Man Utd are football’s worst decision makers and players are boys pretending to be men

Manchester United’s performance against Arsenal on Saturday was gutless and spineless.

It was the kind of performance that epitomised modern players who absolve themselves of any blame. And I can’t recall seeing a United team as bad since the mid-to-late Seventies, maybe going all the way back to 1974 when Denis Law’s goal for Manchester City relegated them.

I asked United supporters on social media over the weekend for their thoughts and plenty said it is the worst it has been since Dave Sexton was in charge until 1981. Others thought that was being unfair on Sexton’s team but, either way, that tells you what we’re watching.

I’ve said for years now that when you have a philosophy of just throwing a group of galacticos at the board, you run the risk of being all about branding, image and selling a product rather than a football team. And the fact they lost to an Arsenal team who, prior to their win over Chelsea last week, were doing everything they could to remind us how flaky they are shows just how far they have fallen.

While United were branding the arrivals of Paul Pogba, Alexis Sanchez and Angel Di Maria, down the road, City were putting out one-line statements saying, ‘Kevin De Bruyne has signed a new contract’. That’s the difference between a winning mentality and a Harlem Globetrotter mentality, and Saturday’s performance was another reminder of which category United fall into.

Arsenal’s first goal, after two minutes, came about because a ball got whipped in from the left and Raphael Varane and Alex Telles missed it completely despite being unchallenged. That tells me this isn’t just about bottle, desire and wanting it, it’s about players not doing the basics on the training ground, about having no plan, and just going in and winging it every day.

Man Utd ended an awful week with a draining defeat to Arsenal
Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Then you have the fact interim-manager Ralf Rangnick was brought in to be the senior strategist and he might not even make the cut as the strategist this summer. Making United the worst pound-for-pound decision-makers in world football. For a club with a turnover the size of theirs to get into a position where the senior strategist has no strategy is mind-boggling. Rangnick’s post-match press conferences are lackadaisical, too. ‘Yeah, we lost, we’re six years away from Liverpool…’

Come on, surely he should be sabre-rattling a little bit and saying, ‘We’re going to get them in for extra training, we’re going to get Roy Keane in, we’re going to get Bryan Robson in to remind this lot what it means to play for this football club’. It has become all too easy for United’s players — the cars, the lifestyle, the city.

Although, as awful as it was on Saturday, I can’t say I watched in disbelief because it has been coming for a long time given the piano videos and hip-hop videos we’ve become familiar with. Pogba put out a tweet at the weekend saying he was gutted not to be able to help and he ended it with the words, ‘Thank you for all your support, United we would stand!’ But they’re not United, they are simply little boys pretending to be men.

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