Preview: AZ Alkmaar v Man United

Manchester United will travel to the Netherlands to face Dutch side AZ Alkmaar for their UEFA Europa league game tomorrow. The match will be at 12:55 pm this Thursday in the US, and at 17:55 BST in the UK.

Anthony Martial will be unavailable because of a hamstring injury. Luke Shaw also has a hamstring injury. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is out with tonsillitis. Diogo Dalot and Angel Gomes are included in the squad. Phil Jones will also miss out with an injury and will be out until after the international break. Paul Pogba requires additional rest in order to help him recuperate from a knee injury over the summer according to a specialist’s opinion. Eric Bailly is still recovering from knee surgery that he had during the summer.

The squad: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Lee Grant; Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Axel Tuanzebe, Marcos Rojo, Brandon Williams; Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic, Fred, James Garner, Andreas Pereira, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Angel Gomes, Daniel James; Tahith Chong, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood.

Match analysis of United v Arsenal

Scott McTominay celebrates with his teammates. Image:

Manchester United again lacked the quality that needed to win this match. Scott McTominay was the Man of the Match with his all around play and his wonderful goal. I think that we were a bit cautious when the game started and that went on for almost a half-an-hour before we produced our first shot on goal. Both sides were nervous or cautious whatever you want to call it.

But as the homeside we should of taken the game to Arsenal from the opening whistle. We should of started at a quick pace and maintained that pace especially in the first-half. I thought that Arsenal’s keeper Bernd Leno came up with a few good saves. Once we got into a rhythm, we looked more threatening. Axel Tuanzebe did a fantastic job at right-back. But the gloss of his performance was spoilt a bit with him conceding possession of the ball to Arsenal that led to Aubameyang’s goal. He did a fine job in place of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

I thought that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made a mistake in playing Marcus Rashford. Rashford had been injured for four or five straight games, but yet still Ole starts him and plays him for the entire 90 minutes. That didn’t make sense to me that he would start a player that hasn’t played in a while. He shouldn’t have played at all because he looked slow and he wasn’t sharp. Rashford wasn’t 100% fit, and it showed in his performance.

Ole should have started Mason Greenwood, because he’s our hottest striker at this present moment and he’s 100% fit. He has much better mobility and energy than Rashford right now. He would have been a better alternative to me. He can score with both feet and he likes to take players on. Greenwood doesn’t hesitate to shoot like Rashford and like many of the other players do whenever they have an opportunity to score. If Greenwood had started he might have been the one to help us win the match in a big way.

Daniel James looked dangerous on the counter-attack, and he continues the consistent form that he has shown so far this season. He is a real gem for us and I hope that he can get more goals this season. But Ole needs to bring in two strikers when you look at our present situation and the lack of goals and creativity. Let’s hope and pray that we can get those strikers in January.

Match Report: United 1 Arsenal 1

Scott Mctominay celebrates his goal. Image: The Daily Mail.

Manchester United could only muster a 1-1 draw in the their Premier league match against Arsenal at Old Trafford. Scott McTominay scored for United just before half-time. However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed the equaliser in the second-half to spoil United’s chances of a home win. But Aubameyang’s goal was only confirmed by VAR after the referee had originally ruled it offside.

Both teams started off the match in a tentative manner and that was the case until the first chance by Andreas Pereira. The midfielder let loose a low drive after he ran at Arsenal’s defense, but it was comfortably held by goalie Bernd Leno. Then the Gunners replied through Nicolas Pepe, but he skied his shot high over the bar. There were few opportunities for both sides. Marcus Rashford tried to get on the scoresheet, but wasn’t able to capitalise. There were a flurry of chances that got the crowd into a more encouraged mood just before half-time.

Then the breakthrough came in the 45 minute, when Daniel James’s cross was retrieved by Rashford, who then laid it back for McTominay and the Scotsman blasted a cracking shot from the edge of the penalty box that put us up 1-0. It was his first senior goal on his home ground.

After the break, United was forced to defend by the vistors who were in search of an equaliser. The Gunners were fired up, and they pressed for the tying goal. Their was a brief relief by the United faithful in the 58th minute when Aubameyang’s goal was ruled offside by the referee when his teammate Saka slid the ball through to the striker. Unfortunately for United, referee Kevin Friend reviewed his decision, and VAR overturned it and confirmed that the goal was valid. According to VAR, Harry Maguire had played Aubameyang onside and that’s why the goal was given.

United almost went behind when Saka’s goalbound effort from 12 yards out took a deflection of Victor Lindelof, but it went out safely over the end line. Pogba could have put us in front again, instead he placed his shot just wide, and McTominay headed the ball over the bar from a corner. Maguire hit a cracking shot, but it was saved magnificently by Leno in goal. Then Ole brought on Fred for Lingard and Mason Greenwood for Pereira in the 74th minute.

