Posts Tagged ‘Anfield’

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær is trying to assemble a big jigsaw at Manchester United. He doesn’t yet have all the pieces but he is beginning to get a clearer idea of what is needed.

The bigger problem would appear to be that he doesn’t have the box lid! You know, the bit with the picture on it so you have an idea what the finished article is supposed to look like. So he is trying to put pieces in here and there without really knowing if they fit and this becomes evident during matches where his substitutions, in particular, remain questionable. (more…)

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The FA is, once again, trying to redeem itself over the pathetic way it managed to massively overpay for the “new” Wembley.

As usual, the way it chooses to redeem itself involves ripping off supporters, this time those of Chelsea and Manchester United who are, totally unfairly, expected to pay back some of the lost revenue.

They have increased ticket prices at Wembley by up to 35% from the semi-finals. Why? Other than blatant profiteering, (which we thought was illegal), there is no other excuse for it. (more…)

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Get ready for the usual sting. If Manchester United can find a way to beat Chelsea, (which seems unlikely with two donkeys like Smalling and Young in the team), what is the betting that their next FA Cup game will be against Manchester City?

There is a force at work somewhere which endeavours to ensure that these two teams never meet in the final.

It may be that they want a London team in the final and one way of making sure of that is to have Tottenham play Arsenal in the semi-final. Guess what that would mean? Correct, City would play United in the other semi. (more…)

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The current top six are unlikely to remain with their present managers for too long unless they find a way of sharing the trophies between them on an annual basis.

The Holy Grail, however, remains the Premier League title but with half an eye on winning the Champion’s League, (unless you are Arsenal, in which case just qualifying for the competition is sufficient).

If, this season for example, sees Chelsea win the title, City, United and Tottenham finish in the top four and Liverpool and Arsenal making up the remainder of the top six then little should change for next season. (more…)

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Despite Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all doing well in the Premier League this season the spotlight remains firmly on the Northwest, helped most certainly by the arrival of both José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola in Manchester.

The area provides the most interesting football and, generally speaking over the last forty years or so, the best and most successful football.

Last weekend a collective groan was to be heard at WSA when the live games were advertised as being all-London affairs. This was not because there would be no decent football on display, although that was a possibility, no it was because the feeling of boredom when no Northern team is involved is overwhelming. (more…)

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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. (more…)

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Manchester United beating Derby County in the FA Cup at the iPro stadium was greeted by fans as a return of decent football.

The fact that Derby County occupy fifth place in the Championship and have lost their previous five games is, to a large extent, irrelevant. As is often said, you can only beat what is put in front of you.

The Cup competitions have a levelling effect. Derby, for one game, could give everything. They didn’t have to worry about dropping points, or whether or not a draw would be a good result, they could just concentrate on trying to win a one-off game of football, (unless there was a replay, of course). The fact that the game was against Manchester United just put the icing on the cake. So really, they were in a no-lose situation. A win would have put the cherry on top of the icing on the cake!

In truth they didn’t play particularly well, a fact emphasised by the scoreline, which was a reasonably fair reflection of the game.

Inevitably, the question will now arise, can Manchester United win the FA Cup?
The short answer is, yes, anybody CAN win the FA Cup. Maybe the question should be WILL they win it? That is the more difficult to answer. (more…)

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(Louis explains why he is not under any pressure despite having spent £258 million and having a record worse than David Moyes)

The source of the above statement is the Daily Mirror, (so it must be true!), and it is based on figures from December, 2015. Here is the article.

So the pressure on van Gaal has eased following a, so far, unbeaten January. Why is this?

The month started with a 2-1 win over Swansea who, quite frankly, were awful until around the 80th minute. They then decided to show a little bit of spirit and, almost immediately, scored an equaliser. Once again this demonstrated that United ‘s defence is not the castle wall that van Gaal seems to think it is. Bear in mind that this game was at Old Trafford and Swansea could well be relegated this season, meaning that this result was hardly a reason for ecstasy among the United faithful.

The next game of January saw the reds welcome Sheffield United to Old Trafford. Two divisions below Manchester United, an easy win was expected and should have been delivered. As it turned out it was a struggle from start to finish and again exposed the weaknesses in van Gaal’s team, but this time in the attacking third. It took a penalty in the 93rd minute to win this one.

After the game van Gaal made no friends by coming up with excuses about the opposition defending with ten men behind the ball, etc., etc. Guess what Louis, better teams than Sheffield United have employed those tactics in the past and Mancheater United have still been able to record some comfortable wins against them! (more…)

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Louis van Gaal and Arsene Wenger need Sunday to be a good day. They need it for different reasons, but need it they do.

With Manchester City and Tottenham winning on Saturday and Leicester drawing, Arsenal will need at least a point from Stoke City at The Britannia Stadium to return to the summit.

They currently sit third, one point behind the leaders Leicester and level on points with City. Although their goal difference is inferior to City’s it is superior to Leicester’s so they would go top with a draw. Obviously it would be better from an Arsenal point of view if they could get all three points, that way they could at least put a little daylight between themselves and the pursuers.

A loss to Stoke would not be disastrous, however it would encourage Tottenham Hotspur who are currently only four points behind them in fourth place.

For Manchester United only a win will lift them above West Ham into fifth place. More importantly it would keep them within two points of Tottenham. What they certainly don’t need to be doing is allowing a gap to develop between fourth place and the rest. (more…)

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Liverpool and Manchester United have, quite surprisingly, not contested many top of the table battles. It has nearly always been a case of Liverpool challenging for the title with United in mid-table, or vice versa. This time they are both out of the top four!

They have always had the local rivalry because of the history and proximity of the two cities. Certainly, in this respect, there is more at stake between Manchester United and Liverpool than between the two Manchester teams.

The Manchester derby is definitely the biggest game from a financial viewpoint when you consider the two clubs’ relative wealth but, much as some of the fans would disagree, it still isn’t regarded as the game between the two biggest rivals.

After all, what is at stake in the derby? Local pride, bragging rights down the pub for a few days? Not much else unless it is a title decider when it gains slightly more importance, but also loses a little of it’s identity as it becomes just a game between two top teams.

I have explained in earlier chronicles that I am quite unusual in my football support. I support Manchester in general. I don’t apologise for it and I don’t see anything wrong with it. What can be wrong in wanting your home city to do well? (more…)