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Mark Ogden on signing RvP, imploding and conspiracy theories

Mark Ogden, Daily Telegraph Northern Football Correspondent, looks ahead to United’s 2012-2013 season.

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

Mark Ogden: United have had a few wobbles during the run-in in the past, so it wasn’t totally unusual that it happened last season. I also think that the eight-point lead was misread by players, fans and ourselves in the media alike. With the away game at City still to come, it was never really an eight-point lead in the sense that City had to hope for an almighty collapse by United. All they had to do was beat United and hope for another defeat and a draw, which is eventually what happened. But yes, it’s still unusual for that to happen to United, so they can have no excuses. They were abysmal at Wigan and totally naïve against Everton, when all they had to do was sit on a two-goal lead.

Why did it happen? God knows, but all it means is that we can get rid of a few old clichés in terms of United always getting stronger, United having the experience of the run-in and the been-there, done-it mentality. We can come up with some new ones this season.

STR: Is United’s current squad capable of putting it right and winning the league this season?

MO: Yes, especially now that Van Persie has arrived. Having lost the last title on goal difference, it would be ridiculous to suggest that they are no longer in contention for the league, especially when you consider that the gap between United and Arsenal in third was almost the length of the M1!

The return of Vidic is key, but I still wonder if the lack of a powerhouse midfielder, a la Yaya Toure or Roy Keane, will prove decisive in the end. It’s a question of whether Van Persie’s goals will negate the need for new legs in midfield.

STR: Ferguson confirming interest in Lucas Moura and Robin van Persie was weird, right?

MO: I know there are a few conspiracy theories around this one, that the public confirmation was linked to the IPO and projecting an image of an ambitious club chasing the best players. But it’s not as though Fergie hasn’t spoken in the past about players that he wants to bring in. He talked openly about wanting Owen Hargreaves, Carlos Tevez, Dimitar Berbatov and even Samir Nasri in the past, so I think it’s more a tactic to get things moving or maybe even prompt a player to drive the deal from his end. It obviously worked with Van Persie – eventually!

STR: Looking to one of our other new signings, do you fancy Kagawa to make a big impact?

MO: He looked useful during the tour of South Africa and China, but he wasn’t facing world-beaters, so he can’t be judged on that. To have done so well in Germany with Borussia Dortmund suggests that he has what it takes to do well at Old Trafford, but I know that United have been wary of signing players from the Bundesliga in the past, particularly attacking players. Their view is that the Bundesliga isn’t quite up to the level of the Premier League, Spain or Italy once you get beyond the top two or three, so you are taking a chance on a player thriving in a stronger league. To back that up, Edin Dzeko hasn’t exactly been a world-beater at Manchester City after scoring non-stop for Wolfsburg, but who knows?

STR: Finally, what’s your best Manchester XI?

MO: Hart; Smalling, Vidic, Kompany, Evra; Yaya Toure, Carrick, Silva; Valencia, Rooney, Aguero. Sub: Hargreaves..

Follow Mark Ogden on Twitter.

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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  1. ARUN says:

    rio ferdinand tweeted yesterday after trainig that soocer saturday is a good watch after a lazy day in training………… doesnt sound like soomeone who is injured

  2. Utd4life says:

    Corea. Like you said, I wouldn’t mind playing Micheal Keane at OT since he will feel quite at home. However, playing him in the first league match, away from home at Goodison Park which is known to be an hostile ground could just intimidate the lad. But he could also handle it well like how Johnny Evans did in his debut match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (Evans was class in that game). Personally, I wouldnt play the lad.

  3. CedarsDevil says:


    Would much rather go with the last line in your post mate…….Unleash them all and let all hell break loose………Loved it

  4. enzophonics says:

    Maybe its the romantic red in me but I remember the days when (after golden generation) we threw in a young wesley brown, john o’shea against the likes of Figoooo, etc.
    Seems nowadays the competitveness of the game has gone up(?)…less easier to throw in young players.
    Talking of which, its frightening how many ‘young’ talents we have for our so called troubled mid – 2 spots up for grabs and you have:
    Seniors: Carrick, Scholesy, TC23, Ando, even Giggsy backed up by: Petrucci,Tunni, Lingaard, L. Cole even Jones. Do we really need to buy?

  5. Utd4life says:

    Cedars. I hope they both start tomorrow. If the trio of Rooney-RVP-Kagawa get some sort of understanding between them then Everton won’t know what hit them. It’s time the Toffees tasted our fury for denying us our title.

  6. ARUN says:

    mate we only need a left back .

  7. Corea says:

    @Utd4life – it is just a matter of Fergie being too cautious at times with those yougsters. I am not in the position to question the manager on that thing because too many issues are involved but when he wants a player to succeed and he thinks the player has a good chance of succeeding Sir Alex gives them the breakthrough.

