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UNITEDRANT

Mensah passing his test

January 22, 2018 Tags: Opinion 6 comments
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F ourFourTwo recently published a list of the 10 best right backs in the world today. Top 10 lists are always subjective, but nonetheless this one is a good indicator of the players who are currently excelling at right-back. Come the summer transfer window it wouldn’t be a surprise if José Mourinho looked to strengthen his options at full-back, but if he looks for a target from that list he’ll find that his options are limited.

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Opportunity and opportunism in Sánchez transfer

January 18, 2018 Tags: , Opinion 10 comments
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It is a classic Ed Woodward deal. Manchester United’s imminent capture of Arsenal winger Alexis Sánchez will bring a world-class star to Old Trafford in a transfer that includes eye-watering sums of money. It is also a deal that, just weeks ago, few on the Red side of Manchester countenanced. Sánchez was off to Manchester City, to join the collection of £50 million full-backs of whom José Mourinho is apparently so jealous. Then City dithered and Woodward stepped in. Far from a long-term plan, the deal for Sánchez highlights the short-term thinking that reverberates through United’s hierarchy. It may also be a game-changer for a team still in need of extra stardust.

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An old head on Young shoulders

January 14, 2018 Tags: Opinion 2 comments
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Ashley Young was one of the last traditional English wingers. Much like Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon, Young boasted an abundance of pace and loved to run fearlessly at opposition defences. Back in the mid noughties, when he broke through at Watford, managers were still clinging to formations that relied on fast wide players to whip crosses into a target-man. While inverted wingers and overlapping full-backs gradually became the prevailing mode of providing width, Young was once in his element.

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What Mourinho needs in the second half of the season

January 11, 2018 Tags: , Opinion 1 comment
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Despite being a gargantuan 15 points behind likely champions Manchester City, José Mourinho’s team has been on an upward trajectory this season. The Reds are among the top scoring sides in the league, while also ranking near the top for total clean sheets. Mourinho’s men face an abundance of criticism and scrutiny, but it would be foolish to ignore the positives despite City’s lead. Yet, there are opportunities for improvement in each third of the pitch over the second half of the campaign.

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Lingard’s Legacy

January 4, 2018 Tags: Opinion 1 comment
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Jesse Lingard is an enigma. He is neither neatly pigeon-holed as a creative fulcrum, nor a traditional winger. The Warrington-born midfielder is neither quick nor slow, shows inconsistent flashes of technical brilliance, and his only truly reliable quality is to put in the proverbial shirt. Throughout his Manchester United career, whether in the academy or with the seniors, Lingard has never been the outstanding player on the pitch. He is one of many cogs in a whirring machine.

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The Bare Minimum

January 3, 2018 Tags: , , , Opinion 2 comments
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José Mourinho should be the perfect manager for Ed Woodward and the Glazers, at least from a PR point of view. In recruiting the Portuguese tactician Manchester United, and Woodward in particular, hired a bona fide super-coach to bring success back to Old Trafford, as well as offering the marketing department a figure around which to build the club brand. Moreover, they appointed a human lightning rod, a character who demands the spotlight and sucks the oxygen of publicity away from everyone else. For owners as reclusive as the Glazers, Mourinho’s appointment ensures that attention is focused exclusively on the manager and not them. Or so they thought.

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Special, Once

January 1, 2018 Tags: Opinion 9 comments
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To bastardise a phrase, Mourinho was the future once. As a New Year dawns, it is natural to reflect on successes, failure and hopes of the year past and for the one ahead. It is an unfortunate time to analyse José Mourinho’s tenure at Old Trafford, as his lethargic side has stumbled through the festive fixture list with three successive, disappointing draws. This leaves Mourinho’s pre-season title hopefuls staring nervously at top four rivals and not up at the near flawless neighbours. After a season and a half as Manchester United manager, questions remain about Mourinho’s performance, and his future.

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Mourinho moans but recruitment not money is where United’s problems lie

December 29, 2017 Tags: , , Opinion 16 comments
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José Mourinho’s assertion that the £300 million he has spent since taking the Manchester United job in 2016 is “not enough” to compete in the Premier League is easy to mock. After all, he has been afford more investment in less than two full seasons than David Moyes or Louis van Gaal before him. More, indeed, than Sir Alex Ferguson over the Scots final few seasons at United. Yet, in the context of Manchester City’s generation of heavy spending, the Portuguese may well be right, though it hardly explains all United’s ills. How the club spends its money is far more of a challenge to bridging the gap to the rampant Blues.

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