View Poll Results: Who Will Win the Premier League?

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  • Man Utd

    5 23.81%
  • Man City

    4 19.05%
  • Chelsea

    6 28.57%
  • Some other team

    6 28.57%
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Thread: 2013-14 English Football Season

  1. #466
    Back of the net Heath's Avatar
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    Apparently playing without proper/half decent strikers means not scoring goals

    I wouldn't mind so much if Spurs had had more than one shot on goal before the 93rd minute.
    Not my words Carol, the words of Top Gear magazine.

  2. #467
    Huh? Flower?! What the hell?! Administrator Psychotic's Avatar
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    Match summed up why Moyes is so utterly mediocre. 81 attempted crosses. 81! The most attempted crosses by a team in a game in Premier League history by a long way... against a smurfing six foot seven defender who is happy to head them away all day. Especially when you have smurfing Mata, Rooney and Van Persie, all very comfortable with the ball played to feet. Madness. Complete and utter smurfing madness. Why the smurf didn't Moyes say "Alright lads, remember that plan I had to cross it a lot? Well we've had 40 failed crosses maybe it's time to do something new." at half time? Good lord.

    Have no idea how he's still in a job. "Oh, we're Man United it's not what we do!" well no trout, you had arguably the greatest manager English football has ever seen at the helm for 25 odd years, of course you didn't sack him because he didn't do trout like this. "Ahh, but in his early days Ferguson..." It was almost 30 years ago, football is a different animal now and you can't even try to compare it. Besides, despite his rocky start Ferguson had won the Scottish league (yes I know, I know, but he won it as a non-Glasgow team which is great) several times and even a couple of European trophies with a Scottish team. Moyes has won smurf all because he's useless. "Oh but transition!" Mourinho, Pellegrini, Martinez and Sherwood are all new to their jobs too, and they didn't take over the champions. I say the champions - they're actually the champions with 79m worth of talent added to them.

    I don't even know why I'm ranting about this. I hope Moyes stays for the next 5 years and I do enjoy the karma of United finally getting theirs after the decades of taunts dished out to other teams by their fans I think just the very concept of him getting the top job in the country just because he's Fergie's mate offends me I guess.

  3. #468
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    I can't believe I'm agreeing wholeheartedly with Psychotic about a football matter and I feel dirty.

    Moyes was an average manager at Everton and the wizardry being performed at Goodison Park this season by Martinez (who is also a new managerial appointment, but with a totally different style of football), as well as the fact that it's with the same team sans their best player, proves this.

    Ferguson had a few rough years to start, but he wasn't doing it with the league champions. trout guys, United absolutely pissed the league last season. Nothing has changed, apart from the backroom staff and the inclusion of a few new players. Any other club with big ambitions would have got shot ages ago (I wouldn't have appointed him in the first place, it remains one of the dumbest managerial selections for a big bollocks European team ever. Ferguson dropped the ball massively here and knows it). The board have never been in this situation, and I have a feeling that they might be scared of England's Brave Bobby Charlton's reaction if they defy his old mate Fergie.

    It's too late now though, they've let it play too long and now United have blown any chance of CL qualification. I honestly think they could have turned things around had they acted earlier and got a qualified manager in (SPOILER)the first place, but now they'll have to wait until next season, and even that might be too late (just ask Liverpool what happens when you drop out of Europe). Will Moyes turn things round if given a few seasons? Maybe. But Utd fans shouldn't bank on it as they seem to be doing. I don't rate him.

    Finally, you can actually pinpoint the moment that Mata realises he's missed his chance of getting a Premier League medal.


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  4. #469
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    Even I'm starting to get concerned about Moyes lately, and that's saying something because (as I'm sure you all know) I'm a fairly eternal optimist who always looks to see the good in things rather than the bad.

    Now, having said that, I don't know how many of you actually watched the match but their keeper pulled off more than a few incredible saves. I'm talking me actually ranting "Oh, come on, really?" at the TV when he managed something like the fourth or fifth incredible save in the first half. We had something like 70-80% possession to boot, and we weren't only sending in crosses.

