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Sunday, 30 July 2017

Valerenga vs Manchester United

Our match in Norway finishes with Manchester United victors. Goals from Fellaini, Lukaku and McTominay are enough to secure a 3-0 win over Valerenga.

The first half was probably the most boring half of football I have ever seen, and yes, worse than against Real Salt Lake. No chances were being created and there was no movement. Just as I was about to fall into a deep sleep, Fellaini scored on the stroke of half time. A cross from the right hand side was headed towards goal by Fellaini. The ball deflected off a Valerenga defender and ended up in the back of the net.

The second half on the other hand was the complete opposite. Within five minutes of kick off, Lukaku had the ball in the back off the net after just coming on. A delightful ball into the box from a Pereira corner was met by the head of the Belgian striker to double United's lead.

Our third goal was scored by Scott McTominay. After a delightful turn in the box, McTominay curled the ball into the top corner of the goal. It was a lovely bit of skill and play by the midfielder who spent a lot of last season playing up top for the U23s who were struggling without a striker.

One important thing to note about these pre season games is that we have performed better with our youth. The teams which on paper look like a very strong line up have been very disappointing in many games and the so called "weaker teams" have played much better.

A player which needs to be highlighted is Andreas Pereira. The skilful Brazilian has been a bright spark in our pre season and has shown his worth. Last seasons loan spell to Granada seems to have done him wonders and he seems more determined than ever to become a regular at the club he loves. Hopefully this season will mark the start of his Manchester United career. I honesty think that if Pereira can become a regular at Manchester United this season, he can make as much of an impact as Dele Alli. He had the talent, there's no doubt about that.

After today's game, we need to show some appreciation to our young players. Fosu Mensah, Tuanzebe, Mitchell and McTominay were all exceptional. We clearly have a very bright future ahead of us. These players can take us far and hopefully they will be given chances this season.

Our next game is against Sampdoria on Wednesday. This is our last pre season friendly. The game after that is against Real Madrid in the Super Cup final, which we will want to win. Let's hope we can end this pre season tour with a win and a good performance to put us in a good position for the Super Cup!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Barcelona vs Manchester United

With the excitement surrounding the game today, us fans knew that we were in for a good game. A match between two of the greatest clubs in footballing history was certainly not going to disappoint. This was the biggest challenge for United in pre season as they came up against the deadly strike force of Messi, Suarez and Neymar. This proved to be a real challenge.

Both teams started the first half very well and were clearly in the mood to attack and score goals. Although it was just a friendly, both teams were competitive in their approaches and had several shots on goal. Barcelona grew into the game to the point where United were finding it really difficult to break out and keep possession. David De Gea was exceptional and made several world class saves to keep United in the game.

In the 31st minute the deadlock was broken by Neymar. Although he is the talk of the transfer window and there is constant speculation regarding his future, he still showed that he is focused on his football and is one of the best players in the world. Some scrappy defending by United led to Neymar scoring from close range. United were unable to grab an equaliser before the break.

The second half was all Manchester United and Barcelona were finding it difficult to create chances. Despite our masses of possession in the final third, we were still unable to find the final ball or a clinical finish to get the equaliser. It was a poor attacking performance overall in that second half as United were unable to break through the Barcelona defence. Towards the end of the game, several chances were presented to us but poor finishing was the issue and the game finished 1-0 to Barcelona.

Although the result today was a loss, it was still a decent performance by the lads. We could have easily won that game and there were several bright spells. There should be some good times ahead for us United fans.

Today's game was the last of the International Champions Cup in the USA and our next fixture is on Sunday against Valerenga. The Norwegian opponents shouldn't pose much of a threat to us and we should use this opportunity to start some of our young players and give them a chance to show their worth. Let's also not forget that there is roughly two weeks left until the start of the Premier League season so it looks like we'll be in for a treat.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Real Madrid vs Manchester United

After 90 minutes the score was tied 1-1 and what came after was a sight for sore eyes, but United still came out victorious and took 2 of the 3 points on offer.

The first half was started well by Manchester United with the reds being the better side. But as the half progressed, Real Madrid slowly started feeling their way into the game and looked the dominant team and most likely to break the deadlock. United were finding it hard to break down the Madrid defence and midfield until the young Frenchman, Antony Martial stepped up to show that it wasn't impossible...

