Tag Archives: problem

Newcastle defeat once again highlighted Manchester United's biggest problem this season

On May 6 2012, Manchester United claimed a 2-0 win over Swansea City in their penultimate game of the campaign.

At right back was Phil Jones, while Chris Smalling featured at centre-back as Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia occupied the wings.

Six years on and, somewhat astonishingly, the aforementioned quartet are lining up as Manchester United’s first choice back four, despite the club making 22 signings in the post-Ferguson era.

Defeat at St James’ Park on Sunday saw them line up together and their collective display – inert, predictable, lacking in zip or discipline – once again highlighted just how absurd it is that, for all the millions spent in trying to evolve this side, nothing of note has been done to advance United’s back four over such a prolonged period of time.

Mourinho fielded the same back four against both Huddersfield Town and Tottenham Hotspur earlier this season and lost, along with witnessing perhaps United’s two worst performances of their Premier League campaign.

That last bit is crucial. In a modern game evolving faster than our senses can comprehend, United have been caught with cold feet and suffered the consequences for failing to evolve in the same way as Manchester City, who only have one semi-first choice defender – captain Vincent Kompany – still at the club since May 2012.

Out of the 22 signings made by United since 2013, only five have been defenders. And what has transpired as a result is a kind of tale of two cities in Mourinho’s side: an attack comprising of diverse, fresh, dynamic options and a back four painfully out of step with the times.

They have hardly been awful. In fact, no team has more clean sheets than United this season. But the problem lies less with objective results and more with the symbolic message it sends.

While Man City, who could be champions in just six games, have spent nearly £180m on defensive reinforcements over the past year, United are still calling on the old guard to come up with modern day solutions.

A defensive overhaul, one matching the comprehensiveness of United’s attacking additions in recent years, desperately needs to begin in the summer.

Newcastle exposed a major Alexis Sanchez & Romelu Lukaku problem

Newcastle United 1 – Manchester United 0

Man United blew it on Sunday away at Newcastle.

Rafa Benitez’s side picked up an enormous three points thanks to a 1-0 win over the Red Devils.

The hero for the Magpies was midfielder Matt Ritchie. He drilled home a left footed shot after Chris Smalling gave away a free-kick for diving.

The win boosted Newcastle’s hopes of beating the drop as they shot up to 13th in the table.

Man United remain second, however they are 16 points behind champions elect Man City.

Alexis Sanchez & Romelu Lukaku problem

On Monday in the Times, columnist Tony Cascarino has posted his thoughts on a major problem flagged up for Man United in the Newcastle defeat.

Cascarino believes that Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku have yet to prove that they can play together.

That’s obviously a major worry for Red Devils supporters. Lukaku cost 75 million pounds, while Sanchez is costing United a huge amount in wages after his move from Arsenal in January.

Cascarino has argued the following:

Manchester United have a fixed point in their striker Romelu Lukaku and are therefore predictable.

I feel for Lukaku as it’s not his fault, but United’s formulaic style does not suit Alexis Sánchez.

They have spent all that money but are such a long way from the days of Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

If they are to be a success with Sánchez I don’t see how Lukaku fits in, particularly for tough away games.

For the record, Sanchez has played four matches for United since joining. The results are two wins and two defeats, while Sanchez has scored once: a rebound after his penalty against Huddersfield was saved.

Also see: How Jena Frumes watched Newcastle vs Man United & cheering up Jesse Lingard.

Chris Smalling was an idiot, Newcastle were robbed.

Ed Woodward explains why Alexis Sanchez's wages aren't a problem at Man United

Ed Woodward has made it clear that Manchester United can easily afford Alexis Sanchez’s wages along with the new demands of Jose Mourinho’s contract.

The Chilean international arrived at the club over the January transfer window in a straight swap deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move the other way.

Sanchez’s wages have been heavily disputed and argued over, with estimations over his income ranging between £350,000 to £500,000 a week. He is thought to earn £14m a year after tax.

And Woodward, speaking at an annual investors call, made it clear that the club’s business model could easily account for Sanchez’s wages.

Woodward, a marketing man by trade, initially attracted plenty of criticism from supporters after replacing David Gill, but his role in ensuring United – unlike, say, Liverpool – remain a global financial superpower in an era without Premier League titles, capable of making someone the highest paid player in the game, deserves enormous praise.

Social media predictably spewed over Sanchez’s wage packet and rightly so. Nobody on the planet needs anywhere near half a million in their bank account every week, after all, and underlines the gross economic inequality in today’s modern world that will only grow exponentially over the years until we all essentially live in places reminiscent of Dubai.

But this was something United were willing to do as a kind of necessary financial evil ahead of the summer transfer window – a crucial period in ensuring United can close the gap with Manchester City – to remind everyone that nobody, for the possible exception of Paris Saint Germain, can eclipse their purchasing power and ability to attract the very best.

Man Utd legend explains Old Trafford atmosphere problem

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has decided to take on and explain Old Trafford’s so called atmosphere problem that’s been discussed recently in the media.

The club’s stadium has been under fire recently after comments were made by manager Jose Mourinho on how it was quiet during the club’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield.

United consistently fill out their stadium in just about every game of the season but it appears that home supporters haven’t been vocal.

This wasn’t the first time Mourinho took aim at the Red Devils home fan base and it’s no surprise to hear reports that the board wish to discuss with fans what can be done to resolve the issue.

Giggs though believes that there’s a reason for what’s been going on and that it’s not as complicated perhaps as most people deem.

Writing on Sky Sports Super 6 Class of ’92 Diary, Ryan said: “I think first of all, United have the best away fans. Obviously at home you get 75,000 so a lot of the fans maybe aren’t regulars and maybe want to be entertained before they support the team.

“The away fans aren’t like that, they support the team with different songs throughout every game. Also, when you’re at home you’re often coming up against 11 men behind the ball and you’ve got to be patient as a team and as the crowd.

“It has always been the case in home games when United are struggling to break sides down that you start to get groans when the ball goes backwards. What I’d say is it hasn’t changed at Old Trafford, even when we were at our very best.

“The fans will be well up for it when the teams needs them against Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham, but in games like Huddersfield, the players just have to do what is expected and get the job done.”

Jose has previously also acknowledged the club’s away fans, praising them for their support and often insisting his players applaud them after matches.

There have been many different suggested causes to the problems that seem to be occurring at Old Trafford with one of them being that the stadium has become a tourist location.

Whilst there may be some truth to the situation, it obviously can’t be the sole cause, particularly since the hierarchy at the club previously attempted to help the atmosphere by installing a ‘singing section’.

Perhaps the issue has been over contemplated but of course fans always wish their stadium to be the noisiest and most hostile to opponents in order to become the club’s true ’12th man’.