    As for the goals we conceded, can I just say that I love Vidic to bits but I'm delighted he will be finishing his United career at the end of the season and I hope that Rio stops playing, too. They can't keep up with attacking players. It's not a case of "they struggle to" - that implies that they still do, but with a struggle. Rio and Vidic outright can't keep up with them. It's no shock to me that Smalling & Evans as a partnership retain a 100% win record for United. It's because they can actually run.

    The reasons I'm concerned with Moyes is not for the fact we fired in that number of crosses (that was a simple side-effect of having 75% possession and some good wingers on the pitch), but for the fact we played most of the match with only one player regularly forward enough to be attacking these crosses. The moment Hernandez came on, we looked dangerous again, because Rooney simply doesn't play that far forward anymore. He used to be able to head a lot of goals, but he won't from the edge of the penalty area, will he?

    The other reason I'm concerned is because, for the second game, he opted to throw all our attacking options on at once. He took off a midfielder and, rather than adding Giggs to centre mid, pushed Rooney back. Now, Rooney is more than capable, sure. You could argue he's more capable than Giggs. But there's a lot to be said for desperation without considering your defence. Valencia on for Rafael, Januzaj on for Fletcher, Hernandez on for Young. All were forward pushes. And I suppose that would be fine if it weren't for the late goal when we had three certified defenders, one which is (I'll say it again!) unable to run fast enough to defend, and only one deep-ish playing midfielder. As soon as Fulham got the ball near our box at the end, I could see the writing on the wall and I was miffed before the goal even went in.

    What should have happened is that the attacking players should have kept the ball in the far corner of the pitch instead of trying to make it 3-1. If they have the energy to run around the box, they better have the energy to run back to our box when the opposition is throwing players forward at your weakened (via Vidic + Valencia, let alone Fletch coming off) defence right on the last minute. What did they think Fulham were running back for? To shake our hands and congratulate us on a win? Please.

    /endrant

    Still, I've kind of accepted we probably won't get CL games next season, regardless of manager, so I'm happy for Moyes to play out this season and see what he does in the summer transfer window. What Moyes and Woodward do then and how the team performs in the early part of next season will be what makes or breaks the chairman and manager.
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  5. #470
    Huh? Flower?! What the hell?! Administrator Psychotic's Avatar
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    The crossing thing is more than just a side effect. In his interviews and comments, Moyes has made repeated references to wing play and cross bombardment being the "DNA" of United. I think he is just rigidly committing to that out of a sense of obligation rather than it making any tactical sense.

    I don't know if you need to see more transfer windows from Moyes - he's already had two and neither were great. Alright, yeah, the Mata signing (I do think they paid over the odds but hey ho) was a boost but was he what they needed? Is he so different from Kagawa or even Januzaj? Especially when a player like that does not fit into a team which spams crosses everywhere, which as Moyes has stated is the "DNA" of the club. I think if that's your goal, Lukaku should've been the Chelsea player to sign. Could've even done a swap with Rooney (and 10-15m thrown in from them) and a CL rival in Everton would've been weakened. Oh, yeah, and the obvious CM and defensive signings too. Moyes has now spaffed 64m (the 79m in my previous post also includes Zaha who is not a Moyes signing) on just two players. How much more money do you want to give the man? Especially if United fail to make the CL and that huge wad of cash is lost.

    I also think if Fergie was put in as caretaker right now I would bet on United getting CL football.

  6. #471
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    Has he really repeatedly said that spamming crosses is the DNA of the club? I've never heard that once. I know attacking play and wide play has been mentioned and it's true that it's in the DNA of the club, but until this match it's never been pointed out as something we've overdone. I genuinely think it's a byproduct of that much possession. I watched the entire game - yes, there were a huge number of crosses but there were a lot of attacks that attempted to go through the middle, too. Interestingly Neville even complained at one point that there was nobody out wide right for United when we were attacking through the middle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychotic View Post
    I don't know if you need to see more transfer windows from Moyes - he's already had two and neither were great.
    I do feel that a lot of this is not Moyes' fault. When it comes to signings, the manager is involved, but not nearly as much as the chairman and the scouts. The manager was going after very good players to my knowledge, but the chairman sucked balls at the negotiation tables and the scouts were perhaps not able to spot good alternatives at the time.

