Showing posts from September, 2019

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…

Ole Under Pressure?

Current Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has recently been under a lot of scrutiny for our recent form and run of results. With us, in the last two games, losing to West Ham and only narrowly beating League One Rochdale. So, is it fair for us to judge him?

In my opinion the answer to this question is no. And the reason why is because this current squad isn't Solskjaer’s squad. Solskjaer has only had one real transfer window to make a change at the club, so how can we possibly judge his management of the squad if it isn't his squad in the first place. Only three of the current players in the squad are players that Ole himself brought in. The rest is a makeup of the Youth Academy and a mixture of signings from the previous 4 managers. Solskjaer needs time and patience in order to create Manchester United in his vision, the question is will he get that time?

The current state of the Man United squad is shambolic, a miss-mash of transfer policies and multiple different ma…

Manchester United vs. Arsenal Preview

It is beginning to look like it's going to be "that" kind of a season for Manchester United, and by that, I mean full of ups, probably more downs, and a whole lot of pain.

With Arsenal coming to town tomorrow, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have the perfect opportunity to lift some of the heat off their backs, and show the fans some signs of life. Other than the last two games, the performances have not been terrible, but that doesn't matter for much when there are no results to show for it. On Monday, United will have the chance to make a statement and show that progress is in fact being made. 
This, though, being much easier said than done. United have struggled in front of goal (again) this season, especially since Anthony Martial went down with injury. And with the Frenchman unlikely to feature in the clash against the North London rivals, you just have to wonder, where are the goals going to come from? 
The plus side heading into this match is that Arsenal'…

Manchester United v Rochdale Match Analysis and Player Ratings

Venue Old Trafford

Result  Manchester United 1  Rochdale 1

Man Utd won Penalties 5-3

Manchester United were looking to forget the lacklustre performance against West Ham on the weekend losing 2-0 and fans were looking forward to seeing the Red Devils bounce back against their Carabao Cup  League One opponents Rochdale.  The only previous meeting between the teams was 33 years ago with Manchester United winning 2-0. Rochdale being 10 miles away from their illustrious neighbours were  enthusiastically supported by the travelling 6,000 fans and looked to spoil the Red Devils evening and cause a huge upset. Solskjaer made 9 changes to the side who played at West Ham and once again gave his youth an opportunity to start in first team action. Notable talking point was decision to captain to make 21-year-old centre back Axel Tuanzebe captain for the evening. Tuanzebe has been at the club since the age of eight, but grew up in Rochdale. The decision to hand him the armband means he has no…

Manchester United v Rochdale Preview

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Manchester United get their League Cup campaign underway with a home tie against local minnows Rochdale on Wednesday evening in what will be only the second match played between these two sides, both at Old Trafford. The previous encounter was a third round FA Cup tie back in January 1986, a game in which the cup holders began their defence of the trophy won by Norman Whiteside’s curler the previous May. By all accounts the game in ‘86 was a routine 2 - 0 victory against spirited opponents who never really looked a threat, a repeat of which I’m sure Ole Gunnar Solskjær would receive gratefully given some of the recent results and performances.

On paper, even with the current injuries, this game should be something of a formality, however, those of us old enough to remember the York City debacle 24 years ago still refuse to take these games lightly. Of course, that season United went on to win the double, an event which unfortunately I don’t believe is l…

Premier League Grades: Matchday 6

Another week of Premier League football in which Liverpool remain top with 6 wins from 6 and Manchester City demolish Watford to keep up the chase. Leicester and Arsenal earned important wins at home to complete the top four for this week at least

Here are the results this week:
Southampton vs Bournemouth 1-3
Leicester vs Tottenham 2-1
Burnley vs Norwich 2-0
Everton vs Sheffield United 0-2
Manchester City vs Watford 8-0
Brighton vs Newcastle 0-0
West Ham vs Manchester United 2-0
Crystal Palace vs Wolves 1-1
Chelsea vs Liverpool 1-2

Mistakes cost Southampton on Friday and Ralph Hassenhutl would have been fuming with his side. Normally Southampton are strong in defence, well-drilled and composed. But they were all over the place against Bournemouth and they paid the price.

Another good performance from Bournemouth. Eddie Howe is a truly underrated manager and has got this side ticking. They defend with composure and attack clinically and effectively. They are a d…

West Ham vs Manchester United Player Ratings

Horrendous performance from a toothless side. With Martial, Pogba and Greenwood all unavailable, it truly shows how important they are to the attacking side of the team. Here are the ratings:
David de Gea 7/10 Can't fault David for the team's woeful performance, nor for either goals which were both far too good for the Spaniard to prevent. Made some important stops to keep United in the game throughout. 
Aaron Wan-Bissaka 7/10 Can't fault Wan-Bissaka either. Bombed up and down, linked up well in attack and could have got his first United assist a few times had the forwards made the right runs. 
Victor Lindelof 5/10 He's not having the best start to the season and hasn't done so since joining United. He does seem to pick himself up further down the line but has been bullied at the back lately. 
Harry Maguire 5/10 Relatively composed throughout the game but lost Yarmolenko too easily for the goal. Missed a glorious opportunity at 1-0 so his rating decreased. 
Ashley Youn…

West Ham vs Manchester United Match Analysis

Yesterday was one of those flat and underwhelming performances that highlight how far from the top Manchester United have fallen. West Ham did not have to play too well to win the game and that's telling. Manchester United already had injury problems and they would worsen when Marcus Rashford was forced off with a groin complaint just after the hour.
The First Half One of the big questions was always going to be whether Solskjær’s line-up had the creativity to hurt West Ham. Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial were absent and from the early stages it was obvious that Rashford would have to struggle given the service he was receiving. West Ham had a nice balance, with Declan Rice in front of the back four and danger from the flanks in Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson. They have generally proved a tough nut to crack this season and they took charge upon Yarmolenko’s goal, which was marked by precision and quality. With Andreas Pereira standing off, Mark Noble found Anderson and he was in s…

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 Solskjaer 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. Solskjaer 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. Solskjaer 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 …