Tag Archives: United

It’s the hope that kills you

Villa Park provided the backdrop for Newcastle United’s Premier League relegation in May, 2009, as an own goal from Toon misfit Damien Duff, one of a slew of under achievers on the books at the time, consigned the team to a 1-0 defeat that meant they beat Hull to the drop by a single point.

Disaster on the face of it, but ultimately the demotion proved a blessing, with declining veterans and mercenaries released into the wilderness, and a squad of courageous warriors forged under the astute leadership of the club’s underrated coach Chris Hughton.

Fast forward seven years and Villa Park once more played host to the Magpies’ struggle to survive the drop, the nails in the coffin this time provided by a 0-0 draw against the already relegated hosts, coupled with arch-rivals Sunderland’s 3-2 win against Chelsea. Commence doom and gloom.

Andros Townsend
Andros Townsend: likely to leave in the Summer

This time it feels different. In appointing Rafa Benitez, Newcastle have finally placed the club under the supervision of an elite leader, this disappointing stalemate making it five matches without defeat for the first time in around 18 months.

That survival is even possible at this stage is courtesy of the Spaniard organising a hitherto malfunctioning back four into something resembling a half-decent defence; dispensing with previous stalwarts Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor in favour of young, teachable central defenders, led brilliantly by the supremely gifted Jamaal Lascelles, a 22 year-old left out in the cold for the majority of previous Manager Steve McLaren’s soul sapping tenure.

There is so much more to lose now. The club’s most natural outlet, Andros Townsend, is said to have an £8m relegation release clause in the deal he signed during the Winter window and a queue of admirers, whilst the likes of Benitez and his staff are unlikely to stick around to oversee things in the lower leagues.

There are no battle hardened spearheads in the mould of Kevin Nolan, no talismanic Andy Carroll’s coming through the youth team. The remnants of this latest disaster conceivably a team sheet smothered with names luminaries as Riviere, Ameobi, Gouffran, Haidara and Saivet.

AA: Adam Armstrong has shone on loan at Coventry.
AA: Adam Armstrong has shone on loan at Coventry.

Players recruited at the say so of Chief Scout Graham Carr, a man formerly held in high esteem. As the results of his approved acquisitions have diminished, so has the reputation of the 71 year-old, who despite working within the constraints of a blinkered blueprint could surely not have been expected to get it so spectacularly wrong so often.

Adam Armstrong offers hope, although his flame has dimmed in the latter months of a loan spell at Coventry City. Other gifted youth prospects such as Rolando Aarons and Kevin Mbabu are beset by regular injuries and have contracts that expire imminently. Will they be keen to stay put at a club seemingly in perpetual transition? Nobody could blame them, or the likes of Freddie Woodman for wanting to escape the Titanic.

Of course, in an ideal world the parachute payments of around £45m, as well as a reduction of wage bill with the release of high earners such as Taylor, Papiss Cisse, Marveaux et al, would allow the club to somehow talk some of the better players, and more importantly the management team, into staying put.

In reality any scenario where clubs actually want to purchase and pay wages to the likes of Riviere, Gouffran, Haidara, Coloccini (Palace apparently willing to pay £4m last Summer!) and others is wishful thinking indeed; the equivalent of sticking your best of Steps album on eBay with a £20 reserve.

Wijnaldum may be easier to shift, and for such a talented player he has probably been our biggest flop in the second half of the season. He’s a quality player in full flow, with bags of pace and technical skill, but as the seasons have changed so seemingly has his attitude.

A team with a spine of Elliot/Darlow/Krul, Lascelles, Mbemba, Dummett, Mbabu, Tiote, Aarons, Armstrong, Mitrovic and Perez could probably bounce back from the second tier, but make no mistake; this will not be a glorified 102 point cake walk as in 2009-10. If we scrape promotion by our cuticles it will be an excellent achievement. If we don’t then a prolonged drift around the bowels of English League football is likely to commence.

Our football club has become the sweaty man hiding a secret, in Rafa we are punching several weights too high already, we might be able to get Nigel Pearson or Tim Sherwood to shout us back up though.

For Aston Villa relegation provides a broom to sweep away the rubble, for Newcastle United it channels the gust of wind that blows away a short lived promise of better times. This one really hurts because this time we were given hope.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Transfer Window 2015: How did your club do?