    I think if that's your goal, Lukaku should've been the Chelsea player to sign.
    I'd love Lukaku! But I don't think he's going to leave Chelsea until he's forced out. He's only at Everton on loan.
    How much more money do you want to give the man? Especially if United fail to make the CL and that huge wad of cash is lost.
    I'd want to give him one summer transfer window where the chairman isn't having his first day on the job. I think that's fair. Woodward has, to my knowledge, never been the one dealing with major signings at a football club until July 2013. He's excellent at signing commercial contracts, which is where his experience lay when he was at the club prior to this summer, but it was most definitely Gill who was pulling the strings of transfers in recent years.

    I also think if Fergie was put in as caretaker right now I would bet on United getting CL football.
    I agree. I think if SAF was put in charge of any club in the PL he'd have them significantly better than where they are now, including every team above United at the moment. Let's face it, he's the best manager of all time. That isn't an act that will be easy to follow up.

    Again, I am concerned, absolutely. But it was never because of the summer transfer window which I (and most United fans at RedCafe, it seems) feel was mostly down to Woodward's failings rather than that of Moyes. Nor will I question him based on the first few months where, knowing he has time at United compared to those at Chelsea/City, was allowed the time to play everyone repeatedly and get a real idea of who he wants to keep.

    What I do question is his decision to bring along Phil Neville instead of keeping one of United's existing backroom staff, whether or not he is motivating his players well enough, whether or not he will have the balls to release/sell/retire many of the bigger names at our club at the end of the season, and whether or not he can find the leaders in our youth (or elsewhere) capable of replacing the many leaders at our club. I will definitely judge him on next season's transfer window, although again that will be a time for judging Woodward, too. And I absolutely judge Moyes on his tactics during a game. I love our attacking play, I really do, but I hate it when he takes off genuine midfielders and replaces them with forwards. It just irks me. If a forward isn't doing well enough to win, take him off so he knows next time he'll have to do better. If a midfielder isn't doing well enough to feed the forwards, find a midfielder who can. Don't cut the midfield out altogether. I get that his subs got us two goals, but I'll also point that our lack of midfield/defence cost us right at the end of the game, when we needed them.

    Speaking of leadership, though: Seriously, just look at past years where we were so successful. We had Rio, Evra, Vidic, VDS, Giggs, Scholes, O'Shea, Neville... now all due to retire very soon or already have. Where are our new leaders? I'm told Jones is supposed to be a natural leader but on the pitch, I don't see him leading much. I see that from the likes of Evans and Rooney more than anyone. Even Rafael shouts more than Jones! I do genuinely worry about our lack of imposing players, and I feel this is perhaps our biggest weakness now. We need players who are not afraid to yell at each other or be yelled at. We've flooded our side with quieter guys recently, and I've no idea what brought that about but I hope it can change soon. I actually feel that this is a bigger issue to United's future than what manager we have. Our players need more drive on the pitch.
    Bow before the mighty Javoo!

  7. #472
    Huh? Flower?! What the hell?! Administrator Psychotic's Avatar
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    The man himself: "Some people might say that one of the things that Manchester United do is play with width and cross the ball, that's in the genes here."

    I don't know much about Woodward, but here's what Davey M himself said in August "Fortunately, he's left me a really strong team, which I think gives me a great chance of retaining the title". Obvious lolmoyes aside, that implies to me he didn't think he had much work to do.

    I lifted those quotes from a really good piece just posted on F365 that I think sums it up nicely. Definitely worth a read - they also share my opinion on Mata and explained it far better than I could!
    (SPOILER)Another week and another crisis at Manchester United. The draw at home to Fulham made it four points in their last four Premier League matches - only the three teams currently in the relegation zone have taken fewer. When you consider that those four games actually included fixtures against the current bottom two, that's pretty alarming stuff.

    Sunday was supposed to be the catalyst for improvement. Fulham were the sitting duck, having lost their last three fixtures to Swansea, Southampton and Sheffield United without registering a goal, bottom of the league and with 17 defeats in 24 matches this season. Instead, United found another new way to shoot themselves in the foot and implode into utter mediocrity.

