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Time for a Real Test: Matchday 22 preview

This weekend isn’t as exciting as others, but there are still games worth talking about. So let’s begin as usual with what Manchester United are up to:

Stoke City vs Manchester United

After the Liverpool game, Manchester United and especially Paul Pogba have something to prove. There won’t be any Emoji advertisements so Pogba will have full concerntration to show what he can do. Pogba is usually a slow starter so it’s time for him to turn those good performances into amazing performances. I wouldn’t be surprised if we played like we did against Swansea, with Mata and Rooney outwide, to overcrowd the midfield. Stoke’s setup is similar to Swansea it would be the best idea to start off with, if it doesn’t work then we have enough on the bench to change the game. One thing I’ve been impressed with Mourinho is his quick decision making when it comes to making changes that are needed to be made. He did it against West Ham by bringing on Mata and Rashford to change the game, and they did. He also did it against Liverpool when our usual style wasn’t working. His decision making has saved us many points. Stoke at this moment of time are going to be difficult. Out of form Stoke are easy to deal with, but when players like Arnautovic and Crouch are playing very well, they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Smalling would be the right player to start to deal with the aerial threat of Crouch. But we’ll just have to see how it goes. This is a must win game. Because there is a good chance City will lose (will get to that game in a minute), we have to overtake them. All we need to do is look at the team above and only worry about them. It will be the best way to approach the second half of the season.
Prediction: Stoke City 0:2 Manchester United

Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur

Oh Pep, what is happening on the blue side of Manchester? He’s having an awful time and is finally realising he doesn’t have the players he has had in the past. He thinks he can do what what he did with Lahm but with Zableta, but it doesn’t work. Zableta isn’t close to the player Lahm is. He can’t keep forcing his ways on a team that isn’t good enough. People are finally realising the mistakes he made in the summer, by not spending more wisely. Gundogan is a really good footballer but is too injury prone, Stones isn’t good enough to win the premier league with and Bravo is just not good enough. He doesn’t even make mistakes. But the shots he lets in would be saved by any other top keeper in the league. Bravo is an issue that has to be solved now or in the summer. He could be the reason why City won’t get Champions League football. Pep isn’t even getting the best out of Aguero. He’s one of the best strikers in the league but he just doesn’t look at his best for some reason. He’s always a reliable player but this is the worst he’s ever looked at Manchester City. It is confusing why people never take Tottenham seriously. Last season they proved they could compete with the so called big clubs and challenge for the league. They have an amazing keeper in Lloris, the best defence in the league, one of the best strikers in the league with Kane, and in my opinion the best manager in the league. Spurs are still missing that extra bit of quality but their team is young and has time to improve. They are on an amazing run of form and after beating West Brom and Chelsea, I think City will be next. I don’t think City have the wingers to deal with Walker and Rose’s work rate. It’ll be a comfortable win for Spurs.

Prediction: Manchester City 0:2 Tottenham Hotspur

AC Milan vs Napoli

This should be an interesting game. Napoli and Roma are the only teams that’ll be able to challenge Juventus and even overtake them. Roma are on a good run so Napoli need to win this to keep up with the Old Lady. The only player that should be talked about on that Napoli team is Dries Mertens. He’s been on fire in the past few games and is definitely the player to watch. AC Milan seem to be on the up, with young players coming in while the experienced players are helping them improve. All Milan need to do is get European football and they have a good chance of getting it if they keep it up. Serie A is very competitive right now. With the top 5 being every close. Milan need to keep winning to keep their future bright

Prediction: Milan 1:3 Napoli

Lyon vs Marseille

On paper this would seem like a big game but the league wouldn’t make it look so important. Lyon have been very good this season with Lacazette doing what he does best. They’ve also just signed Depay, who should offer them more quality on that left side. Marseille are definitely the next big club to go in the decline. After losing 4-0 to Monacco and unable to bring Payet back, they are not having a good January. It should be a comfortable win for Lyon

