Anthony Martial to sign a new deal?

The Frenchman has been at the club since 2015 making him the then most expensive teenager with a fee possible of rising to £58 million.

Jose Mourinho has sought help from others within his squad opting to cut the 22-year-old winger’s playing time in favour of Manchester’s own Marcus Rashford & 29-year-old Chilean Alexis Sanchez despite their poor and inconsistent form.

Despite Martial being out of favour under Mourinho and there being major speculation over his career  rumours state Manchester United’s preference is to keep him at the club and are intent of making it five more seasons at least.

Martial’s season has already gotten off to a poor start; being fined after his pre-season departure to return from America for the birth of his child and not even being selected for the 3-0 humiliation at Old Trafford on Monday by Spurs.

Many fans are in favour of Martial remaining at the club long-term however many are signalling the end of Mourinhos reign if this is the case.

 

Jose Mourinho, Part Of The Problem Or Part Of The Solution?

Back in what some Manchester United supporters would call their ‘Golden Age’ when Sir Alex Ferguson ruled the roost there was a certain process when it came to pre-match press conferences. Usually the day before the game Ferguson would greet the press at Old Trafford with a certain banter, then speak about the coming game, then give his thoughts, take questions and disappear.

It would be remiss of me to say that Ferguson’s press conferences were always an uplifting experience for the journalists. At times Ferguson was the pit bull you crossed the street to avoid and if he took a dislike to a reporter, the reporter could find himself barred from the press briefing for a week, or a month or even longer. Ferguson, like the proverbial elephant, never forgot a wrong or a slight to his team or his character or his family.

Fast forward through the David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal era’s, now it is Jose Mourinho’s turn to command the press conferences and in which, for the moment anyway, he resembles a man who would rather be somewhere else entirely. The pre-season tour for Mourinho had been a summer of sulk and misery which the manager has now seemingly taken into the Premier League.

Without a doubt, It has been a really, really bad week for Manchester United and Mourinho. Since their last game, a shambolic loss at Brighton a week ago, the media has been divided about Mourinho’s future at the club. Most of the celebrity media pundits have pronounced the end for Mourinho sooner rather than later, with only the odd voice eg. Neil Custis of the Sun, expressing a balanced argument in Mourinho’s defence. So with the storm clouds gathering, Manchester United faced their third game of the new Premiership season at Old Trafford on Monday night, 27th August against Tottenham.

Mourinho sprang a surprise by playing Chris Smalling and Phil Jones and Ander Herrara in a back three allowing Luke Shaw and Anthony Valencia to play as wing backs in more advanced positions. For the most part, United had a good first 45 minutes surviving a good penalty shout when Jones brought down Lucas Moura clearly in the box. Spurs however benefited when Romalu Lukaku rounded the goalkeeper at the other end and shot wide of an open net.

In the second half United play resembles the shambolic mess they had produced at Brighton the week before. Once Harry Kane had headed in from a corner to put Spurs 1-0 up the doubts and insecurities came back to the United players. A bad mistake by Herrara allowing Christian Eriksen to be onside was punished when his cross was guided in by Moura.

Shortly after Dele Alli should have put Spurs 3-0 ahead after another defensive mistake by Victor Lindelöf. However, it was not too long before a clumsy tackle by Smalling allowed Moura to once again break free and slot the ball home to make it 3-0. Manchester United have now played 3 matches and lost 2 of them very badly.

In a show of defiance or solidarity depending on your point of view, Mourinho made a point of standing in front of the Stretford End for over a minute clapping them for their support. In the press conference afterwards, Mourinho seemingly was so annoyed with the questions asked that he stormed out demanding more ‘respect’ for the achievements and work he has done, not only at United but in football in general. It may well have been a classic Mourinho gesture to deflect criticism from his underachieving team but I doubt that.

Manchester United’s next match is away at Burnley on Sunday 2nd September. This game now seems to have become the latest one Mourinho cannot afford to lose if he is to keep his job. Mourinho may be helped somewhat in that respect because Burnley play Thursday night in the Europa League and may on Sunday be suffering from fatigue.

On Friday Mourinho faces the press once again to discuss the Burnley match but it might take other directions considering how the last one finished up. There is no doubt that there are serious issues at Manchester United on and off the field of play at the moment, however, whether Mourinho is part of the problem or part of the solution, only time will tell.