    Before the game, David Moyes used his programme notes to bemoan his luck with injuries, referring specifically to the absence of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney for large periods of the season, but such words should fall on deaf ears. Whilst Rooney and RVP have 34 PL appearances between them, Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have just three more, and the Liverpool strike pair have started nine matches as a partnership compared to ten for United's front two. City too have been forced to deal with the absence of Sergio Aguero at a time when they need him most. It's all just empty words, David.

    In fact, offering excuses for underperformance is becoming the hallmark of Moyes' tenure at Old Trafford, with injuries simply the latest in a long line. Before the season began the fixtures were blamed, with the manager's bizarre "I find it hard to believe that's the way the balls came out of the bag" rant that awkwardly made us all think of scrotums.

    Then Alex Ferguson received the flak. Moyes had been left with a shell of a squad, a car with no engine, a roast dinner with no meat, and other such weak analogies. The defence was aging, the midfield was aged and the wingers were inconsistent. The only reason that United won the title last season was because their rivals were so poor, we were told, completely ignoring the fact that Manchester City have actually only picked up one point more than at this stage last year, whilst United have 21 fewer. "Fortunately, he's left me a really strong team, which I think gives me a great chance of retaining the title," were Moyes' words last August.

    Finally came the referees. Speaking after the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg defeat to Sunderland, Manchester United's third consecutive defeat for the first time since 2001, Moyes branded Andre Marriner and his officials "terrible". "We're having to play them as well as the opposition at the moment. We're actually beginning to laugh at them, that's the thing." It landed him an FA charge.

    Well David, here are some home truths. Even accounting for all of your reasons, you're doing a rotten job of managing Manchester United, the Premier League champions. You have been in the job for only eight months and yet have already equalled Manchester United's record number of losses in a Premier League season. Your team, which was good enough to win the title last year, is now nine points off a Champions League place, and nearer to Crystal Palace than Chelsea.

    On almost every level, Moyes is failing to do his job to the required level. In the broadest terms, the remit of a football manager is to get as many players as possible playing to the height of their potential. The greatest (and that evidently includes Ferguson) take this further, actually making the team greater than the sum of its parts.

    Moyes is a long way from the former, simpler goal. It could be argued that Rooney is the only one performing at a higher level than last season, and even he is far from his peak form. Almost every other player without exception is performing at a lower level than they did even ten months previously. Rafael may have last month issued the stock quote expected of a player in such a situation ("I don't know why everyone is looking at the manager. It is the players who have to do the job on the pitch"), but this falls on deaf ears. The regression of individual players may be seen as an anomaly, but when 12 or 14 professional footballers suddenly begin to struggle almost en masse, the buck stops with the manager.

    As I said in my piece after the game yesterday, United's squad is indeed in need of an overhaul. Moyes spent 37million on Juan Mata, but this was a luxury purchase when what United lacked is steel and solidity. Mata may well prove to be an excellent signing, but this was akin to installing a hot tub in the bathroom when the shower still needs fixing. Improvements are needed almost all over the pitch, particularly when you consider that Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Ryan Giggs, Robin van Persie and Nani could all feasibly follow Nemanja Vidic out of the door. Captain, vice-captain, longest-serving player and top goalscorer.

    The nagging question, however, is whether Moyes is the man to oversee such changes. Currently, the answer to that looms startlingly clear to all but a loyal band of Moyes supporters, a large proportion of whom are presumably simply refusing to believe that things can get any worse. But worse they are getting.

    A comfortable defeat against Arsenal on Wednesday and the case for the prosecution is coming close to resting its case.

  8. #473
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  9. #474
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    Dude, I can talk a lot.So he said the "in the genes" thing once, and he's played one match where we had the highest number of crosses in PL history since something like 2006. Man, you should work for the media if you managed to grab those two things and turn it into "Moyes doesn't know how to do anything but tell his players to cross the football." Come on, dude, you of all people are better than stooping to writing headlines for The Daily Mail.

