Republik Of Mancunia Archives for January 2013

VIDEO: Rooney Goals vs Southampton

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"VIDEO: Rooney Goals vs Southampton" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

RoM Reads

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By Far The Greatest Team has in-depth player stats for United vs Southampton.

The Independent reports on Ferguson's FA charge.

Beautifully Red has the best GIFs from the weekend's win against Fulham.

The Evening News reports on Fergie's warning against complacency.

Stretty News stands up for David de Gea.

Kagawa: I Love Playing At Old Trafford

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After a slow start to his Manchester United career because of injury, Shinji Kagawa is playing more regularly and starting to settle at the club.

"I'm in a fantastic environment, training every day with top players," he told United Review. "At the same time, being with a big club like Manchester United, I know we are always expected to win trophies, which I haven't accomplished yet.

Ahead Of Our Game Against Southampton…

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Join bwin and get a free £20 bet for Man Utd vs Southampton

Wouldn't it be nice if the last minute errors at White Hart Lane a few weeks ago could be erased with a victory against Southampton tonight? Of course, the gap could have grown to nine points had we not conceded that late equaliser but I will be more than happy with seven points separating us from everyone else.

Midfield Diamond – finding the pieces to fit the jigsaw

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Having experimented with 4-4-2 midfield diamond tactic in a number of matches this season, Sir Alex put the formation to one side following the Champions' League group phase and then it reappeared for the FA Cup game at West Ham. Within the diamond he also tinkered with personnel; take Rafael against the Hammers where he trialled him as the inside midfield player on the right hand side.

Work Permit Stopped Mamaev’s Dream Move

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CSKA Moscow star Pavel Mamaev has revealed that Manchester United tried to sign him in the summer but the deal collapsed after we couldn't get a work permit for him.

"I was in shock, it was such a dream transfer," Mamaev said. "The deal was around 80% complete, but with my limited number of caps for Russia, I couldn't get a work permit.

CONFIRMED: United’s 5th Round FA Cup Game

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United will play Reading on February 16th/17th at Old Trafford.

Middlesbrough vs Brentford/Chelsea
City vs Leeds
Arsenal vs Blackburn
Oldham vs Everton
Luton vs Millwall
MK Dons vs Barnsley
Huddersfield/Leicester v Wigan

"CONFIRMED: United's 5th Round FA Cup Game" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

PICTURE: Macheda Unveiled At Stuttgart

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Earlier this week Manchester United agreed a deal to loan Federico Macheda to Stuttgart until the end of the season and today was unveiled.

"I've come to VfB with great expectations," he said. "I want to work hard on myself, train hard and prove myself to the coach. I of course want to make use of my chance and play.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP: United vs Fulham

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DDG, Raf, Jones, Smalling, Pat, Nani, Carrick, Anderson, Giggs, Rooney and Chicharito.

Fulham: Schwarzer; Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Riise; Duff, Sidwell, Baird, Kacaniklic; Ruiz; Berbatov.

"CONFIRMED LINE-UP: United vs Fulham" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Ahead Of Our Cup Game Against Fulham…

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After needing a replay to beat West Ham in the 3rd Round, hopefully we will have an easier job of getting past Fulham today. There's just two points separating those teams in the league, so we're looking at a similar team in terms of quality, but the Hammers have Carlton Cole playing up front, whilst Fulham have former RoM favourite, Dimitar Berbatov.

PICTURE: Zaha At Old Trafford Before Passing Medical

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Wilfried Zaha has passed his medical at Manchester United and has signed a five and a half year deal.

"PICTURE: Zaha At Old Trafford Before Passing Medical" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

When Cantona Kicked That Racist… 18 Years Later

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Today marks eighteen years to the day since Eric Cantona launched himself into the stands at Selhurst Park and attempted to, quite literally, kick racism out of football. It was a watershed moment for the game in this country, an episode which split opinion and prompted hours of feverish debate. It is easy to see the moment as the JFK moment for a generation of United fans; where were you on the night of that infamous kung-fu kick?

Zaha Deal Finally Confirmed

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After months of speculation, Manchester United have today confirmed that has a deal has been agreed with Crystal Palace to sign Wilfried Zaha, although he will spend the rest of the season on loan with his current club.

"I am delighted to be joining Manchester United and ending the recent speculation," said Zaha.

Fergie Calls Gary Neville An Idiot?

