Category Archives: England

How can Manchester United replace Marcus Rashford for the next few months?

Following this past weekend’s 2-0 defeat to fierce rivals Liverpool, Manchester United manager Ole Gunner Solskjaer confirmed every United fans worst fears, that Marcus Rashford could face a minimum of six weeks out.

 Solskjaer said during his post match press conference on Sunday:

“He has suffered a bad injury.  It’s a stress fracture, it happened against Wolverhampton during the FA Cup third round replay.”

This injury could hardly come at a worse time for the Red Devils with the return leg in the Carabao Cup looming against Manchester City at the end of the month where United somehow have to overturn a 3-1 deficit.

An FA Cup fourth round tie against either Watford or Tranmere Rovers is also on the horizon and not to mention the resumption of their Europa League campaign against Club Brugge in February.

Rashford himself has up to this point enjoyed his best ever goal-scoring season for the club to date having scored 19 goals in all competitions so far – making him the top goal scorer.

So how does Solskjaer go about replacing his main man for these up coming season defining games?

Strikers currently at United who could replace Rashford

Anthony Martial

The French international is the most senior fit forward currently at the club and is enjoying his best scoring return since his debut campaign for the team back in 2015/16.

Martial has scored 24 goals in all competitions this term however question marks still remain however about his consistency, he did also miss a crucial chance at weekend against Liverpool that could of altered the outcome.

Mason Greenwood

Greenwood has enjoyed a terrific start to his career at Old Trafford and has proven that he is a clinical finisher having reached 10 goals in all competitions. On top of that his left foot has been likened to Dutch forward Robin Van Persie.

He is only 18 and it is his first season playing Premier League football. This in mind, would it be worth Manchester United bringing in another striker to help fill the void that Rashford would leave?

Striker options in the Transfer Market

Former Manchester United right back Gary Neville has previously stressed that his old club needed to replace Romelu Lukaku following his move to Inter Milan in the summer and yesterday Neville said:

“United have to go into the transfer market. They need someone up there with a physical presence and a bit more maturity – they need another body.”

Solskjaer has also stated that they would be open to a short-term solution following their growing injury list.  So who is currently available?

Edinson Cavani

The Uruguayan forward’s name immediately jumps out following his transfer request that he has put in this week.  Cavani’s contract at Paris Saint German expires at the end of the season but the 32 year old wants to leave during the January transfer window.

Cavani has scored 195 goals in 269 appearances for PSG, however this season his game time has been limited due to injuries.

He is a proven international striker but could be a gamble due to his inexperience in the premier league and current injury record. So there is the danger of a repeat of Radamel Falcao’s disastrous loan move a few years ago.

Paco Alcacer

Following the arrival of Erling Haaland at Borussa Dortmund the Spanish international’s game time could be further limited so his game time could be further limited at the German side.

Despite his lack of game time Alcacer has still managed five goals in 11 games this campaign and has managed a good goal scoring return at his previous clubs, particularly Valencia.

The 26 year old is another one however that lacks Premier League experience. There would also be further competition for his signature from Atletico Madrid.

Fernando Llorente

Fernando Llorente, unlike the previous striking options has had experience of playing in the Premier League.

The Spanish international has previously appeared for Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur and would also give United a more physical presence up front that they currently lack with their current forward options.

Llorente is also not getting much game time at his current side, Napoli.

At 34 years old however he is the oldest striker on this list and he also is not scoring many goals having only managed three goals in his 16 appearances so far for the Italian club.

Callum Wilson

Another potential striker option is Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson. His style is similar to that of Rashford’s and he did score 25 goals in all competitions last season.

Wilson however has struggled for form this season scoring just five times but signing for Manchester United could prove beneficial for both player and club and inspire him to get back to that goal scoring form of the last campaign.

Moussa Dembele

The 23-year-old French forward is having a strong season for Lyon.  Dembele has scored 11 goals in 19 appearances in France Ligue 1 and has previously played for English club, Fulham and has impressed while at Scottish Champions Celtic.

Dembele has previously been linked with the 20 time premier league champions while he was at Fulham.   The French side however will unlikely want to part with their prized asset until the summer at the earliest and there would be the added competition from Premier League rivals such as Chelsea for his signature.

