Opinion

Opinion

Rant’s Premier Predictions 2016/17 revisited

June 7, 2017 Tags: Opinion 1 comment
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Each year Rant predicts the season ahead. Manchester United’s performance, the winners, the losers and the individual stars of the campaign. There have been very mixed results over the years. If you want, you can check out predictions and results from 2009 onwards here. The predictions are made without the mathematical models so in vogue and are thus little more than (ill)-educated guesses! Correct predictions in green, incorrect in red.

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Mourinho’s summer to do list

June 5, 2017 Tags: , , , , , Opinion 10 comments
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The dust has barely settled on Manchester United’s Europa League victory and already attention is turning towards next season. In some ways that is what the final against Ajax was all about – setting the tone for José Mourinho’s second campaign. United’s League Cup triumph, combined with the only trophy missing from the Old Trafford cabinet just about offset a mediocre sixth-place finish in the Premier League. It allows the manager to look ahead with a degree of security. So what now?

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Season review and ratings 2016/17

June 2, 2017 Tags: Opinion 11 comments
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Silverware! One, two, three – just like that new manager José Mourinho secured two major trophies and the season-opening Community Shield. Victory over Ajax in the Europa League final upgraded the campaign from disappointing to promising – and with it Mourinho secured just Manchester United’s fifth ever European trophy and passage through to next season’s Champions League. Yet, there’s no hiding the club’s poor finish in the league, and if there’s any measure that truly counts, it’s United’s performance against peers. There is much work to do and plenty of decisions to make over the summer.

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Manchester United’s European Finals

May 24, 2017 Tags: , , Opinion 1 comment
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This season represents many things, some of which might be unrepeatable on these pages. For all the negative and frustrating moments over the past few months, it is also a season that represents another Manchester United attempt at lifting a European title. This Wednesday offers United a unique opportunity to add a trophy that, for better or worse, has eluded a burgeoning cabinet thus far. Europa League victory might well represent the ‘bare minimum’ this season, but would help José Mourinho achieve his season’s goal of returning to the Champions League.

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Everything you always wanted to know about Ajax

May 23, 2017 Tags: , Opinion 1 comment
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Wednesday’s Europa League final offers José Mourinho not only the opportunity to salvage Manchester United’s season, but a route back into the Champions League. After four seasons of failure, United cannot afford to miss out on the continent’s élite competition once again. It’s a task easier said than done of course. Mourinho’s side was some way short of making it through the Premier League. So all eyes on Stockholm this week. The opponents: Ajax, a vibrant and youthful side ready to make the step to the next level.

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Ajax v United: Kasper Dolberg – The Boy’s Dane Good

May 20, 2017 Tags: , , Opinion 2 comments
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Over the years Ajax Amsterdam has made a habit of housing Danish football’s finest talents. The famous red and white jersey has been graced by the presence of Søren Lerby, Frank Arnesen, Jan Mølby, Jesper Olsen, and more recently Christian Eriksen. Following in illustrious footsteps is Kasper Dolberg, the newly crowned winner of this season’s Johan Cruyff Award. In part one of a multi-part preview of the Europa League final, Rant looks at Ajax’ blonde danger man.

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Stuck in the middle with Mou

May 17, 2017 Tags: Opinion 5 comments
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Make no mistake, Manchester United’s Premier League season will end in disappointment, no matter the scoreline against Crystal Palace at the weekend. At the start of the campaign this was a team touted to challenge for the Premier League title having acquired stellar names over the summer: Zlatan Ibrahimović, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. That’s not to mention Eric Bailly, who has turned out to be one of the consistent bright points in a frustrating season. Add José Mourinho, the man who should have succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson, and everybody assumed the club would challenge for top honours.

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Rant’s manifesto to turn United around

May 16, 2017 Tags: Opinion 9 comments
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It is a team is stumbling towards the season’s end, the Premier League is a long forgotten dream, and the campaign will conclude successfully only if the Reds emerge victorious in next week’s Europa League final. There is glory, Champions League qualification, and tens of millions in revenue at stake. Yet, whatever the outcome of the Stockholm final few can conclude that José Mourinho has delivered on the promise offered last summer. It’s going to be a C plus season, with yet another a rethink in store over the break.

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United out to spoil Spurs’ party as season’s end draws near

May 13, 2017 Tags: , Opinion 5 comments
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After 118 years Tottenham Hotspur prepares to say goodbye to White Hart Lane. The century has not aged the old ground well, with Spurs’ facilities outdated and other clubs moving ahead. It is testament to Mauricio Pochettino’s talent as a manager that he has taken the Lillywhites to second on the Premier League’s sixth largest budget. José Mourinho might typically be out to spoil the party, but with the Manchester United manager has long since prioritised winning the Europa League. It might not be a scratch team on Sunday, but it is likely to be far from full strength.

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Mourinho must improve squad management to move United forward

May 10, 2017 Tags: Opinion 5 comments
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Perhaps, in private, José Mourinho will admit that Manchester United’s performance at Arsenal last Sunday was one of relentless mediocrity. In public, of course, he said something very different, defending his players and bemoaning a heavy schedule. Yet, United remained competitive against Arsenal for no more than 15 minutes at the Emirates. Then the home side took charge, with two quick goals securing the points for a beleaguered Arsene Wenger. It was a performance that should stimulate plenty of scrutiny about the manager’s approach this season – not least in his management of a squad that contains a mix of players too shattered to be effective and those too rusty to impress.

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