In the 1960’s Chelsea, for some reason, were always better away from home than they were at home. Could it have had anything to do with the crowd being so far from the pitch, seemingly a current problem for West Ham United?

The days of Peter Osgood, Charlie Cooke, Peter Bonetti, Ron and Alan Harris et al produced far superior returns on the road than any other team. In fact, if Chelsea could have corrected their home form during this period they wouldn’t have had to wait quite as long as they did to win the title. Read the rest of this entry »


Jesse Lingard back in the United team at the expense of Ashley Young. Talk about bitter sweet. On the one hand, Young being dropped is good news but, on the other, Lingard playing is not good news.

Having finally managed to make the Manchester United management see the error of their ways when continually selecting Wayne Rooney, it is now time for them to see who is Manchester United quality and who isn’t. Neither Young nor Lingard would get into a fully fit Manchester United team and it would not be too disappointing if they were both sold in January.

Blind has already proven that he is a more than capable partner for Eric Bailly in central defence and should be playing there with Shaw restored to the left. Smalling is another one who would be welcome to depart in the next transfer window.

Also, what is wrong with Mkhitaryan? He doesn’t get into the matchday squad, never mind the team and, to perpetually say he is injured without giving any explanation or return date, is a little annoying to the supporters. He is certainly better than Young and Lingard combined!

So to the game. Chelsea, having left Willian on the bench again, (so much for being player of the season at Stamford Bridge, just ask Juan Mata!) started with Victor Moses at wing back and took the lead within a minute.

Pedro chased a ball which De Gea left to Smalling and Smalling left to De Gea. Both of them left it for Pedro to tap into an empty net. Further proof, if any were needed, that Smalling is not of the required standard for Manchester United.

United then huffed and puffed without creating anything other than making Chelsea look comfortable on the ball. When chasing a game players such as Fellaini and Lingard are not going to be of much use.

After 21 minutes it was 2-0 for Chelsea when United failed miserably to defend a corner and the ball fell kindly to Cahill who, unmarked and five yards out, couldn’t miss.

Mourinho is currently using players out of position in the same way as van Gaal before him. It didn’t work then and it isn’t working now. Antonio Valencia is NOT a wing back because he can’t defend.

Daley Blind is NOT a full back he is a defensive midfielder. So both full backs were players being played out of position. Consequently, Chelsea could get crosses into the box at will.

The only other incident of any note was when David Luiz kicked Marouane Fellaini with all six studs showing. Everybody in and out of the ground knew it was an immediate red card offence, except the referee, who completely bottled it and handed out a yellow.

United continued to look anything but dangerous until the half-time whistle. Hopefully, Mourinho would say something that would make for a different second half. Change the shape, change the personnel just change something because nothing was working in the first half.

The second half saw the introduction of Juan Mata and, after seven minutes, Marcos Rojo. Mata replaced the totally ineffectual Fellaini and Rojo came on for the injured Bailly. Blind moved to his slightly more favoured position of central defence and Rojo took over at left back.

Initially it made little difference as Chelsea easily absorbed a couple of tepid attacks from United before extending their lead to 3-0 through Hazard who nobody wanted to tackle so he tried shot which found the bottom corner.

Anthony Martial was introduced in the 65th minute, no doubt with the instructions to score three goals and be a hero. He didn’t and, therefore, he wasn’t. He did, however, do one good thing which was to replace Lingard who had been awful.

There was still plenty of time left for N’Golo Kanté to waltz through the United defence, who looked frozen to the spot, and slot the ball in the corner to make it 4-0.

After 77 minutes Willian came on for Hazard and Batshuayi for Costa as Chelsea decided to relax a little. After all, if they wanted another goal, United were just as likely to gift it to them as make them work for it.

The scary part of this defeat, apart from the abject performance, was the shots of Mourinho on the touchline looking a little like he did during his last game in charge of Chelsea. Let’s hope he can convince the players that he is not that same person. It would be a shame to think that the defeat by Leicester signalled the end of the successful part of José Mourinho’s managerial career.

The fact is though, that if he can’t resurrect it at United, then he is finished at the big clubs.


Manchester United appointed Jose Mourinho in the full knowledge that he rarely stays at any club for more than two years, whether the reason for departure is his choosing or not. He has since indicated that he would like to stay at Old Trafford for “many years“.

Manchester City did the same with Pep Guardiola. Having spent five years in charge at Barcelona, (one of them with the B team), he developed his current wanderlust and spent a further two years in charge of Bayern Münich. The impression is that, if he is successful at City, then he may be talked into staying longer. Read the rest of this entry »


All United have to do on Sunday is go to Stamford Bridge and win. The slightly easier task, on paper anyway, is that of Manchester City who face Southampton at The Etihad. Anything less than three points each for the two Manchester teams will be seen as an opportunity wasted.

Chelsea are certainly not the team they were under Mourinho and are eminently beatable. The problem for United, at present, is that they are also not the team that Chelsea were under Mourinho. Of the two, however, there is no reason why United should not win this one. Read the rest of this entry »


For the first time in a long time, if not for the first time at all, I feel the need to add a little background to this article.

I have just watched Manchester United’s Europa League game against Fenerbahće in an Irish bar in Granada, Spain.

I mention this purely as an excuse for any inaccuracies you may spot while reading said article. It was, in fact, a very noisy music night where a quartet of Spanish musicians played Irish tunes, virtually non-stop, for the entire evening. There were only two of us in the entire bar interested in what was happening at Old Trafford! Read the rest of this entry »


(Yet again Ronald Koeman has donned his Claudio Ranieri mask in order to slip under the radar!)

If you believe everything that you read, then yes, the Premier League is very open this season. The fact of the matter is though, that it isn’t really.

What do we mean by “open” anyway? There are twenty teams in the division. For the title race to be wide open, (as in “that result has blown the title race wide open“, a frequently heard phrase), then every one of the twenty needs to be in with a chance of winning it. Read the rest of this entry »


So United’s starting eleven included Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini for the first time in a while. In fact, in Young’s case, it was the first time since last January when he played against? That’s right, Liverpool at Anfield!

The idea was that Young would provide more accurate crosses for the likes of Ibrahimović and Fellaini. In order to do so he would have to improve on his normal performances which, I seem to remember, involved one out of every four crosses being reasonably good whilst the other three went miles out of play! Read the rest of this entry »


(In the above photo Ronald Koeman has cleverly disguised himself by wearing a Claudio Ranieri mask in order to deflect attention away from Everton!)

After tonight’s game between Liverpool and Manchester United the top seven will have a familiar look about it, (assuming that your regular top seven doesn’t include Leicester City!)

A draw will see no movement, a Liverpool win will take them to the same points as Arsenal and Manchester City, and a United win will take them above Liverpool, into fourth place, on goal difference. Read the rest of this entry »


The stage is almost set. The cast and directors are almost ready. The only delay is because of money. As per usual a “big” game has been moved to Monday night. The argument put forward is so that is doesn’t clash with any other games, which live TV games in the UK are not allowed to do anyway, but also that it is played on a day when there are no other games at all with which to compete. Read the rest of this entry »


That’s almost it folks! We’ve nearly survived another international break! In just a few more days the debate will return to whether or not Wayne Rooney should be picked for Manchester United rather than whether or not he should have been picked for England. Either way the debate will return to Wayne Rooney. Read the rest of this entry »