A foolproof plan?
In response to one of the mails asking how to stop Man City, one of the points that any one has failed to mention is to try and score twice against them. We have seen them getting 1-0 down often this season but not 2-0. It will be difficult of course but if done, we can see the City team crumbling under the two-goal pressure and that will test their character a lot more than it has been tested till now this season. I back Man Utd. to go for it.
Ritvic, MUFC, India (We don’t need the neutrals’ support, our own support is enough to topple the neighbours)
And Man United are scoring goals
Nice to see that anti-football Jose and United have outscored every team in the prem not named ‘Manchester City’ this season. Including Klopp and his Liverpool attack with all their heavy metal football/gengenpressing/pacy attack.
Jerry (Manchester United – Hated, adored, never ignored!)
…Long-time reader, first time writer. As the working day came to a close I decided to catch up on all things football related, with Football 365’s ‘Mail’ my first destination. Typing in the letter F, the URL on my work laptop automatically populated with football 365’s website. To my delight, right in front of my eyes was today’s mailbox. Thinking back to the 360 minutes of football I watched this weekend with the highlight being the match which took place in London Saturday evening, I thought to myself, ‘I wonder, will Jose get the praise he deserves for United’s thrilling attacking and defensive displays’, the answer; NO, was quickly revealed to me.
In fact it was quite the opposite, Mourinho, whose Manchester United side have scored more goals than any other side this season bar City, and conceded less goals than any other team was branded ‘negative’ by “Russ CFC Fan”, who despite being a Chelsea fan admitted that instead of his team, who are 11 points behind City, bridging the gap to eight points with 60% of the season to play, he would rather see City maintain that lead by ‘destroying united’ and therefore one can assume ending the title race, because he cannot stand “the negative tactics” of a man who has managed a team who have managed to score in every game bar 2, scoring on average 2.3 goals per game. One can be forgiven for thinking he was talking about his own manager Conte as his Chelsea team have on average scored less than 2 goals per game managing a boring, 1.8 goals per game, but luckily for us Rus CFC Fan inserted the name ‘Jose Mourinho’ into his text
Steven (United beating City opens up a three-team title race) Dublin
Another plan to beat Man City
The only problems with City are possibly their defensive high line as well as their managers insistence of passing out from the back.
Man United should/will try to exploit the high line, with fast runners like Rashford, Lingard, Martial who will have to try and beat the offside trap with good runs behind. For this tactic to work they would have needed Pogba, whose absence means Mata/Makhi will have to play to pick out those passes. They would do well to attack from left wing, which seems to be the weakest in the City defense.
ManU should also press first 55-60 mins incessantly, punishing mistakes from City defense. This will also ensure the players like DeBryune and Silva don’t have much time on ball to pick passes. Man Marking DeBryune and Silva 35-40 yards from goal would also help.
ManU should also attack in set-pieces with Lukaku/Zlatan and try to nick a goal or two.
They should go into attack mode in last 15-20 mins if they are a goal or two behind. If they are leading then they should go into the classic Mou defensive mode.
The above should be the high level game plan from United to win.
As neutral, I would love this to be high scoring match with United winning it. That would allow Chelsea to get closer to City. And maybe finally break City’s mental strength pushing them to a down spin of defeats and draws in next 5-7 games.
City are there for the taking
I read the mails on the neutrals take on who should win the Derby. And I made the funny observation that no single ‘neutral’ supported United. On any other day I would proudly clump this on ABU but not today. I want to offer an explanation to this and possible reasons why United should not be downplayed.
Let’s recall the fairy tale that was Leicester City. Everyone wanted Leicester to win, including me. We all would rather the underdog wins than our competitor. Let’s call this the L-rule. All football fans and teams suffer from the L-rule.
The “neutrals” all belong to the group of teams that fall below the Manchester teams in the League Table. It just happens that all these teams are closer to United than they are to City. The working hypothesis right now is that should United lose, all the top six teams would benefit, City would get United off its back and the rest of the lot would get to touching distance of United.
If City were in our position, I actually think the tale would reverse following the logic of my L-rule.
But then again I think we are all missing the slightly bigger picture here. Everyone is assuming that City is going to demolish United and understandably so. But we are assuming some key observations and variables.
City have a struggled in recent weeks to break down slightly weaker teams and have scored winning goals ONLY during injury time, does this reflect an attack suffering fatigue (or creativity)? I think so.
Secondly, United are on home tuff. That in itself brings its own pressure and and obvious psychological advantage to United. I think this variable should not be taken for granted. Statistics suggests that it’s very difficult to beat United at home.
The most important variable of all is the fact that everybody expects City to win. City has set the bar so high that (possibly) the only way to go is down (Spurs vs Arsenal, United vs Arsenal, Spurs vs R. Madrid). There is also the fact that Pep wants to best Wenger on the longest winning streak, this also brings its own pressure.
If we therefore factor in the negative psychological effects that these variables bring, I think a true “Neutral” would recalibrate his take.
Finally I for one Trusts that Mourinho will paint a tactical masterpiece, the game may be ugly but the results will be a Mona Lisa.