Told You So

In this weeks Talking Manchester United podcast Paul and Ash, look back at the game against Spurs, giving their thoughts on the performance of the team and individual players such as Luke Shaw and Fred.

A preview of Sunday’s game against Burnley is also on the agenda.

And sticking to tradition, the guys also read out and discuss your tweets to ensure you remain involved!

The podcast can be found here on the website, Youtube and on almost any other Android and Apple podcast app. So be sure to listen and subscribe! And where you can, leave the guys a comment!

VanCam links:

https://www.youtube.com/user/ashy07
https://www.facebook.com/KevsVanCam/

Brighton Bottlers

In this weeks Talking Manchester United podcast, Paul, Ash and guest Matthew, look back at the game against Brighton, each giving their thoughts on the performance of the team and individual players such as Pogba and Bailly. The guys also give their opinions on the rumoured, potential appointment of a Director of Football.

A preview of Monday’s game against Spurs is also on the agenda.

And sticking to tradition, the guys also read out and discuss your tweets to ensure you remain involved!

The podcast can be found here on the website, Youtube and on almost any other Android and Apple podcast app. So be sure to listen and subscribe! And where you can, leave the guys a comment!

VanCam links:

https://www.youtube.com/user/ashy07
https://www.facebook.com/KevsVanCam/

Manchester United Crumble At Brighton Rock

Brighton 3 Manchester United 2

Sunday 19th August 2018 was a historic day in the life of Manchester United Football Club. Why? Because at 2 pm Manchester United Women’s Team made their bow into the world that is Women’s Football. In defeating Liverpool Women 1-0 in the Continental Tyres Cup they got off to a perfect start.

At 4 pm Manchester United men took the field at Brighton on the south coast of England. After 90+ minutes they lost 3-2 and the analysis and examination began in earnest.

The irony of these two results will not be lost on anyone who follows the club. Manchester United Women have been put together in the last six weeks from scratch. However, they played as a united unit and fully deserved their reward, a historic opening victory against Liverpool.

Manchester United men, however, have been put together over the last two and a bit years by Jose Mourinho and yet they played at times like they were the ones cobbled together during the summer. In this match the defence could not defend, the midfield was overrun and the attack had very little help from the midfielders.

Speaking later Paul Scholes remarked that the job of a midfield was to get the ball to the forwards, make opportunities for scoring situations. A midfielders job is to win the ball and pass it to a forward, not sideways and backwards.

Scholes added “There’s a lack of leaders in the team. We thought Paul Pogba might be the ideal candidate to be that leader but he wasn’t there today. He had another really poor game. He’s so inconsistent.”

Paul Pogba, who captained United for the second time this season to his credit once again spoke honestly after the match. Saying “his side did not have the right attitude against Brighton.” Which on the face of it is a remarkable admission two games into the new season.

The first half was shambolic with schoolboy defending by Lindelof and Bailly. In a two minute spell, Murray beat Lindelof to flick the ball past De Gea, them Bailly lack of positional sense and mistimed tackle led to Duffy putting Brighton 2-0 up. Young was beaten time and again on United’s right side where the majority of Brighton’s threats came from.

Although Lukaku headed in to make it 2-1, Bailly committed another ill-timed tackle in the penalty box, the resultant penalty was blasted home by Gross giving Brighton a 3-1 halftime lead.

As bad as United were in the first half the expectations were that after a rousing half-time team talk from Mourinho, United would find a way to up their game and perhaps even go on to win it. A pundit on MUTV, the clubs official television channel, said at halftime with United 3-1 down that “if United were to score first in the first half of the second half they (United) would go on to win”. MUTV logic at its best, however, whilst United did score from a very late penalty for a tackle on Fellaini there was no recovery and Pogba’s goal was little more than a consolation.

United now face a must-win game at home to Tottenham next week if the season is to be put back on track. Already football pundits and social media wannabees are predicting the end for Mourinho at Old Trafford. One thing is for sure if there are many more lacklustre performances by his team the end of United’s third manager since Sir Alex Ferguson retired may not be far away.

