Red Rants Archives for January 2009

All three points as fortune favours United

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Scott at Republik of Mancunia made a valiant effort at throwing a positive spin on Saturday's result. Of course, it was a win after all, so, really, what can be more positive than that? And he did a good job of trying to alleviate certain shreds of negativism that may have afflicted a lot of United fans.

GOAL VIDEOS: Manchester United v Arsenal

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Goal videos of the match below:

Man Utd 0-1 Arsenal (Arshavin)

Man Utd 1-1 Arsenal (Rooney penalty)

Man Utd 2-1 Arsenal (Diaby - Haha!)

Report will come later. Comments off for this one, but we are having a big match discussion going on anyway, here

"GOAL VIDEOS: Manchester United v Arsenal" was originally published at Red Rants - Manchester United Blog.

Manchester United vs Fabregas-less Arsenal: Preview

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So here we are then. With just three competitive (if you prefer not to count the Community Shield as meaningful) games of the season played, we face our first big test in the shape of Arsenal.

While last season's meeting at Old Trafford in the Premier League was hardly of massive significance, tomorrow's encounter will certainly provide a decent benchmark to how we are shaping up in terms of our title credentials this campaign.

Ferguson Breaks Silence on Midfielders

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Sir Alex Ferguson has made a few things clear about his plans for our central midfielders today, and it answered some questions (and debunked some rumours doing the rounds lately).

When asked about Carrick and Anderson, he said, "there are no issues at all."

"Michael wasn't involved against Birmingham or Wigan because we played Burnley on the Wednesday and it was a chance to freshen up.

Manchester United drawn with Besiktas, CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg

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You can read the live MBM reports here and here.

I am still unsure on the exact dates, but I can only hope we don't travel to Moscow in December. It's always tough at that time of the year. Either way, with Turkey and Russian clubs in our group, we have some serious travelling to do. Away from home Besiktas can be tricky, and CSKA Moscow formidable.

Is Arjen Robben worth a punt?

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The Arjen Robben story continues to gather steam, especially now that Wesley Sneijder has reportedly agreed a five year deal with Inter.

Robben, best known for being a crock aside from being among the few creative outlets in a Chelsea team also shone during his spell in Real Madrid. He is on the right side of 26, in keeping with our policy to sign 'younger players'.

Anderson talks - puts speculation to bed

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Anderson spoke to Sportsmail putting an end to speculation that he may be heading for the exits at Old Trafford. This late in the window, with Ferguson saying "he won't buy anyone", it would surprise me if he were to boot someone out of the door. Anderson has gone down in estimation with some fans due to an inconsistent second season, and there were reports of a bust up between Ferguson and him over his non-selection in the Community Shield.

The Tuesday Tantrum: A Fleecing of Fletcher

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The tale of Fletcher's ascent is best sung to the familiar tune of "zero to hero." The young Scot, originally billed as the next Beckham, experienced a break-out season last term, making 26 Premier League appearances for United. However, when I try to explain his rise, I find myself at a loss for words.

United warmup for Arsenal with second half blitz

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Wigan were given a right thrashing in a second half rout which saw first goals of the season for Nani and Berbatov and a debut goal for Owen.

There were plenty of positives to take from a match where we scored 5 goals it is a gross understatement; after all, following the sluggish start, one can only take positives from such a result but the most intriguing thing about the match for me was the absence of Michael Carrick, who didn't even make it to the bench.

Man Utd v Wigan

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Will be a very short preview this. I think a lot has already been said post-Burnley that all we can hope for is a response from the side. We travel to Wigan who under Roberto Martinez are committed towards playing a positive, attacking brand of football. On the plus side, it means we should find more space when we have possession.

Manchester United launch £20m bid for Wesley Sneijder

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I thought that might grab your attention. I'll apologise now for falsely raising your hopes and expectations as, let's be honest, this sort of transfer doesn't look likely to happen in the immediate future.

Although I have to admit that if I were in Sir Alex Ferguson's shoes, I would be trying damn hard to ensure that this, or a deal of similar proportions, was completed before the end of the current transfer window.

Sports Direct, Hillsborough and fan behaviour

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This has been a topic I've been meaning to touch upon for a long time but kept procrastinating till now. A report was up on the Guardian yesterday, where Sports Direct, a sports apparel business owned by businessman-cum-Newcastle owner (and and part-time clown in the local circus) Mike Ashley, was forced to apologise for printing shirts mocking the Hillsborough victims.