Prediction: Lyon 3:0 Marseille

Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool Review

Many people said the second match between the biggest clubs in the country was disappointing, and I have to disagree. The game at Anfield definitely was a disappointment. Mourinho wanted to make sure United didn’t lose because of the bad run of form we were in, and we didn’t. But this time we were the team in form and the scousers were out of form. When I first saw the line up I was very optimistic we would win comfortably. We had the best upfront and midfield we can offer and they were playing a child at right back. In fact that was the worst Liverpool team I’ve ever seen go to Old Trafford. They had no Mane, no Coutinho, no Matip or Clyne, arguably their best players. Mane is the only player in that team I think would get into the United team, so without him I thought they’d do nothing, and I was partly right. Liverpool set up for the draw. They neutralised Carrick so he would have no involvement in the game, which was a good move from Klopp. Without Carrick we struggle to get any move started. He starts the tempo and helps hit quickly and gives Pogba reassurance. Speaking of Pogba, what a nightmare he had. This was easily his worse game in a Man United shirt. He couldn’t get a hold of the game, only completing 70% of his passes. You could tell the occasion got to him with his marking. Pogba’s biggest flaw is his man marking is very poor and he struggles to keep on his man. Mourinho wanted him on Lovren for a reason. Pogba is the tallest and one of our best headerers of the ball, but he just couldn’t deal with Lovren. He got away from Pogba so many times it was appalling to see. Klopp wanted to make sure Pogba couldn’t do anything with the ball and he did that successfully. Every time he got the ball there were 3 players on Pogba straight. Even thought it was a smart move from Klopp, Pogba has to improve when he’s in this situation. Pogba loves running at players, but that doesn’t work against teams like Liverpool. He has to move the ball very quickly so they don’t get it. He has to improve his decision making and that should improve over time. He’s still only 23 and midfielders don’t usually reach their prime till they are 26-28 so he still has time to dominate that midfield. He just had to learn. Mourinho’s substitutions definitely paid off, mostly Rooney and Fellaini. Mourinho could see Carrick was out of the game in the first half, so he brought on Rooney to counter that and give us an extra man. Even though I don’t think he played great, he definitely helped us dominate the game. Fellaini came on because Mourinho could see we couldn’t play our way because they had 10 men behind the ball (I’ll get to Klopp’s hypocrisy in a minute), so we went to plan B, and it played off. Fellaini played a big part in the goal, gifting Zlatan the chance to score. Zlatan’s goal made me wonder where we would be without him, he’ll be instrumental in us getting top four if he keeps it up. This might be a point gained for Liverpool because of their poor form and the players they didn’t have, but this is 2 points dropped for United. We are too far from Chelsea now. All we can do is get top four and hope other teams drop points. It isn’t over till May. Jurgen Klopp after the game said soon as Fellaini came on it wasn’t football anymore. Well Jurgen I have to disagree with you. It wasn’t football anymore when all of your players were in your own half. I know your stubborn with your style and hate to change it. But plan B’s exist for a reason, so you find another way to break a team down. 
A quick congrats to Sevilla for finally defeating Real Madrid and to Fiorentina for beating the Old Lady. Also congrats to Monacco for finally getting to 1st in ligue 1. And if anyone hasn’t seen Andy Carroll’s goal yet, I’d highly recommend you do so. It is just sublime

5 players to replace Michael Carrick after this season

Michael Carrick is an expectional player and will go down as one of our best players in the last decade. The fact that we haven’t lost a game this season when he plays and it gives the other players more freedom while he stays back and protects the defence. A player like that is hard to replace, but there are definitely options, and I will list 5 players, different kinds of players, who could replace Carrick and keep that back line protected. Whether an exact replacement or a complete opposite in the way they play but still could succeed in replacing Carrick

At the club: Daily Blind

I personally don’t see the point spending money in the market if we have a player who could replace Carrick when we already have him at the club. I’ve always been a fan of Blind, his versatility has been a blessing for us in the past few seasons, helping out when we have injuries in key positions. He’s such an intelligent player as well. One reason he was played at the back next to Smalling was because he could read the game so well. Blind might not have the physicality or the height necessary needed for this kind of role, but nor does Carrick. Both players’s games are built on reading the game and neutralising a threat before there is one. Blind wouldn’t need time to settle because he’s been in the league for a while now. If we did end up buying Griezmann and a centre half, then we wouldn’t need to spend more when we already have a player at the club to replace Carrick. Blind played 56 games for us last season, proving he doesn’t need the rest like Carrick has needed because of his age. I would be happy to see him replace Carrick, I think he’s improved since he signed and I hope he stays for a while.

Another at the club: Timothy Fosu-Mensah

I’m fully aware that he is still very young but this guy is the real deal. He might be very different player to Carrick but will be just as effective. Fosu has the potential to be a world class defensive midfielder, with his natural physicality and determination to impress whenever I see him play. The best thing about him is his bulldog approach to being a defensive midfielder, being similar to the likes of Kante and Roy Keane. He’s a hard tackler as well, I recall him playing against spurs and putting Erikson and Rose in his pocket, even covering for the incompetent centre backs because they weren’t doing good enough. When I see performances like those it makes me want to see him stay at United for a while. I just hope Mourinho doesn’t limit his game time and gives him more than 10 minutes here and there. He needs a start or even half an hour, to show what he can do.

The ideal replacement: Toni Kroos

Damn I love this guy so much. Toni Kroos is the best midfielder in the world by a long shot, because of how consistent he has been since his days at Bayern Munich. He might not have the box to box ability of someone like Vidal or Pogba, but for replacing Carrick, there is no one better suited. Toni Kroos is so good at picking out players, being able to notice space from anywhere on the pitch. He also reminds me a bit of Paul Scholes, in the way he controls the game and gets forward. Toni Kroos has a pass accuracy of 93% and has completed 849 passes this season, which is just unbelievable. One underrated quality of Carrick is his ability to control the game and slow it down if need be, and with someone like Toni Kroos there, it’ll be like Carrick never left.

