Category Archives: Previews

Ten Match Review – Have We Made Any Ground on Last Season?

We’ve hit the 10 match milestone in the season, and as Rio says this is where you can start getting your baring on how the season is starting to unfold.

As we saw from the five match review earlier this season, United made some great progress against the rest of the top six (with the exception of Manchester City): Gaining nine points on Spurs and six points on Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool from the same set of fixtures last season.

How did match week 6-10 go compared to the same fixtures last season? (As in the 5 match review, the teams relegated have been replaced by the teams promoted in the order of league finishes).
Personal Word Document

Man Utd dropped one point and one goal worse off from last season over the results of the last 5 matches in comparison with the same fixture last season. There was only a maximum of four points we could have gained by beating Southampton and Liverpool, which were both draws last season. However, the big setback was the shock defeat away against Huddersfield.

This is how all the teams in the Premiership have compared since last season. Who has improved over the first 10 matches, and who is really struggling?
Personal Word Document

Watford are the only team that is better off by over 10 points in comparison to last season. West Brom, West Ham and Everton are all really struggling so far this season. Regarding the top six only one team is worse off in comparison and that’s Chelsea, being 8 points worse off and 9 goals worse off in terms of goal difference and that’s a result of a drop of goals scored.

Man Utd are still doing well and are still on course to at least challenge for the title. We’ve gained three points from a possible eight since the start of the season; therefore on the same ratio we would gain 17 points giving us 86 points in total by the end of the season – enough to win the league? It’ll certainly be enough to challenge.

Updated Top Six Table (If the rest of the results remain the same as 16/17)
Personal Word Document

Man Utd have already cut the 24 point deficit to last season’s champions Chelsea to 13 points (Almost half in only 10 games!). We’re gaining on most of the teams above and we will continue to improve on last season’s ‘drosses’ against teams we should have been beating last season.

What points could be gained in the next five games?
Personal Word Document

Four of the next five fixtures Man Utd dropped points last season which means if we do well we could gain a maximum of 11 points which is a significant amount in terms of the season. Big five games coming up and it won’t be easy; but looking at the fixtures, they’re all very winnable games (especially with Mourinho’s tactical ability to get one over on any manager in the league.)

Onwards an upwards. Let’s keep the wins coming, ticking off the points, improving on last season’s results and start to build the pressure on our title rivals! Can’t wait for the weekend!

Man Utd vs Benfica – Champions League Preview

Match: Manchester United vs Benfica

Competition: UEFA Champions League Group Stages

Stadium: Old Trafford

Date & KO Time: Tues 31 Oct 17 at 7.45pm GMT

Where can you watch it? – BT Sport 3
Happy Halloween! Tonight is the fourth match in this season’s Champions League Group phase and a win tonight will guarantee safe passage to the last 16. Man Utd’s form was perceived to be a little rocky before the Spurs match, largely from the shock loss against Huddersfield. However, the win against Spurs has put many fears to rest and we’re looking like a team that’s back on track. A convincing win tonight could set us up very nicely for the Chelsea match on Sunday; but Benfica will be up for it.

Predicted Line Ups
Manchester United
Man Utd Predicted XI –

Benfica Predicted XI –

Match Prediction
I’m going with the form of the table and it’s going to be a Man Utd win. It could be tough to break them down as they’ll likely deploy a two holding midfield formation to cover the defence. However, Benfica need to win this to give them half a chance of qualification to the knock-out phase or the Europa League. So I think it’ll be bizarre if Rui Vitoria set his team up for damage limitation in tonight’s match.

It’ll need to be a balanced approach from the Benfica Coach, too attacking and Man Utd can catch them on the break, too defensive and they won’t get the points they need. I think Mourinho will have his team set up to wait and see how Benfica set up and play before altering tactics after the first 10 minutes. I think it’ll be Benfica starting faster for this reason, but it’ll be by design from Jose.

Benfica will be up for it, and they didn’t play badly in the reverse fixture two weeks ago; the match was only separated by a goalkeeping error exploited by Rashford. I think Mourinho will eventually come out and try and kill the game off early in order to rest key players before the huge match on the weekend. Therefore, tonight; I’m predicting goals.

