Liverpool would be nowhere this season without the input of Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka, who cannot hold a candle to Man Utd’s new ‘Henry-esque’ hero.
Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Klopp suddenly has a selection headache at the fullback positions, something that seemed unthinkable a while back. But do we have Saka to thank for this?
It was him who inadvertently injured our back up left back(Tsimikas) forcing our second choice RB Gomez to fill in on the opposite side. Meaning that Bradley has been fast tracked into the side quicker than expected. But boy has he taken that chance.
Approximately two years ago, I penned a piece to highlight that Manchester United had three homegrown players scoring in an away Premier League game. Amidst the prevailing gloom surrounding the club, the rollercoaster of a match we witnessed concluded with a remarkable goal from an academy player representing his local team, securing the winning goal at the away end.
It is a great source of pride for Mainoo and us fans that, once again, three homegrown academy players managed to score a total of three goals in an away Premier League game.
Presently, there are numerous aspects about the club that are disheartening, making it painful to acknowledge. However, amidst the many disappointments, the most gratifying aspect of the recent victory, beyond the thrill of the last-minute winner, was the success of our homegrown talents.
Alas I will no doubt be bought back down to Earth with the bump after our next game but I’m happy with my lot for now.
Kobbie Mainoo in action for Manchester United.
More United thoughts
That had to be one of the best games I have seen all season. Man Utd were great in attack and had quite a bit of control for the first half. Wolves in fairness never gave up and kept trying. It had 7 goals, controversy, great skills, great finishes and rarely slowed down to a point of boredom. So well done to both teams.
United’s second half was less controlled, but they ref had a role to play in gifting them their comeback goal. Something I am curious about is, do VAR hear the commentary? The commentary I was watching said “If there’s any contact it will be given!” as if the mildest touch all of sudden constitutes a penalty? The amount of times there seems to be a correlation between what they say and what ends up happening. It is probably nothing but if they do hear it, I can see how that could influence decisions.
Bruno had a pretty poor game in my opinion. He was central to a lot of things, and did work hard, but so many passes and shots went wayward. This would have been a great game for Mount had he been fit.
Our potential next captain might very well be Martinez. He was excellent, and brought his typical communication and calmness to the backline. I genuinely hope whatever happened to his foot is not serious, because he makes such a difference to the backline when fit.
Luke Shaw is another player that makes such a massive difference to this team, and especially Rashford. It is insane how much more effective he and the team are with Shaw’s calmness on the ball and overlapping runs. Sometimes I feel that is what would get the best out of Antony on the right, if United had that kind of player there.
Rashford probably woke up on Wednesday morning, turned on the kettle, went over to F365 to get his daily dose of football news and must have read the United fans in the mailbox, because he was on it last night. Great finish for the goal, more active in pressing and again teamed up well with Hojlund.
Kudos to Hojlund as well, who appears to be awakened from his goal scoring slumber, albeit with crosses actually making it to him. Another goal and assist bodes well for the Great Dane. I also would praise Casimiro. He shielded the defense well and you can see why Ten Hag wants to pair him with Mainoo.
Onto the man of the hour. Mainoo was again his typical composed and excellent self, but to win the game, right at the death, with a nutmeg and Henry-esque finish was the stuff of legends. He is a very special player, and it makes me wonder how different this season would have started had he not been injured vs Real in pre-season.
I also hope the visible fact that the Maguire, Evans, and McT’s substitutions all made the team look less secure defensively shows United critics the actual gap between Ten Hag’s preferred starters and his back ups. Kind of crazy that the team looks good when his players are fit.
Ten Hag himself had a good performance. Not much he can do about the first or second goals, and maybe Onana could have done better for the third – but he was unsighted. People say he has no patterns of play – and I will admit they are hard to see – but the first half perfectly encapsulates how he wants his team to perform, and I am all in for it.
For Wolves, I will hold my hand up and say sorry I predicted they would go down. They are an excellent team, with special praise for Neto (despite the dive), Cunha and Lemina. Gary O’Niel has indeed struck again, and must be held as a great coach (The Pep Allardyce of our times potentially?).
Lastly, to answer the “Selling Greenwood” morality question, there is absolutely no issue with United doing the morally right thing and getting rid. It would be bad business to let a 20-50 Million pound asset leave for nothing, when clearly there will be a market and buyers for him. There is also no point in terminating his contract and paying him to leave for those reasons as well.
Calvino ( Thank you AI. No to the DMT, but yes, we can always be friends in between times 🙂 )
United are bad at transfers, we get it. But is it really fair for them to be labelled losers of a transfer window in which they a) removed some deadwood from their squad (albeit temporarily) and b) sent a load of fringe youth players on loan, some with buy options that include all sorts of favourable sell-on clauses?
Basically we’re righting the wrongs of previous transfer windows – all Edward Woodward signings that have left by the way – and starting to do things (in moving on young talent) that you’ve constantly praised the likes of City for. Might be some time before we get some value out of those sell-on clauses but we haven’t even included them in deals up until now. The real positive for United fans is that INEOS seem to have been insistent on including some of those, hopefully a sign of intelligent football based business decisions to come.
