Category Archives: Manchester United

Understanding Why The Premier League Is The Perfect Destination For Zlatan Ibrahimovic

zlatan ibrahimovic

Lots of the football enthusiast community is talking about why the Premier League is the perfect destination for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Mino Raiola is his agent, and Mino Raiola has been more or less trying to keep the fans guessing as much as possible about what is ultimately going to happen to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Many people are excited about the possibility of Zlatan Ibrahimovic being part of the Premier League, and a lot of people believe that this is the only organization that is going to be worthy of his talent.

There have actually been several Premier League clubs interested in Zlatan Ibrahimovic for some time, and this is only one of the reasons why it makes sense that he and his agent appear to be more or less holding the players in a state of flux. It should be noted that episodes like this in the careers of people like Zlatan Ibrahimovic are actually essential for a number of reasons.

For one thing, episodes like this are important for generating publicity. Sports stars are still celebrities. Their lives might not be ruled by publicity in the manner of socialites and even Hollywood actors, of course, but publicity is still really important for them if they want to be able to get ahead in their careers. Hearing about all of the Premier Leagues that are interested in Zlatan Ibrahimovic can really help his career, even though he is certainly an excellent striker.

It isn’t true that if people are talented enough, they don’t have to worry about garnering the right amount of publicity. Agents and the leaders of the Premier League are still going to care a lot about making sure that they have money, and they are not going to be bringing in enough money if their sports stars are not constantly in the news. Hearing about Zlatan Ibrahimovic getting associated with all of these different interested parties should really be able to generate even more buzz than his talents would otherwise.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is now thirty-five years old, which means that he should be reaching the zenith of his career by this point, or his career should be starting to level off soon. Sports stars are playing later and later in some cases these days, but it is important for athletes to really make it by the time they reach their mid-thirties. It is important for someone like Zlatan Ibrahimovic to really demonstrate that he is still in demand, and it is important for him and his representatives to demonstrate that he is still a man who is on the top of his game. This is when he should be bringing his success to new heights, and it looks like this is the case for him.

At the Wintingo Online Casino,The politics of the football world are certainly interesting to watch, particularly when they apply to the rising stars and the stars who have avoided becoming falling stars. Sports betting just adds to the excitement.

And Then There Were Three – Pogba & Mourinho Thrive In Midfield Trio

paul pogba

Just as the crescendo built to a cacophony, Paul Pogba has finally found some form. The world’s most expensive player was in danger of being labelled the worst signing in the history of football.

A late return to training didn’t help. Like many of the elite, he enjoyed a prolonged holiday and then further time off as he moved from Turin to Manchester. Had it been resolved earlier, he may have found his return to United smoother.

It wasn’t a familiar homecoming. Sir Alex Ferguson’s move to the boardroom led to turbulent times. Moyes and Van Gaal were disastrous appointments as United spent heavily and slipped out of the Champions League. Embarrassingly so in Moyes time.

Pogba was part of Mourinho’s masterplan to take United back to the top of the table. It hasn’t happened with United’s start to the season unconvincing. Wins in each of the opening three Premier League games were followed by 1 win 7; United dropped out of the top four and were flailing.

Seven games unbeaten steadied the ship but that included three consecutive draws, all of which were matches United should have won. An excellent 3 – 1 win in Swansea suggested a resurgence in fortunes but the failure to beat Arsenal was a sucker punch which hit United hard. They dominated the Gunners for ninety minutes but a late Olivier Giroud equaliser denied them the points they deserved.

Blighted by inconsistency

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Pogba was inconsistent. Capable of outstanding displays – he has won four Man of the Match awards already this season – he was equally anonymous in other matches. Mourinho used him as a deeper central midfielder, combining defensive duties with supporting the attack.

As part of a pair – usually with the impressive Ander Herrera – Pogba found his natural football instincts stifled by the defensive side of the game. The performances weren’t of an £85m man and questions, asked since the day the deal was made, were getting the wrong answers.

Mourinho was floundering as well. Increasingly irascible with the media, the Portuguese cut an isolated figure as he sought to lift the malaise engulfing his tenure at Old Trafford. Increasingly, it seemed that his reign might be as short as Moyes and Van Gaal; United were showing no genuine signs of improvement.

