All posts by Jason Bowditch

Supported United since the days of the yellow and green Sharp Jersey! Looking forward to Jose taking us back to the glory days of old. We're stepping in the right direction. Exciting times! Come on the lads!

Jose Hits 100 Games – How Has He Compared to His Predecessors?

Jose Mourinho has now managed Man Utd for his 100th game against Yeovil on Friday, but how has he compared to his most recent predecessors at the club?

It’s not hard to see that progression has been made at the club under Mourinho, but we’re going to look at how he compared to Moyes’ time in charge and LvG’s first 100 games, despite him managing the club for a total of 103 matches.

Firstly the win, draw and loss percentage of their respective 100 games in charge (54 for Moyes): How do they compare and have we really progressed?
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Mourinho has taken us from an average of 52% win record from the three season’s preceding his arrival to an average of 62% since he’s been at the club. The loss rate has also been reduced significantly since Mourinho to only 15%, compared to 29.63% and 22% from Moyes and LvG respectively. Mourinho has literally turned those ‘L’s into ‘W’s.

Next we’ll look at the goals scored and goals conceded during the respective managers in charge and see if there are any trends. This one is done from season to season using the same data. Let’s take a look.
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Under Moyes we had a respectable 1.7 goals per game, but the goals conceded was relatively high per game at 1.06. The goals conceded under LvG’s watch came steadily down to as low as 0.92 per game in his final season, however the team’s goal scoring rate also came down sharply 1.47 goals a game which is between Leicester’s and Watford’s goal scoring rate this season.

Jose has further improved the defence with the goals conceded rate coming down even further to as little as 0.67 goals per game this season but hasn’t compromised the attack in order to sure up the defence. In terms of goals scored we’ve seen a massive upwards turn especially this season where we’ve score 2.08 goals per game. That’s more than half a goal a game more than LvG’s last season in charge of the Red Devils.

To sum up, we’re seeing a higher win percentage, lower loss percentage under Mourinho: Fewer goals conceded and a sharp increase of goals scored per game.

So what? What’s the point in all this? Well the simple answer is silverware. Well let’s see what they’ve won so far:
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We’re making progress under Mourinho; that is clear to see in spite of the media’s spin. With players like Sanchez coming into the club and players like Bailly to come back into the squad we can hope at the very lease maintain the current rate of progression. Who knows, we might even be able to add to last season’s silverware successes.

Looking forward to Jose’s next 100 games in charge as this is just the start! Glory days will be back at Old Trafford soon!

Di Marzio – ‘It’s Now a Matter of Hours’

Fresh reports from the man in the know: Gianluca Di Marzio has reported in the last few minutes that the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan swap is only hours away from being complete.

Manchester United lawyers are now finalising the last few details of Sanchez’s contract which will see him join United on a four and a half year deal valued at £100mil which works out at around £425,000 a week.

Mkhitaryan is still at Carrington; however his agent, Mino Raiola is in London finalising the deal for his player which would see this deal come to a close. The only thing left to do after this would be the respective medicals, officially sign the contracts and register the players before noon tomorrow in order to be eligible to make their debuts this weekend.

It’s in both the clubs interest to get the deal over the line quickly as they would like to have a strengthened team for both Arsenal and Man Utd to play Crystal Palace and Burnley respectively.

Di Marzio reports – ‘It’s now a matter of hours!’

Mkhitaryan Dropped as Speculation Grows

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been dropped from the squad in the match against Stoke this evening as speculation grows about his future at the club.

The 28 year old Armenian, 29 this month (Only a month younger than Sanchez), has been all over the media the last week reference a potential swap deal regarding Alexis Sanchez with Mkhitaryan going the other way to Arsenal.

The out of form attacking midfielder is said to be being protected because of the speculation regarding his future, despite Jose saying he will likely start in his pre-match press conference.

However, in the pre-match interview Jose said:

‘I would lie if I said it was a pure tactical decision.’ – On Mkhitaryan being left out.

For most fans, this translate to: he’s being protected against injury before a potential move.

There’s been a lot of speculation today suggesting that Mkhitaryan has done a U-turn in a possible move to Arsenal, which is understandable. However, if it stops Sanchez going the other way he’ll be the least popular person in the red half of Manchester.

Could the exclusion of both Sanchez and Mkhitaryan spell the end of them playing for their current clubs? United fans hope so; Arsenal fans won’t be happy but under the circumstances would rather Mkhitaryan than no one.

IF this transfer does go through, will it affect Man Utd going for the transfer targets in the Summer? It’d be a nice problem to have. Would you rather Ozil now, or Griezmann in the Summer?

Man Utd Favourites to Sign Sanchez

After developments over the last 24 hours, it now appears Man Utd are favourites to sign Alexis Sanchez. Without getting ahead of ourselves the bookies have made Man Utd favourites to complete the transfer for Alexis Sanchez this month.

Arsenal have an asking price of £35mil which Man City are unwilling to meet as they are confident they will just get him in the Summer for free either way. The figure that City are rumoured to be willing to offer in January is £20mil. Man Utd are reported to be ready to meet Arsenal’s asking price with Mkhitaryan going the other way.

