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02 Feb 2020 12:46:08
This Utd team remain a confusion to me. I just can't understand Ole's insistence on setting us up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. It's apparent that Ole wants our width to come from the full backs and for the three players behind the striker to be fluid and interchangeable with two holding midfielders providing a shield for the defence. But we don't really have the players to make this system work effectively.

I remember endless debates about fullbacks a few years ago when Young and Valencia occupied those positions yet we find ourselves in the same position. Shaw simply doesn't have the appetite, desire, mentality, courage or fitness to play that way. We signed AWB for £50m yet he can't attack. He simply doesn't have the quality on the ball if you want the full backs to provide width and attacking impetus to the team.

I remember another debate about the signing of Maguire and playing a high defensive line in an attempt to compress the play and press the opposition allowing us to win the ball higher up the pitch. I think Ed001 suggested Maguire was not suited to this role and he was correct. We can't allow our full backs to bomb forward or our team to press aggressively because Maguire and Lindelof can't be trusted to be left exposed. Maguire has the turning circle of a cruise ship and simply doesn't have the pace or recovery speed. Lindelof also lacks pace, physicality and looks particularly vulnerable when exposed in 1v1 situations.

If Ole has a vision or identity for his Utd team then it isn't particularly well represented by his recruitment. Maguire and AWB are both very good players and solid additions but perhaps don't best represent the style he wants to implement.

I thought Fernandes made a promising debut but I get the feeling we don't really know what to do with him. It's square pegs in round holes again.

Without Rashford I just don't think Ole has the personnel to play 4-2-3-1. James progress has stalled, Martial looks lost and isolated and we don't really have a viable option on the right. Our full backs don't get forward enough and lack quality in the final third meaning the entire teams lacks width and penetration. Our CB's look vulnerable when exposed to the counter attack and we struggle at both ends of the pitch.

I suppose the suspension to Matic confused things slightly yesterday but in my opinion Ole should have persisted with the 3-5-2 formation. This allows us to get more width from the wings backs, it's allows us to to play 2 upfront and also gives us numbers in midfield.

In my opinion Greenwood is perfectly suited to the games where we dominate possession. He's a real goal threat when he receives the ball in and around the box. James is more suited to partner Martial when we want to sit deeper and break quickly against the better teams utilising his superior pace.

With the return of Bailly I'd love to see Maguire and Lindelof positioned either side and encouraged to bring the ball forward. Maguire is a very good footballer and more than capable of bringing the ball forward into midfield; likewise Lindelof on the other side. The wings backs can then push higher up the pitch giving us more players in advanced positions. Bailly or even Tuanzebe both have the pace and defensive ability to cover when one of the other CB's moves forward. With Matic, Fred or Mctominay anchoring the midfield, allowing Pogba (when fit) and Fernandes licence to get forward and influence the play.
Two forwards means Martial isn't left isolated and gives us more options in the box .

Traditionally Utd haven't played with 3 at the back but in my opinion this formation is better suited to most of the players in our current squad. The formation provides width, allows us to play two up front, gives us numbers in midfield and defensive cover.


1.) 02 Feb 2020 14:02:11
It’s negative tactics mate. We are set up not to lose and it’s absolutely cowardly. Simple truth is that the likes of AWB and Maguire came highly rated and with the view they would kick on and improve, yet what we have seen is regression with both. How long before that happens to Bruno? The manager and his awful coaching side have a lot to answer for. If so many players are regressing surely the common denominator is ole. Hence why I believe that you can give him 10 windows yet he still wouldn’t win the league. Get a proper manager in and you will see improvements in the performances of the players you’ve mentioned. Yes we need reinforcements, but these players aren’t half as bad as they are looking right now.

2.) 02 Feb 2020 14:41:38
Park - Sadly I think your probably right pal! Enjoy the rest of your weekend mate.

3.) 02 Feb 2020 17:15:56
You too buddy!

4.) 02 Feb 2020 17:33:40
None of your centre halfs are particularly strong in 1v1 or comfortable at defending out wide or the pace to play. in fact I couldn't think of a team more not suited to play 3 at the back than utd. unless you went with maguire centre about and shaw outside him. dalot and the Williams out side them. would need coaching as nd some work.



26 Jan 2020 18:43:01
It's Tranmere so I'm not going to get carried away but does the 3-5-2 formation best suit our current squad?

It was very interesting that Maguire was deployed to the left of a back three today. In my opinion that's his best position. It's actually the right and left CB's that need to be comfortable on the ball and step into midfield. The centre CB needs to cover left and right and be able to read the game. I wonder if Bailly could fulfil that role moving forward?

The formation gives us width, two up front and an extra man in midfield.

I always think Martial is better from the left cutting inside and Greenwood like wise on the right. The wings backs stretch the game and give more room for the No10 to operate.

The formation gives us numbers in defence, in midfield and upfront.

I even think against teams where we dominate possession James could play as a wing back and Dalot to give us a really attacking option!

On a terrible pitch it's the best I've seen us use the ball and everybody seemed to understand their job and role in the team.