With the Summer transfer window now slammed shut for Premier League sides, it’s time to reflect on the increasing, surely unsustainable spending that’s occurred during two crazy months.

Arsenal

Total spent: £11m
Notable addition: Petr Cech (Chelsea, £11m)
Notable departure: Abou Diaby (Released)

Arsenal addressed the need for a top quality custodian by acquiring Chelsea’s second choice stopper, Petr Cech, who promises to add stability to the set-up. Unfortunately they still look a striker and midfield destroyer short of challenging for the title, and an additional central defender wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Aston Villa

Total spent: £52.5m
Notable addition: Jordan Amavi (Nice, £10m)
Notable departure: Christian Benteke (Liverpool, £32.5m)

Christian Benteke’s departure was inevitable, but Fabian Delph’s transfer to Manchester City was a little more contentious, with the England midfielder, having rejected City’s initial advances, pledging his allegiance the Villains, only to perform an about turn and join the Eastlands club less than a week later. Villa have raided France, bringing in some promising talent; most notably Jordan Amavi from Nice.

Bournemouth

Total spent: £23.8m
Notable addition: Max Gradel (£6.8m, Saint-Etienne)
Notable departure: Brett Pitman (£1.2m, Ipswich Town)

The Cherries have picked up from where they left off last season, playing aesthetically appealing football and getting decent results along the way. On paper their squad looks short of quality, although the likes of Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings are astute additions. With Eddie Howe at the helm anything seems possible, and perhaps their best piece of business was retaining the talented Callum Wilson.

Chelsea

Total spent: £69m
Notable addition: Pedro (Barcelona, £21.4m)
Notable departure: Petr Cech (Arsenal, £11m)

A quiet, by Chelsea standards, transfer window, coupled with some disappointing results, has emphasised the need to reinvigorate a declining squad. John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic in particular have looked as if they’re on the slide. The ultimately fruitless pursuit of Everton’s John Stones will have left Jose Mourinho bitterly frustrated.

Crystal Palace


Total spent: £25.3m
Notable addition: Yohan Cabaye (PSG, £12.8m)
Notable departure: None.

Palace have quietly assembled one of the most thrilling squads in the Premier League, having enjoyed an excellent transfer window, whilst remaining under the radar. Their capture of Yohan Cabaye could be one of the deals of the summer; the diminutive playmaker already having made an impact for the Eagles.

Everton

Total spent: £21.75m
Notable addition: Ramiro Funes Mori (River Plate, £9.5m)
Notable departure: None.

Everton have decided to keep their powder dry for the most part this summer, adding five new faces without spending (relative) big bucks. Keeping John Stones away from Chelsea may prove a short-term victory; that said, a reported £40m offer for the defender was exorbitant, and unlikely to be matched in future, less frenzied times.

Leicester City


Total spent: £25m
Notable addition: Shinji Okazaki (Mainz, £7.2m)
Notable departure: Esteban Cambiasso (Released)

The unexpected departure of manager Nigel Pearson left a gaping hole in the Foxes’ recruitment drive in the early weeks of the window, but that soon picked up when former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri took the reigns. The ‘Tinkerman’ has made half a dozen useful signings, the best of which looks to be talented Japanese marksman Okazaki.

Liverpool

Total spent: £80.5m
Notable addition: Christian Benteke (Aston Villa, £32.5m)
Notable departure: Raheem Sterling (Man City, £49m)

The Reds started the summer as if they planned to purchase an entirely new squad, perhaps with one eye on the impending departure of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City. Benteke has the ability to become a club legend, and the signings of Danny Ings, James Milner and Nathaniel Clyne provide value for money, although none are exactly marquee purchases.

Manchester City

Total spent: £154m
Notable addition: Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg, £55m)
Notable departure: James Milner (Liverpool, free)

The Citizens have resumed the spendthrift stance that was temporarily foiled as a result of the club besmirching FIFA’s “Financial Fair Play” regulations. Stockpiling players once again, they appear to have all bases covered, and anything less than European glory will probably result in Manuel Pellegrini receiving his marching orders.

Manchester United

Total spent: £115.8m
Notable addition: Memphis Depay (PSV, £24.4m)
Notable departure: Angel Di Maria (PSG, £44.8m)

A whirlwind deadline day saw United secure the services of prodigiously talented teenage attacker Anthony Martial from Monaco for an initial £36m and a deal to trade David De Gea to Real Madrid thwarted by tardy paperwork. Despite all of that, their best business was agreed before the window opened, with exciting winger Depay swapping Holland for England.

