Pereira shows again why he should get more game time

This season has seen many of United’s youngsters given plenty of opportunities and game time as a result of injuries to United’s senior players. But one of United’s hottest prospects, Andreas Pereira, is continuously overlooked by Louis van Gaal.

The young Brazilian was in action for Brazil’s under-23 team yesterday against Bafana Bafana. A game in which he scored with a composed finish. Pereira hopes that he can continue to perform for Brazil and take part in the Olympics.

Despite his lack of minutes at club level under van Gaal, Pereira still believes that United is the place that he can become a great player. In an interview with he had this to say:

“It’s a dream to play in the Olympics so hopefully I can do that. I am working hard to get there and hope I can. It’s an Under-23 team and obviously I’m 20 now.

“It is very special because Brazil have never won a gold medal in the Olympics for football. It would be nice if we can win it for the first time. Argentina have won it before so we want to catch up with them!

“My ultimate dream is to play for the first team of Brazil and win a World Cup. That’s my biggest dream. I know United can help me a lot with that dream and hopefully we can help out each other.”

You can read the full article on the Daily Mail website by clicking here.

Pereira shared a video of his goal via Twitter:

Marcos Rojo set to leave United

Marcos Rojo is looking to return to his childhood club Estudiantes once his current contract with Manchester United, which is set to expire in 2019, runs out.

Rojo joined Estudiantes at the age of ten and broke into the first team in 2009 where he spent three years.

Since joining Manchester United he has struggled to cement a first team spot ahead of Chris Smalling and Daley Blind, who are currently doing a fantastic job in heart of the defence.

In an interview with TyCSports, Rojo had this to say:

I miss the club, my family and my friends. I want to return to Estudiantes once I finish my contract in England.

You can read the full article on the Daily Mail website by clicking here.

Was He Worth it? Schweinsteiger and Blind injured as German’s signing is questioned

International friendlies –An opportunity to get a dose of patriotism as teams tinker with their squads for the upcoming Euro 2016 tournament– or an opportunity to derail your clubs top four hopes in the case of Manchester United.

As players left their clubs to push their claims for international duty, United duo Daley Blind and Bastian Schweinsteiger have succumbed to injury.

In positive news, Blind’s injury appears to be minor and looks set to play against England on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, Schweinsteiger was not afforded the same luxury, ruled out for the remainder of the 2015/16 season with a knee injury that’s plagued him for the best part of two seasons.

This has caused unrest in the football world, particular among Manchester United fans, who have begun to question whether the signing of Schweinsteiger has been a success or a flop. Let’s assess the German’s season and assess our position on Bastian.

The signing of the German was met with great excitement and praise among the United faithful. It was believed this was the greatest signing since Roy Keane – a box-to-box midfielder who can protect the defence and score wonder goals, freeing Wayne Rooney to be an out-and-out centre forward. In hindsight, this has not happened, with form and injury disallowing Schweinsteiger from any consistent game time to see the full potential of the legend’s offering.

But he was never going to be that Roy Keane. As Schweinsteiger approaches his 32nd Birthday, it is time for both management and player to consider how the German can provide to be most effective to this United side – if he can be effective, period.

Schweinsteiger picks up an injury while playing for United.
Schweinsteiger picks up an injury while playing for United.

Positives: What has been evident is the leadership qualities the German captain provides. We have heard Ryan Giggs’ praise of the German on many occasions, stating that no one has brought into ‘the United way’ quicker. As a man who has achieved so much in football, this quality can be used to help the younger players like Martial, Rashford, Memphis and Andreas Peirera as they continue to learn about dealing with the expectations of playing for a club with a large stature.

In football, we have seen that some players just have an aura about them – the man you see beside you in the dressing room where you look in his eyes and knew that as long as he was by your side, you were winning the game. This is how Schweinsteiger can be Roy Keane-like. Make no mistake about it, Schweinsteiger is a winner and although the cameras portray a happy, exuberant character, he will not be taking United’s current position lightly.

Negatives: For all of Schweinsteiger’s achievements, his performances in the red of Manchester have been underwhelming. In his 26 appearances in the Premier league and Champions league, Schweinsteiger’s return reads 1 goal and 1 assist. Not exactly the stats you expect from a world-class midfielder.

The biggest concern for the German international has to be his troublesome knee. It is approaching 2 years since the 2014 World Cup where Schweinster’s knee has become problematic and continues to plague him. For the United manager, whoever it may be, this has to enter the thought process as to whether he can make an effective contribution to Manchester United.

