• Ander Herrera Was Manchester United’s Player Of The Year, Not Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    ARCHIVE: On April 19th, Paul Ansorge wrote the below on why Ander Herrera was Manchester Utds player of the year last season and not Zlatan.  Ander Herrera was exceptional when Manchester United beat Chelsea 2-0 on Sunday. He was assigned a man-marking job on the presumptive runner-up in this season's PFA Player of the Year awards (assuming N'golo Kante gets the “you didn't get this last year so you're definitely getting it this time” treatment), Eden Hazard. ...

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  • Which Premier League Team Is Least Likely To Reach The Champions League Last-16?

    For the first time ever, five Premier League teams will be taking part in the Champions League group stages, thanks to Manchester United taking advantage of the new bonus place which has been awarded to the winners of the Europa League since 2015. ...

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  • Manchester United Have A Width Problem

    Manchester United's flying start to the season ran into some turbulence in the form of Mark Hughes' Stoke City at the weekend. Still unbeaten, Jose Mourinho's side would nonetheless have been thoroughly disappointed by the result in the Potteries. More worrying than the result, though, was the drop off in performance levels. ...

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  • Manchester United’s Number Seven Shirt Brings An Enduring Symbolism

    There is something about numbers. There are ultra-rationalist humans who pay them little mind in terms of symbolic importance, but society has humanity's fascination with numbers baked into its core. We celebrate birthdays to mark our passage through life in numerical chunks. We pay particular attention to round numbers—turning 20 or 30 or 40 is a big deal because both numbers in your age change at once. In cricket, batsmen get nervous when they're edging through the 90s during an innings, in spite of the fact that scoring 99 runs and 100 runs has a remarkably similar effect on helping your team win. It's just that humans really like numbers. ...

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  • Nathaniel Clyne And Luke Shaw: From First-Choice Internationals To Forgotten Talents

    Berlin’s Olympiastadion, March 26th 2016. Nathaniel Clyne walks purposely off the pitch after England’s ridiculous three-goal comeback against Germany, grinning broadly and knowing that he has just taken a huge leap past Kyle Walker in making the right-back slot his own. On this memorable evening his performance has been highly accomplished, locking down a 120 metre strip of German turf to the extent where the opposition soon gave up to probe and scheme elsewhere. Okay so Dele Alli was surely going to claim the man-of-the-match award for his own break-out night but that’s no reflection on the Liverpool star: full-backs never win such plaudits. ...

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  • Andreas Pereira Is Set For A Tactical Apprenticeship At Valencia

    Statistically, Tony Adams is the worst coach LaLiga has ever seen, taking zero points from a possible 21 during his brief stint at Granada at the end of last season. Marcelino, on the other hand, is one of the best, having amassed 363 points out of a possible 729, a rate of 1.5 per game. Considering some of the modest teams he has been coaching during his decade of top-flight experience, such as Recreativo Huelva, Racing Santander and Real Zaragoza, that is a very impressive batting average. ...

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  • Out Of Injury’s Grasp, Phil Jones Again Looks Like A Manchester United Player

    "Phil Jones, arguably the way he is looking, could be our best ever player. I think Jones may be one of the best players we have ever had, no matter where we play him. At 21 years of age, he is going to be a phenomenal player. I think he can play anywhere on the pitch. He has such a massive influence, with his instinct and reading of the game. He has a drive about him." ...

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  • Put The Caution Aside: Manchester United Are Actually Very Impressive

    Manchester United have started the season really well. Indeed, in an entire 20-team division, they are the only side to have won all three of their games so far. Now, this could be chalked up to an accident of the fixture calendar as those matches would all have been games from which they would have expected to get all three points but played three, won three, scored 10 and conceded none is just about as good as anyone could have expected in the bit between the start of the season and the first international break. And in recent years, "games from which they would have expected to get all three points" have stopped being taken for granted. ...

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  • Returning Zlatan Ibrahimovic Must Adjust To A Changed Manchester United

    “Never go back”. How many times has that old truism been rolled out to caution against a player and a club trying to rekindle the magic that lay behind a once vibrant association? Yet according to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he never truly left Manchester United. Sure, the Swede was let go at the end of last season after tearing his knee ligament but following a summer of rest, recuperation, treatment and rehabilitation, he is once again on the payroll at Old Trafford, playing for a team that has already moved on. ...

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  • Why Do Manchester United Always Get Easy Champions League Draws?

    Following last week’s Champion’s League group draw that once again pitted Manchester United against three eminently beatable opponents, a tweeted photograph did the rounds on social media detailing United’s group stage match-ups since 2006. The photograph reads like a who’s who of decent but unexceptional continental fare: Benfica (three times), Copenhagen, Rangers, Basel, CSKA Moscow (three times), Bursaspor, Braga. The list was long and ordinary and perhaps made even more notable for the teams that were nowhere to be seen, teams that you would reasonably expect to pop up at least once over the course of a decade: a Milan or Inter perhaps; a PSG; maybe an Ajax. The tweet was accompanied by the words: “This needs explaining”. ...

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