THE TEAMS
Brighton & Hove Albion:
Ryan (GK); Montoya, Duffy, Dunk (c) (Balogun 20), Bong; Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, March; Gross (Kayal 90); Murray (Locadia 90+3).
Subs not used: Button, Bernardo, Bissouma, Jahanbakhsh
Booked: Murray (66)

Man United: De Gea; Young, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw; Pogba (c), Fred, A.Pereira (Lingard 46); Mata (Rashford 46), Lukaku, Martial (Fellaini 60).
Subs not used: Grant, Smalling, Herrera, McTominay.
Booked: Martial (45)

Referee: Kevin Friend : Attendance: 30,592

jim mcveney

Surprises And No Surprises As The Premiership Returns At Manchester United

It was apparently odds on that Manchester United would sign at least one new player as the transfer season came to a close, or to use the more modern phrase “slammed shut”. Jose Mourinho only a few days before had said in his televised interview he had given a list of five players to the CO Ed Woodward some time ago. Now he added he would like two but he would be happy with one. In the end apart from an untried youthful defender, an ageing goalkeeper and a Brazilian midfielder with the unlikely name “Fred”, there were no other major recruits.

Whatever goes on at boardroom level that the fans are not privy to, reading between the lines, it seems Mourinho’s choice of buying ready-made stars has now come to an end. In truth, the idea of buying another centre back when there are five at the club seems a bit odd. So Mourinho has to do the best with what he has in this squad at least till January.

In their opening game against Leicester City, last Friday night United huffed and puffed and just about got over the line against a determined team 2-1.
Awarded a penalty if the early minutes Paul Pogba, who has his own narrative going on at the moment, attacked the ball in the style of a man trying to walk up a down escalator, before placing it firmly in the net putting United 1-0 up.

Luke Shaw who has endured a couple of seasons of personal highs and lows but mainly lows scored his first ever goal in the Premiership in the second half. In the end, his goal won the match as Jamie Vardy headed in for Leicester, from a curling cross which hit the post, in injury time. It must have seemed strange for the travelling Leicester City supporters to see Vardy only on the substitutes bench at the kickoff.

Mourinho in his press conference after the match explained that because of the World Cup and the subsequent lack of training due to late holidays some of his players were not ready. Pogba however, he said, “was a monster” to last as long as he did according to Mourinho at least.

Interestingly David DeGea who had returned from the World Cup showed once again on a couple of occasions why he should be classed as the finest goalkeeper in the world. He left the blunders he sometimes shows when he plays for his national team, Spain, on the field in Russia.

For a brief moment on Friday night Manchester United sat proudly on top of the Premiership table. Of course, it did not last long with rivals Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea all winning over the weekend. The consensus from football pundits is that at the end of the season City and Liverpool will finish ahead of United while some ‘experts’ predict United will finish out of the top four.

Predictions can make fools of us all and after one game nothing is set in stone. However, Mourinho is a serial winner and while he may not have gotten the recruits he craved a few months ago he still has an ocean of talent to pick from. Whether he has the way of it all to win the Premiership after finishing second last season is open to debate. If anyone can do it, he can, whether he will it is too early to call.

jim mcveney

Bailly the Beast

In this weeks Talking Manchester United podcast, Paul, Ash and guest Andrew, look back at the game against Leicester City, each giving their thoughts on the performance of the team and individual players such as Pogba and Bailly.

The guys also give their opinions on the rumoured, potential appointment of a Director of Football.

A preview of Sunday’s game at Brighton is also on the agenda.

And sticking to tradition, the guys also read out and discuss your tweets to ensure you remain involved!

The podcast can be found here on the website, Youtube and on almost any other Android and Apple podcast app. So be sure to listen and subscribe! And where you can, leave the guys a comment!

VanCam links:

https://www.youtube.com/user/ashy07
https://www.facebook.com/KevsVanCam/

The Season Ahead

The boys are back! And for the first Talking Manchester United podcast episode of the 2018/2019 season, Paul and Ash give their thoughts on United’s preseason tour (including last nights game against Bayern Munich).

But, more importantly, the guys preview Friday’s game against Leicester City as well as giving their hopes and predictions for the season ahead.

And sticking to tradition, the guys also read out and discuss your tweets to ensure you remain involved!

The podcast can be found here on the website, Youtube and on almost any other Android and Apple podcast app. So be sure to listen and subscribe! And where you can, leave the guys a comment!