If not Toni Kroos: Julian Weigl

Toni Kroos would be the ideal replacement for Michael Carrick, but not the most realistic. The chances of taking Kroos away from Madrid during Zidane’s time in charge is almost impossible. Zidane has already stated many times he doesn’t want to sell a single player and is happy with his team. A more realistic choice would be Julian Weigl. Weigl might not have the experience and consistency of Toni Kroos, but those are all things that will improve overtime for Weigl. He clearly has the potential to achieve the level that Kroos is at. In fact he is achieving some pretty high numbers at Dortmund right now. He has a pass accuracy of 91% and has completed 1021 passes this season, which are ridiculous numbers for a 21 years old. It shows his clear composure and intelligence. He already seems like a very mature player. Many critics have compared him to Sergio Busquets, which would be a huge compliment to the German. The likeliness of getting Weigl wouldn’t be hard, but would cost a lot. He has been exceptional for Dortmund since his debut last season and is invaluable to them. Dortmund are a selling club naturally so they wouldn’t reject a bid from us, but it’s how much will we offer is the real question. 

A realistic replacement: Tiemoué Bakayoko

Similar to Fosu, he will do the same job as Carrick but in a different way. Carrick himself isn’t an energetic and aggressive player. He relies on his reading of the game and controlling the tempo to take advantage. Bakayoko on the other hand is the opposite. He is an aggressive player who isn’t afraid to go in for the tackle. He will protect the defence in more natural way, making sure no one gets past him. He gives more energy to the role than Carrick could. His passing might not have completed as many passes as the likes of Weigl and Kroos, completing 611 passes this season, but the passes that go forward are much higher. 81% of his passes go forward, while only 71% of Weigl’s passes go forward. Bakayoko is a more direct player than the other, putting his body first over reading the game. He is the most realistic because Monacco are a club that have been brilliant in bringing in young talent, so they wouldn’t have a problem selling him. In fact we’ve already been linked to him with a £40m bid. I hope we get him cheaper then that, because Greizmann is the player we’ll need in the summer and we don’t want to be spending more money on other players.


Manchester United vs Liverpool Match Preview

It’s been a while since I wrote a preview but with the lack of games since every other league is on a Winter Break, it’s hard to find enough games to talk about but this weekend is hosting one of my favourite games of the season but has declined in quality over the past few years, and that is Manchester United vs Liverpool 

This is a must win game for both teams because the top six has became so close after Arsenal dropping points and United going on a long winning run. Both teams need three points and a draw just won’t cut it, because if they both drop points then that gives Spurs and Cheslea a chance to make the gap bigger, and I can just see United getting the three points here. Man united have been in form we haven’t seen since the days of Ferguson, and we’re actually playing well! And if we aren’t we still get the wins. That comeback against Boro especially made me feel nostalgic. The best thing about this winning run is how well Zlatan and Pogba have been doing. I don’t know where to begin with Pogba. He is just what we’ve been needing since Scholes left. Someone to do everything for us. He can go forward, assist, score, tackle, pass and has the body to run for days. He is just too good and I think he is worth every penny we paid for him. Zlatan is a player who just continues to surprise me and it’s great to see an actual world class striker playing for Man United again. For a 35 year old, he is playing like he’s 28. He’s played so many games and it’s amazed me that he has been able to play this many games. I thought he’d get around 15 goals in the league and hope the rest of the team would contribute. But that isn’t true. We’re relying on him and it’s justified. He is one of the players who makes our game work, by coming in deep and bringing other players in. People want Rashford to start ahead of him more but I don’t. Rashford is still 19 and has time to develop and who better to learn from than Zlatan and Rooney. Rashford will learn and eventually will be our main man. He’s just gotta wait. I’m not worried about Liverpool at all. The only players I’m worried about are Mane, who isn’t even at the club right now, and Coutinho, who can be dealt. Besides that every player we have is better than theirs. I think if Mourinho goes for it and makes sure to neutralise Lallana and Coutinho we should be fine and be back in this title race. Come on reds!

Prediction: Manchester United 3:1 Liverpool

Is Wayne Rooney a Manchester United Legend (and defining what a club legend is)?

A football legend isn’t too hard to try and define. Players who performed the greatest at the top level and found a way to keep themselves remembered way after they retire, by winning League titles or winning the Ballon d’or. A club legend on the other hand is way more subjective because more has to be done for a player to be considered a club legend. After Wayne Rooney equalised Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal record at Manchester United, there were many fans who stated that he is a Man United Legend because he’s won everything and equalised arguably the greatest England and Manchester United player’s long standing record, but there is more to it then that. A club legend is a decision that is agreed on by every fan, something that is decided unanimously and every fan will agree on without hesitation. Bobby Charlton is the perfect example of that. If you ask anyone at Old Trafford if Sir Bobby is a club legend, everyone would say of bleddy course he is, and that’s because Sir Bobby bled Manchester United. He was a Munich surviver who years later led Manchester United to a lot of success under one of our best managers we ever employed in Sir Matt Busby. He won the European Cup, the league and the Ballon d’or. He then became a director of Manchester United and was influencial in the growth of the class of 92 and to this very day he still goes to every United game home and away. There is no doubt he is a club legend. Sir Bobby epitomised the definition of a club legend and what every united player should aim towards. 

