The Tactics Board – A win over the Black Cats and Cruel Fate


Manchester United came into this game needing help to retain the league title, but first they needed to win this game. The Red Devils came in with a strong attack, utilizing great passing and movement to open up a disorganized Sunderland defense. Young, Giggs and Rooney were able to link-up and combine well in the middle of the pitch to operate in gaps and get behind Sunderland’s defense. With United strong on the attack, getting numerous opportunities and moving through the Black Cats defense with ease, the Black Cats struggled to get any traction on the attack. Stephane Sessegnon struggled up front, frequently being forced out to the flanks to get any time on the ball and this left Sunderland with no attacking threat in the middle. The score line on this game was deceptive, as Manchester United could have easily scored more than 3 goals, but they thought it was enough for mere seconds after the game until the bad news filtered in from the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United vs Sunderland AFC

Stadium of Light – May 13th, 2012

Starting Formation

Manchester United-
Sir Alex Ferguson made a change from his standard 4-4-1-1 formation and used a 4-2-3-1 instead. One of the main reasons for this was Danny Welbeck’s injury which meant that his only options to play up front with Wayne Rooney were Dimitar Berbatov or a struggling Javier Hernandez. So instead of using Rooney in a deeper lying number 10 role, he played him up front and used Ryan Giggs in the trequartista role.

David De Gea started the final game of the season for United, with this being his 29th league appearance and his 19th start in a row. Patrice Evra started at left-back, with Phil Jones getting another start at right-back. Jonny Evans ended up starting aside Rio Ferdinand at center-back, after questions regarding his problems with a foot injury that may end up requiring surgery. Starting in their usual deep midfield role was Michael Carrick partnering with Paul Scholes. The attacking line had Ashley Young starting on the left wing, and Antonio Valencia starting on the right wing with Ryan Giggs starting as the center attacking midfielder. Leading the line up front, Wayne Rooney started as the lone striker.

Starting Formation

for graphics explanation

Sunderland AFC-
Martin O’Neill’s squad came out in a 4-1-4-1 in the hopes of closing down the space between the lines that Wayne Rooney had exploited all season. The Belgian Simon Mignolet made his 29th league appearance of the season in goal. Both starting full-backs were former Manchester United players, with John O’Shea starting at left-back and Phil Bardsley getting the start at right-back. Michael Turner and Titus Bramble were the starting center-back pairing. Jack Colback started as the holding midfielder, given the responsibility of closing down the space ahead of the defensive line. Another former Red Devil, Fraizer Campbell, started on the right wing. James McClean started on the left-wing, having developed into one of the Black Cats standout players this season. In the central midfield, David Vaughan started alongside Craig Gardner. Alone up front, Frenchmen Stephane Sessegnon lead the line.

Key Points

  • Manchester United played with a dangerous fluid attack up front
  • Young, Giggs, and Rooney link up and play together well to open up Sunderland’s defense.
  • Sunderland struggle to get players forward on the attack
  • Poor finishing again leaves United missing goal opportunities
  • Red Devils seem destined for 20th league title until City scores 2 in stoppage time.


United come out attacking

Manchester United came out of the gate looking dangerous on the attack. With Danny Welbeck injured, and Javier Hernandez struggling for form, Sir Alex Ferguson decided to utilize a 4-2-3-1. Instead of using Wayne Rooney in a number 10 role, he played up front and Ryan Giggs played the trequartista role behind him. Ashley Young played very narrow on the left side, moving centrally to link-up and combine plays with Giggs and Rooney. Giggs and Young would frequently switch places, with Giggs drifting out wide on the left side and Young would drop in more centrally behind Rooney. Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, and Ashley Young would combine intricate passes with great movement to create chances through Sunderland’s defense. On the right side, Antonio Valencia stayed out wide to stretch Sunderland’s defense and this helped create gaps that United was able to exploit.