When the answer came, it was from a tried and trusted source. The pairing of Herrera and Pogba was augmented by the introduction of Michael Carrick. 35 years-old, the former Tottenham and West Ham midfielder remains an outstanding defensive midfielder.

Like James Milner at Liverpool, he knows his strengths and plays to them for the team. His arrival into the starting line-up to form a trio has given Pogba a new lease of life. The French international’s Man of the Match performances have all been since the inclusion of Carrick as United switched from a 4-2-3-1 formation to 4-3-3.

The series of draws – Arsenal, West Ham and Everton – can be ascribed to the players getting to know the formation and Mourinho’s ideas around it. Pogba and Herrera are certainly the main beneficiaries with both playing more advanced roles, knowing Carrick is minding the shop.

Signs of improvement

Prior to Christmas, United were on a run of four straight wins, games they might previously have drawn or lost. Before getting carried away with this, that run contained four games they expected to win. Trips to Zorya, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion ought to be won by even distinctly average United sides while Tottenham’s record at Old Trafford is dreadful.

They haven’t pulled up trees in terms of results but some of the collective performances have been light years ahead of the rest of the season.

Since the formation shift, Pogba’s match ratings from WhoScored.com have been improving, culminating in 9.42 out of 10 during the recent win at Selhurst Park. Maybe the yellow card he received stopped it being the perfect ten.

There’s definitely a sense that when the team plays well so does he. Maybe it’s the other way around or a symbiotic relationship. When he is subdued, it’s no coincidence that the team is.

On a personal level, his all-round game has found a rhythm. Against Palace his pass success rate reached a season high of 84% with 77 of 92 finding their intended target. He’s also become more willing to look for the long pass than earlier in the season.

The success of the midfield trio was highlighted in that game. Between them, they had 23.8% possession of the ball throughout the match with Pogba leading the way with 8.8%. It’s a staggering amount of the ball and underlines the dominating effect their manager wants them to exert on matches.

Crucially for Mourinho, the style and swagger associated with Manchester United is showing signs of return. The concerns aired before his appointment seemed to be coming true: a dour style of play, almost the antithesis of everything Ferguson’s sides are remembered for.

Now, United are looking to use the coming Christmas matches to build on the recent upsurge in their fortunes. With Pogba seemingly settled into the English game and Arsenal wobbling, the top four is not yet out of reach.

 

Two Reasons Why Ozil’s Rumoured Move To Manchester United Will Never Happen

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Mesut Ozil arrived to Arsenal in 2014, after spending four years with Real Madrid. Ozil landed at Emirates Stadium as one of the biggest purchases Arsenal made in last years, and seeing his performances during this time, Mesut has demonstrated that the people who said that were right. Now, the German is having one of the best seasons in his career, scoring great goals, giving a lot of assists and more important, making a big impact in Arsenal.

Also, Mesut is one of the referents of German national team after the departures of both Philip Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Playing with his national team, he has displayed the best of his game, he helped them to win the World Cup 2014 and reach the semi finals in past Eurocup in France. There is no doubt about Ozil’s quality, but there are things that the German midfielder and his current team have to arrange in order to keep the former Werder Bremen player in Arsenal’s staff.

Last week, we heard Arsenal reportedly offered a 5-years new contract to Mesut Ozil, but it seemed like the German player had some doubts about it, despite the huge salary increment this could mean. Also, there are a lot of reporters saying that this is because Manchester United’s boss Jose Mourinho wants Ozil in his team as soon as possible. Mourinho wants to take advantage of the doubts of Ozil and steal the talented player from Arsene Wenger.

More: Take a wild guess at , if you think Ozil will move to United.

Ozil has become one of the biggest figures for Arsenal right now, and even when we have seen important players leaving the Gunners for others English teams, we believe that Ozil heading to Manchester is almost impossible. Now, we’re giving three options for this theory.

He left Mourinho’s team when he arrived in London. Many people remember when Ozil left Real Madrid alongside Angel Di Maria due to the arrival of Gareth Bale in “Los Blancos”. At that time, Mourinho’s was the head coach of Real Madrid and, after they didn’t win any trophy, both the manager and the player left the team with serious differences between them both and the team.

