Where do we go from here? (The scores are coming out all weird..)

Posted on August 17, 2014  by Karate_Jesus  in Man United, Premier League, Transfer Speculation, Transfer Targets   1 Comment »
lvg
Expectations have been raised at Manchester United with Louis van Gaal at the helm

Author: Karate Jesus

At the beginning of the summer, pre-World Cup, most United fans would have been of the opinion that success in the following season would be a top 4 finish and that this would be dependent on a raft of new signings for the newly appointed Louis van Gaal to work with. Expectations then began to become distorted, as Van Gaal’s unfancied Dutch team first spanked the world champions, Spain, 5-1, and then proceeded to the semi-finals of the competition before losing on penalties to Argentina without actually having lost a game. On this evidence, supporters began to think, Van Gaal can clearly work wonders with a squad of limited players that, Robben apart, is inferior to the United squad, even without new signings.

Confidence, excitement and expectation were then further increased during the pre-season tour of America. Whilst fully aware that this was a pre-season tournament, it was hard not to be impressed by United’s performances; given the tripe served up last season, the interplay between players and the goals scored were akin to fresh water after a desert marathon. With the expected addition of players once the team returned from the tour, there was a case for genuine optimism going into the new season. It is less than fourteen days since the squad returned from America and the bubble of optimism has been well and truly burst. It will be dawning on all connected with United that performances in pre-season don’t count for anything and that the problems that existed at the end of last season, Moyes aside, are still there.

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Swansea sink Manchester United as transfers are needed

Posted on August 17, 2014  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Match Reports, Premier League   6 Comments »
Manchester United vs Swansea City
Gylfi Sigurdsson score the winner against Manchester United at Old Trafford

The hope and promise of a new era came crashing down within ninety minutes as a lacklustre Manchester United lost 2-1 at home to Swansea City. Louis van Gaal oversaw United’s first home defeat in the league since 1972 in what was also his home competitive debut. United rarely troubled the visitors, whilst Swansea looked dangerous on the break. United started the game 3-4-1-2 but shifted to 4-4-1-1 in the second half with Hernandez, who looks as if he may have played his last game for Manchester United, being replaced by the ineffective Nani.

Transition takes time. Louis van Gaal is a World Class manager who will have an impact at Old Trafford, but it will indeed take some time to instil a philosophy and way of playing into a side that is crying out for leadership. The Dutchman was quick to state that he feels he was responsible for the defeat and the loss has ‘smashed’ the confidence of the players – however, this will surely heap more pressure on Edward Woodward regarding new signings.

Here we discuss the Talking Points from the game and welcome comments from both sets of fans.

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Manchester United vs. Swansea City view from oppo preview

Posted on August 15, 2014  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Match Previews, Premier League, Swansea City   No Comments »
Robin van Persie scores for Manchester United at Swansea
Robin van Persie scores for Manchester United at Swansea

Manchester United host the first game of the 2014/15 Premier League season and welcome Swansea City in what is a return fixture of the opening match last season. United got off to a flyer, hitting four past Swansea in what was David Moyes domestic debut. That was as good as it got for the Scot, who didn’t get to see the end of the season following his sacking in the April of this year.

Now, Manchester United have a new man in charge. A proven winner who has lifted league titles in Holland, Spain and Germany. Can he add and English Championship to his CV? If he is to – it all kicks off against Swansea City at 12:45.

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Manchester United 2014/15 season preview

Posted on August 15, 2014  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Match Previews, Premier League   No Comments »
Wayne Rooney with Louis van Gaal
Manchester United manager and captain are locked in discussion ahead of the 2014/15 season.

Yes, it is that time of year. Those boring summer months are a thing of the past as the first day of the Premier League season is upon us! Manchester United have a new manager at the helm for the second time in twelve months and we thought we’d ask the lads a few questions on how the season may unfold. Will Louis van Gaal win the league title with United in his first season? Will the club sign anyone in the window? Who will get relegated? We ask you also to contribute in the comments with your suggestions.

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Mats Hummels surely now main focus to strengthen defence

Posted on August 10, 2014  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Premier League, Transfer Speculation, Transfer Targets   1 Comment »
Mats Hummels
Mat Hummels has been linked with a move to Manchester United all summer

Manchester United saw one of their summer transfer targets, Thomas Vermaelen, leave to join Barcelona in a £15million deal from Arsenal. Vermaelen had fallen out of favour at The Emirates, with Arsene Wenger preferring Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as his centre back pairing. Barcelona are for the first time without their captain, Carles Puyol, who was forced to retire through injury ending a gloriously successful career. The Catalan club have added defender Jeremy Mathieu to their ranks, but obviously feel the need to replace the gaping hole left by their former number 5.

It was clear that Arsenal didn’t want to lose their club captain – admittedly who is of less importance than Robin van Persie, who departed two summers ago – to a team who will no doubt be challenging for Champions League places this season and when the calling came from a top club who is in Europe’s elite competition, the Belgian’s mind was surely made up.

Now Louis van Gaal faces the dilemma of heading into the Premier League season without Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra and having not added to the squad defensively. Could the experienced Mats Hummels be the man to come in and make the difference?

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Manchester United next captain: Who is your money on?

