Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea’


For the first time in a while, the two master tacticians meet in a domestic league game. In truth though, there is little difference nowadays between meeting in the league and meeting in the Champion’s League, the latter being an impossibility until next season, at least.

People will say, ” it’s different when it’s a league game,” or “it’s not the same as in a knockout tournament.” Actually, there are many similarities. Both would want to win their home game in both competitions but would, grudgingly, take not losing as a pretty close second choice. Both would want a point, or a draw, depending upon the competition and which stage has been reached, from the away game. (more…)



When David Moyes was appointed Manchester United manager to follow in the footsteps of the great Sir Alex Ferguson, everybody at Old Trafford, including the most important people, the fans, were prepared to give him a chance.

He was christened “The Chosen One” because, in a deed which seemed very unlikely, it was said that Fergie had chosen him as his successor. The reason it was unlikely is that a club like Manchester United does not allow one man to make decisions which affect the whole future of the club and it’s employees. (more…)


As of the very near future, the football population of Manchester will increase by at least two. John Stones will move the very short distance from Merseyside, assuming that he doesn’t already live in Cheshire, while Paul Pogba will re-locate from Turin in a return to his spiritual home.

There are similarities between the two but only in their situations, not in their football talents.

Stones is 22 years of age and, being English, has undoubtedly cost Manchester City a premium for this fact alone. He is not yet the finished article and was wanted by Chelsea and, reportedly, Manchester United, but he preferred to remain in the North West with City, showing a remarkable amount of common sense for one so young. (more…)


(Jose ponders selling the entire squad and starting again!)

The real difference between Manchester United and the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona can be seen when the clubs mention that some of their players may be allowed to leave. The press immediately begin speculating which players those may be and then start linking them to different clubs around Europe.

For example, there were mutterings that Isco was surplus to requirements at Real Madrid. He was reported to be of interest to Manchester City. Then it was James Rodriquez, who is still not certain to stay. He is linked with Manchester United, amongst others. Raphael Varane has also been mentioned in the same breath as United.

Barcelona sold Thiago Alcantara to Bayern Munich and Pedro to Chelsea. In fact, Thiago was linked with United for a while but, by this time, Ed was in “full dithering mode” so they missed out on him. There was never any doubt that, when the availability of these players became public knowledge, they would go to big clubs. (more…)


The straightforward, down-to-earth answer to the above question is: Yes, he is ridiculously expensive and nobody should be spending that amount of money on one player. As Jürgen Klopp mentioned, at least three top class players could be brought in to strengthen a team for that sort of money. Also, the knock-on effect for other clubs is frightening, particularly the smaller clubs.

The true answer is: No, United will recover the money in a relatively short space of time, effectively meaning that he will have cost nothing. In fact, I read a short while ago that advance orders for Pogba shirts totalled somewhere in the region of £72 million, so not much more is required to achieve a complete refund! (more…)


He has already said it. If we concentrate solely on each other in this league, then somebody else will win it. It was OK in Spain as there were only usually two clubs competing for the title, so it was good to have some mind games. These are the words, more or less, of Jose Mourinho shortly after taking over at Manchester United.

Who he is trying to convince is rather a mystery. Is it the fans? I doubt it. Most fans will tell you that they love a few mind games. United supporters were always in their element when Fergie was giving it large about some manager or another.

Also, in the not too distant past, Jose himself was known for having a slight dig at opposing managers. Spats with Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez readily come to mind. (more…)



It seems to have been a relatively straightforward appointment. Jose Mourinho became Manchester United manager after a short break during which Ed Woodward dithered, as usual, over what to do about Louis “the loser” van Gaal.

Finally, Woodward’s decision was made for him as United, for the second time in three years, finished outside of the Champion’s League places. Winning the FA Cup was never going to be enough to save the Dutchman, who had produced boringly slow football for the majority of his time at Old Trafford. (more…)



A step in the right direction was certainly taken when Manchester United sacked Louis van Gaal and appointed Jose Mourinho.

Employing a world class manager, however, is not the end of the matter. Players need to be brought in and other players need to be shipped out.

At the time of writing, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Bailly have been confirmed and Henrikh Mhkitaryan, whilst not yet confirmed, has also joined. Rumours are rife about other potential arrivals.

As I have stated in a previous post, Ibrahimovic appears to have been signed to generate income more than anything else. His age, failure to score any goals in the Euros and being given a one year contract all point to this as the reason for his being there. Hopefully, as he has probably been promised a starting berth next season, he will chip in with a few goals. (more…)


There now exists, more than ever before, a two-team competition in oneupmanship in Manchester. No sooner have Manchester City appointed Pep Guardiola then Manchester United are appointing Jose Mourinho.

City sign Ilkay Gundogan and United sign Henrikh Mhkitaryan, both from Borussia Dortmund and neither of whom will have the fans singing their names for a while, certainly not if they have to learn to spell them first!

United are reportedly looking to sign Paul Pogba so City are immediately linked with Luis Suarez.

United will break the world transfer record, but only if City don’t! (more…)


The short answer is no, not at the moment. One or two further additions to the squad, however, may change things around somewhat.

The full back positions do not need urgent surgery as, with a fully fit Luke Shaw along with Darmian and Varela, there should be sufficient cover although Jose does not seem totally convinced about Darmian so don’t be too surprised to see a replacement brought in. I can’t see Mourinho persisting with Antonio Valencia at full back as he has proven, on a few occasions, that he can’t play the position and Ashley Young is nothing short of a joke at full back.

At present Mourinho has addressed one of the centre back positions by bringing in Eric Bailly. I assume this will mean that United will be listening to offers for Marcus Rojo, who hasn’t convinced at either centre back or left back. This does not solve the problem of the other centre back. (more…)