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Manchester United Are So Good They’ve Become Boring

bored manchester united fan Manchester United Are So Good Theyve Become Boring

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be a Manchester United supporter. Each game is almost guaranteed to be a win. Not only that, but it’s almost always a one-sided win against an inferior opponent. Then, every season there are several trophies to add to the cabinet. For supporters of other clubs, every game is an unknown and there are no guarantees.

Right now, Manchester United are playing so well that they’ve become boring to watch. It seems very unlikely, almost implausible, that any team can beat Man United. The team has no weaknesses. Even when they suffer injuries, their reserve players such as Jonny Evans and Danny Welbeck have seemingly stepped in without missing a beat. On Saturday, 19-year-old Richard Eckersley stepped in for John O’Shea early in the second half, and seemed like a natural fit.

Man United reminds me of those kids in high school and college who always got the highest test scores. You didn’t know whether to admire them or hate them for their continual perfection.

With Man United, the reality is that Sir Alex Ferguson has built an incredible team that is full of skill, confidence and desire to win. They can’t be blamed for that. If anything, the opposing sides are the ones who are more to blame for Manchester United becoming boring to watch. Few teams go for Man United’s jugular (Hull City was a rare exception earlier this season). Instead, teams fear United and play a game of trying to eek out a draw rather than putting the Red Devils on the backfoot.

Such is Man United’s dominance that the last time they lost two league matches in a row was almost four years ago when United lost against Norwich and Everton in April, 2005.

The whole concept of sport is built on the understanding that two opposing forces will attempt to win, resulting in a back and forth battle. Sometimes teams or players win. Sometimes they lose. In Manchester United’s case, they’ve perfected the skill of winning so well that it leaves the neutral observer convinced that they’ll win each match. It’s something that Ferguson knows well and has to ensure that players don’t become too overconfident, but for the rest of us — especially those of you, like me, who root for the underdog — it eliminates the whole element of surprise. And where is the fun in that?

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

19 Responses to Manchester United Are So Good They’ve Become Boring

  1. Ro says:

    For the most part, you are right. That is, regarding EPL opponents. But March 11, vs. Inter Milan, I think there is some uncertainty there, wouldn’t you agree?

  2. Bishopville Red says:

    Hey, if underdogs regularly win, they won’t be underdogs anymore.

    What bugs me more than United constantly winning is the gallons of ink spilled on the impending apocalypse if they actually lose a match. That’s more predictable and boring than a United victory!

  3. Ro says:

    I’m a Man Utd. fan, but I’m not a mindless supporter. Man Utd. can be beaten if teams go at them continuously. Newcastle and Fulham made Man Utd. look very vulnerable at times. I think Barca’s style of play will be the biggest challenge for Man utd. But I’m early awaiting the Inter Milan game :0

  4. eplnfl says:

    Man U can not do anything wrong right now. Yet the hard part of there season is approaching. With FA Cup, CL, and Prem fixtures all upon them off days will be few and far between. The days of cupcake matches in each of the tournaments are over also, every opponent will be of quality. Chasing history is also another factor to weigh on them.

    A easy Prem fixture in March maybe much more difficult after a hard battle midweek in the Champions league and a long flight home. There is no easy road ahead for them.

    I would like everyone to remember the days of the American owners would cause the downfall of the English giants. I guess they were wrong? Now Man U needs to be broken up. How strange.

  5. Django says:

    With 10 wins in league by one goal going back to December, I can’t agree that it’s almost always a lopsided win. United have hung 3 goals on only one “top four” team, and that was Chelsea during their worst spell of the year. Other than that, they scored 9 combined against West Brom, who are clearly inferior, and haven’t necessarily overwhelmed that many teams. In the Champions League they’ve drawn their last three matches–they qualified largely on the results in two of their six group stage matches. I’ve been most impressed that they gut games out when they aren’t dominating, an ability that you crucified Liverpool for earlier in the year and attributed to luck. United have been able to do this time and again–the sign of a side that deserves to win the title. The best thing you can say about United is that they play a full 90…that’s about all you can guarantee.

  6. steve says:

    not as boring as this embarrassment of an article that’s for sure. if you don’t like watching good football, go and watch another sport.

  7. J H says:

    I agree totally with this article.

