Showing posts from July, 2019

Kristiansund BK vs Manchester United - Player Ratings

Manchester United recorded their fifth victory in as many pre-season games on Tuesday, this time narrowly defeating Norwegian side, Kristiansund, 1-0. In a special evening for the United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who got to manage the Reds against his boyhood club, United impressed by dominating the game and creating plenty of chances, but just struggling to put them away. A late winner from the spot converted by Juan Mata kept the Reds undefeated in pre-season.

Here are the player ratings:

De Gea - 6
Another uneventful game for the Spaniard in between the sticks. His form is yet to be tested this pre-season.

Wan-Bissaka - 8 
United's brand new right back has taken this pre-season by storm, adding another solid game to his record. Assured while defending and adventurous going forward.

Jones - 7 
Similarly to De Gea, there wasn't much to do for Jones on the defensive side of the ball, but he did get involved quite a bit in United's search for an opener in the first half.


Kristiansund BK vs Manchester United - Match Analysis

Image Source: The Sun
After a testing summer tour in which United's players had racked up more air miles than Richard Branson and endured the heat and humidity of Singapore and Shanghai, the short hop to a temperate Norway must have come as welcome relief. Lukaku's exclusion once again didn't go unnoticed, although this time it was the relegation of Paul Pogba to the substitutes bench that got the fans talking. Was it a sign of Pogba's impending departure? A tactical experiment? Perhaps he was carrying a knock? Whatever the reasons, we didn't think it would make much difference to the outcome of what proved to be the very definition of a pre-season friendly.

Despite lacking the aforementioned Pogba it was still a strong starting lineup, which I would suspect is only one or two players away from the team that takes the field against Chelsea when the Premier League begins again in less than two weeks time. Given the outcome of the game you may find this slightly disc…

Kristiansund BK vs Manchester United Preview

Manchester United take on Kristiansund in Oslo for their fifth friendly game in pre-season. Having won all the games so far, United are back from China and getting closer to the first game of the season. The match takes place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's native country and the Norwegian will get a roaring welcome there. Also, the Scandinavian weather should be a much-needed break from the heat in Asia.
For those unaware, Kristiansund BK is a Norwegian side playing in the first division of the Eliteserien and have been in it for the last two years. Their season runs from March to November and hence now they're halfway into their domestic season. So far, they're placed seventh in the league having played just 14 games. They're about 8 points from the Europa League qualification spots so there's a decent chance that we may face them next season. 
With the season starting about 12 days from now, the team will look to get 90 mins in the tank instead of the 45-60 mins they…

Will the transfer window be a failure for Manchester United?

Even after so much negativity from fans over this summer's transfer window, we should not condemn it as a complete failure. The positives from the transfer window are the two major signings we have made being Daniel James and Aaron Wan Bissaka. Both the signings strengthen positions in which we were weaker last season (the left back and an out and out winger).

When looking at Daniel James we can see a very pacey winger with plenty of promise and potential. Even if James is nowhere near the finished article at the moment, there is much room for improvement and development which, hopefully, he can achieve at Manchester United. And, with the transfer fee being only around £15 million, you have to say that is a gamble worth taking in this current transfer market. Overall, we can say that signing of Daniel James is a positive one for the squad next season and hopefully for the future.

The next signing we've made is the acquisition of Crystal Palace full back Aaron Wan Bissaka for …

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur Player Ratings

A well-earned victory for Manchester United as difficult finishes from Anthony Martial and Angel Gomes earned United their fourth win in a row on pre-season. The first half was all Manchester United and the second half was mostly dominated by a re-energised Spurs side aiming to get back into the game but United had moments of brilliance and managed to win the game. Here are the player ratings for the game:

First Half:
David de Gea - 7
Had very little to do other than a smart save to deny Dele Alli with (unsurprisingly) his foot.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka - 7
Looked lively and energetic, had very little to do defensively and so could attack more.

Chris Smalling - 6.5
Quiet game, a couple of tactical fouls but was solid.

Marcos Rojo - 6.5
A surprisingly tame game for Rojo. Solid and comfortable at the back, certainly one of his better games for United.

