Opinion

Opinion

Cautious Mourinho misses chance to make strides forward

October 16, 2017 Tags: , Opinion 5 comments
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When Manchester United run out at the Estádio da Luz on Wednesday travelling supporters may well witness a very different approach from the one that dominated the weekend’s game with Liverpool. On Saturday, with the world watching one of England’s great fixtures, José Mourinho’s side sunk into its shell, hamstrung by a manager who has made a career-long reputation as the “enemy of football.” It was to United’s loss: two points dropped, momentum halted, an opposition there for the taking, given a pass.

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Liverpool clash always more than “just a match”

October 12, 2017 Tags: Opinion 1 comment
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“It’s just a match. It’s three points. When you are in a big club, when you are a big player, when you are a big manager, every game is important. Every match is a cup final.” – José Mourinho.

It is an interesting theory, one fitting with Mourinho’s detached managerial demeanour. Yet, when it comes to Liverpool versus United, the Portuguese coach could not be further off base. Mourinho’s assessment may be empirically true – Saturday’s game is worth just three points – but it is as emotionally distant as possible, and an argument with which supporters cannot relate. After all, United’s clash with Liverpool is always more than just a match. It remains England’s greatest game.

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Dynamic duo key to United’s tough month

October 5, 2017 Tags: , Opinion No comments
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There was something ethereal in the noise; not a cheer exactly, something closer to a woosh, perhaps, as 75,000 watched Anthony Martial first show Andros Townsend the ball, and then whip it through his legs. It was both the cruelest and most beautiful moment of the match – here and then gone in a flash. Yet, Martial wasn’t the star of Manchester United’s comfortable victory over Crystal Palace last Saturday. That honour lay with Marcus Rashford, a player growing into his role as the Reds’ first choice left-sided attacker. Both are key to a tough run of games after the international break.

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The case against Zlatan’s reintegration

September 28, 2017 Tags: Opinion 16 comments
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Considering football is a team sport, it is curious how the focus has shifted over time from praising the collective to singling out individuals. Greater access to statistics seems to have exacerbated the trend. Player comparison data, award ceremonies and social media keyboard warriors – the debate has moved to one based on individual meritocracy. Yet, while players drift in and out of form during a season, the team that wins the Premier League will probably be the most balanced in the division. Despite football’s narrative focusing less on the collective, it will always be the most important factor in a team’s ascension to glory.

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The Quiet Captain

September 23, 2017 Tags: Opinion 3 comments
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There’s a lot to be said about Antonio Valencia’s blockbusting opening strike against Everton last weekend; the sweetness of the hit, the sheer ferocity of the shot, and the pleasing sound of the ball thumping the back of the net. Perhaps the most noteworthy observation was the understated way the Ecuadorian celebrated his goal.  He simply jogged back and crossed his chest before acknowledging an onrushing Phil Jones. Captain quiet.

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Irresistible Marouane Fellaini

September 19, 2017 Tags: Opinion 3 comments
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Talent and utility are often found in some of the most unexpected places. Cockroaches, for example, are infamously disgusting creatures that cower in the shadows and scuttle out when least expected. Yet, they can also withstand levels of radiation that would kill humans. While the critters may be easily subdued with a quick stomp, it will be the cockroaches that become the dominant earthly species if America and North Korea carry out their recent threats.

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“Monster” Matić already the steal of the summer

September 18, 2017 Tags: Opinion 2 comments
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When Rant called Nemanja Matić “expensive” this summer the rationale was sound. After all, Chelsea had signed a French international replacement, in Tiemoue Bakayoko, who was not only younger, but cheaper as well. This is normally the formula for a reverse in the summer’s prices, with the younger player typically holding and retaining a higher value. It is all in the data. Reader pushback was strong though. The season may be just five games old, but the immediate take is clear: Rant 0 – 1 Audience.

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Tears of the Iron Tulip

September 16, 2017 Tags: Opinion 3 comments
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“So take a good look at my face, you see my smile looks out of place, if you look closer it’s easy to trace, the tracks of my tears.” – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

Winning the FA Cup should have been a moment of respite for Louis van Gaal. In his final year in charge the Dutchman oversaw an unspectacular campaign at Old Trafford, serving up soporific football and little inspiration, dramatic tumbles in the presence of Mike Dean aside. Even after becoming the first United manager to lift silverware since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, all the post FA Cup chatter was about the Iron Tulip’s imminent dismissalIndeed, Van Gaal reportedly first got wind of his firing from his wife Truss who had read about it on the BBC Sport website. The Dutchman hadn’t even left Wembley.

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Zla10 – #TheJourneyContinues

August 30, 2017 Tags: Opinion 3 comments
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So, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has re-signed for United and is back to finish what he started! I can’t wait for him to return, umm by the way when is that?

Well, if reports are to be believed he’s looking to play against Tottenham Hotspur when the Londoners visit Old Trafford on 28 October.  To put that into context he suffered serious ligament damage in his right knee against Anderlecht in April and usually the recovery time is nine months to a year.  United’s new number 10 could be playing football six months after sustaining a potential career ending injury.

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