Red Rants Archives for January 2014

Five things we’ve learnt from United vs Newcastle

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Manchester United players might have addChristmas Day off but there was no post-festivity hangover as they brushed Newcastle aside, claiming a seventh win in the last eight games and consolidating their third spot.

Here's five major talking points from Boxing Day, ahead of United's trip to North London tomorrow.

United take a trip to the manager Circus

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Realistically Tottenham have become a team with the same manager merry-go-round as Real Madrid, but with the London side it's been more like aiming for Kate Upton covered in chocolate but ending up with Kerry Katona and a half empty bottle of curry sauce. This preview is written with Mauricio Pochettino currently at the helm, but keeping in mind this could change by Sunday.

Midfielder edges closer to United exit

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Manchester United could pocket £7.5m for Tom Cleverley when the transfer window opens in January, after Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert confirmed he would like to sign the midfielder on a permanent basis.

Cleverley joined Villa on loan on transfer deadline day, after Louis Van Gaal deemed him surplus to requirements and the 25-year-old could now make his switch to Villa Park permanent, a decision which is unlikely to upset many United fans, who have grown disillusioned and frustrated with the midfielder.

Fergie: “LVG is a great manager”

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Sir Alex Ferguson has insisted that Louis Van Gaal has done well to stirManchester United in third place, given the number of injuries he's faced since the start of the season and the former United manager remains convinced the Dutchman is the right man for the club.

Speaking to BT Sport, Fergie said that Van Gaal should be judged only once he has a fully fit squad at his disposal, by when United are likely to fully click into gear, according tothe former United manager.

Fergie: “Carrick is the best midfielder in England”

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Sir Alex Ferguson has described Michael Carrick as the best English midfielder during an interview with Clare Balding for a BT Sport Christmas Day special.

Fergie, who signed Carrick from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2006, claimed the 33-year-old is the best English central midfielder at the moment.

Five things we’ve learnt from Villa vs United

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United failed to make it seven wins in the last seven games and seven wins in seven visits to Villa Park, as they could only drew 1-1 with 10-man Aston Villa on Saturday.

Here's five things we have learnt from the trip to the Midlands.

1) End of the road for Fletch

United fans love Darren Fletcher.

No easy games: Villa vs United match preview

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After United breezed past one mid-table side last weekend with relative ease, fans hope this weekend will be just as formulaic. It is likely that Aston Villa will provide a sterner test than the side that arrived at Old Trafford a week ago, who were what can only be described as a real poverty team.

Solskjaer: “United needed LVG”

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has described Louis Van Gaal as the man United needed to steady the ship following last season's shambolic performances. The Norwegian labeled Van Gaal as a "breath of fresh air" and said the Dutchman's charisma and aura will restore a winning mentality at the club.

United have won six games in a row and are the Premier League's in-form side going into what could turn out to be a crucial Christmas period, as United face Villa, Spurs and Stoke away with Newcastle at home on Boxing Day the only festive fixture at Old Trafford.

Falcao uncertain over United future

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Radamel Falcao has admitted that his future at Manchester United remains uncertain but has also insisted that he's determined to convince the club to offer him a permanent deal.

A muscle injury and a calf problem have limited the Colombian to just three starts and one Premier League goal since his arrival on loan from Monaco on transfer deadline day, but the Colombian he's out to prove Louis Van Gaal that he deserves a spot in the starting XI.

Rooney: “De Gea is the best in the world”

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Wayne Rooney has described David De Gea as the best keeper in the world, after the Spaniard pulled off a string of superb saves to deny Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli on Sunday.

Despite having to play with a different back four almost every game, De Gea's form this season has been nothing short of outstanding and Rooney was quick to heap praise on his teammate.

Rooney” “We can win the league”

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Wayne Rooney believes Manchester United can win the Premier League, despite entering the Christmas period eight points behind league leaders Chelsea.

United's 3-0 thumping of Liverpool was their sixth win in a row and consolidated their third place on the table, but Rooney believes United can now be considered dark horses in the race to the title, after they cut the gap from Chelsea from 13 points to eight in just over two weeks.

Slip slidin’ away, the neutrals’ favourite are in town

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This world has seen many atrocities. Natural disasters, genocides, chemical warfare, Kerry Katona. Each as upsetting and as mentally scarring as the last. Features of this existence that make many question whether it's worth bringing children into this world. Only one event could single headedly overshadow these barbaric occurrences.

Mata relishing Spanish connection

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Juan Mata is enjoying playing alongside fellow Spaniard Ander Herrera, as the two have renewed a partnership they first forged when playing for Spain U21 team, with which they won the European Championship in 2011.

