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CONFIRMED LINE-UP: Cluj vs United

De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Anderson, Fletcher, Cleverley; Rooney, Hernandez, Van Persie.

Subs: Lindegaard, Buttner, Wootton, Nani, Powell, Kagawa, Welbeck.


About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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246 Comments

  1. edcunited1878 says:

    Ando does a thankless job working and running hard on and off the ball. Rooney does his fair share of running don’t get me wrong, but he isn’t under the stress of Anderson is when in the middle of the pitch. Rooney is able to drift into space where Ando has to fully commit himself, show for others, etc. Their fitness is tracked and measured so the training staff and coaches know his limits. Plus training fitness cannot fully compensate for match intensity and match fitness.

  2. Wee Toms Ligaments says:

    Good result.

    No major worries. The back four played wrll enough to win. RVP bailed out the front line. And Rooney looked close to what is expected of him.

    I think this same line up with Kagawa on for Chicharito is the answer.

    Unfortunately, Sir Alex will start Carrick, Scholes, and Giggs in the middle with RVP, Rooney, and Valencia up top.

    Get ready for it.

  3. Sushi says:

    Why the fuck isn’t Neville a part of our setup? He’d be perfect to stand on the sidelines and have a go at our players don’t know why he went of as a pundit could have used his insight first hand.

  4. KR says:

    edcunited1878, definitely. My god Ando is a proper workhorse. He will not stop until his petrol tank is below the red.

    With more games comes fitness so PLEASE, PLEASE Fergie keep the same midfield for Newcastle.

  5. KR says:

    Sushi, mates of mine that are City fans actually like Nev now, that’s how much they respect his analysis and views on Sky.

    The fact he loves attacking midfielders creating chances says to me he moves along as the game of football does.

  6. Georgejoseph says:

    All I can say it thank good for RVP and Rooney. As they are the only real world class players we have !!!!

  7. Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson says:

    @FletchTHEMAN

    Disagree re: Chico. He has not looked the same since the concussion, even when it comes to playing for Mexico. Any follower of Mexican football will tell you that.

    Your comment regarding Mexico’s shit competition is also off base. Chico has scored against lesser international sides, but also against Argentina, France, and Spain.

    At least he did prior to his concussion. Since then, he’s scored, but the goals just haven’t come as profusely and naturally as they once did.

    In other words, it’s the exact same thing we’re seeing with United.

    I don’t know if it’s a mental thing, or if it is indeed something physical, but he is really a different player post-concussion. Right before he got it, he had just finished a magical season with us and then won the player of the tournament award at the Gold Cup and then BOOM–the injury.

    And now this. Poor guy.

  8. Sushi says:

    You’re actually mates with city fans? Haha joking!

  9. rat1p says:

    @Georgejoseph
    sorry but thats b$

  10. KR says:

    Wee Toms Ligaments, please don’t say that because the thought of that midfield is making me depressed no matter how good the frontline may be.

    I juts don’t understand Fergie at times, i have no authority to question him but surely he can see the obvious, like Spurs at the weekend.

  11. Costas says:

    Nice to have maximum points. Much better than the clusterfucks we were witnessing at this stage last season.

    Regarding Anderson, when it comes to work rate, he’s the missing piece of the puzzle in our midfield. He covers a lot of ground and (most of the time) passes the ball intelligently. But here’s what bothers me. Is it that hard for him to drop weight? He’s been like this for a couple of years now and it doesn’t do his stamina any favors. Like Marq said, he could have featured a lot more often.

  12. Dela says:

    Typical Champions League group stage game. This is the kind of game you always expect against a team like Cluj and in a country like Romania. Had that been Old Trafford I think it would have been a mauling even without our wingers. I think that some people here over-obsessed with complaining have either blanked out the group stage games of past champions league competitions from us, or they were too young, or for some reason weren’t fans. Champions League games can be boring, dire affairs in some of the most bizarre atmospheres the game has to offer.