Sunderland played in a 4-1-4-1, so they had Jack Colback playing as the holding midfielder ahead of their back four. The center-back pairing of Turner and Bramble were unwilling to track Rooney when he dropped deep, and this left Colback overloaded trying to deal with the movement of Giggs and Rooney in his zone. Sunderland’s defensive shape was poor at the back, leaving numerous gaps and space between the lines that the Red Devils were able to exploit.

As the Black Cats struggled to deal with United’s movement up front, their defense dropped deep and applied minimal pressure up the field. This allowed Scholes and Carrick time on the ball to pick their passes, and this was shown as Scholes completed 95% of his passes and Carrick completed 94% of his. Instead of his usual accurate long diagonal passes up to the wingers, Scholes played mostly short passes to recycle possession and switch the play laterally, attempting only 8 passes in the final third. Carrick was responsible for the more incisive passes of the game, completing 21/24 passes in Sunderland’s final third of the pitch.

Black Cats lack bite

Sunderland struggled most of the game to retain any possession. Stephane Sessegnon has been played in several positions this year, both up front as a striker and across the midfield, but against United he started as the lone striker up front. He struggled to get touches early on, and was frequently forced out wide to get any touches which left Sunderland with no real attacking options in the middle of the pitch as neither Gardner or Vaughan were willing to make driving runs into United’s penalty area.

The only support that Sessegnon got early in the game came from Fraizer Campbell on the right wing, as he would often come forward and centrally trying to exploit the space behind Patrice Evra. The right side was Sunderland’s main avenue of attack for the first half. Sunderland defended so deep that they struggled to counter-attack. They were slow to transition and were slow to get forward. Campbell and Sessegnon struggled as they would receive the ball, but got no support and United was quickly able to shut them down and get the ball back.

United’s fullbacks excel

United’s attack troubled Sunderland all game long. While the main avenue of attack came in the middle of the pitch with Young, Giggs, and Rooney, United posed an equally dangerous attack out wide. With Young playing narrow on the left side, it was left to Patrice Evra to provide the width on this side. He had good success coming down the left side, as Fraizer Campbell was lax in tracking back on defense.

On the other side of the field, Phil Jones’ game improved on his performances from the past few weeks. Jones was responsible for dealing with Irishman James McClean, who scored 5 goals and 2 assists in 23 league appearances this year. Jones played well the entire game on McClean, limiting most of his touches and influence to Sunderland’s own half of the pitch. In addition to his strong defense, he also grew more confident joining in on United’s attacks. He picked up the assist on United’s only goal of the game.

With Sunderland playing very deep, United was easily able to control possession. The goal in the 20th minute came after a long period of control and at the end of 20 completed passes in a row. United moved the ball laterally from touchline to touchline, probing the Wearsiders defense several times. Eventually Carrick moved the ball back to the right side for Phil Jones. With no defender within 10 yards, he was able to measure up a picture perfect diagonal cross into the box. It cleared both center-backs before bouncing in front of Simon Mignolet and going to the back post for a waiting Wayne Rooney, at the end of a great run, to easily nod home.

Dangerous attacking front four

After falling behind 1-0, Sunderland started to press higher up the field in an effort to limit Scholes and Carrick’s influence on the game. While they started to press higher up the field, their defensive line stayed very deep and this spread out their defense, increasing the gaps United was exploiting.

Rooney's Heat Map (Attacking left)

Even though he was the lone striker, Rooney would frequently drop into the midfield on the build-up. By dropping off deep, and the increased vertical spread of Sunderland’s defense, Rooney was able to link-up play more effectively with Giggs and Young. They would frequently form triangles, utilizing quick passes, wall passes and well-time through balls to exploit a poorly organized Sunderland back-line. This allowed United to repeatedly get behind the Black Cats defense.

