Saturday, 27 February 2016

Manchester United vs Arsenal

Pre-Match Analysis:

Sunday 28th February is the day where the globe will stop to watch the eagerly anticipated fixture between the Devils of Manchester and the Gunners of London: Manchester United will face Arsenal at Old Trafford. Two teams that have a glittering footballing history and an array of talented players, will battle for three points that are crucial to both of their seasons. For Arsenal, a win would move them back to the top of the league if Leicester fail to beat Norwich. A United win would see us close the gap to three points behind our noisy neighbours Man City who are in fourth-place. This match is a global fixture that will be watched by millions of fans worldwide. Both clubs have to be praised for their role as football ambassadors and increasing the popularity of football across the globe.

Today’s fixture will mark off what has been an incredibly horny week for United fans: a captivating, commanding and compelling win against FC Midtjylland on Thursday evening which will be culminated with an important yet entertaining match against league rivals Arsenal. With so much pressure resting on the shoulders of the team coupled with the growing injury list, our season depended on this game. A win, the pressure would ease from LVG and the team- it would be seen as a start towards the resurrection of our season. However, a defeat would result in the inevitable sacking of LVG immediately if not come the end of the season.

LVG has had a tough season, he has got some elements right but also some aspects wrong. Whatever your opinion of him, the emergence of the youth players under LVG such as Keane, Love, Lingard and Rashford has been simply brilliant. Even though his position over the past few weeks has been under increasing pressure, one of his achievements during his time as manager so far has been his ability to nurture and allow youth players to feature in first-team games. Some might argue that our injury-hit squad was the only reason for LVG giving these young talents a chance, though even if that is the case he has showed no hesitation in stating them. Hopefully we will see more of them start today.

As a club, we have always taken playing against Arsenal very seriously. It is a fixture that you always want to win. Their 3-0 thrasing against us at the Emirates in October was definitely a wake-up call. We do have the players to match their squad but will need to be wary of their key players such as Ozil, Sanchez and Ramsey. They have a world- class keeper in Petr Cech and this game will see the return of local boy Danny ‘Dat Guy Welbz’ Welbeck; to whom we sold to Arsenal last summer. Our injury crisis as mentioned earlier will definitely weaken us and make us more vulnerable against an Arsenal side who are mounting a serious title challenge. (Just to confirm you did not misread the last sentence is does say that Arsenal are going for the title).

A top-four finish is realistically looking unlikely for us but it is important that we finish the season as strongly as possible. An alternative route to playing Champions League football next season would be more us to win the Europa League- a difficult but not impossible task. On Friday we were drawn against arch rivals Liverpool in the last-16 which will prove to be an exciting game. 

Our season has been disappointing. However, we are in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, the last-16 of the Europa League and are in a good position in the league right now to finish in a top-five if not top four spot. We should definitely be looking to win some silverware this season.

It will be difficult to predict an exact starting 11 for the game on Sunday due to so many players being injured, although one certainty is that many youngsters will feature against the Gunners. We are going for a score prediction of a 2-2 draw. If United are to win, we think that they would need to do it big so a win for us would probably have a 3-2 score-line. This is a game that you simply cannot afford to miss!

Arsenal’s last match saw them lose against the formidable Barcelona. Now they have to play against the greatest team in the world. There’s only one thing I can say: I’d 8-2 be an Arsenal fan! #GGMU

Line-Up Analysis:

An averagely stable but vulnerable team today chosen to face Arsenal, nonetheless it is still missing 2 key players who really need no mention, Rooney and Martial and also Darmian who has proved to be solid at right back. It is quite worrying how an injury crisis has really exposed the lack of squad depth that United have, they don't even have a proven goal scorer as a back up striker but virtually a teenager, Rashford.

I'm the defensive third, there is De Gea in goal and that is a relief for United fans as he is always trusted to a do a solid job. They also have Varela, Blind, Carrick and Rojo. It appears to be a stable defence but stable doesn't cut it against top opposition today and I'm concerned if Carrick really has the legs to keep up with Welbeck who is likely to run him ragged today if he plays well. I would also switch Rojo and Blind as I feel Rojo does play the centre back position considerably better than Blind.

In the middle of the park, United have Schneiderlin, Herrera and Mata. Schneiderlin starts today and if he's on his game he can really be a wall in that midfield today and break Arsenal's play with his trademark interceptions. Mata needs to really perform here and I expect him to orchestrate the United attacks throughout the 90 minutes as Ozil will be doing virtually the same job for Arsenal. If Mata doesn't perform and Ozil does then I'm afraid you can expect a one way traffic game this afternoon. Nice to see Herrera starting aswell, played well on Thursday night in the Champions league so let's hope that continues.

