Overreactions: Judging the merits of the weekend's hottest takes 1 month ago

Overreactions: Judging the merits of the weekend's hottest takes

Taking a look at the hottest takes from the weekend

We all have wild opinions on just about everything in life. Some we agree on, some we don't.

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These hot takes can come in the heat of the moment - granted - but they make for great general debate, and are just fun. With that in mind, we hopped onto some of the weekend's strongest reactions - let's call them 'overreactions' (hence the headline) - to judge their veracity.

On this week's agenda we're looking at all sorts, from whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken Manchester United as far as he can, if anybody is better than Mohamed Salah and how bad Norwich City really are.

Without further or do, let's get into this and dissect some of this week's spiciest takes.

Solskjaer won't take United to the next level

 

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This one has been brewing for a long time, not just this weekend.

It goes without saying that the Norwegian is under pressure at the moment. A 4-2 defeat to Leicester City last weekend left many United fans calling for his head after a series of less-than-impressive performances. The work that Solskjaer has done in his time at Old Trafford though is far greater than many think.

When he arrived - initially on a caretaker basis - the club were in one of their roughest patches. Jose Mourinho had left under the darkest of clouds with the side in turmoil. As a player, he was adored, but as a manager, there were sceptical views about his appointment. Nonetheless, he galvanised the team and in three years has taken them from a side dreaming of a top-four finish to being a real contender for the title.

But now they are at a crossroads. New signings have come in and the squad is more than good enough to go to the next level, but is Solskjaer? He's a nice guy, but being nice doesn't get you anywhere. As far as man-management goes, there probably isn't many doing a better job.

There's a lot of egos present at United and he seems to have kept control of them for the most part, but tactically, he is way off the mark in comparison to his managerial rivals. There's the odd fluke tactical masterclass such as the wins at Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, but for the large part he's often out-thought by teams of a far weaker quality than United.

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The failure to identify bringing in a central midfielder is a huge alarm bell as well as his baffling decision to recall a far-from-fit Harry Maguire to the side which backfired massively. The atmosphere is as toxic as it has been for a while in the last few weeks.

Verdict: 

Solskjaer's time is one that will be looked back on in a few years time as an important one. He helped build foundations and restore United to being a credible title challenger. But he isn't the final piece in the title-winning puzzle. There needs to be a regimented game-plan that everyone can get on board, as oppose to relying on individual brilliance all the time. The likes of Antonio Conte or even Zinedine Zidane would bring one thing: structure. They would be incredibly hard to beat and would make United a genuine force to be reckoned with therefore the idea that Ole has taken United as far as possible is probably more realistic than most theories out there.

Mohamed Salah is the best player in the world

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It's a conversation that is being brought up more and more as each week passes, and not just with Liverpool fans. In his last two Premier League games, Mohamed Salah has scored two goals worthy of goal of the season contenders. His most recent against Watford, defined sheer beauty.

Wriggling out of a tight space which had five Watford defenders circled round him, the Egyptian made it look easy as he twisted and turned before curling into the top corner to take everybody's breath away once more. He is well and truly at the peak of his powers and is rightly being mentioned amongst some real talent for the "best player in the world" conversation.

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In comparison to others, Salah is probably classed as a  relatively late bloomer. He showed signs at Basel, but failed to adapt at Chelsea before time out the limelight at Roma propelled him back to the levels he was touted to reach earlier in his career. He will go down as one of the best players of all time at Liverpool. The way he gets you off your feet when he twists and turns, the variety of goals he scores, he is a special special talent.

But there are plenty of others too. Take Robert Lewandowski for example. His goal record speaks for itself. Yes he plays for one of the best teams in the world, but so does Salah. Then of course you can't not mention Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi whilst new kids on the block Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe are knocking on the door too.

Verdict: 

Salah is exceptional, don't get me wrong, but he isn't the best player in the world. Right now, he's by far and away the best in the Premier League. But the records Robert Lewandowski has broken in the last year are astonishing, and after missing out on last year's Ballon d'Or, his performances one year on are on the same level. It would be a huge disservice for him to not win the coveted prize.

Salah though could be the best in the world, sooner rather than later, so this isn't probably the hugest of overreactions, but it still isn't quite accurate enough just yet.