I’m not going to tell you United have suddenly become masters of transfer business. The previous Summer window gets worse with every Onana howler, Amrabat non-appearance and minutes missed by Mason Mount (though I question whether that is a blessing in disguise). We really need that sporting director. Our squad is still lacking despite ridiculous investment. But don’t castigate United for a window in which they exercised some restraint. You can point to Profit and Sustainability rules as a constraint for United but that never stopped Everton and Forest did it?
I think United fans will be quietly happy that we haven’t signed another Weghorst or worse – Sanchez – and be very happy that any financial wiggle room we did have is saved to keep our powder dry for the summer and hopefully, a new recruitment department.
We live in hope that this a new dawn for United where everything gets a bit more normal and considered. I get that there’s a lot of column inches to write about the dysfunction at the Club but frankly I’m sick of reading about it.
And actually, United did win the transfer window along with Wolves by playing out an absolute belter of a game and distracting everyone from something which has inexplicable become the biggest event of the Premier League season – football and entertainment came before the money for once.
Rage against the machine
Can’t remember who asked if it’s fun watching city but I feel like I can answer this.
When Guardiola first arrived I was not a fan. I thought Barca were very boring to watch and assumed city would be the same. After a few years of seeing Liverpool struggle sometimes against teams that park the bus and simultaneously seeing city swat them aside 2 or 3 nil I decided to start watching city to see why it’s easier for them.
So for 3 or 4 years I’ve been watching city almost as often as Liverpool.
Are they fun to watch? Sometimes yes. But mostly it’s very machinelike. In the champions league they’re more fun to watch just because they’re not always up against a parked bus. Would I pay to watch them individually ?
Probably not. One thing you do notice watching a lot of city games is fans don’t think so either because it’s always very easy to spot chunks of empty seats even in champions league semi finals against real Madrid a few years ago. So the best measure of if people enjoy watching is to look at attendance. United rarely have empty seats (although they do rage quit at 70 mins quite a bit), Arsenal rarely have empty seats, Liverpool rarely have empty seats – city do.
You have to ask why, the only reason I can think of is – people just aren’t that bothered.
If anyone was wondering: ‘Has any manager ever won all the potentially available trophies at one club?’
Let’s say since the early ’60s when club competitions expanded with the EC, Cup Winners Cup, Intercontinental Cup and LC (Eng) added. Or post ’72 which adds the Uefa Cup and ESC.
Anyway I found one. Giovanni Trapattoni/Juve ’76-’86; Serie A, Cop Ital, EC, CWC, UC, ESC, IC (the Italian SC began in ’88).
The widest variety of 1st class trophies goes to Ferguson with 9 (nine).
Hartley MCFC Somerset (been saying to Utd supporting friends since 2017 they need a top class, mobile no.6 and wow, that trick of running from deep to score last minute crucial goals, that’s a thing the true greats do. He’s young still but what a prospect.)
Generally I don’t pay too much attention to rival fan criticism of my team – football is tribal, bias (including mine) is real, that’s all part of the fun. But one thing that I’ve always found a bit weird (even accounting for tribalism) is measuring ‘success’ by trophies. That’s particularly the case when weighing up managers.
Some might say Klopp wasn’t truly a great manager because he didn’t win more PLs/CLs. Within the context of this argument, surely trophies are overrated?
Klopp’s Liverpool came within a point (each) of winning two more premier leagues. An abundance of variables helped to decide that – in no small part City’s brilliance, but I hardly think he can be held to account for Kompany’s rocket, Mane’s shot not edging over the line, or any of the other small margins in games that played out in the final stages.
He came within a Ramos wrestling move, Karius cock-up(s), or a Courtois classic of winning two more Champions Leagues.
So if his legacy read: 3 Premier Leagues, 3 Champions Leagues, would anyone really be arguing he shouldn’t sit at the table with the true greats? It’s trite to say that he personally could have engineered it any other way (especially considering the ridiculous points totals in the league).
A few times now I’ve seen comments about it being unfair that players are booked for dissent even though they were right, as the decision against them was wrong. Does that mean they need to hurl abuse and spit venom rather than politely say ‘sorry ref, I think you’ve got that one wrong, but we’ll crack on’? Nah, didn’t think so. Yellow card.
Gary AVFC, Oxford
Devastating news that Conor Coventry has gone to Charlton, and not Coventry as God intended.
This is the biggest issue in football today, and it’s about time FIFA stepped up and introduced laws that mean anyone named after a place, can only play for a team in that place. It should have been done years ago. Let’s call it the Jason Scotland rule.
Conor Coventry would rightfully be transferred to Coventry FC.
Alan Sunderland would have played for Sunderland.
Justin Edinburgh would have played for Hearts or whatever the other one is called.
Antonio Valencia would have played for Valencia instead of being boringly solid in Manchester.
Bobby Charlton should’ve gone to Charlton instead of dicking about at Preston for a season.
And Barrie Hole would have played for Stevenage.