All posts by Jacob1611

I am just a passionate Manchester United fan (the same as the rest of you) that loves to give my opinion on all things Man United!

Manchester United drawn in Champions League Group A!

Since winning the Europa League, Manchester United have been patiently waiting to find out who their Champions League opponents will be. Well, today they found out, and Mourinho will be relatively pleased with the outcome of this year’s group stage draw, without getting too carried though.

United were drawn in Group A, along with Benfica, Basel, and CSKA Moscow. The first games of the Champions League will be played on Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th September.

So how did Manchester United do against their opponents in previous fixtures?

Basel

United have met Basel on four different occasions, all coming in the Champions League. In these four matches, United have won one, drawn two, and lost one. The latest game between the sides saw Basel win 2-1. This game then resulted in United failing to advance past the group stage. Interestingly enough, it was Basel and Benfica that finished in the top two of United’s group that year.

Benfica

The record between the club and Benfica is a more positive one for Jose’s men. Man United have won six of the previous nine meetings. The remaining three fixtures resulted in two draws and one loss. The two most recent games were in the Champions League in 2011, these ended 1-1 and 2-2.

One of the most notable games between the two sides however, was in 1968. This was when the two teams met at Wembley Stadium for the European Cup final. The game ended with United winning 4-1 after extra time thanks to two goals from Bobby Charlton, and one each from George Best and Brian Kidd.

CSKA Moscow

The last time Manchester United met CSKA Moscow the game finished with a 1-0 win for United. However, that was not enough for United to advance through the group stage and they ended up finishing third, one place above fourth placed Moscow. Man United are unbeaten in their four games against the Russian club, winning two and drawing two.

So, United’s form against these sides recently has been a bit up and down. Therefore, Mourinho will need to make sure that he takes nothing for granted and does everything he can to kill these teams off and secure his way through to the knockout stage.

Where do you think United will finish in their group? Can they be serious Champions League contenders? Let us known in the comment section below! You can also get in touch on with The United Stand on Twitter!

 

Anthony Martial set to finally secure a regular starting spot?

When Jose Mourinho became manager of Manchester United, many predicted that Anthony Martial would flourish under his guidance. However, after a stunning first season which saw the French striker score 11 league goals and a last-minute winner against Everton in the FA Cup semi-final, Martial has struggled to become a regular starter for Mourinho.

There seemed to be more indication that the 21 year old wouldn’t be in Jose’s plans when he was left out of the starting line-up on United’s first game of the Premier League season. With Manchester United 2-0 up thanks Lukaku’s debut brace, Martial was subbed on. The young forward just had little over ten minutes to try and impress Mourinho, but he only needed eight. Played through by Mkhitaryan, Martial slotted the ball past Hart. Then, a few moments later, Martial provides an assist for Pogba’s goal.

Over the course of pre-season the player has finally been showing signs of consistency. The only way he can truly show Jose that he can help build towards Premier League glory for United, is if he is picked to start by Mourinho. This is the only way that he can now prove he can provide quality consistently.

If Manchester United’s Frenchman can provide consistency on the pitch, along with other players, then United should have a real chance of securing the Premier League title this season. Fans will be hoping the forward will start the Swansea game this weekend and that he has impressed Mourinho with his latest chance.

Do you think Martial can replicate his debut season for Manchester United? Will he be a regular starter throughout the season? Leave you thoughts in the comments below or with The United Stand on Twitter!

 

How close are Manchester United to Premier League glory?

Manchester United enjoyed a successful pre-season over the course of July and the beginning of August. They managed to claim six wins out of seven despite coming up against the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester City. More importantly though, they managed to create good chances and finish them off (including an excellent counter-attack against Sampdoria).

One of the main problems last season was killing teams off. This problem seems to have been sorted though with the arrival of Romelu Lukaku. The extra years experience that Rashford has gained also looks to be paying off as he looked sharp throughout the summer and will hopefully contribute more goals this term. Furthermore, the signing of Nemanja Matic makes players like Pogba and Mkhitaryan more confident knowing that they have defensive cover. This allows them to get further up the pitch.

