Tag Premier League

Tag Premier League

Van Gaal spotlight shields struggling stars

February 29, 2016 Tags: , , Opinion 4 comments
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No matter how fans receive the news, Louis van Gaal is often the headline. Twitter, Facebook, the Internet; the Dutchman fills plenty of column inches. And whether it’s a focus on the process, philosophy or the recent bizarre remarks about keeping his players “horny,” Van Gaal is bursting with quotes. The downside is the same regurgitated stories, recycled and reworded with a new angle to keep the speculation-driven media happy. Meanwhile, the headlines shift fans’ minds off the players, who for much of the season have failed their manager and club. Read More

Van Gaal lauds spirit ahead of Arsenal visit

February 27, 2016 Tags: , Matches 14 comments
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Perspective can be hard to find; near impossible in football. Louis van Gaal’s? Seemingly ebbing away. It is, says the Dutchman, not his side’s form that is erratic, but “the media that is inconsistent.” It was, he says, not such a bad thing that his team lost at 19th-placed Sunderland, but that the “media makes it bigger than it is.” It is, he claims, not another campaign racing towards the scrap-heap, but a season “not as bad as the media are writing or telling to the fans.” Presumably it is also the media’s fault that Van Gaal’s side has won just three of its past 10 Premier League matches. Read More

It’s ok folks, there’s no ‘Liverpoolisation’ at United

February 20, 2016 Tags: , , , Opinion 16 comments
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There is obvious cause for concern at Manchester United this season. Rant Cast has taken to summing up United’s long-term prospects as the “Liverpoolisation” of the club. The obvious gist is that United, having enjoyed two decades of supreme dominance over English football, have come to the end of a cycle and that, for the time being at least, the glory days have gone. I’m writing this article as a Liverpool fan that has witnessed the club’s dramatic decline from the top – and whilst in the short-term United have obvious problems, there are completely different circumstances that will prevent the club from going down Liverpool’s path. Read More

Van Gaal’s long goodbye begins as United head to Sunderland

February 13, 2016 Tags: , Matches 11 comments
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In a week where all the talk around Manchester United has been firmly centred off the pitch it may have escaped many observers that the Reds travel to Sunderland on Saturday searching for the three most important points of the season. Rumours that José Mourinho is coming dominated the headlines early in the week, with many pundits claiming a deal has been completed for the former Chelsea boss to succeed Louis van Gaal in the summer. Then, on Thursday, executive vice chairman Ed Woodward briefed investors that the club is confident of breaking half a billion in revenue by the end of the year. Supporters might be forgiven for thinking everything is going well at Old Trafford. Read More

The people’s game no more: fans walk out as greed takes over

February 11, 2016 Tags: , Opinion 7 comments
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“In many respects this sport above all others has articulated certain changes in English society over the past century,” writes James Walvin in The People’s Game, a seminal work on the history and rise of football in England. From the “ritualistic free-for-all” of medieval times, to a codified game for the common people – football’s development has long matched the long arc of economic and social change. Yet, long gone too are the working class and community roots of yesteryear; today’s game is a globalised proposition, distilled with little irony into an insipid brand that proffers an “identity that acknowledges everyone who plays a part” in the Premier League’s overly-commercialised machinery. Read More

Van Gaal seeks title push as Reds visit Stamford Bridge

February 6, 2016 Tags: , Matches No comments
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Manchester United, in fifth, travel to 13th-placed Chelsea on Sunday, with Louis van Gaal’s side seeking to mount a serious challenge for the top four. It is a sentence few would have believed if mentioned in August. Yet, mediocrity has struck at both Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge this season, with neither set of supporters enjoying the football on offer for much of the campaign. Read More

Van Gaal calls for consistency ahead of Stoke visit

February 1, 2016 Tags: , Matches 12 comments
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Boxing Day 2015. Manchester United, beaten 2-0 by Stoke City, left the Britannia Stadium flattered by a disappointing scoreline. Louis van Gaal marched down the touchline waving at the traveling United fans. Many saw it as an apologetic goodbye; few thought they would see Van Gaal in the dugout again. The defeat left United without a win in seven games over a period that saw the Reds crash out of the Champions League and slip down the domestic table. Read More

Van Gaal rues injury luck ahead of Saints’ visit

January 22, 2016 Tags: , Matches 8 comments
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Relaxed. It was the dominant adjective describing Louis van Gaal’s performance in the Dutchman’s meet-the-press gathering on Friday. The Dutchman, whose propensity to last in the Manchester United job has been questioned more than once in the past two months, has cut an irritable figure of late. Little wonder – the veteran manager has built a career on surety of opinion, if nothing else, and doubts raised by pundits, supporters and the fourth estate do not sit easily with Van Gaal’s increasingly challenged worldview. Yet, victories over Swansea City, Sheffield United and Liverpool have added to Van Gaal’s confidence, and a renewed sense of momentum since the turn of the year. Read More

Despite recent goals the old Wayne Rooney is unlikely to be back

January 18, 2016 Tags: , Opinion 24 comments
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The modern football bubble lives week-to-week. More often than not opinion changes week-to-week as well. Take Wayne Rooney, who ended 2015 in dire form, and has begun 2016 on a scoring streak. The striker has five goals in four games, including two penalties, but some seem to have forgotten the player’s struggle throughout the previous year. Burst of form aside, the larger sample size of yesteryear has a greater bearing on our assessment of the player than four games ever could. Read More

Battle for top four begins as Reds face old enemy

January 16, 2016 Tags: , Matches 2 comments
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“I can’t stand Liverpool, I can’t stand Liverpool people, I can’t stand anything to do with them,” Gary Neville once noted of Manchester United’s opponents this Sunday. It is a sentiment that resonates with many. And so often in the past this game would have been the most important on the football calendar; two North West giants toe-to-toe in another Cup final or with a League title on the line. It is a very different time for English football’s greatest clubs. Read More