Elvince Ager (The Certified United Fanatic) Nairobi
Be nice to see De Gea destroyed
In response to Phil from Salford, while it would be good to see City drop points, I wouldn’t mind them thrashing United and at Old Trafford. One reason being that, given how awesome De Gea turned out to be at the Emirates, and that he apparently has a new statistic in terms of saves in a match, it would be good to see City put five or six past him.
However, I highly doubt that this could happen as Jose could accept losing, but not in that fashion. Plus, if United lose, I know I can at least skip the Monday morning mailbox with the overreaction from United supporters, of which there will be at least a few who end up writing in about how that was one of the worst performances that they’ve ever seen or how crap Lukaku is turning out to be.
So, yes Phil, I’d really like to see United lose heavily, with the camera panning to Jose’s smug face after City score each goal.
It will be entertaining no doubt.
Carl (Although I wouldn’t mind a 3-2 City win with the commentator screaming Aguerrrooo in the dying minutes of Fergie time), Dubai
What neutrals should really want…
Ok, so I’m more rival than neutral – but surely what we all really want is a completely bonkers, mutually season destroying draw?
– Utd take an early two-goal lead, thanks to a brilliant solo goal from Jesse Lingard, and a controversial goal from a set piece with a clear foul involved.
– Jose then turns it into one of those niggly/violent epics in which he specialises, with City responding with increasingly ludicrous histrionics.
– City score a brilliant equaliser on half time, with Utd having a man sent off (Fellaini/Herrera almost for certain) for an act of clear violence/
– City dominate the second half, but are unable to make a breakthrough until the 3rd minute of injury time when they’re awarded a penalty for one of the most blatant dives of all time (let’s say from Aguero). This results in a 20 man brawl, with Jose and Pep have a full fist fight on the sidelines. 3 players are sent off.
– Incredibly, from the restart City are awarded another penalty… miss the penalty… and are denied the rebound despite clear encroachment from about 5 Utd players.
– In the press conference, Jose incredibly insults Pep Guardiola’s Mother, the Busby babes and Arsene Wenger. Pep Guardiola refuses to speak to the press ever again.
– Duncan Castles later reveals the 200m targets for January that Mourinho will need to turn around a clearly inadequate squad for which he’s blameless, whilst warning that he may soon leave for Abu Dhabi. Pep Guardiola buys another 8 full backs, and starts February with Danny Rose playing up front and Danilo in goal.
– Donald Trump weighs in on Twitter, blaming the defeat on ‘fake refereeing’ influences by North Korea. The Daily Mail quote the game as a reason for leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice/
– In other news, England win the ashes.
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, Singapore
Big Sam deserves all he gets
Sorry Mat, Leeds but Big Sam deserves his reputation – as a blow hard.
For a manager who has not won any significant titles or cups nor managed outside of blighty, Sam loves to compare himself favourably to other managers. He seems to forget that you have to earn a reputation and forever going on about how you are not being recognized always smacks of self promotion. It’s also the (misguided) path Sean Dyche started down which explains why he is often overlooked – although he has toned that down a bit lately.
Winning something gives you a reason to be a little cocky. Comparing yourself favourably to someone else who has won something does not. Even worse when you pick on a fellow, much younger manager, like Silva to compare records, as Sam did.
After winning on Saturday Big Sam waxed on about how great Everton are defensively and that IF they go to City and win that would make him look like a better manager than Pep, because he doesn’t have the budget that City has.
FFS he has only managed one game – and that was against Huddersfield who have only scored 9 goals and none away from home for the last 7 games with the one time against a woeful early season Palace – and he goes on about how he could possibly beat City and possibly be a better manager.
After the fiasco that was his short lived England manager role after slagging off his predecessor in a sting, you would think he would be a tad more cautious – hold it back for a month or two. But no!
So Mat, that is why Big Sam gets disrespected. It isn’tbecause he ran into a bunch of ‘terrible’ owners or ‘terrible’ fans or ‘terrible fake’ press, it’s because he disrespects everyone else’s record when his is pretty patchy at best.
Having said all that, love to see him back for the comedy factor.
Rugby league making strides in mental health
I enjoyed Johnny Nic’s article on ‘manliness’ and footballers expressing (or not) emotions, and I think he raised some important points. His comment about the England rugby league captain Sam Burgess’ words after losing the World Cup Final on Saturday is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of rugby league’s commitment to raising awareness of mental health issues, particularly among men. In 2016 the Leeds Rhinos player Stevie Ward wrote an article called The Dark Side of Sport about his battle with depression. It’s worth reading. He also set up Mantality, an online magazine based around mental health. Luke Ambler, formerly a Halifax player, set up the discussion group Andys Man Club, named after his brother-in-law, who unexpectedly died by suicide. The group’s slogan is “it’s okay to talk”.
The charity State of Mind was founded in 2011 by Super League and every year an entire round of fixtures is devoted to the theme, with players wearing special warm-up T-shirts, various information booths around the grounds, and promotional videos featuring players. As a result of rugby league’s recent work, an increasing number of players and supporters have sought and received help for mental health issues.
I’ve long grown out of the phase of using other sports to try and shame football in comparison; that’s not the point of this mail. It seems like the PFA, particularly through Clarke Carlisle, is doing more work around mental health issues, but I think there is plenty that football could learn from rugby league about how to approach the topic in a sensitive, inclusive and effective way.