Tag Archives: Old Trafford

Five young Championship players who could step up to the Premier League this summer

The quality of the Championship has undoubtedly soared over recent years and as a result their are many young players making a name for themselves in English footballs second tier. With players such as Dele Alli and Harry Maguire beginning their careers outside the top flight and now starring in the Premier League with full international honours, it is clear that there is real talent out there. But which young Championship stars are ready to make the step up now?

Mason Mount, Derby (Loan)- The young loanee from Chelsea has really made an impact at Derby this season and has led them all the way to the play off final. With 11 goals and 6 assists the 20 year old has been in fine form despite a few injury troubles, and with Chelsea’s current transfer embargo Mount could become a key player for Sarri’s side next term. If not he will almost definitely be on loan at another Premier League club after proving he is a cut above Championship level. He has all the key skills a good attacking midfielder needs but is also not afraid to do the dirty work, tracking back and putting challenges in, expect big things from Mount over the coming years.

Daniel James, Swansea- Heavily linked with a big money move to Manchester United, Swansea winger Daniel James has turned heads with his incredible pace, dribbling skills and end product. The 21 year old was close to joining Leeds in January but the deal fell through at the last minute, contrary to many other players who’s form nosedives after a failed transfer, James continued his stellar form and recorded three goals and five assists after Christmas to take his overall tally to 5 goals and 10 assists in 38 games. The Welsh international went viral earlier this season after a goal he scored against Brentford highlighted his immense pace as he sped through the whole defence from just inside his own box and finished well.

Marcus Tavernier, Middlesbrough- Brother of Rangers captain James Tavernier, Marcus has made a name for himself on his own right after a string of promising performances for Tony Pulis Middlesbrough during 18/19. The left winger has broke through this season making 27 appearances and recording four goals and three assists with many feeling he would be the perfect replacement for Ryan Fraser at Bournemouth. Eddie Howe has a reputation for giving football league prospects a chance such as Callum Wilson and David Brooks and a move to the South Coast could be the perfect place for the 20 year old to develop.

Che Adams, Birmingham- The 22 year old striker has just enjoyed the best season of his career with Birmingham and has bagged 22 goals in 48 games, not missing a single League game and finally turning that potential into consistent performances. His finishing has dramatically improved and he is now much stronger, allowing him to hold the ball up much better and bring teammates into play. Premier League clubs such as Burnley, Crystal Palace and Southampton are interested in Adams and it seems inevitable the Leicester born goal scorer will be playing Premier League football next season, the only question is where?

Jarrod Bowen, Hull- Winger Jarrod Bowen has built on a very good 17/18 and upped the ante this term grabbing more goals, assists and playing more games. Playing predominantly off the right hand side cutting inside onto his left foot, Bowen has bewildered many fullbacks this season and almost managed the impossible of carrying a very average Hull side to the play offs. Unsurprisingly he picked up the player of the year, the fans player of the year and the players player of the year at the end of season awards and rumour has it Champions League finalists Tottenham are sniffing around the 22 year old.

Who do you think would have the biggest impact on the Premier League?

Manchester United vs Manchester City – The 178th Derby

This Wednesday isn’t just hosting any other mid-week fixture. When red and blue collide, it will mark the 178th competitive meeting between United and City. And with United aiming for 3rd spot, and City going for the title; it promises to be a cracker. 

Still drying off after a stormy 4-0 loss to Everton, Solskjaer’s men will be looking to make a statement against Guardiola’s boys in blue. United currently sit down in 6th place, just three points adrift from Tottenham, who areclinging onto 3rd spot by goal difference over Chelsea. With their Champions League dream left in tatters following successive losses to Barcelona in the quarter finals, The Red Devils are desperate for a top four finish. Anything less than three points on Wednesday will hinder their hopes in earning a Champions League place for the 2019/20season. 

On the other side of Manchester, City are throwing everything they have at earning a top spot finish. The title race with Liverpool is as exhilarating as everyone expected; and anything less than a win for City would leave their hopes for the trophy hanging in the balance. The citizens have had a week of ups and downs, a crazy champions league exit from Tottenham was followed by a narrow 1-0 win against them on the weekend, and Wednesday is expected to pose a greater challenge.