On the right side, Antonio Valencia played near the touchline and Sunderland’s left-back, John O’Shea, was given the task of trying to mark him. The former United player struggled dealing with the Ecuadorian’s strength and pace. A good example of this came in the 34th minute, when United played the ball back to De Gea to stretch Sunderland’s defense vertically and then move the ball forward quickly. De Gea played the ball up to Jonny Evans, who played a 50-yard long pass forward to Ryan Giggs, who knocked it down to Valencia on the touchline. Valencia played the ball back into Giggs, who released the ball up the touchline for Valencia to run onto. Valencia was easily able to beat O’Shea to the byline. Valencia pulled the ball back into the box for a wide open Ashley Young, as both Sunderland center-backs tracked Rooney’s run in front. Young mishit the shot towards the far post, and it passed in front of Rooney who barely touched it while off-balance. The ball rolled just wide of giving United a 2-0 lead.

Injury and change

Second Half Formation

On the 42nd minute, Martin O’Neill brought off an injured John O’Shea and put on Ahmed El-Mohamady. Sunderland changed their shape to a 4-4-2, with Fraizer Campbell going up front to support Stephane Sessegnon. Phil Bardsley moved from right-back to left-back, with Craig Gardner taking up at right-back. El-Mohamady played as the right midfielder, and Vaughan and Colback played in the central midfield. With this move, Colback now moved up the field which left Sunderland with no holding midfielder to screen the center-backs.

United attacking through the middle

With the formation change, and removing the holding midfielder, United immediately took advantage of this, focusing more of their attack through Rooney, Giggs, and Young. With no holding midfielder, it was now up to Sunderland’s center-backs to track Wayne Rooney. Rooney used great movement off the ball to frequently drag the center-backs out of position, which Ashley Young and Ryan Giggs were able to play through.

With the addition of Fraizer Campbell up front, the Black Cats started to show more teeth on the attack. Sessegnon continued to frequently drift to the flanks, but with Campbell up front too, they now kept an attacking threat in the middle of the pitch. They struggled all game to play with any width on the attack. The full-backs were tentative to get forward, and James McClean was largely kept quiet by Phil Jones.

Sunderland struggled in the second half to link their defense with the attack. Vaughan and Colback were mostly anonymous in the middle of the pitch for Sunderland, and Martin O’Neill’s team became increasingly reliant on El-Mohamady to get the ball forward on the right side, or Stephane Sessegnon to drop deep to pick up the ball.

Close but not close enough

As the second half wore on, Scholes and Carrick started making more aggressive forward runs. With United controlling possession, they made frequent late runs into the box during most of the game but as the second half wore on, they started playing farther up the field to pressure Sunderland’s defense.

A great example of this came in the 76th minute, when Jones brought the ball into the box in the right channel before playing a one-two-three pass with Ryan Giggs just inside the box. Giggs than chipped the ball across for Rooney, but Michael Turner headed the ball out of the box into the path of an on-rushing Paul Scholes. The 37 year old midfielder hit a powerful half-volley from inside the penalty arc which bounced off the left post. The ball bounced straight back to Ryan Giggs, who took a powerful shot that Mignolet just managed to deflect over the post.

With a 1-0 lead, and Sunderland presenting a minimal threat, United was content to just run out the clock and wait to see the results from the Etihad Stadium.


The game ended with a 1-0 score line, but it was never a close affair. Sunderland struggled to make any meaningful attack, with only 2 shots on target and they both came from outside the 18 yard box. Manchester United could have easily won this game 4-0 if they had managed to finish some of their chances better. Three shots bounced off the post, out of 7 shots on target.

This game was a dominant performance from Manchester United, with an energetic and dangerous attack that was able to tear apart Sunderland’s defense at will. On the other end of the pitch, United’s defense was not troubled by a Black Cats attack lacked bite. To end the season, it proved to be a decent game by United and a disappointing performance by Sunderland.

One of the more important points of the game proved to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to play a 4-2-3-1. Could this be a glimpse into United’s future next year?

