The Ferguson bashing is quite frankly embarassing

Ferguson

In the wake of a 3-0 hammering away to a good, but unfancied, Fulham side – there is always going to be scapegoat, excuses and ridiculous claims by fickle fans. Yesterday was a bad day for United, as was the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea and as was the recent 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at home. However, in that time Ferguson’s tactics have been blamed, the performances of certain players have been questioned and our quest for a fourth successful title seem to be slipping away. I’m here to tell you know that the position we find ourselves in now isn’t Ferguson’s fault – not in the slightest.


Last season in the FA Cup at Craven Cottage we beat the Cottagers 4-0 with goals from Tevez (2), Rooney and Park. Looking at our defensive line up that day we had – O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra. Compare that to yesterday – De Laet, Fletcher, Carrick with Evra operating a little further forward. I know its old news, but United had Vidic, Ferdinand, Neville, O’Shea, Evans, Brown and Rafael on the injury list. How on earth can a team be expected to compete at the top level with this type of injury list? Honestly. I outlined some of my earlier thoughts in our forum discussion this morning.

Imagine a Chelsea lineup as follows – Carl Magnay (Youth player), Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Ashley Cole. Yeah I agree – laughable. How about another one? Arsenal’s backline – Rhema Obed (Youth team), Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Gael Clichy. Even funnier in my opinion. Lets go a little continental and try every ones favourite dictator inspired club Real Madrid. Daniel Garcia Ortega (does it matter? I could have made the name up for all you know), Xabi Alonso, Lassana Diarra, Marcelo. Again, I hope, point proven. No club could compete at the levels they wish to with this type of injury crisis. Not to mention missing the presence, consistency and ability of those defenders we’ve mentioned, but we’re removing the guile and craft of Carrick from the middle of the park as well the as the industrious running and hounding of Fletcher. Was the performance poor yesterday? Sure it was – but we need to look at the root rather than pointing fat fingers at the greatest manager this world has even seen.

I’ve never been a fickle football fan. I always try and give an honest opinion and view on the game. If I feel we’ve been played off the park, I will say so – as our match reports for the Barcelona and Liverpool games suggested. However, if I feel there has been an injustice – as there was against Porto back in 2004 or more recently against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – I like to think my opinions are of a consistent nature and most of all, honest. Sir Alex Ferguson is the greatest manager we’ve ever seen. We all know that. But its what he does after these problems that always astounds me. He motivates his side, makes them feel they are better than what they are and I honestly believe United will bounce back over the next few weeks. Having said that we need to get some consistency in defense before we can start to look strong at the back again.

Forget the nonsense of the ‘fear factor’ and the ‘Ronaldo factor’. With the first point – United can beat anyone on their day, as can many top teams, but we haven’t had a good run so far this season, which coincides with our injury concerns. Ferdinand is by far the most worrying. Looking out of sorts for England against Holland, his casual scoop, which led to Bellamy’s goal, was an embarrassing throwback to his early days where his biggest criticism was his concentration. Personally, I don’t think Ferdinand is going backwards or in decline in terms of reading a game. I think that injuries have taken its toll on his large frame and a rest is exactly what he needs. His last game was in the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield back in October where he was clearly lacking fitness and being out muscled and paced by an equally unfit Fernando Torres (if you believe the reports).

The Ronaldo factor is a tricky one because expectations need to be managed. Lets look at it from the top. We’ve lost 68 goals in two season from one player and we’ve lost the trickery/pace/inspiration of one of the worlds best players. However, its frustrating to hear whenever United lose that its “because of Ronaldo’s departure”. Nonsense and pretty easy to speculate like that. Take the semi final against Arsenal last season in the European Cup. What I choose to remember about Ronaldo is the beautiful counter attacking goal that he scored at the Emirates. It was quite simply magnificent and my favourite memory from last season. Here we were playing the so called ‘most attractive team’ on their own turf at their own game! Before the match many Gooners were confident of a victory – however in truth, we hammered them – and it could have been more. But look back a week before in the 1-0 victory over Arsenal – I thought Ronaldo was awful. There were groans around the Stretford End when we saw the familiar figure of Ronaldo smacking the turf in despair having gone to ground a little too easy and got nowt from the ref. Of course there were moment of brilliance (I think he hit the bar from miles out) – but you’d expect that from such a talent, however it is narrow minded to assume that Ronaldo would have made any difference in the 3-0 defeat yesterday.

So to conclude – its embarssing to claim that Ferguson needs to address his tactics when we’ve been hit by so many injuries. Fickle fans need to look at themselves and try to manage their own expectations. Fulham are a good side under Roy Hodgson – who has done wonders for them. We need to get all of our defenders back to full fitness, get a consistent run going and get behind the team.

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40 Responses to “The Ferguson bashing is quite frankly embarassing”

  1. anony says:

    For arsenal kyle bartley is ahead of rhema obed in the pecking order. Pedantic? Me? Of course. ;)

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  2. Dapxin says:

    “What I choose to remember about Ronaldo is the beautiful counter attacking goal that he scored at the Emirates.”
    ——————
    me too!. was breathless, the setup and the finish. unforgettable!

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  3. [...] The Manchester United thread: A star is born. Quote from here. What I choose to remember about Ronaldo is the beautiful counter attacking goal that he scored [...]