    MLS in the US is the most competitive league in the world and while some think the league is slow or boring no result is pre ordained and often times games are free flowing and attack oriented. Teams go for 3 points on the road and nobody ever parks the bus in front of goal.

  8. Kartik says:

    MLS in the US is the most competitive league in the world and while some think the league is slow or boring no result is pre ordained and often times games are free flowing and attack oriented. Teams go for 3 points on the road and nobody ever parks the bus in front of goal.

    MLS being the world’s most competitive league is a myth that has been promoted by the league itself and lazy football journalists in the US. Mexico’s league is much more competitive with more than twice as many different teams winning titles this decade than MLS.

    Plenty of MLS teams play for draws. Heck last season Sig Schmid parked the bus at BMO to get a nill nill draw vs TFC.

  9. paul cottam says:

    the premiership is too much hype, it’s far too predictable, ever since its formation, the rich teams win everthing,fact. It must of been far more exciting in the 1960s, different winners each year, several challengers, stars in each team, not all in one. nowadays,to me its like at school when you pick a team, but rather than take turns, fergie gets first 11 picks!, then, people say hasnt he done well, winning again,its expected!, im glad i dont support them, expecting to win, what, 35 games a season, and would be happy with draws at,lpool,arsenal,chelsea, not very exciting is it, english football has gone the scottish way, in its predictability.As a Blackpool fan, 2 seasons ago, we got promoted, we lost our first 3 games and i thought we may get relegated!, we only won 1 of our first 10 games!, but because moneys everything in football, this is now as good as it gets, i dont think its right, its not healthy, sport needs to be a level playing field, all teams should opperate on the same budget, then we would see who the good managers are!.

  10. Mike says:

    I’ve been a Manchester United fan for over 40 years…and it has NEVER been boring watching them. They are the last team in the World that could be labled boring The brand of football they have always played is adventurous and creative. It is attacking football at it’s best and the notion that teams come looking for a draw is a total myth. They know if they do that they get taken apart – simple as that. You do not voluntarily give United permission to play in your half.

    The only way to beat United is to try and match their industry and energy and push them back. You need midfield players who can both hold the ball and pass it. They need to be strong and physical and extremely fit. They need to bee able to link up with fast and mobile forwards…you actually need a team who can play like United. Not many of them around is there?

    Some teams can raise their game when United is the opposition. They give everything in that one game. Teams that can do that have had a degree of success, maybe getting a draw or the occasional win but another huge strength of the United team is their mental strength. As the author of this article has stated, it is a long time since they lost two games in succession. They bounce back from defeat in the best possible manner.

    The fact is that at times United are unplayable. Teams come in the hope they can unsettle and put pressure on United and end up not getting a touch of the ball. If you can’t get hold of the ball you end up playing all the football in your own half, around your own goal.

    The passing and movement is United’s key. They can pass through you, round you, over you…you name it. Many teams try to combat that by putting a line of five in midfield with managers believing that the midfield is also the key to unlocking United’s defence. They hope that attacking midfielders can both arrive in support of a lone striker and over run United’s more traditional 4 4 2 formation.

    The trouble is that United are soo fluid that they can turn 4 4 2 into something that might resemble a 2 2 6 formation (for example) so rapidly that it’s scarey – and equally, before you know it they can take up a 6 2 2 or 6 3 1 formation to defend their own goal, with everyone chasing back and doing their share of the hard defensive work. It is just a fluid mobile unit up and down the playing field. Wonderful and awesome football…boring it is most definately not!

    Oh…just one more thing. United have always been expected to beat the teams they are beating now. It comes with being the biggest brand name in sport. Even in the times they have strugled to win games and titles they were still ‘expected’ to win them. You never turn up for a game as a United supporter expecting them to loose no matter how badly they might be doing. Just another aspect of the winning mentality that is a deep part of this fantastic club and long may it stay that way!

  11. Swissdevil says:

    @ Mike:

    great post, you speak out from the bottom of my heart!!! United4Life!!

  12. Will says:

    If Ferguson was only known for his achievements at Aberdeen I would still see him as a good manager. Now, however, success is determined by branding, revenue streams…billionaire owners. Man City are being forseen as challengers in the near future. Why? Because they have a good manager? No, that slate is blank, we don’t even know who the manager is going to be, but their at least rise up the Premier is assured. Man Utd is often lauded for their late season form; not difficult when they have essentially 3 quality teams they can field whilst other squads are at breaking point and beginning to come apart. Villa and Everton have built largely British teams that would have challenged for the League 20 odd years ago. Chance of winning the league now is non-existent; two sides with illustrious histories with NO chance to win the league.

