2014/2015 BPL 1: Manchester United 1-2 Swansea City

The 2014/15 season began in disappointing fashion for Louis van Gaal and Manchester United as Swansea City secured a shock 2-1 win at Old Trafford.

The visitors took the lead on 28 minutes through Ki Sung-yeung, before his effort was cancelled out by Wayne Rooney's second-half leveller. Rooney hit a post soon after but it was the Swans who found a second rather than United and it proved to be the winner as Gylfi Sigurdsson fired past David De Gea on 72 minutes.

Van Gaal had a raft of injuries to deal with in his first competitive match in charge with up to nine first-team squad members in the treatment room. Defence was the most depleted area with youngster Tyler Blackett, making his United debut, slotting in to the back three alongside Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. Jesse Lingard, also making his Reds bow, came in as the right wing-back with Ashley Young on the other side. Another debutant was Ander Herrera, in the centre with Darren Fletcher. Juan Mata, Rooney and Chicharito set up ahead of them.

There was a fast-paced opening to the game, but a real lack of clear-cut openings; a 20-yard curling, dipping effort from Sigurdsson on 12 minutes, which was well claimed by De Gea, was the only attempt of any note early on.

The Reds lost Lingard to injury on 24 minutes and he was replaced by Adnan Januzaj, while Jones brought the first save from Lukasz Fabianski in the Swansea goal with a cross-cum-shot which almost sneaked in at the near post. Rather than get a corner, the Reds were awarded a free-kick for a foul on Jones as he struck the ball and, from the set-piece, Mata drew another decent save from the keeper. Rooney headed straight at Fabianski soon after.

Just as United appeared to be building some real attacking momentum, the visitors took a shock lead in the 28th minute. After Nathan Dyer had flicked the ball on to Sigurdsson from the right wing, the Swansea star drove towards the centre before setting up Ki to strike a low drive past De Gea’s outstretched arm.

This wasn’t exactly in the script for van Gaal who opted to change his favoured 3-5-2 formation to 4-4-1-1 for the start of the second half and also brought on Nani in place of Chicharito. Within eight minutes of the restart, the Reds were level. Januzaj, a constant early threat at the start of the second period, won a corner which Mata swung in from the right. The ball deflected off Jones and into the path of Rooney who found the net with a spectacular overhead kick from three yards out.

Rooney was almost in again three minutes later after a superb turn in the area when receiving a pass from Nani, but Ashley Williams managed to stretch out a leg to clear the danger for Swansea. The United skipper was at the heart of everything and his excellent 25-yard free-kick on 56 minutes smacked the outside of the left-hand post.

Totally against the run of play, Swansea went back in front. A quick free-kick in midfield led to substitute Jefferson Montero sprinting down the left. His cross fell to Wayne Routledge who, despite slipping, managed to knock the ball back into the unmarked Sigurdsson’s path and his shot was too strong for De Gea to keep out despite the Spaniard’s best attempts.

There was to be no way back for the Reds, despite a decent handball shout in the box against Angel Rangel towards the end, who will be determined to put this result behind them as quickly as possible.

*Taken from Manutd.com

Man Utd: release 2014/15 squad numbers

Manchester United are pleased to announce the club's shirt numbers for the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season.

Summer signing Luke Shaw will wear the no.3 jersey while fellow new recruit Ander Herrera will wear 21. Adnan Januzaj has also adopted the no.11 shirt that Ryan Giggs famously made his own during his illustrious Reds career.

Anderson has been given the no.28 shirt, Nick Powell has taken no.22 and James Wilson has changed from no.47 to no.49.

Shirt numbers for the 2014/15 season:
1. De Gea; 2. Rafael; 3. Shaw; 4. Jones; 6. Evans; 8. Mata; 10. Rooney; 11. Januzaj; 12. Smalling; 13. Lindegaard; 14. Chicharito; 16. Carrick; 17. Nani; 18. Young; 19. Welbeck; 20. van Persie; 21. Herrera; 22. Powell; 23. Cleverley; 24. Fletcher; 25. Valencia; 26. Kagawa; 28. Anderson; 29. Zaha; 30. Varela; 31. Fellaini; 34. Lawrence; 35. Lingard; 36. Vermijl; 38. M Keane; 39. Thorpe; 40. Amos; 41. James; 42. Blackett; 45. Petrucci; 46. Rothwell; 48. W Keane; 49. Wilson; 50. Johnstone.