Rubbish Team Selections Squander United’s Advantage

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I saw the match on delay yes, downloaded it, god bless me so let me cut out the preface. United were rubbish yesterday; ridiculously rubbish, grossly underestimated their opponents (a gentle reminder of being wary mentioned here yesterday) and were thoroughly deserving of the end result.

Some reads to while your time…

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... whilst I write the report for the Burnley game.

1. The Republik of Mancunia interviewed Rob Smyth. Smyth, of course, is a freelancer who also writes for the Guardian. He's a United fan, and regular readers will recall our interview with him last year (you can read that here.) I like Smyth's willingness to speak his mind on issues concerning United and football in general.

Burnley v Man Utd: Preview

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United visit Turf Moor, a stadium whose environs could give one the impression of being transported to a different era. The brilliant Two Hundred Percent blog, gives an insight into the club and what it's been through all these years, and as a segue it's a good read. I'm sure the press will spare a few words on the old world charm of Turf Moor, however, for United's superstars and most pampered Premier League stars the dressing rooms will be a dump.

The Tuesday Tantrum: A Burning Berbatov Cocktail

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Elegant. Graceful. Patient. Methodical. If you could lineup your knuckles perfectly, would you knock out every single teeth in Berbatov's mouth? Or would you leave one individual front tooth hanging, a testament to the depths of your disdain?

Sir Alex fielded a slick-passing 4-4-2 against Birmingham, with Scholes and Fletcher providing muscle and Nani and Valencia as delegated flair specialists.

United squeak past Brum

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"United squeak past Brum" was originally published at Red Rants - Manchester United Blog.

Manchester United v Birmingham Preview

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"Manchester United v Birmingham Preview" was originally published at Red Rants - Manchester United Blog.

The Manchester United Pledge

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With United due to kick off not too long from now, the lovely folks at Nike got in touch with us to show a preview video featuring Rio, Welbeck, Gibson, Rooney and Evra.

Preview will follow soon. Stay tuned.

"The Manchester United Pledge" was originally published at Red Rants - Manchester United Blog.

It’s Make Or Break For Michael Owen

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The brochure worked then. Brochure? What brochure? The Michael Owen brochure ofcourse. Yes Sir Alex has taken a gamble, of sorts, in bringing the striker to Old Trafford, offering him the chance to resurrect his career.

It's make or break time for our new number 7. With a World Cup only just around the corner, Owen will know that a successful season for United will see him creep into Fabio Capello's England squad that, bar an absolutely catastrophic collapse, will be heading to South Africa.

The Guardian’s 09/10 Season Package

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The folks at the Guardian got in touch with us to inform our readers about their package titled, The Season. This is a preview package for the upcoming season and it includes comprehensive information and preview for all sides and for our purposes, lots of Manchester United as well.

United snooze as Chelsea claw back to win Shield

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The curtain raiser for the Premier League 09/10 is now behind us, and we can finally look forward to actual competitive football. Of course, the international friendly is almost surreal in its scheduling but we can break our head over it another day.

Here are a few thoughts on yesterday...

Man Utd v Chelsea: Community Shield Preview

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The summer has whizzed past us, like it always does. Today we have the glorified friendly, the Community Shield. In my mind I haven't looked at it beyond what it is; a friendly and perhaps an opportunity for fans to grasp at the slim straw of bragging rights going into the season.

Most of you, I'm sure, would recall the shit-hurling contest last year; a nil-nil draw leading to a penalty-shootout and everyone, save for Tevez, were sauntering along trying to feign excitement at the winning goal.

Brief thoughts on Valencia friendly

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Our first pre-season friendly at home, against Valencia, ended in a comfortable 2-0 win for us, but the match was quite open and promised more goals than the score sheet would indicate.

Since it's pre-season, I'll just cap it with brief thoughts on the match and leave the stage for you to take over.

Red Rants and Fantasy Football - The 09/10 Fantasy Football League

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The 09/10 Premier League season starts in 2 weeks and the inaugural Football Media Fantasy Football league is now open for business.

There are a host of prizes to win, it's free to join and it's based on the popular and very easy to use premier league fantasy football game.

How To Play


Can Foster Capitalise On Lucky Break?

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Luck isn't really a word you would associate with Ben Foster. He's had more than his fair share of misfortune during his stop-start career thus far although this could be the chance that the England international has been waiting for and, if you can excuse the pun, I'm sure he's ready to grab it with both hands.

From Pogba to Petrucci - United’s Reputation Is On The Line

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Paul Pogba. I'm pretty sure none of us had heard anything about this young starlet before last week. In fairness, I doubt the season ticket holders at his former club Le Harve had even had the chance to comprehend his potential before he was whisked away under a cloud of smoke dosh.

Time to crack open the champagne?