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 »
Arsenal v Manchester United
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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Everton vs. Manchester United view from the oppo

Posted on April 26, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Everton, Man United, Premier League   No Comments »
Marouane Fellaini joined Manchester United from Everton for £27.5m in September 2013
Marouane Fellaini returns to Goodison park to face his old side Everton

What a difference a year makes. It was the 20th April 2014 and Everton quashed any slight glimmer of hope Manchester United fans had of a Champions League place, which ultimately sealed the fate of David Moyes. The home side easily brushed aside the visitors with an emphatically confident display, the polar opposition of the limp threat posed by United. Two days later Moyes was gone and United were looking for a successor a mere ten months following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Fast forward twelve months and United look in a much better state with Dutchman Louis van Gaal at the helm. The past six weeks has seen a return to the United of old, with van Gaal’s men picking up nine points against Champions League qualification chasing opponents, in Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City. United will hoping for a better result than the 2-0 defeat that ultimately ended Moyes’ regin at the club that he left.

The visitor are with out instrumental Michael Carrick, who has been in great form but missed the recent trip to Chelsea after starring in the 4-2 victory over Manchester City. Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are also out for United. Louis van Gaal will be hoping David De Gea, who starred in the 2-1 victory over Everton in October, agrees to a contract extension and spurns any advances from Real Madrid. Its vital that going forward, United send out a message to retain the services of arguably the best goalkeeper in Europe.

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Chelsea vs. Manchester United view from the oppo

Posted on April 18, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Chelsea, Man United, Premier League   No Comments »
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Manchester United lost 3-1 at Chelsea last season with Samuel Eto’o scoring all three

Manchester United travel to league leaders Chelsea this evening knowing that they must not leave without three points to stand any potential chance of lifting the title, which of course would need to coincide with a monumental collapse by the Londoners. United are in great form and have picked up nine points in the games against Tottenham, Liverpool and most recently in the 4-2 victory over Manchester City.

The absence of Michael Carrick through injury is a massive blow to United who was instrumental in the victory last Sunday, getting on the ball and dominating the physically superior Yaya Toure. Phil Jones is also missing from the match day squad. Although Chelsea still have a game in hand, United will close the gap to five points with a victory at Stamford Bridge.

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Manchester United thrash City rivals in 4-2 spanking

Posted on April 13, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Manchester City, Premier League   No Comments »
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Juan Mata scores Manchester United’s third goal against rivals Manchester City

Was it the finest moment for United fans since Sir Alex Ferguson was at the helm? Was it “the philosophy”, instilled by Louis van Gaal beginning to shine through? Or was it indeed the sheer desire and quality of a side brimming with confidence, which was so clearly devoid throughout the David Moyes era. In all fairness, it was probably a bit of all three.

If you rewind twelve months, we’re a week short of the day that Moyes was sacked by the club. United had been hammered and hadn’t even put up a fight against Liverpool and Manchester City, losing both games 3-0 and were out of the running for a Champions League spot by the end of Moyes’ final game against his old club, Everton.

Today, the mood is very different around Old Trafford and Champions League football is looking very likely to return to the club next season. Chelsea are too far ahead to, realistically, be caught at this stage – but Louis van Gaal’s men are really sending out a message for the 2015/16 campaign.

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Manchester United vs. Manchester City view from the oppo

Posted on April 12, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Manchester City, Premier League   1 Comment »
Rooney vs City
Wayne Rooney scores the winner against Manchester City back in 2011

Manchester United take on neighbours Manchester City in a much anticipated top of the table clash.

United are in good form having beaten Aston Villa, Liverpool and Spurs in the past month – whilst City come into the match off the back of a 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace.

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Manchester United 3-1 Aston Villa: Rooney & Herrera sink Villa

Posted on April 06, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Aston Villa, Man United, Premier League   No Comments »
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Ander Herrera opens the scoring with a nearly taken first half strike

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What a difference a fortnight makes; the journey to Old Trafford for the previous home league match against Spurs had been filled with apprehension and anxiety that the season would end on a downward trajectory following the whimper against Arsenal in the FA Cup earlier that week. The subsequent victories against Spurs and Liverpool not only gave United a cushion in the ‘rat race’ for the top four but felt like Van Gaal’s side had suddenly gone from 2nd gear to 5th.

Gone was the hesitant, nervous football on evidence over the majority of the season to date, replaced by a United side playing with pace, confidence and aggression. For the first time in a long time, the walk to the ground was filled with the expectation, rather than hope, of a home win and good performance. The new found confidence proved well founded as United recorded a fifth straight league win with another encouraging performance.

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Ander Herrera continues to flourish in debut season

Posted on April 05, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Players, Premier League   No Comments »
Ander Herrera has recovered from a rib injury and he may be able to play in a corset.
Ander Herrara continues to flourish in Manchester United’s midfield

Ander Herrara has quite a tough task. When starting a new job, in whatever you do, you want to make sure you make an impact and show you can offer a little more than those who went before you. Herrara has the quite daunting task of treading in the footsteps of Paul Scholes at club level and Xavi Hernandez at International level – two of the finest European midfielders the world has ever seen.

Scholes was the heart of United for so many years, had a sublime range of passing and was excellent at scoring goals from midfield. Xavi, although his influence is waning in the autumn years, was inspirational in the heart of Barcelona’s and Spain’s midfield for over a decade. Both have set the standards for future players and fans will remember the special moments both players brought to the game.

Herrera, who is yet to win a full international cap, has excelled as the season has progressed in the centre of the park and his proving his worth at a club who are now closing in on a Champions League spot. A top performance against Liverpool and two goals against Aston Villa have highlighted his worth in United side growing in confidence.

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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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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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