A Miserable Month And Miles Off The Pace

It’s been around a month sinceĀ I last wrote here and that was post Liverpool away which I thought was a fantastic result. Problem is, it’s been one step forward and two steps back in the month since that night and we now languish in 6th in the table. 6 points away from the top 4.

Just a few days later there was what can only be described as a humiliation away at Chelsea, the bore draw with Burnley, an easy win at Swansea and now more points just thrown away against Arsenal. I said in my first post that top 4 would be enough for me this season but even that is now starting to look optimistic. Here are a few of my thoughts which I’d like to put out there. I’d like to think that these are not knee jerk reactions to the poor form the team is in, but are rational opinions.

Chris Smalling Is Useless – I have never been a fan of Smalling because, quite simply, he is rubbish on the ball. We’ve seen the big deal that Guardiola made about needing a Goalkeeper who can play out from the back, well we don’t even have a centre back who can play the ball out.

The way Smalling adjusts his body to kick or control a football is awful to watch and it’s obvious to anyone that it doesn’t come naturally to him. That would be all well and good if he was a rock of a defender but I really don’t know what people see in him.

I will be the first to admit that at the start of last season, he was an absolute tank and it looked like he had finally turned a corner. At the time, Van Gaal was calling him Mike for some reason, and someone joked that it was as if Smalling truly believed that he was Mike Smalling and he had forgotten everything that was holding Chris Smalling back.

In the Calendar year of 2016, he’s back to regular old Chris Smalling and it isn’t a change for the better. He ended last season in awful fashion by trying to botch up both the semi and FA cup final and he hasn’t started this season any better.

I blame Chelsea’s first goal on Smalling and that set the tone for the rest of the game. I’ve noticed that he has this habit of being a football shepherd where he’ll stick his arms out for someone else to come and get the ball when he should just take control of the situation himself.

Then there’s his blatant shirt pulling. He’s a penalty waiting to happen with the increased scrutiny on shirt pulling this season. And yet, he’s vice captain of Manchester United. It really does blow my mind. It’s no surprise to me that he’s been dropped by England but I fear there’s many more seasons of him and his poor touch haunting the United defence.

Rahsford Is Overhyped and Over Played – It’s clear to anyone that’s been watching that Rashford needs some time out of the spotlight and out of the team. He was awful against Arsenal and I don’t recall him winning a single dual in the air. To top it off, their late equaliser was clearly his fault which can be put down to naivety and inexperience.

For all the criticism that Zlatan has faced, he would probably have been far more useful against Arsenal than Rashford turned out to be. One thing I am sick of is seeing is Rashford on the wing. He is not a winger, it’s clear as rock water. His close ball control is nowhere near as good as Martial’s and he is nowhere near as dangerous. Rashford’s only trick is to boot the ball a mile ahead of himself and beat the defender for pace but he rarely gets the space to do so, hence why we often see him just run the ball out of play when he’s on the wing.

You could say that the goal against Arsenal came as a result of him being shunted onto the wing where he is out of his depth. He either needs to play up front waiting to score or not at all. Following this display against Arsenal, I would gladly see Zlatan come back into the team and Rashford on the bench.

Overall, we’ve seen very little from Rashford this season to justify his place in the team. There was the last minute winner against Hull which was a case of right place at the right time (one of his better qualities) and a well taken goal at Watford which ultimately proved to be pointless. He scored against Leicester too but he was awful that game and I recall him just running the ball out of play on multiple occasions.

Nothing in football would make me happier than seeing Rashford succeed at the top level with United but at the moment he looks a long way away from doing so. I don’t want to see him in the starting line up for the next few games and I certainly don’t want to see him keeping Martial out of the team when Martial is clearly the more talented player.

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