Leicester’s title party on hold as United fail to take advantage

Posted on May 01, 2016  by Stretford-end  in Leicester City, Man United, Match Reports   No Comments »
Anthony Martial challenges Danny Drinkwater in the 1-1 draw between Manchester United and Leicester City
Anthony Martial scored the opening goal for Manchester United in the 1-1 draw with Leicester City

The media had billed it as the day of the coronation. The new champions elect were to show the old masters what they are now missing and crave so much. It didn’t quite work out that way as both Manchester United and Leicester City gained a point from the tie. United had started the better and capitalised on the early pressure when Anthony Martial latched on to a Antonio Valencia cross in the 8th minute to strike past Kasper Schmeichel. Martial has been United’s best player all season and is continuing to develop into a a top class forward – next season will be a big test for the Frenchman as he will be expected to add to his goal tally of 15 goals for this campaign.

Leicester City were on the back foot for the opening twenty minutes, however – Wes Morgan got the league leaders back in the game with a strong header from a Danny Drinkwater freekick. The Leicester captain got ahead of Marcos Rojo, not the only time, to head past David De Gea to equalise for the visitors.

There were moments when either side could have scored a second goal, with Jesse Lingard and Riyad Mahrez going close, only to be denied by Schmeichel and De Gea respectively. There was controversy involving Marouane Fellaini, who was lucky to stay on the pitch having elbowed Robert Huth, whilst Danny Drinkwater was sent off for pulling back Memphis Depay late in the second half. Depay should have been granted a penalty following the foul by Drinkwater, but Michael Oliver decided the penalty was outside of the box.

Here we discussed the talking points of the game and welcome comments from both sets of fans.

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Marcus Rashford continues to knock on Euro 2016 door

Posted on April 19, 2016  by Stretford-end  in Aston Villa, Man United, Match Reports   No Comments »
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Marcus Rashford scored yet again for Manchester United

Author: Mitchell

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It’s rare on a website dedicated to one team that the initial paragraph is dedicated to the sheer ineptitude of another, though one can forgive me for indulging in some light-hearted mockery of Aston Villa’s plight. Relegated for the first time in the Premier League’s history, the cavalcade of misery amongst West Midlands clubs has been amplified to the degree that some aren’t even sure that Birmingham’s best (sorry, Blues) are out for a temporary period only.

The point? It’s nice to finally talk about a team worse than Manchester United this season.

Don’t get me wrong – Villa deserved their fate, carrying their own coffins to the grave and diving in on their own accord. But this was no gleaming performance from United. The old problems still remain and those who pray every night for a Louis van Gaal-free summer will have ramped up their pleas. Anyone still for a glass of Mourinho?

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Marcus Rashford scores winner as United beat City 1-0 in derby

Posted on March 20, 2016  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Manchester City, Match Reports, Premier League   No Comments »
Marcus Rashford scores the winner in the derby as Manchester United beat City 1-0
Marcus Rashford scores the winner in the derby as Manchester United beat City 1-0

It is the stuff of dreams. Marcus Rashford, born and bred Mancunian settles the derby with a well taken finish. From Argentina to Spain to the Ivory Coast, there is a whole array of nationalities on display consisting of some of the best players in the land. Yet, it was a local eighteen year old that settled the tie to give Manchester United all three points in the race for fourth place. With West Ham dropping two points at Chelsea yesterday, United knew there was a massive opportunity to close the gap as we enter the final eight games of the season.

United were good, whilst City were wasteful in front of goal. However, Sergio Aguero was unlucky not to score in the second half – striking David De Gea’s left hand post. The little Argentine was quality throughout the match, however – Chris Smalling, despite an early booking, rarely put a foot wrong and marshalled Aguero away from goal. Rashford was lively too and showcased his quick feet as he took on Bacary Sagna and Martín Demichelis on a regular basis. His goal in the sixteenth minute was exceptionally taken as he picked up a Juan Mata pass, before blazing past Demichelis, who went to ground far easily, and slotted home.

It was United’s first win at City since the 3-2 victory in 2012, when Robin van Persie scored a last gasp winner , and although the significance of the win, in terms of title chasing, has diminished – Louis van Gaal will be over moon at the thought of Champions League football at Old Trafford once again next season. City’s record against top half teams in the Premier League is abysmal and are very much in free fall – coinciding with the news of the appointment of Pep Guardiola at the end of the season. It may not be a vintage season, but it doesn’t get better than a win over City with an academy player scoring the winner.

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Marcus Rashford scores twice to dent Arsenal’s title hopes

Posted on February 28, 2016  by Stretford-end  in Arsenal, Man United, Match Reports, Youth   No Comments »
Marcus Rashford scores a brace on his Premier League debut
Marcus Rashford scores twice against Arsenal to give Manchester United a deserved victory

Marcus Rashford, who made his Manchester United debut against FC Midtjylland in the week, scored another brace on his Premier League debut this to end a wonder week for the 18 year old local lad. Louis van Gaal’s men hadn’t picked up three points since the 3-0 victory over Stoke City at the start of the month.

