Over at United Rant we spend the week spent catching up on the beautiful game so you don’t have to. News, opinion, blogs and nonsense – join us, in Rant’s weekly round-up of Manchester United press – Media Digest.
“I know I’m not forgiven, but I hope that I’ll be given some peace”
Whilst defence remains United’s biggest concern this season, United’s forwards – bar the brilliant Angel Di Maria and, to some extent, Falcao – have not performed to the level expected. Whether it is Wayne Rooney’s leadership qualities, Juan Mata’s inability to orchestrate the game, or, of course, the curious case of missing Robin van Persie, United’s attacking unit appears dysfunctional.
A lot has been written about Rooney and this week is no exception – as usual, there are different takes on his persona. An article on Bleacher Report compares Rooney to Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, always putting up numbers but never leading his team to glory. Another, on Red Mancunian, suggests that supporters finally judge Wayne by his ‘footballing’ contributions, and nothing else. Many agree, though, that Rooney’s contribution is diminishing – as one commentator put it, the Scouser is a Rolls Royce with too many miles on the clock.
United fans have already read all the arguments for and against, so perhaps it’s time to move on. Take Red Rants, for example, which takes look at how things are going so far for two forwards signed by United and Liverpool this summer:
“It really is spectacular how positive many Liverpool fans were regarding the signing of a player who had the lowest shot conversion rate of any player in the top tiers in Europe last year for AC Milan. The same player that in all of his 54 premier league appearances only managed two assists… Though Falcao has so far failed to be a regular feature on the score sheet, he has two assists and a goal to his name within considerably less playing time. Currently there is one player who’s more likely to be at the top of the brightly coloured Sky Sports info graphics and he isn’t named after a plumber… But of course Liverpool fans aren’t bothered by the sale of Luis Suarez as like anyone who dares to leave them, they never liked him anyway.”
Meanwhile, Bleacher Report ponders Mata’s recent form:
“Look at his record at United last year… His 14 starts and six goals (as well as four assists) was a very decent return, and he played an impressive role for United in the second half of last season. This season is different though; with Mata struggling to find his place in this team, his performances have ultimately suffered. And glancing even further down his career record, you begin to see a similar path unfold during his time at Chelsea… It is a story not too dissimilar to Shinji Kagawa and his relationship with David Moyes… If Van Gaal is keen on Mata and wants to work with him during his tenure as United manager, he must alter things to ensure Mata is in a role that suits him on the ground.”
But even if fans are concerned with United’s current forward line many have performed admirably over the years. Rooney, van Persie, and former United players Cristiano Ronaldo and Dimitar Berbatov were all included in Opta’s top 10 forwards of the past decade, as reported by The Peoples Person.
“After the fall, nobody knows, nobody helps… Surrender.”
Elsewhere, the rule ‘the less said about it, the better’ could be applied to United’s defence. There is no chance fans can ignore the issue of late, but rather than focus on the negative, some have chosen to look on the bright side. Rob Dawson, in his article for Bleacher Report, hopes that Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair are the future of Manchester United
“[Van Gaal] didn’t envisage giving first-team debuts to Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair this season. But that’s what has happened… There have been flashes of naivety, but that’s to be expected. What perhaps wasn’t expected was McNair keeping Everton’s Romelu Lukaku unusually quiet in just his second senior game. Blackett, 20, and McNair, 19, need to fill out physically. And they’ve both got more to learn about what can only be called the art of defending… But young players do not get many chances in top-level senior football. And it’s a credit to United’s academy that two youngsters have been able to make the most of theirs.”
Meanwhile, Stretty News suggests fans finally stop looking for the new Roy Keane, who has been much in the news of late:
“If another Keano is going to be found then it won’t be done by simply buying him in as many have suggested with Vidal. It will be crafted from a raw, raging diamond at United as Keane was and as Ronaldo was… Vidal, brilliant as he is, is not United’s next Keane. Can anyone imagine Roy teasing a move all summer via his agent, social media and the newspapers throughout a summer? Not a chance… It won’t be Daley Blind either, he’s the ice to Keane’s fire but still a quality and clever footballer who massively improves us nonetheless. It could be Herrera, he has Keane’s combative nature and relishes the physical side of PL [but] seems abit too boyish and happy-go-lucky. It definitely is not United’s current captain, he shares some of that rage but it’s toned down these days and when it does show it’s petulant and counterproductive…
Maybe the conclusion is to stop this never ending quest for a man to fill the boots of, as Rob Smyth once described him, the Tony Soprano of football… Just be happy be happy with a new team of damn fine players giving some optimism to Old Trafford again.”
As for Keano? He is, well, funny. At least that’s what Jim White thinks as he profiles Keane in an article for The Telegraph:
“A man who has a reputation as being, well, frankly psychotic, latterly seen on television terrifying the living daylights out of Adrian Chiles or scowling on the Aston Villa bench while wearing a beard of biblical scale, turns out to have the timing of a stand-up comedian. He is also hugely self-deprecating, relaxed and indiscreet. Against all preconception, an evening in his company provides a wholly unexpected opportunity to roar with laughter.”
United Rant recently reviewed Keane’s latest book for those who haven’t yet read it.
“You are out of promises that you can’t keep”
Meanwhile, Keane’s best friend and biggest foe, Alex Ferguson (Keane is reluctant to use “Sir”), is trying his best to argue that the David Moyesdisaster wasn’t his faultThe Guardian, is not buying it:
“For the most part, the general tone is one of sympathy for Moyes. Yet there is a killer passage about the way his successor slowed down United’s playing style, along with the other observations that it was a “massive jump from Everton” and “he hadn’t realised just how big United is as a club.”
“Surely people don’t really believe the Glazer family would allow the new manager to be chosen by one person?” writes Ferguson in his updated biography. Well, actually, yes they do. Unless, of course, we are expected to believe that it was Joel, Bryan, or Avi perhaps, who decided the best candidate was the manager from Everton, with next to no Champions League experience, no previous trophies, and no form when it comes to working with a major budget.
“It would be intriguing to know if Moyes was aware of [conversations with Ferdinand and Evra], because if not, this is straying dangerously close to Sir Matt Busby and Frank O’Farrell territory – exactly what Ferguson said would never happen,” conclused Taylor. Well, quite.
And, in case you were wondering, Moyes is ready to manage again, says the BBC.
Daily Mail reports that Di Maria will play against Chelsea
Retro United rolled out its United History subsite
Sky Sports quotes Bryan Robson, who criticizes Roy Keane
Bleacher Report has a story about a father, who auctions his son’s loyalty to either United or City on Ebay, all for a good cause