Sir Bobby is the easiest Man United player to define as a Man United legend. So is there anyone else? Well yes there is. The others being anyone who has a statue outside of Old Trafford, that being Sir Bobby, George Best, Denis Law, Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson. All of them are legends by default because they are shown as the embodiment of the club, they won everything they could at club level and were loved by the fans. Goerge Best’s legend status could be argued, mainly based on the fact of how he treated some United managers after Bubsy left. But he’s got a statue so he must be. The only other players I’d consider to be club legends are some of the class of 92, being Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, because of their loyalty and longevity. I notice a lot of fans throw the legend status around a lot, with players like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Eric Cantona. But I don’t consider them club legends. Their are definitely icons to the club and played a huge part in our success in the 90s but they aren’t legends. Again this a topic that is very subjective so it’s hard to make this objective. The way of looking at this would be do these two deserve a statue? Have they done enough for the club to deserve one? And that is no. I love both of these players and I would consider Cantona to be a premier league great. But he was only at the club for 4-5 years. He wasn’t at the club long enough to be considered a legend. Even though he was influencial in defining Man United in the 90s and helped us win titles, he just wasn’t there long enough to have a bigger impact. We’ve had strikers with better strike rates than him with the likes of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, who scored so many goals. But Cantona had that presence and that God like talent that made him so memorable. It begs the question is it longevity that considers you a club legend? It plays a part but it isn’t the defining factor. Is it success? Also no. Bryan Robson is considered a legend by many of the older fans but he won as many league titles as Anderson. So success in a way means something but also nothing at the same time. The factor to me that plays the biggest part when it comes to defining a club legend is love. Players like Paddy Evra and Solskjaer showed their love to the club and how much they wanted to succeed and win. Even players now like Herrera show it. In fact Pogba went to meet a fan who travels across the world to watch Man United. Things like that make fans like you, showing a connection to the fans.

After all that it’s finally time to discuss Rooney. So is Rooney a Manchester United legend? On the surface many neutrals will consider Rooney a legend because of what he’s achieved. He’s won multiple Premier Leagues, a Champions League and an FA Cup, but as mentioned before success isn’t the main factor. He’s definitely played for United for most of his career and he has scored so many goals. But as mentioned before it’s about the connection to the fans, and that’s why he isn’t a legend. Wayne Rooney has never made an effort to connect with the fans. He’s treated it as a job since he arrived. The guy is a phenomenal footballer or was a phenomenal footballer. Wayne Rooney used to run through walls to get the ball and smash it in the back of the net. He was great for long time even till the end of Moyes time as manager and I’d consider him world class at one point in his career. But the fact that he has always treated like a job and not for love of the game and club is where I have a problem. Players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Anderson Herrera and Paul Pogba have shown more love for the club and the fans this season than I have ever seen Rooney show. I constantly see Herrera be quoted saying how we need to improve and how much he loves playing for the club. I want him to be our captain instead of Rooney because of the passion he shows and it seems he loves the club and fans so much. I never see that from Rooney. Rooney doesn’t show the passion and love we’ve wanted him to show because he isn’t a united fan. The players I mentioned previously were all Manchester united fans as well as players and put their lives on the line for the club and staying involved. Rooney is an Everton fan. He takes his kids to Everton games because that’s the team he supports and grew up supporting. This is nothing against him personally because no one should force a man to support a team. It’s just an unfortunate circumstance and fans just don’t feel the connection because he isn’t a fan like them. One reason many don’t consider him a legend is the fact he has handed transfer requests in. The first being when United sold Cristiano Ronaldo and bought Antonio Valencia and Gabriel Overran. Rooney handed a transfer request because he was questioning the ambitions and goals of the club and he wasn’t the only one who did. I did. Following up the sale of the best player on the planet at the time with players who weren’t near the same level as him was not the right decision so I can understand why he was clearly frustrated. The other time would be in Fergie’s last season and I can understand why in that situation as well. It was clear Rooney was on the decline and it seemed Fergie new it, so he was trying to force him out by making him uncomfortable and making it hard for him to play the game. If your boss is treating you poorly you are going to want to leave. No one wants to work under someone who is treating you below usual standards. I still believe he was going to leave until Moyes arrived and made him captain and increased his wages. You really can’t blame either of them for that. Moyes wanted the fans to like him and he thought making the best player the captain would work, and Fergie left so he didn’t have a problem anymore. So his transfer requests are completely understandable. But the problem is still the lack of connection he has attempted to make with the fans over his 10 years with the club. I thank Rooney for what he’s done and hope he overtakes Sir Bobby because he deserves to, but I don’t think he’ll ever get a statue or be considered a legend by the majority of fans. He will be remembered for what he’s won and the goals he scored instead of his relationship with the fans.

Top 5 Football Moments of 2016

2016 is finally over and we can now look back at the year and highlight the best moments of the beautiful game throughout, and there are plenty. A lot happened in 2016. The transfer market exploded in the summer, managers were sacked and appointed, there were 2 international tournaments and records were even broken. So let’s get straight into it

5. Manchester United sign Paul Pogba from Juventus for £89m

The reason why the most expensive player is on this list is for many reasons. The main reason for me is what it shows or the Premier League. This is the first time in a long time since a team in the Premier League has been able to attract one of the world’s most wanted talents, a player wanted by clubs like Real Madrid. For years now the league has been unable to compete with teams from other leagues like Barcelona and Real Madrid. Manchester United signing Paul Pogba makes the EPL way more competitive in the world of European powerhouses. The importance of this will definitely be seen when Manchester United are actually in the Champions League, to see if they are as powerful as they seem. This is actually the first time since Newcastle signed Alan Shearer that an English team has broken the transfer record, showing Real Madrid aren’t the only power in the world of football. I think Pogba has been quality since arriving but others aren’t convinced yet. We’ll just have to see if he lives up to other transfer record breakers like Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.

