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Showing posts from 2019

Daniel James Superstar

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Photo Credit: Jan Kruger/Getty Images
The path to the top for modern footballers is well mapped out, with elite clubs hoovering up the best talent to fill their academies leaving the smaller clubs to make do with what's left. Over a number of years each player is assessed and scrutinised continuously, with some inevitably falling to the wayside allowing the more gifted kids space in which to flourish. All of this happens in the full view of the fans, with games shown live on club TV, so that by the time a player is ready to make the step up to the first team everybody already knows what to expect. The system has become so effective that more players than ever before reach the top while they're still teenagers, with many becoming millionaires by the time they're 21 years of age.

Daniel James' journey to the top has been different, which explains why relatively few United fans were even aware of his existence until rumours began circulating in May of his impending transf…

Is Brandon Williams ready to displace Ashley Young?

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Brandon Paul Brian Williams born in Manchester on the 3rd September 2000. Williams made his Under-18s debut as a substitute in the 4-2 defeat to Reading in the final league outing of 2016/17 season.  The defender blossomed into a regular starter for the young Reds, making 22 appearances across domestic competitions and in the UEFA Youth League. Williams has worked hard to add a real attacking edge to his game and became a key component of his style of play.  He made his Premier League  debut on 20 October 2019 against Liverpool at Old Trafford as a late substitute. With Ashley Young suspended and Luke Shaw injured, Williams was handed his first league start on 10 November 2019 against Brighton and put in a MOTM performance in United's 3-1 win.
The question that needs to be asked is whether Williams is the likely replacement for the injured Luke Shaw and has done enough to replace Ashley Young who has been playing left back in Shaw’s absence. Solskjaer and his coaching team assess …

Reds on International Duty

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And just like that, we have reached yet another international break. One major difference this time around is the mood surrounding the club. United players jetted off for their respective international duties in high spirits having won five of the last six games.

If anything, this break has come at the wrong time for the Reds who have seemingly started to build some momentum across all competitions. But on the other hand, the next two weeks give some key players the necessary time to come back to full fitness ahead of the hectic December schedule.

Players who got called up to action for the November international fixtures: 

England (Nov. 14 vs. Montenegro, Nov. 17 vs. Kosovo)
Marcus Rashford
Harry Maguire
Dean Henderson (on loan at Sheffield United)

England U-21 (Nov. 15 vs. Albania U21)
Mason Greenwood

Wales (Nov. 16 vs. Azerbaijan, Nov. 19 vs. Hungary)
Daniel James
Dylan Levitt

Spain (Nov. 15 vs. Malta, Nov. 18 vs. Romania)
David De Gea

Sweden (Nov. 15 vs. Romania, Nov. 18 vs. Faroe Isla…

Premier League Grades: Matchday 12

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We take a look at this weekend's action and with another international break on the way, it will be time for many clubs to recover, reform and aim to kickstart the busy winter period with a positive performance in two week's time. Here are the scores for this weekend:

Norwich vs Watford 0-2
Chelsea vs Crystal Palace 2-0
Southampton vs Everton 1-2
Newcastle vs Bournemouth 2-1
Burnley vs West Ham 3-0
Tottenham vs Sheffield United 1-1
Leicester City vs Arsenal 2-0
Manchester United vs Brighton 3-1
Wolves vs Aston Villa 2-1
Liverpool vs Manchester City 3-1

Here are the grades:
NORWICH 4/10
This game could have lifted Norwich City out of the dust but instead sunk them even lower. This should have been the game for Norwich to go all guns blazing but it seems their defensive woes outrank that of Watford's. Worrying signs.

WATFORD 8/10
This was a fantastic result for the Hornets. Their first win of the season! Deulofeu looks back to his best and without Deeney, Gray is doing a fairly decent …

Manchester United vs Brighton Match Analysis and Player Ratings

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It seems as though brighter days have finally arrived. Manchester United cruised to their fifth win in six games by rolling over Brighton (3-1) on Sunday afternoon, and for once, the Reds can jet off to international duty in high spirits.