Of course it was against lower opposition but I'd like to see us use it more often with Maguire to the left of the three.

I just think with our current squad it's probably the formation that gets the most out of the majority of our players at this current time.


1.) 26 Jan 2020 19:07:02
I really like it. It’s what Chris Wilder does and creates overloads all over the pitch. It’s super smart and stat man Dave did a good break down of the tactic on YouTube.

We have the perfect defenders for it on paper. Probably need more at CM and AM and RM but we know that already

I’m a big fan of wilder btw excellent coach.

2.) 26 Jan 2020 19:16:43
My preference has always been either a 4141 or 343, as it gives the best balance in my opinion.

In theory any formation can work if you make sure everyone knows their role and is able to perform it to a high enough level.

The issue we have to be honest isn't that we don't have the right players to play different formations/ tactics, but that the players we have aren't consistent enough in any role to enable a side to consistently play well.

Rashford has scored a hat full of goals, but really struggled when asked to play as a CF.

When on form Martial is an excellent striker to build an attack around, but he has too many off days or days where he doesn't seem to be at the races mentally. As a central striker in a one striker system the moment the player playing that role has an off day the whole attack will struggle.

Lingard goes from being a key player in a big game to anonymous for the next 4, same for Pereira and Mata.

James always works hard, but is ineffective in some games and doesn't have the all round game to change the way he plays.

The same can be said of Matic and Fred, they work hard, but too often then struggle to impose themselves on a game.

Maguire and Lindelof can look solid one game and a liability in the next.

It doesn't matter which system you play, until 9 or 10 of your starting 11 can perform to a high enough level consistently your tactics will always struggle to work out.

That isn't a defence of Ole, the same could be said for Jose, or LvG or Moyes.

However, a consistent system will give the players confidence and familiarity will make it easier for them to know what is expected of them.

Building a side is very much like writing an essay or a report, you have an over arching theme, but how you perform within that theme can be very different. The issue I think we have isn't to do with which formation we line up in, but what the over arching theme to the side is. Are we a counter attacking side, are we a pressing side, do we defend with a high line or a low block, are we a possession based side, do we play with width or through the middle, are we trying to create chance at set plays, or are we trying to create shooting opportunities from open play.

My preference is to see high tempo offensive football. I'm not a fan of recycling possession needlessly or to defend. I want to see a side that attacks at every opportunity and as quickly as possible. Blink and you'll miss it football.

However, how you achieve that can vary greatly. You could play a low block and look to play balls over the top.
Or you could play a high line, compress the pitch press aggressively and look to make runs the moment the ball is won, with quick no more than two touch football.

Two very different ways of playing, but both can be high tempo, quick offensive football.

What our side lacks is an identity of play, regardless of tactics or formation, or even personal. Liverpool are the most successful side this season, they have played several formations, with varying players, yet you know how the team will play regardless of who is playing or the teams shape. That's what we need, a consistency of style, then and only then might we see a consistency of performance from our players.

3.) 26 Jan 2020 19:20:28
Any formation that gets two strikers on the pitch playing together suits us well.

Whether its rashford drifting in and playing with martial or greenwood and martial up top, its a good idea to get your best player in the same viscinity as each other.

Also we have awful options to play out wide so 4-2-3-1 won't suit us until we have a professional right winger and a professional number 10.

4.) 26 Jan 2020 19:47:55
You are really clutching at straws if you use today's performance as a template for the future. Tranmere were poor. Probably the two matches against Watford took a lot out of them and also they are not even close to having the quality of a Premier league team.

A decent team would have pressed us more and not given us the time and space to do more or less as we pleased. Yes the goals were well taken and yes in the second half there was no imperative to press on and score more goals but at times in the second half our play was typical of what we have seen throughout the season. slow sideways and back ways passing and little guile.

Let's reserve favourable judgement on how well the team does until they play consistently well against good to top quality opposition.

5.) 26 Jan 2020 22:21:01
The argument I have with lfc fans is they are Leicester in disguise when they won the league, no competition, LFC have no rivals while the elite are rebuilding, where are there competition they ain't competing against the 08 Barcelona or the Ronaldo years of mufc, mourinho years of Chelsea, maldini and pirlo of AC Milan or even the invincibles under Wenger, hope LFC, Leicester FC is put put into perspective, joeyored.

{Ed047's Note - who were you’re rivals when you had money and no one else did?

You just sound bitter Joey like you’ve got to belittle something. This current Liverpool team would give any of your previous teams a good run for their money.

Add to that when you were in your pomp did you ever achieve what both City and Liverpool have. I’m guessing that’s a no! 🤦‍♂️

6.) 26 Jan 2020 23:08:47
In our pomp we did win a treble.

7.) 26 Jan 2020 23:59:34
Not sure Joey was alive when you won the treble, 12days😂.

8.) 27 Jan 2020 03:52:23
Liverpool have no competition? The better half of Manchester got the highest points total ever last season and they are pretty much unchanged (except Kompany), yet we are 16 points better than them this time around.
I think the real reason you consider the Premier League poor this season is because you’re trying comprehend how United can be fifth when you have played like a second-rate pub team for the past 12 months. I’m sure you will look back at this season in years to come with misty-eyed nostalgia as the year that you took a point off one of the greatest Liverpool sides.