By RangeRooney –



  1. Nice read, no other blog give match detail about United as this site, which is strange because United is quite popular club.

    It seems like Kagawa guy come to club, I don’t know why Fergie still think our midfield is okish. Kagawa is withdrawn striker, I just cannot see what he will add to team, I hope some sort of leading striker type player, but Fergie bring in Rooney’s cover.

  2. This has got to be a joke:

    Sir Alex has reacted to the suggestion that he should be looking to invest in a holding midfielder during the close season.

    The Manchester United boss has explained that he has never used a player to fill that specific role and cited Barcelona’s former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas as evidence that the most effective performers in the middle of the park need not be destroyers.

    “If you look at the examples, Fabregas was one of the best midfield players in England for five years but he wasn’t a big lad and wasn’t a holding player,” said Sir Alex. “He was an attacking player. Xavi and [Andres] Iniesta are small players – you can’t call them holding players.

    “I don’t think we’ve had a holding player since I’ve been here. We’ve never had a holding player.

    “We tried to get Roy Keane to do that but he just couldn’t do it. He had to play a way that was his own way of playing, so I’ve not had it for 25 years. Why should I think about it now?”

    In terms of midfield options, the manager expects Michael Carrick to build on a fine personal campaign and flourish with increased responsibility in the coming years.

    “I think Michael Carrick has had his best season at the club,” he added. “I’m very hopeful now he will have an authority that will stand us in good stead for the next two or three years. That will be an important role for Michael, to replace Paul Scholes in that department.

    “I always think he starts the season slowly but when we started putting him and Scholes together all the time, it’s a sensible combination in terms of both using the ball and their ability to take the ball. It gave us a central part of the pitch that was very strong.

    I haven’t seen them over-run. Against [Manchester] City, they were the best two players we had.”

    😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯

    🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄

    😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡 😡

    • @Moscow: 😯 😯 😯

      If Fergie loves attacking so much, why did he cower at Etihad with 4-6-0?????

      “Not over-run”???? Did he watch the Bilbao games, the Newcastle away game, and a couple other games against decent midfields???? 🙄 🙄 🙄

      • @Opti:

        The CM suit for 442 is hard to find because most teams use variations of 4231 or 433 now. so we easily can find many specialized midfielders but so called Box to Box, someone play like Keane, Toure or Robson are quite rare right now. It is like cassette tape type player.

        So Fergie try to convert AM to CM (eg. Ando) or just stick to old guard or bring one from academy. I think gaffer try hard enough but it has been not successful so far.

        Changing system is not easy too because Rooney is not an one top striker, he need forward partner to work well.

    • @Moscow:

      Moscow, I hadn’t seen this until you pointed it out. Incredible.

      “…I always think he (Carrick) starts the season slowly but when we started putting him and Scholes together all the time, it’s a sensible combination in terms of both using the ball and their ability to take the ball. It gave us a central part of the pitch that was very strong.

      “I haven’t seen them over-run. Against [Manchester] City, they were the best two players we had.”

      1. Michael Carrick to ‘replace’ Paul Scholes???? Come on Fergie, there is no comparison and neither are getting younger.
      2. “It gave us a central part of the pitch that was very strong”!! 🙄 I have come across virtually no serious football followers (of any colour) that agree with that assessment.
      3. “I haven’t seen them overrun. Against City they were the best two players we had”… First of all what does the second part of that statement have to do with the first?? Second, what does it say about our set up and performance that night if they were our best players?

      Honestly, how can he make these comments with a straight face? I really don’t know whether he has an almighty bluff going on for transfer market purposes (hard to believe) or his objectivity is really going. If the former, I think we’d all much prefer him just to be upfront with us fans…if the latter, then we really have cause for concern.

