Category Archives: News

Javier Hernandez, United’s fox in the box

When Sir Alex Ferguson agreed to sign then unknown Mexican forward Javier Hernandez in the spring of 2010, you could hardly blame some of the United faithful for having their doubts. Untested in the Premier League, only 21 years old and was relatively unheard of. However the little Mexican turned out to be a real clever piece of business by Sir Alex Ferguson, as Hernandez aka Chicharito, went on to play a key role in the clubs historic 19th and 20th Premier League title winning campaigns.

Going into the 2010 World Cup, quite honestly we didn’t know what to expect from Hernandez. Yes we had seen glimpse of him on YouTube, but this would be our first real chance to actually see him up close and live and what better occasion to show your talent than the biggest stage of all, the World Cup. What was to follow exceeded even some of the most optimistic United supporters expectations as Hernandez showed us exactly why Sir Alex had brought him to the club. His finishing for a player so relatively young wasn’t just good, it was outstanding.

It didn’t take long for Hernandez to get off the mark, as he opened up his United account against Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley albeit in rather unusual circumstances, as his shot deflected off his face and into the back of the net. He then followed that up, by netting the all important winner against Valencia in Europe with a superb finish into the bottom corner. Goals then continued to flow against West Brom and Stoke City where he again grabbed the headlines scoring an outrageous backwards header.

It wouldn’t be till early Spring where Hernandez would finally find himself a regular starting place in the Manchester United team ,taking the place of then top scorer Dimitar Berbatov in the side. Doubts at the time were raised given Berbatov was having such a fine season, however Sir Alex’s reasoning for choosing the Mexican over the Bulgarian was more than justified as the forward went on to score crucial goals for the club, from scoring the all important winner at home to Everton, to netting the opener against Chelsea at Old Trafford in May inside the opening minute, as United closed in on another League Title. When the big occasions came calling, Hernandez didn’t go missing, he delivered.

His efforts on the field were rewarded, as Chicartio was named in the running for the PFA Young players of the year award, and was even named in the starting eleven in the European Cup Final against Barcelona. His 20 goals that season made him the first player since Ruud Van Nistelrooy to score 20 goals in a debut season for the club.

His knack of popping up at the right time in the box was becoming a real trade mark for the Mexican. , if you had to pick one player, who you would want the ball to fall to in the box It would be Hernandez. Yes he may not have been technically that great of a player, in fact technically he was awful! but when it came to putting the ball into the back of the net he was sensational, there were few better. It would only be a crying shame that his career faded away here like it did under the reigns of David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal.

The following seasons may not have quite hit the heights of his debut campaign ,but his contribution was just as important never the less. Despite narrowly missing out on the Premier League title from arch rivals Manchester City, Hernandez still found himself in amongst the goals scoring 12 in all, popping up when United needed him most, with in particular the stand out moment coming against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge where he headed the ball in from close range rescuing a point for United in a  3-3 draw.

With the introduction of Robin Van Persie in the summer of 2012, it made first team opportunities for the Mexican hard to come by with more often than not finding himself sitting on the substitutes bench, rather than actually starting games from the off. Despite not starting week in week out, Hernandez sill managed to score a mighty impressive 18 goals in all competitions.  including winners against the likes of Newcastle United  and Chelsea as United steamed their way to a record breaking 20th League Title.

The introduction of David Moyes for the 2013/14 campaign, began not only the start of the strikers downfall at the club, but brought the start of the wholes club’s downfall too.  Despite suffering a somewhat nightmare season, the Mexican still managed 9 goals in all competitions. The following campaign under new management in Louis Van Gaal, seen the forward sent on loan to Real Madrid for the remainder of the season before it was finally announced last summer that he would be joining Bayern Leverkusen on a permanent deal.

He may not have been a great, he may not even be remembered by some supporters in years to come, but his contribution to the club should never go unnoticed.

Sunderland 2-1 Man United | Match report

Sunderland pile more misery on United with a 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light.

United have had many games this season where they have under-performed and this was one of those games.

No one player was particularly poor. It was a team effort to lose that game. There was no focus, no concentration and no will to win.

The football was scrappy for the majority and the players didn’t look like they wanted it. It was disgusting to watch. Louis van Gaal will be pleased that this game was not being played at Old Trafford as you can bet your bottom dollar that the fans would have been booing him down the tunnel.

