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MEN Journos on the Manchester rivalry, best Manchester XI and writing for the MEN

Rob Dawson and Mike Keegan, football writers at The Manchester Evening News, has given their thoughts on United ahead of the 2012-2013 season.

Scott the Red: United usually end the season so strongly. What went wrong last season?

Rob Dawson: I’ve still got no idea. I think if United played that sequence of games 100 times, they wouldn’t get a lower points tally than they did last season. The games that stick out are obviously Wigan, Everton and City. I think they probably ran into Wigan at the wrong time because they were just getting to grips with Roberto Martinez’s 3-4-3. I think if that game had been played two weeks earlier, United would have won comfortably. The result against Everton at home was unforgivable. To be 4-2 up with the final whistle in sight and not close the game out is unacceptable for a team of United’s quality and experience. I will never understand why Patrice Evra was in the position to hit the post when United were already 4-2 up. The whole game was just bizarre. As for City away, I think United lost as soon as the team sheet went in.

STR: It certainly wasn’t our best XI that Fergie put out for City. Valencia on the bench? What? But is United’s current squad capable of winning the league?

RD: I think they’ve got a squad strong enough to mount a prolonged title challenge and be right in the mix if City suffer injuries or slip up. I still think City have got a stronger first XI but United’s squad has greater depth. But if City can keep everyone fit and in form I think it’ll be very hard to stop them winning the league again. I would change that prediction if United signed a top-class midfielder before September 1st. Signing Robin van Persie has certainly evened things up a bit though and I think it’ll be a fascinating battle this season.

MK: I don’t think it is. It’s been said often elsewhere that last season’s second place was one of Fergie’s finest achievements at Old Trafford and I agree. The prospect of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney is one that has lifted expectations but that big question still remains over central midfield. I think the lack of that ball-winner could trip United up this season although it could be rectified before the end of the transfer window.

STR: Given United’s injury crisis and the money City have spent, was it surprising they only won the league on goal difference?

RD: Most definitely. Because of the way the season ended, United’s injury crisis throughout the campaign is overlooked. They did remarkably well to get as close as they did but that’s forgotten because they threw it away at the end.

MK: No. I think a lot of people underestimate how hard it is to win the Premier League. They look at Blackburn all those years ago and think things are still the same. They aren’t. Blackburn were a bit of a one-off because at the time not many other teams were spending those amounts and it was a bit more of a level playing field. City needed to spend big to catch up and I thought Roberto Mancini did a fantastic job to take a squad of strangers to the title. If anything, they won it a year early which is pretty ominous for United although having said that, Fergie will probably be as hungry for the coming season as he has been for any during his time at Old Trafford which can only be a good thing for the Reds.

STR: Who do you think will be United’s most important player in 2012-2013?

MK: Anderson. Scoring goals has never really been a problem for United and the arrival of Robin van Persie should ensure that is the case again this term. Most Reds were crying out for a ball-winning midfielder over the summer and for good reason. United have not had that bite in the middle of the park since Roy Keane left and the departure of Park and the uncertainty surrounding Darren Fletcher’s future will see a lot of the responsibility fall on the Brazilian’s shoulders. It’s a big ask.

STR: If you had to pick a best XI from the two clubs, what would it look like?

RD: Hart, Richards, Clichy, Vidic, Kompany, Carrick, Y Toure, Silva, Van Persie, Rooney, Aguero.

MK: Hart, Clichy, Richards, Vidic, Kompany, Toure, Silva, Carrick, Aguero, Rooney, Van Persie.

STR: What’s the best/worst thing about writing for the MEN?

MK: The best thing is getting paid to write about something that you love watching. There are better-paid jobs but you cannot put a price on looking forward to going into work every day. The worst thing is the constant string of abuse and accusations from strangers on Twitter. It used to annoy me but now I actually take some kind of perverse enjoyment from it. If someone sends me something ludicrous I just tend to ‘favourite’ it. Because I work for news as well as sport sometimes I’ll have to do a straight news shift and knocking on someone’s door when a tragedy has just struck their family is never something you look forward to.

RD: The best thing is being based in a city with the two best teams in England. The worst thing is being caught in the middle of the rivalry between them.

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Follow Rob Dawson and Mike Keegan on Twitter.

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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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291 Comments

  1. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Büttner from Vitesse to Manchester United:

    Former Ajax youthplayer for medical at ManchesterUnited as early as tomorrow. 5’9″ Left back #MUFC

    http://www.gelderlander.nl/sport/

  2. Clint-Iamyourpapii says:

    Nasri….what a legend !

