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Daniel Taylor on United as favourites and Rooney staying put

Daniel Taylor, chief football writer for The Guardian and author of This Is The One, has shared his thoughts on United ahead of the 2012-2013 season.

Scott the Red: United never implode at the end of the season. What do you think happened?

Daniel Taylor: Lots of things. For starters, City played with real nerve. They went to Newcastle and won and then they found something extra to keep going in the QPR game, right to the death. But United did blow it when you think they had an eight-point lead. The 4-4 draw against Everton was careless in the extreme and that gave City new hope. But you also have to say that Fergie got it badly wrong in the derby at City. His team selection that day . . it was so negative and badly conceived and City punished it.

STR: You’d like to think we’ve learnt from it at least Is United’s current squad capable of winning the league?

DT: I think you will win the league. Which is not what I was saying a few weeks ago. In fact, I tipped City in the Guardian and also on a City supporters’ blog, but I did sneakily reserve the right to change my mind depending on what happens before the end of the transfer window and now you have signed Robin van Persie I think that tips it in your favour. That’s the reigning footballer of the year, plus the runner-up (Rooney), in the same same squad. Then add in Welbeck, Hernandez, Nani, Valencia, Young, Giggs, Kagawa – incredible options, attacking-wise – and also the fact that Vidic is back.

It’s been making me laugh reading some of the comments from Arsenal and City supporters about this ‘injury-prone 29-year-old’ etc etc. It’s Robin van Persie! He scored 39 per cent of Arsenal’s goals last season and City had pinpointed him as their main 2012 summer target in the autumn of the previous year. To take a player like that off the team that finished third last season, beating your main rivals in the process, is a major coup.

STR: You’re telling me! So we got Van Persie but missed out on Lucas Moura. It was weird that Fergie talked to the press about them, right?

DT: I suppose so, but not as unusual as some have made out. I’m guessing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he was trying to appease the supporters at a time when the Glazer issue has come back to the forefront of everything. Some fans see through it, many don’t. But I wouldn’t read too much into it.

STR: Do you think Rooney is here for life now?

DT: No idea. He says he is, but he also says he would never have gone to Manchester City, which is certainly not the message they had received. It will be interesting to see how his partnership with Van Persie goes and whether it will improve him. He’s suddenly not top dog, or not guaranteed, but he can hardly complain given that he was saying he wanted to leave not too long ago because the club were not showing enough ambition.

STR: Finally, what would you is the best Manchester XI?

DT: (4-2-3-1) Hart; Jones, Vidic, Kompany, Clichy; Y Toure, Scholes; Silva, Aguero, Nani; Van Persie. Subs: De Gea, Ferdinand, Valencia, Tevez, Rooney, Giggs.

Follow Danny on Twitter and check out his books on Sir Alex: This Is The One and Squeaky Bum Time.

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.

View all posts by Scott »



  1. Balaji Sivaraman says:

    Interesting thoughts. I agree with Daniel on how pathetic it is for Arsenal and City supporters to be saying RVP is a one-season wonder and that they won’t miss him. That is the funnies thing in this whole affair.

    Reposting from the previous thread:

    You know what I find most funny about the whole RVP affair, it is watching all the ABU journalists and Arsenal fans try to put a negative spin on it. It is seriously their lowest behavior yet.

    For one, I do believe it is ultimately a good deal in terms of money for Arsenal. They get over 20 mil for a player in the last year of his contract. That is good value, something we’re not going to get for Berbatov. However, RVP is also coming off his best season yet and is probably worth that amount, if not more, provided he stays injury-free.

    In terms of personnel, it is funny that Wenger is trying mind-games with his players by saying that RVP is a huge loss. I am sure he is hoping that it will inspire them to greatness. However, RVP is, in fact, a huge loss simply in terms of quality for them. The new players might all have splendid seasons like we did in 06-07. Or they could all find it difficult to settle in. Who knows? Either ways, saying that losing RVP (their top scorer last season) is a good thing is the highest form of denial I’ve read so far.

    In terms of the ABU journos, what a load of crap. It is clear that they “want” RVP to fail. They hope RVP and Rooney don’t click. Because if they do, then the league is pretty much fucked. They hope RVP picks up an injury and they hope Rooney doesn’t click like he did with Berba.

