Rant Cast 120 – all we need is… Shinji Kagawa



On this week’s packed Rant Cast regulars Ed and Paul look back on Manchester United’s opening day defeat at Everton – dissecting Sir Alex Ferguson’s team, tactics and the outlook for the rest of the season.

We talk transfers, with United signing Robin van Persie and Alexander Büttner since last week’s show, although there is no sign of that long-debated midfielder anywhere. And we delve into the disastrous form of Wayne Rooney and Nani at Goodison Park, talk injuries and Michael Carrick’s role.

Meanwhile, in the world of finances the George Soros fund bought around two per cent of the club – what does this mean, if anything, for United’s future?

We give away the ‘famous’ Bébé 7 shirt to one very lucky listener, and finally look ahead to this weekend’s fixture against Fulham at Old Trafford.

Hit us up with any feedback below or follow the pod on Twitter: Paul – @UtdRantCast, Ed – @UnitedRant.

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Stream this episode using the player below or listen on iTunes and leave us a review! The podcast RSS feed is available here.

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  • RobDiablo

    Ed, I have to agree with Paul’s assessment of Kagawa’s impact in the Everton match. You cannot point out that Rooney was not fulfilling his role as a number nine, quite often getting in Kagawa’s way, and then claim that United’s failure to score was down to Kagawa not having the impact he should have had. If the lone striker refuses to make good runs or find space for himself in the box, no one can be blamed for not getting an assist. It’s true, United failed to score, but that was not down to any lack of effort or ability on Kagawa’s part.

    I do agree with you, however, in pointing out that it is not just bodies that are needed to bolster the midfield, but talented bodies. Although, with the injury records and fitness concerns of the current crop of midfielders, we could easily see defenders playing in midfield again this season.

    I, too have a good feeling about the Fulham match. I think their romp on opening day and the sight of two midfielders in defense will encourage Fulham to attack and, thus, play right into United’s hands. I’m not certain United will keep a clean sheet, but I do expect them to win by a comfortable margin.

    • http://www.unitedrant.co.uk Ed

      RobDiablo – are you and Paul both selectively deaf?! Actually, I was fulsome in my praise of him, but added a caveat about his impact. That’s not laying blame, that’s not a criticism. That’s just not being giddy. Good game that didn’t have the kind of impact that wins a match.

      Let’s pick out some of my phrases from the pod! “He had a really good game” “He passed the ball really well, especially in the final third” “Rooney got in his way” “This is not a criticism, it’s an observation” “Factually, he did not win United the game” “It could be really good when it all clicks” “I think there’s more to come from him”

      You’re like a pair of Scousers you two!

      Shots – 0
      On target – 0
      blocked – 0
      passes – 91% 68/75
      att third – 33/37
      forward – 19/23
      backwards – 23/23
      square – 26/29
      chances created – 4 (two inside area, two set up long range shots)
      assists – 0

      • Paul

        Yeah, also, to paraphrase, you said if he plays like that in a year we’ll be disappointed. Which I didn’t agree with when I heard you say it for real, and still don’t agree with having listened back on the podcast.

        Pair of scousers. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you enjoyed the last ever rantcast! (I kid, I kid).

  • Stevie D

    And the penny drops….
    When you tweeted your song “All we need is Shinji Kagawa”….for some reason I was thinking of that bloody Beatles song, All You Need Is Love; I thought it would be rhythmically challenging to fit Shinji Kagawa into that tune.
    As Trapattoni might say, “Idiot. Idiot. Idiot.”.

    • Paul

      All we need is Shinj then I-Kagawa to the trumpets. Could work. Just…

      • Stevie D

        Haha, brilliant! I’ll be attempting that one all day.

  • Bill

    I have to share Ed’s reservations on whether we can fit all our attacking options in one team in a balanced formation they are familiar with.

    Try it – not easy!

    You have to feel that if a side packs the midfield like Everton did we are going to have problems.

  • http://twitter.com/dosdamt Ben Hulston

    Good pod.

    I don’t think you focused just how bad nani was, though.

    That’s literally the worst I’ve ever seen a United player play

  • bman

    I don’t think it’s that much more of an attacking line-up than having Roo + Welbeck up top and two winger. If anything, Kagawa plays a more midfield-ish role than Rooney does, so technically it probably gives us a few more bodies in midfield.

    Anyway, I’m feeling pretty excited. It will take a while for things to gel, and the defensive injuries are a major pain in the ass that have already cost us points, but I’m looking forward to Rooney-RVP-Kagawa-A.N. Other tearing teams apart like Ronaldo-Rooney-Saha/Tevez used to.

  • RobDiablo

    Ed said:
    RobDiablo – are you and Paul both selectively deaf?! Actually, I was fulsome in my praise of him, but added a caveat about his impact. That’s not laying blame, that’s not a criticism. That’s just not being giddy. Good game that didn’t have the kind of impact that wins a match.

    There you go attacking him again
    No, really, I got what you were saying, and tried not to couch my reply in terms of blame, etc., but I did slip up near the end.
    I also forgot to mention another aspect of his impact that impressed me a great deal. I believe that, without the arrival of Kagawa, Sir Alex would have set his side up in a 4-4-1-1 with Young on the left, Rooney playing just behind Welbeck, and United would have shaded the possession stats more like 54% to 46%. Shinji often managed to keep the ball in situations where Park Ji-Sung would simply have been knocked down and dispossessed; he kept the ball in situations where others would have pushed out a hurried pass more in hope than expectation. In the United squad, only Berbatov retains possession anything like Kagawa does.
    There was one passage of play that really impressed me: United’s defenders scrambled out a clearance that was looking like a 50-50 ball between Kagawa and an Everton player, and I thought, “oh no, he’s going to get flattened and Everton will have the ball back in the attacking third,” but Shinji reached out a foot to tap the ball in such a way that it bounced up where the Everton man could not react in time to play it and, instead of getting flattened, he went around the onrushing Everton player to pick up the ball and just like that it was United in possession and on the attack. It was brilliant.
    So, I have to say that I think Kagawa is already having a game-changing impact on United’s play, and it will only get better as he gets to know his teammates and they him.
    EDIT: I think this argument is a matter of semantics. Can a player on a side that doesn’t win be said to have had the kind of impact that wins games? I say yes, because football is a team sport, so it is possible to do everything required to give your side a chance to win and still end up on the losing side. In absolute terms, however: if your side didn’t win, you didn’t have the kind of impact that wins games.

  • Denton Davey

    Ben Hulston @ 10:22: “That’s literally the worst I’ve ever seen a United player play”

    C’mon, Nani wasn’t THAT bad ! have you forgotten the defeat to West Ham 18 months ago ? There are always two or three stinkers in a season.

    The big problem against Everton was that no one was playing centrally and forward so that there was too much faffing about around the perimeter and then when that didn’t work, lazy passing out to the wing with no obvious target-man over 5 8″ before RVP replaced DannyTheLad and TheWayneBoy was moved from the #9 position.

    If you want to “blame” anyone for the dire performance at Goodison then TheWayneBoy should be your target – he was abysmal. It happens.

  • Scott

    Thanks guys. Really enjoy the rantcast. Been listening for nearly two years and you always cheer me up.
    Couldn’t help thinking though when I saw Usain Bolt with all those medals around his neck and asking the fans to encourage Fergie to sign him up. He is a winner but he doesn’t have a Bebe shirt and he never will. So many win medals at the Olympics but only one Bebe shirt ever.

  • Bill

    All we need is Moussa Dembele!