*Taken from Manutd.com

Wayne Rooney: Named new Man United Captain

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has settled an extended summer storyline by naming Wayne Rooney captain.

The announcement, revealed on Man United's official website on Tuesday, came shortly after the Red Devils beat Valencia in their final preseason friendly at Old Trafford.

Rooney got the nod over Robin van Persie and Darren Fletcher to replace Nemanja Vidic, who departed for Inter Milan this summer.

"For me it's always very important the choice of captain," Van Gaal said. "Wayne has shown a great attitude towards everything he does. I have been very impressed by his professionalism and his attitude to training and to my philosophy.

"He is a great inspiration to the younger members of the team and I believe he will put his heart and soul into his captaincy role."

Fletcher, who Van Gaal called "a natural leader", was named vice-captain. He will serve as captain when Rooney is unavailable.

"Darren is a very experienced player and a very popular member of the dressing room, I know he will work well alongside Wayne," Van Gaal said.

The new United boss took his time in naming a captain, saying he wanted time to view the players during the preseason first. During their tour of America, Rooney said he would love to be United captain, and his patience was rewarded on Tuesday.

"It is a huge honour for me -- and for my family -- to be named captain of this great club," said Rooney, who has been with United since 2004. "It is a role I will perform with great pride.

"Team spirit has always been very high in our dressing room and I am very grateful to the manager for the faith he has shown in me. I look forward to leading the team out on Saturday at our first match of the new season."

Fletcher said he has "always worked well together" with Rooney and thanked Van Gaal "for putting his trust in me."

*Taken from Soccernet.com

Thomas Vermaelen: United bid for Vermaelen confirmed

LONDON -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Manchester United are among the teams to have expressed an interest in signing Thomas Vermaelen, but he has admitted that he would rather sell the defender to a foreign club.

United have been heavily linked with a move for Vermaelen throughout the summer while Barcelona have reportedly made a 10 million-pound bid for the Belgium international, who is out of contract at the Emirates Stadium next summer.

Wenger suggested at a news conference ahead of Sunday's Community Shield against Manchester City that a decision on future of his current club captain will be made imminently.

After confirming Arsenal had received offers for the versatile defender, Wenger was then asked by reporters at Emirates Stadium whether United were among the clubs interested.

"I think they could be in the group," he said, referring to United. "Look, it could happen. I said that from the start of preseason that Thomas leaves us. He needs to play now.

"He had an outstanding attitude and behaviour [when he didn't play regularly last season]. He's in a position where it is difficult to stand in his way if he finds an interesting opportunity. We never speak about the price, but you will find out what happens very soon."

Asked if he would prefer to sell the player to a foreign club rather than send him to Old Trafford, Wenger replied: "Ideally yes.

"It is an option. We have offers from abroad as well."

Vermaelen became Arsenal's club captain in 2012 when Robin van Persie was sold to United.

Wenger was keen to distance himself from continued links with Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira, who has been mooted as a potential signing throughout this summer.

"I don't know who has put him on the market, is it his agent or somebody else," Wenger said. "Is it the press? But we were never close to signing him because Jack Wilshere has come back fit and in midfield we have quite a few offensive box-to-box players."

The Arsenal boss was then asked about a possible move for Liverpool's unsettled defender Daniel Agger, as he insisted he would not be drawn on specific transfer targets as he heads into the final few weeks of the window.

"I cannot give you any names specifically who will join us at the moment," he said. "We are not close to signing anybody and it will be the wrong information. "We have still three-and-a-half weeks before the transfer market is closed and we are open to it [more signings], but it has to be a player who can strengthen our squad.

"Let's not forget that Joel Campbell has come back plus the addition of [Mathieu] Debuchy, [Calum] Chambers and [Alexis] Sanchez who have joined us. We have already bought four players, we have not lost players until now so we have a big squad at the moment."

*Taken from Soccernet.com

US Tour 2014: Manchester United 3-1 Real Madrid

Manchester United booked a spot in the International Champions Cup final thanks to a 3-1 win over Real Madrid in front of the biggest-ever crowd for a football match in the United States.

