Before the title is decided...the hindsight thread

Discussion in 'Manchester United Forum' started by Beachryan, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Apr 27, 2012
    #1

    Beachryan Full Member

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    Ahead of the title decider (and let's face it - it will be a title decider), wanted to review expectations and the season in general, so it won't be biased depending on the result. Curious what others think.

    At the start of the season, and given the new players arriving at Pool, Chelsea and City, I thought if we stayed in the CL positions and also managed a good cup run or two then it would be a great season. I hoped that we'd see many young players bedded, especially after several impressed so much in the summer tour. Cleverley, Smalling, De Gea and Welbeck all looked set to feature heavily in the season, and the throw back to relying on youth was something I was really looking forward to.

    I genuinely did not expect us to be up near the title by the end of the year. We still had a dodgy midfield, had just lost Scholes, Hargreaves and clearly something was up with Fletch yet no replacement had come in. City on the other hand had added Dzeko, Nasri and Aguero in the past few months - genuine world class, proven talent. Chelsea had spent >£100m as had Liverpool, so I expected them to both be better squads than ours - though a bit older with less potential. Our defence was going to feature Smalling, Jones and the twins - none of which have great experience yet, and be put in front of a new keeper who himself was young and unproven in the prem. I expected Vidic to be our most important player, and Ferdinand to barely feature. I thought the title was going to be between Chelsea and City - and that Fergie would have to focus on cup runs as we didn't have the quality over the course of the season.

    So here we are. There have been some disappointments: a lot of our youth players actually haven't bedded as well as we thought. Smalling, Chicarito, Jones and Anderson have all been mixed all year, very rarely showing that quality that you need to make it at United. Losing Vidic has been huge, probably the singe worst player we could have lost (including Rooney). We had an unlucky draw in the FA Cup (the two hardest away fixtures in a row so early in the competition) and duly went out. We f*cked about in the Carling Cup again, and went out - and for some reason Fergie f*cked about in the Champions League and paid the price there.

    But the league has been a monumental surprise. Despite having an out of form captain playing every match all season, a limited central midfield dependent on an un-retired 37 year old we're still in with a shout. So of course, had someone offered me a 3 point lead going into the final showdown of the season I'd of bitten the proverbial hand off. Put it in perspective, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liveprool fans would love to be in this race.

    So regardless of the sheer deflation we may be about to feel on Monday (and losing an 8 point lead to CITY is so un-United and un-Fergie I almost want to crawl under my desk and cry) I think most of us would be happy with this situation, back in August. If we end up potless, I don't think we can call the season a failure, and I think we're heading in the right direction. Our squad is young, talented and have shown occasional glimpses that this could be a very, very formidable team with a few additions.

    Whatever happens Monday, the future is still bright, and for me this season has shown far more promise that I could have hoped for back in August.
  2. Apr 27, 2012
    #2

    padzilla Hipster

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    We should never have doubted Fergie.
  3. Apr 27, 2012
    #3

    Luminous Lizard Full Member

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    We were always going to challenge for title. Anything else would be a poor season unless we won the UCL or something.
  4. Apr 27, 2012
    #4

    rcoobc Not as crap as eferyone thinks

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    As a neutral I thought we'd win the League. Our strength in depth is incredible.

    But I'm not neutral, I hope we get a result on Monday. If we don't, it will be sad and a bad season for us. But as you say the future is very bright.
  5. Apr 27, 2012
    #5

    kietotheworld Banned

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    If we don't end up winning the League then the season can't be described as a failure, it can only be described as catastrophic. Going from Champions League Finalists to humiliation in both the CL and the Europa League, knocked out at home by Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup, knocked out by the worst Liverpool side in years the FA Cup, missing their two best players, and losing an 8 point lead to Manchester City in the Premier League with only 6 games to go, in addition to a 1-6 arse-raping at home against them. There are some encouraging signs for future seasons, but if we don't win the League I can't think of anything good to be said about this one.

    Failure to strengthen central midfield last summer was a monumental error, I really cannot understand it given how much we spent in other areas.
  6. Apr 27, 2012
    #6

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    OP is a bit harsh on Smalling. Almost never player in his preferred position and I don't remember any really poor performances?
  7. Apr 27, 2012
    #7

    Cina Warrior Princess

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    We were predicted by pretty much all pundits out there to win the league at the start of the season so I'm not sure why people are going on about it being a great achievement that we've actually challenged to do so?

    A bit extreme but the underlying points are fairly accurate really.
  8. Apr 27, 2012
    #8

    adexkola American Arse

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    You win some years and lose some years.

    Even if we lose the title this season, we're headed in the right direction with the perfect blend of youth and experience, and Ferguson at the helm. We'll be in the title race next season, and we should improve on our horror displays in Europe. Finishing second isn't a bad thing.
  9. Apr 27, 2012
    #9

    Lance Uppercut Loves turn based games

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    You sure about that?