4. Alex Teixeira moving to China

Even though he wasn’t the first player to accept those huge wages to move to China. He was the one that got everyone to notice the money China had. The first 2 being Ramirez and Paulinho, but both of those were not needed at their respected clubs. But Teixeira was a player in demand. A player wanted by big clubs like Liverpool, who put a big offer for them. But he refused in favour for the huge wages China were offering. He was a player in the prime of his career, who could of had a huge impact at a club like Liverpool and to show the talent he clearly has.But chose money over the game. As mentioned before I don’t have an issue with players near the end of their career moving to China, because you want an easy time while getting a huge check. But when players who still have years left in their career and could be an amazing player is just disgraceful to the beautiful game and brings out the money grabbing side of it. You player football because you want to reach the highest level and to show everyone the talent you have, not for money. Since Teixeira moved we’ve seen Oscar move for £60m and Axel Witsel move to China instead of the Old Lady Juventus. Teixeira was the first player in their prime to move and he can be seen as the beginning of the Chinese clubs spending ridiculous amounts of money to attract players.

3. Ronaldo winning the Ballon d’or

What a year Cristiano had in 2016! Even though I think he isn’t as good as he used to be, I still think he’s an exceptional player and easily one of the world’s best. As a player he’s evolved brilliantly from a flair winger into a goal poacher. Ronaldo has definitely had note worthy moments in 2016. The main one being the Champions League win. Not many people thought they would actually do it because of their new inexperienced manager in Zinedine Zidane. But they did with Zidane getting every game right expect the one they lost. And that’s where Ronaldo comes in. Ronaldo dragged Madrid from a 2-0 loss against Wolfsburg in the first leg to win 3-2 over both legs, with Ronaldo getting a hatrick in the second leg. When the final against local rivals Athletico Madrid went to penalties, it had to be Ronaldo to score that winning penalty. Even though he didn’t play a huge part in the semi finals and the final, he was the one to drag them out of that mess in the quarter finals. Then came the Euro 2016 tournament. Even though to me Portugal didn’t deserve to win based on the fact they came third in their group, Ronaldo did captain them and scored vital goals to help Portugal out. Even though he was unfortunately injured in the final, he was still there to motivate his team to push for that vital goal. His speech after they won the match was brilliant and a real leader’s words. Then came him winning the Ballon d’or. He was the only one I could seeing winning the esteemed award, mainly because of how many goals he scored and what he achieved with Madrid and Portugal. No matter what anyone says he did deserve to win it. That was the year he deserved to win it more than any other year based on how hard he worked. And he worked harder than he’s ever worked in 2016, and you have to credit that.

2. Leicester winning the Premier League 

It’s time to talk about the biggest underdog story in football and maybe even in sport. This is something I could go on about for a while but I’ll try and keep it short as possible. Leicester was a team full of players no one wanted like Kante and Mahrez, players who worked their way up from lower leagues like King and Vardy or missfits from bigger clubs like Albrighton and Drinkwater, and a manager everyone thought was going to get them relegated. They shouldn’t of beennnear that top four or even top of the league. Having a 5000/1 chance of winning the league, the same odds of Elvis Presley being alive! But somehow they did it. They defied the odds and won and by quite a gap may I add. Not only did they scrape a few wins they destroyed some teams. Teams like Cheslea and City were completely outclassed by Leicester. This achievement proved a point to the top teams, that they have to step up and not let it happen again. If Leicester win the champions league or even get the final, I think everyone around Europe will be a Leicester fan.

And now some Honourable Mentions for things that were memorable but not as memorable:

  • Messi 

    failing to win the Copa America after missing his penalty 

  • Messi retiring and then coming out of retirement 
  • Luis Suarez in general
  • RB Leipzig in general
  • Neymar getting the gold
  • England getting knocked out of Euro 2016 by Iceland
  • Wales getting to the Semi Finals of Euro 2016
  • Tottenham bottling it
  • Big Sam sacked after one game in charge

Damn that was a lot of honourable mentions. But anyway how to number 1, which should be pretty obvious by now.

1. The football world reacting to the plane crash of Chapecoense 

When discussing players moving to China, I said it was a disgrace to the beautiful game, but the way the footballing world reacted and remembered the 70+ victims of the Chapecoense plane crash was beautiful to see. What makes the tragedy even worse was the story of the team. Chapecoense, like Leicester, were underdogs in the competition and got to the final. The team were the happiest they could ever be, and their lives were unfortunately taken away from them. No one deserves an ending like that to their story. The reason this is number one is because the many ways the football world showed they respects and support around the world. All teams in Europe had a minute silence the weekend after the tragedy, other teams in Brazil offered to give players to Chapecoense so they could continue to play, Barcelona are going to have a friendly with the team during the summer of 2017 and during the El Classico all the players from the two giant teams joined together for their minute silence. The entire football world united to show support for the Brazilian club. They were even given the trophy from the team they were going to face in the final. It was just beautiful to see the football world unite over a tragedy related to the game we all love to watch and play. I was judging these moments based on how they’ll be remembered in years to come, and nothing will be remembered more than everyone showing support to the team and the players families during a very unfortunate time for both of them, and is was a joy to see us all join together to show support.



