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Super Cup conclusions
After watching the game last night, you can only learn a limited amount of things, especially considering it is a glorified European Community Shield.
A couple of things which are abundantly clear are:
– Madrid are the best football team in Europe, even without Ronaldo in their team. Their midfield 3 of Kroos, Modric and Asensio is the best in Europe and completely controlled and dominated the game.
– Playing against a team of the calibre of Madrid exposes your weak players and Lindeloff and Lingaard are not good enough for that level, yet.
– Matic was an extremely shrewd buy, I still can not get my head around Chelsea selling to a rival.
Other than that, you can not really read too much into last night. The truth is, we will not play Madrid week in week out, and players like Lingard and Lindelof will perform perfectly well (and on occasion excel), against teams like Brighton, Stoke and Huddersfield.
This season is going to be incredible and I cannot bloody wait for it to start!
…* The European Super Cup inhabits that weird space between ‘friendly’ and ‘proper match’ like the Community Shield does. The players are clearly not playing at 100% intensity but that was still basically the first team squads out there playing basically the style of play that each team will play in the season ahead.
* Real Madrid certainly played the better of the two sides, however given Man United’s apparent decline there was far less of a gap than could be expected. There were two periods that Real Madrid dominated, 10 minutes before their first goal and 10-15 minutes before their second goal. After that Man United had plenty of the ball and some clear cut chances.
* There were two players who stood out for Man United tonight, Valencia and Matic. Matic immediately slotted in and did exactly what Mourinho bought him to do. He defended, but could also be found up the pitch. His passing was also a lot better than my previous watchings had led me to believe. Valencia operated much further up the field tonight than he did at any point during the 2016/2017 season. It was something I was crying out for last season, and now with Matic in the middle offering the shield that we lacked last year Mourinho can trust Valencia to go forward more. That provides the team with an extra man and the width that may help break down those stubborn defences.
* Pogba continued to play in the way he did last year, a mixture of sublime skill, frustrating chances missed, some incorrect decisions made. One thing that is obvious though is that with Zlatan gone, he is the main man in the team, the one that people look for to make things happen. However, that team felt far more like a team than ten Zlatan supporters.
* I’m going to my first Premier League game at Old Trafford this weekend, and absolutely can’t wait to see that team in person. It’s already noticeably better, more balanced, more talented, more disciplined than it has been.
* Marouane Fellaini still looks like Mrs Spoon from Button Moon.
Calum, MUFC, Wokingham
…I don’t think Mou could’ve displayed a more painful reminder of our mediocrity right now than he did by bringing Fellaini on when we were getting murdered in midfield. It’s almost like he’s trolling us.
PP(I expected a defeat but this is excruciating to watch) MUFC
That’s why preseason doesn’t matter
That’s the greatest reason yet why you shouldn’t take preseason results too serious.
Real Madrid came into this game without a single pre season win and still outplayed Man U for about 75% of the game who had a FANTASTIC preseason with wins littered around. What matters is what you do when it’s time to be serious.
Eseosa AFC (Lagos)
United only look dangerous when they go direct
United really are still a work in progress. We have talented individuals but lack any cohesion. I’m still trying to figure out what our style of play is under Mourinho. We’re not a great passing team, We don’t have great delivery in the wide areas so rarely hurt teams that way.
The only time we have a game plan, look dangerous, is when we get pace around Fellaini and go direct. Maybe that’s what we’ll have to be again, ugly but effective.
Worried about Rashford’s decision-making
Full credit to Real Madrid for the win, they were excellent, and made it all look so simple. Without Ronaldo for a vast majority of the game too. They created so much space, United never pressed, or had it made too difficult to press as they were chasing shadows and looking pedestrian. The gulf in class between these two teams was very obvious and quite discouraging I might add.
