It’s no secret that Samuel Luckhurst is my mortal internet enemy. The dude SUCKKKSSS. I can’t imagine someone who would be less fun at a party than this snobby pretentious organism who only manages to complain despite having what I would imagine is hundreds if not thousand’s of people’s dream job.
Luckhurst writes with tons of fancy words to make his articles seem sophisticated and full of nuance but the reality is they’re all dross without the least bit of substance.
For a man who loves to complain about Manchester United this has been a dream season for him. He’s had tons to complain about!
Yet for a season filled with awful articles featuring nothing but complaints, Luckhurst just may have written his worst one of the season this week. Ordinarily I would just skim through it (if that) and move on but this one was so bad I just had to blog it.
It is, NOTHING but him throwing shit criticisms out without providing ANY context whatsoever. It’s almost like he’s trying to take things with no relevance and say, “well we should hold this against Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.”
Let’s start with the headline.
“Manchester United think their plan might have worked too well.”
I’ll give Sam this, he probably didn’t write that headline. Newspapers usually have headline writers but this one makes no sense. Nowhere in this article does it talk about what United’s plan was or what they may have done too well.
“We’ve gone out in two semi-finals, so we’ve got a final and have got to embrace that one. Finally we’re in one!” Solskjaer laughed on his post-match Zoom call. Solskjaer has sounded more like a United manager over the last month but this was a Moyesean misstep after he was reacquainted with his artisan predecessor.
Look, I don’t go to all (or any) of Solskjaer’s press conferences nor have I ever spoken to the man face to face (he is invited to my wedding though), but Sam has. Yet even I know his personality enough to know that Solskjaer is both making a joke here and stressing how important this game is. For some reason – probably because he hates fun – Sam finds making a joke to be the worst thing that a manager can do, thus he’s instantly compared to David Moyes.
Regaining top four status is not cause for United to put up the bunting or, perish the thought, pose for and post dressing room selfies.
Literally no one said they were doing this.
They invested more than any other Premier League club in the summer and Champions League qualification was the bare minimum expected.
Here we go with the fucking money again. Yes they spent £200 million in the transfer market last season, but they didn’t revamp their whole squad, they bought three players. One of whom was supposed to be a squad player.
Who cares how much money they spent? It’s been proven time and time again that amount of money spent has very little to do with where you finish in the table (16% of the variance according to the latest edition of Soccernomics).
Do I think Sam knows this? Not a chance. Because that’s from a study that involves numbers and statistics and goes against Sam’s insanely old school 1950s way of thinking about football.
Whatever the mitigation of United’s summer transition (transition is always a convenient buzzword for underachieving)
Not wrong here. Both Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho clung to those words during their eras but here’s the difference: those guys were hired to get immediate results! They were hired to win the league and do it rather quickly! Van Gaal we understood would need a year to get us back into the top four and then start competing so he was given some slack that first season, where he only finished with 70 points – just seven more than United currently have and potentially only four more.
From day one Solskjaer was talking about how this squad needed to be completely gutted and rebuilt. They’ve been using the word transition since day zero. That’s before they even started underachieving.
they were 14th in late October and won four of their first 14 league games.
I’m sorry, are they disqualified from competing in the Champions League because they were 14th in October?? Who the fuck cares???
Sam’s constantly been bitching about this season being below par but again, who cares? You only gotta beat the team’s from this season. Should we go back and strip United of their ’99 title because they only won 79 points – a paltry standard by today’s marks? Or the 2010/11 title who had 80 points, one point lower than Leicester’s mark of 81? Didn’t think so.
Solskjaer’s glib quip about semi-final defeats jars with a club that last went three years without silverware in the late 80s. The Europa League offers salvation but Moyes and Louis van Gaal were sacked after failure to secure Champions League football.
Newsflash. Solskjaer is currently in the Champions League spots and if he won the Europa League he’d qualify for the Champions League too. That’s literally how Jose did it in his first season when he finished sixth.
The FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea was almost dismissed as if it was a midweek League Cup tie and for what? A suspiciously conservative draw with a team fifth from bottom three days later.
This is my exact point about Luckhurst writing in a fancy way to make it seem sophisticated but offering ZERO nuance. It’s a very well written paragraph! Does it tell you anything? Nope!
Does Luckhurst bother saying the team on Sunday was very similar in personnel and shape to the one that beat Chelsea in February? Ha! Does he mention that United’s plan, which was likely to keep the game scoreless and bring the artillery off the bench in the second half, was working until Eric Bailly got injured in the first half? United had to change their shape and then immediately conceded. Bad mistakes from Brandon Williams and David de Gea straight after halftime put the game away before United could settle in to their new formation.
And then of course he makes it seem like we intentionally set out to get a draw vs West Ham. Yea, I’m sure that was the plan.
Does he bother mentioning why we looked so poor against West Ham? Like how the absence of Luke Shaw, or just a left footed left back in general, really hampered our build up play?
Of course not, that would involve providing actual substance to his article. He’s not here to do that, he’s here to take anything that could be spun into a negative and do exactly that.
United had more than 40 minutes to procure a winner against West Ham and three substitutuons available amid an ineffectual attacking performance. Yet the only attacking switch Solskjaer made was to replace Marcus Rashford with Odion Ighalo.
You want to know why he didn’t make any subs? Look at the fucking bench Sam! Who was available to come on?
Solskjaer was asked this question after the game and said the exact same thing – that he felt the forwards on the pitch were the best ones to get a winner! Aka, I ain’t got anyone better on my bench.
Only two players have scored goals off the bench for United this season: Mason Greenwood who was on the pitch and Daniel James when he scored the fourth in a 4-0 win over Chelsea ON THE OPENING DAY OF THE SEASON.
Solskjaer ain’t wrong.
Nemanja Matic could have been sacrificed but stayed on and Paul Pogba was unable to atone for his brainstorm.
Sure Matic could have been replaced but for who? McTominay? That would make things worse. Fred? Ok but that’s a like for like substitution and doesn’t scream attacking sub.
As for Pogba. I made my feelings about his handball very clear here.
Idk, I just can’t blame any human being for having less than a second to react to a missile coming straight at their brain and putting their hands up to protect themselves (the force of this shot STILL knocks Pogba over).
And from this angle, it very much looks like Pogba’s view of the shot being taken could have been blocked by Bruno’s diving attempt to block it, meaning he literally had just fractions of a second to react. Can’t apologize for natural human instincts taking over there.
Oh btw, Pogba started the sequence that lead to United’s goal soooo maybe Scott McTominay takes that shot right in the face (and gets knocked out) so United don’t concede, but they wouldn’t have gone 1-0 up either.
Juan Mata’s lockpicking skills were ignored.
Gonna have to take my word for it but a few weeks ago Sam said Mata couldn’t even be considered for selection because he’s become “a cup specialist.” Of course he’s since deleted the tweet.
Continuing with the unchanged XI against Southampton was understandable, even if it proved a game too far. But at Crystal Palace the team was not freshened up enough and come Wembley there were a surfeit of changes. The mentality against West Ham was a borderline betrayal of United’s ethos.
HOLD UP. Solskjaer made two changes against Crystal Palace and you’re saying that wasn’t enough. He made three changes for the match against Chelsea and a few paragraphs ago you LITERALLY called it a League Cup side!
That is classic Luckhurst. Complaining so much that he forgot his own argument and starts bitching from the other side just a few paragraphs later. That’s how much negativity he has running through him. He stayed so true to his brand that both sides of the argument presented an chance to be spun for negativity and he did it!
Fuck you Sam.