Showing posts from November, 2019

Manchester United vs Aston Villa Preview

Manchester United face Aston Villa for the first time since they relegated the midlands side in 2016 from a Marcus Rashford strike in his early days at United. Since then Villa took a while to resurge but look a totally different side to the one that sank so low in the 2015/16 season and will hope to exorcise some demons at Old Trafford, here's all you need to know:

Teams: Manchester United vs Aston Villa
Date: 01/12/2019
KO: 16:30pm GMT
Location: Old Trafford
Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Dean Smith
Referee: Craig Pawson

Team News:
Scott McTominay could return after injuring himself against Brighton before the international break and with Nemanja Matic back in training and Luke Shaw and Axel Tuanzebe returning against Astana, the squad has more experience back again. Paul Pogba is back in training but unlikely to play a role but may feature against Spurs and/or Manchester City but is not ready to play against Villa. As for Villa, Bjorn Engels is back and ready to start but with Mi…

Astana vs Manchester United Match Analysis and Player Ratings

When you're 20 points off the pace in the Premier League and have already secured qualification to the knockout stages of the Europa League, it makes perfect sense to leave your best players at home wrapped in cotton wool and send a squad of kids 3,000 miles to see out a dead rubber against the worst team in the group, right? In theory it's the most appropriate course of action, in fact Sir Alex Ferguson did the same thing on numerous occasions over the years, however, he always kept one or two of the big guns on the bench as insurance. United's bench against Astana had a combined 0 (zero) first team appearances, which is only marginally less than the number of razors they collectively possess (although I suspect they own gallons of designer aftershave).

Playing the kids in a match like this can be invaluable, as games in which the manager can properly experiment and give much needed experience to promising youngsters are few and far between. The only downside is that if …

Astana vs. Manchester United Preview

The busiest month in English football is nearly upon us, and Manchester United are looking to be proactive in preparation for the nine games that they will have to play in December with a very youthful squad set to take on Astana on Thursday night.

After arguably one of the worst showings of the season on Sunday, United put in perhaps the best 10 minutes of the campaign in the spirited come back at Sheffield United. The Reds were down 0-2 and almost out before United's academy products in Brandon Williams, Mason Greenwood, and Marcus Rashford scored three goals in quick succession to drag Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side out of the dumps.

The game eventually ended in a disappointing 3-3, but most of the players that took part in that game have earned their rest ahead of the hectic month that's ahead, starting with Aston Villa on Sunday. The manager has left almost all of his big names in Manchester while bringing 14 teenagers out to Kazakhstan with him for United's penulti…

Premier League Grades: Matchday 13

Some great games of football last weekend; Jose's first game for Spurs, Sheffield United's 13 year reunion with the Red Devils, Liverpool's bogey team and Emery's last chance? Here are the results:

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

Here are the grades:
WEST HAM 6.5/10
Reliant on Rice and Noble to get things going but failed to make any chances they had count. Defensively all over the place and their goalkeeper is awful. Might have wanted to keep Joe Hart and Adrian now. Did alright to get back into the game with Antonio leading the charge but to no avail.

They got back to firing on all cylinders which is the most important thing. A few things to iron out but overall a decent debut performance.


Sheffield United vs Manchester United Match Analysis and Player Ratings

A mixed bag for Manchester United as they settled for a 3-3 draw at Bramall Lane on Sunday after a late Ollie McBurnie goal denied United a stunning comeback from 2-0 down. Here's how it went down:

Manchester United made one change to the side that beat Brighton comfortably with the injured Scott McTominay swapped out for Phil Jones who made his first Premier League start in a back three. Sheffield United made two enforced changes with Dean Henderson unavailable to face his parent club and Egan also unable to play, Simon Moore and Phil Jagielka came in for their first starts this season.
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (c), Williams, Fred, Pereira, James, Rashford, Martial
Moore, Baldock, Basham, Jagielka, O'Connell, Stevens, Lundstram, Norwood (c), Fleck, Mousset, McGoldrick
Throughout the first half, Manchester United had the majority of the possession but offered nothing going forward with poor midfield play and no movement at all from the front three. United were giv…

Sheffield United vs Manchester United Preview

Manchester United face a tricky away fixture at newly promoted Sheffield United on Sunday the 24rd of November. Sheffield United have been a surprise package this season thus far and are currently unbeaten in their last five Premier League games having shocked Arsenal 1-0 and comprehensively beating Burnley 3-0 in their last home game. A credible 1-1 drawat Tottenham just before the international break is an indication that Manchester United have a real test on their hands and their opponents will be looking to add another victory to their promising start to their season. Sheffield United are currently lying 5th on the league table and boast the second-best defence in the league and have claimed an impressive 17 points from their opening 12 league games to find themselves just eight points adrift of last season's champions Manchester City. This is the first Premier League meeting between these two sides since 2007 when Manchester United claimed a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford. In fa…

Daniel James Superstar

Photo Credit: Jan Kruger/Getty Images
The path to the top for modern footballers is well mapped out, with elite clubs hoovering up the best talent to fill their academies leaving the smaller clubs to make do with what's left. Over a number of years each player is assessed and scrutinised continuously, with some inevitably falling to the wayside allowing the more gifted kids space in which to flourish. All of this happens in the full view of the fans, with games shown live on club TV, so that by the time a player is ready to make the step up to the first team everybody already knows what to expect. The system has become so effective that more players than ever before reach the top while they're still teenagers, with many becoming millionaires by the time they're 21 years of age.