    I think it's safe to say that Moyes is probably well aware of his failings (and that of his players) so far but backs himself to rectify them. I don't think he genuinely believes that all is dandy at United like he says in his press conferences, and those excuses are the exact same kind of excuses that Sir Alex Ferguson would use every single season when we lost a game. It's just press officer 101, or at least Manchester United press officer 101. Complain about fixtures, complain about referees, bemoan bad luck and injuries, etc. This is all par for the course. SAF never criticised himself publically and I don't expect Moyes to.

    Moyes does have work to do and it will have to start with clearing out the old guard and bringing in a new group. As mentioned earlier, he'll need to get mentally tough players as well as the bigwigs (preferrably someone who combines the two) as we're desperate for leaders on the pitch, where it matters.

    I do wonder if he will improve his coaching team. I really just don't see them being as good as he seems to believe they are. I really wish we still had some of the old crew, particularly the man managing the side we faced yesterday. Not as bothered about Phelan, I feel we played better football when he wasn't assistant manager, but oh well.

    Personally, I do think that if we had used Smalling, Evans and Jones instead of Rio/Vidic then we'd be in a considerably better position than we are. I think Moyes wanted to give them their shot, and now he's been forced into bringing them back again because of injuries. I think we should have got a central midfielder in the summer, but Woodward buggered that up. By the time Winter came, none of the big-shot central midfielders would have wanted to come anywhere near us... they had CL football and we, well, at the moment we're not looking like we'll be getting it. Getting any player during the winter is tough, though. I was surprised we got Mata, I thought we'd be getting nobody at all, honestly.

    As for "But you guys didn't need Mata, you needed a solid defence and a few central midfielders" - while it's true that we are not shy on attacking options, you only need to look to the goals scored and goals conceded to see we've failed to score as much as any of the top four this season. We are struggling in defence? Only one goal worse than Liverpool, and one goal better than Spurs in 5th. Meanwhile in goals scored, we're 22 goals worse off than Liverpool. The closest of the top four? Chelsea, at the top, with six goals more than us. We're an attacking side by nature while chelsea are a defending team, though, so I prefer to compare to the other sides. Did we need Mata? Not really, but we needed players who would improve us and I think he is one of the few available that would have.

    What we really need to do is break the bank next season. And I mean really break the bank. We need to drop Rio along with the alread leaving Vidic, we need to spend as much as is required to bring in a high quality central midfielder or two and we need to build on that with a new central defender and a couple of wingbacks. There are no more Sir Alex Fergusons available to us to do the magical thing where they rise a group of players up 15 points per season beyond what they would normally get. That means we have to get rid of players who are not good enough without him. We are now competing with the likes of City and Chelsea who can afford to buy superstars that could compete for a title under any decent manager. If we want to compete with that... we have to, financially. Woodward can certainly bring in commercial contracts, but we need to see if he can bring in the players, too.

    And Moyes will, indeed, need to show that he can manage them into a winning position.


    Okay, after typing up all that I realised it's length. tl;dr: I agree with the middle of that article where they talk about his management of players and how he is perhaps not getting enough out of them, but don't think the former half is much more than typical tabloid sensationalism where someone picks out some quotes and turns them against the person.

    For everything said about United under Moyes, the players yesterday could have been playing for SAF, they were battering Fulham (and not just through crosses). Sadly, Fulham were immense in defence, particularly their goalkeeper who stopped them from suffering a 4-1 scoreline at half time. It reminded me of a Sunderland game a long time back under SAF, where we spent the entire game camped in their half while they were fighting relegation (or were already relegated?) and they came away with a point. Only this was actually more entertaining than that awful game, as I believe it ended 0-0 on that one. What Moyes got wrong was over-swamping the attack because of this, and when the counter came in with one minute to spare, the attacking players did not work hard enough for their defence (and Vidic was Vidic, too old).
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  10. #475
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    Come on yourself. He's said words to that effect more than once. One match of crosses? You watch them week in, week out, you should bloody know it's all they do. If you don't believe me and think I'm fishing, look up the stats. United have the highest average attempted crosses per game in the Premier League this season - incidentally, Liverpool have the lowest. On a random tangent, Liverpool have the highest through balls per game and Man United have the joint lowest.

