Manchester United Message Board
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Nov 5, 2013 17:00 Flag
It does seem like yahoo wants to cut of the oxygen to these boards and let them die a slow death. However still drop in a couple times a week hoping it will pick up. I visit another forum pretty regularly which is very good, but as it's almost all reds I do miss the banter and differing point of views these boards used to have.
On the match, got to say the better team did take the points, and deservedly so. I don't think we played at our best, and missing Johnson was a huge blow, but even full strength and on form this was always going to be a tough fixture.
Seems to me Arsenal are firing on all cylinders right now, while others whom you'd expect to be challenging are still trying to find consistency. I like others still have my doubts whether Arsenal can stay the course, but think it comes down to whether your lot can maintain the current form throughout the season, which will be tough. A drop in form, or injury to key players could really be telling.
However I'm of the mind that falling out the league cup might have been the best thing for you. One it reduces the strain on the squad right now, second it tempers expectations, and third it really highlights the depth in squad issue, but in plenty of time for action to be taken. Replace Bendtner with some quality (little Mexican Manc might be available!), and get some decent cover for Falmini in the holding position and I think you've got a real shot.
The return fixture will be interesting, and I don't think we disgraced ourselves, so I'd expect a very close match when you come to Anfield. Just do us a favor and take care of business next weekend, so we can have one less serious contender for the top 4!
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 28, 2013 13:26 Flag
Hi Jason, I agree with almost everything here. For me we looked fluid and in control for almost the entire match, never took the foot off the gas, and played as well if not better in the second half as we did in the first. I think some credit has to go to Henderson and Gerrard who really rotated that attacking midfield role and really knitted together the midfield and the front line. And, of course we were solid in the back, and like you think the only thing that spoiled the match was the penalty call which looked soft at best..
I'd agree with Colyn also that pulling Moses out of that advanced central role may have been the key move. However I really do rate the lad, but think his best role is really to be wide in an attacking 3 where his pace ability to take on a player and be direct is his best asset.
I'd also discount anyone saying its just WBA. Yes they are not a likely top 4 contender so we'll know more next week when we match up with Arsenal, but Brom are a solid top half team, who've had our number recently, and as you said have found a way to get results against the top clubs.
The only thing I'd question is the formation for next week. To be honest I'm not sure what is best, and have advocated we go back to a back 4 for a couple weeks and have been wrong. But looking at the threat from Arsenal, if we can keep their full backs occupied (and wing backs maybe the best way of doing that) I see everything coming through the center. They'll have Giroud up top on his own, who is a handful but I think Skrtel in the center can handle him, so the threat is the midfielders coming from deep, and either denying them the ball, or clogging things up I think maybe the best way to frustrate them. So long as we can then transition the ball through the midfield to the attackers I think we have a good chance of getting a result.
One final thought, good shout out on Borini. Not sure the lad would make it to our bench right now, but good to see him in action.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 23, 2013 15:52 Flag
I was not aware that Moses had not traveled, but for me the bigger disappointment was Hendo who should have had no excuse for playing flat.
To be honest I understand what you mean to a point. The last several games we've not played with the fluidity I'd expect. There is quality up front, and we've been solid in the back, but we've not always been able to knit it all together, which is where the bad pass comment I think comes from.
But I've not seen this is all our games, and in fact think it stems from Philippe being out. For me he's been a big loss, not so much for his play making ability in creating chances (we've still created chances without him) but for his ability to control the tempo of the games. In his absence I see Joe Allen as the natural deputy (I know some are down on him but I think he can regain his form from early last season), but with him out as well we have a more workman midfield.
