Who should stay and who should go – A look at United’s contract situations

Who should stay and who should go – A look at United’s contract situations

Manchester United have been in constant turmoil this season, on the pitch, with poor performances, and off the pitch, with the hate against the Glazers, United’s owners being ramped up a notch this season. But one potentially problematic area is the contract situation for multiple players – so here’s a case by case look at that.

David de Gea 

United’s star keeper has been bearing the burden of a shaky defense for so long and has also rendered a lot of other problems with the side obsolete. To me, there is no doubt that DDG is by far the best goalkeeper in the world. However, since winning the title in 2012-13, there really haven’t been any proper title challenges to speak of, and DDG has reportedly become increasingly frustrated at the lack of trophies United have been able to gather. It’s a fair enough complain fora player of his caliber, but, United must, must, re-sign him, no matter the cost. God help us if we don’t. Should talks fail, however, United can trigger a 12-month extension in his contract, so we’ll at least be able to cash in on him.TLDR: Keep. 

Matteto Darmian 

Since arriving in 2015-16, the Italian has seen the number of minutes he has played each season steadily drop, and he has only played a single match this season so far, the 2-1 win over Leicester. He isn’t good enough, and is the fourth choice right back behind Young, Valencia, and Dalot, so get rid, no matter whether it’s by simply letting his contract run out, or triggering the extension and selling in the winter or summer. TLDR: Get rid. 

Ashley Young 

Previously a winger that wasn’t good enough, Young has re-invented himself over the past few years, becoming a very useful utility player. The man can play at either left-back or right back, and last season made 38 appearances in the United shirt, the most he ever has which is amazing considering he is now 33 and has been at the club since 2009. He’s a useful player to have around and deserves a contract renewal. Also worth noting that he does not have an option to extend his contract for a further year. TLDR: Keep

Antonio Valencia 

Much like Young, Valencia is a former winger turned fullback, and has even become captain, but, unlike Young, he has struggled in recent weeks, can only play on one side, and is in hot water with Mourinho after liking a post on Instagram calling for him to face the sack. As much as this one might hurt, I think it’s time to lose Valencia. United have the option to trigger a one year exstension should they want to. TLDR: Get rid 

Phil Jones 

The inconsistent defender, who has been made famous thanks to his beautiful faces, has really been on the downward spiral lately. Since his penalty miss against Derby County he has not featured in the team, and his struggles, both defensively and on the injury front, mean that he’s not worth keeping. United do have the option to trigger a one-year extension to his contract should they want to cash in. TLDR: Get Rid

Chris Smalling 

Like Jones, Smalling has his inconsistencies and errors, however, he has become the center back the club has got in its shaky defense, making the most appearances out of any central defender so far. While he really shouldn’t be a first team player for the club, he’s good enough to keep around. United have an option to trigger a one-year extension to his contract, should they want to. TLDR: Keep 

Ander Herrera 

United’s player of the year for 2016-17, since Nemanja Matic’s arrival at the club Herrera has struggled for game time. Add to that the fact Pogba, Fred, and McTominay are all younger and probably better (save maybe McTominay for the better part), and I think it might just be time to let Herrera go. It’s a hard choice to make, however, and Mourinho has stated his intention to keep him, so, you never know. United do not have an option to extend his contract by a year. TLDR: Maybe get rid

Andreas Pereira

Labeled the next big thing for so long, Pereria finally got his chance to impress when he was handed starts for United’s first two matches of the season. H0wever, in the second game against Brighton, he was hauled off at halftime and has been barely seen since. If he isn’t going to play, then there’s no use keeping him, but there’s plenty of potential left in him so make sure he gets sold and add a buy-back clause. United have the option to keep him around for another year if they so chose. TLDR: Get rid, but add a buy-back clause

Juan Mata 

Mata is an interesting case. He’s quite possibly my favorite ever footballer, one of the nicest guys around, and a darn good player. The problem is, he has never quite been a first-team player under Mourinho, and a player of his caliber deserves to be playing regular first-team football. Still, he’s worth keeping around. United don’t have the option to trigger an extension. TLDR: Keep

Anthony Martial 

Despite his rocky relationship with Mourinho over the years, along with DDG, Martial has probably saved his job, as the French man leads the clubs scoring charts with 7 goals so far. At just 23 he is a star of the future and utterly deserves a new contract. In fact, re-signing him should be Ed Woodward’s top priority. United have the option to extend his contract by twelve months. TLDR: Keep

 

 

 

Premier League: Our Round 12 predictions

Premier League: Our Round 12 predictions

Another week is gone, and now we come to our weekly premier league predictions. The time where I learn just how bad I am at predicting football, and worse, just how good Oliver is at it.

