Tag Archives: Wayne Rooney

Championship weekend preview

As ever the Championship season is providing arguably the fiercest competition in world football as a host of clubs look to fight heir way to the promised land of the Premier League.

There has already been one game completed on Friday night as ground sharing Coventry City and Birmingham City played out a rather lacklustre 0-0 draw on Friday night.

Here is your preview of the rest of the big games over the weekend…

AFC Bournemouth v Reading Saturday 12.30pm

Fourth place Bournemouth welcome table toppers Reading to the Vitality Stadium with a chance of overtaking their visitors.

Reading had been unbeatable in thre league until recently, where they are now clinging on to dear life at the summit after losing their last three matches before the break.

Steve Tindall’s Cherries will be without Josh king who tested positive for COVID-19 whilst away on international duty as the relegated south coast club look to bounce back immediately.

QPR V Watford Saturday 3.00pm

An all London affair on Saturday afternoon as second place Watford travel to Loftus Road looking to go top of their table in their quest to make an instant return to the Premier League.

QPR meanwhile have been inconsistent at best during 2020/21 and will be looking to resolve their problems in order to start moving in the right direction and away from the threat of relegation.

Middlesbrough v Norwich City Saturday 3.00pm

Middlesbrough go into this match unbeaten in 10 and with October’s manager of the month, Neil Warnock, at the helm. The hosts are on the cusp of the play-off places but will need to turn a plethora of draws into wins if they are going to challenge.

High-flying Norwich are another side hoping to bounce straight back into he top flight and Daniel Farke’s side are making a decent fist of it as they sit third. Goal scorer Teemu Pukki will be pivotal to the Canaries chances.

Bristol City v Derby County Saturday 3.00pm

Bristol City in fifth are unlikely to be the story of this clash as bottom of the table Derby head to Ashton Gate with Wayne Rooney as their manaager.

Rooney is in temporary charge of the Rams after Phillip Cocu was sacked during the international break, giving Rooney his first role in senior management.

The former Manchester United striker has a huge job on his hands getting a talented Derby squad heading in the right direction.

Other Fixtures

Preston v Sheffield Wednesday Saturday 3.00pm

Stoke City v Huddersfield Saturday 3.00pm

Barnsley v Nottingham Forest Saturday 3.00pm

Millwall v Cardiff City Saturday 3.00pm

Luton Town v Blackburn Rovers Saturday 3.00pm

Swansea City v Rotherham United Saturday 3.00pm

Wycombe Wanderers v Brentford Saturday 3.00pm

Derby County v Cardiff City Match Preview

Derby will host Cardiff City on Wednesday night at Pride Park. The Rams (yet to gain a point at home) face a Cardiff team who have seven of their nine points on the road. County are without a goal in their three home games this season, while Cardiff are yet to concede on their travels.

Last seasons meeting at Pride park saw a 1-1 draw with Scott Malone scoring for the hosts before a Robert Glatzel penalty. In 2018, Derby won a rearranged fixture by three goals to one The original fixture was postponed on the morning of the game for snow in and around the stadium. Then Cardiff manager Neil Warnock called the decision a “disgrace”. Warnock’s view was that Derby (who had several injuries at the time) welcomed the postponement.

Home v Away

Cardiff have two wins and draw away from home and are yet to concede. The Bluebirds are, however, another side who have struggled at home but seem to be thriving on their travels.

Derby sit bottom of the league on home form without a single goal or point.

Liam Rosenior spoke to the press ahead of the game said:

“It goes to show you how important the supporters are”.

Neil Harris, meanwhile, commented on the strange home/away records this season:

“I don’t expect that to change without fans. In some ways its better to be away from home”.

Team News

Derby will be without Wayne Rooney once again due to him self-isolating. Rosenior did confirm that he would re-join the squad this Friday ahead of Saturday’s fixture against Bournemouth. Nathan Byrne has been training and is available for the match against Cardiff.

Lee Tomlin could return to the bench for the Bluebirds, however, Neil Harris is keen not to rush him saying:

“Tommo has been on the training pitch, that’s a real positive for us. What we can’t do is push Tommo too soon and he falls of the edge of a cliff”.

Harris is also waiting to see if full backs Joe Bennett and Jordi Osei-Tutu will be available.

Managers Thoughts

When asked about Derby gaining their first point at home Rosenior said:

“It would mean we have done our jobs.

“We have got a big game against a good side, but if we perform they will know they are in for a good game”.

Speaking about what danger Cardiff pose, Rosenior added:

“They’ve got really good wide players with quality as well”.

