The Stretty Rant are a Manchester United blog with big opinions. I asked if I could get some of those down on digital paper. They agreed because they’re polite and nice.
Here’s what they said.
What’s the vibe at United at the moment?
Much more happier than last season! Obviously United have spent a lot of money over the summer, but we’ve now got a proven manager at the helm who will get it right if given time. David Moyes was never my choice, even when many were discussing who would take over from Fergie, and the job proved too big for him. Was he treated unfairly, yes he was – but I don’t think he should have been given the job in the first place.
Although United have had some disappointing results (three losses and a draw away at Burnley), there is an excitement about the club – something that was missing during Moyes’ time. Angel Di Maria is an absolute genius of a footballer and is an absolute joy to watch. One thing Ronaldo was brilliant at (other than the goals and taking the piss out of the opposition) was carrying the ball eighty yards up the pitch and Di Maria has that ability to accelerate away and relieve pressure. Everyone feels that United needed to replace the experience of Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra (Rojo and Shaw were obviously brought in), whilst the defensive injuries have not helped. I’m still confident United can finish top four.
What do you think of LVG?
A great manager with an interesting personality. Throughout the history of football, people have loved (and loathed) big personalities within football. Brian Clough, Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson have all divided opinions – but they were/are interesting, both how they set their teams up and also how they handle the media. Louis van Gaal has no doubt found it tougher than he expected and I think United fans all felt the club would be closer to Chelsea than we are right now.
You have to give a manager time, especially since it has only been eighteen months since Fergie stepped down, and van Gaal should get it as I think he will get it right. If you gave Moyes five years, I never felt the team would play an attractive brand of football, which subsequently would help towards winning a trophy. Although twenty years ago, van Gaal took an extremely young Ajax team to the pinnacle of club football and beat – OK, a much weaker team than previous – the incumbent European Champions. He has experience in many different leagues and brings a wealth of experience to the club. Very happy with him.
Which signing has impressed you the most this summer (your signings)?
Angel Di Maria hands down. There was a rumour around five years ago that United and Benfica were planning a swap deal with Nani and Di Maria and there was hesitation as to whether it would be a good move. How ridiculous that sounds now (although Nani had a blinder at The Emirates that season – 2009/10 – when we won 3-1) considering the player Di Maria has become. He was exceptional in the Champions League final and was brilliant at the World Cup until getting injured. All the players at Madrid were shocked to see him go, which is of course a testament to his superb ability. Their loss is of course United fans gain as he is exceptional to watch.
Falcao hasn’t got going, although will be a top striker when he does. I really don’t think he would have passed the medical had his knee shown any signs of injury. Shaw has bags of potential and will be a top class left back for many years to come.
What do you think about the Arsenal situation?
There is an obvious school of thought that Arsene Wenger inherited a back line and instilled a core through the centre. Arsenal between 1998 and 2004 were awesome to watch and were extremely difficult to beat. Going from a centre midfield of John Jenson and Ian Selly to Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit was the work of Wenger and they were so difficult to play against. I remember Gary Neville saying that he just couldn’t play against the Arsenal team. Petit would find space and keep knocking balls in behind for Marc Overmars to chase and leave Neville for dead. That team was tough as well. The addition of Thierry Henry turned Arsenal into potential European Cup winners and, if truth be told, Arsenal had a better chance in 2004 than when you actually got to the final in 2006 to win it.
I think when you’ve experienced success for a while, beating the likes of Ferguson and United in the process, it is obviously frustrating that you’re no longer competing for the title. To go unbeaten for a whole season, to bring talents like van Persie, Fabregas and Wilshere to the club and then not to push on would of course be frustrating for any fan! But post 2004, Arsenal were competing with the riches of Chelsea, a rejuvenated Ronaldo-led Manchester United and latterly the bags of riches in Manchester City. Competition has increased, whilst Wenger’s be controlling the purse strings – this of course changed with the signing of Mesut Ozil and his hefty transfer fee. There is money to spend but I know Arsenal fans are crying out to sign a top class holding midfielder and a centre half.
Alexis Sanchez is top class and I’m glad he went to Arsenal over Liverpool! I still think Wenger should have bought Fabregas back. You can’t ignore a talent like that when he becomes available and I think Wenger should have taken a punt. Many have cited stubbornness in the Frenchman, which may be true – but Ferguson was also extremely stubborn – but it pays off when you’re successful! The 3-3 draw with Anderlecht was farcical and Wenger’s overall record against Jose Mourinho is now laughable – but I still think he is a class coach, who aims to instil an attractive brand of football. But with Arsenal out of the title race (as are we), eleven years is a long time for the third most success domestic club to go without the championship.
Would you keep Arsene Wenger at the end of the season if things stayed the same as they have for the last 5 years?
It’s difficult to say without experiencing it. I understand the frustrations and the fact that Arsenal are the most expensive club in England with regards to ticket sales, but I was also extremely pro-Ferguson, especially at a very difficult time for the club (Glazer buy out in 05 before we played you in the Cup final). United were way off the pace in 2004, 2005 and 2006 – although there was some promise in the 2005/06 season (despite an early Champions League exit) – and many were calling for a new manager to step in saying that Fergie should have called it a day in 2002. No chance for me, and perhaps I would be the same way with Wenger – although, I realise it has been a far longer time frame that the one I am referring to.
A top class coach who I still think could get it right one day.
How do you think you’ll set up against Arsenal?
4-3-3 but dependent on injuries (De Gea and Di Maria could miss the match)
De Gea, Valencia, Jones, McNair, Shaw, Carrick, Herrera, Rooney, Di Maria, Januzaj, van Persie
What do you think the result will be?
Hopefully better than the dire 0-0 from last season. You’re favourites, I expect us to win – but I’m going for 2-2.
How do you think United will finish the year?
Who do you think will win the league?
Chelsea all day long. They needed a striker last season and have signed a great forward in Diego Costa and of course Cesc Fabregas – sorry to bring that up again.
Which Arsenal player do you dislike the most?
None really. But if I have to pick one I’ll got for Szczesny. I fucking hate a selfie berk.