|photo by Anamorphic Mike||via PhotoRee|
Ed's not getting too worked up just yet:
Let's just all take a deep breath. Exhale slowly. Now let's take a cool, measured, unbiased look at it.
Manchester United pretty much stinks right now.
They're awful. Losing to the MK Dons? I mean, the Don's may be promoted next year . . . . to the Championship Division. I realize United had a second team lineup out there, featuring such no names as Chicharito, Cleverly, Kagawa and Welbeck. And the BPL keeper of the year De Gea. And yet they still got absolutely poinded by the seventh place team in League One. Ouch.
It's fascinating that Louis Van Gaal has brought this team to a low even David Moyes never reached. Let's be fair to LvG -- had Moyes done what he's just done there may have been riots in Manchester. Three games against poor competition and no wins to show for it. Plus they look very much like they don't know what they're doing. Some questions may be asked:
1. Was changing the system really what was needed at United? Or was it merely the players. Is both achievable?
2. International Soccer is completely different from the Club game as it is tactically so much simpler. Just because the 3/5/3 worked in the World Cup doesn't mean it will work in the BPL. And did it really work? The Dutch were an immensely talented team but they really only scored when Arjen Robben scored. And he pretty much scores in any system.
3. Should tactical changes be made before personnel to match it arrives? The BPL is to good to spot the first three months of the season to the competition. Last I checked fourth place was three places away from last years team. This year it could be worse.
4. Does the pre-season mean anything? United won the Guinness Cup and looked good doing so. These guys are outplayed for long stretches by teams with inferior talent.
I know, it's early. And they could turn it around. And what's three months if the next five years are terrific. But hey, every time is becoming squeaky bum time for United.
Plus they're just tough to watch.
# # #
On the other end of the table -- and I mean the completely other end -- is a plucky Spurs team that dominated its weekend match against Uncle Harry's new squad, QPR. The game was never close. Uncle Harry just decided to put together the old 3/5/3 as well, and again it is showed a complete train wreck against a Spurs team that is looked simply dangerous. Harry's always gotten the snub for not being a tactics guy -- a truly unfair criticism if there ever was one considering his near unparalleled success at Spurs. That said, QPR had no idea what they were doing until they changed back to the 4/4/2.
The most positive points about Spurs are:
1. Depth in the middle, maybe too much depth: Benteleb has started and played well in both matches. Capoue looks good. Dembele, Sandro (not yet played), Paulinho (where's he been?) -- that's a truckload and someone will be leaving I'm sure. I suspect Paulinho which is the worst of those choices I would think, but probably the most valuable.
2. Depth outside: a brace by Nacer Chadli showed he knows how to play. Lennon remains, and is looking more and more like a backup. Townsend (will he be traded? Hope not). And Lamela, who put in a dominant performance.
3. Depth at Number 10. Eriksen looked like Mata. Holtby always brings a big spark.
4. Depth in the back: Dier looks good and has two goals. Now they're bringing in another center back named Fazio.
5. Depth at Striker: Well not really. Though Adebayor and Kane have played well, neither is a world beater. Soldado has got to be on his way out, right?
But more than all this, they're fun to watch.
A good new coach can go a long way it seems.
# # #
Manchester City looked just bigger, tougher, stronger and faster than Liverpool on Monday. Not a fair fight watching Coutinho try to take on Yaya and Fernando (not to mention Kompany) in the middle. It was a matter of time before the team with better athletes hammered it out. And wow can they bring the hammer. They look about as scary as . . . . .
Chelsea. The only other team that looks their match.
But wow it's way too early.
This is farlieonfootie for August 28.