This week an angry Red Thoughts team do a post-mortem of the Bournemouth game.
BETS: After that game, I’m angry and want to RANT!! Why do we keep chopping and changing our back line when everyone knows, it’s best to keep it stable? Does Mou have any idea who his best CBs and LB are? Why didn’t he buy Lindelof in January instead of putting his faith in Jones and Smalling? What does Pogba need to do to be subbed, or rested? Was it the worst midfield performance I’ve ever seen in a United shirt? Likewise, what must Zlatan do to be subbed? He should have been sent off and we’d have been better off if he had been. And why isn’t Rashford played more often, when he is a breath of fresh air every time he comes on the pitch – he’s the only direct, aggressive player in the team. And what was the point of playing Schweinsteiger once, when he was man of the match, and then never even putting him on the bench again? And speaking of the bench, why did we bring Fellaini on AGAIN? I am so tired of seeing him standing on the touchline playing with his tackle, waiting for a better player than him to make way for him.
CARL: I don’t think the issue was really defensive. Sure, Jones was a little off the pace at the start, but I’ll forgive him that because it’s his first game back after weeks out, so he’s likely to be a bit rusty, especially against a side that will test your defence from the off, like Bournemouth. The fact our forwards AGAIN didn’t finish off chances was the greater issue.
Zlatan had a poor game, but he’s been so relied on and has delivered all season, so you can’t hold it against him too much, he can’t play well every game. I have greater issues with Martial and Mata, who don’t influence games enough. They had plenty of space down the flanks and to say they didn’t make the most of it is an understatement.
Mata never contributes enough to every aspect of our play. Rashford may get a run of a few games now Zlatan has his suspension for the elbow, so you’ll get your wish to see more of him. I wouldn’t get your hopes up that he’ll be better up top than Zlatan though, I don’t believe he will deliver anywhere near what Zlatan does for one minute. When Rashford has played up top this season he’s not exactly been stunningly clinical either. I would’ve used a lot more of Schweini this season, but what can you do? It’s not gonna happen.
FAB: I was the first to be angry with Jose for resting Herrera, but there’s nothing he could do. No one played well enough except Valencia and Rojo. The others were trying to shine individually and not as a group.
As for that Ibra elbow, I don’t care that he’s been banned, he did really well as that idiot stamped his head on purpose. You simply do not mess with Zlatan, because he will come and hit you really hard.
I was sad at first, but they should take full responsibility for what they did and they will find a way to get out of this situation. Jose did what he thought was best for the squad, but he can’t go on the pitch and score. That’s what the players are paid for.
REX: No excuses…7 draws at home (should’ve won all of them, even the away ones, with the exception of Liverpool away).. fool me once, fool me 7 times that’s called bullshit!
We’ve got a bunch of players who disappear when it matters most in the league, especially at home, which should be a sanctuary for them! We probably have the worst conversion rate in the world at the moment compared to chances created.
RICK: I’ll have to disagree with you, Bets, regarding the defence. Bournemouth had 1 shot on our goal and that was the penalty. Which means that for the other 89+ mins our goal was untouched. Meaning we were attacking the whole game. Which puts an even more bad light on our forwards. You call for Rashford, but what did he do for 20 mins after he came on? Nothing of note. He didn’t create any chances, his one shot was well off target; yes, he ran at their defence, but what good is beating your man if there’s no end product? Again our wingers gave no end product. Today that means Martial, Mata and Rashford. Rooney had two glorious shooting opportunities which a striker should and would have taken, but for some weird reason, he chose to pass the ball to someone not in a better position than him. That baffles me. He is there to create and score goals, he gets paid as an attacker to do that. When you’re 1-1 with the keeper, you shoot!! Simple.
As for Pogba, this is another game where he should have taken it and created more, however he and Carrick did create lots of chances for our attackers in the first half, but they fluffed their lines. So as much as Pogba should have done better in the second half, he did well in the first, and we should have been out of sight by the time they scored their penalty. This problem we have up front is nothing new and I’m extremely disappointed that it continues to happen every game. I’m sure Mourinho addresses it in training, but it’s up to the players to put the ball in the net come game time.