Lukaku misses a sitter a minute after we go 2-0 down, granted he got one later, but those types of misses are inexcusable. Overall however, he wasn’t bad. Mkhitaryan was quite poor, bad decision making e.t.c, it is becoming a bit habitual with him, and as for Lingard, the same arguments get boring, he’s not good enough for a champions league team, how he started ahead of Martial is beyond me. Lindelof looks off the pace a bit, but he needs time, Smalling was average, Darmian was once again scrambling around making things look more difficult than they needed to be. But boy does Matic look like a great addition. He will be immense for us this year.
Finally, Rashford. I had a mail published a while back, stating Rashford was United’s version of Walcott. He also has a chronic case of what I like to call, “The Welbecks”. The Welbecks is an awful affliction whereby its sufferer has an uncanny ability to make piss poor decisions when given anytime to think or face a one on one situation.
Symptoms include – missing the target entirely, picking the wrong side to shoot, picking out the worst possible pass or finding new and interesting ways to fall over when the final touch is needed. Abject decision making is without doubt its most glaring and tragic side effect. Bar his first breakout season, which I got very excited by, by Christmas the following year, I had major reservations about this kid. He’s young, pucks of ability and his quality is obvious, but this kid has a total lack of composure in front of goal and with his final passes. He just always manages to do the wrong thing, more often than not.
When through on goal, he chose to shoot for the furthest corner, across the keeper, when the most screamingly obvious route to a goal was to the keepers left. When he got through both myself and my brother just said, in unison, “he’s not getting this”. Sure enough, he didn’t “let us down”. When strikers are through on goal, a viewer has one of two thoughts – a) this is a goal, b) he’s gonna miss, I wonder how. Welbeck immediately invoked the latter from me and many United fans over and over, and Rashford is quickly doing the same.
What I don’t understand is this blind belief that he will be there for another 10 years, because he has potential and is local. This can only be based on what people have seen so far, therefore what he has displayed so far is good enough, I tell you it isn’t. In year one he had 8 goals in 18 appearances, excellent. Year 2 he had 11 goals in 53 appearances, not so impressive for a forward player. Along with Martial he would want to sharpen those scoring boots, because god knows we will need them, and a cure for The Welbecks is a tough thing to find.
Rowan, Red Devil Dub
Why don’t Liverpool bid for Gareth Bale?
With Barcelona increasingly looking like they are going to get Coutinho from Liverpool for the quite laughable amount of €120m, it looks like Liverpool will be looking for an attacking option for the new season seen as Lallana is injured and Sturridge is made of weetabix.
Why not throw a cheeky bid for Bale at Real Madrid. He might be out of favour with Zidane and would bolster Klopp’s attacking options. He knows the Premier League and has champions league and international experience. I think he would be a super fit for Liverpool as they love a counter attack and if a team goes to Anfield to park the bus he’s got a long range rocket in his locker.
Just a thought.
(MC – We can think of one reason: He might not want to join)
People got bored of West Brom, too
Just wanted to add to the mail about Swansea and people turning against them.
West Brom, on their third bounce up, got a lot of praise for a few years. The Di Matteo team which won at Arsenal and at Everton 4-1 finished 11th. The Hodgson team that outperformed again and finished 10th then the Clarke team which went even further – aided by Lukaku – and finished 8th.
Thing is, as soon as you have a dip, there’s always someone with a nicer story who plays better (i.e. non-Pulis) football who people prefer (Saints, Bournemouth…someone else this year.)
It’s not anything you’ve done wrong, it’s just that familiarity breeds contempt. You’re just a Premier League nowhere club like us now.
A tough review
“The Debate – Live”
Just when you thought Sky Sports couldn’t get more low brow than Sky Sports News, they pull this out of the hat.
Alan Pardew and Ian Wright recycling old news they’ve heard from the rest of the PFM gang. Poor Kelly Cates having to remain professional whilst being talked over.
Brian (Carabao is the future) BRFC
…hope that Fellaini’s headband becomes permanent like Petr Cech’s helmet thingy? Just saying.
Rob (brackets) United, London