The thing that has hurt United the most this season is the inconsistency. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men kicked off the season in rampant fashion, and they managed to follow it up with some decent performances thereafter — but with nothing to show for it.

United could barely buy a goal unless it was from the penalty spot after losing their killer instincts following the Chelsea season opener, but after the Liverpool game last month, something changed. Something clicked.

United came out of the dreaded end of October - beginning of November stretch with five wins (three away from home) and a slip up to Bournemouth. The floodgates gradually began to open, the return of Anthony Martial freed up the now clear top goal scorer in Marcus Rashford, and Unite…

How should Solskjær use Pereira?

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Photo Credit: Peter Powell/EPA

Andreas Pereira has been at Manchester United for a long time, seven years to be precise, and although he's spent two seasons on loan in Spain (16/17 with Granada and 17/18 with Valencia) the coaching staff clearly saw enough of him to justify the reward of four year contract, this in a year when stalwarts like Fellaini and Herrera were allowed to move on to pastures new. The general consensus on the terraces was that Pereira was no more than a squad player, someone to bring on when you're a goal or two up and you want to save a senior players legs for the big game on Sunday. Sure, there was that unbelievable goal he scored against Southampton last season, but apart from that you barely knew he was on the pitch.

During the last two seasons he's been asked to play in numerous positions, and he never really looked at home in any of them. CM, DM, AM, wide right, you name a midfield role, he's played it, which probably goes some way to explai…

Manchester United vs Brighton Preview

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Next up for Manchester United is a home tie at Old Trafford against Brighton Hove and Albion on Sunday the 10th November. At the beginning of the season, you would have predicted that this would have been an easy victory for Manchester United, however due to the form this season the tie has completely changed, now this game has become a mid table clash between a 9th placed Brighton and a 10th placed Manchester United.

Manchester United looked to have turned a corner in recent weeks with them getting a draw against Liverpool, and following that with 3 wins in a row against Partisan, Norwich and Chelsea respectively. However, last weekends result against Bournemouth threw a spanner into the works as Manchester United slumped to a 1-0 defeat. The performance of Manchester United in that game was dreadful as they like any creativity or bite, so they will be hoping for better this time round. United once again come into a Premier League game on the back of a cup Victory in the week, so fa…

Manchester United vs Partizan Match Analysis and Player Ratings

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Thursday 07 November 2019
Venue Old Trafford

Manchester United  vs Partizan 3-0
Mason Greenwood (22 mins)
Anthony Martial (32 mins)
Marcus Rashford (49 mins)

On a typical cold rainy wintry Manchester evening Manchester United were looking to extend their unbeaten run in the Europa League Competition having an impressive record of 14 games undefeated in the competition and looking to improve on this record against their visitors Partizan Belgrade. The Manchester United team that was selected  to start was a more experienced team than the team usually fielded by Solskjaer  with just Mason Greenwood representing the talented youth in the starting lineup.  Captain arm band handed to Ashley Young and Sergio Romero was in goals. Man United were looking to play a free flowing opening attacking brand of football and their intentions were clear as an Anthony Martial attempt was ruled offsides in the opening 2 minutes . Partizan also signalled their intentions and their first attempt at goa…

Manchester United vs Partizan Preview

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Manchester United wil aim to bounce back after a disappointing loss against Bournemouth with a home match to Partizan in which a victory would guarantee United's position in the Round of 32. Here's all you need to know:
Teams: Manchester United and Partizan Belgrade  Date: 7th November 2019 KO: 20:00 GMT Stadium: Old Trafford Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Savo Milosevic
Team News Victor Lindelof has been ruled out of the Partizan game with a back injury and joins the injury list of Pogba, Bailly, Dalot, Fosu-Mensah and Luke Shaw. David de Gea is likely to take a break with Romero looking for another clean sheet in the Europa League. Brandon Williams will hope to continue his good form in cup competitions in Ashley Young's place and Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard will hope for rare starting positions and try and push for the no.10 spot for Brighton. 
Opta Facts about the game Partizan have won just one of their nine away games against English sides in all competitions (D1 L7), b…