Players who we’ll be hearing about a lot during the January transfer window

The January isn’t usually the most eventful time for football fans. It’s a window full of more rumours than usual because the the press love spreading bullsh*t. But sometimes there can be some big names moving. Usually players that aren’t getting much game time or are unhappy. I will make not of some players we could be hearing about

Oscar

Oscar to me is one of the most overrated players in the premier league, he is extremely inconsistent and just doesn’t show the talent enough he clearly has enough. So when I heard he was going to China for £60m I just couldn’t believe it. I just want to know why Oscar wants to move to somewhere where you’ll be forgotten about and can’t play at the highest level. Oscar could still play for a team competing for Europe. He’s still quite young and still has time to improve. He’s throwing his career away for high wages when he doesn’t need them at this moment. I don’t usually have an issue when players go to China if they’re career is in the down, like Paulinho, or when you’re over 30 and just want those high wages, like Hulk and Tevez. But players like Oscar and Texiera are in the prime of their careers and should prove that they can do it at the highest level, instead of going somewhere else for those high wages. It’s just disappointed. Anyways his move is all but confirmed, he’s just waiting to get on that plane.

Julien Draxler

I think Draxler is a quality player. The only times I’ve watched him he’s really impressed me. I thought he did great at the Euros for Germany and he was a one man team against Real Madrid in the first leg. But it seems clear to me he is very unhappy and I’m not sure why. It just seems like another Berahino situation (it’s still going after 2 years…) where he wants to move because he thinks he’s better than he is. Players like that infuriate me. Draxler is still young. He needs to play games and complaining constantly to the press isn’t what a young player should do. It seems PSG have out a huge bid in for him so we’ll have to see how this transfer saga continues.

Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin

Memphis and Schneiderlin are a curious case. I still believe they are good enough for United but they just never proved it when they have had chances. I wholeheartedly believe that in Memphis’s case. He had plenty of chances but he just wasn’t consistent enough. You need to be consistent if you want you play for Man United. Why do you think players like Veron and Nani left? Schneiderlin I thought wouldn’t be a player Mourinho would like, so it surprised me he wasn’t getting played and Carrick was getting picked instead. Schneiderlin stated his United career very well but after the Chelsea game he just wasn’t seen again, even Wayne Rooney played in his position over him. Both have been linked to Everton and I can see them both leaving. Although I am disappointed Memphis is going, it’s the best thing for his career.

Daniel Sturridge

On his day Sturridge is the best striker England have, but that’s the problem. Because of all his injuries and Klopp’s system, Sturridge isn’t getting a chance. Players like Origi and Firmino, players who fit Klopp’s system much better are picked over him. Sturridge doesn’t work hard enough and that’s not his fault. He was never bought for a Jurgen Klopp team. He could fit in another premier league team but he just has to prove he can stay fit. If he did what Jack Wilshire did I think that will benefit him. It will prove to other clubs that he can stay fit and consistently play.

We’re Coming Top Four! Matchday 17 review 

We’re at a certain point of the season where we can judge how the season is coming along, but not this season. Even though Chelsea are clear by nine points, just one or two suspensions or injuries could harm their season so the outcome is hard to predict. Around Europe it’s the same story (well besides Serie A, where Juventus have basically already won). Ligue 1 is competitive again ever since Zlatan left (thanks for that PSG). Nice are at the top but I can see Monaco catching up with all the goals they scored. RB Leipzig are doing really well at keeping Bayern from winning it as per usual and I hope they continue. La Liga is dominated by Real Madrid at the moment. But it’s interesting to see how long Real will go without losing. Anyways let’s get to the matches from the weekend!

West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Manchester United

It’s good to see us winning on the weekend again, and in a very comfortable and professional manner. The good start we had thanks to Lingard whipping the ball into the big Swede Zlatan gave us the confidence to keep it up and continue to dominate, and we did. I thought Mourinho including Lingard back in the team was a great move. In the Crystal Palace game we lacked someone with pace and the ability to make those runs beyond the full backs we so desperately need. It was a perfect game for Lingard to play as well. West Brom’s defence is very slow and we needed that pace to give us the advantage. Lingard is a player I don’t understand why he gets as much hate as he does. Lingard would die for the club and it’s always good to have a local lad in the ranks. He’ll always come in and do a job and knows what it means to wear the shirt. Every club needs some like him. I’m so glad Zlatan is scoring again. He is a genuine world class player and we need him scoring to increase our chances of top 4. With Arsenal dropping points it’s given us a chance to take their place there. The rest of our team have been playing brilliantly. De Gea is back to his best, Rojo and Jones have been brilliant since partnering together, our midfield is so balanced and Pogba is playing consistent and giving us that extra quality to win games. As soon as Mhiki comes back into the team, we’ll be ready to run over teams like they are nothing. West Brom have surprised me this season, mainly because I don’t usually see them just below us in the table. They didn’t play so great against United, not creating that many chances for them to do some damage. If they keep it up though they should be fine this season.

Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal 

Well we were all waiting for Arsenal to bottle it and here it was. They actually played well in the first half, getting the early lead and taking advantage of how bad City are in the back. But soon as the second half started everything changed. It’s as if Wenger told them to bottle it as per usual. I have to give prays to the blue side of Manchester though, I usually criticise them for lacking any fight and aggression after conceeding and usually in general. But they came back and got the win to put them back in the race for 2nd. It’s the first time they’ve came back from behind to win since 2012. It just puts into perspective how useless city are if they are trailing. Speaking of useless, let’s talk about Arsenal. They were really poor in that second half, lacking any sort of desire and fight to retain or further the lead they had. Some of those players just didn’t turn up either. The likes of Ozil and Sanchez, their best players just didn’t show up and prove their worth. They did deserve to lose that game and shouldn’t of got anything out of it. The best thing for me about the game was watching the idiots on Arsenalfantv go ballistic.

Monaco 1-3 Lyon

Come on Monaco. I expect better from you at this point. Even though I am hoping Monaco stay in this race and make their league even better. They didn’t play that great and Lyon did deserve to win. Because they were more clinical. Lacazette had a much better game than Falcao, actually scoring with the two chances he had. Thomas Lemar is continuing to perform and I’m hoping he continues to do so. He could be moving to a bigger club soon.

Quick congrats to Dries Mertens for scoring 7 in 2 games and putting Hart on his stupid ass. Congrats to RB Leipzig for returning to winning ways, PSV Eindhoven for coming back from behind to get a point from Ajax. Also some more congrats to Real Madrid for winning the club world cup. Merry Christmas everyone!

We Actually Won! Matchday 15 review

This weekend wasn’t as good as the last few, but there are still some talking points of the weekend’s football. But I’m gonna change something. Instead of discussing the Dortmund vs Koln game (because it wasn’t that eventful and Bayern have just increased the gap now on the rest of the league), I’ll talk about another game. But let’s start with the usual Man United game:

Manchester United 1:0 Tottenham Hotspur

We finally won a home game! I’m obviously over the moon about beating a team we needed to close the gap on, but there’s more to be happy with and that’s the performance and some individual ones. We should talk about the game first and it did not disappoint. This was the first time I’ve been to Old Trafford in a long time so I was hoping for a game I could come out smiling from. We played very well against a very well balanced Spurs side, not giving Kane a sniff and hitting them on the break plenty. Mourinho is the first person I want to give credit to for his game plan. Soon as we got on that pitch every player knew exactly what to do. Phil Jones was on Kane like hawk. He was so good in fact that Kane only had one shot, and it was off target. I just have to credit Mourinho for turning Jones and Rojo (who I thought was man of the match for being an absolute rock) into top quality centre halves, something I thought I’d never say at the start of the season. The other element that was on point was our midfield of Carrick, Herrera and Pogba. All had good games except Herrera, who has an excellent game. Herrera was everywhere, barking orders to the other players, making those key tackles and even getting the assist for Mhiki. And speaking of Mhiki, he was the missing piece on Sunday. He gives United this speed and driving force we haven’t had for a very long time. He was our biggest attacking threat all because of the chances he was giving us. The only problem, and it is a big one, is United are still struggling to finish their chances. Pogba should of scored twice and Zlatan (who else) should of scored. Besides that we played very well. The referees were awful as ever. United should of had a a few penalities. One was the most obvious penalty I’ve ever seen where Herrera got kicked in the face and nothing was given! On another note Fellaini shouldn’t be booed, I don’t care how poor he has been for 2 minutes he shouldn’t be booed, he still a red so you have to support him. Anyway let’s just hope United keep this up Wednesday!

Leicester City 4-2 Manchester City

This is the game I’ll be talking about instead and for good reason, and that’s because I hate city and love seeing them lose. City were absolutely awful, the worst I’ve actually ever seen them play. It’s these games where I just have to question Pep completely. I understand you’re missing Otamendi and Fernandinho, but that doesn’t give you any reason to play John Stones (who’s barely a centre back), Sagna and Kolorov at centre back. I don’t know where to begin with this decision. First, Kolorov is barely a defender. He is definitely at fault for one of those goals just because he went so far forward when he’s at centre back and exposed by a very good Leicester team that love waiting for those moments. Secondly, when you play 2 full backs at centre back, they will obviously bomb forward and struggle with their positioning overall because they aren’t used to it. Thirdly, Stones isn’t good enough to be an almost a main man at Centre back, putting a lot of pressure on him making him make rash decisions, for example setting up Vardy for his hatrick. I gotta say it’s good to see Vardy scoring again. I really do want Vardy and Leicester to do well this season because of what they achieved. So seeing him score and destroy city in the process really put a smile on my face. Leicester did player very well though, obviously taking advantage of that stupid high line city were playing. Mahrez played great in the game and his assist to Vardy was superb and I hope the Mahrez from last season comes back. This loss has definitely put more pressure on Pep and City so he has to turn this around soon or he might be sacked for the first time at the end of the season.

