Category Archives: Previews


Manchester United vs Southampton in the league cup final. A chance for Jose Mourinho to win his first trophy as Manchester United manager and continue what has been an amazing season for United. Can they do it? Get commenting and have your say. Join us Sunday from 15.00pm GMT for the build up to the big match.

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IT’S TIME | United v Everton FA Cup Preview


All the mediocrity; all the dullness; all the inconsistencies. We cannot erase what has been but we can certainly get excited when Manchester United face Everton for a chance to progress to the Final of the FA Cup.

For all of Van Gaal’s faults, he can be proud of the youthful talent that has been introduced into the first team this season.

For players like Rashford, Fosu-Mensah and Lingard, they would have been satisfied with 10 first team appearances. Now they stand 90 minutes away from a final at Wembley.

But this is now and Lukaku and co. will be hurting after a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of their Merseyside neighbors, Liverpool.

To make matters worse for the Evertonians, there is a lot of angst amongst the fans toward Everton manager Roberto Martinez who like his opponent this Saturday, has overseen Everton produce an underwhelming and inconsistent season.

We have seen United bounce back after heavy losses this season and given this is Everton’s last hope to salvage a poor season by their standards, do not expect Everton to go down without a fight. A team that possesses Lukaku, Barkley and Deulofeu is a team that needs to be respected, irrespective of how poor their form coming in may be.

But they are depleted, particularly in defence, and if United are starting to show signs of progressing forward and attacking with a purpose.

Although the performance was overall dour, it was pleasing to see United use one defensive midfielder in Schneiderlin while freeing Rooney to roam up the park and choose passes. If United turn up, they should win comfortably and book their place in the FA Cup final.

Now’s the time. Stand up, Reds! This is our moment. For 90 minutes, forget our struggles. We’re going to Wembley and we’re not leaving Wembley until we lift a trophy above our heads.

Predicting a 3-1 win. Expect Rooney to have a big one against his former team.



Your Aussie Correspondent,
Larry – The United Stand

Why Ipswich Town Could Be Dangerous To United

So the third round of the Capital One Cup has drawn Manchester United and Ipswich Town together which will e played at The Theatre Of Dreams, but it may not be as easy as it looks on paper.

If Manchester United were going to draw anyone outside of the Premier League in their cup run, Ipswich may be the least wanted team possible. Commonly known as the ‘Tractor Boys’ the blues are managed by Mick McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor, who both have had a good career so far at Ipswich. Mick who usually plays a squad rotation in the cup has now suggested he may abandon that option and field his first team, who on there day are a very good side. So this article is going to explore the three things The Red Devils need to get right to win on the night.

Daryl Murphy

At the age of 32 Daryl Murphy only looks to be doing the opposite of the usual football expectations and getting better with age. Last seasons Championship top scorer the Irishman is very good with his back to goal and could course havoc for Blind if he’s at his best. Not to mention his striking partner David Mcgoldrick who is also very good when he is without injury problems. With the partnership of Smalling and Blind growing as each game goes by, they should be ale to keep the Ipswich target man quiet, but if they don’t it could lead to embarrassment at home. The good news for United though is Murphy is still currently injured and may not have regained full fitness by the time the fixture occurs but he has been selected by Martin O’neill for Ireland in the International Break.

Cup Fever & Expectations

As everyone knows you usually can’t guarantee results in the cup, the attitude of the underdog is always sky high because they are playing with no pressure especially if they are away from home. However the expectations of United to win is incredible and if they do not pick up the result the footballing world as we know it will go into meltdown, piling huge pressure on the shoulders on every United player on that pitch, which is why this game might be for the experienced ones.  For the Ipswich fans, if they become a walkover against the reds it will not be a huge issue for their campaign because they’d have travelled 6 hours and will have enjoyed their day out in Manchester.

The Team Selection

With Ipswich finishing in the Play-Offs in last seasons campaign and having a good start to this season they are not a team were United can field a team of youngsters, brining in Ryan Fraser on loan from Bournemouth and Niles on loan from Arsenal they have the pace if needed. To avoid embarrassment, LVG must play a regular first team with youngsters possibly on the bench, this isn’t the opposition to try players out. We really want to avoid another MK Dons.




The Manchester Derby – Nothing to Fear

Manchester Derby
Manchester Derby Preview

The Manchester Derby? I’ve got to be honest, it just doesn’t mean as much to me as Liverpool. Not even close. City can spend the money, buy as many trophies as they like and bring in the best mercenary football talent money can buy. But you can’t buy history. Yes it’s a local Derby and it’s nice to beat them but when the points are ours and the dust settles what does it matter? There’s only so much joy you can take from kicking a soulless empty cardboard box.

And that’s what Man City are to me. You can commission the best artist in the world to paint the box, you can wrap it in the finest gold plated ribbon, but it’s still an empty cardboard box inside. That’s not a cheap dig at the Emptihad being an attractive box with no fans inside either – although it does work quite well. I’m talking about the club in general. Before the money ripped the soul out of the club Manchester City actually had an identity, they had a heartbeat. Now they’re a club who were picked at random by a billionaire owner, with a ground they’ll never fill and a set of players who, whilst very good, have absolutely no affinity or care for the club. They’re mercenaries and when push comes to shove, Manchester City have no soul.

