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Successful manager Martin Keown has some wise words for Louis van Gaal. The Dutchman is comparing unfavourably to Brendan Rodgers on 'clarity of vision'...

Last Updated: 28/08/14 at 12:31

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Di Maria Window
After signing Angel di Maria, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal was asked whether he would change to a 4-3-3 formation:

"I cannot clarify because we have to see in the process what we are doing. Exactly what I am saying is you cannot click your fingers and switch to another system. You are working and have to train with it.

"It's a matter of time because the process needs time and we shall see if, with Di Maria, we have to change the system or not. I think he shall contribute very much in our way of playing, he is also a creative player. I think that he can contribute and that's very important but we don't expect, from tomorrow, that the world has changed - no."

How would you view Van Gaal's statement? Is it:

a) Seems fair enough, he has made a commitment to 3-5-2 but would be prepared to alter it to fit a player of huge quality.


b) It doesn't really matter what he says. He's hardly going to spill his tactical plans to the press is he?

Or alternatively, is it c), 'a quite astonishing admission', an acceptance that 'there is no grand plan after all at United, no long-term vision'? A confession that also indicates that Van Gaal compares unfavourably against Brendan Rodgers, who showed the 'the clarity of his vision' in telling Andy Carroll to leave the club.

If you opted for c) then congratulations, you are Sportswriter of the Year Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail. Because not immediately telling the press where you'll play your new signing shows weakness, apparently.

Keown-ly Way Is Up

One of Mediawatch's biggest vices is a warped love of reading ex-players giving advice to managers. Martin Keown offering his wisdom to Louis van Gaal (seven league titles, three European trophies, seven domestic cups) is amongst our favourite combinations.

'Louis van Gaal is an avid student of the game but he needs to get his nose out of the leather notebook and roll his sleeves up,' Keown begins in the Daily Mail, with a bullishness not befitting a man that has never even held a full-time coaching job. Brass, brass balls.

Of course, Martin. Van Gaal is too busy reading up on the game, and has forgotten to 'roll up his sleeves' and get stuck in, like any good British manager would. Come to think of it, we've never seen the Dutchman without that bloody leather notebook.

'Things might look good on paper,' Keown continues, 'but it does not look good on the pitch for United.'

Thanks for the insight.

'After two defeats and a draw at Sunderland, it's time to bin the back three. Reverting to a back four would give United some much-needed stability. That means a reshuffle further forward.'

For the record, Keown's solution is for Van Gaal to play all of his attackers; Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, Angel di Maria, Adnan Januzaj and Robin van Persie all operating in front of a central midfield of Ander Herrera on his own. Good luck with that, Martin.

Express Delivery

'REVEALED: The 12 PLAYERS on their way out of Manchester United,' screams the headline on the Daily Express website, but this feels like a clumsier reveal than a drunk magician trying to magic a shy rabbit out of his hat at a kids' party.

When it's a 12-line story containing 12 different names, you know it must be packed full with compelling evidence and details that 'Express Sport understands'.

Mediawatch isn't saying that it has spotted the Daily Express' working out, but will 'reveal' that we have an easy way for remembering the 12 players. It's every player that faced MK Dons on Tuesday, minus David De Gea, Jonny Evans and Adnan Januzaj. Even unused substitute Wilfried Zaha is thrown in for good measure.

The most obvious thing to do in the middle of an injury crisis, of course, is to let 12 players leave in five days, leaving you without enough fit first-team members to field a squad.

Poll Tax

Mediawatch was intrigued to read Graham Poll's take on Calum Chambers' yellow card on Wednesday evening. Chambers was booked for entering the field of play before being given permission to do so. We can understand Arsenal fans' frustration at the incident, but given the rules - stupid or not - it was awarded correctly, so it would be interesting to see what a trained official would have to say.

'Portugal's Pedro Proenca is one of Europe's most experienced refs but he had a poor night,' Poll begins in the Daily Mail. 'Proenca cautioned sub Calum Chambers for coming on without permission - technically correct but not in keeping with a referee of his standing.'

So a former referee is criticising a current referee for making a 'technically correct' decision. And we wonder why they have such a thankless task?

Let's Get Serious
This summer has seen transfer spiel and bulls**t taken to an extraordinary new level, so it's little surprise Mediawatch has spotted what it appears to be a new addition to the transfer window lexicon.

You may have seen the phrase 'opened talks' a few too many times of late, but the Daily Mail website (talking about Arturo Vidal, of course) has introduced us to the phrase 'got involved in serious talks'. It made Mediawatch giggle more than it should.

Given that United were first reported as 'opening talks' with Juventus on August 8, that explains the delay in the deal. Ed Woodward has just been prank calling Giuseppe Marotta and giggling down the phone whilst pretending to order pizza in an Italian accent. But now it's serious.

Slight Difference Of Opinion
'Arsenal's 17th consecutive appearance in the group stages of the Champions League will be worth a guaranteed £17million to the Gunners' - The Metro

'Sanchez's £30m Goal: Summer signing repays fee' - Daily Telegraph

'Alexis Sanchez paid off his transfer fee with one kick - firing Arsenal to a £50m Champions league jackpot' - The Sun

Still, what's £33m between friends, eh?

At Last
'I'm not saying Colback should be picked [for England] because he's ginger, but he certainly shouldn't be overlooked because of the colour of his hair,' Adrian Durham wrote six months ago for the MailOnline, having resorted to (pun alert) hair-brained ideas of conspiracy.

News of Colback's inclusion in Roy Hodgson's latest England squad at least proves that Durham's honourable campaign is working.

Headline Of The Day
'War 'n Peace' - We like The Sun's take on Neil Warnock and Jason Puncheon burying the hatchet.

Non-Football Story Of The Day
'A young man is facing charges stemming from an unusual incident in Westmoreland County on Monday.

'Skyler Connor, 18, of New Derry, is facing a disorderly conduct charge for waving a rubber penis at passing motorists.

'According to police, the incident happened on Route 30 in Unity Township around 6 p.m.

'Connor was a passenger in the back seat of a vehicle at the time' - CBS Pittsburgh

Thanks to Bradley Kirrage. If you spot anything that belongs on this page, mail us at, putting 'Mediawatch' in the subject field.

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Readers' Comments


e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

One Point And One Conclusion For United


arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

Warnock sacked by Palace


e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

Wenger: Giroud deserved red

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