Score Prediction
Full Time – Man Utd 4-1 Benfica
Half Time – Man Utd 2-0 Benfica

League Table

It’ll be a good game. Can’t wait for Kick Off and for Man Utd to continue their winning start in Europe’s most elite football competition! See you all at the Watchalong!

S.L. Benfica vs Man Utd – Champions League Preview

Match: S.L. Benfica vs Manchester United

Competition: UEFA Champions League Group Stages

Stadium: Estádio da Luz

Date & KO Time: Weds 18 Oct 17 – 1945 BST

Where can you watch it? – BT Sport 2
This match will take us to the half way point of this season’s Champions League Group Stages for Group A: Top of the group vs bottom of the group. So far this season Man Utd have started well both domestically and in Europe; already scoring 7 goals and conceding just the 1 in the Champions League. On the other hand Benfica have conceded 7 goals and scored just 1. The Portuguese side has started well in La Liga scoring in every game domestically, but have only kept 3 clean sheets. Despite the poor start from Benfica in the Champions League, Mourinho has convinced his players that they are the best team Man Utd will face in the Group Stages. Should we expect a respectful performance from the Red Devils?

Team News
S.L. Benfica
With no notable injuries, Benfica’s only absentee for this match is Right Back Andre Almeida who got sent off in last matches 5-0 loss against FC Basel. Benfica have a few players to watch out for in this match with their attack being relatively strong. Jonas and Jimenez have played well so far this season and are both fresh from not playing in this weekend’s cup competition against Olhanense. Previous Man Utd transfer target Gabriel Barbosa is on loan to Benfica from Inter Milan. Wingers Zivkovic, Salvio and Cervi were also rested.

Manchester United
Man Utd seem to have an ever growing list of injuries with Eric Bailly being the latest out with a Contusion. Pogba still out with a hamstring injury, but reports suggest he could be back soon. Ibrahimovic and Rojo out, and Carrick and Fellaini remain side-lined with knocks. Rashford started from the bench against Liverpool so should be fresher than Martial; Mata and Blind were also not involved in the weekend’s match against Liverpool.

Predicted Line Ups
S.L Benfica
Benfica Predicted XI –

Benfica is a very difficult team to predict the starting XI. The manager, Rui Vitoria hasn’t picked the same starting line-up in continuous games all season. He usually opts with a 4-4-2 formation, playing two central defensive midfielders. The only time he’s gone against that was in the match this weekend where he played the fringe players in a 4-3-3 formation in the Taca de Portugal Placard against Olhanense. So I’m going for Vitoria to go back to playing 4-4-2 with two holding midfielders.

The back four and Goalkeeper are relatively straight forward to pick, apart from the stand-in right back. It’ll be Julio Cesar in goal, and from left to right in defence; Grimaldo, Luisao, Jardel and Douglas (loaned from Barcelona) to come in as right back.

In midfield, I’ve gone with the two holding midfielders in Pizzi, who should start in some capacity, and Augusto. The two wingers were hard to predict, but I’ve gone with Cervi over Silva on the left as he’ll be fresher for not playing the weekend; and Salvio over Barbosa on the right wing for a similar reason, along with being more defensively minded and better match sharpness.

Up top should be the favoured pairing of Jonas and Jimenez, Jonas playing as a shadow striker to link the deep midfield to attack.

Manchester United
Man Utd Predicted XI –

Man Utd have been on good form recently and got a good result without playing well away to Liverpool on the weekend. This is an important game to win as it’ll regenerate momentum back into the league match this weekend against Huddersfield and almost guarantee top spot in the group stages to avoid most of the big teams in the last 16.

Formation for Man Utd is usually 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. I’m predicting Mourinho will mix it up for this match and go for a 3-5-2 utilising two wing-backs.

In goal I’ve stuck with De Gea. A back three of Jones, Smalling and Lindelof: Although Lindelof’s form has been questionable, the opposition are familiar and he’ll have Jones and Smalling at the back to cover defensively too. The key thing is injecting confidence in him, we know the iceman is in there somewhere, we just need to wait for him to settle at the club.

