Category Archives: Manchester United

Martial, Rashford and Greenwood – the Premier League’s deadliest front three

Much has been made of Manchester United over the past five/six years of football, with the loss of a plethora of attacking talent the club has been criticised for its poor recruitment. Yet for all the money they have spent two of their dangerous front three are academy graduates.

Perhaps slightly under the radar is the fact they have scored more goals than Liverpool’s much-talked about front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. Granted United have played lesser opposition in Europe but it is still an impressive feat nonetheless. This article takes a look at their development as a front three.

Mason Greenwood

Possibly the most exciting out of these talents is 18-year-old Mason Greenwood. The Bradford-born striker scored two wonderful goals against Bournemouth as his side tore them apart 5-2. This took him on to a tally of 15 goals in all competitions this season.

For a young player playing his full debut season that record certainly makes for impressive reading. ESPN even tweeted out how he has scored more goals than Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria put together.

 

If Greenwood was to score another five goals during the rest of the campaign, he would help break a very impressive long-standing club record.

It will be the first time that three United players have scored 20 or more goals in the same season since 1964-65, when Denis Law (39), David Herd (28) and John Connelly (20) did the same thing.

 

Given the fact he only recently started playing consistently in the Premier League you have to be impressed with numbers he’s managed to put up.

A real earmark of his play has been the quality of his finishing, his two goals against Bournemouth showed fantastic shot power and accurate finishing, the ability to do that at this level and at only 18 years old, it shows he could be the real deal. In fact he has already outscored Marcus Rashford’s debut season. So in that sense he’s showing more promise.

In fact, only Michael Owen , Robbie Fowler and Wayne Rooney have scored more goals in a single Premier League campaign at the age of 18 and under. The esteem of that company alone should give you an idea of his talent.

United have been longing for their academy talents to replicate the class of 92, and while a group of that caliber is extremely rare, Greenwood certainly has the potential to be a superstar for club and country.

Marcus Rashford

A hero on and off the pitch this season. It feels as though Marcus Rashford has been around for a while and you’d be right in thinking that considering he has played 206 games for the club (according to transfermarkt). Alongside this he also had 38 caps and 10 goals for the England first team – so he has plenty of match experience for a 22-year-old.

Over his time at the club he has amassed 65 goals and 35 assists, which when looked at is a pretty impressive number. Rashford has long been criticised for his lack of goals, particularly in the Premier League.

That is within reason, before this campaign the most he’d scored was 10 goals, and he’s smashed that with 15 this time around. The England striker has improved every season – scoring 5, 5, 7, 10 and now 15 goals. A steady rise but a clear improvement in form.

He’s now hit 20 first the season in all competitions, easily performing at his best, which could be due in part to the creative talents around him like Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, etc.

Perhaps the role of a Manchester United no.9 is one that has put added pressure on his ability to perform at the highest level. The controversy surrounding his position (was he an inverted winger or a striker?) stunted his growth as he was moved around the pitch constantly.

This campaign has shown that he does have a real ability to grow and evolve into a word-class attacking player, and if this steady upwards trajectory continues who knows how many goals he could get.

His positive charity work outside the game has also earned him respect and admiration, and he has proved he has a mature head on his shoulders and at such a young age too – that can only bode well for his attitude on the pitch.

Anthony Martial

Martial has had an odd time at Manchester United. The Frenchman came in for a lot of money and has always had buckets of ability. His debut goal against Liverpool is still a thing of beauty. Despite this we have yet to really see his true potential.

Perhaps his disappointing career for France has removed him from the spotlight – scoring one goal in 18 caps. In 213 appearances for United he has 68 goals and 35 assists, only marginally better than Marcus Rashford.

Now at the age of 24, Martial would ideally need to find his form and we have seen his talents fully with this post-lockdown campaign.

He equaled Rashford’s tally of 20 goals for this season and at times has looked unplayable. His long range goal against Bournemouth tells you all you need to know about the ability of the man.

A lot has been made of his attitude and at times he hasn’t looked settled at the club but the return of this post-lockdown United has seen a complete u-turn in the player. Pogba and Martial both look happy at the club – the addition of Bruno Fernandes has apparently had a great impact on the dressing room atmosphere.

