I was full of confidence going into the game against Ronald Koeman’s Saints, with the belief that now we have a fully fit squad we should really start to see the “REAL REDS”. Well after that 95 minutes I was left concerned, disappointed and in some ways a little angry. The performance was nothing short of abysmal – a complete lack of ideas, complete lack of passion, and a never-ending stream of backwards passes.
My first question is why oh why was Falcao not even included in the 18 against one of our top 4 rivals? Why did LVG bring him to the club, whether on loan or not, on huge wages, if he is not good enough to play? Why, if this is his opinion, did he let Welbeck go to Arsenal?
I was a huge critic of David Moyes – I have absolutely no regrets that he’s gone, but to think that with all the money LVG has spent, and no Champions League distractions, we have the same number of points as last season after 21 games. It’s only because Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs and Everton are having such poor seasons, and because De Gea has been so brilliant, that we’re in the hunt for a top 4 place. The performance against Southampton was totally reminiscent of the short Moyes era – no movement, no pace, players playing out of position, and you have to wonder just what this “philosophy” is.
Di Maria is a GREAT player. He was superb last season at Madrid, yet other than a few flashes of brilliance early in the season, he continues to disappoint – he has not suddenly become an average player, and you can be sure that if he went back to Real he would soon be great again. LVG has spent a lot of money in a short period of time, yet right now we are looking barely any better than last season, and a long way short of a sure top 4 finish.
Another Dutchman, Ronald Koeman, has done an amazing job at Southampton. Nearly half of his team were sold – he took over one of the bookies’ favorites for relegation – yet now after 21 games they are sitting in 3rd place. Whilst they may well yet fall just short of that top 4 spot, no one can argue that he is a top tactician, a good motivator, can spot a bargain and arguably has outwitted LVG in both the encounters we have had with them. Somehow we took the 3 points last month, but no one would argue that Southampton weren’t the better team.
Why was Di Maria up front and Rooney in midfield? Why did we have Blackett, McNair and Evans on the bench for a home game yet NO FALCAO? Do we need Blind and Carrick in the same line up, but Herrera on the bench? Again, this was a home game; one you would expect to dominate, with lots of chances created.
I questioned whether we needed to spend this month to finish 3rd; but now I’m wondering if I was wrong. If LVG does go into the market, I just hope that he’s done his homework, as when you consider that Arsenal paid only slightly more for Alexis Sanchez (signing of the summer) than we did for Luke Shaw, who has so far been underwhelming, you wonder whether we’re spending our money as wisely as we might.
We need a driving midfield player, and no one fits that bill better than the youngster we let go for nothing – Paul Pogba. Until we have him or someone similar in our team, I cannot see success returning to Old Trafford.
I asked a few months ago for your views on LVG if United should fail to get in the top 4 this season, and whilst I very much still have high hopes and expectations, our performances are concerning, and I hate to say it, but if he fails after having spent so much money, I would most definitely question his ability, especially if Koeman should finish above us having bought unknowns on a tight budget.
Last season everyone was singing Martinez praises, myself included, and whilst I still think he’s a good manager, he seems to only be able to play one way, whereas Koeman has already shown his versatility, and what a seriously good coach he is.
LVG: get it together and fast before we slip down the table, confidence goes, and we end up 6th or 7th again just like last season. Time is not on your side; United fans always back the team and are a pretty loyal bunch, but we want success, and after Woodward pulled out the cheque book, you really have no excuse.