After the joy and optimism of August, Manchester United have crashed into September like some sort of thing crashing into a thing it definitely should not have crashed into. Ed and Paul convene to reluctantly discuss three defeats on the bounce for Jose Mourinho’s men. The subject of Wayne Rooney inevitably comes up, as does chat about Pep out tactic-ing Jose, the abject defeat at Feyenoord and the omnishambles at Watford. In a profoundly against type turn of events, Ed is pretty upbeat whilst Paul is generally miserable about the whole affair.
There are listener questions, music chat on the Patreon bonus content and a very special playout track from one of the very first Friends of the Rant Cast, Awate.
Rant Cast has survived on your donations for the past seven years. If you are interested in supporting the show, and accessing some cool rewards, check out the Patreon crowdfunding page. Talk to us on Twitter: Paul – @UtdRantCast, Ed – @UnitedRant. Rant Cast is produced by Tom Jenkins – TEEJSOUND / @Teejsound
With the derby coming up, we decided to record a little bonus episode, chatting with Bleacher Report’s Manchester City Correspondent and Manchester Evening News journalist Rob Pollard about the City perspective on the game. We talk Pep, obviously, and in spite of Paul’s best efforts to keep the City love in to a minimum, Rob waxes lyrical about the career of Yaya Toure. Rob is very fair minded on United and has interesting things to say about the rivalry from a City perspective and working on a Sports Desk at the global epicentre of football.
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!
On the day the UK goes to the polls, the Euro Cast looks back at the thrills and spills involved in major nations trying desperately not to go out of Europe. Paul and Ed talk through each of round of 16 fixtures, chatting about how each of those teams performed in the group stages.
Miserable and predictable, Manchester United’s away form meant it was little surprise that a jammy win over Watford was followed by a disheartening defeat at the Hawthorns. Ed & Paul discuss both games, though they failed to mention that the Hawthorns is the stadium highest above sea level in the country. Read More
In the 250th Episode of the Rant Cast, Ed and Paul cover one of the most boring games to have been played during the show’s run, United’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United in the FA Cup third round. Read More
So there you have it, folks. David Moyes is no more. He is a dead manager, pining for his former job. Sacked by Ed Woodward – rather appropriately – on Monday morning to end 10 months of misery at Old Trafford. In this rebroadcast from April 2014, Ed & Paul covered this momentous occasion in depth, offering analysis of where it all went wrong for the former Evertonian, and what’s next for Manchester United. The boys talk Moyes’ failure, Sir Alex Ferguson, Ryan Giggs’ appointment, likely permanent candidates, transfer news and take your questions in a packed show!
On this week’s Rant Cast Ed and Paul celebrate the victory over Newcastle, commiserate over United’s defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup, argue over whether Louis is really playing hoofball, take Twitter questions, discuss sexism in football (there’s a lot of it and it is very bad) and get all excited / terrified for the run of big games ahead.
Liverpool is in mourning, with captain Steven Gerrard announcing his deathretirement move to another club for shed loads of money, eight years after nearly moving to Chelsea for bucketfuls of cash. Regular presenters Ed & Paul join the national wailing … or not.
Also on this week’s show: a full review of United’s disappointing performances against Stoke City in the Premier League and Yeovil Town in the FA Cup. Is it time Louis van Gaal revisited his strategy away from home, where United has won just three times this season?
There’s a preview of next weekend’s home fixture with Southampton at Old Trafford and a look ahead to the fixture with Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
Finally, your questions and a very special competition with Mils Art.
* Rant Cast is taking a break next week. We’ll be with you again on 19 January!
Say goodbye to 2014. It was a year that started horribly for Manchester United with a home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur and ended with the club on the up, albeit with a draw against the same opposition. Hello, then, to 2015: a year in which United will, well, we’re not quite sure… but United Rant’s writers peaked into the crystal ball and had a guess…
In the end United will be short – well short – of the title contenders this season, although the improvement in results has been really good since November. By May United might be 10 points adrift of the title winners, which will probably be Chelsea, although José Mourinho’s side could suffer for lack of squad depth.
