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Manchester United 2-1 VfL Wolfsburg | Match Report

Manchester united seal their first win in the UEFA Champions League group stage with an entertaining 2-1 victory over VfL Wolfsburg at Old Trafford.

The first half saw United dominate possession and create many chances; despite Draxler causing one or two problems and Wolfsburg being particularly dangerous on the break.

And it was VfL Wolfsburg who drew first blood.

In the 5th minute, some deft passing on the edge of the Manchester United box created space for Max Kruse to pick out Daniel Caliguiri with a through ball who shot past David de Gea with his right foot. A split second before Kruse’s killer pass, three of the United back line stepped forward in an attempt to catch Caliguiri offside. Only Valencia was not in tune and played the striker onside.

Manchester United reacted positively. They took control of the game and created several chances with Mata, Rooney and Memphis all having shots saved or blocked.

On 33 minutes United were rewarded for their persistence by winning a penalty after a hand ball by Wolfsburg goal scorer Daniel Caliguiri. It was Mata who stepped up and he made no mistake in drawing United level; converting into the bottom left, sending Benaglio the wrong way.

The second half was full of promise for United fans and they were not let down when on 52 minutes, a reverse back-heel flick on the edge of the area from Mata dropped conveniently in front of Smalling who slid in and knocked the ball past Benaglio to put United 2-1 ahead.

Although the game ended with Manchester United winning 2-1, Wolfsburg, immediately began to push forward and test Manchester United’s defence. But there was no way through as the United back line remained resolute right up until the final whistle, allowing Wolfsburg only a handful of chances.

Manchester United, VfL Wolfsburg, PSV and CSKA all now have three points and a zero goal difference after two games.

Did you find this match report useful or informative? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

You can also watch the Manchester United V Vf Wolfsburg match reaction on The United Stand’s YouTube channel by clicking here or watching below.

Please also visit The United Stand Fan Forum here to discuss the game or start your own discussion.

Manchester United Team Sheet

de Gea
A Valencia (Young 45′)
Smalling
Blind
Darmian
Schneiderlin
Schweinsteiger (Jones 72′)
Mata
Rooney
Depay (Pereira 62′)
Martial

Substitutes

Jones
Young
Wilson
Romero
Fellaini
McNair
Pereira

VfL Wolfsburg Team Sheet

Benaglio
Träsch (Jung 77′)
Aparecido Rodrigues
Dante
Rodríguez
Guilavogui
Caligiuri
Arnold (Schurrle 70′)
Kruse
Draxler
Dost (Bendtner 70′)

Substitutes

Bendtner
Schäfer
Klose
Schürrle
Grün
Jung
Seguin

Bastian Schweinsteiger – The Captain Without An Armband

Bastian Schweinsteiger. Need I say anymore? World Cup winner, Champions League winner and eight Bundesliga titles all tied to his name at just 31 years old, astonishing.

The man is an inspiration, not only does he focus on his own game but his team mates around him and the experience under his belt doesn’t just waste away but flourishes out on the pitch. The role he’s playing in our team is phenomenal if it’s noticed by it’s onlookers or not, the calmness in his play when the pressure is piled on, the leadership that’s benefiting the team and not to forget his footballing abilities. Before, during and after the 90minutes he comforts all of our young players in Martial and Memphis, almost acting as a father figure and it’s working. This year there isn’t one single player who believes he’s bigger than the club, the maturity level is incredible even from Anthony at just 19. They all want to keep their head down and play well, no comments about not settling in or this that and the other like we had with Di Maria last year, it effects the teams performance in the long run and with the team being so together, it could be the reason behind reason results.

Since the days of Scholes we’ve lacked a cool and calm midfielder who can get us out of trouble, not only a creator but a battler. Although few years left in him at the very highest level, Bastian can give us what Scholes gave us, without a minutes thought. It’s this impact United fans have been crying out for over the past few years and it has finally been delivered. With past midfield’s including the likes Cleverley and Anderson as first team players, it’s about time Man United brought in some world class talent. Basti is not the type of player to earn man of the match week after week but one that does so much without even being noticed with an attitude at the highest order. He is a Manchester United player through and through, he will fight to the end and put his heart and soul into his performance to please United fans.