Right wing back will almost certainly be Valencia with no-one else realistically able to play in that position. On the left wing back I’ve put Luke Shaw. No doubt Mourinho would have seen the unrest with Shaw in his U23 performance against West Ham, and we know how Mourinho loves controversy. This will be a great time for Mourinho to develop some relationship with Shaw by showing trust and support, but Shaw must repay him with effort and a performance.

In CDM will be Matic, Mourinho won’t risk resting certain players at this stage. Along with Matic in the centre I’ve put Herrera on the left side and Mata on the right to push forward and link up with the strikers. Up top is Rashford as a shadow striker to link up with the anchor-man in Lukaku: Lukaku’s power to hold up the play and lay it off to Rashford to get in behind with his pace.

Current Table
Group A Standings –

 Score Prediction
It’ll be a tricky game, and probably the closest one we’ll see in the group phase. Benfica play with naturally defensive tactics which might be hard to break down. They play on the counter and will let United have most of the possession.

I think it’ll take United a while to find the break through, but I do think Man Utd will win this one.
So I’ll go with:

Score Prediction
S.L. Benfica 0-2 Manchester United FT (S.L. Benfica 0-0 Manchester United HT)

Referee Appointed – Who Should be Happier?

The referee for this weekend’s match between Liverpool and Manchester United has been appointed. Martin Atkinson. Both sets of fans are unhappy, but who should be more worried?

Atkinson has already refereed a Man Utd match so far this season during the opening weekend of the season where Man Utd beat West Ham 4-0 at Old Trafford. The last 5 Man Utd matches in all competitions Martin has been in charge of Man Utd have won three, drawn one and lost one. They beat West Ham, Blackburn and Sunderland (all very much expected). The draw was against Man City away, where Man Utd received a red card and lost against Chelsea 4-0, where David Luiz should have received a red card for a blatant high foot.

There might still be a bit of bad blood between Jose Mourinho and Martin Atkinson from Utd’s 4-0 loss against Chelsea; Jose had some choice words about the referee after not sending off Luiz:

“You hope you get a really strong referee in games like this.”

“It was a major game for both clubs and you want a fair referee. You want a strong referee anyway and we didn’t get that.”

“I don’t know why he’s got the game. I must say that when I saw who was refereeing it, I feared the worst.”

Will bitter feelings have lingered? I think it’s quite likely.

In comparison, Liverpool’s last five matches with Atkinson in black and white have resulted also resulted in three wins, one draw and one loss. However, unlike Man Utd, they beat Chelsea away 2-1 and Man City at home 3-0. The two matches they didn’t win were in Cup matches against West Ham & Southampton. In terms of results, there’s very little to compare between the two; Liverpool have a better ‘goal difference’ and Man Utd have an extra red card.

From recent history, you’d have to say Liverpool very marginally cut it when Atkinson has been in charge and therefore United fans should be the more worried. However, let’s take a look at the Man Utd vs Liverpool matches that have taken place under Martin Atkinson throughout his career.

This match will be only the fourth time Atkinson has refereed a league match between Liverpool and Man Utd, and the Red Devils have won every time: Winning at Old Trafford once (3-1), and winning at Anfield twice (2-1 & 1-0). In the three derbies there have been 12 yellow cards, two red cards and a missed penalty from Rooney. The yellow cards favouring Liverpool 7-5 and the red cards spread evenly 1-1. The most important statistic is the results and as we stated, Man Utd have won in every North-West Derby officiated by Atkinson. I’d be a very worried Scouser about this referee appointment as it seems to be a good omen for Manchester United.

Lastly, below is the table showing all the Premier League matches Martin Atkinson has been in charge of officiating in both Man Utd and Liverpool matches. Take from it what you will. Please note, that despite Liverpool having one more point, they have also played 5 more matches.
Personal Word Document
All being said, it’ll be a huge match on Saturday and the game shouldn’t be decided on the referee. All I hope for is that the ref is not the headline act and the only thing the result comes down to is footballing ability.

