This is just terrible isn’t it? Man Utd are supposed to play a brand of football that comes at you from the mouth of a cannon and knocks you off your seat. Or to borrow Hunter S. Thompson’s description of the Hell’s Angels, “flat out through the eye of a beer can and up your daughter's leg with no quarter asked and none given”. Yet, this is where we are.
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Another 0-0 draw – since Sir Alex retired, no other Premier League club has drawn 0-0 more often than Manchester United. Paint drying.
Jose Mourinho set United up with 3 centre halves, 2 full backs and three strung across midfield to try to deal with West Ham team that had scored 17 times in their last 16 games. Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard paired up in an unorthodox front two – a false nine and a false footballer.
Both continually dropped deep to get on the ball, leaving nothing to pass to in the Hammer’s defensive third.
The ball moved around a bit and I was sucked into a time vortex where the seconds moved forwards and backwards, imprisoning me in football hell for what seemed like an eternity.
Did we just hit the post? Who knows? As we approached the final whistle, Mourinho introduce two more defenders, Ashley Young and Eric Bailly, just in case United were a little short at the back with the five they had already. In fairness, putting three centre backs on Andy Carroll is the only way to stop that all devouring goal monster who has already scored three times this season.
The game’s best moment was provided by Mark Noble, when the West Ham captain, went all “not on my manor” and squared up to Paul Pogba near the centre circle. Noble was rag-dolled by a baffled looking Pogba, though both saw the funny side at the final whistle. Point secured along with second spot. Job done or something.
Every time I watch Shaw play, I want to see him play more. There is such a good player buried beneath that rotund physique. It’s absolutely bewildering that Shaw hasn’t been given an extended run at left back, despite United not even having a recognized left back. It looks relatively certain that Shaw will move on this summer, and it will hurt to see him ripping it up at another club – and I’m fairly sure that will happen.
Where are the goals?
I guess the answer to that question could be: “in the treatment room with Romelu Lukaku”, but even with the Belgian in the team, United are far from prolific. Interestingly (or gallingly) United have failed to score in five of their last nine away matches. Mourinho was unable to come up with a plan to breach the defences at Spurs, Newcastle, Sevilla, Brighton and West Ham. A common theme in United’s matches is how few players they actually attack with. More often than not, it’s a maximum of three players that United commit forward. That trio is usually tasked with picking their way through defensive ranks massed in sixes, sevens and eights. As a result, United have only scored more than twice in a game once in eleven attempts. It’s unequivocally a tactical problem. But don’t expect it to change.
Now, first off I’ll admit that the leading motivation for a player to join any club is how many big bags full of money he can garner. United have more cash than most, so they will always be able to attract a certain number of players.
However, if you’re an exciting young footballer on the cusp of greatness and angling for your first big move this summer, would you really watch Man Utd and think? : “yeah I want some of that”.
At present, United are the club where good football and talented footballers go to wither away and die.
Naturally, this won’t be too much of a concern to Jose Mourinho, who will want to attract functional rather than flair players to the club, but it should be of huge concern to United’s already downhearted fanbase.
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