Ashley Young - 7
Actually quite solid. I think he prefers to be on the left and if he is to have a role in the side, it should be as the replacement …

Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur - Match Analysis

Manchester United’s tour of Australia and Asia has come to its conclusion on Thursday afternoon with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Premier League rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. 
In what ended up being a tale of two halves, United continued to demonstrate the way in which the team will try to play under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the upcoming season. The Reds managed to control the proceedings with intense high pressing and ball retention in the first half, while struggling a bit after the break with a completely new XI taking to the field. 
Solskjaer’s men could have been ahead by a couple before the interval, with Anthony Martial hitting the post early, and Paul Pogba’s long range effort flying just around the outside of the Spurs post. 
The deadlock in the first half was opened by the aforementioned Martial, who once again enjoyed a decent game as the designated no. 9. The Frenchman was slotted into the box with a lovely through ball from Andreas Pereira, before managing to squeeze t…

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspurs Preview

Manchester United take on Tottenham Hotspur in our second game of the International Champions Cup (ICC) in Shanghai. After making it three wins out of three by beating Perth Glory and Leeds United in Australia and Inter Milan in Singapore, we head to China to face a familiar side. Having scored seven goals in three games and conceded none, we should be going into this game with some confidence. Solskjaer has been playing a high pressing game and the players have mentioned how this pre-season has been more rigorous and exhausting than previous ones. This game will be a very good test of how the Premier League might turn out to be because of the quality of our opposition.
This will be Tottenham's second game of pre-season having beaten Juventus 3-2 in Singapore. They recovered from a 2-1 deficit with Kane scoring a brilliant goal from the halfway line in the 93rd minute. Obviously, Spurs will be the favourites going into this game because of the way they ended last season but I fee…

Manchester United vs Inter Milan Player Ratings

Photo Credit: Evening Standard Going into the game United were 2 from 2 this summer after a routine 2-0 victory over Perth Glory and a 4-0 dismantling of Championship play-off contenders, Leeds United. Moving on to the Asian leg of the World Tour, United looked set to face stiffer opposition as they came up against a strong Inter side in this International Champions Cup game at the Singapore National Stadium. In the build up, the media focus was still on the prospective ins, outs and transfer wheelings and dealings, however Ole and co did a good job of not allowing speculation  to overshadow the occasion.

De Gea made a welcome return to first team action, Pogba started his third consecutive game and new boys James and Wan-Bissaka also kept their places in the starting 11. One notable absentee was Romelu Lukaku, which fuelled speculation that United and Inter are edging closer to a deal to take the prolific Belgian to the San Siro before Serie A kicks off again on 24th August.

Player R…

Manchester United vs Inter Milan Match Analysis

Manchester United beat Inter 1-0 in Singapore on a rather hot and exhausting day. The stadium, despite being on neutral territory, felt like it was being played in Manchester. The crowd raucously cheered every United movement and jeered Inter and their dirty tackles. United started with David De Gea playing behind a back-line of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe, and Luke Shaw. In midfield, we had a double pivot of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic playing behind Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Daniel James, with Anthony Martial playing as the lone striker. This was temporary as Martial, Rashford, and James kept switching positions.  The high press and pace persisted throughout the game as we dominated through the first half (even if we lacked the goals to show for it). James had a couple of half-decent chances but he needs to work harder on his finishing abilities and movement in the final third. With that sorted out, we'll have a very good player on our hands.  Our b…

Juan Mata - The secret to United's attacking success next season?

During our first two games of pre-season in 2019/20 we have seen Juan Mata play a more central role then we have previously watched him for most of his United career. For the past few seasons especially, United fans have gotten accustomed to Manchester United's number 8 playing out of position on the wing, rather than in his preferred central position. And as a result of this Mata effectiveness for Man United has has declined, however if we continue you to use him in a number 10 role we could see his contribution to the team increase significantly.

Whilst playing at number 10 during pre-season we are seeing extremely positive things from Juan Mata and his effect on the attacking output of this new look Manchester United team. This position benefits Mata more than when he plays on the wing as there is less defensive contributions to be made buy a number 10. Additionally, he is able to utilise his best attributes in the number 10 position, which are is close control, pinpoint passi…

Manchester United vs Inter Milan Preview

Manchester United are back; this time in Singapore and up against a slightly stronger side than Leeds and Perth Glory as they face Inter Milan in the International Champions Cup. 
It is very clear that Solskjaer is working on a fluid front three, with Daniel James and Greenwood impressing alongside Rashford. Juan Mata was terrific against Leeds in the number 10 role. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was also excellent against Leeds and looks to be a shrewd signing. Paul Pogba is now seemingly leaning towards staying at Old Trafford, though, and the midfielder's two performances this summer suggest that he is committed to the cause. The same cannot be said for Romelu Lukaku, however, as he (being firmly linked with Inter) is yet to feature this summer due to fitness problems. Inter will be looking to build on their friendly win over last weekend when they take on United in Singapore. The Italian giants are behind when it comes to preparations for the new campaign, but are hungry for a positive r…