In my opinion, the partnership of Schneiderlin and Bastian/Carrick is the best in the Premier League after the drop in form by Nemanja Matic and there hasn’t been a better midfield at Old Trafford since Fergie’s era. Bastian was brought in for a disclosed fee of £6.5million, possibly the best signing of the summer and at 31 he could possibly carry on until 34 in our midfield. Passing the armband to David De Gea was an unbelievable gesture, a chance to captain the biggest club in the world turned down in the most gentlemen like fashion and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Bastian Schweinsteiger is the captain without an armband.

 

The Goldbridge Blog – Manchester United Title Contenders?

Manchester United Title Contenders?

Another week and another fantastic three points for Manchester United. Southampton away was never going to be an easy game and whilst a couple of Jonny Evan’s style – I’ll come back to him later – mishaps in their defence gifted us a couple of goals we shouldn’t underestimate United’s role in the victory. The excellent 45 pass move that led to the third goal, the recovery from a physically and mentally sapping defeat to PSV just a few days earlier, and the fact that like every other side in the Premier League – when Manchester United come to town it’s that clubs cup final. Teams suddenly start playing like they’ll all be executed by firing squad at the final whistle if they don’t win but that’s the price you pay for being the biggest club in the world.

So a great three points last weekend and with the win against Liverpool, and Sunderland to come this weekend, we should be looking at a very strong return of nine points from our last three games. Add in to that the Pereira inspired three nil win against Ipswich last night and things are definitely looking up for United. Just think, if we’d taken the two points we dropped at home to Newcastle we’d be top! Not to mention the three points Romero literally threw away at Swansea.

Like Anderson at an all you can eat buffet, we shouldn’t be greedy though. I love the way Van Gaal has cleared the dead wood from the squad and focussed on youth and the future but to start expecting a title challenge is a bit premature. United are a work in progress and whilst we’re definitely on the right road there will be potholes along the way. Our October fixture list and defensive issues being two potential bumps we need to avoid.

I mentioned Jonny Evans at the start and it’s ironic that some United fans are now unhappy we sold him. Calamity Jones – please note I use this term not because he’s a bad defender but because he’s accident prone – Rojo and McNair are currently suffering with injuries. I’m fully aware that Jones is nearly back to full fitness but give him a couple of weeks and he’ll trip over a paperclip and be out for six months with the flu. Which leaves us with Smalling and Blind. It’s far from ideal and many said at the start of the summer that a centre back was a priority if only because of all the injury problems we’ve suffered in that position over the last few years. We didn’t sign anyone and now our whole season depends on the fitness of Smalling and Blind.

Would I want Evans back though? No. I’d rather paint a number five on the back of a back of cement and stick that beside Chris Smalling than bring Evans back. But I do agree we’ve taken a huge risk leaving ourselves light in a position we’ve always had injury problems with.

On a positive note the attack seems to have solved it’s problems just at the moment the defence is starting to crumble. Martial looks deadlier than a fox in a chicken coup, Memphis is gradually finding his feet and Pereira, finally, has been given the chance to show he’s ready to be part of the first team setup. Yes, Fellaini is a concern and Rooney is still consistently stuck between average and inept. But who cares? The young boys are ready. They’re banging on the first team door and Van Gaal cannot ignore them.

So let’s enjoy this ride as long as it lasts. If we can get through October within a couple of points of the leaders and our defence in tact then who knows what we can achieve this season? January offers us the opportunity to buy a defender and Memphis, Martial and Pereira are climbing the mountain when it comes to their career – ie they’re only going to get better. If they feel like pushing Fellaini down it on their way up that might help too….

