Louis van Gaal’s future rests on victory over Chelsea

Posted on December 28, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Chelsea, Man United, Match Previews   No Comments »
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie smashed home a last minute equaliser against Chelsea last season

Is D-day finally here for Louis van Gaal? The under fire Manchester United boss saw his side completely outclassed and outfought by Stoke City on Boxing Day, with Memphis Depay putting in a performance that would warrant being dropped from the Dog and Duck Sunday side. United welcome Chelsea who offer some humour for the Old Trafford faithful due to the West London club having an even poorer season and are currently lingering in the bowels of the Premier League in 15th spot.

Michael Carrick, who will surpass Paddy Crerand’s appearances today if he plays (both on 397 appearances for United), has been very vocal regarding the need for unity in a “difficult time”. A difficult time is an understatement as it is 79 years since Manchester United lost five games in a row in a single season. That season was 1936/37 – when United lost 6-2 to Grimsby Town, 5-2 to Liverpool, 2-1 to Leeds United, 2-1 to Birmingham City and then 3-2 to Middlesbrough before drawing 2-2 with WBA to stop the rot. Scott Duncan was United manager in that period and managed to keep his job until the following season before resigning. United were relegated that season and although there is no chance of history repeating itself if United were to lose for a fifth time tonight – a top four finish will be unlikely.

Both Eden Hazard and Wayne Rooney, who have been extremely poor so far this season for their respected clubs, could both returned to the starting line ups this evening as they could only make the bench two days ago. Diego Costa is suspended for picking up a fifth booking of the season in the 2-2 draw against Watford. Chelsea have not won at Old Trafford since the 1-0 victory at the end of the 2012/13 season, when United were already crowned champions. United haven’t beaten the Londoners at home since the 3-1 victory in the Autumn of 2011/12, when Fernando Torres missed an open goal.

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Slavan Bilic dismisses boring link as United take on West Ham

Posted on December 05, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Match Previews, Premier League, West Ham   No Comments »
Robin van Persie scores against West Ham United last season
Now departed Robin van Persie scores the opener against West Ham United last season.

Manchester United welcome West Ham to Old Trafford as the hosts look to close the gap on Manchester City at the top of the table. United drew 1-1 last weekend with Leicester City, when a win would have taken Louis van Gaal’s men to the top of the table – but had to settle for a point, with Bastian Schweinsteiger netting his first goal for the club.

The visitors have lost their last two games away from Upton Park, losing 2-0 to Watford and going down 4-1 to rivals Spurs – whilst United are undefeated at home. Wayne Rooney, who has been struggling for form this season, will miss the game through injury. Rooney is currently on 499 appearances for the club and will have to wait a little longer for his milestone.

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Jamie Vardy looking to torment Manchester United again

Posted on November 28, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Leicester City, Man United, Match Previews   1 Comment »
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Jamie Vardy was a constant threat in the 5-3 victory over United last season

It was an absolute whirlwind of a game. If this was to be the final result on a Football Manager style simulation game, you would have hammered the reset button, folded your arms in disgust and comment on how “unrealistic” this really is. Well, it happened – Manchester United were 3-1 up and coasting before Jamie Vardy morphed in Marco van Basten and pulled United’s trousers well and truly down.

Since then, Leicester City have survived, sacked their saviour of a manager, hired the tinkerman and are now sitting pretty at the top of the table. Vardy is now the most prolific striker in the land, notching up 13 goals so far. He is level with former United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy on ten goals scored in a row – one more today, against van Nistelrooy’s former employers, would put him out on his own. It is a remarkable story from a player who was playing in the eighth tier of English football five years ago.

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Louis van Gaal looks to answer Scholes critic with win at Palace

Posted on October 31, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Crystal Palace, Man United, Match Previews   No Comments »
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Marouane Fellaini scores the winner against Crystal Palace last season

Manchester United travel to Crystal Palace today to try and bounce back from their League Cup exit in the week at the hands of Middlesbrough. The hosts are also looking to try and pick up three points following their 5-1 thumping against Manchester City on the same evening.

Crystal Palace have lost their last two games; 1-0 away to Leicester City and 3-1 at home to West Ham United – where as United have picked up four points with the win against Everton and drawing last weekend with Manchester City.

Wayne Rooney has come under heavy criticism from United fans for his performances so far this season. Rooney was openly defended by Manchester United legend Paul Scholes who stated that “any striker would find it difficult to score in this current team” and that his (Rooney) movement has been excellent, but he isn’t getting the football due to the ball retention enforced by Louis van Gaal philosophy. Can Wayne Rooney add to his two league goals so far this season?

