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Manchester United vs Hull City: Preview

Betfair is the official Manchester United betting partner and we here at Red Rants have partnered with them to offer a free £25 bet when you register. Unlike other betting sites, Betfair allows you to place bets when the game is running and choose the odds at which you want to play. What allows you to do these things is you’re betting against other fans, not the bookie, so if you want better odds than are currently available, for example, you can place an order for a better price (but bear in mind that if your price is unrealistic your bet is unlikely to be accepted). So, give this a run if you’re up for it.

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Merry Christmas, after a few days of relaxation the hard graft of the Premier League gets underway once more. Manchester United face a trip to Hull City and the KC Stadium later today, with Chelsea slipping up once more and the defeat last week against Fulham, it is imperative we return to winning ways. A positive result would leave us a mere two points adrift of the league leaders, unthinkable a week ago.

We can start with the good news, we have defenders fit! During the press conference on Thursday, Sir Alex Ferguson retorted to questions about the United defence, stating,

“We rushed Fabio back a little bit, but given the situation we find ourselves in sometimes you have to do that,” admitted Sir Alex, while “Rafa’s only trained for a few days but he will be involved on Sunday,” Ferguson confirmed.

However, Jonny Evans, John O’Shea, Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand are still out.

So, in a return to the usual 4-4-2, Rafael will likely to be back in the side at right-back, Patrice Evra will almost certainly line up at left-back, there are two spots to be filled in the centre of defence, Nemanja Vidic and Wes Brown have almost recovered from hamstring and calf injuries respectively. It would make sense for one or both of them to start given the humiliation last week, if not then expect Michael Carrick to have one more outing at the back. Edwin van der Sar has still not recovered from a knee injury, so Tomasz Kuszczak will continue in goal.

With a defensive crisis, the two most consistent midfield performers were dropped to the backline, but as the situation at the back improves, Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick should be moved to their more natural positions. We have missed both, in particular the drive Fletcher provides to the midfield. Alongside one or other would have to be Anderson or Darron Gibson. Paul Scholes should be dropped to the bench after his dismal showing last week.

On the wings will be Antonio Valencia on the right, and either Ji-Sung Park or Gabriel Obertan on the left. Ryan Giggs is a doubt as he still has a hamstring niggle, while Nani has an ankle problem.

As for the strike partnership, Wayne Rooney will lead the line along side Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian hitman came on as a sub against Fulham and was a bit more effective than Michael Owen who will no doubt drop to the bench.

Hull will no doubt prove to stern test given our form, two defeats in the last three. Sir Alex is also expecting a tough test, saying,

“Hull will be encouraged by our injury problems, and I’m sure they’ll have a go at us.”

Hull manager Phil Brown has no real injury worries, other then Jimmy Bullard and Ian Ashbee, only Nick Barmby is a doubt after he suffered a calf strain in the defeat to Arsenal and looks likely to miss out. An unchanged line-up other than that is to be assumed.

The most dangerous player Hull possess, is undoubtedly Brazilian forward Geovanni, he can produce the unexpected and has bags of quality, it just depends on whether he turns up on the day. Arguably though Hull’s player of the season so far is Anthony Gardner, the former Spurs defender has been in terrific form for the Tigers and will look to help his team to a clean sheet today.

Hull are unbeaten in six matches at home, but having scored just 17 goals in the league this season, they hold second worst tally in the league and are without a win in four games and haven’t scored in three Thus, a United side out with something to prove would look to take advantage of such poor momentum. Victory for United.

Prediction: 2-0 United

Probable Line Up: Kuszczak, Rafael, Carrick, Vidic, Evra, Valencia, Fletcher, Anderson, Park, Berbatov, Rooney.

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Betfair is the official Manchester United betting partner and we here at Red Rants have partnered with them to offer a free £25 bet when you register. Unlike other betting sites, Betfair allows you to place bets when the game is running and choose the odds at which you want to play. What allows you to do these things is you’re betting against other fans, not the bookie, so if you want better odds than are currently available, for example, you can place an order for a better price (but bear in mind that if your price is unrealistic your bet is unlikely to be accepted). So, give this a run if you’re up for it.



