TRANSFER INS and OUTS of the SUMMER 2016 WINDOW

Pogba United

PLAUSIBLE TRANSFERS TO MAKE UNITED BETTER:

OUT: Juan Mata:
The obvious first choice out. Mourihno has made it clear multiple times that the small Spaniard is not beneficial to his style of play. Not much else to say, we have plenty of options at the number 10 (Herrera, Januzaj, Pereira, Rooney) that he is no longer needed and by selling will bring room for more youthful players to come through.

IN: Paul Pogba (Juventus):
Ok yes here is the long shot and the only long shot I will offer. Typically considered one of the few mistakes, most likely the biggest mistake, of the greatest manager of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson. Paul Pogba may take a world record bid to acquire but there is no doubt that he would be worth it. He is a world class player already at only 23 and still has room for improvement. He can be the next big name at United, and the heir to Rooney’s no.10 when he decides to hang up the boots. He is the perfect combination of skill, speed, size, and strength not to mention the screamers that are just as common as those Scholes used to hit. At any fee, Pogba is a great signing, and if bought, will complete our team and restore us to our rightful spot at the top of the table.

OUT: Marouane Fellaini:
A panic buy and the only thing to remind us of the awful time Moyes had at the club. Fellaini should have been shipped off 2 years ago. But alas he has not, and he must now go to clear up room in our squad. Evertonians still hold him in high regard, so I am sure they would snatch him back in a heart beat, and I would sell him in a heartbeat for a mere 15 million.

IN: Geoffrey Kondogbia (Inter):
Although after only one season with Inter, I think Kondogbia would be a realistic, quality target. He can provide great competition in the midfield and at only 23, may be able to establish himself as a great holding midfield piece for years to come. He plays a punishing style of play, throwing his 6 ft 2 in frame around. Dare I say is a great partner for Pogba if he ever returns with that French connection.

OUT: Antonio Valencia:
Unless Mourinho sees him as a midfielder once more, I do not see him staying. To be fair, he is not a right back and has adjusted better than anybody ever expected him to and with the options I think should be ahead of him, I don’t see a reason to keep him. Plus the next signing I am proposing is definitely ahead of him for me.

IN: Mattia Di Sciglio (Milan):
Now this one solely depends on how Mourinho feels about our current right back options. If he feels comfortable with how Valera and Darmian are, then there is no need for another right back. If he doesn’t, enter Di Sciglio. Good defensively, but still needing a little extra quality on his attacking end product, at only 23 there is room to improve. He and Varela can make a great rotation in his first year if neither can establish themselves immediately.

OUT: Daley Blind:
To be fair to Daley Blind I think he deserves a move away. He is quality enough to be a starter at top clubs, just not ours. He isn’t better than either of our top midfield options (Schmidfielders, Rooney, and Herrera), and is far too weak to play as a center back. No disrespect to Daley Blind, as he is a great footballer, but he just does not fit into the team anywhere.

IN: Youri Tielmans (Anderlecht):
Wow are the big clubs still trying to fight this one out. Amazing quality at only 19 he has been touted to replace about every great midfielder of the past decade. His small frame, 5ft 9 ½ in, means he will need to be partnered with a punishing style midfielder, see Kondogbia, but has never been an issue for those he has been compared to. For example just in the last year he has been compared to the like of Scholes, Iniesta, and Pirlo. Those are huge expectations, and think that if he is bought, he should be loaned back to Anderlecht for a year to finish development, but just to sign him up would be a huge accomplishment.

NOTE: These are my opinions as to who should be sold and signed realistically. Yes I could have put Ronaldo, Messi, Bale, Neymar, and the whole list of them but I prefer to keep realistic expectations although we are the biggest club and England and one of if not the biggest in the world.