  4. Dick says:

    Your completely missing the point, yes you were missing players but the reason ferguson has been questioned is becuase he chose to go with three at the back. when your a manager and you go for a bold move like that and it turns out to be a big mistake you are always brought forward for criticism. And in this case it’s clear that he made a mistake, you manchester united fans have an incredible ability for not seeing what’s in front of your face.

    it’s laughable how many times as an actual football fan who supports a local club you see glory supporting man u fans who are completely deluded. I’m not saying Alex Ferguson isn’t a good manager i’m just saying it’s amazing how someone who’s so fucking clueless can waste their time writing an article as deluded as this one, i don’t know what clever point is supposed to be found from this no-sense article, but i think maybe you you should think of something better to do with your time that amatuer journalist. don’t you have anything more important to do?

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  5. rewind says:

    Get a grip mate, I am not a fickle fan but we have looked lost in a 3-5-2 formation. No one is bashing Fergie, however when you pay to go watch your beloved team week in, week out, you deserve to have an opinion on your team and the way they perform. You have to be blind not to see that that formation has not worked and the games where we have played that formation and eventually changed back to the favoured 4-4-2. we have clearly looked more solid as a unit and 10 times more creative going forward.

    If i can see this, I have to question why the manager cannot, however he clearly has noticed it going by his decisions to change the formation back to 4-4-2 all the games that we started with 3-5-2.

    I would also question why players are being played out of position to fill in for our horrendous injury list at the back when we surely have some quality in the youth team reserves.

    I agree there has been an over-reaction to yesterday’s game but we have been pretty poor all season apart from a few select games, even when we have had a proper defence. There is more wrong at United then poor formations and a long injury list in a few positions, and I think Fergie can see this. I do truly think he will go and make a few signings in january or maybe even give some of talented youth more game time to see if they have the “x” factor, whatever the fuck that is!

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  6. Dick says:

    …and the ridiculous thing is your doing that typical idiot-person thing of trying to bring forward an argument you’ve been considering (or often consider) internally by relating it to a situation where it doesn’t apply. Like here if you want to have a rant at ‘fikle fans’ you can’t just bring that in when actually ferguson was a fualt, if you had said this after the chelsea game when the man u deserved to win it would have made sense, although it still would have been a fucking terrible article.

    This type of amatuer journalism is really embarresing to see, all you do is humiliate yourself by giving an insight into just how basic your mind is.

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  7. fido says:

    Rubbish! We haven’t been great this season. We lost Tevez and Ronaldo and didn’t replace them. I am sure Ferguson regrets not buying in the summer and don’t tell me he bought. Apart from Valencia the rest of the buys were useless.

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  8. Yolkie says:

    Though I do think there are areas in the team that need addressing you would have to be an idiot to think Ferguson is the wrong man for the job.

    We were poor yesterday but I would put that down to a conspiracy of circumstance, an inevitable rock bottom as a clear indicator of our problems. However the problems on show yesterday were more down to the injuries, as well as the back four we were also missing midfield steel that could have been provided by Hargreaves – remove him, you have Fletcher, remove him, you have a soft centre and a player in Anderson who doesn’t seem to know what his role in the side is still, and we were missing the creativity of arguably the best player in the league this season in Giggs.

    However it’s only partly due to injuries – clearly if we are relying on the creativity of a player closer to 40 than 30 a club challenging for the trophies we are needs more in that area, and by putting Rooney left and putting Owen and Berbatov in it’s increasingly clear we have a minimal physical imposing presence in the middle. Add a non-creative midfield to a non-physical, drifting front pair and it’s a recipe for disaster that will only look worse in light of the injury problems at the back we have.

    For that I would say it’s not a tactical issue but a personnel one – Ferguson is no mug and he agrees more players are needed but doesn’t want the club to be held to ransom for overpriced ones. He has always done this unless he really fancied the player but he was really forced into reshaping the side after Ronaldo’s departure.

    On that front it’s a question of patience for Fergie to either identify the right player or to bring some new through.

    The other side point is something I agreed with watching Sunday Supplement – in times of crisis it’s a wonderful opportunity for the players who normally wouldn’t get a game to really stamp their mark and make a name for themselves. It’s unfair to throw this at De Laet because it’s hard to impress playing in the middle of two players who aren’t familiar with their positions but Gibson for me needs to offer more in terms of actual on the ball ability. It’s a killer shot but it’s like a 5% that it comes off. Ronaldo used to infuriate me but he had the other things in his game too, Gibson if he’s not shooting doesn’t seem capable of intelligently using the ball often enough.

    Regarding Rio and Vidic – we really ought to prepare for a future without either of them for one reason or another and January would be a great time to find a couple of centre halves to start to bring on. I know Vidic makes all the right noises but you have to say there’s no smoke without fire.

    Anyway, if you want a laugh, I suppose the letter on the top of this –

    http://www.football365.com/mailbox/story/0,17033,8744_5787717,00.html

    is exactly the kind of fairweather tosser this blog is aimed at.

    “You win nothing with old men”. Must have been dreaming over the last 3 years then. Fergie out?What a bloody joke.

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  9. elvido says:

    That did a lot more for me than anything I have read in the last 24hours! Guess i do understand why we are in this position, it’s just the helplessness that bothers a bit. Fair call, hope we get our squad back in shape. Would not hurt to see more youngsters getting a chance though!

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  10. Bravo Dick for showing yourself up to be an absolute cretin and missing the point of the article. You’ve clearly demonstrated your intellectual capacity of a five year old – trying to make witty comments that just do not make any sense (nor for the matter are actual spelt correctly – fikle is actually fickle my intellectually challenged friend).

