Just liquidate this sorry excuse for a club. #ArtetaOut!

4.5
(19)

Well, so much for battering a hated rival in order to send them and others vital message. We probably should have followed our 5-0 thrashing of the MLS All-Stars with something a bit more braggadocious than this, a 2-0 loss to one of our most-bitter rivals, but that ship has sailed. What’s clear is that Arteta is an impostor, our players are overpaid flat-track bullies, and Man U are winning a quadruple. No other conclusion is possible. That’s why these matches are played, after all—to sort out the winners and losers ahead of the matches that matter.

On second thought, it’s possible that Arteta saw the match as a chance to suss out various players. Nketiah started at CF. Tomiyasu at LB. Partey subbing on late at RB. All in all, this felt like a test-tube match, one in which Arteta was exploring options and testing out possibilities. The result doesn’t matter, despite my own protestations to the contrary; what does matter are the take-aways going forward.

For one, it’s more than a bit telling that Arteta neither started nor subbed on Balogun. After an indifferent performance against those MLS All-Stars, we might have hoped for a chance to see what Flo could do against actual opposition (assuming that this is what Maguire and Martinez would present). There are now just two preseason fixtures left—against Barcelona and Monaco—for Balogun to make his case for an increased role at this club (something augmented somewhat by Nketiah’s anonymous performance) or at least an increased transfer fee to Inter, should they still be interested and should Edu be somewhat improved at selling players on.

As for individual player performances, there’s not a whole lot to say. Yes, Ramsdale should have done better on Fernandes’s speculative shot from distance, and Big Gabi was at fault when he misjudged Heaton’s long ball up to Sancho (where, again, Ramsdale might have done better). It’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that both goals came against the run of play, what with us having three or four genuine opportunities. Neither RIce nor Havertz made much of an impression, but it’s a bit hasty to draw any conclusions.

It might have been nice to defeat this particular club even it it was a low-stakes affair. As it stands, it gives Arteta some insights, some of them even novel. Nketiah isn’t good enough. Balogun, apparently, isn’t either. Tierney has something to offer. Trossard might be a Cazorla re-gen. Partey is better as a DM than as a RB. I’d much prefer that we endure this kind of ostensible setback over enjoying a superficial result that flatters to deceive. Let those devils enjoy this “result”. Something tells me that it’s just as far from our low point as it is from their high point.

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18 thoughts on “Just liquidate this sorry excuse for a club. #ArtetaOut!

  1. Palladio43

    One can only hope and (should) believe that pre-season matches are for experimentation with different lineups, giving newer players an opportunity to acclimate with one another, and, as Jon indicates giving those on the “bubble” a chance to prove or disprove themselves. While it is nice for the faithful to get some bragging rights, these matches mean nothing in the standings. They might however, reveal weaknesses, things that work or those that do not, and players that should be kept or placed on the trading or chopping blocks.
    That said, knowing that MU is a bitter and hated rival, the manager should, even for this match be instilling a deep desire (if not hatred) for that side and have the players willing and able to fight hard, be alert, and be prepared not to make silly errors that betray a lack of concentration that might carry over into the season or indicate a lack of professionalism. While I would expect the players at this level to be mature enough not to need prodding and cheering on, the lack of that spirit in the match or silly and careless play that resulted, is on the manager.

    Reply
    1. Eoin ó Conchobhair

      Am I the only one worried about Ramsdale? Fernandez’s shot was one he should have saved. Whether he switched off or was simply beaten, he has some work to do if he expects to be the kind of keeper that can help us win the Prem. Gabi’s gaffe was less troublesome, just an awkward moment that feels more like a one-off compared to Ramsdale’s lapse.

      Reply
  2. jw1

    When you have four new players feeling their way around– almost surprised we looked as good as we did early-on. Had Marti buried any of his (four?) chances, the tenor of the match would surely have been different.

    ManU’s 22 fouls in a friendly was, um, ‘robust’ let’s say. Their pressing was effective. We conceded through errors.

    What bothered me most though was the inverted FB play of Jurrien Timber. It sequestered Saka on the right most possessions– pushing Odegaard deeper into spaces where Rice might have been more effective.

    Will give Eddie points for hard work. He never found his place in the attack– but he chased hard defending from the front.