CONFIRMED IN:

Eric Bertrand Bailly (Villareal):
Bailly is a 6 foot 1 imposing center back who isn’t afraid to go into a tackle strong. Although he has had some past disciplinary issues with yellow and red cards, he is a great defender and has amazing potential. I am sure many of you have see his mistake that lead to a Fernando Torres goal, but I assure you that is an outlier. This player is strong defensively, as shown by his impressive performances against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Luis Suarez, but still has room to improve with the ball at his feet and at reading the game.

Tahith Chong (Feyenoord):
Tahith Chong confirmed over his official Instagram that he is Old Trafford bound. The 16 year old attacking midfielder is comfortable with the ball at his feet and shows promising pace, especially for one who is not particularly finished growing. He can be a promising talent to compete with the likes of Andreas Pereira, Adnan Januzaj, and Memphis Depay in a few years time.

Michael Carrick:
The club confirmed today that they have resigned Michael Carrick to a one year deal. Mourinho believes Carrick’s experience may prove vital to the team this season in their hopes to bring the title back to Manchester. Carrick (34) will not play nearly as much as he once did, but he will provide knowledge to the younger players, and occasionally go out and show his incredible vision and run the midfield like he can.

A (non)Emotional Defense of Hating Van Gaal’s Philosophy

“It’s hard to recognize my club. It sounds dramatic, I know, but it’s true. It’s like Leicester are United of old and United are Leicester of old! I don’t understand!” As we chatted about United’s latest failure, a terrible showing against Liverpool in the Europa League, emotions started to run high. This, after all, is football. It’s an emotional experience.

“Then, Van Gaal has the audacity to tell me that if I look back at his time in charge I can see that his philosophy is working?! Seriously?! If his goal is playing terrible football and draining the hope and life from the players and supporters, then he’s absolutely right!”

Ah, football…bloody hell.

There’s no point in sugar coating what Louis Van Gaal has instilled at Manchester United, no point at all – even if you are a ‘top red.’ The uncontrollable Dutch legend, with a resume of trophies any manager would kill for, seemed the perfect fit for a United side still sick from the loss of the greatest football manager of all time. The David Moyes experiment died from multiple complications while still in its infancy. A, now, trigger shy Woodward was just the opposite 8 months into the Scotsman’s tenure at United as he was unceremoniously shown the side door at the AON Training Complex. In truth, especially after the Netherland’s display at the World Cup under Van Gaal, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich man seemed the perfect appointment.

But it has been anything but that.

Claiming to want to train the brain of his players, Van Gaal has used multiple daily sessions, even during the season, and the same few drills over and over to instill his philosophy into his players. An eye-catching first summer tour in the United States proved what we now know – the less you know of the Dutchman’s philosophy the better things tend to go. A 7-0 drubbing of a poor LA Galaxy side in California was literally a mirage. Wins over Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid and Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool taught us nothing about the greater picture. The wins were preseason friendlies but everything we needed to know was right there, we just didn’t realize it yet! The Dutchman’s philosophies were still new and his players weren’t firmly grasping them as United ran, somewhat, riot on their preseason tour. Van Gaal’s philosophy would begin to sink in, and just in time, for the opening day of the Premier League: Manchester United 1 – 2 Swansea at a packed and hopeful Old Trafford.

Four wins out of their first 12 fixtures in all competitions saw Van Gaal scrambling to ease the Moyes-like unrest growing through the United faithful. “He needed to get the dross out of the club,” was the excuse after United were battered like a beach in a hurricane at League 1 side MK Dons, 4-0. A ten match unbeaten streak followed this horrendous beginning to Van Gaal’s tenure and fears were put to rest, even if only for a while. Wins away at table toppers Southampton and at Arsenal sandwiched a 3-0 win against Liverpool at Old Trafford.

But never ever forget, it’s the hope that kills you.

Only 3 losses out of the next 12 matches saw United sitting in a good position in the table, but the final loss in that stretch saw Dat Guy, Danny Welbeck knock United out of the FA Cup at Old Trafford with his new Arsenal outfit. The results were going United’s way but the football on display was the kind of stuff most of United’s supporters had never seen before – alarm bells were already beginning to ring. The final 10 matches saw four wins in row to lock up 4th spot but 4 losses from their last 6 matches reinforced the fear that had already been planted early on – Louis Van Gaal is not right for Manchester United.