But with both either back or close to being back I do think, or at least hope that things actually bode well for the future. We've got some big tests coming up, and if we can keep up the pace of a top 4 team going into the Holiday period, when the schedule looks very tough for us, I feel we'll be in very good shape. Not a title chasing season (let's not get carried away) but on pace for a top 4 finish.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 21, 2013 21:37 Flag
I'd agree with almost all of that except the last paragraph. For me we looked off the pace, lacking in focus, and just a step behind. There was just no spark, invention or energy to our play. It could be argued that this was due to players being away, but that was the case with many around the league, but we saw energy from other teams. Besides, that might be a fair excuse for players who traveled to South America, or Africa like Moses, but harder to apply to those who stayed in Europe, and especially the English lads who only went down to the capital.
But I'd not say it was a typical performance. For me while I've been disappointed when we've shrunk away in the second half of games, for the most part I think we've shown much higher levels of performance, energy and creativity in most games this season so far. Which is why i'd not get overly concerned over this result (and performance) Yes a bad day at the office, but to expect perfection throughout the season is asking too much. But how we react when things don't go to plan, that is what imo will define our season.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 17, 2013 21:51 Flag
I think the wing back vs. full back comparison really depends on what system they have to play within. In a traditional 4-4-2, or a derivative of that I'd have to disagree with you. in that role the full back is expected to occasionally get forward in order to overlap the winger, or if or when the winger cuts in side, he's expected to provide the width. However in a 4-3-3 or its derivatives usually the midfielder plays much more narrow, and therefore its the full back who is expected to provide the width.
In the first case while I do think the full back still has to be one of the hardest running players on the pitch (I talk from experience as a former left back), he's not going to cover as much ground as the wing back, who usually has no-one in front of him and while he does have some extra assistance behind him is expected to cover the entire touchline end to end. In the second case I do think the full back works almost as hard as a wing back, but even in this case, he often has strikers in front of him who are expected to drift wide into to the channels, so his role while it requires him to get forward its still as a support player rather than the attacking wide man in most or every attack.
For us we've played what looks like a hybrid between a 4-5-1 and a 4-3-3, with a lone striker, but with players like Moses, Sterling, PC, or Hendo on occasion expected to take up the wide position. So the full back has been there to support or overlap when the front wide man cuts inside. If however we go with both Suarez and Sturridge as strikers, (next to each other or one behind the other), we are going to be much more narrow up front, which is why I think the wing back option will be seen more often this term.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 17, 2013 15:03 Flag
Not sure I agree with this Colyn. I get your point on Gerrard wondering, however I think its not that much of an issue any more as Gerrard has in the last season or so become very disciplined in his role, and will only wonder forward or wide when its safe. But mainly I think this means we have to drop Moses from the hole, to make room for Gerrard, and to be honest I just don't think Stevie G circa 2013 can play that role as he did say in 2009. He's not necessarily less of a player, but I just don't think he has the same dynamism over 90 minutes he used to have, plus I think you also introduce more of an injury risk. I think its no coincidence that Stevie has been virtually injury free since taking up the deeper role both BR, and Hodgson have assigned him at Club and international levels respectively.
It does however seem a shame to drop Hendo who I think has been outstanding, however its quite a problem we have when good players can only make the bench. Although for the Newcastle game I'm not sure I'd risk Johnson unless the medical staff are sure he's fully fit, so maybe I'd slot Hendo in at right wing back, and leave Sterling on the bench to inject a bit of pace and energy late on if needed.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 17, 2013 14:51 Flag
It really comes down to whether Johnson is fit enough to play or not, and by that I mean start and expected to last the full 90 rather than just making the bench (which I think is more likely). But we have to look at why we went with the 3 CB's and wing backs. It was because we did not have certain players available, and so unless Glen is 100% (or Kelly for that matter). The issue for me was not defensive, but rather the need for width, with neither Toure, or Sakho able to provide the width going forward when they were drafted into the full back roles. Johnson and Enrique however can provide width going forward and still provide adequate defensive cover in a back 4, but they both need to be fully fit to get that job done well.