9.) 27 Jan 2020 06:49:04
That’s very bitter Joey. It hurts more than anything to see Liverpool at the top of the tree, but they are the best team in the land right now. The table doesn’t lie, and they have the best manager. They deserve to be where they are and they are a brilliant side.

10.) 27 Jan 2020 07:58:21
Dont understand the bitterness, its Liverpool's time good luck to them. It should however make us more determined to knock them back off their perch next year.

11.) 27 Jan 2020 09:50:14
Tbf, this Liverpool team is very good and could dominate for years to come, City have also been very good over the recent years.
However, I wouldn't say that United haven't achieved what City or Liverpool have, yes points totals wise have been impressive but we won 3 PL titles in a row, we won a double double, a treble, multiple cups across the world and played some of the best football ever seen.
That's not to take away from what City or Liverpool are doing atm or have done and hate to say it but hats off to the scousers, they do the business, have a good model, a good young squad and play great stuff and in addition can grind results out but, City also dominated and played amazing stuff and maybe biased but I wouldn't swap any of our title and dominating teams for theirs, it would need Liverpool or City to start racking up titles and cups over years and years to start saying they've achieved more than United in their pomp, let's not forget United's pomp continued for 2 decades and new domainat squads was
built, but the way Liverpool look and with their young, talented squad they very well could achieve more, a conversation for a decade down the line tho.



24 Jan 2020 12:13:28
Ole's gamble doesn't look like it will pay off.

His intentions to re-build the squad however well intended has left him looking very naive to put it politely.

To let Lukaku, Sanchez, Herrera and Fellaini all leave the Club without adequately replacing any of them will probably seal his fate.

The irony of our current situation is I don't think many fans were sad to see them leave. Whilst all were decent players we hoped for better. Many of us wrongly assumed the Club would replace them. When we examine our current injury crisis it is also safe to assume most of those players would still make and improve the current starting line up and that's a sad indictment of our current situation.

A crystal ball was not required to foresee our squad was light and lacking in quality. A few injuries to key players and a crisis was inevitable.

It is now obvious Ole had placed too much faith in the likes of Lingard and Pereria. Ole must feel very disappointed with Lingard in particular. He was given a real chance to establish himself as our genuine No10 but has found wanting. Pereria has also been thrust to the fore but not re-payed any of his managers faith. The form of De Gea and Lindelof has been disappointing and Ole must only despair at his decision to have put so much faith and trust in both the ability and integrity of Paul Pogba.

Had De Gea's form not suffered so severely, if Lindelof had managed to form a solid defensive partnership with Maguire, had Pogba not been injured and had Lingard offered more, then perhaps, with a bit of luck Ole might have just been able to navigate himself through a difficult first season and given himself the chance to spend more of the Clubs money in the summer.

As it stands Ole finds himself with a squad crippled by injury and without his best players. The Club finds itself at yet another crossroads, seemingly paralysed by indecision and unable to decide whether to back a lame duck. Talk is cheap but action speaks louder than words and if the squad is not significantly strengthened within the coming days perhaps that tells its own story.

A new manager beckons in the summer. Play, pause, repeat should be our new motto.


1.) 24 Jan 2020 13:05:56
Good post DLIB

You can also add Young to the list of the departed and not replaced players.

I have a theory on Pogba that goes like this. Once Jose was sacked the club announced Ole as interim manager whilst they searched for a new top manager, to bring in along with an DOF. The team spirit rose with performance levels as the club had a clear plan and were going to bring in a top manager.

However, once Ole was appointed the new top dog, did Pogba suddenly feel betrayed, as just after he comes out and says he wants a new challenge. Did other players feel betrayed, that the plan had shifted and the spirit and performances nose dive on the back of the news and we are where we are.

Just a theory:-)

2.) 24 Jan 2020 13:41:54
Fellaini? 😂😂😂.



30 Dec 2019 19:45:52
As we enter a new year perhaps most of us still have more questions than answers.

If Social Media is used as barometer our fan base appears more divided than ever; having said that as a season ticket holder it is my experience that the majority of match going supporters appear to be firmly behind the manager. The atmosphere at Old Trafford remains largely one of support and patience and the audible whispers of dissent witnessed during the turbulent Moyes, LVG and Mourinho era's are auspiciously absent; for the time being anyway.

Assessing OGS's tenure has been both difficult and emotive. Progress has often been almost impossible to discern and the lack of consistency and the managers credentials have only fuelled the voices of discontent and provided ammunition for the Ole Out brigade.

All managers are ultimately judged by their results and to that end it would be hard for even the most ardent Ole supporter to argue that results have been good enough. It has often felt like one step forward and three steps back for most of his tenure and 12 months on many still argue that Utd lack any discernible style of play.