    You say that Ferguson was criticised for playing three at the back. Tell me again – what position do Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher play? If all of those defenders were available do you think that the Ferguson would have played three defenders? If the answer is ‘No’ then I think well all agree you are a moron and if the answer is ‘yes’ then you known even less about football than your post made out.

    Did I say Ferguson was exempt from criticism, nope, he’s made many mistakes – but in my opinion he is the best there is. I would have concentrated on that rather than trying to pick holes in me personally.

    Bit of advice. Read the article fully. Take off your ABU hate and contribute like a normal civilized person, rather than some buffoon who uses the oldest stereotype in the book. Honestly mate, we’re not laughing at you but ‘towards’ you.

    Absolute ignorant twat – I don’t know how these people even use a computer.

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  11. Yolkie says:

    Dick – stop living up to your name and ask yourself, in true Napoleon Dynamite style, “what the heck would you do in a situation like that?”

    Bold move to go with three at the back? Clearly Fergie thought a back 4 even with Vidic wasn’t strong enough against Villa, and he wanted to try and protect De Laet with experienced players.

    Perhaps, Dick, you ought to try and identify the difference between making a bold move or making a decision borne out of neccessity.

    I’m glad to see that you’re making such constructive use of your time by just saying “you’re clueless” despite having missed the entire point, clearly you have nothing better to do. If you’re too stupid to see there are fickle fans having a pop at Fergie then that’s a rod for your own back, don’t accuse people of being idiots for discussing a current topic when you yourself are not aware of current events. That truly is embarrassing yourself, mate.

    Rewind – look at the Football365.com link I’ve put up. Plenty are on Fergie’s back.

    In our recent game against Bolton for the reserves our back line was Tunnicliffe, Wootton, Gill, McGinty. Would you honestly put in either of those centre halves? No-one’s saying it wasn’t a gamble that didn’t come off, clearly it was, but it was a calculated one. The injuries not only wrecked the defence but in putting Fletcher and Carrick back there we didn’t have any real midfield discipline, as I said just before, it’s a toss up whether you call it a tactical move or one that Fergie had no other option but to make.

    We’ll never know of course but had he started with, for arguments sake, Fletcher, De Laet, Gill and Evra, their physical attack would probably still have destroyed us and we would be discussing the ridiculousness of throwing in a young kid and wrecking his confidence and possibly his development.

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  12. Willo says:

    Injuries to te top four clubs of last year have altered the balance this season. Liverpool can almost use this excuse but in reality are a poor side.
    United have been badly affected and have lost major players at important times and those that came in have mostly struggled.
    Chelsea have yet to be really ravished by too many injuries, they have lost the odd player but never too many at the same time. With the hectic xmas period and the African Champions Cup injuries could ruin there new year, hopefully.
    Arsenal have been the worst hit by far. They have 20 odd injuries and less fit players than injured. But they have greater depth secured, incomparison to other clubs, for a pittance and they are still hanging in there. Wenger is riding the storm with his bench hoping to keep in touch awaiting the return of his big guns who could finish the job.
    If any critism is to be aimed at Fergie it is the fact that he has failed to secure adquate cover in case of such a senario. Maybe he experimented slightly too much on Saturday but whatever lineup started it was always going to be an investigation of causal relationships among variables.
    It did not work.
    But really where is the crisis. Four points behind is not good but it’s no Everest. There are still several teams who with a run could be up there.
    More exciting than a 2 or 3 horse race isn’t it.

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  13. Dick says:

    yes but your missing the point, i’m not the one embarrassing myself writing such shit on the internet, so i don’t have to defend myslef. at the end of the day i would take pride in knowing when i’m crap at something, which is a skill you obviously don’t have.

    From my perspective it’s great becuase all that’s happened is i’ve seen some idiot talking shit on the internet. and now your providing some cheap entertainment trying to defend yourself.

    “BTW – I’ve no intention of becoming a journalist – I make too much money in my own job”

    haha, cheers for showing your true colours as a cunt, how embarrassing.

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  14. Yolkie says:

    “From my perspective it’s great becuase all that’s happened is i’ve seen some idiot talking shit on the internet”

    the irony, it stings and hurts my eyes! You seem crabby mate but don’t take it out on Internet blogs if your missus is playing away, save you pmt for jeremy Kyle

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  15. Jack says:

    Dick ” don’t you have anything more important to do?”

    You’ve contributed about one thousand words of bull shit to this blog, surely you should be asking yourself the same question??

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  16. Dick says:

    yes there’s irony there, but what your missing is that i don’t care about losing face in an anonymous rant, i only hope that the author doesn’t care about looking like an idiot either

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  17. Dick says:

    i obviously see your point, but at the same time i’m just wasting away some sunday afteroon on something pointless, but to have your own blog where you talk mind numbing shit is really pathetic. Becuase lets face it after this i’m going back to a normal life where i don’t do anything fucking embarrassing, like um… writing a moronic blog, where all you show is that your a typical has been who can’t see his hand infront of his face

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  18. Yolkie says:

    Hmm.

    Ok. I’m really failing to see your point. I’ve narrowed it down to you disagree quite passionately with the topic of the blog or you have something against internet blogging in general.