Following his arrival from Athletic Bilbao this summer, Herrera has appeared eight times for United, playing alongside Mata in each of those occasions and the former Chelsea man told the club's official website he's relishing the opportunity of playing alongside the Basque.

RVP: “United looking forward to play Liverpool”

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Robin Van Persie has said that United are looking forward to play Liverpool on Sunday and will go into the game with confidence sky high after winning five games in a row.

The Dutchman was instrumental on Monday night, scoring both goals as United clinched their second consecutive away win and moved up to third in the table, their highest league position since the first game of last season.

We need to talk about Adnan

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Just under a year ago, on a cold winter night at the Britannia the proverbial "wet Tuesday night at Stoke", if you wish United clinched a spot in the League Cup semifinal after a 2-0 win.

The game, as dull an affair as any under David Moyes, has probably been largely forgotten by many of the neutrals, but thinking of that night must bring a smile to the faces of those who were in the away end.

Phelan: LVG to blame for injuries

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Mike Phelan has criticised Manchester United's training regime and hinted that Louis Van Gaal could be partly responsible for the number of injuries that have hit his squad in the first four months of the season.

Chris Smalling became the 43rd player to fall victim to an injury when he had to be replaced after 15 minutes against Southampton on Monday night, the third time he's been sidelined this season.

LVG: “Neville must watch his words”

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Louis Van Gaal has told Gary Neville that he must pay attention to his words when talking about Manchester United, after Neville's comments on Sky Sports last night.

Speaking on Monday Night Football, the former United captain said that Van Gaal's team had "got away with murder" after beating Southampton 2-1 despite having only two shots on goal.

Five things we’ve learnt from Saints vs United

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It wasn't pretty, in fact it was downright horrendous and dull, as dull as United had been in years. But it was also a fifth consecutive win, the second in a row away from home and achieved against a side that, at least for the time being, is a direct rival for a top four finish.

Apart from the result and an outstanding away support there wasn't much to save from United's 2-1 win at Southampton, though here's five things we have learnt from Monday night.

Falcao must get used to life on the bench

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Louis Van Gaal has said that Radamel Falcao must adapt to his substitute role until he regains full fitness and that he will not start at Southampton tonight.

The Colombian has scored just once since arriving on loan from Monaco and was only used as a substitute against Hull and Stoke City after missing over a month with a calf injury.

Saints or sinners? United look to extend winning run

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Showdown

The only way to start this preview is to simply to say, even Liverpool beat this lot.

Something that after last season is said with immense satisfaction. Part of the reason for this satisfaction is that last season this fixture would have been labelled a "mid table clash" with very little consequence.

Five things we’ve learnt from United vs Stoke

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It wasn't pretty by any stretch of imagination. In fact it was dire for large spells of the game and the last 120 seconds were downright frightening, but Manchester United have a fourth consecutive win under their belt after beating Stoke 2-1 and more reasons to be confident ahead of two testing fixtures.

Four good reasons for United to kick on

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Whisper it, but United might be on the way to redemption. They're not quite there, of course, but November was as encouraging a month as we had witnessed since lifting the trophy in May 2013. Three games, nine points, two clean sheets and a first away win, all while United's direct rivals for fourth place which, like it or not, is the only realistic target for this season dropped points, allowing Louis Van Gaal's troops to sneak into the top four.

United’s forgotten man wants first team football

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Javier Hernandez has admitted he might need to find himself a club capable of guaranteeing him first team football next season, after Real Madrid turned down the chance to make his loan deal permanent.

The Mexican was shipped out by Louis Van Gaal this summer but has managed only 10 appearances in all competitions for the European champions, with Carlo Ancelotti opting against signing him the Mexican, who insisted he remains concentrated on doing well for his current club.

De Gea scoops award

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David De Gea has been named thePFA Fans' Player of the Month for November, further proof that the Spaniard is finally beginning to receive the credit he deserves.

The United keeper kept two clean sheets in three games in January, remaining unbeaten at home against Crystal Palace and Hull and conceding just one against Arsenal, as United clinched their first away win of the season.

United consider defender move in January

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Diego Godin is the latest defender to be linked with a move to Manchester United, as Louis Van Gaal looks to address his defensive crisis in the January transfer window.

According to reports on today's Daily Mirror, the Atletico Madrid defender has been monitored by United's scouts, though it remains difficult to see how the Colchoneroswould be happy to part ways with one of their main men, who's under contract with the current La Ligadefending champions until 2018.