Showing posts from 2019

Is Luke Shaw's time up?

Since Luke Shaw's arrival at Manchester United in 2014 it's fair to say he has had an inconsistent time. Over the course of six seasons of Premier League football Luke Shaw has only managed 75 appearances which shows just how little he has managed to get on the pitch and show what he's capable of. This has mostly been due to his continuous injuries and inconsistent form.

When we first bought Luke Shaw from Southampton in 2014 everyone thought that he would be a success and a future England international left back. However, this is not being the case. After a promising start to his Manchester United career Luke Shaw suffered a double leg break which could have ended his career. Thankfully it didn't but it's hard to look past that moment as the start of Luke Shaw's inconsistencies. Since then he has been injured again and again and has also gone through bad spells on the pitch and good spells on the pitch but never really grab hold of any opportunity he was give…

Manchester United vs Liverpool Match Analysis and Player Ratings

Image Credit: Getty Images
Considering United's current form versus that of their opponents, you would expect a draw to be something worth celebrating, however, Solskjær's men can legitimately feel hard done by as overall they were the better team on the day. The eleventh hour injury to Tuanzebe proved to be United's undoing, as replacement Rojo was caught napping in the dying minutes.

The story of the first half was one of passion, pace and intensity from a Manchester United side that looked nothing like the abject bunch of misfits who've been stinking out the Premier League in recent weeks. Every player looked focused and confident, shifting the ball forwards at every opportunity and taking the game to a Liverpool side who have looked shaky recently, despite their impressive string of results. Rashford and James were particularly effective, pulling the Liverpool defenders into positions they'd rather not be in and putting doubt in the full-backs minds every time …

Manchester United vs. Liverpool Preview

They certainly do not come any bigger than this. The showdown against Liverpool is always the first game all players and fans look for when the fixtures are released at the start of every summer, but with the circumstances the way they currently are for Manchester United, the magnitude of this game has reached a new level.

The two teams couldn't be any further apart in terms of overall quality and league rankings. Liverpool are in dreamland. They have gathered all of the points that have been up for grabs in the league so far through eight game weeks, and they sit atop of the Premier League with an eight point cushion over second placed Manchester City.

You have to scroll down a little to locate Manchester United who currently sit at No. 12, 15 points behind their arch rivals from Merseyside. The gulf in the table is quite frightening, and the worst part is that it doesn't get any smaller on the pitch.

Although Jurgen Klopp's side hasn't been dropping 10/10 performanc…

Who will play on the right for Man Utd against Liverpool?

As Manchester United prepare for their toughest match of the season thus far against arch rivals and run away Premier League leaders Liverpool. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his coaching staff will need to ensure  the Red Devils are ready to face the challenge of playing against a team gifted with the  attacking minded skills of Salah, Mane, Firmino and get past the likes of Van Dijk, Robertson and Alexander Arnold.  On paper it appears the Red Devils have an uphill battle and they will need to fight for the entire match against a team who seem simply unstoppable in the Premier League. However one thing is for certain you can never predict the outcome of the result when these two teams play against each other and as a result any  outcome is possible.

Solskjaer has indicated that two star players  David de Gea and  Paul Pogba have been ruled out due to injury concerns and will not make the matchday squad for the crucial encounter.  Martial has been out of action since August and has misse…

Manchester United transfer targets to get back to the top

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After a disastrous start to the 2019/20 Premier League campaign, it is already clear that Manchester United's first team and squad lacks both top quality and depth. The biggest issue I see with the squad is the lack of great and world class players in the starting XI and the fact that players like Pereira, Lingard and Greenwood are being relied upon when they are simply not good enough or too inexperienced at this point in time. However, if we focus on 5/6 top tier starting XI signings and demote some of out current starters to squad players, I think we will find ourselves in a far better situation and our squad depth is not as big an issue as the lack of starting XI quality. Naturally, alongside the speculation of transfer targets, there will also be speculation around the future of Solskjaer, the board and the owners, however, in this article I want to purely focus on the players that I believe Manchester United should target if they really want to …

Midfield Minefield - Who should partner McTominay in Pogba's absence?

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Scott McTominay's career has been on a steady upwards trajectory ever since Jose Mourinho named the relatively unknown, gangly young midfielder as a substitute in a Premier League match against Swansea back in April 2017. It was hard to tell from his first few appearances whether he was destined for regular first team football, although Mourinho insisted that he had all the tools and was almost certain to reach the top. Mourinho's detractors suggested that McTominay was promoted beyond his ability simply to fend off the suggestion that the manager didn't trust young players, which was a massive disservice to a young man who'd been with Manchester United since he was five years old and who had displayed tremendous mental fortitude by retraining as a midfielder after a lengthy growth spurt derailed his original career path as a striker.