Match results are one thing, but player performance and man management are a completely different story under the Dutchman. Rafael gave away a penalty at Leicester and was sold. Chicharito missed a penalty, and a couple sitters, and was loaned to Real Madrid for the season. Tom Cleverly found greener pastures at Aston Villa, and eventually back with Roberto Martinez at Everton permanently. Darren Fletcher followed Jonny Evans’ lead and headed for West Brom. He even sent his own son, Robin Van Persie, packing and Nani joined him in Turkey.

The philosophy was in full play.

Wingers became strikers and visa versa. Backs were moved in to central defense and midfielders’ passes, backwards and sideways, per game tripled. Keep the ball. Poke and prod the defense for openings. Don’t take chances! Take a touch before shooting – you’ll be more accurate. Everyone was over trained. The squad was thinned out. Youth were brought in to fill the gaps – which is how it should be! But at one point 16+ injured showed Van Gaal’s naivety to a long English football season. He now uses youth to cover his failing tracks – ”fill in the blank name’ part of the squad for tonights match.’ Meetings were scheduled for those players to explain themselves when they missed a penalty or an open goal; they were then pulled from that duty. The confidence of each and every player on the pitch was greatly diminished and the world could see it. New players would quickly succeed only to be eventually influenced by Van Gaal and lose their way. The players, and fans alike most likely, like the Dutchman as a man but his football was the stuff sleep is made of.

The Dutchman’s second season was worse but why bore you with the details. Let’s just say United were top of the league at the end of September, 1 point off the top at the end of November, but a disastrous December decimated the club as far as 7th place. In a Premier League season when Sir Alex Ferguson would have walked the league by 20 points, Van Gaal is fighting for a Europa League spot.

The humane thing to do would have been to put the sick and dying animal down in December, giving United the hope (there’s that word again) of turning things around, but that highly necessary move never materialized.

Instead, the Iron Tulip, once feared in football, now only scares his players and supporters every time he has a press conference. Once a highly respected football man, Van Gaal now trolls his own club with his statements, his lineups, and his offerings of hope.

I hate myself for hating the man and the philosophy that has turned our club into a footballing joke, and this cancer goes much higher and deeper than Van Gaal’s office, but I hate it nonetheless.

In the words of my friend, “Make it stop. Please…make it stop.”

The Class of ’16

Man Utd future

Throughout its history Manchester United have had a tradition of integrating the youth and creating their own stars through their academy. Whether it is the Busby Babes, to Fergie’s fledglings, there have been some amazing stars coming through United’s academy. Although nowhere near the quality that was produced through the Class of ’92”, well not as far as we know. But this group of players could turn out to become not the next Class of ’92” but the first “Class of ‘16”. This could be the best batch of homegrown and youth players since that historic class.

James Weir looks much like Paul Scholes did at the time. A smaller build with a great touch who is very skilled distributing the ball. Although it is very unlikely that there will ever be another as good as Paul Scholes was, James Weir shows a lot of promise, and has the ability to step into a midfield full of class and take over the centre of the park for years to come.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson could honestly have been the left back of the future, if only it weren’t for Luke Shaw being less than two years older than him occupying the same position. This is why I strongly believe that he, Cameron B-J, should be tested as both a midfield partner for James Weir or a central partnership for Axel Tuanzabe.

Axel Tuanzabe looks to be the most promising player this class has to offer. Although being a first year scholar he was already the captain of the U-18 side and looks to be a quality defender to marshal the defense.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah. What a player. His first start in the first team he looked the more comfortable of the two center-halves (the other being Daley Blind) at said position. He doesn’t look set for much more first team action barring injury to either Blind or Smalling, but is the ideal partner for the later.

