Feb 12 2016

Sunderland vs United: A stadium of fight

Tag: Match Preview @ 8:20 pm

Arsenal-vs-Manchester-United (2)There are very few gifts in life, but writing satire on Sunderland the week Adam Johnson faces up to being called Patricia by his new cellmate is definitely one of them.

With a risk of this entire article being centred around prison jokes it’s probably best to get them out of the way now.

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Jan 22 2016

Dutchman do battle

Tag: Match Preview @ 6:34 pm

Manchester-United-v-SwanseaThe world really can go through some dramatic declines. As it changes around Bruce Forsyth’s lifeless corpse sometimes we fail to appreciate how rapidly things have transformed.

Within a few years cities can go from wonderful holiday destinations to urban decay. Musicians who once lit up the planet become distant memories. Donald trump has gone from being an eccentric billionaire to being an eccentric turd.

 A true showcase of how rapidly things can decline was the football match at Anfield last weekend. Two clubs that once were the most revered footballing empires resembled a divorced father. Lost, lacking identity and just hoping he hasn’t cried today.

 But the new week arrived with United securing their fourth win a row against Liverpool and the signs of a purple patch. With it will come renewed hope and blind optimism, as United fans will likely fall into the trap they’ve been victim of since Ferguson’s retirement.

 The last two decades of success mean United fans are still clamouring for the constant drip of trophies, but are unwilling to accept that this club is a long way from the force it once was. With every string of wins comes a stirring of optimism which catastrophically crashes once the defeats return.

 Two games at Old Trafford should be six easy points and a run at the title. But this is not the same United many have grown up with. This is a time of uncertainty and inconsistency. Expectations need to be managed.

 Similarly to not crying in the shower, winning against Southampton can’t be guaranteed.

 Manchester United team news

 A loss and a genuine shame is the news that Ashley Young will face an extended period on the sidelines with a groin injury. Van Gaal has hinted that he’ll dip into the transfer market to find a temporary replacement, but for this weekend it’s likely the Dutchman will have to improvise again.

 The paper thin squad continues to cause problems as Michael Carrick and Phil Jones are yet to return to the team. Marcos Rojo and Bastian Schweinsteiger are also still set to miss out through injury.

 Southampton team news

Southampton’s new signing Charlie Austin could make his debut, especially as fellow striker Graziano Pelle is doubtful with a knee injury.

Jay Rodriguez and Florian Gardos remain on the sidelines.

Key men

 For the first time in a long time Wayne Rooney looks like he belongs in the team. Partly because he’s slow, lethargic and inconsistent but also because he’s starting to score goals.

Although the England striker has been nothing short of atrocious this season, his current purple patch in front of goal has been key to United’s lift in form. With their captain revitalised the team looks like it’s capable of producing results and climbing back into the top four.

With Southampton also coming into form, Rooney’s goal scoring run is welcomed with open arms and will be essential in a match that is unlikely to have few openings.

Southampton are well organised and have recently recovered their form by tightening up at the back. Now their attacking players are able to express themselves and cause the damage everyone knows they can.

Saturday’s game presents a tough test that will require a captain and striker capable of leading the line.

Predicted starting XI


William Dawson

Jan 16 2016

Liverpool vs United preview: Duel of the dross

Tag: Match Preview @ 11:30 am

GettyImages-495500790Apathy is a strange concept. Often an emotion that follows the understanding of inevitability. Like waking up every day to a Tory government, or the sound of your own biological clock ticking and increasingly the fact that our most beloved are dying while many continue to breathe our limited oxygen.

You know that the world continues to lose the most important people to ever grace the planet while Piers Morgan, Katie Hopkins and Donald Trump ignore the cries for petitions of a group suicide pact.

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Dec 11 2015

A week of stormy seas ending in a trip to Bournemouth

Tag: Match Preview @ 10:30 pm

Manchester-United-v-PSV-Eindhoven (1)This opening paragraph is largely irrelevant. Everyone reading this will have already made up his or her minds about the man at the helm of Manchester United. Like one of Donald Trump’s thoughts you’re either filled with hatred or largely uncertain of anything.