As the January transfer window opens so does the opportunity to strengthen and reinvigorate squad. On closer examination January acquisitions rarely hit the ground running or have been able to make any significant contribution. It's a market where cool heads prevail. Whilst the squad undoubtedly needs strengthening what we can ill afford are any more expensive mistakes and Ole's legacy at Utd will be dependant on his ability to acquire the correct players in the right positions.

From a personal perspective I think Ole's future hangs in the balance. His faith in the likes of Martial and Rashford is beginning to come to fruition. The emergence of Williams and Greenwood has been pleasing whilst his summer additions have all been solid and undoubtedly improved the squad.

As we enter the second half of the season we must avoid injuries to key players. Rashford and Martial must continue to develop and perform more consistently and the emergence of Greenwood is something to genuinely feel excited about. Pogba continues to divide opinion but there is absolutely no chance he'll be sold in January. What happens in the summer remains to be seen but if he can replicate the form he demonstrated throughout Ole's initial first few months his creativity and drive from midfield may just propel this young team to another level.

We find ourselves back where we started, with more questions than answers. Will Ole's faith be rewarded or continue to be blighted by inconsistency? I'm not sure anyone could provide a reliable answer. Time as always will be the judge.

Happy New Year everyone.


1.) 30 Dec 2019 20:57:47

My guess is that Ole has done enough for those decision makers that are sentimentally driven, to still be there in May and they will review the season. If they are consistent then missing out on top 4 has been a major driver and should result in a P45, however the sentimental factor cannot be ignored, so if they ignore previous decisions it just points to emotion decision making. If the team don’t meet expectations and still keep him then, another season could drift.

I am concerned that the path we are on will mean it is difficult to attract the level of player needed, there is no real identity on pattern of play. It is a time when managers like Poch, Allegri and even Simeone are available or potentially available. If, like, Everton, teams pick up these level of managers whilst we meander, it could be very difficult, the timing of decision making could have a major impact on our future.

Interesting your point on match goers, I was a season ticket holders for decades, the fans want to be seen as loyal, so it takes a lot to make it known publicly, still Moyes was sacked without much dissent in the ground. I was there when SAF made that speech about supporting the new manager whilst shaking my head in despair and there were others who said the same, yet didn’t want to rock the boat.

I do go on about experience in management, but if a player is looking at our club, City, Everton, Spurs, would they want to play for Ole or one of the others who have shown they can win. If it was me I would play for United yet that is me, who loved the club for over 50 years. If I had talent and didn’t love the club, I would want to play for the other managers before Ole. We are unattractive at the moment and I can’t see that changing with the present direction, which is worrying for us all.

2.) 30 Dec 2019 21:26:10
Good read dlib, for what it's worth I still feel we are a bit spursy, there's a cup in us and we can beat better teams on a good day and lose to worse teams .
I don't live local anymore so hard to know what match goers think of ole, on here the fans seem a little like the decision makers, top 4 and just about accept the manager, drop much further than that then option splits,
I think this is because a utd manager has the financial clout that really should make top 4 achievable.
For a while now when looking at utd I think 3 good players and there's a decent team but I was probably saying that before the last ten were bought and fans of other teams probably say the exact same thing .
Our signings on the whole have been bad for a while, some worse than others and it feels a while since we bought a player who has really ripped up trees . if we could get this improved the days of twenty or thirty points behind may disappear, anyway happy new year to Ed's, posters and readers.

{Ed007's Note - Happy New Year to you too buddy.}

3.) 30 Dec 2019 22:00:07
I must say but never would I want Simeone in charge. No chance in hell would he fit our club. When you see us attacking teams with fast play we are very good to watch. I'm feeling quite optimistic for the future. We are still short but with the correct additions we would have a very good team. It's stupid to think about sacking the manager now. Number 10 we need desperately and also another centre midfielder to play deeper. Brandon Williams looks some player and offers more defensively and offensively than Luke Shaw. I wonder if we will do a deal for Sancho 🤔. Another CB also needed as I'm not totally confident in Lindelof. Bailly looked a very good CB when he came I wonder if he can get fit and be a good player for us as he is a good age.

4.) 30 Dec 2019 22:09:16
I'm on the fence and I can see merit in both arguments.

I really like Rashford and Martial although both can frustrate me immensely. I think both have shown promise and should probably be given more time to ascertain if they can perform more consistently. They need help and a really good No10 and RW would make a huge difference to this team in my opinion. I'm excited by the likes of Williams and especially Greenwood so I believe there is cause for optimism.

Having said that I always feel we are just a few of injuries or bad results short of disaster and we still just don't know which Utd will turn up from week to week.

My gut says stick with Ole until the end of the season and see where we finish although I'm not sure Ole can survive many more performances like Watford, Bournemouth or Newcastle etc!

Like I said more questions than answers and it will be intriguing to see what the Club do if we fail to make the Champions League.

5.) 31 Dec 2019 04:31:55
DLIB. I personally thought that the decision makers left Ole with a squad short of depth and quality.

It was astonishing that we didn't replace our top scorer in Lukaku. The team already needed a quality midfielder and Herrera left without being replaced.
These were some shocking decisions and Ed002 rightly labelled them as "amateurs".