In the closing stages of the game both sides were looking like each one could score in this pulsating affair. We had the final chance of the night when Rashford took a free-kick that the keeper saved which made sure that the match finished in a draw.

Manutd v Arsenal league game preview

For Monday’s game against Arsenal at Old Trafford, Paul Pogba is a doubt for the match. The game will be at 3 pm ET in the US. Phil Jones is still unavailable until after the international break. The defender was withdrawn at half-time on Wednesday night at Rochdale. Anthony Martial is unlikely to feature for upcoming matches against Arsenal, AZ Alkmaar or Newcastle United. But the potential good news is that Marcus Rashford may return before the international break, (European qualifiers). Luke Shaw could be back soon, and is doing well in his recovery.

In an interview with MUTV’s Stewart Gardner, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke about United’s injury situation. “There might be one or two who have not really come back. Paul was really struggling with his ankle as it was really swollen, so let’s see how that repairs. He got 90 minutes but was sore towards the end again.”

“Phil will be out until after the international break and, do you know, you have to count these after every game but I think that’s it.”

“I don’t think that we’ll see Anthony before the international break. No I don’t think so. Luke is improving so, hopefully we’ll see him.”

At the press conference, Ole was asked if Rashford and Martial were both out of the Arsenal clash.

“Well I won’t put my life on it, no, but that’s part of this game, “He answered. “You work with what you have and we’re looking forward to the game, of course.”

Diogo Dalot and Angel Gomes are injured, and were absent against Rochdale. But they could be available for the Europa League tie with AZ Alkmaar. Defenders Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah are still out, although Tim did train with the group on Friday.

As for Arsenal, their injury situation looks good. Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney all featured in the Nottingham Forest game that the Gunners won 5-0 in the Carabao Cup third-round in mid-week. Alexandre Lacazette is still absent, and there are also doubts over Konstantinos Mavropanos and Emile Smith-Rowe are still being assessed.

Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson have been impressive and can’t be ruled out to play some part in the match.


We need James Maddison

Image: The Independent

Manchester United needs James Maddison as our new no. 10 because he has the right attributes that can fit into United’s system. Not only is he 22, which is perfect, but he fits the bill as far as him being a young British player that United is seeking. He has good creativity and is an excellent passer of the ball. The young midfielder can hold possession of the ball and distributes the ball well using his diagonal and defense splitting passes.

He is the type of player that is energetic and has more of that youthful exuberance United needs. Maddison is effective whenever he has the ball at his feet. According to stats he is especially good defensively. He has 58 tackles, Tackle success rate is 60%, 30 blocked shots, 12 interceptions, no errors leading to goals.

He has recovered the ball 162 times, won 71 of his 50/50’s, and he has won 240 of his duels. He has 39.07 passes a match, and 254 crosses. He’s the kind of player that can affect the play of any team in a positive way. Although the Englishman doesn’t score much, all his qualities helps him to be a strong factor in any game that he plays for Leicester.

Come next year in the summer I have read that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is interested in signing Maddison, and also Jadon Sancho who is another bright English prospect that has a great future in the game. Sancho plays for Borussia Dortmund in Germany, and he is a very good winger. If Ole can sign both players during the summer transfer window then that would be two excellent signings for us.

Maddison can help to take some of the extra responsibility of Paul Pogba’s shoulders. Pogba sometimes has to help defend our back four and he has to instigate counter-attacks or attacks against the opposition. Maddison can perform some duties like tackling and interceptions, and can start some of the attacks whenever he has possession of the ball. We wouldn’t need Juan Mata or Nemanja Matic, because those guys don’t have the pace and energy anymore to really affect the game in a powerful way. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that United in the summer of 2020 can sign Maddison and Sancho.

Mason Greenwood is a future star

Image: The Metro

Mason Greenwood has been a revelation this season. His youthful energy and enthusiasm for the game has been shown in every match that he has played so far. I give credit to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for his open-mindedness to provide youth players more chances to play this season. Although this has been a hallmark and a tradition at Manchester United for many decades.

He has shown some maturity in the way how he plays, and by his conduct on the pitch. I love the fact that he likes to pass the ball and makes runs into the box and is always mobile. He usually wants the ball and likes to take players on one-on-one. Greenwood has good balance, quick feet and can shoot with both feet. Most strikers cannot shoot or score with either foot. Greenwood and can do that and it looks like he could do it consistently.

All he needs to do is to continue to practice his skills, be humble, and just learn to be consistent in whatever he does on the pitch. Ole and his staff will obviously be there to guide and nurture him as he becomes more mature. The sky’s the limit for Mason and I hope that he can keep up the good work. He may be one of the differences between us finishing higher up the table than being in the wrong part of the table.

He may be a difference maker for us especially in the Europa League that I believe is the only tournament that we really have a good chance of winning. Mason Greenwood is one of our best future young stars and I wish him all the best in the future.