Vincent Kompany can talk the talk, saying the Derby has come at the right time for them to respond. He’s hardly going to sit down and tell the truth is he? “ Yeah Geoff, we’re a total embarrassment at the moment and the thought of going to the best team in the league right now in the most hostile of atmosphere’s doesn’t fill us with confidence. In fact, I’m thinking of feigning a groin strain on Sunday morning to get myself out of it”

City are on the ropes and they’ll continue to be knocked back down every time they think they’re on the road to success because their business plan is based on a too much too soon attitude. Chelsea – another club built on money – addressed the issue from the start by implementing a spine to the side that was willing to put their bodies on the line for the club – Terry, Lampard, Drogba. Arsenal also had it with Adams, Viera, Bergkamp and Henry. And United, well United didn’t have a spine, they had a whole body. City on the other hand have Hart and Kompany at a push. It’s not enough to build an empire. Yes they’ll win the odd title and cup by sacking their manager and spending massive amounts of money each summer but they’ll never build a dynasty until they bring in players who love the club. And to be blunt, what’s to love about an expensive cardboard box?

So with Sunday’s Derby on the horizon I can only see one winner – Manchester United. With the Old Trafford Faithful behind them United will get at City from the first minute. City will wobble because they don’t have the mentality to go toe to toe with a passionate and confident United and if we get an early goal I really do think we can win this game by three or four goals. The key is to not allow City to settle early on, they have good ball players like Toure, Silva and Nasri who given time will happily dictate the play. With the form we’re in though I fully expect a quick pressing game coupled with a noisy confident home crowd to put pay to that and once United slip in to their game City will see what happens when you build a club on youth and passion.

Three points in the Derby and we can leave City and Liverpool playing for scraps and fourth place. Come on United!

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Nothing to Fear in Mark’s Manchester United v Aston Villa Preview

Manchester United v Aston Villa PreviewThere’s no escaping the fact that Manchester United’s last two games have been convincing wins. The anti-United pundits can spout their usual nonsense about Liverpool and Spurs failing to turn up but we know the truth. Neither side was allowed to turn up because Van Gaal implemented a strategy that nullified the opposition from the very first minute. No side goes to Anfield and plays them off the park like we did in that first half – especially not United in what is, let’s be honest, Liverpool’s annual cup final. To do what we did should not be underestimated. It was sensational.

So with Aston Villa visiting Old Trafford this weekend the game has taken on the air of a foregone conclusion. And why shouldn’t it? Sandwiched between games against Spurs, Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea, this home tie against lowly Villa has long been identified as three points we must take. Must being the operative word. Have no illusions, United have to win this game. Ideally we want to see a repeat of the performances in the last two games but if the choice is between a swashbuckling great advert for football five all draw and a last minute winner off the referee’s backside in a game Villa deserved to win. I’ll be celebrating the referee’s rear end. Yes we want good football from United but we need three points.

Have no doubts, like a can of baked beans at a firing range Villa are there to be blown away. United need to go out from minute one like we have in our last two games and dominate them. Press them from the start and Villa will crumble. We’ve already dropped 2 points to them this season – playing the last half an hour at Villa Park against ten men and nearly losing – so it’s payback time. And for all Tim Sherwood’s bravado about coming to Old Trafford and giving us a game, if Villa come to Manchester and try to play they’ll end up getting a slap and a firm warning about their future behaviour at the theatre of dreams.

I’ve seen Aston Villa a few times this season and there really is nothing to fear.  In years gone by Villa could be a threat away from home, building their performances on a strong defence, an industrious and hardworking midfield, and hitting the channels of the opposition with pace on the flanks. Those days are gone. Two years of Paul Lambert’s negativity has stifled Villa’s ability to effectively attack sides and although the appointment of Sherwood will see a more progressive style of play they are in the midst of a relegation battle where points are more important than performance. Destroying a poor Sunderland side away doesn’t make them any more of a threat than a green salad at Christmas.

Man for man Villa just don’t have the players to concern United. It’s not arrogance but not one of the Aston Villa squad would make it anywhere near our subs bench, let alone the first team. Fabian Delph is a hardworking midfielder who, whilst a decent player, will never be top four standard. The same goes for Agbonlahor, a decent player who on his day can cause problems but has never been better than the club he’s spent all his career at. Then there’s Benteke, who looks about as interested in his Villa career as a vegetarian in a butchers. And that’s it. The rest of the Villa squad is made up of mediocrity who to be frank are best suited to sides battling it out in the bottom half of the Premier League.

Sherwood will say they’re coming to win but the facts don’t lie. Aston Villa are three points off the relegation zone with a slightly better goal difference than those below them. A comprehensive beating by United could see them consigned to the bottom three come Easter Sunday. Not many teams come back from that. They also have QPR at home on Tuesday evening. A game they must win. So in many ways the United game is a hindrance. Villa simply can’t afford to use up valuable energy on a game they have a very slim chance of getting anything out of. Their only option is to sit deep, conserve energy for the six pointer against QPR, and look to hit United on the break.

The only thing United have to fear is their own complacency. Villa will park the bus and gift United the possession. We need to show the desire and patience to keep probing away until we get that breakthrough. And with Fellaini in the side we can mix things up a bit and throw the odd high ball in to the box if needs be.

And if it is approaching the ninetieth minute and it’s still nil nil don’t panic. Aston Villa’s last two losses have come from late goals from the opposition. And there’s always the referee’s backside….