You may have noticed in previous weeks that I like Louis Van Gaal a lot, and not just because he seems to have taken David Moyes’ bottom-feeding rabble and made a cohesive and entertaining football team out of them. Ok, so mostly because of that. But there’s also the fact that what you see is what you get. Arrogant and egotistical maybe, but if there is something wrong he’ll tell you, much as if you’ve done something praiseworthy he’ll make sure he tells you that too. On this summer’s tour there must have been an awful lot of praising.
Since you last idly scanned my prose before getting on with more important matters like a sh*t and a shave, United have outplayed Inter, won a penalty shootout against the same opponents and stuffed Real Madrid in front of a sea of the #GGMU #MUFC family. Go soccerball Reds. The Real game in particular was a joy to watch, a thoroughly deserved win and performance summed up by a glorious first goal, a wonderful passing move swept home by left wing-back Ashley Young. Those are words I never thought I’d write about the lad who, as one twitter wag remarked, looks rather like one of the trains on Thomas The Tank Engine. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the victory was how despite significant personnel changes in the second half the team’s performance level didn’t drop. Every player slotted in to the team shape and ethic, even if playing out of what would normally be considered to be their best position. Footballing socialism, everyone an equal member of the collective, all working for the good of the others as well as themselves to achieve reward for all. Van Gaal is like Stalin, without the hypocrisy and slaughter and sh*t. On second thoughts, maybe not. Anyway, it’s all bellisimo.
Perhaps the most important purpose of this tour has been to sort the wheat from the sh*te, the players who can adapt and thrive under Van Gaal and those who can’t. The vast majority, it seems, can. However, if your name is Cleverley, Hernandez, Nani or Michael Keane then you may wish to look away now. You might have noticed in previous reviews that I’m not a fan of the former, a midfielder who is not only pish at football but also so mentally weak that he’s terrified to even try to be better. His performances in the US have been as horrible as Herrera’s and Fletcher’s have been wonderful. The lad has 100 lives, remaining at United because he is ‘home grown’ and because the rest of the midfielders at the club have been garbage too. I fear that the same factors will keep him at Old Trafford again, although if Tom’s beliefs about his game are anything to go by we must be beating off Spanish suitors with an electric cattle prod. If the rest of the world can see his limitations then I’m pretty sure Louis can, but if no midfielders come in in August then he’ll still regularly be on the pitch pulling a face like he’s got a really big t*rd on the way and nowhere to unload it.
Hernandez is, and has always been, a curious case: a footballer who is terrible at actual football but who scores goals simply by having the habit of being in the right place at the right time. It doesn’t matter how badly he plays, he can still get you a goal. And, indeed, he did just that against Real Madrid. He was largely horrible from the moment he stepped on the pitch, missed a couple of very presentable chances and yet popped up to score the third from Kagawa’s delicious cross. But is it enough? Van Gaal demands more from his forwards than just finishing and qualities like slipping over, a terrible first touch, physical weakness and the ability to be offside for at least 50% of his game time surely aren’t the most desirable.
Nani doesn’t deserve a paragraph. If he can’t be ar*ed to try on the pitch then I can’t be ar*ed to try to write about the pointless t*tweasel’s failings. Needless to say, the useless fan*y has wasted his talent. Be gone.
Michael Keane deserves a lot of sympathy. At times on tour he has struggled against experienced, high class opponents, making naive mistakes which suggest that he isn’t quite ready for the first team squad yet. He needs a season on loan at a Premier League club where he will either sink or swim. He doesn’t deserve to be sacrificed to the footballing Gods because Ed Woodward can’t manage to spend his vast and unlimited transfer kitty on defenders. If Keane goes in to the season as fourth-choice centre back then YOU WILL HAVE BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS ED.
Anyway, Louis says he’s going to tell the cr*p ones that they’re out when he gets back to the UK. That, of course, is the easy bit. Trying to find a sap or two to take them off our hands may prove more challenging. But Ed’s always been good at flogging tat to fools, so I’d back him come up trumps.
Everyone bar the above played rather well. Aside from the obvious names, Darren Fletcher was particularly impressive, his speed of thought and range of passing allowing United to break quickly and retain possession. Jones, Evans, Herrera, Mata and Rooney have been the other standout performers. And so we move on to a final game in Miami against the Scouse, which we could all do without. If United win we’ll say “that’s nice” and move on to more important matters. If Liverpool win they’ll crown themselves Masters of the Universe and have an open-top bus parade, although the exact timing of the latter may depend upon how many sites of tragedy the club stop at on the way home to mutter YNWA and advertise their new shirt. It really is a quite unique mix of melancholy and commercialism. From such moments a thousand poems and odes on RAWK are born.
Anyway, the tour will be over soon and LVG can get back to Blighty to insert his shoe so far up Ed’s rectum that he’ll be able to tie his shoelaces through his mouth. Less than two weeks until the season starts and it appears that the sweet sum of zero is imminent regarding incoming transfers, which is a worry. Despite implying that he may not wish to sign new players during the press-conference before the Real Madrid game, Van Gaal knows that he doesn’t have close to enough. As things stand, even with a genius in charge, a top four finish in the Premier League is far from a certainty. One wonders if the fabled lack of budget was actually a teeny weeny fib and that United need to sell some deadwood before they can buy again. And what about the recently announced share sale, an event which benefits no one but the Glazers but that United will pay for and expend time and energy on? Big deals mess with share prices, and the price is just where the ginger leaches want it to be. “You’re standing on a mine, nobody move.” Will the club play statues until the deed is done?
Steven De Vrij (linked but not wanted it appears) has now gone to Lazio, Arturo Vidal (subject of the most epic imaginary transfer saga ever) is in Australia and Arsene Wenger is being reasonably difficult about selling us Thomas Vermaelen, who is now the subject of interest from Barcelona. It’s thoroughly riling me that we can’t even close a deal for a player that none of the fans even want. It seems that even flea-ridden, blind, three-legged dogs in the animal shelter don’t want to or can’t come home with us right now. Still, all is not yet lost. 27 days Ed. We’re watching this space.
Away from United, Chelsea fans’ p*ss is boiling at the thought of Frank Lampard joining City, Arsenal fans are drowning in their own boiling p*ss at having lost the Emirates Cup, Spurs are signing or trying to sign a load of players no one else of note wants, Liverpool haven’t signed anyone this week and Tom McDermott managed to last for two days away from Twitter before the pull of the attention proved too much. All things considered it’s been a good week.