Memphis Depay – The next Robben or Ronaldo?

Memphis Depay signs for United

Memphis Depay – The next Robben or Ronaldo?

Yesterday both Manchester United and the player confirmed that Memphis Depay will become a Manchester United player this summer subject to a medical.  The fee for the young Dutch winger is believed to be about £25 million.  It will be the player’s first move and the early signs would suggest many United fans will hope that remains the case for many years to come.

He made his official debut on the 21st of September 2011. So he has been around the first team for just under four years. In that time he has become the main man at PSV as they marched to their first title since 2008. Coming in from the left hand side he managed an impressive 21 goals in 28 games.

Of course the Dutch league is not as high of standard as the English Premier League but when you considered combined Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie and Rademal Falcao only have 26 goals between them you cannot help but get excited about the clubs latest addition.

So what kind of player is Depay? From what I have seen of him in the Dutch league, I must say I am very impressed. Like Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben and Manchester United winger Ashley Young he is a winger who plays on the wing of his weaker foot. This means cutting inside and shooting from distance is a large part of his game. Thankfully I am very glad to say he is able to shoot with great effect from distance.  A quality United have lacked since the departures of Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo. Like Ronaldo in his younger days he does sometimes overdo it on the wing with tricks and flicks trying to go down his left hand side, but I do feel this will come with time.

The player he reminds me of the most is Robben. The Ronaldo reference comes in terms of his confidence levels. This is something I believe all great teams need. Would Manchester United have achieved what they achieved without the cockiness that both Ronaldo and Eric Cantona processed? I remember listening to sky sports during the week and they talked about how when the main players at clubs press the opposition it makes the rest of the team raise their standards. This was in reference to Alexis Sanchez and Luis Suarez. I believe this applies to confidence too. If you have a player in a side that always has belief it will have a positive effect on his teammates.   I can say with great belief, Depay will not shy away from taking players on, even if he has a few bad games.

Depay is quick, direct, he has pace to burn and has more tricks than Dynamo. Not to mention his amazing goal scoring record from free kicks this season. Five goals directly from free kicks is impressive no matter where you go.

My only concern can be summed up in three words. Angel Di Maria. Like Depay, Di Maria has pace, he is direct and is decent from dead ball situations. But both Di Maria & Depay’s greatest strength is their ability to beat the defender. So why doesn’t Di Maria run at defenders the same way he did last season for Real Madrid? The answer is simple, Louis Van Gaal is near obsessed with possession. So why will Depay fair any different in this system?

Another potential worry is often when players come from abroad they struggle to adapt to a new culture, league and in this case system. Depay has had a somewhat free role at PSV in recent months. That will not be the case at United. So for me the worry is not whether Depay will adapt to the Premier league but whether Louis Van Gaal will play to his strengths?

Maybe it will be different for Depay as we know for sure that he is an LVG signing, which is not the case with both Falcao and Di Maria. If Depay is allowed to blossom like Robben then we have a real star on our hands. If he is suppressed in a system that doesn’t suit him like Di Maria then his future may not be so bright?

I guess it is something only time will tell.

By Diarmuid Gillingham

Happy Birthday David Beckham

David Beckham Happy BirthdayHappy Birthday David Beckham

When I’m asked about David Beckham there’s two words that instantly come to mind, respect and legend. Two words I don’t throw about very often, especially when dealing with the modern day footballer but having been fortunate enough to witness the whole of Beckham’s career, there’s no escaping the fact that he deserves our respect and he is a without doubt a United legend.

There will be many Manchester United fans who because of age won’t have witnessed much if any of Beck’s United career, so when I say what I’m about to say you may well recoil in horror. But, and I say this with one hundred per cent honesty, if I had to pick between Beckham and Rooney I’d go for Becks every time. Rooney is loved for his desire and work rate but he’s a mere amateur when it comes to what Beckham offered.

As a footballer Beckham doesn’t receive the credit he deserves from many observers. He genuinely was the best crosser of the ball United & England have ever seen and nobody in world football could deliver a fifty yard pass with the precision and back spin he could – funnily enough something Rooney has also modeled his game on in recent years. Bringing it back to work rate though, he was unparalleled. Neither Beckham or Gary Neville were graced with the greatest pace but their stamina and understanding made them the best right side combination in world football for five years. And who could forget England versus Greece at Old Trafford in 2002 – the game David Beckham single handedly took England to the World Cup in Japan. Again, not many United fans will have seen that game but in my lifetime it’s the one game that stands out where one player really did drive the whole team. It was an immense performance where Beckham was everywhere. His late free kick winning the game and sending us through.