Due to this, we had to remain patient with the likes of Fred, Martial and Rash hoping they would come good and consistent.

If we had recruited some of the signings which Ed mentioned such as Bruno Fernandes, SMS, Moussa Dembele or Jadon Sancho, I'm pretty certain we would have comfortably been in top 2.

The constant injuries to few players have not helped either.

However, I like the direction the club has taken this year. Shifting out average players like Smalling, Darmian, Sanchez. Phasing out Matic, Rojo, Young, Mata etc, .

We have the youngest squad in the league and personally think we are in much better hands than we were under LVG or Moyes.
There is so much potential in the likes of Rashford, Martial, AWB, DJ, Greenwood, Tuanzebe, Williams, McT etc, .
The foundation seems to be stronger than ever compared to the last 7 years.

In 2020, we must make sure to get 3-4 quality signings to get back where we belong.
Consistency will improve as these players get more games under their belt.

{Ed025's Note - comfortably in the top 2 TRD???, top 4 i would agree with mate but city and liverpool are light years ahead..

6.) 31 Dec 2019 08:06:58
Red Man, I think if we miss out on top 4 then he will likely be gone, it would take something remarkable for him to remain. What we don’t know is what ‘vision’ he has sold to Ed, Ole said himself this week that he expected to be further along by now. If we have a stronger second half and win a cup then that’s progress but given where we currently sit, top 4 is eminently achievable so I think it would be seen as failure if we miss out.

7.) 31 Dec 2019 09:11:11
Is this an essay writing competition? You know Shappy is about drop a dissertation now.

Happy New Years all!

4th is there to be competing for and with the right investment we should reach it.

8.) 31 Dec 2019 09:29:02
Hope you had a good Xmas DLIB! I went recently to OT and I did find people were mostly in support of Ole, but Red Man is right, I have found that in general match going United fans are not as vociferous if they do not like manager as say Arsenal supporters (for example) . I think top 4 is in reach, and we must strengthen to get it especially in midfield. With Mctominay out, I can't trust Pogba to stay fit, or to even stay as we all know he wants out. I too have similar worries to Red Man about attracting the right quality of player. I think the likes of Ancelotti and Jose have a far larger pull than say Ole, but that is something that remains to be seen. Beat Arsenal and that's 3 league wins in a row, cannot remember the last time we did that. Here is to a better 2020! Happy New Year to all the Eds and posters.

{Ed047's Note - Happy new year Park, have a great one!

9.) 31 Dec 2019 08:44:23
Hi Ed025, City don't seem to be at their best this season :)
It's unlike them to drop so much points at this stage of the season.

{Ed025's Note - they are still way above united,s level though TRD, but i must say the likes of chelsea, spurs and arsenal are well within reach as well as leicester, top 4 is a realistic shout i believe mate..



Manchester United Logo

19 Dec 2019 18:57:01
{Ed's Note - DLIB has posted a new article entitled, Anthony Martial's Position At Manchester United


1.) 19 Dec 2019 19:30:16
I think 5 years in he has had more than enough time to establish himself and I remain unconvinced. You say languid, I say lazy. His movement is poor, he regularly looks moody or unhappy and whilst he clearly has real talent, he often goes missing; some games I’m actually surprised when he touches the ball as I hadn’t realised he was n the pitch. I would not be sorry to see him leave assuming we replaced him.

2.) 19 Dec 2019 20:36:54
Give him a run of games he will be fine.

3.) 19 Dec 2019 20:58:04
Not my cup of tea.
I don't like watching him despite his obvious ability. Just not my type of player or personality.

4.) 19 Dec 2019 21:15:30
How many years have we been hearing that? 'give him a run of games'.

5.) 19 Dec 2019 22:13:26
I think he will be fine once he has a proper playmaker behind him.

He has the talent and should work out.

Its no point selling him now after all the time qe have apent with him and then imagine him firing on all cylinders in another team.

6.) 19 Dec 2019 22:14:37
Looks like its martials turn to take stick from the fans, a few months ago it was rashford taking pelters.

Of course jred is right, he needs a run of games at the striker position, he has hardly played 5 games in a row there, some of that is his fault, some poor management and some rotten luck with injuries

The man can clearly finish and his link up play is very good. Excellent first touch and close control. Needs to work hard on his off the ball game.

The reality is him and rashford should be mainstays in our front 3, if the club had any ounce of football knowledge they would sign a proper right winger to play with them, a position which has been neglected for nearly a decade.

7.) 19 Dec 2019 22:15:04
The lads got talent. His constant niggling injuries though threaten to derail any chance he might have.

He finally has a manager who believes in him. He needs to stay fit and prove his quality out on the pitch.

I hope he does, I think he has all the skills to be an excellent player. But there is a shadow of doubt in my mind now. 5 years waiting for him to kick on, does make you question does he have the mentality to do it.

8.) 19 Dec 2019 22:44:57
Rashford always had the talent and his main problem is his shooting and if he improves his shooting then he can be anything he wants.