    I’m happy tonight because we have 6 points from two games, now if we win the next game against braga at OT, we’re seriously flying it. We need 4 points from 4 games, i think we’re good ;-)

  13. Ice Cube says:

    We are forgetting about Evra and his role in 433 where we have a striker, with two more behind in an effective 4-1-2-2-1 formation,

    Evra is expected to provide width and defend. He’s also missing a player like Young to assist him in defense, a job Park ji Sung used to be very good at. Thus he is being exposed as a poor defensive fullback.

    We were too narrow in attack and too exposed in the wide areas on the break. I’d love to see the stats on how many times we’ve been done by a fast attack down Evra’s side this season. He’s actual not that good defending and he doesn’t really do anything going forward. I cant think of any assists he’s done off the top of my head. I’d love to see his assist stats for this season and last.

    This formation is all about accomadating a barca appoach, with Scholes as the controller. Which is a wrong move in my eyes.

    Valencia was our main threat last season, his width and hugging the touchline provided a lot of goals. He stretches the play. 433, nulls his role, that’s why fergie tried him at right back over Rafeal at Everton.

    442 is our formation that has brought us the most success. I’d rather a 442, with Rooney playing as the 5th midfielder in Europe and away at tough PL venues. With quick breaking Rooney, Valencia and Nani/young. With Kagawa and a more defensive player like fletcher, who can provide cover for Kagawa, when he pushes forward. Both should be expected to get back and cover, like all the midfield does in 442.

  14. FletchTHEMAN says:

    MOM for me was Wayne Rooney. Covered every blade of grass and made both goals.

    Can Rooney work with RvP?

    Rooney: 2 Assists
    RvP: 2 Goals

    Any questions?

  15. Utd4life says:

    You know what, I half expect the Gaffer to start Giggsy and Scholesy alongside Carrick in the weekend. It befuddles the fuck out of me as to why he does it? Does he not see how better our midfield performs when we play Ando and Cleverley together? I wish he could just come out and tell his reason for starting both the legends against a young, dynamic midfield like Spurs.

  16. Sushi says:

    Yeah unfortunately I don’t get sky but I’ve seen some of his commentary which is quite
    Good. Especially compared to redknapp and the clowns over at bbc

  17. Marq says:

    @edcunited1878

    I know where you are coming from, but do you seldom see top top players run of of gas the way Anderson looks punctured? I’m merely suggesting he can do better at his fitness. And today’s match is hardly in the league of intense, no disrespect to Cluj, because they are not just any inferior team like some suggested.

  18. redlad 19 says:

    3 points rvp class, wazza looked fitter good to see fletch start !! ando and chica seriously need to work on there passing! but 3 points not to complain! mufc19

  19. belfast red. says:

    Chico made runs all nite and stretched there defense. Its hardly seen but he does it all the time. Just needs to get his shooting boots bck on. Is evans out for next match then?? Keane or Wootton your time is now!

  20. Utd4life says:

    Play Ando regularly then he will reach the desired fitness levels. On the other hand, if you play him like once in 3-4 games then don’t expect him to suddenly become Roy Keane.

  21. KR says:

    Utd4life, exactly. I hope it’s not out of sympathy or not being able to move on because seriously football has moved on and ageing players in a fast modern game DOES NOT work.

    I think we get destroyed if we play Carrick, Giggs Scholes at the weekend but if we play Ando/Cleverley/Fletcher then we win. The difference is that big.

    Tiote, Cabaye, Ben Arfa and Jonas put incredible pressure on opposing midfields and when they win good it’s because they domiante the midfield and provide service for the 2 Senegalese lads upfront.

    Spurs midfield is actually terrible without Modric because Sandro and Dembele is not really a good combination but ours was so much more worse and hence we lost.

  22. edcunited1878 says:

    Ando’s fitness levels is also a reflection of his diet and lifestyle outside of football and it’s fair to say it’s good enough, but can be better/should be better. Ando’s willingness and ability to get stuck in and battle for the ball then drive forward is something he has over all other midfielders, except Fletch.

  23. Sushi says:

    Agreed Ando is Only a fat ass cause he diesnt
    Play regular so can’t do much. There is
    Only so much gym work you can do

  24. KR says:

    All agree on Ando playing regularly. There is 0.00% of benefit you get out of playing Giggs over him, one guy is trying to get his career kick started properly and the other is slow and uninspiring at the end of his career.