The fact remains that regardless of what anyone thinks Louis Van Gaal will remain Manchester United manager. Here are some other facts. United are three points off the top of the Premier League. This is a young team full of potential and Katie Hopkins can spit acid up to 150 feet.

Some facts may need clarification but before this has been released United are still definitely three points away from first place.

Defeat in Wolfsburg was disappointing and a reminder that United have a lot of work to do before they can call themselves that tired propaganda rhetoric of “the biggest club in the world”. Football works in the short term and that label can only belong to a team performing in the present.

With a team in tatters through injuries and still thread bare during a rebuilding stage Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth could not have come at a better time. That is not sarcasm, it is an opportunity for a young group of players to step up and hold the United mantle aloft.

Not too dissimilar to a group of footballers in 1992.

Manchester United team news

 In the interest of keeping to the prescribed word count this will have to be brief. Otherwise we won’t get through the entire list.

Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian join the United injured starting XI, brining the total to nine injured players and one suspension.

Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Ander Herrera, Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney and Luke Shaw remain out. Bastian Schweinsteiger misses out through suspension after an incident that no one saw because they’d probably fallen asleep by that stage in the game.

Bournemouth team news

 Artur Boruc is expected to continue in goal for Bournemouth despite an ongoing knee problem, while Adam Federici and Marc Pugh have recovered from injury.

Lee Tomlin and on-loan Christian Atsu have returned to training but need to build up their fitness levels.

Key men

 Although they were beaten and beaten well in Wolfsburg, the young United players on the pitch that night can take pride in their performance. They played without fear, taking risks and attacking with intent. Something that has been missing for many months at Old Trafford.

With a large number of injuries it is important that this young side take their chances and begin to flourish. After an emphatic start to his United career Antony Martial had somewhat dropped off the radar. But an excellent finish against Wolfsburg midweek reminded everyone what a talent the young Frenchman is.

Yet to convince on the same scale is the young Dutch forward Memphis Depay. Although the Dutchman may need to improve his attitude off the pitch, on the pitch things look to be improving. With a run in the side and a consistent front three to work with, United could see the beginnings of a future generation.

Predicted starting XI


William Dawson

Dec 05 2015

United vs West Ham: The vote to attack

Tag: Match Preview @ 9:47 am

Manchester-United-v-West-BromIt’s fair to say the Tory government have ruffled a few feathers of late. Some members of the population have found themselves enraged at the idea that although Britain can’t afford to fund the NHS, it can afford another war in the Middle East.

What these people don’t realize is that the world we live in is not as predictable and linear as we might hope for. If it were there would be free education, no tax on tampons and Jamie Vardy would have been left in the egg he hatched from in Malia.

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Nov 21 2015

Watford vs United preview: The ambulance arrives

Tag: Match Preview @ 9:09 am

Manchester-United-v-West-Brom (1)Piss jousting is not a sport for everyone. A gentleman’s game usually involving two players, but sometimes a third. The winner is the one who can urinate the longest, therefore establishing himself as the dominant male. A king among men.

There is very little that compares to such a war of attrition, surviving the International break may be the only thing. In a world of such atrocities that can devastate a man to his core it is so wonderful to have the constants. Death, taxes and the Premier League.

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Nov 07 2015

United vs WBA: the bus arrives at Old Trafford

Club-Brugge-vs-Man-UnitedIt would probably be fair to argue that in a world where a photograph of an avocado is the most popular image on the internet, there clearly isn’t enough bleach on this planet. If there were we’d have culled the human race and successfully wiped out over population.

There isn’t and we haven’t, which goes a long way in explaining why grown men would boo their own team at a football match. There has been a lot of frustration at United of recent and much of it is justified, however it is hard to justify turning on your own team and manager in the way the Old Trafford crowd did on Tuesday.

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Oct 31 2015

United in bounce back battle

Tag: Match Preview @ 8:41 am

2463There is a lot 36 pounds can buy you. Half a tank of fuel, ten pints and most of Kerry Katona. It could also get you a seat at Old Trafford on Wednesday night. Though it seems strange that an establishment would charge such a sum of money rather than just spooning your eyeballs out with an ice cream scoop for free.

The display against Middlesborough midweek was atrocious, with or without lasers.

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