Manchester United sign Victor Valdes


Manchester United is delighted to announce that Victor Valdes has signed an 18-month contract with the option to extend for a further year.

Valdes, 32, came through the ranks of the FC Barcelona youth system, making his senior debut in 2002. He went on to win 21 major titles in La Liga. The Spanish international has 20 caps for his national team.

Victor Valdes said: "It is a real honour to sign for Manchester United. I would like to thank Louis van Gaal and the club for allowing me to do my rehabilitation and to train with the team at the Aon Training Complex. From my short time here I can already see this is a very special club. I worked with Louis van Gaal during my time at FC Barcelona and to have the opportunity to work with him here at Manchester United is a dream come true."

Louis van Gaal said: "I am delighted Victor has signed for the club. Victor is a very experienced goalkeeper and his record speaks for itself. I have said on many occasions that Manchester United will always be interested in the best players. Victor has remained very professional throughout his rehabilitation from injury and has been very impressive during his training sessions with the first team over the past weeks. He joins the club as the number two goalkeeper and is a great addition to the first team."

*Taken from Manutd.com

FA Cup: Yeovil Town 0-2 Manchester United


Goals from Ander Herrera and substitute Angel Di Maria gave Manchester United a hard-fought victory over Yeovil Town in the third round of the FA Cup.

The Spanish midfielder’s brilliant volley in the 64th minute put the Reds ahead on a day when they rarely hit their best form, while Di Maria’s sublime chip over the Yeovil goalkeeper Jed Steer in the last minute of normal time sealed the win.

Herrera had one of the few other clear-cut chances with a shot wide before the break, while James Wilson, one of six changes to the side from the draw at Stoke City on New Year’s Day, had a shot saved in the first half.

United went ahead shortly after Kieffer Moore had missed a great opening to put Yeovil ahead from close range, and Di Maria, a second-half replacement for Radamel Falcao, made a vital goalline clearance within minutes of Herrera’s goal as United held off Yeovil’s concerted attempts at drawing level.

The hosts started strongly, bolstered by their vociferous support, but the Reds soaked up a spell of early pressure from the League One outfit until Wayne Rooney curled United’s first chance of note wide following a neat touch from Wilson.

Rooney’s chance seemed to provoke their opponents into action, Yeovil pressurising the Reds and winning a succession of corners until a lengthy delay following a clash of heads between Paddy McNair and Moore. Both players returned to action after being patched up with extensive bandages, but the match then became disjointed until Wilson, seizing upon a clever pass from Herrera, drove his shot straight at Yeovil’s Steer.

The hosts’ goalkeeper was rarely threatened for the rest of the first half as United struggled to impose themselves on Gary Johnson’s highly committed side. Passes went astray at the crucial moment and shots were charged down until Herrera found enough space with a smart turn before shooting wide. Darren Fletcher stopped a Yeovil attack with a perfectly timed tackle to stop Moore, while Radamel Falcao had claims for a foul by last defender Stephen Arthurworrey ignored by referee Craig Pawson.

Louis van Gaal changed the approach, due to injuries, replacing Luke Shaw and Rafael with Jonny Evans and Juan Mata at half-time to switch to 4-4-2 with Blackett and McNair at left and right-back respectively.

But while the change seemed to stir United when the game resumed, the hosts missed a golden opportunity to go ahead when Moore mis-hit a chance at close range. Evans could not cut out a Sam Foley cross, the ball skimming off the centre-back’s head to Moore but the Yeovil striker, free inside the area, stabbed at the ball and David De Gea saved easily.

Di Maria’s introduction just before the hour mark gave United some much-needed pace as well as width, and, within minutes, they were ahead. Fletcher’s pass was deflected towards Herrera, who was alert enough to latch onto the ball to lash an unstoppable volley past Steer into the top corner of the net.

But despite seeing a Rooney free-kick drift over shortly after, Yeovil did their best to hit back and it was Di Maria who ensured that United stayed ahead. Joe Edwards powered a diving header on target at a corner, but the Argentine stayed at his post on the line to nod the effort away.

De Gea had little to worry about despite the home side’s best efforts, and when Rooney eased the pressure with a fine pass out of defence that allowed Di Maria to close in on Steer before dinking the ball over the keeper, United’s place in the fourth round was assured.

