Posts Tagged With 'Premier League'

Van Gaal quashes Mourinho reports as United travel to Chelsea

Posted on February 07, 2016  by Stretford-end  in Man United   No Comments »
Van Gaal quashes Mourinho reports as United travel to Chelsea
Anthony Martial takes on the Chelsea defence
Youngster Anthony Martial will be key down the left hand side for Manchester United

Over the past decade, both sets of fans would have seen this clash as an opportunity to take advantage in the title challenge. These days, Manchester United fans are struggling to see a team that resembles anything put on show in the Sir Alex Ferguson era, whilst Chelsea fans have witnessed what only can be described as a worst title defence in the modern era only comparable to Chris Froome opting to compete in the 2016 Tour de France on a unicycle.

United were much improved against Stoke City in the 3-0 victory last Tuesday, with Anthony Martial terrorising Philipp Wollscheid who was replaced by Phil Bardsley – who was equalled tormented. Martial holds the key for United down that left hand side and will be urged to take on Branislav Ivanovic as much as possible. The in form Wayne Rooney, who was criticised by Louis van Gaal for suggesting that United were allowed to play with more freedom, will be looking to close in on Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal scoring record for the club and a first victory at Stamford Bridge since the ill-fated 3-2 victory back in 2012/13.

The BBC reported on Saturday that United are holding talks with Jose Mourinho in an apparent bid to bring the Portuguese in at the end of the season. These reports have been dismissed, as expected, by Louis van Gaal – who can silence his critics with a good performance and a win against the current league champions.

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More excuses from van Gaal as United lose 1-0 to Southampton

Posted on January 24, 2016  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Premier League, Southampton   No Comments »
More excuses from van Gaal as United lose 1-0 to Southampton
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Charlie Austin scores a late winner for Southampton to sink Manchester United

They say history never repeats itself. Well, watching Manchester United this season is like Groundhog day, although without the humour of Bill Murray smashing that bloke in the face. Southampton repeated their 1-0 victory over United from last season. Back in January 2015 it was substitute Dusan Tadic that nabbed the winner in what was a dire game – with the home team failing to muster up a single shot on Fraser Forster’s goal. Fast forward twelve months and not much has changed; a substitute scores, Southampton win 1-0 – but of course, this rime around – United did manage a shot on target.

Daley Blind’s drive from forty yards was as good as it got for United fans the whole afternoon. United have now failed to score in the first half of eleven home games this season, whilst the visitors picked up their first back to back wins at Old Trafford in nearly forty seven years.

It was Winston Churchill that once remarked “Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it”. Indeed, if you are Louis van Gaal – you stick to your philosophy, regardless of how ineffective and mind numbingly boring history tells you it is. I feel that each performance warrants the same summary on here. “Slow”, “pedestrian”, “unadventurous”, “risk adverse” and “immobile” are all words that have been repeated time and time again when assessing United this season – rather than discussing contentious, thrilling or debatable moments as in years gone by. For all the suggestions that the 1-0 victory at Anfield could reignite something this season, Charlie Austin and Southampton reminded us that indeed, unfortunately, history does repeat itself some times.

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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 »
Wayne Rooney bags Anfield goal in smash and grab win for United
wayne-rooney-liverpool-goal-anfield
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 »
Newcastle United 3-3 Manchester United: United lose boring tag
Newcastle United
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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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 »
Louis van Gaal clings to United job following Norwich defeat
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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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Josh King heaps more misery on van Gaal as United lose again

Posted on December 13, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Bournemouth, Man United, Premier League   1 Comment »
Josh King heaps more misery on van Gaal as United lose again
Manchester United lose 2-1 away at Bournemouth
Manchester United lose 2-1 away at Bournemouth with former Red Josh King netting the winner

Former Red Josh King, who made two substitute appearances for the club, came back to haunt his former employers with a winning goal for Bournemouth as Louis van Gaal witnessed a second defeat in a single week following the the 3-2 loss in the Champions League at the hands of Wolfsburg. King, who was a menace all evening, worked tirelessly throughout the match and was a constant threat, especially down United’s right hand side, with a powerful dribbling display and a few nutmegs on youngster Guillermo Varela thrown in.

Both United and Bournemouth were missing a number of players through injury, but it was indeed the newly promoted club that looked sharp and maintained their defensive shape. Louis van Gaal was missing Chris Smalling, who has been United’s best player so far this season, and his experience was sorely missed in a backline that had three players who haven’t made thirty appearances between one another. Bournemouth were well worth their victory and could have scored more, with Glenn Murray squandering two glorious opportunities in the second half.

