Manchester United Preview: Are the Kids Gonna Be Alright?

It says much about recent events that I’d quite forgotten Alexis is in the United team.

Another season, another meaningless match. United are assured of second, we’re pretty much assured of finishing sixth. It could be seventh, but I doubt it. It won’t be fifth and in any case, beyond a couple of hundred thousand pounds in prize money and direct entry to the Europa League group stage, it’s no great shakes.

The team is going to use the squad to its’ fullest extent. Ramsey, Özil and Wilshere didn’t travel nor the Chuckle Brothers; we’ve got a chance of a clean sheet or at least, not a self-inflicted one. Who am I kidding; it’s in our DNA.

No-one blames Arsène for thinking of Thursday; we all are. If he could postpone the match and play it another time he would. Putting out a second-ish string is a sensible move and unfortunately likely to be a winning one.

It’s a big responsibility on the younger players. Are they being thrown under the bus? Not in my view; we have a forlorn hope in Madrid. Maybe not forlorn, certainly outside hope of winning.

For Willock, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, and Mavropanos seem the likeliest of the youngsters to start although the latter will probably be on the bench. Chambers and Holding will be left with the task of controlling Lukaku, which will be a tall order and something of a learning process. Can they control the Belgian? Physically, he looks stronger than the pair so they must read the game better, anticipate. That tells us more about their potential than most. If they can read the game, control their impetuosity, then they may succeed.

It’s a tall order but needs must. And in this situation, we would all do the same.

My Way

Which is all about the immediate future. Coming soon after him is a new man, which seems unlikely to be Luis Enrique, to the relief of some, it seems. The former Barcelona boss wants a £200m ‘war chest’ to put things right at the club, tantamount to a public facepalm to the Arsenal as you will ever see.

It’s the same with every managerial appointment; the loudest and most talked-about candidate is rarely the new man. Not at Arsenal, at least. George Graham wasn’t talked about beforehand; I don’t think Rioch was either, and Arsène was so left-field that nobody remembered he existed over in Japan.

Enrique’s demands may be designed to save face, for him to walk away instead of being cast in the role of a chequebook manager.

That’s the supposition anyway. Is he even interested or is it a ploy to flush out another club on his part? Our M.O. is more in line with Porto, Benfica, Monaco and the like, or it’s going to need to be. We can’t generate the transfer funds from commercial revenues so we need to sharpen up on the academy production line, finding young players or scouting them at lower league clubs with a view to selling them at a profit.

Are You Gonna Go My Way?

With the way Arsenal work – and not necessarily the Arsenal Way – are we likely to know the name of the successor before the final game of the season?

I don’t think so. Mourinho jumped at the chance of dampening United’s joy at winning the FA Cup, ruining Van Gaal’s final act of celebration, by announcing he was their new boss. I can’t see us taking on anyone so obviously egotistical. Personally, I’d be surprised if we’re told who it is before the club and supporters given Arsène his final send-off against Burnley next weekend.

Which brings us, in a vaguely circuitous way, back to today’s game.

I don’t have great expectations and while I may be going through the motions as far the remainder of this season’s Premier League is concerned, I expect more from the players. Supporters and their damned expectations. Pffft.

It’s an opportunity for the players to put themselves into the thoughts of the new manager who I am sure will be watching somewhere in the world.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

107 thoughts on “Manchester United Preview: Are the Kids Gonna Be Alright?

  1. MikeSA says:


    I don’t expect it to be sunshine and roses, but I’d put a very large chunk of the shitshow we’ve been seeng for several seasons squarely on Wenger’s plate.

    These same players (and many of those who’ve left), have been far better players under other coaches.

    There was an interview with Squillaci a while back where he made the point that he’d had a successful career before coming to Arsenal, and had a successful career after leaving Arsenal.

    It was only at Arsenal that he’d had a bad experience, and he very diplomatically pointed out that that was entirely down to coaching and training.

    Elsewhere he had plenty, at Arsenal under Wenger there was basically none.

    It’s pointless quoting stats from Wenger’s clown show, it’s meaningless and holds no validity on the quality of the players in the squad IMO.

  2. Thethreewisemen says:

    We do not think that merely getting a new manager will get Arsenal going further forward. The players who played well before say they have lost their mojo under Wenger, that can be their excuse not putting their effort better. But We do not buy it totally. The squad is not good, and though some young players we saw today can move up, there is still some significant investment needed under a good manager. We get the feeling , the CEO thinks, he has the quality squad and needs only a new manager, which is a fallacy, as the squad needs significant overhaul. The other two who form the team to look for a new manager should exercise their weight.

  3. Bill says:


    I am also confident that we will see some improvement with a new manager especially on the defensive end. The question is how much we will improve and only time will tell. However, the problem is we are already a long way behind the other big teams and I fully expect Man City, Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool to strengthen this summer. Even Spurs have a head start on us and I expect they will also strengthen. Climbing back up the 4th place next season would be a real accomplishment.

  4. Bill says:

    What happened to Rob Holding this season? There was a huge amount of optimism about him after he played well in the last couple months of last season. This year he has almost completely dropped of the radar.

    There was a lot of optimism about the whole team at the start of this season after we won the last 8 league games and then winning against Man City and Chelsea in the FA cup semifinal and final.

  5. lari03 says:

    Holding was a scapegoat for the lax defending shown by Bellerin and the Ox earlier in the season. He has also suffered from the lack of defensive training.
    Mavro was a positive introduction. Sven will unearth more gems for us going forward.
    To be honest I was expecting a real drubbing with a scoreline of 4-0.
    2-1 seems respectable. We beat United last season in the build up to their EUROPA league win.
    Let’s hope we can keep our European away form alive and beat Athletico despite the odds.

  6. FREDDO says:


    One of the interesting comments that Arsene makes is that, at half-time, he doesn’t talk to the players. You heard that right: he doesn’t talk to the players. He thinks it is more productive if they talk to each other and sort out problems.
    So I wonder what Arsene does. Does he have a cup of coffee? Wander off and watch TV?

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