Arsenal actually wants to renovate his contract.  Ozil will face his last year of contract in 2017, reason why Manchester wants to acquire his services. However, Arsenal knows how valuable has been Ozil to them, and they want to keep the midfielder in London for at least 5 more years. They even offer him a rise in his salary in order to keep Mesut in their ranks.

 

Liverpool vs Manchester United: 5 Things Learned From The Game

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‘Don’t Believe The Hype’ Public Enemy implored us. You might want to apply that logic to the Premier League if last night’s awful match was anything to go by.

I’m not the only one who believes it was bad; Jurgen Klopp did as well. The only positive he could think of in his post-match was not conceding or as he put it: “Our first clean sheet. Yippee.”

The German has a handle on English sarcasm already but there must be more than it just being Liverpool’s first clean sheet of the season, surely? Indeed there are…

  1. Manchester United Are Better At Pressing Than Liverpool

Manchester United looked at Liverpool this season and decided to play them at their own game. The Gegenpress came from the visitors. At one point in the first half, Liverpool enjoyed just 3% possession in the final third of the pitch.

United pressed from the moment Liverpool crossed the halfway line and in tandem with 6 or 7 defenders strung across their penalty area, thwarted the Reds hopes for creating space to exploit.

With Young and the less effective Rashford, ahead of the full backs, United were able to deny Liverpool space on the flanks and neutralise Mane. With Sturridge struggling to find space, he and the Senegalese international frequently found themselves making runs into the same areas.

Their dominance didn’t manifest in the possession statistics. United ‘enjoyed’ just 35% of the ball but Liverpool managed just two shots on targets all night, such was the consistency of the United players applying Jose Mourinho’s gameplan.

  1. Liverpool Are Predictable Without Lallana

When Liverpool did escape United’s shackles, Adam Lallana’s vision was sorely missed. The England international is adept at receiving the ball on the half-turn, ready to pass to either flank.

Returning to the Premier League as a second half substitute, the England international showed no signs of discomfort following his groin injury. With his introduction, Firmino moved to the centre and caused the United central pair more problems in thirty minutes than Sturridge had in the previous hour.

Lallana’s arrival was the catalyst for the home side to force the game. Coutinho drew a fine save from De Gea whilst Can did likewise. The Spaniard assuredly dealt with both, pushing the ball to safety both times with strong hands.

United though, kept nipping at Liverpool’s heels and in tandem with a 6 – 3 – 1 formation when they didn’t have the ball, forced Liverpool into hopeful balls toward the blue wall strung across the United penalty area.

  1. Paul Pogba’s Price Tag Is Weighing Heavy On His Shoulders

For the most part, he chased shadows. And then on 54 minutes he produced a peach of a cross for Ibrahimovic which the Swede surprisingly squandered. It was a horrible moment for Zlatan, genuinely bad.

The most expensive player in the world is not a title sitting comfortably on his shoulders. For the money United paid, they will be expecting more from him in the big games. In the recent Mancunian derby, he was all but anonymous and last night he was very much on the edges of the action.

Whilst Mourinho’s tactics influenced that – dictated his performance even – he showed little inclination to make incisive breaks when United had the ball. It increasingly left him running into channels and dead-ends.

His performance is summed with the damning statistics that of his 38 passes, just 27 were completed accurately. Not a lot of bang for your buck.

  1. Anfield Is Not The Seething Cauldron It Once Was

“You’ll never walk alone” still belts out from the Kop, sung with a proud gusto but football is becoming sanitised. Gary Neville tweeted:

 

He’s right. Years ago, Mourinho would have been walking a gauntlet of hate and whilst that manifested in unacceptable behaviour, to be faced with indifference and mobile phone cameras showed the Portuguese he had already won half the battle.

As it became apparent that United were a better side than the Kop expected, a hush descended onto Anfield with Jurgen Klopp’s barkings could be heard above the crowd.

Liverpool, struggling to break down their opponents’ obduracy, needed something to spark the supporters from their slumber and found little opportunity to do so.

