Manchester United Fan: So THIS Is What Mediocrity Feels Like?

A child of the 90s, I’ve never seen Manchester United this bad. Yet with a squad worse than the dark days of David Bellion, I’m strangely optimistic.
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A child of the 90s, I’ve never seen Manchester United this bad. Yet with a squad worse than the dark days of David Bellion, I’m strangely optimistic.

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1) What’s going right? – Despite all the doom and gloom articles, Manchester United sit only eight points off the top spot heading into a favorable run of fixtures. Rooney is in the middle of one of those purple patches where assists and goals come easy to him and we seem to be defensively solid.

2) What’s not? -  The squad is poor, we’re too ponderous on the ball and teams are no longer afraid of us. It’s hard to believe that this is largely the same Manchester United that won the title last season at a relative canter, but where other teams strengthened, we were doing god knows what.

Watching us play, and Manchester United are seem playing a slower, more conservative game through the middle and we don’t have the personnel to play that game, nor should we. After the 0-0 draw with Chelsea the start of the season, I shrugged and thought, “that’ll do, we’ll be alright this season”, now it looks like that game served as an early warning of how we’ll line up against big teams; stodgy, hard to watch and seemingly happy to go away with a point. That is not Manchester United.

3) Got the right manager? – I have no idea. I thought Jose Mourinho’s recent making the eyes at Sir Alex Ferguson was him putting himself forward for the job. “The best team lost” post-match interview following the Champions League loss last season struck me particularly, but he’s now at Chelsea. Likewise, I’d have liked Ancelotti but he’s at Real Madrid.

Bar a poor tactical showing at Anfield (4-4-2 with a 40 year old Giggs on the right? Really?) Moyes has done nothing to suggest he should be sacked, but I honestly don’t know if he’s the best man for the job.

4) Star player? – Wayne Rooney. I didn’t forgive Rooney for the first transfer request he handed in, so when I heard he handed in a second towards the end of last season, I wanted him gone. Highest paid player on the squad is a wantaway striker who can’t keep fit? Off you pop.

Needless to say, I am eating humble pie this season. Manchester United would be a lot worse off without Rooney’s goals and assists. He’s in the midst of one of his purple patches and long may it continue. However, any grown man who refers to him as “Wazza” needs a clip round the ear.

5) Who would you like to sell in January? – For a team that’s famed for wing play, it says a lot that every Manchester United fan has at least one winger they want off. Nani has the ability, but neither the temperament or consistency, Valencia, while willing, is too one dimensional, and Ashley Young can’t seem to affect a game without hitting the deck.

For me, we should start with trying to move the chunky Brazilian that is Anderson (always injured, not good enough, still eating out on his Anfield debut) ; if anyone offers money for Ashley Young, then I will deliver him by rickshaw myself along with a pie saying “Thank You”. (I can’t articulate my dislike for Young, the fact  he wears Scholes’ number and can be so poor in games makes my blood boil.)

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6) Who do you want to sign? – In January Moyes should pay €36 million in Ander Herrera’s release clause to give us something, anything in central midfield. Trying to get Fabio Coentrao on loan would solve our full back and winger issues in the short term as well.

In the summer – Take your pick of İlkay Gündoğan, Julian Draxler and Marco Reus. In my heart of hearts I can’t see any of them in Manchester United colours next season, but a man can dream…

7) Best chant so far? - *straps on tin hat*  I’m a Manchester United fan who was born and bred in London.

Now that blank cheque to call me all manner of things in the comments is cashed, “Don’t you wish your striker was RVP?” to Pussycat Dolls “Don’t Ya” and “Lamborghini mercy, Rooney and Van Persie…” to Mercy by Kanye West tickle me.

8) Best opposition player/team you’ve seen? – Manchester City during the 4-1 shellacking at the Etihad. Going into the derby I though Fellaini in the middle would give Yaya Toure some trouble – how wrong I was. The 4-1 loss hurt more than the 6-1 defeat, we were utterly outclassed as City ran rampant. Yaya is a juggernaut in the middle and the Aguero/Negredo strike partnership looks like the real deal. At the start of the season I had Chelsea down to win the title by nine points, to quote Brendan Rogers, I now think the title is City’s to lose.

Also,  as a black, Ghanaian, Manchester United fan, my next statement should not be taken lightly – Luis Suarez is the best player in the Premier League at the moment.

9) Biggest **** of the season so far? – Ed Woodward. We were never going to sign Fabregas, Bale or Thiago Alcântara, so to spend valuable time in the summer transfer window on these pipedreams while our rivals strengthened was ridiculous. Paul Pogba seems to routinely score a screamer for Juventus while we line up with Tom Cleverly and Phil Jones in central midfield – my chest hurts.

10) Funniest Moment of the season so far? – Neither moment have anything to do with Manchester United, but two moments of unbridled footballing rage had me in stitches. Gus Poyet looked like he was going to kill a man when Wes Brown got sent off against Norwich; his post-match interview was a thing of savage beauty,

The second moment was Kolo Toure beating the ground after Liverpool conceded at Hull. Not because it’s Liverpool, but because “Uncle” Kolo has been a comedian for a while now

11) End of season prediction? – Despite everything I’ve said, I think Manchester United will finish 3rd.  Manchester City will win the league and Chelsea will come second. Arsenal and Liverpool look the business right now, but I think both teams are too reliant on one or two players to have the staying power (I know, I know, United are largely the same) . A lot could come down to January transfer window movement.

In the cups, we look good for a League Cup final and I  * think * Moyes’ conservative approach could do well in Europe.  I think. I hope. I dream…

Enjoy, share, comment and criticise. And if you want to be meaner than the comments below will allow, here’s Carl Anka’s Twitter….