Rant once enjoyed Fantasy Football. That was until 599 of the 600+ league entrants topped Rant’s score in last season’s league. Now Rant is taking its ball and heading home. While nobody at Rant HQ is giving up the day job, there’ll be another mass Rant fantasy league this season, with the Premier League starting on Saturday to kick off what is likely to be one of the most competitive competitions for years.
So here it is: after an 85 day break the new Premier League season begins this weekend. José Mourinho has added four high-class players to his squad and will now, presumably, concentrate on cutting some bloat before the window closes at the end of August. Indeed, Manchester United’s confidence and hopes are higher than at any time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. It’s a fine squad, albeit with some holes, that should challenge on multiple fronts this season. But who’s the best and the who’s the worst at Old Trafford. Rant ranks them all, from 30 to 1.
Same old United, always winning – at Wembley. José Mourinho’s team returned to the capital just 78 days after collecting the FA Cup to bag the Community Shield with victory over Leicester City. Much has changed in the interim: new manager, new faces, and a new belief that the dark times of the past three seasons are now over.
It took little more than four minutes. The spin, the leap, the goal. Zlatan Ibrahimovic as only Zlatan could, scoring on his non-competitive début, with a bicycle kick of sorts against Galatasaray in Gothenburg. The moment of Manchester United’s pre-season; a flash of brilliance to underline that the coming season should be very different from the three that have preceded it. Hope, then, for millions of United supporters, although questions still surround a squad that remains incomplete and a tactical plan that is far from firm.
Ed and Paul have hosted Rant Cast since 2009, 265 episodes and counting of high-quality football content, with dodgy jokes and, according to some, an anti-Wayne Rooney agenda. Whether the latter is true is open to your interpretation, but one thing is true: Rant Cast’s commitment to an hour-a-week of chat, for your pleasure, direct to your iPhone (or listening platform of choice). Now here’s a chance to show your appreciation!
It’s a simple equation: Manchester United needs Paul Pogba more than Paul Pogba needs to be with the Reds. Sign o’ the times. It’s little wonder that Juventus has backed Ed Woodward into a corner over the mooted £100 million transfer fee, with agent Mino Raiola battering the executive vice chairman into submission over his commission. Despite reports of a ‘stalled bid’ and renewed Real Madrid interest the Reds will probably end up paying all of it. It’ll still be a bargain if it helps bring the Premier League trophy back to Old Trafford.
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson
So far, so splendidly José Mourinho. The Portuguese manager strolled into his first press conference at Old Trafford looking and sounding every inch a Manchester United boss. Gone was the wild-eyed stare of the perpetually out-of-his depth David Moyes. Banished too was Louis van Gaal’s now discredited talk of philosophy. It was always BS, you know. In its place, comes Mourinho’s bravado and clarity of thought – a trait already playing out in the transfer market. Yet, in the back of the mind is the sneaking suspicion that one day, it might go just a little pear-shaped.
It’s over. The longest, biggest and most negative (?) European Championships in history finished with Portugal, minus a hobbling Cristiano Ronaldo, beating France in Paris. Glory for Ronnie and Nani, tears for the French – Patrice Evra, Morgan Schneiderlin and Anthony Martial included. All of that and more on the final Euro Cast!
So Euro 2016 is over, with Portugal beating France 1-0 in Sunday night’s final. It was the longest European Championships ever, and sometimes felt like it. In keeping with the tournament the final offered less than it should have; Euro 2016 has been a mixed bag when it comes to quality. Seldom has the tournament set the pulses racing, though at least it was rarely predictable. Not least the final. The exception: England bombed out early, ’twas ever thus, although the Welsh made the semi-final in spectacular style. And what of the Manchester United players (current, former and future) that missed a summer on the beaches of Ayia Napa? There were, on balance, more flops than successes…