United were relatively well-disciplined in not conceding free kicks or picking up bookings, so avoiding raising temperatures. In Anfield’s silence, United found strength to continue their performance.

  1. Ander Herrera Key To Smothering Liverpool

Until the second half, Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho were kept very quiet by United’s midfield. Integral to that was Ander Herrera. Recently called into the Spanish squad, he performed excellently in the same role Sergio Busquets does for Barcelona; the quiet destroyer.

He shackled both Liverpool’s central midfielders well, picking their pockets for possession on more than one occasion whilst forcing them to move the ball quickly and in doing so, passes went astray at an uncharacteristically high rate.

The Brazilian was allowed only one opportunity of note, with David De Gea’s right hand clawing the ball to safety whilst Can’s low shot was blocked in an equally emphatic manner. Aside from those moments, Herrera dictated the pace and tempo of United’s efficient pressing game.

Rightly accorded “Man of the Match”, expect Herrera to become a more permanent fixture in that role as Mourinho tries to make his team more difficult to beat.

 

Mission Impossible? Can Wayne Rooney Bounce Back?

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When his name was announced at Wembley last Saturday evening, Wayne Rooney probably didn’t expect the reaction it received. As the England and Malta players went through their warm-up routines, the Manchester United striker was roundly booed by sections of the crowd.

Rooney is England’s leading goalscorer but his club form and recent appearances for his country, have raised questions about his international future. He certainly wasn’t helped by Sam Allardyce’s reaction to the question of where Rooney’s best position was.

“Wayne played wherever he wanted to,” Allardyce observed, hinting that Rooney ruled the roost. “It’s not for me to say where he’s going to play,” hardly helped matters either. It was clear that the then-England manager was out of his depth with a clear inference that the Manchester United captain was picking the team.

At his pre-match press conference, Rooney tried to defuse the criticism he was receiving, denying he held too much influence and power in the dressing room. He seemed genuinely concerned about his portrayal and it turned out, with good reason.

Rooney’s star is waning at the moment in the stands and back pages. He has scored just twice in eight international appearances this year, comfortably his worst return since 2010. When the ridicule of Allardyce subsided, questions were raised about the shadow Rooney casts over the England squad.

With the Premier League returning, the questions which dogged him on England duty followed him back to Old Trafford. A substitute for the past three games, his future as a professional footballer is being called into question.

There’s talk of a move to MLS next summer. China has been mooted but as with the Beckham’s, ‘Brand Rooney’ has more to gain beyond his playing days, by crossing the Atlantic than the Far East.

Few would have thought it would come to this but the combined failures of Van Gaal and Hodgson last season have left an unseemly mess at Rooney’s door. For his career to be in doubt seems utterly bizarre but after a meteoric rise to fame, a sudden fall from grace should come as no surprise.

Wayne Rooney is only 31.

Writing him off is premature. His form has tailed off drastically, impoverished by the madness which embraced Louis Van Gaal’s reign. This isn’t a new problem; he’s scored 8 Premier League goals in his last 35 appearances and hasn’t scored more than twenty goals in a club season since 2011-12.

Ryan Giggs recently claimed that Jose Mourinho was the root cause of the problem. “I feel a little bit sorry for him,” said Giggs. “Towards the end of last season and for England in the summer he was played in that deeper role,” he went on, before adding, “then he was told he’s playing as a No 9 or a No 10 [by Mourinho]. He’s probably a bit confused.”

Giggs was hardly likely to mention Van Gaal as the root cause of the problem. As the Dutchman’s assistant, it would have been an admission of guilt by association. If Mourinho confused Rooney, he was completely befuddled by the Portuguese’s predecessor.

This season has seen his confidence rocked further and as a result, his play has become ponderous. Passing whilst finding its target, is slow, an extra touch taken here and there whilst the runs he is making lack the incisive quality which brought him so much success.

His value to England lies mainly in being the only player seemingly capable of hitting a decent set-piece. That said, when introduced by Gareth Southgate in the tedious 0 – 0 draw with Slovenia, at least Rooney offered a genuine attacking threat, something none of the others managed all night.

