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The old Man Utd Thread


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Fucking hell, we've played 8 games in the league. If we are still playing terribly and languishing in mid table then we might need to look at what happens next. But 8 games in? Get a grip.

What positives have you seen so far then, Spork?

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Did you not read anything DS posted in reply to your insistance that we should sack our manager after 8 games? Ithink he summed it all up pretty well.

Er, yes. I was asking what you thought. You're quick to lay into people for not thinking the same as you, yet you didn't even share what your view of the current situation is.

Anyway it seems like you're the one who isn't reading posts. Where have I insisted we sack our manager? I haven't said it once since his appointment.

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Man, this season is getting longer and longer.

Still too early for the obligatory Moyes out?

Moyes totally clueless, unable to even get anything out of this group of players? Becoming completely unfeared (what's the opposite of feared?!) by even the lowliest of opposition? Almost definitely finishing outside the top 4, so no Champions League next season? Leaving us even less of a prospect for decent players?

You're happy for that self destructive cycle to continue?

Now, I'm not totally laying it all at the manager's feet, but he's got to take a lot of it. We need someone who knows what they're doing with a world class team and as far as I can see Moyes just doesn't look like he's got what it takes.

I'm guessing it's actually David who keeps negging me, cos he sure as fuck isn't managing our team.

Hello David. Would you please hand your keys in at reception when you leave this evening. Thanks.

So if we lose today, how long does 'this is the worst United start in XX years' extend to?

Moyes out?

It was succinctly worded, but the idea was to see if anyone thinks Moyes is up for the job.

I know it's early days, but since he's been at the club it's been an unmitigated disaster.

There's been talk of the squad, the owners and the back room staff, but not much about the manager himself, so I was wondering what people were thinking.

Moyes out?

Oh man, this is going to be a long, torturous season.

Fuck this shit.

I think it's pretty safe to say that you wont be happy ever so slightly less negative about absolutely everything until Moyes gets the boot and we hire Hughes, Ince or Keane to manage us to glory (but only if they win all of their first 8 games in charge).

You've moaned in here for long enough to know that we've played pretty terribly at times over the last few years. Even last season it could be said that we were lucky to win the league and only managed to because of Van Persie and everyone else seemingly doing their best to throw it away. Europe has also shown how we have been lacking for so long.

This year we are undergoing probably one of the biggest changes to the club that we've ever faced. I'd be surprised if any club managed to keep going at full pace (a pace that we haven't been at for a while) after effectively having the entire foundations of the club dug up (I'm aware that I'm exaggerating a bit, but I think it's safe to say Fergie had a say in how nearly everything was done and having him leave is a massive blow).

It's going to take time to get things right and sure, there is a slight chance that we might not make the CL next season but if you don't think we are going to hit our stride at some point this season then you're even more stupid than all of the journalists who write us off every single season after a bad start or a bad run of results.

Wasn't it kind of quietly acknowledged by a lot of fans that this season might be one of transition and we might not do as well as we would normally expect? Sure it would have been great if we could have hit the ground running, but I think there are a fair few sensible supporters who can at least understand that it's not always going to happen like that and it's best to look to the future rather than a single season.

If we get rid of Moyes tomorrow, who do we get in as a replacement? What if the next manager has the same record after 8 games. Do we sack him and carry on doing so until we've found someone who can win 8 games on the trot?

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Well, thanks for you thoughts. Pretty much what I think really if I don't let the emotions of the match come into it.

You also showed that I haven't once said I want the manager gone (except for the hand your keys in at the door joke that wasn't entirely serious), so thanks for that.

As for your question of who I'd get to replace him, well I really don't know. I don't think we should get rid of him yet actually (honest!), as we're already into the season and I don't think it'd do us any good to get rid so soon. He should have, at least, this season to settle and start to move in the right direction. I'm still not convinced he was the right appointment in the first place though.

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I don't think we should get rid of him yet actually (honest!), as we're already into the season and I don't think it'd do us any good to get rid so soon. He should have, at least, this season to settle and start to move in the right direction.

