Red Rants Archives for January 2015

United off on a Swan hunt

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Bank holiday weekend is upon us and football is already twice as drunk as your Nan. This weekend has begun with more shocks than a Guantanamo-themed birthday party.

After two defeats last season that felt like sucker punches, United will hope to put an end to their losing streak against Swansea.

United defender set for exit

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Manchester United have reached a deal with West Bromwich Albion for the transfer of Jonny Evans to the Midlands club.

Evans, who spent seven seasons at the club after making his debut in 2007, will move to The Hawthorns in a deal worth £6m, rising to £8m with add-ons.

The 27-year-old, who won three Premier League titles under Sir Alex Ferguson, has seen his progress at United halted over the last two seasons, as a combination of injury and poor performances meant Evans went from heir apparent to Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic to squad player.

Tactics Board- Generous stay in Brugge

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Club Brugge vs Manchester United
Jan Breydel Stadium – August 26th, 2015

Manchester United came into this match with a 3-1 victory in the first leg, and only 90 minutes away from a return to the group stage of the UEFA Champion's League. The win against the Belgians at Old Trafford was the team's best performance so far in this still young season.

United handed boost by Champions League draw

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Manchester United can count themselves moderately satisfied after been drawn with PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg in Group B of the 2015-16 Champions League.

After beating Club Brugge 7-1 on aggregate, the Reds made their return to the group stage after a season-long absence.

Memphis Depay returns to face his former club after leaving the Dutch giants earlier this summer, although it is not the first time United and PSV are pitted against each other in the competition, as they met in the first group stage of the 2000-01 Champions League, with United winning 3-1 at Old Trafford and losing by the same scoreline in Holland.

Five things we learned from Brugge vs United

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Manchester United returned to the Champions League proper after a resounding win against Club Brugge on Wednesday night.

Much as they did after going behind in the first leg, United produced the kind of football that has so far eluded them in Europe, showing the kind of fluidity and clinical approach up-front that has too often been missed in the first three Premier League games.

Valdes nears United exit

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Victor Valdes is set to join Besiktas before the end of the transfer window, after Manchester United have reached an agreement with the Turkish club.

According to The Times and Sky Sports, the Istanbul club have offered Valdes a two-year deal with an option for a further 12 months and the Spaniard looks all but set to become the third United player to join a Turkish team this summer, following the departures of Nani and Robin Van Persie.

LVG: “United better at defending than at going forward”

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Louis Van Gaal has admitted that Manchester United are better without the ball than with it, insisting that the defensive solidity United have shown so far was extremely important.

The Dutchman has attracted criticism for a style of football that is perceived to be too rigid and not as expansive as fans demand, but the former Holland manager claimed defensive organisation was just as important as scoring goals.

United defender attracts interest from Premier League clubs

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Manchester United defender Jonny Evans has emerged as a target for West Bromwich Albion, as Louis Van Gaal looks to streamline his squad ahead of deadline day.

According to ESPN, United are prepared to sellEvans, who has fallen behind Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Phil Jones and even Paddy McNair in the pecking order, in this transfer window and West Brom are the latest of a number of clubs understood to be keen to sign the Norther Ireland international.

Cillessen rules out United move

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Jasper Cillessen has ruled himself out of a move to Manchester United this summer by claiming he will remain at Ajax until the end of the season.

The Holland international was by many indicated as the favourite to succeed David De Gea at Old Trafford, but with United not willing to budge over the Spaniard's desire to move to Real Madrid, it appears extremely unlikely that Louis Van Gaal will sign a new goalkeeper this summer.

Schneiderlin: “I want to be like Keane”

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Morgan Schneiderlin said he aims to emulate Roy Keane and become as a pivotal a figure for the club as the Irishman was during his 12-season spell at Old Trafford.

Schneiderlin, signed from Southampton for £25m earlier this summer, has been one of United's best players in their first three games of the season, displaying the kind of form that has seen going from League One to become a France international.

Tactics Board – Unable to finish off the Magpies

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After an excellent performance on their return to European competition, many were hoping that Manchester United's improved form would carry to their league game against Newcastle.However, while Unitedlooked good for long periods of the game, creating multiple chances, they struggled to put the chances away.

Five things we’ve learned from United vs Newcastle

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Manchester United's winning startto the season came to an abrupt end on Saturday, as Louis Van Gaal's men slumped to disappointing 0-0 draw against Newcastle.

Having started with purpose and intensity, United soon faded away as they were hampered by the now all too familiar anaemic strike-force, even though Wayne Rooney had a goal ruled out for offside.

United vs Newcastle: New manager same old Toon?

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In a world where a grown man will hand one of the most respected managers in world football a piece of paper giving him advice on how to run one of the biggest clubs in the world it is easy to understand how atrocities happen in this world.

People really are awful.

The transfer period is one of the worst things about football and it is sad that the expensive signing of marquee players is more important to a great number of people than the actual kicking of a football.

Tactics Board – Returning to Europe in style

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After a year in the wilderness, Manchester United returned to European action by hosting Club Brugge of Belgium for the first-leg of the play-off match to reach the group stage.