So happy 40th Birthday Becks. To me and many United fans you’ll always have a special place in our hearts. Castigated wrongly and literally hung out to dry by the nation after his sending off in the 1998 World Cup, it was the United faithful who quite rightly stood by one of their own and watched him prove the world wrong the next season when Becks played a huge role in that historic treble winning side.

And when the end came because Sir Alex couldn’t deal with the limelight football’s number one icon brought to his old school approach to football, there was no tantrum from Beckham. He kept his council and held his tongue, where others would have blown a fuse at being thrown out of the club he’s always loved.

So big respect to our Legend, Sir David Beckham.

By Mark Goldbridge

Time to Stand Up

Time to stand up Manchester UnitedSo it’s a Monday morning after a United defeat. Thinking how poorly we played and how the Everton game panned out very different to how we imagined it? Yep, me too.

However, I’m sure we would all be feeling a hell of a lot worse if our great rivals over in Merseyside had won. If Liverpool had indeed beaten West Brom, as well as their game in hand against Hull, they would have only been two points behind us with four games to play. That would have well and truly been squeaky bum time for all of us! Thankfully they didn’t win and Hull look in better shape after their win over Palace at the weekend.

Having said all that, my thoughts turn once again back to the game. Van Gaal’s comments after the game were very frank and honest: “I had already the feeling and my colleagues Ryan Giggs and Albert Stuivenberg had the feeling because the warm up was not so good as usual.” I don’t know about you, but that’s worrying to me. Sure, Liverpool didn’t win and things are looking positive in terms of us securing that all important top 4 place, but United sides of the past have been ruthless and had the conviction to smell blood and do the job. This side faltered pretty woefully. The complacency was obvious. That cannot happen at this level.

I watched the game back last night and can honestly say that we were well beaten. In every department. Many will argue we had plenty of possession but it goes back to the old saying “It’s not how much of the ball you have, it’s what you do with it that counts”. The game was fairly similar to the Chelsea one but the reality is that Everton were better than Chelsea and we were far, far worse.

Questions will be asked about the current crop. They’ve all been in pretty good form but the last two games felt like they’ve hit a bit of a wall. Perhaps some freshness in the side will do us good, or an injection of pace in Di Maria. He obviously hasn’t been in great form himself, but when he’s hardly playing and lacking confidence, you can’t expect miracles. Carrick’s absence is a huge blow for us. It’s not a coincidence that in the last two games where we’ve been poor and he hasn’t played. However, it’s pretty damning that we have to rely on a 34 year old.

Looking ahead to West Brom, a response is required. It’s time to stand up and be counted. A mentality this club has been superb at and needs to again. We still have that cushion over the chasing pack but we need to do our own job. Let’s hope the lads raise their game and get those all-important 3 points in the next game.

by Ben Smith @bensmith130

Manchester United Transfer News – Pogba Won’t Return

Paul Pogba to Manchester United?Manchester United have the money to compete with PSG, Man City and Real Madrid if they want to. Now repeat that back and let it sink in, because it’s true and it sounds nice doesn’t it? After last August’s transfer escapades we find ourselves in this exciting period where we just don’t know who will come in next – who can forget that last minute Falcao signing, even if it hasn’t worked out liked we’d all hoped. On top of the financial muscle to match anyone we also have a great history and support and a manager who has us playing some of the best football in Europe right now. It’s a fact. No player out there is unobtainable. So who do you want to see come in?

If it was down to me it would be Clyne/Coleman, Varane, Strootman, Pogba, Depay and Lacazette. All are achievable and in their differing ways required but in reality I’d be surprised to see us bring in another six players unless we can offload a similar amount – Evans, Rafael, Cleverley, Nani, Powell, Hernandez maybe?

Another player I think we’d be in for if they’re available is Bale or Ronaldo. It’s a big if but in this new era at United one of those two is exactly the sort of statement I believe United are looking to make this summer. We spent big last summer to get top four. We’ll spend big this summer to win the lot.

So which of the above players are likely to come off? Depay and Clyne are done deals and I’d expect them to be signed early on in the summer. Both will bring much needed youth and talent in their positions and both are from clubs and backgrounds that will fit in with the new possession based way of playing LVG demands at United. Varane is unlikely, he’s playing for Madrid and there’s no indication that they want to sell or he wants to move. I expect Hummels will be the player we end up with, there are a few concerns that Klopp could sign him for his new club and if he ends up at City then I’d expect Hummels to follow him there but if it’s Liverpool Hummels isn’t going to want to miss out on Champions League football at his age.