    So, work-in-progress at this point. Unfortunately, we may not get a chance in LA versus Barcelona. They were forced to cancel their preseason affair against Juventus with a team-wide bug laying them low.

    Might even be for the best if we had a full week of uninterrupted training in Southern California…

    Reply
    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I prefer to think of Barca’s cancellation as a panicked reaction to seeing us dismantle the vaunted MLS All-Stars.

      It was concerning to see the lack of chemistry between Timber and Saka. If Timber has been brought in to replicate the inverted fullback role that Zinchenko plays so well on the other side, that will need a lot of sorting. I prefer White behind Saka; the two already link up so well (and that was one element that disappeared when Saliba went down and White had to slot over (and play more conservatively when paired with Holding at CB)).

      If the Barca match is still on as schedule, I would hope this gives Arteta more to study while also giving JT and Saka more time to figure each other out.

      Reply
  3. A Simple Truth

    now I generally don’t get too carried away when it comes to preseason fixtures, especially when you’re playing some team that you have little to no real connection with and you’re starting a handful or so of periphery pieces, but you should never get blanked by United when you’ve got 8+ regular starters are on the pitch at kick-off

    it’s one thing to have the tactics right but the players simply fail to execute, as that’s a correctable set of circumstances, but when the tactics are lacking and you have to rely too often on the players to carve out results, in spite of the manager’s obvious deficiencies, you’re bound to struggle when it matters most…now that’s chequebook managing 101…not the version that some claim Pep to be, as he’s got more tactical nous in his pinkie than MA has in his entire body…I’m talking about when a manager prefers to solve his tactical issues in the boardroom instead of on the training grounds

    just to clarify, I’m not suggesting whatsoever that we shouldn’t have been a highly active participant in the window, but if the tactics remain the same, especially against the ‘better’ managers, we needed to target the kind of players who can create their own chances when the manager’s plan and a half tactical limitations aren’t enough to get the job done

    now maybe just maybe Havertz will find his way back to his Bayer form and maybe Rice will either unleash his yet to be seen offensive self or be so dominate in the middle of the park that it will allow us to commit more players in and around the box, but these are some serious coin toss propositions in light of the astronomical price paid…so much like our manager I guess I’ll just cross my fingers and hope for the best

    Reply
    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I think you might be slighting Arteta ever so slightly. He’s shown enough tactical flexibility to get that ragtag mismatched squad he inherited past Man City and pre-Boehly Chelsea, and, if anything, seems to be evolving into a better manager through experience. Players clearly believe in him and connect to him, not just for his relative proximity to them in age or for his “pashun”, but surely because what he asks of them makes sense and works more often than not. He will have to show greater flexibility during matches when tactics aren’t working or when certain players are not playing as they should – this will be the first season in which he has enough options in the squad to adapt on the fly. With the exception of Saka, just about every player now has legitimate competition for playing time. That also puts more pressure on Arteta to prove that he’s better than his critics allege.

      As for not making much of preseason friendlies, I was disappointed and expected more energy if not final product but am not too bothered by how we conceded. Two freak mistakes allowed Man U to score largely against the run of play, and I didn’t see them dominate us in any areas.

      Reply
      1. A Simple Truth

        I would beg to differ with your assessment of our tactical dilemma…with this in mind, I can almost guarantee you that no manager of any consequence, following a match against an Arteta-led team, has ever uttered the words “I was surprised or caught off guard by the tactics being deployed by the opposing manager”…in fact, from a scouting perspective, one would need to only watch a match or two in order to have a comprehensive understanding of what to expect when it comes to our tactical philosophy, in-game adjustments, depending on the scoreline, and our substitution MO…this is the very reason why the chequebook manager narrative has legs

        on the positive side of things, this bodes well from a talent standpoint, in that if we didn’t have a highly skilled squad if would be almost impossible to overcome such obvious shortcomings…unfortunately, when teams are provided with a viable blueprint, like in the business end of last season, even the best of squads can find it tough sledding…who knows, maybe this will be the season when he finally takes off the tactical training wheels…and by this I don’t mean simply having Timer mimic Zinchenko on the right, as this won’t solve our biggest problems up top: (1) being more direct in our attack, (2) finding a way to make it more difficult for teams to double-team Marts and Saka ad nauseam and (3) being more efficient in front of goal…Cheers