      I love what he has done for Utd (without equal) and as I’ve said before we’ve been truly spoiled, but how he has the audacity to come out with this stuff beggars belief. He has talked about wanting to play a faster game with higher tempo (hence Berba’s impending departure) and yet now he’s saying that Carrick is the solution to replacing Paul Scholes??? Much as Carrick, at 31, has his qualities, he’s not the guy to produce a quick turn of pace or fast pass and move to turn defence into attack.

      We can only hope that this is all a smokescreen and Fergie pulls us a few choice rabbits out of the hat this summer! 😉

  3. Harry Gregg- Legend. Hero. Nice touch to honour him tonight, a truely great man.

  4. Schmeichel; G Neville, Adams, Ferdinand, A Cole; Ronaldo, Roy Keane, Scholes, Giggs; Shearer, Henry.

    Whole midfield contains United players.Now time has really changed 🙁

  5. Manchester united greater than England. how carrick doesn’t even make the standby list is beyond me. the less said about Caroll the better.anyway it means more rest for our players. no burn out

    back to topic. very good analysis rangerooney. you make me want to fire up football manager but I have work to do :-).

    the only sad part is sir Alex seemingly intent on not freshening up the midfield. i don’t think we have enough to compete on all fronts next season. something will have to give

  6. Hart, Green, Ruddy, Baines, Cahill, Cole, Johnson, Jones, Lescott, Terry, Barry, Downing, Gerrard, Lampard, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Parker, Walcott, Young, Carroll, Defoe, Rooney, Welbeck.

    And we wonder why we never do anything in any of the tournaments 🙄
    Far too many chelski and pool players in that team, and their league positions this year should have shown why it was a bad idea to include so many of them.
    Glen johnson, terry, downing 😆 gerrard, lampard, carhole, none of them should have been involved.
    Richards, walker, rio?, adam johnson, carrick, scholes, sturridge in their place and it starts looking like a half decent squad.
    As it is though, well we’ll be lucky to get past the group with that shower of shite.

      • @Owen: I think thats a bit harsh mate. The guy is only 19, and you only need to watch his form before xmas (before he got his injury at the turn of the year) to see just how good he was. Cant argue he was pish poor on the whole the rest of the season, but i think the potential is definitely there.
        I think we were maybe too quick to be bigging him up as a definite future captain, new duncan edwards etc (which isnt new with this countrys media) but i have to say, i look at him and dont think the guy will end up just another henderson, downing etc.
        Hes got too much natural talent for that, just needs to improve his concentration, stop trying to overdo things at times and keep working hard.
        Ultimately i am very confidenthe will fulfill his potential, just might not be plain sailing for the minute. He does though need to stop being played all over the place, or else he’ll end up a jack of all trades ie o’shea.
        I’ll give him time though, like evans he might just be a slow developer.

        @RMJ: I really thought things might have been different with roy. Thought coming from a smaller side he’d have been more likely to drop the so called big names (terry, lampard, gerrard etc) and give more of the un noticed players game time (carrick, richards, sturridge etc) but alas that seems not to be the case.
        Shame really.

    • @RMJ Last I heard he had talks with fergie so it it just a matter of when…… unless Arsene puts arms around him like he did with Ramsey (which turned out to be not so bad) 😀 😀

      Who do think will be next in line ? Clyne?

      • @Nelson: Ramsey was doomed to be a spineless failure the minute he decided to play for Voyeur Wenger.

        • @Moscow: thrown in the deep end too early me thinks . if he were to come here, he would have been nurtured into a star with Fergie and Scholes. anyway that’s his problem

      • @Nelson: Regarding Clyne:

        1) The 21-year-old is out of contract in June [FREE!]

        2) Clyne is a long-term target for United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and has told team-mates that he is “very likely” to be playing at Old Trafford next season. [If quotes are true]

        3) United tried to sign the England Under-21 international in January but decided to bide their time.

        4) He would be considered as a versatile squad player and a like for like replacement for Fabio, who Ferguson has revealed will spend next season out on loan.