Premier League Grades: Matchday 11

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Another set of interesting results in the Premier League with Liverpool and Manchester City leaving it late, Arsenal faltering at home and United and Spurs coming up with poor performances on the road, leaving them at tenth and eleventh respectively. All that and more, here are the results:

Bournemouth vs Manchester United 1-0
Arsenal vs Wolves 1-1
Sheffield United vs Burnley 3-0
Aston Villa vs Liverpool 1-2
Manchester City vs Southampton 2-1
West Ham vs Newcastle 2-3
Brighton vs Norwich 2-0
Watford vs Chelsea 1-2
Crystal Palace vs Leicester City 0-2
Everton vs Tottenham 1-1

BOURNEMOUTH 7/10
Did well enough to get the win and defended excellently throughout. But only troubled De Gea twice really and against a side who play with more quality in the final third, they would have been cut apart.

MANCHESTER UNITED 4/10
Toothless. Had enough chances in the first half to bury Bournemouth but failed to make them count. Poor game management from Ole I have to say as I don't think Lingard was the play…

Bournemouth vs Manchester United Match Analysis and Player Ratings

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After a string of impressive and positive performances, Manchester United travelled down to the South to face a toothless Bournemouth side who hadn't scored in three games. Of course United conceded and then failed to make their chances count as they sunk to a 1-0 defeat and left them back in the mid-table mire at tenth.

United kept an unchanged lineup from the side that cruised against Norwich and Bournemouth swapped Harry Wilson in for Groeneveld. 
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young (c), McTominay, Fred, James, Pereira, Rashford, Martial
Ramsdale, Smith, Cook (c), Ake, Rico, Wilson, Lerma, Billing, Fraser, King, Wilson
It was a weird first half of football in which Manchester United easily could have scored three goals in the first ten minutes but it seems the awful weather conditions played their part as well as the lack of class in the final third that is normally provided by Martial and the absent Paul Pogba. Bournemouth allowed United this brief period and got into…

Bournemouth vs Manchester United Preview

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It seems like the first time in forever, but Manchester United can actually feel good about themselves (finally) and head into Saturday's lunch time fixture away to Bournemouth with some confidence. 
After putting in an encouraging display in a draw against Liverpool a couple of weeks ago, United backed that up with three consecutive away wins — and they really should be looking to bring the game to this weekends hosts in order to get a fourth and gain some real momentum in the Premier League. 
This turn of form really came out of nowhere, but United have seemingly turned a corner after their rather turbulent start to the season. Everyone was going into that Liverpool game with their heads down, but following a change of formation and an improvement in performances, it feels like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men are beginning to pick up some steam. 
An on paper more defensive 3-5-2 formation saw United almost grab all three points against Liverpool, but most importantly, it showe…

Chelsea vs Manchester United Match Analysis and Player Ratings

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Carabao Cup  4th Round
30 October 2019
Stamford Bridge
Full Time Result Chelsea 1 (Batshuayi)  Man Utd 2 (Rashford 24min and 73min)

Manchester United have moved themselves into the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup with a hard fought victory away at Stamford Bridge against an inform Chelsea side ending Chelsea's run of seven victories in all competitions. United showed encouraging signs and this resolute 2-1 victory away to Chelsea brought another win to make three in a row, another two goals for the suddenly revitalised Marcus Rashford. The game itself was pretty end to end and both teams showed desire and intent to win the tie. The way both teams were set up was a sign of things to come with Chelsea trying to keep possession whilst Man Utd were looking for the opportunities to catch their opponents on the counter attack. Solskjaer had made four changes to the side who defeated Norwich on Sunday, bringing in Brandon Williams for his first domestic start, Sergio Romero came in for …

Chelsea vs Manchester United Preview

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On Wednesday the 30th of October Manchester United travel Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup. Manchester United come in to this game with two victories and two draws in their last five games, Chelsea come in to this having won all of the last 5 games. With this stat and the fact that Chelsea are playing at home we can say clear favourites for the victory. So Manchester United will have to cause and upset if they want to progress to the next round of the cup.