Man Utd are worse with Ronaldo

The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo was met with great excitement from people all around the world. One of football's all-time greats was back 'home'. And he has had an impact in the side. Two goals on his debut against Newcastle United and then a last-minute winner against Villarreal in the Champions League. It's vintage Ronaldo.

But as of late, since results and goals have began to dry up, people are starting to take note of the impact Ronaldo has on this United team in a negative perspective. In truth, he wasn't 'needed' as such, but the allure and romance of Ronaldo returning was just too much to ignore.

He offers so commercially, which is obviously a contributing factor, but in a side where pressing high to win the ball back and immediately attack is vital to success, a 36-year-old who refuses to press is an issue. Given the status he enjoys, that filters through the team. Whatever Ronaldo does, his teammates will do, because it works for him. And just like when they wouldn't eat the apple crumble because the superstar didn't, this United side presses less because Ronaldo doesn't.

It allows teams to dominate the midfield, play from the back without the fear of someone chasing them down to win the ball back and carve through a vulnerable side with ease. There's also the case of how his presence affects certain players. Mason Greenwood is destined to play down the middle, but can't because Ronaldo has to play there, which then means Jadon Sancho can't play on his favoured right side of the wing so that Greenwood can be accommodated into the side. It's a problem which needs remedying rapidly, but does he make them worse?

Verdict: 

In short, yes and no. Without some of his goals, they'd have dropped even more points, but his desire to win games on his own and do as he pleases is filtering around the squad. Leonardo Bonucci said the same thing about Ronaldo's time at Juventus: that the team felt like they could down tools because Ronaldo could win them games on his own. It's not too crazy to say that they are worse off with Ronaldo present, but at the same time it is still relatively early days into his second stint.

Donny van de Beek will outlast Solskjaer at Old Trafford

 

Poor old Donny van de Beek has had a shocking time at Manchester United so far. The Dutchman was labelled as one of Holland's brightest talents when he joined from Ajax - and proved as such during his side's Champions League run a few years back - but has barely had a look in. To be honest, he's hardly even had a chance to showcase his talents which we all know are there.

There's several rumours surrounding his future at Old Trafford, but he isn't the only one, with Solskjaer's long-term future in question too. The issue is, unlike van de Beek, Solskjaer isn't quite on borrowed time yet. Somehow (it's likely because he's a Steve Bruce like character who won't rock the boat and demand more from his owners) the Norwegian coach retains the support of his board, the kind of support van de Beek doesn't receive from his manager.

That is a crucial fact, because few players would benefit from a change of management at Old Trafford quite as much as Donny. He has the talent and the desire to succeed and it would be another nail in the coffin of Solskjaer were he break out and become a star at United.

Verdict: 

I reckon this one could be unlikely. Solskjaer still has the backing of the board and it's looking like he will be there for a while yet, while van de Beek looks like he's had enough. His anger at not being brought on during the Champions League win against Villarreal was the sign of a man at the end of his tether. It would be extremely surprising to see the Dutchman in a United shirt for much longer - whether that means on a permanent transfer or a loan move in January - meaning I think this is quite a bold and wild claim.

Norwich City are the worst team in Premier League history

Let's start off this one by saying, Norwich have been woeful so far this season. Like really bad.

They deservedly sit bottom of the Premier League table right now and just like every other time they're in the top flight, they are already one of the favourites to be relegated. Occasionally, they put up a real valiant effort and go right to the wire, but as with their last top flight appearance, this year they look to be sleepwalking back to the Championship without a whimper.

The defence is at sixes and sevens and they cannot score for the life of them. Even when they literally have an open goal.

So would it be an overreaction to say they are the worst team in Premier League history?

Verdict: 

My answer is, no. They might get relegated a lot, but they bounce back a lot too. That's more to be said than for some teams i.e. that truly awful Derby County side who got a measly 11 points. Norwich still have another nine to go before they match that, but I think even they can muster that.

It would be harsh to call a side that are fairly regular participants in the top flight the worst side in Premier League history. I think that has to be reserved for side's who have really stunk out the league. At times Norwich have upset the apple cart and put in some good performances - even though they feel like a distant memory right now - with a long way to go in a league full of crazy twists and turns.