Man Utd have lost 5 points in the last two games within 3 minutes of added time. Chelsea went two goals clear as Gallagher and Palmer, from the spot, put them clear. Caicedo’s suicide pass to Garnacho allowed us to get a goal back and then a well worked move saw Bruno head in the equaliser. It was a breathless first half and the second half became even more frantic. Antony produced the pass of the season to Garnacho who would put us ahead. Then Dalot gave away a costly penalty, which Palmer dispatched again. Then another set piece, which United were criminally lax from, saw Palmer grab his hat trick as it deflected in off McTominay. It was a ridiculous game and truly, all the goals that got left in Hounslow by Brentford was picked up Chelsea to use in Fulham Broadway tonight.

Walk Into The Light

In a game where that the amount of space for a professional top league game was laughable, the last thing you need is a floundering, out of shape and out of form player in the middle who is supposed to cover all the defensive shape. Of course, in this season, that is exactly who Man Utd would have in there. It came in the, blobbed, shape of Casemiro.

It is quite the stark decline in form for the Brazilian. Of course, to blame it all on the individual would be harsh but it would be remiss not to start with the man himself. You look at the fact that no one expected Casemiro to be a long term solution to that role but more of a placeholder. A pretty expensive one, given his £60m fee and £350k a week at the then 30 years old. But at least the idea was for some two years, we would get some expertise and experience in that area. However, it was only what we saw for 6 months. Those months between October & March are such a far cry from what he is now that it feels like a fairy tale should be told children. What cautionary tale it should be? I have no idea.

In it, it has to be the fact that how the man has been reduced to some of the most juvenile pieces of transition defending I lay my eyes upon. When he is sized up 1v1 with spaces around him, you know that he will simply collapse to the ground trying to win the ball when he is only going to win the ball in 10% of the situations. It is remarkable that it is still his go to move when you know that if there was a WhatsApp Group Chat about how to get past DMs on transitions, him being stretched on the ground missing the ball and man would probably be the group chat picture. That is when he can be bothered to even track back. One transition that Chelsea had, he might as well have laid out a red carpet for Jackson. It was quite the pathetic attempt.

But at his age, fitness, generally and currently, he probably has to do that run or make that decision about 20 times a game. The midfield make up is just completely unsustainable and it might be the most disconcerting thing to watch how teams are constantly able to pull our midfield apart so that one ball can have them running onto our back four. I just have no idea why the manager is actually setting the team up like this. It might have shortened the lifespan of Casemiro by about half of his original useful life by his utterly incoherent plan. This is all without talking about the haphazard way he treats the football. Tonight, the general quality of the passing being despicable hid his usual level well like a cloaking device but it was pretty evident if you watched him closely. It was a difficult game for all the midfielders because of the laughable set up from both the coaches but Casemiro managed to be a different level of laughable all on his own.

One Foot Out, One Foot In

Then there is the other Brazilian on the night. The much maligned one. Erik Ten Hag decided that with the number of games coming up, this would be a good game to rest Rashford. It meant that Antony would come in on the right hand side and Garnacho would move over to the left.

One of the videos that was shared repeatedly when Antony was signed by Man Utd was when he was up against Cucurella in 2021 as they played for the countries in the Tokyo Olympics. It was an utter bamboozlement from the Brazilian on the Spaniard. If tonight is anything to go by, Cucurella’s head is still clearly spinning from 2 and half years. Antony was sharp from the off. For the lack of anything else, his positioning often gives the team an out ball on the right constantly that provides an option. It was not great and then when he used his outside foot to tackle Cucurella in the box to give Chelsea a penalty, it made it even worse. United found a way back into the game and then for the second, he switched the play opened up the pitch prior to the cross.

It was his cross for the third goal that was the true shining moment of the night. A lofted trivela right into the path of Garnacho, which he headed into an unguarded net, was special. It might have been the most special thing he has done in a United shirt. But just in general, he gave the left hand side of Chelsea an absolute hell of time with his relentlessness and it was the one time where he always tried to go down the outside. Perhaps he saw the poodle hair of Cucurella and remembered what he done to him in Japan. If he could do that to all left backs, there would be less fans asking for us to get him sold.

Other Thoughts

It is a team truly built in the image of its manager – idiocy. As the game edged towards the end, you could tell that this team is just unable to see out games well. The lack of possession to truly take the sting out the game was quite remarkable. The fact that we were quite open with just two minutes to go where Dalot is allowed to be 1v1 with the full back is stunning. What the Portuguese man does is idiotic by himself by why he was even in that position anyway is utterly baffling.

The sword he wants to live by is one he is often cut by because the team and the tactics he wants the team to employ is built on purely stupid things. The game winner from Palmer, where the team fails to go out to meet a short corner, shows a lack of brain cells to go around for one player, let alone a full team. In the end, whilst he begs for Ratcliffe to not stop the process, only one who likes to suffer would want to continue with whatever rendition of football that Ten Hag calls this. This from the players is what I expect but they are being backed up by a true fool in the dugout. If it were up to me, they would all be done on joint enterprise of bringing Man Utd into disrepute and thrown out so we can build from the ground up. Scorched earth is better than building with the weeds of the playing and coaching staff.