    And those calling this a move of desperation. How funny is that? What is desperate about signing arguably the world’s best striker on top of his game for under 25 mil. I am sure if Mancini had signed up RVP (which was definitely on the cards), these same fuckers would be calling it a stroke of genius. They’d be saying it is great to get the league’s top scorer to make up for two troublesome strikers. They’d be saying how Mancini bought RVP right under Fergie’s nose, and how it was already a pre-season win for Mancini over Fergie. But now that Sir Alex has got one over Mancini and City with the signing of RVP, they’re trying to put every negative spin on it, which is absolutely disgusting. Another show of how ABU the English press truly is.

    Also, I don’t think we’ll have the Berba problem with RVP. Berba is totally a different quality of player compared to RVP, who is sort of similar to Ronaldo in terms of dribbling with the ball and taking players on. I can see Rooney and RVP clicking along with Kagawa to back them up. That has the potential to be one of the most lethal partnerships in the world right now.

    Also, it is funny how people aren’t praising Sir Alex’s genius more. You look at any other side and they all have one form of attack. They don’t have a Plan B going forward including Spain and Barcelona. You look at the current squad Sir Alex has assembled and all you see is dynamism there. We can play the quick one-twos to split open defenses with Kagawa, Cleverley, Rooney and RVP. We can bang in crosses from either wing all day through Young, Tony V and Nani and exploit any weaknesses on the wing. If it’s late in the game and we don’t have a goal, we can bring on Chicharito and use his lethal threat to get a quickie in.

    Really, the options in terms of going forward are limitless right now. We have plans A, B, C and even D if that is needed. Sure, it all depends on how good our back line is, but I am sure Sir Alex has something worked out for that too. If Wenger did the same thing, the press would be wanking all over him and singing his managerial praises. But because this is Sir Alex, most of the press is trying to come up with all negative conclusions to this signing.

    Another pathetic show from the ABU English press.

  2. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Like this interview more, less of the snide fuckers. Positive all round. I would say we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, let city be claimed as favourites while we do our job effectively. Mancini will try and be clever, he did it last season by transferring all pressure on us and united disappointingly failed, time to step up.

    Hopefully the squad gels, we’ll be watching sublime football again.

  3. 16Legend says:

    and thats that… welcome to old trafford rvp(officially :) )

  4. edhardy says:

    Balaji, I wholly agree with you. If we would be at a loss in regard to his injury problems then why were they worked up to the extent of wishing that he breaks his leg and not play football again.

  5. Red1990 says:

    Typical ABU, agreeing with Balaji, will do anything to discredit the team and Sir Alex’s move. Even if we get Messi and Ronaldo in United they will still saying that it is not going to work. I think it is the best signing that any PL team have done this summer.

  6. NotoriousRedDevil says:

    My reaction now it’s official.

    And I’m going to be in North London this weekend :D :D :D

  7. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Cheeky to say City on a blue blog and United on a Red blog. Bit to slimy for my taste.

    As to Manchester XI. I would have Valencia at RB over Jones any day. Rio over Kompany as well. Tev and Roo on the bench?? yish!

  8. Costas says:

    Well the fact that he scored 39% of Arsenal’s goals in one season doesn’t mean he’s not an injury prone 29 year old…

  9. Keyser Soze says:

    I’ve got a sneaking suspicion Berba will feature more prominently this season, albeit in a withdrawn position behind the strikers. Fergie seems to be preparing the team for an aggressive campaign in attacking terms, with Wazza and RvP as a double pivots upfront, a fact that causes uncontrollable drooling, I feel very moronic today: D

  10. bRed says:

    Spot in with Nani’s inclusion in that lineup. Extend his contract already!

  11. DreadedRed says:

    Thanks Daniel Taylor, you are a decent journalist (not much competition of course)

    However, ranking Clichy above Evra is foolhardy. Especially when you consider:
    - Evra’s amended role due to Ando & Cleverley being unavailable, forcing Patrice forward at every opportunity instead of being able to chose when to get up the pitch
    - The lack of decent cover, meaning Paddy never got a break
    - The fact that we played with 2 wingers and often with 2 wing-backs.
    - The racist trial that brought hell-fire to bear on Evra for months.

    Patrice Evra remains the best LB in the Premiership, bar none.


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