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 »
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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James Wilson’s loan to Brighton is vital for his development

Posted on November 28, 2015  by nameonthetrophy  in Doron, Guest Writer, Man United, Youth   No Comments »

James Wilson has found his chances at Manchester United pretty limited this season

Guest Author: Doron

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The news of James Wilson’s loan to Brighton was akin to a last minute goal in a game. A quick rewrite was needed to a piece that was pretty much written about how it’s important something happens to him soon so that his career doesn’t start to stall. The premise ultimately remains the same but the loan, a positive move, provides some relief that he remains on the right path.

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United score last gasp winner at Watford to go second

Posted on November 22, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Premier League, Watford   No Comments »
Memphis Depay scores Manchester United’s opener against Watford

Author: Mitchell

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Fans of Wayne Rooney should take a second to breathe, as what I’m about to tell you might come as the shock you so eagerly were trying to avoid. Ready for it? Here it comes.

Manchester United put forth one of their best displays of the season and the captain was nowhere near the pitch. That’s right: no Rooney, no worry.

You’d think that a team missing Anthony Martial, Rooney, James Wilson and Marouane Fellaini would struggle against a home side with a reputation for low concession (an average of just over one goal per game) and on stats alone you’d probably chalk up a victory. Tell that to Memphis Depay though, given the forward spot and repaying within ten minutes of the open. A converted penalty from Troy Deeney nearly ruined a hard-fought effort with five minutes to spare, but Bastian Schweinsteiger forcing the ball from a tight angle onto the Watford scorer’s sliding body put the game to bed.

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Watford take on injury hit Manchester United

Posted on November 21, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Watford   No Comments »
Odion Ighalo will look to add to his goals tally for Watford against Manchester United

Manchester United last played Watford in the spring of 2007 in a FA Cup semi final. United went on to lose in the final against Chelsea, but were victorious in the league, whilst the fallen semi-finalists waved goodbye to Premier League football. Today, United travel to Vicarage Road without a recognised striker, with both Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial missing through injury. James Wilson, United’s young striker, is also missing – which could mean a start for Marouane Fellaini up top.

Louis van Gaal has publicly spoken for the first time about the need for Memphis Depay to step up, as his fellow countryman expects more. Depay hasn’t played since the 3-0 defeat away at Arsenal, and with injuries to attacking players – this could well be a great chance for the young winger to make an impact.

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Jesse Lingard gives van Gaal the goal Manchester United needed

Posted on November 08, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Premier League, WBA   No Comments »
Jesse Lingard scores the opener against WBA
Jesse Lingard opens the scoring for Manchester United against WBA in the 2-0 victory at Old Trafford

As we approach the next international break where there is the inevitable gap of watching domestic football, much has happened since the last break in early October. The 19th minute strike by Alexis Sanchez in the 3-0 defeat away at Arsenal is the last league goal Manchester United have conceded. Paul Scholes has spoken openly regarding the way Louis van Gaal has the side playing these days, whilst Middlesbrough have knocked United out of the League Cup, on penalties – at Old Trafford.

Despite the criticism regarding lack of attacking threat, United continue to push and challenge for some sort of title charge. Yesterday, the defensively minded WBA set up shop with eleven men behind the ball – which explains a lot as to why, before yesterday, they had conceded the fewest away goals in the Premier League. The first half was devoid of any real action, excluding the brilliant control, turn and shot from Anthony Martial. The second half was more open and United fans witnessed Jesse Lingard’s first goal for the club; a beautifully curled shot past the helpless Boaz Myhill in the 52nd minute.

United were lucky not to concede when Saido Berahino missed an absolute sitter from five yards. The unmarked forward, who was a second half substitute, headed high and wide from a Craig Dawson cross. With time running out, the visitors pushed men forward – but it was Anthony Martial who won a penalty for the home side after a through ball by Ander Herrera. The young French forward was brought down by Gareth McAuley, who was dismissed by Mike Dean, having showed great pace to get into a shooting position. Juan Mata slotted home the penalty for United to go 2-0 up and keep the pressure on Manchester City, Arsenal and high flying Leicester City.

