Manchester United

The Juan And Only

Manchester United's players celebrate their 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield.

Manchester United’s players celebrate their 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield.

Juan Mata scored twice as Manchester United ruined Steven Gerrard’s final Merseyside derby with a just about deserved 2-1 win in the big Sunday lunchtime game.

The hosts who’s last defeat came against the Red Devils in December, were unchanged – which meant club captain Gerrard would have to come off the bench to appear in this one. As for the visitors United who looked to have returned to form after an impressive win over Tottenham last week, they make just the single change as Ashley Young comes in – but the returning Angel Di Maria who was sent off in the FA Cup against Arsenal starts this one from the bench.

As for the match itself, United got out of the blocks the quicker. The visitors midfield of Fellaini, Carrick, Mata and Young were slick in their passing – and were operating at the tempo which blew away Tottenham last week.

Liverpool had no answer – and despite having the majority of the possession, it was indeed Louis Van Gaal’s side who looked more fluent in attack – and it was a little of surprise that United would take the lead in the 14th minute.

Juan Mata who was brilliant in last weeks win at Old Trafford, was equally as brilliant here. The Spaniard who had been subject of transfer speculation at the start of the season , latched on to a fantastic Ander Herrera through ball- and beat the on rushing Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet with a brilliantly placed finish into the bottom corner.

The visitors at the point were in complete control – but rather naively took their foot off the pedal, which allowed the hosts to come back into the game. After going a goal down Liverpool’s response was good as Adam Lalana missed a great chance to level the scores before halftime.

The former Southampton captain who earned a reputation for scoring goals by arriving late in the box did that here – but disappointingly fired wide when maybe he should have scored. That missed chance was one of the last bits of action of the first half as United went in at the break a goal up.

Liverpool who have been in brilliant for since that defeat to United were in dire need of shaking things up in midfield. So who better to bring on at the start of the second half than club legend Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool skipper who has only just returned from a hamstring injury, would have been determined to end his associations in Merseyside derbies on a high – but there was no fairy tale ending for the Liverpool captain here.

Gerrard who was brought on to provide a calmness into the Liverpool midfield that was lacking the first half, inexcusably lost his head – and was sent off. The 34 year old Gerrard who had barely been on the pitch for more than two minutes was involved in a 50/50 challenge with United’s Herrera – and then rather foolishly stamped on the United midfielder’s leg, which didn’t go unnoticed, all be it with some assistance by the referee’s assistant.

That Red card was to prove costly as Juan Mata scored with a wonderful goal to apparently put the game beyond doubt. The Spaniard started a well worked move – and the 28 year old passed to Di Maria which lead to the Argentine to provide a well judged chip over the Liverpool defence – and set Juan Mata up to acrobatically place a left strike in the bottom corner of Mignolet’s goal.

With the game seeming out of Liverpool’s reach, United became complacent – and despite having 10 men it was Liverpool who looked the better side, despite having 10 men. The visitors sloppiness allowed Daniel Sturridge to pull a goal back with a near post strike, which David De Gea maybe could have done better with.

Fortunately for United there were no more goals in this one. The visitors did have time to win a penalty in the dying minutes as Emre Can clumsily brought down Daley Blind in the box. The resulting penalty kick was missed however as Wayne Rooney’s kick was at a nice height for Liverpool keeper Mignolet to save.

Advantage United then in the ‘rat race’ for fourth, as Man United manager Van Gaal put it -but with both sides needing to play the big sides such as Arsenal and Chelsea, the race for fourth isn’t over just yet.The

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Queens Park Rangers Vs Manchester United Match Report

Marouane Fellaini opened the scoring in the 2-0 win over QPR.

Marouane Fellaini opened the scoring in the 2-0 win over QPR.

Manchester United overcame a spirited Queens Park Rangers performance, to return winning ways after last weeks defeat against Southampton.

The Reds recalled striker Radamel Falcao after Robin Van Persie was unavailable for this one. Di Maria is again up front for the Reds in a new tactical formation for Manchester United.

As for QPR, the hosts included Nedum Onuha – but new loan signing Mauro Zarate only could make the bench as Rangers looked to maintain their impressive home form.

