Tag Archives: Manchester United

England

Areas where Manchester United need to invest during the summer transfer window

Barring a mathematical miracle via a fourteen goal swing, Manchester United have all but secured their return to the top four and will once again dine at Europe’s elite table in the Champions League next season. Although it took Louis Van Gaal time to impose himself and his philosophies into the team early doors, he has ultimately achieved the objective of ensuring the club returned to the Champions League. However, a repeat next season would result in questions being asked as to why present deficiencies and areas where Manchester United can improve were not addressed. It is therefore imperative that Van Gaal is pro-active during the summer transfer market to not only compete with fellow Premier League title contenders who are likely to spend big, but also ensure Manchester United continue to improve and put themselves in an excellent position to challenge at the summit. Fans can make the most of special offers to predict who will arrive at Old Trafford, with the rumour mill already churning out a vast number of high-profile players who Van Gaal is believed to be targeting. Manchester United have already made the first major move before the transfer window has even opened, with Memphis Depay on his way from PSV for a reported £24.6 million, but there are certain areas which need to be improved upon.

Defenders

Manchester United’s current crop of defenders deserve some praise for being more resolute and cutting down on the number of individual errors, but it is fair to say that David De Gea is the main reason why the team will finish in the top four. Fans and pundits have lost count of the number of world-class saves that the Spaniard has made throughout the season, and at times has single-handedly won Manchester United points through his heroic performances. A goalkeeper of considerable quality deserves to receive more protection from a defence of the same calibre, but although the likes of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have shown signs of considerable improvement this season, Manchester United seriously lack a commanding presence or world-class defenders who could take them closer to winning the title. Mats Hummels and Nicolas Otamendi are the type of defenders that Van Gaal should identify as priority signings, as both would undoubtedly bring strength, leadership and quality to an area where Manchester United are still vulnerable against the big teams.

A future replacement for Michael Carrick

Although Michael Carrick has only featured in sixteen Premier League appearances this season, his presence and quality in midfield has been integral to Manchester United’s season. The 33-year-old has lost none of his superb passing abilities, with Carrick important to how the team plays; Daley Blind and Ander Herrera have certainly made an impression since arriving last summer, but Carrick is the one that links the play from defence to attack, and is able to play quick pinpoint passes to ensure Manchester United move forward up the pitch as a collective unit. Concerns about his fitness and injury record should be enough to force Van Gaal to search the market for the player who offers similar dynamic qualities, with Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan instantly standing out as a player who could undoubtedly replace Carrick in the future.

Strikers

Highly-rated 21-year-old Depay will certainly offer pace and trickery, but as the young Dutchman is more effective as a winger, Van Gaal may consider investing in at least one top quality proven goal-scoring striker. Wayne Rooney, despite having to play in midfield at certain points of the season due to injuries, has still enjoyed a good season in front of goal with twelve to his name, but Radamel Falcao has seriously struggled to prove himself in the Premier League and Robin Van Persie looks a shadow of the player who plundered in twenty-six goals in the title-winning 2012/2013 season. One potential target, Paulo Dybala, is rumoured to have agreed a deal to join Juventus, while there are a number of teams looking at Falcao if Van Gaal does not fancy giving the Colombian another chance following a serious long-term knee injury.

England

Checking in on the Premier League contenders

At the end of the Premier League transfer window last summer, we posted an article projecting the potential top finishers in the league. At the time, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United looked to be the most interesting clubs, in terms of moves made at that point and the potential to contend for a title. Well, now the 2014/15 EPL season is nearing its midpoint, and with the January transfer window open, here’s an updated look at the teams to watch.

Chelsea

In the summer article, we pointed out that all eyes would be on Jose Mourinho’s La Liga acquisitions (Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa) to make the Blues’ season a successful one. But no one saw a Diego Costa performance this good coming. ESPN FC lists Costa with 14 goals through 17 Premier League performances thus far, and behind this superb play Chelsea has established itself as the league leader and likely champion. It’s worth mentioning that in recent weeks the Blues have come back down to Earth after a sensational first few months to the season. At one point Chelsea looked like an absolutely sure bet to win the title. Regardless of recent struggles or January transfer news, Jose Mourinho’s club remains the favourite.

Manchester City

It seems almost shocking to say so after Chelsea’s aforementioned hot start, but Manchester City has pulled even in the league standings with 46 points through 20 games played. They may get even deadlier in the attack if the transfer window goes as planned. BBC Sport’s football report suggests that City is inching closer to signing Wilfried Bony, who scored 20 goals in the league in 2014 and has unquestionably been Swansea City’s best player. We’ve seen time and time again that chemistry matters as much as talent in EPL play, and not every new addition comes in as seamlessly as Diego Costa did for Chelsea. But Bony would likely make Man City an even more formidable contender as it seeks to defend its 2013/14 title.

Manchester United

Manchester United began the league campaign looking somewhat shaky. It seems as if first-year manager Louis van Gaal has now earned the trust and confidence of his players, and Man Utd. is rolling in a way we haven’t seen in a few seasons. Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie have been terrific in engineering the Man Utd. attack, and summer addition Radamel Falcao hasn’t really even gotten going yet. But it’s on defense, and in goal, that Man Utd. is making the biggest difference. Despite the outstanding quality of keeper David de Gea, betting.betfair’s football news section reports that Man Utd is on the cusp of signing Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes without a fight (more on that here). It’s a strange decision, but gives the club incredible depth in the back and a nice insurance policy moving forward. There’s still ground to make up in the standings, but United has moved within striking distance should Chelsea and Man City falter.