    I will tell you how to beat Man Utd, and it does not involve tactics, “going at them”, whatever. I would do it with infinitely deep corporate/multinational pockets and I would emulate Ferguson and cherry pick teams around me…Rio Ferdinand…Berbatov…Rooney…Tevez…sort of a la Man Utd and the other Sky 4 teams. Oh, and throw in some free flowing football to keep the sponsors happy.

  13. Ro says:

    I agree with Mike. It’s not just that they win but it’s how they win. Their play is so interesting and entertaining. Who isn’t excited about their clash with Inter Milan? Who isn’t excited about their clash with Liverpool?

  14. mm says:

    Right with Mike. Sure they have money but they use their brains to get the work done, unlike other rich teams making outrageous purchases and reaping no silverware.

  15. Mike says:

    I must say that it is a pleasure to find a site where people are willing to discuss their opinions and feelings about football instead of mindless and partisan drivel being aimed at opposing supporters and clubs. Thanks also for those guys who appreciated my opinion. I am a die hard Manchester United fan. I was born and raised in the City of Manchester but I have always loved football, good football that is, from any team or nation. I’m going to take some time out to discuss a point of irritation, one that I have noted here as well from some of the contributors to this discussion. I know it is a long comment but if you have the time then read it and come back with some comment of your own.

    It is a little sad for a club such as United that so much is written about this great club that is only half truths or completely misinformed. Those of you who keep uttering the mantra ‘United are successful because of the money’ are picking up on a general theme that probably was first of huge media interest when the Russians moved into the West side of London and bought a ‘plaything’ called Chelsea football club.

    Previous to this we had seen mega rich beneficiaries buy, or try to buy, titles for clubs – as was the case with Blackburn Rovers for example – but no one had uttered a word about that. In fact it was great for guys with the type of attitude against the bigger clubs that some of the guys in this discussion are showing. It was ok for these clubs to pay fortunes suddenly for big players who would take the money they were offering.

    This sort of thing had been going on throughout the rest of Europe for many years, again without any sort of negative press or comments. People were in awe of the great Italian and Spanish sides that were put together with every big star name under the sun – regardless of where they came from.

    Back to the Chelsea thing and here we have a reasonably large club in terms of English football that has acquired the ability to compete financially with these huge ‘bottomless pit’ types of continental clubs. Real Madrid for example where being ‘sponsored by Royalty, the government and the taxes of the Spanish nation. Juventus and Milan where the benefactors of mega rich owners and chairmen who saw their money and investments in the clubs as a way to buy popularity and influence. In short, money in football is nothing new – only now it is not with the powers of continental European football, it is with the ‘bad guys’ now, the thugs of Europe, and UEFA /FIFA do not like this one bit.

    So suddenly so much money in football is all wrong! A professional sport that has done everything in it’s power to reap the rewards of marketing and sponsorship of it’s products is now represented by it’s own professional bodies in accusing the English Premier League of having too much money. Just think about that a moment.

    What they mean is not too much money but too much money in the wrong place. If the other leagues had been as successful in attracting so much investment – at the expense of the English leagues – we would have been told to improve and market our products better. We were told that before by these bodies.

    Now all this has worked its way into the psyche of the football media and consequently many of the less successful supporters mindset. They will talk all day about reasons why their club can not compete against clubs such as Manchester United. Their ill considered comments centre on a handful of players that United have been forced to pay hugely inflated prices for – because of the club they are- and the reasons why United can afford to pay those prices.

    They ignore the decades, years of tradition, success, honourable or tragic failure that have built the foundations of this great club. They ignore the tradition of playing exciting and attractive football that created a huge fanbase around the world. They do not talk about the success of the last two decades that has been built firmly on the traditions of finding local young talent and blending them with youngsters from further afield and then buying the occasional star to add the skill and experience and to develop the team.

    Manchester United has not taken the same path as the Real Madrids, Chelseas, AC MIlans or Barcelonas of this world. They have not built teams of solely big and expensive names, bought from the other leading teams of Europe. Berbatov is probably the nearest thing to a world star (at the time of actually buying the player) we have bought in many years.

