Manchester United in a gist

I strained my back early morning yesterday during a HIIT routine. So after a 9 hour work shift, I just decided to stretch my back after dinner. I managed to wake up mid way through the second half of the game to see United trailing 2-0.

I was not surprised. The quality of the opposition, in their home turf, it was always going to be very hard.

But once the game ended, I went through analyses on different channels, I understood we started with a team to defend with pace on the counter.

Despite going down pretty early, the stubborn reluctance of Ole to change his plan A despite knowing it is wrong is what is consistently costing us. Learning to adapt to a botched plan is the main thing especially in Europe, decider group games. From a team that was cruising to win the group, to one needing ONLY a point in the last two games, United succumbed to two big defeats. The CV of both the teams going through this group clearly outshines us in form and recent seasons.

So how do we fix this? I doubt there is any way out. The club has lost its identity thanks to the hierarchy and is in a weird limbo. As a united fan, I am more than happy to just watch highlights rather than sit through 90 min of torture anymore. I have never seen a team consistently be so shit in starting games.

There is no hiding. Maguire is not captain material. He doesn’t evoke responsibility even in defence. De Gea is done. He no longer commands the box. Aaron with his unique skills has been keeping this line intact. Lindelof is more patchy than Smalling or Jones has ever been for United.

There is no consistent midfield setup. Too many squad players, too many different formations and configurations each game. Players unable to even settle into a playing routine.

Main attackers including Bruno and Rashford undergoing fatigue and injuries. Martial off color all season. Pogba making plans to move to next club. It is a disaster. I feel sorry for fellow United fans. I feel sorry for myself. But I will absolve from my pain by watching less and reading more about what this team is doing.

Resilient Atletico and a disjointed Liverpool

Being a United fan, it is no surprise that I am happy to see the Liverpool team tiring. One of the disadvantages of being so ahead in the English Premier League is that, there is a rush of confident blood flowing which ends up in a harsher reality in Europe. The uselessness of the likes of Henderson in the team is obvious when harried and stifled by a team like Atletico.

Set piece disaster in the early minutes of a game is not surprising. Liverpool never really got off the blocks and as a result, they had to pay the price.

The return leg at Anfield of course is going to be excruciating, but there’s lots for Klopp to ponder whilst Simeone enjoys the laugh for now.

First defeat strikes in Champions League

I have not been up and blogging since the last couple of days since I am down with a bit of a cold and flare up of my sinusitis. The undulating diurnal variation in climate is not helping my cause.

Nevertheless I have stuck to my routine modus operandi of tackling cold. Day 0: quiet observation.
Day 1: levocetrizine SOS and Azithral 500 mg OD.
Day 2: levocetrizine SOS and Azithral 500 mg OD.

Just when I was trying to figure out how to have access to watching the champions league game, I realized Ten Sports is available on the SonyLiv app.

I slept through the first 15 minutes as I wasn’t feeling great. Then propped myself up on my bean bag and started watching the game on my phone.

A tetch of nervousness was seen by both teams as both pressed quickly resulting in many misdirected passes on both sides. In the attacking vein that United was, pace, pace and more pace was the approach, however there was a bit of conservativeness in runs in behind as PSG opted to sit and defend and exploit on the counter.

Sadly to demolish his plans completely both Anthony and Jesse pulled up with muscle injuries, groin and calf. All of a sudden, plan A went out of the window.

Bench replacements were diametrically opposite, Sanchez and Mata. This is where I would have opted to differ with Ole’s approach. No matter how bad a form Lukaku was in, he would have been better off bringing Lukaku on, putting Rashford wide and allowing only one flank to be pulled down on pace. What it then did was allow PSG to play their game in midfield and we were being stretched with ease.

As always is in Champions League fixtures, refereeing with or without VAR involves really awful international referees like the one officiating this one. He was throwing around yellow cards for fun in the first leg of a two legged game, thereby being accomplice to manipulating the outcome. Of course if it was consistent, it would have been of merit. What seemed like an obvious tug back on Rashford by a player already on a yellow card was completely dismissed whilst Pogba was penalized with two yellow cards.

This is the harsh reality of Champions League football. Ole calls it experience. Genuine youthful enthusiasm was drubbed last night as players felt, they were not able to get the best out of it thanks to some shoddy refereeing.

What it does expose though is the fragility of the existing squad and how much of a rehaul is required for us to restore glory back again. One thing that also played against us was the fact that we were considered favorities against a team that was not here with full potential.

Ole will realize by now that he has to operate plan B with immediate effect as his potent winning run team with a couple of injuries is not going to be able to provide the ice and slice that they did so far.

Two away goals are making things unlikely for us to progress. But there is never shortage for optimism in this team ably led by Ole.

Feyenoord 1 – 0 Manchester United

Snoozefest – an ode to LvG

Not like Thursday night football was ever gonna get exciting, but this was an opportunity for the non first team players to get a chance to shine, to have a look into the starting line up.

After watching 90 minutes of disjointed individual games, it was obvious nobody has done anything to impress the new boss.

The most paltry and awful performance came from the full backs. Smalling’s return to the central defense seemed calm and he merged in well with Bailly. Smalling of course did not offer the range of passing Blind does, but was top on all the one on ones with the forwards.

Marcus Rojo looked clueless, bit off the pace and reluctant to make any relevant forward strides. He was caught out of position many a times and the likes of Pogba and Herrera ended up covering up. He is not likely to find a first team place unless Shaw gets injured.

Darmian was calm with the ball, yet again hesitant to bomb forward. The contrast with Valencia was so evident with his lack of pace and desire. But he was the more solid one of both the full backs.

Schneiderlin did not have the aerial prowess and aggression of Fellaini but he sat back and did his job in front of the defence. Pogba and Herrera were one paced and struggling to find sufficient forward movement in and around them to string a positive spell of attack.

Mata, Rashford and Martial had their own bit of individual forward forays constantly being chopped up by niggly fouls by the Feynoord midfielders who had a good game. Their frustration summed up united’s performance which was akin to the LvG era.

Mourinho was also fairly sedate in the touchline with the most action he delivered being the triple substitution at the hour mark. Young, Memphis and Ibrahimovic created scant chances thanks to excellent last ditch defending by a team that has had a brilliant unbeaten start to their domestic season.

Watford beckons. #GGMU


Last night was a good good night!

There were a few groans, moans and raised eyebrows when the playing eleven for the return leg was announced. Sir Alex is a genius when it comes to winning a battle on and off the pitch. The confidence he had in the young guns to get some European experience at home soil, to let them play with a freedom in the semi final of the biggest trophy tournament ever, might even seem a touch arrogant. But his track record says it all, cause more often than not, he gets it right. A 4-1 drubbing at the theatre of dreams ended an unbelievable European run for Schalke. When the likes of Anderson, Gibson and Evans oozed confidence, the big fellow was resting all the big guns for the title deciding fixture coming weekend.  It was not a tricky night by any means, United were expected to cruise through, but it’s not over until it is over!

A matter of great pride for all Manchester United fans all over the world to see Sir Alex lead his troops to a 3rd European final in 4 years. We have some important scores to settle.. starting this weekend and I can’t really wait as we look to rewrite history again! glory glory manchester united!

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