I’ll be back with my weekly blog next week. In the meantime don’t forget to take a look at our NEW Fancam idea and get involved in have YOUR say

By Mark Goldbridge

Manchester United V Ipswich Town | Match Report

Manchester United cruise into the fourth round of the Capital One cup with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich Town. Wayne Rooney, Andreas Pereira and Anthony Martial Provide the goals.

Manchester United were in complete control of the first half with some decent spells of passing and movement. But it was on the 22nd minute that their first real goal opportunity presented itself.

Daley Blind played a long, direct ball through the centre of the Ipswich defence, finding Rooney on the edge of the box. Rooney did well to bring the ball under control with his first touch, setting himself up to drill the ball through the keepers legs.

Manchester United continued to put pressure on the Ipswich back line with lots of one touch passing around the edge of the Ipswich penalty area. An opening was found when a rare, but clever lay off from Fellaini, allowed Mata to get a shot off which was saved by the keeper.

Ipswich Town were very quiet during the first 45 minutes with perhaps their best chance coming early on in the 9th minute when Herrera was forced to make a very important tackle deep inside the box to prevent a shot at goal.

At just one goal down, Ipswich came out in the second half full of belief. They put some early pressure on United creating chances on goal.

On 49 minutes Fellaini played a weak pass which resulted in an Ipswich player picking up the loose ball and whipping in a cross. Fortunately for Fellaini the cross come to nothing.

Manchester United quickly regained control of the game and were quick to increase their lead. On 58 minutes, Mata was brought down on the edge of the box winning a free kick in a dangerous position. Both Mata and Pereira lined up to take the kick. It was Pereira who struck, curling the ball up and over the wall then dipping into the bottom right corner.

United really found their rhythm again after this goal and began creating some chances with Mata, Martial (who was brought on as a sub) and Pereira all having shots saved or going narrowly wide.

Apart from the first ten minutes of the second half, Ipswich were very much like they were in the first; not having a great deal of joy in front of the Manchester United goal.

There was one scare, however, in the 83rd minute when it looked as though Ipswich might pull a goal back. But, Phil Jones (who also came on from the bench) was alert to the situation and stuck a foot out to dispossess the Ipswich attacker on the edge of the six yard box.

To seal the victory, Anthony Martial, staying true to form, made easy work of placing the ball past the Ipswich keeper at the far post in the 92nd minute. The 19 year old found himself on the end of a ball over the top after a deflection off Memphis. Showing his strength, he resisted the advances from an Ipswich defender and ended up one on one with the keeper. Everyone knew what was coming at this point and many United fans had already started celebrating.

Most of United’s control and dominance during this game was largely down to Bastian Schweinsteiger. Since joining the club he has proven to be a huge presence all over the pitch and today was no exception. He dictated the play very well and always found space to receive a pass.

It was also a great evening for Pereira. The youngster made his first competitive start for Manchester United under Louis van Gaal and bagged himself a goal.

You can also watch The United Stand’s match reaction video by clicking here or watching below.

Manchester United Team Sheet

David de Gea
Antonio Valencia
Chris Smalling
Daley Blind
Ashley Young
Bastian Schweinsteiger
Ander Herrera
Juan Mata
Marouane Fellaini
Andreas Pereira
Wayne Rooney

Subs:

Sergio Romero
Matteo Darmian
Phil Jones
Michael Carrick
Morgan Schneiderlin
Memphis Depay
Anthony Martial

Ipswich Town Team Sheet

Bialkowski
Yorwerth
Oar
Malarczyk
Parr
Emmanuel
Coke
Tabb
Bru
McGoldrick
Murphy

Subs:

Chambers
Maitland-Niles
Pitman
Sears
Kenlock
Crowe
Toure

The Reason Behind Rooney’s Lack Of Goals

Since the days of the angry and malicious teenager who was frowned upon due to his poor discipline to being made the Manchester United and England captain, at the age of 29 has Wayne Rooney matured too much?