Daniel James' journey to the top has been different, which explains why relatively few United fans were even aware of his existence until rumours began circulating in May of his impending transf…

Is Brandon Williams ready to displace Ashley Young?

Brandon Paul Brian Williams born in Manchester on the 3rd September 2000. Williams made his Under-18s debut as a substitute in the 4-2 defeat to Reading in the final league outing of 2016/17 season.  The defender blossomed into a regular starter for the young Reds, making 22 appearances across domestic competitions and in the UEFA Youth League. Williams has worked hard to add a real attacking edge to his game and became a key component of his style of play.  He made his Premier League  debut on 20 October 2019 against Liverpool at Old Trafford as a late substitute. With Ashley Young suspended and Luke Shaw injured, Williams was handed his first league start on 10 November 2019 against Brighton and put in a MOTM performance in United's 3-1 win.
The question that needs to be asked is whether Williams is the likely replacement for the injured Luke Shaw and has done enough to replace Ashley Young who has been playing left back in Shaw’s absence. Solskjaer and his coaching team assess …

Reds on International Duty

And just like that, we have reached yet another international break. One major difference this time around is the mood surrounding the club. United players jetted off for their respective international duties in high spirits having won five of the last six games.

If anything, this break has come at the wrong time for the Reds who have seemingly started to build some momentum across all competitions. But on the other hand, the next two weeks give some key players the necessary time to come back to full fitness ahead of the hectic December schedule.

Players who got called up to action for the November international fixtures: 

England (Nov. 14 vs. Montenegro, Nov. 17 vs. Kosovo)
Marcus Rashford
Harry Maguire
Dean Henderson (on loan at Sheffield United)

England U-21 (Nov. 15 vs. Albania U21)
Mason Greenwood

Wales (Nov. 16 vs. Azerbaijan, Nov. 19 vs. Hungary)
Daniel James
Dylan Levitt

Spain (Nov. 15 vs. Malta, Nov. 18 vs. Romania)
David De Gea

Sweden (Nov. 15 vs. Romania, Nov. 18 vs. Faroe Isla…

Premier League Grades: Matchday 12

We take a look at this weekend's action and with another international break on the way, it will be time for many clubs to recover, reform and aim to kickstart the busy winter period with a positive performance in two week's time. Here are the scores for this weekend:

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

Here are the grades:
This game could have lifted Norwich City out of the dust but instead sunk them even lower. This should have been the game for Norwich to go all guns blazing but it seems their defensive woes outrank that of Watford's. Worrying signs.

This was a fantastic result for the Hornets. Their first win of the season! Deulofeu looks back to his best and without Deeney, Gray is doing a fairly decent …

Manchester United vs Brighton Match Analysis and Player Ratings

It seems as though brighter days have finally arrived. Manchester United cruised to their fifth win in six games by rolling over Brighton (3-1) on Sunday afternoon, and for once, the Reds can jet off to international duty in high spirits.

The thing that has hurt United the most this season is the inconsistency. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men kicked off the season in rampant fashion, and they managed to follow it up with some decent performances thereafter — but with nothing to show for it.

United could barely buy a goal unless it was from the penalty spot after losing their killer instincts following the Chelsea season opener, but after the Liverpool game last month, something changed. Something clicked.

United came out of the dreaded end of October - beginning of November stretch with five wins (three away from home) and a slip up to Bournemouth. The floodgates gradually began to open, the return of Anthony Martial freed up the now clear top goal scorer in Marcus Rashford, and Unite…

How should Solskjær use Pereira?

Photo Credit: Peter Powell/EPA

Andreas Pereira has been at Manchester United for a long time, seven years to be precise, and although he's spent two seasons on loan in Spain (16/17 with Granada and 17/18 with Valencia) the coaching staff clearly saw enough of him to justify the reward of four year contract, this in a year when stalwarts like Fellaini and Herrera were allowed to move on to pastures new. The general consensus on the terraces was that Pereira was no more than a squad player, someone to bring on when you're a goal or two up and you want to save a senior players legs for the big game on Sunday. Sure, there was that unbelievable goal he scored against Southampton last season, but apart from that you barely knew he was on the pitch.