Man Utd vs Crystal Palace – Premier League Preview

Match: Manchester United vs Crystal Palace

Competition: Premier League

Stadium: Old Trafford

Date & KO Time: Saturday 30th Sept 17 at 1500BST

Where can you watch it? – Not Televised in the UK.
So here we are; the seventh and final match in September before the second International Break. Manchester United are at home to Crystal Palace in what has been a tale of two teams so far this season. Man Utd have had an impressive start to the season dropping only 2 points, scoring 17 goals and keeping 5 clean sheets out of a possible 6. Crystal Palace on the other hand have yet to get any points in the Premier League, find the back of the net or keep a clean sheet in any of the 6 opening games. This match has surely only got one out come hasn’t it? Or will it be the upset of the season so far?

Team News
Manchester United
Manchester United haven’t got any fresh injury updates in terms of what we knew after the last match against CSKA Moscow. Valencia and Shaw were rested. Jones, Fellaini, Martial & Carrick could all return and feature some of the match after picking up slight knocks. Pogba, Rojo and Ibrahimovic remain our three ‘longer’ term injuries and will not be featured in the game later today.

Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace have been plagued with injuries recently. Benteke has been ruled out for at least six weeks with a knee injury picked up last week against Man City. Loftus Cheek is out with a thigh strain, as well as Tomkins being out with Illness. Fosu-Mensah is not playing as it’s against his parent-club. Zaha is out long term with a knee injury as well as Wickham. Despite injuries to key places they still have the threat of Townsend and Puncheon from midfield with an organised defence of Dann & Sakho who successfully frustrated Man City until the 44th minute.

Predicted Line Ups
Manchester United
Predicted Man Utd XI –

Considering the opposition, the number of injuries Crystal Palace have and the way Palace set up against Man City last week; Mourinho may opt to go more offensive in this game. Palace only have one recognised striker who has yet to play a premier league minute this season and are currently playing a left back playing as a winger; I feel that Palace will come to Man Utd to park the bus, the tank, cement a brick wall on the goal line….you name it! They will not come to Old Trafford to try and win, 0-0 at best.

Therefore, in goal I’m sticking with David De Gea. Right back should be the rested Valencia who will be fresh from not traveling to Moscow midweek. In central defence, I think Jose will be tempted to stick with Bailly and Lindelof, and not risk Jones’ injury. Palace will have little to nothing going forward, this will be the perfect game to start building Lindelof’s confidence and he’d be able to utilise his ball playing abilities. It’ll also be an opportunity to start to building his relationship with Bailly on the pitch. Finally left back, I’ve gone with Shaw; excellent going forward and with very little defensive duties required in this game, we need wing backs that can get behind Palace’s bus.

Moving up into midfield; mopping up loose balls we’ll have Matic and Herrera who will feed that attack with their passing abilities. Ahead of them will be Mkhitaryan as the number 10 to link up with our number 9. On the right hand side I think Mourinho will go with Young, as we’ll need someone with a good delivery to help us find the opening goal to help open up Palace for a goal fest. On the left wing I think Jose will start with Rashford who isn’t an injury risk (Martial) and played only 20 minutes mid-week. He has pace to get behind the defence and I think would link up well with Luke Shaw.

Up top for Man Utd would obviously be Lukaku who is on fire and can’t stop scoring. Plus he’s my triple captain this week so he has to bang in at least 5 goals!

Crystal Palace
Predicted Crystal Palace XI –

With Palace’s complete misfortune with the number of injuries they have in their squad at the same time. A lot of the selection was trying to fill in the holes with the best possible replacements.

In goal should be the Welsh International Hennessey. With Fosu-Mensah being unavailable against his parent club, I think Roy will pick Joel Ward to come back in as right back after missing last match against Man City. In central defence should be Sakho and Dann for some stability in the team, with van Aanholt as left back.

In Defensive Midfield I think it’ll be both Cabaye & Milivojevic covering the back four, try to smother any form of attack building and break quickly using Townsend’s pace. Just ahead of the two CDM’s should be Puncheon orchestrating any potential attack whilst organising the defensive duties of the midfielders. On the left flank, I think Hodgson will stick with make-shift left winger Schlupp and have Townsend on the opposite flank making runs and being ready for any counter attack.

