Red Rants Archives for January 2014

Five things we have learnt from United vs Hull City

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A third win in a row, a second clean sheet in the last three matches and yet more encouraging signs for Louis Van Gaal. Here's five things we have learnt from United's 3-0 win against Hull.

1) LVG's man management works

In the seven days between United's first win away of the season and their success against Hull, much was made of Louis Van Gaal's comments over Robin Van Persie's poor performance against his former club.

LVG calls for ruthless United

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Louis Van Gaal has urged his team to be more ruthless in front of goal and to dispose of their opponents more swiftly than they've done in the first three months of the campaign.

United go into Saturday's game against on the back of their first away of the season and, with two home fixtures in four days, United could well be looking at traveling to Southampton in 10 days time with four consecutive wins under their belt, as they beat Crystal Palace before the international break.

United’s Christmas crunch time commences

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If anyone has come down from the result last weekend then I'd recommend watching a clip of Kieran Gibbs' face on repeat after the fullback inadvertently directed the ball into his own net on Saturday evening. United have seen victory more times at the Emirates than Olivier Giroud has seen his wife over the last 12 months, but this time it felt different.

United defender not ready to return yet

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Jonny Evans was happy to return to action but admitted he's not yet ready to make a first team return, after spending 10 weeks on the sidelines with a fitness problem.

The Northern Ireland defender played just over 60 minutes on Tuesday as United reserves, featuring Ander Herrera and Adnan Januzaj among the others, thrashed Blackburn 5-0 in the Lancashire Senior Cup but poured cold water on the prospect of an immediate return to the first team squad.

United dealt fresh injury blow

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Manchester United have been dealt a fresh injury blow as Luke Shaw could be out for three weeks following the ankle injury he picked up on Saturday against Arsenal.

Having played on Tuesday for England despite a slight fitness issues, Shaw was selected in the starting XI at the Emirates, only to last barely 15 minutes before hobbling off the pitch after twisting his ankle.

Giggs reveals last season’s problems

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Ryan Giggs has admitted his last season as Manchester United player was an extremely complicated time, as the team he's spent his whole career at badly struggled under David Moyes.

Giggsy said that seeing United in such difficult and unfamiliar territory was made even more complicated by his new role as player-coach and by not having Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford for the first time in his career.

We need to talk about Robin

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As William Shakespeare brilliantly put it, all's well that ends well.

That was very much the case on Saturday night, as United clinched their first away win of the season and their first against a top four side admittedly on tradition, rather than current form since they beat the very same opponent a little over than a year ago.

Young praises defensive duo

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Ashley Young has praised Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair for their performance against on Saturday, singling out the two young defenders for producing a "resilient" performance as United clinched their first win of the season away from home.

Having weathered a torrid first 25 minutes, United gradually grew into the game before scoring twice in the second half, as Arsenal's tactical naivety was exposed by United's counterattacking football.

Top four spot a “minimum”, says United defender

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Chris Smalling has conceded that Manchester United should be higher on the table but insisted that, after clinching their first away win of the season, things were looking up for Louis Van Gaal's side.

United secured their first win on the road of the campaign after a 2-1 win against Arsenal at the Emirates and Smalling, who had been the pantomime villain in the derby earlier this month, was among the best players on the pitch, as United withstood Arsenal's pressure and pounced on the counter.

LVG: “I’d have been called crazy had we lost”

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Louis Van Gaal has admitted he'd been branded as "crazy" had United failed to win against Arsenal on Saturday, where the Dutch manager chose to deploy a three-man defence.

United had started their season with a 3-5-2 formation, which was subsequently shelved as players looked far from comfortable with it until the trip to the Emirates, where United's back three comprised Chris Smalling, Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett.

Five things we’ve learnt from Arsenal vs United

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United have finally won away from home and, albeit aided by a large slice of luck, Saturday's 2-1 win at the Emirates could and should be the turning point we've been waiting for. Here's five things we have learnt from yesterday.

