All posts by Paul Gardiner

Webmaster, Writer, Editor and Podcast host for The United Stand. An avid Manchester United supporter since I can remember.

Man United 3-0 Stoke City

United score two rare first half goals in their 3-0 victory over Stoke City.

As United fans we have been treated to some fantastic football over the last few days with a 3-1 victory at Derby and tonight, a 3-0 victory against Stoke City. After the let down that was the January transfer window, United fans deserved something to be positive about and the game tonight provided just that.

United started the game at a quick tempo and created several chances in the opening minutes of the game. Rooney came close in just the 6th minute, forcing a diving save from Jack Butland but, it was academy graduate, Jesse Lingard, who opened the scoring in the 14th minute. The assist came from another academy graduate in Cameron Borthwick-Jackson. The 19-year old hit a drive low cross across the face of goal finding Lingard who finished with a low diving header to put United ahead.

Summer signing Anthony Martial also caused problems for Stoke with his predator-like runs, weaving gracefully past defenders leaving them dazed and confused. He came close to doubling United’s lead just a couple of minutes after Lingard’s opener after skipping past two Stoke defenders and powering a shot towards goal. It missed, but not by much.

Martial continued to give Stoke a hard time and in the 23rd minute doubled United’s lead with a spectacular goal. Rooney, on the right hand side of the pitch, spotted Martial unmarked out on the left just outside the box, so he played a square ball across to him. Martial controlled the ball, looked up, shaped himself and struck the ball with power curling over and around Jack Butland into the far corner of the net.

United were cruising and the crowd were loving it.

Jesse Lingard celebrates his goal against Stoke (Picture:
Jesse Lingard celebrates his goal against Stoke (Picture:

Stoke City did, however, have a brief spell late in the first half where they had a few attempts at goal but United’s defence stood firm preventing Stoke from causing David de Gea any real problems.

The second half saw United come out looking for more as they continued to push forward searching for the third goal that would surely kill the game off and it only took 4 minutes. Only the goal was disallowed as Rooney was penalised for a push on Glen Johnson before rocketing the ball between Butland at his near post.

But that didn’t deter United. Three minutes later, Daley Blind played a ball into Mata, who turned and spotted Martial to his left. Mata played the ball out to Martial who struck a left foot cross across the face of goal finding Wayne Rooney who simply tapped the ball into the net. 3-0. Game over.

With United 3-0 up and the game won, Louis van Gaal gave some game time to Memphis, Herrera and Pereira. Memphis looked sharp, hungry and full of fight so hopefully we will see him regain some form in the not too distant future.

After the win, United remain in 5th, still 5 points behind 4th. Spurs’ win carries them up to 3rd as Arsenal slip to 4th after they only manage a draw against Southampton.

United remain in 5th but keep the pressure on the top four
United remain in 5th but keep the pressure on the top four

So United have had a good few days in terms of both performance and results. Are we about to see a turn in fortunes? Will United go on a run and power back in to the top four? Have your say below in the comments box. We would love to hear what people think.

Also, don’t miss The United Stand’s live match reaction with Mark Goldbridge. Watch by clicking here or watching below:

Man United Team Sheet

de Gea
Fellaini Substituted for Herrera at 80′ minutes
Mata Substituted for Pereira at 88′ minutes
Martial Substituted for Depay at 79′ minutes



Stoke City Team Sheet

Wollscheid Substituted for Bardsley at 30’minutes
Krkic Substituted for Ireland at 60’minutes



Derby County 1-3 Man United | Match review

United see off Derby County in the FA Cup 4th round with a 3-1 victory.

In a much improved performance, United played some decent football, attacked and scored three goals, including a first half goal!

Captain Wayne Rooney opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a curled shot from outside the box. It came from a good move that came from Daley Blind playing a long ground pass into Martial, who knocked the ball into Rooney. Rooney looked up and from outside the box curled a shot across and around the keeper leaving him with no chance. It was a great finish that he will be happy with.

20 minutes later Derby found an equaliser with a goal from Thorne. Thorne exposed a gap left by Smalling and he controlled a ball over the top perfectly setting himself to tap it past David de Gea.

United regained the lead in the second half thanks to a goal from Daley Blind. Lingard had possession out on the right and played in a pacey cross across the ground and Blind was quickest to it arrowing the ball into the bottom right.