    In the primary instance I would say you’ve probably not really put your point across eloquently, all I see is disagreement to an opinion you’ve read but nothing to validate that disagreement or indeed validate your own opinion – in the secondary, it’s incredibly desperate to write on a blog after reading the blog complaining about the very notion of blogging. It’s confusing and clearly a fundamental contradiction in terms, somewhat reminiscent of that oft-spoken theory about blatant homophobes…

    I struggle to see anything worthwhile in anything you’ve written other than lots of fucks and shits. If you’re that angry (with whatever it is, clearly you’re too cool for words on a moronic blog to wind you up so much) that you can’t even type coherently and can’t actually construct a reasonable response by TYPING with all the time in the world to compose yourself and not look stupid then really my advice would be to concentrate on actually getting a life rather than trying to convince people “on the internet” that you have one.

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  19. I’m going to remove all of Dick’s responses as his opinions aren’t contributing anything to the debate.

    For the record Dick is not too keen on me, Fergie or this blog – if anyone was wondering.

    Also – for any kids reading – ‘you are’ is “you’re” not “your”.

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  20. Yolkie says:

    Jack isn’t the author of the blog, your post was probably removed due to the fact you struggle to construct a sentence that doesn’t contain a profanity.

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  21. Dick says:

    my friend your taking this down the wrong road, all these responses have focused on the structure and presentation of my argument, which should in any argument be irrelevant, although many forget this. And in fairness your right i have been very unclear. In terms of the original article i think the ‘point’ being made is completely ridiculous, the situation in question is i think very clear, man u have injury problems, but despite that some might argue that fergie made a bad choice by choosing to go three at the back, simply becuase an unfamiliar system might only add to your problems.

    But actually seeing this type of idiocy just frustrates me. I do think blogging is pretty shit to tell the truth (and i’ll admit to my discredit that i have on occasion attacked bloggers over moronic articles before). But actually there’s a hatred for the typical manchester united fan who notoriously cannot see anything against man u, that’s adding fuel to the fire.

    and look i don’t want to argue with a bunch of randomers, i think the guy who wrote this article is an idiot, but he went quiet a long time ago

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  22. Yolkie says:

    You don’t have “an argument” mate – you’re just being abusive for the sake of it.

    The “guy who wrote the article” isn’t commenting because we both tend to run the site and as much as you might want to have a crack at him I’m the one who tends to get on my soapbox a lot, he wanted to delete your comments because they’re just irrelevant but I like people to expose themselves for the morons they are.

    You probably need to learn that not everyone who has a different opinion to you is an idiot.

    If you read the article and really paid attention to the site – something of course I don’t expect you have done or will do, but the author clearly hates the 3-5-2. I would have thought having read the article a couple of times over that anyone of average intellect could understand this.

    If you perhaps need a redress. Check my earlier (perhaps first) response to this blog, it carries a link to the football365 mailbox which has an example of the stupid United fans calling for Fergie’s head and not paying due attention to the injury situation.

    Then read the blog again. Then, if you still feel that there is a “frustrating” level of “idiocy” feel free to come back and explain why but in the interest of fairness try and reference this as blogs such as this exist to debate and challenge issues generally considered as fact either by incidents or general word, clearly in this instance I can only really refer you to the said website or phone ins or to stand in the streets of Salford and “Ask the man”.

    I would ask if you do respond try and do so constructively, I am entertaining your discussion for the sake of it but it can get annoying just reading someone being aimlessly insulting.

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  23. Dick says:

    my appologies

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  24. Shantharam says:

    Defensively we are in a big trouble, but i still do not understand playing Carrick and Fletcher out of position when they could have been much more potent at the center of the park where they can control the game and help the attackers.
    And when you mentioned about some good reserve players, were you talking about Corry Evans and Reece Brown? I have not seen them play, but i have heard a about them quite often. you must be of some stuff if people are talking about you in India, we do not get to see the reserve team matches you know.
    What is your take upon the rumors emerging left right and center about Nani’s future? I personally believe he is a let down. Anderson may still have a chance though.

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  25. Red Rupert says:

    sack Fergie – I’ve been saying it for ages, he’ll never come to anything in this game and this proves me right. Right?

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  26. manfred says:

    Guys, say what you may but personally i think the problem at United is far deeper than the injury problems that we have. i really question the tactical nous of a guy like Phelan. Even when the players are fit, i just don’t understand our tactics…we got a midfield that’s more adept at a 4-3-3 formation but we channel them to a 4-4-2 formation and to me that’s the first problem. the 2nd one being Wayne Rooney. We just aren’t utilising him right and also its wrong to build our team on him as he is so inconsistent. the 3rd one, is the goalkeeping department…say what you may, guys, about our goalkeepers but none of them is good enough this season…lets sell one between Foster and Kucszcsak and buy at top class keeper, Lloris, Akinfeev or Nueur and install them between the posts as soon as possible.

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  27. Not sure I agree. In times of trouble go back to basics. Two banks of four and ride out the storm away from home. The result in Germany was a miracle made possible by Wolfsburg’s strikers missing two easy early chances. I really don’t get why the management thought three at the back would work again. Especially against a decent Fulham side.

    Fergie’s a genius but that doesn’t make him immune from criticism when it’s justified.

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  28. Ed, I agree that no one is immune from criticism, however what choice did Ferguson have? To play four at the back with, what he might have perceived, even less protection on Fletcher or Carrick might have leaked further goals.

    I think I should have made the following point clear:

    However, if Brown or Evans were available, do you think that Fergie would have played three at the back? Of course not. But he was forced into doing so due to the terrible injuries we have at the moment.