During the course of the game, United had approximately 8 attempts at goal in total. Comparing that to Sunderland, who had approximately 15, jut shows which team wanted the victory more.

Sunderland opened the scoring in the 3rd minute with a Khazri free kick bouncing through the United defence and trickling over the line in bottom far corner. David de Gea saw it late and couldn’t get to it. But you can’t blame him for the goal or even say he should of done better. When you have 20 bodies in front of you, you expect one of your team mates to get something on it.

Man United managed to get an equaliser late in the first half when Mata’s rebounded shot fell to Martial who delicately chipped the ball over the floored Sunderland keeper from a tight angle. Before the goal and the saved shot that came before it, United had only one shot at goal.

The second half saw Sunderland dominate the game, creating lots of chances and having several shots at goal. During this period United grew frustrated and careless, picking up a handful of bookings.

Sunderland took advantage of United’s lack of intent and went on to score the winner in the 82nd minute with a goal from new boy Kone, who got his head on the end of a Sunderland corner.

The loss means that United remain in 5th but could drop to 6th today if West Ham win away at Norwich. The gap could also increase on the top four with all of them in action on Sunday.

Premier League
United remain in 5th but could drop to 6th if West Ham win at Norwich

There isn’t really anything more to say that hasn’t been said already in terms of United’s performances and the current situation we find ourselves in. We just have to ride it out for the rest of the season and hope some personnel changes are made during the summer. I think you all know who I am referring to.

What did you make of the game? Are you fed up to the point where you no longer have any expectations and you are just going through the motions as a fan? Let us know in the comments below.

You can watch the United Stand match reaction by clicking here or watching below:

United in £40m swoop for Ighalo

Despite the January transfer window being closed and the summer window a long way off, the rumours refuse to give in and the latest rumour sees United being linked with Watford’s Odion Ighalo.

But is he worth the reported £40m fee? The Nigerian attacking midfielder/centre forward has scored 14 goals in 24 appearances so far this season; more than any United player. And Last season he achieved his best goal tally to date, scoring 20 goals in 35 appearances in the Championship, helping Watford to promotion to the Premier League. So there is no doubting his scoring ability.

Ighalo has also recently admitted to being a United fan. Perhaps that is what sparked the rumours.

Were not reading too much into this at the United Stand. Like yourselves, we are growing tired of all the rumours! But we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t share the rumours with you!

Do you think Ighalo would be a good fit at United? Let us know what you think below.

See Ighalo in action by clicking here or watching below:

Chelsea 1-1 Man United | Match report

Despite their efforts, United were unable to hold their 1-goal lead, as Chelsea score a late equaliser to take a point.

United started the game brightly, dominating possession, getting the ball forward and forcing Chelsea to defend. This continued for 30 minutes before Chelsea settled and got into the game.

Once they did, the home side looked more dangerous on the attack and created the better chances.

In the 29th minute Nemanja Matic got his head on the end of a corner forcing David de Gea to make save a full stretch.

A few minutes later, Oscar almost punished United’s sleeping defence when he it a volley over from 6 yards out.

And then on the stroke of half time, John Terry volleyed at goal but Daley Blind managed to block his shot. There were shouts for handball from the Chelsea players.

United’s only real chance in the first half came from Anthony Martial in the 18th minute. The United winger picked up the ball just outside the box on the left and rifled a shot at goal but, Courtois, at full stretch, tipped the ball round the post.

Anthony Martial rues missed chance (Picture: mirror.co.uk)
Anthony Martial rues missed chance (Picture: mirror.co.uk)

United started the second half similar to first. On the front foot, searching for the opening goal.

It almost came in the 50th minute when Anthony Martial skipped past Ivanovic and hit right footed shot at goal, only it went just wide of the near post.

United continued to press in search for that first goal and they eventually got it on the hour mark. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson whipped in a left footed cross with plenty of pace in the direction of Wayne Rooney. The captain touched the ball into the path of Jesse Lingard who controlled with his back to goal, turned and volleyed into the top right corner.

Chelsea reacted positively to the goal by applying some of their own pressure on the United defence.