        😀 😀

        Looks VERY LIKELY!

        • @Nelson: He has been known to fill in at LB occassionally yes. Palace have 2 already very good LBs in moxey and parr, but hes had to fill in there a few times and has done well.
          I spoke about clyne in greater detail in the last post, most definitely a exciting talent.
          Best thing i can say about him briefly is that although hes an excellent player getting forward, he seems to have the basic thing that makes all great full backs. That being the ability to actually bloody defend 😆 so many full backs today just dont seem bothered about that these days. Crazy. But fortunately he does do that and very well.

          @Opti: Hope he does choose us. Definitely has it all in his locker to become a great great player. Although im not in any way shape or form a londoner or a palace fan, would be nice to see a player from my adopted area come to united.

        • @Opti: Been saying this since January. Seems nailed on to me. Is a good player, and fits Glazernomics to a tee. Fabio going off on loan makes it a certainty for me.

    • @RMJ: On Kagawa:

      1) He confirmed publicly that he met with Fergie 😀
      2) He has stated he will NOT stay with Dortmund next season 😀
      3) Kagawa: “There’s no timetable on my decision. I’ve been in touch with a number of clubs, and I can’t say which one is the best for me yet. But I want to go to a team where it’ll be challenging for me. It’d be nice if I end up playing in the Premier League.” 😕 WTF! 😡

      • @Opti: Ah the modern day footballer and their constant BS’ing about. Gone are the days when you only needed to hear we were interested and the contract was signed there and then without a seconds thought.
        Partly due to our own decline and unattractiveness these days, and the rise in the greed of the modern day footballer. Sad.

  7. I’m hearing he’s pretty close to signing. He’s reportedly flown to Manchester to meet Sir Alex – looking at his footage on Youtube, he looks awesome – I know it’s a bit difficult to judge someone off Youtube as even Bebe looked OK, but Kagawa looks the real deal. Fresh from a German domestic double, he scores goals and sets them up. He actually reminds me a bit of Scholesy with his ability to beat a man, do short dribbles, and find that killer pass. Fergie Fergie sign him up!!!!!!

  8. Just saw England’s Euro squad 😆

    Who is actually going to lead the line against France? Carroll? Welbeck? I’ve never seen England this impoverished in attacking options. None of those strikers can play on their own, so another 4-4-2 which means humiliation at the hands of modern European teams.

  9. Today is also a sad day for Manchester United fans as Dalglish has left Liverpool. I was pleased they won the Carling Cup because then he’d stay on to relegate them but apparently it wasn’t enough 🙁

  10. What are the CHEAPEST possible improvements we can make to United??

    Sell Anderson 😆 😆 😆 [Sorry, Eddy] 😀

  11. On Ajax CB/DM Jan Verthonghen it seems like Tottenham sealed the deal with <13 million transfer and 60K/week wages
    ""Tottenham are absolutely my favourite," the defender told De Telegraaf last week. "Tottenham is a fantastic football club that has the tradition I want. They buy young, eager, offensive-minded players."

    Steal! 🙁

  12. Did everyone else know that Evra lost his brother this past October???

    That could explain his atrocious form… I wonder why Fergie made him Captain then… and kept playing him???

    • @Opti: He is out of form for last two years. In Berba’s first or second season with us, his brother was kidnapped. He didn’t go into public to gather sympathy and we never used it as an excuse for his poor(?) form!

    • @Opti: Agree with andy. Not that im an insensitive asshole, im sorry for his loss, but that seems like a conveinient excuse seen as though his bad form started the year before his brothers death.
      Hes paid the earth to do a job, if hes not supposedly in the right frame of mind, he should have asked for compassionate leave which im sure would have been granted. That way he could have grieved in his own way whilst saving us from having to put up with a LB who was atrocious most games with his head elsewhere (most likely with his eyes on milan again 🙄 ).