Redemption is at hand in Monday night’s match. Liverpool, as any United fan will tell you, is the biggest match of the domestic season. An intense match, where rivalry is based on hatred not geography. Rooney is a Scouser, a former Everton player and with the mentality that Sir Alex Ferguson burned into his players for this match. And there is no better stage for him to find a resolution to his current woes. The match requires an experienced head to balance the exuberance of United’s attacking youth. With Ibrahimovic as the pivot of their attack, Lingaard, Martial and Rashford offer the pace but too much exuberance.

Playing in the deeper role, Rooney has the opportunity to arrive later in the box, to create a different threat or exploit lax marking. The Liverpool midfield has that in them, which Arsenal highlighted on the opening weekend.

But one game isn’t enough, Rooney has to adapt to his new role quickly. Mourinho is not noted for his patience and is already looking to next summer for new signings. The prime target is Antoine Griezmann but it’s unlikely the United board will sanction a move with both Rooney and Ibrahimovic on the payroll.

Rooney’s future may not come down to his form. At £300k per week, he is one of their top earners and something has to give. The question for the club to answer is whether they sell Rooney before a replacement is lined up. This might be the last summer when a good price can be claimed from prospective buyers, a point they will be acutely aware of.

His career isn’t over but a new course is being plotted. That alone is motivation for him to rediscover his form.

 

EPL Week 9: Chelsea vs Manchester United Preview

Chelsea

The big game happening this Sunday is Chelsea vs Manchester United and it will be the first time that Jose Mourinho will face his old club since he was sacked last season. Chelsea has a great record against Man U as they are unbeaten since 2012. They will be hoping that the run continues to prove that they got it right by sacking the “special one”. I do not expect it to be a high scoring match as the last eight encounters have been won by a single goal apart from one game. New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is still finding his feet in the Premier League but will have his players fired up for this battle between two of the best teams in the league.

Chelsea Recent Form

The Blues under their new manager did not get off to the best of starts with players struggling to adapt to the manager’s new tactical system. In recent games, though their form has improved with wins over Hill City along with Leicester City and will be hoping that it continues on Sunday. Man U will be a real test to see how far they have come since the arrival of Italian manager Conte. So far this season they have not done well against the best teams in the league. They have lost to both Arsenal and Liverpool so will want to show that they are genuine title contenders by beating the Red Devils.

Manchester United Form

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After a great start to the campaign Man United’s form has dropped in recent weeks. They managed a respectable draw at Liverpool but followed that up with an another draw against Stoke City. Before those two games, it looked like Mourinho had managed to find his best team as they thrashed last year’s champions Leicester City. They will need a big performance from record buy Pogba if they are going to get anything from the game. After a slow start, the player seems to be finding his feet in the league and it will be up to him to give the leadership that the Red Devils have been missing in recent season.

Injuries and Suspensions

Chelsea will be without both Willian and Oscar who are both in Brazil on compassionate leave due to deaths in their families.and it is not known if either will return back in time to play in the game.John Obi Mikel, CescFabregas, and BranislavIvanovic will all face late fitness tests due to suffering from knocks in earlier matches.

Manchester United are in slightly better shape with regards injuries as they just have out Anthony Martial and Morgan Schneiderlin with both players suffering from muscle and knee injuries. Defender Phil Jones is a long-term injury and not expected back anytime soon but there is good news on HenrikhMkhitaryan as he is expected back from injury. Mourinho will be hoping that the team does not suffer from any more injuries when they play Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday.

Chelsea vs Manchester United Prediction

As we have seen with all the teams that compete in the Europa League the players struggle to be fully match fit in time to play on Sunday. With Chelsea having the home advantage I am predicting that they will win 1 – 0. However, both managers like to set up their teams to be defensive so it could end up in a 0 – 0 draw. Check out the best odds from the top online bookmakers by visiting

 

 

Why Ander Herrera And Juan Mata Should Be The Regular Starters For Man United

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The headlines may have been grabbed by the signing of Paul Pogba but Manchester United’s ambitions may be better met by their Iberian pairing of Juan Mata and Ander Herrera. Pogba has an important role to play but the expectations are that he will carry the team on his own and that isn’t going to happen.

