Thoughts On Newcastle Match And United’s Situation

Just a few observations to make….

(1)   It’s the passing stupid! Every time Man United lose or play badly the passing is dreadful, and therein lays the causality. I don’t think there’s anything more frustrating than watching, not just professional footballers, but those who are supposedly at the peak of the game not be able to play a pass 10 yards in order to be able to start an attacking move. This has been a feature at United for the past few years now, and it’s even more frustrating considering how good the passing had been in the 5-0 wins against Wigan and Fulham, and even QPR and Wolves.

I’m not trying to take anything away from Newcastle here, of course their pressing was great tonight (particularly when compared to ours), but we made them look like they had 15 players between their defence and attack.

(2)   The midfield, as we all know, is where the problem lies, and I really hope that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Giggs can play some sublime football, but he just doesn’t cut it at this level anymore, and we shouldn’t be relying on him; the fact that we still are is a joke. Yes, we’ve had injuries, but surely that’s just another reason to buy? Is Fletcher going to be our new Hargreaves now, where we delay potential signatures because when he comes back everything will be okay?

Fact is, we need a bit of steel in the midfield that can pass a ball as well. Now I’m no expert on the up-and-coming or even current talent around the football world, but a player of the mould of someone like Daniele De Rossi springs to mind. As far as I know his contract’s up in the summer, which means that teams like City and Chelsea will be offering the guy bucket loads. Now we all know that the Glazer’s don’t like breaking the bank for many players, but surely they can see that £200k a week for a guy like De Rossi will easily pay itself back.

(3)   You’ll have to take my word for it, but I’ve been saying for a while that Jones can be dodgy at the back. He’s sometimes slow in reading the game and reacting to incidents (hence all the Hollywood tackles), and he’s no way near as good in the air as Rio or Vidic. But of course, neither were they at his age, and I can’t stress enough to the blood-thirsty hordes that I’m not writing off or even particularly criticizing the guy.

But for me, at the moment, Jones’ best position is in midfield. He can dominate the game from here, as other teams have so easily done against us, and although he lacks the technique and range of passing that Scholes offered us at times in that position last season, it’s something that very few players of his age have. If the Glazer’s really don’t want to fund any signings, I think this is our best bet.

(4)   With regards to Lindegaard, I don’t think anyone can really criticize his performance tonight. He has to take some sort of blame for the third goal, it was a breakdown in communication, and he made a few dodgy kicks, but otherwise he was his usual solid self.

What this does show, however, is the absurdity of that pathetic excuse for statistical analysis, whereby so-called pundits were comparing games/minutes played to goals conceded for Lindegaard and De Gea respectively.

Fact is that De Gea has faced a ridiculously high number of shots and clear-cut chances compared to Lindegaard, and De Gea has simply featured in more of “those” games (such as City at home), where no matter how well he played we was going to concede some goals. Well tonight Lindegaard, for the first time, experienced one of “those” games, and he shipped in three goals in the process. Not his fault, it just shows how stupidly small the sample size was for comparing the two.

(5)   Looking at the table and taking comfort from that fact that it’s only January and we’re only three points off the top is a case of false security I’m afraid. Analysing your performance in the league should consider the relative difficulty of the games that you have coming up compared to those of your rivals, and the problem is that we’ve just lost to Newcastle away and still have to play City, Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea at their grounds, whilst City have only to play Arsenal away.

I’m not writing us off here, I’ve seen enough seasons of football over the years to know that you should never write off Man United, but, as the bookies will show tomorrow, in terms of statistics and probability, City are by far the favourites to win the league.


Anyway, perhaps I shouldn’t have written the above so soon after the match, with the bitterness of defeat still running through my veins. I’d also have liked to have said something on Rooney, Berbatov & Welbeck, and United’s obsession with trying to make cross after cross when they simply aren’t working, but perhaps that can wait for another time.

But if we step back a bit, we all know that we’ve been ravaged by injuries this season, and this is really costing us.  We were missing Smalling (who could have played right-back instead of Valencia), Evans (who could have played centre-back instead of Jones, allowing Jones to play in midfield), Vidic (who could also have played at centre-back) and Fletcher & Cleverley (who could have played in midfield), and Young (who could have played on the wing instead of Valencia, depending on your preference).

However, unless Fergie either:

(a)    Has a tactical revolution up his sleeve

(b)   Knows something about the ability of our youngsters coming through that I don’t; or,

(c)    Knows something stupid that our rivals are going to do so that we can become the best team by default

I really can’t see how we can ignore and gloss over these obvious weaknesses any longer

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  • The players are not playing for fergie anymore its obvious.Last years league [poor league]papered over some very serious cracks that Ferguson cannot admit are there or doesnt see them.[1] We needed at least two major midfield signings.[2]We needed a serious contender to Evra.[3]We needed a top coach.[4]We needed people at Old Trafford to tell Fergie that the youngsters are not as good as he thinks.[5]We needed to spend the De Gea money on other positions.[6] He needs to clear out his scouts [family included].[7]He should have sold Rooney for a seriously inflated price.WE ARE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE BECAUSE THERE IS NOBODY THERE TO TELL fERGUSON STOP.

  • 1. Newcastle had a good game and luck was definitely on their side.
    2. There must be some kind of tension in the club, squad/coaches etc. The chemistry was not there tonight and was lacking for at least the last 2 games. Whats going on?
    3. Rooney is definitely not playing his top game, maybe recovering from new years.
    4. I think Fergie is doing best he can with what he has.
    In order for us to get on top and bring it home we need to bring back the chemistry, passing, reading plays etc.
    We still have a chance to turn this around and make this happen.