Consider this: Who has performed well this season? All the creative players in the side are not returning great numbers. In terms of midfielders, Herrera has the greatest return with 29 appearances, totalling 5 goals and 5 assists.

For all the disappointments of Schweinster’s inaugural season in England, it is worth remembering he was signed for a mere £6.5 million; toiletry expenses for a club the stature of Manchester United.

Final decision: He is worth another season. He has too much class, physically and intellectually, to be written off this early into the piece.

The time has come to assess the way the central midfielder is used. In recent times, we have seen Paul Scholes, Xavi and Steven Gerrard drop deeper into a ‘dictator’ role and be effective. A player of Schweinsteiger’s intellect could adopt a similar position, leaving him to control the pace of the game and play balls forward when an opportunity presents itself, while preserving his knee from large amounts of running.


Your Aussie Correspondent,
Larry – The United Stand

Glory Glory! Manchester is RED!… for now

Passion, rivalry, aggression – things that used to be the norm rather than the exception in the red vs blue from Manchester, but this clash provided in the former. It can be argued that this was down to 18 year old Mancunian Marcus Rashford, who scored in the winning goal in the 16th minute to keep United’s top 4 hopes within one point from their cross-town neighbors, but this was not the only moment for United’s young light of hope. Rashford was menacing all game, much to the torture of Dimechellis who had a terrible game, allowing Rashford to skip past him for the initial goal and quite blatantly committing a foul in the box that was somehow not called a penalty. To make matters worse for the former Bayern Munich defender, he was arguably responsible for Joe Hart coming off with an unnecessary backward pass that caused Hart to clear his line urgently close attention coming from Anthony Martial.

Usually, we would say such a win should see United kick-on and go on a run that sees them secure a top 4 finish; however, their recent inconsistencies makes one a very brave judge to make such a prediction. We need only to look at the second half where after a counter-attacking and promising first half, United spent the rest of the game in their own end. Being a goal down, Manchester City add a midfielder into the mix as they chase a goal to get back into the game which had United on the back foot; however, United looked comfortable to settle for as much.
City built pressure and had opportunities to get back into the game and had it not been for the poor form that Manchester City themselves are currently having, they may have punished United. United in the past would have gone for the game and secured the 2nd goal to put the result beyond doubt; however, Van Gaal with his questionable substitutions of Valencia, Schweinsteiger and Fosu-Mensah, looked to settle for the narrow win. Nonetheless, the red side of Manchester hung on to survive the on-slaught. So the question beckons, can Manchester United FINALLY mount some momentum to secure a top four finish?

It’s achievable — but the next three weeks are crucial. After the break, United face Everton at Old Trafford followed by Tottenham away with a West Ham replay for the FA Cup in between. These are very hard games and no doubt will test the mental toughness of this Manchester United side
With Manchester City struggling, United hold their own fate. For all of Louis Van Gaal’s struggles, he can save some dignity by securing a top 4 place and possibly an FA Cup before leaving the club. In order for United to do this, LVG needs to get his much maligned player selection spot on.

It is no coincidence that United displayed precision when Maroune Fellaini was left out of the game. This allowed Schneiderlin to protect the defence which freed Carrick to dictate play and look to push the ball forward. For all of Fellaini’s critics, I feel Van Gaal misuses him and opens him for criticism. Fellani’s best performances for Everton were in an attacking mid role behind the striker where he could get amongst defenders and use his frame to create opportunities for others, if not score himself. This is how United should deploy him if need be: late in the 2nd half when we need a physical presence to create a goal. Otherwise, he should be nowhere near this team. Simple.

As Schweinsteiger builds fitness, I think we will see United revert back to Schmidfield (Schneidlerlin and Schweinsteiger) which arguably has been our best combination. If United can maintain the current side as is and have Rooney to return, I think United can definitely achieve top 4. It also helps that United have five of their last eight fixtures at Old Trafford.

For now, let’s enjoy what was a great victory and the emergence of the next Mancunian star. It was a great win but there’s no doubt that top 4 is a must for a club of this stature, of this loyal and patient fan-base. This great club deserves to be great and the fans deserve a great club. Manchester is Red…let’s make the top 4 red as well.

Let’s stay strong, back the boys and stay United!


Your Aussie Correspondent,
Larry – The United Stand.

Juan Mata would welcome the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Juan Mata has said he would welcome the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker’s contract is due to expire in the summer and the 34-year old has been heavily-linked with a move Old Trafford.

The Spaniard told Sky Sports: “I don’t know what he is going to do, whether he is going to stay there or not, maybe he will try a new chapter in his long career.

Ibrahimovic has won trophies with the likes of Inter Milan, Ajax, AC Milan, PSG and Barcelona but is yet to play for an English club.