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On Monday night, Gary Neville went in to great detail to explain why David de Gea was at fault for conceding Spurs' late equaliser against United. Neville even showed a slow motion replay of the "five or six second stare" that Nemanja Vidic gave De Gea after the goal went in.

Whilst most people would agree that Neville is an excellent pundit, who fans of all teams (including City and Liverpool!

Schmeichel: FA Cup Degraded By United’s Absence

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Peter Schmeichel has reflected on the decision to allow Manchester United to pull out of the FA Cup following our historic Treble winning season to play in the World Club Cup in Brazil. Whilst United have always been the ones criticised for this decision, the truth is the government and FA were the ones at fault.

De Gea: I’m Still First Choice

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Since joining Manchester United, David de Gea has been under an incredible amount of pressure to perform, with every mistake scrutinised. Whilst other goalkeepers, like Joe Hart or Pepe Reina, have been guilty of several mistakes too, they tend to be brushed under the carpet. It's the popular thing to do to have a go at De Gea.

Manchester United Academy Sales

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Following on from yesterday's article about United's comparative spend, another point of interest is how much money our club generates from the quality young players we produce.

The Fergie Fledgings were a freak occurrence. To bring though that many talented youngsters, who'd all go on to play for their country plenty of times, as well as win a sackful of trophies for us, is unlikely to ever be repeated.

Chelsea Boss Is Cracking Up Again

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Four years ago we enjoyed one of the most important title races in years. United and Liverpool were going head to head, with United looking to equal Liverpool's record of 18 titles, whilst Liverpool were trying to put themselves two clear of United.

Ahead oftheir game against Stoke City, Rafael Benitez famously brought a sheet of 'facts' about manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Vidic: Real Madrid Game Will Be Great For The Fans

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Whilst United beat West Ham in the replay of the FA Cup 3rd round last week, Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic still holds the Champions League and Premier League as the most important trophies.

"Champions League is really important" he said. "The Premier League, especially in the last few years we can see how much English football has grown and how many quality players we have in this league as it is difficult to win.

Did United buy success like Chelsea and City? Course not

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An article was published on RoM last week to quell the misconception that the reason why United ended the title drought of 26 years was because Sir Alex Ferguson spent a load of money, the same as Chelsea and City have done more recently. When Chelsea or City are criticised for "buying" success, a usual response is that United did exactly the same in the 80′s and 90′s.

Vidic: I’m A Defender, I Don’t Have Skills!

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After spending most of last season out of the team through injury, and parts of this season, Nemanja Vidic has had a positive impact on our defence over recent months. The amount of times his head is on the end of crosses in to the box in recent games is incredible.

For Vidic, becoming a professional football was never a decision he had to make, with him falling in love with the game as a child and developing from there.

Van Persie: City Goal Is My Best United Moment

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Robin van Persie has now scored 11 goals in his last 11 games and has scored more than any other Premier League player this season. Still, with all those goals to choose from, Van Persie says his favourite moment so far was the injury time winner against City.

"Oooh, it has to be the third goal against City," he said.

About ManUtd App – all Manchester United stats at your fingertips

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About ManUtd is an excellent iPhone and iPad App for United fans. Launched this season by the people behind the respectedManchester United stats website, it's already giving fans facts and stats to back them up in all Man Utd discussions around the world.

About ManUtd is a fact-supplying app that:

  • Covers every official match played by Manchester United since 1886 over 5300 of them.

Reactions To Draw With Spurs

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1. Ahead of kick-off I would have taken a point from this game, something Rio Ferdinand confessed in his post-match interview, but it's always going to be frustrating to concede with pretty much the last kick of the game. You're left to the stew on the fact if they could have just held on for a few more seconds we'd be 7 points clear.

Van Persie: Last Few Months Proves I Was Right To Leave Arsenal

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Ahead of today's goal and draw against Tottenham Hotspur, Robin van Persie reflected on his reasons for leaving Arsenal for Manchester United.

"After eight years at a great club, Arsenal, I'd always had a good feeling, right up until the last training," he told Sky Sports. "After eight years, sometimes you feel like you need a new challenge and I found that challenge at Manchester United.

VIDEO: Van Persie Goal vs Spurs

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"VIDEO: Van Persie Goal vs Spurs" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Van Persie: I’m Really Enjoying Playing With Scholesy And Giggs

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Robin van Persie has been speaking about how he has settled in at Manchester United and couldn't sound much happier.