    Either way, do you really want to turn this into an Aaron Freed [citation needed] war? I shouldn't have to provide detailed evidence and multiple sources when it's as bloody obvious as this. Man United play crosses a hell of a lot more than most teams. Fact. #rafa

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychotic View Post
    Come on yourself. He's said words to that effect more than once. One match of crosses? You watch them week in, week out, you should bloody know it's all they do. If you don't believe me and think I'm fishing, look up the stats. United have the highest average attempted crosses per game in the Premier League this season - incidentally, Liverpool have the lowest. On a random tangent, Liverpool have the highest through balls per game and Man United have the joint lowest.

    Either way, do you really want to turn this into an Aaron Freed [citation needed] war? I shouldn't have to provide detailed evidence and multiple sources when it's as bloody obvious as this. Man United play crosses a hell of a lot more than most teams. Fact. #rafa
    Can you get last season's stats, too?

    I'm not arguing against us throwing in a lot of crosses, we do, you could almost say it's in our genes. I'm just saying that it's tabloid sensationalism to say that it's the only way we know how to attack. If you look at the two goals we got, one was from a diagonal pass (you could amost call it a through ball) from Mata and the other was a deflected shot from central midfield. If you think those were the only two attacks that weren't crosses, you'd be sorely mistaken. There were a lot of crosses, sure, but how often does United get 75% possession? Less often than you might think! We were never a possession-based side under SAF, at least not that I recall.

    Citation: I watched the whole match!
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    Citation: I watched the whole match!
    Anecdotal evidence is useless. I will need a peer reviewed study of your television activities from an independent source. The Radio Times with circles in biro in the Sky Sports column at the very least.


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    Someone get me my biro.

    Also, just checked. We average 29 crosses per match. 81? Yeah, that's not the norm, dude. Before that game we averaged 26-27 crosses per game, and last season we averaged 25. Fact! #martintyler
    Bow before the mighty Javoo!

  14. #479
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    I never said 81 was the norm, although it highlights how ridiculous the tactics in that specific game were - cross a lot - against a team with a six foot seven defender.

    Have fun though: Premier League Team Statistics | WhoScored.com (I sure am! I've become a stats nerd today )

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    That's the site I just used, it got suggested to me by someone earlier in this thread. ;D What's most surprising, going through those stats, is that we're so eerily similar to last season's team when it comes to so many things. But it's just not clicking for us. Roughly the same amount of shots per game, possession, pass succession... they're all marginally worse, which was expected with an aging side, no Scholes, RVP/Rooney being injured etc. But we've been marginally better for things like shots conceded per game, shots on target per game et. to balance that out. Even where we spend time on the pitch, where shots come from... overall I don't think the stats really change much at all.

    I think we've simply got a side who not only lost the best manager in the world, one of the best midfielders in the world (Scholes was considered the best midfielder in the world by Xavi, no less), we've lost a good solid group of backroom staff (while I understand the reasoning of wanting your trusted team, I never felt the Everton contingent were an upgrade)... not to mention the other clubs strengthening here and there. But I do feel we've had worse luck than most sides. Normally we would win games such as the one in Fulham because we would have someone like Giggs just standing in a corner as far from our goal as possible with his foot on the ball, winding down the clock. Instead, we had a group of younger over-enthusiastic attackers with no defensive backup. I would have preferred they took off Rooney than take off Fletcher. Dunno how fit he (Fletch) is though.

    Instead of strengthening in the summer, we had a farce of ambitious transfer attempts at unrealistic targets with insanely below-par bids. I hope Woodward has learned a really big lesson. Perhaps Moyes is not used to spending a lot of money, either, and was hoping to ensure he stayed on bargain terms. But what was it? We valued Fabregas at 40m and paid 28m for Fellaini? Not sure who was making those calls, but they were wrong, wrong, wrong. I still think we could see Fellaini be a good player for us for all I know (apparently according to statistical analysis he's one of the best in Europe!?), but we'll have to wait and see.
    Bow before the mighty Javoo!

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