In that time, United fans had seen their side concede a late equaliser at Chelsea, lose two fixtures 2-1 to struggling Sunderland and Europa League minnows Midtjylland – before beating Shrewsbury in the FA Cup and thumping their Danish foes in the return leg. A win was needed for United, who were up against an Arsenal side needing a big “pick me up” from the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Barcelona midweek.

United were well worth the three points against a below par Arsenal side, who are falling further behind in the race for the title. The home side fielded three players making their Premier League debuts, in Rashford, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and James Weir. United have now fielded debuts to eight players this season under Louis van Gaal. If the attacking football hasn’t been quite vintage, the belief in youth talent remains.

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Wayne Rooney bags Anfield goal in smash and grab win for United

Posted on January 17, 2016  by Stretford-end  in Liverpool, Man United, Match Reports, Premier League   No Comments »
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Wayne Rooney scores a late goal at Anfield to give Manchester United victory

Before the game, there was no distracting Manchester United fans from some epically glorious moments at Liverpool over the years. The memories of Roy Keane rampaging up and down the Anfield turf is quickly replaced by Diego Forlan’s brace against Jerzy Dudek and then concludes with John O’Shea scoring a last minute goal at the Kop as United march on to the 2006/07 title. Much has played out in the eighty-two league matches at Anfield prior to this afternoon’s kick off and although both sides aren’t now fighting for top spot, both managers were well aware of the fortunes that awaited the victor.

Mid week saw both managers speak about title droughts, with Louis van Gaal suggesting that United would not go on such a barren run as Liverpool, who have not won the Championship since May 1990. The charismatic Jurgen Klopp, who eulogised about Sir Alex Ferguson – described the former Manchester United manager as “The John Lennon of football” – spoke about the fact that he could have been in the United dugout, had the timings been right. Both men have crossed paths before in Germany, with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund doing battle, but it was the Dutchman who has continued his run against United’s biggest rivals with a 1-0 smash and grab.

Wayne Rooney converted United’s only shot on target, whilst David De Gea saved United once again with an array of saves to keep out Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson. The home side will feel hard done by as United were second best for the majority of the game. Louis van Gaal kept with his usually 4-2-3-1 formation, with Ander Herrera pushed up just behind Wayne Rooney who was leading the line. Despite Liverpool’s dominance, it is United who picked up all three points and are now two points behind Tottenham in fourth spot.

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Newcastle United 3-3 Manchester United: United lose boring tag

Posted on January 13, 2016  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Match Reports, Newcastle United, Premier League   No Comments »
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Paul Dummett scores a dramatic late equaliser as Manchester United draw 3-3 with Newcastle United

Author: Mitchell

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Where were you? Where were you when the Berlin Wall fell down? Where were you when the very first iPhone was announced to an audience in California? And where were you, humble reader, when a football match broke out at the Sports Direct Arena on Tuesday night?

Do not adjust your screens: your eyes do not deceive you. For 90 minutes in the middle of the season, the Uniteds Newcastle and Manchester decided to wake up from their slumber and play an actual game of football. Fast paced, exciting, full of goals and drama and, most importantly, entertaining, the game may go down as one of the best of the season so far.

There may be some lingering disappointment that such a spectacle only brought home another lone point, but that’s not the story. For the first time in what feels like a lifetime, Manchester United felt like Manchester United again – for better and for worse.

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Anthony Martial shows United the way with goal against Swansea

Posted on January 03, 2016  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Match Reports, Premier League, Swansea City   No Comments »
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Anthony Martial was exceptional against Swansea City – scoring one and assisting Wayne Rooney

As New Year’s resolutions go; Manchester United fans will be hoping that Louis van Gaal can keep to his, as United beat Swansea City 2-1 at Old Trafford. The first fixture of 2016 saw United pick up three points, their first victory since the 2-1 win over Watford at the end of November – which marks the end of an eight game winless run.

The Dutchman will be have been pleased with his side’s performance in the 0-0 draw with Chelsea and although United didn’t start the game against Swansea City as quickly (i.e. hitting the woodwork twice within fifteen minutes) – the home side did look most likely to score early on, with Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney close but failing to hit the target. United shifted from a 4-3-3 that worked so well against Chelsea to a 3-5-1-1 – which quickly changed to a 3-3-1-3 formation when United were attacking, with both Ashley Young and Anthony Martial pushing up high and wide to deliver crosses. The United coach had started the game with a four man defence, however – reverted very early on to a three at the back formation once it was clear that the visitors were playing a diamond in midfield with two very wide forwards in Ayew and Routledge.

Anthony Martial opened the scoring for United early in the second half following a brilliant cross from Ashley Young. The Frenchman got on the end of the cross to head home United’s opener. United looked dangerous and much more animated in the second half than in the first forty-five – but the home side were left stunned when Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the equaliser with twenty minutes to go. A neat header past the helpless David De Gea following some great work from substitute Modou Barrow (who again forced van Gaal into a tactical change) on United’s left hand side. It didn’t take long for United to hit back, with a superb finish from Wayne Rooney – who has now overtaken Denis Law’s goal tally of 237 and is now second on his own, eleven goals behind Sir Bobby Charlton.

