Showing posts from February, 2018

Where will Manchester United end up in the race for top four?

As we enter the last two months of the Premier League season, the race for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th is incredibly tight. Man Utd, Liverpool, and Spurs, are packed like Sardines up there. Not only that, but we have Chelsea close behind in fifth place. Where will Man Utd end up in the race for top four?

There are only six points separating Manchester United in second, to Chelsea in fifth. With us now being in the business end of the season, there are plenty of points up for grabs.

Considering the fixtures that Manchester United, Liverpool, Spurs, and Chelsea have coming up, i will try and work out where Manchester United will finish in the league.

First, let’s start with Manchester United’s remaining fixtures. We have Palace (A), Liverpool (H), Swansea (H), Manchester City (A), West Brom (H), Bournemouth (A), Arsenal (H), Brighton (A), and Watford (H). Five of those are at home. Where we have a great home record.

Now, on to Liverpool’s remaining games. They have Newcastle (H), Manchester Un…

Why the coming weeks will be crucial for Scott McTominay

Manchester United’s 2017-18 Premier League campaign has reached it’s penultimate and decisive period. Jose’s men are fighting hard to attain the 2nd spot and are trying to add pressure on leaders Manchester City, which may seem a very daunting task with all the injuries and inconsistent performances coming from the United side, who are having difficulties in their engine room. With injuries to Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera, United are restricted to a midfield of Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay.
Despite being in three competitions, namely, the Champions League knock-out stages, FA Cup quarter-finals and the Premier League, Jose will have to construct his midfield pivot around these available players. Fellaini is out for a couple of months, Herrera also injured for few weeks. With Ander’s on-going match fixing trial, it will be very difficult for him to concentrate on his game, when he returns, as it is psychologically difficult for a professional …

Manchester United vs Chelsea Player Ratings

Another big win in the Premier League for Manchester United as they overcame Chelsea's 0-1 lead to win the game with goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard. It was a game that Chelsea had a grip on in the first half an hour and were unlucky not to score in the first five minutes with a close range effort from Alvaro Morata hammering the crossbar and then lead when a sweeping counter made by Willian in his own box was finished by the Brazilian, beating De Gea at his near post. However, United responded well and Lukaku earned himself his first goal for Manchester United against the Big Six and his first goal against Chelsea ever. The Belgian provided the assist for substitute Jesse Lingard in the 75th minute as the England international headed home completely unmarked to give United the lead for the first time and what would turn out to be the win. 
PLAYER RATINGS: DAVID DE GEA 5/10 Every good player has an off day and lets hope its remains only one day. As stunning as he was a…

Manchester United vs Chelsea Match Analysis

Manchester United picked up arguably their biggest win of their 2018 Premier League slate when they came from a goal down to down Chelsea at Old Trafford, by a final scoreline of 2-1.

United came out in what was called a 4-3-3, but looked more like a 4-4-2 when United had the ball. Victor Lindelof got the surprising start at CB despite Bailly being available for selection.  He was joined by Chris Smalling in the middle.

Pogba, Matic and McTominay manned the middle of the park, while Alexis, Martial and Lukaku played up front.

For much of the first half, Martial was joined up front by Martial in forward roles.

Unsurprisingly, Chelsea came out with an attacking mindedness and Jose Mourinho's men had to withstand an early barrage to David de Gea's goal.

Early on de Gea was up to the challenge.  After being saved by the cross bar, the ball fell to Morata in the center of de Gea's 6-yard box, and the Chelsea man fired at goal.  de Gea dealt with the attempt, tipping it over th…