"I'm having a really good period," he told Sky Sports. "It's been since day one basically. Everyone's been helping. Everyone makes me feel at home and tries to do their best for me to play well and feel well, on and off the pitch.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP: Spurs vs United

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De Gea, Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Rafael, Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa, Van Persie, Welbeck.
Bench: Lindegaard, Valencia, Anderson, Rooney, Giggs, Smalling and Hernandez.

Spurs: Lloris, Walker, Caulker, Dawson, Naughton, Parker, Dembele, Lennon, Bale, Dempsey, Defoe
Spurs bench: Friedel, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Livermore and Townsend

"CONFIRMED LINE-UP: Spurs vs United" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

CONFIRMED: United Game At Spurs Is ON

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Following an afternoon of snow in North London, there were concerns that the game was going to be called off, but a pitch inspection an hour ahead of kick-off has confirmed the game will go ahead.

"CONFIRMED: United Game At Spurs Is ON" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Ahead Of Our Game Against Spurs…

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Spurs have been our whipping boys for years so it was a shock when they managed to beat us 3-2 at Old Trafford earlier this season. Conceding three times wasn't much of a surprise, given how regularly we concede goals these days, but when we battered them in the second half but didn't even manage to draw level, I could hardly believe it.

Will Today’s Game Be Called Of Because Of Snow?

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On the cameras available, the roads surrounding White Hart Lane are clear, although more snow is forecast for the rest of the afternoon.

The pitch is fine though, as Gary Neville showed with the picture below this morning.

"Will Today's Game Be Called Of Because Of Snow?" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

VIDEO: Henriquez Scores For Wigan

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Henríquez @SpheraChannel by SpheraChannel
"VIDEO: Henriquez Scores For Wigan" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

RoM Reads

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The Mirror has Trash Talk with Scott the Red and a Spurs fan.

By Far The Greatest Team has in-depth player stats ahead of Spurs vs United.

The Telegraph looks at the worst penalty takers after Rooney's latestmiss midweek.

Beautifully Red has the best moments from our FA Cup victory over West Ham in GIF form.

Win Four Tickets For Manchester United v Southampton

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United play Southampton in their final game of January, and given what happened last time these two teams met, you can expect entertaining football, a few goals and last minute drama.

We have two VIP tickets and two standard tickets to give away to ROM readers for the January 30th match at Old Trafford between Manchester United and Southampton.

Trophies for Peanuts – Correcting Misconceptions of the Ferguson Way

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We've all seen the argument before that the reason why our success is different to Chelsea's, and more recently, Manchester City's, is because we used our own money, hard earned cash put through the turnstiles and so on. Almost an admission, that the only reason United ended that painful 26 year wait for a title, was due to our transfer activity being greater than our rivals.

Fletcher Out For The Season… Career Over?

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Manchester United have confirmed that Darren Fletcher has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Fletcher has had planned surgery to resolve his Ulcerative Colitis condition. Fletcher needed a period of sustained good general health before he could have the operation, which the club believe he has shown by training with the team regularly and featuring in some first team games.

PICTURE: Painting Of United Players Past And Present

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A Manchester-based artist, Michael Browne, has presented this ambitious painting of United players past and present to pay tribute to their dominance of the English game over recent years.

The painting can be found at the National Football Museum (in the Urbis building in town).

Browne is behind the famous The Art of the Game painting which features Cantona and is already displayed at the museum.

RoM Reads

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By Far The Greatest Team has 10 reactions to yesterday's win.

The Daily Mail have a report on the Benfica defender who is set to replace Vidic.

Beautifully Red has the best moments from the Liverpool game in GIF form.

Red Flag Flying High discusses whether Welbeck is good enough for United.

CONFIRMED LINE UP: United vs West Ham

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Lindegaard, Rafael, Jones, Smalling, Buttner, Valencia, Anderson, Giggs, Nani, Rooney and Chicharito.

"CONFIRMED LINE UP: United vs West Ham" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Betting odds on who will finish fourth in the Premier League

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One of the many issues which grips fans of Premier League football and those who bet on it is which team will grab the much sought after fourth position at the end of the season. Finishing fourth means qualifying for the Champions League, which has come to represent the promised land of money and ambition for most teams these days, and this season there are a number of clubs competing for it.

