Showing posts from 2019

West Ham vs Manchester United Preview

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Manchester United travel to West Ham United to play at the London Stadium on Sunday the 22nd of September 2019.   Manchester United have scored more Premier League goals against West Ham than any other side has in the competition (94)  and have lost only twice in their last 21 Premier League meetings with them, Winning 14 and drawing 5.  This may prove to be a  tricky away encounter for the Red Devils as manager Ole Gunner Solksjaer will have to look to the strength and depth of his squad to deliver a much needed victory and build on the momentum of the past week with 1-0  victories over Leicester City and FC Astana. Solksjaer has advised Pogba, Martial and Shaw will not be available for Sundays game against West Ham. In form playmaker James is another  who is doubtful for Sunday's match after picking up a knock against Leicester City. Solksjaer is "hoping" James can recover and a final decision will be made on Saturday.   The team select…

Manchester United vs Astana Player Ratings

After a momentum-building 1-0 win over Leicester City and the other members of the squad experimented with on Thursday, Manchester United found themselves 1-0 winners again after Mason Greenwood's first competitive senior goal won the game for United with brave Astana holding on for as long as possible. Here are the ratings for the United players:
Sergio Romero - 7/10 Solid performance for the Argentine as he gained yet another clean sheet to add to his already impressive stats. Rarely involved but when needed, he was composed and calculated. 
Diogo Dalot - 6.5/10 Caught out a few times in defence but he made up for it with lung-busting attacking runs and some decent balls into the box. You can assume some of the issues he had were just from rustiness and getting fitter after a long-term injury. He should play against Rochdale and improve his form then.
Axel Tuanzebe - 8/10 Composed, strong and brave defending from the youngster. Looks like the year at Villa has done him some good a…

Manchester United vs. Astana Match Analysis

Chapter one of Manchester United putting trust in the youth has officially began on Thursday, as the Reds collected all three points in their Europa League opener in a 1-0 win over Astana at Old Trafford.

Five players, 21 or younger, who have come up through the ranks at United lined up in the tunnel to start the game against the largely unknown Kazakh opposition — and for the most part, they came up with the goods.

Axel Tuanzebe started at centre back, while the front four consisted of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, and Tahith Chong. There have been cries for all of the above (other than regular starter Rashford) to be given more game time amidst United's shaky start to the season, and they have been heard. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been promising that once the European and domestic cups come into play, so will the young guns, and he delivered.

With that young, exciting side, United went into the game with a lot of hype built up among the faithful on social media …

Manchester United v FC Astana Preview

Photo Credit: Amazing.Bet
Manchester United get their Europa League campaign up and running this week with a home tie against the Kazakhstan Premier League champions. As this is the first time the two teams have ever met I’d usually give a brief overview of the away team’s history, but unfortunately they have none, having only been in existence since 2009. Essentially, FC Astana are a state sponsored vanity project set up to raise the international profile of Kazakhstan and its capital city, Nur Sultan. Being by far the wealthiest club in their league Astana have hoovered up the best domestic talent and also managed to attract a number of international journeymen, with the six-foot five striker Rangelo Janga being one to keep an eye on.

After a mixed start to the season, during which the summer recruits have bedded in nicely, United will be going into this game filled with confidence after overcoming a rejuvenated Leicester side in a hard-fought victory at the weekend. Another huge bo…

The effects of playing Europa League football on domestic performance

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The Europa League. The annual competition that highlights our underachievement from the previous season. Quite simply, if we are playing Europa League football, we did not meet our targets. However, now that we find ourselves in this situation, we need to utilise the opportunity to secure Champions League football as we did in 2016/17 under Jose Mourinho. With the Premier League top 4 race looking as competitive as ever this season, with the usual 6 battling it out for the Champions League spots and the likes of Leicester City adding another name in the mixer, it would be naive to undermine how important this competition could be for us this season. The problem however is always finding a balance between efforts in the Europa League and Premier League. Reaching the Europa League final adds an extra 15 matches into the diary and if mismanaged this can result in high levels of player fatigue and increase the likelihood of injuries resulting in reduced perfo…

