If David de Gea was taken out of the running, it’s strange to think that when United’s players and supporters vote for their player of the season, the much maligned and, in some quarters, vehemently despised, Ashley Young, would be a contender. Many would argue that this is a sign of United’s current mediocrity, but in a squad with players of the calibre of Rooney, Van Persie, Falcao, Di Maria and Mata, it’s also just praise for a player who’s energy and attitude have begun to win over many of the people who have criticised him since his arrival from Aston Villa in 2011.
Tweet Wayne Rooney celebrates with Ander Herrera having scored a hattrick against Club Brugge Yes, the white Pele has once again answered...
Tweet Wayne Rooney failed to score again but put in my improved performance It was two points dropped for Manchester United at home...
Tweet David De Gea is set to miss yet another match following interest from Real Madrid Manchester United will again be without Spanish...
Robin van Persie scores the winner against Arsenal at home last season in the league
You may not have Brian McClair kicking lumps out of Nigel Winterburn. You may not have Eric Cantona and Dennis Bergkamp’s genius. You may not have a snarling Sir Alex Ferguson confronting the much taller Arsene Wenger – but you do have Manchester United vs. Arsenal, if the FA Cup quarter final for a place at Wembley. Arsenal, the current holders, haven’t beaten United at Old Trafford since the 2006/07 season when Emmanuel Adebayor scored in the last five minutes of the game.
Wenger will be looking to get one over van Gaal, following the 2-1 defeat at The Emirates last November, with David De Gea playing a blinder yet again. United are missing Jonny Evans (suspended) and Robin van Persie, who still has an ankle injury following the defeat to Swansea City.
Falcao is brought down in box, however the wrong player was sent off
If United are to secure a top 4 finish and a return to Champions League football, then it is likely that they are going to have to win their home games. There was obvious anxiety and unrest in the stands during the first half as United took their time to get going and it could be argued they didn’t truly put Sunderland under pressure until John O’Brown was sent off. However, there were encouraging signs by the end and, given the circumstances, results rather than performances are the most important thing over the next few months.
In order to get the results United need, I get the impression that Van Gaal is going to pick the players he trusts the most. There can be arguments as to the merits of those he trusts (such as the continued exile of Rafael, although incidentally, Valencia is not currently a cause for concern at right back and continued his good form against Sunderland), but it is natural for him to do this.
Robin van Persie looks on as Jack Rodwell scores an equaliser at the beginning of the season
With only twelve games to go and with the race for a top four finish heating up, Manchester United are in desperate need of a win following the 2-1 defeat away at Swansea City last weekend. United are without Robin van Persie, who picked up an ankle injury in the defeat, as they take on Sunderland who saved themselves from relegation last season with a win at Old Trafford following the departure of David Moyes. The visitors last away victory came against arch rivals Newcastle United back on the 21st December.
Sunderland are three points off the drop zone and will no doubt be boosted by a double victory on the same ground last season – one in the League Cup and as mentioned previously, towards the back end of the season in the league. Radamel Falcao needs to start proving his worth if he is to seal a permanent move from Monaco, whilst Angel Di Maria will also be looking to prove doubters wrong after coming under heavy fire for his lacklustre performance last weekend.
Angel Di Maria’s Manchester United form has dwindled in the past few months
Match of the day pundit Robbie Savage launched a scathing attack on Manchester United and in particular Angel Di Maria, following the 2-1 defeat away at Swansea City. The club’s record signing at £59.7 million has struggled to deliver in the last few months, despite the impressive start he made at Old Trafford. The Argentine has only netted three times in the league this season and his last goal came back in October against Everton. For a player of his exceptional talent and ability, that simply isn’t good enough and his withdrawal from proceedings yesterday highlights just how out of form and low on confidence United’s number seven is at the moment.
