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Louis van Gaal: No excuses for Di Maria sending off

lvg-new2Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal admits Angel Di Maria can have “no excuses” for his FA Cup quarter-final sending off against Arsenal.

The Argentina international was dismissed for two bookable offences in their 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford. The second yellow card saw Di Maria, 27, appear to grab the shirt of referee Michael Oliver.

“I think he’s touched the referee and that’s forbidden in every country, so he has no excuses,” said Van Gaal.

“In Spain, he knows that he doesn’t touch the referee, but that is also in his emotion.

“I’ve already spoken with him, he knows my opinion but also I have to see on the video.”

Referee Oliver’s performance also came in for close scrutiny in a game where Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin escaped a second yellow card for a foul on Ashley Young and Adnan Januzaj’s appeals for a late penalty were turned down.

Van Gaal on United’s FA Cup exit

” I’ve said in the dressing room we gave [the game] away by ourselves and that is the biggest disappointment.

“In the second half, we had the first chance also then we gave it away again.

“We don’t lose from the opponent, we lost from ourselves and it was very disappointing.

“You play this match to win; to beat the opponent, we wanted to be in the semi-final.”

Van Gaal on Hector Bellerin

“He hasn’t received a second yellow card. The referee is the boss of that, he decides.”

Van Gaal on the rest of United’s season

“I said in advance that [the top four] is a priority but as a manager, and as a player and club you want to win titles and now we cannot win a title.”



Danny Welbeck Knocks United Out Of FA Cup

di maria red cardDanny Welbeck cam back to haunt his boyhood club by scoring the winner as holders Arsenal reached the English FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-1 away victory on Monday.

The Manchester-born United academy graduate, who joined the club at the age of eight, left in a £16m deal last September after being told by new manager Louis van Gaal that he was not good enough for United.

Welbeck pounced on a mistake by Antonio Valencia to score a 61st-minute winner after Wayne Rooney had cancelled out Nacho Monreal’s opener, and United’s evening ended in ignominy when Angel di Maria was sent off after receiving a second yellow card for manhandling referee Michael Oliver. United’s wait for FA Cup success will now stretch into a 12th year and their sole objective is now the race for hampions League qualification, in which they currently trail Arsenal by a point.

With Jonny Evans beginning a six-game ban for spitting at Newcastle United’s Papiss Cisse, Luke Shaw came into the United defence, but although that was the only change to the hosts’ line-up, they displayed uncertainty from the off. Van Gaal again played Marouane Fellaini in support of Rooney and the Belgian illustrated his unique strengths by chesting down a flighted pass from Di Maria and teeing up Ashley Young, who shot over.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started on the right for Arsenal, with Mesut Ozil in the centre, and in the 26th minute the England midfielder marked his return to the starting XI by creating the opening goal. Having earlier been granted the space to put a cross-shot wide, Oxlade-Chamberlain wriggled between Daley Blind, Shaw and Valencia before stabbing a pass to Monreal, who beat David de Gea at his near post.

United’s fans were quick to voice their annoyance, but they were off their feet just three minutes later when Rooney met Di Maria’s right-wing cross with a fine diving header to claim his 14th goal against Arsenal. Encouraged, United finished the first half strongly, with visiting goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saving from Rooney, Di Maria and Fellaini, although Santi Cazorla worked De Gea with a free-kick at the other end.

United made two changes at half-time, introducing Phil Jones and Michael Carrick for Shaw and Ander Herrera. Val Gaal might have been trying to tighten up Inited’s defense, but the Reds failed to create any good chances in the second half, while in the first have the created several.

If LVG had stuck with Herrera instead of Carrick, I am convinced that United wins this match 3-2 or 4-2.

while Oxlade-Chamberlain had to hobble off five minutes in after appearing to injure his hamstring, with Aaron Ramsey coming on. There were half-chances for both teams, De Gea saving a deflected Alexis Sanchez shot and Di Maria shooting wide, before Valencia’s blunder allowed Welbeck to put Arsenal ahead.

United’s supporters have bemoaned their team’s predilection for back-passes in recent weeks and it was from such an action that the goal stemmed, with Welbeck seizing on Valencia’s under-cooked pass, touching the ball past the onrushing De Gea, and rolling home. There was no muted celebration either, with the former Stretford End favourite clenching his fists in a clear show of delight.

