Smalling and Jones: a pairing for club and country

Posted on March 24, 2015  by nameonthetrophy  in Man United   No Comments »

Guest Author: Doron

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In the summer of 2011, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were paired together at the European U21 Championships in Denmark. It was the start of a partnership that held much promise for both club and country and they were the major positive to come out of an otherwise disappointing tournament for England, with the pair particularly impressive in a 1-1 draw against Spain. To date, the potential of their partnership has been unfulfilled and in the coming week, Roy Hodgson has the chance to pair them together for England for what would only be the second time at senior level.

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Magical Juan Mata helps United to victory at Anfield

Posted on March 22, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Liverpool, Man United, Match Reports, Premier League   No Comments »
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Juan Mata scores a stunning second goal as Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-1

Manchester United picked up a valuable three points in the 192nd clash between the two north western giants, which saw Liverpool lose 2-1 at home. It was game full of talking points, but the stand out moment had to be Juan Mata’s sublime second goal.

There was controversy, with Liverpool club captain Steven Gerrard, who was playing in his final match against United, only lasting a mere forty-eight seconds before being sent off for a stamp on Spaniard Ander Herrera. There were other incidents, which saw Phil Jones smash into Jordan Henderson and in the final seconds of the match Martin Skrtel looked to leave a foot in on United’s goalkeeper David De Gea – however, in a game of this magnitude there are always going to be challenges of this nature.

Louis van Gaal, who was experiencing his first trip to Anfield as United boss, was delighted with the first half performance and has now seen his team pick up two wins on the bounce against two key rivals for a Champions League place. United are now only a point behind Arsenal and two points behind Manchester City – with both clubs having to travel to Old Trafford before the end of the season.

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Liverpool vs. Manchester United: View from the opposition

Posted on March 22, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Liverpool, Man United, Match Previews   No Comments »
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David De Gea thwarts Raheem Sterling in the 3-0 victory over Liverpool back in December

In what is the 192nd meeting between the two clubs, Manchester United travel to Anfield to take on a Liverpool side two points behind as the battle for a Champions League spot really heats up. Liverpool have looked a different side since the turn of the year and have won five of their last six matches. United’s general form is also good, although a disappointed 2-1 defeat away at Swansea City means United have only won two of the last six away games.

Louis van Gaal starts a run of of four matches that sees United’s take on Liverpool, relegation strugglers Aston Villa, Manchester City and Chelsea. The Dutchman will know that United have to pick up three points at Anfield to stay ahead of the pack and also send out a message. United last won at Liverpool in the autumn of 2012, when Robin van Persie slotted home the winning penalty. A repeat of that will be most welcome today.

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Manchester United vs. Spurs: view from the opposition

Posted on March 15, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Match Previews, Premier League, Spurs   1 Comment »
Wayne Rooney Manchester United Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United and Spurs battle it out in the 0-0 draw in December

Manchester United begin a run of five games that, once concluded, will give a much clearer picture as to where Louis van Gaal’s men will finish come the end of May. United welcome Tottenham Hotspur, who are also chasing a top four finish, to Old Trafford this afternoon and are in desperate need of a win to keep on the tails of Arsenal, who won handsomely against West Ham United yesterday.

Today’s fixture marks a tricky run that includes a trip away to Liverpool, Manchester City at home and a trip away to league leaders Chelsea. A resurgent Aston Villa are also travel to Old Trafford over Easter.

Spurs have picked up wins in the previous two trips to Old Trafford, beating United 3-2 with an electric performance from Gareth Bale and last season 2-1 on New Years Day. The last win for United against Spurs came back in 2011/12, with a 3-0 victory in August. How United fans would love to see a repeat of that victory today.

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United’s need for speed

Posted on March 10, 2015  by nameonthetrophy  in Man United   1 Comment »

James Wilson will add some much needed pace up front for Manchester United

Guest Author: Doron

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It’s long been a gripe of some gamers that the FIFA series gives too much importance to pace. The current Manchester United side are the experiment that proves the theory wrong though. Without pace the chances of success are greatly diminished.

