Sixer’s Manchester United Soapbox: tumbling from the Premier League without a whimper

Sixer suffers

Poor old Pete Sixsmith can barely remember what it is like to write about an encouraging losing performance by Sunderland, let alone any kind of winning one. With a little help from Craig Pawson, Manchester United strolled to victory. And Sixer saw nothing, beyond Jordan Pickford’s accomplished goalkeeping and some sparks of effort and drive from Ndong and Cattermole, to persuade him we will even reach 25 points …

Another match, another dismal defeat with no goals, no excitement and no hope for the future. Throw in an awful decision by a referee who appeared to favour the visitors throughout the game and it is well nigh impossible to drag any positives out of this.

But there are a couple. There was another highly competent performance by Jordan Pickford who looks every inch a Premier League player and there was an energetic, if slightly flawed performance from Didier Ndong. Other than that ….. nothing.

Zero, zilch a big fat 0 as we slip out of the Premier League with barely a whimper.

Of course United are better than us. They have zillions and can afford to squander it on players who do not make the grade. We have millions and can’t and we consistently waste it on players who can’t even assert themselves in a poor Premier League side. Of the team that played against Manchester United yesterday, how many will turn out against Sheffield United next season? Pickford will be sold, Denayer will go back to Manchester City and any of the others whose contracts have run out will, hopefully, be seeking fresh employers.

That would leave Oviedo, who did well until his hamstring went, Cattermole, who at least moved around the pitch – but not quickly enough to mark Mkhitaryan for the second goal, Ndong who might make a player in a decent side and Rodwell who, if he had any self-respect, would tear up his contract and take a job exercising the donkeys on his native Southport beach.

Jake: ‘the gloom deepens’

A little over a year ago, we made Louis van Gaal’s position at Old Trafford untenable when goals from Wahbi Khazri (remember him? Little winger, ran at defenders and gave us a bit of spark) and Lamine Kone, described by me as “the new Charlie Hurley” after his towering header won the game for us, started a run which saw Sam Allardyce’s team escape the drop.

During that run we saw passion, skill, a distinct pattern and a desire to succeed from the players. This time, there is none of that. Khazri couldn’t even get his usual 10 minute cameo while Kone was to blame for giving Ibrahimovic so much room that the Swedish striker had time to pick his spot for the first goal. Neither will be at the Stadium of Light next season.

What’s keeping him out?

It looks as if the manager will be. He can write this season off now and stop sending out patronising press releases which suggest that we still have a chance. Our only realistic targets are to reach 25 points, a purely arbitrary total set by me, and to try and finish above Middlesbrough – or at least beat them at the Riverside. Neither seems attainable at the moment as we cannot score and are incapable of keeping a clean sheet at the other end.

Yesterday was dismal. We never looked like scoring and always looked likely to concede. United went through the motions and picked us off at will, taking advantage of slack marking to score the two goals that won them the game. Both were well taken by top class players, both were badly defended by barely adequate players.

By this time we were down to 10 men after Craig Pawson made a bid for the “Graham Poll Memorial Trophy For Making An Ass of Himself Against Manchester United” by sending off Seb Larsson for a tackle on Ander Herrera which at worst, was a yellow. Larsson went for the ball, his momentum took him into Herrera and they collided. Not a great challenge, but there was no intent and a yellow would have sufficed. Alas, Mr Pawson, no doubt thinking of the opprobrium that would be heaped on him by Jose Mourinho and the sycophantic press pack that follow United, decided that sending a Sunderland player off was perfectly acceptable as they were going down anyway.

And so ends another weekend. It saw glorious weather on the Roker Riviera which encouraged me to leave home early and take a brisk walk through the marina and then along the lower promenade at Roker all the way along to Seaburn.

The previous day, I had seen relegation threatened Worcester City (exiled at Bromsgrove FC) make a valiant effort to grab all three points against Curzon Ashton but only getting one. This was after a lovely visit to my 94-year-old aunt in nearby Redditch which had lifted my spirits considerably.

Alas, the spirits were back down in my boots after Sunday.

Only three more home games to go and a trip to Middlesbrough and then a curtain can be drawn over this wretched 10 months.

Whether the same curtain can be drawn over David Moyes tenure as Sunderland manager remains to be seen. None of the others that Ellis Short has appointed would have survived this disastrous campaign.




7 thoughts on “Sixer’s Manchester United Soapbox: tumbling from the Premier League without a whimper”

  1. Palace 1 – 0 up against the Arse and looking every inch an Allardyce side. Even with the limited “talent” of our squad at his disposal, I’m convinced we would not be in this position had he stayed.

    • Sadly, our season was dead and buried the minute England collapsed to Iceland. (Which, FA shambles over Allardyce or not, is inexcusable).

      • England notwithstanding I wonder if Allardyce would have stuck with the club if he was as limited in the transfer market as Moyes has been.

        We have been unfortunate with injuries and a fit Cattermole, Kichhoff and Anichebe would undoubtedly have strengthened the squad and Watmore given us another option but that said we have a record of signing players with a poor history of injuries.

  2. Went to the match yesterday with no expectation whatsoever and got exactly that. As we walked across the city we speculated about the formation, and the expectation was that Anichebe and Larsson would play wide behind Defoe, given that Anichebe’s best performances have come against the opposition’s full-backs. I said I wouldn’t be surprised if we played Larsson and Ndong as ‘wingers’ in a 442. How people laughed at such a ridiculous suggestion…until we lined up. Then, of course, it got worse because Larsson was on the left! Then they swapped so Ndong became a left winger…then they swapped again and Larsson, tackling on the inside, got sent off. Down to 9 men (you can’t count Rodwell) and the game was done.
    The management on and off the pitch is appalling! Hundreds of millions of pounds of tv money wasted over the last 10 years. ‘Football is a confidence game’ according to every pundit yet our manager drains it from players and fans alike. He started the season by criticising the current squad, continued by criticising any possible January signings and last week started to criticise any possible signings for next season! Every press conference is an attempt to excuse his awful management! Utterly sick of short and Moyes systematically destroying the club. I fear my time will be done before theirs.

  3. If Moyes is what we’re stuck with, it will be a long time before we reach the heady heights of 17th in the Championship.
    And Pete – I am sure that a straight swap of the lady who exercises the donkeys on Scarborough beach for Rodwell would improve our midfield. At least she might understand some of her teammates…..

  4. This time last year, you could see the belief. The belief that we’d get out of the mess we’d landed ourselves in. This year, the players believe exactly what Moyes told them in August, that they aren’t good enough and lack quality. That may be true, they don’t have the quality of other squads, but they are better than they acquit themselves. If someone could instill even a semblance of confidence, we’d at least be in the position of Palace, not safe, but looking cautiously over our shoulder and in with a fighting chance.

    You can see there’s something there – plenty of times they’ve played well against top teams, Liverpool, Man City (1st game), Spurs, only to then be presented with an eminently winnable game against mid-table or struggling, not bother to turn up and be hammered.

    It’s leadership, or lack of it. We’ve had none off the field, and in Cattermole’s absence, none on it either.

    If Moyes is what we’re stuck with for the long term, then it’ll be a long time before we reach the heady heights of 17th in the Premier League again.

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