Newcastle United

Total spent: £48m
Notable addition: Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV, £13m)
Notable departure: Jonas Gutierrez (released)

The Toon Army have (finally) been treated to a host of exciting additions, as well as a much needed revamp in coaching set-up and management. Wijnaldum is, literally and figuratively, the biggest name addition to the group, although both Chancel Mbemba and Floran Thauvin have impressed thus far. Aleksandar Mitrovic should become the number nine supporters have long craved… If he can stay on the pitch for long enough.

Norwich City

Total spent: £12m
Notable addition: Robbie Brady (Hull City, £7m)
Notable departure: Mark Bunn (Aston Villa, free)

Norwich haven’t managed to attract anyone particularly exciting to Norfolk, but what they have done is embellish their midfield with stable top-flight performers. Irish full-back/winger Robbie Brady is a gifted player who deserves the chance to fulfil his undoubted ability, but there is a feeling that the Canaries will end up relying heavily upon the jet-heeled Nathan Redmond.

Southampton

Total spent: £42.5m
Notable addition: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord, £10.5m)
Notable departure: Morgan Schneiderlin (Man United, £27m)

Saints have had a wonderful knack in recent seasons of getting top dollar for outgoing players and replacing them with better, cheaper alternatives. Jordy Clasie may prove to be another coup, although he’s not in the Schneiderlin mould just yet. Nataniel Clyne is a loss, but hanging on to Spurs target Victor Wanyama on deadline day was vital, while the late addition of Virgil Van Dijk is savvy.

Stoke City


Total spent:
£29.8m
Notable addition: Xherdan Shaqiri (Inter Milan, £12m)
Notable departure: Asmir Begovic (Chelsea, £8m)

The evolution of Stoke City continues apace, with the addition of skilful innovators such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Marco van Ginkel to the ranks. Mark Hughes has assembled a quality squad at the Britannia Stadium. The departure of the brilliant Asmir Begovic has afforded the promising Jack Butland an overdue opportunity.

Sunderland

Total spent: £25m
Notable addition: Fabio Borini (Liverpool, £10m)
Notable departure: Connor Wickham (Crystal Palace, £9m)

The Mackems don’t appear to have sufficiently addressed their leaky defence, conceding 13 goals in their five league and cup matches so far this season. The additions of Fabio Borini, Jeremain Lens and Yann M’Vila have at least given Dick Advocaat’s men a previously absent cutting edge.

Swansea City


Total spent:
£15m
Notable signing: Andre Ayew (Marseille, free)
Notable departure: Nathan Dyer (Leicester City, loan)

The Welsh side have been among the shrewdest Premier League operators this summer, picking up high calibre signings with minimal or zero transfer fee attached. Andre Ayew has immediately settled, while Eder provides important backup for on song target man Bafe Gomis.

Tottenham Hotspur

Total spent: £51.3m
Notable addition: Son Heung-Min (Leverkusen, £22m)
Notable departure: Aaron Lennon (Everton, £5.2m)

With Spurs fans crying out for additional fire power, Daniel Levy was only able to conclude deals for support acts and defenders. The club have done well to trim much of the fat from an inflated squad, but may rue the as of yet fruitless pursuit of West Brom’s Saido Berahino.

Watford


Total spent:
£31m
Notable addition: Etienne Capoue (Tottenham, £6m)
Notable departure: None

The most active top-flight team in this transfer window, the Hornets made no less than 15 signings during the summer. On the surface it appears to be a case of quantity over quality, although the likes of Etienne Capoue and Valon Behrami at least have the capacity to supply sufficient ammunition for Troy Deeney and co. to trouble the scorers.

West Bromwich Albion


Total spent:
£33m
Notable signing: Salomon Rondon (Zenit, £12m)
Notable departure: Joleon Lescott (Aston Villa, £1m)

The Baggies have had a successful window, retaining the services of star striker Saido Berahino against his will, while adding real quality in the shape of Salomon Rondon, Johnny Evans and James Chester. Tony Pulis has steered clear of panic deals, upgrading key areas. With Rickie Lambert now on the books, Albion have a mouthwatering three-pronged front-line available if they can get Berahino to stop sulking.