*Taken from Manutd.com

2014/2015 BPL 18: Manchester United 3-1 Newcastle United


Wayne Rooney inspired Manchester United to a 3-1 win over Newcastle by scoring twice and setting up another for Robin van Persie, even if Papiss Cisse's late penalty took some of the gloss off a fine day at Old Trafford.

The victory means the Reds are now unbeaten in eight Barclays Premier League matches and have recorded 11 straight wins on Boxing Day. Such a display also suggested Louis van Gaal was right to let his players spend Christmas at home.

The boss made just one change from the XI that started at Aston Villa, with Paddy McNair coming into his three-man defence so Michael Carrick could move back into midfield in place of the benched Darren Fletcher. Angel Di Maria was the only notable absentee from the matchday squad with an injury sustained during the Reds’ final training session.

United began at a lively pace and looked ambitious in the final third, although the first real chance of the game fell to Ayoze Perez, who took a fresh-air shot when presented with a clear view at goal in the 11th minute. Radamel Falcao, starting at Old Trafford for the first time since 5 October, then headed Ashley Young’s right-footed cross just wide of goal.

Moments later, in the 15th minute, Robin van Persie latched onto Wayne Rooney’s lofted pass and slid a low shot into the side-netting after rounding the advancing Magpies goalkeeper, Jak Alnwick. Daryl Janmaat then forced an excellent save from the in-form David De Gea midway through the first half with a rasping drive from around 25 yards, a minute before van Persie ghosted into the area once again to head Young’s in-swinging cross wide of the far post.

United eventually made a breakthrough in the 23rd minute with an excellent counter attack that left fans purring at Old Trafford. Rooney started it off inside his own half with a lovely pass out wide to Juan Mata, whose brilliantly chipped cross was astutely played back across the area by Falcao for Rooney to claim his seventh goal of the season.

The club captain was celebrating once again in the 36th minute when a superb sliding tackle from Falcao allowed Mata to regain possession outside Newcastle’s area, before the diminutive Spaniard slipped an inch-perfect pass through the Magpies defence for Rooney to clip another guided shot past Alnwick.

After the break, van Gaal’s men made a bright start to the second half and extended the lead in the 53rd minute through van Persie, who escaped his marker to nod Rooney’s deliciously lofted pass home in front of a jubilant Stretford End. Newcastle responded by moving up the pitch and almost got one back through 17-year-old Adam Armstrong as his shot flashed wide of De Gea’s far post.

With one eye undoubtedly on Sunday's trip to Tottenham Hotspur, Carrick and Falcao were both withdrawn to standing ovations just after the hour mark with Fletcher and young James Wilson coming on. Rafael da Silva later made his return from injury - and a first appearance since the 1-1 draw with Chelsea on 26 October - in place of Antonio Valencia. Those changes affected the flow of the game and the tempo dropped significantly as the clock ticked on at Old Trafford, where heavy rain fell throughout the second half.

Newcastle pressed forward nonetheless and earned a late penalty with three minutes left when Jack Colback was tripped by Phil Jones, allowing substitute Papiss Cisse to calmly fire into the top-right corner from 12 yards. That riposte did not spark a dramatic comeback, however, and United held on to record another fine Boxing Day win.

*Taken from Manutd.com

Daley Blind: discusses his United role


Daley Blind has explained his role in the Manchester United side as he continues to prove his versatility.

The summer signing scored as a Netherlands midfielder in Wednesday's 3-2 friendly defeat to Mexico, five days after serving the Reds as a centre-back. Injuries and Chris Smalling's suspension led to Blind operating there against Crystal Palace and he produced an accomplished display as United kept a first clean sheet in seven games.

Although the Dutchman established himself as a deep-lying midfielder with his former domestic team Ajax, Blind has often played at left-back for his country and is willing to do the same for his club if Louis van Gaal ever requires it.

In a recent interview with ManUtd.com, Blind said: "I think midfield is a good position for me and it's also where I can help the team the most.

"Maybe my qualities are better for that position but, if the trainer needs me for the left full-back position, then I will play there. It is no problem for me."

When asked to describe his playing style, he added: "I think I am a player who keeps the ball and helps the rest of the team. I'm somebody who tries to play the easy pass instead of the difficult option, but it's also there [in this area of my game] that I have to improve myself. I always try to do my best and do what the coach asks of me."

