All posts by Gary Armstrong

Manchester United Linked With Midfielder With 86% Pass Success – Player Report

Long gone are the days of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes running the Manchester United midfield. Current times see the likes of Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Marouane Fellaini roaming the central areas, with Darren Fletcher slowly coming back into the fold. I don’t think their midfield unit is strong enough though and I believe this man – a midfielder who is being linked with a move to Old Trafford through Sports Direct News – is a player who can plug the midfield gap nicely.

The reports suggest that United are set to renew their interest in AC Milan stalwart Riccardo Montolivo, who has been rumoured with a move before.

He’s a slightly defensive midfielder who roams the central areas between the two boxes and knows how to pick a pass – he has completed over 86% of his passes in Serie A from his 18 appearances and has four assists to his name.

 He has the intelligence when out of possession that United desperately need but he’s got a good footballing brain and can spark an attack with a single pass.

He knows what is needed and is a no frills player, which again I think United need to platform their more attacking players off.

Sign him up, Moyes. 

Why Arsenal Should Steer Clear Of Robin Van Persie

When Sir Alex Ferguson snapped up Robin van Persie form Arsenal he was an instant success. In his first season, the Dutchman finished as the Premier League top scorer with 26 league goals and another four in the cups and in my eyes was the main reason for Fergie signing out with one last title under his belt.

This season though he has returned to his injured way, and with Arsenal being linked with a move for their former hit-man, I would have to say that I think the Gunners should steer clear and look elsewhere for back up to Olivier Giroud.

I’ll tell you why.

The main reason is his injury history – To my knowledge, since being in the Premier League van Persie has had two seasons injury-free from the 10 that he has played. He has suffered from hamstring problems, groin strains, knee twists, muscle tears and whatever else, and I think the Gunners could do without that.

Secondly I think it would take the impetus away from the likes of Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and such, and for me that could be suicidal.

That’s not to mention the fans don’t think much of him anymore, either.

If I was Arsene Wenger I would be going for a young striker like Romelu Lukaku or one who is in his prime like Mario Mandzukic.

Gooners, what do you think?

Why Manchester United Have To Do Everything In Their Power To Secure £40m Midfielder

There’s no doubt about it – the signing of Juan Mata was a huge one for Manchester United. Not only did it mean that the club bring in an incredible player but it also acted as a statement to the rest of the Premier League that they weren’t about to give up on their hope for a top four space.

However, I think the signing needs to be the first of many, and I think £40m-rated-Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal would prove a massive step in the right direction, though if David Moyes is after the Chile international talkSPORT reckon that they will need to fight Real Madrid for the pleasure.

Vidal is a remarkable player who has shown that he can cut it at the top of European football. Not only has he upstaged the likes of Paul Pogba and Andrea Pirlo with who he plays alongside, but he has been the lynchpin of the Turin club’s success.

He is a box-to-box player who loves to get in the face of the opposition – think Tom Cleverley but better in every department. He has the tenacity to run the middle of the park and also the technique, but unlike any of the current United midfielders he also scores goals – he has 11 league goals and five in the Champions League this season.

For me he is the perfect man and I would go all out to sign him if I was Moyes, whether or not he would need to fight Real Madrid to land him.

No Torres? How Chelsea Should Line Up Against Manchester City In The FA Cup

One of the biggest ties of the FA Cup fifth round takes place on Saturday, with Chelsea travelling to Manchester City. The Blues have struggled at times away from home this season but are in fine form and sit top of the Premier League table, while City are right behind them and are notoriously strong at the Etihad. So how should the Blues line up against Manuel Pellegrini’s side?

Well, I would go full strength.

That means Petr Cech in goal, Cesar Azpilicueta on the right of the defence and Ashley Cole on the left despite the latter not featuring regularly of late. In the middle I think we will see Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz, as first choice centre-halves John Terry and Gary Cahill are both injured.

I would stick Ramires and Nemanja Matic in the two central positions with Oscar just ahead of them, and have Eden Hazard and Willian in the wide areas.

Both wingers are willing to track back and make it hard for the opposition, and that will be crucial if they are to progress in the competition.

Up top it looks like it will between Samuel Eto’o and the returning Fernando Torres, but I would probably opt for the former and keep the latter on the bench, alongside Andre Schurrle who provides the pace.

I for one am eagerly anticipating the fixture. 

Blues, who would you choose?

Childish: Why Mourinho’s Dig At Wenger Makes Him Look Bad

Before he arrived back in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho was one of my favourite people in sport. He carried a genuine swagger around on his shoulders and could shut opponents up with a stare, a couple of words of wisdom or simply a gesture. Although I found him a bit overwhelming during his first stint as Chelsea boss he had won me round with his apparent charm – now though, I remember why I disliked him so much.