It was QPR who started the better as Manchester United were struggling with the 3-5-2 formation, which at times Louis Van Gaal blindly choses it seems. Not to take anything away from the West Londoners who were impressive and matched United for certain parts of this game.

Main man Charlie Austin had a couple of efforts brilliantly saved by Man United keeper David De Gea on both occasions . United were second best in the first half and Manchester United fans let their feelings known to their manager Van Gaal.

Radamel Falcao had a couple of opportunities at the other end, firstly hitting straight at Rob Green then in the second half forcing the QPR into an unbelievable save – but the facts were clear Manchester United were poor.

The Man United fans made their opinion very clear of the first half and what should be done to change it. The Manchester United fans chanted for a change of formation and got their wish of a change of formation as Van Gaal switched to the more renowned United formation of 4-4-2.

With in minutes it lead to the first goal. Antonio Valencia set up Marouane Fellaini who emphatically beat Rob Green in the Rangers goal. QPR pushed for an equaliser but to no avail.

James Wilson who came on as a second half sub, killed the game off as a contest with a classic breakaway goal. The United sub went on a surging run, only to see his shot at the end of it blocked – but fortunately for the youngster he got a second chance.

A good result for United – but the Reds will have to improve on their away from. Manchester United might have won here – but in the last month to many dropped points on the road have allowed United’s rivals back into the race for a top four position.

As for QPR, the Hoops can be proud of such a brave performance. Rangers’ performance wasn’t a performance of a team that is at the wrong end of the table. The performance although a defeat will be encouraging for Harry Redknapp who has been subject to rumours this week of losing his job.

FA Cup Fourth Round Review

The draw for the fourth tie has thrown up some potential 'glamour ties' such as Chelsea Vs Bradford. The Bantams will have to overcome Millwall in a third round replay  after drawing against the South London side at the New Den.

The draw for the fourth tie has thrown up some potential ‘glamour ties’ such as Chelsea Vs Bradford. The Bantams will have to overcome Millwall in a third round replay first after drawing against the South London side at the New Den.

The draw for the FA cup fourth round was announced on Monday 5th January – and there are some real exciting ties for the lower leagues clubs such as our very own Bradford City and Cambridge United. The Bantams who were involved in an epic 3-3 draw against Millwall on Saturday 3rd January will have to replay their third tie at Valley Parade – but if they win their replay, premier league giants and current league leaders Chelsea await in a potential money spinning tie at Stamford Bridge. The Blues overcame a stubborn Watford side in round three but it was only until a brilliant strike from Willian which allowed the early shackles to be broken in what turned out to be a comfortable win the end.

League Two outfit Cambridge who are the lowest ranked team in the tournament have been rewarded for beating League Two rivals Luton and will face 11 times winners Manchester United at home, in what will be the biggest game in the East Anglian sides history . As for United, they left it late to defeat League One outfit Yeovil in round three to book their place in round four.

Holders Arsenal who easily swept aside last years finalists Hull in round three in what was a repeat of last years final, will face Brighton in round four . Championship side Brighton who are now managed by former Tottenham assistant Chris Hughton defeated Championship high flyers Brentford 2-0 to set up one of the biggest home games in the Seagulls’ recent history.

Eighteen time English champions Liverpool overcame a ‘banana skin’ tie against AFC Wimbledon to progress to round four, which was largely down to ‘captain marvel’ Steven Gerrard who grabbed a brace as Liverpool edged this one 2-1. It’s such a shame that the Liverpool skipper will be leaving for LA Galaxy come the end of the season, the Reds have a home time against Championship side Bolton who have seen a resurgence under new boss Neil Lennon. The Reds will be hoping for an easier tie in round four – but Neil Lennon’s Trotters will be no pushovers.

Manchester City who were winners of the FA cup in 2011 face another Championship side in Aitor Karanka’s high flying Middlesborough in round four. The Blues just about overcame a plucky Sheffield Wednesday in injury time in round three to set up this tie with the North East club in round four. As for Middlesborough they safely booked their place in round four with a comfortable 2-0 away against Barnsley.