During the last two seasons he's been asked to play in numerous positions, and he never really looked at home in any of them. CM, DM, AM, wide right, you name a midfield role, he's played it, which probably goes some way to explai…

Manchester United vs Brighton Preview

Next up for Manchester United is a home tie at Old Trafford against Brighton Hove and Albion on Sunday the 10th November. At the beginning of the season, you would have predicted that this would have been an easy victory for Manchester United, however due to the form this season the tie has completely changed, now this game has become a mid table clash between a 9th placed Brighton and a 10th placed Manchester United.

Manchester United looked to have turned a corner in recent weeks with them getting a draw against Liverpool, and following that with 3 wins in a row against Partisan, Norwich and Chelsea respectively. However, last weekends result against Bournemouth threw a spanner into the works as Manchester United slumped to a 1-0 defeat. The performance of Manchester United in that game was dreadful as they like any creativity or bite, so they will be hoping for better this time round. United once again come into a Premier League game on the back of a cup Victory in the week, so fa…

Manchester United vs Partizan Match Analysis and Player Ratings

Thursday 07 November 2019
Venue Old Trafford

Manchester United  vs Partizan 3-0
Mason Greenwood (22 mins)
Anthony Martial (32 mins)
Marcus Rashford (49 mins)

On a typical cold rainy wintry Manchester evening Manchester United were looking to extend their unbeaten run in the Europa League Competition having an impressive record of 14 games undefeated in the competition and looking to improve on this record against their visitors Partizan Belgrade. The Manchester United team that was selected  to start was a more experienced team than the team usually fielded by Solskjaer  with just Mason Greenwood representing the talented youth in the starting lineup.  Captain arm band handed to Ashley Young and Sergio Romero was in goals. Man United were looking to play a free flowing opening attacking brand of football and their intentions were clear as an Anthony Martial attempt was ruled offsides in the opening 2 minutes . Partizan also signalled their intentions and their first attempt at goa…

Manchester United vs Partizan Preview

Manchester United wil aim to bounce back after a disappointing loss against Bournemouth with a home match to Partizan in which a victory would guarantee United's position in the Round of 32. Here's all you need to know:
Teams: Manchester United and Partizan Belgrade  Date: 7th November 2019 KO: 20:00 GMT Stadium: Old Trafford Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Savo Milosevic
Team News Victor Lindelof has been ruled out of the Partizan game with a back injury and joins the injury list of Pogba, Bailly, Dalot, Fosu-Mensah and Luke Shaw. David de Gea is likely to take a break with Romero looking for another clean sheet in the Europa League. Brandon Williams will hope to continue his good form in cup competitions in Ashley Young's place and Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard will hope for rare starting positions and try and push for the no.10 spot for Brighton. 
Opta Facts about the game Partizan have won just one of their nine away games against English sides in all competitions (D1 L7), b…

Premier League Grades: Matchday 11

Another set of interesting results in the Premier League with Liverpool and Manchester City leaving it late, Arsenal faltering at home and United and Spurs coming up with poor performances on the road, leaving them at tenth and eleventh respectively. All that and more, here are the results:

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

Did well enough to get the win and defended excellently throughout. But only troubled De Gea twice really and against a side who play with more quality in the final third, they would have been cut apart.

Toothless. Had enough chances in the first half to bury Bournemouth but failed to make them count. Poor game management from Ole I have to say as I don't think Lingard was the play…

Bournemouth vs Manchester United Match Analysis and Player Ratings

After a string of impressive and positive performances, Manchester United travelled down to the South to face a toothless Bournemouth side who hadn't scored in three games. Of course United conceded and then failed to make their chances count as they sunk to a 1-0 defeat and left them back in the mid-table mire at tenth.

United kept an unchanged lineup from the side that cruised against Norwich and Bournemouth swapped Harry Wilson in for Groeneveld. 
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young (c), McTominay, Fred, James, Pereira, Rashford, Martial
Ramsdale, Smith, Cook (c), Ake, Rico, Wilson, Lerma, Billing, Fraser, King, Wilson
It was a weird first half of football in which Manchester United easily could have scored three goals in the first ten minutes but it seems the awful weather conditions played their part as well as the lack of class in the final third that is normally provided by Martial and the absent Paul Pogba. Bournemouth allowed United this brief period and got into…

Bournemouth vs Manchester United Preview

It seems like the first time in forever, but Manchester United can actually feel good about themselves (finally) and head into Saturday's lunch time fixture away to Bournemouth with some confidence. 
After putting in an encouraging display in a draw against Liverpool a couple of weeks ago, United backed that up with three consecutive away wins — and they really should be looking to bring the game to this weekends hosts in order to get a fourth and gain some real momentum in the Premier League. 
This turn of form really came out of nowhere, but United have seemingly turned a corner after their rather turbulent start to the season. Everyone was going into that Liverpool game with their heads down, but following a change of formation and an improvement in performances, it feels like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men are beginning to pick up some steam. 
An on paper more defensive 3-5-2 formation saw United almost grab all three points against Liverpool, but most importantly, it showe…