    Look at the Wolfsburg report:

    http://www.stretford-end.com/blog/2009/12/match-report-wolfsberg-1-3-manchester-united/

    I state that United looked far more comfortable when Fergie switched to a 4-4-2. If Fergie had the players he would have no doubt have played our favoured formation.

    My rant was aimed at those fans that were jumping up and down when we played Spurs off the park with ten men earlier in the season but now are questioning Ferguson’s decisions when the going gets tough. Every person makes mistakes. Fergie, in my opinion, made a number of mistakes in the European Cup final – but a year previous he’d won the double. I think its about expectations and I agree with you – lets debate why the 3-5-2 isn’t effective against a decent Fulham side, but lets not get carried away with slating off Ferguson considering the defensive resources he currently has at his disposal.

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  29. Yolkie says:

    Shantharam – I can’t be sure regarding Evans and Brown (the younger brothers) but I presume they must be injured as it was Oliver Gill who was touted for a call up when we played against Wolfsburg, and add to that Gill and Wootton have been the reserves defence in the last couple of games.

    As for Nani? His outburst in the last international break seems to have put the writing on the wall for him.

    manfred – I agree we have concerns after the injury problems, mainly that we don’t have a creative force ready to step up particularly in the central area, once Giggs and Scholes go aside from Anderson and Valencia (possibly Obertan) we have a very pedestrian looking midfield. Fletcher is able to impose himself on a game but lacks the creativity to dictate the pace of one, same could be said of Gibson or Carrick. I think Kuszczak has done well but agree we need a top level keeper, and I think we need a mobile striker with either pace or real strength. In going for Benzema Fergie obviously seems to concur.

    Ed – I don’t think the blog is saying he’s immune from it, far from that. The gamble was made and of course with the benefit of hindsight it’s easy to see where everything went wrong and it’s similarly easy to say that the result in Germany was lucky. Fergie however could have thought that the early chances in Germany were down to teething problems and as I’ve said a couple of times there’s a difference between making a true tactical blunder and making a change borne out of neccessity.

    I’m not making excuses but look at the goals – the first one was purely awful from Scholes, the second they got in behind us – any experienced Premier League attack getting in behind defenders who are normally midfielders can expose their weakness; and set pieces are always likely to expose an understrength back line.

    The tactical mistake from my point of view was the lack of midfield protection for the inexperienced back 3 but then I can understand that that was out of neccessity.

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  30. timbo says:

    @Dick.

    Guy, your unreasoned diatribe, particularly the rant against the author’s credentials as a writer, might have more legs if you were at all capable of putting together a few coherent sentences yourself. Your spelling is atrocious, as is your grammar, so I suggest you take some remedial lessons in English before slinging barbs at others regarding their writing skills.

    Try ‘you’re’ instead of ‘your’ next time – or don’t you know the difference? You made the same mistake twice. Heard of the use of capital letters at the beginning of sentences, or is it too much of a strain to reach for the caps lock? And do you know what proper punctuation is, such as using a period instead of a comma? And what the hell is ‘no-sense’ – some back woods bastardization of nonsense?

    As for your overall writing skills, the mangled English put on display is so garbled as to be almost incoherent. That you would even think to criticize someone else’s writing ability is absolutely laughable. Talk about delusions of grandeur!

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  31. Bobby says:

    Well understood. The one man team talk, I wounder when it will ever stop. Taken, lets imagine that Tevez and C.Ronaldo were present in the team and for that matter Tevel because of pace and strength he replaces Vidic and CR. because of his intelligence replaces Rio. then be joined by Evra then bring on Fulham. You all know the result does it leave man u a one man team.

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  32. bobdigi says:

    you don’t play a back 3 against a lone striker. one CB marks, another covers and the 3rd has no role to play; it’s as good as offering fulham the chance to start with a spare man. Fergie’s a great manager, but his tactics on Saturday were all wrong. yes, defenders are injured, which is all the more reason why the only reliable defender in the team shouldn’t be shunted into midfield. Scholesy’s selection after our last visit to the Cottage and his having started 5 of the last 7 games could be forgiven, but giving him 90 minutes and taking off Gibson is something I question as well. Starting little Mickey ahead of Berba’s another decision that left me perplexed. all that being said, Fergie’s more than earned the right to the odd tactical failure, particularly considering our current difficult circumstances. playing 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, there’s every chance we would have dropped points anyway. I’m just hoping he’s fully exorcised any and all footy-related suicidal tendencies this past weekend… and that maybe we can go out and sign an incisive attacking player to give Rooney a hand (can’t rely on Giggs every week) next month.

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  33. Chris says:

    It’s quite understandable that we let in three goals given that we had no defence. What’s harder to understand is why we scored none. Owen is a waste of space, he shouldn’t be more than a substitute. Berbatov is better than Owen (so he should have started) but he’s still not good enough and never has been for us. Tevez was clearly better, and Tevez had his problems too. Now we haven’t got Ronaldo banging the goals in from midfield we need a top striker and I’m sure Ferguson can see this too. If we don’t buy one this January then the doom mongerers will be right – the Glazers have started to milk the club dry.

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  34. bobdigi – excellent, excellent post. Thank you for contributing with your post – I really respect your knowledge and opinion to challenge the argument that I put forward.

    Firstly, lets get the United stuff out of the way before we talk about formations. I think we agree on the same thing – only how strongly is debatable. I do not like the 3-5-2. I believe that when you play a team with width the wing backs can get overrun by both the winger and overlapping fullback. The 3-5-2 hasn’t been popular for some time at top level football, which is down to the point that you mentioned – having one forward.