Donald Love is a good squad player who prefers on the right, the Scottish defender is unlikely to become a week in week out player as he has many players ahead of him in all positions he can play. He can play anywhere along the back line and as a holding midfielder, although he prefers to play as a right back. He looks a reliable squad utility player, but cannot be seen as much more than that with the talent ahead of him in the pecking order.

Guillermo Varela is the right back of the future for Manchester United. He has pace, he is a great attacking threat, and is above average defensively which may only get better each time he plays and trains. He and Luke Shaw look like the fullbacks of the future and could be one of the best sets of fullbacks United have had in the premiership era.

Marcus Rashford you beauty. I don’t know how to describe him. 2 goals a piece in both his Europa League debut as well as his Premier League debut, against Arsenal nonetheless. He has a great combination of speed, skill, a good shot, and always just seems to be at the right place at the right time. He can play as both the lone striker, as a winger, or even with another striker up top.

 

Now there are other players who have now been working with the first team for a while, or were just bought and brought into the first team.

Memphis Depay was bought this past summer to replace the uninspired Angel Di Maria. After a horrid start to the campaign he looks as if he is finally finding his feet at Manchester United. He is the inverted winger who can also play in the middle but playing on the left and cutting in onto his right foot is his preferred style.

With Anthony Martial nobody has found his best position thus far. It could be argued that his best position is that also occupied by Memphis on the left wing, but he has also played well on the right wing and as the number 9. I think he excels on a wing where he can take on players in space.

Adnan Januzaj has been given very few chances by Louis van Gaal after excelling under David Moyes you can only wonder what he must do to be able to get his chance. With all the attacking injuries you think he would get a shot at his preferred number 10 role or at least as an inverted right winger, but LvG tends to still believe that he is a striker out and out, which he is not.

Andreas Pereira is a great talent who is very young but isn’t sure where he will play in the future. He looks like another project of LvG to change from a winger/number 10 to a center midfielder or a holding midfielder much like that of what he did with Bastian Schweinstiger.

Luke Shaw is the left back of the future for United. He will be the left back for years to come. Amazing pace, great skill, and smart defensively he is the definition of a modern fullback. He combines amazingly with Memphis on the left flank, and the two of them look like their friendship off the field helps on the field.

Stuck in the Middle (With You)

It is said that almost everything in life is cyclical. Just wait long enough and those out of style bell bottoms you’ve been hanging onto for 25 years could be the fashion statement of your company Christmas party this year (that Rosso Bianco Nero Jimmy Murphy Bobble Hat will never go out of style though). The cyclical nature of pop culture is easy to follow. The cyclical nature of football can be also.

January 1, 1972 and United were top of the table under new manager, Frank O’Farrell. The Irishman had replaced the retiring legend, Matt Busby in summer of 1971. The Red Devils were away to West Ham on the first day of the new year. A 3-0 defeat was the beginning of United losing 7 league matches on the trot. Despite being 10 points clear at the top at one point they would never recover from this slide. They finished 8th in league. George Best, Denis Law, and Bobby Charlton finished the season with 26, 13, and 12 goals respectively.

The slump that took United out of the title race at the beginning of 1972 continued to the end of the year. O’Farrell couldn’t come to grips with the excesses of George Best and dropped him. The hard nosed manager would lose 11 of his first 22 matches in the new season and was relieved of duties in late December, 1972. O’Farrell only spent 18 months in charge of Manchester United.

Fast forward to 2015. Does any of this ring a bell? It should.

Louis Van Gaal has somehow survived as Manchester United manager. Like O’Farrell, Van Gaal should have been relieved of duty in late December after only 18 months on the job. Like O’Farrell, Van Gaal had United top of the league only to see it slip away after a shockingly poor run of results. Like O’Farrell, the right thing for United to do then, as was the right thing to do in December, was to make a managerial change.

Midseason managerial changes can be a shockingly bad idea. But to see Chelsea now, compared to how they were at the beginning of the season, shows that changes mid-season can have the right effect on a team devoid of confidence.