The gap between first, second, and third, continues to widen, with Oliver leading on 72, Alf following on 61, and myself in last on 53. Remember when it looked as if Alf would over take Oliver? Yeah, me neither.

On with the tipping!

Cardiff City vs Brighton

Dan

It’s Cardiff. Let’s be real here, Brighton aren’t exactly great, but there’s no way they’ll fall to the woeful Bluebirds. 2-1 Brighton

Oliver

Cardiff City went down narrowly last week to Leicester City, but they’ve now got a perhaps weaker opponent in Brighton. The Seagulls went down to Everton last time out, and I think these sides are fairly evenly-matched. This is looking like a draw. 1-1 draw

Alf

It’s getting too predictable that the Bluebirds are going to lose. Hopefully not a big one. 2-0 Brighton

Southampton vs Watford

Image result for Southampton FC vs Watford

Dan

Southampton are terrible, but Watford somehow managed to lose to Newcastle. Newcastle. Ugh, I don’t know, let’s go for a draw here. 0-0 draw

Oliver

I’d hate to be a Southampton fan right now. In sixteenth, with one win and just two points off last place. Watford lost last time out to bottom-placed Newcastle, however, and the Saints might just be good enough. Will Southampton finally get that second win? Nah. 1-0 Watford

Alf

Meh. 1-0 Southampton

Leicester vs Burnley

Dan

Burnley struggle away, and despite the helicopter crash, Leicester beat Cardiff. They’ll get another three points here. 2-1 Leicester

Oliver

Leicester won their last match. Burnley have just a point from their last four games. With home advantage, the Foxes should capitalise on a weak Clarets side, but I think they’ll struggle their way over the line. 2-1 Leicester

Alf

The Foxes are back to the King Power Stadium and will be hoping to seal a victory for Vichai. 2-1 Leicester

Huddersfield vs West Ham

Dan

Like Newcastle, Huddersfield finally got their first win against Fulham last week. Though West Ham are a much better side, my gut is telling me that this is a match that Huddersfield can just, just, edge out. 1-0 Huddersfield

Oliver

Neither of these teams are great, it’s fair to say. Both of them are coming off wins, and West Ham are up in thirteenth in the table. Should be enough for them to overpower a weak Huddersfield. 1-0 West Ham

Alf

Provided the form of the home side, it’ll be of no surprise if the visitors get the three points. 3-1 West Ham

Newcastle vs Bournemouth

Image result for Newcastle FC

Dan

As much as Newcastle loves doing exactly what I don’t tip, Bournemouth are a very dangerous side that were unlucky to lose to Manchester United last week. But, it’s Newcastle I’m tipping, so naturally they’ll prove me wrong. 2-1 Bournemouth

Oliver

Eddie Howe’s just very deservedly won Premier League Manager of the Month, and Bournemouth have been playing good football. Newcastle have one win – no prizes for calling this one. 2-1 Bournemouth

Alf

Sour cherries for the magpies. (Editors note: Jesus Christ, Alf, that is awful) 2-1 Bournemouth

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham

Dan

Palace continue to underwhelm, and Tottenham are a side that will punish them for it. 2-0 Tottenham

Oliver

Palace are one of the most boring teams in the Premier League. I’m not just saying that – there’s been just twenty-four goals in their PL games this season, less than any other team apart from Wolves. Spurs have got enough to win this one, but their opponents will keep the score low. 1-0 Tottenham

Alf

Tottenham may not be impressive against PSV but it’s Palace, so it should be okay for them. 3-1 Tottenham

Liverpool vs Fulham

Dan

Ok, so Liverpool may have lost to Red Star Belgrade, but that was their back ups. I’d be very surprised if Fulham shocked them again at Anfield, but I won’t be complaining if that happens either. Still, Liverpool are gonna win. 3-1 Liverpool

Oliver

Fulham can’t stop giving away goals and points, as the last-placed team and having conceded 29 so far. Liverpool aren’t scoring as many as Chelsea or City but they’re still netting enough to win this big. 4-0 Liverpool

Alf

Well done, Red Star Belgrade, for achieving the impossible and giving the Fulham team false hope. 1-0 Liverpool

Chelsea vs Everton

Dan

Maruzio Sarri’s side is now the only team unbeaten in all five of Europe’s top leagues in all competitions, and while Everton can beat anyone on their day, they can’t beat Chelsea. 2-1 Chelsea

Oliver

I don’t like picking my own team to lose, but that’s unfortunately what I see coming. Sarri-ball is 1) the most overused phrase in English football and 2) working wonders. Don’t see that stopping. 2-1 Chelsea

Alf

I’m sorry, Oliver. 3-0 Chelsea

Manchester City vs Manchester United

We have a full scale preview for this match!