Manchester United vs Chelsea Preview

After a long detour, Manchester United return to Premier League action with a home clash against Chelsea. A long verbal war with counterpart, Antonio Conte, has led to this game. The game tomorrow is more than just three points. It is about something way more substantial - pride. Chelsea are one of the worst lost of the top 6. I detest Chelsea as a club. For me, they are right there with Manchester City and Liverpool. 
However, my hate does not make them any less of a team. They played a meticulous game against Barcelona mid week and were unlucky to draw the game. On the other hand, we very abysmal against Sevilla. We need to come back from that and silence the critics who say we can't hold our ground against the bigger teams. 
Chelsea have signed Olivier Giroud and we know what a menace he can be. Chelsea have Eden Hazard and we know what a menace he can be. Chelsea have a lot of good players and we know what a menace they can be. From Cesar Azpilicueta to Pedro Rodriguez, they …

Manchester United vs Chelsea Combined XI

As Manchester United's big week draws to a close with a huge game against Chelsea, Sky Sports has been voting for the best players in each position for both Chelsea and the Red Devils and so we have produced our own combined XI for the two giants of the Premier League with the players fit for the game in a 4-3-3 formation.
GOALKEEPER - DAVID DE GEA Easiest choice by far. Whilst Thibaut Courtois is a fabulous goalkeeper and has had an excellent season, Dave has topped it with a remarkable one. He has made the third most saves in the Premier League with a record equalising 14 at the Emirates and produced a world class performance against Sevilla on Wednesday. 

RIGHT BACK - ANTONIO VALENCIA He has had an indifferent season with stunning performances against the likes of Everton and Arsenal but struggled recently against Tottenham and Sevilla. Nevertheless he is the silent leader of the team and gets the nod ahead of Victor Moses or David Zappacosta.

Sevilla vs Manchester United Player Ratings

Manchester United played out a somewhat disappointing draw in the round of 16 of the Champions League last night. However, that draw needs to be put in context. Our very own fans have been blowing it out of proportion due to the scene with Pogba. 
First up, Sevilla have a spectacular home record and knowing Jose, there was no way he was going throttle away from home in the Champions League. I had predicted a cagey 0-0 but what irked me was the incompetence of our front-line. Lukaku was as clueless as could be but most of it was because we were set up that way. 
Anyway, let's jump straight into the player ratings.
David De Gea - 10/10 WOW! That man is insane. He made eight saves and kept a clean sheet. That made us the first team in the Champions League, this season, to keep a clean sheet at the Estadio R. Sanchez Pizjuan. Just pay him how ever much he wants and give him a lifetime contract!
Antonio Valencia - 6/10 He personally did not do plenty wrong but as I have been saying for …

Sevilla vs Manchester United Match Analysis

United opened its round of 16 tie with  the 5th place squad in La Liga Sevilla and put itself in position to advance with a 0-0 draw in the first leg away in Spain.

United opened up with a 4-2-3-1 which continues to be ineffective for Jose Mourinho and Man United, but it is results that matter and a goalless draw sets up United with the simplest formula to advance, just win.

The backline was comprised on Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof manning the middle, while Young and Valencia took the outside back positions.

Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic started in the holding midfield positions, while Juan Mata got the start at Center attacking midfield and was flanked by Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera who got the nod ahead of Paul Pogba, fueling speculation about a rift between Pogba and the manager.

Romelu Lukaku was in his familiar role of target striker and of course, David de Gea got the start in goal and turned in a man of the match performance.

It is no secret that Jose Mourinho pre…

Sevilla vs Manchester United Preview

This is the 'big week' for Manchester United and it begins with a trip to Spain on Wednesday with the Champions League Round of 16 fixture against Sevilla. United have never competitively played the Spanish side (although the Red Devils have faced Sevilla twice in pre-season friendlies) and will be hoping to begin with a good away win to continue the good run for English teams in the Champions League with both Manchester City and Liverpool coming away with conclusive victories away from home (0-4 and 0-5 respectively).
United are likely to make many changes from the decisive victory against Huddersfield in the FA Cup; Paul Pogba is likely to return to the lineup after being forced to stay in Manchester with an illness. Eric Bailly is also a potential starter after making a small feature in the FA Cup and will be a crucial player in the matches to come. However it seems that Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera are still sidelined with injuries and will certainly pave way for Anth…