On the line up, I actually really like it. Personally I think Johnson would thrive in a wing back role. I'm not one who is over critical of his defensive skills and think his defensive abilities are often overlooked, however there is no doubt the best side of his game is the attacking element, and as a wing back he'd really be dangerous. However I'd not put this in place until we were certain he was fully fit, as a wing back has to cover more ground that a full back who is only expected to join the attack on occasion, while a wing back is expected to be central to the attacking force.
Personally I'd stick with a back 3 (Toure, Skrtel, Agger) and leave Glen on the Bench for this one. I'd go with those 3 as I don't see Newcastle as a threat to overcome us with power, but more reliant on pace, and of course they have real flair in a couple players. So mobility, intelligence, and the ability to hold the ball to deny Newcastle possession would be my strategy. I'd leave Glen on the bench because I don't believe in rushing players back unless we absolutely have to, and since we're not doing too bad with the current system I think having an attack minded defender on the bench is enough insurance for me.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 15, 2013 17:50 Flag
That makes interesting reading Jason, just a shame the title is not based on the next 38 games, but instead the last 7 plus the next 31.
However to put a different spin on this I think one read is to think about who is progressing and who isn't, and then who is progressing more relative to others. Maybe for that 38 games is more than you need, and of course big things have changed between last season and this (for example 4 new mangers from this group of 7), so what happened in the 31 matches from last season may not be fully relevant going forward this season.
But, I think its clear both ourselves along with Spurs and Arsenal are on an upward trajectory, and based on the form and results this term, which granted its early, would reinforce that. The question of who is progressing more, or fastest is hard as each started at different points, but considering Arsenal are and have been a solid top 4 finisher, and most would agree Spurs have been ahead of us over the last several seasons, I'd say this looks good for us.
The real question is will this progress continue, and also will those that have maybe fallen off the pace like City and Chelsea start to move, and of course who knows whether Moyes has the mancs moving forward, going backward or just treading water.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 10, 2013 19:48 Flag
Moses has really been a great pick up, and hopefully we can make the deal permanent at some point. If he's playing I'm sure he'd agree to it, and if we get CL, as I think we expect, then the thought of actually playing rather than being on the bench at Stamford Bridge must be appealing.
Just a shame we could not also have picked up Navas, as then we'd have had the full set: Moses, Jesus, and of course God!
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 9, 2013 13:35 Flag
Dylan, do you have the link for that site, I lost it when I got a new laptop. I'd like to stick it out here if we can keep the threads coming and hopefully some more folks come back, but maybe another board would not be a bad idea if this one stays so quiet.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 8, 2013 19:09 Flag
With you there Colyn. we can play better, and the good thing from my point of view is the areas where we see issues, or need for improvement I think are positions where either I'd expect the current player to improve over the season, and or we have an even better players currently not in the side. For example, under the current system I felt Sterling was a bit over his head as the right wing back, however he's a player who's definitely still learning and can improve, plus we have Johnson still to come back who I think would thrive in that role. The same goes for the number 10 slot, where Moses imo will improve as he settles, but with PC to come back we don't have to wait for that improvement.
On the league your absolutely right. I along with most pundits would have put it as a fight between the Manchester clubs and Chelsea for the title, then us, Arsenal and Spurs for the 4th slot. But Chelsea just seem to have something missing, City seem to struggle on the road, and the Mancs, just look lost. Meanwhile Arsenal are flying, Spurs look solid, and we're right in the mix. I usually say it takes 10 games for the table to settle, but it may take even longer this term. But I still expect the natural order to start exerting itself, which is why we need to keep up the momentum. We all I'm sure are having a good laugh at the Mancs expense, but end of the day they are only 6 points off the pace, which is not a lot to make up in 30 odd games we have left n the season.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 7, 2013 19:53 Flag
I think we have been thinking alike this weekend Jason as i was going to start a thread called "Not Great, but not bad either", which is what I think you're saying, although as usual I put a bit more "glass half full" emphasis.
