Posts Tagged ‘Watford’

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Arsenal can’t defend, Liverpool can’t defend, Chelsea play better when down to nine men and Manchester City find it difficult against a ten man defence.

You may be forgiven for thinking that the top clubs, having had a two and a half months break from competitive football, time to work on their style of play and money to buy new players where needed, would return to Premier League action with all guns blazing.

If Friday’s game was supposed to be an example of that then Arsenal didn’t stick to the script. They did, however, manage to achieve something which has been rare in the last few years. They won their first home game. They were lucky to do so as it would have been no surprise had their woeful defending resulted in more than the three goals they conceded. (more…)

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The game against Everton was the chance to put some pressure on Manchester City before their game with Chelsea. It was also a chance to show the Old Trafford faithful that they hadn’t completely forgotten how to win a game of football.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to add a goal threat up front and Ander Herrera returned to add a threat to the opposing midfieders. (more…)

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(In the above photo Ronald Koeman has cleverly disguised himself by wearing a Claudio Ranieri mask in order to deflect attention away from Everton!)

After tonight’s game between Liverpool and Manchester United the top seven will have a familiar look about it, (assuming that your regular top seven doesn’t include Leicester City!)

A draw will see no movement, a Liverpool win will take them to the same points as Arsenal and Manchester City, and a United win will take them above Liverpool, into fourth place, on goal difference. (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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After three games the top three in the Premier League had an air of predictability about it. José Mourinho had taken over at Manchester United, Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and Antonio Conte at Chelsea. All three, at this stage, had 100% records.

Arsene Wenger soldiered on at Arsenal starting with his annual first game of the season loss at home. Jürgen Klopp continued in his manic way while, over the park, Ronald Koeman quietly got on with things leaving the other “bigger name” managers at the “bigger clubs” to hog the limelight. (more…)

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When I tuned in to watch this game I had missed all the build up so had to work out the team by identifying the players on the pitch.

Firstly, I was amazed to see Chris “Bambi” Smalling. What had Daley Blind done to deserve losing his place and what on earth had Smalling done to deserve being selected? (more…)

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Manchester City have once again been told that they are in the “Group of Death”. This should come as no surprise to either the supporters or to anybody connected with the club. Manchester City always get drawn in the “Group of Death”.

The problem here is the inferiority complex which could develop through this attitude. Why is this the toughest group from which to qualify just because it contains Barcelona? Over two games I would expect City to take at least one point from Messi and co. This leaves Borussia Mönchengladbach and Celtic. From these four games I would expect at least eight points which would give them a total of nine, more than likely enough to see them through in second place. (more…)

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Is Manuel Pellegrini ever going to realise what a liability Aleksandr Kolarov is to the team?

He is so lazy it is unbelievable. I don’t mean lazy in that he doesn’t run around or chase the ball, he does all that. The problem is when he has the ball or is attempting to win it.

He will invariably play a lazy pass straight at an opponent as though he expects the ball to magically pass through him. He does occasionally play decent passes in behind the defence or put in a decent cross or crack in a fierce free-kick but I am not sure that the positives outweigh the negatives with this guy.

Take the goal he scored for Watford today from a corner. Apart from being in danger of conceding a penalty by having both his arms around a Watford striker, he then deliberately flicked the ball with his head. He didn’t need to, Joe Hart had it covered and would either have caught it or punched it out. The flick from Kolarov took it past him and into the net.

Whilst I am sure that these mistakes affect him, he certainly does not give the appearance that they do. He appears not to care, but I am sure he does.

The main problem, for me, is that he never seems to learn and Pellegrini keeps picking him. Now, the argument may be that City don’t have a left back better than Kolarov, which is true if Clichy is the only back up. (more…)

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Manchester United managed to beat Watford without ever really playing very well.

In fairness, there were good moments and, with no Rooney to get in the way, they kept possession reasonably well.

A lot of the game was played in a congested midfield so it was nice to see Memphis finish off a good move when the ball eventually went out wide. The wings were where the space was but, with Ashley Young playing totally out of position as usual at wing back, and Jesse Lingard drifting between the wing and linking up with Memphis to form an attacking twosome, the wings were underused.

The Watford equaliser came from the penalty spot when Rojo, on as a second half substitute, made a late, clumsy tackle well inside the area and Troy Deeney scored. (more…)

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(Ryan Giggs points out that playing De Gea as a striker doesn’t seem to be working)

So van Gaal has enough strikers at Manchester United. Did he actually say that, or am I remembering it differently?

In the August transfer window everybody pointed out that he needed a full back, which he bought, (Matteo Darmian, lest ye forget), a centre back, which he left off his own personal list, although reports say that he tried to get Mats Hummels. A world renowned top class striker, so he bought Anthony Martial. He might not have been world renowned but his price was. He looks, in fairness, as though he is going to be worth it. He was also a little short in midfield, so he went supermarket shopping and bought thirty new midfielders as a job lot.

Now anybody who has read any of my ramblings before will know my feelings about meaningless international friendlies. Nothing gets learnt, players get injured. (more…)