Manchester United, Jose Mourinho, Kurt Zouma and More Slammed by Paul Parker

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2015

Manchester United's Dutch manager Louis van Gaal arrives ahead of the English League Cup third round football match between Manchester United and Ipswich Town at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England on September 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF

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Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker believes it is "crackers" that the Red Devils currently sit atop the Premier League and has branded Louis van Gaal's side unexciting. 

United's lofty position at the table's summit is an indictment of the current state of the Premier League and proves how inconsistent the likes of Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea are, according to Parker.

The 51-year-old, writing for Eurosport, noted the difference between Van Gaal's functional style and the type of swashbuckling football United fans were used to in the Sir Alex Ferguson era and suggested not all of the Old Trafford faithful will be happy just because their team are top of the league:

The connoisseurs among the fans won't be happy. Under Alex Ferguson they got used to years of enjoying great performances as well as great results, and that is something that this team has not done. If I'd been in a team that played like United have this season, we'd have feared for our lives when we went back in to face Fergie in the dressing room - even if we'd come out of it with three points.

United moved into top spot in the Premier League after a 3-0 home win over Sunderland on Saturday following previous pace-setters City's 4-1 humbling at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.

Parker suggested the current variable form of all of the Premier League's top clubs shows how far the division has fallen.

As an example, he posited the idea that in previous years all four of the Premier League clubs taking part in Tuesday and Wednesday's Champions League group games would have been expected to win, while now "you wouldn't trust any of them to beat Brentford." 

Champions League Fixtures for Premier League Teams
DateTime (BST/ET)GroupFixture
Sept. 297:45 p.m./2:45 p.m.FArsenal vs. Olympiakos
Sept. 297:45 p.m./2:45 p.m.GPorto vs. Chelsea
Sept. 307:45 p.m./2:45 p.m.BManchester United vs. Wolfsburg
Sept. 307:45 p.m./2:45 p.m.DBorussia Monchengladbach vs. Manchester City
BBC Sport

He arguably has a valid point considering in the opening round of group games only Chelsea were able to claim a victory, while United, Arsenal and City lost to PSV Eindhoven, Dinamo Zagreb and Juventus respectively.

The Blues did not get off lightly, however, following their torrid start to their title defence, which has seen them claim just eight points from seven games.

Parker rubbished Mourinho's recent threat to replace the old guard with youngsters should they under-perform, branded the club "a total mess" and slammed the Portuguese manager and young defender Kurt Zouma in equal measure:

Mourinho can't bring [any young players] in, because they've either been farmed out to clubs in Belgium and so on, or they've been totally neglected.

Mourinho hasn't nurtured anyone. When Kurt Zouma is a mainstay of the side you know they're in trouble - because I guarantee you Mourinho is biting his lip every time he picks Zouma for the team. He's got all the agility of an ironing board.

Again, Parker has a sound basis for his criticism of Chelsea's loan policy considering the number of players they have sent out on short-term spells elsewhere, as comprehensively summarised by Reddit (h/t PaddyPower):

Paddy Power @paddypower

A map of where Chelsea's 33 loan players have gone... #CFC (via Reddit) http://t.co/0CTBFGUaT1

While Parker's scathing assessment of the Premier League is not necessarily true considering the entertainment factor provided by a number of teams being competitive, it is certainly arguable that the best teams are not as good as they used to be.

The Premier League is in danger of losing one of its four Champions League spots due to a drop in the coefficient caused by under-performance in Europe, per Sky Sports 

The division that regularly produced semi-finalists, finalists and winners of the Champions League in the 2000s and early 2010s is now struggling to get multiple teams into the knockout rounds.

Given the amount of money spent by Premier League clubs that is arguably not good enough and Parker has a right to ask where the consistency and quality has gone.