Premier League Grades: Matchday 5

We once again take a look at this week's Premier League action and rank the performances of each team.
Here are the results of the week: Liverpool vs Newcastle United 3-1 Manchester United vs Leicester City 1-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Chelsea 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur vs Crystal Palace 4-0 Brighton and Hove Albion vs Burnley 1-1 Sheffield United vs Southampton 0-1 Norwich vs Manchester City 3-2 Bournemouth vs Everton 3-1 Watford vs Arsenal 2-2 Aston Villa vs West Ham United 0-0
LIVERPOOL 8/10 Liverpool played very well to come back from 1-0 down and Mane was once again outstanding. I still think that Liverpool could struggle if Firmino gets injured for a long period of time as he proved the difference when he came on for the injured Origi. 
NEWCASTLE 6/10 Credit to Newcastle they did well to get ahead and created enough first half chances to get further ahead and what a strike from Willems to break the deadlock. Dubravka should have done better with Mane's second goal but was unable to do…

Manchester United vs Leicester City: Player Ratings

Man Utd beat Leicester 1-0 in the Premier League fixture at Old Trafford thanks to a Marcus Rashford penalty early on. The Red Devils looked competent and composed throughout the game and while Leicester had the majority of the ball, they barely threatened. Here are the ratings for this game:
David de Gea: 7 Made some super saves like the De Gea he truly is. Glad to see him back.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 7 Fresh from a back injury, he kept James Maddison and Ben Chilwell quiet.
Victor Lindelof: 7 Almost made an error with James Maddison but was solid at the defence together with Harry.
Harry Maguire: 8 Defended well and kept Jamie Vady quiet. Behemoth winning all but one of his aerial duels.
Ashley Young: 7 Played decent for a 34 year old. Kept the blue side on his flank quiet and played a few good long balls to Dan James. Decent at set-pieces too.
Scott McTominay: 7 It's a pleasure to have a player with such passion play for us. Covered up for Paul Pogba pretty well.
Nemanja Matic: 5 You ne…

Old Trafford - Leave or Renovate?

Old Trafford has been home to Manchester United's since 1910, but in recent years the stadium has been neglected by the owners of the club making one of the most impressive and largest stadiums in the country in the last 20 years, into an out of date stadium which while still beloved by the fans of the club doesn't have the same draw that it used to from fans of the sport.

The stadium hasn't been left in complete disarray with Old Trafford undergoing several expansions in the 1990s, and 2000s, including the addition of extra tiers to the North, West and East Stands making the stadium's capacity 74,879, the largest capacity club ground in the UK. However, there is so much more that could be done and developed which has been completely ignored by the board and owners. A club as big as Manchester United and with the worldwide fanbase it has, could easily fill a stadium with a capacity of over 100,000. And yet since the early 2000s the stadium has not seen any major chang…

Manchester United vs Leicester City Match Analysis

Manchester United 1-0 Leicester City

Manchester United vs Leicester played in a capacity-filled Old Trafford Theatre of Dreams.  A lot of debate about squad selection prior to kick off  as three key players were ruled out of the squad on Saturday the 14th of September 2019. The manager Ole Solskjaer hinted he may need to look to the Manchester United youth and test the depth of the squad to fill the gaps by not having left back Luke Shaw, midfielder Paul Pogba and striker Anthony Martial available for selection all ruled out due to injury.  The squad selected by Solskjaer did include a youthful reserve bench filled with potential but the team chosen to start the game included the more experienced Mata and Matic who have been not regular starters in the campaign thus far. Andreas Pereira was also given another opportunity to start and played in a congested Manchester United midfield.

The opening 5 minutes set the scene of how the game would be played. The midfield was the key battlegr…

Manchester United vs. Leicester Preview

The first international break of the 2019/20 season is a wrap, and Manchester United are set to return to Premier League action this weekend in a clash against potential top six rivals, Leicester City.