9.) 20 Dec 2019 02:33:14
Greenwood and james haven't emerged as anything. Greenwood has had 2-3 good games, he has a long way to go yet.

James on the other hand is showing all the qualities that make fans love him but are the reason of our current downfall, a great worker but not much else.

He runs around like a fully charged duracell bunny and sadly he crosses and passes like one too, we did this similar rating players off their effort rather than talent and ability, that's what has kept lingard here for so many years.

{Ed047's Note - some of you guys have been so guilty of this since Fergie left.

Talking a player into something you want rather than the reality of what they are.

10.) 20 Dec 2019 04:23:46
The main difference between Rashford and Martial is the attitude.
If things don't go well for both, Martial sulks whereas Rashford still chases lost causes and helps out defensively.

I have seen Dan James putting in some really good crosses from right wing. But both Rash and Martial, have failed to meet them. So it's clear that we need a proper striker who has those instincts inside the box.
However, both have age on their side to still improve on certain aspects.

11.) 20 Dec 2019 06:36:49
"Martial doesn't make runs or has poor movement", early Christmas cracker there. His movement off the ball is what creates the space needed for Rashford or James, it's no coincidence Rashford and others look better when he's in the side. He's got 7 goals and 3 assists too, in 16 appearances, considering his recent injuries, that isn't a bad return.

12.) 20 Dec 2019 07:55:17
Trd most of the cross from james I have seen either fail to get past the first man or are so deep that even if our players end up receiving them there isn't much they can do with it, he is a mediocre crosser at best right now.

13.) 20 Dec 2019 10:21:16
As a centre forward Martial is poor. I'd give him a go at 10 where he can pick up the ball a little deeper and run at defenses. I'm not sure he has the eye for a pass for that position though.

14.) 20 Dec 2019 10:55:41
Perhaps part of the reason for Martial not kicking on was Mourinho's preference for the big traditional number 9 centre forward, which meant he was never going to get a run of games in his best position .

15.) 20 Dec 2019 11:07:21
I think some are forgetting there's different ways to play the 9 role.

If you are judging martial as being a false 9 then he is I would say playing that role perfectly.

For comparisons he needs to be judged againt a firminio type 9 not judge against let's say a Vardy style 9.

Vardy's job is purely, be on the shoulder and score where as firminio and martial's job is to link play and pull defenders out of position more than stretch them.

16.) 20 Dec 2019 11:17:18
I think he gets a lot of unfair stick because of his languid style when he plays. I remember berbatov getting something similar when he was here. Martial is clearly very talented and we do look a much better side when he plays. He’s one of the few players who brings others into the game, he can carry the ball and is clearly a very good finisher. He does need to be more consistent, sort his injury problems out. I’m convinced he is not a natural no 9, instead he is a better second striker. If he has say someone like Haaland to play off I think we would see a far more effective player. I’m a fan of his, but I do see why he gets some stick. But I do feel it’s because he’s not someone who charges round the pitch, there is a perception he’s half arsed or lazy.

17.) 20 Dec 2019 12:52:01
Schnauzer, good post your view will be in the minority but I think you've hit the nail on the head.

18.) 20 Dec 2019 20:54:06
Park, did you just compare Martial to Berbatov? Not even playing the same game, never mind in different leagues.

19.) 20 Dec 2019 21:47:26
MancMan I meant in terms of people jumping on him because of their perceived ‘laziness’ if you will. I remember berbatov being subject to criticism because he didn’t charge around the pitch like say tevez or Rooney. Berba was one of my favourite players.

20.) 21 Dec 2019 10:10:30
Just reread it. I see what you mean Park but Berbatov was a joy to watch whereas Martial. Wasn't there some stay about Berbatov frequently covering more ground than any other player? Or did I just make that up?




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16 Nov 2019 11:37:35
We must accept that at the moment we are in a lull still reeling from the retirement of one of the greatest football managers that ever lived.

Sancho as of the of world's leading young players will no doubt have his choice of Clubs. He will ultimately make the best choice for him based on his career.

There appears to have been a change of emphasis and recruitment strategy at the Club over the past few months. I sincerely hope that Ole can lead our new and exciting young team back towards the top. On occasions when the likes of Rashford, Martial, James and Pogba click we play the most exciting, thrilling brand of football we've seen in years. The next step is for them to perform more consistently and our recruitment in January and over the summer will be critical to Ole's chances of success.




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31 Oct 2019 15:21:18
If you don't think Maguire has improved our defence then I'm sorry but you know nothing about football.

He's assured on the ball, dominant in the air and physically strong. Ok I accept he lacks pace and can be vulnerable on the turn or in 1v1 situations but so could Vidic. He makes our defence, whoever he partners just looks better. Would you trust Lindelof/ Rojo, Lindelof/ Tuanzebe or Rojo/ Tuanzebe for any length of time but put Maguire next to any of them and it makes a huge difference.

Lindelof has regressed from some decent performances last season and moving forward I expect Tuanzebe to replace him in the team. I actually think Bailly would also make an excellent partner for Maguire.