Arsenal vs Wolves

Dan

Since their draw against Palace, Arsenal have fallen out of form, drawing twice, with a solitary win coming against against Blackpool in the League Cup. Wolves are very, very, solid team, despite their own poor run of form, and I think they’ll give Emery and he Gooners a shock.  2-1 Wolves

Oliver

Wolves keep scores low. 11 scored, 12 conceded. That won’t stop Arsenal from winning, it’ll just reduce the scoreline by a little. But the Gunners should wrap this up easily. 2-0 Arsenal

Alf

Arsenal just played Sporting Lisbon and finished in a goalless draw. Things aren’t looking good for them. 0-0 draw

https://www.90min.com/posts/6217905-southampton-vs-watford-preview-how-to-watch-live-stream-kick-off-time-team-news?utm_source=RSS

https://www.sportskeeda.com/football/premier-league-2018-19-newcastle-united-vs-chelsea-fc-game-review-ss

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2018/11/04/granit-xhakas-transformation-unai-emery-arsenal-game-changer/

 

Colours doesn’t matter, bragging rights does – An in-depth look to Manchester derby

Colours doesn’t matter, bragging rights does – An in-depth look to Manchester derby

I still could vividly remember last season, Manchester City needed just a win in the Manchester derby to clinch their title. The Cityzens could have the chance to celebrate in front of United supporters. However, Chris Smalling’s 69th-minute winner delayed the title celebrations of the home side for a bit.

Fast forward to November 2018. Manchester City are 2nd of the Premier League table while United are 7th. While City are on an unbeaten run like table-toppers Liverpool, United lost three matches against Brighton, Tottenham and West Ham with the fans chanting “Mourinho Out” outside Old Trafford.

Red versus blue. Mourinho versus Guardiola. Manchester United versus Manchester City. It is no longer just a matter of points and glory. It’s all about the bragging right of the winner of the Premier League fixture.

You’re in the right place for our analysis of the match of the century, with the details of the match itself, records last year and most importantly, score predictions by our team.


Details of the match

Teams: Manchester City vs Manchester United

Kick-off time: 11 November 2018, 1730 BST

Ground: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, UK

Kits: Home (blue by Nike) vs Home (red and black by Adidas)

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Manchester)

Injury list: De Bruyne, Bravo, Mangala (Manchester City); Dalot (Manchester United)


Form of both clubs

Manchester City:

  1. 3-0 away win against Shakthar Donetsk in the Champions League (D. Silva, B. Silva, Laporte)
  2. 1-0 away win against Tottenham in Premier League (Mahrez)
  3. 2-0 home win against Fulham in the Carabao Cup (Díaz x2)
  4. 6-1 home win against Southampton in the Premier League (Hoedt OG, Agüero, D. Silva, Sterling x2, Sané; Ings PEN)
  5. 6-0 home win against Shakthar Donetsk in the Champions League (D. Silva, G. Jesus x3, Sterling, Mahrez)

Manchester United:

  1. 2-2 away draw against Chelsea in the Premier League (Rüdiger, Barkley; Martial x2)
  2. 1-0 home loss against Juventus in the Champions League (Dybala)
  3. 2-1 home win against Everton in the Premier League (Pogba, Martial; Sigurðsson PEN)
  4. 2-1 away win against Bournemouth (Wilson; Martial, Rashford)
  5. 2-1 away win against Juventus in the Champions League (C. Ronaldo; Mata, Sandro OG)

Score predictions and analysis: 

  1. “Manchester City just can’t stop scoring. However, Manchester United displayed an awesome mentality to fight back. While it’ll be a possible call for a draw (or a high-scoring game), Manchester should be red if they United can keep it up. 2-1 United.” (Alfred)
  2. “Both sides have the potential to score goals, we know that. City are top of the division, in good form and with 33 goals in 11 games – it’s hard to see them losing. United haven’t been great this season and I don’t see them preventing another derby loss. City to win it, but not by much. 3-2 City” (Oliver)
  3. “City are on a roll with six goals in two games. Nothing, not even a rejuvenated United side is gonna stop them. 2-0 City” (Dan)

As always, “no score should be treated as certain before the final whistle is blown”. Also, here’s a friendly reminder for all of you: gamble wisely if you really want to place bets on football matches, or you’ll be in deep regret later.

