Red Rants Archives for January 2013

Trip to Spurs a great chance for United

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"We can't afford to lose," says Patrice Evra ahead of Sunday's trip to White Hart Lane and few would disagree with the United left-back, for this weekend's clash against Tottenham could be a watershed moment as far as David Moyes' first season at the club is concerned.

Having beaten Arsenal, United failed to pick up any significant momentum and slumped to a dreadful draw at Cardiff last week, an infuriating result not only because the Reds conceded a late equaliser for the third time this season after letting in late goals against Shakthar and Southampton, but also because it came on the back on a terribly insipid performance.

Evra: “We can’t lose at Spurs”

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Patrice Evra believes Manchester United can not be written off as title challengers, but admits that the Reds can't afford to lose against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

United conceded a late equaliser in the corresponding fixture last season, but arrive in North London on the back of an 11-game unbeaten run in all competition and face a Tottenham side still smarting from the 6-0 shellacking they suffered at the hands of Manchester City last week.

No need to panic, says United defender

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Jonny Evans has claimed that despite United's stuttering start to the season, the players have never felt the need to hit the panic button, nor have they lost confidence in their abilities, despite a number of set-backs, including last Sunday's draw against Cardiff.

United got off to their first season under David Moyes in the worst way possible way, with pressure mounting on the new manager to start delivering results, after defeats against Liverpool, Manchester City and West Brom.

40 not out, Giggsy hungry for more

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Ryan Giggs might turn 40 today, but the United legend shows no signs of being in a rush of hanging up his boots, nor has his appetite for success been satisfied by the unprecedented amount of trophies he's collected during his career.

Should he play on Sunday against Spurs, Giggsy would become only the seventh player in history to take part in a Premier League match after turning 40 -Kevin ­Phillips, Teddy Sheringham, Gordon Strachan, Brad Friedel, Mark Schwarzer and Mike Pollitt did it before him and after his vintage performance against Bayer Leverkusen, few would bet against him being involved again.

Moyes confident the best is yet to come

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David Moyes insisted he's determined to enjoy more wins like last night's 5-0 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen and that best is yet to come for Manchester United this season.

An injury-depleted United arrived in Germany on the back of stuttering start to the season and facing a team that a lost just once in the last 12 games in all competitions, but the Reds produced a superb performance, putting the host to the sword from the start and ran riot throughout the games, scoring five goals and securing a spot in the knockout stage of the Champions League.

High five, United!

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At times, very rarely, football offers moments when form goes out of the window, predictions are disregarded and expectations are forgotten in the blink of an eye, giving way to an unpredictable, yet exhilarating, 90 minutes.

That, in a nutshell, sums up United's trip to Leverkusen, for not even the most optimistic of Reds a species growing increasingly rare in recent times would have envisaged the superb performance David Moyes' men offered tonight as they put Bayer Leverkusen to the sword in swashbuckling fashion.

United hoping to breach Leverkusen’s fortress

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Manchester United face Bayer Leverkusen tonight in the Champions League, hoping to bounce back from the disappointment of Sunday's draw at Cardiff and, more crucially, take a decisive step towards the knockout stage of the competition.

It won't, however, be an easy task a rather recurrent theme this season as while United arrive in Germany still unbeaten and top of Group A, their route to the knockout stage could become extremely trickier were they to fail to pick up a positive result tonight, against a Leverkusen team that has won the last seven games in the Champions League on home turf.

Meet the real (former) United manager

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Former Manchester United number two Mike Phelan has claimed he was in charge of Manchester United over the last five years, given the amount of work Sir Alex Ferguson chose to delegate to his assistant.

Phelan, who departed the club in the wake of David Moyes' arrival at Old Trafford, said that while Sir Alex Ferguson remained the public face of the club, much of the work behind the scenes and on the training ground was delegate to his coaching staff, including Phelan.

Will United turn to Everton?

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Manchester United could soon turn to Everton. But before the conspiracy theorists get carried away, United aren't planning to hire yet more members of David Moyes' former staff at Goodison Park, nor are they planning to swap Adnan Januzaj for Leon Osman.

Instead, United are said to be considering a January move for Brazilian striker Everton Ribeiro, whose name alone is granted to generate widespread irony given the circumstances that have surrounded Moyes and United since the Scotsman replaced Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.

Rio: “Don’t write us off yet”

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Rio Ferdinand has claimed that despite a stuttering start to the season, Manchester United are still a force to be reckoned with in the title race and that he isn't worried about the look of the current Premier League table, for the only that matters is to be at the top of the pile after the last game of the season.

The miner who survived Munich and silenced the Bernabeu

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It's not known whether football is played in Heaven, but if the beautiful game graces the abode of the angels, then November 25th must be the day when great players are introduced to their teammates.

