The Academy: A Trip to Wolves – Preview

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Saturday’s visit to Wolves is the first of 3 games in 11 days for United’s boys before they take a well earned two-week break. Having suffered a painful defeat to local rivals City last week, the boys will come into this game fresh from the experience with a new found determination to improve, it’s what a defeat like that does. The result was a useful barometer of where this team is. City has an exciting team and took full advantage of the weaknesses United have through the spine of the team but it wasn’t all about them, United had their chances too.

The heavy-ish 1-3 scoreline suggests otherwise, but United saw plenty of the ball and; remove a few lapses in concentration, a penalty awarded for seemingly nothing and the loss of United’s strongest central defender just a minute after getting back into the game, the story could’ve been an altogether different one. Yes; City were the better team on the day, but I’m not sure how many people would’ve expected it to be any different and I’m sure United are not as far behind as some will have you believe.


The frailties of this young United team are there for all to see and only perhaps a staunch Red like Paddy Crerand would suggest these boys look capable of success in either the League or the Youth Cup. Despite that, there’s moments in games that provide me with enough belief that come January, with 16 games under their belt and five months of training together, this team will iron out the frailties and begin to put in performances worthy of fans like you and me getting excited at their prospects.


Obviously that remains to be seen, but Saturday’s trip to Wolves should be an opportunity to give the lads a timely boost against a side that’s so far struggled for goals at home having played three but netting just four times. They’ve managed to win 2 out of the 3 games with that tally however and come into this game on the back of defeat after giving Bolton Wanderers their first home win of the season last week. (2-1)


Wolves players to look out for are Zeli Ishmail (2 goals ) and Jake Kempton (4 goals), the former being a much talked about (within Molyneux) ‘prospect for the future’ who suffered a long term injury but has returned and found his form.


This week’s been a mad week for me and it’s left me no time to find out who’s fit and who isn’t so my predicted line-up is purely a guess-stimate. I doubt the injury McCullough sustained last week will keep him out of the game despite its severity (9 stitches to an eye injury). I’m not sure James Weir will be fit to return and I’ve no idea if we’ve lost anyone to International duty.


So with that in mind I’ll predict a team from who I think is available, who needs a game and what I think might be worth a try, it’s highly likely the lineup will be incorrect but here goes.


Jacob / Blackett, Dalley, McCullough, Rudge/ Pearson, Rothwell, Daehli / GvV, Lawrence, Barmby
Subs: Coll, Hendrie, Ekangamene, Gorre, Byrne


Reasons: I think Luke Hendrie needs a rest and Jack Rudge needs a game so I’d swap them at RB. Ben Pearson deserves a start after performing well from the bench for two weeks and he has the skill to keep possession. Byrne isn’t receiving the service and hasn’t scored all season but we’re still scoring goals, that suggests to me we could do what we did for a large part of last season and play without a central striker. GvV is in the goals and ALL his goals for the club have been remarkably similar (rebounds from keeper and he’s there). Lawrence and Rothwell offer us opportunities from range and have the vision to create for others. Daehli likes to get into the box and shoot from the edge and Barmby offers us width on the right while Blacketts powerful overlapping runs offer width on the opposite flank. Our attacking options are many and varied which is great to see.


I very much doubt this will be the system McGuiness will opt for or the personnel he’ll choose to start but for what it’s worth I think it’s worth a try.


Either way, I can’t see past a dominant United performance tomorrow regardless of the team that’s selected. The lads are well capable of producing such a performance but the defensive frailties need to be addressed……starting tomorrow.


Prediction: An optimistic 3-0 win for the Reds with a much needed clean sheet.


Updates as usual will be provided during the game but I’ve changed my Twitter address to @Ian_Red_Rants so please search for me and follow me if you want the latest scores and updates.


Ian

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72 Comments

  1. typical utd fans – think the match is a formality (maybe thats why citae thrashed you)you had better hope that our players see it that way – mind you I wouldn’t bet on it because every team likes to put utd back in their place.

    • Bloody hell…..so it is true what they say about Wolves fans! They really are aggressive for no reason!

      every team likes to put utd back in their place.

      And where might that be? 😆

      See you tomorrow buddy, I’ll bring my riot shield! 😆

  2. A 3-0 win is very optimistic! I’m hoping for a draw, to be honest. Wolves are always difficult opponents at this level. They’re well organised, strong and can play as well. We lost 4-0 away from home last season against them with an inexperienced team. Six of our players who should feature tomorrow started in that game.