On not scoring 2 or 3 or 4 more goals, I got to give a little to the players. When you're that far ahead its really hard to keep up the same momentum from one half to the next. And, really it maybe more mental thing than a physical thing. However the reaction after giving up the goal I think is a good sign, as it showed not keeping a clean sheet really hurt, so they wanted to put Palace back under the sword.
On player ratings I'd pretty much agree with you, although I'd tend to be a bit harsher on Sterling. Don't want to have a go at the lad, as he's young and has a long way to go in his footballing education, however going forward I think he was our weak link. As you say poor decision making, but also just did not seem to find the spaces he should have been seeking out either. But he will learn.
But I'd also call out praise for Moses. Yes he should have scored when he got his feet tied up, and maybe he's just not spent enough time with Suarez to expect that low hard cross, but overall against Palace (and since he's been with us) I was impressed. He's not playing in his best natural position (out wide) and it seems he still does not have the perfect chemistry with his teammates yet, but he's direct, good on the ball, and finding the right pass, the right run, and imo really giving us another edge going forward.
Lastly however I'd want to temper expectations. The table really does not mean a thing right now. 10 games before it really starts to reflect things imo. However we are in a good position outright by looking at our margin over those we are likely to be fighting against for a top 4 finish, or compared with where we were just 12 months ago. Forget first or second, we just have to keep moving forward one game at a time.
Do any of you lads post on other message boards you'd recommend? Unfortunately this board seems to be slowly dying, and I'm getting to the point where I rarely come to see if anyone has anything to say as most days there are fewer and fewer posts. It's really a shame, because until Yahoo decided to cut all links to access the boards, we had quite a diverse community here posting various points of views.
Most other boards I've looked at are either moderated and you end up with only Reds all agreeing with each other but little healthy debate, or open boards that quickly descend into trolls trying to wind everyone one up, and again healthy debate, or diverse opinion just goes out the window.
I'd love to get some of the old posters to come back here, but as that does not look likely to happening wonder if there are any better options out there?
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 2, 2013 17:34 Flag
Hobs I agree with almost all of that, although not sure I'd want to see the 3-5-2 every week if we had a fully fit squad. The starting 11 above is surely one that would give many teams a headache, however with all our defenders fully fit, I think both Johnson and Enrique are mobile enough to be able to join the attack but still cover their defensive duties. And, by dropping either Skrtel or Toure it allows us one more attacking player on the pitch. Perhaps deploying Moses along with Daniel and Luis in a 3 man front?
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Oct 2, 2013 17:27 Flag
Colyn, I think the statement we don't have the players for it is qualified with the style you expect us to play. Based on results we in fact do have the players for the system, but its transformed us much more to a counter attacking side, rather than a possession based side.
But for me this change has less to do with the change in system, rather than the availability of players. The simple fact for me is that our best possession players just are not available. We could go back to 4 at the back, but the possession would still down without someone like Agger to play out of the back, or a PC to dictate the tempo from the center.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Sep 25, 2013 17:22 Flag
Jason, I think we can always second guess a line up, and after the fact it obviously was not enough to get a result. However at some point I think we either have to take a manager at his word of why he selected certain players, or alternatively start questioning him. BR stated Jose was not ready for 90, and based on what he did on the pitch I see no reason to question that. The fact Kelly did not even get on the pitch and we ended the match with Jordan at RB would suggest he felt the lad just was not up to playing despite being put on the bench.
But for me, the discussion of who was in the back 4 is missing the point. The real issue for me was the lack of glue between the midfield and the forward line, and full backs while they can provide width and an extra threat going forward, they do not dictate play in the center which is where we were lacking. Maybe Alberto could have filled that void, I would also have considered Allen also, but either way its obvious Aspas did not do the job, and we sorely missed Courtinho, and for me that was the main difference that cost us the points.
On what I called an over reaction, it was not aimed at anyone in particular, either Loki or yourself, but more a general statement we should not take the first defeat to hard. Sooner or later we were going to lose a match (sorry it was when you were in town) just as all clubs so far bar Everton have done. In some ways I'm glad we now have that behind us. BR has talked a lot about a confident squad, which is great, but there can be a fine line between confidence and complacency, and getting humbled a little might have been a good thing.