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Will Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United score goals against WBA?

Posted on November 07, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Premier League, WBA   No Comments »
Manchester United lose 1-0 to WBA last season
Manchester United haven’t conceded a goal since the 1-1 draw with CSKA Moscow

The figures do not bode well for an open attacking game at Old Trafford this afternoon. Manchester United haven’t scored a goal in the Premier League since Wayne Rooney’s strike against Everton three weeks ago, whilst WBA have only conceded two goals away from The Hawthorns all season. Looking at the 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace last week, United are struggling to capitalise on the amount of possession the side has during Premier League matches.

This generally applies to games away from Old Trafford – but with WBA’s stingy defence, the 5-5 goal fest in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final is highly unlikely. Louis van Gaal has pleaded for patience with United fans following boos during the CSKA Moscow game in the week – which United won 1-0. Can United pick up in front of goal and pick up three points and seek revenge following the 1-0 defeat to WBA last May?

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Manchester United fire blank in 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace

Posted on November 01, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Crystal Palace, Man United, Premier League   No Comments »
Louis van Gaal looks on as Wayne Rooney fails to find the back of the net
Louis van Gaal looks on as Wayne Rooney fails to find the back of the net against Palace

With Manchester United legend Paul Scholes openly criticising Louis van Gaal’s approach and “philosophy” – the best response would have been to play with an open attacking display against Crystal Palace and throw caution to the wind. Sadly, for van Gaal, the United fans and Paul Scholes – the legendary midfielder was proved right as United struggled to find any momentum that would suggest come May, the club will be challenging for the league title.

With the exception of the Arsenal game, United have become difficult to beat and breakdown, although Yannick Bolasie was unlucky not to open the scoring with a thundering shot parried on to the bar by David De Gea. Wayne Rooney, who is continuing to come under fire from United fans for his below par performances the season, should have opened the scoring following a superb through pass by Anthony Martial.

United will struggle to keep up with title chasing Manchester City and Arsenal – both of whom won yesterday – with performance that are laboured, sluggish and lack any real cutting edge. United are not creating chances, which is one of the main problems outlined by Paul Scholes. Will the philosophy come good or will United slowly see any title challenge slip away?

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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 »
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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Van Gaal’s difficult second album

Posted on October 29, 2015  by nameonthetrophy  in Doron, Guest Writer, Man United, Managers   No Comments »

Guest Author: Doron

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In music they talk of the ‘difficult second album’, matching or bettering a previous work. It is of course subjective. To one person a riff could be art, to another, nothing more than offensive noise. Football is more clear-cut in that there is always a definitive result but the process of winning a game remains open for interrogation.

This is where Louis van Gaal finds himself now. He’s roughly 15 months into his spell at United and after achieving the absolute minimum in his first season, there is already an air of impatience amongst the fanbase. Just how do we assess the progress the club is making?

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Manchester United and Manchester City in 0-0 stalemate

Posted on October 25, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Manchester City, Premier League   No Comments »
Bastian Schweinsteiger gets stuck into Fernandinho in his first Manchester derby

It has been over ten years since we witnessed a 0-0 draw in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford. Back then a raw Cristiano Ronaldo was menacing down the wings, Liam Miller patrolled the midfield alongside a much more memorable Roy Keane – whilst Roy Carroll kept a clean sheet against an attacking outlet of Steve McMananman, Nicholas Anelka and Shaun Wright-Phillips. The personnel may have changed significantly alongside the objectives of both clubs but it was the defence who came out on top in a match that showcased flashes of excitement, albeit these were indeed limited to only flashes.

Substitute Jesse Lingard came closest to opening the scoring after hitting the bar following a brilliant through ball by Antony Martial who was operating down the left hand side for United. City were very strong defensively through the middle – with Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi excellent in central defence and Fernandinho closing down the space in front of back four. The result was a fair one as Manchester City return to the top of the table, with United remaining in fourth – just two points behind.

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