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The most important lesson from this season, not just this game, is that neither of the two clubs actually defend as well as they think they can.

Manchester City are used to having so much possession that they rarely need to defend, when they do need to defend they are not very good at it.

Manchester United have the best goalkeeper in the world who has been their player of the year for the last few seasons. If United’s defence was any good then their goalkeeper wouldn’t continually win this award.

So knowing that the two defences are a lot more dodgy than people would have us believe we sat down to watch the game expecting goals at both ends. Read the rest of this entry »

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Paul Pogba could be about to join the list of “star” players who have joined Manchester United and left a relatively short while later.

His name could be added to those of Angel Di Maria, Juan Verón, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Henrik Larsson to name but a few. Their spells at the club were short for different reasons but, nevertheless, they were still short.

Pogba, unlike some of Mourinho’s other sales, was a star when he arrived at Old Trafford for his “second coming”. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Romelu Lukaku had not yet reached that status when sold by Mourinho during his time as Chelsea manager. Read the rest of this entry »

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When I first started to attend games at Old Trafford my father and I used to set off from our home in Ashley Lane, Moston, Manchester 9 at around 11:00 am on Saturday morning. In those days ALL games were played on a Saturday and nobody had yet had the audacity to suggest playing on a Sunday. That was the day reserved almost exclusively for the pub teams!

We would walk up the hill and wait for either the number 112 or 113 bus outside Langhorns, which was an ironmongers, amongst other things. Eventually the bus would arrive and we would be off on a 45 minutes journey, barring breakdowns, to the match. Read the rest of this entry »

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Everton v Liverpool

Jürgen Klopp has already prepared his excuse in the event of a poor performance in the Merseyside derby on Saturday morning.

Having explained, to a yawning and fed-up public, how his overpaid stars will still be absolutely shattered and worn out having spent a whole ninety minutes playing a game of football, he went on to further inform us that two whole days is not enough time to recover from this unnatural amount of exertion.

Everton will clearly have the advantage because they will have had a complete week in which to prepare for this game and it is at Goodison Park when all said and done. How much more of an advantage could they have? Read the rest of this entry »

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This may seem like a strange statement to make when you take into consideration the fact that the club are very likely to finish second this season and to an almost invincible Manchester City. The fact is though, that this United team flatters to deceive, they are kidding a few people into thinking they really are the second best team in the country.

On number of points achieved there is no argument but, for everything else, it depends on which definition of “best” is being used at the time!

Are they the second best team to watch? NO. Are they the second best team in terms of goals scored? NO. Do they have the second best possession statistics? NO. In fact, on the last stat, they are 6th and only 0.1% better than Southampton! (source: Transfermarkt). Read the rest of this entry »

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If Manchester City can beat Manchester United in the upcoming derby match they will he confirmed as Premier League champions.

It will be the earliest a club has ever been hailed as the winners and would set yet another record for Pep Guardiola’s team.

The question, seemingly on everybody’s lips, is can they do it at home to United? People appear to think that this would make it some kind of special achievement. Why? They only have to win ONE of their last seven games, why is this one so important? Read the rest of this entry »

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There has long been a debate, which has no answer, about which is the stronger emotion between love and hate. Both can be equally destructive and, when felt in the right context, both can be equally rewarding although hate is usually by far the more negative of the two.

In the Premier League’s top six there are three outstanding managers and a fourth who manages to stand out even from the outstanding.

To José Mourinho, the glass is always half empty which, to his way of thinking, is better than being completely empty. To the other three, the glass is always half full and their ambition is to fill it to the brim! Read the rest of this entry »

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In the early game, Stubborn Old Man sent his Arsenal team out to face Stoke City knowing that a win was the only acceptable result. Three points would move them to within five of Chelsea in fifth and ten of Tottenham in fourth. It wouldn’t disguise what a terrible season The Gunners are experiencing but it would give a little cheer to the few fans expected to turn up at The Emirates for this one.

Stoke City, on the other hand, needed the points for different reasons.

Paul Lambert has done a reasonable job since arriving and the team were unbeaten during his short reign. Unfortunately, they have drawn far too many games through a mixture of bad luck and bad finishing and are still in grave danger of relegation. So anything gained from this game would be welcome. Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s back! The Premier League has returned. After an enforced break during which we witnessed……..well…….nothing really except England and Scotland both won a meaningless game of football, (it’s the meaningful ones with which they have a problem), business as usual is restored to the nation.

The top six are all back in action and here we look at what has happened and what will happen in their games. Read the rest of this entry »

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With the possible exception of Ashley Young, who has benefitted from lavish praise and plenty of game time since José Mourinho became the Manchester United manager, there is nothing to suggest that others have improved and, in fact, players such as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba seem to have regressed.

By the time the Armenian left Old Trafford for Arsenal and the welcoming arms of Arséne Wenger, he almost looked a broken man. His confidence appeared to be shot to pieces and his last few appearances for United had seen him regularly substituted after poor displays during which he continuously gave the ball away. Hopefully, for his sake, he will fare better in London. Read the rest of this entry »