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Manchester United vs. Manchester City view from the oppo

Posted on October 25, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Manchester City, Match Previews, Premier League   No Comments »
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Juan Mata scores United’s third goal in the 4-2 rout at Old Trafford last season

When Manchester United and Manchester City take the field this afternoon, it will be 170th time both clubs have done battle. In fixtures gone by, fans of both sets of clubs have seen the likes of George Best, Franny Lee, Eric Cantona, Georgi Kinkladze, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Aguero do battle – with United winning seventy of the matches and City forty-nine. If United are victorious in the derby, they will leapfrog City into second place and could even go top for a handsome win (United will need to win by four clear goals). If the away side are victorious, City will return to the top of the Premier League and put some distance between themselves and United.

Wayne Rooney will play his first game for the club at the age of 30 and if he is on the scoresheet will be the 2nd highest goal scorer in the Premier league outright. The United captain is currently joint second with former Manchester United striker, who had a brief spell at Manchester City, on 187 goals. Rooney will have to score a fair few more goals to catch Jimmy Greeves, the all time top goals scoring in English football’s top flight – with 357 goals (Rooney currently in 36th spot).

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Manchester United vs. Club Brugge view from the oppo preview

Posted on August 17, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Champions League, Man United, Match Previews   No Comments »
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Manchester United take on Club Brugge for the first time in the club’s history

Manchester United fans last faced European opposition 496 days ago. In that time, signed a World cup winner, broke the British transfer record and sacked a manager and hired a new one. Yes, a lot can happen in just over a year, but United are two games away from finalising a place in the Champions League proper. After two decent wins, United fans are in joyful mood as the club welcome Club Brugge to Old Trafford – the first meeting between the two clubs in history. All eyes will be on whether David De Gea and whether he starts in goal for United this evening.

Even if this is just a qualifying round, reds are delighted to be back in the competition, with a young and developing side whilst welcoming new opposition to Old Trafford.

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Manchester United vs. Arsenal preview: view from oppo

Posted on May 16, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Arsenal, Man United, Match Previews, Premier League   1 Comment »
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Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates in November

Manchester United, who have all but qualified for the Champions League next season, do battle once again with FA Cup finalists Arsenal in a game which could see the home side swap places with the Londoners with a victory. United will be without their skipper, Wayne Rooney, who is still suffering from picking up a dead leg injury last weekend against Crystal Palace. This could mean a start for ex-Arsenal skipper, Robin van Persie, who has no doubt struggled for form since Sir Alex Ferguson departed at the end of his quite brilliant debut season.

Luke Shaw is also set to miss the game following his injury in the fixture last weekend. Louis van Gaal also spoke of the upcoming Euro U21 tournament in the summer, which he feels Shaw should miss in order for his body to recover.

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Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United view from the opposition

Posted on May 09, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Crystal Palace, Man United, Match Previews, Premier League   No Comments »
Wayne Rooney scores a great volley against Crystal Palace in 2013/14
Wayne Rooney scores a great volley against Crystal Palace last season

Manchester United travel to Selhurst Park off the back of three straight defeats to take on a Crystal Palace side who are also in a poor run of form. Louis van Gaal’s men have lost 1-0 to Chelsea, 3-0 to Everton and 1-0 to WBA. The defeat at Chelsea was a close one, but United were extremely poor against Everton in the 3-0 defeat and were flat against WBA. With Liverpool only four places behind United, a Champions League place is nowhere near certain, which is a far cry from three weeks ago when the spot looked all but wrapped up.

The home side are also in bad form, losing at home 2-0 to WBA, 2-0 to Hull City and 1-0 away to the now Champions, Chelsea. Alan Pardew has guided the South London club to safety following his torrid treatment at Newcastle United, who are now engulfed in a relegation scrap. United will be boosted by the signing of Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven, who will join the club in the summer for the new season. With three games left and fourth place not yet secured, van Gaal must pick up three points today.

Palace have not beaten United at Selhurst Park since the end of the 1990/91 season – when the home side ran out 3-0 victors. Ferguson rested a number of key players for the match ahead of the Cup Winners Cup final in Rotterdam a few days later – which United went on to win 2-1.

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Manchester United vs. Aston Villa view from the opposition

Posted on April 03, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Aston Villa, Man United, Match Previews, Premier League   No Comments »
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Juan Mata scores for Manchester United against Aston Villa last season

Following the international break, in form Manchester United welcome Aston Villa to Old Trafford in what will be the 184th clash between the two sides. Villa are struggling at the wrong end of the table, but have recently picked up under new manager Tim Sherwood with an important win over fellow relegation battlers, Sunderland. Villa fans can also look forward to an FA Cup semi-final clash against Liverpool or Blackburn Rovers but the main focus will be on Premier League survival and three point at Old Trafford.

United are in good form, beating Tottenham and a superb 2-1 win against Liverpool over the past few weeks, which has opened a gap between United in fourth spot. Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini are in fine form and both are expected to start against Villa,

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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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