The entire attacking move was started by Fellaini who's perseverance proved to be vital as he played the ball to Anthony Martial. Driving at the Madrid defence with immense speed and agility, Martial managed to dribble his way through, leaving the defenders for dust. He played the ball to Jesse Lingard who was left with a tap-in to put the Red Devils ahead in the fixture, a brilliant way to end the first half.

The second half was pretty boring to be honest, with United creating barely any chances and being really poor in their finishing. In the 68th minute our new signing, Victor Lindelof fouled Hernandez in the box and gave away a penalty. Casemiro scored from the spot to bring Madrid level.

The game ended up being decided on penalties and I'm not too sure what to say. I honestly think that it was the worst penalty shootout I've ever seen in my life. Out of 10 penalties, only 3 ended up in the back of the net (missed by Martial, McTominay and Lindelof for United and scored by Mkhitaryan and Blind).

Overall the performance by the reds was not good enough. The second half team fielded by Madrid entailed players from their B team and U19s and yet our first team with all our big players (Pogba, Lukaku, Martial and Mkhitaryan) lost 1-0 to them. Although we won, we should be disappointed with the performances out there and Real Madrid were just as bad! When hearing that United were going to play Real Madrid everyone was expecting a thrilling contest, but what we got was quite the opposite.

Nonetheless, a win in the penalty shootout means that we take two points from the game and will hope to add another 3 to our 5 when we face Barcelona at 00:30 on Thursday morning BST. Let's hope that this game DOES live up to its high expectations and we ARE in for a good match.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Manchester United vs Manchester City

What a result! The first Manchester Derby on foreign soil and the reds have come out on top!

A brilliant first half saw United take the lead by Romelu Lukaku taking the ball around Ederson and putting the ball in the back of the net. The goal was assisted by a typical Pogba through ball from the halfway line and once Lukaku started running, the defence had no chance. 

Within a minute from when City kicked off, United doubled their lead. A ball from Mkhitaryan was met by Marcus Rashford who shot across the goal and managed to get on the scoresheet in another Manchester Derby. 

The first half was amazing to watch. Although we weren't particularly dominant in the game, every player gave 100% and it was amazing to see. It's never just a friendly when we're up against our (not-so-noisy) neighbours.

The second half was much the same, both teams had good spells and looked threatening at times but neither converted their chances. Manchester United did look like the more likely to score and were playing the better football but we were unable to add to our lead.

Overall, a 2-0 win over our local rivals is something which we should be proud of. Although it's a pre season fixture, it's still something to celebrate. After a really poor performance against Real Salt Lake where we just about edged a 2-1 victory, today's performance was on a different level. The players were all showing the passion and hunger we like to see in Manchester United players.

Pogba played the whole 90 minutes and was clearly enjoying himself. His linkup play with the forwards looked very promising and he is certainly going to have a much better campaign this season. As for our defence today, they all played very well. Chris Smalling in the first half was exceptional and Lindelof looks to be settling in very well. It's going to be tough for Mourinho to choose who to play in the next match after today as every player showed their quality.

Our next match is on Sunday at 10pm BST where we will face Real Madrid. Let's hope we can have a similar performance and see more great football!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

LA Galaxy vs Manchester United

There was much anticipation coming into this game as United fans were looking forward to seeing their team back on the pitch after a painfully long summer break. This game called for a 3am start for Manchester United fans in the UK and and it's fair to say that it was worth the early start.

Manchester United first half XI vs LA Galaxy: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Blind, Carrick, Herrera, Fellaini, Lingard, Mata, Rashford

Within two minutes of kick off, Marcus Rashford already had the ball in the back of the net. A good run from Lingard led to Rashford slotting the ball past the keeper. 

Soon after, Rashford grabbed his second of the game. After a good interception from Ander Herrera, Mata played the ball through to Rashford who made no mistake with a great finish.

The third goal was made by Jesse Lingard who pulled the ball back for Fellaini who side-footed the ball into the back of the net. 3-0 United.

Just on the stroke of half time, Rashford was given the chance to complete his first half hat-trick. However, he was denied by Kempin. In a one on one situation like that, he should be scoring. 