  8. enzophonics says:

    Whatever happened to Steven Defour (captain?) of Standard Liege?seems the forgotten Belgian?did he move to russia? I remember watching a pre- champions lge interview where both he and Axel Witsel were asked about Utd and both talked of excitement of moving if it happened. Witsel seems to have progressed better but I think the hype is still unjustified- he is a work in progress and has a nasty streak that could help or be a detriment.

  9. CedarsDevil says:


    My young friend, I cannot begin to describe how much I am looking forward for tomorrow…..We have an excellent squad this year and it puzzles me that some still moan……

    Anyway, you are right, we owe them scousers a bashing

  10. Utd4life says:

    Enzophonics. I believe the Gaffer is a firm believer of the youth policy. If a certain youngster is good enough for the first team then I am pretty sure the Gaffer would have no hesitation in throwing him in the deep end. I think the Gaffer has done a brilliant and phenomenal job in balancing success and integrating youth players into the first team. There is no other manager who could have done such a thing. Tell me how many youth players did City have in their squad last season? I can’t think of any. On the other hand, we had Cleverley, Welbeck and Evans who were all part of the UTD youth teams. We might have lost the title last season but seeing players who have come up through the ranks more than makes up for the disappointment.

  11. Corea says:

    Watching QPR second half.
    With Hoilett at LW Fabio will be involved more in his defensive duties.
    But the important thing for him is to get as many minutes as possible.

  12. enzophonics says:

    Funny how footballers these days are labelled as either attackers or ‘good defensively.’ Used to be if you are on the pitch you put a foot in on a 50-50, drop back to defend when you have to. Kagawa is a 2nd striker?if he plays in mid, am sure SAF will work on his def. game!
    Monday will not be an easy game- doubt that Rio is really out, woulda been on Twitter with that!

  13. Utd4life says:

    Cedars. We do owe them a bashing. Regarding the squad, I don’t think we would have any problems in scoring goals but a LB wouldn’t go amiss. Paddy Evra seriously needs to buck up and take his game to another level.

  14. Corea says:

    @Utd4life – lol pretty simillar thinking. ;)
    There is another one. Certain mister Wenger. So many players he has nurtured. But from the time they started The Emirates project most of this kind of stuff was a need because he didn’t want to splash the cash.
    Certain mister Alex Song from 750k to a great footballer who plays for Barcelona etc.

  15. Utd4life says:

    Corea. Wenger takes the youth policy to an extreme level. When people talk about the class of ’92 they also talk about Cantona’s influence on the team at that time. He was our talisman, youngsters looked up to him for inspiration and confidence. Would the class of ’92 have won the PL if Cantona was not there? Maybe, maybe not. Bottom line is, you need to complement the youth policy with experience and leadership. Wenger has not done this and hence the barren 7 years.
    Regarding Song, I think he is a good player and would at best be a useful squad player at UTD. I have no idea in how Barca want to use him but as far as I am concerned, his signing is a step down for Barca.

  16. enzophonics says:

    @Utd4life too true mate. People bang on about every new thing on the block, link them with us- forgetting like Guus Hiddink pointed out that SAF is always 2-3 years ahead of everyone. We buy a young italian at 15/16 now the lad is 19 (Petrucci), develop L. Cole and Lingaard but still the abus clamour for us to buy similarily aged players from spain etc. Even at LB – whose to say Tyler Blackett and Brady won’t perform and only option is Taylor (very solid) or Baines! Personally think this squad is complete.
    People talk up L’arse, but imo we are ahead by keeping our core older heads, every season introduce 2-3 ‘talents’ from within

  17. Costas says:

    People say we have 5 CBs as options, but that couldn’t ve further from the truth. For one thing, it’s very rare that all of them ever fit at the same time. Secondly, most of the time Jones and Smalling have to cover at right back and I assume now Evans will have to play at left back every now and then. So we’ve never had the option of selecting 2 central defenders out of 5. The truth is we have 7 defenders and most of them are injury prone.

    Just play a youngster next to Vidic on Monday. It’s not like Carrick will do any better in defence. And we can’t afford to weaken our midfield as well.

  18. CedarsDevil says:

    Just wanted to sign off with this very interesting non football comment…..

    It takes 18 facial muscles to smile while it takes 48 muscles to frown

    Pissing off to the beach, fuck yeah!


  19. james21 says:

    Morning all
    Was just catching up on last nights posts. Fucking hell this place is getting far too creepy. I don’t think I’ll bother any more until STR sorts this multiusername shit out.
    Parry is Scottish but you dont see his post with any accent. Absolute madness. Oh and you can hide your ip address anyone can do it.