If you really think that then how about we all get behind him and actually give him a chance? No good is going to come out of all of the more simple fans calling for his head already, absolutely nothing.

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Some 'easy' games coming up in coming weeks. Win them and all will be well. Don't and the title will be very difficult. Simple as that.

That run of "easy" games started three weeks ago. Now obviously the timeline is a bit off due to the internationals but we've played two home games and took 1 point. Nobody is saying WBA or Southampton are bad sides but the fact is the bedrock of us winning the league is winning over 90% of our home games. Every team in recent history, be it us, City or Chelsea has done this.

As good as those opponents are, how well they played and how deserving WBA and Southampton where of the points we should be beating them if we have any chance of the league. Cos, let's face it, we won't be beating any "top" sides such as Chelsea or City, nor do we win away at Liverpool. Which isn't a Moyes malaise, it's something we've been unable to do for such a long time and win important games.

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Why do we (well used to!) win so many home games, particularly with lateish winners? Obviously Fergie time and cheating is the real answer, but indulge me for a minute.

How many times over say the last 20 years have you seen opposition start strongly, defend well, get a goal, press us strongly and look really good for at least a point at about the 60/70th minute mark? Now, how many times have the opposition left with nothing after looking so strong 20 minutes previously? Loads of occasions, I reckon.

So how does this happen (cheating, naturally)? My observation is the opposition stops doing everything they did well for the previous hour. They stop pressing so hard and drop deeper and deeper. They remove a striker or attacking playing in favour of packing the midfield and remove their out ball. Often they have no energy left after the exertions expended harrying us and visibly wilt. They become panicked and seem content to just kick the ball back to us. They have no possession nor respite and simply can't cope with the sheer pressure of us having 7 players attacking in and around the box and fold, conceding late equalisers and winners.

So why at home did we adopt these same tactics and try to hang on for a 1 nil win? The substitutions yesterday weren't just wrong they where disastrous and worst of all cowardly. Moyes is right that we had chances and had we took them would have won yet his decisions yesterday went against the ethos of the club. These chances occurred well before we made changes, post them we retreated and hung on.

What I want to know is why did he adopt the tactics of a "smaller", "lesser" side when making subs whilst playing a pretty standard home league game against relatively modest opposition? Why did we sub Nani who was playing well and replace him with Giggs? Only it wasn't a direct replacement so Giggs could play left wing, he rearranged the side totally to fit Giggs into a position centrally he wouldn't be a total liability in, making him do the Fellaini role only worse. Which is something given how poorly Mophead performed and how dominated he was. Is he picking players on reputation or some grand notion that experience is key?

Why did he sub off Rooney for a centre back? I'll tell you why, so he could fuck around with the centre back pairing with five minutes to go (which turned out out be ten with added time), move Jones to midfield and flood it to hold out the game. Which didn't happen. He wanted to control the game yet the message was panic as he totally rearranges players roles. Predictably enough the pressure grew, they came strong and we didn't look remotely like capable of scoring.

This is not to say that Rooney or Mophead played well and didn't deserve to be subbed. They where shit, constantly lost possession in dangerous areas and offered next to nothing all day. The thing is we where getting beat centrally (ooh, that's a surprise) and his response to that is to bring on a pensioner and totally surrender that area. Just like we did the game previous against Shaktar. He's disrupted the balance and flow of a game we where comfortable in just so he could add... well, what, experience and cover in numbers?

Why didn't he attack the malaise that had set in that second half not by going defensive and cowardly but by trying to force another goal? I guess it's the same reason Moyes doesn't play with a style or authority of his own, why he persists with 4-4-2 despite not having the players for it. He's trying to keep everything solid and stable, do this and the goals will come. Only the goals aren't coming, we don't look solid and are playing badly. He's partly playing 4-4-2 (well it's 1 upfront with Rooney deeper) to accommodate Rooney and RVP but they aren't performing anywhere near well enough to deserve this.