  1. NicoQB

    30 December 2009 at 15:42

    @Ab Kr: Water is wet…

  2. NicoQB

    30 December 2009 at 15:57

    @johnsom33: Of course! If a rumour reinforces my point, who am I not to use it? 😀

    More seriously though, in the end we all know that City paid more for him than we were prepared to pay, and its only very recently that he’s beginning to show some semblance of form.
    I agree that the debate has run its course, and we agree on some things , but go tell that the newbie who thought he had a point by pointing to how Tevez is now playing well. He took half a season to get in his stride playing most games at city and that by itself is a damning assessment of him.

  3. Johnsom33

    30 December 2009 at 16:17

    @NicoQB: I agree with you, that tevez only recently started scoring goals. Which also illustrates why he is only being brought up now, because until recently fergie was spot on in letting him leave.

  4. Grognard

    30 December 2009 at 16:45

    @Ab Kr: He is far from the best CB in the EPL. If we judged CB’s by goal scored then perhaps he is. Fortunately CB’s are still judged on goals prevented and with that criteria he isn’t even in the top half dozen. We are very deep defensively but a young CB like Kjaer or Rodwell would be a good signing because Rio is nearing the end and Vidic could be on his way to Spain.

  5. Grognard

    30 December 2009 at 16:52

    @Ab Kr: Ask yourself these questions. Why would Barcelona sell their prize CB as they are not a selling team and are the top team in the world? Also, why would Pique want to return to a team that showed no faith him and had him waste his considerable talents on the bench or in the reserves? Fact is Pique has become one of the best CB’s in the world over the past 18 months. He is on the top team in the world and is in excellent form. It makes no sense for him to slide backwards and go to a team that he cannot feel confident that he would be a starter due to Fergie’s ridiculous way of thinking. Pique plays well in Spain because the Spanish game suits his Beckenbauer like roving and upfield drives but back in England he is exposed for his inferior aerial game and for being a little slow of foot.

  6. Grognard

    30 December 2009 at 17:04

    @Aditya: The only reason he sounds a lot like me is he sees things for what they are and speaks the truth. Hard to disagree with anything he wrote except I do disagree with his belief that the team is lacking “passion, determination and overall fight”. I don’t agree with that. What I think they lack is focus, concentration and overall skill, and creative imagination.

  7. Grognard

    30 December 2009 at 17:10

    @Onkar: I for one see where Red Ranter is coming from but I do not agree as I am a person who loves LISTS. Lists make the world go round. Top ten movies, top ten songs, top ten sports cars, top ten footballers with blonde hair, top ten non Canadian hockey players etc etc. It’s not meant to be taken seriously nor should it. It’s just meant to compare each other’s tastes and preferences in life. People like to compare and then they like to see how often others agree with them. I for one am a real sucker for lists but then again as much as I enjoy them (and I really do), I do not take them too seriously. After all, life is a competition and this is one way for people to compete with each other without having to be a player or coach. Picking their favorite team or best of the decade is a friendly competition with nothing at stake except personal taste. It’s harmless fun……………especially when everyone agrees at the end that Grognard’s lists are the best. 😉 😀

  8. Grognard

    30 December 2009 at 17:18

    @Onkar: And yet the majority would disagree with you and I because all they really care about is trophies and results because that is what defines their lives and helps them get through the day. Winning 1-0 or 6-0 means nothing to them. Three points is all they care about because they are more concerned in their office rivalry with Liverpool and Man Shitty fans that they are in first or getting better results. Style never wins over substance and in their eyes, substance equals wins where style does not ensure anything.

    I am a different cate entirely. I am greedy and I fully admit that I do not pick one over the other either. Many think I pick style over substance but that is not true. You see, I am a big believer in having my cake and eating it too. I want us to win and to win with style. I want 4-0 wins as much as possible with pace, style and determination. Hell, I demand it. Why? Because from 1992 to 2007, that is what we got on a weekly basis from this club 9/10 times and I for one was addicted to it and spoilt rotten. I want us to return to that kind of champagne football where we won most of our games and where we entertained the masses most of the time too. Knowing that it used to be like that, I do not believe that I am asking the impossible.

