1. Always be pro-active.

Manchester United used to be the much feared team, with attacking options like David Beckham, Nistelrooy, Cantona, Ronaldo and so on. Go to a random year like 1997 and take a look at the English Premier League table. Who finished first on the Premier League table? Manchester United.

1999? Manchester United.

2002/2003? Manchester United.

2013/2014? Manchester… City.

That particular season of 2013/2014, United finished at 7th place with 64 points, as opposed to 86 points accumulated by Man City. Last season, they finished at 4th place with 70 points.

What happened there? Well, change in tactics. Instead of aggressively pushing past the defenders from the opposing team, they played safe, bouncing the ball back and forth, relying a lot on the midfielders. But you already know that, because you sat down and diligently watched every United game.

United is now known to be better at defending rather than attacking, especially since Sir Alex Ferguson left the team. David Moyes’ style of let’s-fucking-lose-every-game did not work out too well for the team either. But that aside, even Louis Van Gaal’s United seemed to be defending most of the time, and this is quite shameful for a club with so much attacking history.

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Let’s look at some numbers. Last season (while still playing SAFE), after 9 games, they were at 8th place with 13 points, having won only 3 games.

This season, after 9 games, United stands at 3rd place with 19 points, and won 6 out of the 9 games played. What happened there? They switched to attack. With the arrival of players like Memphis and Martial, United regained their aggressiveness on the pitch.

While defending is good and can ensure you don’t lose the game, it also doesn’t guarantee that you win it. To win, you need to be out there. You need to chase the ball, not wait for the ball to come to you. Go and get it. There’s a reason why only the Forwards get nominated for Ballon d’Or.

If you keep protecting your heart, of course you don’t get hurt, but you don’t get what you deserve either. Maybe that girl that you turned down was never going to hurt you. Maybe that girl you were too afraid to talk to loves playing World of Warcraft, and is okay with you having a boy’s night out every other weekend. When you stay in the safe zone, you don’t take risks. And if you don’t make mistakes, you don’t move forward. If you don’t go forward, you won’t score.

Step out of your comfort zone. Cross the halfway line. Go to your opponent’s box and give it all you have. Win your trophy.

 

2. Get your formation, I mean, strategy right.

We all know how Man United fans run to the wall to bang their heads whenever Van Gaal employs the 3-5-2 formation. He knows it’s not working but he still insists on using that strategy. Everyone around him is probably telling him that it’s not working but he doesn’t give a damn. He wants to make it work.

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Don’t ignore the red flags. While you’re dating someone, we always try to compromise; we forgive way too much and try to fix something that is beyond repair. All your friends tell you this is not working, and you don’t look happy, but you keep going anyway, because it’s easier to stick to something you’re already familiar with instead of trying something new. If it’s not working, sometimes it’s best to let it go and make way for something new. You never know, it might just give you the result you’ve been waiting for. Don’t be afraid of change.

 

3. Don’t be selfish like Cleverley.

Nobody wants to pass the ball to Tom Cleverley. Don’t be Tom Cleverley. Football is not a one-man game, it is team work. You need to trust your teammates enough to pass the ball over to them, and trust them to pass it back to you when necessary.

Once you’re committed to someone, you need to realize that it’s not all about you anymore. Maybe you like having dinner at Bob’s every Sunday. Maybe you need your basketball games 5 times a week. Maybe you only like sci-fi movies. You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? There will come a time when you might have to cancel basketball because she’s singing for the first time and wants you to be there. Sometimes you may have to watch White Chicks although you hate that movie with every fiber in your being, because you like to watch her laugh.

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It becomes a two-way street, you start trying new things for her and she does the same for you.

 

4. Possession is not everything.

Time and again we see Man United having the highest possession in the game but still end up losing the match. When you keep holding on to the ball but don’t know what to do with it, that becomes a problem as well. Perhaps they’re afraid to let go but, what if the opposite team intercepts and scores?

Over-possessiveness is the deal breaker for a lot of people. When you hold on too tight to that person and don’t allow them to move freely, not trusting that they’ll come back to you if given the freedom, that’s where the problem lies. Going back to the point above, it’s still not all about you. Two people who are together can still have separate lives, enjoy doing different things, and yet still enjoy each other’s company. Possession is not the key to a successful relationship; trust is.

Photo via: 32 Flags

Photo via: 32 Flags

 

5. It may not work out with “the one.”

There were many times when United thought they had “the one.” The two obvious examples are David Moyes and Angel DiMaria. Everyone believed in them, thought they were going to be the difference makers; the X factor that the team was missing.  That these two were going to work a miracle and United will come out on top again. Both did not meet the expectations, ended up disappointing the team and eventually leaving the team.

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Similarly, there will be many times in life where you think you have found “the one”. They seem perfect at first; attractive, caring, loving, funny, witty and every other positive adjectives that you can name. But over time, you see their true colours. Sometimes it may work out, other times it might end up being a colossal disappointment and hurt you in the process. Sometimes it just fizzles out. This doesn’t mean you should stop trying and give up completely. Heartbreaks happen to everybody. Yes, even if you’re Cristiano Ronaldo. Keep searching, keep trying, and eventually, even if you don’t find another Alex Ferguson, you will find your Louis Van Gaal.

 

6. No one can be perfect all the time.

Whether you’re Wayne Rooney or Robin Van Persie, you can never be on form all the time. Well, unless you’re Cristiano Ronaldo, then it’s a different story.

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Football can sometimes be like fashion; as Heidi Klum likes to say, “one day you’re in and next day you’re out.” One season you can be scoring hat tricks, and next season your foot barely touches the ball. By the third season, your club has sold you off to some third league football club.

No, don’t do the same when it comes to your relationship. It’s important to understand that the journey with your significant other may not always be a walk in the park. Some days you’re making pancakes together, and another day you’re fighting about whose turn it is to turn off the lights. It’s normal for relationships to go off form every now and then. But if you choose to focus on all the good things about the other person and accept that fact that no one on this planet can be absolutely perfect, it won’t be long before they are on form again.