Well, yesterday saw United play West Ham in our first game of the 21/22 season.

The return of the crowds to football which somehow is allowed under the Eton Mess’s strange and illogical “road map” meant that United fans could once again fill St James’ Park to watch the Toon.

And a crowd of 50,673 duly turned up to witness the unfolding events.

As usual, opinions vary amongst our fans about how this season will go and where we will finish up in the EPL table this season.

Judging by the comments I’ve seen on social media most fans seem to think we’re in for another relegation battle, with our cause not being helped by the continuing takeover saga and our open warfare with the allegedly corrupt English Premier League, the continued lack of investment by our clearly disinterested billionaire owner who says he just wants to sell and get out and also the continued presence of Steve Bruce in the manager’s chair.

Personally, I have to say that when the team sheet was published at 1pm I found myself wondering what Bruce was playing at with his defence selection.

Against a background where everybody knows (well, everybody but Bruce knows, apparently) that West Ham bombard the opponent’s defence with crosses and get most of their success that way, Bruce left on the bench the best, most effective player we have for dealing with crosses – Jamaal Lascelles. Instead, he stuck Krafth, a full back who is still trying to be a full back, in there.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only United fan thinking WTF??

You don’t have to have a very long memory to remember when Rafa Benitez and his coaching team used to spend hour after hour drilling a group of average defenders into a well oiled machine, capable of going to places like Man City, frustrating the hell out of them and coming away with a hard earned draw.

We had a solid, effective defence.

Those days are clearly long gone and have been replaced by a different training regime with – if you believe the rumours – apparently more days off!

We can only hope that there are NO days off this week after the crappy capitulation we saw yesterday, and West Ham scoring four times – albeit one of which was a penalty which wasn’t a penalty.

But it wasn’t just the defence was it? West Ham dominated far too much of this game as we were outplayed in too many areas of the pitch. Is Bruce’s approach (let’s not call it tactics as apparently he doesn’t do tactics) really to let the opponent have the ball and hit them on the counter when we get it? Or do the players we have mean that we don’t have a team capable of winning the ball and keeping it?

Are we really relying heavily on Wilson’s goals and the odd flash of brilliance from Allan St Maximin? What happens when those two are injured – as they often are?

These are serious questions which are obvious even after what was just the first game of the season. If answers aren’t found quickly, it’s going to be a long hard winter in a season which could fall apart very quickly.

What do you think? As ever, we would welcome your comments, opinions and views below.

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