It may seem ridiculous criticising a player for being too mature, especially when he’s the captain of his club and country, but does acting like a role model ruin the free scoring Rooney that the world has known for many years? Since the grand honour of captaincy has been awarded to Wayne, his days of reckless challenges and attitude has slowly washed away and replaced with one that young children can look up to but it isn’t being a role model that contributes to titles, it’s goals. Although not far from thirty years old, Wayne is still a very quick player and still has the ability to beat any defender in world football so pace is certainly not the thing missing from his game in 2015. It’s the hunger, the determination in his eyes when he looses the ball, he doesn’t want anyone to remember that after the game, but instead his attitude to win the ball back. The captaincy in my opinion has changed his game whether Wayne admits it or not, if he made a bad challenge he would have been criticised but as the captain of Manchester United and England nowadays the press will not let him live it down. Wayne was so hungry he even turned on his best friend in Cristiano Ronaldo after the famous win, that’s the Rooney we need to see again, the man that will knock down everyone in his way to score a goal.

To explain my point, in 2007-2008 title winning season, Wayne missed ten games but still finished the season with 18 goals in all competitions, that’s incredible after missing 900 minutes of football in his most injury prone season with United. Now fast forward six years to July 2014 after the departure on Nemanja Vidic, Wayne was announced club captain at United and after playing most games in the season Rooney finished the campaign as the reds leading goal scorer with 14 goals, four less than in 2008. This turned out to be the lowest by a leading scorer since 1982. That’s four less goals than a season where he missed 10 games through injury and whether that boils down to age or the pressure of captaincy it certainly shows evidence for my point that after being announced captain, the goals and hunger have dropped from his game.

Wayne is and will forever be a Manchester United and England legend and a player that I admire, so I am not harshly criticising him because you also have to take in that van Gaal’s philosophy of passing may not fit and out and out striker, but one thing that you cannot deny is the Rooney we are watching now isn’t as hungry as the one in the Sir Alex Ferguson era.

 

Southampton V Manchester United | Match Report

Manchester United’s visit to St Mary’s stadium saw them emerge victorious in a thrilling match that ended 3-2.

A brace from Anthony Martial and a goal from Mata sealed the victory for the reds but, they were made to wait almost 20 minutes before their first chance at goal.

Southampton had dominated the first 20-30 minutes of the game, creating lots of chances and putting United on the back foot.

Among those chances came the first goal, scored by Pelle on the 12th minute. David De Gea palmed a close range shot from Mane into Pelle’s path and he cooly slotted home to De Gea’s right, from 12 yards out.

Southampton continued to apply pressure. Including when they weren’t in possession of the ball. However, a brief moment of pressure from United, late in the first half, led to a scrap in the box and the ball fell kindly to Martial. Remaining composed, he turned and tucked the ball into the Southampton goal on 34 minutes.

This was a turning point in the game as Manchester United began to press, in search for a second, before half time.

The second half was a different story. Southampton, who were very well organised and disciplined in the first half seemed to drop off and allow Manchester United to come at them.

And it didn’t take long for United to take the lead. In the 50th minute Martial pounced onto a weak back pass from Yoshida and found himself one-on-one with Stekelenburg. Sending him the wrong way, Martial calmly placed the ball in the far corner.

The following ten minutes saw Southampton attempt to fight. By playing some quick football and running at the United defence, they searched for an equaliser. But this came to nothing and instead it was Manchester United who grabbed the next goal. Memphis cut in from the right and rifled a shot against the post. The ball then fell to Mata who was quickest to react and hit it first time to score and put United 3-1 up.

Now credit to Southampton as they gave united a scare and something to think about when on the 85th minute, Pelle found some space in the middle of the box to head his second goal of the game from a Sadio Mane cross.

Southampton continued to push forward until the final whistle having several shots either blocked by De Gea or going fractionally wide.