According to Sky Sports Italy, an agreement is close between Man Utd and Sanchez’s team. Man Utd are offering more to Arsenal, a replacement player and a higher sign on fee and wage to the player. Arsenal are allegedly much more interested in completing the deal with Man Utd before the window shuts as they’ll be a lot better off than losing the player for free only five months later.

Pundits are calling this desperation from Man Utd for luring both club and player with a lucrative offer. What they forget is, Sanchez is world-class and was on his way to Man City in a nailed on transfer. For Man Utd, this deal was never on the cards and therefore needed to up the ante in the bid and desire to get the player. In today’s market, £35mil plus Mkhitaryan for Sanchez is a bargain to secure his services; whether he’s going out of contract or not.

Jose Mourinho has come out and mentioned the speculation in his latest press conference. He said he doesn’t want to talk about other team’s players as he wouldn’t like other managers showing interest in his players publicly. However he did go on to say this:

“What we believe is there are some players in the football world where, if you have a chance to sign them, whether it is in January, March or July, then you have to try.”

“In relation to Sanchez all I can say, which everyone else says, is that he is a phenomenal player. I feel I shouldn’t say much more than this.”

Reading between the lines, he is the sort of player that Man Utd should be going for. Can we sign him in January? Can we sign him at all? Who knows; but I certainly hope so, despite still being very suspicious that there’s nothing in it.

Man Utd will Battle Liverpool for Christian Pulisic

Man Utd will reportedly be battling for Pulisic’s signature in the Summer with serious interest in the player from Liverpool.

After failing to sign Perisic last Summer from Inter Milan, United are still on the search for an out-and-out winger. There have been a few names Manchester United have been linked with so far this season; Malcom, Mahrez & Moura to name a few.

Pulisic has been another name that’s been bandied about recently with the 19 year old American being in fine form for both Dortmund and USA. This season he’s been a little quieter, but last season he made 13 assists from the wing.

Christian can play in a number of positions, having played on the Left Wing and Central Midfield in the past, however his primary position is on the Right Wing which is a position Man Utd are crying out for a specialist.

Liverpool are strongly rumoured to be interested in him, with Jurgen Klopp looking to make a move for his ex-youth player in the summer. Liverpool have had two bids rejected from Dortmund for Pulisic in 2006’s Summer transfer window. Man Utd are also interested and seem to hold the trump card, as Dortmund are interested in resigning Mkhitaryan who could be used as a make-weight in a potential deal.

Pulisic is also a self-confessed Man Utd fan; which is something the club have been largely missing as only a handful of players in the squad are currently playing for their boyhood club in Man Utd. It gives players that extra 10% during the difficult times as you play in front of the fans, with whom you were sat with watching your heroes as a child.

I’d love him at Man Utd and I think he’d be an exciting player both now, and as he develops. The question is, do we need another player who needs time to develop or do we need someone who is ready now? Who would you want to fill in the Right Wing problem?

Sanchez to Man Utd Odds Slashed by Over 10 fold

Sanchez to Manchester United odds have been completely slashed by over 10 times from the odds only days ago.

Obviously bookies respond to rumours and bets; which was evident last summer when a punter with a Manchester Address opened a Paddy Power betting account and put a huge bet on Sanchez coming to Man Utd as his next club. The bet was made last summer at 50/1, the odds came crashing down to 12/1 soon after.

This transfer window however, saw Man Utd with initial odds of 16/1 for Sanchez to join the Red Devils by the end of January: City were obvious favourites, and were very much odds on at only 2/7. Since the interest from Man Utd, the odds for Sanchez to come to Man Utd this month have been slashed by over 10 fold to 6/4. City’s odds have increased by over three times to 10/11, which suggests that it’s a lot closer than it once was. – Sanchez January Transfer Odds

According to Sky Sports in Italy, Man Utd have made a higher value bid than Man City with Mkhitaryan being part of the deal. They’ve also matched City’s sign on fee for Sanchez of £30mil and offered a bigger wage of £250,000/week which is £110,000/week more than he’s currently getting at Arsenal currently.

Cynically however, this is Sky Sports that have broken the news. I wonder how much they’d profit on fans betting on Sanchez to Man Utd when he was clearly on his way to Man City. It’s not as if they have nothing to gain by putting a breaking news story out in the social media domain. Could it be a quick cash booster before the Sanchez to City deal is announced? Who knows, I’m merely playing devils advocate.

How true the transfer story is at this stage is obviously unknown; but the bookies have reacted more drastically than first expected. Let’s just sit, wait and hope that Man Utd are able to pull of this coup from under our rivals noses. I’d be ecstatic with this deal, would you?

Man Utd ‘In Contact for Sanchez’

In the last hour football pundits, fans and social media have gone into melt down over developments on Sanchez. A tweet from Gianluca Di Marzio said ‘United in contact for Sanchez in the last hours.’

This has already sparked attention from all sets of fans involved. Man City fans are threatening to give banter if and probably when Sanchez signs for them, Arsenal fans are debating what they’d prefer (City or Man Utd + Mkhitaryan) and Man Utd fans refusing to believe it, but still hoping.

