Tag Archives: Manchester United

WSL Update: Chelsea’s title to lose?

The Blues took what appears to be a giant step towards the title against London rivals Arsenal last time out. 

New Australian signing Sam Kerr scored her first goal for the club as Chelsea scored three times in 20 minutes at the home of the defending champions on their way to a 4-1 victory.

Emma Hayes’ side now have a game in hand over their title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal and are just a point further back in third.

At the other end of the table meanwhile Liverpool finally got their first victory of the season to leapfrog Bristol City.

The reds secured a 1-0 victory over the West-Midlands side thanks to a 13thminute strike from their new signing, Rachel Furness.

Both the Manchester clubs also won, Manchester City kept their title hopes alive with a 2-0 victory over Birmingham City.

Ellen White scored against her old club in just the first minute of the match and midfielder Keira Walsh completed the scoring with a strike from the edge of the area.

Manchester United’s captain, Katie Zelem scored twice as the red devils got the better of Tottenham Hotspur, emerging 3-0 winners.

Elsewhere, Chloe Kelly scored a hat trick as Everton beat Reading 3-1 to secure their first victory in four matches and Alisha Lehmann’s two late goals helped West Ham come from behind to beat Brighton 2-1.

Matchday Previews and Predictions

Sunday 2ndFebruary

Liverpool vs Birmingham City (Kick-off 12pm)

Vicky Jepson’s Liverpool team have enjoyed a revival of late by winning three of their last five games in all competitions. They also secured their first league win of the campaign against fellow strugglers Bristol City.  They also put eight goals past Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup.

Birmingham City by contrast have lost four of their past five games and are currently only a point and a place ahead of Liverpool.

The Blues however did win the reverse fixture back in October 2-0 thanks to goals from their captain Kerys Harrop and Lucy Staniforth.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-0

We fancy Liverpool to continue their recent impressive run and secure their second victory of the season. 

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Everton (2pm)

Everton have won their past two games in all competitions after suffering back to back 3-1 defeats against both Arsenal and Manchester City.  The Toffees currently sit fifth in the table and just goal difference separates them from Manchester United above them in fourth.

Brighton meanwhile could certainly do with a win to ease their regelation concerns, Hope Powell’s team are currently only three points off the bottom. Since beating Liverpool 1-0 at home at the start of January the Seagulls have lost their last three league matches.

Prediction: Brighton 1-0

The Seagulls are under pressure to get a result and we think with home advantage they have what it takes to cause an upset. 

Chelsea vs West Ham United (2pm)

The Blues are flying at the moment, having beaten the defending champions Arsenal last time out they have also secured their place in the Continental Tyres Cup Final by beating Manchester United in the week.

The London side also find themselves in prime position for the WSL title with a game in hand and their two title rivals playing against each other this weekend.

The Hammers’ form has been very up and down in recent weeks and they have also never beaten their London rivals in four previous encounters.  They did however manage to get a 1-1 draw in the corresponding fixture last season.

Prediction: Chelsea 4-0

We anticipate another comprehensive Chelsea victory.

Manchester City vs Arsenal (2pm)

This is certainly the game of the weekend.  The match also marks Nick Cushing’s final game in charge of Manchester City before he heads off to become Assistant Manager of New York City FC.

The sides met in mid-week with Arsenal emerging victorious in their Continental Tyres Cup Semi-final 2-1 to secure a place in the final against Chelsea at the Nottingham Forest City Ground at the end of next month.

Not only is it the Manchester City manager’s final game in charge, this match certainly has huge ramifications for both teams in terms of their title chances.

Prediction: Manchester City 3-2

We are just giving the edge to Manchester City due to home advantage and the fact that it is their manager’s last game in charge.  Anticipating an open game with plenty of goals.

Reading vs Manchester United (2pm)

Both of these sides have suffered two defeats in their last three games.  Manchester United in particular have gone out of two-cup competitions in the space of a few days to Chelsea and Manchester City respectively.

The Royals meanwhile have lost their last two league games against Arsenal and Everton, however they were both away from home. They did win their last home match against Birmingham City 1-0 thanks to a goal from Amalie Eikeland.

The Red Devils secured a 2-0 win when the sides met back at the end of October.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-0

We think that Casey Stoney’s Manchester United will bounce back from their recent disappointments in this one. 

Tottenham Hotspur vs Bristol City (2pm)

The final match sees Spurs hosting bottom side Bristol City.  The London side won emerged victorious in the only encounter between the sides earlier this season in a hard fought 2-1 win.

Bristol City’s form has improved in recent weeks as they have won three of their past five matches including a 1-0 win against Manchester United.

Tottenham Hotspur however have lost three of their past four games, but their one victory did come at home against fellow London side West Ham.

Prediction: Tottenham 3-1

We believe that Tottenham will come away with the three points. 

 

 

Should the FA Cup replay’s be scrapped?

Following the New Meadow 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury and Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp stated his first team players, nor himself, would appear in the replay back at Anfield.