  20. Utd4life says:

    Enzophonics. I am not against buying star players because you can never have too much quality in a squad. What I am against is buying every player under the sun. The youth program exists for a reason. To be honest, I would much rather see a youth player in the first team than a player like RVP or Kagawa. For instance, the Gaffer stuck with Gibson even though we all knew that he wouldn’t make it at UTD. He persisted with Cleverley and Welbeck and now he is reaping the benefits. The Gaffer will always give the youth a chance. There are several benefits in having a good youth program but you need to be very patient in order to reap the rewards. I wonder why the likes of Chelsea and City have a youth program when their idea of building a team is by recruiting players from all over the globe by splashing an obscene amount of cash.

  21. Utd4life says:

    Costas. I don’t think there has been ever a time when we have had all our defenders fit at the same time. I don’t like seeing Smalling, Jones or Evans at LB/RB positions at any time during this season because these lads do not really offer anything in those positions.
    If Rio is injured then I would play Carrick along side Vidic. I don’t think our midfield will be weakened by having Carrick in defense since each of our other midfielders-Cleverley, Ando, Scholes and Giggs are fit and raring to go.

  22. enzophonics says:

    Utd4life exactly. Case in point is why the gaffer keeps on about not having his hand forced by the Glazers clan. Chelsea under Hiddink should’ve been able to build a solid core of young players – even Ancelotti is reknowned for developing top young talents. But you have the abrahamovich factor; constant pressure every season to buy the flavour-of-the month player.
    If Dailyfail are to be believed SAF has two more years and building his next great team. Think we’ve heard that for 10 year now!

  23. Diego says:

    Not having Carrick at the middle is a massive loss. Not one of our other midfielders can do what he does. Having all that attacking power is useless if we can’t get hold of the ball. It is a sad state when this sort of injury crisis is almost expected every season.

  24. Costas says:


    We do have options in midfield, but I am not sure we won’t to miss Carrick’s composure in a game like this. I know Tom and Ando developed a good partnership last year, but they haven’t played together in 11 months. We’ll see. Hopefully Evans will pass a fitness test and we won’t have to worry about that.

    The main worry at the moment is if Rio is out for 1-2 months as it’s been speculated. It leaves us with limited options at the back or maybe no options because Jones (when he returns) will have to play at right back at some point.

  25. CJ7 says:

    West Brom really slaughter the scousers yesterday…could have scored 6. According to a friend this is surpose to be their year…he have been saying that for the past 5 seasons or more.How daft can you really be. Even Chelsea’s loanee Lakuka had a very good game ,really exposing the dippers shortcomings. On another point being reported that Rio could miss the 1st month of football ,have the club confirm that?

  26. ARUN says:

    mate rio tweeted yesterday that he is watching soccer saturday after a lazy day in training.doesnt sound injured to me.

  27. Marq says:

    Rumors of Rio being injured. Havent yet appeared in mainstream news sites, hope that is just what it is, rumors

  28. CJ7 says:

    Good comment Diego ,thats why i laugh when i see some of the predicted lineups on here. Everton’s gonna be pumped up for this one ,eventhough they’ve lost some good players recently they are still a good unit. On their day they can be a real handful…but i think UTD should be too strong for them. We cant just start off with all out attack ,eventhough we fans enjoy that ,thats what caused our demise last season because the defense could’nt match up to our attack(for various reasons) ,which unbalanced the team in my opinion.From an attacking point we are up there with the very best…our current defensive crisis is causing concern though.

  29. Redial says:

    I was just thinking. We might not be needing a new CMer again if anderson comes good this season. Look at leiva. He was crap at first, but has become quite important to liverpool. So much so that some of their fans really missed him when he got injured last season. And to top it,the two of ‘em are about the same age.

  30. Evans_KickingSkills says:

    Sub: Hargreaves???

    Should have said:
    Injured: Hargreaves

  31. the redderdevil says:

    Wow, thank heavens the season is on. if its true rio’s injured then our season is ona very familiar path. but didn’t. we tie on points and lose on goal difference last season. wit worse injuries. add kagawa and rvp, thid season is ours for the taking. fuck those advoc

  32. the redderdevil says:

    Wow, thank heavens the season is on. if its true rio’s injured then our season is ona very familiar path. but didn’t. we tie on points and lose on goal difference last season. wit worse injuries. add kagawa and rvp, thid season is ours for the taking. fuck thospe adv

  33. 50 Shades of WillieRedNut says:

    Spoon 2 – Don’t talk soft! I need a fellow stirrer on here….. ;)

  34. parryheid says:


    If Anderson comes good this his sixth season?Did pool wait six seasons for Leiva to come good,your dreaming man.


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