        Reply
        1. Jon Shay Post author

          Arteta has spoken about being more difficult to predict, which implies an evolution in his own ability to prepare ahead of time and adjust in real time. Now that he has more players he can depend on, it’s up to him to show that he knows how to deploy and substitute situationally. Against stronger attacking sides, for example, we might see Partey and Rice in more of a 4-2-3-1. Against sides that sit back, we might see Rice or Partey behind a midfield that includes Odegaard, Havertz, and Smith Rowe plus Martinelli, Saka, and Jesus up top. I’m just spit-balling here.

          It’s rare that any manager would come right and say that they were taken by surprise, even if they were, for to do so would be akin to admitting that they were unprepared and outclassed.

          Reply
          1. A Simple Truth

            figuratively not literally…surely you must have known that was my intention…regardless, Arteta was clearly outmanaged on numerous occasions during the last couple months of the season and likewise against Sporting…as for your “spit-balling”, please keep in mind that you’re only allowed to have a maximum of 11 players on the pitch at any given time (lol)

            Reply
            1. Jon Shay Post author

              I’m not claiming he’s got a perfect record against other managers; I’m only suggesting he’s been hampered by a lack of depth and options. This season will separate the wheat from the chaff. Now that he’s got some depth, which gives him tactical options, can he show that he can adjust on the fly, making substitutions earlier than the fabled 70th minute?

              Reply
              1. A Simple Truth

                the very fact that the word “perfect” even entered this particular discussion speaks to your glass 5/6ths full perspective on managerial matters…I guess I misread your level of devotion, my bad…I can only hope the seemingly endless list of excuses will end this season, one way or the other…I simply must add that if things do go exceptionally well on all fronts I will gladly eat crow as it will have meant that our club has finally come good, which unequivocally matters most…have a good one

                Reply
                1. Jon Shay Post author

                  I only uttered the word “perfect” as a toss-off. If anyone expects MA to be perfect, that’s a glass overflowing. I’ll defend Arteta only as long as he deserves it; I think his first season and a half comes with numerous asterisks and caveats. 2021-22 showed growth but injuries derailed us during the run-in, and last season showed his evolution – we finished with the highest points total we’d seen since 2003-04. With all of this investment, expectations will be sky-high, and Arteta won’t have any excuses if we fail to improve on last season’s performance.

                  Reply
  4. consolsbob

    Back to your naughty old ways, Jon…and you told me that you weren’t doing it anymore..

    Sloppy play is a recurring theme, unfortunately. Ramsdale? Not my cup of tea. Lovely character but not an outstanding keeper. I don’t understand the hype.

    Reply
    1. Eoin ó Conchobhair

      naughty ways? Hmm, what’s that a reference to?

      Ramsdale, that’s crystal clear. He does have to step it up. I think he’s coasting a bit after making some dramatic saves last season, but a great keeper doesn’t let shots like Fernandes’s squirt under them. I’m not so worried about the pens, that’s a game of chance. Guess right once or twice and all of a sudden you’re a World Cup winning keeper.

      Reply
      1. consolsbob

        Nothing that need bother the Police! Jon merely told me that he was cutting back on the provocative titles for his posts. You know, not winding up the bots who don’t actually get irony or read the posts.

        Reply
        1. Jon Shay Post author

          haha, fair enough, consolsbob. I think I did this one late at night after one too many cocktails. Or maybe it’s a tough addiction to break…

          Reply
  5. Reg

    We got kicked off the pitch. Martinez’s foul on Saka wouldn’t have been out of place in the NFL. Could have merited a straight red with decent refereeing.It was obviously Ten Hag’s approach in a “friendly”. Even the commentators’ remarked on the cynical professional fouls by MU.

    Reply
    1. Jon Shay Post author

      well-said, Reg. It was a surprisingly physical match (from one side, at least). A player like Martinez, with a nickname like “the butcher” strangely seems to be given more leeway, as if the refs are saying, “Oh, Martinez. Boys will be boys, won’t they?” We need some players who are going to step up and get in the faces of opponents to let them know they can’t get away with that – and to get the ref’s attention as well.

      Reply

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