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Complimentary penalty number 33 incoming…
It’s pretty evident that Man Utd are not going to win the Premier League this season, they are going to have it given to them.
Last night simply confirmed what we all know. Luke Shaw if he played for anyone but Utd would have been sent off.
Liverpool receive far fewer free-kicks from referees than other teams: the Reds average 8.8 fouls on players per game this season, which is lower than every other team in the league other than Sheffield United (7.4).
You’ll want to sit down before you read the next one. According to the referees, Mo Salah has been “fouled” 11 times in 16 games (11 TIMES IN 16 GAMES). Lewis Dunk and Wes Fofana have been “fouled” more often! I fully expect Salah to be kicked, wrestled and manhandled for the whole of the game at the weekend.
Since the start of 18/19, Liverpool have been (grudgingly) awarded 17 penalties compared to 32 for Man Utd.
I think the evidence is there for all to see. We are discovering that these are not temporary fluctuations, but a vary specific trend that favours a certain team and discriminates against Liverpool. If your in any doubt, you won’t be after Utd are awarded their “complimentary” penalty on Sunday.
I can just hear Martin Tyler on commentary ahead of kickoff “…..and here come VAR’s own Penchester Utd……and its live (eugh)
Dale (Unconscious bias at best, corruption at worst) Marlow
For about 10 games we were just shit and inconsistent as we kept on winning after going behind. We rely too heavily on Fernandes. Our manager is a PE teacher. We can only counter attack. Maguire is shit, as is Lindelof. AWB can’t cross… and so on. You can tell we’re a threat when all the “neutrals” and haters come up with this rubbish.
Last night, against a team we previously would have struggled against, utd played it safe in the first half and went up a gear in the second. They were rightly weary of conceding first and giving another mountain to climb. We were in control almost the whole game and had Maguires header stood and Martials top corner shot or other chances gone in, it could have been a comfortable scoreline. Burnley should be credited for their defending but their tactic of lumping it into the box as soon as in utds half was pathetic and should only have a place in pub football team tactics.
From the start of Ole’s reign the players he inherited have improved, the squad has improved considerably and the number of ways the team can play has improved from the initial spell where fast counter attack was the only option. This team is continually improving and busting previous stereotypes of how they play. It’s a shame Donny can’t get in the team as he looks class but maybe his time will still come.
Utd are the best they’ve been post Fergie by some way and deserve credit for where they are at. Everton, Villa and Spurs have received credit for getting near the top after a handful of games but utd are beaten with a different stick (a baiting stick).
Onto Liverpool at the weekend. Utd have improved immeasurably from the team who got a few wins against top sides by soaking up pressure and hitting them on the break, which to be honest I enjoyed the results but you have to be a little embarrassed with that sort of smash and grab unless your name is Jose. Now we can go toe to toe although unfortunately this seasons encounters with top sides has shown us to be not quite there. I feel this match up could be another where both teams are setup to avoid defeat rather than go for a win.
While I still see City as title favourites and Liverpool to challenge as they get players back, utd are in with a chance and the longer they can stay in this race the better it will be for their development. Our forwards all seem to be slightly out of form, if they can step it up a little we could continue our current run of 9 wins and 2 draws in their last 11 Premier league games. Then you guys can really hate us.
Jon, Cape Town (hating neutrals since forever)
A serious glimmer of hope…
The usual caveat of not even being halfway through the season still applies, but bloody hell, I don’t think anyone could have predicted that United would be top of the table at ANY point after that 6-1 against Spurs back in October! Huge result last night, and it gives us something to hang on to when we travel to Anfield on Sunday.
There is now a very obvious glimmer of hope, but I still don’t expect United to win the league. However, it’s safe to say we’re exceeding expectations at the moment (at least my own). We ended the previous campaign 33 points behind the champions – to be 3 clear at the top at almost the halfway mark this season is undeniable progress, any way you slice it.
Despite said progress, it’s remarkable how there’s a significant section of the fanbase that’s still desperate to see Ole sacked, because it proves some sort of larger point they’re trying to make. It never ceases to amaze me how supposed fans of the club almost force themselves to be miserable at every turn. Ole may not be the second coming of Fergie. Hell, he may not end up ever winning anything at United either, it’s far too early to say. But if you’re a United fan, and can’t take even an ounce of joy from the job the man’s doing right now, maybe football isn’t for you.
DJ, MUFC (enjoying the ride, but refusing to get carried away) India
A baffling day on the F365 site, it has to be said.
It’s all well and good saying Utd are ‘alright’, rather than giving them due credit. But the fact is that, within matches where we aren’t at our best throughout, we are frequently playing excellently for 30, 45, 60 minutes.