Where we were wrong about Mourinho

Where we were wrong about Mourinho

It’s just impossible for Manchester United to get out of the spotlight, am I right? Mourinho is under constant criticism, and every loss seems to edge him nearer to the sack.

Lucky for Red Devil fans like me, this morning we had a good result, managing a 2-1 win over Everton (S0 suck it, Oliver). Pogba scored from a penalty rebound and Martial continued his run of good form by scoring his fourth goal in three premier league games.

And it’s Martial who I want to focus on. Because boy has he made a comeback. Before his goal against Young Boys in the Champions League a while back, he had gone eight months without scoring a goal. During the transfer window, he and his agent made it very clear that he wanted a move away from Old Trafford and had it not been for Ed Woodward, he probably would be plying his trade somewhere else right now.

Martial’s relationship with Mourinho has constantly been in the spotlight, and it’s been a rocky ride. Earlier in the year, he was fined for making it to pre-season training late due to the birth of his child, and he has been under constant criticism from his gaffer, and reports had said that Mourinho was the reason Martial wanted to leave the club.

But here we are, and Martial is flourishing. Mourinho, despite their struggles, is getting the best out of him.

And this isn’t just something we are seeing with Martial. Luke Shaw, another player who Mourinho who has constantly, criticized as not being good enough has been the sole mainstay of United’s defense this season, and was named United’s player of the month for August.

One of the big criticisms of Mourinho has been his handling of Martial and Shaw.

But this is one area we all have to step back from and admit the way Mourinho has handled these two players was the right way.

Admittedly, it is annoying to have these two players only now getting into form in his third year in charge, but better late than never.

I do remain dubious about whether Mourinho is the right man to take United forward, but, at the very least, he has gotten the best out Martial and Shaw. Credit given where credit is due.

 

Premier League: Our round 10 predictions

Premier League: Our round 10 predictions

How time flies! It feels like just yesterday that I was sitting down to see United beat Leicester in the first game of the season, but here we are, 10 rounds in already. Phew.

Blake, who’s real name is Oliver, and will now be refereed too as such, put some distance between himself and Alf last round. He’s on 54 points, Alf is on 49, and I’m well back on 39.

Ugh. No more optimism left in me, watch me continue to fail in this comp.

Brighton vs Wolves

Image result for Brighton FC

Dan

Brighton are a decent enough side, and they are also fairly solid defensively. With the Wolves somewhat struggling for goals, expect a shutout from the Seagulls, but not three points. 0-0 draw.

Oliver

Wolves don’t score many, but they don’t concede many either. Brighton have got home advantage, so I can’t see Wolves winning, but I doubt they’ll go down to the Seagulls. 1-1 draw.

Alf

The Wolves would want to roar back after losing to Watford at home. They have the mentality to do so against a decent Seagulls lineup. 3-1 Wolves

Southampton vs Newcastle

Dan

Last round was my final straw for the magpies, who I have consistently tipped to bounce back from their poor start and have consistently let me down. I can see a draw here for Newcastle, but out of sheer spite I’m tipping them to lose. Go Saints. 2-0 Southampton

Oliver

It would be fair to look at the table and say this is an easy win for Southampton. They’re higher up the table and they’ve got a win. But both sides have six goals, fourteen conceded. This will be a draw, and a dull one at that. 0-0 draw

Alf

Poor Magpies. 0-0 draw.

Liverpool vs Cardiff

Dan

Cardiff may have gotten their first win last weekend, but that was against a Fulham side who are a defensive shambles. Expect a slaughter at Anfield. 4-0 Liverpool

Oliver

Liverpool haven’t scored many goals this season compared to some of the top sides – they’ve got as many as Bournemouth – but it’s Cardiff City we’re talking about. They’ll take an easy win. 3-0 Liverpool

Alf

Liverpool defeated Huddersfield but it wasn’t convincing. Cardiff won against Fulham but Neil Warnock may need to find a new apartment soon. 2-1 Liverpool

Fulham vs Bournemouth

Dan

Two sides in good goal scoring form but with shoddy defenses? This has all the marks of a high scoring draw. 3-3 draw.