But bottom line the difference between first and fifth is 2 points. Yes I'd prefer to still be in first place, but the league table is pointless right now. So long as we are in touch with 4th or better we're on track, and right now the difference is only goal difference, so we're still in a very good place imo.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Sep 23, 2013 22:16 Flag
I think there maybe a little of an over reaction, although maybe understandable as our great start really got expectation up. However I think we need to think this one through a bit.
First off if we're to take BR as this word, Enrique was carrying an injury which made him a risk to start. Yes I understand if a player is good enough to be on the bench he should be good enough to start, but for me even when he came on he really did not show he would have done any better if he'd been on from the start. He gave away plenty of passes (just like the rest of the side) and just seemed a little off to me.
For me it really did come down, not to a lack of full backs, but a lack of link up from the back to the front. Credit to Southampton who pressed high up and limited the ability to play out of the back, but it was a pass to a creative midfielder to start the attack that was missing, not an outlet pass to a full back. So for me missing PC was a very big deal, but we still should have done better.
For me Gerrard needs to own up he had a poor day, as there should be no reason why he cannot play that creative role. Maybe he's not got the legs of his youth, but he's still got more technical ability than anyone else on the pitch. I do however agree Aspas was a passenger. Impressed early doors, but the last two matches have been aweful and he needs a spell in the reserves to buck his ideas up. He's a good player, was a hero at his club in Spain, but needs to get things together, otherwise step aside for someone else. I expect Suarez to play in the hole on Wednesday, but I'd also think about Allen as an option if Aspas does not buck up.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Sep 18, 2013 17:37 Flag
Actually don't think your that wide at all. I'd say in terms of technical ability, creativity and just natural ability Shelvey really does have something that is beyond Henderson and many other players of his age. But for me he's also highly unpredictable in both a good and bad way.
Watching him on Monday we saw the good and the bad, and reminded me of frustrations with the lad last season. There were times in the EL when he just lit things up, but then I remember an FA cup tie where he just seemed to be running around like a headless chicken.
The loan versus sale might be something we regret, but end of the day this maybe one of the hardest decisions a manager has to make. It would be nice to be able to keep all our younger players, at the club or on loan deals, but with a developing player at some point a decision has to be made to fish or cut bait, because every player has some value to the club, either as player now, a player in the future, or the transfer fee we can get for him, and the manager has the unenviable job of working out which is in the clubs best interest.
- dsteer_lfc_68 dsteer_lfc_68 Sep 18, 2013 17:24 Flag
I tend to agree with you that Swansea had us more rattled than what we've faced so far. The fast wingers is one point, which I think really held our full backs getting forward which is our only real width in attack. Not having Glen also really hurt as Wisdom really is a centre back and not an attacking full back.
But on the other side of the ball I do have to give credit to Swansea, Bony and Mitchu were both very effective, and able to get the ball to stick when it arrived. Skrtel had a great game, and may have been the difference in terms of getting us the point, but he's much more in the mold of a Carra in that he saves the day with a last minute block or tackle rather than being proactive in preventing a chance from developing. I was impressed with Sakho, he's comfortable on the ball and a beast to get by, but there were a couple times he jumped in early which created space when the tackle did not come off.
So for me while I think Sakho will grow as he gets used to our system and his new teammates, like you I do hope Agger will be available for the weekend. But the bigger loss is going to PC, who it looks like will need surgery. For me that is going to be a big loss as he's been the engine of creativity either when cutting in from the left, or on Monday when he really dictated the play from the center. I'm sure we'll manage without him, and with Suarez coming back soon I think we're now going to see more of Sturridge and Suarez together, but it does annoy me that one simple deliberate foul to stop a breakaway could cost us a lot more than one missed chance. Thanks Williams!