    I think we need to go with three in midfield, the defence needs more protection. I’d play Ekangamene, Rothwell and Pearson in the midfield three. There’s a nice balance between the three of them, they all offer something different. I’d rest Byrne and play Lawrence up front instead of him, with Daehli and Barmby cutting inside from the wings. I know that Van Velzen scored last week, but he’s disappointed me so far this season. Daehli needs a game. The back four picks itself.

    • Lawrence played that role at times last season and tbh he didn’t look anywhere near as impressive as he does when he drops into the hole. 

      For the first time ever I’m about to defend GvV! I think we’ve finally found out what he’s good at….arriving in the box late and snaffling half chances. GvV also played the central striker role at times last season and looked utterly clueless there, but he’s actually why I think we could do without a striker. We don’t have one good enough to be effective so utilise what we have which is a wealth of attacking midfield talent. 

      Last year the defence pitched in with a lot of goals from crosses and set pieces, this year the defence just need to concentrate on defending until Dalley and Hendrie improve, then maybe they can start to get forward.

      I understand your midfield but Ekangamene doesn’t offer good enough protection to call it protection, therefore I’d opt to try and keep the ball and let the defence deal with defending for themselves because the ‘protection’ would breakdown anyway, I think we have a better chance of keeping the ball than playing to stifle, if we keep the ball we don’t need to protect.

      This year Wolves are actually in a very similar positiin to us where the majority of their team is made up of first years so I anticipate a good game. Going off their results,lack of goals and their own managers reports that their defending isn’t very good, I think we’ll see a positive response and get all 3pts. 

      I hope so anyway, whichever way McGuiness chooses to play. 

      • I know that Lawrence is better suited to playing in the hole. But, I think it would be best to give Byrne a rest. I feel sorry for him, as he’s worked hard all season and has had little to work with. By playing Lawrence up front, I meant that he should play centrally in a front three of Daehli, Lawrence and Barmby. They can all interchange and drop deep every now and then. We’d be basically be playing without a recognised striker like Barcelona do.

        Van Velzen drifts in and out of games and slows us down in the final third. He has ability but just lacks a bit of aggression and directness for a lad of his height and build. He needs to be more direct and adventurous in the final third. Barmby can also frustrate at times but when he puts it all together and is on song, he’s a joy to watch. He has great ability and suits a fluid front three as he’s able to play in any of the three forward positions.

        Ekangamene is a second year scholar who needs a run of games. He’s got plenty of energy, which I think will be needed. He’s good at closing down and pressing players. Rothwell and Pearson have enough creativity and composure between them to ensure that we keep the ball. Rothwell can make more forward runs in a midfield three.

        I hope you’re right about Wolves. All I care about is their development at the end of the day.

        • Fair play, I think we’re talking along similar lines as to setting up and removing Byrne. I agree he’s unlucky and I feel sorry for him too but at the same time I’m also not convinced of his quality. Q: Would Will Keane or John Cofie have been as ineffective as him in this team? I don’t think they would tbh.

          I think the only difference we have is the personnel we’d use.

          I wish I’d waited to do the preview because I’ve just heard there might be a few senior players out, will let you know if I hear any more.

          If the players are out, it could be a struggle.

          Are you on Twitter?

        • The thing about Byrne is that he’s a poacher who works hard for the team and makes intelligent runs. We’re not really creating any chances for him to score. Having only just turned 16, he’s the youngest player in the squad, apart from Weir. He’s a new signing, so it might take him some time to settle in at the club. It took Cofie a few months to show his true ability.

          I have twitter (@OwenzyMUFC) but I haven’t tweeted yet and only follow a few people.

        • Nice one, I’ve spoke with you before on RedCafe, nice to see you interacting here too, you’re welcome with the kind of input you provide.

          🙂

  3. What a bone headed red card fro Rooney. Sometimes you wonder if there is anything up-stairs with that boy? As for England, they should try to make Nani a citizen and utilize his goal scoring at international level. Fans of England have so much to be proud of after tonight’s performance. 😉 😉 😆 😆

      • Easy bloody group but England still needed to make it a drama. Pathetic display after pathetic display. So what if they qualified, just gives Germany or Spain a chance to kick their teeth in.

        • Lets see shall we? Spain are the best side arguably in the World, I think we could certainly beat the Krauts as we owe them one.
          England do have a decent side on paper, just need to to produce on the biggest stage, for once.