Oliver

Somehow, Bournemouth are sixth in the table after nine games. Fulham are conceding goals like there’s no tomorrow. Cherries have got this. 2-1 Bournemouth

Alf

The Cottagers may have lost last week but they scored twice. With the quality of the attack, it shouldn’t be hard for the home side to get the points. 1-0 Fulham

Watford vs Huddersfield

Image result for Watford

Dan

Both sides came away with results they can be proud of last weekend, with the Hornets beating the Wolves and Huddersfield keeping Liverpool to just a 1-0 victory. Watford will eek this out, but the Terriers will put a decent fight. 2-1 Watford

Oliver

It’s the same story here. Watford are seventh, Huddersfield are nineteenth. Watford are starting to slip, but it’s Huddersf1-0 Bield they’re playing. Easy win, but they’ll only score two. 2-0 Watford

Alf

People expected a rout by Liverpool but the Terriers proved otherwise. Yet, I don’t see Huddersfield winning it because their attack is weak. 2-0 Watford

Leicester vs West Ham

Dan

Two similar sides here, both who should be challenging for mid table mediocrity  – the coveted 8-12 places. Given their similarities and with injuries ruling out both Vardy and Yarlomenko, I can see a draw here. 1-1 draw

Oliver

Leicester have scored fifteen, conceded fifteen. They’ve not had a draw yet, and the slowly improving West Ham have only had one, but I can see this game being one. 2-2 draw

Alf

Vardy da man will do amazing things. 1-0 Leicester Editors note: And this my friends, is why you don’t send tips in too early. Vardy is out injured this game.

Burnley vs Chelsea

Dan

Look, if you are being held to a draw by Manchester United, there are some problems in your team if you’re challenging for the title. Let’s predict an upset here. 1-0 Burnley

Oliver

Chelsea will win, we know that much. It’s a question of by how much. They’ll score two, but no more – they’re away from home, after all, but Burnley are terrible defensively. 2-0 Chelsea

Alf

Meh. 3-0 Chelsea

Crystal Palace vs Arsenal 

Dan

I’ve been disappointed with Crystal Palace this season – I expected them to be challenging for top ten, but they are in danger of being pulled into the relegation battle. Unfortunately for them, they are up against an Arsenal side in red hot form. 4-1 Arsenal

Oliver

Arsenal’s winning streak isn’t ending against Crystal Palace of all teams. Palace just aren’t great and Arsenal will score a few. Not without conceding, however. 3-1 Arsenal

Alf

I don’t think Leno will keep a clean sheet in an away PL game. Cri. 2-1 Arsenal

Manchester United vs Everton

Dan

I support United. Oliver supports Everton. Oliver is thrashing me in the tipping. Oliver is a better writer than me. I really, really, need United to win this. Please. 2-1 United

Oliver

Everton have a positive goal differential, for one. United just seem like a mess, especially after the home loss to Juventus, and I just can’t see them taking a point 2-1 Everton

Alf

Mourinho failed to stabilize the ship against Chelsea but it’s Everton, so he can (for once), I guess. 2-0 United

Tottenham vs Manchester City

Dan

For the gazillionth time this season, I’m gonna let emotion cloud my judgement here. I hate Manchester City, and surely, Tottenham have the quality edge them in this game. This emotional form of tipping is why I’m last, folks. 2-1 Tottenham

Oliver

Spurs are on four league wins in a row. Manchester City are on one only, but they haven’t lost a league game this season. They’ll win, and they’ll win well. 3-1 City

Alf

Burnley are no Tottenham, CIty fans. 1-1 draw
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2017/06/14/brighton-fixtures-2017-18-premier-league-schedule-key-dates/
https://www.thestar.com.my/sport/football/2018/08/27/watford-the-surprise-package-in-premier-league/
https://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2018/10/24/18018522/manchester-united-vs-juventus-2018-uefa-champions-league

5 things noticed in Arsenal’s 10 game winning streak

5 things noticed in Arsenal’s 10 game winning streak

As an Arsenal fan myself, I expected my favourite club to struggle under the first year with Unai Emery, who became Arsène Wenger’s successor.

In spite of the first two defeats in the Premier League, they’re in, currently, a 10 game winning streak, which is impressive. Here are some points I’d like to take note of during these games. Continue reading “5 things noticed in Arsenal’s 10 game winning streak”

Premier League: Our round nine predictions

Premier League: Our round nine predictions

The international break is over, hurrah, which means that club football is back, and so is our predictions.

I’d like to give a big shout out to Alf for writing the tipping post last week, as I was in Samoa and I couldn’t, so cheers for that Alf. Zac is also (finally) back from Europe, but has allowed Alf to keep his spot in the comp for the rest of the season. So good man, Zac.

Anyway, my dismal run of form in this comp continues, as I’m on 34 points, as this really is a two horse race between Alf and Blake. Alf is on 43, while Blake sits in the lead on 46.

Time for another depressing round from myself. On with the tipping!