Image result for shrewsbury town v liverpool
Shrewsbury’s Jason Cumming’s scored the equaliser on Sunday to take the tie back to Merseyside.

Since Klopp’s arrival to the Premier League he has shown no happiness towards the busy December period and the replay format of the cup, it seems he believes the players are requested to play too often, hindering their physical capability and lack of recovery time. Despite this, his team way ahead at the top of the Premier League do not seem to be suffering on the whole. A factor which is potentially being interpreted as ignorance when their competition is from the lower leagues who play more games than those in the top division with remarkably less money and resources.

A recent discussion on BBC Radio 5 Live heard how Great Britain hockey star Samantha Quek argued the FA Cup replay’s should be scrapped and the format should be changed to two separate pots of Premier League and Championship teams and another of the lower divisions. A disgruntled Tranmere fan was on the phone to explain how much the FA cup meant to a lower league team, not just financially but sentimentally, and rightfully so.

The FA Cup ties and replays are renowned for bringing extra revenue to smaller clubs which can become a vital input for changes that Premier League clubs do not have to think twice about. Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts explained how the money from the return trip to Anfield would allow for improved drainage of the pitch and cameras for analysis to be used in games. Something Premier League regulars may take for granted.

The FA Cup allows for extra distribution of money which is circulated within English football, vitally this money can reach the lucky lower league teams who make it through the rounds. But it is also the importance of sentiment that the cup brings. For a supporter, the FA cup can be a magical occasion and allows for that chance to visit a Premier League ground to watch their team play against some the world’s greats. Similarly for a player, who may have finished a day working, to then take to the stage lined up against world famous players, a great euphoric feeling which can’t be replicated.

Yes, the Premier league may be tasking for players who play a higher standard week in week out, but they are professional. Their clubs, if anything out of respect, should participate thoroughly in an FA Cup game as if it was any other game.

LA Galaxy find replacement for Zlatan in Javier “Chicharito” Hernández

After world-renowned striker Zlatan Ibrahimović left the LA Galaxy to return to A.C. Milan, the team officially announced that Javier “Chicharito” Hernández signed a three-year Designated Player contract for the five-time champions. 

The MLS-side were desperate to find an option for their Number 9. After several names were reported to replace the Swede, including his former PSG teammate Edinson Cavani, the club was able to land Mexico’s all-time leading goal scorer.

Chicharito played for Guadalajara, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, West Ham United, and, most recently, Sevilla. In 308 career appearances at the senior level, he accumulated 115 goals. Along with finding success scoring in some of the best leagues around the world, the Mexican international has won several awards, including two Premier League titles, a FIFA Club World Cup, and much more.

Meanwhile, for El Tri, the 31-year-old has found the back of the net 52 times in 109 appearances. Chicharito has been dominate for his country, winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2011, the CONCACAF Cup in 2015, and was named the federation’s Men’s Player of the Year in 2015.

Even though Chicharito is not as well known in the world of football like Zlatan, he will still have an impact in filling the seats at Dignity Health Sports Park. With the city’s huge Mexican population, getting one of the country’s most historic players is not a bad way to attract fans to attend the games.

Having arrived from a short stint in La Liga, critics are wondering if the veteran is able to compete in the league. It will be an interesting experiment as the LA Galaxy are on their quest to win their sixth MLS Cup, but first since 2014.

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.

Amazon prime: a new era for football broadcasting?

As Amazon Prime Video broadcast their first Premier League games this week, is this a preview of things to come?

Image result for amazon package
Not your usual delivery! Amazon take on new Premier League broadcasting deal.

In an agreed 3 year deal, Amazon are set to start out their football broadcasting career with December’s fixtures. This strategic deal comes with aim of the company to see an influx of new customers during the busiest time of the year. For the already members of Amazon Prime, they will benefit from watching for free whereas new customers can enjoy a free trial, with follow up prices at the beginning of permament membership set to increase. A free trial period is a risk taken by operators at Amazon in hope that people will follow up their subscriptions.

If this is the way football media is heading, the effects could be very damaging in terms of reducing live match day attendances. As the variety of subscription services are increasing, it is likely football fans will already subscribe to at least one of the major sports broadcasters in Sky Sports, BT Sport or now Amazon. Alongside the current expense of travelling to away games especially, could this be another factor to prevent football fans from travelling away?

If this is to be the case, in the next ten years there could be rapid change in how the game operates. Football’s commercialisation is continually on the up rise – meaning football clubs always have to look to protect themselves financially. This could mean in future they take broadcasting opportunities into their own hands. Could it be that the clubs themselves start up subscription services such as those of MUFC TV and LFC TV? These already offer some game footage and insider viewing for their subscribers. For supporters this could become a choice between your traditional season ticket or a digital season ticket for home viewing.

Despite this, it is unlikely clubs will endeavour to claim tv rights from the broadcasters just yet, so for now it seems it shall be them battling it out for top spot of football television.