In the final third United have Lingard, Rashford and Depay. Alarm bells ring when you look at this front three. Depay has been average much of the season, even though he put in an emphatic performance last match, but who can trust him to turn up when it counts, inconsistency is a worry. The thing with Rashford is that, he's only young and United fans seem to already have placed big expectations on him. That's a worrying sign in my mind. Lastly Lingard who's been virtually starting games all season, I'm not a big fan of him like I've said before but let's hope he can put a shift in today.

First-Half Analysis:

We're coming into this game 6 points off the fourth place, champions league place, Manchester City. We needed to go out there and have a go and that's exactly what we did.

In the first 15 minutes it was very shaky on our part, Arsenal dominated possession and even had the best chance of the opening minutes with Monreal having a 1V1 chance with De Gea. But the wall that is known as The flying Spaniard was impenetrable. Schneiderlin was missed terribly in the first meeting of these two teams at the Emirates. Schweinstieger was outplayed by Cazorla, we can see what schneiderlin brings to the table. He brought stability and defence solidarity and limited the movement of the dangerous Ramsey.

The wonderboy continues his goal streak with two great goals. Rashfords first goal was a smash from a Varela cross after some great link up play between Ander Herrera and Mata. But the second was of the lightest of headers just to guide it out of the way of the in form cech. However it hasn't all been good as our defenders fell asleep and let Welbeck get one back for the Gunners.

#GGMU

 Second Half Analysis:

So Manchester United get a 3-2 victory against Arsenal yet again at old Trafford to stretch our unbeaten run against Arsenal for 10 years now and what a game it was, a great overall performance from the boys. Marcus Rashford getting 2 goals and setting up Ander Herrera for the vital third goal it may of taken a deflection but we needed the luck and just an overall great second half it was just a shame we conceded 2 because Arsenal weren't at it today but well done to the boys.

Well done to Marcus Rashford, who in my opinion was man of the match, it's great to see a young Manchester lad getting his chance and he could have an incredible career with Manchester United. h
He's still young and needs to learn but he could be a great talent for Manchester United. I think we deserved to win after all. The key moment was definitely the third goal as it killed the game off and hopefully we can now push on to the top four positions as if we perform like that, then there's no reason why we can't.

Individual Player Analysis:

Goalkeeper and Defence:

David De Gea – 7
A good return to the first team for De Gea made a few good saves and couldn’t do much about the two goals conceded.

Varela – 7
A good afternoon for the young full back always overlapping down the right hand side creating chances and defensively very good.

Carrick – 7
An impressive display at centre half from Carrick considering he isn’t even a centre half, also picking up a yellow card.

Blind – 8
A very good display from the centre back considering he is thought not too be a very good centre back, always winning headers and fighting for the team.

Rojo – 6
A decent performance from the Argentinean who was just making his return from injury. Sadly in the second half he went off injured.

Midfield:

Schneiderlin – 7
A very good display from the French international who was key in breaking up Arsenal’s fast paced attacks.

Herrera – 8
A very good performance from the Spaniard who controlled the midfield and also came away with a goal.

Lingard
– 6
A decent afternoon for the youngster who didn’t really see much off the ball but when he did he utilized it well.

Mata – 8
A great performance from the little Spaniard who controlled the game from the number 10 position being influential in all our play.

Memphis – 7
Another good performance from Memphis capping off a good week for him he gave Bellerin a difficult time and was good defensively.

Striker and Substitutes:

Rashford – 9
An outstanding performance from the 18 year old scoring two more goals and never stopped running and working for the team.

Januzaj – 7
Played well when he came on and was good in holding the ball up to waste time.

Weir – N/A
Too late too make an impact.

Fosu-Mensah – 7
Did well on his first team debut replacing the injured Rojo.

Overall Analysis:

What a result! We have triumphed over our huge rivals, Arsenal. After the humiliating loss at the Emirates earlier in the season where we lost 3-0, today we redeemed ourselves. Today we beat Arsenal with what looks like a weaker team on paper compared to the team that started in our last game against them. We had no right to go out and win today but our team showed great character and will to win the game and make life harder for the title-competing Arsenal.

