Thursday, 12 February 2015
FIFTEEN SHADES OF RED
1. THE DOSSIER
Where else to begin? At his pre-match presser ahead of the visit of Burnley, Louis van Gaal fell prey to a mind game of a West Ham manager. The Dutchman produced four sheets of A4 paper detailed with statistics to prove that Manchester United football club are not a long ball team. Now, this is nowhere near the implosion of Rafa Benitez in 2009 with his 'facts' rant but you cannot deny that the whole episode bore shades of that laughable day in the Liverpool press conference room.
The media and indeed legends of the club have rightfully pointed out the flaw in responding to comments of a West Ham manager (with all due disrespect). The reality though is that men with an ego he size of van Gaal's are easily hurt by a comment that threatens to tarnish a reputation built over 30 years. Perhaps he could not stomach the possibility of the 'long ball manager' tag hanging over his tenure at Manchester United. Perhaps he lacks the sense of humour to take Sam Allardyce's comments with the light heartedness they deserved. Ultimately though, his dossier of a response has watered an argument that would have died out if he had chosen to ignore the jibe. Suffice it is to say that his dossier will always be used as a stick to hit him as and when anyone sees fit.
2. WAYNE ROONEY
Here's a few blunt statements from me about the captain. First of all, I love him (as a player). Anyone who plays for that long for a club you follow religiously is bound to grow on you simply because he will always feature in some of your most cherished moments in life.Secondly, I hate what he stands for. Modern day legends who expect to be loved by the fans despite holding their clubs at ransom.
My biases aside, Wayne Rooney is not as good a footballer as he or indeed people think he is. Of course he is a great goalscorer but he is not intelligent enough to suddenly make a great midfielder. It's a shame having him start in our midfield at the expense of better qualified midfielders in Ander Herrera and Juan Mata. Wayne's talents are best utilised near the goal. If I were to pick my best United XI with the current crop, Wayne would start up top alongside one of Radamel Falcao or Robin van Persie. It's simple: either drop him or start him up top. It made sense when Fergie used him in that role given our limitations at the time because we didn't have Mata or Herrera then.
3. ANDER HERRERA
This little lad is a world beater in my opinion. His understanding of the game is a product of the hardwork of Bielsa's excellent work at Atheltico Bilbao. He is everything we need Wayne to do in midfield and yet better. Word on the street is that his love for a party and the up coming match fixing case in Spain which he is a witness have ultimately led to his minimal involvement. My view is that Herrera is a victim of the early season imbalance in the side---when we played spectacular football, scored a bunch of goals and yet shipped them in the other end. With Blind and or Carrick now available to sit in front of the back four and given that Ander does not shy away from a tackle, it's hard to make sense of his exile on the bench other than the fact that Wayne has the arm band. The manager diplomatically explained this by equating Wayne to a football god and Ander to a misplaced Havard Law Professor playing football. The reality is that it's the captain who is misplaced. Wayne is a brilliant forward, but is also anything but a brilliant midfielder.
4. ANGEL DI MARIA
This is an even simpler one: let him switch roles with Wayne and everybody will go home happy.
5. RADAMEL FALCAO
Something tells me he will bag 40 goals for his next club, and boy will that hurt so bad.
6. AWAY DAYS
At the moment, it's win at home, draw away. Wheres points salvaged in difficult games are always welcome, United need to take more risks to win away games. It will not be enough to win just the home games.
When was the last time a side that lowly ranked came to Old Trafford and made us look the side lowly ranked? Jesus Christ! We need to pull our shit together before someone jumps off a building because of games like that!
8. THE LONG BALL
Statististically, (van Gaal started it) 12% of our balls go long so far this season. In the 2008/9 season that featured Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo e
t al, our long balls average was 13%. End of.
9. THE PARTNERSHIP
Similar age bracket, similar speed, similar game, similar pressures, Falcao and van Persie are easy to defend against because they are just too similar to play as a partnership. Add Wayne to any of them and the results will shock you at how good both still are.
10. THE WHISTLES
The first signs of discontent among the Old Trafford faithful were heard during the game against Burnley. Sections of the crowd whistled the players off at halftime. That can't be good. The manager acknowledged as much. I prefer to take out my frustrations at United in other ways. I just can't bring myself to boo something as dear to me as the club.
11. JUAN MATA
Will gladly welcome the idea of him on the bench IF the selected midfield trio is better than him.
12. MAROUANNE FELLAINI
Forget the long ball jibe, his best position is up top on the end of long balls. It's literally massive tool to have as a manger especially when the tiki taka has not yielded much. Keep hoofing them up to him please!
13. PHIL JONES
Been a while since he was mentioned in the same sentence as the word 'injured'. Well, we only had to wait 4 minutes into the match last night. His record in the treatment room is fast becoming farcical.
The sides below us in the league seem to have picked up form at the worst possible time for us....ahead of the run in. Liverpool for instance have picked up 20 points since Christmas. In the same period we've gotten just the 12. Again, we need to get our sh*t together.
15.50 SHADES OF GREY
Does anyone know why they used the colour Grey?