Manchester United XI for the second-half: J.Pereira, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Darmian, Fosu-Mensah, Lindelof, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, A.Pereira, Lukaku, Martial

With Lindelof and Lukaku both making their debut for United in the second half, they were both eager to put in a good performance. Lukaku had two chances very early on to get off the mark for his new club. Unfortunately both shots ended up the wrong side of the post. Lindelof also had a chance to get on the score sheet which he wasn't expecting and missed an open goal, shooting the ball way over the crossbar. 

Our fourth goal was scored by Mkhitaryan. A pass by Martial ended with Mkhi giving the keeper the eyes and rolling the ball down the middle to get United's fourth.

The last goal for United was scored by Anthony Martial who's composed finish was created from a Fosu Mensah pull-back. 

From then on, it was all LA Galaxy. Giovani dos Santos pulled one back for the home side with a great finish. He then scored again in the last few minutes after Romney's header from a corner bounced off him into the back of the net. 

For our debutants, this was not the start to their Manchester United career that they were hoping for. Lindelof put in a good performance and made some good tackles but was unfortunate enough to be in the defence when United conceded two goals in 45 minutes. For Lukaku, although United scored two goals while he was on the pitch, he did not have much luck in front of the goal. Although he demonstrated his extraordinary strength, he did not get the chance to show off his goal-scoring talent. 

Overall, the first half Manchester United 11 can be very pleased with their solid performance. However, it's a shame that the same can't be said for the second half 11. Then again, after a summer break, the players are just trying to get back into their football and will improve as they play together more. I think us United fans are just happy to see our players back out there on the pitch and enjoying their football together!

Our next game is at 3am (BST) on Tuesday morning against Real Salt Lake. Manchester United are likely to play similar teams to the ones they did today but will be hoping for a better performance from some of the players. Let's hope for lots of goals and a solid performance!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Summer Transfer Window

Image result for transfer window

With two signings already completed by Mourinho, lets take a look at some of the positions which arguably need strengthening.

Our first summer signing was Benfica's Victor Lindelof, a centre back. Last season it was made clear that Eric Bailly is our best central defender. Although Marcos Rojo did have a good season, his past performances bring into question whether he is good enough to be our first choice centre back. Another option is Chris Smalling who was without a doubt, our best defender in the 2015/16 season. Unfortunately, he failed to replicate his performances last season and is seeming to be more of a liability. In the Europa League final Phil Jones was selected over Smalling, but the issue with Jones is that he is too prone to injuries. Partnering Jones in CB in the final was Daley Blind (due to Bailly's suspension). Blind is a calm and composed defender and a great reader of the game, however he does seem to lack the physicality that is needed in a centre back. There will be great competition for game time with these centre backs but Lindelof does seem like he'll be the player to partner Bailly in the important games. However, things could change after the pre season matches. 

Romelu Lukaku is our most recent signing. The former Everton forward scored 32 goals in 44 appearances last season (including international matches) and also registered 4 assists. Competing with him for the striker's role will be Marcus Rashford who will find it hard to get game time in his favoured position. Last season, Rashford scored 11 goals in 59 appearances whilst playing across the front line for club and country. Another player who is yet to find his best position is Anthony Martial. Although the young French forward has been playing on the left for most of his time at United, he ended last season playing a few games up top. He managed to get 9 goals in 45 appearances last season and it's fair to say he under performed. 

There are several positions which still need strengthening for Manchester United and it looks like Mourinho will not be able to bring in the signings before the pre season tour starts. We need to bring in a defensive midfielder, a full back and a winger. 

In terms of a CDM, although we have Michael Carrick, who was recently named the new Manchester United captain, we need another option. Carrick is aging and will be unable to play 90 minutes twice a week. Gary Neville: "Michael Carrick can't play every week so they need a player who can do that job and Nemanja Matic would be able.". This transfer window has seen us linked with several holding midfielders including Matic, Bakayoko, Dier and Nainggolan. 

The saga with Ivan Perisic seems never ending for us and we seem no closer to signing the Croatian winger. We certainly need to bring in a winger this summer, but the only player that seems like they could realistically come in is Perisic. The price which Inter Milan are demanding for him is completely unrealistic. Although he is a good player, his age (28) needs to be taken into consideration. Also, stats show that he had the second worst conversion rate in Serie A, and this is not what we need after our poor finishing ability last season. 