It’s been so long since United put together a decent FA Cup run. Surely this is the year for United to have a real crack at it, although the loss to MK Dons demonstrates that United’s trip to Yeovil Town next week is going to be no easy ride.
The summer market is critical, although it’s hard to see the Glazers signing off on another £150 million spend. That said few predicted last summer’s splurge either. Louis van Gaal could really do with a couple of high-quality defenders: a right-back as cover or replacement for the perennially injured Rafael da Silva, and an experienced central defender who is not prone to injury!
United could do with another combative midfielder. Marouane Fellaini was supposed to be it, but he’ll never be good enough at Champions League level. Kevin Strootman is the obvious name, of course, although Arturo Vidal would be the ‘gold-medal’ level signing. Then there’s the question of what happens with Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie. It’s hard to see both at the club beyond the summer.
There will be some departures too. None of United’s defenders, bar Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo, are safe. Neither is Antonio Valencia or, sadly, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata. It’ll be a very bleak day if David de Gea leaves for Real Madrid, but it’s not unlikely.
In the end Van Gaal’s philosophy will be attacking, possession-based football in which United dominate matches. The Dutchman simply doesn’t have the personnel for it to be fully implemented just yet. If that’s still the case after next summer the club will have let Van Gaal down.
United will push City and Chelsea much harder for the title in 2015/15. Expect United to be very close to the top by this time next year.
Second half of the season XI: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Rojo, Shaw; Herrera, Carrick, Di Maria; Mata; Falcao, Rooney
Next season’s XI: De Gea; Aurier, Jones, Hummels, Shaw; Herrera, Vidal; Di Maria, Mata, Januzaj; Falcao
By May 2015 United will probably have secured third spot. Even though United has overtaken some pretty serious point differences in the second half of the season over the years the team will finish a dozen points behind City and Chelsea. A nice FA Cup run is overdue and it would be great to win it and break a good record for a change.
Next summer’s transfer market will bring one or two solid defenders. If the Dutchman delivers results this season United won’t return to Glazeronomics just yet, even though, sadly, it looks inevitable in the long run. There won’t be another Angel Di Maria/Radamel Falcao “holy s**t, that’s actually happening!” moment this summer, but it’s always welcome.
Some players will leave too and that’s looooong overdue. It’s not good to call United’s players ‘dead wood,’ but, unfortunately, that’s what some of them have become. Let’s hope Van Gaal shows strength of character and good judgement here. Whether David De Gea stays is more important though. Don’t break our hearts, Dave. Please, pretty please? It would even be worth paying Anderson to stay and be the fool to your king. Perhaps that was the plan all along!
In 2015 we will discover what Van Gaal’s philosophy really is… or not. The Dutchman can be quite pragmatic if necessary. Maybe there’s no philosophy as such; just pragmatism and some common sense. The greatest trick that our Devil has ever pulled was to convince everyone that the philosophy exists. The hope is that Van Gaal sorts out the defence – the transfer window should help – sticks with a specific formation, and gets some luck with injuries. And then “let it flyyyy.”
After all that next season United will finally become a title contender again – at least, that’s the plan. Of course, football can be cruel sometimes. As Liverpool demonstrated ‘up’ is not the only way after a good season. Fans should remain wary until the league is United’s again. It’s hard to believe that it has been only been two seasons since the last title, but so far Van Gaal looks like a man who can bring the “not arrogant, just better” attitude back. Here’s to that!
Second half of the season XI: De Gea; Carrick, Jones, Rojo; Rafael , Blind, Herrera, Young; ;Di Maria; Falcao, Rooney
Next season’s XI: De Gea; Rafael, Hummels, Jones, Shaw; Bale, Blind, Herrera, Di Maria; Rooney, Falcao
United will have made the Champions League by the end of the season. City will probably win the Premier League after fatigue catches up with Chelsea given the Londoners’ lack of rotation so far. The winter transfer window might bring United a solid right-back, which may help a push for the title, though probably not enough. United has produced in big games this season and other ‘big’ clubs are either in a free fall or still in Europe. Van Gaal has historically done well in cup competitions and an FA Cup victory is definitely possible this season.