Huddersfield Town vs Manchester United Player Ratings

An efficient but certainly not easy win against Hudderfield sent Manchester United into the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup. In the quarter finals we will play against Brighton & Hove Albion. This win over Huddersfield was a confidence building win to go into two big games against Sevilla and Chelsea next week. 
SERGIO ROMERO: 7/10 Dealt with everything he faced comfortably with the intense pressure that Huddersfield put on the Red Devils in the first half and was forced into a few decent saves but never realy looked troubled between the sticks.
ASHLEY YOUNG 7/10 He looks much more comfortable at right back than left back and especially with Juan Mata on the right to whom he played a delightful ball to set up the Spaniard for a goal that was eventually ruled out despite the dubious nature of the decision given.
CHRIS SMALLING 7.5/10 Despite being hammered for his poor performances of late and especially the dive against Newcastle that handed them the goal, the English defender playe…

Huddersfield Town vs Manchester United Match Analysis

Manchester United came out in a 4-3-3 featuring Romelu Lukaku as the target forward.  In the lead-up to the game, it was divulged that Paul Pogba would be missing the game due to "sickness".  Of course, this leads to speculation as manager Jose Mourinho and Pogba appeared not to be on the same page in the last match, a disastrous performance at Newcastle in league play.

Along the back, the maligned Chris Smalling got the start at center back along with Victor Lindelof.  The outside backs were Ashley Young and Luke Shaw.  The midfield combination was manned by Michael Carrick who took the quarterbacking role in the absence of Pogba along with Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay.  Lukaku was supported by attacking midfielders Juan Mata on his right, and Alexis Sanchez on his left.

United got off to the fast start it needed when in the third minute, Lukaku was released by a brilliant through ball played to him in acres of space by Juan Mata.  Lukaku took the ball on the run and …

Huddersfield Town vs Manchester United Preview

After an embarrassing defeat to Benitez's Newcastle, we digress off the Premier League path to take on Huddersfield in the FA Cup. The boys in red travel to the John Smith's Stadium to play out the fifth round of the FA Cup. We have already played the Terriers twice this season and by now, Jose probably has the tactics and team set-up ready. 
Mourinho has just had the best presser as a Man United manager as he blasted journos for spreading lies about his relationship with Paul Pogba and how everything is alright. He also mentioned that Bailly is back and how he is in contention to start tomorrow. His demeanor in the press conference suggested a complete mood change in the dressing room and was rather reassuring.
After an astonishing season from Man City, we need to take a step back and reassess our season's aims. To prevent a trophy-less season, we need to take the FA Cup very seriously. The Premier League and Carabao Cup are out of question but a brave and spectacular ef…

Newcastle United vs Manchester United Player Ratings

Jose Mourinho's squad seemed to turn things around with a nice and tidy victory against Huddersfield last time out, but against Newcastle, things went right back to the drawing board.  United turned in an awful performance that landed them on the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline. Here is how they played individually.

Formation: 4-2-3-1 
Ineffective all match long.  Constantly forced wide, no space in the attacking box.

Goal Keeper: David de Gea - 6

Wasn't at fault for the goal as the attacker was in acres of space, and his distribution was fine all match.  A standard performance for the keeper.


Left Back: Ashley Young - 4

Did not provide anything in attack and was relatively obscure.  He did try to provide vocal leadership, but ultimately it appeared the rest of his backline didn't listen - Luke Shaw please.

Right back: Antonio Valencia - 5

Valencia tried to affect the game going forward.  Not great , not bad.  A fairly average performance.