Neil Harris, meanwhile, expects the game to be different to Cardiff’s last fixture:

“It’ll be a completely different game to Boro the other evening”. “They’ve got good players and important players back in the group. They’ve got attacking intent. We have to handle it completely differently, you have to have great shape, good pressing triggers and organisation. When we have the ball we have to hurt them”.

Key Players

For Derby Tom Lawrence could be the key to unlocking Cardiff’s away defence. It was Lawrence’s neat footwork that set up the ruled out second goal against Forest. He picked up a 7.6 rating on whoscored.com for his performance. Lawrence spent time at Cardiff in 15/16 on loan.

Harry Wilson has been involved in Cardiff’s attacking massively since signing on loan. He got his first goal against former team Bournemouth and will be looking to get another in this game. Wilson has a passing % of 77.6 for City and Cardiff will likely attack though him.

Prediction; Derby 0 v 1 Cardiff

Without having any success at home this season Derby will be under pressure to turn this around. The longer the game goes on the more likely of Cardiff catching out their hosts.

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.

Derby County Vs Nottingham Forest PREVIEW

The race for the play-offs heats up with The East Midland’s Derby between Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

Indeed, in my opinion, there is no bigger Derby match as both sides from the A52 go head to head once again for the prize of three points. For both teams a win will surely cement their place in the play-offs at the end of the season.

Matches between the two sides have produced lots of strange things in the past. Early Goals, Red cards, Manager’s fighting on the touchline etc etc. But this match will be even more strange. As this will be the first time this fixture will take place without fans. But both sides have to get on with it as best as they can. Forest will certainly relish the opportunity of playing without the roarkus Derby home support.

Both sides come into this fixture in good form since the season restarted.  Forest have picked up seven points from their three games. Derby, meanwhile, have taken the maximum nine on offer from their three matches.

Forest currently sit in 4th place on 67 points from 40 games, while Derby are lying in 7th on 60 points, one point off the final play-off position that is currently occupied by Cardiff City.  

The teams have already met twice this season, once in the League, while the other match took place in the  League Cup early in the season. Subsequently, Forest came out on top in both matches.  

In the League Cup, Forest won 3-0 thanks to goals from Sammy Ameobi, Joe Lolley and Joao Carvalho. While in the League, Lewis Grabban scored the only goal of the game as he latched on to a shocking mistake in the Derby backline.

As mentioned previously, both sides have good form coming into this game, with Forest beating Bristol City 1-0 in midweek and Derby winning by the same score line at Preston North End. Derby’s form has improved significantly since Wayne Rooney has got into the swing of things which has transformed them from midtable to play off contenders.

Lewis Grabban is Forest leading goal scorer on 19 for the season and will be looking to be the first Forest Player to hit 20 in a season Since David johnson and Marlon Harewood did it in the 02/03 Season.

The final run of games will certainly have a big say on where both clubs will finish. Forest’s Remaining Matches are: Fulham (H), Preston (A), Swansea (H), Barnsley (A) and Stoke (H)

Derby Remaining Matches:  West Brom (A), Brentford (H), Cardiff (A), Leeds (H) and Birmingham (A)

One thing is for certain, this game is sure to be a cracker!

Referee for this Match is Darren England

Karl’s prediction:  2-1 Forest win

This Match is Live on Sky Sports and BBC Radio Nottingham from 12 noon KO 12.30

 

Match Preview: Manchester United v Everton

Manchester United head into the Premier League fixture with Everton on Sunday, on the back of a comfortable 3-0 victory over FC Basel in the Champions League. The Red Devils are also unbeaten in the league in 4 games (Winning 3, Drawing 1), and entertain an Everton side who are struggling for form currently.

The Toffee’s head into the match at Old Trafford on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Atalanta in Thursday’s Europa League, and also without a win in 3 Premier League games. After starting the season with an opening day victory over Stoke City, the Merseyside outfit have gone on to draw 1 and lose their other 2 league fixtures.

Manchester United have had a good recent record against Everton, as they have won 3 of the last 5 meetings between the two outfits in all competitions. Last season saw both matches end in 1-1 draws, so both will be looking to claim maximum points this time around.

The Red Devils will be without midfielder Paul Pogba, who picked up a hamstring injury in midweek against FC Basel, but fullback Luke Shaw has recovered from injury so could be part of the match day squad.

Both sides signed strikers from one another over the summer and will be hoping that they can find the back of the net on Sunday. Everton striker Wayne Rooney has 2 goals to his name so far this season, and is the only Everton player to find the back of the net, with Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku having scored 5 goals in all competitions so far this season.

Score Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Everton