Up top on his own I have put Freddie Ladapo who is yet to play a minute in the league so far this season. It’s either Freddie or a false nine, and I think Freddie would be better placed if the chance of a smash an grab presented itself in the match later on this afternoon.

Score Prediction

This is actually one of the harder score predictions to go for. It’ll either be a very frustrating affair with an organised Crystal Palace going for damage limitation from the start. Or we could get an early goal similar to the match against CSKA Moscow and the flood gates open.

I think any goal in the first half and the flood gates open second half. Not to mention Palace are very thin on the bench and could tire quite significantly late in the game, or risk less quality players coming on. I’m going for the more optimistic approach. So here we go:

Score Prediction
Manchester United 6-0 Crystal Palace FT (Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace HT)
Personal Word Doc

League Table
League Table –


CSKA Moscow vs Man Utd – Champions League Preview

Match: CSKA Moscow vs Manchester United

Competition: UEFA Champions League Group Stages

Stadium: VEB Arena

Date & KO Time: Weds 27 Sept 17 – 1945 BST

Where can you watch it? – BT Sport 3
This is the second group match of Group A with the current top two teams in action against each other. Manchester United sit on top with a superior goal difference in the convincing 3-0 home win against Basel, whereas CSKA Moscow came from 1-0 down to win 2-1 away against Benfica. Man Utd are favourites despite the long trip and the slight change to time difference, as Man Utd have never lost in Russia and Mourinho has never lost against CSKA Moscow in 6 matches. CSKA Moscow has always finished bottom of the group stages, but has won all five Champions League matches so far this season!

Team News

CSKA Moscow
CSKA Moscow almost have a full team to choose from with one injury of note, and that’s Aleksandr Makarov; a left winger who’s just been promoted to the first team this summer. Everyone else is fit to choose from. CSKA Moscow have an extremely experienced defence, with the youngest being 26 year old, and a young attack with the oldest being 23 years old.

Manchester United
Man Utd have a few absentees, some being rested and some are forced upon the club. Pogba (Hamstring), Fellaini (leg), Rojo (Knee) and Jones (Knock) will be missing out through injury. Shaw, Valencia & Carrick have not been taken through choice and therefore could play this weekend. The youngsters that have travelled with the squad are McTominay, Tuanzebe and Pereira.

Predicted Line Ups

CSKA Moscow
Predicted CSKA Moscow XI –

CSKA Moscow have not changed their formation since the first game this season; they have used 3-5-2 in each of their last 16 fixtures.

They use their star wing backs in the wide positions giving them width and additional cover in defence if they need it, with three very experienced Centre Backs in front of an equally experience Goalkeeper, Akinfeev, the club captain. The two brothers, the Berezutski’s, usually line up on the centre and left hand side of the defence with either Vasin or Ignashevich making up the experienced back three.

The wing backs will likely be Schnnikov on the left and Mario Fernandes who could be a threat on their right wing. With an experienced midfield three that’ll look to dictate the tempo of the game, Wernbloom playing CDM and Natcho and key midfielder Dzagoev playing further forward.


Finally the front two, one player who will certainly start is Brazilian forward Vitinho with either Olanare & Zhamaletdinov partnering him. Zhamaletdinov is the usual starter, but Olanare started the previous Champions League game. With Zhamaletdinov being a goal scoring threat of late, I feel the young Belerusian manager Goncharenko will opt with him.


Manchester United
Predicted Man Utd XI –

I think Mourinho will go for a 4-3-3 this evening with two wide attacking midfielders.

I’d be very surprised if Jose opts to go with anyone else but De Gea in goal, but I think he will shake up the back four to keep people fresh for the weekend. I’ve gone with Blind on the left to offer his crossing ability going forward with Lindelof and Bailly playing for the first time together in Central Defence, with Tuanzebe making up the back four with his fearless youthfulness.

CDM has to be Matic, and accompanying him in midfield I have put Herrera with the energy and Mata playing further up the pitch linking up with the front three.

