It’s the height of silly season, and naturally Manchester United are being linked with a plethora of players. After finishing top in the Premier League two seasons ago, the Red Devils, under David Moyes, slipped down to seventh last season, missing out on European play entirely.
United, understandably, want to restore themselves to their former glories. Louis van Gaal has been installed at the helm, and after Netherlands’ impressive performances in the World Cup, making it to the semifinals, many are confident in his abilities to lead the team.
But United have yet to bring in a host of players. In fact, the only signings made thus far have been that of midfield Ander Herrera, signed from Athletic Bilbao, and defender Luke Shaw, signed from Southampton. So van Gaal must be looking to bring in more players, right?
Not necessarily. Manchester United are close to securing a spot in the International Champions Cup final, so their preseason is going rather well. When asked about transfer plans during a press conference, van Gaal said: “We still have a month to go [in the transfer window] and we are winning. Maybe we don’t need other players. First I want to see the players who I have and give them an honest chance.”
It’s worth noting that five players have already left Manchester United this summer: Alexander Buttner and Patrice Evra were sold, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidić left on free transfers, and Ryan Giggs retired.
Giving players an “honest chance” is a good idea in theory, but really, shouldn’t United be at least considering buying a central defender?
The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.
[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]
Three moments that mattered
16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.
33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.
43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.
Man of the match: Luke Mulholland
Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)
Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.
[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]
United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.
All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.
[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]
Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.
You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.
[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.
[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.
The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.
Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.