I'm looking for two or three writers to join the Five Cantonas team. Three or four posts a week. Intelligent and realistic. Drop me a line; redben at fivecantonas dot com

Passion, Determination, Invention and Tactics: Using Kagawa

Another day, another humbling home defeat. With Swansea beating us at Old Trafford, we’ve now realistically got nothing but the Capital One Cup to aim for this season in terms of silverware. 4th would be a massive, massive bonus given the way we’ve played. It was a fairly unlucky result, with Moyes being forced to make an unwanted substitution and then seeing that substitute sent off four minutes later, but the truth is that we should beat teams like Swansea comfortably at home.

Why aren’t we?

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Who will win this seasons Premier League?

The favourites to win this seasons Premier League are Chelsea, but it would not be ridiculous to say Manchester City or Manchester United could pip them to the title. If you think that you have seen enough of Manchester Clubs winning the Premiership you might be tempted to think that this will be the year when Chelsea makes it to the top. This season’s results are making the bookmakers very happy, with upsets happening every week, but can an underdog really go all the way?

This year will also be a huge challenge for Manchester United. David Moyes has had a tricky start to his managerial career at Old Trafford, with his new club only picking up 14 points from their opening 9 fixtures. The current Premier League title holders have slipped up too many times for the bookmakers, with their odds sky-rocketing up to 9/1. But, in their last few matches, United’s knack of winning games is slowly coming back, and with Wayne Rooney in such prolific form, could defy all odds and retain their crown? With fellow title challengers Arsenal coming up in the next weeks, you get the feeling that game could define Moyes début season on the Manchester United dug-out already. You would be better off gambling your money on the slots at the casino than betting on anyone outside the three favourites.
If you are looking for some more attractive odds, take a punt of Chelsea, who are now the odds-on favourite to lift the championship come May, with odds of 7/4. But if you fancy picking an outsider, you will find casino type odds with clubs such as Tottenham (14/1), Liverpool (7/1) and Arsenal (5/1), who have all shown early season form. Any one of these could be a good bet, but with high-flying Southampton available at 300/1, form is only temporary.

While the Premier League is in many ways the most exciting football league in the world, an alternative way to make a little cash on the side is at the online casino World Cup slot game called Soccer Safari at www.luckynuggetcasino.com/au/. The name derives from its football theme and the South African jungle as all of the players are stylised jungle animals including meerkats, elephants, lions and rhinos. It is a five real feature packed slot with a top payout of £50,000 if you are willing to bet the maximum of £120, though if you just want to play for fun you can bet as little as £0.01.

David De Gea: Carroll Assault Shows How He’s Grown

Remember when De Gea was mocked for being a frail little cookie? When he met any long shot with the resistance of a thin sheet of swiss cheese and was more fearful of crosses than Dracula Jesus? No, neither do I, but you’d be forgiven for believing that was the case given the pasting Dave gets on Sky and in the papers. Weak, foreign, erratic. Dave was painted as the worst goalkeeper since the traffic cone at school lunch-time.

Fast forward 18 months. Having vanquished the occasional challenge of Anders Lindegaard to become the undoubted number one at Old Trafford people are finally coming round. He’s been making awesome saves, notably against Chelsea and Real Madrid. He’s been commanding on crosses and commanding of his defence  He’s been undroppable.

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Falcao for Chicharito? Do We Really Need Falcao?

The Daily Mail have come out all guns blazing with a story that claims we’re going to offer a shit ton of money and the gorgeous Javier Hernandez to Athletico Madrid. Quite apart from my unashamed man-crush on the little Mexican, an affection that sometimes makes me feel more than a little dirty, this deal sounds like complete madness to me.

Don’t get me wrong. Falcao is an absolutely world-class footballer. He is a 10/10. If you had a blank chequebook and were able to bring one player in his position to Old Trafford, he’d be on the short-list alongside Messi, Ibrahimovic, Aguero and Cavani. Perhaps even, dare I say it, Luis Suarez. That said, I don’t see why you’d want to bring any of these players to Old Trafford.

We have an embarrassment of riches up front. We already have two players in the absolute world-class bracket (if you extend world-class to Rooney, which is an entire other debate). We have a lively poacher who scores goals for fun in Hernandez, and a hard-working almost defensive forward in Danny Welbeck. The key is that Hernandez is the only player there that guarantees goals. Welbeck offers plenty to the team, but he’s not really getting his share of goals yet. Rooney has been known to go on lengthy droughts, and Robin van Persie is in the midst of one right now.