Again I’m going to pick on Martial as he skinned the Bournemouth RB every single time and had multiple opportunities to put in a decent cross or score himself, yet he’s finished the game with no goal and no assist. We keep saying Martial is a really good player, but this season he’s had no end product and end product is what you are judged on. That separates the truly great players from the average ones. People may think I’m being overly harsh, but like all our attacking line he has been crap in front of goal this season and it’s unacceptable!!! It’s happened too often this season for it to be a fluke, or bad luck.
BETS: The one shot on target stat is impressive but you can look at it another way. We were playing against a poor side with 10 men, of course they are here to defend and in just about the only foray forward they have, we concede a pen. that’s bad. Plus when we look clumsy, indecisive and jittery at the back, it undermines the confidence of the whole team. Jones would not even get into a championship side, he’s a passionate loyal player but he is not Premier League standard.
You can criticise Mata if you like, but I’m tired of him being played as a winger; he’s a no 10 or even no 8. and even playing out of position, he plays intelligent creative football.
CARL: This criticism I have of Mata is not a new one, he has some great ability and has some classy moments in him, but he does little to dictate play and he is not a constant threat, he goes missing far, far too much.
RICK: Carl, you say Mata goes missing but he did create a lot against Bournemouth. The problem is when you have a team of forwards who miss so many chances, his creativity goes unnoticed. Yes, he’s not amazing every game, but he’s consistently better than all our forward players every season. Behind Zlatan he’s got the most goals and assists, despite not playing every game. So I feel you can’t criticise him so much and not criticise players who don’t give nearly as much as him in terms of goals and assists.
Did you know, since 2012, Mata is the leading player for assists and goals in the PL along with Silva? I mean, you can’t argue with stats like that.
We played well against Bournemouth but our problem, like it’s been all season, was our players not hitting the back of the net. We had 13 shots and 9 on target, yet only 1 goal. That is shit.
Martial and Rashford were beating their men for fun down the wings, but had no end product again. That is not good enough. We can’t keep playing games where we dominate but have no end product, otherwise we will not get into top four.
CARL: The stats don’t convey the full story. I’ve already said numerous times that Mata contributes to a lot of goals and assists, but too often there’s not enough of anything else in 90 minutes. I have completely got Jose’s thinking behind letting him go from Chelsea and I have a feeling Jose hasn’t sold him at United because of all the people who predicted he would. Out of stubbornness rather than anything else, much like Fellaini.
FAB: I personally think Jones had a bad game. As Bournemouth didn’t have many shots, we could say that the defence wasn’t a problem, but in fact it was. Jones wasn’t stable, and he didn’t make the defence feel secure. However, he isn’t the one in charge of scoring goals, is he?
Back to Mata, he had no clear influence on that right wing, everything from that side came from one man – Antonio Valencia, someone who has often been accused of not having the right qualities to be a fullback. Here he is, though. No one is better than him.
BETS: Back to Pogba. When other players have had bad performances, they’ve been hauled off at half time. But Pogba is never taken off, and he has been the worst player on the pitch a few times. Against Bournemouth he was so bad, it was embarrassing. Why is he never dropped/subbed? We used to have Carrick, Herrera, Schweini, Schneidy, Blind and Timbo and now we have basically Pogba, Carrick and Herrera. So there’s no plan B. Likewise, when Zlatan is playing badly, there seems to be no Plan B. If for some reason, Mou, you don’t rate Rashford, you should have bought someone else.
FAB: How exactly doesn’t he rate Rashford?
There are other young players from the youth team that could make their debut – creative players that need a chance, yet we have been glad to see Rashford. He is always there among the best. You just don’t trust your attack to a 19 year old.
I am a youth fanatic, sometimes I overreact to these things, but I don’t trust Rashford as much as I trust Zlatan. I adore Rashford, but he is the one for the future and the fact that he is getting the minutes he does is really important for all of us.