The stand out performer today has to be our latest young striker, Marcus Rashford. What a week it has been for him! In his first two games, he has scored 4 goals for his boyhood club! This would've been what he was dreaming of as a young boy in the Manchester United youth academy. Also, Memphis Depay has shown in successive games that he has what it takes to compete at the top level. After stealing the show against Midtjylland, there was still a lot of doubts in people's minds about him. Today he proved his haters wrong.

Our next game on Wednesday the 2nd of March is at home to Watford. It's hard to forget the last time we played against Watford where we managed to win the game in Fergie Time. Lets hope this time we will be able to control the game more and score goals!

Friday, 26 February 2016

Manchester United vs Midtjylland

So, Manchester United are through to the next round of the Europa League after a 5-1 win (6-3 agg) against Danish side, FC Midtjylland. The 5-1 scoreline makes it seem as if United have strolled into the next stage of the competition, but is that truly the case?

In all truth, Midtjylland were a side who United should have been beaten comfortably, but over the two ties this was far from the case. In the first leg we saw United look truly terrible as they were visibly struggling against the Danes, where they slumped to a 2-1 loss, making the return tie one of the most important games of the season as United's Champions League hopes for next season are seemingly hinged on Europa League success.

United went into the game looking like a broken side; many big name injuries, a string of poor results, and a fan base getting increasingly frustrated with each passing match. Amongst these injuries was the late withdrawal of one of the standout players of the season, Anthony Martial, just 20 minutes before kick off. Martial was replaced by youngster Marcus Rashford, but more about him later.

This lack of confidence was evident from the get go in this fixture, and United soon found themselves a goal behind and with a mountain to climb, courtesy of a goal from danger man Sisto. It would have been easy for this goal to crush the little remaining hope that this team had, but happily this wasn't the case. United managed to sneak a goal before half time thanks to a deflected cross from the man of the match, Memphis Depay. Depay’s cross took a favourable deflection off of the leg of Bodurov, and the Reds went into the second half level at 1-1 and still needing a goal just to force extra time.

With the start of the second half came a new challenge in the shape of the behemoth, Ebere Paul Onuachu, who was the difference maker last time the two sides met. United continued to grow into the match for the 15 minutes that followed, and then up stepped the debuting 18-year-old, Manchester born forward Marcus Rashord to grasp a lead for the Reds. Rashford ran onto a superb pullback from Juan Mata, and as the ball rippled into the net the young United fan erupted in celebration as he wheeled away in celebration to be greeted by fellow United fans by the tunnel. This goal really seemed to settle this young United side, and front this point the tie never looked in doubt. The Reds continued to push looking to find the goal that would send them through, and just 12 minutes later they found it. Guillermo Varela, who was excellent on the night, swung in a peach of a cross from the right which was again met by that man, Marcus Rashford! Rashford nestled the ball into the back of the net, and again sprinted away to celebrate a dream brace on his first team debut. This goal redeemed Juan Mata who had previously had his feeble penalty attempt saved in the first half.

Shortly after the third goal, United fans were given a nice treat, the long awaited return of defender Marcos Rojo. In the 86th minute Jesse Lingard was removed from the game, and Pereira was introduced to receive some much overdue game time. And almost instantly after this change, another opportunity was given to United to end the game. Memphis Depay attempted to curl a shot towards the far right corner and it was blocked, rather blatantly, by the hand of Kian Hansen. After his earlier miss, Juan Mata was now relieved of his penalty duties and the responsibility was placed on Ander Herrera’s shoulders, although many would have liked to see Marcus Rashford offered the chance to complete a hat trick on his first start. Nonetheless it was Herrera who stepped up, and he made no mistake as he rifled it to the keepers right, and effectively ended the tie. However United didn't stop there and Memphis continued to push for a goal he must have felt, like many other, he thoroughly deserved. Then in the 90th minute he was granted his chance. He cut in from the left flank, found a pocket of space, and lashed a shot into the bottom left corner of the goal, completing a very solid performance on the night. The final whistle sounded shortly after and the club were through to the next round, eagerly awaiting the draw.

Now we must wait and see if United, and Memphis, can build on this performance and carry some of that quality into the league against some stronger opponents on a more consistent basis.

Next up in the Europa league is a very tasty encounter against a team United have never actually faced in European competition, bitter rivals Liverpool. That tie looks set to be another stellar round, with an extra edge to the occasion with the teams having such a fierce, historic rivalry.

So on a night where many of the more experienced players were absent due to injury, we yet again showed that you CAN win things with kids.