Raul Jimenez

Our final option is a striker already applying his trade in the top flight.  Jimenez has already proved to be an excellent acquisition for Wolverhampton Wanders and the 28 year old has led the line brilliantly for Nuno Espirto Santo’s team, scoring ten times and contributing six assists in 23 games.

The Mexican striker would certainly be an effective target man up front for Solskjaer’s side.  The chances of Wolves letting their prize asset go mid-season however are somewhat remote and United may have to splash out in access of 50 million for his signature.

Summary

The need for United to venture into the January transfer market for an additional striker is certainly apparent, particularly if they want to maintain a realistic challenge for the Champions League places and winning a Cup competition.

Otherwise the Red Devils and their fans could face yet again another season without featuring in Europe’s premier competition.

Friendly International: England vs Germany

Match Preview – Kick-Off 5:30pm Wembley

England’s women are aiming to put their recent poor form behind them by securing a first win on home soil against the two-time World Champions, Germany.

Saturday’s friendly at Wembley Stadium could see a record attendance for a women’s match in the UK with the 90,000 stadium expecting to be a sell out.

The FA will also use this fixture as an opportunity to honour former England women footballers at England’s home of football, where they never got a chance to play on. These players are expected to include former England Captain and current Manchester United Manager, Casey Stoney.

Previous Meetings

The Germans have largely dominated the rivalry between these two sides.  There have been 25 meetings in total and the Lionesses have lost 20 of them.

In the past four years however there has certainly been cause for optimism as England defeated Germany for the first time in a World Cup Third place playoff match 1-0 in Canada.

Phil Neville’s team have also achieved two draws in the past four years against Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side including a 2-2 draw in the SheBelieves Cup back in March 2018.

Form of both teams

Post the World Cup England’s form has dipped.  Since their Third-place playoff defeat to Sweden Phil Neville’s side drew with Belgium 3-3, having at one point been 2-0 ahead mid way through the first half.  England subsequently lost back-to-back matches 2-1 to both Norway and Brazil.    They did however return to winning ways against Portugal last time out, on October 8th, thanks to a goal from Arsenal’s Beth Mead.

The German’s form by contrast has been formidable, since their World Cup Quarter-final loss to Sweden.   They have scored 31 goals already in their four European Qualifying games including a 10-0 win against Montenegro at the end of August.

Team News and Players to watch

England welcome back star forward Ellen White – who shared the golden boot with Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, scoring six goals.  They will however be without Chelsea’s playmaker Fran Kirby and centre back Millie Bright through injury.  Other key players such as Jill Scott, Toni Duggan and Georgia Stanway will also be unavailable due to various injury problems.

The Lionesses will have to keep an eye on Freiburg’s Klara Buhl. The young forward has scored 6 goals in four matches in Germany’s Euro campaign, including a hat trick against Ukraine back in October.

Lyon’s Dzsenifer Marozsan is also regarded as an important player for this German side.  Marozsan has scored 32 goals in 96 appearances for the national team and has consistently proved to be one of the best playmakers in the women’s game over the past few years.

Key Stats

  • The first match between the two sides was played in 1984
  • England achieved their first draw with Germany in January 2007 – a goalless draw played in China.
  • Germany won the last match at Wembley 3-0 against England back in November 2014 in front of a then record crowd of 45,619.
  • Germany has won eight European Championships – six of those titles were achieved between 1995-2013 before World Cup runners-up, The Netherlands broke that dominance by winning the title in 2017.

Prediction

England 1-3 Germany

Can see a similar result to that of 2014 – the Lionesses still have a few important players missing and Germany’s form particularly in the past few months has been exceptional.

 

 

Young Lions Impressing

(Pic – Evening Standard)

After a disappointing summer for the England Under 21 side, they have started qualification for the next European Championships in fine style. Expectations were high heading into this summer’s tournament however they failed to live up to the hype and crashed out at the group stage. Focus has now turned to the next tournament, regular forwards Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Dominic Solanke have been overlooked whilst Tammy Abraham and James Maddison have moved to the senior squad. Their replacements are impressing every bit as much with Eddie Nketiah scoring an impressive hat trick in the 5-1 win against Austria, who had won all of their previous qualifiers.

Who is ready for the senior squad?

