Posts Tagged ‘Community Shield’

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So it’s nearly all over. On Wednesday night the fat lady will sing, at least as far as any English interest in Europe is concerned. To continue the mixed metaphors from the previous article, then is the time that José Mourinho will find out if the straws at which he has been grasping can be pulled through the silver lining he has decided the Europa League to be, or if they will get stuck in the cloud.

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(Top four or Europa League? Why not both? José ponders the obvious!)

José Mourinho loves the Europa League. Not that he has much choice as it is the only European competition in which Manchester United are competing this season.

He didn’t appear to love it at the start of the season and it was only when he was reminded that it offered automatic Champion’s League qualification that his feelings towards it grew in a dramatic fashion. (more…)

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As far as cup finals go it isn’t the most prestigious. It isn’t up there with the Champion’s League final or Europa League final. It isn’t even up there with the FA Cup final.

Through all it’s various guises which have included the Milk Cup, the Worthington Cup and the Capital One Cup it has been used as a vehicle for giving fringe players a run of games, certainly by the bigger clubs, who have the squads deep enough to render the exercise unnecessary.

The effect this has on the competition is to take away the giant-killing days. No longer is it a major surprise, or even much of an achievement, when a Championship club at full strength beats a Premier League club fielding it’s reserve team. At least it could be argued that the playing field is level for once. (more…)

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Bastian Schweinsteiger has managed to work his way back as far as the bench. Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay also reached that lofty height and Matteo Darmian has had a reasonable run in the first team, just not in his favoured position. That his best role has been filled by a winger who can’t defend says a lot about Darmian’s future in Mourinho’s team.

Marcos Rojo is almost a regular and Daley Blind flits in and out depending upon the opposition. Luke Shaw is yet to fully recover mentally from his injury and only time will tell if he is going to fulfill his potential and whether or not that will be at United. (more…)

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In the not too distant past, José Mourinho would have poured scorn on this competition. He always saw it as a tournament for losers, as a punishment for not being good enough in your own league and, therefore, confined to the basement of European football to compete with teams whose names are difficult to pronounce from countries which are difficult to find.

This was a view shared, strangely enough, by his great friend and hero Sir Alex Ferguson whose own journey into the Europa League was a one-time experience and very short-lived. (more…)

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(Marcus Rashford shows Cameron Borthwick-Jackson how many fans are at the game)

Since taking the manager’s job at Old Trafford Jose Mourinho has overseen the winning of the Community Shield and two wins out of two games in the Premier League.

Players who have been conspicuous by their absence include a few of the younger members who had some game time last season because Louis van Gaal had a lot of injuries and no experienced cover.

When, for example, Luke Shaw was injured in the Champion’s League, there was no ready made experienced replacement. Wayne Rooney’s continued decline meant that Anthony Martial was given many more games than he would have been had there been an older player waiting for his chance. (more…)

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(Wayne Rooney finds lots of space as the opposition players know that he will give them the ball back very soon)

How much longer can this be tolerated? At present Rooney seems to be selected because he was, a few years ago, a half decent player. Nothing special, he would come up with the occasional spectacular goal and contribute a little to the team but, as I said, never anything special. He never lived up to the publicity he was given when he joined United as an eighteen-year-old.

He was made captain by Louis van Gaal who was another one who failed to cover himself in glory whilst at United. Van Gaal, apparently, wanted a leader and obviously couldn’t find one otherwise he wouldn’t have selected Rooney.

Fortunately, none of the other players follow Rooney’s example on the pitch as, if they did, they would give the ball away frequently either by poor control or mis-directed passing. (more…)

 

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This should not come as a major surprise to supporters of the two clubs. If they both stick to their original schedule Manchester United will have played five “warm-up” games and City three.

United will have faced Wigan Athletic, Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray, Everton and Leicester City.

City will have played Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal.

In the past United have been known to organise another friendly prior to the start of the season, usually in the week leading up to the Community Shield. Given that their derby in China was cancelled they may still choose to fit in another game before the big kick off. It seems that United’s players have not yet reached the required level of fitness demanded by a Premier League title contender. (more…)