This was written by our newest member, Dylan Heath

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Midtjylland vs Manchester United

Pre-Match Analysis:

Tonight we face FC Midtjylland in the Europa league – a trophy which we have never won. This was a fact that Van Gaal was keen to point out in the press conference leading up to this match. Maybe he sees this as a silver lining to being relegated in the group stages of the Champions League? One thing is for certain though, we cannot go easy – as much as for pride as for the fact that a 4th place finish in the PL looks tougher and tougher every day and we need to have a contingency plan in order to make sure that we’re playing the highest level of European football next season.

We come in to this match after a bad run. First we were robbed of 2 points at Stamford Bridge, and just last weekend we lost to Sunderland 2-1. LVG has been placed under growing scrutiny over the past 2 months over his future at the club. Many sources including Roy Hodgson have said that Mourinho has all but signed the contract, and while LVG has maintained that he has a good relationship with the owners, a failure for Champions League would surely mean that he is shown the door this summer.

The injury woes for United continue as Rooney has obtained an injury at the weekend, with Van Gaal saying that he battled on but the injury may keep him side-lined for 1-2 months. Borthwick-Jackson is ill meaning he is not eligible to play which is a shame considering that he has really been ‘Sparkling’ when he has been attacking. Fellaini is out with a ‘muscle problem’ and Darmian has a shoulder injury meaning he cannot play. This really does mean that we have no first team options for a full back position. We think that two U21 players will be called upon. It's most likely that Riley and Love will be played in the full-back positions today. This is also true for the striker role, where we could see Martial come into as he excels there, and Memphis plays on the wing. Another option would be Martial continuing on the wing and the youngster Will Keane in the no. 9 role. Only time will tell what option we pick.

A big problem for us will be set pieces. FC Midtjylland have scored 48 times from set pieces this season. One way to combat this will be to defend them better than we did on the weekend, and the second is not to give them away in vital positions. I am given to understand that the opposition have a large team just for set pieces so it would be wise for us to pick some height in our lineup – it’s a shame that Fellaini had to be injured today of all days. 

Hopefully we can not only win today but put on a performance. It’s time to bring some of that Red Devil fear back to Europe! I’m going to be bold and say a 3-0 win to us today (You heard it here first guys) and as always #GGMU!

 Line-Up Analysis:

From a first-sight overview, the starting XI that Van Gaal has chosen, does admittedly raise concerns for me, and other united fans. What this line up expresses is a lack of experience in a game, that for obvious reasons Man Utd are red hot favourites to win, nevertheless should still not take lightly and I feel that this is the case here. United have failed to win their last two games, however out of respect they should have picked up the three point at Stamford Bridge with only a moment of defensive incompetence hindering that. United then suffered loss to Sunderland a game which exposed the lack of effectiveness that some players in the team have.

Goalkeeper: SERGIO ROMERO

In the warm up for the game, David De Gea twisted his ankle and has been passed not fit enough to start the game. This is led to Sergio Romero being called up to start. This means that we have no other keeper if Romero gets injured or has to come off.

Left Back: Daily Blind

An experienced player with years of experience in the champions league and again he should be a player who takes a leading role in the team tonight

Centre Back: Chris Smalling

Smalling has flourished this season and is starting to prove himself to be a decent defender. He says he is enjoying his football this season and I expect him to put in a shift tonight and lead that defence because his partner McNair again lacks the required experience which could prove to be decisive later on in the game.

Centre Back: McNair

McNair ha gotten game time this season but this is a competition he has not yet played in and I have serious concerns about his place in the team but let’s hope he proves me wrong tonight. He is only a young again that’s a concern but that only means he has fresh legs and again he should put a shift in tonight.

Right Back: Love

Centre Defensive Midfielder: Carrick

I expect Carrick as the captain tonight to put a real shift in the midfield and to command that team. In this team tonight he has the most European football experience and I expect him to use this effectively as to how he wants his team mates to approach the game. Carrick is virtually near retirement age and again I’m concerned slightly to whether he has the legs to carry that midfield enough.

Centre Defensive Midfielder: Ander Herrera

Herrera is a fantastic player who really should be playing more however Van Gaal has only introduced him into a couple of game as a substitute, I’m not quite sure how effective a tactic that is and there hasn’t really been evidenced that Herrera himself is enjoying camping on the bench much.

Centre Attacking Midfield: Mata

Again here we have a fantastic player, a magician, a man who can make thing happen and keep that midfield ticking throughout the 90 mins. The goal scoring opportunities that United encounter tonight will be depended on how Mata’s performance is. If he’s good then we can expect a few goals but if its average I needn’t say what this means for United fans.