1) LVG's gamble comes off

After the game, Louis Van Gaal admitted that he would have been branded "crazy" for starting with a three-man defence,had United lost against Arsenal.

Time for United to shed the inferiority complex

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While we wait to find out whether Daley Blind's knee injury will keep him out for six days, six weeks, six months or six years, proper football makes a welcome return as the third international break in as many months is finally behind us.

As it's becoming the norm this season, United are decimated by injuries and confidence isn't exactly sky-high ahead of a testing trip to the Emirates.

United eye Spurs man

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Manchester United could be set to bid for Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen in January, as Louis Van Gaal aims to solve his team's defensive crisis.

The Belgian international is growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of first team opportunities at White Hart Lane and Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino is said to be unimpressed with Vertonghen's attitude and omitted him from the starting XI for Spurs' 2-1 defeat against Stoke before the international break.

“Dat Guy” has no regrets about leaving United

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Danny Welbeck has revealed leaving Manchester United for Arsenal was the right thing to do and that he has had no regrets about leaving Old Trafford since he completed his move to the Emirates.

On Saturday, the 23-year-old will face United for the first time since his move to Arsenal, as his Louis Van Gaal's mentravel to the Emirates for their first game after the international break, hoping to clinch their first away win of the season.

Nani not keen on United return

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Nani has admitted he might not return to Manchester United once his loan spell at Sporting Lisbon ends, as he feels his first team opportunities would be limited at Old Trafford under Louis Van Gaal.

The Portuguese left United in the summer to return to his former club on a season-long loan and his performances for Sporting led to speculations that he might be recalled to Old Trafford as early as in January.

LVG’s first three months: the good and the bad

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Louis Van Gaal's reign at Manchester United is three months and, as the third international break drags on and on, it's time to reflect on some of the (early) positives and negatives we've seen so far...

Positives

Transfer business

United needed to make a strong statement of intent during the summer, having spent the previous transfer windows papering over the cracks, while direct rivals invested and rebuilt.

LVG’s snub was “a mistake”

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Louis Van Gaal made a mistake by allowing Nani to return to Sporting Lisbon on loan, according to a former director of the Portuguese club.

Paulo De Alvandro, a former director of the Lisbon club, has claimed that Nani is one of the best players to have arrived at Sporting over the last couple of years and that United made a mistake by allowing him to leave Old Trafford in the summer, particularly as thePortuguese international had appeared regularly throughout pre-season.

United chase £32m defender

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Manchester United look set to test Athletic Bilbao's resolve in January with an offer for 20-year-old defender Aymeric Laporte, who's also on Arsenal and Chelsea's radar.

According to reports in some of today's newspapers, United have moved ahead of their rivals in the chase for the young centre-back after contacting Athletic via intermediaries here's hoping they weren't the same who tried to finalise the deal for Ander Herrera in the summer of 2013 as Louis Van Gaal looks to bolster his defensive options.

Falcao gamble will pay off

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Colombia manager Jose Pekerman has said that Radamel Falcao will soon return to form and show the Premier League what he's made of, insisting the United striker was always going to need time to adjust to a new style of football.

Havingmissed games against West Brom, Manchester City and Crystal Palace, the Colombian is likely to sit out United's trip to the Emirates after the international break, prompting many to question whether the former Atletico Madrid striker will ever return to full fitness.

Moyes was unlucky at United

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Juan Mata has claimed that David Moyes failed at Manchester United because he was unlucky and that the Scotsman's work ethic will see him succeed at Real Sociedad.

Having been fired in April after just 10 months at Old Trafford, Moyes was today unveiled as the new Real Sociedad boss, after signing a 18-month deal with the Basque outfit, currently 15th in La Liga.

United to finally offload midfield flop

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At long last Manchester United might be edging closer to offload Anderson on their books once and for all, with, rather incredibly, two clubs interested in the Brazilian.

According to the Daily Mirror, United are prepared to allow Anderson to leave for free in January, even though his contract doesn't expire until the end of the season, such is the desire to finally get rid of the Brazilian.