Match Report: United 1 Rochdale 1 (United win 5-3 on penalties)

Mason Greenwood celebrates his goal with Brandon Williams. Image: The Manchester Evening News.

Manchester United averted a possible embarrassment against League one side Rochdale to qualify for the 4th round of the Carabao Cup. After the match ended 1-1 in regulation time Manchester United needed to win the game 5-3 on penalties.

Mason Greenwood scored for United again in regulation time after his first senior goal against Astana in the Europa League game. But the hero of the match was Sergio Romero when he saved the second penalty against Jimmy Keohane that sealed the game for United. Juan Mata, Fred, Andreas Pereira, Daniel James, and Mason Greenwood all scored their penalties. Daniel James banged in the winning goal.

Rochdale had the first attack of the night when Fred was dispossessed by Oliver Rathbone, and Callum Camps saw his moment to open the scoring but it was quickly snuffed out by a last ditch tackle by Axel Tuanzebe. Paul Pogba had the first chance when he took a long distance shot over the bar. Then after that both Fred and Pereira had attempts blocked and Pereira had a shot saved by by keeper Robert Sanchez.

Marcus Rojo also had a stooping header saved from 8 yards and he headed another effort wide from a corner. United’s best chance fell to Pogba when he ran into the penalty area and got on the end of Greenwood’s cross in the six-yard box, but the Frenchman header over the bar completely unmarked. One of the Rochdale players made an error that allowed Greenwood to sprint towards goal, but he failed to beat the keeper in a one-on-one opportunity.

Then Jesse Lingard in the 43rd minute missed with a glancing header as the ball landed on the top of the net. Rojo had an effort that just went wide of the goal. Nineteen-year-old Brandon Williams made his first senior appearance by coming on for Phil Jones at half-time. Former United youngster Rathbone exchanged a pass with Camps and Rathbone’s shot was cleared off the line by Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Then Greenwood hit a left-footed drive just past the post. Lingard and Greenwood both went close with their chances also.

In the 68th minute, Greenwood was able to get the goal that he so craved when he received a pass from Lingard and then he smashed a low shot past the keeper to break the deadlock. But later on in the 76th minute it was Matheson who cracked a half-volley into the roof of the net after a cross by Ex-Red Matheson. It was 1-1 now and United tried to get a winner but it never came and so the match went to penalties. Everything culminated with Daniel James getting the winner from the penalty spot, with the Reds winning 5-3 on penalties in the end.

Man Utd v Rochdale preview

United’s third round tie of the Carabao Cup will take place at Old Trafford on Wednesday (today) against Rochdale. Marcus Rashford will unfortunately miss this match with a groin injury. The England international suffered the groin injury during the 2-0 defeat to West Ham last Sunday. Its not known how serious the injury is or how long Marcus Rashford will be out for, but Ole won’t be able to select him for this game. The match will be at 3pm ET in the US.

Paul Pogba has missed the last three games with an ankle injury that he picked up while on international duty with France. But Pogba will return for this game, the boss said that the Frenchman will see some playing time.

“He’ll probably get some minutes against Rochdale,” the boss said. “But we definitely think he’s ready for Arsenal.”

Mason Greenwood was ruled out of the West Ham game with tonsillitis. The young striker will be hoping to play this week. Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial will both miss Wednesday’s match. Both players are still recovering from injuries that was sustained before the international break, while Eric Bailly remains sidelined with a long-term knee problem.

I hope United gets an early goal and puts the pressure on Rochdale from the start. We definitely don’t want to lose to a division one side, especially seeing what happened yesterday to Spurs against fourth division side Colchester. The League Two team won 4-3 on penalty kicks yesterday. We most dominate the match and look to get a second goal quickly, and then get a third once that’s possible.

Once we defend well by staying organized and compact and take our chances, and we don’t take this team for granted then we should win this match.

Manchester United issues won’t end anytime soon

Manchester United has been in rebuilding mode ever since Sir Alex left the club back in 2013. Six years later the club still can’t find its way back to its former glory. The problems that United are experiencing should of been resolved years ago by United’s management. Ed Woodward and the United board are the ones to mostly blame for the current crisis that the club finds itself in. So let’s look the problems that’s facing the club presently.

Firstly, there is a lack of planning and preparation and no proper leadership. United still to this day has no Sporting Director. The Sporting Director is the one that’s responsible for negotiating the buying and selling of players. He or she acts as the liaison between the club’s board and the manager. He or she is usually an executive board member. Ed Woodward is the executive vice-chairman of Manchester United. He is a former investment banker and accountant.

Many of the players that he brought into the club like Anthony Martial, Angel Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez, and Memphis Depay hasn’t worked out. That’s just the names of a few players that turned out to be failures at United. Most of them aren’t at the club anymore and some are still United players such as Fred and Anthony Martial. Many of the players that Woodward brought in didn’t stay for long periods either. So his track record is quite poor.

