Next Bus Stop: Sack Mou?
At Old Trafford, on Saturday, Premier League fans witnessed as Jose Mourinho’s red Chevrolet bus picked up three points against Salah and Co.
At Old Trafford, on Tuesday night, Europe watched as the same red bus was dumped out of the Champions League Round of 16, Sevilla-style.
It has long been acknowledged that this inexplicable bus is a massive problem for Manchester United.
It wins them games, you might say. But when it doesn’t, it has cost them. And greatly.
This has to change or United’s progress in the post-Fergie era will continue to stall; never to reach its former glory. They are meant to be challenging for silverware. No, they are meant to win silverware.
Over £300 million was spent to turn the Red Devils into title-chasers. Not jokes.
Honestly, you wouldn’t find a Sir Alex-managed team parking the bus – an unthinkable act of horrific proportions (I’m kidding).
The Champions League was United’s last major trophy hope, having seen the Premier League race stretched beyond their reach, and they wasted it against a side sitting fifth in La Liga, with a negative goal difference of -6.
Mourinho is a great tactician, no question, and has proven himself to be capable of bringing the best out in his players, performance and character-wise.
However, I can’t help but feel a sense of doubt about The Special One washing over the club and its fans now.
He has not exactly found a lineup that runs smoothly, week in and week out.
Maybe if he stopped tinkering with the bus, he would:
- find a better way to accommodate United’s talented players while actually winning (not drawing) consistently
- realise that Alexis Sanchez doesn’t deserve a place as much as Jesse Lingard
- better utilise Marcus Rashford
Against Sevilla, United looked like cowards. They played like how the teams of early noughties would; long balls and target men and all that other jazz.
Romelu Lukaku’s touch is terrible, just ask Clement Lenglet. Sanchez was dispossessed 42 times by Sevilla’s players. Marouane Fellaini wastes space, just like his hair, waiting for long balls to be launched to him. Nemanja Matic was cancelled out by Steven Nzonzi. I repeat, Steven Nzonzi.
Wait a second. Rewind. Even Prem teams of yesteryear had more guts, more ambition, more fight than United have ever had under Mourinho. Lack of character? You tell me.
So what if the big red bus saves them on some days, wins games on some others? The bus is just a means to an end, am I right? That end (and possibly next bus stop) could literally spell The End for good ol’ Mou.
If I ever had to put a Facebook status on my relationship with Arsenal, it will simply be “It’s Complicated.”
I (truly, madly and deeply) love Arsenal, don’t get me wrong. But, our relationship of late, has been a little stormy.
A loss to Ostersunds FK followed by three terribly painful losses to the likes of Manchester City and Brighton was enough to make me question why I support a banter club. The love remained but the passion started to waver.
Then, Arsenal won at the San Siro against Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan. I found myself falling head over heels again. Then, the rather comprehensive 3-0 win over Watford, who had beaten us earlier in the season, followed.
And just last night, Arsenal put 3 goals past Milan in the second leg fixture at the Emirates. Of course, we could not string together three successive clean sheets to save our lives. And I am still of the opinion that Danny Welbeck’s penalty call was shambolic.
But, does this mark the start of a better run for the North Londoners?
Three consecutive wins after four consecutive losses will be absolutely massive for the confidence of the players and fans alike. However, we should not even be losing four times in a row to begin with.
The three wins did little in covering the cracks of Arsene Wenger’s dying (and fading) legacy. Most fans are still #WengerOut, as am I.
In each win, you could see the vintage Arsenal passing and slick movement. In each win, you could also see the nervy moments of defending. In each win, you could see a team capable of so much more than what Wenger is putting together.
Monsieur Wenger is like a magician with limited powers. He can summon the kind of powerful, magical performances that has fans screaming in excitement and joy on certain weeks then in the next week, his powers are still recovering so it is back to Arsenal bottling games.
Of course, I wish for this “good” run to continue till the end of the season against teams like Stoke, Southampton, Newcastle and West Ham. Do NOT bottle it, boys.
After which, I, along with 289579237486634 other Arsenal fans, hope to bid adios to Wenger. Give Luis Enrique that contract, Stan Kroenke.
Because Arsenal can only see better days with change.