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Showing posts from March, 2018

Manchester United vs Swansea City Match Analysis

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Another comfortable victory in the Premier League maintains Manchester United’s lead over Liverpool as the Reds edged a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace with second half goals from Sadio ManĂ© and Mo Salah and with Chelsea playing Spurs on Sunday, there should be more points dropped by the top five. After a 3-1 victory at Goodison Park, Manchester City are just one win away from sealing the title and a victory at the Emptiad Stadium against Manchester United next week would win it for them. 
Jose Mourinho made a few changes to the side that beat Brighton in the FA Cup with de Gea, Young, Pogba, Lindelof and Sanchez all coming in for Romero, Shaw, McTominay, Bailly and Martial. The boss once again chose a 4-2-3-1 formation against Swansea’s 5-4-1 with Carlos Carvajal looking to put eleven men behind the ball and play on the counter. United started well creating many chances in the opening minutes and opened the scoring after five with Alexis Sanchez finding Romelu Lukaku in the box and hi…

Manchester United vs Swansea City Preview

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It is the eve of our Premier League clash against Swansea at Old Trafford. On paper, it seems like a nice, easy routine win, but i'm not so sure it will be. Fans thought the same with Sevilla in the second leg of our Champions League game, and look at how that turned out.

The popular opinion is that we will score multiple goals, and keep a clean sheet. While that is very possible, i am unsure of whether that will be the case. As this Swansea team will not be a pushover. They have only lost two of their last fifteen matches in all competitions. That statistic speaks for itself.

Even though they haven’t won away from home in 2018, they have drawn six of their last seven on the road. This shows you that teams playing against them at home lately, have had a tough time getting the three points against them.

Add that to the fact that they have already beaten Arsenal and Liverpool this year. Which suggests that Swansea tend to raise their game against the big sides, and they’re not sca…

Are Mourinho's Tactics or Attitude to Blame for Manchester United's Up and Down Campaign?

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Jose Mourinho's Manchester United squad finds itself in second place in the English Premier League table, well off Manchester City's lead and in no position to mount a challenge.  The squad was ultimately eliminated from the League Cup and its only chance for silverware is the FA Cup where the Red Devils are a semi finalist.

So where did it go wrong for United this season?

The short answer is that City is just that much better than the rest of the league.  However, if you delve into the numbers, there are some tactical issues that are holding the squad back. Although it was doubtful they'd be much closer in the league table, bowing out of Europe to a Sevilla squad with less talent, losing a League Cup tie with Bristol City, and several other poor losses in the league season to teams like Huddersfield and Newcastle, leave the United supporter scratching his or her head.

United, despite having talent like Anthony Martial, Alexis Sanchez, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku in…

The Academy: Ones to Watch

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Manchester United produces many great talents, who have made or have the potential to make headlines all over Europe. The perfect example being the famous Class of 92’ graduates, namely Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and Phil Neville. All of them were champions and important players for United and went on to win loads of silverware with the club. After their retirement, they have also become successful in the various fields. For example, Beckham is a global icon, celebrity and MLS team owner; Giggs is the Wales national team manager; Phil Neville is the England Women’s team manager; Gary and Scholes are excellent football pundits and co-owners of Salford F.C and finally Nicky is the head of United’s Academy. Current United manager, Jose Mourinho, is not well known for promoting youth in his career but managing United, a club known for his history of youth development, may have made him change his ideology.Just ask Scott McTominay!
The 21-year-old yo…

England vs Italy Match Analysis and Player Ratings

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After the win over the Netherlands, we hoped to get another good result against Italy. Unfortunately, late VAR drama led to Italy being awarded a penalty which they converted well. The game finished England 1-1 Italy.

Gareth Southgate must have been very impressed with England's performance against Netherlands as he only made a few changes from the team that started in Amsterdam. Also, he opted to stick with the same formation and it is looking more likely that we will play a 3-5-2 formation in June.

England have started the two games with three CBs and two wing backs. In the middle they had one deep lying midfielder and two midfielders with freedom to go forwards. Up top were two strikers.