    “Eid Mubarak”….he deserves it, probably fasted the whole of Ramadan if he’s celebrating Eid as most of my muslim pals are.

    ;) Nice touch, would like to see Van Persie pull out a santa cap during christmas some day :P

  3. Eric keane says:

    We actually bought a left back.. Wow.

  4. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Eric keane – how reliable is that rumour?

  5. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Translation from the Dutch:

    ARNHEM – Alexander Büttner trades Vitesse for Manchester United.
    The deal between the two clubs, according to sources close to the club and the player around. Both parties give no response. Büttner must still undergo a medical examination at the club from Manchester. Which would take place Monday already. Vitesse was Friday miljoenenbod of club Manchester United on the 23-year-old Does Inch Bucket and had to decide this weekend. Büttner has already agreed with his ‘dream club’. He will be teammate of fellow countryman Robin van Persie, who moved from Arsenal for the Mancunians . Earlier Büttner seemed to go to Southampton, but that deal fell through because of a dispute over an additional commission. Of this, the deal with Manchester no question.

  6. Eric keane says:

    Samuel.. Dutch papers reporting its a done deal. Medical tomorrow
    Have no clue about this guy.

  7. Costas says:

    A left back? A most welcome addition.

  8. DEVILisRED says:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2171521/Southampton-deal-Alexander-Buttner-falls-mystery-party.html

    Earlier report from the dailymail. Seems like we are the mystery club who hijack this lad from right under the nose of soton. Must be 3rd or 4th choice LB from our scouting list i suppose.

  9. Proverb says:

    Well played southampton
    Better luck next time

  10. 50 Shades of WillieRedNut says:

    Costas – You must be happy? ;)

  11. Eric keane says:

    Buetner can switch between LB and LWB, trained at ajax, very disciplined, thought of highly, almost made holland euro squad. He is a potent attacking threat. Via mohammed moalim, joracule

  12. Sandeep1878 says:

    FTM,

    Evening mate,

    so we have signed a LB at last?

    anything official pal?

    ###

    Cedars,

    Yeah mate, this season, all we need to do is look at ourselves, we gotta be at our killing best during the next 10 months..no room for slip ups..

  13. daemondada says:

    Mattbw7 and company where are you guyz now?How come no one seems to hear none of y’all naysayings when SAF pulls off miracles as he did with the RVP signing right under the noses of shitty?Plz get a grip on yourselves and let the BOSS build his one last legacy in peace.At least now no one can claim SAF doesn’t spend or splurge.Let’s all row in one direction.Battle away against the Glazers if you must just leave SAF out of it.Apologise for calling him names.It is because of SAF that we keep our shine and keep attracting the cream of football’s finest.He got rid of Tevez cos he does not fit the above description.If Wazza brought the game into disrepute by his obnoxious goal celebrations,tevez did a million times worse at shitty and still goes about scot free.We can’t therefore afford to provide more headaches for SAF in ADDITION to that which he already gets from the abu FA,media and public.It’s a shame that I have to write such a verbose appeal to fellow Utd fans yet needs must.Welcome RVP20:20.Roll on the Quadruple.

  14. daemondada says:

    Mattbw7 and company where are you guyz now?How come no one seems to hear none of y’all naysayings when SAF pulls off miracles as he did with the RVP signing right under the noses of shitty?Plz get a grip on yourselves and let the BOSS build his one last legacy in peace.At least now no one can claim SAF doesn’t spend or splurge.Let’s all row in one direction.Battle away against the Glazers if you must just leave SAF out of it.Apologise for calling him names.It is because of SAF that we keep our shine and keep attracting the cream of football’s finest.He got rid of Tevez cos he does not fit the above description.If Wazza brought the game into disrepute by his obnoxious goal celebrations,tevez did a million times worse at shitty and still goes about scot free.We can’t therefore afford to provide more headaches for SAF in ADDITION to that which he already gets from the abu FA,media and public.It’s a shame that I have to write such a verbose appeal to fellow Utd fans yet needs must.Welcome RVP20:20.Roll on the Quadruple.

  15. samuel - united WE stand says:

    eric keane – let’s hope it’s true, the deal has not spread all over the net yet.

  16. Clint-Iamyourpapii says:

    Left Back? I think you mean Leighton Baines….fucking foreigners :lol:

  17. Sandeep1878 says:

    Now its time to see how Evra will react on the pitch..

  18. Costas says:

    @Willie

    If it means not seeing Giggs at left back, yes!