“He is probably the best in Sweden’s history for what he represents. He has played in so many countries and leagues and won trophies everywhere. That speaks about his quality as a player and his importance for PSG and in the national team where he is a captain.

“He is a very good player and I like to play with very good players. Every player would be happy to play with him.”




United join race to sign Koulibaly

Manchester United have joined Bayern Munich in a race to sign Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Koulibaly, 24, has played a vital part in Napoli’s fantastic season where they currently sit within three points of Serie A leaders Juventus. Napoli also boast the second best defensive record in the league.

The Napoli defender signed for the Italian club from Genk in 2014 and is currently in talks to extend his contract. Napoli want to secure the player for the long term before big clubs try to sign him. His agent had this to say:

There’s no hurry, but Napoli want to keep him for the long-term, and settle things before the massive clubs come in.

We’ve spoken calmly, but the president will decide if he wants to offer a renewal. We have contact with everyone, but he’s not for sale.

Watch Koulibaly in action below:

Michael Carrick Set For New Deal?

Fresh off the back of Sunday’s 1-0 victory over bitter rivals Manchester City, long-serving midfielder Michael Carrick has revealed that he is confident that negotiations over a new contract will begin shortly.

After the win, the 34-year-old was quoted as saying “I am not sure yet to be honest. I haven’t heard anything just at the moment, no. Hopefully some time soon. I have been here a long time, I have had some great times here and I love the club. It’s a great place to play. Playing games like against City keeps you having that buzz and enthusiasm to play for longer.

“I am not making a big deal of it, to be honest. I will just have to wait and see what happens. I am quite relaxed about it.”

If Carrick was to sign a new contract, it would coincide with a tenth year at the club having signed from Tottenham Hotspur in July 2006 by Sir Alex Ferguson for a reported £14 million. The England international has been pivotal in the club’s success ever since, the highlight being a starting berth in the Champions League victory in 2008 over Chelsea.

Manchester United fans have long admired the attributes that Carrick brings to the squad, having been a stalwart at the heart of the midfield during some of the club’s most successful years. He was a key member of the squad which won three successive Premier League titles between 2007 and 2009 and, with over 400 games for the club to date, sits within the top 25 appearance makers for Manchester United. His 34 caps for England to date show no reflection on his talent and it could easily be argued that Carrick has been vastly underused at international level.

Voted Players Player of the Year in 2013, Carrick has won five Premier League titles, one League Cup, one Champions League, one World Club Cup and five Community Shields in his time in Manchester. Whilst clearly in the twilight years of his career, a one year extension to his current deal would represent a huge positive for the club.

Blog: We must not paper over the cracks

It was a big week for United last week which turned out to be a mixed week in terms of results and performances. We took on Liverpool in the second leg of the Europa League round of 16, in which we needed to turn around a 2-0 deficit and then of course there was the highly anticipated Manchester Derby at the “Emptyhad” – although it was pretty full for this game.

It was a week that was important and a week that had the potential to either keep United’s season alive or totally destroy it and I have to be honest, I wasn’t particularly psyched for either game and that is purely down to the football we have been subjected to and the managers team selections. All season we have seen unfathomable team selections and severely mundane football, so you can forgive me for not being enthusiastic, despite who our opponents were and our recent record against the better teams.

The result against Liverpool came as no surprise to me, especially after seeing Fellaini had been picked and that Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin in particular, were left on the bench. I knew that with the Belgian playing that it would be like playing with 10 men and that we would struggle.

The game itself didn’t turn out as bad as I thought it would be though, however we did lack the desire and passion that you would expect from a Manchester United V Liverpool match. The performance was toothless and I failed to see any real passion or fight on the pitch. This was not acceptable in such a huge game on the Football calendar.

Philippe Coutinho breezes past Carrick and Blind (Picture:
Philippe Coutinho breezes past Carrick and Blind (Picture:

Then of course there were the defensive substitutions; two full backs and a defensive midfielder. In a game where you are chasing three goals, you make attacking changes, right? I know I’m no manager, but come on. Memphis was on the bench so why was he not used? As we have witnessed recently, he is that player who can produce something special. At the very least, he would have added some pace and strength in our attack.

Following the draw against Liverpool at Old Trafford came the victory in the Manchester derby at the Etihad. Again, I could not get excited during the few days building up to this match like I normally would for such a big game. Sure, City were also on a run of substandard form, but United have been so much worse. My hope was lifted a little, however, when I saw that Fellaini wasn’t starting. I liked the prospect of Carrick and Schneiderlin starting with Mata in the number 10 role. Mata hasn’t really been a standout player in recent weeks with goals and assists, but more often than not he is involved in the build up to goals… when we actually score them!