    Sorry – back to United. I don’t believe that we are as strong as last year, far from it, however I’d like to ask everyone who contributed to this blog – who (realistically) could Ferguson have brought in? We’ve known for sometime the Glazer’s are crippling the club – no surprises – so it is unlikely that all of that £80 Million from Ronaldo’s fee is available to spend. Its a travesty I know, but that is the ugly face of the commercial football world we find ourselves wrapped in today.

    I think people get carried away with the players that could be brought to Old Trafford. Players like Messi and Ronaldo are rare, untouchable at times. Ronaldo wanted to leave, Messi will never depart from the Nou Camp. So we’re left with a dilemma – do we a) Bite the brunt and pay over the top on players like Ribery, Aguero, Luis Fabiano, Luka Modric, Maicon – all players we have been linked to in the summer OR b) sit tight with what we have and wait until January or the summer. Valencia, for me, has been a hit so far, Obertan is a youngster who has shown immense promise and potential since he signed from Bordeaux for a bargain £3Million (but he is nowhere near first team material just yet) and Michael Owen, which in isolation, is a win/win situation. I don’t think the business is bad to be honest. However, that leads me to our biggest problem – injuries.

    Forgetting the three man defense made up of two midfielders – we were without Edwin Van Der Sar for the early part of the season. Anyone that has played Sunday League, Semi-pro or even professional will know how important it is to have a consistent keeper between the posts. Foster made some noticeable errors in the absence of Van Der Sar, some cost us and some didn’t. Looking in front of him – we have not had a consistent backline as we had done for the previous two seasons. Neville has played in 12 games, Ferdinand in 8, Vidic 16, Evans 12 and O’Shea 15. Thats not even to mention youngsters Rafael and Fabio. So we haven’t had a consistent back line (including keeper) all season. This happens to all clubs at some point in the season BUT I do not agree that the player selection current at Ferguson’s disposal happens to all clubs. I’ve never seen a defensive injury ‘crisis’ as we are in now and it baffles me that some fans think that Fletcher and Carrick should be able to do a decent job at centre half. That was the point of the article. I think even with 4-4-2 we wouldn’t have got a result – that’s not being pessimistic – I just think its an unmanageable task with the resources we currently have. Now I don’t care if people like ‘Dick’ get annoyed by such ‘arrogant’ comments – but Hodgson stated at the end of the game ‘We were fortunate in that we played against a very wounded United’ – and he is right. Credit to Fulham, they played well against a poor United and scored three goals. The goals they scored – would Ferdinand have closed Murphy down? Would Vidic have flicked the back out for a corner? Would Evans have allowed Zamora to chest the ball down and flick it onto Duff? Who knows BUT the point of the whole article is that Ferguson was backed into a corner and he played a formation based upon the injuries to key defenders. So the whole ‘we are out of the title race’, ‘Ferguson needs to buy’, ‘Ferguson is tactically inept’ are laughable – in my opinion. Once we get our defenders back fit and match fit (there is a difference) – we will get a consistent run going. We could talk about under performing players such as Berbatov, Nani and in some cases Anderson – but I think that would be counter productive now.

    Now onto the formation! I totally agree with you – there is no point in having three defenders covering one center forward. Three at the back means that one player marks, one player provides cover and one is totally redundant – which means that there is a shortfall elsewhere on the pitch. Lets look at the following example:

    Team 1 are Playing a 3-5-2 against Team 2’s 4-4-3/4-5-1. Team 1 must commit their wing backs to deal with Team 2’s wingers – which means that Team 1 are using five defenders to deal with Team 2’s three attackers. Moving a bit further forward in the 3-5-2, the midfield loses its usual unique point – by having three midfielders up against three midfielders. Moving to the frontline, we now have two forwards against two defenders and the two spare defenders are the left and right back. This means that one of those defenders can push on into midfield (to occupy the space left by wing back who is now picking up the winger) – which leaves Team 2 with a three vs. two at the back – covered! So in essence Team 2 can keep the ball better and has greater width. So as you can see, i’ve thought about it quite a bit and I am most definitely not an advocate of the formation. The popularity of the formation was inspired by Carlos Bilardo – who trialed the formation just before the 1986 World Cup – which everyone thought was a mistake on the team sheet! Bilardo’s thinking was that if teams are playing a 4-2-2-2 (think Brazil 1982 with Zico and Socrates) then why play with wingers at all!? Both Argentina and West Germany adopted a form of 3-5-2 in the final (if anyone saw my comment in the Wolfburg report to the 1986 World Cup – thats what I meant!)

    Anyhow – I think I will draw this to a close now as I think i’ve got everything off my chest. Thanks to everyone for contributing to this discussion. I hope my points are a little more clearer now.

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  35. Yolkie says:

    Just a brief point (will elaborate later) –

    excellent comparison of the respective formations – there is an inherent difference between the two before you even consider personnel, so with United’s crocked back line and consequently under strength midfield the more I think about it the more shocked I am at the response the result got, it was simply waiting to happen.

    I thought this before the game because I’m naturally pessimistic but of course there is only so much doom and gloom you say.

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  36. CraigMc says:

    Right before I go on to give my two pennies worth, I would just like to say that there is only one TRUE DICK around here, and he has posted by his name! If DICK you cannot contribute to a serious debate by stating your points on the subject without showing your true intention for coming on this blog – namely to try and put down everybody else as IDIOTS, then I suggest you spend your time on the most suitable solution for you – looking in a mirror and stroking your own EGO!