Each weekend it seems United fans are discussing the same issues and Louis van Gaal’s so called “philosophy”. The United boss has hit back at the critics with the notion that United’s days of winning trophies are in the past due to the financial clout of other top European clubs – however, this is from a manager who has the backing to spend over £250million on new players. Van Gaal needs to finish what he has started at United and there isn’t any suggestion he should vacate his post early – but the football is dull and uninspiring whilst United are losing ground on Arsenal and Manchester City in the league.

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Louis van Gaal looks to Bournemouth victory following Europe exit

Posted on December 12, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Bournemouth, Man United, Premier League   1 Comment »
Louis van Gaal looks to Bournemouth victory following Europe exit
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Louis van Gaal couldn’t watch as his Manchester United side were sent crashing out of Europe

It was never meant to end the way that it did. Manchester United exited the Champions League at the first hurdle, having spent over £90million in the summer on new players – Louis van Gaal was forced, again, to justify his position and reiterate the fact that he believes United are “getting better”. If you witnessed the first half performance against Wolfsburg and how the German side waltzed through the United defence for their second goal – you wouldn’t have though it. Bastian Schweinsteiger, a World Cup winner and a once elegant general of the midfield, looks a player on the decline and was abysmal in the final group game. United travel to the south coast today to take on Bournemouth and will be without Schweinsteiger, who was banned following an incident with Winston Reid in the 0-0 draw with West Ham.

Bournemouth have done wonders under the leadership of Eddie Howe and will play their first league fixture against United ever. Both clubs have met eight times before, with the last tie in the 1988/89 season – a FA Cup 5th round replay. Brian McClair scored the only goal that day and Louis van Gaal will need some of that firepower up top as United look for their first win since beating Watford 2-1 last month. Bournemouth are on a high following the victory over Chelsea last weekend and will no doubt take confidence in the fact that United are now out of the Champions League and could well be another big scalp.

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Manchester United draw 0-0 again – will the philosophy ever work?

Posted on December 06, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Managers, Premier League, West Ham   1 Comment »
Manchester United draw 0-0 again - will the philosophy ever work?
anthony-martial-west-ham
Anthony Martial fails to find the back of the net against West Ham United

Another afternoon. Another 0-0. Another excuse from the manager. Louis van Gaal saw his Manchester United side fail to score for the sixth time this season, as West Ham United earned a well deserved point at Old Trafford. The visitors had the better of the chances, with David De Gea thwarting Victor Moses – who was through one on one following a poor Daley Blind pass. The Spaniard was also lucky to see Chris Smalling’s attempted clearance smash the post, just before Winston Reid hit the same upright later in the half.

Argentine Mauro Zárate was guilty of missing the best and easiest chance of the match as his outside of the boot strike went well wide having been played in by Andy Carroll. Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial went close in the second half, but it was the same old story as United picked up another goalless draw. Statistics show that United are much tighter at the back and concede fewer goals than last season, however – the visitors were unlucky not to find the back of the net.

United’s manager believes that his side have not got luck on their side at present, which was evident in the amount of chances van Gaal believes his side have squandered. With United apparently cooling any interest on Pep Guardiola, it appears that the Dutchman will be able to finish off his philosophy as we approach the halfway mark of his tenure.

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Slavan Bilic dismisses boring link as United take on West Ham

Posted on December 05, 2015  by Stretford-end  in Man United, Match Previews, Premier League, West Ham   No Comments »
Slavan Bilic dismisses boring link as United take on West Ham
Robin van Persie scores against West Ham United last season
Now departed Robin van Persie scores the opener against West Ham United last season.

Manchester United welcome West Ham to Old Trafford as the hosts look to close the gap on Manchester City at the top of the table. United drew 1-1 last weekend with Leicester City, when a win would have taken Louis van Gaal’s men to the top of the table – but had to settle for a point, with Bastian Schweinsteiger netting his first goal for the club.

The visitors have lost their last two games away from Upton Park, losing 2-0 to Watford and going down 4-1 to rivals Spurs – whilst United are undefeated at home. Wayne Rooney, who has been struggling for form this season, will miss the game through injury. Rooney is currently on 499 appearances for the club and will have to wait a little longer for his milestone.

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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 looking to torment Manchester United again
leicester-city
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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