With one problem solved, what else do Manchester United need to do to lift the league title? Well, while a marquee signing such as Gareth Bale would certainly help them towards success, balance down the left hand side of the pitch is crucial. This is what sparked Mourinho’s interest in Inter’s Ivan Perisic. However, as the transfer window rumbles on, chances of Manchester United getting their key target are fading. Therefore, United may need to look elsewhere for a player capable of filling the left wing-back role. Someone like Alex Sandro, perhaps?

Apart from the need of balance, United look to be heading into the new season feeling fairly confident and looking a lot more dangerous. There is also reason to believe that United are more prepared than their biggest Premier League rivals this term. If we look at Liverpool’s pre-season preparation, then yes, they may have won a trophy, but are they stronger than last season? While they have made the same amount of signings as Manchester United, the signings aren’t quite on the same level. Furthermore, if Coutinho does leave for Barcelona then they will be significantly weaker than last year.

Additionally, Arsenal have signed Lacazette, a striker that previously played in the top French division, Ligue 1. The former Lyon player will also need time to adjust to the demands and physicality of the Premier League. Then, there’s Chelsea, who will need to juggle Champions League and Premier League this term, and there are question marks over whether their squad has the depth to handle both. Tottenham Hotspur are also slightly weaker than last season. This is due to the loss of Kyle Walker to Manchester City and the fact that they haven’t made any signings as of yet. Then, lastly, there’s Manchester city who have spent huge money on trying to fix their defence. Whether this has worked remains to be seen, but all signings will need time to get onto the same level as one another.

So compared to Manchester United’s rivals, they are not as far away from Premier League glory as some may think.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Manchester United can return to Premier League glory this year? Share your opinion in the comments below or with The United Stand on Twitter!

Reasons for United fans to be optimistic this season

Exciting times are ahead for Manchester United. With the Premier League’s most successful club rightfully back into the Champions League, this season could be the beginning of United re-establishing themselves as one of the dominant forces in English and European football. Fans will now look forward to Tuesday nights against the most elite teams in Europe and with the world class talent that the club have available, it seems that United are back where they belong and are ready to return with a bang!

Another place where United belong is at the top of the Premier League. Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United have struggled to genuinely challenging for the title. This could all change this season though if Jose’s second season statistics are anything to go by. During the manager’s second season at Porto, Inter Milan, Chelsea, and Real Madrid he has won the domestic title each time. This impressive record also includes both times he had his second season at Chelsea. So will Jose Mourinho follow his career pattern and win the Premier League with Manchester United this season? Only time will tell.

Mourinho with Europa League trophy (Picture: dailymail.co.uk)
Jose Mourinho holds the Europa League trophy (Picture: dailymail.co.uk)

A huge boost towards completing United’s jump from the sixth place finish of last year to becoming the champions of England is the signing of Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. One of the main problems from last season was Man United’s inability to finish off countless scoring opportunities. So, Mourinho’s purchase of a proven Premier League striker that scored 25 league goals last season isn’t a bad way to solve this problem.

Furthermore, with Manchester United strengthening by signing Lindelof, Lukaku and Matic, United look a much more dangerous side already. It is not just the new signings that could help make the difference though. Pogba now looks a lot more comfortable expressing himself in the final third of the pitch due to the defensive cover that Nemanja Matic now brings to the team. The recent world-record transfer of Neymar to PSG could also help Paul Pogba impress more this season as the weight of being the world’s most expensive footballer has now been relieved from his shoulders.

Manchester United look set for great things this season and it is definitely an exciting time to be a United fan. Nothing is for certain in football, but the club are surely heading in the right direction. So lets look forward to another entertaining season at the Theatre of Dreams.

What are you most excited about heading into the new season? Will Lukaku and Pogba shine in the Premier League this season? Share your thoughts with The United Stand!