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Friday, June 14, 2024

Football Daily | Manchester United carry on through it all. They’ve a waterfall

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UNITED THEY STAGGERHaving made no secret of his displeasure at the squalid state of Manchester United’s IT department and dressing rooms last week, one shudders to think what Big Sir Jim Ratcliffe made of the scenes at Old Trafford on Sunday. While the club’s techies and future stars might be forced to endure workplaces that are ankle-deep in Monster Munch crumbs and Marvel comics or empty Brylcreem tubs and gaffer tape, respectively, at least they are dry as they potter about in these messes of their own making. The same cannot be said for many of the club’s paying customers, who could be forgiven for hoping the roof over their prohibitively priced seats might prevent them from being soaked to the skin by the waterfalls which cascade through its assorted holes and gaps on the regular occasions the heavens open in the sky above Manchester.Having ordered staff to stop working from home, Ratcliffe seemed determined to lead by example, eschewing the opportunity to watch his team lift the Women’s FA Cup for the very first time on a sunny afternoon in a comparatively palatial and dust-dry Wembley stadium, electing instead to watch their male counterparts slump to yet another ignominious defeat at the hands of an Arsenal side who didn’t need to be anywhere near their best as they phoned in as emphatic a 1-0 win as you’re ever likely to see against the sorry rabble currently masquerading as Manchester United. Amid an apocalyptic monsoon, a bad week for stand-in centre-half Casemiro got even worse while those in the stands were soaked to the skin by rainfall that dampened everything but their puzzlingly high spirits. Throughout was a largely uneventful non-football match, with the efforts of United’s fans to gee up their team being hugely impressive if almost entirely unsuccessful.Ella Toone shoots. Ella Toone scores. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The GuardianWhile anyone of a certain age with functioning eyes can tell this is the worst incarnation of Manchester United in more than 30 years, the statistics now prove it. Erik ten Hag’s side have now lost more games than in any other Premier League season and could yet finish the campaign with their lowest ever points tally and a negative goal difference. And while the Dutchman has blamed much of their misfortune on a knack-list that has left him with no option but to play the Brazilian with all the speed, agility and awareness of an aged sloth in the heart of his defence, Wayne Rooney has suggested the “sick-note culture” Rishi Sunak erroneously claims is holding the UK back may have infiltrated the dressing room. In his role as a pundit on Sky Sports, United’s record goalscorer caused quite the stir by claiming many of United’s lame and halt are faking their knack, as they don’t wish to be tainted by association with a losing team and are protecting themselves for more glamorous assignments ahead.“As we look at the [knack] they’ve picked up, some of those players can play,” tooted Rooney. “Some of those players can play, 100%. It’s easy when you’ve got a European Championship and FA Cup final coming up; it’s easy, because they’re getting a little bit of stick, to stay out of it and come back towards the final. You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it over the years.” No stranger to playing through the pain barrier during his own time as a player, occasionally at a cost to whatever team he happened to be representing, Rooney was sat alongside Roy Keane and Paul Merson, and it seemed rather telling that neither of the pair – who could never be accused of shirking a challenge – happened to disagree with an allegation many viewers might have found shocking. So, another defeat doled out to United’s men, for whom the end of a grim season can’t come quickly enough, while Arsenal’s players and fans have to wait another week before receiving the almost inevitable soaking from the torrential rain on what has been an otherwise enjoyable Premier League parade.LIVE ON BIG WEBSITEJoin Michael Butler from 8pm BST for hot Premier League minute-by-minute updates from Aston Villa 2-2 Liverpool.QUOTE OF THE DAY“The last two seasons have been tough for me, with [knack] and missing two cup finals, but this is a team sport and we’ve all got our own roles to play. It’s been a pleasure to play with many talented players, ex-teammates and fellow Dutchies. Without all these amazing teammates and, of course, you, the fans my story would not have been as special as it was. Thank you for everything” – all-time WSL leading scorer Vivianne Miedema announces that she will be leaving Arsenal at the end of the season.Vivianne Miedema is heading for pastures new. Photograph: Alex Burstow/Arsenal FC/Getty ImagesWIN A DAVID SQUIRES PRINT!Thanks to our friends at the Guardian Print Shop, we are giving away four David Squires cartoons over the next four weeks. To enter, just write us a letter for publication below. We will choose the best of our letter o’ the day winners at the end of each of the next four weeks and that worthy winner will be given a voucher for one of our top, top cartoonist’s prints. And if you’re not successful, you can scan the full archive of David’s cartoons here and then buy your own. Terms and conditions for the competition can be viewed here. Re: whether losing on penalties should halt an unbeaten run (Friday’s Football Daily), I offer only a tidbit of knowledge. While managing Nottingham Forest on Championship Manager 00/01 (as Football Manager was then), I feared my team’s record attempt would be kiboshed by a penalty loss to Chelsea in the Milk Cup final. It turned out that it was not affected at all and we managed to clinch the record a few games later. So the conclusion is either losing on penalties doesn’t count, or some people don’t regard Milk Cup fixtures as competitive games” – Andy Gill. Re: Friday’s Football Daily letters. Peterborough’s Darren Ferguson may not have fallen far from the tree, but he still has a lot to learn before he can truly emulate his dad. Alex wouldn’t have waited until after the match to complain. He would have talked to the press about how disappointed he was with the referee’s performance so far in the season, told the ref before the game to look out for time-wasting, and then spent the whole game intimidating the fourth official. Not to mention his pathetic pointing at his watch (which often worked)” – Trevor West. Send letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. Today’s letter o’ the day winner is … Andy Gill, who now has the chance to win a David Squires cartoon from our print shop at the end of the week. Terms and conditions for all this can be viewed here. This is an extract from our daily football email … Football Daily. To get the full version, just visit this page and follow the instructions.

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