Although both wide men, Ashley Young and Anthony Martial, had excellent games – it is the Frenchman that really is a shining light in this United side. As he did against Branislav Ivanovic last Monday, he gave Angel Rangel a torrid time on the left hand side with his pace and tricky. His burst of acceleration to setup Rooney, for what was a stunning goal, is priceless and although many reds – including myself – have called to play him through the middle, with match winning performance like this one, it is hard to argue against his inclusion on the left hand side.

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United much better against Chelsea but still winless in eight

Posted on December 29, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Chelsea, Man United, Match Reports, Premier League   1 Comment »
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Manchester United’s Anthony Martial takes on the Chelsea defence in the 0-0 draw at Old Trafford

Manchester United finally put in a performance under the troubled reign of Louis van Gaal, however could only muster a 0-0 draw at home to Chelsea. The home side started with a flourish and hit the woodwork following a great layoff from Wayne Rooney to Juan Mata, who smashed the ball onto Thibaut Courtois’ crossbar. United were a lot more mobile and quicker with their passing compared to the horrendous performance put in against Stoke City on Boxing Day. Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger bossed the middle of the park, with Chelsea playing deep and looking to counter through Eden Hazard, who was operating as a lone frontman.

Anthony Martial, United’s brightest spark all evening, gave Branislav Ivanovic a torrid time on the left hand side and also smashed the woodwork, this time the inside of the Courtois’ post – before bouncing away from danger. The second half saw an improved Chelsea performance, however – it was United who were most likely to score and Ander Herrera saw Courtois pull off an unbelievable stop to deny the Spaniard the opener. However, it was Nemanja Matic who had, arguably, the best chance of the match but blazed the ball high and wide of the outrushing David De Gea. Willian was also lucky not to concede a penalty, when he handled in the box midway through the second half.

Wayne Rooney, who was voted the man of the match, had a great chance to win the match after Cameron Borthwick-Jackson put in a superb cross from the left hand side. The United captain, who is level with Denis Law on 237 goals for United, smashed the ball high into the Stretford End. He was also lucky to stay on the pitch following a nasty tackle on Brazilian Oscar late on.

Chelsea, who were poor, will be delighted with a point away from home in a game that they were very much second best. United on the other hand will be pleased with a much improved performance, but it is the same result for Louis van Gaal.

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Louis van Gaal clings to United job following Norwich defeat

Posted on December 21, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Managers, Match Reports, Norwich City, Premier League   1 Comment »
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Alex Tettey boots home Norwich’s second goal as Manchester United lose for the first time at home

The pressure is piling on Louis van Gaal and his Manchester United side following a humiliating home defeat to Norwich, who were third from bottom at the start of play. The newly promoted side fully deserved their hard grafted win, with two simple goals on the counter attack. United looked limp, slow and uncreative in a game that was very reminiscent of previous fixtures.

Alex Tettey, who scored Norwich’s second goal, was immense in the middle of the park. The visitors were first to every ball, harried United’s players and were well worth their first win at Old Trafford since 1989/90. Van Gaal, who had been defiant in recent weeks following similarity poor performances and results, appeared to be in a more sombre mood – perhaps a man who realises that his job is on the line – following the 2-1 defeat. Ryan Giggs, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are all candidates that have been linked with the United hot seat and the next two games against Stoke City and Chelsea will be crucial in the fate of the Dutchman.

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Jamie Vardy makes history as Wayne Rooney struggles again

Posted on November 29, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Leicester City, Man United, Match Reports   1 Comment »
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Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea embraces Jamie Vardy at the final whistle

Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record was official broken by Jamie Vardy, as Manchester United drew 1-1 with Leicester City at the King Power stadium. The Dutchman, who was the last player to score a winning goal at Leicester back in 2003, tweeted his respect of the record being broke as both clubs failed to find the winner, which would have sent either club to the top of the table ahead of Manchester City.

Vardy had scored the opener on 24 minutes, following a beautifully crafted left footed pass ball from Christian Fuchs. The home side counter attacked brilliantly from a United corner before Vardy smashed home his eleventh in a row – a unbelievable story for a player who was playing non-league football five years ago. United hit back just before half time with a header from Bastian Schweinsteiger. The German smashed home from a superb corner from Daley Blind, whilst outmuscling Shinji Okazaki in the process.

The tie took a familiar pattern, with Manchester United dominating possession without ever really threatening Kasper Schmeichel in the Leicester City goal. The home side were setup to counter United, and Louis van Gaal looked to nullify the any through balls from the full backs into the channels, by deploying Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial wide when not in possession – for Juan Mata to press the centre halves. When United in fact won the ball and started a counter, both Rooney and Martial were too far apart to capitalise.

Rooney was taken off due to a injury (according to the manager), to be replaced by Memphis Depay. But the United captain looks a shadow of his former self in all honesty. The result was fair as both sides continue their title challenge into the Christmas period.

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