    I don't agree that it is catastrophic, but it is disappointing, certainly. Especially Europe.
  10. Apr 27, 2012
    #10

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    Expectations before the season can change very quickly once the season is underway. With the ludicrous defensive injury crisis that blighted the season I'd say we've significantly over-achieved.
  11. Apr 27, 2012
    #11

    padzilla Hipster

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    We were pretty much the favourites with many picking Man City as our main rivals. There was a lot of optimism at the start of the season given our signings, optimism that should still be there given we are two results away from retaining our title.
  12. Apr 27, 2012
    #12

    KingEric7 Conspiracy enthusiast

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    Yep, that's the only issue I had with what was a nice opening post to the thread. To be honest, I genuinely think Smalling has been underrated at right back, though I'm sure everyone knows by now that he's class in the centre.

    He's another one that's been ridiculously unfortunate with injuries.
  13. Apr 27, 2012
    #13

    Cina Warrior Princess

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    Very.
  14. Apr 27, 2012
    #14

    rcoobc Not as crap as eferyone thinks

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    I don't think many picked City as our title rivals at the season start, certainly not many on the Caf. They have done well this season, although saying that seems to annoy a lot of people!
  15. Apr 27, 2012
    #15

    Sarni nice guy, unassuming, objective United fan.

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    You really thought making top 4 this season would have sufficed for it to be a GREAT season?

    After finishing 9 points ahead of 2nd placed team I thought anything less than a title challenge would've been a disappointment.
  16. Apr 27, 2012
    #16

    Varun Wants the D...

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    always thought we'd be challenging City and Chelsea for the league and we'd be right up there. But Vidic's injury changed that and i thought we'd struggle. Evans stepped up big time though and i hadnt expected that.

    In the CL, with our 1st 11, i didnt expect to go too far unless we got a favorable draw but an exit in the group stages wasnt what i expected either. That said, i believe we wouldnt have won it regardless and the exit has helped us in the league specially with the number of injuries we've had so am not complaining.

    Not winning the league now would be very disappointing. We've given City a big chance but i still believe we'l get a result at the Etihad.

    Regarding the future, very bright indeed.
  17. Apr 27, 2012
    #17

    Damien Self-Aware RedCafe Database (and Admin)

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    We were by the BBC pundits. Many saw City as title challengers given the amount of money they spent but thought they wouldn't win the title either due to Mancini's tactics or the team needing time to gel.

    What kieto has said is very harsh. If we don't win the title I won't see it as catastrophic. When you say it how he has done it looks awful, but that has not taken into account the injury crisis we've had in defence which has caused us to rotate a lot at the back, especially early on in the season. Vidic has been out for a large part of the season as well as Fletcher too. With Anderson and Cleverley picking up a few injuries we had to play makeshift midfields and it has only really been since the turn of the year that we've been able to play sides without having to rotate for one reason or another. On the European front it has been a very bad season but in the league we have done well, even with us 'blowing' the lead. At one point we were 5-8 points behind and people were writing us off until we overtook them. Now we're 3 points ahead with 3 games to go and even if we don't win the title we could end up with enough points to win the title 9 times out of 10.
  18. Apr 27, 2012
    #18

    Lance Uppercut Loves turn based games

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    Post 'em up.
  19. Apr 27, 2012
    #19

    Cina Warrior Princess

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    feck off and find them yourself.

    BBC ones have loads, about 90% of them picked us, apart from some idiot who picked Liverpool.
  20. Apr 27, 2012
    #20

    Damien Self-Aware RedCafe Database (and Admin)

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    [​IMG]

    Never fails to make me laugh.
  21. Apr 27, 2012
    #21

    Theon Full Member

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    Smalling has had an excellent season and Jones had an excellent half a season, so they have definitely shown enough quality to indicate they'll make it at United.

    Also disagree on the Vidic injury being the worst thing that could have happened. Losing him was a blow initially but Evans has been brilliant at filling in, so overall we have coped fine. Losing Rooney or Carrick would have been far, far worse IMO.
  22. Apr 27, 2012
    #22

    kietotheworld Banned

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    Of course it doesn't sound as bad when you make excuses, but you can make similar excuses for our title rivals.

    Manchester City's star player and top scorer from last season has missed most of the season because he went home to Argentina and some of their important players went to the African Cup. There's an argument that can be made which says that's Manchester City's fault for relying on such a temperamental player and African players, but you could make the same argument about our reliance on certain players. Fletcher has a chronic condition that seriously impeded him last season and we chose to rely on him, Anderson has never been consistently fit for us, let alone shown consistent form, Cleverley's not exactly Iron Man either. If you're including players who you know are injury prone, why not say City have really missed what Hargreaves could have brought to them if he'd avoided injury?
  23. Apr 27, 2012
    #23

    Transfer United Till I Die I am totally in the know, honest

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    I think I expected we'd finish second maybe 6-8 points behind city. I'm pleasantly surprised we're still in it but royally fecked off that we haven't wrapped it up from 8 points clear. I think when all is said and done there have been quite a few positives and some memorable performances. Massive summer though:
  24. Apr 27, 2012
    #24

    Damien Self-Aware RedCafe Database (and Admin)

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    That's what? Three players? Tevez, Yaya & Kolo Toure.

