Out of the league cup, out of the running for the title and at this rate the top four and making it out the group stages of the Champions League look a pipe-dream.
There’s a fine line between genius and crazy and 2018’s incarnation of Jose Mourinho is using that line as a skipping rope.
The worst start to a Premier League season is not a record he will have wanted on his Manchester United CV. But after the 3-1 shellacking at the London Stadium– the first time West Ham have beaten the Red Devils by a 2+ goal margin in a league game since 1982 – that is exactly what he has got.
It was the third time in seven league games that United have conceded three goals. It’s not just the poor results – in the space of a week this expensively assembled side were played off the park by Wolves, Derby and the Hammers.
Jose seems to be working to the mantra ‘if you can’t convince them confuse them’ as his team selection and tactics were once again baffling. For reasons only he knows, the Portuguese repeated the ‘play a midfielder in defence’ trick but this time it was Scott McTominay not Ander Herrara in an unfamiliar position and it worked just as well as it had last time in the 3-0 August thumping by Spurs.
West Ham did play well but they were allowed to as the running stats proved players are not busting a gut for their manager – they covered the least ground of any team that day. His whole side also made just 59 sprints, the lowest of the weekend, in stark contrast Liverpool ran their socks off with Kop stars exceeding the 15.7mph test barrier 154 times.
I wonder if life smokes after it f***s Jose because everything is going against him?
Even Marko Arnautovic came back to haunt his former Inter manager who had mocked his attitude by playing brilliantly and scoring. In fact in 2018, only Liverpool’s Mo Salah (24) has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than the Austrian (10 goals, 7 assists).
The showboating ‘oles oles’ by the crowd were embarrassing enough for United but not as devastating as being nine points behind the leaders in early October – and those joint leaders being your two biggest rivals in Manchester City and Liverpool.
Plus the quality of the game, players and tactics played out by his former club Chelsea and Liverpool in their thrilling 1-1 draw on the same day would have hurt.
Even old certainties like having the best goalkeeper in the league in David De Gea are under threat as both Kepa Arrizabalaga and Alisson showed their brilliance – only beaten by sublime strikes from Eden Hazard and Daniel Sturridge.
Tuesday’s dreadful 0-0 Champions League defeat against Valencia cranked the pressure up even more as it meant the last time Old Trafford witnessed a home win was the opening day of the season. In a long list of damning statistics, that is among the worst to stomach for supporters who feel as happy as a female at an 80s frat party hosted by Brett Kavanaugh.
Their Euro clash started badly with the game being delayed because United arrived late, which has to be the first time Mourinho’s side has had trouble parking the bus.
So who is to blame? The Glazers? Mourinho? Ed Woodward? Paul Pogba? Alexis Sanchez? Eric Bailly? Phil Jones? Romelu Lukaku? Anthony Martial? Chris Smalling? Luke Shaw? The fans? As with most problems it is a collective thing. No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.
IT WAS meant to be their first big European night in their shiny new home – a new dawn, a new era, a brave new world.
Instead Barcelona followed Liverpool and Watford in playing somewhere other than the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – not that the victorious Catalans minded.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men took all of 92 SECONDS to concede – Lionel Messi’s superb pass finding Jordi Alba who in turn picked out Philippe Coutinho. On a dreadful pitch, churned up by the Anthony Joshua fight, Hugo Lloris’ decision-making madness in charging out and being left in no-man’s land deflated the atmosphere.
Ivan Rakitic’s sumptuous volley made it 2-0 and Messi hit the post before Harry Kane pulled one back for the hosts. But that was just like poking an angry bear as Messi started and finished a superb sweeping move.
Eric Lamela’s deflected effort gave the scoreline a flattering look but make no mistake this was the Messi show and he duly scored No 4. The saying goes no-one is bigger than the club but Messi has 98.8million Instagram followers compared to Barcelona’s 60.3m and the little Argentine maestro is so good he can strut sitting down!
It was a bad night for English teams as Liverpool went down 1-0 away at a hostile Napoli. The Reds lost key midfielder Naby Keita early on to injury and things went from bad to worse when Lorenzo Insigne swept home a 90th minute winner for Napoli.
Spurs fans had been told the Premier League clash with Jurgen Klopp’s men on September 15 would be the first match in the £1billion state-of-the-art ‘world class sports and entertainment destination’ – their words not mine – although to be fair as a lover I cannot wait to see the cheese room!
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy squeezes a penny so tight the Queen screams – and that is the nub of the problem. Trying to do the impossible to save a few quid has led to the inevitable late opening of a mega-expensive stadium which in turn has annoyed a large section of the support who feel – if not lied to – then hoodwinked.
I’m going to throw in this random fact for you. The human body is 90% water so we’re basically cucumbers with anxiety. That is very true of Spurs supporters right now as this long wait goes on. Perhaps they can join forces with United and make a nice prawn and cucumber sandwich brigade?
AND finally Donald Trump, Madonna, Kanye West, Oprah, Tom Cruise, Britney Spears your boys took one hell of a beating!
Europe thrashed America 17½-10½ in the Ryder Cup with players like Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter showing they were born to play in this competition, while Thomas Bjorn put in a near perfect captain’s performance with his pairings, picks and pointers.
In contrast US captain Jim Furyk had a mare with two of his picks Tiger Woods and Phil Mickleson failing to win a single point between them.
His all-star team went to Paris as favourites and led 3-1 after the first session but were humbled, viciously blaming each other as in-fighting, back-stabbing and good old fashioned fisticuffs turned it from Team America F*** Yeah to Team America F*** You Buddy!