Posts Tagged ‘Manchester United’

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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…)

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Without playing particularly well, (by their own standards anyway), Barcelona were able to win this game as though they had played particularly well.

Arsenal had chances and should have certainly scored at least one goal. They didn’t and, against a side as good as Barcelona, that will always be a problem. As Aaron Ramsey pointed out the Spanish side average a goal per game so somebody WAS going to score for them.

When the goals came they came from Lionel Messi. No surprise there you may think but, before tonight, he had NEVER scored against Petr Cech.

His first was laid on a plate for him by Neymar, who unselfishly squared the ball back for him to take a touch, which beat Cech all ends up, then place the ball in the net.

His second came from the penalty spot after he had been fouled by Mathieu Flamini, who was making his first tackle having just come on as a substitute for Coquelin.

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Recently the press appear to have decided that Eden Hazard would rather go to Real Madrid than to PSG. This pre-supposes that he actually wants to leave Chelsea and go to a weaker league. Strangely, though, most of the best players do!

Luis Suarez chose Barcelona over staying at Liverpool or moving to Arsenal. Cristiano Ronaldo favoured Real Madrid above Manchester United. Zlatan Ibrahimovic who, rather amazingly is considered world class by some people, has managed to avoid being roughed up in England his entire career, as has Lionel Messi. Neymar is also staying in Spain for the time being although the appointment of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City may change one or two minds.

Hats off then to Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil who have both made the reverse trip to the Premier League from Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.

Sanchez, in particular, hit the ground running upon his arrival and looks made for the Premier League. (more…)

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Arsenal are, once again, at the stage of the Champion’s League where they normally bid their farewell. Not for no reason is it called the “knockout” stage, because this describes perfectly what invariably happens to the Gunners, they get knocked out.

In fairness, they have been beaten by some very good teams in the past whilst also succumbing to some of the more mediocre ones. There has been more than one occasion on which Arsenal should have stayed in the competition, but didn’t.

Fortunately for Arsenal, Tuesday is one of those games where they cannot be knocked out as it is only the first leg. Unfortunately for Arsenal, it is Barcelona and so, over the two legs, they will almost certainly be departing this years Champion’s League.

The only chance they have of getting through this tie is if Sanchez, Giroud and maybe even Welbeck, all find their shooting boots at some time during the two legs. This also assumes that Messi, Neymar and Suarez leave theirs on the bus!

If the MSN, as they are rather strangely known, turn up in fine form then Arsenal could be embarrassed as they were by Bayern Munich. They do not have a good defence and, similar in some ways to Manchester United, have to rely on having a great goalkeeper to keep them in some games. (more…)

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The Champion’s League suddenly has a new significance for Chelsea this time around. Winning it looks like their best, if not only, route back into it next season.

A dismal Premier League campaign which only started to turn around when Guus Hiddink replaced Jose Mourinho was, at one stage, seeing them involved in a relegation battle. Although Hiddink hasn’t pulled up any trees he has steadied the ship somewhat and Chelsea now sit in twelfth position which is only “very” embarrassing as opposed to the “extremely” embarrassing position of a couple of months ago.

The problem with winning this competition is that Chelsea, in all their years competing, have only managed to do it once. Having lost a final against Manchester United, on penalties, they could say they were a little unlucky. They weren’t, they were outplayed for most of the game and were fortunate to hang on for penalties.

The year they won it has to go down as one of the most fortuitous campaigns ever witnessed in the history of the Champion’s League. They should have been hammered by Barcelona in the semi-final, where players were sent off and penalties were missed and, in fairness, having got through to the final, most people agreed that Chelsea’s name was on the trophy that season. (more…)

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(Jose tells the team how many players he wants on the bus!)

If it is true that Jose Mourinho wants to stay in England as a manager, he may have to set his sights a little lower than he is used to.

It would appear that his first choice of club would be Manchester United, but the noises coming from Old Trafford are not encouraging for him. If we are to believe the press then Louis van Gaal had to win one of his last two games to keep his job. He failed to do so but remains in situ at United. This says one of two things. Either the press were wrong, (perish the thought!), or United don’t have a successor lined up. If the latter is the case, then Mourinho is not in the running for the job.

Further, more recent rumblings, supposedly emanating from Old Trafford, suggest that the players would like Diego Simeone from Atletico Madrid. I am not aware that Simeone has been consulted on this matter but I suggest it may be a job he could summon up some interest in, despite his lack of English. In actual fact, having no command of English never appeared to be a problem for the likes of Mauricio Pochettino or Harry Redknapp. (more…)

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And what’s more folks, it may not happen at all!

Alright, one or two little sticks of dynamite have been set off lately, but they have barely caused a ripple on the perfect surface of The Emirates. A 4-0 defeat to a Southampton team, who can’t beat anybody else, can be laughed off particularly when it is followed by a 2-0 win in the very next game, over a Bournemouth team who aren’t losing at present. Wait a minute! Isn’t that the topsy-turvy Arsenal of old?

Usually, when Arsenal lost a game in the past, particularly by an embarrassing scoreline, it signalled the end of any title challenge. This season they seem to be getting it more right than wrong.

To begin with, they had a good start to the campaign, apart from losing their first home game, which is becoming an annual occurrence.

At one stage, Arsenal were saving their worst form for the cup competitions. (more…)

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Carlo Ancelotti is going to Bayern Munich where, after succeeding as usual, he will be fired as usual. He will probably win the treble but, because he is cursed, he will still be fired.

At two of his previous clubs he has a record which most managers would be proud to have. He was fired from his job as Chelsea manager having won the League and FA Cup double and, at Real Madrid, he was fired having won the Champion’s League. So he could be considered either a trifle unlucky or a loser for only winning the top trophies and none of the lesser ones.

Sympathy is not a feeling too much in evidence when it comes to highly paid football managers losing their job. Particularly when you consider that the top ones will almost certainly walk straight into another one.

So what will be the chain of events this time, I don’t hear you ask? (more…)

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Starting with the early kick-off on Saturday, Everton should have been out of site by half-time in their game against Norwich , but a combination of bad luck and bad finishing ended up costing them two points.

Everything looked rosy when Romelu Lukaku gave them the lead and Norwich, at this stage, hadn’t really turned up. But, as is often the case when chances are missed, Norwich equalised through Wes Hoolahan and the result was a stalemate leaving Roberto Martinez frustrated and Alex Neil feeling like James Coburn in “The Great Escape”.

Next up was Manchester City who kicked off at the regulation time of 3:00 pm which is unusual in itself. City took the lead in the first half through Wilfried Bony but never really threatened again until they scored their second goal after 91 minutes. Before that Swansea had equalised and had also had a couple of chances to take the lead. (more…)

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Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, the Premier League has been crying out for a larger than life person to replace him.

Not necessarily another dour Scot from Glasgow, after all, England’s top division has probably seen more than enough of them. The likes of Bill Shankly, Matt Busby, Billy McNeill, Tommy Docherty, Kenny Dalglish, Alex McLeish and now Alex Neil to name but a few of the more successful ones, have all managed clubs in the English league.

No, what was required was a character the stellar opposite. Somebody with loads of personality, lots of get-up-and-go, a witty riposte and a sharp tongue when required. Could these traits possibly be Germanic?

It’s very doubtful as we all know the Germans! Basically, they are Glaswegians with a strange accent, dour and uncompromising, get on with the job very successfully and with the minimum of fuss. But wait! There is one who fits the bill, one who has just taken over at Liverpool and is throwing his heart and soul into learning scouse. Jurgen Klopp is what everybody has been waiting for. (more…)