By this point Derby were looking tired and United took advantage of this when Martial made easy work of beating the Derby right back and pulling the ball back into the path of Mata who slotted the ball across the keeper and into the back of the net sealing the win for United.

Derby can take some pride from their performance as they did have a go at United for the majority of the game and created a few chances of their own.

The win sends United into the 5th round of the FA Cup. A tournament they haven’t won in 12 years. Could this be their year?

Watch the United Stands live match reaction below or by clicking here:

United legend Roy Keane to pay tribute to rival Patrick Vieira

Arsenal legend, Patrick Vieira, will have his career celebrated by The Football Writers’ Association at London’s Savoy in which United legend and rival, Roy Keane will pay tribute.

Keane and Vieira had a fiery rivalry during their time at Manchester United and Arsenal respectively; most notably the clash in the Highbury tunnel. But differences will be put aside as Roy Keane agreed, immediately, to pay tribute to the Frenchman.

Roy Keane says he has the utmost respect for Vieira and rates him alongside the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

If you would like to read the full article on the Daily Mail website, please click here.

Watch the Keane/Vieira tunnel incident here or below:

Man United 0-1 Southampton | Match review

Man United slump to uninspired 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford against mid table Southampton.

After the 1-0 victory at Anfield last week many fans felt confident about today’s game at home to the Saints. It wasn’t a performance to write home about but, it was a victory, it was against Liverpool and it was at Anfield.

For many though, the confidence was shattered when the teams were announced and Marouane Fellaini’s name appeared in the starting XI.

For weeks, Fellaini has contributed very little to the squad and fans have been calling for him to be dropped. But with Schweinsteiger and Carrick injured, van Gaal may have felt he had no other option, preferring Herrera in the number 10 role.

As the first half progressed is was looking more and more like we were going to have to sit and watch another goalless draw. Nothing was happening in the final third. There was little movement and again we played the sideways passing that really gets on everyone’s nerves.

In the entire first half United only registered one shot on target and that was a 40 yard strike from Daley Blind that went straight at the Southampton keeper. There were approximately five or six attempts in total in the first half and they were all shots taken from outside the box in desperation, and none of them troubled the keeper.

At half time the crowd were lifted slightly. A cheer rang round the stadium as Juan Mata came on to replace Fellaini. The change seemed to be a positive one as United upped the tempo and began putting some pressure on Southampton, but without managing shot at goal, the positive change was short lived. An injury to Matteo Darmian meant a short break in play which took the sting out of United’s game. Southampton took advantage of this and brought the game to United.

The Saints created several chances and eventually got their winner late on in the 87th minute through debutant Charlie Austin who headed the ball past de Gea from a free kick that probably shouldn’t have been given.

The loss means that United remain in 5th but the gap between them and Spurs grows to five points.

United now trail Spurs by 5 points (Picture:
United now trail Spurs by 5 points (Picture:

The result has left many fans, including myself, fuming and calling for Louis van Gaal to be sacked. United have now only won to of their last ten league games and it cannot go on any longer. Something has to change and it has to change now.

Let us know how you feel after that game and what you think needs to change. Do you think the manager should be sacked now or do you still believe he can get us top 4 by the end of the season? Comment below.

Who is to blame for the poor performances and results?

  • Louis van Gaal (65%, 15 Votes)
  • The board (35%, 8 Votes)
  • The players (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 23

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Man United starting line up V Southampton (Picture:
Man United starting line up V Southampton (Picture:

Watch the United Stand match reaction here or below:

United close in on £60m Renato Sanches

It has been reported in the Daily Mail that Manchester United are moving closer to securing the services of 18 year old Benfica youngster, Renato Sanches.

It is understood that talks were held in London on Friday with United apparently prepared to meet the £60m buy-out clause.

Although the price tag is very high for an 18 year old, it is believed that Benfica would sell the player for half the amount with the rest paid in add-ons.

United’s top scouts held a recruitment meeting last week where it was decided that the club should act now rather than wait until the summer with other big clubs interested in signing the player.

Sanches broke into the Benfica team this season and plays as an attacking midfielder who can play through the middle and out wide.

Scouts from United were originally watching Goncalo Guedes but when they spotted Sanches they decided it was him they wanted.

If you would like to read the full article on the Daily Mail website, please click here.

So what do you think about this? Is £60m too much for a player of that age? Let us know in the comments below.