    Neither Ferdinand, Rooney, Ronaldo nor Carrick were considered World stars before they had proved themselves as such at United. In fact, Ronaldo was considered a huge gamble for the price we paid (which had doubled from the £5 million value being quoted at the time of United’s confirmed interest in the ‘auctioned’ player to over £10 million pound – the price United were forced to pay just because they are United).

    Rooney was again thought to be a big gamble. A young teenager with a questionable temperament. A ridiculous price tag was attached to Rooney as soon as United showed their interest. Instead of the £20 million Newcastle had offered (and it was offered because they were aware Manchester had made plans to make an offer in the close season, so they tried to ‘hijack’ that deal by offering to buy him themselves – and so helped push the price up for Rooney’s preferred club (of transfer), Manchester United) Manchester had to then pay £30 million to acquire him.

    You see, Manchester have put teams together built on their success, not just on the field of play but also in finding the right local talent, the right young players and the right players to buy. The other clubs inflate their prices when United do decide to buy a player. They pocket huge sums of money – and then blame United for their lack of success.

    United have not built their strategy on the wholesale purchase of world class players and stars. They leave that sort of thing to lesser clubs such as Chelsea, Madrid, Manchester City. United’s success is built upon hard work and the expertise they have attracted and built into the club. It is built on the loyalty and love of the fans from all over the world – and sure, success builds success so we have many new fans committing their allegiance every day.

    You need great managers and great leaders to keep all that in place, to give their vision of how to achieve the club’s goals. United have that all the way through the club, great ambassadors such as Sir Bobby Charlton, great administrators and business managers such as David Gill. Great business people such as the Glasers, but most importantly they and the players all recognise the authority of the greatest football manager of our age – ‘old red-nose’ himself…Sir Alex Ferguson!

  16. Cesar says:

    Manchester United are by far the best team in the world right now and have proven that status. They just defeated the best team in Italy on Wednesday in a commanding 2-0 victory. They’ve downed the second best team in England 3-0 with no problem, and they’ve set themselves up to complete the seemingly impossible quintuple.

    Just like it says in this article, it seems they have no weaknessess. They have an almost impenitrable defense, backed up by a hardened veteran keeper who is still playing in his prime at the age of 38, a constantly solid midfield with the perfect balance of youth and experience, and perhaps the most potent attacking force in the world led by the world player of the year for 2008. Now, many people say that Ronaldo has failed to duplicate his outstanding performance from last year, but their ignorance is quite amusing. What these critics fail to realize is that Manchester United are just that good. Ronaldo no longer needs to carry the team on his back as he did last season. His current performance is certainly still at a world class level, and his past heroics have done nothing less then inspire the rest of his teammates.

    With the acquisition of Berbatov and another season of maturing under their belt, Manchester United are on their way to becoming one of if not the most dominant sports dynasties in history.

  17. Alex says:

    Man utd style of play is almost as boring as Mila’s, at times they defend with 10, and wait for a counterattack from ronaldo, that’s all there is to man utd, just wait for the other team to attack and pass the ball to ronaldo so he can run. They win games with constant help from the english refs, please even man utd fans must see it, 5 min injury time??? what a joke. Barca are gonna demonstrate the world that for football teams to win they don’t need to be boring and defensive. They are gonna show what they beautiful game is all about

    P.S: last year champion’s league semi-final man utd was a disgrace, they defended like crazy, while barcelona always attacked. Man utd wants to copy Milan’s boring success formula

  18. Brad says:

    The premier league is far too predictable the only difference for every season is that different clubs get relegated and come up. It would be nice to see a smaller club break into the top 4 and at the moment I can only see Everton, Man.city or Aston Villa. Everton are perhaps the strongest of those 3 sides and could break in depending on who they buy in the summer as there is no width to their squad and they need back up players I think they could b serious contenders for a trophy this year. Man.city could break into the top 4 depending on if they sign a big player in the summer or a striker that can get them the goals in big games i.e Carlos Tevez . Aston Villa could break into the top 4 if they sign someone to replace Gareth Barry with the 11m they got from Man.city. there could well be other contenders for the fourth spot but I don’t think there will be any changes to the ‘Big 4′ any time soon.

  19. mike says:

    i no there ****

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