After three good games Rooney is back to his form of last year yet the manager is scared to do something about this. He won't drop Persie to play Rooney as the main striker. He dare not move or drop Rooney for fear the fat cunt will go on strike again. So on we persist, getting dominated centrally just so one player who isn't even that good or even wants to be here can pretend to be happy. Him keeping the facade up just enough to get selected to remain fit for what he's really interested in next summer. The managers conservatism of Young/Giggs/Welbeck/Valencia was previously explained away by a tricky start but still his mentality remains post that run.

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Sorry for the 800 posts in a row.

For years it was widely thought and agreed that the way to break down teams coming to Old Trafford and parking the bus was to play 4-4-2, push the wingers out and have the full backs heavily involved. Do we have a solution for the teams that now come and push out, press heavily and whilst they don't score many won't concede either. There's been no plan to tackle this the last few years, nor the last two league home games.

What frustrates me is that we knew how Southampton would play, with a high line and press early. Most of our chances and close offsides came as a result of a ball behind their back line. The goal came from this sort of pass. So surely you play people who will push up from midfield, play balls in behind them. Even if the balls aren't perfect you turn the opposition around and make them run towards their own goal.

Moyes thinking? Nope, you don't play somebody with excellent ability to make such passes nor do you bring him off the bench and instead bring on inferior players. What you do is you pretend that we still have Scholes and Keane, pander to a player who decides himself where he will play because hey he's happy and had 2 good games at the start and base your whole team around this. You buy a player who has described himself as "the more defensive of the midfield 2" yet who has no pace nor real clean tackling ability, a player who also struggled badly under pressure or is able to really read the game.

Of course it's pointless getting misty eyed and saying none of this happened the last few years under the previous manager. Or even to say we played good football or even positive stuff under him at the end. Doing so would be to lie. The thing is Moyes isn't teflon like the last guy with decades of goodwill built up and it's the sort of team line up and substitutions made yesterday that will decide his fate.

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I don't think there are an easy games any more, because nobody fears us.

Tying back into that I've been thinking a bit more about this season being a transitional one and I wonder why nothing was done to ease the process. It was obviously going to be a tough time for not only Moyes and the squad, but the fans too, so I think they should have gone all guns blazing for one or two big signings.

It would have reassured the players. It would have helped the manager to have options. It would have shown the fans that the club doesn't end with Fergie.

As it is though it's been a complete shambles in pretty much every area.

I really hope that they can pull it around, but it hasn't been a convincing time since Fergie's departure.

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I think unless you'd spent a really large amount, you may have had a tough time attracting real marquee signings without spending a huge amount, as you're so obviously a team in transition. Same reason that your owners would be less likely to release significant funds to do so. It's a real Catch-22 as I reckon a big signing (Ozil etc) would have glossed over a lot of the issues you're dealing with at the moment.

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i keep seeing teams playing great football and winning matches playing a 4-2-3-1 formation, pretty much without genuine wide players. look at how Arsenal played yesterday. a back four with full-backs who can overlap, two central midfielders who are ball-winners, but have license to play as center mids, and can attack as well - see Ramsey coming on in one of these positions. in front of this they have Wilshire, Carloza and Ozil. three creative, technically gifted players who interchange positions, link up together in close quarters, and can move wide to provide width. up front they have a pretty average striker who nonetheless has a bunch of goals this season due to being the spearhead of such a creative formation. look at the football they play. that goal by Wilshire was fucking ridiculous, better than that one we scored in the Charity shield against City a few years ago.