    Stretford End – the GIST of your article pisses me right off too, even IF you do back it up with what you feel to be a constructive arguement. I get so tired of all the PARTY LINER fans of the club, who keep referring to everybody who has serious reservations, or dares to question the status quo ideology, as THOSE FICKLE fans. I have been of the thought for two years now that we HAVE LOST what Fergie called ‘playing football THE UNITED WAY’, to some sleep inducing sedative type of football, similar to the Italian game, that bores the heck out of anyone who watches it. Does that make me one of your fickle fans mate? I think why people loved Ronnie – was exactly because he could BRIGHTEN up an otherwise dull United football afternoon with many a brilliant contribution to a game. Who do we have now, who can truly set pulses racing, and bring a complete BUZZ around the ground with pure excitement of something different, and please don’t say Rooney!

    Fergie should HAVE SPENT, you know it surely, and I know it! Our players and play is quite often DULL! As for the fear factor – I personally believe it is true that nobody fears United or coming to OT anymore. Think Besiktas, CSKA, Sunderland and Man City at OT etc etc, so why would teams fear to come and have a go? Look also to what other TOP European teams and all the top named players in Europe are saying about us. They ALL say we would rather play United than Chelsea etc. We do not FEAR United anymore etc. So please mate – lets get real with some of our comments. I think even when we have had ALL our team fit and playing, the games have left a lot to be desired. They have certainly been exceptionally boring on many an occasion – more often than not in fact. Then they complain there is no atmosphere at OT – no wonder at some of the BLAND table fare dished up – especially this season. What has happened to Fergie’s ‘football played the United way’?

    So lay off calling FICKLE United fans who see things differently to you, and are every which way as devoted and REAL fans as you are. Can’t think of any better way of putting it mate than ‘FICKLE MY ARSE’.

    Fergie has been a fantastic manager and servant to Man United, and brought us every success and glory – I agree. Yet he is not INFALLIBLE, and he has made some corker mistakes in the astronomical fees paid for some players, who turned out to be white elephants, and also in his rotating changes so often of many players each game, that I am having to ask others on the terraces who said players are! SAF doesn’t bring in the kids by 3 to 4 anymore, NO he has to bring in a whole team of them. I will never agree with the sanity of that, but hey I am just A FICKLE FAN – RIGHT?

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  37. Joe says:

    are you forgetting a 2-0 loss to Fulham last season with a decent back 4???? If we had the likes of vidic, ferdinand etc we still would have lost 1-0 or at best drew 0-0 because we didnt look like scoring all day long.

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  38. Craig and Joe – Thank you for your comments lads.

    Firstly, Joe, yep I do remember the defeat – hence my reference to the 4-0 FA Cup win earlier in the month! But on a serious note – we were down to ten men early on AND we had a physiological disadvantage after being beaten 4-1 at home to Liverpool the week previous. I’ve blogged on this before – do you that before the Liverpool game we’d let in 12 goals in the league – after the Liverpool game we’d let in 12 more – thats in two months compared to the 12 we’d let in from August to mid March! You build from the back and as Hodgson said – United were weakened immensely – so he is going to change his tactics to attack United more than they would usually. Can you see that or do you disagree? BTW – I’d have taken a 0-0!

    Craig – Whoa pal! Whats with all the aggression? I’m not having a pop at you for criticising Ferguson for his tactics, team selection or transfer activity – if you read my comments you will see this. My issue is with people who forget that we are second in the league, in the last 16 of the Champions League, Semi Final of the Carling Cup and looking forward to a 3rd clash with Leeds.

    I have no problem with anyone questioning decision made by the manager or anyone at the club. That is what football is about. My reservations are with fans that feel the ‘woe’ of being second in the league, four points off Chelsea – who still have to come to Old Trafford. Forgetting that United were relegated in 1974, forgetting that United finshed 11th in Fergie’s first season and forgetting that United lost Robson, Cantona, Keane, VanNistelrooy over the last twenty years and still managed to win silverware.

    I think if you read through my comments you’ll clearly see my viewpoint on it all but for the record:

    – If you disagree with my blog it doesn’t mean that I think you’re ‘fickle’

    – The blog concentrates on the limited 3-5-2 formation, which Ferguson WOULD NOT have played had he had all defenders available

    – Fulham are a good side a deserved their 3-0 win against us on Saturday but I think the outcome would have been different had we had our usual consistent match fit defence

    Read through my comments (except the one to Dick) and tell me if my blog still pisses you off. It is suppose to put a positive spin on things – rather than criticize fans OR bury my head in the sand. BTW – who would you have bought in the summer. List out every player you would have purchased.

    I personally think these points are clear HOWEVER, based on the level of feedback I must be mistaken.

    Thanks for your comments though mate.

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  39. CraigMc says:

    I am not against your blog Stretford End, and I wasn’t referring to that as what ‘pisses me’ off, if you will kindly look back at my post. The ‘pissing off’ comes at the PARTY LINERS, status quo ideology of United faithful or so called, who are always giving a hard time to, and naming a FICKLE or worse, the just as faithful United fans who have the audacity to ‘call a spade, a spade’. I can understand some of the ‘comebacks’ against over reactionary, hyper-emotionalism AFTER a resounding loss like the Fulham debacle, but many United fans have been questioning the goings on at OT, both ON and OFF the pitch for the last couple of seasons! The whole way we play the game of football has changed. We moved from fast flowing, cavaliar, Fergie’s ‘football played the United way’, to the bland brand of fare dished out to us every monotonous week. So to call devoted United fans FICKLE, for voicing such concerns, which is happening all too frequently on many United blogs, does piss off good few United comrades mate! I do agree with you as I have said about Fergie and his magnificent record, and glad to have him as Manager. However, I think the days of our great club really caring for anything their fans have concerns about are long gone – and sadder the place is for it!