Team Sheets:

Southampton:

Stekelenburg
Yoshida
Fonte
van Dijk
Targett (Martina – 45′ )
Wanyama
Romeu (Davis – 56′ )
Mané
Ward-Prowse (Long – 76′ )
Tadic
Pellè

Substitutes

DaSoares
Long
Davis
Rodriguez
Martina
Juanmi

Manchester United:

de Gea
Darmian (A Valencia – 45′ )
Smalling
Blind
Rojo (McNair – 69′ )
Carrick (Schweinsteiger – 60′ )
Schneiderlin
Mata
Rooney
Depay
Martial

Substitutes

Young
Romero
Herrera
A Valencia
Fellaini
Schweinsteiger
McNair

Is Van Gaal’s Philosophy Ruining The United Way?

Since the day of his questionable judgement in the World Cup, replacing Jasper Cillessen with Tim Krul that is, many have wondered what goes on in Mr van Gaal’s head and whether it’s pure genius or just a major ego.

Whether you love him or hate him, his experience speaks for itself, he is a strong and bold manager who makes sure no player believes they are bigger than the club. Over the years he has had many fall outs with players, Zlatan being one of them and many ex Barcelona players during van Gaal’s time there. Despite his great characteristics of a successful manager, there are still doubts around groups of fans who believe he should be challenging for the title with the sort of money the club is spending, not for fourth place. I, myself, am not against LVG and do not wish to see his dismissal, but the Manchester United way is slowly drifting away and although a new manager with his own philosophy, we are not city and should not buy the title. If the club replicates the doings of Manchester City and Chelsea, no British players will be brought through regularly and the Class Of 92 will soon be a distant thing never to be replicated again.

The club has been the best out of the top English teams in creating or signing home grown players that not only benefit the club, but also the national team. With the vast amount of money being spent its time to say goodbye to the great British players who quickly adjust to the Premier League, only to settle with the foreign players who 95% of the time take a year or two to adjust and settle down. Now many may say I’m being harsh because of the likes of Blackett and Mcnair, but young Reece James had a bright future ahead but was sold by Van Gaal. Wilfried Zaha, filled with bags of potential, was never given a chance under David Moyes, also sold by Van Gaal. Danny Welbeck who could have been vital for our lack of striking options or even Jesse Lingard, who has been placed on loan for the last few seasons. The point is that these players are being wasted out on loan or being sold to smaller clubs when they could be at the helm for the clubs future. To be raised at Manchester United’s academy and be brought through all the way to the senior squad, you have to have something special and it’s important this isn’t ruined by a new managers philosophy, because whatever their beliefs are, they manage Manchester United, the biggest club in the world and we have to keep the United way.

Goldbridge Blog (2) – Manchester United Rule the World

Mark Goldbridge

Manchester United Rule

Manchester United – Not arrogant just better. We all know the tagline but this last week just demonstrates again how when it comes to our great club no truer words are spoken. In fact, fetch the shampoo because when it comes to popularity United are head and shoulders above any of our so called rivals.

Yes that popularity isn’t exclusively positive, like the rubber neckers who slow down to look at car crashes there are plenty of bitter you know what’s out there who revel in United doing badly. So bitter I’m convinced the first score they look for is United’s before they see how their mighty Liverpool have done. Either way, it demonstrates Manchester United’s mass appeal & like the odds on Arsenal winning the title this season, it’s only going to get bigger.

Since last week’s blog we’ve had De Gea signing a new contract dominating the national press – Hart, Courtois, Cech and Mignolet would be lucky to get half that publicity even if they danced through Trafalger square naked singing ring a ring a roses. We had the Martial winner against Liverpool that went viral in minutes and captured the imagination of the footballing community worldwide – Benteke scored a fairly decent goal in the same game and had about as much interest as wet paint drying. Then this week we’ve had the PSV loss & the horrific Luke Shaw injury causing mass debate all week – despite City losing and potentially losing their captain through injury and Arsenal losing and having their main striker sent off. The fact is United dwarf everyone when it comes to being the only story that matters.

So like a Labrador watching crufts what United story will the nation be drooling over this weekend? Normally I’d be more nervous than a cat’s tail in a room of full of rocking chairs – cats and dogs in one paragraph hey – at the prospect of an away trip to Southampton and I’m sure the #LVGOUT knives will be sharpened and ready for a Sunday night carve up. However, I’ve had a good feeling about this game all week and really fancy us to go and get three big points. Big points not only because Southampton are a very good side and any win there should be seen as a positive, but also because it would be a statement of what I and many other United fans believe we can be under LVG.