Strootman is interesting, he’s exactly the sort of box to box midfielder we need but the knee problems are a big red flag. Out with a cruciate injury for nine months Strootman was only back playing seven games when another knee injury finished his season. If there’s a better option out there then we should be going all out for them but Van Gaal has a soft spot for Strootman like Sir Alex had for Van Nistelrooy after his knee injury at PSV. And look how that panned out.

Which leaves us with Pogba, Lacazette and Bale/Ronaldo. Lacazette probably won’t happen, he’s all set to sign a new deal with Lyon and there hasn’t been much interest from United. The reason I’d welcome him to Old Trafford is because he’s two footed, quick and a lethal finisher. If he could transfer those abilities to our league then we’d have a forward on our hands we haven’t seen at United since the days of Andy Cole or Bebe. United with a quick lethal finisher would be unstoppable.

Now for Paul Pogba. Pogba to Manchester United should happen but I fear it won’t. Stick Pogba in the Fellaini position and he would take us from a top four side to champions instantly. He has the physicality and aerial threat United fans adore Fellaini for but more importantly Pogba can pass the ball off both feet, run with the ball at speed and finish from distance. He’s the perfect upgrade on Fellaini’s limitations and exactly what United need in that position but I can’t see it happening for one reason. Manchester United won’t want to embarrass themselves by signing a sixty million player they let go for free a couple of years ago.

And it was embarrassing.  We all worship Sir Alex but the Pogba thing was regrettable. The past is the past though and if it’s pride holding us back we should shove that aside and pay the money because Pogba at United would be sensational and I truly believe he has it in him to be World Class.

As for Bale or Ronaldo. If they were available I firmly believe United would go all out to get them. No question. Whether they are available I doubt. Bale I suspect will want to do at least another year in Madrid before coming back and Ronaldo is the best player in the world living the lifestyle in a sunny climate. Having said that, there’s a big part of me that just can’t see Ronaldo and Bale being in the same Madrid team next year….

Now it’s over to YOU! Comment below and give us your thoughts.

Can Fan Opinion Change?

Manchester United Fans opinionCan fan opinion change, or are we all just waiting for the next media bandwagon to pick us up? By Martin Peart

If the last two seasons have taught us anything it’s that change is difficult to deal with, we have been spoilt with success for over 25 years and have just had to witness things go from good to bad overnight. Manchester United fans have documented this all too well. I’m not about to say that the Moyes era is something as a United fan I enjoyed but it is something that has triggered a large number of bandwagons to come sweeping across social media picking up passengers left right and centre.

As a 28 year old fan of Manchester United I supported the club under one manager, I treat football with an open mind and try to avoid making judgement without considering all of the facts. So when Sir Alex Ferguson called it a day I, like all united fans had to deal with change. We all knew it had to come someday.

David Moyes was appointed and I found myself caught up in the whirlwind of ‘The Chosen One’ and with that one phrase I didn’t want ‘The Special One’ I was on the wagon.  All of my normal rational judgement went out the window and Moyes was the only one to lead us forward, Moyes was going to take us in to the next era….

That era for me ended with back to back home defeats to Everton and Newcastle United. I pulled the emergency brake on the ‘Believe’ bus and jumped off to find my team in 9th place and out of the title race before the Christmas lights were switched on in the city centre by some Z-list celebrity whose X-factor career had come screaming to an end.

The bandwagon went on with fans still backing Moyes before it crashed at the turn off for Europe. Now I don’t blame anyone for changing opinion. My point is that since the Moyes era United fans have become quick to judge and even quicker to forget their judgement, and I was one of them.

There have been a few big talking points this season. One of these being Louis Van Gaal and the others are long and documented debates on specific players.

So let’s start with The Boss. Louis Van Gaal came to United with a history of tactical Philosophy, a tried and tested blueprint and an arrogant appetite for success. He’s known to take no prisoners and get the best out of the players available to him. It’s no secret that Van Gaal is stubborn, we saw this with the continued attempt to shoehorn Rooney in to midfield with Fellaini playing a defensive central role, while Mata and Herrera watched from the bench as Van Persie and Falcao were starved of any service.

