Posts Tagged ‘Old Trafford’

IMG_1414

It is now Wednesday, 26th May. Manchester City are two points behind Liverpool with two games in hand and an inferior goal difference.

Manchester United are three points behind Liverpool with two games in hand and a vastly inferior goal difference.

The upshot of all this is the following: If Thursday’s derby game is a draw, both Manchester clubs gain a point on Liverpool and both will overtake Liverpool should they win their other game in hand.

If Manchester United win the game, they will be level with Liverpool and City will still be only two points behind but still with a game in hand. So either of these two scenarios would suit United and neither would be disastrous for City.

However, should City win then the outlook becomes a little bleaker for United. They would still be three points behind Liverpool, only have one game in hand and their inferior goal difference would be even more inferior. They would then have to rely on Liverpool slipping up at some stage which, in all fairness, is a probability rather than a possibility. So all would not be quite lost, but the outcome of the derby is certainly more poignant to United than it is to City.

Having won at Old Trafford earlier in the season at a time when City were playing their best football it wouldn’t be particularly surprising if they were favourites for this one. The fortunes of the two clubs have, however, differed slightly since then.

United have gone on to win the EFL Cup and are in the quarter finals of the Europa League. In fact they are now favourites to win it.

City, on the other hand, have been knocked out of the Champion’s League due to attacking a two-goal lead rather than defending it, and been knocked out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage. They will end the season trophyless, not something which was expected when Pep Guardiola took the reins.

It is difficult to see these events not having some psychological effect on the players. After all, they were the team who were going to win things with their new manager. This will not now be the case, not short term anyway.

All of this, in our very humble opinion, makes Manchester United slight favourites for the win but the draw still remains the safest bet.

It will certainly be an interesting derby game onThursday.

The FA Cup final will feature Chelsea and Arsenal. Two London teams playing the final in London. Quite fair really. The semi-finals featured three London teams and one from Manchester and were also played in London. Totally unfair really.

How three clubs can play a “home” game whilst another is totally disadvantaged by being the sole “away” team is beyond the comprehension of this fair-minded publication. What happened to playing the semi-finals on a neutral ground in a neutral city?

The result was quite predictable with this heavy bias towards London and now the final will be contested between two teams who, through no real fault of their own, generate no real interest outside of London particularly in a competition which has now become one which nobody really cares much about either.

When will the FA come to their senses, (a perpetually rhetorical question!), and return the old values to the tournament? Maybe then some of the old “magic” may reappear. Until that happens it will remain a bit of a damp squib.

FA Cup final weekend has finally become just another weekend.

Advertisements

IMG_1260

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…………”

And so it goes on. This extract, as learned readers will know, is taken from “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. In some ways, it describes quite well the period between Louis van Gaal being told to do one and José Mourinho being welcomed into the spider’s web which masquerades as the manager’s office at Manchester United. (more…)

IMG_1244

Manchester United’s problem is scoring goals, or rather, not scoring goals. Their total for the season would be abysmal if Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s tally were to be taken out of the equation.

When United signed the Swede along with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba, it appeared to go a long way to addressing the goalscoring side of things. The fact that he only signed one defender, Eric Bailly, did not necessarily mean that he was happy with what he had, more that there was a shortage of world class defenders available. (more…)

img_1215

Manchester United are among the top four teams in the country, just not according to the league table or their results at Old Trafford.

The league table currently has them in joint fifth position and, at Old Trafford, they have failed to beat Stoke City, Burnley and 10-man Bournemouth to name but three.

Failure to take three points from each of these games is inexcusable and it is difficult to imagine the same happening to Chelsea or Manchester City.

Against Bournemouth, for example, the finishing was woeful. Both Paul Pogba And Zlatan Ibrahimovic were guilty of missing excellent chances with the latter even managing to miss a penalty. (more…)

img_1174

Well folks, it’s that time of the year again! European competition has returned with the start of the knockout stages of both the Champion’s League and the Europa League.

This article was supposed to be a preview of the two tournaments BEFORE any of the games had been played but, thanks to missed deadlines due to oversleeping, is now published after the first round of them has finished.

Fortunately only Arsenal, out of the English contingent, have played their first leg game and everybody knew what was going to happen before a ball was even kicked. (more…)

mufc-659m

(Thanks to sportingintelligence for the graphic)

Whenever anything relating to Manchester United is published it is big news. Maybe not to everybody in the world but there are many who hang onto every word, written or spoken, about the reds.

There is talk of the stadium capacity being increased to around 80,000 in the near future and it will be full for almost every home game.

Do United do anything differently to the other top teams? They spend some of their close season touring far away places in order to give some of their fans the chance to see the players, (not to mention increasing the fanbase to make more money)! (more…)

img_1130

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…)

img_1118

(Sir Bobby is horrified to see his goalscoring record broken by Wayne Rooney, of all people!)

So it’s finally gone. One of the longest standing records in football has been broken. At least it was a decent goal which did the dastardly deed.

Wayne Rooney, thanks to longevity rather than anything else, is now Manchester United’s record goalscorer. This fact will always divide opinion amongst genuine United fans never mind the hangers-on who only discovered the club after they became successful. (more…)

img_1098

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…)

mancs-v-scousers

So the time is nearly upon us. The massively over-hyped games between Everton and Manchester City, followed by Manchester United and Liverpool are just around the corner.

The respective fields will be taken by multi-millionaires running round doing something they love whilst being watched by, in the main, poorer working class people who have managed to scrape together the cost of either a season ticket or a matchday ticket.

Higher in the stands will be Roy Keane’s favourite people. The prawn sandwich brigade who sometimes don’t even know which game they are attending. The score, or even who is victorious, is a complete irrelevance to these types. (more…)