Chelsea vs Manchester United

Dan

Manchester United have been simply sub-par this season, and, to make matters worse, we have faced just a single top six team during that time. While the comeback win over Newcastle did show signs of improvement, they’re up against a Chelsea side that hasn’t yet lost and are proper title contenders. This shouldn’t be too difficult for the blues. 2-1 Chelsea

Blake

Chelsea are a team on fire at the moment. Sarriball’s working wonders, they haven’t lost a game yet, and I imagine they’ll easily deal with a weak-looking Manchester United. 2-1 Chelsea

Alf

Another chance to Mourinho and his men to prove himself. Chelsea may have beaten Southampton but not quite convincing. 2-1 Chelsea

West Ham vs Tottenham

Dan

Just when we thought West Ham were finally delivering on the promise that this squad had, they go and lose to Brighton. Well, there goes any chance of them getting anything out of the match against Tottenham. 3-1 Tottenham

Blake

West Ham were looking a shambles after four games but they’ve picked up seven points from their next four and they should take another point against a decent Spurs. 1-1 draw.

Alf

With some stars absent, West Ham will give Tottenham a hard time in finding a goal with Fabiański between the sticks. 1-0 Tottenham

Newcastle vs Brighton

Dan

It’s coming for the toon. I can feel it. They showed promise against Manchester United, and against Brighton, I think they’ll manage to see it out. 1-0 Newcastle.

Blake

Newcastle are awful. That’s all there really is to say about them. Brighton have been better than expected so far and they can carry that momentum into this fixture and take three points. 1-0 Brighton

Alf

Newcastle may have lost to an inspired Red Devils side, but their goals will inspire them to get the motivation to win the games. 1-1 draw

Bournemouth vs Southampton

Image result for Bournemouth players

Dan

With their 4-0 thrashing of Watford last round, Bournemouth will surely be able to easily overcome any threat that Mark Hughes’ Southampton pose as Eddie Howe’s team continues to show just how good they really are. 3-1 Bournemouth

Blake

Both teams haven’t been stellar defensively so far this season. Bournemouth however have scored sixteen goals, more than Liverpool, and will add a few against their South Coast rivals. 4-2 Bournemouth

Alf

Southampton showed that they have a weak attack against Chelsea. Bournemouth proved otherwise. 2-0 Bouremouth

Cardiff vs Fulham

Dan

Cardiff are all round terrible, but Fulham will still be low on confidence after their humiliation at the hands of Arsenal. One bore draw coming right up. 0-0 draw.

Blake

It says something about Fulham’s poor defending that I’m giving Cardiff a goal here, but it also says something about Cardiff’s quality that I’m still not giving them a point. Don’t expect entertainment. 2-1 Fulham

Alf

Time for Neil Warnock to go? The answer is “yes” if his team failed to win this one. 2-1 Fulham

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Watford

Dan

It’s one of these games – two very good teams in reasonably good form play each other in a match that could easily go any way. The home advantage and the sting of Watford’s defeat to Bournemouth will make me go with the Wolves, but, as I said, this can really go any way. 2-1 Wolves.

Blake

Watford are really starting to slip down the table. Wolves have made it to seventh without being brilliant, although their defense has been solid. They’ll eke out a narrow win here. 1-0 Wolves

Alf

Both teams are in good form and no one would want to lose – so it’ll be an equal contest. 1-1 draw.

Manchester City vs Burnley

Dan

Burnley remain a solid side with the potential to cause any team problems – and while they might cause a few against the citizens, it’ll be nowhere near enough to keep Guardiola’s side from strolling to victory. 2-0 Manchester City

Blake

The Citizens are sitting pretty at the top of the league whilst Burnley are slowly moving up the table. City should still win this one comfortably, at home. 3-0 Manchester City

Alf

Sean Dyche’s Burnley career may end at the Etihad as his philosophy doesn’t work effectively anymore. 3-0 Manchester City

Huddersfield Town vs Liverpool

Dan

Press F to pay respect to Huddersfield, folks. This game will be nothing short of a slaughter. 5-0 Liverpool

Blake

There are two types of Liverpool. There’s the Liverpool that plays poorly and the Liverpool that plays brilliantly, and there’s no way of telling which one you’re gonna get. This game could be 6-0, but let’s go a little lower. 1-0 Liverpool

Alf

I feel sorry for the Terriers but I’ll be more surprised they can stun Liverpool for the three points. 4-0 Liverpool

Everton vs Crystal Palace

Image result for Everton players

Dan

Much like Burnley, Palace are a side that can give anyone problems – on their day. But it won’t be their day, and Everton will put them to the sword. 2-1 Everton.