On the left attacking flank I have put Martial, with the age of Moscow’s defence I think Pace will be their kryptonite and Martial will absolutely destroy them with his flair and dribbling ability. On the right flank I have put Young to give width and crossing ability from the right, as Blind will have that duty on the left.

Up top? Who else but Lukaku? Their defence will be physically strong, so we will need someone in there to bully their defence with physical presence and robustness. Lukaku is on a goal scoring run of late and has a desire to win which will go down perfectly with Mourinho.


Current Table
Champions League Group A –

Score Prediction
I can’t see past a Man Utd win this evening. Man Utd are playing well despite having a few players out injured. Our defence have been solid lately, but I can see them making a mistake with the atmosphere in the stadium.

CSKA Moscow have only score more than 2 goals in a match once this season, and that was their first match. Man Utd have scored less than 3 goals only three times this season, but have scored on every occasion.

Score Prediction – CSKA Moscow 1-4 Man Utd (HT score prediction CSKA Moscow 0-2 Man Utd)
It’ll be a good game and I can’t wait for kick-off and for Man Utd to continue their winning start in Europe’s most elite football competition! See you all at the Watchalong!

Could Shaw Return this Weekend?

Luke Shaw has been deemed fit for Manchester United after suffering a ligament injury playing against Swansea last April and could return against Everton this weekend.

Shaw has been out for 4 and half months since coming off injured with ligament damage in the 1-1 draw at home to Swansea at the end of last season. Since then, there has been a lot of speculation over the left back position at Man Utd with no-one making it their own. It’s almost like we’re waiting for Shaw to regain the form he had before his leg break almost two years ago. We know it’s in there somewhere!
Pre-Match Press Conference (Everton) –

On being asked if Luke Shaw was fit, Mourinho responded:

“He is not injured anymore. He has recovered.”

So far this season, Shaw has been proving fitness with the U23’s; he played the majority of the match in the 1-1 draw against Swansea and full 90 minutes in the 3-0 and 2-0 losses to Spurs and Arsenal reserves respectively.

Shaw looked very promising in his first match back against Swansea, surging runs forward and loved to get involved with the heavy challenges at the back. Very brave performance from someone who’s only just come back from injury. However, he didn’t have the best of times in his outings against Spurs and Arsenal as he was largely responsible for the third goal against Spurs, picking up a yellow card in the same game and he looked out of position playing as a centre-half against Arsenal. His fitness proved to be no issue in any of these games and no signs of the injury rearing its ugly head.

The matches in the U23’s were to make sure he could last a full match without any injury concerns, and therefore may be reintroduced to the first team on the bench this weekend. If he plays a part this weekend, hopefully we’ll see him starting in the mid-week match at home against Burton Albion in the EFL Cup.

Swansea vs Man Utd – Premier League Match Preview

Match: Swansea City vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League

Stadium: Liberty Stadium

Date & KO Time: Sat 19th Aug – 12:30BST

Where can you watch it? Sky Sports Premier League
This Premier League fixture has always been a tricky one for Man Utd. In the previous three seasons Man Utd have beaten Swansea twice, drawn once and lost three; two of those loses were at the Liberty Stadium. That’s 7 points out of a possible 18; Man Utd have a better record than that against Arsenal, Man City, Tottenham and have recorded double the amount of points against Liverpool over the same period. This fixture last season Man Utd won 3-1: However, the last time they played the score ended 1-1 at Old Trafford, with Rooney & Sigurdsson both scoring and ironically have both since moved to Everton!

Team News

Swansea City
Swansea don’t have as many players out with injuries as our last opponents West Ham, but there are still some notable absentees. Ki Sung-Yeung is out with a knee injury and Dyer has been out with an Achilles injury but is expected back next week so could be starting on the bench tomorrow. Llorente has an arm injury and Britton picked up a knock to the back in last weekend’s match against Southampton but is still expected to start tomorrow.