  13. Goodbye Owen. Thanks for the hat-trick in Germany and that goal against City.

    • @Moscow: Always liked owen. Could never understand the grief he got from some united fans, it wasnt like we were paying him £60k a week. He was a model professional and more often than not, when he got a game he scored.
      Just unfortunate injuries ended up his undoing and he couldnt get a regular run of games. A good servant though and an overall great player. Wish him well.
      I wonder now if it means were in the market for a striker. Would be typical of us to blow £20m on a striker whilst neglecting the midfield. Again.

  14. So Michael Owen is not being given a new contract. I predicted we’d let him go. I think Berbatov and Macheda are both off too. If those 3 are gone I expect 2 signings. One for the future, one golden oldie.

    We scouted Jordan Rhodes 2 days ago, and Del Piero is talking about The Premier League.

    Also frees the #7 shirt up to try and tempt Hazard with. I still think he’ll go to City for double wages, but our chance of getting him hinges on whether we can sell him on Fergie improving him to world player of the year status, like we did Ronaldo.

    Kagawa seems like we’re dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. Gaitan news has gone cold, but that could already be sorted afaik.

    With Kuszazcsk, Berbatov, Park and Macheda likely to go, De Laet, Matty James and Owen already gone and Fabio off on loan it looks like we’re in for a busy summer regardless of the rumoured interest in Kagawa, Gaitan, Clyne, Del Piero, Rhodes or Hazard.

      • @Moscow: According to the wonderful world of twitter (yeah i know) weve made a £9.6m move for the ghanain kwadwo asamoah from udinese.
        Havent seen too much of him tbh, but he does look like a potential gem. A tough tackling, hard ass box to box/ball winning midfielder in the yaya/essien mould. Exactly what we need tbh.
        Our record with african players though isnt great so just as likely he could be another djemba 😯

  15. Fergie use your friendship with Mourinho and get Sahin.But chances are Fergie has not even heard of this guy.

  16. just read that the reason why Carrick was omitted by Woy Hodgison from the squad was that he ruled himself out if he wasn’t in the primary squad. i say good for him because he is right and there isn’t anyone at present in that team who plays midfield and is any better than him.

    • @RMJ: The England squad is at best a joke. No Adam Johnson, Carrick, Sturridge, Rio, Jagielka but Terry, Downing, Milner. The FA talk about kicking racism out of football, but they allow Terry to be called and omit a player who’s brother was racially abused? What message does that send out? I have officially given up on England have no interest in the National team and they can all fuck themselves as far as I am concerned.

      • @Stephen: the downing inclusion begs one to shake his head in disbelief. I can understand why rio was excluded because well simply put rio cant consecutive games. Adam Johnson is probably the most gifted left footed English winger in a while and he cant get in cos of Downing?

        nuff said about Carrick though I can see why milner grabbed a place and glen Johnson??

        Ya another painful national tourney for england

  17. About Carrik, I don’t know what is the main reason Carrik doesn’t accept squad role for England. but England team cannot consisted with only 11 players so someone need to accept squad role I guess.
    Is it view as no problem? I just wonder.

    • @Yang: They were not giving Carrick a place in squad.They were trying to keep him as stand by which was disgusting.

  18. Looks like Kagawa is prolly a sure thing. I like him, but he’d struggle to fit into United’s 4-4-2/4-4-1-1. But, he’d fit in well the role Giggs played in the final game against Sunderland. Look at how well Young, Giggs, and Rooney linked together, and imagine it with a more agile, younger, Kagawa instead of Giggs.

    I’d like to see United pick up a good physical midfielder, who is defensively sound. Tiote would be great, and he’s decent going forward too. Or, use Jones in this role and pick up another CB.

    It also appears like they are going to pick up a wide playmaker, similar to David Silva or Juan Mata. Could be Hazard, but I think it’ll more likely be Gaitan. Somebody who can cut in from out wide to create chances and play incisive passes to unlock packed in defenses.

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