Eight years ago today, Reds and non across the globe mourned the passing of George Best, one of the greatest players to have ever lived and arguably the symbol of a generation and a figure still idolised by United fans.

Lack of killer instinct upsets Moyes

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David Moyes has admitted Manchester United can't afford to concede late goals as the one that deprived of two points against Cardiff yesterday, or else their chances of retaining the league are going to be all but gone in the next couple of months.

United led 2-1 going into the final exchanges of the game but were pegged back by aKim Bo-Kyung header in the first of four minutes of added time, after Chris Smalling had given away a free-kick.

Fortunate United survive stiff Welsh test

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Well, that was coming, wasn't it? Having held on for large parts of the game United surrendered a late equaliser at Cardiff, a timely reminder that things are not going to come easy this season.

Not only are things not going to come easy for the Reds this season, but United conspired to make their life harder by missing a couple of chances in the second half which, had they been converted, would have put the game to bed.

One more year for Giggsy?

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David Moyes has admitted that Ryan Giggs could be offered a new contract, which would take the Welshman past his 41st birthday with him still a professional football player at the very highest level.

Giggsy will turn 40 on Friday, but the United manager that there's no reason as to why United's most capped player shouldn't be offered a new deal if he felt he could continue for a further 12 months, even though Giggs has already joined David Moyes' staff this season.

Giggs set for emotional return

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As Manchester United travel to Cardiff tomorrow they'll not only hope to secure a fourth consecutive league win, but they'll also want to kick off what promises to be an extremely difficult week in the best possible way.

A trip to the Welsh capital is followed by a potentially crucial tie away at Leverkusen on Wednesday, before United complete their hat-trick of away games with a visit to big-spending and goal-shy Tottenham Hotspurs next week in case David Moyes assumed beating Arsenal would buy him some time, the next seven days will be a timely reminder that at United tests are never too far away.

Spanish Dave hits back

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David De Gea has hit back at the critics who had labelled him a liability during his first seasons at the club, when the Spaniard was heavily criticised for failing to cut an assured figure in goal and being to prone to committing costly mistakes.

As United regained the Premier League title last season, however, De Gea emerged as a crucial figure in the squad, proving that despite being just 23-year-old, he can already be considered one of the best shot stoppers in the world and definitely one of the best in the Premier League.

United face competition for transfer target

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Manchester United could face competition from Napoli in the race to sign Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay, after Rafael Benitez has declared his intention to embark on a spending spree in January and has made strengthening his club's back four a priority.

United have been following Garay for almost 18 months now, with first Sir Alex Ferguson and now David Moyes having identified the Argentine defender as one of the players needed to shore up a back four in which Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand are nearing the end of their careers.

United flop not thinking of leaving

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In news that will undoubtedly ruin many Reds' day, Anderson has today quashed rumours that have linked him with a move away from Manchester United, insisting he's happy at Old Trafford.

Over the last couple of weeks, the Brazilian has been linked with a move to Fulham presumably as the Cottagers are determined to secure a relegation spot while a return to former club Porto and even a move back to Brazil were touted as more or less viable options for the 25-year-old.

Young promise set for loan

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Wigan are looking to secure Will Keane on loan for the remainder of the year, as the England U21 international looks to build on his fitness after returning from a serious knee injury.

The 20-year-old striker has impressed since returning to action, scoring three goals in his last four appearances for club and country and is expected to be the "exciting" striker Wigan manager Owen Coyle has revealed to be on his way to the DW Stadium.

Only one title rival for United

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has claimed that,despite Arsenal's impressive start to the season and Manchester City's summer spending spree,only Chelsea can deny Manchester United a second consecutive Premier League title.

Despite United's slow start to the season, the man whose goal sealed the 1999 Treble, now manager at Molde in the Norwegian's first division, has been extremely impressed with United's recent progress, which has seen David Moyes' men pick up 13 points in their last five league games and winning the last three Premier League matches in a row.

United schemer set for new deal

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As the international break continues to drag on and on, like a seemingly endless bus trip, there is, at last, something to be cheerful about, as United are expected to announcethat Michael Carrick has signed a new contract by the end of the week.

Talks between the Geordie midfielder and the club had continued over the last couple of weeks and both parties seem to be satisfied with the terms of the new deal, which will keep Carrick at Old Trafford for another two and half seasons at least, with the option to extend the contract for a further 12 months.

Confidence crucial for misfiring star

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Nani has spoken out in favour of David Moyes, claiming he's received a much-needed confidence boost since the Scotsman replaced Sir Alex Ferguson in July.