United have entered a seemingly never ending skid of form since the emphatic opening day victory over Chelsea, notching up two draws away to Wolves and Southampton, and a loss against Crystal Palace at home. It is definitely not where United fans thought the Reds would be three games after that promising start, but here we are.

Despite United's shaky run of form, it is not all doom and gloom in terms of performances. United have actually played more than okay in all four games, having plenty of the ball and controlling the proceedings for the best parts of those games. But, possession and control does not win you games, making United's return to Old Trafford against Leicester crucial. Solskjaer's reds will not want to fall too far behind the upper section of the table, and …

Who should Manchester United's 'Number 10' be?

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As soon as it became apparent that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's preferred formation for the 2019/20 season was going to be a 4-2-3-1 system, it was widely expected amongst the football community that a 'number 10' signing would be a priority alongside the defensive upgrades and the early signing of Dan James. Personally, I saw it as an absolute necessity and the only way in which the 4-2-3-1 system would work for us in the long-term. The 'number 10' in this formation is vital to the team's overall play and is responsible for the vast majority of creative actions and decisions and is required to contribute to both goals and assists regularly. Throughout the summer window we were strongly linked to the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Paulo Dybala and Christian Eriksen, but ultimately the window closed without any of these names putting pen to paper on a United contract. I was quick to suggest that this was a big mistake and one that we will …

Reds on International Duty

The international break has been going on and the weekend went by without any Premier League football. Quite a few United players took part and represented their countries over the last few days. Mostly the games were the 2020 Euro qualifiers so teams played their strongest sides and the fact that multiple United players featured are a positive signing. Let's take a look at how these United players featured over the last few days.
Spain David De Gea did not start Spain's first game as Kepa Arrizabalaga was given the nod. Though he failed to keep a clean sheet, the 2 time Euros winner won the game 2-1. David De Gea finally started over Kepa as they faced the Faroe Islands. De Gea kept a clean sheet in a 4-0 win and was fortunate enough to get the captain's armband after Sergio Ramos was subbed off towards the end. So all in all, a good outing for the United shot-stopper.
Sweden The international break started with a bang for United centre-back, Victor Lindelof, scored when …

After The Glazers

Photo Credit: The Telegraph
Glazers out. That's what we all want, and Ed Woodward, he should leave too. What does that actually mean though? What could we realistically expect to see happen if a 'For Sale' sign appeared outside Old Trafford tomorrow morning?

The ideal, of course, would be fan ownership, similar to the model practised by most German Bundesliga clubs. Unfortunately, the historic precedent that existed in Germany up until 1998 in which a club could not be owned by anyone other than its own members simply did not exist in England, so for many years now clubs have been owned by whoever put up the cash to buy them. When you consider that the current valuation of Manchester United, according to Forbes, is £3b, the chances of a supporter group clubbing together to meet the asking price are pretty slim.

So who does have the spare cash to buy Manchester United? Not me, although I'm working on it, and probably not any of you either, which pretty much leaves Russi…

Premier League Matchday 4 Grades

As match day four has now been wrapped up and players have jetted off on international duty, let's take a look at all of the weekend's results and rate the performances of every team:

Southampton 1-1 Manchester United
Chelsea 2-2 Sheffield United
Crystal Palace 1-0 Aston Villa
Leicester 3-1 Bournemouth
Manchester City 4-0 Brighton
Newcastle 1-1 Watford
West Ham 2-0 Norwich
Burnley 0-3 Liverpool
Everton 3-2 Wolves
Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham 

As far as game plan and achieving your goals go, the Saints did a terrific job this weekend. They were a nuisance to United, despite creating few chances, and they were very solid at the back. The level of their defensive performance should be something they look to build on going forward.