Within the first two minutes, England deserved to be 2-0 down after some questionable defending and decision-making from Stones. Italy continued to push, but against the run of play, England managed to snatch the lead. In the 26th minute, a brilliant run from Sterling (during which he was foul…

England vs Italy Preview

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It’s no surprise that the match-winning strike against the Netherlands at the Johan Cruyff Arena came from a Manchester United player, our very own J Lingz. Having scored 14 goals so far this season, Jesse Lingard is certainly making his case for a place in Gareth Southgate’s starting XI against Tunisia in June.

The 1-0 win against Holland was far from convincing but most definitely encouraging. Though England were dominant throughout the game, their final ball still needs improvement if they are to mount a serious challenge in June.

Attention must now be turned to England’s next, and perhaps more difficult, international friendly fixture, against Italy.

Four years ago, at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Italy beat an underwhelming England side 2-1 in the Arena Amazonia.

Fast forward to 2018, there is much to be optimistic about. The Three Lions’ display against Holland showcased resolve. They will need to produce and grind out 1-0 results such as this in preparation for greater t…

Manchester United linked with talented young LB

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The position of left back has been relatively up for grabs since the departure of Patrice Evra in the summer of 2014 to Juventus and following the wake of the Frenchman's departure, numerous players have tried to fill his boots and all have realtively failed. Luke Shaw was the first to try his hand and after being brought in for a sum of over £32 million from Southampton. He was given Evra's shirt and tried his hardest to fill the spot successfully. However, long term injuries have hampered his chances for the previous three years and the rise of Ashley Young's form this season has kept him out of the side.

With merely a few months remaining on the England international's contract it looks like he will be departing the club much like the other potential left backs in Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian. Jose Mourinho will certainly have to choose a new left back to succeed Ashley Young as the former Villa winger is certainly not a long term solution, who will be 33 in the …

The search for United's next number 10 begins.

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Squad numbers have a big impact in the footballing world, fans and the players themselves. Even though we should remember the player for his achievements, qualities and personality, squad numbers do play a huge role in football. To the fans the shirt is the identity of the player. The player makes the shirt memorable and significant. The best example being of Cristiano Ronaldo. He wanted the number 28 whilst at United, but, Sir Alex gave him the responsibility of the iconic number 7, a shirt worn by legends like Cantona, Best and Beckham. Wearing the number 7 gave him a sense of responsibility and added pressure of living up to the expectations of the shirt. Ronaldo took the shirts legacy to a whole new level. Even though he has reached the top on his own merit, the United number 7 gave him his identity, with which he accomplished many awards with Portugal and Real Madrid. The identity known as CR7.
Currently at United, the number 7 is occupied by Alexis Sanchez, who is finding it d…

Netherlands vs England Match Analysis and Player Ratings

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Well, well, well. This was an interesting game for the Three Lions. Jesse Lingard's strike just before the hour mark became the winning goal in Amsterdam as England sealed its first victory against the Netherlands since the 1996 Euros and the first away win against the Dutch since 1969. 
Gareth Southgate lined England up in a 3-5-2 formation with Jordan Pickford returning to the England lineup facing competition from Hart, Butland and uncapped Nick Pope. Making the back three was (from right to left) Kyle Walker, John Stones and Joe Gomez with the Liverpool defender barely lasting ten minutes as he was substituted for Harry Maguire after suffering a painful injury. Spurs defenders Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose played in the wing-back roles they are accustomed to in the North London and England squads alike. Jordan Henderson captained the team and was in a midfield three alongside fellow Liverpool player, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Manchester United star Jesse Lingard. The line w…

Netherlands vs England Preview

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The circulation of England’s squad list on Twitter last Thursday can only mean one thing.

The international break returns, but unlike others before, there is a unique atmosphere surrounding the fixtures over the coming week.

Given the magnitude of 2018, with the FIFA World Cup only *84 days* away, these games are more important than ever.

June’s tournament will be played without some exceptional teams, including Chile, Italy and Wales.

As we all know, England have the potential to rival the world’s best, which is why the upcoming fixture against the Netherlands will prove to be a stern test.

Having failed to qualify under Dick Advocaat, their absence will be a huge loss, particularly when considering the strength in-depth of their squad.

Given the nature of his departure as Everton manager, newly appointed yet seasoned manager, Ronald Koeman will be hoping to turn a new chapter in Holland’s footballing history.

Though they are not the once formidable Netherlands national team,…

Luke Shaw: The debate continues.