Almost two and a half years have passed since his debut and now he's the first name on the teamsheet, a…

What next for Manchester United?

The international break is a time that football fans world wide enjoy reflecting on the season  assessing and debating how their teams have performed thus far. Teams hold their collective breath that players gone off to play internationals return unscathed and fully fit to play for their respective clubs.  As a full fledged passionate Manchester United fan its been a time of reflection and concern.  Manchester United  is a club  trying to  rebuild the "Glory Days"  with one of their own at the helm  in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer  at the helm. The general feeling around Old Trafford is a sense of disappointment and  this is highlighted by the worst start to the season in 30 years. A sequence of results that has brought two wins in eight Premier League games is something Manchester United fans have seldom experienced.

The quest to find stability in a manager to replace the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson and build on his legacy  has been telling and many believe current incumbent is no…

Manchester United Players on International Duty

The international break is thankfully upon us, at least we have time to recover after a very horrendous past weeks. Nine of our players have been called up by their countries for international break.
Who are the players who were called Up? Marcos Rojo was called for Argentina's upcoming friendlies against Germany and Ecuador Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford were called up for the England squad Euro 2020 qualifiers where they will face Czech Republic and Bulgaria. On loan goalkeeper Dean Henderson, was also called in what is his first England senior call-up following the withdrawal of Tom Heaton through injury. Scott McTominay, our September player of the month was called up to the squad for Scotland.  Unfortunately, he is suspended for the Russia match after picking up three bookings, but he will be available for their next game. David De Gea was called for Spain's games against Norway and then against Sweden. Victor Lindelof was selected in Sweden's squad for their two …

Premier League Grades: Matchday 8

Another weekend of Premier League football is in the books — and with the ever so exciting international break upon us yet again, let's take a look at all of the results from game week eight:

Brighton 3-0 Tottenham
Burnley 1-0 Everton
Liverpool 2-1 Leicester
Norwich 1-5 Aston Villa
Watford 0-0 Sheffield United
West Ham 1-2 Crystal Palace
Arsenal 1-0 Bournemouth
Man. City 0-2 Wolves
Southampton 1-4 Chelsea
Newcastle 1-0 Man. United

Check out the individual team ratings below:

Brighton: 10/10

The ongoing drama at Tottenham aside, that is a fantastic result for Brighton who picked up only their second win of the season. The other took place on opening day, meaning it was a huge relief for the Seagulls to get back into the win column. The performance was also there. The hosts overwhelmed the struggling Spurs, pouncing on all of their mistakes and securing a potential momentum shifting win.

Tottenham: 3/10
No matter what is going on behind the scenes, it is unacceptable for a team with Tottenham&#…

Newcastle United vs Manchester United Match Analysis and Player Ratings

Another disappointing result for Manchester United away from home as a superb strike from Matty Longstaff sank United's injury-hit side. Here's how it happened:

Manchester United made a host of changes to the side that draw to Alkmaar with only De Gea, Dalot and Fred keeping their places. Newcastle made five changes to the side that were demolished by Leicester with Hayden, Muto, Atsu, Krafth and Dummett all out and M. Longstaff, Saint-Maximin, Willems, Clarke and Yedlin coming in.

De Gea, Dalot, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Young (c), McTominay, Fred, Pereira, Mata, James, Rashford

Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles (c), Clarke, Willems, S. Longstaff, M. Longstaff, Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Joelinton

The game began with an early chance for Newcastle on the counter and set a precedent for the game with the Magpies defending deep and countering with their pacy forwards. United attacked infrequently but when they did, it did build up well with good link up play. Newcastle almost scored three…

Newcastle vs Manchester United Preview

Next up for Manchester United is a trip to St. James Park where we will be Newcastle on Sunday. Manchester United's have recently had a tough run of results, drawing our last 2 against Arsenal and AZ Alkmaar respectively. They must now try and forget this poor run of form and turn there attention to dispatching a Newcastle team currently sitting 19th in the table. This is a must win game for United and Ole.