Over 109,318 fans packed inside Michigan Stadium, commonly known as The Big House, to watch the meeting between two of the world’s most famous clubs. The supporters certainly weren’t disappointed after a pulsating clash which ended in United’s favour thanks to Ashley Young's first-half double and a goal after the break from substitute Chicharito.

Louis van Gaal fielded a strong team to face the European champions, who started with Gareth Bale, but left former Reds star Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench. Darren Fletcher skippered United once again and it was the Scot who had the game’s first sight of goal. Wayne Rooney’s corner on 14 minutes fell to Fletcher who took a touch to set himself before striking an effort past Iker Casillas’ left-hand post from just inside the box.

United’s bright start continued and it was Fletcher’s drive forward which led to the breakthrough on 21 minutes. After a one-two with Rooney on the edge of the box, the midfielder slipped a pass to Welbeck who found Young on the far left of the box and he steered a shot past Casillas to complete a brilliant move for van Gaal’s men.

The lead lasted a matter of six minutes before Bale at his menacing best drew Real Madrid level. A ball over the top found the Welshman down the left and he powered his way into the area before being brought down by Michael Keane. Bale dusted himself down before sending David De Gea the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Rooney sent a shot straight at Casillas soon after, before Bale went for the spectacular when he rose to meet a left-wing cross with an overhead kick from 12 yards, but De Gea was there to block it.

There was little time to pause for breath thereafter with the Reds regaining the lead on 37 minutes. The impressive Young collected possession on the left and curled a cross towards the head of Rooney. It was just too high for the striker but the ball continued towards goal and crept inside Casillas’ far post.

After the injured Danny Welbeck had been replaced by Wilfried Zaha, Rooney teed up the excellent Juan Mata with a well-worked free-kick but the Spaniard couldn’t keep his shot on target.

Van Gaal brought on more fresh legs at the break with Luke Shaw, Tyler Blackett and Tom Cleverley replacing Young, Jonny Evans and Ander Herrera, but it was Real who were quickest out of the blocks with Bale once again causing havoc down the left. He collected a long pass on the left wing before skipping past Keane and finding Isco unmarked in the box, but his deflected effort, off Phil Jones, was well claimed by De Gea. Bale did manage to beat De Gea on 55 minutes but the post was there to stop his 30-yard free-kick from going in.

Pepe then blasted wide after United had failed to clear a corner before Bale crossed for substitute Raul De Tomas to head over from close range.

At the other end United substitutes Shaw, Shinji Kagawa and Hernandez combined to set up Chicharito for an effort on goal, but his poked effort didn’t carry enough power to beat Casillas who had to be alert to punch away Cleverley’s well-struck shot minutes later.

One of the biggest cheers of the day was reserved for the introduction of Ronaldo on 74 minutes, but it was United who ended the day celebrating after Chicharito sealed the Reds' place in the ICC final with a fine header to meet Kagawa's excellent cross. A meeting with arch rivals Liverpool now awaits in Miami on Monday evening.

*Taken from Manutd.com

US Tour 2014: *Manchester United 0-0 Inter Milan (United Win 5-3 on penalties)

Manchester United's successful Tour 2014, presented by Aon, continued with a penalty shoot-out victory after Louis van Gaal's men were held to a goalless draw by Inter Milan.

Ashley Young, Javier Hernandez, Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa and Darren Fletcher all converted from the spot to complete a full set of kicks for the Reds, while Marco Andreolli's miss for Inter proved pivotal at the FedEx Field, home of NFL legends Washington Redskins.

Van Gaal started with his three senior centre-backs all on the pitch, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones switching to the middle and right respectively, while Jonny Evans retained the left-sided role in which he began the tour against LA Galaxy. Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia took up the wing-back positions, with Ander Herrera and again-captain Darren Fletcher allowing Juan Mata to support Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.

The man who Evans, Jones and Smalling are all striving to replace, Inter's new no.15 Nemanja Vidic, provided the biggest threat to United's goal in the early exchanges, albeit not a significant one with both of his headers from corners comfortably clearing Anders Lindegaard's crossbar. Jones fared better at the other end when his connection with a Mata set-piece forced a save from Samir Handanovic diving low to his left.