Smalling should have equalised when he blazed Carrick’s flick over the bar from six yards, while Fellaini tested Szczesny with a header, but it took a stunning De Gea save to prevent Cazorla swelling Arsenal’s lead.

Then came the second big point in the game when Di Maria was sent off with 13 minutes to play when he was booked for diving and responded by tugging Oliver’s shirt. If Evans gets a six game ban for spitting, what will Di Maria get for putting his hands on a  referee?



Is This The United Team To Face Arsenal?

falcao2-mufcManchester United manager Louis van Gaal is ready to go all out and play Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Wayne Rooney in The Red Devils’ FA Cup clash with Arsenal, according to the Guardian.

Falcao has been dropped to the bench in recent games but the Dutchman is ready to call upon the Colombian front man to put Arsenal’s defence under plenty of pressure at Old Trafford on Monday night.

Here is the XI set to face Arsenal as reported by the Guardian:

De Gea; Smalling, Jones, Rojo; Valencia, Herrera, Blind, Young; Rooney, Falcao, Di Maria.


Interesting choice to go with Falcao, who has scored just four goals this season since completing his loan move from Monaco in the summer and has scored just twice in his last eight games. Why not James Wilson, who would at leases inject some pace into the United attack, something that the Arsenal defence has had problems dealing with all season?

At the back, with Evans ruled out for six matches after being charged with spitting at Newcastle United’s Papiss Cisse, Phil Jones is likely to come in for the Northern Irishman against the Gunners.

United recorded a 2-1 win the last time these two sides met after a Kieran Gibbs own goal and late Wayne Rooney strike was enough to give Van Gaal all three points at the Emirates Stadium in November.



According to the Express, Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane is ready to accept a £30 million (€41m) summer transfer to Man United

The 21-year-old has emerged as one of the most talented young defenders in Europe in recent seasons, but has struggled to dislodge either Sergio Ramos or veteran Pepe in the Real Madrid back four.

And with Los Blancos manager Carlo Ancelotti unable to guarantee more playing time for the youngster, and with Madrid set to offer Pepe a new contract, it is thought that Varane is ready to seek pastures new.


The newspaper claim that Varane would prefer a move to United than Chelsea. Varane has been excellent when he has played for the Champions of Europe this season. The France international, who played at 2014 World Cup, has a 90% passing accuracy and 72% aerial success (48/67) this season in La Liga.

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Man United v Arsenal – Memorable FA Cup Encounters

Ahead of Monday’s Quarter Final between Manchester United and Arsenal, the eFA has put together some video highlights of their five most memorable FA encounters.


Van Gaal: Champions League The Priority

Old-Trafford-NewManchester United are only 90 minutes from a trip to Wembley, but manager Louis van Gaal would rather take a top four finish versus lifting the FA Cup.

It is an interesting position from van Gaal, in that this is the same sentiment that his opposing number on Monday, Arsene Wenger, has been heavily criticized for, over the years.

But Van Gaal is acutely aware of the financial ramifications of missing out on Champions League football for the second consecutive year, and agrees with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that securing Champions League football is effectively the same as winning a trophy.

“I want to get always the goals that we have set, and the goals we have set is the top four, and a trophy would be fantastic,” Van Gaal said. “It’s fantastic for the players and the manager but our role in our first year together is to win a place in the Champions League. I think that Arsene Wenger is right – I think that Arsene Wenger is always saying right things – for a club, Champions League is the highest level and that’s why he’s saying that.

“To finish in the first four is a fantastic result and for us at Manchester United even more I think. If you win the FA Cup you are not in the Champions League but you have won a title.”

Not sure after dominating English football for the better part of 15 years, that Manchester United fans will agree with van Gaal or Arsene Wenger that finishing fourth is like winning a trophy,


Giggsy On Van Gaal Rift

lvg-mufcManchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs has played down talk of a rift with Louis van Gaal and hailed their “great working relationship.”

Suggestions of a problem between the pair emerged when former midfielder Giggs was cool in his celebrations after Ashley Young’s winning goal against Newcastle on Wednesday.

However, the 41-year-old dismissed talk of tension and praised United boss Van Gaal.

“It’s coming to that part of the season where the media will look at any little thing to make it more exciting and more interesting,” Giggs told BBC Sport.

“Me and Louis have a great working relationship. He’s given me a massive opportunity and I’m taking it. I’m working as hard as I can and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”

Giggs was handed the reins at Old Trafford for the last four games of last season after David Moyes’ exit before being given the role of assistant alongside Van Gaal when he joined the club in May.