West Ham United


Total spent: £35.6m
Notable addition: Dimitri Payet (Marseille, £10.7m)
Notable departure: Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough, £5m)

A new manager and a dozen additions to the playing staff may seem excessive, but the Hammers needed revolution rather than evolution this term. Multiple deadline day deals so often spells impending disaster, but the quality of players such as Alex Song and Victor Moses can’t be questioned. Dimitri Payet holds the key to unlock any defence in Europe.

Did we nail it? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Premier Predictions: Week 8.

Last time out Dom comfortably overcame the might of former UK Gladiator Nightshade, winning by a personal high 10 points to 5. This time he takes on the wit and wisdom of ex-Pop Idol Rik Waller, hoping to make it back-to-back victories.

Rik Waller

*A correct outcome gains one point, an exact result three points. All games kick off at 3pm on Saturday 14th March unless stated.

Crystal Palace vs Queens Park Rangers
Kick-off: 12.45, Saturday

Bobby Zamora

Dom: 2-0
Alan Pardew must be on cloud nine; a few months ago he was being booed by his own fans as Newcastle United manager, now his name is sung from the Selhurst Park terraces, and with good reason. Pards has revitalised his old team, and they’ll slam another nail into the QPR coffin this afternoon.

Rik: 1-1
Hulk Hogan! Now that I have your attention I have a gig next month in collaboration with an Isle of Wight artist called Jonty not Bonty (his real name is Jonty Chodeflap, hence the change!) – with half a dozen people now tolerating his existence, and my three supporters “livin’ it large” we hope to at least account for five of the seats in the Dog and Duck pub in Fratton this time without getting heckled off the stage before we get to our third ballad!

Arsenal vs West Ham United

Dom: 3-1
The Hammers have reverted to last season’s tactics of drilling the ball long at every opportunity, this despite Andy Carroll once again being on the sidelines. Big Sam looks like he’s out of ideas, just as Arsenal’s league form appears to be gaining consistency – wrong time, wrong place for The Irons.

Rik: 10-2
During my last set of night terrors, Nasty Nigel seemed to be barking “ten two, ten two” at me, in hindsight it may have been Auntie Joan leaving a message about the time, oh wait wasn’t I supposed to scrub her shoulders in the tub around that time? Never mind, I’m stuck with the prediction now – just my luck.

Leicester City vs Hull City

Hull City

Dom: 2-2
A draw doesn’t really help either of these basement dwellers, but seems the logical result. The Foxes have played quite well recently, just lacking bite in the final third. Hull are hit and miss; a frustrating 90 minutes at the King Power Stadium will encapsulate their season.

Rik: Abandoned (Bomb Threat.)
All my life I was told what I can’t do; “You can’t sell your teeth to the Science Museum in London Rik”… “You can’t wear a cape to the Job Centre”…  Well screw you mother, I will go for a 6-1 win for the Lancashire Hot Pots, either that or I’ll call in a bomb threat, do we get extra points for that?

Sunderland vs Aston Villa

Dom: 0-1
Spare a thought for the supporters of these two sides, who have been subjected to the ugliest football in the division. Worse still, Black Cats star man Adam Johnson was recently arrested on charges of sex with a minor, meaning he could miss a chunk of games even if found innocent, something that would spell disaster for the Mackems.

Rik: 1-0
With Benteke and Johnson probably sitting this one out both sides are without their main sources of creativity, or at least that’s what I read on Ceefax. Benteke is one funny name though, doesn’t sound like he’s from Aston at all, so come on Sunders.

West Bromwich Albion vs Stoke City

Dom: 2-1
A last gasp defeat to bitter rivals Aston Villa in their previous league encounter dampened some of the enthusiasm surrounding Tony Pulis’ appointment and subsequent upturn in fortunes. No problem, the Baggies will return to winning ways against Stoke, virtually guaranteeing safety in the process.

Rik: 2-5
Stoke have found a second wind lately, I thought I’d found a second wind with the old singing lark recently, but it was just a very tuneful burp. Stokers to win in some good style – go the young’uns!

Burnley vs Manchester City
Saturday, 17.30

Dom: 1-3
Manchester City’s title aspirations are surely dwindling; Chelsea will open up an 8-point lead if they win their game in hand. Burnley are still in the midst of a relegation scrap, with their small squad beginning to wilt in recent weeks. City should romp home.

