Showing posts from March, 2017

Manchester United vs West Brom match preview

As we return from an eventful international break, Manchester United return to Premier League action on Saturday at 3pm to face West Brom at Old Trafford. Hoping to make it 19 games unbeaten and take a step closer to the top 4, Mourinho's men need to start April off with a win and three points. With another busy month of fixtures coming up, it is crucial that we start as we mean to go on. 
Our opponents this weekend are West Brom, who currently sit three places behind us in 8th and are on course for their highest finish in over 30 years. West Brom went into the international break in great spirit after beating Arsenal 3-1 at The Hawthorns. This impressive result is sure to give them a confidence boost coming into this game.
This weekend we might see some different faces play for United. Since Mourinho's arrival it's been clear that he likes to stick with the same players and rotate the squad between them, but with our current injury crisis, it's only a matter of time …

England vs Lithuania match preview

England welcome Lithuania to Wembley on Sunday for their 5th game of World Cup Qualifiers. Currently, England top the group, undefeated in the previous 4 outings, accumulating 10 points. The last two times these two met were in the Euro Qualifiers where England won 4-0 at home and 3-0 away. 
Lithuania are currently in third place and trail second by just three points. In their last game, they lost 4-0 away to Slovakia meaning they will be determined more than ever to pick up a positive result here. 
After England's outstanding performance on Wednesday night against Germany where they played a formation with 3 at the back, they are likely to play this formation once again. Although the loss against Germany was upsetting to see, especially after such good play, the performance should give us confidence because after all, we outplayed the current World Cup Champions. 
It is more than likely that Southgate will make a series of changes from Wednesday's game. With Gary Cahill susp…

Germany vs England

After a brilliant first half and a dominant England performance, Germany managed to snatch the undeserved win through a brilliant strike from their captain of the night, Lukas Podolski.

We were dominant from the beginning, with England constantly on the front foot and causing Germany issues. Southgate implemented a new system with 3 at the back and wing backs. We were unsure of how the team would rise to the challenge. With several Premier League teams switching to the preferred 3 at the back this season, including Spurs and Chelsea, and most recently, Manchester United, the players settled into this new formation brilliantly.

Most of England's chances came in the first half, the first of which fell to Adam Lallana who capitalised on a Germany mistake at the back and drove at the keeper, showing great pace and power. He smashed a low shot towards goal but it bounced back off the far post. The Liverpool player was close to making it 4 goals in 4 games for his country. The other bi…

Germany vs England match preview

Our first fixture of 2017 is probably going to be our hardest of the year as England face Germany in a friendly before Sunday's World Cup Qualifier. Wednesday will mark the official start of the Southgate era, with the manager taking charge for the first time since being given the job on a full time basis. 
With this as the squad which Gareth Southgate chose to represent England in the upcoming international fixtures, there are some new and old faces returning to the national team. 
One of the stand out names is Jermain Defoe, who is set to make his first international appearance in over three years on Wednesday. The 34-year-old has not played for his country since losing 2-0 to Chile in November 2013, but his brilliant form for Sunderland this season has earned him a recall.
In addition, an unexpected name on the list is Luke Shaw. After being left out of the Manchester United first team for most of this season, Southgate has shown his confidence in the youngster and hopes that t…

Middlesbrough vs Manchester United

We've finally done it! We are out of 6th place! I still can't believe it! Our weakened team managed to pull together and give it their all against a Middlesbrough team that played well. 
From the beginning we could tell that this game was not going to be easy. Middlesbrough played well throughout the game and had total control of possession. Our only option was counter attack. Luckily we had the right man on the pitch to play this style of football, Marcus Rashford was running rings around the Boro defence with his lightning pace and instinctive movement. With several chances coming his way, somehow Rashford was unable to convert them into goals. A player who was so clinical for us last season was unable to find the finish today. 
The scoring was opened in the 30th minute when Maouane Fellaini headed in a beautiful cross from Ashley Young. Although we didn't have much of the possession in the first half, we were still doing well to get in behind the Boro defence and creat…

Middlesbrough vs Manchester United match preview

Following Manchester United's 1-0 win on Thursday against FC Rostov at Old Trafford, Middlesbrough are the next team on United's condensed fixture list. 
An unconvincing performance saw us get through to the Europa League quarter finals by the skin of our teeth. After Monday's draw, it has been confirmed that we will face the Belgian champions Anderlecht in the knockout stage, with the first leg in Belgium. 
Although winning the Europa League would be enough to see us play Champions League football next season, we saw from Liverpool's mistakes last season that it is easier said than done. We cannot afford to let our league results slip. Jose Mourinho has already said that he expects us to lose on Sunday, but hopefully the players can pull through and prove the manager wrong. 
As if the game wasn't tough enough with only a few days to prepare, things are made ten times worse by our limitations in terms of our squad. Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera are both serving do…

Manchester United vs FC Rostov

Manchester United qualify for the quarter finals of the Europa League after beating Rostov 2-1 on aggregate.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit the post twice in the first half as Manchester United found it tough to break down the Rostov defence. Not many chances were created during the game, with United having the majority of the possession, but failing to threaten the Russians' well-structured defence. Juan Mata managed to put us ahead in the 70th minute, finishing at the far post from a Zlatan flick. 
Rostov did however provide a threat to United's Europa League ambitions with a few great chances and attempts on goal. Sergio Romero put in a world class performance to save our Champions League hopes for next season. His most vital save came in the 95th minute, pulling off a brilliant stop to deny Noboa's free kick which could've sent the game in to extra time. 
Two major downsides for United were Daley Blind and Paul Pogba having to be withdrawn early due to injuries. Pogba'…