United came into the game after winning their first two games of the season 1-0, which are a valuable 6 points but they still haven't looked all that convincing.

Rooney unhappy with criticism

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Wayne Rooney has claimed his critics have judged him too soon this season, insisting he's only had one "bad game" so far and that he will prove himself over the next nine months.

The United striker was at his ineffectual worst during his side's first two Premier League games of the campaign against Spurs and Aston Villa, and while he looked slightly better against Club Brugge on Tuesday, many are starting to doubt whether he can be the 20-goal-a-season striker Louis Van Gaal needs.

Six key points from United’s return to the Champions League

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Manchester United marked their return to European football with a 3-1 win over Club Brugge last night, as goals from Memphis Depay and Marouane Fellaini put the Reds a step closer to returning to the group stages of the Champions League after last season's absence.

Despite the result, however, things did not run as smoothly as some would have anticipated, as Brugge took an unexpected early lead and looked threatening in the first half.

Five things we’ve learned from United vs Club Brugge

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Manchester United are a step closer to returning to the Champions League proper after beating Club Brugge 3-1 in the first leg of their playoff tie.

United marked their return to European football after an 18-month hiatus with a performance that grew in confidence after the worst possible start.

Schweinsteiger: “United fans gave me goosebumps”

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Bastian Schweinsteiger said he has been left surprised by the warm reception Manchester United fans have reserved him since his arrival from Bayern Munich earlier this summer.

The 2014 World Cup winner left the German champions after 15 years at the club and has come off the bench in United's first two league games of the season against Spurs and Villa, where he was impressed with the way fans treated him.

Tactics Board – United put Villa under pressure

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After a struggling 1-0 win over the Tottenham Hotspur on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, Manchester United travelled to Villa Park for a rare Friday night match against Aston Villa.

Villa fought out a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth, with Tim Sherwood playing a more aggressive brand of football but they rarely bothered United, as they notched up a second consecutive win.

Five talking points from United’s start to the season

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Manchester United are joint top of the league after two games, have looked unexpectedly solid at the back and are yet to concede a goal. However, that's where the positives end for Louis Van Gaal, as his side still looks to be struggling to regain the fluidity they displayed over six games in spring last season, when United seemed to have well and truly returned to their usual, pre-Moyes selves.

Five things we have learnt from Villa vs United

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It wasn't pretty, it wasn't entertaining but it was effective.Manchester United return from Villa Park with another three points and another clean sheet but, as it's been characteristic of Louis Van Gaal's tenure, there were more questions than answers.

It is hard to argue with two wins in two games, particularly given last season's stuttering start, but United continue to look like a work in progress.

LVG: “De Gea doesn’t want to play for United”

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Louis Van Gaal has claimed that David De Gea does not want to play for Manchester United, casting further doubts over the goalkeeper's future.

The Spaniard, who has been at the centre of a prolonged transfer sagas after refusing to extend his deal at Old Trafford as he seeks a move to Real Madrid, missed United's first game of the season last weekend and was not included in the squad that will travel to Villa Park later today.

United, Friday night lights and Villa Lark

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Bryan Robson, George Best, Roy Keane. there are very few who have hit the legend status at Manchester United. Men who have graced the halls at Carrington leaving shadows of greatness and trails of awe behind them. Legacies that those who now put on the red shirt can only dream of emulating. Of course others have left their mark.

Fast start crucial for United

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Louis Van Gaal has admitted finding the balance between getting results and ensuring new signings had time to gel was a difficult task.

Speaking before United's trip to Villa Park tomorrow night, the United manager stressed the need for his side to negotiate the opening games of the season to ensure the new arrivals had time to understand the dynamics of the new club.

LVG not bothered by critics

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Louis Van Gaal has dismissed criticism by former Barcelona player HristoStoichkov, saying he did was not bothered by the Bulgarian's words.

Earlier this week, the former Barcelona and Parma star claimed that Van Gaal would "ruin" Pedro if the 27-year-old was to move to Old Trafford before the end of the transfer window.

LVG: “De Gea still has problems”

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David De Gea will not be in the squad for Manchester United's trip to Aston Villa, Louis Van Gaal confirmed on Thursday afternoon.

In his pre-match press conference, the United manager said the Spaniard will sit out United's second game of the season as he still suffered from "the same problem".

Rafael: “Van Gaal never liked me”

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Rafael has claimed Louis Van Gaal ruined his career at Manchester United and forced him to leave the club as he did not like having him around.

The Brazilian left Old Trafford earlier this month after he signed for Ligue 1 outfit Lyon, after his United career had unraveled over the last two seasons during which he went for regular right-back to being barely involved with the team.

United target hands in transfer request

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Pedro has asked to leave Barcelona and has submitted a formal transfer request but he won't leave the club for less than £21m, the European championsconfirmed on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for over a month now, as Louis Van Gaal looks to add creativity and pace to a frontline that looks dangerously short of both.

Real table final offer for De Gea

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Manchester United have received a final offer from Real Madrid for David De Gea, as the Spanish giant look to be growing increasingly frustrated with the impasse surrounding the player.

Citing American broadcaster ABC, the Daily Telegraph suggests Real Madrid have made a final £21.2m offer for the 24-year-old but United refuse to budge from their current £24.