Secondly, we don’t have a recognized striker right now. Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and young Mason Greenwood has a tonsilitis problem. So we don’t have any strikers right now. Ed Woodward should have brought in one or two strikers that have experience and are of good quality to replace Romelu Lukaku. Anthony Martial in the last few years had injury and form issues from time to time. So even though he returns soon, he never had shown any kind of consistency even when he has played in some games in a row. Then Rashford hasn’t been consistent whenever he starts also. So none of these strikers are reliable and have shown the potential to score 20 to 25 goals a season.

Then there is the issues of not having reliable defensive midfielders that can help to shield the back four. Woodward never replaced Maruoane Fellaini and Ander Herrera who left in January and July respectively. When Fellaini was here he did a decent job of winning some aerial balls and he tackled, and tried to close down players. Even though we know he had many subpar performances. At least he showed some effort to do those things. With Ander Herrera he started counter attacks, was energetic, moved the ball forward quickly, and showed some creativity with his diagonal and defense splitting passes. The Spaniard also kept the ball well also so that we can place consistent pressure on opposing teams.

Unfortunately for United Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira or Jesse Lingard doesn’t really have those attributes. McTominay shows effort and tries to stop or slow down attacks by other teams but gets over run by opposing teams that attack with pace and in numbers. While Lingard looks lost and is in poor form, and Pereira looks over whelmed and lacks experience at the Premier league level. Nemanja Matic lacks the pace and the motivation that he used to have. There is also Paul Pogba who continues to be an enigma. He’ll provide us with some great performances, but would disappear in games at other times.

So you can never depend on him to help out with the defensive duties in deep midfield either. He needs to help McTominay sometimes when it’s needed. But you really don’t see him doing that. We still aren’t moving the ball quickly enough, and our passing is still too slow to trouble well-organized and compact defenses. Defensively we’re suffering partly because McTominay and Pogba isn’t doing a good enough job of shielding our back four, and this adds extra pressure on the defense when other teams attack. Obviously Maguire, Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka and Young get caught out of position especially on counter-attacks and we can’t run back in time and organize the defense to slow down or stop attacks.

This is where I blame Solksjaer and his staff for not doing enough to fix all these on field issues. So some of these issues are the fault of the United board, Woodward and Solksjaer. So there is plenty of blame to go around. If I was Woodward I would try to bring in one or two strikers if it’s possible. Because we all know that few teams sell their players in January unless they are surplus to requirements or that player and coach doesn’t get along, or that player was released from his contract. But we also need to get a quality striker that can score a certain amount of goals consistently.

Even though we were to get one or two good strikers it only partially solves our problems. These are problems that will take at least two more seasons to fully resolve.

Match report: West Ham 2 Manchester United 0

Rashford had to leave the game because of an injury. Image: The Independent

Manchester United lost 2-0 against West Ham at the London stadium in their Premier League encounter. Goals by Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scored in each half condemned United to defeat. United still hasn’t won any games on the road in any competitions since March. Marcus Rashford also sustained an injury and had to be substituted in the second-half.

United began the match positively, and Nemanja Matic had a chance to score when his effort from around 25 yards was saved by Lukasz Fabianski. David De Gea also held Yarmolenko’s speculative shot. Rashford made a determined run into the box, but it was stopped by the Hammers defence. Although the Red Devils were growing in confidence within the first 20 minutes of the game we couldn’t create any clear chances. Andreas Pereira’s shot that deflected wide that resulted into corner was one of our better chances of the first-half.

But the Hammers started to find their rhythm in the game and grew more confident. Then just before half-time West Ham broke the deadlock. Pablo Fornals passed the ball to Yarmolenko who then curled a shot past De Gea and the homeside went into the break up 1-0.

Then in the second period, United had another chance to score when in the 48th minute Pereira crossed the ball into the box for Mata, but the Spanish international just failed to connect with the ball being just inches ahead of him. Then Yarmolenko tested De Gea with a drive which he held comfortably. Scott McTominay also came close with an effort from an acute angle.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced into making a substitution just after the hour mark when Rashford sustained an injury and was replaced by Jesse Lingard. After that, Felipe Anderson forced De Gea into a fine save before United’s defence cleared the ball. Harry Maguire could have equalised when the ball was loose in the box after a resulting corner. He took a quick shot, but Fabianski made an excellent save from close range.

Next it was the homeside that came close to doubling their lead when Cresswell’s free-kick went just over the bar. Then in the 84th minute Cresswell would produce a wonderful strike from another free-kick opportunity. This time he made no mistake as the ball went into the top left-hand corner of the net. That goal sealed it for the Hammers and they came away the victors in another frustrating game that United could have won.