Left Midfielder: Memphis Depay

A player who has been all out of sorts with his performances lately and throughout the season. It appears as if his confidence has taken a knock and he doesn’t really enforce himself in games as much and this has led to him playing in under-21 games which really isn’t a challenge for a player of his level.

Right Midfielder: Lingard

Lingard has been playing well in recent games. I’m not a big fan of his but he has been vital to some extent in the previous games, most notably against Chelsea.

Striker: Martial

Martial will enjoy himself tonight hopefully as in the absence of Captain Wayne Rooney, he will be filling that vacant striker position which is his favoured position. He has been dangerous in previous games and so his form tells us, having scored in the past 2 games. He is really the enforcer of this team, he runs at defenders and gets opportunities, nobody else does this and it’s quite worrying that at only 20 years of age, fans have already placed such a large weight on his shoulders. Whether he can cope is another question but I expect him to score tonight and play well, judging on his performances I expect he will bag 2 tonight.

Substitutes:

The bench does lack quality I must say. I’m just surprised at the fact that Scheinderlin has been benched and has not been included in the first team. He is a useful player who is quite effective in midfield I must say, so we will have to see if his absence hurts United.

First Half Analysis:

The first half of this game and you can really see the attitudes the players are going in to this game with. The united players are not pressing hard enough and are not exploiting the massive gap the opposition leaves in their defence and if we did with the pace in the attacking four, the results could be devastating.

The defence has been wobbly throughout the entire half. Smalling being paired with McNair, a walking disaster as seen in all the games he's played in so far for United. The amount of times the left back and centre back position have been changed is unreal and is a joke. There must be a shake up and review of the fitness instructors at Manchester United. From a careless pass from Carrick and a unwilling McNair they scored a pretty good goal. A piece of individual brilliance, the scouts must be pleased with that.

Romero starts for the injured De Gea, and he's had a pretty good half except for the goal. He's made a couple of great saves and made United lucky that they are not 3-1 down. He made a great save on a 2v1 scenario but it could have been a goal of the attacker passed instead of trying to take the glory all for himself.

Memphis has been characteristically poor, he's giving away possession with some sloppy passing but somehow he scrambled the ball into the back of the net. Completely undeserved.

We need some more passion and aggression from the players and a new invigorated desire to win. We cannot lose to this side in this competition, not today, not tomorrow, not ever.

Second Half Analysis:

An another abysmal second half performance from United. How is it possible that United were on the back foot since the ref blew the whistle indicating the start of the half? Onuachu's goal was stunning and what made it better was his overall performance. United made him look like Suarez, we couldn't take the ball away from him.

Romero played pretty good and made another great save in the second half not including the goal. The opposition hadn't had a competitive match in 2 months.

No attacking threat whatsoever, this is the Europa league is well. Our attacking players seemed dazed. They didn't have any creativity and no finishing. Our defence was even worse, every time they attacked us on the counter we seemed full of problems and gaps which they successively exploited. LVG didn't even change any of the tactics even though we were getting battered by the onslaught and instead subbed on Pereira.

To improve we need a change in tactics and we need a leader on that pitch. The players really missed Rooney today, the moods were low and there was no aggression or desire to win.

Individual Player Analysis:

Goalkeeper and Defence:

Sergio Romero: 8
One of his best games in a United shirt, making some world class saves. However, he wasn't helped at all by the pathetically awful defence. He was the only player that deserved to wear the Manchester United badge today.

Love: 5
It was the young lad's first start for Manchester United and showed today that he's not ready for first team football. Very much like the rest of the team, he under-performed.

Smalling: 4
One of the worst games of the season for Smalling. He was not the leader in defence today and is continuing his poor form.

McNair: 5
Like the rest of the defence, he was poor and didn't attack the ball. He was caught ball-watching too often and wasn't good enough at all.

Blind: 5
Despite some decent runs forward, the final ball wasn't up to scratch. Also, defensively he was poor and didn't play well at all.

Midfield:

Carrick: 5
This lad was meant to be the leader out there today, but he didn't put in a captain-like performance. We were dominated in midfield and constantly caught on the counter attack.

Herrera: 5
Not a good day for the Spaniard. He's not been responsible enough in the middle of the field and has been too sloppy in possession. He had the chance today to show the manager what he has to offer but didn't manage to take advantage of it and was taken off early. 

