Manchester United having no choice but to drop Andre Onana is the current story, despite the ‘secure’ Erik ten Hag liking those Premier League clean sheets.
There is obvious currency in pretending Manchester United might drop Andre Onana. It would be foolish to pretend the Cameroonian has been a roaring success at Old Trafford thus far, but equally it seems important to point out that no Premier League keeper has more clean sheets and Onana ranks 10th in Europe’s top five leagues for save percentage.
Translation: get to the bench because Altay Bayindir is here.
‘The 6ft 6in Turkey international was brought in to provide genuine competition for Onana, and it is known that the Cameroon keeper is nervous about losing his place when he goes to the Africa Cup of Nations next month and misses up to seven games for United,’ writes Chris Wheeler in the Daily Mail.
‘The reality in the wake of another difficult Champions League night is that Onana’s 25-year-old understudy may be brought in before then. For tomorrow’s crunch game against Newcastle at St James’ Park perhaps?
Andre the giant
‘It’s hard to argue against the idea that Andre Onana deserves to be dropped for some of the mistakes he has made so far this season’ – Tyrone Marshall, Manchester Evening News.
Five clean sheets and a 78.8% save percentage, both of which are league highs.
Based on his Premier League form it is actually easy to argue that he probably shouldn’t be dropped after helping them win five of their last six games.
Sitting on the dock of the Bay
Asks James Ducker in the Daily Telegraph:
‘With Onana likely to be missing for part of January and perhaps February owing to the Africa Cup of Nations, Bayindir is probably going to have to come in at some point, so why not now?’
Because Onana has been largely very good in the Premier League so dropping him in the Premier League makes no sense. Happy to help.
Price of admission
The Manchester Evening News know what they’re doing with this headline:
‘Altay Bayindir’s agent makes Manchester United transfer admission amid Andre Onana form’
But Sefa Seyrek saying Manchester United were interested in Bayindir for a couple of years before signing him hardly seems that ground-breaking, even if it does come ‘amid Andre Onana form’.
No way, Jose
Elsewhere in the Manchester Evening News, it is said that ‘Erik ten Hag deserves Jose Mourinho’s chant at Manchester United’.
That is the headline to a Samuel Luckhurst piece which mentions Mourinho once – in the 18th paragraph of 22. Well okay.
Perhaps the point Luckhurst made in relation to Mourinho was so phenomenal that it practically demanded headline space?
‘Irrespective of where United finish in Group A, Ten Hag’s position is now secure on account of the league results and crowdpleasing style United are showcasing with greater regularity. Ten Hag is worthy of the Something Tells Me I’m Into Something Good chant that deified Mourinho: “Jose’s playing the way that United should.”‘
Ah yes, Jose Mourinho. Mr ‘crowdpleasing style’ himself. A man so ‘deified’ he was sacked in little over two years.
Ten Hag being second in the Premier League sack race also rather undercuts any idea that his ‘position is now secure’. Manchester United are the form team since October but they have also lost every game against top-half opposition this season and five of their next six Premier League matches are against such teams.
Just like that river twisting through a dusty land
The good news continues for the Manchester United manager, because according to The Sun website: ‘Ten Hag has ‘next Cesc Fabregas’ at his disposal in struggling Man Utd squad’.
And rare as it is for Mediawatch to stick up for Rio Ferdinand – particularly after his disastrous co-commentary in midweek – it is only fair to point out that neither he nor anyone else called Kobbie Mainoo the ‘next Cesc Fabregas’.
He did say “I thought about it the other day, 18 year olds coming into the first team in the Premier League who gave performances like that. I dunno, Fabregas maybe? Jack Wilshere maybe? I’m not saying [Mainoo] is as good as these guys, there have been more explosive but I’m talking about composure.”
But what he irrefutably did not do is call Mainoo the ‘next Cesc Fabregas’. Or even the ‘next Jack Wilshere’.
‘Owen claims Liverpool star will be “disappointed” as Reds transfer a “step down”‘ is a mightily evocative headline on the Daily Mirror, implying that a pundit the fanbase doesn’t like has referred to Liverpool in derogatory terms.
That will not go down well on Merseyside, but it ticks more than a couple of boxes for the website.
But who does Owen reckon will be “disappointed” after taking a “step down” to join Liverpool? That really is intriguing, which is indeed the idea.
‘Michael Owen reckons Wataru Endo will be disappointed he’s failed to make the holding midfield position his own at Liverpool – conceding the Japanese star is a “step down” from Fabinho.’
Mediawatch reckons the fourth-most expensive midfield signing of Liverpool’s summer – the other three cost at least twice as much – might have anticipated being no higher than fourth at best in the midfield pecking order at Liverpool, with Curtis Jones, Cody Gakpo and Harvey Elliott also probably ahead of him.
And yes, Fabinho is/was better than Endo. That is not a point that needs ‘conceding’, for it is rather obvious.
The thing is, that isn’t even what Owen said. Here is the quote from which the headline is generated:
“They like Mac Allister but actually when you take him out of position into that sitting midfield role it’s probably a step down from Fabinho, who obviously they lost in the summer.”
So not only is that headline clickbait in terms of suggesting Owen has called Liverpool a “step down” for a new player, it is nonsense because Owen was calling Alexis Mac Allister, not Endo, a “step down” in the holding midfielder position from Fabinho.
Absolutely fine story otherwise.