In the victory over Tottenham, City star Kevin De Bruyne hobbled off the pitch with a hamstring injury, and has since been ruled out of Wednesdays encounter, a major blow for Guardiola and the team. United’s injury list is deeper however; with Bailly, Valencia and Herrera expecting to remain side-lined for selection. Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero is expected to start, currently tied for first place forthe Premier League Golden Boot with Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah. 

Over the weekend, the PFA Player of The Year nominations were announced, and it comes unsurprising that The Blues dominate the six-man shortlist. Aguero finds himself on the list, netting nineteen times so far this season. He’s joined byfellow teammates Bernado Silva and Raheem Sterling, who have both played a significant role in City’s efforts to retain the title. Although none of the United players feature in the shortlist, they have a brilliant team none-the-less. Players like Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have shone under Solskjaer’s new management. Playing more freely and open, you’d expect them to cause trouble for Guardiola on Wednesday. Although the last line of defence, David De Gea has proven to be one of The Reds all-time best shot-stoppers, and City’s strike force must be on top form if they expect to get past him. 

It is without doubt that the clash will be exciting. Both teams have everything to play for, and with major bragging rights at stake too, all twenty-two players must give it their all. This will be Solskjaer’s first time as a manager in the Manchester Derby. The previous encounter in the season saw Mourinho succumb to a 3-1 loss at The Etihad. Will Guardiola manage the double over his local rivals? Or will Solskjaer manage to put a dent in his title hopes?

The game can be watched on Sky Sports Main Event, with coverage starting from 7pm.

4 signings that could turn the fortune for Manchester United next season

Since Solskjaer took over as caretaker Manager at Old Trafford, United have looked a totally different side in contrast to what they were under Jose Mourinho , playing the brand of football that was always associated with Manchester United. Even though they have had a slump off late against Arsenal and against Wolves in the FA Cup, it is still believed that Solsjkaer is the front runner to take over the permanent job in the summer. The heroics against PSG in the Champions League adding more positives to his claim to take over the Job.
However, the recent loses against Arsenal and Wolves have indicated there are certain departments that need reinforcements and here we look at Four players who could change the fortune next season for the club if Ole was to sign them:

  1. Adrien Rabiot :

United need a Central defensive midfielder as Matic is already in his 30’s and in Rabiot , they can have someone having quite similar traits and who plays in a quite similar position for PSG which Ole has been opting regularly for United. He can even act like a deep lying playmaker, allowing the likes of Herrera and Pogba to play higher up the field.
Rabiot is a top class talent and very young, however the only problem with him could be his attitude, shown by his rejection to play for France and also a fractured relationship with PSG. But, knowing how Solsjkaer nurses young talent, this could be a fresh start for the young Frenchmen, and with his contract running out his summer, it could be a bargain for United.

2. Alex Grimaldo :

     The la Masia graduate, currently playing for Benfica , may have struggled to get into Barcelona first team, but he has now developed into one of the best young left backs in the continent. He is a versatile, technically gifted full back who can be deployed in midfield as well like David Alaba or Joshua Kimmich. Manchester United need a left back to cover up Luke Shaw , because in Ashley Young they don’t really have a specialist to compete with Shaw in the position and Grimaldo could be another astute signing for the Red Devils.

3.    Jadon Sancho :

    United have failed to have a natural right winger for many years now , with both Mata and Lingard  having tendencies to play more off the middle and drift inside. In Jadon Sancho they could have a long term solution for this problem. He has been absolutely brilliant for Borussia Dortmund this year and United could utilize the width he provides on the right side for their attacking play.
He might not come cheap, but with his immense talent and age, United could be ready to pull the trigger in the transfer market for this young English sensation. 

4. Kalidou Koulibaly :

One of the primary problems that United have failed to rectify is a world class player in defense and koulibaly could prove to be just the player they need to sort out all defensive fragilities. Considered as one of the best ball-playing center-backs in Europe, his raw pace and power make him a daunting player to go up against. He is a natural leader, always vocal on the field and can contribute in improving other players playing around him in the defensive line. At 27, he will be entering his peak years and with his experience and leadership qualities, he could prove to be an inspired United signing.

Brexit: How will it affect the Premier League?

It comes without surprise that all 20 of the current Premier League clubs were against Brexit in the first place. With Britain set to leave the EU on March 29th, and a ‘no deal’ Brexit looming closer by the minute, what will happen to The Premier League and English football in the future? 