Any signing is a gamble. Chelsea thought they were paying £30m for guaranteed goals when they swooped for Andrei Shevchenko, but he flattered to deceive and failed to reach double figures in the league. They repeated the trick with the £50m paid for Torres. They shipped out Eidur Gudjohnsen and Hernan Crespo to make room for Shevchenko, and shipped out Danny Sturridge to make room for Torres. Reliable goalscorers replaced with expensive flops who did not adapt.

When we’ve got a player who so perfectly complements our style, who is happy and settled and without ego, who scores plenty of goals, important goals  too, and isn’t a shred of trouble, why would we want to replace him with a gamble of any sort? How would we keep Rooney, Van Persie and Falcao happy at the same time? What would this mean for Welbeck or young Henriquez? I absolutely can’t see us sending Hernandez to Athletico Madrid to make room for Falcao, because that would be like trying to park a double-decker bus in a Tesco’s parking space.

If we could open up the space for Falcao, however, I’d be all ears. If we did move for the Colombian, then I wouldn’t shed a tear if we had to lose Wayne Rooney to make it happen.

In Defence of Michael Owen

Earlier this week I was a little upset by the majority reaction of the Manchester United fans to Michael Owen’s decision to join Stoke City. Admittedly his time at Old Trafford wasn’t the incredible glowing success that it could have been, but was it really the car-crash failure that some would have you believe and, just as importantly, was it Michael’s fault that it didn’t work out perfectly?

I can’t even think about Michael these days without jumping immediately to the 94th minute against City. Giggs threads the ball through, Owen takes a touch inside the box and toe-pokes it into the bottom corner. We win 4-3. I have almost never seen Old Trafford explode as violently or as joyously.

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Overweight Rooney: Simply Not Good Enough

Wayne Rooney is one of the best footballers in the world. On the grand scale, reaching from Messi and Ronaldo at the pinnacle right down to the most overweight of park hackers in the gutter, Wayne Rooney is unquestionably so close to the top that he’s covered with snow all year round. Of this there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever.

The problem is that you could say the same about James Milner, or Dean Whitehead, or Marouanes Fellaini and Chamakh. We see these as average to poor Premiership players but, on the grand football scale, they’re all so close to the top of the sport that they could spit over the summit.

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Ferguson’s Double Standards Could Hurt David De Gea’s Progress

One of the better things to come from the end of last season was the establishment of David De Gea, not just as our first choice goalkeeper, but as one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League, certainly from January onwards. After a nervous start when was rightly blamed for a few mistakes, he found the finger wrongly pointing towards him after almost every single goal conceded by Manchester United. Free header six yards out? The keeper should be claiming that. Unstoppable strike from the edge of the area? Edwin would have saved that.

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Player Ratings – Everton 1-0 United, 20/08/12

United lost the opening game of the season 1-0. Everton were good value for their win, mainly thanks to a superhuman performance from Marouane Fellaini. The Moroccan won every header and physical battle and made the decisive contribution heading home from a corner. There were some promising performances from United players, but others that were simply not up to the expected standard.

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Everton vs Manchester United Preview – Van Persie Impact From Bench Could Be Key

Here we are again. New season, same lofty expectations, but with rare conviction this year. We’ve stolen the headlines off the pitch with our swoop for Robin van Persie. Now we need to make them on the pitch by starting well against Everton at Goodison Park.

We last started our campaign at Goodison 7 years ago, coming away with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney and a world-class Dutch striker. Where we previously had Ruud, we now have RvP, and if history repeats itself it will represent a very good start to the season against a side that we always seem to struggle against, although in that we are not alone.

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Robin Van Persie Follows In The Footsteps of £250m Worth of Talent

The £24 million signing of Robin van Persie represents the most expensive bit of business we’ve done this summer. Indeed, it’s the most we’ve paid for a player since we fronted £33.5m for Dimitar Berbatov back in 2008. We don’t really do huge transfer fees, and we’ve had a few very expensive mistakes.

How to we fare overall with big money moves? Here we look back at our most expensive transfer each Premier League season. Some are all time United legends for the right reasons, and some we will never forget for the wrong.

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