Blake

The most boring team in the Premier League meets Everton away. Typically I just say 0-0 for Palace games, but I’ve got a different feeling about this one. Everton should take a win. 2-0 Everton

Alf

Richarlison starts scoring again. End of. 1-0 Everton

Arsenal vs Leicester

Dan

Leicester are a decent, if unremarkable side, but as they’ll be up against the red hot Lacazette-Aubameyang partnership, backed up by an Arsenal side that’s working well under Emery, it’ll be Leicester who will be dropping points. 2-1 Arsenal

Blake

Arsenal’s lengthy winning streak isn’t going to be ended by Leicester City of all teams. Lacazette and Aubameyang should manage to combine for a couple of goals. 2-0 Arsenal

Alf

There will be goals from both sides (Leno isn’t going to keep a clean sheet again cri), but things seems to go well for the Gunners. 2-1 Arsenal
Image credit:
http://fcnaija.com/5-chelsea-players-who-could-surprise-you-this-season/page/1
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https://www.goal.com/en-us/news/rooney-fellaini-and-the-players-who-have-played-for-both-man-utd-/1uex2c4rtzt9k19vglq1oe83kq

 

Leno is great but the Gunners are no one-man army

Leno is great but the Gunners are no one-man army

As an Arsenal fan myself, I was thrilled when I heard that my club decided to sign Bernd Leno from Leverkusen to compete with Čech and Emi Martínez. Despite the deal, I still believe that Arsenal still has yet to fix the long-term issue from the Wenger era.


Here’s a review of what happened in the first two months of Emery’s journey with the club.

Petr Čech was the starter GK of the first PL games at the beginning of the Unai Emery era, who conceded in every match he played (including the defeats against Manchester City and Chelsea) until being injured against Everton.

He was then replaced by Leno in half-time, who became the undisputed No. 1 in the lineup, keeping two clean sheets against Watford and Qarabağ. Against Fulham, his fellow countryman André Schürrle scored but Arsenal fought back and sealed the win.

Now, you may argue that Leno has a better record than Čech. I did see the “Jens Lehmann” inside him, but the reality is, the German is no Superman. It all lies on the responsibility of the team and depending on Leno himself can’t always save the day.

Leno would have stopped Brentford from scoring if he did better in his positioning for the free-kick. For Schürrle’s goal, the Arsenal defence failed to stop the counter-attack and created a huge space for shooting, leaving the full-backs and Leno helpless.

Yes, Leno is a good goalkeeper – still, let’s be honest, even with him, the Arsenal defence is still inconsistent.


The best thing about the current Arsenal squad is that they have yet to surrender a penalty, which is a sign of improvement. They did concede fouls, yet this can be a side-effect of the signature “high pressurising” policy employed by Emery.

Keeping a clean sheet is not just about luck. The defence should do their utmost to prevent the opposition to find the space to shoot. At the same time, the goalkeeper must do everything in his power to stop the ball from hitting the net.

The problem is that Arsenal still lacks a leader in defence, like what Tony Adams did in the past. It is of no secret that Mustafi is unsteady. Holding needs more experience in the XI. Sokratis is superb but his sole presence is no solution to the issue.

Recalling Reiss Nelson is the cheapest option to bolster the frontline. Thus, a young, commanding defender should be a priority in the ideal transfer plan of the club. In other words, Arsenal should do what Liverpool did with van Dijk last season.

Of course, the defence of a football team should never be a one-man show. Leno did well in his past few games but is still learning the bits and pieces of the PL. This is why the addition of a proven guardian will make the job easier for Emery to handle.

To be great again, Arsenal must put one step forward and progress further in their transfer business. While purchasing defenders may not be as rewarding as forwards who contribute by scoring goals, this is, clearly, the right thing to do.

Premier League – Our round eight predictions

Premier League – Our round eight predictions

We all love the Premier League, no? As an Arsenal fan, with the victory against Qarabağ, I couldn’t believe that the team are winning 8 games in a row (Dan’s gonna kill me when he returns). Can they make it 9 this Sunday?

Anyway, Dan’s trip to Samoa with technical difficulties (this is the reason he’s not providing the descriptions this time) is why I’m in charge of the predictions this week (he’ll be back soon). Let’s kick off the predictions with a bang!


Brighton vs West Ham

Alf

Beating the Red Devils can be seen as a great achievement, let’s hope that the Hammers will continue their streak. 2-1 West Ham

Blake

The Hammers are starting to pick up steam, finally, with seven points in three games. Brighton away will be a challenge, but not one they can’t overcome. 2-1 West Ham

Dan

3-2 West Ham


Burnley vs Huddersfield

Alf

Will be a hard fight for the Clarets but they’ll win at the expense of David Wagner’s job. 1-0 Burnley

Blake

Huddersfield are really quite terrible, aren’t they? Three goals scored so far, sixteen conceded, two draws only. Burnley, like West Ham, are starting to improve and will win easily. 2-0 Burnley

Dan

1-0 Burnley


Palace vs Wolves

Alf

The hungry wolves are hunting for the eagles, who doesn’t seem to be able to fly any higher. 2-0 Wolves.