Posted on August 02, 2014  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Managers, Players, Premier League   6 Comments »
RvP celebrates.
Robin van Persie is being touted as the next Manchester United captain

Guest Author: Mitchell Jones

You may not have been aware of this, given how little coverage football has received this summer, but Manchester United have replaced the managerial turd that was David Moyes with a pair of giant Dutch testicles by the name of Louis van Gaal. Given the hype of the media and the supporters, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the champions are back in town. The champions who, well, aren’t actually the champions any more.

Things have gotten so bad at Old Trafford that United don’t even have a team captain any more. Our last one, Nemanja Vidic, decided he couldn’t live up to Moyes’ expectations of everyone playing like Phil Jagielka and shipped himself off to Inter Milan. Patrice Evra saw the writing as well, begging his way into Juventus before he was pushed out in favour of youth. That left Rio Ferdinand, who was told to pack his bags and follow suit. He’s now at Queens Park Rangers, exchanging banterous tweets with his new teammates and hocking his branded merchandise to anything he can put a cap on: footballers, rappers, mannequins, pigeons, lampposts, etc.

So now van Gaal, a mere few weeks into his new post, has a monumental decision to make. With the captain and vice-captain positions open, who will he deem fit to lead the new United back into the promised land of top four glory?

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Will Marouane Fellaini leave Manchester United for Napoli?

Posted on July 30, 2014  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Premier League, Transfer Speculation   1 Comment »
Marouane Fellaini
Marouane Fellaini joined Manchester United from Everton for £27.5m last season

Alas. It might be that time. The time to say a big farewell to the Marouane Fellaini. He may indeed possess a hairstyle that belongs to a middle aged American lady in the late 1970s, but his time at Old Trafford is a very disappointing one. His ridiculously inflated £27.5 million transfer fee, which of course – was even more laughable when you heard the news that a month earlier, he could have been picked up for four million less – didn’t help matters. But former manager David Moyes and Edward Woodward waited until the the eleventh hour to unveil this tall, dark and – quite clumsy – new signing. Yes, Fellaini’s arrival at the club was met with the same groans of dissatisfaction that had met Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor a few months earlier.

Will Marouane Fellaini head to Naples? Or will the Belgian be given another crack at Old Trafford and show his class?

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Louis van Gaal and changes at Manchester United

Posted on July 23, 2014  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Managers, Premier League   No Comments »
Louis van Gaal Ryan Giggs
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal with assistant manager Ryan Giggs

Despite not joining the club until after the World Cup Finals in Brazil, nearly all Manchester United fans were delighted at the news that Louis van Gaal would be the next manager of the club. We watched with joy when, what appeared to be, a happier Robin van Persie launching himself into the air to score one of the goals of the tournament. The diving header looped over Spanish captain Iker Casillas who was stranded by the quick thinking Dutchman. His high five celebration with van Gaal is something many Reds will be hoping to see time and time again this campaign.

Even though the former Holland coach has only been at the club for a week – he has been a breath of fresh air with his comments in the limited number of press conferences he has had thus far. A confident and self assured man that is never afraid to voice his opinion or to challenge the status quo. Already, the limp and predictable exchanges between his predecessor David Moyes and the press are a thing of the past. Manchester United have the real deal here – a manager who has won a number of titles in different countries and won the European Cup with a youthful attack minded Ajax side.

So what changes can we expect to see this season?

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1995/96: No Champions League, Cantona returns and kids do well

Posted on July 20, 2014  by Stretford-end  in Legends, Man United, Players, Premier League   No Comments »
Eric Cantona scores against Arsenal in 1995/96
Eric Cantona scores again in yet another 1-0 victory against Arsenal back in 1996.

The good times appear to be back at Old Trafford following a disastrous post-Ferguson campaign that saw the legendary manager’s successor dismissed ten months into a six year contract. The club have taken the well received decision of appointing Louis van Gaal, a world class manager who has won titles in numerous countries and lifted the Champions League trophy with Ajax.

The Dutchman’s triumph in Vienna with an youthful side consisting of Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf and eighteen year old Patrick Kluivert is one of the tournament’s finest, which actually fell on Eric Cantona’s birthday. The Frenchman was half way through his eight month ban for his kung-fu kick on an abusive Crystal Palace fan and the club had missed out on Champions League football having finished second to Blackburn Rovers in 1994/95. It is the only time since Manchester United have failed to qualify for Europe’s elite competition – until last season.

With no Champions League football this season, van Gaal can focus solely on challenging for the Premier League title and re-establish the club domestically. It is nearly twenty years since the summer of 1995 that saw Mark Hughes, Andrei Kanchelskis and Paul Ince leave the club to be replaced by a batch of inexperienced youngsters. Alex Ferguson chased Eric Cantona around the streets of Paris on a scooter and everyone had written United’s chance off before the season had even begun.

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Luke Shaw is a better defender than Baines says Saints fan

Posted on July 02, 2014  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Players, Premier League, Southampton   1 Comment »
luke shaw
Luke Shaw in action for England before his transfer to Manchester United

There appears to be a fresh wave of optimism coming out of Old Trafford these days. Manchester United have obtained the services of a world class manager, who is in Brazil competing for the biggest international prize of all. The club have also acquired the services of Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao, whilst Toni Kroos continues to be linked with the club.

United have also signed one of the most brightest English talents for a record fee paid for a teenager. Luke Shaw looks set to be a superb investment for the club, but we wanted to find out the opinion of a Saints fan who has watched him up close the past two season. We caught up with Chris who blogs over at George Weah’s Cousin and you can follow him on Twitter @crstig.

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