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The current mood in the United camp is not at its merriest. There is tremendous pressure on the manager, Jose Mourinho. Having bowed out of the Champions League, Jose’s men just have the FA Cup as the tournament that is winnable. United have been drawn against Spurs in the semi-finals. The public, media and pundits have all fired shots of rage against the boss for his treatment of his players, right after he publicly criticized his players for ‘hiding’ and not showing ‘intent’ to play for the club.
Recent reports suggest that Mourinho has lost the support of few players in the dressing room and also the confidence of few board members. The tabloids have said that Mourinho will take his anger out on the transfer market by selling 7 to 8 senior team members who he doesn’t deem fit enough or that does not have the intent to play for the club. Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Chris Smalling, Anthony Martial, Phil Jones, Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian and Marouane Fellaini all seem to be heading out …

Who should England take to the World Cup?

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Who should England take to the World Cup?
Gareth Southgate has picked his squad to face the Netherlands and Italy in the latest International Break and is brimming with young talents from all across the Premier League and has named four previously uncapped players in Alfie Mawson, Lewis Cook, Nick Pope and James Tarkowski. This squad is a 27-man squad which is too large to fit into a World Cup team and so there will be some difficult choices made by Southgate as to who to crop from the team. He ought to choose three goalkeepers, seven defenders, eight midfielders and five forwards. 
GOALKEEPERS: JACK BUTLAND, JORDAN PICKFORD, NICK POPE While Southgate has admitted that Joe Hart was England's qualifying keeper for the World Cup, it would be unfair to the other goalkeepers who have played significantly more football than the West Ham sub. Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland have been consistant starters for Everton and Stoke City respectively and Nick Pope has been outstanding in the a…

Manchester United vs Brighton player ratings

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Manchester United win 2-0, and are now in the semi -finals of the F.A Cup, where a trip to Wembley awaits them.

Lukaku and Matic provided the best performances. Matic, especially. With a Man Of The Match performance from him. Assisting Lukaku for the opening goal in the thirty seventh minute, and putting the game beyond Brighton by scoring himself, in the eighty fourth minute.

It was a better team performance than the one against Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday. Still a lot of room for improvement. Manchester United struggled for fluency, especially in the midfield. A lot of heavy, incomplete passes and crosses. But overall, I would say it was a satisfactory performance.

Manchester United by no means played Brighton off the park, but they got the job done. They got the win. As Football is a results business, the win is all that matters. As the saying goes “It doesn’t matter how you get to the finishing line, as long as you cross it”.

Manchester United were lucky to not …

Manchester United vs Brighton and Hove Albion Match Analysis

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The FA Cup is Manchester United's only chance left for silverware in the 2017-2018 season and after dispatching of Brighton and Hove, United has earned a place in the semi finals awaiting the draw for its opponent.

United was coming off the embarrassing loss to Sevilla which knocked them out of UEFA Champions League and a bounce back was necessary.  The manager Jose Mourinho came under fire for the way he handled the Champions League tie, and his defensive tactics and squad selection fell into question.

Poor performances from Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba in midweek landed them on the bench for United in its tilt with Brighton. United stuck with Sergio Romero in goal as he has been solid throughout the FA Cup run.

United came out in a 4-2-3-1 as has been Mourinho's customary formation with Lukaku as the one target forward.

United went with a centre-back pairing of Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling who were flanked by Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia on the back line.  Matic who ha…

Manchester United vs Brighton and Hove Albion Preview

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After the devastating loss to Sevilla midweek, Manchester United must bounce back in the quarter finals of the FA Cup to secure their spot at Wembley for the semis.

Since the result against Sevilla, all the talk has been about Jose Mourinho and whether he is the right man to lead Manchester United. Although the majority of his comments have been about himself and how amazing he thinks he is, he has reassured everyone that he and the players will be ready to give it their best to win the FA Cup.

There is no doubt that Mourinho's comments have angered United fans around the globe and many have even turned against him. Nonetheless, whether you are MourinhoIn or MourinhoOut, we all want our club to succeed and win trophies. Our only chance of silverware this season is the FA Cup so we cannot afford to mess this up!

Jose Mourinho confirmed that he will have the same players to chose from as he did against Sevilla midweek. However, hopefully this time the players will play with some mo…