Watch Renato Sanchez in action here or below:

United plan move for Jack Butland should de Gea leave

According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United plan to make a move for Jack butland should David de Gea end up leaving.

The English, Stoke City keeper is just one of several goalkeepers that United are keeping tabs on.

Jack Butland has been in outstanding form this season and will undoubtedly be in Roy Hodgson’s plans for the Euro 2016 tournament in the summer.

If you would like to read the full article on the Daily Mail website, please click here.

Would you like to see Jack Butland in a United jersey should David de Gea leave? He has definitely been a popular choice among United fans in recent months.

Let us know in the comments below.

See Butland in action here or below:

GUEST BLOG: January Transfer Window – Make or Break!

Christmas can be the making or breaking of a team. The turning point for a team who may be struggling against relegation or on the brink of pushing into the top four, where a couple of wins can build the momentum needed for clubs to push on and have a strong second half of the season. For those who don’t build that momentum, the January Transfer window can provide a club with the perfect opportunity to improve their squads.

Traditionally, since the current Premier League transfer format was introduced in the 2002/3 season, Manchester United have not been the most active of clubs in the January transfer market. To mind, the only players of real impact in the past 10 years brought in by the club in January, are Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Juan Mata, with the latter, arguably having not quite reached the potential or quality he showed at Chelsea. Now it has to be said that the majority of his time has been on the right wing, where his talent tends to be restricted somewhat and his lack of outright pace being exposed. However short lived, his move into the central position just behind the main striker, proved fruitful in the Champions League game versus Wolfsburg, where he played a beautiful through ball for Anthony Martial to put us one up, and throughout he looked much more comfortable and composed. It’s just a shame that our defence didn’t show quite the same composure at the other end that night.

Where Mata has often failed to impress, the quality of Vidic and Evra during their times in the club cannot be argued. They enjoyed enormous success at the club, in a period which marked the end of the tenure of Sir Alex Ferguson. Both players were stalwarts in the United defence for a period of just over 8 years. However, both players struggled initially to cope with the physicality and tempo of the league. This was especially evident in the 2005/06 Manchester Derby, where Patrice Evra was given the run around by an experienced and battle hardened Trevor Sinclair. Manchester City focused the majority of their attacks down his side of the pitch, whether it is via long ball using Sinclair’s height advantage, or via an overlap by City right back Sun Jihai. It resulted in his substitution at half time in a debut which truly was a baptism of fire.

The history of Manchester United signings at this time of year would suggest that any player that Manchester United sign will need time to settle in and adapt to the way in which the club plays. An immediate impact can’t be expected. Fans make point and say it happens at other clubs, where a player can arrive and completely transform a club’s fortunes after only a handful of games… but other clubs aren’t Manchester United, where excellence and top performances are expected week in, week out. That kind of pressure is tough to deal with and it would take a truly exceptional player to have that type of impact, and exceptional players are generally not sold in January.

This considered, as well as the fact that the January transfer window tends to add a large chunk to the value a club places on its prospective transferees as they smell the desperation of other clubs failing to deceive, then maybe there is an argument to be made for Manchester United to keep the cheque book in the pocket and wait until the summer.

Then again, maybe the issue isn’t necessarily the quality of player at the club, but the manager in place? But that’s another day’s work….

By David Ryan

Liverpool 0-1 Man United | Match report

Wayne Rooney strikes again scoring the only goal of the game to sink the Scousers!

It wasn’t all smiles and laughter for United as in the first half Liverpool dominated and made it difficult for them to play; limiting them to just one attempt at goal.

Liverpool, on the other hand, had many attempts but lacked the quality to finish.

Their best chance came in the 30th minute when some intricate one touch passing fell to Henderson. The Liverpool captain hit a shot from an angle but dragged his shot wide.

Liverpool also came close to taking the lead earlier in the game. In the 10th minute Firmino hit a first time shot after collecting a loose ball but his shot went just past the post. David de Gea looked to have it covered.

The second half started much the same with Liverpool coming out on the front foot.

Early in the second half, Emre Can and Kolo Toure both had shots at goal saved by in-form United keeper David de Gea.

Man United appeared to be sleeping; not challenging loose balls and allowing Liverpool to win the first ball on most occasions.

The introduction of Juan Mata in the 66th minute saw the dynamics of the game change and United began to see more of the ball and start playing forward.

