all bought because united wanted the CL. We went on and won that and fergie was pleased and since then has decided to go back to old ways and focus on the league.
    Instead of buying quality that will ensure we can win the CL, fergie has bought quality that will ensure that we can win the EPL, When we ask for a sneijder, modric or schweinstiger(spelling), fergie looks at his squad and sees a team capable of winning the EPL and wonders why he needs to spend that extra 50M.
    Another thing that did come out is that fergie is a tough, no nonsense type who doesn’t take bull from anyone no matter the celebrity status or profile of the individual. Example are the beeb, becks and kean. As such fergie has surrounded himself with yes men, people who are afraid to criticize or question fergies decisions and can’t even suggest changes because they fear fergies wrath.
    It’s quite possible that fergie actually believes the midfield is good enough, it’s quite possible fergie was dumbfounded by journos asking him if he’d invest in a midfielder because from what his stooges told him the midfield was fine. He is living in a self imposed cacoon and is not in touch with reality beacuse he has alienated himself from any people who would dare contradict him. If you live in a world where no one is ready to point out the err’s in your ways, you end up thinking everything is fine and dandy when you are headed for a complete meltdown. When fergie say’s he is ok with the current squad, he actually is being honest because that is the feedback he has received from coaches who are afraid to say anything other that it’s all rosy.This explains all the decisions made by the club.

    City however have turned his world upside down, they exposed united in ways never seen before. Fergie was quite happy after losing to barca, with chirpy comments like “we have never received a hiding like that”. His attitude smirked of someone who didn’t feel a thing and was content with the defeat, after all he never really cared for the champoins league title. Contrast this to the city defeat and you see the difference. City have touched a nerve, they have hurt his feelings and have dared to play top dog in his own barkyard, the premiership. And since that defeat, fergie’s eyes have opened up to reality.
    He went ultra defensive following that game knowing he had an attacking squad that could atleast score 2 goals and offer something. He was happy after the first 1-0, gave an excuse for the second 1-0 and was embarrassed by the third 1-0. So he set his team to play they united way in an attempt to appease the fans and show the world united were still a force to reckon with and his team drew the next two games. He then had a chance to try out the fringe players the coaches are talking up but he was not quite sure about, but they emabarrased him some more with a lacklustre performance and lost their match.
    In the last few weeks we have heard him question individual players in public, criticize his teams performance and most recently had to apologize to the fans, things not associated with fergie at all. Because all of a sudden he can now see what we have been seeing for years. He has found himself in a position where everything is backfiring, to win he has to play ugly but then his pride wont let him so he will try hard to play the united way and his team concedes. He is probably wondering why the players are unable to deliver yet his coaches and assistants have been saying they are quality.
    I can only see two things happening here, fergie will awaken from his self imposed stupor and get assistants capable of challenging the big man and not surround himself with sycophants or he can keep his close allies, stick to his ways and try spend on players. Not sure the player approach will work because these lackeys advising fergie seem inept to identifying the real problem with our team. What we really need is to get rid of the yes mes around fergie, and get in people who will challenge fergie to be better and pin pont areas our teams need improving. Not sure giggs, neville scholes can do that. We need someone who is not in awe of fergie.

    • Stephen

      3 December 2011 at 09:55

      The reality all coaches surround themselves with yes men. Wenger has Pat Rice, AVB has Di Matteo and Dalglish has the biggest yes man in Steve Clark. Fergie is very single mind hence the success, he I am sure takes on board what people say but like Brain Clough “We talk about it for twenty minutes and then we decide I was right.”