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview, Possible Lineups & Key Stats

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Manchester United kick off the Premier League season for a second consecutive year but will be hoping for a better result than 12 months ago when Swansea City took three points away from Old Trafford in Louis van Gaal's first match in charge.

Tottenham Hotspur are the visitors this season, thrashed 3-0 by the Red Devils in this fixture only five months ago.

United vs Spurs: The boys are back in town

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While Angel Di Maria leaves United like a fart in the wind the Premier League returns like a mighty hurricane.

No longer will you have to spend time with your children, visit your parents or pretend to love your partner. Football returns to take us away from the realities of life.

This weekend we can all go back to enjoying what's important instead of talking about Cilla Black's trip to see Cecil the Lion at the dentist.

Season preview: Van Gaal and United face rough ride

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It has been a very strange summer for Manchester United.

Louis Van Gaal's second season at Old Trafford will get underway in less than 48 hours but trying to predict how the campaign will unfold is as complicated as estimating how many overs Australia's toporder is going to last.

Having spent £150m on players 12 months ago, United have forked out a further £75m on players over the last three months.

Di Maria completes PSG move

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Angel Di Maria has completed his move to PSG less than a year since becoming Manchester United's most expensive player ever.

After a promising start, the Argentine struggled throughout the remainder of the season amid a slump in form and a rather evident lack of desire.

On Thursday, the former Real Madrid brought a rather embarrassing cameo in a United shirt to an end by moving to the Ligue 1 champions for £45m, considerably less than the £59.

United’s potential Champions League opponents

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Manchester United will face one betweenCSKA Moscow, Lazio, Club Brugge, Monaco or Rapid Vienna in a two-legged tie Champions League playoff.

The complicated format of the Champions League means United enter the competition at the final playoff stage,which is split between the "champions" route for teams who have won their national title and "league" route, for those who haven't.

Di Maria, the Angel who turned villain

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The day before Angel Di Maria was unveiled as a Manchester United player, Louis Van Gaal's side had been dealt a severe humiliation as they capitulated to a 4-0 defeat at MK Dons in the Capital One Cup.

In more ways than one, that night brought the curtain down on the careers of a number of players United fans had grown accustomed to tolerated in some cases see in the starting XI over the few seasons that preceded the Dutchman's arrival.

Man Utd transfer roundup: Di Maria and Rafael to leave

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Man Utd transfer roundup: Di Maria and Rafael to leave

Here is the latest Manchester United transfer news and gossip.

Monday was dominated by two players who are set to leave Old Trafford in the coming days – Angel di Maria and Rafael.

Di Maria has been pictured in Doha ahead of a move to Paris Saint-Germain, while Lyon have confirmed Rafael will join on a four-year deal.

Rafael says goodbye to United

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Rafael is set to bring his eight-year career at Manchester United to an end as heis on the verge of completing a move to Olympique Lyon.

In a message posted on Twitter late this afternoon, the Brazilian has expressed his gratitude to the club and the fans for the support during his career.

Silva: “PSG are a step up from United”

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PSG defender and Brazil captain Thiago Silva believes Angel Di Maria will make a step up once he formalises his move to the French champions.

The Argentine underwent a medical ahead of a proposed £44.3m transfer to the French capital and Thiago Silva welcomed his soon-to-be teammate by claiming the former Real Madrid man was moving to a bigger club.

LVG: “United can win the title with Pedro”

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Louis Van Gaal is convinced that Pedro will turn Manchester United into title contender, as the Spaniard would add pace and creativity to United's options up-front.

With Angel Di Maria close to completing a switch to PSG, United are reportedly closing in on the Barcelona striker, as the United manager looks to bolster the options at his disposal in the final third of the pitch.

Keane: “United have gone away from their tradition”

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Roy Keane has claimed that Manchester United have returned to the approach they adopted in the late 1980s, which is not guaranteed to bring them any silverware this season.

The former United captain said Louis Van Gaal was playing a dangerous game by signing a host of players in the hope of them gelling together, adding United were unlikely to mount a serious title challenge this season.

Van Gaal wants De Gea sold

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Louis Van Gaal has told Manchester United to sell David De Gea before the end of the transfer window, as the Dutchman looks to put an end to the transfer saga.

The Spaniard has been a long-time target for Real Madrid but United have refused to sell him, even thoughDe Gea hasonly 12 months left on his current deal and hasmade clear he's not interested in signing a new contract at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal admits Di Maria mistake

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Louis Van Gaal has reportedly admitted that signing Angel Di Maria was a mistake and his decision to allow the Argentine to join PSG is motivated by a desire to cut his losses.

The former Real Madrid man joined United for a club record fee of £59.7m last summer but, after starting the season in thrilling fashion, cut an increasingly frustrated and disinterested figure as the season progressed.

[Pictures] Here’s United’s new kit

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Manchester United unveiled their new kit for the upcoming season at midnight last night. It is the first Adidas-produced kit United will wear for over two decades, as the German manufacturer has replaced Nike as United's technical sponsor after signing a 10-year deal worth £750m.

What do we make of it?