And in the 77th minute, Juan Mata played in a left-footed cross from the left onto the head of Fellaini. The Belgian’s header bounced off the crossbar and fell to Wayne Rooney who shaped up and smashed a volley into the roof of the net to put United ahead.

Wayne Rooney celebrates his winner at Liverpool (Picture:
Wayne Rooney celebrates his winner at Liverpool (Picture:

It would be fair to say that United didn’t deserve the win and it could be said that they were saved by the fact Liverpool were without a recognised striker on the pitch for the majority of the game.

Regardless, the win lifts United up into 5th in the league, 2 points behind 4th placed Spurs.

United move up to 5th after win at Liverpool (Picture:
United move up to 5th after win at Liverpool (Picture:

What did you think about the game? Do you think the win was deserved? Does it even matter if it was deserved? We would love to know your thoughts. Please, feel free to leave a comment below.

You can also watch the Liverpool V Man United match reaction on The United Stand’s YouTube channel by clicking here. Or by watching below.

Liverpool Team Sheet

22 Mignolet
02 Clyne
04 K Touré (Benteke – 81′)
17 Sakho
18 Moreno
14 Henderson
21 Lucas
23 Can
07 Milner (Caulker – 90′)
11 Firmino
20 Lallana (Ibe – 76′)


09 Benteke
19 Caulker
24 Allen
33 Ibe
44 Smith
52 Ward
53 J. Teixeira

Man United Team Sheet

01 de Gea
18 Young (Borthwick-Jackson – 42′)
12 Smalling Booked
17 Blind
36 Darmian
28 Schneiderlin
27 Fellaini
35 Lingard (Mata – 66′)
21 Herrera (Depay – 72′)
09 Martial
10 Rooney


07 Depay
08 Mata
20 Romero
30 Varela
33 McNair
43 Borthwick-Jackson
44 Pereira

GUEST BLOG: Newcastle V Man United | 5 Things We Learned

  • Man United must attack with intent
  • We’ve seen glimpses of attacking football this season, notably against Newcastle, Chelsea and Wolfsburg. Not only does this invigorate the fans but it also gives the players a genuine reason to commit and show the fans that they care. The lackadaisical passing football we see week in week out often to fruitless, forgettable results… Even Louis Van Gaal is getting bored of it.

    Against Newcastle our best chances came when we distributed the ball quickly and charged into the oppositions half – not when we were trying to play tiki taka with Marouane Fellaini.

    The likes of Ander Herrera have the ability to spread Scholes-esque balls across the pitch, and the likes of Memphis Depay have the ability to make darting runs into the box. And arguably, Wayne Rooney still has the ability to put chances away… So what’s the problem?

  • Marouane Fellaini isn’t good enough
  • There was a brief period of time when Fellaini was our only real outlet, the go-to player that we knew would test other teams. That was last season. Since then, we’ve added players to ranks that can replace Fellaini as a barbaric midfielder (Bastian Schweinsteiger!) & also as an outlet up front (Tony Martial)

    Against Newcastle however, Fellaini’s incompetence was on display, he: Assisted the other team, missed a sitter, wasn’t strong in his tackles, constantly lost the ball and was a liability with his reckless challenges.

    Honestly. He is not good enough.

  • We should accept Rooney as a different footballer
  • Rooney is no longer the pitbull terrier that he once was; terrorising defences with his tenacity and running rampant around the pitch.

    He’s developed a sense of calamity in his football. He doesn’t scream, he dictates play. He doesn’t run rampant, he picks his position wisely. He doesn’t go at it himself, he brings other into play. In the fixture against Newcastle we saw Wayne’s ability to run the show, we saw the ‘new’ Wayne Rooney

  • Players should play in their natural positions
  • Too many times this season we’ve had started line ups with players playing in foreign positions. Positions they’ve had to grow into for the greater good of the team. But against Newcastle and many other teams this season there have been times when the Manchester United have lacked fluidity and instinct. Players often get caught out and or just don’t know what to do; often looking around… Searching for Eric. And this may largely be because we’re playing our players out of position. Players are in places they’re not accustomed to, places that they can’t play their natural football.

    Take for example, Anthony Martial. He’s played as a striker, left winger and right winger. Firstly, the amount of game time he gets is brilliant. However, the fact that he plays a different position almost every week will hinder his development and understanding of the game. Ander Herrera, is another. Arguably, Ander’s best performances have come when he’s played in a two man midfield role where he can dictate and have a real impact on play… Not when he’s playing a Luka Modric-type position behind the striker.