  • I am so glad that man u loose their match and I pray they loose more and that is the reward man u get for tarnish Suarez name and for making loose our match against city. This season u will finish 5th on d table and u will be send parking from the europa cup because u will loose u matches.

  • Congratulations to Mary for your stellar contribution, you in fact win a “Free Suarez” replica shirt, complete with Official Dalglish “Last nights dinner” staines and a delightful flaming cross. Well done

  • AB Where weas the luck, Simply you were out played!

    Rooney is not on the Ball, is mind is elsewhere and I reckon he’ll be away to Sapin or italy in the Summer.

    Thanks for the 4 points

  • A-B, were you watching the same match as the rest of us, yes we had some luck but you had the ref on your side the whole game as per usual.

    You were comprehensively out played, out fought and tactically slaughtered on the night, grow up and welcome to the real world where you don’t get to win every game year in year out.

  • @Davich If I may say something on A-B’s behalf:

    I’ll start with your point about the referee, which is simply the usual confirmation bias that is so rife amongst football fans.

    You probably went into that match already holding the belief that referees are all biased an in favour of United (I’d love to see what a ref would say if you said that to their face). Therefore, every time a debatable decision goes our way you just jump to the conclusion that it’s all corrupt, because that corresponds with the view that you already hold, rather than thinking that, with it being a 50/50 challenge, there’s therefore a 50% chance that it won’t go your way, or that maybe the ref just got it right this time.

    Are you speaking of the penalty appeal, for example? Well after several replays the panel of pundits couldn’t agree on it, and I for one (amongst others) don’t believe it was a pen because the players simply got their legs tangled. But because the ref didn’t give it, you’re saying he must be biased?

    Take another example, when Rio jumped to head the ball from a goal-kick and ended up on the Newcastle players back (I forget who it was). The ref gave it our way, cue mental Newcastle fans and most likely talk in the stands of typical biased refs. But as the replays showed, and as the ref explained on the pitch, the Newcastle player simply leaned forward too much, looking for the foul by making it look like Rio was all over him.

    Your last point is simply childish in its implication of people having behaved in a way in which they haven’t (i.e. needing to grow up and join the real world).

    And you say we were “Comprehensively out played?” and “Tactically slaughtered?” Desperately pointless and excessive hyperbole to defend a weak afrgument I’m afraid.

    I’m not saying that Newcastle weren’t the better team or didn’t deserve to win, of course they did, but A-B is right in saying that our chemistry wasn’t there (which I’d say is what the first 3 points in the article relate to), and as you can see they’re are a take on events purely from a United perspectivve, as I’m not informed enough to make an opinion on Newcastle’s tactical tendencies for the season as a whole.

    This has nothing to do with growing up, it’s about United fans getting incredibly frustrated with the club not fixing glaring weaknesses that should be well within our capacity to amend. We don’t expect to win every game year in year out, again you’re simply resorting to hyperbole in order to give credence to a weak argument, but when you’re got the revenue, fan-base and recent core of players that we’ve had over the years, I don’t think it’s ridiculous to expect the team to have a competent midfield.

  • Mary I think you are dire need of some english lessons, specifically concentrating on literacy. When you can spell properly, construct a lucid sentence and actually know what is going on then you can come and spread your misguided vile. Little saying here for you ‘better to be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt’. There endith the lesson.

  • Thomas

    Some fair points you make but of course they are your viewpoint as a Manu supporter (presumably?). We outside of the circle of Manu supporters however see things somewhat differently. For a start, it is blatently obvious to everone except sky pundits that Manu get more than their fair share of what you call 50/50 desicions in their favour as well as unbelievably long extra time periods at the end of games.

    To be fair though, the same can be said for Chelsea & Arsenal over the years so it is not just a critisism of refereeing in games in which Manu are involved, I can tell you however from bitter experience over many years the same favouritism is not displayed for the rest of the teams in the PL.

    Regarding the penalty desicion on Wed night, I am sorry but we will just have to disagree on this, whilst I don’t think Rio intended to bring BA down I do think he clearly prevented a potential scoring opportunity as at the point when he stuck his leg between Ba’s he had control of the ball and would have gone on to get a shot away had he not been brought down. In my and most peoples view it was a stone wall penalty. I will also say that had that same thing happened the other way round and a Newcastle player done the same to Rooney or Berbatov or whoever then it would be 100% g/teed to have resulted in a Pen to you and no “pundit” would have dared argue otherwise.

    As for Manu fans getting frustrated at you curren position, well forgive me if I don’t swoon with sympathy over your desperate plight, you have the best manager in the UK, some of the best players in the world, a huge stadium with a massive fanatical following, you have won huge amounts of honours year in year out etc etc etc and you have the gall to complain that you are frustrated with your mid field.

    You are in my view in a transition period with many of your experienced players retireing and younger guys coming in to take their place, it is to be expected that you will sometimes struggle a bit until they bed in and gain the composure and experience they need to be up to the standard you are used to. I have no doubt that even with your illustrious blue neighbours spending a small country’s GDP on new players each season you will still be up there challenging at the top of the English & European leagues for years to come so try and stick with it like we poor deluded NUFC fans have done for the last 40 odd years of winning sweet FA.

  • @ Davich.

    I normally do not comment, but are you out of your mind? Do you remember the Newcastle home game where Newcastle where given a penalty for a perfectly legal (as well as being superb) tackle by Rio Ferdinand. When ex-footballers and managers cannot agree whether your penalty appeal should have been given or not, you somehow proclaim to have a greater understanding of the game and say that it was a definite penalty. United by far have more decisions go against them in every single game. As a united fan i am used to that.

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