Martial seems like a player that thrives off the ability of those around him and this allows to play with a great deal of confidence. At times, he has looked lost but others he has looked like a real superstar.

His current form suggests that he is happy to stay and has found a team he can believe in and enjoy playing with. So from a United point of view, long may it continue.

What can they achieve?

The question on every United fans lips is now, can they achieve greater heights?

The beginning of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign as manager was faultless but it took a real nose dive and you could forgive people for thinking the same thing could happen again.

If the form of these three players continues in the same fashion, we could see a very dangerous United side going into the next campaign. With the Europa League still to content for, there is a lot of hope surrounding the club that a season, which looked dead and buried, produce a European trophy and Champions League football.

With such a small gap between this and next season though, you have to wonder how United will compete next year. It appears, however, Solskjaer could be building a fantastic team. Defensively there is still work to be done – but the future certainly looks a lot brighter for the red side of Manchester.

Chelsea advance to semifinals of FA Cup courtesy of Ross Barkley’s goal

Second-half substitute Ross Barkley scores his fourth goal in the FA Cup, which proved to be the game-winner for Chelsea as they win 1-0 at Leicester City in the quarterfinals.

In the early part of the match Leicester City, who are currently one spot ahead of The Blues in the Premier League, were looking dominate, but were unable to capitalize on any of their chances.

It all started when Harvey Barnes crossed the ball to Jamie Vardy within the first three minutes of the match but was denied by goalie Willy Caballero. Youri Tielemans and Jonny Evans also wasted good chances to get a goal for The Foxes.

Chelsea, fresh off helping Liverpool secure their first-ever Premier League title, had a chance to score in the first-half courtesy of in-form Christian Pulisic. However, the young American was stopped by a miraculous save from Kasper Schmeichel.

After the goalless first-half, Tammy Abraham, Chelsea’s leading goal scorer in the Premier League, had believed that he put his team up in front but was denied by an offside call.

However, the South London-side finally found the net in the 63rd-minute, when Barkley knocked in the cross from Willian, which went past Schmeichel for what ultimately was the deciding goal.

 

Leicester City has a chance to tie late in the game from center back Çağlar Söyüncü, but Cesar Azpilicueta deflected the ball.

The Blues have now advanced to the semi-final, where they will face Manchester United on the weekend of 18 and 19 July. 

Who is Jude Bellingham?

Jadon Sancho. Lautaro Martinez. Erling Haaland. We see plenty of names being branded about as the next best young players but one player that has flown into the public eye recently is Birmingham City’s Jude Bellingham.

The 16 year-old turns 17 on the 29th and has amassed 33 Championship appearances since 2019, scoring four goals. He caught the attention of FourFourTwo magazine when he scored the winner for the Birmingham U23’s side against Nottingham Forest at the ripe age of 15. By March 2019, he’d made 10 development side appearances and bagged three goals. He was also being linked with top clubs around Europe, Borussia Dortmund being the most talked about name at first.

Bellingham then signed a two-year scholarship with Birmingham to begin in July 2019. He was part of the first-team squad in their pre-season training, played and scored in some pre-season friendlies and was subsequently given the number 22 shirt for the 2019/20 campaign .

On the 6th August 2019, Bellingham became Birmingham City’s youngest ever first-team player when he started an EFL cup tie with Portsmouth. At the age of 16 years and 38 days, he beat the record of 16 years 139 days that Trevor Francis had previously held. The Englishman also captained England U15’s in the 17/18 season and went on to do the same for the U16’s by the end of 2018.

In the current season he has played 33 times, as mentioned before and has played a mix of wing and central midfield positions. He has the physical presence needed for a central midfielder and has a good eye for a pass. For a young player he seems very composed and plays with a maturity beyond his years.

With four goals from midfield, you could also say he has a decent eye for goal, which at 16 is highly impressive. The Championship is a notoriously difficult league to play in and with him being able to establish himself, you would have to say the hype surrounding his talents is justified.

Pep Clotet and the club staff feel he is most suited to an advanced central midfield role.

Speaking in October, Clotet said:

“The only difference between a player who is 16 and a player that has a lot of years as a pro is the way they handle the load.

“He’s handling it very well at the moment and he’s a strong player so I don’t see why he can’t hack it.”