Chelsea probed and probed for an equaliser but United’s defence held strong, kepping the likes of Hazard, Pedro, Willian and Costa at bay. David de Gea also made two fantastic reaction saves from close range shots by Ivanovic (left footed volley from 6 yards out) and Fabregas (right footed driven shot from 6 yards out).

United looked like they were going to leave Stamford Bridge with all three points but Chelsea did not give up and in the 91st minute Cesc Fabregas played a pass straight through the middle of a packed United defence finding Diego Costa who then only had David de Gea to beat. He hit a shot but Cameron Borthwick-Jackson slid into to block. Costa then hit the rebound into the back of de Gea’s net for the equaliser.

The draw means that United stay 5th but see the gap to fourth increase to 7 points as the teams above win their games over the weekend.

premier league

The question on everyone’s mind now is “Have United still got a chance of reaching top four?”

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

You can watch the United Stand match reaction by clicking here or watching below:

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: mirror.co.uk)
Jesse Lingard celebrates his goal against Stoke (Picture: mirror.co.uk)

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
Darmian
Smalling
Blind
Borthwick-Jackson
Fellaini Substituted for Herrera at 80′ minutes
Carrick
Lingard
Mata Substituted for Pereira at 88′ minutes
Martial Substituted for Depay at 79′ minutes
Rooney

Substitutes

Depay
Romero
Herrera
Schneiderlin
Varela
McNair
Pereira

Stoke City Team Sheet

Butland
Johnson
Wollscheid Substituted for Bardsley at 30’minutes
Muniesa
Pieters
Whelan
Afellay
Walters
Krkic Substituted for Ireland at 60’minutes
Arnautovic
Crouch

Substitutes

Bardsley
Ireland
Odemwingie
Joselu
Diouf
Shaqiri
Haugaard

Should youth be brought through instead of big money signings?

As kids, we all had kick-abouts in the park, whether it was in a team or for fun. You all dream of scouts watching your thirty yard screamers, Hat-tricks or even a super save. Manchester United recruit many players every year from Grassroots football, into their sacred academy.

My question is how many make the first team? The answer in reality, not many. Current players include: Paddy McNair, Jesse Lingard and most recently Cameron Borthwick-Jackson. But, if we look at the likes of Barcelona’s academy, United’s doesn’t compare to it in terms of bringing players through.

England are failing in international tournaments and is it because Premier League teams are bringing in far too many average foreign players and not giving English kids a chance. Jamie Vardy quoted “I have played against better midfielders and defenders in Non-League than the Premier League”.

Dele Alli has appeared on the scene for Tottenham this season at a mere age of nineteen and has blown the Premier League away with some sensational performances. Do United need someone like this? In my opinion, yes. It wouldn’t just get Manchester United supporters excited, the whole country would be excited.

United have a superb reputation of bringing players in, just look at the class of ’92. David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the two Neville brothers Gary and Phillip are arguably the best to ever emerge from the academy. I would like to see players such as Donald Love, Matty Willock, Joe Rothwell and Sean Goss all given a chance in the first team.

Todays FA Cup last sixteen draw paired Louis van Gaal’s side with League One opposition in Shrewsbury Town and I think this match would be a perfect opportunity to give some of those young lads a chance. Grassroots football is an essential part of the game, so many kids play football so why are they not getting recognized by the big clubs? Is it something to do with coaching?

Jamie Vardy is setting up his own academy for younger players called V9. This is to get Non-League players spotted by professional clubs and give them that chance to live that ultimate dream. United are not just one of the biggest clubs in England, they are one of the biggest in the world and you would expect youth players who have fight, passion and a desire to play football to be promoted to the first team.

In some occasions big money signings dont want to come to your club in the first place and just want to suck the money out of the club. Angel Di Maria comes to mind for many reds fans. I think we should be focusing on bringing Youth players through instead of spending this ridiculous money.

As always thank you for reading my articles.

Josh Bunting
distillerymad on Twitter

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 linked with move for Ever Banega

According to reports from the English tabloids, United could be set to make a move for Sevilla midfielder Ever Banega.

The reports from both The Sun and Metro suggest Louis Van Gaal is keen to add Banega to his squad before the January transfer window slams shut next week.