The former Wales international is relishing the task of being involved at the club where he spent his entire senior career and learning from the 63-year-old Dutchman.

“He’s won everything and to work under someone like Louis is a great experience for me and he’s been brilliant with me,” Giggs added.

“He’s given me a lot of responsibility and of course I have told him as much as I can about the Premier League and what to expect.

“I’ve really enjoyed working under him and learning something new every day.”

Van Gaal also insisted there is no rift with Giggs and reacted angrily when questioned about their working relationship after the match against Newcastle.

Van Gaal answered sarcastically before saying he was irritated by the questions.

He told a news conference: ”

No. We have a very bad relationship. I cannot answer that. I want to have those rumours.”

He then added:

“I am very irritated at this question because everyone can see we have a very good relationship. We work very hard together. Not only with Ryan but with all the staff and the players. It is a way of suggesting things. I am very irritated. I take my measures against the media. I am not pleased.”


Evans Gets Six Match Suspension

jonny-evans-papiss-cisse-spitThe Football Association has announced Jonny Evans will serve a six-match ban and Papiss Cisse a seven-match ban after being found guilty of spitting at each other.

The incident occurred during Wednesday night’s 1-0 Premier League win for Manchester United over Newcastle United at St James’ Park.

United defender Evans denied he spat at the Newcastle striker, pleading not guilty to the FA, although Cisse accepted the charge and offered an apology.

Evans will now serve a six-match ban, starting with Monday’s FA Cup quarterfinal with Arsenal, while Cisse is suspended for seven matches having already been punished for violent conduct this season.

The FA said in a statement:

“Both players were charged in relation to an alleged breach of FA Rule E1[a] in that in or around the 38th minute of the fixture they spat at each other.

“Mr Cisse accepted the charge and his suspension consists of six matches, which is the standard penalty for this offence, with an additional one match as he has previously accepted a violent conduct charge this season.

“Mr Evans denied the charge but it was found proven following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing on Friday [6 March], resulting in a six-match suspension.

“The incidents were not seen by the match officials but caught on video.”


angel-di-mariaWayne Rooney has backed Angel di Maria to put his current poor form behind him and become a success at Manchester United.

Di Maria made a bright start at Old Trafford following his £59.7m move from Real Madrid last summer, but he has faded fast.

The low point of the 27-year-old’s United career came on Saturday when, after a disappointing first-half performance, he was substituted at half-time during the 2-0 win over Sunderland.

The Argentina international looked a pale imitation of the man who lit up the World Cup, made 17 assists for Real Madrid and was named man of the match in the Champions League final last year.

However, Rooney insists Di Maria will soon establish himself as a key member of the United squad.

“It was one of those days that every footballer has,” the United captain said when asked about Di Maria’s performance against the Black Cats.

“He’s a great player. You don’t lose your talent overnight. Hopefully he’ll get back to his best and start giving some great performances.

“I think he will figure it out, we all have to do that sometimes. You have to come to it in your own way and I am sure he will be a big player for us between now and the end of the season.”


wayne-rooneyLouis van Gaal was pleased with Manchester United’s balanced system in their 2-0 win over Sunderland.

Two goals from Wayne Rooney – including a penalty scored after Wes Brown had been mistakenly sent off when John O’Shea fouled Radamel Falcao in the box – moved United up to third in the Premier League.

And Van Gaal, who had opted to deploy wingers and a four-man defence against Sunderland, told Sky Sports he was happy with the way his side performed in that formation.

“The first half could be better but in the second half we have controlled the match, scored goals, created chances and we didn’t give any chances away,” he said. “I’m very pleased.

“We have played this system against Chelsea, Manchester City and Crystal Palace. At that time the balance was not so well as today. That’s a big step in the process.

“You can’t always play in this system. This is dependable on a lot of aspects in your team but also the opponent.”

Ashley Young, in particular, impressed for United. Van Gaal praised the England international’s display and also applauded Falcao’s contribution, after the Colombian started up front in place of the injured Robin van Persie.

“Ashley Young has played a good match,” said Van Gaal.

“He gives power and security on that side, so I was pleased with him. But I was pleased with more players today. I was also happy Falcao did that wonderful action because he prepared the penalty.”

Rooney had gone eight games without a goal before his double on Saturday and Van Gaal reckons his captain’s two goals will boost his belief.

“Every player needs confidence and when you score two goals it lifts your confidence,” he said.