Arsenal

And finally, there’s Arsenal. After the summer signing of Alexis Sanchez, they looked to be one of the league’s most talented sides. The Gunners have been great at times, but they have also struggled to put together any sort of consistent run that could propel them to the top of the league. Arsenal currently resides outside of the top-five in the standings, but an active January transfer window could set the team up for a nice few months to finish the season. Having already been linked to the likes of Moussa Sissoko and Edinson Cavani, Arsenal is now rumoured to be pursuing Luis Suarez, who hasn’t quite found his groove at Barcelona. Any move of this magnitude would keep the 2014/15 Gunners very interesting.

England

Who will take the Premier League title this year?

Just a few weeks remain until the Premier League season kicks off once again this August, and the league’s top managers are doing their best to make key last minute transfers to their teams.

The title is currently sitting in the hands of Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City, but their current changes could make or break their latest Premier League campaign. With three changes to their defence, it could be a case of fixing what isn’t broken for Manchester City, and with their Premier League rivals making important changes, they could struggle to defend the title.

Arsenal

Alexis Sánchez is the topic of the hour for Arsenal, who have been typically frugal in making transfers this year. While manager Arsene Wenger is renowned for not making transfers until the last minute, he did make one essential change to the team, signing the Chilean right winger for £35 million. Sanchez has shown incredible potential in this year’s World Cup and Spanish tournament La Liga, and his skills could put a halt to Arsenal’s fourth place reputation once and for all.

Chelsea

Jose Mourinho has not been so frugal, having pinched former Arsenal striker Cesc Fabregas for £30 million. The 27-year-old was enjoying a spell at Barcelona, but will now be moving to cooler climates along with Atlético Madrid’s Diego Costa, giving Chelsea average odds of 15/8 to take the title. Romelu has returned to do what he does best, but all eyes will be on La Liga boys to make this year Chelsea’s year.

Liverpool

In an effort to make sure they don’t finish in second place once again, Liverpool have made some vital transfers this season, including the signing of young blood Lazar Markovic and Emre Can. The Reds will surely have an interesting opening Premier League game as they take on Southampton, which has recently sold two of its former stars Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana to Liverpool. Despite losing Suárez, a little fresh meat and a bigger incentive than ever to win the league could make this Liverpool’s year.

Manchester United

With the departure of long-suffering David Moyes comes Dutch manager Louis van Gaal, who has made no bones about big changes he’s going to be bringing to the team. It’s rumoured that up to ten players are on the chopping block for Manchester United, who finished in an embarrassing seventh place last year. The team already signed Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw prior to Moyes’ exit, but it’s the next few weeks that will really make or break Manchester United as van Gaal begins to crack the whip.

England

Manchester United need to announce their new manager this week

The quality of the current Manchester United team is probably somewhere in the middle of the last two seasons.

2012/13 saw Sir Alex Ferguson mastermind a rip-roaring success. His Manchester United team collected more points from losing positions than any other Barclays Premier League team before them. They conceded goals early and allowed teams to come at them; but always threw enough at them to leave with three points. There were memorable comebacks like the one against Aston Villa. There were crazy opening periods like the 4-3 victory over Reading. There was the last gasp victory over Manchester City. The flaws in the team were evident but the goals of Robin van Persie, a gung-ho attitude and the aura of the manager were enough to paper over any cracks.

2013/14 didn’t go so well. David Moyes didn’t react with the same bullish attitude as his predecessor in the face of setbacks. He didn’t throw the kitchen sink at teams after an early goal went in. He waited for the system to pull them round and it couldn’t. There wasn’t the inspiration from the sidelines and there wasn’t a fully-fit Robin van Persie to pop up at the right moment to rescue points.

The quality of the squad is probably worthy of back-to-back top four finishes in the last two seasons but the difference in the managers, and their coaching teams, saw a dramatic swing either way.

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England

Premier League coming down to final month

Last season Manchester United ran away with the Premiership crown, clinching on April 22 and finishing 11 points clear of their Mancunian rivals to secure their record 20th top-flight title. Unlike that season, the 2013/14 campaign is packed with the kinds of drama the previous year lacked, as every fixture down the stretch for the top three clubs is crucial to their chances.

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England

Moyes' departure is a lesson for the football world

Sir Alex Ferguson is not the type of man that would enjoy meeting himself. His brash, arrogant personality that supposedly makes way to a gentlemen full of kindness. His mannerism of picking fights with officials and opposition teams at just the right time to shake the attention away from his own players and their failings. A young Alex Ferguson would have got under the skin of the senior version and that’s why he made the wrong choice when finding his successor at Manchester United.

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England

Mind Games: Premier League preview

We appear to have arrived at the point in the season where certain managers decide that the best way to upset and distract their rivals is by doing a bit of trolling. Jose Mourinho displayed a lack of gracefulness a few days ago, and now Manuel Pellegrini has decided to rub David Moyes’ nose in a mess which, to be fair to Moyes, was left at Old Trafford (at least in part) by someone else.

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England

Mourinho the master

This season was always going to be one of unpredictability. With the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson the seat at the head of the Premier League managers’ table was vacant for the first time in decades. The return of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea seemingly left this seat open for him to succeed and on the evidence this season this theory would seem correct.

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England

Silva making City tick

Manchester City scored their 100th league goal of the season on Saturday against Cardiff City and whilst much of the praise has gone to their strike force it could be argued that David Silva has been the key component. It cannot be a coincidence that his return to form has resulted in the sides’s magnificent form of late.

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England

Confidence is key

There are many key components that all need to function simultaneously for a football player, or any other athlete for that matter, to reach the best of their ability. Clearly having the requisite skill and physical attributes to reach the top is of great importance but at the truly elite level of sport much is decided in the mind.

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