Blake

The two least goal-friendly sides in the Premier League go up against each other. There have been thirteen goals in Crystal Palace’s PL games this season and fourteen in Wolves’, against an average of 19.9. The trend should continue. 0-0 draw 

Dan

1-1 draw


Watford vs Bournemouth

Alf

The Hornets may have lost against Arsenal but they’ll be buzzing back home with strength. 2-1 Watford

Blake

Two teams I certainly didn’t expect to be in this position seven games in go head-to-head and I can’t see either of them having enough quality to win, nor enough weakness to lose. 2-2 draw

Dan

2-1 Watford


Leicester City vs Everton

Alf

With Jamie Vardy on fire, I believe that there will be more goals. 2-2 draw

Blake

Everton ostensibly played a second team in the EFL Cup in midweek so I can’t imagine there’d be any major selection problems. The Foxes have been good but they haven’t played half-decent opposition since they lost to Bournemouth and I think the same will happen here. 2-1 Everton

Dan

2-1 Leicester


Tottenham vs Cardiff

Alf

Barça are no Cardiff. End of. 3-0 Tottenham

Blake

Cardiff really are a bit useless too. Spurs are a good side, even if they haven’t been stellar so far this season, and they’ll take advantage of the Welsh side’s weaknesses to put a few past them. 4-0 Tottenham

Dan

3-0 Tottenham


Manchester United vs Newcastle

Alf

If Mourinho doesn’t win this one, it’ll be the end of an era. 1-0 United

Blake

United have lost to West Ham and drawn with Valencia in the last week, and I’m not seeing any signs that they’ll improve by much. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll win, it’s Newcastle they’re playing. But it won’t be convincing. 1-0 United

Dan

1-0 Newcastle


Fulham vs Arsenal

Alf

Calum Chambers may be able to face his parent club but that’s another story for another time. And is it the time for the Gunners to show their away kits? 3-1 Arsenal

Blake

Say what you like about Arsenal but they’re not a bad side. They’ve just beaten Qarabag playing what looked like a somewhat half-hearted lineup and I think they’ll win again. Fulham haven’t impressed many people this season, but they’ll at least have a say in this match. 3-2 Arsenal 

Dan

1-1 draw


Southampton vs Chelsea

Alf

A one-sided contest expected. 3-0 Chelsea

Blake

What happened to Southampton? Three years ago I would have said that the Big Six was becoming a Big Seven. They’ve really fallen by the wayside. Chelsea, on the other hand, have rebounded from a poor season and are doing well. They’ll win this one, no question. 3-1 Chelsea

Dan

2-1 Chelsea


Liverpool vs Manchester City

Alf

An improved LFC squad should be able to win this one. 2-1 Liverpool

Blake

Liverpool put their best side out at Chelsea and drew. They put them out again in Napoli and lost. They’ll do the same, against the incumbent champions, and they’ll lose again. 2-1 City

Dan

3-2 Liverpool

Why United need to play attacking football

Why United need to play attacking football

Defensive football is atrocious. It’s bad enough that a fan of any club has to sit through the passing around of the ball at the back, but, as a Manchester United fan, with a deep-rooted history in playing attacking football, it hurts just that little bit more.

Playing attacking, attractive, football is the United Way. For 26 years under Fergie, we played (mostly) attacking football.

Attacking football is a part of the club. To not play attacking football, is a disservice to the club’s legacy.

Unfortunately, under Jose Mourinho, we are doing anything but. The football we are currently playing, to be frank, is boring.

And while I could continue to point out how defensive football is a disservice to United, the fact is that playing defensive football isn’t even practical for United

Because as we all know, United’s defense is utter garbage.

Bailly, Lindelof, Smalling, and Jones all do not know how to defend. It’s as simple as that.

But when you look at the other side of the pitch, the options are very different.

Lukaku, Martial, Rashford, Lingard, Mata, and to a lesser extent, Sanchez, make for an utterly mouth-watering front line.

Look, United’s back line is an utter shit show. There is no escaping that fact.

But, United could have a rock solid attacking unit. If we abandon defensive football, acknowledge that we are gonna concede every game, and simply try to outscore our opponents, we might be having a much better time in the game.

With Mourinho on the cusp of getting the ax, this could be his main hope to keep his job.