WTFord: A Manchester United Rant

Well, I’m glad I took the time to enjoy the swagger while it lasted.

Normally, I try to be somewhat pragmatic, analytical and restrained when blogging about my teams’ progress.  Often, the emotions that boil up during a particular game, along with the players you want sold, the staff you want fired and the opposing players you’d like to see fed into a wood-chipper, are momentary and the feelings quickly subside as the temper cools and calmer thoughts prevail.

What I’m about to present is an honest-to-goodness, warts-and-all rant, written in the spirit that possessed me during Manchester United’s dismal “performance” against Watford.  I reserve the right to take back every single word after the fact.  Hopefully you find this series of unrestrained outbursts as cathartic as I do.

Sincere, considered and charitable thoughts will resume and trump this content at a later date:

Wayne Rooney

If only depleted talent could be replaced as easily as hair follicles.  Why are you still here?  The club has spent hideous quantities of money yet there you are, week after week, still waddling about the field, getting misguided platitudes thrown at you for your “work rate”, for your “covering every blade of grass”.  Well, your headless chicken routine doesn’t have me snowed.  If Man United want some overweight, talent-less grunt, wandering aimlessly around a football pitch, I’m available for a fraction of the cost.  Oh and as for your sublime 50 yard cross-field passes: the reason they were so impressive when Beckham and Pirlo did them, is that those guys didn’t have to try it five times before they actually found a teammate!

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Is there a reason why the majority of your first touches cause the ball to roll straight to the your marker?  Are you actually any good, or is your career based on youtube compilations of the handful of times that this stupid “heel kick” thing you try a dozen times a game, didn’t just send the ball into orbit?  And what’s with that mustache?  Is that actually a facial hair, or are you showing off your skill and coordination by playing whilst balancing a deceased caterpillar on your top lip?  If so, I take it back.  Repeatedly miscontrolling the ball, making languid attempts at passes and fluffing chances a-plenty while concentrating on such a feat is quite understandable.

Paul Pogba

I think I see why Fergie let you go.  Sure, you have this incredible touch and nudge the ball around challenges like opposing defenses are in slow motion but that’s only useful when you have the ball.  It was oh so very dramatic when you thumped the ball against the bar but let’s be honest, in the short time since your return, you’ve tried plenty of those and that’s the first one that landed in the ceremonial county of Lancashire.  There was that nice sliding tackle late in the game and that was about it.  I think the referee got more touches in the first half than you.  A distinctive characteristic of the “box-to-box” midfielder is that he travels from box-to-box.  If your role against Watford actually has a name, then you played as “center-circle-to-Narnia” midfielder because you seemed to disappear to a parallel world for large stretches of this game.

Anthony Martial

I see your sophomore slump is well underway.  In fact, I’m less irritated at you and more at the referee, the FA, the physio and coaching staff for letting you play on with a head injury.  If the NFL has been shamed into taking concussions seriously, what’s Association Football waiting for?  Duncan Ferguson to get Alzheimer’s? How many people have already been severely hurt by this without us knowing?  I’m beginning to wonder if Peter Beardsley is really Geordie or if his speech pattern was the result of him getting his bell rung thirty years ago.  In all seriousness, when a player goes down like that after a clash of heads, get him the **** off the field and properly assessed, before clearing him to play on.  You can’t “run off” a brain injury.

Marouane Fellaini

Loathed by some United fans, despised by others.  Your new hair colour makes you look like Annie on steroids.  Except she could probably pull off a clean tackle once in a blue moon.  All an opponent has to do is stand next to you in the penalty box and wait for you to come lumbering in like a stoned yeti.  You’ll almost certainly clock them in the face or knees with whichever limb you’re currently trying to control.  Failing that, you’re almost guaranteed to start yanking on the shirt like a horny baboon.  I suppose you should get credit for being the one person in the midfield trio who was actually trying to carry out a specific role.  If only you carried it out remotely competently.

Chris Smalling

I was glad to see you back in the lineup for the first three minutes.  Then you started getting outjumped by a team of oompah loompahs (Roals Dahl Centenary reference bonus point) and meandered into the path of David De Gea on a routine catch, almost gifting Watford a goal.  Combined with the resultant miss, that whole sequence was so calamitous that if it had happened in an MLS game, American Eurosnobs would have sent it viral by now.  In all honesty Chris, you’re competing for a center Back spot with daley Blind and Marcos Rojo.  How do you manage to be droppable in that situation?

Eric Bailly

You will have my eternal respect and admiration if you send out a press release, declaring that your name is pronounced “Bay-lee”.  Not that I’ve got anything against the French pronunciation but after listening to all and sundry trying to get their heads around “Byeee”, it would be hilarious.  In the meantime, you didn’t stand out much in this game, possibly because you weren’t doing much marking or tackling.  I suppose you can rest assured that you’re competing for a center back spot with Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling.  God, Matteo Darmian must be depressed.

Antonio Valencia

I recall not so long ago, Man United had a promising Brazilian fullback by the name of Rafael.  Apparently he got injured too often for Louis Van Gaal so he flogged him and decided that instead of replacing him, he’d convert you from a winger to a fullback.  In fairness, you’ve acquitted yourself admirably, even if you do look like a fish out of water and the water you were last in, was laced with LSD.  With that said, you’ve also been in that role long enough to know not be caught twenty yards up field and you should really be aware of where opposing players are when defending crosses.  I know it must be difficult when you’re asked to acclimate to this role only to find Wayne Rooney standing in your designated position at random times, making 80 yard lofted passes to Craig Cathcart.  Next time you’re chatting to Jose Mourinho or Ed Woodward, would you mind asking them to sign a rightback?  Thanks.

I’m not going to rant about David De Gea.  He’s carried this club for at least three years now.  I’m sure Real Madrid are monitoring the situation.

Shaw took a bit of blame for one of the goals from Jose Mourinho.  I like Shaw though.  If being out of position once in 90 minutes while actually doing your job on both sides of the ball is a crime, then Rooney must have a rap sheet uglier than Zlatan’s pony-tail.

Rashford gets a pass because he’s earned a mediocre showing over the last year, especially one where he still scored.

And so ends my rant.  Thoughtful posts where I attempt to look as if I have half a clue what I’m talking about will hopefully return next time out.

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