I remember people questioning some of VVD's early performances in a Liverpool shirt, try and get some perspective Shan and watch more football.

Forget the money it's irrelevant, he was under contact and we desperately needed him so we paid the money.

Maguire, AWB and James have all been excellent acquisitions. Along with Mctominay they have easily been our best and most consistent performers. If the rest on the squad had performed more consistently at their level maybe the ridiculous civil war we've seen erupt on this site over the last several weeks would have ran out of ammunition.

We all know the squad is threadbare but our first choice starting 11 is decent and certainly capable of a top 4 finish. Injuries have made life difficult and our season will wholly depend on keeping key men fit until the squad can be strengthened.




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10 Jun 2019 21:30:24
Why would Palace sell him to Everton or West Ham for half the price? That just doesn't make sense. Palace are under no pressure to sell, he's one of the most promising full backs in the country, the player isn't agitating for a move, he's still under contract so if somebody wants him they'll have to make Palace an offer they can't refuse.

Didn't Everton buy Richarlison from Watford for around £50m after only playing one season in the Premier League?!

It's the same for the likes of Maguire and Maddison. Their values are being pushed through the roof as Clubs are no longer under financial pressure to sell players, they are better equipped than ever before to retain their best players so if players have signed long term contracts getting them from other Club's is difficult and very expensive.




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22 Apr 2019 14:08:41
Good post Mumbles.




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31 Dec 2018 17:32:37
I've not seen much of him but he's very well rated from what I've read.

We definitely need a RW but I'd like to see Chong given a chance. I'm surprised he's not been included since Ole's appointment does anybody know if he's been injured?!





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28 Feb 2020 14:01:15
Shappy - SO I think it depends on what type of RW you think would best compliment the team and style of play.

I like Traore, I think he's improved immeasurably this season and has added an end product to compliment to his blistering pace and power. I think he'd obviously be devastating on the counter and really dangerous against teams that play with a high line. Having said that he may be less effective against teams that deploy a low block and if you take away his pace and running power does he have the quality to play a cute pass or manipulate the ball in tight areas?!

I think Ole wants to move to a more possession based game whilst keeping the threat and pace on the counter and in the transitions.

Bruno has looked very good interchanging with the likes of Fred and Mata playing quick short passes and interchanging positions. I think Traore could make us a touch one dimensional especially with Rashford performing a similar role on the left.

Whilst Sancho has pace he is less direct with his running than Traore. Sancho is able to come in off the line and get involved in the build up playing quick one touch football and interchanging positions. He is also a good dribbler and able to create space in tight areas making him more versatile and possibly better suited in linking up with the likes of Fred, Fernandes and Martial. By signing Sancho I think we still retain the threat on the counter but are also able to keep better possession of the football by manipulating opposition defences, playing quick one touch football with a lot of rotation of positions.

I haven't seen enough of Buendia to comment unfortunately pal.




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24 Feb 2020 18:55:33
Shappy - If Ole is still in charge next season I expect him to play 4-2-3-1. This has predominantly been his formation of choice and I expect him to build around this now we've signed Fernandes.

The continued links with Sancho make sense as we don't really have a viable option on the right. James and Greenwood have both done well on occasions but to make the formation work we really need a more consistent threat from the right.

I agree we look vulnerable at the back especially against the better teams when we play a flat back 4. There is no doubt that Maguire lacks pace and can look vulnerable when left exposed. Lindelof also lacks pace, physicality and he also looks vulnerable when left exposed in 1v1 situations, especially against powerful and pacy forwards. I wonder if Bailly will eventually make a better partner for Maguire. He offers more pace and physicality than Lindelof and maybe this is something we might see moving forward. Once Rashford returns with the addition of Fernandes and hopefully a specialist right winger/ forward in the summer our attack will be much more balanced and potent. There will be less emphasis for our full backs to provide the team with an attacking impetus and they may provide more support/ cover for the CB's. The full backs will be important in providing the balance between attacking width and defensive cover.

Pogba may be sold in the summer so his creativity will need to be replaced. Someone like Grealish would make sense. He could provide quality cover for Fernandes in the No10 position where he would offer a different threat with his dribbling ability. He could also play to the left of a midfield 3 or even as wide forward where he has been utilised to good effect with Villa this season. His versatility and quality would give the squad plenty of options. With Matic ageing I expect us to target another defensive midfielder although he's proven in recent weeks that he's still a very good player. He'll only be 32 in the summer so the Club may choose to activate the extra year in his contract.

In relation to the players we've been linked with I expect a big push for Sancho this summer especially if Pogba is sold. The Club will want a marquee signing to offset the loss of Pogba in my opinion. If you add in Grealish those two would provide us with multiple options in midfield and attack adding undoubted quality and depth to the squad.

4-2-3-1 -

De Gea,
AWB, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw,
Mctominay, Fred
Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford


Personally I'd drop a defensive midfielder out and play a 4-3-3 formation with Grealish to the left and Fernamdes right of a midfield 3.




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24 Feb 2020 08:31:05
Good result and great to see Greenwood score another goal.