        • See thats the problem, The english only have a good side on paper because its an english paper. English players are massively overhyped because they play with world stars on their club teams.

          Its funny because every WC since ’66 England washes out of the WC at the first or second hurdle yet people moan about them underachieving. At what point do people admit that they just arent as good as people would like to think they are?

          England does have some real quality, but often it gets overlooked and under developed because they dont play for top four clubs. Look at Young, I heard countless pundits dismiss his ability to play in a England shirt because he wasnt the required class, yet as soon as he puts on a United shirt he is over night first choice LW.

        • That is very true, but England does have some real quality. Ashley Cole is one of the Worlds best left backs, Rio when he was fit was superb, Beckham, Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard were all World Class. The issue is that our players are too pampered, too precious and have no mental strength.

        • You are right meanie to us poor Englishmen sometimes Groggy – shame on you mate 😆 . I am going to wade in with the boot when your Germans take it up the a***. 😀

      • I thought about that, and you know I love Rooney mate! But I remember Fergie saying his temper is what keeps him from being a United captain, and this moment proves it.

        • I know he has to grow up mate, but Keane, Ince and Cantona all had bad tempers and were very good captains bro.
          He was an idiot for getting sent off, but he has a lot on his plate at the moment. Recently his behaviour has been exceptional, this hopefully is just a lapse.

        • It’s a lapse that will last until his next lapse. Leopards/spots anyone? Stephen I love your loyalty to your boy Rooney though mate. I admire you for that.

      • Keane was a physical defensive intimidator whose role was to lead in that manner. He was not the club’s goal scorer.

        • Shearer was the same and was also the clubs goalscorer, don’t quite get what you mean?

        • Oh yes, your Rooney hate is back…..how obvious.. 🙄 He is only your clubs and Countries best player.. 🙄

        • Stephen get a fookin grip mate – I wasn’t talking about the Rooney red when I said red and deservedly so – I was answering your post about Cantona, and Keane getting deserved red – schucks mate 🙄 🙄 🙄 . I think I already said in a post further up that I didn’t think Rooneyshould have got red in Montenegro game. However he did climb all over the player – but it was when he lashed out with a kick that got the ref’s attention and him the red. In the same way in the Portugal game when he trampled on a players bollocks – but the ref wasn’t gonna send him off til he PUSHED Ronaldo with both hands and that got him the sending off. I do not excuse Ronaldo’s disgusting behaviour in causing the Rooney reaction that got him sent off – because that was despicable. For what it is worth I don’t hate Rooney the player, I do not like Rooney’s character and the way he behaves sometimes – so there’s a difference there. No more than I did not like at all the way Nani used to dive and fall down way to often, and FEIGN injury. FFS mate!

  4. Nani the Lil man who all on his own is prospering his national team in getting to the Euros. All this without losing his head once – poor Rooney did his usual FUCK UP again. England cannot rely on the Roon – sad but true! Even the Roon fans surely have to admit that! :(. Still it was a harsh red card for Rooney INHO – the Montenegro player – well you all saw what happened. Welbeck took one on the jaw from one of their players – how come that wasn’t a red card. Seems like somebody doesn’t want the Roon to play in the euros – cheating fooks of officialdom! 🙄

  5. It sounds like Smalling, Cleverley and Vida will be back for the Dipper game next week which will be a relief.
    Smalling has almost been forgotten about since the arrival of Jones, for me he is a teriffic player and somewhat underrated. Cleverley wil be a big plus, he seemed to get Anderson playing, who after a good start his form had dropped, again. With Clev back lets hope he picks up again.
    Vida is a real plus, the defence needs some leadership and organisation, thank the Lord!

    • Do you think fergie will throw in Clev in pool’s game straightaway? I doubt it…

  6. Rooney for England and Rooney for Manchester United are very different players. No way would he play like that under Fergie.

  7. Well the Roon continues to let himself and his country down on the big stage – THE NANI on the other hand only covers himself in more and more GLORY! 😉 😉 😆 😆 Loving it 😆

  8. It was, to say the least, not one of Rooney’s finest moments. And not only does it bring out all of the ‘Rooney’s still just a petulant child’ crowd in full force again, but it could deprive England of their best player for a key game or two.

    But the same fire that fuels moments like last night’s or the swearing into the camera against West Ham is the same fire that fuels his best performances. You try to quell that fire, I think you’re playing with fire. Many legendary players have had issues with either temperament, attitude, or behavior, and that includes some of our all-time greats. With some players, you have to take the bad with the good, if you know the good is going to outweigh the bad by a wide margin.