In recent memory Manchester United vs Chelsea has always been a fiercely contested fixture. While current form favours Chelsea the form in this fixture in recent years favours Manchester United with them getting two wins and two draws in a last five games, whilst scoring 9 and only conceding 4 during that time.

Manchester United have been in a recent uptake of good form with two victories in their last two games, against Norwich and Partisan respectively. These two results put an end to United's recent terribl…

Premier League Grades: Matchday 10

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The Premier League action this weekend failed to disappoint with record-equalling victories, VAR drama and a tense comeback by Liverpool as they successfully maintained their six point gap to Manchester City. Here are the results:
Southampton vs Leicester City 0-9 Manchester City vs Aston Villa 3-0 Watford vs Bournemouth 0-0 Brighton vs Everton 3-2 West Ham vs Sheffield United 1-1 Burnley vs Chelsea 2-4 Newcastle vs Wolves 1-1 Arsenal vs Crystal Palace 2-2 Norwich City vs Manchester United 1-3 Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur 2-1
And here are the ratings: SOUTHAMPTON 0/10 Awful. Just awful. Yes, they went down to 10 men but it was at 1-0. At that point Southampton should have done what they did against United - defend to the last man and try and get into the game. They were sliced apart with ease and looked very poor in attack. They need a good, long look at themselves before their back-to-back games against City. Could get embarrassing...well, even more so.
LEICESTER CITY 10/10 Outstanding in eve…

Norwich City vs Manchester United Match Analysis and Player Ratings

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Martial pounces to secure all three points. Photo Credit: Getty Images
What a difference a few days can make. After Leicester's mauling of Southampton on Friday night the general consensus was that, in terms of the quality of football, we were much closer to the Saints than the Foxes, and the league table did nothing to assuage those concerns. Going into this game there was a real feeling that anything less than a victory against an unpredictable Norwich side would plunge United into a relegation dogfight and may even have pushed the Glazers to reach for their dwindling stack of P45s. The 'Ole out' brigade were busy sharpening their keyboards while the 'Ole in' camp were beavering away in their bedrooms, bending statistics to fit their narrative.

Then it happened. Manchester United won their first away league fixture since Crystal Palace on 27th February, and not only that, they scored more than one goal in a game for the first time since the opening weekend and go…

Norwich City vs Manchester United Preview

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Manchester United built on their impressive performance against Liverpool with their first win in six games and finally, the first away win for Manchester United since the dramatic comeback against PSG. While the performance against Partizan was not the best, the result mattered more as United currently top the group. Now United will continue their spell of away games against Norwich before making trips south to Chelsea and Bournemouth next week.

Here's all you need to know for match: Teams: Norwich City vs Manchester United Stadium: Carrow Road Date: Sunday 27th October 2019 KO Time: 16:30 GMT Managers: Daniel Farke and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer  Referee: Stewart Atwell
Team News: Norwich City should have Ben Godfrey and Onel Hernandez despite the former coming off at half time against Bournemouth and the latter still in some pain from his latest injury. Goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann, midfielder Mario Vrancic and defenders Christoph Zimmermann Timm Klose and Grant Hanley remain out. Manchester U…

Partizan vs. Manchester United Match Analysis and Player Ratings

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At last, Manchester United's (shameful) record of games without an away win has come to an end. After failing to win away from home since that famous night in Paris in March earlier this year, United hung on to secure a 1-0 victory in Serbia on Thursday night.

It was by no means a performance to rave about, but at this point and under the current circumstances, a win is a win. After putting in an encouraging performance against Liverpool on the weekend, United desperately needed to get a result that they could build on in Belgrade. And in spite of yet another toothless performance in the final third, the Reds managed to grab all three points and remain on top of the group table.

To give the team some credit, the first half wasn't terrible. Again, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men could have been up by at least a couple before the interval, but the struggles in front of goal continued.

First, Scott McTominay missed a wide open header after a great free kick delivery from Juan Mat…