Wayne Rooney tried to reprise the goal which unlocked another Italian defence, Roma's, when he opened up onto his right foot and sent a shot dipping just over the frame but then the game descended into something of a lull, with both sides going through typical pre-season motions.

The crowd were stirred a little when Valencia tracked back in the right wing-back role, all the way to the corner flag, where he dispossessed Dodo in robust but fair fashion. The opponent gesticulated in vain for a foul while the fans closest to the action jeered, whistled and briefly chorused "United, United" in response.

Mata began to impose himself on the proceedings as the half wore down, firstly interchanging well with Rooney and just missing out on the final return ball when an Inter defender intervened. Then the livewire Spaniard created his own space and raked a shot narrowly wide of the right-hand post, close enough to spur Handanovic into an insurance dive. At the other end, Jones flung himself in front of a snapshot from Mauro Icardi to preserve Lindegaard's majority status as a spectator.

Van Gaal made the now-routine eight changes at the interval, most notably giving Wilfried Zaha his first run-out of the tour and bringing on Luke Shaw for a work-out at wing-back, after discussing his lack of fitness 24 hours previously. The others to come on were David De Gea in goal, Michael Keane, Tyler Blackett, Tom Cleverley, Nani and, in the Mata role, Shinji Kagawa. Only Evans, Fletcher and Young remained on the pitch in pursuit of a full 90 minutes.

Evans and Fletcher combined well on the left as United took the game to Inter in the second period but, with Vidic marshalling the Inter defence and reading the Reds' ploys like a professor, Zaha in particular cut a frustrated figure. In one moment, the former Old Trafford stalwart watched as two of his team-mates threatened to be left behind by Zaha's turn of pace and then stepped in with perfect timing to sweep the ball behind for a corner.

Vidic deserved the applause he received around the arena as he departed the field in the 72nd minute with Inter's clean sheet intact, although there was a close shave when Tom Cleverley drilled a rising shot into the pack of mostly red shirts amassed behind the goal.

With the Serbian off, United sensed an opportunity and Nani was denied by Handanovic's fine save, with Kagawa's effort on the rebound blocked. Zaha appealed for a penalty moments later but, even though thousands of fans agreed with him, the referee Edvin Jurisevic took a different view and the deadlock remained. It was a similar story when Cleverley went down with the official stubbornly standing his ground.

The biggest cheer of the night so far came when Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez, seemingly popular throughout the United States, entered the fray for the final quarter of an hour. Nani, a half-time substitute, was substituted.

De Gea, like Lindegaard, had little to do in his 45 minutes on the field, although he did provide one reminder of his athleticism when he thrust out his right hand to turn an Inter free-kick over the bar. Jurisevic was by now becoming the central character but the referee endeared himself to the United fans, having largely annoyed them, when he showed the first yellow card of the game to Marco Andreolli.

There was more angst for the dynamic Zaha when he flashed a shot into the side-netting in the final minute of normal time and so off to penalty kicks we went, with Inter already victorious by this method in their ICC opener against Real Madrid. This time the Italians would not prosper and United remained on course to reach the final in Miami after winning the shoot-out 5-3, much to the delight of the majority in the crowd of 61,238.

*Taken from Manutd.com

Manchester United Third Kit 2014/15: United reveal blue third kit

For the much-anticipated 2014/15 season, ManUtd.com is proud to announce that Manchester United will wear a stylish and innovative new third kit.

With two different tones of blue, the Nike design is inspired by the club’s tradition of wearing blue kits throughout the 1980s, as well as the iconic strip worn by Sir Matt Busby’s men during the 1968 European Cup final triumph over Benfica at Wembley.

The shirt, shorts and socks are all a rich and vibrant blue on the front with a darker tone of the same colour on the back. These two tones are divided by a red stripe on both sides of the kit, representing United’s famous and historic home colour.

The half and half appearance is a traditional football design, but this is the first season it has ever been used on the front and back. The shirt also boasts a classic design with a sophisticated polo neck collar and three buttons in the darker tone of blue.

Like the recently released home and away kits, there is a label on the back of the neck with the message ‘Youth, Courage, Greatness’ to represent the club’s values.

The new United third kit will be worn for the first time during tonight's match with Inter Milan as part of Tour 2014, presented by Aon.

*Taken from Manutd.com

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