Savage is paid for his opinion, whether you agree with him or not, but it would be hard to argue against his assessment of Di Maria and United’s general play. The ex Real Madrid man is world class, who can take players on for fun – but United are currently not seeing anywhere near a performance that warrants a world class tag. Di Maria was of course named man of the match in the Champions League Final last season, overshadowing Cristiano Ronaldo in the process – so why is he currently not reaching that level with Manchester United?
The criticism may have been fair, on the Swansea performance and also form in recent months – but, given time, Angel Di Maria will be a big player for the club.
Radamel Falcao has struggled for form and fitness at Manchester United
Manchester United fans couldn’t believe their eyes at the beginning of September. The week previous, United had broken the English transfer fee again to sign Angel Di Maria from European Champions Real Madrid, but the signing of Colombian Falcao meant the fans were in dreamland. A club that had missed out on Champions League football for the first time since finishing second in 1994/95 had pulled in some of the world’s finest talent and wouldn’t scrape back into Europe’s elite but juggernaut through with a bit of swagger.
Spring is upon us and although United are a in a good position and have only lost once in the nineteen games, Southampton, Arsenal and Tottenham are breathing down the necks of Louis van Gaal’s men. United’s Colombian forward has made little impact since his £6million loan move from Monaco. The lack of impact isn’t anything to do with effort nor ability, but he simply hasn’t played enough games to be able to score the goals we all have seen him bang in for FC Porto and Atletico Madrid. Can United really splash out and pay half of what Real Madrid paid for Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2009 on a 29 year old?
Paul Huntington scores as Preston beat Sheffield United in the last round of the FA Cup
The last time Manchester United faced Preston North End in any competitive competition was back in the 1971/72 season, ironically in the FA Cup. The previous United team sheet included the likes if Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and of course, George Best. The like of Angel Di Maria, Robin van Persie and Falcao will line up over forty three years later in what is a very different competition.
Preston are riding high in League One and are a good bet for promotion – but will be looking to pull off one of the all time FA Cup shocks when they take on United at Deepdale, in a tournament that has already seen the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City lose at home to lower ranked teams.
United struggled to beat Cambridge in the previous round and Louis van Gaal was critical of his United side in the 3-1 defeat of Burnley last week – so United fans will expect a performance in the FA Cup, which looks like the only trophy United have a chance of winning this season.
Wayne Rooney scores a wonder goal at West Ham last season as United picked up all three points
Louis van Gaal will be hoping to overtake Southampton and reclaim third place with a win over West Ham United today. United haven’t lost to West Ham at Upton Park, in the league, since 2007/08 and will be hoping to maintain the same form that overcame Leicester City last weekend. The visitors welcome back Ashley Young, who has been out injured since New Years Day, but will be without Michael Carrick.
One other piece of news is that West Ham United have terminated the contract of former Manchester United prodigy Ravel Morrison with immediate effect.
Darren Fletcher has finally left Manchester United to kick start his career at WBA
Guest Author: Doron
Follow Doron on Twitter
Darren Fletcher’s move to West Brom is the end of a career-long battle at United. He has overcome rules, injuries, doubt, criticism and illness to make nearly 350 appearances for the club. He leaves having won the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and Club World Cup; he’s done the lot.
David De Gea has risen to become Manchester United’s most important player
David De Gea has risen from a promising youngster to one of the best goalkeepers in the world game. Long gone are suggestions that the Premier League is “too physical” for the Spaniard or that he “flaps at crosses” following a string of wonderful displays that have won Manchester United a vast amount of points in what is a Champions League spot chasing season.
This is of course a far cry from nervous looking displays when De Gea left Atletico Madrid for the then English champions in the summer of 2011. United’s number one, who was replacing the legendary Edwin van der Sar – who bowed out in the European Cup final defeat at the hands of Barcelona at Wembley, had a torrid time at the Hawthorns on his Premier League debut – with many, quite moronically, writing him off at such a premature stage.
Since then he has become such an important player for United, so what message would it send out if indeed he were to be sold in the summer to Real Madrid? Louis van Gaal must do everything in his power to ensure his prized asset remains a United player for the foreseeable future.