This was the change United needed in December of 2015, just as it was needed in December of 1972. Due to rumoured board room squabbles and executives worried about their own skin as opposed to the club’s, the change did not happen. The maddening thing is, everyone knew a change was coming. Everyone. Results were poor. Team morale was non-existent. Footballing creativity and joy was no where to be found. And United were slipping. Champions League had gone. 1st place had slipped to 7th place in a few short weeks. Had this season not been the strangest for 20 years, United wouldn’t be in 5th place as they are now – they would be occupying 11th place.

Depending on what and who you believe a change is coming. It didn’t happen when it should have but it is going to happen. Jose Mourinho will be the next manager of Manchester United, supposedly. Gentlemen’s agreements, secret deals, houses already purchased, and new players already coming in lead one to believe that the change is coming.

So where does that leave us now? Stuck. Somewhat hopeful of a change in fortunes, a run of good luck and results, possibly even a top four position… But, like Stealers Wheel sang in 1972:

Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see it makes no sense at all
Is it cool to go to sleep on the floor?
‘Cause I don’t think that I can take anymore

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

1972….2015. We’re stuck in the middle with Louis Van Gaal and there is still so much to play for.

I think I’ll just go to sleep, right here on the floor.

 

Manchester United Player Ratings-Post January Window

Man United Player Ratings

Here are my player ratings thus far in the 2015/16 seasons for United. Think I made a mistake? Comment below with what you think should be changed.

*Note: If a player is not on this list it has been determined that he has not played enough yet due to call ups or being injured*

Wayne Rooney:

Before 2016: 5: Although Wayne Rooney did not produce much, and many may disagree with this rating, he was still a vital part of the squad and attracted a lot of attention on the pitch.

After the New Year: 9: Wayne Rooney has been brilliant since the New Year. 7 goals in 7 with 2 assists, it is hard to see any issue with the way Wazza has been playing.

Antony Martial: 8

Martial has been a revelation in the side this year I have to give him a rating of 8. He has been consistently one of our best players this year going forward, and works hard defensively, for this reason I give him an 8

Juan Mata: 6

Juan Mata has had a particularly poor season by his standards, and has only recently started to improve his form. With not much to show he earns a 6.

Memphis Depay: 5

Man United Player Ratings
Дмитрий Голубовичsoccer.ru / CC BY-SA 3.0

The supposed attacking genius is having a similar struggle adapting to the premiership as Angel Di Maria had. He has shown glimpses of his quality and potential, but in the end he has been relatively poor all season long with a total of 5 goals.

Andreas Pereira: 7

Pereira when given the chance to play has been brilliant all year long. His lone goal, a brilliant free kick, gives us a glimpse of the potential he has.

Adnan Januzaj: 7

When given the chance, like Pereira, Januzaj has been shining. But also like Pereira, Januzaj typically is overlooked by van Gaal even recently since being recalled from loan.

Jesse Lingard: 7

Since becoming a first team regular, Jesse has faded in and out much like you would expect from somebody his age, but adds to the talented squad of youngsters for the future quite well.

Ashley Young: 6

Although not his fault it is quite obvious Young is not a fullback by trade, and is responsible for goals when he plays, such as Vardy’s record breaker earlier this year.

Antonio Valencia: 6

Before his injury he was played inconsistently and as a full back, not his natural position. His form dipped in and out while playing in place of Darmian.

Ander Herrera: 8

When Herrera has been played he has been brilliant. There is a reason that the Stretford End will sing his name time and time again. He has a chance to become one of United’s favorite players in recent memory and, as long as he is allowed to stay, will surely be so.

Bastian Schweinsteiger: 6

Bastian has been a good quality signing, for the price paid. Although he has been a good signing, he has not lived up to his world class past, and looks a little past his prime. Here’s to a few more years from the Deutscher Fußball Meister

Michael Carrick: 7

When Carrick plays, he shows his age but makes up for his lack of pace with his vision. He is never scared to play risky defense splitting balls, and is the rock of the team when played with a mobile partner in the midfield.