In my opinion he should play every week especially against teams that play with a low block and surrender possession. He is one of the only players in our squad that can shoot accurately from distance. He makes good runs and has the ability to manipulate the ball in tight areas before shooting with unnerving power and accuracy. The boy is a goal threat and the likes of Lingard, Periera and Mata have offered next to nothing from the right hand side all season.

Fernandes has been good, he's provided that extra bit of quality in midfield but it's still early days. I'm not convinced he's a genuine No10 and I think he could be even more effective slightly deeper playing to the right of a midfield 3. Having said that if his stats are anything like that at Sporting then maybe he needs to stay higher up the pitch. His versatility will be a big plus in addition to his obvious quality.

With Matic playing so well and the imminent return of Mctominay I just wonder if we could play a 4-4-2 diamond. With Matic anchoring the midfield, Fred and Mctominay providing the industry and Fernandes the creativity. It also allows Greenwood to player higher up the pitch and be more of a threat in the box where we need him.

The next four league games will decide our fate Everton away, City at home, Spurs away then Sheffield Utd at home. That's a tough run of fixtures in anyones book. We are still big outsiders for the top 4 in my opinion but we must make sure we finish 5th in case City's ban is upheld.

Still lots of work to do but we got the job done. It makes a huge difference when you have the likes of Martial, Fernandes and Greenwood in the team that are all capable of scoring a goal. In midweek we lined up with Periera, Lingard and Mata none of which provide any kind of reliable goal threat and certainly shouldn't all start in the same team together.

Can we kick on? We're about to find out!




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20 Feb 2020 20:56:47
I don't even know what to make of that tonight.

Squad rotation is important but with a stuttering team sorely lacking any kind of rhythm or consistency were so many changes really needed? Despite a good win at Chelsea this competition probably still represents our best chance of playing Champions League football next season yet this was a performance and selection that screamed inconvenience sandwiched in between two premier league games.

The 5-1-3-1 formation or whatever it was simply didn't work and to be honest I'm still trying to work out where Lingard, Pereira and Mata were supposed to be playing. If somebody eventually figures it out can you please let them know because it looked like they didn't have a clue either. That wasn't a team that took to the field tonight rather a collection of individuals wearing a Utd shirt trying to play football.

How can this team improve or find any kind of rhythm or level of consistency when the tactics change for every game. In our last three games against Wolves, Chelsea and Brugge Ole has utilised three different systems.

We still have no identify, no discernible patterns of play and tonight we were even devoid of the pace to play on the counter; about the only thing we're remotely good at.

A 1-1 draw isn't the end of the world but the performance was disjointed, slow, ponderous and lacking quality. It resembled nothing of what I expect from even a remotely competent Utd team.

I have no confidence we'll beat Watford on Sunday and as usual we're always one game away from another crisis.




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19 Feb 2020 17:05:51
Shappy - All candidates come with their advantages and disadvantages.

In reality the Club have big decisions to make over the summer and as long as there is clarity of thought and a vision for the Club moving forward there is no right or wrong answer. It's difficult to exactly predict how successful any manager will become but as long as the decision makers have a good understanding of what they what, a vision of how they want the Club to move forward and a clearly defined recruitment policy the chances of success become much higher.

I don't think there is anything necessarily wrong with appointing managers with differing philosophies or visions of how they want their teams to play but there must be an appreciation and understanding that each manager may demand his own players to best fit his system. This route may ultimately prove very expensive and involve the movement of a lot of players in and out of the Club. A steady churn of managers and players isn't exactly the definition of stability but I don't think it can be argued this approach is not successful. Chelsea haven't historically employed managers with similar footballing philosophies yet have continued to be very successful. They have predominantly tended to favour experienced managers with a history of winning and this method has kept them relatively successful for over two decades.

Without a DOF maybe Utd should consider the route of always appointing the very best manager available. One with a proven track record of winning at the highest level and allow them control of recruitment. Back them in the market and hold them accountable for a high standard of performance. If expectations aren't met appoint the next man with the necessary credentials to get the job. Eventually the right combination of manager and players will be found and the team will be successful. This approach whilst inordinately expensive demonstrates the Club is committed to winning and whilst success is by no means guaranteed using this approach it's unlikely the Club would endure decades without winning. Giving the wrong men time, without the necessary experience or proof of success and the acceptance of mediocrity will only prolong the wait. The clock is ticking and the Club needs to decide which direction it wants to go.

In my opinion the Club craves stability, for it to continue to be financially competitive it must have Champions League football on a consistent basis. This in my opinion is more important to the Club than winning. Of course they would love the Club to be successful but from a business perspective it needs to be in a position to increase revenue, sponsorship and merchandise opportunities. This can all be achieved by consistently finishing in the top 4. Based on the analysis of previous performances Poch is probably the best man to deliver this. He has a proven track record, has good experience of the league and proven himself to be a loyal and committed coach.

If I was in charge and wanted somebody that I believed could get us back into the top 4 on a consistent basis but would also play attacking and attractive football whilst also having a chance of delivering trophies I'd appoint Poch.