Manchester United vs Leeds United Match Analysis

Photo Credit:
Making their second trip to the Optus Stadium in Perth after just 4 days, Manchester United defeated Leeds United 4-0 in what was a dominant and very impressive team performance. Ole started two different XI's for each half once again and gave almost every player in the squad a chance to impress and all gained match sharpness and fitness as a result. The only unused player within the named squad was Tuanzebe, with Luke Shaw out nursing a minor injury and Romelu Lukaku not involved as he allegedly pushes through a move away to Inter Milan.
First Half XI: Romero, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly, Rojo, McTominay, Pogba, Greenwood, Mata, James, Rashford.
Second Half XI: J.Pereira, Dalot, Smalling, Jones, Young, Matic, A.Pereira, Lingard, Gomes, Chong, Martial  
Goals: Greenwood, Rashford, Jones, Martial (pen) Assists: Wan-Bissaka, McTominay, A.Pereira, Chong
Goal Analysis The first goal started with a clever, pinpoint reverse pass from Pogba, playing W…

Manchester United vs Leeds United: Player Ratings

Image from
United’s first half starting XI
Sergio Romero - 7.0 Sergio had a neat and tidy first 45 with some solid goalkeeping, including a crucial save with his feet when United were 1.0 up.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka - 8.0 Another impressive run out from United’s new right-back signing, he was defensively sound snuffing out Leeds attacks down the left and making some crucial blocks and interceptions. He also put in a fine low cross for United’s first.
Victor Lindelof - 7.5 Seems to be the leader in the back four during the first half, he marshalled the back line well, while looking good on the ball.

Eric Bailly - 7.0
He will have been happy to have come through 45 minutes unscathed. He partnered Victor Lindelof well, making some important interceptions. 
Marcos Rojo - 6.5 Shoehorned in to the team today to get some minutes in to his legs, however left back is not really his position and offered the team very little.
Scott McTominay - 7.5 Scott showed great energy as always in United’s midfi…

Manchester United vs Leeds United Preview

Manchester United are set to take on Leeds United in their second preparation fixture tomorrow in what could become a pre-season grudge match between two old rivals. 
United got their tour off to a successful start on Saturday after a solid 2-0 victory against Perth Glory with the goals coming from Marcus Rashford and James Garner. The Red Devils put themselves through their paces, showing off their already impressive fitness levels in the tour opener. 
Leeds have just arrived in Australia for a double header against United and Western Sydney Wanderers. Their head coach, Marcelo Bielsa, elected to take half of his squad to Australia and leave the other half behind in England for extra fitness training. The Whites have already got two pre-season games under their belt, albeit against low-level opposition, meaning they could prove a good test to a United side that is still largely out of rhythm. 
Teams: Manchester United vs Leeds United  KO: 17th July 2019 12:00pm GMT Location: Optus Stadium…

Dani Ceballos Player Analysis - An alternative to Fernandes and Maddison?

Image Credit:
Dani Ceballos is a 22-year-old Spanish central midfielder currently playing for Real Madrid, who recently won the U-21 European Championship with his national side.
His professional career started when he joined Real Betis in the 2013/14 season, before switching to Real Madrid in 2017/18, where he currently remains. He totalled 105 appearances for Betis in addition to 56 for Real Madrid and 35 for Spain (First squad + U-21 sides) respectively. His favoured position is in the '8' role in midfield, further forward than an defensive midfielder but not an out-and-out attacking midfielder. Across all of his starts last season, he started in the centre midfield '8' role in 65% of these matches (13), also playing a few in a more advanced midfield role (5) and 2 as a left forward. 
Ceballos has received a lot of attention since his 'Player of the Tournament' award at the 2017 U-21 European Championships as well his his more recent 2 goals…

Perth Glory vs Manchester United Match Analysis

Image taken from the Evening Standard

Today was the day United got their pre-season underway over in Australia. Fresh from a much needed summer break, United were looking to erase the memory of a disappointing 2018/19 season by putting down a marker against Australian A-League side Perth Glory. Ole will have been keen to use this game to get minutes in to the legs of all of the players in the squad and to build up their fitness ahead of the games coming up against better opposition as we approach the new season. The United manager decided the best way to do this was to field one team in the first half and a different team 11 for the second half.

First half XI: Romero, Dalot, Tuanzebe, Jones, Young; Andreas, Matic, Chong; Lingard, James, Martial 

Second half XI: Pereira, Wan-Bissaka, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba, Mata; Gomes, Greenwood, Rashford
United started the game brightly, looking to press their opposition high up the pitch and when in possession moving the ball quickly, es…