    Start Ando Fergie!

  25. belfast red. says:

    Degea has to be number 1 keeper. Fuk all ths tinkering.. hes getting better game by game.

  26. edcunited1878 says:

    To be fair, Wazza is a bit of a fatass himself and he smokes…..occasionally. But, the more you play, the more you know when to press harder and Ando just can’t turn it on and off.

  27. Sushi says:

    Also this fucking switching act between keepers is a serious piss off.

  28. Sushi says:

    If anything fergie should be mind fucking evra/buttner with game by game switch up keep them on their toes

  29. Costas says:

    Ando’s fat ass itself isn’t a problem. On the contrary. It’s one of the reasons he wins so many midfield battles. :lol:

  30. Marq says:

    Yup think we can agree on that. Anderson did very well, but definitely alot of room for improvement in terms of fitness.

    As for suggesting we play him until he gets fit, I don’t agree. You prove you are fit enough to start, not start until you are fit enough. Match sharpness you need game time, yes, but losing weight, no, you don’t, just look at Rooney. And we are not asking Anderson to become a Ronaldo, just dropping 3-5kg would do him wonders I believe

  31. Ice Cube says:

    We’ll get beat at Newcastle. We looked poor in the air tonight, so will struggle with Ba and Cisse. We will start with Scholes, who needs a runner and we carry, as fergie doesn’t trust anyone else in big matches. We will be tired after a long trip abroad. We are playing poorly. Newcastle have a great set of players, that can upset anyone. They also have strength in our weak area’s. Newcastle in short are our worst nightmare.

    That may upset people, but I don’t have my head in the sand and I don’t make excuses for highly paid footballers and back it up with blind loyalty. They get cheered on when playing, but they also deserve grilling after. That’s what creates pressure, pressure turns shit into diamonds and clears the ones who can’t cope. That’s how we improve. Muppets who want to be seen as the “greatest” fans never question.

    That was my head speaking. My heart says, we have the firepower, if we can provide the service. Newcastle defense is ok, not great. We can play badly and still get a result.

  32. sam says:

    I think Evans is underrated, defensively he doesnt read the game as well as others but he has enough pace to make up for it and his distribution is phenomenal. Was impressed with Anderson tonight, really excellent range of passing if a little inaccurate at some times, and he showed good control in tight areas. He made a few driving runs forward which he needs to do more often, and he perhaps was slightly immobile at times which may be a fitness thing. Desperately needs games now which I would argue he deserves, Fergie must stop relying on Scholes, use him as an impact sub sure, but he must put faith in Cleverley and Anderson or they wont develop and when Scholes finally does say goodbge we’ll be in a mess. Plus theres the fact Scholes really cant play well when put under pressure, where Anderson and Cleverley may do better as they specialise over short distances.

  33. edcunited1878 says:

    Well if Evans cannot recover from his apparent dead leg within five days, United may be fucked sideways in defense.

  34. Sushi says:

    Is Newcastle goalie injured? Fucks his name I Remember Him being good….
    Yeah their defense is not the greatest

  35. KR says:

    My heart says 4-3 United because Rooney/RVP/kagawa will bail us out as usual despite the midfield of Scholes/Giggs/Carrick getting destroyed.

    My head says if we keep that midfield then we lose 3-1 because no matter how good that front 3 is that midfield is crap and too slow to keep up.

    Now on the other hand play the same mid as tonight then this is a pointless discussion because we beat Newcastle IMO.

  36. KR says:

    Sushi , Tim Krul: he’s quality

  37. Sushi says:

    Lol wtf happened to bayern?

  38. Sushi says:

    Ah yes krul that’s it. Thx couldn’t remember

  39. redlad 19 says:

    Marq totally agree with ando stuff. these boys play football all day!!! ‘match fitness’ is meant to get players sharp and sort there quickness up to match speed not there personal fitness. ando needs to get HIS fitness sorted. 19

  40. Costas says:

    @edcunited1878

    Agreed. It’s inconceivable that Evans could miss Sunday’s game. With it being a dead leg though, I am hopefully he will recover in time. We have 5 days until then. If he doesn’t, I bet Carrick will get the nod ahead of Wootton with Tom and Ando starting in midfield.

