Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Newcastle United vs Manchester United

Pre-Match Analysis:

The Premier League is back tonight for the 21st game of the season. What a season it has been so far! As a club, we have had highs and lows but here we are, currently in 5th place with 33 points, challenging for a Champions League place whilst being 3 points off 4th placed Tottenham Hotspur. Our opponents, Newcastle United, are in a relegation battle in 18th place with 17 points. The appointment of their manager, the experienced Steve McClaren, should be enough for them to avoid defeat.

We must ask the question of ourselves: what are our aims for the season? Are we serious about challenging for the title this season? Do we want to play Champions League football next season? Do we have any realistic chance of claiming some silverware this season? As mentioned above, we have had an up and down season but I still believe that we can do something special this campaign. Firstly, we need to play with more passion and intent in the sense that the 3 points must be ours.

On the weekend we managed to unconvincingly beat Sheffield United 1-0 in the FA Cup. Wayne Rooney's goal from the spot was just enough to take us through to the fourth round. Yesterday, in the fourth round draw, we were drawn away to Derby County in the fourth round of the FA Cup. This game will be played the 29th and 31st of January.

The prolific legend that is Paul Scholes recently described our team as being “boring” and on the evaluation of our season as a whole you cannot blame him. To make matters worse, in LVG’s most recent press conference he stated that “Man United have bored me during this season”. As a passionate fan watching on, you can understand his frustration but at the same time there obviously is something not right at the club. Whether it needs to be new signings, a change in formation or even as drastic as a change in manager, United need to get themselves back to their old winning ways. We have failed to score a first half goal in our last ten games- with all of our attacking talent this just is not good enough.

Tonight is our opportunity to show our fans why we are still one of the biggest clubs in the world. If we are serious about having a successful campaign this season, a win tonight and a clean sheet is exactly what we need. There have been injuries that have disrupted our season but with a squad as big as ours we should be able to overcome these injuries. Bastian Schweinsteiger is suffering from a knee injury whilst Carrick and Young could feature tonight.

For our team selection, I do think that it needs to be quite attacking although we should be wary of Newcastle’s own threats. In goal, De Gea, who has once again been one of our standout players this season, Darmian, Smalling, Blind and Borthwick-Jackson to make up the rest of our defence; all of whom started against Sheffield United. In Midfield I would play Carrick, Schneiderlin, Memphis and Young for his pace and crosses with Rooney and Martial leading our frontline. Every game is starting to feel like a must win one but this team needs to get these 3 points in order to keep our Champions League hopes alive. 

Newcastle are in 18th position and are in danger of being relegated. Especially against the more formidable sides in the league, Newcastle tend to put on their ‘better performances’. They will prove to be a difficult side with talent throughout their squad but they are lacking the consistency. Newcastle have signed a midfielder from Bordeaux showing their intentions to improve their creative play. In the Premier League, they lost to Arsenal and they also lost to Watford in the FA Cup. They will be low on confidence but this is a game that both sides can win and will try their best to win. Sissoko, Tiote, Wijnaldum ,PĂ©rez and Mitrovic are just some of their gifted players so they will be prove to be a handful.

Hopefully we are in store for a great game tonight! Score prediction? 2-1 to the Red Devils! #GGMU

Line-Up Analysis:

There are three changes from the team that beat Sheffield United, with Ashley Young, Schneiderlin and Lingard coming into the squad for Borthwick-Jackson, Schweinsteiger and Mata. 

Our defence consists of De Gea in goal who will be earning his 200th cap for the club, and Young and Darmian as full-backs, who will be hoping to push forward at every opportunity. Our two centre backs, Blind and Smalling will be hoping to keep another clean sheet like they did against Sheffield United, but it will be hard against Newcastle's two attackers, Perez and Mitrovic. 

In midfield we have Fellaini - who will be hoping to make a big impact today and try and win his place back in the starting 11. Alongside him will be Morgan Schneiderlin who has been a key player this season in keeping our clean sheets. Also, Ander Herrera looks like he'll be playing wide. Herrera hasn't been great in recent games, giving away possession needlessly with sloppy passes and unnecessary fouls. Jesse Lingard will also be playing wide. One big decision made by LVG is leaving Memphis out of the starting line up after his terrific performance when coming on as a sub against Sheffield United. 

Up front we have our skipper Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial. These two players will be determined to bag a goal to lift the fans' and players' morale.