Mata is an unlikely hero. Popular with players and supporters alike, he and Jose Mourinho have a history together. Bad history. It was the Portuguese who sold the Spaniard to United during his time at Stamford Bridge and the parting of the ways wasn’t pleasant.

For success to be achieved at Old Trafford, many thought that the hatchet would be buried. Mata hoped it wouldn’t be on his back.

Mourinho is holding out the olive branch, revising history. Mata was a key player at Chelsea according to the new wisdom and Mourinho didn’t want him to go. It’s music to the Spaniard’s ears, the only question is whether it is off-key.

Mata, according to the new United boss, is the perfect player at Old Trafford. “The football we want to play here is different,” he claimed. “I think Mata is very adept to do that with his qualities. We need players with these qualities. He has found a very good natural habitat.”

Under Van Gaal, Old Trafford became bored. United were all too often one-dimensional and focussed firstly on stifling the opposition. With a player like Mata, that tactical idea is counterproductive. He isn’t a defender but give him the ball and the guile which was so sorely missed during the Dutchman’s reign, is evident by the bucketload.

A mercurial player, Mata can unpick defences in any way you can think of: dribbling, shooting from range, a well-measured pass; he genuinely does have it all. Dragging that out of him consistently is the key and most difficult part.

But he is only one part of the solution to the puzzle which currently confounds Mourinho. The United express was derailed but got back on track with last weekend’s thrashing of defending champions Leicester City.

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Ander Herrera was a boyhood Manchester United fan. Growing up in the Basque region, it was inevitable he would sign for Athletic Bilbao albeit via Real Zaragoza initially. From there, he moved to Old Trafford, the only place he could envisage going if he was leaving home.

Into his third season at United, he is increasingly popular with supporters. Becoming a bit-part player under Louis Van Gaal, Mourinho has shown faith in the Spanish international. The midfielder has more balance to his game than he was given credit for by the Dutch manager. Not as overtly defensive as Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin, he is more adventurous than either, capable of adding a new dimension to the attack.

His new manager wants to harness that attacking spirit but add defensive discipline. Carrick is heading toward the footballing pasture and Herrera has the potential to be his natural successor, with added attacking potency.

Herrera is an adaptable player, one who can fulfil a number of roles in the United starting line-up. That versatility may have been damning in the past but now is a positive attribute in players. He has shown a knack for getting forward, the most attack-minded of the midfield when he scored in the recent EFL cup-tie at Northampton.

The question is whether he can develop into the all-encompassing midfield role and meet Mourinho’s expectations at the same time. United want silverware, it’s the only reason any club hires the Portuguese and if it isn’t arriving, he won’t waste any time in changing the weak links – as he perceives them – in the line-up.

If Herrera is learning his trade in a new role, time is not his friend and no amount of popularity with supporters will save him.

The signs are encouraging. Herrera has vision with strong distribution, preferring a forward pass to one sideways or back. He isn’t averse to going Route One either and United have profited previously from the mayhem this can cause.

It’s mainly a question of balance. Is he too similar to Schneiderlin or Mata at the moment to work well with both? Certainly Schneiderlin seems to be heading toward an Old Trafford exit, having made just a solitary substitute appearance in the Premier League so far. There is a long way to go yet in the season but with the new manager seemingly intent on ignoring his abilities, the Frenchman is looking for a new home already.

Part of the problem is Pogba. At £89m, he isn’t going to be a substitute or cast to the winds. His style is the very mix which Herrera can offer: box-to-box with a fine range of passing and shooting. Can United accommodate the pair and someone else in the defensive role? At the moment, that is Marouane Fellaini but recent results are not favourable and this is a results-based business.

Herrera though is the future hope and accommodating him now, letting him learn his trade in public is one ‘pain’ United and Mourinho must undertake.

Combined with Mata, the Iberian apex to the midfield can provide United with a wide array of options going forward. Harnessing them is a pivotal task but Mourinho has built bridges quickly after a summer in which Mata seemed likely to leave. It’s vital that he gets them working in tandem to United’s benefit to ensure progress is made.