Bernard, Koke and shades of Fergie

Posted by Musa Okwonga

Koke gave Atletico an early lead against Barcelona.GettyImagesKoke has starred for Atletico as they have found success this season.

Manchester United's quest for replacements and reinforcements to their squad is in full swing. All the talk is of strengthening their midfield -- of which more later -- but they are apparently also paying careful attention to their need for at least one winger or wide forward. Of course, this is a club with a tradition of brilliant wingers, but their recent recruitments in this area -- step forward Ashley Young, Nani and Antonio Valencia -- have been either consistently subpar or frustratingly inconsistent for several seasons now. Continue Reading...

Will Man Utd learn from their transfer shambles last summer?

Posted by Mark Payne

GundoganGettyImagesIlkay Gundogan was a United target but has since signed a new deal with Borussia Dortmund.

Manchester United have not learnt from the mistakes they have made over the past nine months -- despite unanimous agreement that last summer’s transfer window was an abject failure, the club are shaping up to repeat the blunders that landed them in their current predicament.

The relative secrecy of the previous regime has been replaced by United conducting their transfer business in a very public manner. It could be suggested that the club’s hierarchy are leaking these stories directly to certain journalists, which would be a grand shame. Continue Reading...

United's season is effectively over. Time to talk transfers.

Posted by Musa Okwonga

Toni KroosPA PhotosBayern Munich's Toni Kroos is a summer transfer target for Manchester United.

It is not quite mid-April and Manchester United's season is all but over. This is an unfamiliar situation at Old Trafford and the only consolation must be that it allows for early planning to start for next season. At the beginning of any new era, the right transfer business is vital. Following the end of their sustained winning streak in 1990, Liverpool were let down by a combination of poor management and bad acquisitions, in the latter case buying players who lacked the requisite character to thrive at the club. Continue Reading...

End of the road for Giggs?

Posted by Andy Mitten

Michael Regan/Bongarts/Getty ImagesIs Ryan Giggs about to depart the Old Trafford pitch for the final time?

More than 23 years since he made his first-team debut, Manchester United’s greatest ever player is likely to be entering his final month at Old Trafford. After featuring in 962 competitive first-team games (with friendlies it’s well over 1,000), Ryan Giggs, 40, is out of contract at the end of the season.

Sir Bobby Charlton’s 758-game appearance record for Manchester United was long considered insurmountable but Giggs passed that mark more than five years ago in Moscow, when he won his second European Cup with United. Continue Reading...

Lost weekend provides stark reminder

Posted by Mark Payne

Contrary to the prevailing mood, Manchester United's season is not over. Not quite yet anyway. Despite the fact that United have now been dumped out of the Champions League and do not have a fixture this weekend, the season still has business unfinished. This weekend will unfortunately provide a stark reminder of what they are missing out on though.

- Okwonga: Evra reminds Man United who they are
- Report: Fletcher: "We're fighting for futures"

Which would you prefer? Continue Reading...

Which is more painful for United fans: Liverpool or City winning the league?

Posted by Musa Okwonga

As a Manchester United fan, I have been asked to answer the question of who I would rather see win the Premier League: Manchester City or Liverpool. My immediate reaction is Chelsea. I hope, on Sunday, that these teams draw. But, having attempted unsuccessfully to dodge the issue, I will attempt a reply.

In truth, it’s like being asked to choose between a meal of boiled rat tails or stir-fried cockroach: neither option is appetising. Manchester City, the local rivals, have the governance structure and the financial clout to cast a considerable length of shadow over everyone else’s trophy cabinet. Continue Reading...

In defeat, Evra reminds Man United who they are

Posted by Musa Okwonga

Patrice EvraGettyImagesPatrice Evra celebrates his stunning opener against Bayern Munich but it wasn't enough.

Manchester United left the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night with an unsurprising margin of defeat but a surprising amount of pride. Their 4-2 loss on aggregate to Bayern Munich was slightly less resounding than had been projected but the great disparity between the sides was clear long before the final whistle. The issue of Europa League qualification remains but for a club of Manchester United's ambitions, the season is effectively over.

David Moyes will reflect that, at least, he gave Pep Guardiola momentary discomfort. Continue Reading...

Class tells as Bayern advance at United's expense

Posted by Mark Payne

Man United players know the game is up after Bayern scored their third goal.GettyImagesMan United players know the game is up after Bayern scored their third goal.

Manchester United delivered one final moment of glory before losing 3-1 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals on Wednesday. In a tie they had been expected to lose heavily, United led through a glorious Patrice Evra strike with 33 minutes to go. But Bayern roused themselves to victory in a manner that has eluded United all year. Manchester United's season has now turned to dust.

The match at the Allianz Arena in Munich was high on anxiety and low on chances. Continue Reading...

Message to Moyes: Gamble

Posted by Musa Okwonga

David MoyesGettyImagesDavid Moyes must make bold tactical choices to defeat Pep Guardiola's Bayern Munich.

Patrice Evra, in typically candid fashion, revealed recently that Manchester United’s players found it easier to motivate themselves for European games than domestic ones which, given the upcoming UEFA Champions League match away to Bayern Munich, is just as well.

“In Europe we’ve played good, we’re confident and it looks like we’re all up for it, more than in the League and the English cups," confessed Evra, following his team’s 4-0 win over Newcastle United at the weekend. Continue Reading...

Man United hopes grow at home and abroad

Posted by Andy Mitten

AllsportDavid Moyes was celebrating on Saturday, but will his good mood continue?

Could Manchester United sneak into fourth place in the Premier League? It's improbable. With five games to play, United are seven points behind a fading Arsenal and six off Everton.

The deficit to the latter will be cut in United's next league match, though, if David Moyes' side can do what it's not managed all season: beat a top-six team away from home.

Saturday's impressive 4-0 win at ninth-place Newcastle -- who had triumphed at Old Trafford in December -- was the best away result of the season. Continue Reading...

United rally before trip to Germany

Posted by Mark Payne

Marouane Fellaini
AssociatedMarouane Fellaini remains unconvincing.

Manchester United have started to find some rhythm now and the 4-0 victory over Newcastle at St. James’ Park allows them to enjoy consecutive weekends in which everything has gone well. Whilst both the result and the performance were pleasing on Saturday, such afternoons merely highlight how much the team have underachieved this season.

• Okwonga: Mata and Kagawa carve up Toon

Veteran United fans will counsel caution before letting expectations run wild. There are echoes of the good run of form in December in the current sequence of results. Continue Reading...

Mata and Kagawa carve Newcastle apart

Posted by Musa Okwonga

Rex Features/AP ImagesIn his first league start since Dec. 28, Hernandez, middle, scored and had an assist in Man United's win.

Newcastle United 0, Manchester United 4. In the 150th league match between these two teams, Man United manager David Moyes' men emerged as easy victors, swatting the home team aside in much the same fashion as had Everton a couple of weeks before. While Moyes and his team may struggle against elite opposition both home and away, they are ruthless at dispatching inferior outfits on the road. The two key features of this win, coming with a line-up much-changed from the eleven that started against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, were the goalscoring performance of Juan Mata -- who collected two in this match, his second and third in two games -- and an elegant, enterprising display from Shinji Kagawa, whose tempo of both movement and passing was dangerous throughout. Continue Reading...