Posts Tagged ‘The Etihad’

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In a mixed competition weekend for football the Premier League was not really going to see much change at the top. With the title already in the delivery van and marked for Manchester the only battles left are for the rest of the top four.

With United and Spurs in FA Cup action and Chelsea not playing the path was clear for Liverpool and Arsenal to gain some ground on their rivals.

We will have more to say on the Arsenal situation tomorrow but, for now, we concentrate on the Saturday games. (more…)

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Barring a miracle at The Emirates, Arsenal are out of the Champion’s League. Surprise, surprise! Beaten again by Bayern Münich, although the opponent in the round of Arsenal is largely irrelevant, whoever they played would have won the tie. It’s surely time for Arsene Wenger to seek a different challenge.

Tottenham Hotspur, who weren’t good enough for the Champion’s League and so thought they would quite like a crack at the Europa League, proved that they couldn’t hack it at that level either, beaten by Gent, one of those Belgian teams with no good Belgian players because they are all playing in England for teams such as Tottenham Hotspur. (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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All United have to do on Sunday is go to Stamford Bridge and win. The slightly easier task, on paper anyway, is that of Manchester City who face Southampton at The Etihad. Anything less than three points each for the two Manchester teams will be seen as an opportunity wasted.

Chelsea are certainly not the team they were under Mourinho and are eminently beatable. The problem for United, at present, is that they are also not the team that Chelsea were under Mourinho. Of the two, however, there is no reason why United should not win this one. (more…)

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Manchester United fans do not have a lot of time for Wayne Rooney at present. When he originally signed for the club he was accepted quite quickly, helped, no doubt, by scoring a hat-trick in his first game, a Champion’s League match against Fenerbahcé.

He then went on to have a few relatively successful years even though he could only watch as better players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez moved on to more success. He never reached their level despite his early promise. It appeared that he reached his comfort zone and stayed there. (more…)

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Despite sitting at the top of the Premier League Table Manchester City, as Pep Giardiola has already intimated, can improve and, as their recent performance against Tottenham Hotspur suggests, they can improve quite a lot.

Kevin De Bruyne has, in a remarkably short space of time, become almost indispensable to the team. City win far more games when he is playing than when he isn’t meaning that, although they have a deep squad, the strength is not necessarily there yet and their dependence upon one player is worrying for the fans. (more…)

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José Mourinho and the Manchester United supporters will hope it was just a blip, just one of those things. Losing to City was inexcusable but not a major shock. Feyenoord was a bad performance, which can happen. The Watford loss was the worrying one.

This was a game from which United would have been expecting three points, at worst one point, but they ended the day with none. The trip home would have been very quiet. (more…)

 

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This has been a record transfer window. The amount of money spent by clubs is likely to pass the £1 billion mark, if it hasn’t already done so while I have been writing this article.

The two biggest spenders are, arguably, the two with the most money. They can spend obscene amounts on players without batting an eyelid. The fact that they occasionally have to sell players to “balance the books” is actually an accounting exercise and isn’t strictly a necessity, particularly now that the Financial Fair Play rules have been relaxed or binned, I’m not sure which is correct. (more…)

Another question which may be asked in lieu of the title is; does anybody care? After all these are very highly paid individuals, they will be sold to another club at some stage and they will remain very highly paid individuals.

Maybe it is more a question of pride and respect or the lack of it when it comes to a manager’s treatment of his players, in which case the money is not an issue.

Last season it was Victor Valdes at Manchester United who was ostracised for his behaviour. In his case Louis van Gaal had decided that Valdes had acted against his and the club’s interest by not wanting to turn out for the reserves. This was never fully cleared up as Valdes always said that he had never refused to play for them. Whatever the truth of the matter the result was that Valdes spent almost two seasons on the naughty step and was banned from being anywhere near the first team before running down his contract and moving to Middlesbrough. (more…)

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Despite a long injury list and a manager who has only been with the club for three weeks, Sunderland were rather unfortunate not to take a point from the Etihad. It isn’t that they really deserved anything from the game, it’s just that City hardly ran away with it.

Whilst it is true that City were also without players as new signings Leroy Sané and Ilkay Gundogan were both injured, it is also true to say that City have never missed these two players before, so shouldn’t do so now. They were bought to add something to the team not take something away when they don’t play! They were also without Vincent Kompany, as usual, and Nicolas Otamendi, so John Stones made his debut alongside new centre back Aleksander Kolarov. (more…)