Next summer’s transfer market will bring a classy right-back and a world-class winger. All that Gareth Bale talk is indicative of something and Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus is also available. Herrera may end up in jail and Fellaini is no long-term option – expect Van Gaal’s golden boy Kevin Strootman to come to Old Trafford. Despite popular opinion a new central defender is not priority next summer. United will defend with organisation and not personnel and there are few established defenders to suit van Gaal’s high line anyway.
Anderson and probably Chris Smalling will leave the club – the Brazilian’s contract is up anyway. Jonny Evans will probably survive given his ‘left-footedness.’ Up front Ramadel Falcao will leave – James Wilson is promising. United will have to cut back what has become one of the biggest wage bills in Europe to clear for new arrivals. Falcao simply hasn’t performed. Antonio Valencia will be free to leave as well, though his high wages will be a stumbling block. Ashley Young will probably survive since he can fill in at any position on either flank.
In the next year Van Gaal’s philosophy will emerge and it’ll look something like Bayern Munich’s when he was manager there: a 4-2-3-1 with a focus on the flanks. It is indicative that Van Gaal has heavily relied on width despite playing winger-less systems, with Young and Valencia used as wing-backs. Wayne Rooney is very much like Thomas Muller. The German isn’t all that gifted technically. Van Gaal may even start playing a Bayern style 4-2-3-1 this season if Adnan Januzaj can find some form.
Next season United will win the Premier League. There will be no screwing about when the 2015/16 season begins. That extra 10 points in first 10 games of 2015/16 will bring the trophy back to Old Trafford. United probably won’t have the defence to hold off Barcelona or Real Madrid, but a new world-class winger may see the Reds sneak into semi-finals of the Champions League.
Counterattacking is in vogue and van Gaal is one of ‘counter-counter’ pioneers. Van Gaal will certainly relish the challenge.
Second half of this season XI: De Gea; Coleman, Jones, Rojo, Shaw; Blind, Fellaini; Januzaj, Rooney, Di Maria; Van Persie
Next season’s XI: De Gea; Coleman, Jones, Rojo, Shaw; Strootman, Blind; Januzaj, Rooney, Di Maria; Van Persie
United will finish the season, probably, in third place. Maybe second. As Ed said on the podcast last week, expectations have been reset and finishing fourth from here would be kind of disappointing. We’ll have seen a number of much better performances, and won the derby at Old Trafford. The FA Cup tie with Yeovil is slightly worrying – we might lose in the third round!
Next summer’s transfer market will be a slight anti-climax after last season’s. There won’t be a marquee signing to rival Di Maria or Falcao, but United will add sensibly in defence and midfield. Right-back is the position that most needs to be addressed with Rafael injured all the time. At least the injured centre backs have cover.
Some will leave too, including, sadly, Falcao. I have rarely wanted a player to work out as much as Falcao at United, but it seems not to going that way. He’s got four months to save the dream. One of Smalling, Phil Jones or Jonny Evans will leave — each good enough for United, none fit enough for United.
In 2015 we will discover what Van Gaal’s philosophy really is … and it’s that Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. Grinning from ear to ear when lighting the tree, giving the players the day off on Christmas, handing out presents. He loves it. Seriously though, his philosophy has changed over the years, and the best short hand for where it currently sits is something along the lines of ‘play the best, most attractive, football you can with the players at your disposal.’
After all that, next season, United will win the league. AGAIN!
Second half of this season XI: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Rojo, Shaw; Herrera, Carrick, Di Maria; Rooney; Falcao, Van Persie
Next season’s XI: De Gea; Rafael, Godin, Jones, Shaw; Strootman, Herrera, Rooney; Di Maria, Falcao, Bale