The current edition of Manchester United is from the thrilling, must-watch Red Devils sides of the majority of the last 20 years — everyone here is in agreement over that, right?
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Most folks are, with some going so far as to call Louis Van Gaal‘s Man United “boring,” as they are frequently difficult to watch from an entertainment perspective. That “most” doesn’t include Slaven Bilic, though, manager of West Ham United, Man United’s Premier League opponents on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).
In Bilic’s estimation, Man United aren’t “boring;” they’re more practical, which the Croatian contends can still prove entertaining. At the end of the day, though, entertainment only matters so much if you’re sitting at or near the top of the table.
“They’re different from the Alex Ferguson era where they were quicker, more electric and bombarding the box. They are winning and not conceding goals. Somebody said they are boring but I am not sure why people are saying this. They are keeping the ball, they are not a team who give you the ball and defend – you can say that this kind of football is sometimes boring. However, they have possession of the ball, they are controlling the game and they are trying to win every game.
“You can say that United are different from before, especially at home where opponents are now defending with numbers behind the ball, very compact and very deeply. … We can call it controlled football, we can call it patient football but so far it is very effective because they are in a good position in the league.”
That’s all well and good, Slaven, but Man United are still boring, aren’t they? Their 20 goals scored through 14 games ranks eighth in the PL — not awful — but when you consider they’ve conceded just 10 on the year, you realize only games involving Stoke City (25) have featured fewer goals this season.
As Bilic points out, though, Man United fans won’t care if they end up “the most boring team in the history of soccer” if they win the league this season or challenge for it until the very end. Perhaps now we’ll finally find out whether or not “offense wins games, but defense wins championships” is true, once and for all. (Not really.)