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Ashley Young has laid down a marker

Posted on March 09, 2015  by Karate_Jesus  in Man United   4 Comments »

Author: Karate Jesus
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If David de Gea was taken out of the running, it’s strange to think that when United’s players and supporters vote for their player of the season, the much maligned and, in some quarters, vehemently despised, Ashley Young, would be a contender. Many would argue that this is a sign of United’s current mediocrity, but in a squad with players of the calibre of Rooney, Van Persie, Falcao, Di Maria and Mata, it’s also just praise for a player who’s energy and attitude have begun to win over many of the people who have criticised him since his arrival from Aston Villa in 2011.

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Manchester United and Arsenal do battle in the FA Cup

Posted on March 09, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Arsenal, Man United   No Comments »
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Robin van Persie scores the winner against Arsenal at home last season in the league

You may not have Brian McClair kicking lumps out of Nigel Winterburn. You may not have Eric Cantona and Dennis Bergkamp’s genius. You may not have a snarling Sir Alex Ferguson confronting the much taller Arsene Wenger – but you do have Manchester United vs. Arsenal, if the FA Cup quarter final for a place at Wembley. Arsenal, the current holders, haven’t beaten United at Old Trafford since the 2006/07 season when Emmanuel Adebayor scored in the last five minutes of the game.

Wenger will be looking to get one over van Gaal, following the 2-1 defeat at The Emirates last November, with David De Gea playing a blinder yet again. United are missing Jonny Evans (suspended) and Robin van Persie, who still has an ankle injury following the defeat to Swansea City.

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United beat Sunderland in ref blunder with Januzaj impressing

Posted on March 01, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United   No Comments »
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Falcao is brought down in box, however the wrong player was sent off

Author: Karate Jesus
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If United are to secure a top 4 finish and a return to Champions League football, then it is likely that they are going to have to win their home games. There was obvious anxiety and unrest in the stands during the first half as United took their time to get going and it could be argued they didn’t truly put Sunderland under pressure until John O’Brown was sent off. However, there were encouraging signs by the end and, given the circumstances, results rather than performances are the most important thing over the next few months.

In order to get the results United need, I get the impression that Van Gaal is going to pick the players he trusts the most. There can be arguments as to the merits of those he trusts (such as the continued exile of Rafael, although incidentally, Valencia is not currently a cause for concern at right back and continued his good form against Sunderland), but it is natural for him to do this.

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Manchester United vs. Sunderland view from the opposition

Posted on February 28, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Premier League, Sunderland   No Comments »
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Robin van Persie looks on as Jack Rodwell scores an equaliser at the beginning of the season

With only twelve games to go and with the race for a top four finish heating up, Manchester United are in desperate need of a win following the 2-1 defeat away at Swansea City last weekend. United are without Robin van Persie, who picked up an ankle injury in the defeat, as they take on Sunderland who saved themselves from relegation last season with a win at Old Trafford following the departure of David Moyes. The visitors last away victory came against arch rivals Newcastle United back on the 21st December.

Sunderland are three points off the drop zone and will no doubt be boosted by a double victory on the same ground last season – one in the League Cup and as mentioned previously, towards the back end of the season in the league. Radamel Falcao needs to start proving his worth if he is to seal a permanent move from Monaco, whilst Angel Di Maria will also be looking to prove doubters wrong after coming under heavy fire for his lacklustre performance last weekend.

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Angel Di Maria will still deliver but Savage was right in criticism

Posted on February 22, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Players   No Comments »
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Angel Di Maria’s Manchester United form has dwindled in the past few months

Match of the day pundit Robbie Savage launched a scathing attack on Manchester United and in particular Angel Di Maria, following the 2-1 defeat away at Swansea City. The club’s record signing at £59.7 million has struggled to deliver in the last few months, despite the impressive start he made at Old Trafford. The Argentine has only netted three times in the league this season and his last goal came back in October against Everton. For a player of his exceptional talent and ability, that simply isn’t good enough and his withdrawal from proceedings yesterday highlights just how out of form and low on confidence United’s number seven is at the moment.

Savage is paid for his opinion, whether you agree with him or not, but it would be hard to argue against his assessment of Di Maria and United’s general play. The ex Real Madrid man is world class, who can take players on for fun – but United are currently not seeing anywhere near a performance that warrants a world class tag. Di Maria was of course named man of the match in the Champions League Final last season, overshadowing Cristiano Ronaldo in the process – so why is he currently not reaching that level with Manchester United?

The criticism may have been fair, on the Swansea performance and also form in recent months – but, given time, Angel Di Maria will be a big player for the club.

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