I agree Ole.

Published: Monday, 01 March 2021
Ole wasn’t happy was he? Mind you, I don’t think he does ‘angry’ very well. He gets too flustered and that dilutes the impact of what he’s trying to say. I get a little embarrassed for him.

But he was right about the point he was trying to make post match at Chelsea.  I too believe referees are being more careful about the penalties that they’re awarding United. And quite right too. The regularity with which they were getting them was a joke.

I hate to return to the subject, but Solskjaer put it right back on the agenda after the game at Stamford Bridge, whining about how the ref had cost them ‘two points’. How Ole? Even if you’d got the pen you were arguing about, you would still have had to score with it. It’s not a given that a pen leads to a goal. Ask Brighton. That’s why I hate to see players celebrate when they’ve ‘won’ one. There’s still work to do.

What else was it Solskjaer was complaining about? Oh yes - an oblique piece on Chelsea’s website that he thought the match day ref might have read and been influenced by? Please. Stop it. My sides are hurting.

Like most of us, I’m sure Stuart Attwell had better things to do than go trawling through Chelsea’s website before the game. Personally I’d rather have eaten an out of date yoghurt.

Come on Ole. Let’s get real. The only people to blame for the pens drying up are you and your team - more specifically the guilty men who’ve been falling over in a mild breeze and (with the obligatory squeal) after being sneezed on.

I admit I started the debate on BeINSPORTS, during a conversation with Andy, about 6 weeks ago now. I’d spotted how regularly United were ‘winning’ pens - 34 in all comps since the start of last season. It’s 35 now so the pace has slowed. The one they got against Southampton after another dive by Martial had the Frenchmen leaving the pitch telling team-mates and Saints players alike ‘it wasn’t a pen’. No. It wasn’t. Despite the score-line it mattered, because he got away with. And he shouldn’t have done.

Anyway, Liverpool spotted the story and ran with it. Frank Lampard followed and so did the press. All of a sudden everyone was talking about it and it led to referees being more careful. Again, Quite right.

Do you remember the one in Paris Ole? The one that got you your job? Granted, that one wasn’t ‘won’ - but it wasn’t a pen.

And how many times have you condemned Mssrs Martial. Rashford, Greenwood and Fernandes for diving? Or have you just sat with a satisfied look on your face knowing you’ve nicked another few points?

I said last week that Maguire should’ve apologised for his impression of a snipers target at West Brom. As we know, he was offside anyway, so why not? He’d have done himself and his team a world of good if he had done. Instead, he might just have cost his team this weekend.

For me, Attwell got it right. I’ve no idea why VAR got involved. But let’s give a little ground here and say the decision was ‘subjective’. For some it was - mostly United fans of course. For the majority it wasn’t. A month ago United would almost certainly have got it.

As for the game. Wow. What a bore- draw. That was United’s sixth game against one of the ‘big six’ this season. So far they’ve scored one goal - in the 6-1 hiding by Spurs - and the rest have all finished 0-0.  

Where are the howls of derision from the class of ‘92? Do you remember Gary Neville demanding that ‘no outsider should ever again be appointed to the manager’s job at Old Trafford and impose his style on us’? When they fired Mourinho, Solskjaer was welcomed because he understood United’s DNA. Really? Ok, they’re second - but the truth is, without their pens and Fernandes on a good day, they’re really not very good. Mourinho knew that and adapted as a result. He got battered. What Solskjaer is delivering is no different. It’s dull. It’s a betrayal of United’s ‘style’. Well - isn’t it?

The league is done now that City have learned how to defend. It’s a terrific run they’re on. Oh, just one thing. I didn’t say Guardiola should’ve been sacked some time ago for being reckless. I actually said ‘in any other line of business reckless spending - £500m on defenders to get it right - would almost certainly have let to someone getting the sack’. And I stand by that.

The battle for CL places is fascinating. It’s a good job too because it’s all we’ve got left again. Do you remember a couple of months ago all the excitement about four - maybe six teams being in a title race? It wasn’t going to happen. I said back then it would end up being only one - maybe two. That’s how it’s always been. That’s how it will always be. The two are different across the eras - that’s all.

The Blades are gone. We’ve all known that all season. And so have they. I still believe the Baggies will go, but Fulham are making a real go of it.

And yes, Newcastle fans. I know exactly what you want. We all do. You want what everybody else does. But let me clarify my latest mis-reported thoughts. I said ‘Mike Ashley owns the club and therefore can run it anyway he sees fit’. Fact. You might not like it - but it’s true. I didn’t say I supported him or ever have done. Ok?

And finally, thoughts with the Roeder family. We’ve lost another of the games’ good guys. I didn’t know him well, but had spent time with him and I liked him. RIP Glenn.