Fellow Championship high flyers Bournemouth take on premier league strugglers Aston Villa, a potential giant killing is definitely on the cards here. The South coast side who currently top the championship and who also have the best attack in all four English divisions, impressively dispatched of Championship rivals Rotherham in what was a brilliant away performance in round three with a 5-1 mauling . Villa in contrast narrowly edged out Championship strugglers Blackpool 1-0 in round three. The fourth round ties will be played on the 24th and 25th January.

The full draw for the FA cup Fourth Round:

Cambridge United Vs Manchester United
Chelsea Vs Millwall or Bradford City
Preston NE VS Sheffield United
Aston Villa VS AFC Bournemouth
Liverpool VS Bolton
Brighton & HA VS Arsenal
Sunderland VS Fulham or Wolves
Manchester City VS Middlesborough
Rochdale VS Stoke City
Derby County VS Scunthorpe or Chesterfield
Cardiff City Vs Reading
Birmingham City VS West Brom
Blackburn Rovers VS Swansea City
Burnley or Tottenham VS Leicester City
Doncaster Rovers or Bristol City VS Everton or West Ham

Football Manager- One Of The Few Jobs That Doesn’t Have A Probationary Period

David Moyes is a prime example of one of the managers who wasn't given time

David Moyes is a prime example of one of the managers who wasn’t given time

For many it is seen as the dream job, a job where you can get the yearly income that your heart desires- a lot more than what your heart desires in certain circumstances. Being a Football manager for quite a few is a concept they would like, the football manager video game being very popular for example. The reality itself in recent time especially I am afraid is grim,managers seem to barely last a season these days.

So what is it about being a football manager that people (certain managers) find so difficult? football manager is such a unique position as it isn’t like other employment roles. The role of football manager is different in the sense of that if the team is failing the manager seems to be the first one in the ‘firing line’ and pays the direct consequence.

In other lines of work that isn’t necessarily the case, usually if a team in the work place performs poorly, the manager will most likely look at he/she who isn’t performing and take the appropriate action of what’s needed.

Football managers aren’t even blessed with a ‘probationary period’ well most of them just look at Leeds United for example- do I need to say any more? With most jobs due to the competitive natured society we are living in, job security is a concept which might have meant something in the past – but is a concept that doesn’t exist today.

It begs the question how did Sir Alex, Arsene Wenger and David Moyes at Everton last for so long? Well it’s hard to say but I guess these managers all had good chairman to support them. They say in life ‘good things come to those who wait’ I wish chairman would remember that quote. Talking of David Moyes, here is another example of a manager who has been a victim of impatient owners.

The Scot after a very consistent spell with Everton that lasted for some 10 years or more, was barely given a season at Manchester United. What seemed apparent with this scenario was that the players that Moyes had available had just weren’t good enough, but instead of players getting moved on, sadly for Moyes the 51 year old was a victim of United’s players under performing.

Thankfully new Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has addressed the problem and got rid of players such as Tom Cleverly (good riddance) . The 62 year old Dutchman has brought in players like Di Maria and Falcao, don’t say this to loudly- but Van Gaal isn’t doing that much better than Moyes at the same stage of last season.

The ‘revolving door’ that is football managers jobs- needs to stop. It’s at a ridiculous stage, Mark Robins the Ex Huddersfield manager lost his job or shall I say left by ‘mutual consent’ after 1 game of the current season. If that isn’t ridiculous I don’t know what is.

Owners of football clubs do like to get impatient, but you do need to give your manager time. If you look at Alan Pardew who seemed destined for the sack, but has turned things around recently with a 4 game winning streak. Then there is Sam Allardyce ‘Big Sam’ has been ‘under pressure’ since last season despite guiding the Hammers to 13th.

I am of the opinion that ‘hiring and firing’ managers in it self could cost a lot of money, compensation for ‘unfair dismissal’ and the cost of hiring a manager that a football owner thinks will be successful.

Football won’t change any time soon in regards to the way football managers are treated. Owners of football clubs get ‘mesmerised’ when they see other sides make a change of management and see on the pitch performances improve dramatically. You can’t blame them on one hand for wanting to take such a step.

How times have changed from the days of Sir Alex being at Manchester United and Crewe manager Dario Gradi.