PSG 2-2 Nice

Little annoyed I got this one wrong because I didn’t expect Cavani to even to get a goal and Nice to capitalise on a poor PSG side. And in some aspects they did. Nice did get a 2-0 lead from capitalising on poor defending from a team I’d consider to be solid in the back. Nice then got another to give a two goal advantage. To then give it way because of Cavani finally decided to score after about a million shots. The only reason why I’d never consider him one of the best strikers because of how poor he can be in front of goal. Sometimes hes very clinical and sometimes he couldn’t score a single sitter. He’s lucky Lucas and Di Maria give him enough chances for him to finally. I’m just so glad Zlatan left PSG because he’s made the league more competitive. Giving teams like Monaco and Nice a chance to win this league. I’m just hoping it stays this competitive. 

AC Milan 0-1 Roma

Roma are really trying to keep up with Juventus aren’t they. They just beat one of their top rivals at the moment. Donuramma tried so hard to keep Milan in the game and it clearly wasn’t enough. Roma were good in the game, getting plenty of chances and it took the beast that is Nianggolan to get the winner. He is definitely one of the best midfielders around. His all around play is so good he can just do everything. I didn’t Dzeko had a great game. He just needs to finish his chances better. Milan should be fine though. They have eniugh quality and goals to get that champions league spot they so desperately want. I hope one of the legend clubs can get what they need to return to the top.

Also congrats to Bayern for winning 5-0 against Wolfsburg, Madrid for coming back from behind to win 3-2 on the weekend, Napoli for cruising past more teams as usual and the Seattle Sounders for winning the MLS cup. Good job boys!

December 10-11th Big Match Previews

Another week another bunch of big games. One I wouldn’t consider a big game and some pretty obvious big games. So let’s take a look:

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur

This is a must win for both teams. United have really fell behind the title race and are basically out of it. But top four is still a chance and Spurs are a team we need to beat to get there. Spurs need win this game too because all those draws really hurt them on the short term, and they need a win really bad to keep up with Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and City. It’s a game where I’m really not sure what to expect. United have a full fit team with Bailly back and players everyone thought would be sold have really stepped to the challenge. Players like Phil Jones and Rojo have been rediscovered under Mourinho, both of them finally proving their price tag, Valencia has turned from a player with no real position into one of the best right backs in the league, having one of the best work rates in the team. Zlatan is scoring again which is a huge boost for us, considering it takes him about 20 shots to score it might not make a big deal, but at the end of the day form is gonna be important. Speaking of form, Mkhitaryan is going to be very important during the game. This guy has been an inspiration for us, giving us someone who can run past people and can whip a ball in, something we’ve been lacking before he arrived on the scene. I just have to credit Mourinho so much for his man management. Him dropping Wayne Rooney got the best we’ve seen of the captain for a long time, giving him his aggression and improving his work rate. He’s turned so many players I thought wouldn’t have an involvement and has game them one. Phil Jones isn’t injured yet! Which must be a new record for him. Spurs on the other hand are in pretty good form themselves. Harry Kane is scoring again and Deli Alli is actually playing well. They are still definitely missing Alderweireld and players like Dier and Walker I don’t think have been performing. Erikson is player we need to neutralise. He’ll be causing a lot of problems. Their wide players are their biggest threat so if we deal with them, three points should be in the bag.

Prediction: Manchester United 2:1 Tottenham Hotspur

PSG vs Nice

This is easily one of the biggest games of the season in Ligue 1. Nice have turned into the Leicester of France, having surprised everyone by being top of the league. I guess the player they can thank the most for that is Balotelli, who is back to his usual antics, scoring plenty of goals while inflating his own ego. I think this definitely a must win for the champions. They haven’t been great this season and I wouldn’t be surprised if Unai Emery is under any sort of pressure. Having not even finished top of their group and aren’t even top of the league, which is what you expect from them considering the players they have. After the awful loss they suffered last weekend and how bad Cavani was, I just can’t see them winning this game, considering how good Nice have been this season.

Prediction: PSG 1-2 Nice

Borussia Dortmund vs FC Koln

It looks like another massive game this weekend. Dortmund have to win this game since they are really falling behind Ran Leipzig (damn seems strange not saying Bayern) and need to keep up. Koln on the other hand seem to be slowing down and they need to get back to winning ways. They need to get Modeste scoring again if they want anything this season. They’ve been very solid everywhere else on the pitch but they need they’re main man scoring again to get anything out of this game, but I don’t Koln have enough. Dortmund just finished above Madrid in the champions league group stage and have Reus back, which is a huge boost for them. Aubamayeng is scoring as well so I think Dortmund will edge this one.

Prediction Borussia Dortmund 3:1 FC Koln

Roma vs AC Milan

Juventus have began to fall behind so I’m hoping one of these two stay in the title race for a while. Roma just beat their biggest rivals easily last weekend and played very very well with their midfield dominating the game but there were question marks over their defence, which still seems like they’re waiting to give another lead away. Milan on the other hand have been great this season and have managed to keep with the likes of Napoli, Juventus and Roma, all teams who are fighting for those champions league places. This will be a close game, both teams play very good football and score goals. But I think they’ll split the points, mainly because of Roma. I just see them scoring and giving the lead away through bad defending.

Prediction Roma 2:2 AC Milan