De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Rojo, Carrick, Schneiderling, Mata, Memphis, Rooney, Martial. That’s a starting eleven to set the heartbeat racing with anticipation and excitement. Playing to its potential it’s also a starting eleven that should be beating anyone in the Premier League. If Van Gaal goes with this lineup, or one very close to it, and they approach the game in the right way then three points is the minimum we should be leaving St Mary’s with on Sunday evening. That’s why I’m going with a two one win for United.

All in all it’s been a week of extreme highs and lows. De Gea staying and Martial sinking Liverpool with that wonder strike. Followed by the devastating loss of Luke Shaw for the season and a disappointing loss to PSV. That’s the life of a Manchester United fan. The highs are higher than any other team can dream of and the lows take you down to the depths of despair.

I wouldn’t change it for the world. Would you?

By Mark Goldbridge

Manchester United v PSV Match Review

PSV v Manchester United

PSV Eindhoven 2-1 Manchester United | Match Report

It was a night to forget for Manchester United as their return to the UEFA Champions League sees them suffer a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Dutch Eredivisie champions PSV Eindhoven. The result, however, was overshadowed by what looks to be a serious injury to in-form Luke Shaw.

On the 15th minute, Shaw brought the ball down superbly on the left wing and stormed through the PSV defence into the penalty area. Shaw was then brought to the ground by a horrific tackle by PSV’s Hector Moreno; who probably should have received a red card. Instead, no card was shown, nor a penalty given.

There was a display of class from the PSV fans as they stood and applauded Luke Shaw as he was stretchered off.

The majority of the game saw United dominate but with little on offer in the final third. This was partly due to the persistency of the

PSV defence cutting off all channels making it difficult for United to find a breakthrough.

Memphis did, however, find an opening on the 40th minute to score on his return to his former club. A clever run cutting in from left saw him squeeze between two PSV defenders and slot home between Zoet’s legs. The run and finish somewhat resembled Anthony Martial’s goal against Liverpool on Saturday.

The lead lasted all of 6 minute’s before Hector Moreno – who possibly should not have been on the pitch or even the continent – got on the end of a Lestienne corner with a header that took a slight deflection off Blind before beating David De Gea at the back post.
It took just 10 minutes for PSV to go on and take the lead. A misplaced pass from Darmian enabled Lestienne to find space down the left to receive a pass. Lestienne then whipped the ball in to find Narsingh at the back post, who calmly headed in from 6 yards.

A golden opportunity presented itself to Mata to equalise and possibly change the course of the game in the 60th minute when a sweetly placed cross from Schweinsteiger found him at the back post. Unfortunately this cross found Mata’s right foot and as we have seen before, he could only let the ball bounce off him and out for a goal kick.

Despite the two PSV goals David De Gea had very little to do with PSV only creating a handful of half chances.
United on the other hand continued to press for the majority of the game and had various spells throughout where they were able to get several shots at goal. One of which coming from Chris Smalling who made a darting run from the half way line just before half time, only to see his shot turned away by Zoet for a corner.

Another great chance came in the 77th minute when United were chasing an equaliser. Rojo split the defence with a through ball to Martial who dragged his shot marginally wide.

There were many times during the game where United were wasteful; with runs into and around the box not being spotted and passes going wayward.

One promising aspect of the game, other than plenty of attempts at goal, was the link up play between Memphis and Martial. They worked together really well with some smooth one-touch passing. On one occasion, in the 50th minute, this link up play almost lead to Memphis scoring a second and putting United in the lead, only the ball was fractionally too far ahead of him and his tame shot was easily collected by Zoet.

With that said, the most significant event during the game was the injury to Shaw. All of us here at the United Stand, along with Manchester United fans all over the world, wish Luke a speedy recovery.