Top 5 Manchester United One-Man Seasons

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Whereas true golden years and genuinely titanic struggles usually require an ensemble cast squeezing every drop out of a hugely talented squad being a feature of both ‘99 and ‘08 seasons which are dominated by an individual tend to instead be focused on what fate was avoided rather than what was won.

Ahead Of Our Game Against West Ham…

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Join bwin and get a free £20 bet for Man Utd vs West Ham

It's been a long time since we last won the FA Cup and every season the desire from the fans to win it seems stronger. We have played in two FA Cup finals since we last lifted the trophy in 2004 and were desperately unlucky in both.

League Table Suggests This Is Our Best Ever Team

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Manchester United are currently on 55 points after 22 games which is better than any team has ever managed since the introduction of three points for a win in the 1981-1982 season.

The highest total an English team had managed before this season was United in 06-07, when Cristiano Ronaldo started to blossom in to a world class player, and United amassed 54 points.

Reactions To Victory Over Liverpool

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1. There we have it. United have beaten Liverpool home and away for the first time since 07/08. There was a huge gulf between the two sides at the start of the day, with United top of the league and Liverpool all the way down in 8th. Whilst Rodgers might claim there isn't 24 points difference in quality between the two sides, the grim reality for Liverpool fans is that there really is.

Sir Bobby Hosts Families Of Hillsborough Victims

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Sir Bobby Charlton played host to families of the Hillsborough victims at Old Trafford yesterday.

Our ambassador was involved in the tribute that was paid to those that lost their life at Hillsborough ahead of our game against Liverpool at Anfield earlier in the season too.

"Sir Bobby Hosts Families Of Hillsborough Victims" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Look What Was Trending In Liverpool Yesterday…

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Half an hour before kick-off yesterday, look what one of the most used words from people in Liverpool was on Twitter. Typical.

"Look What Was Trending In Liverpool Yesterday..." was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

The Sun Have It Wrong On Zaha

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The Sun have today published a story claiming that Wilf Zaha tweeted "Looks like I'm on my way to the top of the Premier League" on Saturday night. A screenshot of this tweet quickly did the rounds on the internet but when you looked at Zaha's timeline, there was no such tweet.

Zaha later tweeted that he had no idea where the tweet had come from.

VIDEO: Van Persie and Evra Goals vs Liverpool

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"VIDEO: Van Persie and Evra Goals vs Liverpool" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Van Persie: We Fought Hard For Result We Wanted

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Robin van Persie, who has now scored against Chelsea, City, Arsenal, and twice against Liverpool, has reflected on today's 2-1 victory over Liverpool.

"It was an unbelievable goal with great combinations," Robin told MUTV. "Carrick was involved, Danny Welbeck was involved, as well as Tom and Shinji, and then it went out on the left to Pat, who put a really good cross in and it was a good finish.

Fergie: It’s Not A Pity That Gerrard Has Never Won The League

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"Giggsy 12, Gerrard 0," our fans have taken to singing recently, pointing out the massive gulf in quality between our living legend and theirs. Liverpool haven't won the league since 1990 meaning that Steven Gerrard doesn't have a Premier League winners medal. In contrast, Giggs has so many he loses them and stumbles across them when cleaning out his drawers.

Nineteen

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"Nineteen" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

The Man Who Started The Manchester vs Liverpool Rivalry

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"Liverpool were always the ones and nothing will change," said Ferguson at this weekend's press conference. "It's nothing to do with our position in the league. It's about the history, geography. What's his name, who built the ship canal? Mason? No it wasnae Mason... It's coming... It begins with an A.

Ahead Of Our Game Against Liverpool

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Join bwin and get a free £20 bet for Man Utd vs Liverpool

Today brings about one of the games you look for first when the fixtures are announced at the beginning of the season. Liverpool at home. Whilst the derby attracts more attention these days, since City's new found wealth, this is the game that matters most to the fans.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP: United vs Liverpool

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De Gea, Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Young, Carrick, Cleverley, Welbeck, Kagawa, Van Persie.

Liverpool: Reina, Wisdom, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Lucas, Gerrard, Allen, Downing, Sterling, Suarez.
Liverpool bench: Jones, Carragher, Henderson, Sturridge, Borini, Shelvey, Robinson.