  19. EDCUNITED1878 says:

    Evra is still better than this player. He originally had agreed to terms and a transfer to Southhampton ten days or so ago, then a ‘third party’ (Manchester United) intervened and the transfer was haulted/off. He plays left back, but can play either fullback position. He’s need and welcomed depth. Once Jones is fit, Jones will be playing CB along with Evans and the usual CBs.

  20. Sandeep1878 says:

    Papii,

    fuck you for your “Indian accent” comment :P ;)

    daemondada,

    well said pal, may be they have fucked right off the earth after we signed RVP..

    they were asking for a world class name, we got one, over all 64 million spent on RVP in the next 4 years,

    May be they think Sir Alex pocketed something out of this deal as well?

    ###

    Willie,

    Costas is more surprised than happy :P

  21. Eric keane says:

    Maybe buetner is fondly called kaka.. Thats what all the itk’s wereon about on twitter

  22. CedarsDevil says:

    New thread up you daft fucks

  23. Clint-Iamyourpapii says:

    Buttner :lol:

    Lets buy a midfield called Dickson Etuhu Next ;)

    or maybe

    Rod Fanni for Right Back….but if that falls through Danny Shittu will suffice.

    8)

  24. Zibbie says:

    lb you say. nap time.

  25. Sandeep1878 says:

    Costas,

    The world is short of quality left backs you see :lol:

  26. Joffrey Barathron says:

    Nasri is a an absolute cock revealing that shirt. I know messages are banned full stop but religious messages wind me up to no ends. The moment people start thinking for themselves rather than putting their faith in fabricated myths the better this world will be.

  27. Zibbie says:

    A little buddy for RvP?

  28. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Clint….. Remember a couple months back when we were linked with U19 keeper Butland. That never made much sense. At least this does make some sense even if all quiet from the club.

    Would have made for some iffy play by play ;)

  29. Red Robin says:

    From wikipedia:

    On 18 August Büttner joined Manchester United on a deal believed to be worth 50 pence.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Büttner

    50 pence! LOL :D :D Great stats though.

    So, rumour or real?

  30. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Sandeep Cheers. Missed your post….

    In response…. the has been utterly, positively, and absolutely nothing ….. and that’s Official ;)

  31. Sandeep1878 says:

    FTM,

    Ha ha ha, couldnt have been more authentically official than how you put it :lol:

  32. Zibbie says:

    Buttnear? I hear butt? Butt, Buttercup, No Butts about it, Butt I told you so. I like Butts , big ones at that. I know we need a LB Butt?

  33. FletchTHEMAN says:

    This is a LeftBack???…… interesting?!

    Goal by rumored United signing Alexandre Buttner…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVrWqvIKZYI

  34. daemondada says:

    Dear sammy.It was with heavy heart that I posted what I did.Sorry for the double post.It shouldn’t be so.Yet we still see the need to fight for SAF against OUR own ppl.Sad.Well,glad we still breathe and play the BEST football on the planet.At least they can’t begrudge SAF that.Take care brother.Salaam.

  35. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Voetbal International say it is official?!

    Twitter

    VI ‏@VI_nl
    OFFICIEEL – Alexander Büttner verruilt Vitesse voor Manchester United. Verdediger heeft transfer zojuist bevestigd tegenover VI.

    Translated:
    OFFICIAL – Alexander Büttner trades Vitesse for Manchester United. Transfer Defender has just confirmed against VI.

  36. Red Robin says:

    So its another butt signed for United??

    Great stats, 107 games, 10 goals.

  37. FletchTHEMAN says:

    The lad Alexander Büttner has reported been contacted and confirmed the transfer has been agreed, pending a medical this week.

  38. Red Robin says:

    And he can play right back!

    Hopefully real news!

  39. daemondada says:

    Sandy that was addressed to you.Thank you.

  40. ClaytonBlackmoresTan says:

    Giggs 12 Stevie Me Feck All,

    Saw your song on another thread… Superb lad- to the tune of ‘white Pele’.

    Mate, you almost had it perfect I reckon- hope you don’t mind that I’ve amended your blinding little rhyme- your track, CBT remix (ish)

    As I said, in the style of ‘white Pele’:

    Mancini, said to van Persie,
    “Do you want to sign, for man city?”
    “No” said Rob, “I’m a fucking red-
    The city is yours? You must be off yer head”

    Van Persie, Van Persie, he said fuck off,
    To Man City!

    Less than 24 hours boys and girls…

    United, always.

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