    Players I would have liked to come in – Berba wouldn’t have been one of them mate. I would have pushed to get Fernando Torres when we could have had him, and long before the scousers got him. I think we could have had, and SHOULD have had Essien. We had him on our books trialling at OT as a young lad, but again let him slip thru the net. We could have got him before money bags Abramovitch, but we let Chelsea in. Peter Cech wanted to come to us, we didn’t buy him. How did we let Chelsea get Robben, I mean we HAD HIM almost signed? For the sake of a few bob extra we let Chelsea get their mits on him. I like Gourcoff – but United won’t get him. I like Sweinsteiger – I love watching him play – great player for Germany too. Drogba and Anelka both would have come to us, and so would Arshavin etc. They would have been better value than all the players SAF has brought in last 2-3 seasons.

    Anyway, this is the seriously MIFFED one signing off. LOL

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  40. Dapxin says:

    To read the football fans,
    why not go to a court…
    ::
    Shades of opinion,
    It flow, in streams,
    and bullets.

    ::
    Endless, pointless, intriguing…
    all at once.

    ::
    complains, moans, groans,
    the horrors of losing one
    two and a couple of game;
    endless questions.

    ::
    Yet,
    It takes one moment,
    or one player’s seizure-
    in time, space, skill and vision,
    that flows abound,
    on the green patches, pitch.
    :::
    And the pitch, changes,
    long enough,
    before the intricate,
    the beauty of the game,
    in loss,
    magnified in victory,
    begins to change.

    ::
    all over again;

    :::
    The football fan’s madness;
    Only those who know,
    know.

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  41. Yolkie says:

    CraigMc – I share some of your concerns. However there are still two ways of looking at it.

    From what I can tell (feel free to tell me if I’m wrong) the blog is focussing on the ridiculous amount of criticism Fergie has got coming from the back of the Fulham game and for the formation. The blog is addressing that point and defending Fergie for the flak he’s getting in the wake of it.

    Choosing to go 3-5-2 for one game with the personnel we have was a mistake. However it was a judgment call, yes it was wrong, but it doesn’t make Fergie a bad manager.

    Have we stopped playing the United way? The football wasn’t as fluent last season. Anyone can accept that. Was it Ferguson’s fault? You could level some of the blame at him. He pushed to keep Ronaldo and he pushed to get Berbatov. Both, for different reasons, seemed to make our play a little fragmented last season.

    Is there any doubt that the spirit exists? I can’t accept that, look at the Villa and Spurs games in the run in last season, the way we never gave up against City.

    The “fast flowing” cavalier style that you (and I, for that matter) loved to see is clearly not shown that much. Maybe in blasts from Rooney and Valencia. However you can’t just replace the best player in the world and expect the quality of football to be the same, we saw last season that even keeping him didn’t guarantee the best football to watch.

    Does the club care for its fans? Does any these days? It’s a sad time in football in general at that point.

    Regarding the players – you can’t be serious regarding the Cech/Robben – Chelsea threw cash at them! We had Robben all but signed, it’s not the clubs fault and nor can you blame the player to want more money. Whatever we did Chelsea would throw more money. With Cech, I’m not that bothered. Has van der Sar really been such a let down? Has there been anything at all over the last 3 years to suggest Cech is even better than Edwin? Essien, yes, the one that got away, but that’s money again.

    I can’t accept that Drogba/Anelka/Arshavin would have been better value than the ones we’ve brought in. First of all it’s incomparable respectively; second of all we’ve won more trophies than anyone else domestically in the last 3 years.

    Personally I would say that even though it’s clear we need players Fergie is doing the right thing by not just throwing money away. We’re not in a terrible position are we? The fact that we’re in the position we’re in and we’re still lamenting results that have been thrown away shows that we’re still doing pretty good, he’s making us compete and not being held to ransom in the transfer market.

    I hope we do sign re-inforcements but I’m willing to be patient – look how Obertan was getting absolutely ridiculed from all corners of the press who couldn’t believe we’d paid £3m for him. We only had to wait a couple of months for Fergie’s faith to be justified (at least in the short term).

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  42. [...] to engage in debates over other aspects of the beautiful game. I got a royal ROASTING in the ‘Ferguson criticism blog‘ the other week. Some justified, some total bullshit – but it got people talking about [...]

  43. [...] availability of the Serbian is a massive boost to Sir Alex Ferguson, who was forced into fielding Fletcher and Carrick as make shift centre halves on multiple occasions earlier in the season. Nani is surprising everyone at Old Trafford with his recent performances, even though slightly [...]

  44. [...] in December I got some stick for defending Sir Alex Ferguson for fielding a makeshift three man defense against Fulham at Craven Cottage. Some readers seemed to think that I was a 3-5-2 advocate, when in fact I do not feel it is [...]

  45. [...] and most argued defeats on this website. I received a mix bag of comments in one of my blogs on the defeat, but I think we can now all agree that if we had of had a full strength backline we would have [...]

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