 

The first likely outcome of Brexit on English football is the restriction on the movement of players from Europe to the UK, and vice versa. Players will most likely have to acquire work permits when transferring from The UK to Europe. It is estimated that only 60% of all players in the top flight are UK nationals, so there is major potential of future issues within the league. The clarity of movements in the transfer market may be completely hindered, with it being harder for Premier League clubs to sign European talent, and harder for players with UK citizenship to move to European clubs. Furthermore, with the Champions League quarter finals set to take place just two weeks after the March deadline, and four out of eight teams being from the UK, how will the final three stages pan out?

 

Another potential issue Brexit may reveal regards the 1995 Bosman ruling. The Bosman ruling has made a vital development to football around Europe, allowing players to act as free agents once their contract with the club has expired. The ruling came after three separate legal cases between Jean-Marc Bosman and UEFA, The Belgian FA and Bosman’s club at the time – Royal Football Club De Liege. Bosman won his case at The European Court of Justice in 1995. With the UK departing European jurisdiction, and it no longer being a requirement to follow EU law, UK players could potentially be at risk from a lack of free movement. 

 

The FA has already made a pre-Brexit statement regarding all teams in the Football Leagues. Back in November, they stated that every roster must consist of a minimum of 12 players from a UK background. This could have a positive and negative effect on the league; forcing managers to train with a more ‘British’ based team, leading to further player development and possibly lead to a stronger English, Welsh and Scottish national teams. However, it could lead to a lack of European talent in Premier League teams. Talented players such as Van Dijk, De Bruyne, Sane and Hazard may aim to look at joining major clubs in Europe, to mitigate against the uncertainty that Brexit may bring. Premier League scouts will most likely put their focus on British talent, and the number of European players brought to the top flight could be dramatically reduced. Furthermore, more pressure may be weighted on football academies, as there is an increased need for young English talent. This would lead to the increased development of young English players, the likes of Phil Foden, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Callum Hodson-Odoi all generated their success through excelling in their respected football academies. Could Brexit result in a breakthrough for unseen flair?

 

The main question on everyone’s mind is “Can Britain beat Brexit?” Although the outcomes still remain indistinct, it is clear that it could be rough. Lets just hope that it doesn’t tarnish our league and restrict the luminous football we are all so familiar with. 

Are the English sides taking over Europe?

For the first time since 2009, all four English clubs who entered the Champions League group stage have progressed past the first knockout round to the quarter finals. Both Manchester clubs, Liverpool and Tottenham have all impressed on the continent, and achieved some huge results and created some magical nights for their fans.

What’s most impressive about the current sides progression is the teams they have beat, and the manner in which they did it. Tottenham dismantling dark horses Borrusia Dortmund 4-0 on aggregate, Man United coming from 2-0 down to stun PSG 3-1 away at the Parc Des Princes to sneak through on away goals, City annihilating Schalke 10-2 on aggregate and Liverpool dominating Bayern Munich at the Allianz 3-1.

In what has proven to be a transitional year in the Champions League, European giants Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and current holders Real Madrid have all crashed out and their ageing squads clearly need fresh air breathing into them. This year presents a great chance for an English side to go all the way in the competition, with no standout favourite left, its a wide open field.

But why has it taken so long for the Premier League’s elite to perform on the big stage? Ten years ago it was Chelsea, Man United, Liverpool and Arsenal who progressed, with Liverpool and Arsenal crashing out at the Quarters, Chelsea losing out in the Semis and Man United facing heartbreak in the final against Barcelona.

Too often over recent years English sides have failed to match their strong European rivals, with many disappointing displays and heavy defeats along the way. As spending has increased and the Premier League has become the richest league in world football, there hasn’t been a noticeable improvement, with many fans and pundits at a loss to explain why this is the case. Despite this four sides have managed to make the final since 2009 (Man United 2009 and 2011, Chelsea 2012 and Liverpool 2018) with only Chelsea defying the odds and bringing the trophy back to these shores.

Many have cried out for a winter break and blamed English sides poor performance in the Champions League on the shear amount of games and relentless nature of the Premier League. Even though a winter break is set to be brought in from winter 2020, this season is showing that a lack of a winter break may not impact European performance, and possibly highlights the Premier League’s top sides are as strong now as they’ve ever been.

With the draw for the quarter and semi-finals set for this Friday, there is a renewed sense of hope and expectation of the English sides, and with their current form who would bet against an English side lifting the trophy on the 1st of June.