2014/2015 BPL 4: Manchester United 4-0 Queens Park Rangers

Manchester United sealed a first win of the 2014/15 season on Sunday - and in some style - as the Reds, inspired by new signing Angel Di Maria, romped to a 4-0 win over Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford.

Di Maria, playing his first match for the Reds in front of the home crowd, was in sizzling form throughout and kicked off the scoring on 24 minutes with a curling free-kick. He played a part in United's second goal from Ander Herrera, before Wayne Rooney added a third before half-time. Di Maria then set up Juan Mata for a fourth after almost an hour.

It was a day of debuts at Old Trafford as Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao, who began the game on the bench, all made their United bows. There were also welcome returns from injury for Rafael and Herrera, while there was a return of a different sort as Rio Ferdinand came back for his first match since his summer departure. In tribute to 12 years of service, the defender was presented with a memento of his time at United by Sir Bobby Charlton before kick-off.

Despite having begun his tenure as United boss with three at the back, Louis van Gaal opted to switch to a tried-and-tested back four with Rafael, Jonny Evans, Tyler Blackett and Rojo the chosen ones. Blind sat just in front of them with Herrera, Di Maria and Mata ahead in a diamond midfield formation, while Rooney and Robin van Persie were up front.

It was Rooney who began the move to create the first real opening of the game on seven minutes with a lovely cross-field pass to Rafael on the right. He slipped the ball to Herrera who found Mata, but the Spaniard blasted over from just inside the box. But after a spell of good possession, the Reds took the lead on 24 minutes through Di Maria. The British record signing curled a free-kick from the right into the box and it evaded everyone, including QPR keeper Rob Green, as the ball sailed in at the far post.

Van Gaal's men were determined to keep the pressure on and after Herrera had a penalty appeal turned down following a tackle from Clint Hill, van Persie headed over. United and David De Gea in particular breathed a sigh of relief at the other end when the stopper came rushing from goal to intercept Niko Krancjar's pass over the top to Matt Phillips. De Gea was thankful to have Evans on hand to block Phillips' effort on an empty goal.

Di Maria threatened every time he had possession and it was his bursting run forward that led to United's second goal nine minutes from the break. As the Argentinian reached the box he slipped a pass to Rooney and after his initial shot was blocked, he teed up Herrera to drill low shot into the bottom corner for his first competitive goal for the Reds. And the game was all but over as a contest on the stroke of half-time as excellent link-up play between Mata and Herrera led to Rooney receiving a pass from the latter before powering home a low drive.

The Reds weren't about to settle for three goals and after De Gea saved well with his feet from Krancjar early in the second period, Mata and Rooney both went close. The Spaniard made no mistake on 58 minutes though when, after being found by Di Maria, he smashed home from close range. It might have been five when Falcao entered the fray on 67 minutes and was denied a debut goal six minutes from time as he followed up on Blind's 30-yard drive which had been parried clear by Green. The QPR keeper recovered well to block the chance and also kept out substitute Adnan Januzaj late on.

Overall, it was a job well done by the Reds with attacking play aplenty, goals, a clean sheet and, most importantly, a first win of the season.

*Taken from Manutd.com

Daley Blind: Van Gaal sees him as defensive midfielder

Louis van Gaal says Manchester United fans can expect to see Daley Blind in midfield in the coming season, but says the Dutchman’s versatility makes him a valuable asset to the squad.

The Reds boss managed the former Ajax player during his time in charge of the Netherlands, including this summer when the 24-year-old impressed at the 2014 World Cup.

Van Gaal is clearly delighted to have the £14million deadline-day signing on board and is looking to utilise his defensive midfield qualities in particular.

“He is a player who can see situations in advance," said the boss, when asked about Blind's best assets in an exclusive MUTV interview.

"He can [therefore] always pass to the free player, and when he doesn't have the ball, he knows when he has to press the opponent. That's a very good ability to have.

“I like him as a defensive midfielder, but he can also play in central defence or at left full-back.

“He can run for 90 minutes too and is always fit. That’s another very good quality for a player.”

Blind's fellow deadline-day signing Radamel Falcao is another player that van Gaal is excited about and one whose progress he has followed for many years.

“He is a player I have always admired. I liked him when he played for Atletico Madrid and saw him scoring goals in finals,” recalled the manager, again on MUTV.

“After that I saw him this year when the Dutch national team played Colombia and he made a wonderful impression again on me. I know him and I know his record which is very promising. I’m very happy that we could sign him on the last day of the transfer window.”

*Taken from Manutd.com

Radamel Falcao: United signed on loan

Manchester United is delighted to announce that Radamel Falcao has joined the club on a one-year loan deal from AS Monaco, with an option to buy at the end of the loan period.

Falcao, 28, became a Monaco player in 2013 after very successful periods at Atl├ętico Madrid, where he made 91 appearances, scoring 70 goals and became the first player to score a hat-trick in a single-legged UEFA Super Cup; and formerly at FC Porto, making 87 appearances and scoring 72 goals.

Radamel Falcao said: “I am delighted to be joining Manchester United on loan this season. Manchester United is the biggest club in the world and is clearly determined to get back to the top. I am looking forward to working with Louis van Gaal and contributing to the team’s success at this very exciting period in the club’s history.”

Louis van Gaal said: “I am delighted Radamel has joined us on loan this season. He is one of the most prolific goalscorers in the game. His appearance-to-goal ratio speaks for itself and, when a player of this calibre becomes available, it is an opportunity not to be missed.”