Manchester United vs FC Rostov match preview

Following on from the 1-1 result in Russia for the first leg, Manchester United face Rostov at home in the second leg of the Europa League last 16. After getting knocked out of the FA Cup on Monday by Chelsea, United will be looking to win the Europa League, which is the only competition remaining that we really have a chance of winning. This isn't just another trophy, but winning this competition would give us automatic qualification into the Champions League next season. With the battle for the top 4 looking extremely tight and competitive, Mourinho will be sure to put all of his strength and power into winning this competition.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to return in this game whilst carrying out his three game domestic suspension. This will be a big confidence booster as he has been our key source of goals this season. Marcus Rashford started against Chelsea and did prove to be a handful for their defence, but of course nobody can be as much of a nuisance to defenders than Ibr…

Chelsea vs Manchester United

After an early controversial red card given by the referee left Manchester United to play 60 minutes with 10 men, Chelsea come out on top at the end of a game where they were completely dominant. 
The game started with Manchester United on top and looking positive in a game where they were expected to park the bus. We were keeping possession of the ball in the final third of the pitch, however not having any real attempts on goal. At this point, Chelsea did look dangerous but we looked as if we had a good chance of winning the game.
The controversial moment came in the 35th minute when Ander Herrera was shown a second yellow for a trip on Eden Hazard. This was not worthy of a second yellow. The referee was clearly agitated from the earlier foul from Chris Smalling and lost his cool and took out his anger on Herrera. There is no doubt that it was a foul, but an over-exaggeration by the referee left Manchester United with 10 men for the majority of the game.
From that moment on, Chelse…

Chelsea vs Manchester United match preview

With little time to recover after Manchester United's tie against FC Rostov (which ended 1-1) in the Europa League, we face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday in the quarter finals of the FA Cup. After already winning the first two cups up for grabs this season, the Community Shield and EFL Cup, United will be determined more than ever to add to that collection. As the current holders of all 3 domestic trophies, we will be hoping to retain the FA Cup after last year's dramatic winner in the final minutes at Wembley. 
The main worry for us United fans is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who has carried United this far through the season) will be beginning his three match domestic ban, starting with Monday's crucial match. His assist gave us the all important away goal in Russia but his elbow on Mings in the game against Bournemouth leaves him unavailable for arguably our toughest game of the season. 
Chelsea, who have had a full week of rest, have a fully fit squad. With Chelsea…

FC Rostov vs Manchester United

After a poor match to watch, Manchester United leave Russia with a draw and an away goal, and hope that they can win the tie back at Old Trafford.

Starting the game with a 3-5-2 formation, Manchester United started the game reasonably well on a tricky pitch. Manchester United broke the deadlock 35 minutes in when Phil Jones played a beautiful ball over the top to Fellaini, who (like he does best) took the ball down with his chest and played it through to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. A beautiful bit of quick footwork in a tight area ended with a pass to Mkhitaryan who could slot home to give United the lead. 
The second half was again made difficult for both teams with the utterly shambolic state of the pitch. In the 53rd minute, Rostov equalised with Bukharov controlling Kalachev's lofted ball into the area and volleyed past Romero, who didn't stand a chance. Fingers can arguably be pointed at Phil Jones who should have probably tracked his runner, but the control and finish from the …

FC Rostov vs Manchester United Match Preview

Manchester United face FC Rostov in the last 16 of the Europa League with the first leg taking place on Thursday in Russia.
This will by no means be an easy game, the talk in the last 24 hours has been surrounding the poor state of the pitch. The boss expressed his concern by saying "I know that we have to, but it is hard for me to believe we are going to play on that field - if you can call it a field.". However, UEFA is insistent that the game will be played. 
In terms of form, both teams look to be getting good results with Manchester United losing just once in their last 27 matches in all competitions, and Rostov once in their last 12. In the round of 32, Rostov won 5-1 on aggregate against Sparta Prague, whilst Manchester United saw off Saint Etienne 4-0 on aggregate. 
Jose Mourinho confirmed in his interview that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be starting the game (presumably because of his three game domestic ban), but the rest of the team is yet to be chosen depending on t…

Manchester United vs Bournemouth

Ignoring the three potential red cards, stamp on the head and a missed penalty, this was a game of missed chances. Within the first 25 minutes the score should have been at least 3-0 to Manchester United. After the Cup Final where Manchester United took every single one of their chances which won them the cup, today proved to be the opposite. Marcos Rojo opened the scoring in the 23rd minute to score his first Premier League goal after directing Valencia's shot into the back of the net. A reckless challenge by Phil Jones on Pugh saw Joshua King pull Bournemouth level in the 40th minute.  The main talking point of the game came at the end of the first half when Tyrone Mings stamped on Zlatan Ibrahimovic's head and the Swede responded shortly afterwards by elbowing the defender in the head during a corner. Neither player was punished, but instead Andrew Surman was given a second yellow for a push on Ibrahimovic after the corner incident. Bournemouth went in for half time with on…

Manchester United vs Bournemouth Preview

Hoping to further our longest unbeaten record on Saturday, Manchester United host Bournemouth at midday. We are currently unbeaten in the last 16 games in the Premier League and making it 17 will not be easy. 
Last weekend's 3-2 victory at Wembley against Southampton in the EFL Cup final showed that sometimes it is important to have the luck on your side, but at some point that luck will run out. Hopefully the morale boost from winning the first piece of silverware on offer this season will encourage us to play at our best and climb up the Premier League table to secure Champions League football next season. 
After Liverpool's loss to Leicester City on Monday night and the crucial Saturday evening fixture where Liverpool host Arsenal in the battle for top 4, we must capitalise on our rivals dropping points. 
Bournemouth come into the game taking only two points from their seven games in the Premier League in 2017, putting them closer to the relegation zone. This means that th…