His performances have certainly garnered a lot of attention from Europe’s top clubs, with Bayern Munich now entering the fray alongside Dortmund and Manchester United. There were reports in January linking the youngster with a £50 million move to United, a deal that never seemed likely.

However, it does bring up the topic of English players going for a certain premium. As £50 million for a player who had only played half a Championship season seems very steep.

Bellingham will be able to sign his first professional contract when he turns 17 on Monday – he earns a measly £145 per week at Birmingham, which means clubs have just a few days to convince him to join them. Bayern Munich have made an effort to potentially hijack a deal to Dortmund, with Bellingham choosing the latter over United because of the success Jadon Sancho has had.

It would be difficult to see where he fits in at Bayern, whereas Dortmund you could assume Bellingham would get more playing time. Wherever his career path takes him, you can be sure that we haven’t heard the last of this starlet.

Premier League TABLE scores and fixtures

PosTeamPlayedGDPoints
1Liverpool (C)334789
2Manchester City334766
3Leicester City3332

58

4Chelsea331657
5Manchester United332355
6Wolves33952
7Arsenal33849
8Tottenham33 848
9Sheffield United33148
10Burnley33-945
11Everton33-844
12Newcastle33-1043
13Southampton33-1343
14Crystal Palace33-1242
15Brighton33-936
16West Ham United33-1831
17Watford33-2328
18Aston Villa33-2627
19Bournemouth33-2727
20Norwich33-3221

Latest Results

  • Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Everton

Upcoming Fixtures

  • Crystal Palace vs Chelsea Tuesday 7th July 6pm
  • Watford vs Norwich City Tuesday 7th July 6pm
  • Arsenal vs Leicester City Tuesday 7th July 8:15pm
  • Manchester City vs Newcastle United Wednesday 8th July 6pm
  • Sheffield United vs Wolves Wednesday 8th July 6pm
  • West Ham United vs Burnley Wednesday 8th July 6pm
  • Brighton vs Liverpool Wednesday 8th July 8:15pm
  • Bournemouth vs Tottenham Hotspur Thursday 9th July 6pm
  • Everton vs Southampton Thursday 9th July 6pm
  • Aston Villa vs Manchester United Thursday 9th July 8:15pm

 

 

Elite in Premiership could miss out in next seasons Football League Cup

After a delay of three months with the return of the Premiership, there are already people in the football world looking ahead to next season, as and when it will eventually commence.

One hotly debated topic on the agenda will certainly be what is eventually going to happen to cup competitions. With this in mind the League Cup- currently known as the Carabao Cup- could well see the top seven sides from the Premiership missing from the competition.

Due to what is anticipated to be a fixture pile up next season for teams involved in European competitions this could well see the League Cup played without the cream of the Premiership.

It was confirmed only this week that the Champions League and Europa League schedules will run into August, meaning involved teams won’t be able to play League Cup ties as things stand, with the EFL considering a change for the competition.

There are a couple of other possibilities that potentially could be considered. The first would be to do away with the competition for a season.  That would, however, cause financial damage to lower league sides who are already facing a very uncertain future.

Alternately, the EFL could decided on allowing the Premiership sides a chance to play their youth sides- something that Liverpool did against Everton earlier on this season, which didn’t go down well.  Surely, however, that idea would devalue a competition which has lost its appeal for the past few seasons.

In my opinion, I certainly like the idea of the top seven Premiership sides not playing in the Cup next season. This would at least give some club outside Manchester a better chance of cup glory. In six of the last seven seasons the Cup has been won by either City or United, so for footballs sake it would be wonderful to see somebody else raise the cup at Wembley.

In fairness to most of the Premiership sides, well certainly the top eight and sides fighting off relegation-the league cup has always been a distraction for them.

Some people may say that if it does come down to the top seven in the Premiership not being invited to feature in next seasons competition, the League Cup won’t be the same. As I mentioned earlier, this would give a glorious chance to either a lower ranked Premiership side, a club from the Championship or for a wonderful story. How about a lower league club getting to Wembley and lifting the trophy? The money earned from this experience would benefit these clubs more than the Premiership boys and would be something in the history of the club that they will be remembered by, and stay with them for many years.