As United fans we were all entitled to speak up and raise concerns as Van Gaal continued to tinker with his squad. I didn’t want to see him sacked like a lot of United fans did, but realistically we have to face the fact that if we don’t get that ‘Top Four’ place, blame and action will be taken. In the modern game this is now the norm, just take a look across at City. From Premier League Champions, to fighting with the Scousers for fourth place, and we love it. It’s this very mentality that we want to avoid.

With United now up to third, pushing Arsenal for second and playing mouth-watering football with Champions League football on the horizon, where are all those United fans now who called for Van Gaal to be sacked in February?

Should we call them fickle and plastic? Or are they just being passionate about the Club wanting it to succeed?

On to the players, I spend a lot of time on social media reading about our team and how players are perceived by fans. It’s very apparent that tabloid press coverage can also play its part in provoking our attitude towards individuals.  I believe opinion can change, but not overnight.

Now you might start to think that I’m going to rave about Fellaini and his meteoric rise in stock this season, I’m not. What I will say is that used correctly he can hurt teams and we’ve seen that in recent weeks, his performances have contributed to the team’s resurrection and I’m not afraid to commend his attitude and mental strength, the majority of United fans can admit that 12-18 months ago we were shocked to see 27 million pound spent on the big Belgian after well documented attempts to bring in Gareth Bale and Cesc Fabregas.

The player I am going to focus on is Michael Carrick. At the start of Pre Season United were rocked by the news that Carrick would be out of action for the start of the new season. I tweeted out how costly this would be. Many United fans voiced their opinion expressing ‘United didn’t need Carrick’, that we would sign someone else and that his days as a United player were over. Some even questioned his credentials as a Manchester United player, oh how wrong they were.

Michael Carrick is the fuel that drives our team much like Paul Scholes, he is the ingredient that if missing causes that cake to flop. During this season we’ve seen Carrick come in and out of the squad due to injury. The statistics speak for themselves and I will whole heartedly say that without him playing United would be in 6th or 7th place with that ‘Top Four’ finish a distant fantasy.

I’ve now witnessed those same fans lay claim that Michael Carrick is world class and has been for the past decade.  Again I ask the question, should they be persecuted for their change of heart?

As fans we can all have opinion, we are never going to fully agree and we are never going to be 100% right, But let’s not become mercenaries of our own team. We are not the blue half of the city and we are certainly not Arsenal fans. We’ve all fallen victim to predetermining a judgement of the club and its players.

This season we’ve witnessed improvement on a squad wide scale. Ashley Young is playing out of his skin, Fellaini is bullying opposition defenders and so many other great things are happening before our very eyes, this is credit to the manager and to the players for fulfilling their potential and showing why they play for the shirt.

We have to accept that players won’t always be at their best, Van Persie hasn’t been great and our world record signing Angel Di Maria has been poor. Let’s not forget what they’ve done in the past and what the future has in store.

The next bandwagon is just around the corner, I simply ask you wave as it drives by and stay true to your own opinion and not get drawn in to the tabloid and social media fanfare because United are on the rise and our squad are all hungry to succeed.

By Martin Peart

Is Wayne Rooney World Class?

Wayne Rooney World Class?Wayne Rooney announcing Fellaini as world class is like Robbie Savage being crowned the winner of mastermind. Unbelievable and frankly it’s never going to happen . What Rooney actually said is, Fellaini is performing really well, he offers the team something different, and he’s probably the best in the world right now at bringing the ball down on his chest. All very true. But just because Stevie G is the best in the world at slipping over at crucial moments in a season, that doesn’t make him world class.

So now we know our captain hasn’t lost his marbles and isn’t about to declare Jonny Evans as the next Bobby Moore, we can move on to the more volatile subject of what is World Class? Two words any follower of the beautiful game will know well but can you to define it?

If social media carnage is your thing you could just run a poll entitled “Is Wayne Rooney World Class?” and watch the fireworks go off. United fans will quite rightly back him, rivals fans in the main won’t, and football fans worldwide would probably be split. Proving the point straight away that “World Class” is a personal test and everyone will have differing views on what the term actually means.

To me it means the player has consistently proved themselves on the world stage – World Cup, Champions League, nominated for Ballon d’Or. They also need to be the best in the world in their given position, or at the least in the top three – think Messi and Ronaldo. And finally, they need to be someone that in twenty years we’ll all look back on say, they were World Class.

Anything beyond the above limitations is dangerous and falls in to the sensationalist trap set by the media – which is all about taking money out of your pocket. Money is already polluting our game and hyping it up to ridiculous levels – The Premier League is the number one brand in world football but it’s far from the number one product. And because of this drive to make money the media brainwashes us in to creating any legacy it wants. So instead of a select few being World Class we have twenty or thirty players who are given the tag.