Banega, 27 has been hugely impressive for Sevilla this season, so far making 16 appearance’s for the club and has scored a reasonable 6 goals. With Sevilla currently languishing in 7th place in La Liga and some way off the Champions League places, Banega is thought to be wanting an move away.

However United may face competition for his signature, with Barcelona said to be highly interested in taking the Argentinian on board.

So far its been a very quiet transfer window at Old Trafford, with thus far only Victor Valdes leaving the club to join Standard Liege on loan. Injuries to key players this season have left United short in numbers and you cant help feel the club need to recruit 2 or 3 new faces before the transfer window closes,  if United are to have any hope of finishing in the top 4 at the end of the season.

 

Mata “We share your unhappiness”

Juan Mata has stressed the frustration within the Manchester United squad is just the same as that of the United supporters, after the club fell to a 1-0 home defeat to Southampton last Saturday.

United’s latest setback was arguably the clubs worst performance of the season so far leading to boos at the final whistle. The defeat left leaves Louis Van Gaal’s men now 5 points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur and 10 points behind leaders Leicester City.

Speaking via his own personal blog, Mata spoke of his frustration,  in which he said.

“Once again I’m writing with a bad taste. After several games without being defeated, we lost 1-0 to Southampton at Old Trafford. And it hurts, it really does. It was the perfect time to get the three points and stretch the good streak in 2016 but we couldn’t make it.”

It wasn’t a good game from any of the teams, a draw would have been a fair result, but a late goal from Austin after a free kick took the points away from us.” It’s another tough moment, for you and for us, but we must get through this. I understand your frustration, because we feel the same way, but we have to carry on.”

Mata no doubt knows results have to improve and fast, starting with Fridays trip to Derby County in the FA Cup, in what looks to be a must win for head coach Louis Van Gaal.

“Football doesn’t stop and now its time for the FA Cup and we want to fight for this trophy for you.” I thank you for the support in the bad times, and I assure you that our only goal is to do things much better to move up the table in the Premier League and try and lift the FA Cup.”

“Thanks to all of you. I’m sure better moments will come sooner rather than later, and we will enjoy them much more, aware of how tough it is to get there.”

 

 

 

Victor Valdes Departs Club On Loan

Today, the club confirmed what everybody already knew as Spanish goalkeeper Victor Valdes headed to Belgium after agreeing a loan move with Standard Liege until the end of the current campaign. It has been a case of ‘not if, but when’ Valdes would leave the club after his well documented fall-out with Louis Van Gaal, although the destination has been unknown until now, with the likes of Liverpool, Newcastle United and Fenerbahce all rumoured to have been in the running for his signature.

Louis Van Gaal confirmed the spat between the pair had become irreparable during the pre-season campaign after the manager claimed that Valdes had refused to play for the under 21’s last season, something furiously denied by the goalkeeper. Of course, we all know that Valdes did indeed feature for the under 21’s, a fact backed up on his personal Instagram account, leading to speculation that there may be more than meets the eye.

Van Gaal, of course, is no stranger to fall-outs, having clashed with the likes of Rivaldo, Johan Cruyff, Mark Van Bommel, Robin Van Persie and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to name just a small few. All of come with an interesting back story but, from the outside certainly, the Victor Valdes fall-out has been handled in an atrocious way. Forced to train on his own, the 34-year-old wasn’t even allocated a squad number this season, let alone a club suit, as Van Gaal continually ostracised the World Cup winner. Rumours that the club’s Spanish players were becoming increasingly frustrated with the situation began to circulate, with Juan Mata and Ander Herrera allegedly at the forefront of expressing their anger.

A fact that cannot also be ignored is that, despite his alleged refusal to appear for the under 21 side, Valdes did indeed end the last campaign as the number one following an injury to David De Gea, despite the fact the Anders Lindegaard was available to play, and did start the game against Hull City on the final game of the season on the bench. If Valdes had indeed refused to play for the under 21 side, surely Lindegaard would have been the preferred option in that game.

Anyhow, Valdes has become another high profile name to leave the club under Louis Van Gaal, even if all he was ever supposed to be was an understudy to David De Gea. His heartfelt goodbye, posted again on his Instagram account, shows a level of professionalism and respect that maybe a certain manager could learn from.

Goodbye Victor Valdes, and good luck!