Manchester United
The long term injuries remain the same with Shaw, Young and Rojo out for a little while longer yet. Young looks the most likely to return soonest out of the three. There are a lot of player who will be well rested as they were left out of playing last weekend against West Ham. However, as we’re only playing one match a week at the moment I don’t think many changes to the team will happen as there needs to be a settled core of players before we hit the busy periods of the season.

Lindelof looks like he’s set for a period of time in the stands watching the game and absorbing the pace of the Premier League and what will be expected of him when he joins the first team in matches. Matic and Lukaku are already well versed in the Premier League so will likely start this weekend.

Predicted Line Ups

Swansea City
Swansea City Predicted XI –

The formation I think Swansea will play will remain 4-1-2-3.

I can’t see Swansea changing their starting 11 or formation from last weekend. They’re a team that is in a little bit of trouble at the moment due to injuries to key players as well as selling their prized asset to Everton in the form of Sigurdsson. They haven’t got much strength in depth to rotate and the only change I can potentially see from last weekend is that Swansea could give Mesa his home debut in place of Britton, depending on how bad Britton’s knock was from last week.

Manchester United
Man Utd Predicted XI –

The formation I think Man Utd will use will be 4-3-3.

I think it’ll be a very similar line up to the one we saw against West Ham with the only change being Mkhitaryan being swapped for Lingard.

This isn’t a change I would like to see, but I think Mourinho will want to keep a core of players playing regularly together with rotating one or two per game but keep a similar system. We know Mourinho is a fan of Lingard and playing away against a weakened Swansea team would be a safe match to include him in.

Rashford and Lukaku played well together up front together last time out and it’s something that most Man Utd fans would like to see develop. If it’s not Rashford playing there then Martial maybe included from the start, I just have a feeling Mourinho will stick with Rashford for this match and may include Martial from the start against Leicester. There could be worse problems to have!

Still an exciting line up, if this line up proves to be correct.

Score Prediction
This is quite a difficult score line to predict. Will Man Utd be as attack minded away from home and will Swansea perform better than expected? I think Man Utd are starting the season strongly and will continue to push on and put pressure on their title rivals. I can’t see Swansea scoring, and can see goals in this Man Utd Squad, so I’ll be going with a 3-0 away win for Man Utd. (Here’s hoping!)

HT Score Prediction – Swansea 0-1 Man Utd
FT Score Prediction – Swansea 0-3 Man Utd

Enjoy the match! See you at The United Stand Watchalong!

Man Utd vs West Ham – Premier League Match Preview

Match: Manchester United vs West Ham United

Competition: Premier League

Stadium: Old Trafford

Date & KO Time: Sun 13th Aug 17 – 1600BST

Where can you watch it? – Sky Sports Main Event
The Premier League season starts here in our first match of the 17/18 season. Man Utd host West Ham in the opening weekend and it should be an interesting match as both clubs have strengthened over the summer. This match last season Man Utd drew 1-1 in a match we really should have won; Sakho scored after the first minute and Ibrahimovic scored the equaliser. Expecting a better result this afternoon!

Team News

Manchester United

Not much different from the Super Cup in terms of injuries. We have three long term injuries who will continue to be on the side-lines; Rojo, Shaw and Young. Timothy Fosu-Mensah is on a season long loan at Crystal Palace so will be unavailable for the rest of the season; everyone else is available. It just depends on how Mourinho decides to approach the match with West Ham missing some key players.

West Ham United

West Ham have a host of new players to choose from this match, which is just as well as they have just as many injuries. New players consist of Joe Hart, Fonte, Arnautovic and of course, Chicharito! Players the Hammers are missing through injury is long term absentee Andy Carroll with a hip injury. Sakho (Back), Antonio (Hamstring), Lanzini & Kouyate (Knee) and Feghouli likely to be out with a knock, but could start on the bench. However, despite the injuries West Ham have a strong squad that could still cause us problems if we’re not on our game.

Predicted Line Ups

Manchester United
Man Utd Predicted XI –

This will be a difficult game, but being at home and with West Ham’s injuries I think Mourinho will go more offensively this match and opt for a 3-5-2.