Faced with such a barrage of publicity and advertising fans believe the hype and the true World Class players of the past are diluted as they are compared with the pretenders of today. The true tragedy being that in twenty years time children will be told about World Class talents of today such as Rooney, Aguero, Sanchez, Beckham and Frank Lampard! Talents that will be inaccurately afforded the same status as the likes of Maradonna, Cruyff & Bobby Charlton. It’s appalling.

To hammer this point home, name twenty players from the last fifty years who are world class – most of you should be able to get in to double figures but it’s not easy. Now name twenty players who fans and the media describe as world class today. Easy isn’t it? The reason behind this is money and marketing at its cynical best. The sponsors want your money and they hype the game up to unrealistic levels so that many fans believe they’re witnessing true greats. When the fact is there’s only two in the modern era, Ronaldo and Messi.

Rooney, Suerez, Pogba, Aguero, Benzema, Lahm, Pirlo, Bale, Toure etc are all top class players and some of them are still young enough to maybe, just maybe, move in to that World Class bracket. But World class now? Don’t make me laugh. There’s always been players of that calibre in football.  Take 1990 as an example. Gullit, Van Basten, Voller, Gascoigne, Brehme, Baggio, Rijkaard, Stoichkov, were all top class players who were comparable or better than everyone we have today bar Messi and Ronaldo. But there’s only player I’d class as World Class from that era and that’s Lothar Matthaus.

That’s how it should be. One or two World Class talents who endure through the years from a certain era.

As for fans saying any player in the Premier League is World Class. I’d strongly advise they look at the facts. The Premier League is a phenomenal product, the best in the world. We all love it and look forward to watching United play in it every week. Globally it brings in billions of pounds. But quality wise it’s poor and the last couple of years in Europe have shown that. Spanish, Italian and French teams have dealt with our best teams comfortably and even sides from Turkey and Portugal haven’t had too many problems. Right now being a top player in the Premier League doesn’t mean that much. So to say a player performing well in it is World Class involves way too much guess work in my opinion.

So let’s open the debate! There should be plenty out there and as always we’ll listen and reply.

What does World Class mean to you? Because if it means Wayne Rooney or Marouane Fellaini you really need to ask yourself why.

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!

Which is the BIGGER game to YOU?

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Van Persie – Should He Stay or Should He Go?

Robin Van Persie
When you make a video at the start of the season backing Robin Van Persie, there’s nowhere to hide when it all comes crashing down – for those of you who take pleasure in my misfortune I’ll save you the time searching for the video – the links here if you want a laugh.

So with that very public record of my Van Persie stance there isn’t much room for me to move in this article, even if I wanted to. We pride ourselves on being consistent on The United Stand – anyone doubting that refer to my thoughts on Fellaini – and as much I accept Robin has been very disappointing again this season, I still believe he has it in him to be a major asset for United.

So what’s the future for RVP? Is his time at United coming to an end or is there one last curtain call in the Theatre of Dreams?

Recent straw polls suggest most Manchester United fans have run out of patience and want Van Persie to move on in the summer, with the likes of Cavani or Benzema preferred options. The polls are far from cut and dry though. There’s still strong support for the man who single handedly won Sir Alex his and United’s last title two years ago – while a certain Mr Rooney underperformed and sulked his way through the campaign. And let’s not forget Van Persie scored the World cup’s best goal only last summer. So why shouldn’t he have the support of the Old Trafford faithful? He’s surely done more than enough in his short tenure at the club to earn at least one more drink in the last chance saloon? If this season’s taught us one thing it’s this, if Fellaini can do it anyone can.

Yes, there’s been an alarming drop off in his United form over the last eighteen months – albeit, last season he had the universally accepted excuse of Moyes. This season he’s been playing under his self-confessed football Dad in LVG though and yet we’ve still seen the worst performances from RVP in a decade. When searching for reasons why the common excuse is age and injury have caught up with him but I’m not entirely convinced. There’s no denying that time catches up with all players but let’s consider the bigger picture for a moment. We’re all currently revelling in the sexy football United have played in the last three games but don’t forget the previous twenty eight. The football was dire, we weren’t creating anything and it’s no surprise that all of our forwards were struggling for form. In come Mata, Herrera and Carrick, the possession and pressing game clicks in to place, and from creating hardly anything we’re dominating sides from start to finish. Give Van Persie a couple of run outs in this side, or Falcao for that matter, and I guarantee you’d see a very different RVP to the one that’s struggled this season. Few forwards perform well without service and Van Persie has always been a striker who relies on quality.