In fact, Burnley was a great example – we toiled for the first half as Burnley, who had been in good form over the last 5 games, made us play their game. In the second half, we came out transformed. Our tempo increased, our movement was too much to handle, we swept everything up and we outmuscled them. It was the performance of a title contending side, outsiders or not.
The big issue that a lot of journalists are having is that they went in hard with the ‘United are a mess’ narrative, and back-pedalling is something everyone is loath to do. It has been almost a year of every step of United’s progress being met with a ‘yeah, but’. United have gradually debunked each and every one of these over the past 12 months.
‘Yeah but this is just new manager bounce.’
‘Yeah but Mourinho’s right, Utd have a terrible squad.’
‘Yeah but look at how much you’ve spent.’
’Yeah but Ole doesn’t have the clout to manage that dressing room.’
’Yeah but Ole’s managing Pogba so badly, he’s so spineless not throwing him into the fire.’
’Yeah but Pogba’s just playing well because he’s desperate to leave.’
’Yeah but Utd don’t score enough goals.’
’Yeah but Utd only score penalties.’
’Yeah but you haven’t got a striker who can score 20 goals.’
‘Yeah but Ole doesn’t have the tactical nouse to beat top managers.’
‘Yeah but beating big teams isn’t enough, you need to beat the teams further down the table.’
’Yeah but you need to break down deep blocks.’
’Yeah but you need to string results together, you can’t be so inconsistent.’
Every time there’s an individual setback, it proves everything negative about us right, and it takes months of good results and performances to counteract.
And United fans are just as culpable, having had 7 years of toxicity pumped into their eyeballs. In a significant, symbolic milestone almost 12 months on from what every journalist recognised as last season’s nadir, we’ve just beaten a tough Burnley side whose league position belies their recent form. And what is the headline from the mailbox this morning?
The Gangly Foal finding its footing
I know you lot at F365 love a United bashing but more points won than any other team in the calendar year. Top of the Premier League. Grinding out results on tricky Tuesday nights in Burnley.
I wrote a while back that United are the gangly foal learning to become the race horse. I urged the #OleOut cohort to enjoy the journey and stop demanding the destination. This United team is nowhere near the finished project but this foal is clearly finding its footing.
Time to start taking Solskjaer, his excellent man-management and this mentally resilient squad more seriously folks.
Long way to go but the building blocks are in place.
Like I said a few weeks ago, I’m loving this new role or rather identity Pogba has been turned into. Doesn’t do everything by himself anymore, keeps things simple, doesn’t hold on to the ball too long anymore, he’s improved in terms of his defensive duties compared to the early games of the season, our team still does look to him to make that killer pass that he’s got in him and furthermore he just looks much calmer. I’m happy to see this side of Pogba, I haven’t seen him enjoy his football for a very long time. On to Liverpool and hoping we can break the duck against a top 6 side this season (does Everton count?) and further increase the gap.
The answer is both…
Reasons I like Bielsa
He nearly got us promoted with a team that finished in the bottom half the previous season.
He then got us promoted with a team that finished in the bottom half the 2 seasons ago
He has us mid table in the PL with half the season gone, with pretty much the same team that finished in the bottom half of the championship 3 seasons ago
He has a blueprint of how he wants to play
The progress is there to see
I am confident if he had access to better resources we would compete at the top end of the table
He has clearly improved the players he has
We lost Ben White and we dont look to be going down
All the PFM’s dislike him
Reasons I dislike Bielsa
On the subject of Mark Wright, I couldn’t agree more with Mark Jones LFC message.
My thoughts are its also massively disrespectful to Leeds.
Imagine the reaction if Klopp or Mourinho would bring on celebrity fans for a few minutes when smashing teams 4/5-0.
Only because they are a lower league club doesn’t mean they get a free pass!
I read Mark Jones – LFC ‘s earlier email about Crawley Town and Mark Wright and can’t help but respond. Admittedly writing in to defend a TOWIE star is not something I ever expected to be doing but we are clearly living in strange times.
Firstly the entire email comes across just whining about it being unfair that he came on (In injury time ,for about 3 mins tops and I genuinely couldn’t tell you if he even touched the ball ) and Marks “mate” (yeah that old chestnut…) who is absolutely, definitely 100% a better footballer didn’t get to play for a League Two team. I’m sorry that you ..sorry your mate.. had to play Telford away and that you aren’t playing at a higher level , it’s also very unfair that I don’t get to wake up every morning next to Michelle Keegan but unfortunately life isn’t fair.
I have absolutely no idea if Mark Wright is a vaguely competent footballer or not, he’s played Soccer Aid seemingly every year along superstars such as Robbie William’s mate and Olly Murs … is that an accurate way to judge his ability? well that and a 3 min cameo when he may or may not have even touched the ball ? Bearing in mind he signed for a League Two team (on non contract terms ) are you definitely sure that he is not up to at least League Two standard?
Secondly I feel like it’s unduly harsh on Crawley Town . I’m a Crawley fan, I was brought up here and have lived most of my life here remember the old non league days and the days of us having such stars as Peter Fear and David Speedie playing for us at the absolute arse end of their careers. Crawley Town is like most teams in League Two right now , struggling for cash. They have fairly well off owners but are 23rd out of 24 teams in terms of attendance and gate receipts. The ground is rented off the council and holds about 4,500 , and its never full in the league games. The only times it get near to full is a cup tie against the big boys – last time was probably in the Carabaro cup in 2019 when they beat Norwich. Getting an FA Cup tie against Leeds is a godsend for them as it would be for any League Two club. They would have probably have had a full house and the BBC money would have helped. You admit it would be ‘churlish’ of you to knock it if it is a money spinner but not if its a PR stunt ? – what’s difference between a money spinner and a PR stunt then? It’s ok if they signed him to flog shirts but not to actually play is that it?
Mark Wright played for Crawley Town previously when they were non league back in 2006/2007 – the manager at the time was current manager John Yems. Maybe he genuinely he thinks there is a player there.
I’m not gonna defend Mark Wright too much , as I said I have no idea if he’s even vaguely decent or why they signed him, but he’s so far play a handful of minutes in a game that they were winning 3-0..its not like they played him from the start and deprived one of the regular team their spot. And what about the rest of the team? You mention players that had been released or injured or had some other misfortune – er such as Nick Tsaroulla? who scored the opener? Released by Spurs and Brentford , 2 years out of the game due to a car crash and in actual tears during the post match interview. Or Jordan Tunniclife, interview on BBC’s Monday Night Club by Chappers , explaining that he was a part time non league player 4-5 years ago or even the current prospect Max Watters , signed as a free agent as he had been released by Maidstone – currently on 13 goals in 15 appearances and rumours of bigger clubs being after him – Crawley want £1m at least which to them is an absolute fortune. So Crawley have all that, they also have a player signed on non contract terms by his old manager , who happens to be a Z list Celeb and has a lovely wife. But again its worth stressing he has played a total of about 3 mins for them, why are you so mad about that?
Crawley Town rightly deserve the plaudits they got from most people regarding that game , most of the write ups I’ve seen have been very complimentary about them , its a shame the only thing you seem to have got out of that is they played someone who is definitely , absolutely , 100% a worse player than your ‘mate’.
Are we talking about the wrong team?
Big up Sheffield Utd for finally ending their winless run last night. I think anyone who has watched them this season knows thatwhile they clearly have been off-colour, they haven’t been Derby ’08 or Sunderland ’06 badby any stretch of the imagination. That is reflected in people suddenly talking about them putting together a run of form to pull themselves into an actual relegation battle, rather than a widespread acknowledgement that Newcastle are woeful and that this was the one and only chance of a Sheffield win this season.
I have watched one other relegation-threatened team twice in the last few weeks who have been that bad – West Brom. They’ve clearly got a big advantage in that they’re only three points off Derby’s low threshold of record-breaking, but their heads are down, their talent limited and their formations increasingly confused and lifeless. I genuinely would be surprised if they win again this season, they are that bad at the moment. Rumours of Mateus Pereira wanting out only adds to this feeling. If I was a betting man, I’d put a large sum of money on them to finish bottom this season, despite Sheffield United’s struggles. And we can finally stop hearing about Big Sam’s perfect record and send him back to BeIn Sports to talk about the plight of the British manager.
Bielsa to Arsenal?
I don’t know what it is about Arteta that even as a neutral you want him to succeed. Maybe it is watching him excel at Everton for years then finally getting his move to Arsenal.
However, if the situation at Arsenal continues it really is untenable for him. Arsenal would do well then to prize Bielsa away from Leeds.
He may have just achieved all that he could at that club.
For years the Gunners have prided themselves on their brand of football, even though Bielsa is in the twilight of his career, he still has enough to reinvigorate that Arsenal DNA and lay the foundations for a style of play in 3-4 years for the next decade or so.
I’ve read all the Football365 articles on how notions like the “West Ham way” or “This is Manchester United” is mere rhetoric but people just need to believe in it for it to be real.
I am still not convinced Ole is the man long term and his tactical nous is still lacking but he has managed to achieve alot by harking to this mystical idea about what Manchester United is.
It is ideal to win things but even if we don’t win anything this season, it is still a lot more fun to watch than when we did win things under Mourinho. It feels like you’re watching your club play.
Bielsa can do that for Arsenal. And it will be mad fun to watch as a neutral.
Shehzad Ghias, mufc, Karachi