  9. Grognard

    30 December 2009 at 17:22

    @Traverse: Agreed. And that is the key. We must buy either Kjaer or Rodwell or somebody else who is highly regarded before we sell Nemanja. Too often of late we have been caught with our pants down by not having a plan set when it comes to replacing a player. We had a full year to prepare for Ronaldo yet when the time came, we settled for crap on a stick. Unsatisfactory and not in line with a top club in Europe. This time we need to make sure we have his replacement in red before he goes. And you know what? Fergie will say that he already has his replacement and believes he will do a world class job and that’s either Wes Brown or John O’Shea. That would be typical Fergie. 🙄

  10. Grognard

    30 December 2009 at 17:39

    @RichmondRed: The problem is that buying young talent while they are in their teens is a crap shoot. You never really know what you are getting as they can develop and go in many directions. A kid can be lights out great at 16 and then by 18 is having a hard time playing for the the reserves. Zoran Tosic is an example of this as is Possebon. I like to bring up the way Lyon do things. After reading the great book Soccernomics I was awoken to the way it should be done. Buy young players but buy them between the ages of 20-22. By then they are not full blown superstars yet (in most cases) but also they are old enough to get a better idea of their potential and skill set without the volatility of pre adulthood messing with them. By then they are easier to gauge when it comes to skill set, mentality, temperament, and maturity. Obertan is probably going to end up a decent buy because he fits into this category. But Fergie is hoping to find a dozen Rooney’s and Ronaldo’s and that’s just not the case. Searching out all the teen prospects out there is dangerous at best.

    One more comparison can be found in baseball. In that sport there are two types of prospects, the high school teen prospect and the university prospect. The difference is two to three years more experience and maturity (both mental and physical) in the university prospect but a less refined and cheaper avenue buy going after kids right out of high school. Traditionally the majority of stars players seem to come from the college ranks but high school is famous for often coming out with real gems. Problem with high school is that once again, you really don’t know what you have because players are so young, they aren’t fully developed physically and mentally and gauging their talent while only 16 or 17 is much tougher and riskier than when they are 20 or 21. United need to start going after players in there early 20’s and stop raping cribs when looking for talent. It works well for Lyon and it has worked out for them well in winning so many French titles yet they are also savvy at selling these players for way more than they paid for them and before they reach their prime and then reinvesting the money and finding more talent in their early 20’s. This makes the team money but also ensures that they keep investing the money on newer and fresher players. United doe snot have to follow the model like that. All they need to do is buy the players and then hope they turn out great and sign them to extended contracts.

  11. Red Ranter

    30 December 2009 at 18:42

    @Grognard: Tosic was 21 when he was bought. It was just poor scouting.

  12. CraigMc

    30 December 2009 at 19:27

    @johnsom33: Mate he has NOT proved a WORTHY SUCCESSOR to CR7 which is what SAF is proclaiming. So I am calling it rubbish mate, because that is what it is. There are FAR better players than Valenci-DIRE who would prove worthy of the Ronnie mantle. 18,000 quid for Valenci-DIRE, waste of money in my opinion judging by his play so far. If he cares to prove me wrong in the long run fair enough, but I wouldn’t back your mortgage on it Bro, if I was you 🙂

  13. Johnsom33

    30 December 2009 at 19:54

    @CraigMc: My question to you is who is a worthy successor to the best player on the planet? I don’t care if we would have signed ribery, he still can’t compare too the greasy one. So stop comparing him to Ronaldo it’s an impossible standard.

  14. Grognard

    31 December 2009 at 01:56

    @Red Ranter: Oh way to go RR, rain on my parade. 😀 So Tosic was a bad example. Hard to believe he was 21 considering his body development looks like that of a 14 year old.

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