*Taken from Manutd.com

2014/2015 BPL 7: Manchester United 2-1 Everton


Manchester United head into the latest international break on a high after second consecutive 2-1 home victory, secured against Everton, a side that did the double over the Reds last season.

New boys Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao grabbed the goals to overcome Steven Naismith's reply for the Merseysiders and David De Gea saved a Leighton Baines penalty at the end of the first half in an entertaining encounter.

The Reds were quickly on the front foot with Falcao's diving header from a Luke Shaw cross well saved by Tim Howard and another delivery from the left, by Di Maria, sent over the bar by Robin van Persie.

The shots continued to rain in on goal from Daley Blind, Falcao and Di Maria and the pressure told when the excellent Rafael's cross was dealt with unconvincingly by Phil Jagielka. Juan Mata pounced to intelligently roll an inviting ball into the path of Di Maria and the Argentinian supplied an immaculate finish out of Howard's reach.

September's Player of the Month was denied a second by Howard's fine save when a free-kick flicked off the wall and headed for the corner of the net as United remained in control. However, Rafael needed to make a vital clearance from a corner and Romelu Lukaku escaped Paddy McNair to flash a warning sign wide.

There still appeared to be no huge threat to the lead until deep into first-half stoppage time when Shaw was adjudged to have fouled Tony Hibbert

 inside the box. Penalty expert Baines stepped up but De Gea plunged to his right to pull off a wonderful save.

Despite an encouraging opening to the second period, which saw Falcao unable to meet a driven Di Maria cross-shot and then spurning a clear chance following Shaw's tremendous run past Hibbert, the Toffees levelled on 55 minutes. A well-worked free-kick led to Baines crossing and an unmarked Naismith nodding home in from close range.

Falcao was a central figure in the next passage of play, clearing off the line from Jagielka at one end before sticking out a right boot to divert Di Maria's shot past Howard following some patient work by Rafael and Antonio Valencia. Although the goal settled the hosts again, a raft of substitutions prevented any real flow to the proceedings.

Naismith passed up a golden opportunity to shoot and De Gea brilliantly kept out two firm drives by Leon Osman as Louis van Gaal's men ultimately held out with the outstanding keeper also producing a stupendous late stop to deny Bryan Oviedo in injury time.

*Taken from Manutd.com

2014/2015 BPL 6: Manchester United 2-1 West Ham United


Wayne Rooney scored and was sent off as Manchester United secured a hard-earned 2-1 triumph over West Ham at Old Trafford.

Rooney and Robin van Persie gave the Reds a commanding early lead but Diafra Sakho's effort, also before the break, made for a nervous second half, exacerbated by the decision to send off the home skipper with around half an hour still to go.

With teenagers Luke Shaw and Paddy McNair making their debuts in defence, the Reds made a confident start and were ahead after five minutes. Rafael escaped down the right and delivered an inviting centre that was met by Rooney's clever first-time finish.

The Hammers could have been level within a matter of seconds as Daley Blind's mistake let in Enner Valencia but the Ecuadorian produced a wild shot into the Stretford End. Relieved, the hosts increased the pressure with Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria off target and James Tomkins blocking a Rooney shot after more nice play by the raiding Rafael.

A second goal duly arrived on 22 minutes when the busy Ander Herrera tackled Alex Song cleanly and Falcao, ignoring calls to shoot from the crowd, slipped in van Persie. The Dutch striker eased his way past Winston Reid and buried a low drive inside Adrian's right-hand post. United were flying, as one glorious move involving van Persie and Herrera led to Di Maria failing to apply the finish, but the visitors gained a lifeline when Stewart Downing's corner was sloppily dealt with. David De Gea failed to make a convincing punch and, after Enner Valencia hit the bar, Sakho was left with a simple header into an unprotected net.

The second half began at a slower pace until Falcao collected a Shaw pass and saw a deflected shot from outside the area pushed away spectacularly by Adrian. De Gea also had to make a save, at his near post to thwart Sakho, before United were reduced to 10 men just before the hour mark. Rooney halted Downing's break inside his own half with a crude foul but there was incredulity at referee Lee Mason's decision to show a red rather than a yellow card.

Sakho headed into the side netting as obvious gaps at the back started to appear so Louis van Gaal withdrew Falcao for Darren Fletcher. The Reds lost the influential Herrera to yet another injury as he departed the scene holding his back and it became clear the hosts were content to try to repel the Hammers, without worrying Adrian's goal.

