Manchester United Versus Real Madrid: Did The Pundits And Managers Watch The Same Game As The Rest Of Us?

Posted: August 10, 2017 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Manchester United, Opinion
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We here at WSA accept that highly paid football managers such as Arséne Wenger and José Mourinho, and highly paid ex-playing pundits such as Paul Scholes, Steve McManaman and Steven Gerrard, will be deemed to know more about the beautiful game than we do.

After sitting and watching Manchester United lose to Real Madrid, a game in which Madrid, as well as scoring two goals also hit the woodwork twice it was interesting, to say the least, to hear both pundits and manager praising the United performance.

But what were they actually praising? The fact that Madrid only scored two? That wasn’t down to United, that was down to either bad luck or poor finishing, whichever you choose to believe. Was it praise because United played well? No, because they didn’t play particularly well at all.

They were guilty of giving the ball away very cheaply and spent most of the game chasing shadows.

The pundits, sat in the BT studio, explained that United won’t have to play Real Madrid in the Premier League which, although very enlightening for the one member of the public who has just returned from Mars and was previously unaware of this fact, isn’t really justification for the large amount of subscription money handed over to them.

Real Madrid didn’t play particularly well, they didn’t have to. They just did the basics very well and United didn’t. In the soaring heat of Skopje possession of the ball was paramount. The last thing either team wanted was to spend the majority of the game running round trying to get the ball back, which is what United had to do through their own inability to keep it.

For the final twenty minutes or so United even resorted to lumping the ball forward to Fellaini, a tactic rarely seen since the departure of dopey David Moyes and one which will never endear any manager to the Old Trafford faithful.

Yet again, and as we keep saying, Antonio Valencia proved that he is NOT a defender. Yet again Jesse Lingard proved that he is not good enough for this team and Marouane Fellaini, although huffing and puffing his way, quite impressively, through his time on the pitch would never get near a Real Madrid or Barcelona team. And that, dear readers, is the main difference.

Manchester United have several players who wouldn’t get a game with Real Madrid reserves yet José Mourinho thinks they are very important to his team.

They may be good enough, over the course of a season, to achieve a high finish in the Premier League, maybe even win it once, but to do well consistently over a period of time more changes have to be made.

If Mourinho is serious about staying at United for the long haul then players such as Fellaini, Carrick, Lingard, Smalling, Young, Valencia and Darmian need to be moved on. They are not the future and, if they are considered to be, then the future is not so bright as we had hoped.

Real Madrid were always favourites to win this game even after losing all their pre-season games including a 4-1 loss to Manchester City!

United, despite beating Madrid and winning all of their games except the one against Barcelona, were not expected to leave with the Super Cup. Why was this?

On current form United should have been favourites. They weren’t because Real Madrid know how to win when the game is competitive and certainly know how to win when there is a trophy at stake.

Nowadays, coaches like Mourinho and Arséne Wenger have proved that you can be a successful manager without having played the game at a very high level. Some ex-footballers are proving that they are not very good at punditry despite having played the game at a very high level.

So, the next time the likes of Phil Thompson on Sky Sports, spouts on about how much he and the panel know because they “used to play the game“, take it with a pinch of salt. Just because somebody is good at something does not mean they know why they are good at it and it certainly does not necessarily qualify them to comment on other teams and players.

It does, however, make the rest of us “armchair pundits” feel more confident that we actually do know a little bit about football and is certainly preferable to the idiot commentators and presenters who definitely know nothing about the game and prove it on a very regular basis. I’ll leave it to you to guess who they are!



  1. Timothy says:

    Yo right buddy, I also wonder some time if these guys speak things out of knowledge or just a bandwagon effect, personally I refer to Frank’s comments of Chelsea’s 2 friendly games against Arsenal, 3-0 win and 4-1 pen defeat as two different people were commenting. Now dats futball. Every one think they are right.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. manchuks2d says:

    United did well but was not outstanding given that their tactics didn’t work well for them. Many players (Pogba, Lingard, and Herrera) lost completely in the first half and these are players United banked on to implement their tactics to the letter not to talk of the abysmal display of the United centre backs. But in overall we are talking of European Champions back to back and Spanish Champions versus 6th place team in England with new additions that have not completely blended well with the team.

    Liked by 1 person

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