Callum Hudson-Odoi – Impressed against Austria scoring two stunning goals, sweeping in a volley and curling home a fabulous second following a fine solo run. Callum is sure to be brought back into the senior squad once he has more games at Chelsea under his belt following his injury lay off.

Phil Foden – Has the undoubted talent to be a full England International, however at this point in his career getting game time is the most important thing. If he remains out of the picture at Manchester City then getting games at England Under 21 level is vital for his development. The question remains should he go on loan for game time or remain at City and learn from the many talented players and coaches there? That is open to debate.

As for anyone else that should make the step up, is there is anyone? Who isn’t a big advocate for giving players time to grow at this level and not rushing them into the senior squad? It is better if they gained experience this way than being brought into the senior squad and sat on the bench. There are a number of players; Tammy Abraham, James Maddison, etc, who are playing well enough for their clubs to earn full international recognition. However, it is still difficult for them to get game time for the senior side due to the form of that side.

The best thing for these players is to balance their time between both squads, pick games in which they will get minutes for the senior side, against lesser sides and give them time with the Under 21’s.

England win but football loses

Its not often you come away from a tough away game with a 6-0 win and feel sad and disillusioned with the game. But for many last night, the sad scenes in the stands in Sofia overshadowed what was a very good England performance and threw the game into disrepute. 

There had been much speculation about the behaviour of the Bulgarian fans, after a number of incidents in recent years highlighted the large racist undertone within their fan base, and England captain Harry Kane had spoke of leading his teammates off the field if there was any sniff of racially motivated chanting or jeers.

From the get go England’s black stars were booed every time they touched the ball, attackers Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford as well as debutant centre back Tyrone Mings. But it wasn’t until the 28th minute play was put on hold with discussions taking place on the sideline, and a stadium announcement being made over the speakers warning fans the game would be stopped if this behaviour carried on.

However, this did not stop the chants, the boo’s and the abhorrent monkey noises being made, and the game was then stopped again in the 43rd minute, this time with Southgate talking with the referee before the game was again restarted.

Further racist incidents continued into the second half, caught on pitch-side microphones, but play was not stopped for a third time, which would have been crucial as UEFA’s three step racism protocol states if a match is stopped for a third time the match must be abandoned.

Further footage shows fans doing Nazi salutes and one fan holding up a “no respect” jumper. Debate has been rife over the best course of action in a situation such as this, is it best to walk from the pitch refusing to stand for this kind of abuse? Or is it best to play on and not let the racists win? England chose the latter last night, and with Rashford and Sterling both scoring, as well as Ross Barkley who’s grandfather is Nigerian, well and truly silenced the racist scum in the stands.

If this was not bad enough, Bulgaria’s own manager Krasimir Balakov seemingly defended his fans post match, claiming he did not hear any racist chants towards the England players and actually blamed the England fans for unacceptable behaviour. When the man at the top is seemingly just as bad as the racists in the stands, it is concerning for all involved and something UEFA must take a serious look at.

With all of the focus being firmly set on what happened off the pitch, it is important to remember just what the England players achieved in representing their country in such difficult circumstances, standing up to racism and doing our country proud in the process.

Can England Qualify Against Bulgaria?

Tonight sees England play Bulgaria in a game that should England win, will see them qualify for the Euro 2020 finals.

Now it also sees a scenario similar to the game England played on Friday against the Czech Republic. Win, and England go through.

In total England have met Bulgaria 9 times and have an excellent record against them.

Since the 0-0 draw in their first meeting in June 1962, they have met a further eight times. England have won 5, the most recent of which was 2010, when a 4-0 result was the outcome, thanks in part to a Jermain Defoe hat trick.

In between times. there have been 3 draws and its in two of those draws that Bulgaria have scored their only goals, 2 in total against England.

England’s goal scoring average against Bulgaria over the 9 games is 2, so going on that statistic alone, tonights game should represent a comfortable enough platform on which to secure qualification.

That said, it will prove interesting tonight, because Bulgaria, employ a variation of the 3 5 2 system that England used to play and appear to find diffculties playing against, by playing a 5 3 2 formation, so in theory have 5 defenders and rely on the counter attack.

Overall taking that out of context, Bulgaria are bottom of the group and have only two points. Confidence will not be high for them, and should England start the same they did against the Czechs by scoring early, and maintaining throughout the game, then England have a good chance of recording their highest score against them.