"CONFIRMED LINE-UP: United vs Liverpool" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Shelvey – Deal With It

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Reminisce about Jonjo Shelvey's hissy fit in the away game between United and Liverpool this season.


GIF by @OllyRamone

"Shelvey Deal With It" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

VIDEO: Favourite Goals vs Liverpool

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"VIDEO: Favourite Goals vs Liverpool" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Could RvP be the next winner of the Ballon d’Or?

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So soon after the prestigious Ballon d'Or award was given to Lionel Messi for his record-breaking 2012, people are still talking about the omission of some of the Premier League's biggest names from the shortlist. One of the most notable absentees was Robin van Persie, who has led the line well since moving from Arsenal to Manchester United.

Manchester Is Red… Further Proof

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Despite the fact that United have had larger attendances than City every single season since the war and City, even as champions, struggle to sell out their ground, some deluded blues still claim the city is theirs.

A team of data researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute are the latest to shed light on this myth after monitoring geotagged tweets from the beginning of this season until Christmas.

RoM Reads

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The Mirror has a trash talk discussion between Scott the Red and a Liverpool fan.

By Far The Greatest Team has individual player stats for United vs Liverpool.

The Telegraph has Twitter stats to show Manchester is red.

The Guardian looks at Sir Alex Ferguson's big buys and bargains.

Manchester United Mid-Season Report

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Sir Alex Ferguson has understandably spoke down Manchester United's chances of winning the Premier League with 17 games remaining, but the reality is that his side have a 7-point lead just over the half way point of the season.

One of two English sides remaining in the Champions League, and an FA Cup replay against West Ham to come, the fixtures will come thick and fast for the record English champions.

RoM Reads

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The Mirror reports that we will make a £12m move for Zaha this transfer window.

By Far The Greatest Team shows how United are the best represented English club in Ballon d'Or historically.

The Guardian talks about United and Liverpool's plan to combat expensive away ticket prices.

RvP: I’m Really Enjoying Playing In This Team

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Robin van Persie has thanked the Manchester United fans for their support since the summer move from Arsenal. He is currently the top scorer in the league and when you include his assists, he has 22 in 18 starts.

"It's always nice to be recognised by the fans," said van Persie. "I have settled into the club quite quickly and I am really enjoying playing in this team.

Frank Lampard To United?

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The rumour of Frank Lampard to Manchester United has been doing the rounds again, a year after we first heard the Chelsea vice-captain was linked to us. Back then, Lampard had 18 months remaining on his contract and it appeared as though the club were still keen to negotiate an extension. Still, with time running out, there was some speculation that Chelsea would be prepared to sell him to recoup some money, rather than allow him to leave on a free the following year.

Scholes: Liverpool Bigger Rivals Than City

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Ahead of this weekend's game against Liverpool, Paul Scholes has said that despite the lack of success they've seen since their last title, an incredible 23 years ago, they are still bigger rivals than Manchester City.

"I think it was the top one for quite some while," Scholes told Inside United.

VIDEO: United vs Liverpool preview

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"VIDEO: United vs Liverpool preview" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Bright Red: United vs Liverpool

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With one of the biggest games of the season coming up this weekend, we have a copy of Bright Red to give away. It's a great book which tells the story of the matches between United and Liverpool from 1894 to the present day.

Simply post a YouTube link to your favourite goal in a United vs Liverpool game (make sure you post the comment under a valid e-mail address so we can contact you).

Where Did United Players Come In Ballon d’Or?

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"Where Did United Players Come In Ballon d'Or?" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

West Ham Captain’s Embarrassing Complaint

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Manchester United drew level with West Ham in injury time on Saturday to force a replay.

West Ham captain, Kevin Nolan, feels put out though, believing the referee allowed too much added time to be played.

"I was baffled by the four minutes, but you have to get on with it and see if you can see it through.

RoM Reads

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The False 9 sings the praises of Javier Hernandez.

Beautifully Red has 5 beautiful moments from the West Ham draw in GIF form.

The Independent wonders whether Luka Modric is on his way to United, Chelsea or Spurs.

Red Flag Flying High looks at the five things we learned from West Ham.

United Draw Fulham Or Blackpool

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If Manchester United beat West Ham in the 3rd Round replay they will face Fulham or Blackpool at Old Trafford.

"United Draw Fulham Or Blackpool" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

VIDEO: Cleverley and Van Persie Goals vs West Ham

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"VIDEO: Cleverley and Van Persie Goals vs West Ham" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Chicharito – Mexican Athlete Of The Year

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Congratulations to Javier Hernandez who has been named Mexican Athlete of the Year 2012.

"Chicharito Mexican Athlete Of The Year" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP: West Ham vs United

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De Gea, Rafael, Evans,Vidic, Smalling, Buttner, Scholes, Cleverley, Kagawa, Welbeck, Hernandez

"CONFIRMED LINE-UP: West Ham vs United" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

Fergie: Rio Doesn’t Want To Leave

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Rio Ferdinand's contract is set to expire this summer and no agreement has been reached over an extension. As is always the case with our players over 30, he would only be given a one year deal, which obviously would be less appealing to Rio. With the injuries he's suffered over recent seasons, you could hardly blame him for wanting greater security than a one year deal and with him nearing the end of his career, it wouldn't be out of the question for him to agree on a big money deal for an American club.

VIDEO: United and Liverpool Combined – Hilarious gulf in quality

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Once you can get over the odd notion of using players from United and Liverpool to advertise their company, you have to give credit to Chevrolet for illustrating the gulf in quality between the two clubs.

Paul Scholes, Robin van Persie, Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs vs Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Allen and Glen Johnson.

Fryers Didn’t Sound Homesick Last Month…

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Tottenham Hotspur have excused their signing of former Manchester United defender, Zeki Fryers, by claiming he was homesick and wanted to come home. They have dismissed Sir Alex Ferguson's suggestion that they have manipulated the rules to get Fryers on the cheap.

However, Fryers was interviewed for Four Four Two magazine last month and didn't sound in the least bit homesick, but instead, was looking forward to what his new club could achieve at the end of the season.

Henriquez To Make Wigan Debut

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Our new signing Angelo Henriquez, who has joined Wigan on loan for the remainder of the season, could make his début for them on Saturday as they face Bournemouth in the FA Cup.

"I'm hoping to get first-team appearances in the Premier League and coming to Wigan will be a very good way to do that, particularly with the style that the gaffer has got the team playing in," Henriquez told Wigan's official website.

Ferguson Accuses Spurs Over Fryers Transfer

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Sir Alex Ferguson has voiced his frustration over Zeki Fryers £3m move from Standard Liege to Spurs. The youngster left United in the summer for the Belgium club after Spurs refused to pay United's asking price. As he was out of contract, a tribunal would have set the transfer fee, as United were entitled to compensation because he came from our academy.

Ronaldo: I Still Love United

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Ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford to play Manchester United in the Champions League with Real Madrid, he has spoken of his feelings for his former club.

"I still have a great feeling of friendship and love for them, they are a team that have done a lot for my career," said Ronaldo.

Rio – A bit of a prat but deserves respect

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Rio Ferdinand has been a Manchester United player for over ten years, but unlike other players who have given the majority of their career to the club, he still splits opinion amongst the fans. We can address all the reasons for and against Rio's popularity as we go along, but the turning point for most fans came back in 2005.

Van Persie: I’m Surrounded By Champions

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Robin van Persie, currently the top scorer in the league, has praised his team mates and credited them for his top performances since moving from Arsenal.

"This is a special team," he told MUTV. "Everybody wants to help each other. Everybody's keen for everyone to score. Defenders are working their socks off for the midfielders, the midfielders are working for the strikers.

STATS: United’s Season So Far

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Passing

- Paul Scholes has our best passing accuracy, completing 92.5% of all his attempted passes. Only Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta have been more accurate this season, both with 92.6%. After Scholes is Rio Ferdinand with 91.3% (7th), then Tom Cleverley with 90.

VIDEO: Chicharito and Van Persie’s Goals vs Wigan

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"VIDEO: Chicharito and Van Persie's Goals vs Wigan" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

CONFIRMED LINE-UP: Wigan vs United

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De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Young, Carrick, Cleverley, Giggs, Van Persie, Hernandez.

"CONFIRMED LINE-UP: Wigan vs United" was originally published at The Republik of Mancunia.

United v Wigan: Preview and Stats

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Join bwin and get a free £20 bet for Man Utd vs Wigan

As United gear up to play their first game of 2013 and officially start the 'second half' of the season, the time when the team usually kicks up a gear, it's worth remember what a good year (statistically at least) 2012 was for the club.