Yet when English media dissectors fussed over United in the aftermath of the disaster, their autopsy reports only mentioned De Gea’s blunder as if it had been an epiphenomenon, a mere symptom of the Mancunian evil, and certainly not of its cause. De Gea, after all, is one of the only Red Devils players who, in front of his mirror, will not be caught lying if he claims to have tried to serve his club best throughout the years of lead that followed the departure of Alex Ferguson. You are not voted player of the year for your club four times by your peers by chance. Last season, it was still him that his teammates deemed the most worthy of this distinction; and he deserved it.
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This does not mean that no responsibility weighs on him. He was indeed the direct cause of Da Silva’s goal; ‘direct’, but not the only one. Cristiano Ronaldo shouldn’t have let himself be taken from the ball so easily in his thirty yards, but he did. The Mancunian midfielder should have reacted immediately to the loss of the ball, but did not. Da Silva should never have found himself in a situation that allowed him to shoot on goal in this action. But Manchester United are so shy, hampered, disoriented, disorganized, pitiful, that they have given Brentford this kind of situation a good half-dozen times in ninety minutes, as they did against Brighton. a week earlier.
Instructions contrary to his qualities
Yes, DeGea was still at fault when he chose to raise by relying on Christian Eriksen while the Dane could feel the breath of the excellent Mathias Jensen on his neck. The table was set, Jensen helped himself to it. But the Bees’ second goal was also scored by Erik ten Hag. De Gea had only followed the instructions of his manager: play from the back, build from the six meters.
The problem is that De Gea, a stopper exceptional, is neither Ederson, nor Alysson – nor even Pickford, Lloris or Emi Martinez when he has to execute a pass. It’s been eleven years since he’s been in the Manchester United cage, it’s been eleven years since his kicking game hasn’t improved an inch, no matter how hard he had to put in on the training ground during this time. He doesn’t have the feet of a field player, that’s all, and he won’t acquire them until soon thirty-two.
De Gea during Brentford-United
Credit: Getty Images
Dean Henderson, his lining until this summer, was also superior to him in this compartment of the game. If ten Hag intends to require his goalkeeper to be the first playmaker of his team, perhaps he would have been able to try the experience with the young English international? But Dean Henderson, who was very close to taking his starting place at De Gea in 2020-21, was loaned to Nottingham Forest for the season, which the promoted has every reason to be satisfied with. Manchester United are now left with only veteran Tom Heaton – 36 – as a back-up if their number 1 is unavailable. Here as elsewhere, understand who will be able to the ‘logic’ of recruitment of Mancunians.
Ten Hag’s questionable choices
It was also ten Hag who had the absurd idea of fielding Christian Eriksen in a new position for him, that of remote playmaker – a bit like Pirlo – facing one of the most aggressive opponents that we can find in the Premier League, and which the Dutch technician must have known that he would press loud and clear from the start. However, Eriksen had only Fred to serve as his bodyguard. We see the result.
It is as if ten Hag were working with a stencil, whatever surface he had to paint on. Why wouldn’t the pattern come out as well on concrete as on canvas? Why shouldn’t what worked for him at Utrecht, and especially at Ajax, work at Manchester United? Why not try to recreate at Old Trafford what worked so well at the ArenA? Why not, in fact? It wouldn’t be so different from the strategy Manchester City adopted when signing Pep Guardiola to build a Barcelona 2.0.
The difference is that ten Hag was not preceded by the Amsterdam equivalent of Txiki Begirisatin and Ferran Soriano. Ten Hag is more than isolated: he is alone. This Monday evening’s match may have a surprise in store for us, a huge surprise, even, given the scores of the last three head-to-head matches in the league between Mancunians and Scousers (4-2, 5-0, 4- 0, for whose benefit you guess) and the respective trajectories of the two clubs since Saint Jürgen watches over his flock at Anfield.
Mohamed Salah celebrates a Liverpool goal against Manchester United last season
Credit: Getty Images
What to expect against Manchester United?
De Gea may bring us a huge match, as he did against Klopp’s Liverpool in October 2016 (0-0), then in October 2017 (also 0-0): the second time, the Reds had fired nineteen times at goal, in vain. It may be that the public at Old Trafford, who are said to be preparing a large-scale demonstration against the Glazer family, will ultimately choose to turn to their number one enemy rather than their own. A derby remains a derby. Liverpool are not at their best. A surge of pride is to be expected.
It is also said that ten Hag is ready to impose choices that would have been described as ‘brave’ in less troubled times, but which today resemble final throws of the dice, for lack of anything better: Ronaldo on the bench, Maguire too, waiting for both of them to find takers before the transfer window closes until next January.
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Yes, ‘it may’. But given the latest rumors leaking from Manchester United – the latest would see Antony, another former Ajax player… being bought for €100m – there is no reason to return to Old Trafford. David De Gea can’t help it, nor can most of his teammates, nor can ten Hag – or Rangnick, or Solskjaer, or van Gaal, or Mourinho, or even Moyes. If questions are to be asked, it is first of all the current owners of the club, who, according to the analysis of the accountant blogger Swissramble (an authority in this field), have cost the club nearly 1.9 billion euros. since they took control of it in 2005 and set up a system in which the athlete is at the service of the commercial, and not the other way around
But that, David De Gea can absolutely nothing about it either.
Contrary to what we have heard here is there, the Glazer family, if it is indeed looking for investors to finance the refurbishment of Old Trafford, which really needs it, has for the moment no intention of selling all or part of his ‘A’ shares in the club to billionaire Jim Radcliffe, owner of Lausanne and OGC Nice
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