Mata: 5
A poor performance from our other Spaniard in midfield. His poor weak tackle led to the second Midtjylland goal. He was taken off early by the manager just after.

Attack:

Memphis: 6
Today's performance explains why Memphis hasn't been playing recently. He was poor throughout the game and didn't make much of an impact apart from his goal. However, he was often free down the left wing but it was the midfield's fault for not spotting him. 

Martial: 6
He failed to produce magic today and didn't have enough shots considering he was playing as a striker today. Hopefully things will improve for him in the next game.

Lingard: 5
A poor game for the young lad today. He started the game not too badly and put in a decent cross for Memphis to score the first goal but it went downhill really from there.

Substitutes:

Morgan Schneiderlin:
Replaced Ander Herrera in the 70th minute and didn't make much of an impact.

Andreas Pereira:
Replaced Juan Mata in the 77th minute and looked good on the ball, but it would've been good to see him get more game time. 

Overall Analysis:

As we saw in the game United lacked experience to win in the game. Just as predicted in the line-up analysis, the lack of experience in the defence from McNair and Love really cost United tonight and they were punished for it and rightly so. Disgraceful performance, I think that United came here expecting to just roll over their opponents tonight but I’m afraid it doesn’t quiet work like that and Van Gaal really needs to work out some new tactics, it’s quite appalling the way Man Utd. It’s quite interesting that just like at Stamford Bridge, when a ‘moment of defensive incompetence’ cost them the 3 points, the same happened here. Is this something that united fans can expect week in week out? I’m afraid it’s not looking good for Van Gaal, nonetheless blame must be shared between him and the players.

Depay even though he scored tonight again displayed a confidence lacking performance, he repeatedly gave away possession with sloppy passes and this is just unlike him. I’m afraid this can only lead to the conclusion that there is a hint of morale deficit within the time and it is really hindering their performances. United play Shrewsbury next Monday and I really can’t see things drastically improving so for united fans out there, hold your horses and don’t come with any high expectations. Based on recent performances and what I have seen tonight, I think United will scrap a draw or lose to Shrewsbury. United simply need to get out of this habit of underestimating opponents.

#LVGOut #LVGOut #LVGOut #LVGOut

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Sunderland vs Manchester United

Pre-Match Analysis:

Today’s early kick off in the Premier League sees relegation strugglers Sunderland host Champions League chasers United. After 25 games, Sunderland are in 19th place with 20 points whereas United are in 5th place with 41 points. It is an important game for both teams since a win would be significant for Sunderland’s season in ensuring that they avoid relegation. A win for United would strengthen their claims for a top four finish.

In their last league game, United were held to a 1-1 draw against Chelsea. Van Gaal named an unchanged side who led the game after 61 minutes’ courtesy of a great finish from Jesse Lingard. The game ended in disappointment as we conceded a late goal in stoppage time after Diego Costa put the ball in the back of the net. Many would view the game against Sunderland as one that United must and should win. The pressure under LVG has decreased immensely although the dynamics have shifted to the speculation that United have held talks with the representatives of Jose Mourinho. If LVG can get a convincing win today than it would silence some of his critics, but a defeat would only leave the words of ‘Jose Mourinho’ on the lips of the fans of the Red Devils for a while longer.

United’s injury list is still large with several players out injured. One noticeable addition to the squad has been Will Keane, who returned from his loan spell in January. He scored 5 goals in the 7-0 thrasing for United’s under-21 side and has been called up to the first team squad. Sunderland’s week has been rocked by the revelations of Adam Johnson who has pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual activity with an underage girl. Sunderland since then have sacked Johnson whose case is ongoing.

Despite Sunderland’s evident problems this season, one of their best players has been veteran striker Jermaine Defoe who has scored one of the most goals in 2016 in the Premier League. He is their in-form player right now whereas Lingard and Rooney have been our two in-form players along with some superb performances from De Gea.

We do not expect LVG to make too many changes with the side that he chose to face Chelsea. As a score prediction, we are going for a United win: 2-1 to the Red Devils! Come on United! #GGMU

Line-Up Analysis:

Today’s early kick off in the Premier League sees relegation strugglers Sunderland host Champions League chasers United. After 25 games, Sunderland are in 19th place with 20 points whereas United are in 5th place with 41 points. It is an important game for both teams since a win would be significant for Sunderland’s season in ensuring that they avoid relegation. A win for United would strengthen their claims for a top four finish.