Timely though the confidence boost might have been, United are still to reap the benefits, with Nani starting only five Premier League games this season and, much like fellow wingers Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, failing to impress this season.

Moyes’ momentum gathering pace

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After a poor start to the season, Manchester United have seemingly started to pick up some momentum, winning three league games in a row and going nine games unbeaten in all competitions, as David Moyes looks to have finally found his feet at Old Trafford.

Sunday's 1-0 win against league leaders Arsenal put United within five points of the North Londoners and only a point behind Chelsea, while despite losing 4-1 to Manchester City in September, the Reds are now a point ahead of their big spending neighbours, whose shaky form away from home shows no signs of improving.

Moyes takes first step in United shake-up

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Manchester United are set to addthe Premier League's head of elite performance John Murtough to David Moyes' staff at Old Trafford, with Murtough set to be reunited with the former Everton manager, under whom he worked at Goodison Park.

Murtough was in charge of the academy at Everton during David Moyes' tenure on Merseyside, a position he held in two separate spells at Goodison Park.

United eye Portuguese winger

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Manchester United are reportedly monitoring Sporting Lisbon's winger Carlos Mane, after the 19-year-old impressed with at the Next Gen series and scored once in four games for Portugal at the U19 European Championship this summer.

United have obviously got a long history in terms of signing players from the Portuguese giants, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani both developing through the ranks of Sporting's academy before joining United and the Mane could be the latest talented winger to emerge from the green and whites' youth system.

United in shock swoop for Barca star?

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Manchester United are reportedly considering the option of submitting an offer for Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta in January, as David Moyes has been made aware of a simmering malaise between the Spanish midfielder and the Barcelona hierarchy.

With United's midfield now down to bare bones given the injury that will sideline Michael Carrick for the next six weeks, signing Iniesta would be an incredible coup for David Moyes, for the Spaniard has consistently been one of the world's top players for the last five or six seasons.

United dealt injury blow

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Just when United's season seemed to have picked up speed, courtesy of three consecutive league wins and a nine-game unbeaten record, the Reds have been dealt a serious blow by the news that Michael Carrick could miss up to six weeks, with a persistent achilles injury likely to be the source of his problems.

United defender hails inspirational team-mate

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Jonny Evans has praised Wayne Rooney's performance against Arsenal on Sunday, hailing the United striker as an example for all his team-mates this season.

After a turbulent summer, during which he seemed set to depart United, Rooney has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in form and Sunday's performance against the league leaders proved again just how valuable the 28-year-old is to David Moyes and Manchester United, as Rooney put in an impressive shift as well as providing the assist for Robin Van Persie's winner.

“Hated, adored, never ignored” attitude pleases United star

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Phil Jones has claimed Manchester United are being spurred on by the fact large sections of the media have already written them off and, having endured a poor start to the season, they are now relishing the opportunity to prove critics wrong.

Sunday's 1-0 success over Arsenal moved United within five points of the Gunners, as David Moyes' men extended their unbeaten run to nine games in all competition, with a third consecutive league wins pushing United right back into the mix, on a weekend when Chelsea were lucky to secure a draw, while Spurs and City lost.

United striker sets Christmas target

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Wayne Rooney said Manchester United are aiming to be top of the league by Christmas, after picking up what the striker called a "massive win" against Arsenal yesterday.

Robin Van Persie's third goal in as many games against his former club since joining United, sparked raucous celebration at Old Trafford, as United fought tooth and nail to secure what could prove to be a huge three points, given that not only have David Moyes' men cut Arsenal's lead to five points, they've also sent a strong message to the rest of the league.

Moyes’ hard to beat United grab victory over Gunners

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A team in crisis facing the runaway league leaders. A team in decline facing the new kings of English football.

That's how it had been billed.
Luckily for us, however, Manchester United don't do scripts, if anything they enjoy nothing more to defy them.

Arsenal arrived at Old Trafford on the back of 14 wins in their last 15 games and, for the first time in almost a decade, they looked to carry a genuine threat, considering their scintillating form had yielded back-to-back wins against Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.

Suitable personnel needed if United want bolder approach

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To some he's the man tasked with saving Manchester United through a skilfully prepared potion of inch-perfect passes and delicate flicks, to others he's simply an overrated footballer who will never have what it takes to grab a game by the scruff to its neck, while to others yet he remains an outrageously talented player who will follow Juan Sebastian Veron in the list of those who just "did not fit the system".

United keen on Real Madrid star?

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With less than two months to go before the January transfer window opens, the second instalment of the silly season is about to get underway and considering the farce that unfolded during the summer, United can be expected to be at the centre of attention yet again although hopefully not for the wrong reason this time.

