- Losing to Norwich
- Fighting Talk
- Childish Media
Here we are in Christmas week, and rather than get all festive and cheerful, most of us are on tenterhooks and having fits about our manager and some of the pathetic media ‘journalists’.
The ‘chaos’ all started (or continued) after another below average performance by United, this time at home to another newly promoted side, Norwich City.
Though things haven’t been going well lately, even the most pessimistic of fans were expecting something better as this was a game in which the players could have shown that they are good enough to challenge towards the top of the table.
With Rooney back in the starting line-up, we were hoping that the captain would do what was required to get the others around him playing to the required level. United started quite well too, but as has been happening frequently, they couldn’t turn possession into proper chances. It became even more worrying seven minutes before half-time, when Cameron Jerome did what Rooney used to do so well and went past our defenders like they were not there (a couple probably wished they weren’t) and shot past De Gea to give Norwich the lead.
Soon after the second half started, Rooney lost the ball when he was out-muscled in midfield, and Jerome and Tettey combined to make it 2-0. Though Martial pulled one back with over twenty minutes to go, many of us felt like it wouldn’t be enough, and we were right as the final whistle went and United lost 2-1, meaning they had now gone six games without a win.
A lot of us (including me) felt like this was the end of the road for Louis van Gaal, as his system clearly was not working. Then he came out for his post-match conference and I started feeling sorry for him. This is a human being that is (or was, in his own words) a winner wherever he’s managed, yet he seemed beaten when talking about what’s going on at United.
As the weekend came to pass, rumours were gathering pace that Van Gaal would step down or he’d get fired; Giggs would take over until the New Year or the end of the season; Mourinho will come in and help us win the title or get us relegated. This all made me start feeling defiant, and hoping that Van Gaal stays and turns it around just to show that he can still do a job (and get us smiling again).
Then THE press conference arrived, and our manager did in five minutes what we’ve been hoping he’d do for months as he showed passion and put the media in their place for all the rubbish they’ve been coming out with. When he got up and walked away, you could see straight away that most of them didn’t like it as they were on social media spitting out their dummies and making it look like Van Gaal ‘stormed out’ and what he did was wrong. It got so bad that other journalists seemed embarrassed by it all, and they were actually saying that the manager was right as some of them lacked basic human decency! It seems like Louis van Gaal had done a Sir Alex on them and brought most of the supporters on board in less than five minutes. Hopefully he’ll get the players to do the same and start showing some passion on the pitch on the way to recovering from this negative phase.
Ideally, he can stay and make sure the club progresses from last season’s fourth place finish. Realistically though, unless he changes his thinking and tactics to suit the players we have in the squad rather than the other way around, he doesn’t stand much chance of making this United side much better than what we’ve been seeing.
As for the players, they have to shoulder some of the blame as well in all of this. Of course, the buck stops with the manager as he picks the team and tells them how to play, but surely these are adults that can think for themselves, and know what they have to do to win games on the pitch? When they are only getting a quarter of their shots on target, maybe they should be taking a good look at themselves and start pulling the same rope in the same direction?
Whatever happens at the end of all this, we’ll still be supporting the club, while most of these players and backroom staff will move on to count their earnings and blessings while wearing another club’s badge on their chest.
In the Premier League, Leicester won 3-2 at Everton to make sure they stay at the top on Christmas day; Arsenal beat City 2-1 to stay two points behind them and go seven points ahead of United; Tottenham won 2-0 at Southampton to climb up to fourth; Pardew’s Palace won 2-1 at Stoke to go sixth, on the same points as United; Klopp’s L’pool made our weekend seem less rubbish by losing 3-0 at Watford; manager less Chelsea beat Sunderland 3-1 with most of their fans realising that players do indeed have most of the power in a club these days; Bournemouth won their third game in a row when they beat West Brom 2-1 away from home; Newcastle and Villa drew 1-1, while Swansea drew 0-0 at home to West Ham.
In other news, messrs Blatter and Platini have both been banned for eight years from football related activities by FIFA’s ethics committee. A decision that both will be appealing, which was obvious as they’d be admitting their guilt otherwise. Though they’ll be able to walk away with millions of pounds they ‘earned’ from FIFA and UEFA, it’s good to see that they hopefully won’t get more chances to do so.
Barcelona have won the Club World Cup when they beat Argentina’s River Plate 3-0 in the final. Though it was a mostly one sided affair, it was still a joy to watch such a performance. We can only hope that United can get close to that level some day, though the way things look right now it might not be in our lifetime.
It was also sad to hear about the passing of two of English football’s stalwarts, namely Jimmy Hill and Don Howe. They both played football as youngsters, but will mostly be remembered for all the work they did after hanging up their boots to push the game forward. While our thoughts are with their families, we hope they both rest in peace.
United now play two difficult games in the next few days as they first travel to Stoke on Boxing Day (12:45pm UK time), and then host Chelsea at Old Trafford on the 28th (5:30pm UK time). While we hope we have lots to smile about after these two games, we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Try not to think about United on such a special day, and you’ll be halfway there to having a good one. Until next week… COME ON UNITED!!!