Morgan Schneiderlin: 7

Morgan has played very well, living up to the high expectations that were set for him before he completed his switch. Showing his physicality and ball playing ability, he works extremely well with anybody he is partnered with and continues to play well.

Marouane Fellaini: 3

This may be a little harsh but this is my opinion. Fellaini is not technically sound, his only use for the team is for winning aerial duels, which he only wins around 45% of those. For a man who is known as an aerial threat to only win 45% is terrible and if Fellaini wants to stay a United player he is going to have to change that.

Luke Shaw: 9

Before his freak injury it was indisputable that Shaw was one of if not our best player. His bombing runs forward paired with his impeccable defensive ability makes him the best left back in the premiership. Here’s to Luke coming back soon.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson: 8

Filling in for both Shaw and Rojo, CBJ has played spectacularly. Even to the point that I personally have called for his switch to a holding midfielder so when Shaw gets back he still is in the team. His balls into the box from the left have been wonderful and he has paid dividends for the faith we have all instilled into him.

Matteo Darmian: 6

At the beginning of the year it looked as if Darmian was the best right back since the Nevilles. Since then his form has dropped off, paired with injuries and being tossed to the left side of the back four. Hopefully he can turn it around.

Guillermo Varela: 7

Oh how reminiscent. Varela looks much like Rafael Da Silva did his first few seasons. Varela is the exact type of fullback we need at United, and in my eyes needs to be first choice. Pair Varela and Shaw and you have to speedy full backs capable going forward and steady coming back.

Marcos Rojo: 5

A mediocre start ruined by injury, there isn’t a large sample to base Marcos’ play off of. The few games he has played in he has been relatively poor, especially for his standard.

Daley Blind: 6

Daley Blind is not a center-half. In the Premiership you need to have a physical prowess about you in order to play there. Blind is a wonderful holding mid, and a good left back as well, but it is unfair to him and to us United supporters.

Phil Jones: 6

Due to injury and being brought in and out of the squad, Phil Jones has not been able to patch together a run of playtime where he may establish his form. It’s not hard to see why he still is behind Blind in the pecking order.

Chris Smalling: 9

What a revelation we have seen from Smalling. He is fulfilling the world class potential Sir Alex saw in him. He has stepped out of the shadow of Rio and Nemanja and is now one of if not the best center backs in the premiership and maybe the world.

Paddy McNair: 5

Being played out of position and inconsistently McNair hasn’t had a chance to establish himself in the squad.

Sergio Romero: 6

A reliable back-up option didn’t look the most comfortable in net at the beginning of the season. De Gea has since taken over and Romero has been the first name on the substitutes sheet.

David De Gea: 9

The best goalkeeper in the league. The second if not best in the world. David has shown why he is widely considered for those two titles. Once he started playing he has been brilliant. It will be a shock if he doesn’t win our player of the year.

United Calypso

United Calypso - Man United fans Chant

United Calypso is the oldest United song still being sung today, although the lyrics have changed slightly from the original version, written by Edmondo Ross in 1953.

Man United fans have been singing since roughly the 60’s and it’s regularly heard both home and away.

Lyrics

Oh Manchester, Manchester United
A bunch of bouncing Busby Babes
They deserved to be knighted
Whenever they’re playing in your town
Be sure to get to that football ground
Take a lesson, come and see
Football taught by Matt Busby

Oh Manchester, Manchester United
A bunch of bouncing Busby Babes
They deserved to be knighted



Oh Manchester Is Wonderful

As we all know, Manchester is wonderful, not least for having the greatest football team in the world and the only English team to win the treble.

Lyrics

Oh Manchester,
(Oh Manchester),
Is wonderful,
(Is wonderful),
Oh Manchester is wonderful,
It’s full of t*ts, f*nny and United,
Oh Manchester is wonderful…

Oh Merseyside,
Is full of s**,
Oh Merseyside is full of s**t,
Its full of s**t, s**t and more s**t,
Oh Merseyside is full of s**t.

