Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Manchester United vs Liverpool

Pre-Match Analysis:

It's that time of the week again, United are in action in the Europa league for what is a make or break game for United’s season. United MUST win. Anything other than that puts United’s season to bed for another year as another season to forget about. United have been woeful in recent games, and they must improve massively to claim a spot in the Champions League for next season.

United vs Liverpool is the biggest game in world football, and no matter how far these clubs have slipped recently, it's still a huge game. There is such a fierce rivalry between these two clubs, that it doesn't matter what competition it is, both teams crave a win. This game is a big night for both clubs, the Europa League seems to be a genuine chance at silverware for The team from merseyside, whereas United’s hopes of Champions League football seem poised on what happens in this match.

Simply put, United need to go through. It may not be easy, but they have to put everything on the line for this win. If United concede, I think it's game over. If Liverpool manage to get themselves a goal, that leaves United needing 4 goals, something that seems almost impossible with the football we play. The Reds really need to ensure that they don't concede, as that will more than likely spell the end to Europa League glory, and Champions League football. United have already shown this season that we are capable of putting goals past Liverpool, as we proved during the first game against them early in the season. However even then we took our foot off the pedal and conceded a goal that probably could have been prevented with tighter marking.

For Liverpool, they will be very confident of coming away with a win. So for them the biggest issue may well be guarding against complacency. Liverpool come into this on a decent run of form, including a late win against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, and of course the win against ourselves last week.

So what do United need to do? Firstly, we need a defined style of play. We looked all over the place, and had no real sense of direction. We had Fellaini on the pitch, hinting at a more direct style, yet we had him picking up the ball from the defence and trying to drive from deep. A recipe for disaster. So that's what I'd say the priority is, go into the game with a defined style. If we are going to go direct and lump it to Fellaini, stick to that. If we are going to play possession football and break them down, stick to that. Just please don't have an awful mixture where we are having players trying to play a style which purely doesn't suit them.

Prediction time, and I'm afraid it's a dull one again. I don't see United coming out of this fixture with our Europe League hopes still in tact. I think Liverpool are in the drivers seat, and we've all seen how this team is under pressure, it's painful to watch. I'm going with a 2-1 Liverpool win on the night, 4-1 on aggregate. I know that's not what you will be wanting to hear, but it's a harsh reality. We don't seem good enough at the moment.

However, as always I'm hoping for us to pull one out of the bag and come out with a 6-0 win! In the words of Paul Scholes, “SMASH ‘EM!”

Come on United!!!

Line-Up Analysis:

United play Liverpool tonight in an enticing counter. United lost 2-0 in the first leg and this has put them at a great disadvantage. However if they can grab the 1st goal tonight they may stand a chance. In goal remains De Gea who was saved Utd countless times in the previous leg. In defence we have Varela, Smalling, Rojo and Blind. It's a stable defence, not the best but it may just do the job, nonetheless I do have serious doubts. In midfield Utd have Carrick, Mata, Lingard, Martial and Fellaini. Again I'm not sure whether the right formation has been picked to suit this midfield. Personally I would of switched Lingard and Mata around just to get more pace on the wing. Martial is expected to play well today and he will be the focal point of Utd's attack. Rashford fills the striker position and I don't think he should be starting really if was to be harsh with my judgement.



First Half Analysis:

Manchester United took on Liverpool in the Europa League round of 16. They needed to overturn to a 2-0 deficit to go through. United started the game well playing fast football and also creating a few chances. Our best two chances came in the opening 25 minutes with Lingard having a free header in the six yard box but Simon Mignolet made a great save.

The other good chance we had was when Juan Mata volleyed from a corner but he volleyed wide from about ten yards out. Liverpool were struggling to hold possession, United were dominating the game but could not find the opening goal. Then Liverpool created a great chance for Coutinho but David De Gea made an excellent save.

Anthony Martial then won a penalty with fifteen minutes to go in the first half, Martial stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way. United lead 1-0, a key goal in the first half. United carried on their dominance after the goal kept the possession well and looked like they were going to score a second goal. However a minute before half time Coutinho took on Varela and chipped De Gea which made it 1-1 at half time.
 

Second Half Analysis:

Manchester United had been offered some hope in the first-half with Anthony Martial's well-converted penalty, but it was short-lived after Philippe Coutinho's equaliser left United needing to score another three without conceding in order to progress.

United subbed on Antonio Valencia after a poor first-half display in which he was shaken off far too easily for Coutinho's goals, with Valencia making his return after many months out.

Both teams had their fair share of chances in the second-half but neither were clinical with Fellaini wasting a headed opportunity and also picked up a yellow card after an altercation with Dejan Lovren.

Perhaps the highlight of the second-half was a brilliant move in which Jesse Lingard and Anothony Martial combined brilliantly with their pace and skill to create an opportunity but the final shot wasn't enough to trouble Mignolet.

David de Gea once again had an outstanding game as he denied Liverpool players time and time again, and the aggregate scoreline would have been embarrassing if it hadn't been for the Spaniard.

Overall the second-half was a disappointment and united fans are left feeling disheartened about the chances of winning a trophy this season, and making the Champions League next season.


Individual Player Performances:

Goalkeeper and Defence:

David De Gea - 8
Once again the star man making a string of great saves. Could be argued that he should've stopped Coutinho's goal but he still played well.

Varela - 4.5
Very poor, had to be covered by Smalling at various times and also went down too easily.

Smalling - 6
Solid and did his job. Seemed to work really hard today.

Blind - 6
Good defending and good passing range once again.

Rojo - 7
Played superbly down the left had side and was solid defensively 

Midfield:

Carrick - 5
Neat and tidy most of the time, but made some big mistakes and didn't make that many forward passes.

Fellaini - 5
Didn't deserve to be on the pitch today and had another poor performance. But I'm sure that LVG will still somehow find a way to compliment him.

Mata - 5.5
Not bad but not great. Expect a lot more from him in these big games.

Attack:

Lingard - 6
Played well today but didn't take any shots when he was in great positions.

Rashford - 6.5
Great bursts but not consistent. Needs to be dropped and replaced as he shouldn't be first choice. Last couple of performance justify why.

Martial - 8
Best player on the pitch by a country mile and one of the only players that deserved to wear the shirt. 

Overall Analysis:

Manchester United have drawn 1-1 with Liverpool at Old Trafford in the Europa League with Liverpool going through 3-1 on aggregate. Overall in the two legs Liverpool deserved to go through, however the performance from United tonight was better and did have chances to score more goals but we couldn’t put the chances away.

We started the game fast and looked like we could win this game and go through to the next round it looked very possible when Anthony Martial scored a penalty in the first half, but the tie was put to bed when Coutinho scored one minute before half time, chipping David De Gea. This required for us to score three goals in the second half.

We started the second half well but we weren’t creating chances like we were in the first half. Our substitutions did not make any sense either not bringing on our most attacking threat on from the bench (Memphis). Towards the end of the game David De Gea made some more excellent saves, like he has done all season. The game ended 1-1 which was probably a fair result over the 90 minutes. United are now out of the Europa League and now must concentrate on the Premier League and FA Cup.

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