Enner Valencia cut inside to deliver a deflected shot wide and, after referee Mason failed to produce a second red card for Sakho's foul on Rafael, McNair was forced into a brilliant headed clearance deep inside his own box with seven minutes remaining. There was an almighty let-off in the closing stages when Carl Jenkinson's cross was converted by Kevin Nolan but the assistant referee's offside flag rescued van Gaal's men.

*Taken from Manutd.com

2014/2015 BPL 5: Leicester City 3-5 Manchester United


Manchester United twice threw away a two-goal lead to slip to a stunning defeat at Leicester.

Robin van Persie and Angel Di Maria put the Reds ahead within the first 16 minutes, before Leonardo Ulloa pulled one back almost immediately. Ander Herrera made it 3-1 early in the second half, but a controversial penalty, converted by David Nugent, sparked an astonishing turnaround. Esteban Cambiasso, Jamie Vardy and an Ulloa spot-kick condemned United to a defeat that seemed almost impossible when Herrera had scored.

Louis van Gaal made one change to the side that had eased to victory over QPR, handing Radamel Falcao his first start in place of Juan Mata. Wayne Rooney moved to the top of the midfield diamond in place of the Spaniard, and the same back four meant that Luke Shaw would have to wait for his United debut.

The Reds were on the back foot in the opening stages against a pumped-up home side, but on 10 minutes Kasper Schmeichel was the first goalkeeper called into action. Di Maria’s perceptive pass sliced through the Leicester defence, and van Persie’s stabbed effort was parried away by the Dane.

But the Dutchman did not have to wait too long to open his account for the season. Falcao raced away from ex-Red defender Ritchie De Laet to deliver a pinpoint cross that van Persie nodded past Schmeichel, the ball taking a deflection off Liam Moore’s shoulder on the way to put United ahead after 13 minutes.

The celebrations had barely died down when Di Maria doubled the lead with a magnificent individual effort. The Argentinian, receiving a pass back from  Rooney, raced into the Foxes’ area and without breaking stride he lifted the ball over a stranded Schmeichel for a truly sublime second goal in as many games.

However, the hosts hit back within seconds of the restart, Vardy managing to cross from the right just as the ball looked to be heading over the byline and Ulloa, rising between Jonny Evans and Rafael, headed the ball powerfully past David De Gea.

The game’s end-to-end nature continued for the rest of the first half, but United’s pace on the counterattack, in particular from Di Maria, kept Leicester at full stretch. Marcos Rojo spurned a chance from a corner when he nodded the ball over from inside the six-yard box, and Falcao was just short of getting his head to a teasing low cross by the on-song Di Maria. But there was also the worrying sight of Evans being pulled out of the action with an injury after just half an hour, the Northern Ireland international being replaced by Chris Smalling.

The ploy of playing Rooney behind the front two strikers had worked well, and it came close to adding to United’s lead early in the second half. The skipper looped the ball over to Falcao, who with one touch brought it down before flicking it past past Schmeichel onto the crossbar with the next.

The Colombian’s effort would have been another for the end-of-season DVD had it gone in, but there was no doubt about Herrera’s cheeky back-heel that made it 3-1 after 57 minutes. Schmeichel parried a cross to van Persie, whose pass allowed Di Maria a shot that the Spaniard diverted deftly past the wrong-footed Leicester keeper.But the two-goal lead was reduced in controversial circumstances when referee Mark Clattenburg adjudged that Rafael had illegally barged over Jamie Vardy inside the area. The Brazilian right-back had been bundled over by the Leicester number nine just seconds earlier, but David Nugent ignored the clamour to slam the ball into the middle of the net past De Gea.

The hosts then drew level when United's defenders failed to clear the ball on the edge of the area, and Cambiasso latched onto a rebound off Vardy to slam the ball home.

The turnaround shook the Reds, but worse was to follow when Mata, on for Di Maria, lost possession by slipping in Leicester's half. The ball was upfield in the blink of an eye, and Vardy received De Laet's pass in a gaping hole in the middle before slotting home to put the Foxes ahead for the first time in the match.

An afternoon to forget was sealed when Blackett fouled Vardy, earning a straight red card before Ulloa converted the spot-kick to confirm Leicester's victory.

*Taken from Manutd.com

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