In their last league game, United were held to a 1-1 draw against Chelsea. Van Gaal named an unchanged side who led the game after 61 minutes’ courtesy of a great finish from Jesse Lingard. The game ended in disappointment as we conceded a late goal in stoppage time after Diego Costa put the ball in the back of the net. Many would view the game against Sunderland as one that United must and should win. The pressure under LVG has decreased immensely although the dynamics have shifted to the speculation that United have held talks with the representatives of Jose Mourinho. If LVG can get a convincing win today than it would silence some of his critics, but a defeat would only leave the words of ‘Jose Mourinho’ on the lips of the fans of the Red Devils for a while longer.

United’s injury list is still large with several players out injured. One noticeable addition to the squad has been Will Keane, who returned from his loan spell in January. He scored 5 goals in the 7-0 thrashing for United’s under-21 side and has been called up to the first team squad. Sunderland’s week has been rocked by the revelations of Adam Johnson who has pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual activity with an underage girl. Sunderland since then have sacked Johnson whose case is ongoing.

Despite Sunderland’s evident problems this season, one of their best players has been veteran striker Jermaine Defoe who has scored one of the most goals in 2016 in the Premier League. He is their in-form player right now whereas Lingard and Rooney have been our two in-form players along with some superb performances from De Gea.

We do not expect LVG to make too many changes with the side that he chose to face Chelsea. As a score prediction, we are going for a United win: 2-1 to the Red Devils! Come on United! #GGMU

 First Half Analysis:

The first half did not begin as we would have liked. Sunderland scored and took the lead in the opening 3 minutes. It was a well-crafted goal from the Black Cats but hugely disappointing for United’s defence.

We had around 68% possession but were still unable to break down Sunderland’s defence. There were chances for both sides as we got onto the ball but did not score. Kirchhoff's suffered a hamstring injury and was replaced by former Man City player Jack Rodwell.

Sunderland had a penalty appeal after 26 minutes when goalscorer Khazri had a shot which hit Schneiderlin. The ball did hit Schneiderlin but it definitely would have been a harsh penalty to give.

United did still continue to press Sunderland and started to play more attacking football. The goal definitely took the sting out of the team and this was very evident. Nothing seemed to really click for us.

Darmian suffered a shoulder injury after 38 minutes after a tackle with Khazri. United made their first substitution by replacing Darmian with youngster Donald Love who made his debut for the club today.

United saved themselves after a brilliant goal from Martial! Towards the end of the first half we were able to pull a goal back, Mata had a shot which was parried by goalkeeper Mannone only for Martial to chip over him as he tried to recover. Martial is really starting to prove his worth and it was a big goal not just for the team but for LVG too! The fans were starting to turn on him but the belief is back that United can now win the game.

The first half ended after 4 mins of added time. The last ten minutes of the first half were much better from United.

Bring on the second half! #GGMU


 Second Half Analysis:

After United ended the first half so well through getting an equaliser thanks to Martial- the second was really poor from the Red Devils.

You would have expected United to be on the front foot after equalising late in the first half but there were no real signs of improvement. Frustrating for the fans to watch who expect so much of United.

Sunderland improved as the game went on and really deserved their win. Credit has to be given to Big Sam and the signings that he made during the January transfer window who certainly made a difference. This is what United missed, bringing in players who could have an instant impact.

Depay came on as substitute after 63 minutes but failed to make any real impact. Rooney too had a quiet game and was disappointing.

Sunderland went back into the lead on the 82nd minute after a corner from Khazri was met by Kone with a powerful header that De Gea could not keep out. The goal went down as a De Gea own goal. Sunderland held on for the victory after 4 minutes of extra time.

The match exposed United significantly and will leave many fans wondering if LVG really is the right man for the job.


Individual Player Performances:

Goalkeeper and Defence:

David De Gea - 7
Unlucky with both goals. Saved United on numerous occasions. You can debate how much De Gea was at fault for both goals but we thought that the defence were the problem and did not support De Gea.

Darmian - 6
Did not finish the first half due to a shoulder injury. Reports are that he has been taken to hospital. We wish him a speedy recovery!

Smalling - 5
Did not have the best game and was not the commanding figure that he usually is in the centre of our defence. Could be argued that it was his poor marking that led to the second goal.

Blind - 6
Made one brilliant goal-saving tackle in the first half but did not support De Gea in preventing both goals.

Borthwick-Jackson - 6
Had a quiet game but underperformed like the rest of the defence.

Midfield

Schneiderlin - 6
Below average performance from Scheiderlin. Was outplayed at times by Sunderland’s midfielders. Did make some good passes.