    I’m by no means defending what he did yesterday – the action deserved the result – but this is not a perfect world, and Roo is not a perfect man. Even Capello knows that. He has matured quite a lot, even if some don’t think so, but we might well see a few more head-scratching moments before his career is over. But we’ll see far more great moments, and that’s what he’ll be remembered for.

    • People have their own agenda on this site and last night was Christmas come early..

        • You are the biggest WHINER on this site mate if anyone has anything to say about your precious Nani. Your anti Rooney is very not United and very not English, you should be embarrassed with yourself… 🙄 🙄

    • None of said FIRE is going to do any good though is it mate, if said FIRE gets him a red card and missing for important games? That goes for any prominent player though, and not just Rooney!

  9. The anti Rooney brigade should be ashamed. When Becks was sent off and the national press and ABU brigade yet again pulled the anti united card out, it was only us United fans backing him. We should be doing the same our BEST player now, Jesus maybe the “new” supporters are not the same as the old. Rooney is a United player and we should be behind him.

    • One game without him in the Premier League, and look what happened. Berbatov, Owen and Hernandez all destroyed by Stoke because they were outmuscled and outfought. Young left rudderless. Anderson left running around like a headless chicken.

      Rooney is our fear factor and talisman. He is the crux of the team without which we are clueless and lacking fight.

      The anti-Rooney brigade is indeed embarassing.

        • I would support Anderson if he were sent off playing for Brazil as he is a United player. Oh that isn’t posible as he isn’t in the squad becuase Lucas Leiva is ahead of him, get it? He isn’t good enough …. 🙄 🙄 🙄

  10. OK, internationals are finally getting exciting!!!

    Denmark vs. Portugal for first place and second place depending on:
    Sweden vs. Holland

    If Sweden does not win and Denmark draws or better, then DK is the best 2nd placed team = Euro2012!!!!!
    If Denmark wins, they win their group and Portugal will likely be best 2nd placed team.

    Can’t wait to watch DK vs. Portugal with scores from Sweden vs. Holland feeding through… great stuff and it only took 2 years for the qualifying process to become interesting!!! 😆 😆 😆

  11. So what was the academy result then against Wolves – didn’t get to watch MUTV this week!

      • Mate our academy team are more than a bit shite this year – hell are we propping up everyone else from our position near the bottom yet?

  12. Feck me – Portugal scored five goals and I don’t think Ronaldo scored any of them? Or am I wrong about that? The only video I saw on Portuguese forum only showed Nani’s 2 goals!

  13. Stephen – the anti Rooney brigade??? You mean the brigade of ONLY ONE PERSON – and everyone knows who that person is – its MOI! Hardly a brigade just a one man army is it? 😉 😀 You need to stop exaggerating about the anti Rooney brigade – apart from MOI it doesn’t exist. I will revel in the complement of being named one man brigade 🙂

    • Craig buddy, is it so difficult to accept that Rooney AND Nani are our two most important attacking players? What I really don’t understand is how you think that we don’t appreciate Nani. We criticised him for his inconsistencies earlier on in his career, and now we praise him because since turning the corner at the start of 2010, he has developed into a devastating winger. It really is as simple as that.

      • I hear ya Moscow – guess I remember too well those bad old days for Lil man. But yeah thanks mate I see where you are coming from. What I don’t get is how Nani is always so bloody brilliant for Portugal, making and scoring goals, and given freedom to roam all over the place. Wish he had the same latitude at United, but I think Fergie has more structured roles, and only Ronaldo was allowed to ramble. Still Fergie is boss and at the end of the day he knows what he wants from players and usually gets it! Did you see Nani’s 2nd goal for Portugal today Moscow, I swear to GOD that Nani is getting faster than the speed of light, his pace to get to that ball before the GK was express like. I love the spectacular about those kind of goals, whoever can score them – and not too many players have that sort of frightening pace. I wish we saw a lot more of it from the Lil man at OT. That kind of thing thrills me Moscow – and it thrilled the Portuguese crowd – the roar was deafening. Nani’s 1st goal off his head – I mean how the fook did he score a header from that distance out – Nani def not known for his heading ability is he? 😆

    • 😆 😆 😆 Poor Everton. Well I do care mate because Man Utd are supposed to have the cream of the crop of finest academy players from home and abroad!

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