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UNITEDRANT

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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On maturity and responsibility

December 24, 2017 Tags: Opinion 9 comments
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“It is as bad as a defeat,” admitted José Mourinho after Leicester City scored a last-minute equaliser at the King Power Stadium on Saturday night. Manchester United created the best chances and spent 20 minutes with a man advantage, yet left the East Midlands feeling despondent. Two disastrous results inside three days will do that. As for José: he threw his players under the bus. Twice.

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The Shaw Thing

December 12, 2017 Tags: Opinion 6 comments
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Nothing in life is guaranteed. When Luke Shaw signed for Manchester United in summer 2014, by the newly appointed manager Louis Van Gaal, the club assumed it had purchased the best money could buy. The deal followed Shaw’s surprise inclusion in the England World Cup squad in preference to Ashley Cole, one of country’s finest left-back’s in the English game. Shaw’s 57 appearances for Southampton, some under Mauricio Pochettino, demonstrated enough potential to persuade United to spend £27 million on the left-back, making the 19-year-old the most expensive teenager in world football. It hasn’t worked out as hoped.

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