we could play like this - we have the players. when Rafael is fit, we would have a tremendous pair of full-backs. the midfield would have to be Carrick plus one, and i have no idea who the plus one would be, to be honest. probably Cleverly, as Fellaini has been an unmitigated disaster so far. as far as i can tell he can't run, can't pass, can't tackle, makes the wrong decisions, commits too many fouls, and is frequently out of position. the creative three would be Januzaj, who was again our best attacking player yesterday, Kagawa, as he's world class in that position ffs, and one other. possibly Rooney, although he gives the ball away far too much, and playing without wingers would mean he has to reign in his habit of looking to spread it wide all the time. on the other hand he has played well this season, and will score lots of goals. alternatively there's Zaha or Nani, maybe even Welbeck for a laugh. Young has to be on his way now, and Valencia is too limited. up top there's Van Persie or maybe Hernandez if RVP is off-colour. our three attacking midfielders aren't as good as Arsenal's, but our striker is miles better, and quite capable of playing a creative role himself.

we seem married to a particularly stodgy brand of 4-4-2 though. lets be honest, Januzaj is working some magic down the left despite the formation, which might actually be holding him back. Rooney's a great player, but a cancer as far as tactical flexibility goes. our defence is hopeless, particularly in the center, where we are caught between players that are past it and players that aren't quite there yet. perhaps we need to either pick one of our youngsters and play them alongside Vidic every week until they get it, or go out in january and buy a center back at their peak. we're going to lose both Kagawa and Hernandez, further weakening our squad. we should be shipping out the weaker players like Anderson, and holding on to such players who could have a huge impact if only they played! Fellaini has only made our midfield even worse, even moreso for the fact that he cost £30m so we have to play him or look even more foolish. but look at him yesterday! he can't weight a pass! one example from many, he played a straightforward 20-yard sideways pass, and the player had to wait for it to bobble along to him. that's suicide against a team that presses you high up the pitch like Southampton do. on top of this, as Bowser has said, we have the negative, counter-productive substitutions of yesterday, and the mistaken belief that Giggsy can still be bought on to close games off. he actually still has something to give further up the pitch, but in the center he's going to get passed around, and not exactly going to win a lot of tackles. also, as Jon says, teams simply don't fear us anymore.

i remember Fergie's farewell speech, him telling us that our job now is to support the new manager, and i really do support him. i don't want him out, and i hope he gets it right. at the moment though i don't particularly trust him. i can see glimmers of promise from him, such as the promotion of Januzaj, the return of Nani, and the apparent jettisoning of Young, and he's clearly struggling against an epidemic of terrible form that has gripped the squad (it doesn't matter who you pick if everyone's playing like shit) but he has done some strange stuff, has ignored and alienated Kagawa, and seems too stubborn in his mentality. however i don't think we're a million miles away from winning a few games. yesterday we kept hitting the bar, nearly breaking them down, and had Januzaj looking like doing something every time he got the ball. there was one moment in the second half that summed us up at the moment. Welbeck broke down the left wing, and had Rooney in space to his right, clean through it the ball was right. Welbeck saw him, but didn't have the confidence to hit the pass first time on the sprint. he took a touch and steadied himself, but in doing so took too long and was tackled. that's us at the moment. sort of nearly right, but lack of confidence is turning might-have-been situations into what-the-fuck-was-that situations.

it says a lot that this week i watched England for some better-quality football than i have been used to watching this season.

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People always criticised SAFs substitutions too. I don't understand the Smalling/Jones switch on Saturday but we shouldn't forget that Moyes was Fergies choice, there's so much impatience with so many clubs, we are a classier club than that. Look at Brendan Rogers 1st season compared to the football they are playing now. Poor performances from key players has a been a big part of our slow start, David Moyes knows far more about the squad than any fan, give him a chance. There must be a reason he is one of the very few managers not to get sacked in the PL.


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Apparently, Darren Fletcher was back training today so that's a bit of good news.

Good news? Fair enough if you're just talking about his personal well being and fitness, but I can't really see it being good news for the team. He's been out so long now I don't think he'll ever be able to cut it at the top level again.
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Hargreaves was great until the injury, slowly but surely turning into England's most important player under Sven.

He was a total dick when it came to throwing all the patience and efforts of the club back in its face, though. To begin with he was eager to stay and carry on picking up a wage for doing fuck all. Then when he got shown the door he decided the club's medical staff were what ruined his career.

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