    • Craig Mc

      3 December 2011 at 10:11

      Top foreign coaches cost top dollar Spizzy, and that is what we need – instead Sir Ferg surrounds himself with all the old boys – now including Giggsy, Scholesy and Red Nev – who will never tell Fergie as you say to his face what is needed – then again what experience do they have in coaching to be able to tell him – they are learning themselves. I have always hated ‘jobs for the boys’ syndrome at OT, but it will remain until Fergie retires. Old Trafford is MOTHBALLED things have become so stale – but like the yes men you talk about, the fans too are lambasted if they question Fergie or the club vision. It is hard for any of us fans to question Fergie when he has brought us so many great years – he deserves all the praise and recognition he gets – but I am hearing all the time now from United fans and all other fans that Man Utd ways are Old hat and money orientated since the Glazers took over as the Glazers couldn’t care less about the trophies only the money that comes in from getting to later stages of the competition. Soon though, if I am right about the mothball scenario at our beloved club – then big changes will have to start coming at the club, because if the honey pot dries up the amount of debt United are in and which they keep telling us is manageable – well we will see whether all that is true or whether the Gills and Glazers of this world will get their come -uppence!

      • Stephen

        3 December 2011 at 10:17

        All clubs with legacies have the “job for the boys” institution encapsulated within it. Liverpool with the boot room, again Pat Rice at Arsenal this is simple football culture. Clubs need their own identity and having players from the past intertwined within the fabric of it is part and parcel. We have Rene Meulensteen who is a renowned and well though of coach there too, he for me never gets any credit and from what I hear he is doing a good job.

  27. colver

    3 December 2011 at 12:00

    In this instance I agree completely with Jay’s analysis. Even if you accept the view that we are constrained by our wage structure and were limited to a net spend of around £50 million it still seems remarkable we did not buy a central midfielder.

    Spizzy I like your conspiracy theory. I agree that the Champions League is not a priority for Ferguson. He does seem to take the attitude of making sure his squad is good enough to win the Premier League then leaving Europe entirely up to chance.

    I’m pretty sure that is why he hasn’t strengthened our midfield. Because the only times our midfield has been absolutely exposed and humilated has been in Europe. What does it matter if we get an occasional hiding from Barcelona if our midfield is just about good enough to challenge for the title each season?

    In fact even if we fail to qualify for the knockout stages it won’t promote a reaction. However drop out of the top four in the Premiership and you can guarantee Fergie will yield the axe.

    Also agree about all the Yes Man. Rooney has been the only player openly challenging Fergie’s transfer policy and even then it seems to be more about promoting his own (agent’s) agenda and was easily placated by a mega-deal.

    I wonder how different things would have turned out if Rooney had jumped ship.

    p

    • Stephen

      3 December 2011 at 12:12

      How can people say Fergie isn’t bothered about the Champions League! I have never read such rubbish, he is obsessed with the competition. The midfield is an issue, but Fergie is simply too loyal to his Countryman and Carrick. Like many on here he has been sucked into the myth that is Anderson, who we paid £18.6m for and he is trying to justify the outlay. He is not a guy who NEVER just makes do, we have competed for trophies now for 20 years, no other club has been that consistent. People outside have been praying for our dynasty to end, now it seems our fans have gone the same way. People have written off Fergie for years and he keeps proving them wrong. I remember people calling his tactics chicken shit when Ronaldo was at the club, now fans have selected memories and calling those the good old days. We are 5 points better off than we were last season, oh yes we did Ok then. If we buy a midfield player in the window, we will have a very good chance of equalling or bettering what we did last season. Fergie is a genius and his desire to bring young player through is the United way, this incorporated with more outlay which the Glazers have stemmed would be ideal.

      • ash is the man

        3 December 2011 at 14:14

        HEY stephan i completly agree, to say fergie doesnt care about the champions league is beyond ridiculas………..

  28. colver

    3 December 2011 at 13:56

    Does Ferguson really want to bring young players through? Cleverley is hardly a spring chicken and has spent the last two years on loan. Welbeck has also only just begun to play this season despite making his debut for us at age 18. These players are 21 and 22 respectively.

    Even players as good as Beckham and Scholes did not get meaningful first team opportunities until the age of 21.

    The exceptions to the rule have been young players we have bought for large fees such as Jones, Ronaldo, Smalling and De Gea.

    If we expect Pogba and Morrison to wait three years before getting meaningful game time we are going to lose them. And in the meantime aside from Cleverley our midfield is going to be plagued by the usual suspects.