Sanchez has been heavily linked to Man City since last summer, and have reportedly offered Arsenal £30mil with a £30mil sign on bonus for Sanchez. Despite Di Marzio’s tweet, there’s a number of theories as to what’s happening.

Theory one, Man Utd are attempting to push the price for the player up and not give their rivals a free shot at a great player.

Theory two, Arsenal have themselves leaked the story to push up the price and get City to sweat a little.

Theory three, Man Utd have caught wind of something and they are genuinely trying to hijack the deal to City. Could he be offered the Number 7 shirt? There’s also lots of talk of Mkhitaryan going the other way, which I think would suit Arsenal brilliantly.

Sanchez is the sort of player we are missing, but signing Sanchez would possibly reduce the chances of signing Ozil who many believe is the type of player we’re in more need of. Either way, if we get either of these two players most Man Utd fans would be very happy.

How much probability do you think we could actually pull off this deal under the noses of City? I give it 15%. What do you think? Have your say below!

Juventus Require Darmian to Take a Pay Cut

Juventus are interested in signing Darmian; however they are unwilling to meet his wage demands.

Reports from Italy are saying that Juventus are on the lookout for a Right Back after telling Lichtsteiner that they will not be extending his contract which expires at the end of the season. Matteo Darmian is one of their top targets to fill in the position.

Darmian would like a move back to Serie A but would be reluctant to join Juventus after playing for their local rivals Torino for four years.

The other stumbling block are Darmian’s wage demands. He’s currently on £60,000/week, which is equivalent to Juventus’ top paid defender Chiellini who is set to sign a new contract soon. Juventus don’t want to match his current salary and would require him to take a pay cut. Sandro, Barzgali, Benatia and Rugani are all on less than £50,000/week, therefore it would be a fair speculation that Juventus would offer no more than that.

There are other Serie A teams interested in the Italian Right Back: However, if Juventus are unable to offer the wage demands, is it likely other Serie A teams are going to?

If this transfer is going to go ahead it will happen in the summer when Lichtsteiner has been released. The transfer fee is speculated to be in the region of £15mil-£20mil.

If needed, should Man Utd contribute to his salary until his contract would have run out in 2019? It’d be a year of around £10,000/week (£520,000 in total) to get him off our books whilst receiving the transfer fee. It’s something we’ve done before with Rooney, and it’s something I would seriously consider doing with Darmian.

This is the problem with having deadwood on extortionate salaries at the club. They’re going to be hard to convince to leave for a smaller salary. Have your say below!

Ibrahimovic Could Leave Man Utd Early

There’s been wide spread reports that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could leave Manchester United before the end of his contract following complications with his injury.

Zlatan has done exceptionally well to recover from a potential career ending injury at the tail end of last season. Ibrahimovic recovered ahead of schedule from his cruciate ligament injury; however, he’s still suffering from some long term effects of the injury which is keeping him side-lined.

He is said to become available to play again from mid-February. However, with there being little left on his contract, it’s rumoured that he could be offered an early release to pursue the next phase of his career. Teams in the Chinese Super League and MLS being the most interested in the legendary striker; their season’s both start in March.

Personally, I think it’s unlikely he will want to leave Man Utd at this stage as there’s a reason he decided to resign for Man Utd whilst taking a big pay cut to do so: It’s his best chance of winning an unlikely Champions League medal.

If he does end up leaving early then we do need a winger this month as either Martial or Rashford would step into the Number 9 role with Lukaku.

Would you be happy for Zlatan to move on early, move Martial/Rashord to a Number 9 and bring in a winger? If so, which winger? If not, when and where would you play Zlatan?

Young French Star Signs Professional Contract

Aliou Badara Traore has officially signed his professional contract with Manchester United.

The 17 year old Midfielder, who signed for the youth set up a month ago, has now put pen to paper and signed his first ever professional contract.

Head of Youth Nicky Butt had this to say: “Aliou is a tremendously gifted young player and we are all delighted to see him sign his first professional contract at Manchester United.”

“Aliou will naturally need time to adapt, but he has an exciting future ahead of him and we are all looking forward to seeing his performances for the Under-18s in the second half of this season.”

Traore was eligible to sign a professional deal on turning 17; he didn’t hang around as his 17th Birthday was only yesterday.

Aliou will be partnering Gomes, who has also recently signed his pro deal, in midfield for the U18’s as they develop through the ranks to the first team. They will likely be playing together this weekend against Sunderland U18’s in a Saturday lunchtime kick-off.

The young Frenchman is a first team regular for the U17’s and has captained the team on a few occasions. He has a bright future at the club and has got the staff excited as to what he can offer. Here’s what U18’s coach Kieran McKenna had to say on Traore in December:

“He is a really powerful midfielder who likes to run box to box. He is very strong technically and is improving all the time.”

“He’s a nice man and his English is improving. He’s settling in well with the boys and has taken to the club really well.”

He’s an exciting prospect and has been likened to a young Paul Pogba. I cannot wait to see some of this exciting youth make its way into the first team set up. Jose simply has to take a chance on the youth, the will surprise him!