Tough test expected to fire up title rivals

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As Manchester United and Arsenal face each other on Sunday, it'll be impossible not to cast our minds back to transfer deadline day and wonder how things would have panned out had United agreed to sign Mesut Ozil, rather than deeming the German international too expensive, thus allowing him to join the North Londoners.

United star ready to gun down rivals

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According to Wayne Rooney, it's too soon to consider Arsenal favourites to win the Premier League this season and the United striker has played down the Gunners' threat ahead of Sunday's showdown at Old Trafford.

After losing at home to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, Arsenal have gone to register eight wins and a draw in the next nine games and currently sit at the top of the table, five points clear of second-placed Chelsea, but Rooney insists it's too soon to draw conclusions.

Former United players attack “cheat”

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David Moyes has refused to criticise Ashley Young after the United winger appeared yet again to dive in order to win a penalty last night against Real Sociedad, as United squandered three good opportunities to take a decisive step towards qualification in Group A.

In his latest attempt to usurp Tom Daley's spot in Britain's diving team, Young went to ground with customary ease five minutes after coming a substitute, when Sociedad defender Markel Bergara appeared to slightly pull his shirt after Young had played a quick one-two with Shinji Kagawa just inside the box.

United lack spark on Bonfire Night

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For a game played on Bonfire Night, United's 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad showed a remarkable lack of spark, which still leavesUnited one point clear of Bayer Leverkusen and three clear of Shakthar Donetsk, with a trip to Germany likely to play a big role in deciding United's destiny in Group A.

United youngster must “be like Messi”

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David Moyes has demanded protection for Adnan Januzaj, but has told the Belgian teenager that he can expect to be on the receiving end of some rough treatment and must learn from Lionel Messi's example when it comes to handle late tackles and unorthodox strategies.

Januzaj was stamped on bySascha Riether at Fulham on Saturday, with the German full-back now charged with violent conduct by the FA, after he appeared to intentionally leave his studs on Januzaj's leg as the Belgian defended the ball by the corner flag in Fulham's defensive third of the pitch, late in the second half.

United look for perfect 10

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Manchester United will take on Real Sociedad tonight knowing that a win in San Sebastian would put them on pole-position to clinch qualification to the round of 16, as United enter tonight's match only three points away from the 10-point tally that is normally considered crucial to progress to the second stage of the competition.

United’s newfound leader

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After a summer during which he seemed destined to leave Old Trafford, Wayne Rooney has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround of form, enjoying his best form of the last couple of years and proving pivotal to United's mini-revival that has seen them going unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions.

Beers, goals and songs. A fun afternoon in West London

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It was an afternoon of fun, beers were joyfully consumed, classic songs were belted out with gusto and United seemed to slightly regain the swagger of yesteryear. It was, in other words, the sort of afternoon that had proved all too rare so far this season.

Except that United's leisurely stroll along the Thames could have been even better had Moyes' men capitalised on a formidable start that had them three goals up within 24 minutes, rather than sit back and negotiate the second half with all the intensity of an 18-year-old waking up stranded on a park bench after a monumental night out.

United seek consistency by the Thames

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Manchester United travel to Fulham today searching for the continuity that's been sorely missing so far this season, as the Reds seek to secure their first back-to-back league wins of the campaign at Craven Cottage.

Three win on the trot at Old Trafford against Real Sociedad, Stoke City and Norwich City mean United arrive in London on the back of a six-game unbeaten run in all competition, a much needed improvement after the difficult start to the campaign they endured under David Moyes and the poor results at home against West Bromwich Albion and Southampton.

United open to loan youngster

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Despite making his long-awaited competitive debut for Manchester United on Tuesday, Wilfried Zaha could still be allowed to leave the club on loan in the January transfer window, with newly-promoted Cardiff City keen to secure the former Palace's man services for the remainder of the season.

Zaha signed for United last January, but after completing his £15m from Crystal Palace to Old Trafford this summer, the 20-year-old's opportunities have been extremely limited, despite an excellent pre-season.

Evra sets United target

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Patrice Evra has demanded United win the next 10 games in a row to get kick-start their season and to give themselves a chance of entering the festive period in a good position.

After a less than auspicious start under David Moyes, United have won their last three games, beating Real Sociedad in the Champions League, Stoke in the Premier League and Norwich in the Capital One Cup all wins coming at Old Trafford bringing their unbeaten run to six games in all competitions.

United target way better than current option?

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Manchester United will still be considering whether Patrice Evra is the right man for the left back role, after approaches for Everton's Leighton Baines and Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao during the summer transfer window couldn't be finalised by Ed Woodward, with the latter a last minute fiasco which topped off an embarrassing window.