United star can “lose control”

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Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has claimed that Angel Di Maria is prone to "lose control" at times, insisting the Argentinian has a tendency to misplace passes.

"People should think twice before saying that James can fill Di María's boots because they're very different players. Di María could take matches by storm with his energy, but he also used to lose control sometimes, misplacing important passes," Ancelotti said.

Tactical changes are hampering United

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Louis Van Gaal has admitted system changes at Manchester United have been far from ideal this season and have hampered his side's chances of climbing up the table.

The Dutchman, however, insisted that third change in formation this season was forced upon him by a series of injury, rather than out of tactical belief and hinted that United might revert to a different system, as the current formation has seen goals drying up.

Time to shatter dreams: United vs Crystal Palace Preview

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In May last year Yannick Bolasie tore past Glenn Johnson, exposing him for the over weight, overrated and over priced footballer he really is. Powering into the penalty area and whipping in a delightful cross for Dwight Gayle to stab into the net, willed on by United fans across the globe, and in doing so destroying all hope for Liverpool fans that it might finally be their year.

LVG won’t panic buy in January

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Louis Van Gaal is not planning any January signings, unless one of his main targets becomes available, according to reports that will come to a surprise to many, who expected the Dutchman to splash money again this winter.

Having spent over £150m in the summer, Van Gaal was expected to use the January transfer window to shore up United's shaky defence, but the Guardian today suggests that the Dutchman is unlikely to spend money in two months, choosing instead to focus on next summer.

LVG to give youth a chance

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Louis Van Gaal could give youth a chance against Crystal Palace and hand James Wilson his first start of the campaign, while dropping Robin Van Persie to the bench.

Much had been made of United's firepower following the transfer window, but with Radamel Falcao sidelined with an injury and Van Persie struggling for form, United are yet to fully click into gear in the final third of the pitch.

United in cut price bid for centre-back

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Louis Van Gaal is determined to sign Ron Vlaar in January as he attempts to solve the defensive crisis that has crippled Manchester United since the start of the season.

With Jonny Evans having only just returned to training, Phil Jonesand Marcos Rojo out injured and Chris Smalling suspended after his brainless sending off in the derby, United only have two centre-backs available, but Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair are too raw to be relied upon for a whole season.

Neville: “RVP needs help”

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Gary Neville has defended Robin Van Persie's performances, saying that the Dutchman's poor start to the campaign was down to a lack of help from his teammates, who must do more to help him.

Van Persie has scored three times in nine Premier League games and has come under criticism for looking uninterested and for not being as sharp in front of goal as he was during the World Cup in Brazil and Neville admitted the former Arsenal captain was beginning to be under pressure.

United receive defensive boost

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Marcos Rojo couldbe set for shorter spell on the sidelineswith a dislocated shoulder than originally thought, after the his father reportedly told an Argentinian TVhis son would miss only two or three games.

On Monday, United seemed concerned that the Argentine could miss up to six weeks, with reports suggesting the centre-back could be out until January, butRojo's father told Argentine TV station TN.

A quick trip down memory lane

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The good ol' days

With defeat to City in the first derby of the season leaving United in ninth and four points off fourth, the sinister sounds of Moyes' apologists seems to suggest that many of them are crawling out of the woodwork with the intention of telling United fans that things are not getting better and even suggesting that matters are worse.

Smalling and improvements, 5 things we’ve learnt from the derby

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Mondays are nobody's idea of fun, mondays after losing the derby even less so.

The fact that United have developed a losing habit against City yesterday's was United's sixth defeatin the last seven meetings against City doesn't make the result easier to accept either and looking for positives could seem a petulant exercise, though United do have a case for some optimism.

Battle of the star galacticos

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The usual format for an article is to open with a witty introduction filled with crudely constructed similes and metaphors designed to distract the reader from what is unlikely to be the most interesting piece of sports journalism they will read this week. Sunday's match needs no introduction. This derby is massive.