  41. Ice Cube says:

    KR i’m with you on the midfield tonight, I think you summed it up perfectly. I hope you are correct. I just see fergie changing it and tiredness from the long trip kicking in. Maybe the extra days rest will be crucial.

    Bayern got muchhosened. I don’t know what muchhosend means, i doubt anything, but that’s the word i’d use in german for being panned.

  42. ji sung says:

    WAYNE ROONEH WAYNE ROONEH HE GOES BY THE NAME OF WAYNE ROONEH!!!!!
    What a bonus it is having Wazza back . World class player and I always say it…when Rooney is on the pitch and playing for us, we ALWAYS have a chance! FACT!
    Legend!!!!

  43. Sushi says:

    Lol guess i shouldn’t laugh at their misfortune considering that was us last season!

  44. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Patrice can piss me off at times, if he could improve his fucking positioning but he showed his commitment with that brilliant defensive header, still think his place is up for grabs if he doesn’t improve.

    Anderson was superb today. pinging passes about accurately, very inventive and gives united that mobility, power and drive added with his brazilian flair. People bang on about his fitness but he’ll only improve that with regular games and he has staked a claim with two great performances now. Fletcher sat in front of the back, looks to be reinventing his game, he did a solid job tonight but I hope to see him looking sharper soon.

    Cleverley was also good. Moved the ball quicker, creative with his passes as i’ve always asked him to show that side of his game. He covered every blade of grass like anderson and his defensive work was great.

    Rafael was outstanding at fullback. Little terrier, battles for everything. Looks strong these days, his defensive game has got better too, bomb up and down all game. Hope he keeps improving.

    RVP was a threat all night, dropping off or looking to get behind. 7 goaks in 7 games shows why he was bought but his overall play impressed me. Two goals tonight, second one was classy technique at its best. He also put a shift in defensively, showing he has brawn with his artistry. Hope to see him get better.

    Rooney was top class. Inventive, imaginative visionary. Two assists tonight, second assist was sublime. He looks hungry, sharper, meaner. Hope to see more from him.

    De gea was solid, caught one high ball which he would similarly be tested by In the PL,that number 1 is his to lose but hope he stays there.

    Generally please with the interchanging in our play. We looked creative everytime, passes were more Accurate and with purpose in the 2nd half but we need to stop fucking starting slowly and need to defend better right all around the team. The midfield tonight was the right blend hence why we moved the ball well, had more mobility and work rate. Improvement is needed as newcastle will be extremely tough, can’t afford a slow start. Gotta keep the midfield we employed tonight.

  45. United Till I Die says:

    We’re not in top form, so a win is a win end of the day.

    As for Anderson match fitness only comes from matches, you can’t replicate what he did tonight on a training pitch. He’s is getting stronger each game this was only his third 90 min appearance this season.

    Cleverley has played 8 full games now, give or take two 60 min apps, and its showing. Having Fletcher back is a bonus, and im not one for writing off Carrick, Giggs or Scholes either. So far so good!

  46. United Till I Die says:

    Just skimming the comments – People shouldn’t conflate Rooney’s fitness and Anderson’s fitness. All chubby players are NOT created equally. Messi and Yaya are hardly fat free for starters.

    Basically, you can’t compare Wazza and Ando because the Brazilian’s weight doesn’t effect his first touch, or his passing and tackling, or his movement with and without the ball.

    Im not saying Anderson is in top form, course not, but he’s getting there. He’s only played 3 x 90 minutes and his fitness is where it should be for now. All three performances were solid anyway.

    But Wazza was bang out of order at Everton for being miles off the pace, as thats something you can prevent in training. Only a blind man can’t see Ando’s been working on his fitness in pre-season.

    He wouldn’t be able to complete 90 minute games otherwise. Give him time, he’ll keep improving.

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