VanCam links:

https://www.youtube.com/user/ashy07
https://www.facebook.com/KevsVanCam/

 

Jose Mourinho To Enter His Third Season At Manchester United: Is It Now Or Never?

In America right now Jose Mourinho and Manchester United are playing friendly games and slowly building up to the start of the 2018/2019 Premier League season.

United, Mourinho and their opponents, Leicester City, have the honour (if that is the right term because of television demands) to kick off the new season a day before all the other Premiership teams, on Friday 10th August 8: 00 pm at Old Trafford. Mourinho, however, does not come across at the moment as someone happy in his job and it could be argued there are extenuating circumstances for this.

Firstly for the first two friendly matches in America, the United squad was a mix of first team, reserves and youth players on the fringe of their careers. With some of Mourinho’s major players/ stars having extended late holidays after their excursions in the FIFA World Cup.

Secondly, with the transfer season in the UK closing the day before the Premiership season kicks-off, Thursday 9th August, there is a sense of urgency around strengthening the present United squad. However having already added three new recruits to the United roster you might think Mourinho would be happy. The new recruits it could be argued are hardly marquee signings destined to get the supporters pulses racing.

Of the three new men the Brazilian ‘Fred’ is the most high profile, but as he was an unused substitute for Brazil in the World Cup, his signing seems hardly overwhelming. He may in time fulfil the Michael Carrick role but as yet the jury must be out. Rumours persist of specific new signings destined to come to the club, the most interesting being the approaches for England’s centre-back Harry McGuire and Chelsea’s Willian, but as yet there is nothing concrete with either of these speculations. Given then the situation, in one sense Mourinho”s demeanour is very understandable, however, there is also the personal ‘X-factor’ to throw into the current situation.

On joining United from being sacked from Chelsea, Mourinho signed a three-year contract. As he enters his third season in charge he must be aware that there has to be a significant improvement in his results if he is to be around for the start the fourth season.

While finishing second last season, a marked improvement on his first season in the Premiership, United were still so far behind Manchester City it was little short of embarrassing. Add to that an inept display in the FA CUP Final at Wembley last May resulting in losing to his former club Chelsea, and it all meant a season of discontent and discomfort.

It must be argued that when Mourinho took over from Louise VanGaal the club was in a mess. Both Van Gall and the manager before him David Moyes had collaborated to knock the heart of the clubs attacking philosophy, known by many as the ‘United Way’.

Under Mourinho, there has been an undoubted improvement in style and results however United are still short in particular areas. Mourinho’s outbursts and criticisms about some United players have also not gone down well with lots of clubs supporters.

The stakes then for Mourinho, United and the coming Premiership challenge could not be higher, and to an extent are very much tied up to the next few days. If there are no new recruits then Mourinho will have to get more out of the squad than he did last season. If there are new recruits then Mourinho’s job will be to blend them into a more productive unit and hope that as far as the Premiership is concerned, United will be able to challenge Manchester City or the team which sits at the Premiership summit in a more exciting and consistent way.

jim@1211plussubs

Fred ‘delighted’ to join United in 5-year-deal

Manchester United have announced Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fred as their second signing of the summer. The deal was finally announced by United today, with the Brazilian joining Jose Mourinho’s side on a 5 year deal.

25 year old Fred is currently still at the World Cup with the Brazil squad, but is excited about his future at Old Trafford:

“This is the biggest club in the world and I am delighted to be a part of this amazing team,

To work with Jose Mourinho, who has won so many trophies in his time as a coach, is an opportunity not to be missed.”

United manager Mourinho was pleased about the addition of the Brazilian: “Fred will complement our other midfielders’ qualities, which we need; his creative brain and passing vision will give us another dimension to our game.”

During his time at Shakhtar Donetsk, Fred contributed to three league titles, three Ukrainian cup and triumphs and a further four Ukrainian Super Cups. He joins young Portuguese full-back Diego Dalot at Old Trafford, United’s only other summer signing who signed from Porto in a deal believed to be worth around £20m.

Fred will team up with Mourinho’s other midfield options, including Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Scott Mctominay and Paul Pogba. The United manager will be hoping these midfield options will be able to compete in a potential title challenge with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

Maraoune Fellaini’s future remains uncertain at the club with his contract running out at the end of this month. A contract remains on the table for the Belgian, currently at the World Cup, with Arsenal and AC Milan also linked as potential suitors for the midfielder.

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