Rashford squares up to Demichelis in the Manchester derby (Picture:
Rashford squares up to Demichelis in the Manchester derby (Picture:

The team selection without Fellaini paid off. It felt like we had another option in midfield. I can’t help but believe that if Fellaini had played it would have been Schneiderlin who would have been left on the bench and Schneiderlin played a role in the build up to the only goal of the game. He and Mata linked up in the midfield then Mata threaded the ball through to Marcus Rashford. The youngster then skipped past an ageing Demichelis and slotted the ball past the England number 1, Joe Hart.

Winning this game gave United yet another glimmer of hope in finishing in the top four, with City – who currently sit fourth – now only one point ahead, although the remaining games each of the top 5/6 teams has tends to suggest that we may struggle to get that top four spot.

What can we take from the two matches?

If we are to take any positives from this week is has to be that with Marcus Rashford in the team our attack looks so much better with added pace, strength and of course, goals! All we need now is for Memphis to start firing and we can be a lethal attacking force again.

Michael Carrick also had two great games this week. His defensive contribution has been vital and his passing ability to instigate attacking moves has been admirable. And let’s not forget Smalling, Blind and de Gea. This trio have been excellent not just in the last week, but all season and are without doubt the reason we are not flirting around mid-table.

Paul’s final thought

We may all be happy that we have beaten City at the Etihad but we simply cannot forget the horror show we were subjected to over the two legs against Liverpool in the Europa League. The performance was disgusting and completely unacceptable against such big rivals. We must not allow ourselves to use the odd victory, like the one over City, to paper over the cracks of our poor season. As fans, some of us are slipping into that frame of mind where we are beginning to accept mediocrity. I have seen it on social media and I am guilty of it myself. This simply cannot happen.

Thank you for reading and enjoy the international break… Who am I kidding? No one enjoys it!

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the baby faced assassin

When Sir Alex Ferguson opted to sign the then unknown Norwegian forward Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of Alan Shearer back in 1996, you could have forgiven the united faithful for having their doubts. He was untested in the Premier League, was fairly Young and hand on heart we really hadn’t heard too much about him. However Solskjaer quickly went on to become arguably Sir Alex Ferguson’s finest ever bargain in his managerial career.

Having signed Solskjaer for a mere £1.5 Million pounds, Ole quickly established himself in the Manchester United side, becoming an instant fan favourite amongst the united supporter’s. His knack of popping up at the right times in the box was becoming a real trade mark for Ole and one that would save United on countless occasions, from his famous injury time goal vs Bayern Munich in the 1999 European Cup Final, to his last gasp winner against Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round at Old Trafford in 2007. When the big occasions came calling Ole didn’t go missing, he delivered.

It didn’t take Ole long to get off the mark for the club, 6 minutes to be exact. After seeing his initial effort saved the keeper, Ole neatly slotted the ball home on the rebound and into the bottom corner opening up his united account. This would be only a sign of things to come, as Solskjaer continued to cause opposition defence’s havoc. Ole ended his debut campaign for the club scoring in all a total of 19 goals, helping United secure yet another League Title.

The following season may not have quite hit the heights of the previous year with the club missing out on the Premier League title to arch rivals Arsenal, but Ole’s ever growing importance to the Manchester United side was becoming ever more undeniable. His late late equaliser against Chelsea at Old Trafford, followed up by his double against Blackburn Rovers, kept United well and truly in the race. Even though he only managed 9 goals, you could see the development he was making as a footballer, we knew we had something really special in Solskjaer.

What was to follow in the 1998/1999 campaign was beyond the stuff even dreams are made of! As United completed an historic treble. This would arguably be Solskjaer’s finest ever season in a Manchester United shirt, on paper the 2001/02 campaign could be classed as his personal best, as he scored more goals. However throughout treble winning campaign Ole’s goals and performance’s was just that little bit more special. He showed not just us, but the entire footballing world just how important he was to our side, when a chance fell to Solskjaer in the box, you could almost bet your house on him scoring, he was just that good.

We had to wait until January in the FA Cup clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford, to witness the first real bit of Magic arrive that season, but boy was it worth the wait! With United trailing 1-0 and all but a matter of minutes to go, Dwight Yorke looked to have rescued a draw for the reds with a late equaliser, but that was only to be half the story. Almost out of nowhere Ole dramatically appeared in the box, edging the ball to the left before then placing it past the keeper and giving United the victory, however the best was still yet to come. Picture the scene, last minute of a European cup final, 100,000 + supporters in the ground; probably will be the last kick of the game when the ball comes in from the corner, would the pressure be too much? No, Not for Ole, as he dramatically flicked the ball into the top right hand corner, winning the European Cup for Manchester United. The Treble was complete and so was Solskjaers’ legendary status at the club.