We need to bring in a full back this summer. Although we do have Shaw, Darmian, Valencia and Fosu Mensah, a few of these players are relatively injury prone. Furthermore, with Luke Shaw, it is hard to tell if he will make it as a Manchester United player as he did not show much last season. We've been linked with Fabinho and the Brazilian has admitted his love for Manchester United. However again, nothing much has been done here and it looks like he is unlikely to sign for us. 

Before the transfer window started, Mourinho made it clear that he wanted all of his signings to be made before the pre season tour so that the players had time to gel and work together. This is clearly not going to happen. In all honesty, when a club hears that Manchester United wants to buy one of their players, they know that we have the financial resources and the willingness to spend big. It is hard as clubs will always demand more money from the big teams. On top of that, the constant speculation and fake news made up by the media does not help the situation. We are linked with more players than any other club in the world so it is hard to determine which news is real and which is fake. Lets just hope that we can still bring in a few new faces this summer. 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Manchester United Tour 2017

With Manchester United's 2017 Tour in the USA fast approaching, the excitement is building. It feels like centuries ago when United last played but we are only a few days away from seeing them again but this time with some new additions.

16th July Manchester United vs LA  Galaxy 03:00 (BST)

18th July Manchester United vs Real Salt Lake 03:00 (BST)

21st July Manchester United vs Manchester City 02:30 (BST)

23rd July Manchester United vs Real Madrid 22:00 (BST)

27th July Manchester United vs Barcelona 00:30 (BST)

30th July Manchester United vs Valerenga 18:00 (BST)

2nd August Manchester United vs Sampdoria 19:45 (BST)

Squad that have travelled to the USA: Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, Michael Carrick, Matteo Darmian, David de Gea, Marouane Fellaini, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Ander Herrera, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Scott McTominay, Demetri Mitchell, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Andreas Pereira, Joel Pereira, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Marcos Rojo, Sergio Romero, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Axel Tuanzebe, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young.

Recently signed defender from Benfica, Victor Lindelof will be keen to show his quality in this pre season tour, along with former Everton striker Romelu Lukaku. These two players especially will be hoping to show Jose that they should be the first names on his team-sheet next season.

Another thing which us United fans should be excited for is the Super Cup Final against Real Madrid. This game is set to take place on the 8th of August at 19:45. Jose will be determined to kick the season off with a win against the current champions of Europe.

Five days later, on the 13th of August we kick our Premier League campaign off at Old Trafford against West Ham at 4pm. I think it's fair to say that we will not be short on football once the tour kicks off as we approach a jam packed set of fixtures.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Romelu turns red and Wazza goes back to blue

Image result for rooney to evertonImage result for Lukaku to united
Over the last two days, some big news has emerged. Romelu Lukaku who has been linked with Chelsea constantly this summer, has been announced as our latest signing at United. The fee is expected to be in the region of £85 million plus add-ons. The following day it was announced that Wayne Rooney has returned to his boyhood club Everton.

Over the last few years Wayne Rooney has failed to perform at his best and has found himself being a backup striker and getting barely any game time. We all know that it was only a matter of time before he left the club but nobody could really imagine the day he really left. Rooney joined Manchester United as a talented teenager 13 years ago and has left today as our highest ever goal scorer, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton last season. The love our fanbase has for him is unquantifiable. He will be remembered in the history of Manchester United forever. He is one of the few players that can say that they have won all there is to offer in domestic football for a single club. He is a Manchester United legend.

In brighter news, the arrival or Romulu Lukaku from Everton suggests that exciting times are ahead for United fans. After announcing that they were not going to renew Zlatan Ibrahimovic's contract, Ed Woodward knew that he needed to bring in a top class centre forward. He delivered in that aspect as Lukaku ticks all the boxes. Furthermore, often strikers find it hard to adjust to the physicality of the Premier League, but Lukaku has proven every year that he has what it takes to be one of the best in the most competitive league.

During the summer transfer window, United have been linked with a move for Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata. Although reports kept suggesting that a deal was almost done and the clubs were close to agreeing a fee, the move kept seeming less and less likely. Morata's minutes per goal ratio last season was exceptional, only Messi had a better games to goals ratio that the Real Madrid forward, who was finding it hard to get game time in Madrid. After the arrival of Lukaku to United, a move for Morata doesn't look like it's on the cards. However, with the biggest club in the world, you never know...