Stick him in the Chelsea side with his old pal Fabregas to pick out his runs and he’d still score twenty goals a season. Give him a run in this United side with Herrera and Mata behind him and I’m convinced he’ll do the same. Yes, he’s had a bad season, there’s no escaping that fact. But he’s played all of that season in a poor side starved of service. Within this new exciting United setup he still has a lot to offer.

Whether he has anything to offer beyond the summer is the big question. Over to you.

Manchester United Player Ratings v Aston Villa

Manchester United Player ratingsManchester United v Aston Villa Match Review & Player Ratings

If the home win against Spurs was steak and chips and the destruction of Liverpool at Anfield was a a fine Sunday roast dinner, yesterday’s win at Old Trafford against Aston Villa was very definitely beans on toast. United lacked the urgency and panache of their fine dining previous wins but ultimately they beat the villa and everyone left feeling satisfied.

It wasn’t uneasy on the eye, there were sprinkles of class within the performance – like some grated cheese and a dash of worcestershire sauce on those beans – but the game had a feel of getting the job done about it and the United boys should be commended for that. This was a game where only a win would do and they won the game. With Man City up next yesterday’s win was the perfect audition. The foot was slightly off the accelerator compared to the Anfield game but we had more than enough power to achieve what we needed to achieve and have plenty in reserve for next week.

So let’s look at the match ratings

David De Gea – Probably his worst game of the season – although he’s deserved at least a couple of these after his heroics so far. Very quiet game with little to do but then made a big mistake on the Villa goal, when he should have saved comfortably – 5

Antonio Valencia – Industrious, hardworking and powerful down that right side but wasteful in the cross and didn’t have his best game. Many felt this was the sort of game to reintroduce Rafael for some quality delivery in to the box but that ship seems to have sailed with Van Gaal – 6

Daley Blind – Like his mentor Carrick, Blind is settling in to the unsung hero role perfectly. Statistically he was immense, with near perfect passing, tackling and involvement in two of the three goals. Luke Shaw would be a worried man – if he wasn’t sat on his backside earning such massive amounts of money – because on this form our first choice left back is Daley Blind – 8

Phil Jones – Didn’t have much to do, other than share the role of keeping Benteke quiet with Marcus Rojo. A steady performance – 6

Marcus Rojo – Great to see him back playing and fit again. Offers so much versatility from the back with that deadly left foot and could have scored from distance in the first half. Clumsy in the tackle on a couple of occasions but Rojo has the potential to be another great United centre back – 7

Michael Carrick – Typically unassuming to the casual observer but to those fans who understand how United tick, Carrick is the man from which the team’s momentum starts. A couple of passes went astray but he dictated the tempo and play for ninety minutes and never gave Villa a chance to compose themselves – 8

Ander Herrera – Man of the Match with two clinical finishes. Goals from midfield have been an issue for United since the days of Scholes. With Mata and Herrera zipping around the box that’s not a problem anymore. A firm fan favorite and at last getting the recognition from Van Gaal he deserves – 9

Juan Mata – Out of the goals today but worked tirelessly in pressing the opposition and retaining possession. Set up the killer third goal and surely a nailed on started going forward from here on in – 7.5

Ashley Young – Head and shoulders the man of the match in the first half. Offers pace and a killer ball in the final third but works tirelessly in his defensive role – Di Maria take note. Unlucky to be withdrawn for Di Maria – 8

Wayne Rooney Goal Aston Villa

Marouane Fellaini – Not his best game. Missed an easy chance to make it two nil in the second half and struggled to get in to the game. Possibly a game too far for him after a busy few weeks. Will be needed back to his best for the Derby – 6

Wayne Rooney – Led by example with determination and tenacity – see the hotley contested dropball that led to the third goal. Struggled a bit to get to grips with the game but the goal was sensational and that’s what Rooney brings to the side. A moment of magic when it’s needed – 7.5

Subs

Angel Di Maria – Came on for Young and like last week against Liverpool, the opposition immediately came more in to the game as United lost their defensive balance down the left. Provided another assist – although it was a poor cross to Rooney – 6

Radamel Falcao – Brought on for Fellaini. Didn’t have the time to make an impact. Should have been brought on ten minutes earlier – 6

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