Centre Back - Phil Jones - 5


Newcastle United vs Manchester United Match Analysis

Manchester United have just lost 1-0 to Newcastle at St. James' Park to take this season from finished to completely finished. Matt Ritchie scored the only goal of the game to assure that the Magpies got all three points. This loss means that Manchester United are now 16 points off league leaders, Manchester City.
Something even more disheartening is that if Man City go on to win the next five games, he will have to bear the hardship of giving them the guard of honour. And with the way things are going, them losing a game seems extremely unlikely. Giving Pep and Manchester City a guard of honour is literally the last thing I want to be doing. 
Coming to the game, what an absolutely shocking performance by the players. Extremely sloppy and unconvincing passes marred the game complemented by some horrible finishing. Starting from the back, De Gea was his usual self, but all of the back 4 are to blame. Smalling shouldn't be anywhere near the first team after this performance. I …

Newcastle United vs Manchester United Preview

Manchester United travel North this weekend to face Newcastle United at St James Park Stadium in a fixture which has had such importance in the title races in the late 1990s and early 2000s but has declined in importance as the years have gone by with Newcastle's descent to the relegation struggles of late. However this fixture provides much more importance at this point in the season with Manchester United hoping to maintain at least a five point gap from Liverpool after Jose Mourinho conceded the title to Manchester City after a defeat to Tottenham. Newcastle however will need any points from this game in order to keep themselves out of the relegation mire in which nine Premier League teams are stuck in with a seven point difference from 12th to 20th. 

Jose Mourinho has said in his pre-match press conference that only Daley Blind and Eric Bailly are sidelined with injuries and Zlatan Ibrahimovic has returned to training but is unlikely to make the bench yet amid speculation of t…

Manchester United vs Huddersfield Town Player Ratings

Just days before the anniversary of the Busby's Babes Munich airplane disaster, which took place 60 years ago on February 6th, Manchester United took the field against Huddersfield.  Here is how they performed in the 2-0 win.  Before we get into the ratings, I want to take this opportunity to remind you fellow Reds that we should not refer to the squad as "Man U" ever, it is a reference to the tragedy in a derisive chant.

So, without further ado, he is how the squad performed at Old Trafford:

Goal Keeper: David de Gea - 7

I mean, I could have started in goal for Man United on Saturday.  The keeper had nothing to do save for a bit of distribution.  However, he was excellent in distribution as usual attempting just 15 passes, but completing over 93% of them.


Left Back: Luke Shaw - 6.5

The defender got his spot back in the 11 after Ashley Young started against Tottenham in midweek.  Shaw was solid yesterday maintaining his position, his linkup play offered some poor…

Manchester United vs Huddersfield Town Match Analysis

Manchester United have just beaten Huddersfield Town 2-0 at Old Trafford. On a day that was marked by a poignant commemoration, the boys in red did the Busby Babes proud by getting back to winning ways with a 2-0 win at home. Lukaku and Sanchez scored two second half goals to send us thirteen points behind Manchester City who drew their game against Burnley in the earlier kick off.       The first half was very frustrating and Huddersfield simply shut down shop and let us pass the ball aimlessly in midfield. Stats spoke for themselves as the possession for the first half was 80-20%. We dominated the game from the offing and it was pretty evident that a goal was coming soon.         The referee should have awarded us a penalty when Scott McTominay was knocked out in the Huddersfield penalty area. We scored somewhere in the middle of the second half when Romelu Lukaku finished a neat cross from Juan Mata. Sanchez then doubled our lead when he scored from the rebound of his own fl…

Manchester United vs Huddersfield Town Preview

Manchester United vs Huddersfield Town Preview
After a disastrous result against Tottenham at Wembley, Manchester United are now only above Chelsea and Liverpool by three points and now are well past any chances of the title with a fifteen point deficit behind Manchester City. Nevertheless, United must continue the fight for the Top Four and will face Huddersfield at Old Trafford and must seek some much needed confidence after such a devastating loss.  Jose Mourinho may be tempted to ring the changes given the manner of the loss. There were many occasions in which the Tottenham side dominated the midfield with Pogba being caught out of position and Matic giving the ball away far too easily. Against Everton, Mourinho gave Pogba license to roam free with the use of Ander Herrera and Matic as the holding midfield and may choose to do this in bigger games but it is more likely that the Frenchman and Serbian start again on Saturday. However, Michael Carrick may have the possibility to feat…