Carrick - 6.5
Played quite well in the first half but was unable to control the game. Also got outplayed at times by Sunderland’s midfielders.

Mata - 7
Worked hard and his shot resulted in Martial scoring. Did get booked though and would have liked to have seen even more from Mata.

Lingard - 6
Played below expectations and did not have much of an impact on the game. Still a young lad developing in the league and will get better with each game.

Forwards:

Martial - 8
Scored a great goal and showed signs of awareness and intent to get onto the rebound. His pace caused Sunderland some problems. Boosted the team morale with his goal and is looking more clinical each week.

Wayne Rooney - 6
Did not have an impact on the game and failed to leave his mark. 

Substitutes:

Love - 6
Made his united debut but underperformed along with the rest of the defence.

Memphis - 5
Had no impact coming on as a sub in the 63rd minute.

Keane - N/A
Didn't have enough time to make an impact on the game but it was good to see him in the first team after some amazing performances for the U21s.

Overall Analysis:

The final result: Sunderland 2-1 United. A devastating blow for United’s hopes of finishing in the top four and an even worse result for LVG’s prospects of staying United boss. To be beaten by a club in the relegation zone and outplayed the way we were shows that something needs to be changed at the club soon. To make matters worse, it was not a bad performance from United.

There were spells in the game where we were lively and played good football but just could not find that extra bit of quality. Against Chelsea last week, we should have taken all 3 points but dropped points and again today we should have taken at least a point but ended up getting nothing.

To an extent the performance was embarrassing. We did not have a single shot on target after 17 minutes and were outplayed. It is unfair to criticise the whole team since some players did play well: De Gea, Mata and Martial.

We conceded a goal early on and in the last few minutes of the game which really just sums our season up. We are in 5th place and 6 points behind 4th placed Man City. If West Ham beat Norwich, then we will fall to 6th place.

From the outset, we were slow and not focused enough which resulted in a Sunderland goal after 3 minutes. Our defence were too static and just looking at our defence there is no real leader who was imposing like Vidic and Ferdinand.

We were able to dictate possession but this was irrelevant since we could not break down Sunderland’s defence. As the first half went on, Sunderland continued to gain confidence and started to believe that this was a game that they could actually win.

Darmian suffered a shoulder injury and was replaced by youngster Love who had quite a lovely debut. Martial managed to get us level after a great chip following a Mannone spill which ended the half 1-1.

The second half began with momentum swinging in United’s favour. Throughout the second half however we did not seem to want to win the game enough.

Depay came on after 63 minutes but did not make an impact at all. As the second half progressed, so too did Sunderland’s restored confidence and this paid dividends when Khazri floated a corner in which met the head of centre-back Kone whose header was pushed into the back of the net by De Gea. The goal went down as a De Gea own goal.

Will Keane also made his United debut after 85 minutes but it was a big ask of him to get a goal. Sunderland managed to hang on and gained 3 vital points.

Many questions will be asked of Van Gaal after the performance of his players. The team themselves have to revaluate seriously. A top four finish is looking increasingly distant now. Will the availability of Jose Mourinho result in the sacking of Louis Van Gaal? We will have to wait and see.

United’s next Premier League game is against Arsenal on the 28th February.
Once again, this was not the result we were hoping for. We started a strong team again and we failed to get even a single point. This is not the standard of Manchester United. We've lost to too many teams in the relegation battle and with the squad that we have, this is nowhere near acceptable. Something drastic really needs to change, and I think all of us know what that needs to be. LVG MUST GO!

Our hopes of getting Champions League football is getting narrower and narrower. The only way this is possible now is through winning the Europa League. To do this, I think we need to look to a manager who has won this trophy before and has the potential to bring the traditional swagger back to our club, Jose Mourinho. On Thursday we travel to the Danish champions, Midtjylland in the Europa League in a must-win game. Maybe if we're lucky, we'll have a certain Jose Mourinho managing the team but it's unlikely. 

Monday, 8 February 2016

Neymar's Rise To Fame





Neymar, a sensational and quite brilliant winger who has taken the world by storm since he first appeared on the football stage. Neymar has experienced a career of two halves, once at Santos and then transferred European and Spanish giants Barcelona. Many people underestimated Neymar when he was at Santos, critics often pointing out that the recognition he had acquired , he was not quite worthy of, because the league he was actively playing in was not quite as challenging as some of the better leagues in Europe. Nevertheless, Neymar was still the standout player and has always been a promising talent and potentially future world’s best footballer.