*Taken from Manutd.com

Daley Blind: completed move to Manchester United

Manchester United is delighted to announce that Daley Blind has completed his transfer for a fee of £14million.

Daley joins on a four-year contract with the option to extend for a further year.

Blind, 24, came through the ranks of the Ajax youth system, making his senior debut in 2008 for his hometown club. He has 19 caps for the Netherlands national team and was voted Dutch Player of the Year for the 2013/14 season.

Daley Blind said: "It is a real honour to sign for Manchester United.

"I have been at Ajax since I was seven years old and I will always have very fond memories of the club and of my time there.

"Louis van Gaal is a tremendously talented coach, I have worked with him at Ajax and also for the Netherlands national team and I cannot wait to work with him at the biggest club in the world."

Louis van Gaal said: "I am delighted Daley has signed for the club.

"He is a very intelligent and versatile footballer that can play in many positions.

"Daley is a great reader of the game, he has played under my philosophy over a number of years and he will be a great addition to the team."

*Taken from Manutd.com

Shinji Kagawa: to rejoin Dortmund

Shinji Kagawa is to rejoin Borussia Dortmund after the German club agreed a deal with Manchester United for the Japanese international.

Kagawa signed for the Reds from Dortmund in the summer of 2012 and went on to make 57 appearances and score six goals. During his time in England, Shinji became the first Japanese player to win the Premier League when he helped United to finish top in 2012/13 and he proved to be a popular member of the first-team squad.

He has now returned to the Bundesliga club where he spent the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons and is reported to be signing a four-year contract.

Everyone at Manchester United wishes him well for the future.

*Taken from Manutd.com

2014/2015 BPL 3: Burnley 0-0 Manchester United

Manchester United's frustrating start to the season continued after a 0-0 draw with Burnley at Turf Moor.

Having weathered an early storm, Louis van Gaal's side dominated possession but were unable to capitalise with Robin van Persie going closest for the Reds just after the break when his shot was cleared off the line. United also had two strong penalty appeals overlooked when Ashley Young was seemingly shoved over in the area and late on when the same player's shot hit namesake Ashley Barnes on the arm.

Angel Di Maria was named in the United starting line-up to make an immediate debut following his British-record transfer from Real Madrid earlier in the week, with Wayne Rooney captaining the Reds on his 400th start.

The vociferous Turf Moor crowd was almost celebrating a goal as early as the third minute, after Phil Jones brought down Lukas Jutkiewicz on the edge of the area. Former United midfielder David Jones stepped up to take the resulting free-kick, and saw his curling effort come crashing back off the bar. Jutkiewicz was the Clarets’ most potent threat early on, and found himself one-on-one with David De Gea just seconds later, but the Spaniard stood tall to avert the danger.

Equally keen to impress was Di Maria, whose perfectly-weighted ball to van Persie created a great opening on 14 minutes. The striker brought the ball down before hitting a shot which was well saved by another former Red, Clarets goalkeeper Tom Heaton.

United’s new signing was looking sharp on his debut, and was soon involved again as his low cross from the left picked out Juan Mata in the Burnley area, but the Spanish midfielder slipped as he prepared to shoot.

Confusion in the defence at the other end enabled Jones to again go close to giving Burnley the lead, but De Gea was ready for his 20-yard volley.

Both sides appealed in vain for penalties before the break, as Young and then Danny Ings were muscled off the ball inside the opposite boxes.

After the restart, the Reds came out on the front foot, and again looked to Di Maria for inspiration. The midfielder's burst into the area was picked up by Rooney, but Jason Shackell's last-ditch tackle prevented a debut goal. With United applying pressure, Di Maria got the better of Keiran Trippier by the corner flag, and did well to squeeze the ball out towards Rooney. After Burnley failed to clear, the ball eventually fell for van Persie, whose shot was cleared off the line by Marney.

Burnley, meanwhile, continued to attack with purpose on the break and had a decent chance on 68 minutes when Matt Taylor found space in the United area. The midfielder's low shot was easily collected by De Gea, in what was a rare opportunity for the hosts.

With time running out, Di Maria and van Persie were replaced by Anderson and Danny Welbeck, and Januzaj later came on for Mata. The latter had previously been involved in a move which led to Rooney heading wide at the far post.

The second half ended in controversy as Young's effort appeared to strike the hand of Ashley Barnes. The referee again ignored the protests and the last chance of this being a first competitive win for van Gaal's United was gone.

*Taken from Manutd.com

No 7: Angel Di Maria to wear iconic shirt at United

ManUtd.com is delighted to announce Angel Di Maria will wear Manchester United's no.7 shirt, one of the most iconic jerseys in world football.

The summer signing from Real Madrid joins an elite club of players who have excelled in the shirt, which has been vacant since Antonio Valencia reverted to no.25 last summer.

"I am aware of its importance," Di Maria said on Thursday. "Cristiano Ronaldo spoke to me at Real Madrid and explained how important it is. I want to wear the shirt and do as much as I can for the club, like Ronaldo did. The club also wanted me to wear the no.7 shirt and I hope I can live up to it."

The shirt's legend can be traced back to George Best and the Northern Irishman's historic career at Old Trafford. Since then, it has adorned the backs of Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Di Maria's former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.

Michael Owen inherited the no.7 shirt during his two-season career with the Reds – and wore it to score a historic Manchester derby winner at Old Trafford – before Valencia took it on for just one term in 2012/13.

*Taken from Manutd.com

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