Oh Elland Road,
Is full of sheep,
Oh Elland Road is full of sheep,
Its full of sheep, sheep and more sheep,
Oh Elland Road is full of SHEEP!

 

Take Me Home, United Road

Take Me Home, United Road - Man United

A classic Man United song and probably most fans favourite, especially those who aren’t able to travel to Old Trafford regularly.

Lyrics 

Take me home, United road,
To a place that I belong,
To Old Trafford, to see United,
Take me home, United road…



Man United Performance Offers Hope of Top 4 Finish

Van Gaal's Press Conference: Southampton

As Man United faced up to Stoke on Tuesday night many fans feared they’d witness another boring, high possesion, few chances type of game but we couldn’t have been more wrong.

The stats show it’s the small, defensive teams United have struggled to break down this season, making Stoke possibly to worst team for us to play. Our slow, possession based football is easy to defend against, so The Potters, who are known for being notoriously difficult to break down, will have been confident they could leave Old Trafford with at least a draw.

From the start Man United showed great intent with shots at goal, quick passing and over loading our attacks with players wide and through the middle.

Our first goal came from a brilliant low cross by Cameron Borthwick-Jackson which the Stoke defence were hesitate to touch, with fear they could knock it in themselves, only to be met by Lingard at the back post.

The Man United we’ve seen this season may have rested with the lead until half time but this was a team which were out to prove a point and eventually it paid off.

The second goal will surely go down as one of the goals of the season, it was quick, decisive  and everything we’ve seen throughout the years. A quick ball from Carrick eventually reached Mata on the wing who managed to take out two Stoke defenders with a slick pass to Rooney who crossed it to Martial, leaving the French youngster to curl it into the top corner.

Two goals in the first half? Man United fans couldn’t believe this was the same team they’ve been watching all season, a team who haven’t scored a first half goal since September.

The second half was always going to struggle to match the intensity of the first but in the 53rd min another great passing move ended with Rooney tapping the ball in to make it 3-0.

Are Man United Back?

I know Man United fans don’t want to hear or answer this question but there’s a reason we should at least consider it. The performance against Stoke wasn’t a one off. Consider how well the team played against Liverpool and Derby, quick, attacking, using width, it’s almost as though van Gaal has learnt how to get the best out the team.

We started the season with a strong defence but poor in attack, however due to criticism from fans, media and club legends, he began focussing on playing more attacking football. This left us short in defence, often conceding unnecessary goals but in the last few weeks we appear to have gotten the balance right.

We are able to break down defensive teams using quick passing and width, while also not getting caught out on the counter attack. I know we could say Southampton proves otherwise but could that just be a one-off?

I’d like think these performances will continue and with Arsenal and Chelsea coming up it’s going to be vital we win our next few matches if we want a top 4 finish.

Louis Van Gaal Talked Out Of Quitting Yet Again

According to Jamie Jackson at The Guardian, Louis Van Gaal tried again (a third time reportedly) to resign his position as manager of Manchester United but was rebuffed by Ed Woodward. Woodward would like him to see out this season, at least, as he does not want to make a managerial change mid season. The meeting ended with Woodward asking Van Gaal to reconsider as he spoke with his family on his trip back to the Netherlands to celebrate his daughters birthday. Another meeting is planned for today for Woodward to receive Van Gaal’s answer.

The madness of this story is simple: if it is true and Van Gaal has tried to resign once, much less THREE times, we should allow him to move on. His resignation is his admittance that things aren’t working and it would be best for the club if he moves on. Woodward may be grasping at straws to try and keep the beleaguered manager for a few more months as the football only seems to get worse each time United take the pitch, but that is exactly what it appears he is doing. If there are other moves being made (ie., Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola) that cannot come to fruition until the summer, this would show how little confidence Woodward has in Ryan Giggs, the man originally slated to take over from Louis Van Gaal at the end of his contract.

Whatever is happening, Woodward and the club look like daft fools grasping at things that are not there.