Of course it would be almost impossible to top or even for that matter match the standards set by the Treble winning campaign, it was a 1 in a million season. Despite the following seasons bringing more success, failure in Europe left us with a bitter taste in our mouths, the feeling that we could and should have won so much more, however from Solskjaer it was business as usual. A combined total of 28 goals over the next 2 seasons, (1999/2000/ 2000/2001) proved essential, as United eased their way to another 2 Premier League Titles.

The arrival of Dutch forward Ruud Van Nistelrooy would see Ole been given a more regular starting place in the Manchester United side, rather than appearing off the substitutes bench. Right from the off it was clear the pair had the makings of a fantastic partnership. In both Ruud and Ole you had two out and out goal scoring machines, they didn’t need 3 or 4 chances to find the back of the net, they only needed 1. The pair’s unreal striking partnership netted a combined total of a whopping 61 goals, as United narrowly missed out the League Title to Arsenal.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s persistence to playing Van Nistelrooy as the lone striker throughout the 2002/03 campaign did somewhat limit Ole’s opportunities to play in a more advanced role up front for the cub, but did see the Norwegian play in a unfamiliar position on the right wing. It was something we hadn’t really seen from Solskjaer before, but it was a role he did effectively with in particularly his standout moment coming against Newcastle United at Old Trafford, where he beautifully glided past Newcastle’s full back, before then giving it to Paul Scholes who empathically blasted the ball home helping United on their way to an 8th Premier League title. Ole was even selected to play on the Right hand side for the majority of United’s bigger games that season, including against the likes of Real Madrid and Arsenal where again he blossomed.

As we headed into Ole’s final few years at Old Trafford, injuries would become an unfortunate regular occurrence. A knee injury suffered against Panathinakios in September 2003 would limit the forwards appearance’s that campaign to a mere 19. An intensive Knee operation in August 2004 kept Solskjaer out on the side-lines for the next 2 years as he began his recovery process.

He finally made his long anticipated return from injury in August 2006 down at the Valley at Charlton Athletic, where in typical Solskjaer fashion coolly slid the ball home, adding United’s third and final goal of the game, It was almost like he had never been away. With it likely to be his last season, you just knew with Solskjaer he would leave us with just a few more injury time winners! And that is exactly what happened. Firstly it would be Celtic who would be on the end of one of Solskjaers late late shows, who after seeing Louis Saha’s effort saved by the keeper, tucked away the ball home, giving United a 3-2 victory, next it would be Aston Villa in the FA Cup. With the game seemingly all but certain to end 1-1, Ole from the edge of the area placed the ball under the keeper handing the club a 2-1 victory and a place in the next round of the FA Cup. Fittingly his last goal for the club came against Blackburn Rovers (where it all started off) scoring United’s fourth and final goal of the game in a vital 4-1 victory.

His retirement from the game was officially announced on 28th August 2007, which brought to an end an 11 year stay at the theatre if Dreams. His playing days may be long over but the memories he left still live ever present in the minds of every single Manchester United fan.


Young and Borthwick-Jackson Could Feature Against Liverpool

Louis Van Gaal has been handed a boost ahead of tomorrow nights make-or-break Europa League tie against Liverpool as it has been reported that Ashley Young and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson could feature in some capacity, as seen in The Guardian

Coincidentally, Young last featured for United in the victory over Liverpool on January 17th, where he suffered a groin injury, and the 30-year-old joined in training with the first team squad this morning. 19-year-old defender Borthwick-Jackson also rejoins the first team squad having not featured since the FA Cup victory over Shrewsbury Town in February.

Borthwick-Jackson has been one of the success stories this season since making his debut against West Bromich Albion as a substitute in Novemeber last year. He has since made 11 appearances for the club in all competitions and has earned many plaudits for his attack-minded displays reminiscent of those displayed during the Sir Alex Ferguson era.

With United trailing 2-0 to bitter rivals Liverpool after defeat in the first leg at Anfield, the return at Old Trafford is seen as crucial to the clubs hopes of reaching the Champions League through the back door as a top four finish remains in the hands of other teams. The return of Young and Borthwick-Jackson could prove to be pivotal as United look to qualify for the Champions League through the back door with hopes of a top four finish in the Premier League currently out of their hands.

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