Team sheets:
PSV
Zoet
Arias
Bruma
Moreno
Brenet
Propper
Hendrix
Guardado (Schaars – 70’)
Narsingh
de Jong
Lestienne (Locadia – 84’)

Subs:
Pereiro
Schaars
Poulsen
Locadia
Pasveer
Vloet
de Wijs

Manchester United

De Gea
Darmian
Smalling
Blind
Shaw (Rojo – 25’)
Schweinsteiger
Herrera (Fellaini – 74’)
Young (Valencia – 85’)
Mata
Depay
Martial

Subs:

Rojo
Carrick
Romero
Valencia
Fellaini
Schneiderlin
McNair

By Paul Gardiner

Mark Goldbridge Blog – Time to deliver Van Gaal

Mark Goldbridge

The Goldbridge Blog – LVG under pressure?

I release you Manchester United fans, the international break is over and we can all come out of hiding!

For two weeks Twitter dries up like a puddle in a heat wave, we find ourselves convincing ourselves that international football is interesting and we even consider having a bet on league two fixtures! It truly is painful.

But it’s over! Real football is back and what better way to celebrate that fact than a home game at the Theatre of dreams against the Scousers. Both sides locked on 7 points with what could be described as an average start to the season at best – although we haven’t been thrashed at home by West Ham yet – this is a must win game. Admittedly saying Liverpool at home is a must win game is a bit like saying is Brendan Rodgers addicted to toothpaste and tanning lotion but United have to get maximum points on Saturday evening. Anything less and it doesn’t matter how you dress it up, it’s a bad start to the season.

Will we win? I think so? As they say, confidence comes before a fall and it’s a pretty long fall if we slip up – I knew I’d get a dig in at Slippy G somewhere. Should we win? Definitely. We’re at home, we have the better team, the better manager and we’re playing a side who I’m sure will be more focussed on not getting beat than playing attacking football. So much depends on LVG’s philosophy going in to the game though. Philosophy is a word Van Gaal loves and it’s one that can mask all manner of truths. Such as why let RVP & Di Maria go and not secure replacements and why 18 months down the line are we still struggling to play exciting football?

Against Liverpool on Saturday I have another word beginning with P and it’s the only one we need. Passion. Forget the philosophy nonsense, forget the over analysing of the game and let the players loose. In every other sense of the word, other than location, Manchester United v Liverpool is a Derby. In a Derby game anything can happen. So to approach it in a methodical, rigid and tactical manner is to miss the point about what the Premier League is all about and what the United fans want to see. We are Manchester United, we’re at home, we’ve got the better players. Let’s get at them from the off and go for it!

Will it happen? I doubt it. I think Van Gaal will do what Van Gaal does and focus on possession away from the final third, play Mata on the wing and probably make the ridiculous but typically stubborn decision of playing Romero over De Gea. Will it prevent us winning the game? Even with the usual frustrations about team selection and tactics I still think we have enough about us to win. It probably won’t be pretty and we’ll no doubt dominate possession and win one nil thanks to a scuffed Memphis shot that hits the linesman and deflects off Jordan Henderson’s backside in to the net. But against Liverpool a win is a win and although I’m fed up saying that under LVG’s tenure and crave some entertainment in our victories, Saturday is one of those games where we really do have to win by any means.

And if we lose or draw? I can’t contemplate it. It’s the big unknown. I back Van Gaal, he’s done an amazing job clearing out the deadwood this summer and the first eleven we have is, if he gets them playing the way we want, good enough to beat anyone. But Liverpool is a must win game. If we don’t win will I suddenly join those who are already saying Van Gaal out? No. But I won’t be happy.

Fortunately none of us will experience that though. I’m going with three nil to United, three home clean sheets in a row & hat trick for goal king Rooney!

I’ll be back with my weekly blog next Thursday. The New Mark Goldbridge YouTube Channel is also now up and running and you can subscribe free and watch my first LIVE United fan Q & A by clicking here

By Mark Goldbridge