Saturday, 26 December 2015

Stoke City vs Manchester United

Pre-Match Analysis:

Merry Christmas to all our readers! Let us hope that the Premier League game against Stoke City is a solid win so that we can really celebrate! Our previous three games have been very disappointing losses and unfortunately, the sad truth is that our current style of football is very poor. We do not score many goals and are now beginning to suffer a lot at the back. With this being said, United are 5th in the table and are level on points with Tottenham who are 4th in the league table. Anything can happen in the Premier League and with the January Transfer window creeping closer, it should be very interesting to see what Van Gaal does during this exciting and important window of the season. Will Van Gaal be looking for a goal scorer to aid our disheartened attack, or will he bring in a rock of a player, to command our back line? Whatever happens, the time now could undeniably make or break our season.

With a lot of speculation about Van Gaal’s career at United coming closer to the end and the recent sacking of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, Van Gaal needs to pull out a stunning win against Stoke City to bring some smiles to the faces of the Manchester United fans. Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has come out and said that the squad are behind manager Louis Van Gaal despite having gone six games without a win. Van Gaal has been criticised for the style of football his club have been playing and Thierry Henry has claimed that ex-Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho would be a perfect fit as manager at Manchester United. Van Gaal is in a crisis. He walked out of his press conference just 6 minutes in, after speculation about his job was raised. There is no doubt that he is worried for his job, so the players will need to be at their best in the Premier League game. With United having fallen out of the top 4 from a 2-1 loss against Norwich, he needs to take careful consideration about how he will go about the upcoming game against Stoke City. No game this season has been easy, so the clash against Stoke will be no exception.

United have won 11 consecutive Boxing Day fixtures, so will be looking to get their 12th against Stoke City. Their current record of Boxing Day fixtures is promising, however their recent form is undeniably disheartening. With several players being injured, the game will be very difficult so the starting 11 will have to be at their absolute best throughout the game. A lot of young talent have sparked a lot of attention in recent events so could they be the players to get Manchester United back on track? This very important game against mid-table Stoke and will be one that cannot be missed.

Line-Up Analysis:

Not long left until kick-off now and the line-up looks promising. We start with our brick wall in goal - David De Gea. We have Young and Blind as full backs today with Smalling and Jones as centre backs. Hopefully this defence will be more solid than in the last two games and we'll be hoping for a clean sheet. 

Our three midfielders are Carrick, Ander Herrera and Fellaini. It looks like we will see Herrera and Fellaini switching between the CM and CAM positions throughout the game. Something that I'm sure that most Manchester United fans will be questioning is the decision to keep Schneiderlin on the bench for the second game running. Maybe he isn't match fit yet and he's just come to make up the numbers. 

Our front three is something that looks promising. It is a Christmas miracle that Van Gaal has finally benched Wayne Rooney. What clearly cost us last week was trying to accommodate Wayne Rooney into the squad. Anthony Martial is more of a goal threat up front, therefore he should be leading the attack. Van Gaal has finally seen that at last. The two wingers look to be Memphis, who will be trying his hardest to make an impact and get on the scoresheet, and Mata, who will be trying to regain his amazing form from the start of the season after a huge run of poor form. 

Lets hope that this game will be entertaining and we can manage to bring three points back home! #GGMU

First Half Analysis:

Don't know what to say really, 2-0 down after a terrible first half performance. None of our players showing passion and intent to win the game. It looks like Rooney will be coming on in the second half.

We started the game on the back foot, but there were no clear cut chances. We couldn't manage to put a string of passes together throughout the first half. We were managing to hold on until Memphis Depay made a poor decision to try and header the ball back to De Gea in an awkward position. However, the ball didn't get far at all and Glen Johnson passed the ball to Bojan who slotted it through Phil Jones's legs, who was on the goal line. This goal was coming and deserved from Stoke City,

Just as we though things couldn't get any worse for us, Arnautovic doubled the scoreline with a bullet from outside the box. He then got another chance later in the half to make the score 3-0. However, he failed to hit the target in a one-on-one situation with David De Gea.

All we could hear from the Stoke fans was "you're getting sacked in the morning!". If it continues like this, I wouldn't be surprised if Van Gaal was sacked. Throughout the first half, it was clear that the player's had no confidence in them. We were showing no passion and creating no chances. We are in fact lucky to only be 2-0 down. 

We MUST see a huge change in the second half. Our attitude needs to change as we are currently in a time of crisis. This could be the biggest 45 minutes, and maybe last of Louis Van Gaal's managing career.

Second Half Analysis:

Memphis was replaced by Rooney at half time after his shocking first half performance. We had a few chances but so did Stoke City. Things were getting even more painful to watch after Fellaini had two massive chances to score, but as usual, he failed to produce. 

For the rest of the half, Stoke continued to play us off the pitch. Herrera was replaced by Pereira who didn't have a chance to make much of an impact. Martial had a good chance but his shot lacked any power and was comfortably saved by Butland. All of the chances which we did have, were easily saved by Butland. There was no clinical finishing from us and that has been an issue for us all season. 

The game finished at 2-0. Once again we had failed to finish our chances and our defence was again shambolic. There is no doubt that our injury crisis hasn't helped our defensive situation, but there is no excuse for these poor defensive performances. 

Overall Analysis:

We are a club that has spent £250 million and have been pathetic when attacking and defending. This is the first time Manchester United have failed to win 7 games in a row since 1961. We've suffered four defeats in a row to Wolfsburg, Bournemouth, Norwich and Stoke. This is embarrassing form for a club as big as Manchester United. Us Manchester United fans are not used to feeling like this and are demanding for change.

Just as we thought things couldn't get any worse for Van Gaal, the pressure has been cranked up drastically. Wayne Rooney has said that he has been convincing the players to have faith in Van Gaal and his "philosophy" but it is clear from today's performance that the morale in the dressing room is very low. I'd be surprised if Van Gaal isn't sacked today as it is clear that the fans have lost all confidence in the manager, the players are beginning to lose all faith and now it's down to the board - if they have lost faith in the manager, he will be sacked.

One thing which we must point out is that nobody out there today played for the badge on the shirt. This is disappointing to see as Manchester United fans given the history of the club. We are not playing like a Premier League club.

Our next game is at home to Chelsea on Monday and everyone will be hoping for a performance worthy from a Manchester United team. 

Could this be the game that ends Van Gaal's managing career? Or will he be given a chance to redeem himself in two days time? One thing that we do know is that something needs to change!

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