BETS: That’s what I’m saying though Fab, if Mourinho doesn’t think that Rashford is ready to lead the line, he should have bought another striker, because what if Zlatan was injured? Or as has just happened, gets a 3 match ban? Or is just off-form? There needs to be a Plan B. Maybe at the start of the season, Mou thought this could be Rooney, but surely in January he could see that wouldn’t work?
Put it another way: we have five options at left back, and yet only really one at striker – which is surely the most important position on the pitch?
And last season, when he was 19, Rashford could lead the attack … so is it so unlikely he can do it again? Rooney was doing it at 19 for club and country …
HEMOR: Zlatan was so bad against Bournemouth, I had a strong feeling he would miss the penalty. I wanted someone else to take it, but Zlatan thinks Zlatan should take it and it costs us 5th position. When Rashford and the rest came on, they didn’t do jack shit either, everybody was just awful, they don’t deserve to get paid!
Last season, any time we have the chance to get into the top 4 we ended up fucking it up. Well the same thing is happening this season, we keep fucking up our chances of leaving 6th position. I won’t be surprised if we fuck up another chance when/if it shows up. We can’t finish ahead of the teams above us if we keep wasting chances and keep putting in awful performances. We could have ended the game after 20 mins if we were clinical. After the first half, I was expecting us to be better, but we were worse.
I don’t know why Jose didn’t sub Zlatan off when all he was doing was fouling the opponent’s defender(s), but if he had subbed him off as he should have, someone else would have taken the penalty and maybe (emphasis on maybe) we would have won the game.
I’m angry with everybody including Jose.
RICK: Yes Zlatan should have been taken off, but the problem is, who will win us the game? If Zlatan doesn’t score, we don’t win, so I see why he still didn’t get taken off. How many times has he gotten us a late goal despite not doing much in the game? My problem is with the other 9 players on the pitch.
HEMOR: Yesterday Zlatan was so not in the game, all I saw him do throughout was foul players. He should have been sent off. I think he’s tired and needs to be rested, which is why I think he should have been subbed.
The only player that can guarantee us goals is Zlatan, but some of these young boys could have gotten us one crucial goal, nobody knows.
BETS: And can someone explain to me why we had a right winger in Lingard coming on on the left, and Rashford, who’s played LW all season, coming on the right?
HEMOR: Yes Rashford did jack shit on the wing, but if he had played at no 9 things might be different.
I was expecting Zlatan for Rashford and Rooney for Lingard, which means Mata plays at no. 10 with Lingard on RW. Our subs (except Fellaini) were played in a position they’re not comfortable at and they were poor, the blame is on Jose for that.
BETS: Exactly right. Mou has morphed into LVG with this annoying habit of playing everyone out of position. He seems to stubbornly refuse to play Mata at no. 10 and in a recent match, I can’t remember which, he put Lingard there and kept Mata on the RW.
HEMOR: It was the EFL final. When I saw the lineup I said it was a good one, the only thing that will piss me off is if Mata plays on RW and Lingard as no 10 instead of the reverse – and guess what, that was what happened.
RICK: When Rashford has played alone up front this season, he has not made an impact. He’s missed loads of chances and not scored enough goals. Whether you’re playing LW, RW or ST, if you get the chances, you need to put them away. But he’s not been doing that, so I agree with Mourinho in not taking Zlatan off for him. The only sub I disagree with every time without fail is bringing Fellaini on. Schweinsteiger would have done a better job. The guy is not good enough to be a United player.
CARL: I think everyone who is judging Jose are doing so way too prematurely. I’m way more frustrated with how many chances our players are wasting than with any decisions Jose has made. Jose’s genius can be seen in how he has set us up and how we haven’t lost a game, barring a meaningless 2nd leg defeat to Hull, in months. The reason we aren’t further up the table is because our players keep bottling so many chances to climb. I mean, how many chances do these players need to put the ball in the net? We’re defending very well, we’re creating chances well, JUST PUT THE FUCKING BALL IN THE NET!! Seriously, how difficult is it? I’ve seen non-league teams that are more clinical, it’s ridiculous.