The Portuguese coach isn’t one to mince his words, which is fair enough, and I even admire the way he sees his players as far superior to anyone else’s. What I don’t like about him though, in fact it frustrates me hugely, is the way he looks down on other bodies in the sport who have accomplished something.

Arsene Wenger is a manager who has been in charge of Arsenal for over 17 years now and has turned them into one of the most silky football teams in the country. Yet Mourinho has come out and publicly labelled him a specialist in failure.

This is a man who has won four Community Shields, four FA Cups and three Premier League trophies, as well as securing them as European contenders pretty much every year.

Mourinho may have succeeded more than him in a shorter space, but by no means does that make Wenger a failure.

For me I think the comments make Mourinho look like a bit of a child, and although they could just be words to wind the Frenchman up, I think it’s the Chelsea boss who comes out looking the worse.

 

THREE Players Who Could Replace Cabaye At Newcastle

It was a strange January for Newcastle United. A mixed bag of results culminating the Tyne Wear hammering by local neighbours Sunderland has left Newcastle once again away from relegation but not really troubling those above them either for European places or silverware.

The summer started with the appointment of Joe Kinnear, to the role of Director of Football and the promise of new signing’s.

Loic Remy, though, proved to be the only new arrival on loan, although he has had an extremely impressive season to date, you could feel the collective groan of Geordies as Newcastle essentially declared themselves a mid table team for another year.

Throughout January, Newcastle were linked to Remy Cabella of Montpellier, and the idea of teaming him with Cabaye in front of Tiote ably supported by Gouffran and Sissoko bristled with the promise of making a late surge towards the European places. News soon turned sour though with the deal thought to be agreed for a summer arrival and then confirmation from the player himself that nothing had been agreed.

Newcastle eventually walked away with Luuk De Jong of Borussia Monchengladbach on loan. De Jong has significantly fallen down the pecking order at the German club raising question marks over the signing, when there were more prospects available closer to home – Jordan Rhodes anyone?

Then came the hammer blow and the exit of Cabaye to PSG. Strongly linked to Arsenal in the summer and Manchester United as well, PSG made an offer Newcastle couldn’t refuse and also left them with little time to replace their star. Couple this with the defeat to Sunderland and registering four home defeats on the spin and it has left the mood round St James Park decidedly meek and sombre.

Fear not though Geordie Fans, below is a list of 3 players that can come in and replace Cabaye and restore Newcastle’s creative hub.

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Manchester United: Sign Bundesliga Starlet With 5 Goals, Release Defensive Duo And Build Around Jones

Being a Manchester United fan I have already given up on this season and am willing to put it down as a transitional period. David Moyes’ first season was never going to be easy, and although I didn’t expect it to be this miserable as it has turned out, I am willing to look past it and look forward to the World Cup and then next term. To do this though I feel we need a mass overhaul in the summer months.

The first thing I would do was get rid of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, who are both out of contract in the summer months, and build the defence around Phil Jones. He is a powerful player who is good with his feet and he continues to improve with every game, though once he settles into a permanent role then I think he will flourish.

Secondly I would look to sign Schalke’s 18-year-old starlet Max Meyer who is blossoming in the German topflight. He is a central attacking playmaker who has been known to drift out into the wide areas and he is in sparkling form right now.

He has scored five goals in his 17 league games and another in the cup, but it’s his creativity that is most impressive.

He would fit nicely with Adnan Januzaj and Juan Mata and would add some much needed inventiveness for the forwards. 

Arsenal Star Believes In Title Hopes – But Will Fickle Fans Be Their Downfall?

When things are good at the Emirates they are very good, but when the tide turns the Arsenal supporters seem to have very little patience. Despite the numbers the Gooners are a fickle bunch in my experience and can often be the downfall of their form as it piles so much pressure onto the side. I’m not slating the fans – they pay their money so can do what they want, and after so many years without a trophy you can probably understand why they’re vocal with their displeasure.

Anyway, there is one man who believes in the Gunners and how they are performing and that is goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

The big Polish shot-stopper has been in fine form this season and has kept more Premier League clean sheets than any other in the division, and his confidence in his team-mates is high.

The reports in ESPN quote Szczesny saying that he believes the squad has the mental strength to win the Premier League title, but I can’t help but feel that their fans may see them slip up.

Their reaction to their 5-1 loss to Liverpool sparked abuse towards their own players and they were equally as frustrated with the 0-0 draw with Manchester United, and you just wonder what will happen if the Gunners slip up against lesser opposition.

Arsenal fans, how do you feel about your chances?