History favours Manchester United in this fixture with Newcastle having only claimed just six victories in 48 Premier League matches against then.However, our current isn't great reading for fans. They have won just twice in the Premier League in 2019-20, drawing three matches and losing two. And if they fail to get a win over Newcastle, they would remain winless in eight consecutive top-flight away fixtures for the first time since September 1989. Additionally to this, United's points of only nine in the league after seven games is their worst tally at this stage of…

AZ Alkmaar vs. Manchester United - Match Analysis and Player Ratings

Manchester United's struggles continued on Thursday night in the Netherlands, with the performance very much resembling the state of AZ Alkmaar's temporary pitch: sloppy, rough, untidy. The Reds will come back home with a draw, which, all in all, is not the worst result — but the performance once again left much to be desired.

As the final whistle blew after what was a very lacklustre game in which United seemed closer to losing than winning, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men failed to register a single shot on target — further emphasizing the evident problem's in the final third, and once again raising the question of how did the board get away without signing a centre attacking midfielder and a striker in the summer? Looking at the team's regression since the Chelsea game, it just seems like complete incompetence from the people in charge at this point.

To give the team some credit, they have done okay in the past few games to break into the opposition half, but that&#…

In The Firing Line

Phot Credit: The Sun
For a young man Marcus Rashford has played an awful lot of football. Given the number of games he's featured in over the last four seasons you could easily forget that he's only 21, so he still has a long way to go before we can say he's the finished article, yet despite this some fans want to write him off. After the Arsenal game the other day he received a huge amount of criticism on Twitter for an ineffective performance, although none of the people calling him Rashfraud acknowledged the fact that going into the match he was a doubt due to the hip injury that kept him out of the squad for the Rochdale game just five days earlier. Hip injuries don't clear up overnight (ask Roy Keane), so there is a very good chance that he played through the pain because the squad is thin and Martial is out injured.

When Rashford first burst onto the big stage with two goals on his debut against Midtjylland, quickly followed by two more and an assist against Arse…

AZ Alkmaar vs Manchester United Preview

Manchester United are travelling to face AZ Alkmaar in their Europa League Group L encounter on Thursday the 3rd of October 2019. Manchester had a tough encounter with fellow Premier League Europa qualifiers Arsenal in a 1-1 result which would have left Solskjaers team feeling more pressure building with a string of disappointing results. Their focus now turns to AZ Alkmaar who are currently lying third in the Netherlands Eredivisie.

The ADO Den Haag Stadium in The Hague is the venue as AZ Alkmaar, whose own ground is unavailable, play host to Manchester United in the English club's first encounter with Dutch opposition since they defeated Ajax 2-0 in the 2016/17 final. AZ collected a point from their opening Group L fixture, a 2-2 draw at Partizan in which both teams held the lead. Manchester United were able to beat FC Astana 1-0  at Old Trafford thanks to a Mason Greenwood 73rd minute winner. This will be the first competitive meeting between AZ Alkmaar and Manchester United. …

Premier League Grades: Matchday 7

An interesting week of football in the Premier League with 29 goals scored over the ten matches including a 5-0 win for Leicester City. Here are the results:

Sheffield United vs Liverpool 0-1
Aston Villa vs Burnley 2-2
Bournemouth vs West Ham 2-2
Chelsea vs Brighton 2-0
Crystal Palace vs Norwich 2-0
Tottenham vs Southampton 2-1
Wolves vs Watford 2-0
Everton vs Manchester City 1-3
Leicester City vs Newcastle 5-0
Manchester United vs Arsenal 1-1

Here are the ratings for the teams:

Unlucky not to get a point as they did battle bravely against Liverpool. One error cost them the game and it does show they have the ability to defend against the best.

A bit lucky but a win is a win and if you want to be champions, draws won't do under those circumstances. Liverpool look like champions but it's too early to tell who will win it.

Good performance with incisive attacking play. They are not going to go down without a fight but their defence is …

Manchester United vs Arsenal Match Analysis and Player Ratings

Manchester United came into this big game on the back of disappointing results against West Ham and Rochdale and not many people were expecting this injury-hit side to lose to a strong Arsenal side that have quality upfront and were on the back of three successive wins. A 1-1 draw at Old Trafford is certainly not something to celebrate but given the circumstances, the result is better than expected by most. 
United made three changes to the side that faced West Ham with Aaron Wan-Bissaka sick with tonsillitis and both Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata making the bench after below-par performances against the Hammers allowed Axel Tuanzebe, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard all coming in. Arsenal made two changes with Ainsley Maitland-Niles swapped in for Calum Chambers who was crucial in Arsenal's win against Villa and Dani Ceballos benched for Lucas Torreira.
De Gea, Young (c), Lindelof, Maguire, Tuanzebe, McTominay, Pogba, Pereira, Lingard, James, Rashford
Leno, Chambers, Sokratis, Luiz, Kol…