Lets hope for some good, not-boring, attacking football! #GGMU

First Half Analysis:

Wow! Am I dreaming or did we really play some attacking football and score not just one, but two goals?! At the end of a crazy first half, we go into the break holding a 2-1 lead. A penalty from Rooney and a sweet finish from Lingard put us 2-0 up. But poor defending from Smalling led to Newcastle clawing one back with Wijnaldum. 

To begin with, we were shambolic. Believe it or not, Fellaini committed 4 fouls in less that 25 minutes and earnt himself a yellow card. We were continuing with our boring passing football. In the 9th minute, a controversial handball by Mbemba led to a Manchester United penalty. Wayne Rooney buried the ball in the bottom right hand corner of the goal, sending the keeper the wrong way. That was Wayne Rooney's third goal in his last three games, and took his overall total to 240. .

From then on, we were knocking the ball around confidently and looking dangerous going forward (something that we've been missing for a long time). We got another big chance as Rooney latched onto Lingard's pass before shooting just wide of the far post. Moments later, David De Gea was called into action as Perez sets up Wijnaldum for a shot but De Gea uses his legs and saves well.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, we managed to counter attack with Ander Herrera who set up Wayne Rooney who unselfishly found Lingard who slotted the ball through Elliot's legs to give us a 2-0 lead. Five minutes later, Wijnaldum pounced on a headed clearance by Fellaini and beats De Gea from inside the area. 

After an eventful first half, we have high expectations for the second. Finally, we have quit our boring football and we're beginning to see the real Manchester United. Lets hope for a similar second half!

Second Half Analysis:

Well, that was an absolute thriller of a game. The full time result was 3-3 after some magnificent goals. In the end, it comes down to taking chances, something which we failed to do with Fellaini's header and Jesse Lingard. 

Ten minutes into the second half came our first huge opportunity to seal the deal after some creative play from Martial and Herrera led to a chance for Lingard, who shoots over the bar. He should've buried that and it proves to be costly. 

In the 66th minute, Chris Smalling is caught wrestling with Mitrovic in the box, which led to a Newcastle penalty which Mitrovic converted from 12 yards. One minute later, Wijnaldum scored a one on one with De Gea, but was flagged for offside.

Then in the 79th minute came the moment of pure class... After a terrific run, Memphis Depay's shot was blocked with the ball ending up in the feet of Wayne Rooney, who powered in an unstoppable effort. Then in the 84th minute of the game came our second amazing chance. Memphis (involved again) sent over a delightful cross to Fellaini who's header was aimed directly at the goalkeeper. He really should've scored. 

Ironically, Newcastle managed to snatch a goal right at the death. Paul Dummett equalised for the hosts with an amazing effort which was turned in by a deflection of Chris Smalling. That's how the game ended unfortunately, it was a thrilling game but we are left frustrated after Dummett's late equaliser.

 Overall Analysis:

In terms of stand out performances, we have to give huge credit to our main man, Wayne Rooney. We have been criticizing him a lot in recent months, and maybe even years but one thing that we can't deny is that he lit the pitch on fire tonight with two goals and one assist. This is the Wayne Rooney that we are so used to seeing under the Sir Alex era, lets hope that he can keep this up and go on to break the record and become the Premier League's highest ever goalscorer, only 19 left Wayne!

After that dramatic match, I'm sure that us Manchester United fans will be delighted with the football that we played. We are no longer dominating possession and passing the ball sideways and backwards (as much), we are learning to counter attack and attack in the way that Sir Alex used to love. Let's hope that this is the start of big things to come for our club and let's not dwell on this draw, lets build on this performance!

Our next game sees us travel to Liverpool on Sunday to face our rivals. This game is going to be essential as even when we are playing terribly, we always turn up against Liverpool! Considering their on-going list of injuries, we should be going for the win and we will look to continue the same football we played today. There is no doubt that we will fight with all our power until the end on Sunday. 

Lets not get carried away with this more attacking performance, we still only managed a draw against a team battling relegation and we should have really won, and to concede three goals in such a way wasn't good enough. However, this is certainly a step in the right direction. If we can continue to play this style of football, and if we are more solid at the back, we have a good chance of winning some silverware this season and getting Champions League football. 

To end this article, I would like to point out how good it was to see some passion in Louis Van Gaal's actions for the first time. He was clearly frustrated by Lingard's miss and he even made it to the touchline. We'll be hoping for more of this like he did for the Netherlands in the World Cup. 


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