Am I Allowed To Criticise Jurgen? Is Anyone?

They’re starting to look like the real deal again aren’t they?

Man United – The Real Deal
You know, that club who everyone loved to hate through the 90s and 00s, the club that undoubtedly was one of the reasons why I never won a league or cup winners medal, that club whose fans have had a taste of mortality for 4 years, but may well be preening and showing off the “Not bitter, just better” banners at a ground near you soon.

Yup, you’ve guessed it, the Red Devils with a manager who’s a born winner, a central striker who, although may not go great guns for a full season is the nearest I’ve seen to Ruud van Nistelrooy up front for United, and in Paul Pogba, a Rolls Royce of a midfielder who didn’t have his greatest ever game against Southampton but bloody hell can the lad play, particularly the further forward he goes.

Eric Bailly is a little impetuous at the moment, sometimes a little too eager to get in front of his forward but I haven’t enjoyed a central defender’s display this much since Vinny Kompany’s entrance into the league a few years back.

All in all they look the real deal, with one major conundrum.

They need to score a bagful of goals right? Yes Stan.

They already have an excellent defensive record going back to last season right? Yes Stan.

They have a prolific, creative captain who is head and shoulders outperforming the rest of the attacking section of the team right? Err, no Stan.

Rooney’s Time’s Up?
Mata was better than Rooney against Bournemouth in the 10 hole despite drifting from the right and he was better than Rooney doing the same thing against Southampton, so a simple question, why is a 2 time Chelsea player of the year whose grafting stats against the Saints were superb, still having to make way for England’s poster boy? Does anyone actually care?

“He works hard Stan, he’s great in the dressing room, he’s a great pro”. I take all of those points, but if Rooney plays all season and United miss out by a few assists or goals because of him, then i’m not sure United fans will be too happy and rightly so.

I’d go Ibra up top, with Martial (anyone else notice his body language with Ibra wasn’t great against Southampton? Watch this space) on the left, Mata as 10 and Mkhi on the right. Creativity, genuine creativity in the Ozil/Silva mould from him, pace and goals from the flanks joining in. In Ibra, a guy who I wanted to give a man hug to after his demolition of England 2 years ago, but who I wasn’t convinced would do the business in the Premier League,

we have a monster, an intimidating monster of a striker that will terrify defenders up and down the land.

United are back, and it’s early on I know, but the pace, physical strength and Mourinho inspired confidence were all there to see. I just can’t see how Rooney medium term gets into this set up; the last death rattle of a great pro and more importantly the Fergie years.


Liverpool – The Newcastle of 1995/96
Am I allowed to criticise Jurgen? Is anyone? Or is the cult of manager so strong at certain clubs that we all have to blindly wait for Liverpool to show the consistency under a highly paid, long contract manager?

I thought against Burnley the Reds showed little real confidence, tempo, pace or belief that Mourinho’s United did for example or Pep’s City. Both of those teams played with the kind of swagger you’d expect from title contenders, but Liverpool just passed the ball from side to side, back to front, without urgency or pace which was supposed to be the hallmark of the Gegenpressing manager.

“But most aren’t his team Stan, he’s not been there long” etc etc. Neither has Mourinho, Pep and certainly neither was Claudio Ranieri last season. Patience is fine and I’m an advocate of a proper well thought plan but in all honesty,

it’s all a bit Emperor’s New Clothes at Liverpool right now and if I’m the first to say it rather than drool over Klopp’s happy clappy post match pressers when they’ve just lost, then so be it.

Moreno. The boss knew he was a liability in the Europa League Final, so why play him and not discipline him PRE-MATCH against Arsenal as to stay home, defend properly and help his team?

Milner? I love the lad, but if your back up left back two games in is a workhorse midfielder, then as a manager, surely that’s a position that Liverpool needed to seriously look at in summer, way before now.

Plan B. What is it? When the tempo of the Premier league bites you, even 2 games in, and you can’t blitz teams like City away last season, what then? A big man to play off, like an Ibra? Oh that’s right, he’s just been sold to Palace leaving Liverpool with no physical presence up top at all.

Sturridge. Either play the lad as a striker with a balanced 3 behind him, or let him go. He looked lost and frustrated against Burnley and although it’s early days, I can see problems brewing there unless the best is got from this exceptional central striker.

As for the defence, I keep being told by Reds that it’s a mixture of bad luck with injuries, new signings bedding in on a loop. I think if he’s going to persist with 2 full-backs who are better going forward than going back, maybe 3 central defenders is an option, because at the moment I’m looking through my fingers whenever there is just 2.

Gegenpressing Problems
I want Liverpool to do well, and I get very excited when Gegenpressing works, but let’s be honest, in the Bundesliga or La Liga it’s in a league where you can roll over teams by just working hard.

This is the Premier League, every team does that as a given.

Some progress at LFC, but they remind me of Newcastle 1995/96. Great going forward, all over the place going back. As I and the Geordies know all too well, that won’t win you leagues, and in Klopp they have invested in a man to deliver that, not just a smiling “everything will be ok tomorrow” manager.