The Goal Keeper has to be De Gea. I’ve gone with a predicted back three of Blind, Bailly and Smalling. Blind on the left-hand side to give back up to the left wing back, with Bailly and Smalling to accompany Blind for height and strength in the back against players like Arnautovic and Noble.

Left-wing back as Darmian who will be backed up by Blind, and Valencia on as right-wing back to provide width on that flank. Matic on as CDM to provide cover to the back three with Herrera and Pogba playing further up the pitch to link up to the strikers.

Up top has to be Lukaku, his physicality is tailor made for games like this. West Ham are the sort of team Lukaku did well against last season and therefore a must starter.

I’ve predicted it’ll be Martial that’ll be the player to play as the shadow striker, for a few reasons. He’s our most natural left winger and could drift out there to provide width on the left to help Darmian going forward. He’s quick and against Zabaleta and Fonte, Martial’s movement on the ball would be a nightmare for West Ham’s defenders. He’s recently been linked with a move to Spurs, Mourinho could poor cold water on the news by starting him. Martial also didn’t play any of the Super Cup match, so could he have been resting him for the Premier League opener? Let’s see!

West Ham United
West Ham Utd Predicted XI –

The formation I think West Ham will play will be a 4-4-1-1.

In goal I’ve gone with Joe Hart; I can’t see Adrian playing this one, especially with Hart’s ties to Man City. Having said that, could Hart put one over on his old club by letting a few shots slip by? Of course not, he’s more professional than that.

In the back four I’ve gone for new boys Zabaleta and Fonte as the right half of the defence and West Ham’s old guard Cresswell and Reid making up the left side of the defence.

In the Midfield Kouyate and Antonio are injured, and I think both would have started if fit. In the centre of midfield are the club captain Noble paired up with Obiang. They’ll have to be disciplined in staying back as the rest of the players are offensively minded. Right Wing I’ve predicted Snodgrass and on the left Ayew.

In attacking Midfield I think it’ll be new boy Arnautovic, and ahead of him I’ve predicted the only fit striker left at West Ham, Chicharito.

West Ham have a great potential starting eleven, but there won’t be much talent on the bench if West Ham get any more injuries during the game. Mourinho might be a little naughty and get his players to play a little more aggressively than normal knowing this.

Score Prediction

I think it’ll be a close fought first half with both teams going offensive and try to take the game. I can’t see many goals in the first half but I do think Man Utd will take the lead. The second half any substitutions West Ham make will weaken the side and if Man Utd have a first half lead I can see a couple more goals as West Ham push for an equaliser. So I’ll go for a 1-0 HT score and a 3-0 FT score. Probably a little optimistic, but I can see it and why not dream big!

Score Prediction – Man Utd 3-0 West Ham Utd (HT score prediction Man Utd 1-0 West Ham Utd)

Enjoy the match guys! See you at The United Stand Wacthalong!

Andreas To Challenge For Spot

José has a tough decision to make for their opening fixture against West Ham United at Old Trafford this Sunday with many great stand out performances during the US Tour.

Andreas Pereira has really gave José a selection headache to make for the opening game. It’s always vital to get off to a winning start in the Premier League and this decision is key as to who you put on that pitch to start the campaign as you need to be confident as a manager that those eleven plus three key possible substitutes later on will do enough to secure the three points.

Will José stay with the more experienced central midfielders of Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic or trust a younger more inexperienced but very tenacious and skillful Brazilian in Pereira?

After a very solid loan spell at Granada last season he was the shining light in a relegated side that should little passion throughout and after impressing the La Liga faithful in Spain, big things are expected this season from him with many United fans hoping he’ll play a big part in the depth of the squad when the team progresses deeper into multiple competitions.

José Mourinho will be without Marcos Rojo, Ashley Young and Luke Shaw who are all still sidelined with injures, with the later two being close to returns after training with the squad the past week.


This weekend could see the Premier League debut’s of all three summer signings in Nemanja Matic, Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof. This season’s opener against West Ham United can be seen live on Sky Sports Super Sunday with kick off at 4pm.

Those who are in with a chance of starting are: Chris Smalling, Andreas Pereira, Michael Carrick, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford.

Likely Lineup: