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The Shaw Thing

December 12, 2017 Tags: Opinion 2 comments
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Nothing in life is guaranteed. When Luke Shaw signed for Manchester United in summer 2014, by the newly appointed manager Louis Van Gaal, the club assumed it had purchased the best money could buy. The deal followed Shaw’s surprise inclusion in the England World Cup squad in preference to Ashley Cole, one of country’s finest left-back’s in the English game. Shaw’s 57 appearances for Southampton, some under Mauricio Pochettino, demonstrated enough potential to persuade United to spend £27 million on the left-back, making the 19-year-old the most expensive teenager in world football. It hasn’t worked out as hoped.

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Rant Cast 325 – Still got the blues for Mou

December 12, 2017 Tags: Rant Cast No comments
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This pod would have been a lot more fun had Ed & Paul known about José Mourinho’s Manchester City dressing room incursion and the subsequent 20-man brawl. As it is, there’s a downbeat tone after the Blues comfortably beat United at Old Trafford. It leaves an 11-point gap at the top of the Premier League and the title probably heading towards the Etihad.

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Data: the impact of past performance on future results

December 9, 2017 Tags: , Data 1 comment
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Will José Mourinho’s team perform better after last week’s win? The Reds earned victory against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday, but with the Manchester derby coming up on Sunday, would it have been better if the team had lost? It is a strange question, but the impact that the result of one match has on the next is regularly discussed by both pundits and managers. Often, they refer to the confidence boost that a win carries into the next match. It is also argued that a loss can invigorate the team to work harder in the following game – greater motivation to turn things around.

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United’s approach to women’s football is long overdue a change

December 8, 2017 Tags: Opinion No comments
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Check out the Manchester United Foundation website and you’ll come across Maria. Maria is a talented striker who scored goals for United’s Regional Talent Club and by all rights her story is an uplifting one. Yet, if Maria is to pursue a playing career she is more likely to don the blue of Manchester City and not United’s red. United still does not have women’s team.

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Coach Carrick offers more than just nostalgia for the player’s past

December 3, 2017 Tags: Opinion 1 comment
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Michael Carrick did not feature in Manchester United’s handsome victories at Watford or Arsenal. The 35-year-old is still regaining fitness after a spell on the sidelines following detection of a worrying heart condition back in September. One suspects that the veteran midfielder will be enjoying the performances of fellow Englishmen Ashley Young and Jesse Lingard though; two revivalists enjoying life under José Mourinho. Not just because of Young’s successful reinvention as a decent left-back, or Lingard’s ascent to become United’s number 10, but the way each has transformed to get ahead. After all, Carrick is an avid student of the game.

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That Night in Barcelona

December 2, 2017 Tags: , Opinion No comments
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The rivalry between José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola is one of modern day football’s great dramas. The duo have crossed swords numerous times, with Mourinho cast as the master of the dark arts, while Guardiola is portrayed as the idealistic purist. It is a story riddled with feuds, tetchy conflicts, and no shortage of bad blood dating back to the time when the pair were in charge of Spanish giants, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

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United’s sporting chance

November 21, 2017 Tags: , Opinion 3 comments
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The director of football, or sporting director, may seem like a modern phenomenon, but the role has existed for decades. Fundamentally, the role is an intermediary between the board and the first team manager, with a task of creating continuity: in the long-term direction, playing style, transfers, hiring and firing, and bridging the gap between the academy and the first team. Given that managers and players often focus match-to-match, the former with the intention of keeping his job and the latter with hope of staying in the team, the sporting director is charged with executing a long-term vision.

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