    Tevez has been away for a large part but they still had Aguero, Balotelli and Dzeko to rely on. Kolo Toure wasn't a huge loss as he wasn't in favour then IIRC however Yaya was a big loss. When they signed Hargreaves did they expect him to be a starter? They'll have known about his injury record and won't have expected him to be as badly affected as he was but I don't think he would have been anything more than a squad player. He would have added something to their side certainly but who would he have displaced from their starting XI? Barry?
  25. Apr 27, 2012
    #25

    Smores Full Member

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    I certainly didn't expect us to win the title this season and unless my memory fails me a lot of people down in the newbs didn't either. I didn't expect us to be too far from the top but I envisaged 2nd/3rd. This young squad has done exceptionally well.

    It shouldn't be possible to dominate the league like we have done in recent years, as long as we're moving in the right direction and competing then I don't think we can complain.
  26. Apr 27, 2012
    #26

    kietotheworld Banned

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    Did we expect Cleverley and Anderson to be starters? Would they displace Scholes and Carrick? I don't think so. We knew about Fletcher, Anderson and Cleverley's various ailments as well. We lost Vidic but we still had Evans, Smalling, Ferdinand and Jones to rely on. Every club has its excuses.
  27. Apr 27, 2012
    #27

    Lance Uppercut Loves turn based games

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    No sources provided. Initial post void. You lose.
  28. Apr 27, 2012
    #28

    Cheesy Full Member

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    It is true that a lot of people did expect us to win the title at the start of the season. We were definitely the favourites for it. Still, I don't think anyone expected City to do as well as they did at the start of the season. If you'd told someone how well City would play, and how many injury problems we would have, then I think they would have been certain of Man City going on to win the title.

    Still, that doesn't deny the fact that if we don't win it, we'll have to look back upon it as a poor season, purely because of how poor we have been in all the other competitions, and because of the fact that we had a clear 8-point lead with only 6 games to go.
  29. Apr 27, 2012
    #29

    Pogue Mahone Poster of the year 2008

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    Regarding the title race, we've dropped points at a shitty time but let's not forget the brilliant run that got us where we are.
  30. Apr 27, 2012
    #30

    Judge Red Don't Call Me Douglas

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    As the season began, my head told me we wouldn't be sitting top of the league in April and that the title would be between City and Chelsea. My heart was having none of it.

    Isn't the head supposed to be the clever one?
  31. Apr 27, 2012
    #31

    Guy Incognito Full Member

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  32. Apr 27, 2012
    #32

    Twigginater WUM Alert!

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    I think if you'd said to me at the start of the season we'd have the most injuries this season, and Man City would have the least ,I'd have been fecking ecstatic to be where we are.
  33. Apr 28, 2012
    #33

    All 3 United His tinfoil hat protects him from the Glazers.

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    Given the injuries to some of our best players, we have done incredibly well to be where we are now. Even if we end up second, in the grand scheme of things, it will not have been a bad PL season.

    What would hurt more than anything is getting into the position we did and then handing it on a plate to of all teams City.

    It's a huge game on Monday and any fans from Manchester with a family divide will understand my statement, of 'any other team but them'. We quite simply MUST avoid defeat.

    On another note, what has been extremely disappointing this season is The European campaign not just the group stage of the CL but the way we were simply unable to stop Athletico over 2 legs.
  34. Apr 28, 2012
    #34

    holyland red Full Member

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    I never "expect" us to win the title. Might have something to do with being pessimist, but more seriously there are so many unknowns such as injuries and cup runs that it's foolish to expect a title win given the small margins.

    Expecting to be involved in the the chase for the title is more realistic, and doing just that year in tear out is more than any other club can boast. Obviously, throwing it away after being 8-points clear would hurt but few would say no if promised to still have a chance to win it on the last day of the season.

    The main positives for me regardless of where the title ends have been Welbeck, Evan's improvement, overcoming the loss of 20-years worth of experience in goal and the bonus of enjoying another half season of Paul Scholes football.

    Main concerns are regarding the Vidic that we'll be getting next season, and our full backs. Evra is a defensive liability more often than not, and I'm not sure Rafael is good enough defensively. Central midfield is also a concern, although it's pretty clear this issue will be addressed in the summer.
  35. Apr 28, 2012
    #35

    amolbhatia100 Barbiturates ain't got nothin' on me

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    It wouldn't catastrophic in terms of points total and general performances in the league but given the way we went out of Europe and domestic cup competitions and most importantly, losing an 8 point lead to your bitter rivals with just 5 or so games to go, it woud definitely be catastrophic. I can't actually think of many worse ways to lose a title, actually, unless it involved Liverpool.

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