    The reality is that Ferguson has no intention of playing Pogba or Morrison anytime soon and is gambling that he can convince them to be patient-and this is going to backfire because we are going to lose Pogba.

    • Stephen

      3 December 2011 at 14:06

      No spring chicken at 22? De Gea 21, Rafael 21, Fabio 21, Jones 19, Smalling 22, Welbeck 21, Chicharito 23, Evans 23, Anderson 23 and Nani has just turned 25 hardly over the hill, these are all first team regulars. I would say Fergie does either buy young or bring players through at a young age. Morrison has not done himself any favours with his off the field problem, so the manager probably conscious of that. Pogba is 18 and has now played a few minutes, players can fail at Old Trafford if they are not ready, maybe we need to be patient as they need time to develop physically but also mentally.

  29. colver

    3 December 2011 at 14:22

    I also dispute we are going to equal or better last season. We are trying to blood a new defence and Jones in particular is a defensive liability while Rio is starting to look past it. Hernandez is having second season syndrome. Berbatov is frozen out completely so little chance of him being top scorer like last season. While Rooney is streaky as usual. Cleverley is a welcome addition to the first team squad, but remember last year Scholes was instrumental in getting our season started and besides Cleverley seems to be injury prone. Also I think it would be optimistic to expect Giggs to play as much as last season. Young does not really represent an improvement on Valencia (who I actually prefer). And De Gea while very promising is not as commanding as EVDS and I think a lot of the defensive instability is because we are getting used to a new keeper.

    We are in a transition season and there is absolutely no problem with that. We are blooding a new defence and that is positive. We are bringing through Welbeck who fits into our style of play more than Berbatov while Hernandez is continuing to mature.

    But there is no transition in midfield. Cleverley is just one man and it is not fair to expect him to be our saviour. With Anderson, Carrick and Fletcher we know exactly what to expect. Scholes is gone. Giggs is slowly being phased out. And as argued above Morrison and Pogba are years off first team action.

    Signing a midfielder in January would be a step in the right direction but it is unlikely to save our season. New signings take time to bed in. And as we have to somehow make it to January with a midfield of Carrick Fletcher and Giggs who knows what state our season will be in by then?

    But then maybe our season being over by January with nothing left to play for is the push Ferguson needs to buy someone new and blood Pogba before he pisses off to Arsenal or AC Milan.

  30. colver

    3 December 2011 at 14:34

    Stephen, I actually agree with Ferguson in his policy of not blooding players until they are in their twenties, with rare exceptions and giving them plenty of loan experience. But it only works if there is no rush to blood them because you have good players already in their positions.

    Our central midfield has been in a state of emergency ever since it became apparent that Hargreaves was a write-off and Anderson was rubbish. We were lucky that Scholes and Giggs were able to extend their lifetime. That should have bought Ferguson a bit of time to line up replacements. But he failed to do so.

    Finally we have a few youth midfielders who look promising. But they are a few years off first team action and Ferguson knows it. So it is a ridiculous argument that buying a central midfielder would block their development. I was in favour of signing Sneijder because he would give us a few years of great service, just like Berbatov, and then gracefully give way to Morrison or Pogba (just as Berbatov gave way to hernandez and welbeck). What is more he would have given us the experience we need in Europe which we got from Giggs and Scholes.

    Also policies have to change. In this day and age youngsters aren’t prepared to accept extended apprentices when they can get big money by joining other teams. Pogba has no loyalty to Manchester United and will jump ship if we don’t give him first team action and so on.

  31. Craig Mc

    3 December 2011 at 14:55

    In case you are wondering why I am not at Villa today – it’s because I injured my knee at football/rugby training last night, and it has swollen like an inflated balloon and stiffened up. Didn’t get hardly any sleep last night it was bloody painful – but only a twist m’thinks. I can hardly weight bear on it at the moment – lucky I am self employed eh? One great thing though my mates Bro has bought my ticket from the lad who gets the tics for us – and he is over the fookin moon because he hardly gets chance to travel to away games. Me on the otherhand am sick as a wounded parrot 👿 🙄

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