    And don’t even get me started on Mata

  • We might need to ride our luck
  • Many fans would’ve left the Newcastle match feeling disappointed that we didn’t grab the win. And there’ll also be some fans that will say we’re fortunate to concede a few more goals, either way, we rode our luck!

    Man United have shown that they can’t run rampant against anyone, even bottom league Newcastle. And that’s not what we want when we’re trying to secure our place in the top four. So we’ll have to hope we can rekindle the brief run of winning form we touched upon last season, or just grind out 1-0 wins 13/14 Chelsea style. Either way, with the lack of intent the squad currently has, we can only hope some good fortune comes our way.

    By Tyler Owusu

    GUEST BLOG: Edwin van der Sar – United’s safe hands

    When Peter Schmeichel left Manchester United all the way back in 1999, Sir Alex Ferguson always knew it was always going to be a tough battle to find his successor. From the likes of Barthez, to Tim Howard, nobody it seemed was ready to finally step up and becomes United’s new number one goalkeeper. Then came, Edwin Van Der Sar.

    His sheer presence alone made him such an intimidating keeper for the opposition, standing at a whopping 6 feet 6 inches in between the goalposts. It was clear right from the off that this is where van der Sar belonged and what was to follow was nothing short of sensational as United went on to rule not just European but World Football with van der Sar leading from the back.

    However it wasn’t all plain sailing at the start, far from it in fact. With the club still looking to find a solid left back and a defensive partner for Rio Ferdinand, United found themselves shipping goals left right and centre. There was no stability or consistency at the back leaving van der Sar little else to do but pick the ball out of the back of the net. Throughout the first half of the 2005/06 campaign the club were falling seriously short on all fronts before the arrivals of Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra in the January transfer window, this would be where it all started.

    The following season United looked a different animal, they meant business, with the club finally having a solid back 4 in place van der Sar looked more at home, more at ease, as the confidence started to come into his game. As the season wore on van der Sar played a significant role as the club won the Premier League Title back from rivals Chelsea. Moments from crucial saves against Fulham at Craven cottage to a decisive penalty save at the City of Manchester Stadium. The goalkeeper we had waited for to finally replace Peter Schmeichel was here.

    The joys of last season were about to be piped up another level as United won not just the Premier League but went on to famously win the UEFA Champions League in Moscow against Chelsea with van der Sar saving the all important spot kick. When the big games came calling van der Sar didn’t go hiding. Without van der Sar in between the sticks there may have been no Double.

    As mentioned above, the importance of having a solid defence is crucial if not just as crucial as the goalkeeper position. No matter how good of a goalkeeper you are if you haven’t got a top defence in front of you then you are in real trouble. Fortunately for van der Sar he had Vidic and Ferdinand. Both centre backs became vital for Edwin, it was evident at times if one were missing then things didn’t go as smoothly. Having all 3 of van der Sar, Vidic and Ferdinand fully fit and available week in week out was one of the reasons why United were able to go on to rule world football, they may not have got the headlines like Cristiano Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney but they were just as important.

    Nothing it seemed could go wrong for the Dutchman, he was in the form of his life whilst sitting at the peak of world football with Manchester United. He even went on to set a new clean sheet record going an outstanding 14 games without conceding a goal. It was almost like we had our very own Super Man in goal and his name was Edwin van der Sar.

    Of course just like anything good it does have to come to an end eventually, as the club were brought back down to earth by Barcelona as they were defeated 2-0 in the UEFA Champions League final; the feeling of invincibility gone, so too had Ronaldo.

    In no means am I saying United were poor after this, as lets be real they were still successful the following season after but in between 2006-2009 I felt United were right at the peak of World football and had arguably one of their greatest sides of all time, it was a special time.

    After persuasion from Sir Alex Ferguson, van der Sar penned a new contract at the club in 2010 where he would then finish his career at Old Trafford at the end of the following season. The invincibility that hanged around the club may have gone but van der Sar’s form didn’t as he continued to impress again stepping up to the plate when it most mattered.

    His final outing came in the UEFA Champions League final against the mighty Barcelona, where the club could do little else but stand back and applaud as they were defeated 3-1.

    His time at the club may have come to an end but his legacy left at the club will live on.

    By Alexander Robert Brian
    Follow me on Twitter: @alex_brian92