Rik: 4-0
Man City are getting what they deserve. As I once told Simon Cowell; money can’t buy you everything, certainly not class anyway. City are going to get trounced! Let us make it trend: #cityisbadinfootballl!

Chelsea vs Southampton
Sunday, 13.30

John Terry

Dom: 3-1
The Blues will be gagging to put things right after their embarrassing Champions League exit at the hands of Paris Saint Germain on Wednesday, where their players acted like infants to get Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off. Saints’ form is hit and miss at the moment, so despite their excellent league position they’ll struggle at Stamford Bridge.

Rik: 1-0
I used to know a lad from Southampton, Dave something. Anyway very funny story about Dave; so Dave owned a bicycle and he forgot to tie it up and someone did away with it. The sad thing is that Dave was never the same after that, never really spoke much and always sitting in golf course bunkers with his middle fingers raised defiantly. Funny how everyone knows a Dave right?!

Everton vs Newcastle United
Sunday, 16.00

Dom: 2-0
Everton’s Europa League exertions on Thursday may have offered a pleasant distraction, but their domestic form is cause for concern, with the Toffees sitting only six points above the drop zone. Newcastle have given up on their season (again) and with a dozen injuries and Papiss Cisse’s lengthy ban to boot it’s hard to see where the goals will come from.

Rik: 0-0-1?
0-0 looks like a shocked face when you write it! Or maybe something else like ring doughnuts (num num!) I read the form guide and these two teams are not so good, so no goals for the two teams and maybe just the one for the ball boys or some American tourists. One lump or two? 0-0-1.

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
Sunday, 16.00

Harry Kane Adebayor

Dom: 2-2
I’m not convinced that either side has a defence worthy of Champions League football, but both possess talented attackers. Spurs’ Harry Kane in particular is fresh from two consecutive player of the month awards. Kane will score again, but Rooney’s due a couple.

Rik: 0-0 5-6
I’m torn between 0-0 and 5-6, they both seem like the obvious outcome when you add up corner kicks and divide them by numbers. Ok, my therapist said be decisive: 5-6. Linekar with 2 and Gazza to cry tears of joy again. As for Cantona, let’s just hope he doesn’t punch all of the fans again!

Swansea vs Liverpool
Monday, 20.00

Dom: 1-2
Swansea’s home form has been decent this term and Liverpool have lost a few away, but where The Reds appear to be getting stronger with each league match, their Welsh counterparts are just bubbling along contentedly in mid-table, and will have no answer to Raheem Sterling’s pace and trickery.

Rik: 3-0 for Anne
Swans in the sea or Liver in a pool? It all sounds eerily familiar to a wonderful meal I had under the stars one evening – my Tinder date ‘Anne’ didn’t show up, but funnily enough there was another Anne with exactly the same face, height, blood type (O Negative, as in “Oh she’s so negative!) and whose phone’s screen saver was the same photo-shopped profile pic I’d used on the app (Jared Leto’s face with Jared Leto’s body and my hair.) 3-0 it is, but only for for Anne.

The Premier Predictions league table is still led by DJ Rees. Dom’s win last time means that he goes level with Damian Clark, as Nightshade brings up the rear.

1. DJ Rees: 11 Points

2. Just Mike: 9

3. True Geordie: 8

4= Damian Clark: 7

4= Dom Kureen: 7 (average)

6. Kelvin West: 6

7. Jonathan O’Shea: 5

8. Nightshade: 5

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Van the right man for United?

Sometimes a job is just too big, as David Moyes found out during an ill-fated stint at the Manchester United helm, Louis Van Gaal was today confirmed as his replacement – Dom Kureen gives his views on the new man in charge.

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Manchester United manager: a post that can prove a poisoned chalice at the best of times, and one that was multiplied ten-fold for the brave soul replacing the iconic Sir Alex Ferguson, following his 27-year trophy laden reign in the North-West.

With David Moyes ditched four matches before the conclusion of his inaugural season in the Old Trafford hot seat, a cluster of prospective successors were linked to the vacancy.

Ryan Giggs was among the favourites, but his time is surely still to come.

Carlo Ancelotti seems content enough guiding Real Madrid, with the likes of Ronaldo, Bale, Modric and Ramos in tow.

Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho are worshipped at the grounds they currently walk on and both are tied to lengthy contracts as a consequence.

Among the sea of credible candidates, one fit the bill like a Playboy Bunny frolicking in a mansion hot tub – that man was Louis Van Gaal.

Experienced: CHECK

 

Successful: CHECK

 

Respected: CHECK

 

Confident/arrogant: CHECK, CHECK!

 

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The 62 year-old Dutchman first came to prominence when guiding a youth packed Ajax Amsterdam side to the Champions League title in 1995.

Utilising hot academy prospects such as Patrick Kluivert, Edgar Davids, Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars, Clarence Seedorf, Edwin Van Der Sar and the De Boer twins, Van Gaal built a squad the envy of every other club side in the world.

Stints with global giants Barcelona (twice), Bayern Munich and the Dutch national side (also twice) brought mixed results, although any doubts over the veteran’s credentials were nipped in the bud by a remarkable four year tenure at AZ Alkmaar, who he guided to the Eredvisie championship in 2008-09.

Heading to the World Cup with the Netherlands this summer, Van Gaal will begin his English adventure upon the conclusion of the tournament.

Where there was general scepticism surrounding Moyes’ appointment last year, the consensus now is that an exciting new era will be ushered in during the short-term, with newly appointed assistant, Ryan Giggs, learning from one of football’s master tacticians.

That is of course the plan, but as Moyes’ miserable reign confirmed: In football it’s dangerous to plan too far ahead.

 

Futures that look bright under Van Gaal

 

Robin Van-Persie
Excelled under Van Gaal at international level and was made Dutch captain by him last year. His partnership with Wayne Rooney should prosper as a result of the appointment.

Juan Mata
Has shown glimpses of his Chelsea form since making a £37m move to Old Trafford in January, usually at his best alongside the under-utilised Shinji Kagawa. Expect Mata to become integral to any success United enjoy next season.

Phil Jones

Hasn’t really developed as expected since a high-profile £16.5m move from Blackburn Rovers to Manchester United three years ago. Will need to step up next term, with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic departing the ‘Theatre of Dreams.’

Old Trafford Bound: Southampton should pocket £27m for teenage full-back Luke Shaw
Old Trafford Bound: Southampton will pocket £27m for teenage full-back Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw
Seems destined to inherit the left-back slot from evergreen Patrice Evra, with a £27m transfer from Southampton on the cards. The 18-year old is part of an exciting long-term vision that Van Gaal is likely to swiftly implement.

Adnan Januzaj
One of the few players at Old Trafford to enhance his reputation last season, the fleet-footed, Belgian born 19 year-old is a gem who should continue to prosper under the new boss.

Other youngsters
Expect Nick Powell, Wilfried Zaha and James Wilson to be unleashed in 2014-15, embellishing what, on paper, appears to be a remarkable pool of attacking talent.

 

 

Futures that look bleak under Van Gaal

 

Nani
Prodigiously gifted, exasperatingly inconsistent, the winger probably realises that his time in Manchester is approaching a meek conclusion. His presence now only serves to stifle the likes of Januzaj in the coming years.

Patrice Evra
With Luke Shaw inbound, the French full-back is in talks with Juventus after an eight year spell in the Premier League. Could still do a job as backup, but will feel that the move to Serie.A represents an opportunity for one last hoorah.

6.0: Ashley Young scores well for his diving, but not so much for his football skills since joining Man United.
Splash!: Ashley Young has cultivated his diving since moving to Man United.


Ashley Young

Injuries, dodgy dives and a regression of performance have hindered Young since his £16m move from Aston Villa. Once pivotal to club and country, the 28 year-old now has it all to prove.

Marouane Fellaini
Symptomatic of David Moyes’ time at Old Trafford were the ongoing tribulations of his £27.5m signing from Everton. Since then the Belgian midfielder’s value has diminished significantly and his reputation as a midfield powerhouse is in tatters.

Squad players
Expect the likes of Tom Cleverley, Alex Buttner, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck, Darren Fletcher and Antonio Valencia to have their cards marked by the new coach.

The class of ’92
While Giggs may be untouchable, the same cannot be said for the likes of Phil Neville, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes. Van Gaal is unlikely to stand on ceremony, regardless of their achievements as players.

Is Louis Van Gaal the right man to replace David Moyes? If not who would have been better? Let us know in the comment section below!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.