United's performance in itself wasn't terrible, but they simply cannot come away from games against Palace and Southampton with one point. It's just unacceptable. The Reds once again couldn't get past a solid back…

Southampton vs Manchester United Player Ratings

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Injuries sustained in the home defeat to Crystal Palace forced Solskjaer to make changes to the starting eleven, with Young at fullback and Pereira on the wing. Mata was picked to play in the number 10 role, despite the gaffer's vote of confidence in Lingard after his dismal display against the Eagles.
Player RatingsDavid de Gea: 7
Looked more assured than last week and denied Ings with a superb save moments before the Southampton equaliser. 
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 8
Another solid performance from the young full-back who is fully justifying his call-up to the England senior squad.
Harry Maguire: 7
We know he's good, but we won't see the best of Maguire until he has full trust in the man to his right.
Victor Lindelof: 3
Another poor attempt at a defensive header which led to a crucial goal. Clearly lacking in confidence, which is worrying. Chris Smalling's Manchester United career didn't end for this.
Ashley Young: 7
Slotted into the left-left back r…

Southampton vs Manchester United Match Analysis

Manchester United fans, brace yourselves for a very long season ahead. The team and anything associated with it are disappointing so far.
Manchester United slumped to another disappointing result at St Mary's in which they failed to beat 10-man Southampton and ended the match with just a point, making it five points from four games. United have now failed to secure three points for the third game in a row.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made three changes from the team which failed to beat Crystal Palace last weekend with Young and Pereira coming in for the injured Shaw and Martial as well as Juan Mata making his first start of the season in place for Lingard who began the game on the bench.
Manchester United took the lead early on in the match thanks to a brilliant strike from Daniel James. But, as per usual, we were beaten just after the break when Southampton levelled the scores through defender Jannik Vestergaard after another Lindelof mistake.
Southampton was reduced to ten men midway…

Southampton vs Manchester United Preview

Manchester United travel down south for the fourth game week of the season to the St. Mary's Stadium to take on Southampton. This is the first match of the weekend and a likely mood setter for most Manchester United faithful. After the blunderous game last week that saw us lose to Palace at Old Trafford, we need to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back to winning ways. 
Teams: Southampton vs Manchester United Date: Saturday 31st August 2019 KO Time: 12:30 GMT Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralph Hassenhuttl Referee: Mike Dean
Teams News:
Manchester United have two major injury concerns for this game. Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial will both miss the trip to the St. Mary's after picking up injuries last week. While it has been confirmed that Shaw will be out for about 5 days, the extent of Martial's injury is still unknown at the moment. This comes as a disappointment because the Frenchman was very good for us in the previous games that he played. To replace them,…

Manchester United's Midfield Problem

Following the end of the summer transfer window, we can now analyse the squad we have left, and it is easy to see that we have huge problems in our midfield.

Following the January departure of Fellaini and the summer departure of Ander Herrera, we have been left thin on the ground in terms of midfield reinforcements. Both the positions of attacking midfield and defensive midfield are lacking depth and good options for Solskjaer to use. These is leaving the team with a lack of creativity and defensive solidity in midfield.

The current options for Solskjaer in the centre of the park are Pogba, Scott McTominay Fred and Matic. These options show a real lack of strength in depth and quality. Pogba is clearly the best of these midfielders but even he is inconsistent and needs other members of the midfield to help him out. Even with Pogba's quality, we need more from him as on his day he can control the game on his own. Another useful player is Scott McTominay, he might not be technical…

Manchester United u23's vs West Ham u23's: Match Preview

This Friday United U23’s welcome West Ham u23’s to Old Trafford. It is free entry to supporters and United will be hoping for a big turnout for their exciting youngsters. It is another opportunity for some of these players to show what they’re about and prove they deserve to play at Old Trafford on a regular basis, while West Ham’ players should also be up for this knowing they are getting a chance to play at Old Trafford which not many youngsters get to do.
It’s been a great start to the season and a great start under the new management of Neil Wood and Quinton Fortune. It’s been 3 wins out of 3 with a total of 11 goals scored and none conceded so far with the last game, seeing United comfortable 4-0 winners away to Newcastle at St James Park. This game also showed why Tahith Chong and James Garner are well thought of at Old Trafford, with Chong getting off the mark this season and grabbing two goals and Garner continuing his goal-scoring form by grabbing one and making it 4 in 3 game…