Swansea Review + Man City Preview

In this week’s ‘Talking Manchester United’ podcast, Paul and Ash preview United’s trip to the Etihad to face noisy neighbours, Manchester City. Before that, though, the guys look back at the Swansea game, discussing the positives to be taken into this weekends blockbuster!

Staying true to tradition, the guys also read out your tweets to ensure you are involved!

Thanks for listening!

Listen/download/subscribe below!

You can now listen to the Talking Manchester United podcast on YouTube! Click here and be sure to comment and subscribe.

VanCam links:

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

Manchester United V Swansea City Preview

In this weeks Talking Manchester United podcast, Paul and Ash look forward ahead with a preview of the home game against Swansea City.

Staying true to tradition, the guys also read out your tweets to ensure you are involved!

Thanks for listening!

Listen/download/subscribe below!

You can now listen to the Talking Manchester United podcast on YouTube! Click here and be sure to comment and subscribe.

VanCam links:

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

Brilliant Beckham

Beckham has an enduring place in my heart, as he was a truly magnificent player whose quality at United and contribution during our period of success cannot be undervalued. He was a quite superb dead ball specialist whose corners and free kicks created havoc for opposing defenders and goalkeepers alike. He was the sort of winger that strikers thrive off, who had an unerring accuracy in knowing the position to place the ball so that they had maximum potential to be able to supply the finishing touch. He was a member of the Class of 92, one of the elite youngsters who when combined with more seasoned professionals would sweep all before them during a period of domestic dominance which culminated in the Holy Grail of the Champions League trophy in 1999. During that famous night Beckham was the key ingredient which first salvaged and then secured a trophy which had been on the brink of escaping, the final piece in the magical Unprecedented Treble. Firstly a whipped delivery into the middle of the crowded box for his initial corner where Schmeichel’s green jersey lurked and could cause the most havoc, from which the result was a prodded Sheringham finish. Secondly, a near post corner which found Sheringham to flick toward goal which Solskjaer rammed home to spark raucous celebration. Had we the current crop of United players, these corners would more than likely have been wasted, the delivery either overshot or failing to evade the first man. Beckham’s potency gave an edge that almost seemed like cheating, in a time where we were festooned with strikers who would score all types of goals if given such a cavalcade of ammunition to utilise. This is summed up aptly here by goalkeeping legend Peter Schmeichel:

“You only have to go on MUTV and watch programmes like ‘Ruud van Nistelrooy: all the goals’, ‘Andy Cole: All the goals’ and so on, and see how many goals they scored came from his crosses. A cross from him is as good as a goal. His crossing was unbelievable. ”

Beckham’s early life was typical of that of a precocious boy who dreamed of playing football, whose soul ambition was to secure a playing role in the beautiful game. When asked the arch old question of what career he wished to pursue, Beckham remained obstinate beyond castigation that he would indeed fulfil this dream. Fortuitously for him, as all United fans know, he had the talent in abundance in order to make this dream a reality and was signed up for United after impressing particularly as a youth who had come to prominence whilst attending one of Sir Bobby Charlton’s football schools. As Neville remarked during his own recollection of Beckham’s arrival into the group of fledgling prodigies that were to become later known as the Class of 92, there was a real sense that Beckham’s presence acted as catalyst for the others who were envious of the sheer natural football talent that he (Beckham) had at his disposal even at such a young age.

He was the final member of the greatest midfield quartet to grace the Premier League, providing the width and demanding the pressure of the Number 7 shirt. In Keane’s autobiography, Keane recounts that Sir Alex wanted to give Keane the shirt but that the Irishman thought that Beckham better befitted that jersey. It proved to be an inspirational choice, particularly as Beckham was charged with filling the shoes of the King, Eric Cantona. On the first day of the 96-97 season Beckham scored a goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon, it was a goal which propelled the youngster straight into the nation’s consciousness. It was the season where Beckham cemented his place as a first choice starter for United and was voted to be PFA Young Player of the Year by his peers. Though the following season was disappointing, it was during the Treble season that Beckham came alive; this flying in the face of the widespread condemnation Beckham had received for the infamous petulant kick which many felt was the direct contributing factor to England’s early exit in the previous summer’s World Cup. It was here that Beckham demonstrated his endeavour and bravery by succeeding when many prayed for his failure. He finished the season, as arguably United’s most valuable asset, an assertion given credence by him finishing runner up to Rivaldo in both the European and World Player of the Year award.

As Ryan Giggs pointed out, the remainder of the United squad knew Beckham’s value to the team and the squad pouring the following praise upon his team mate:

“The best crosser of the ball I have ever seen. You would make a run and he would put the ball into your path without having to break stride. A brilliant footballer.”

His fine form was carried into the next season as United won the Premier League by a handsome 18 points in the 99-2000 season. In particular though it was Beckham’s extracurricular activities which were giving Sir Alex the biggest headache, the fact that in 2000 he was given permission to miss out on training in order to take care of his son, Brooklyn who had gastroenteritis. However, Victoria was then spotted at the London Fashion Week Night that day which meant that she could have looked after the sick child. As Ferguson was quick to admonish:

“He was never a problem until he got married. He used to go into work with the academy coaches at night time; he was a fantastic young lad. Getting married into that entertainment scene was a difficult thing – from that moment, his life was never going to be the same. He is such a big celebrity; football is only a small part.”

United though were still in a period of great dominance and this was reflected when they secured their third successive league title in 2000-1. He scored nine goals that season, all of which came in the Premier League. In the following season Beckham scored 16 goals in 42 games in all competitions which was the best of his career, it demonstrated a player whose capabilities were at an all time high in terms of end product. However, Beckham lost his place the next year, following an early season injury, to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and struggled to get back into the team. In February 2003 following an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal Beckham was infamously then the victim of Sir Alex Ferguson’s ire receiving a football boot to the head which really sparked the beginning of the end for the winger. All in all, Beckham made 265 league appearances for Manchester United and scored 61 goals. He also made 81 Champions League appearances and scored 15 goals. His medal total was quite remarkable accruing 6 Premier League Titles, 2 FA Cups, 1 UCL, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 1 Youth Cup in a 12 year period with the club.

When Beckham left he moved to Real Madrid, his dream of continuing to play for United was in tatters. As he has said before, he couldn’t bear to watch United for two years following the swap. He had a heartfelt connection to his boyhood club and ultimately didn’t want to leave, though he then enjoyed the remainder of his career sequentially with Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris St Germain which amounted to quite an illustrious spell of globetrotting. There are those including Sir Alex who felt that Beckham could have made more of himself had he really applied his full talent to his craft rather than what some might refer to as his brand and the celebrity where he really excelled, becoming a global phenomenon in how he marketed himself. However, it is hard to forget how much Beckham had worked to get to where he was and also that he was a quite incredible footballer first and foremost. He had a natural engine which few could match, often covering great distances and was very much an athlete which gave him the extra longevity that only the footballers who take the greatest care of themselves can hope to achieve. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, himself an undisputed legend of the game was quick to praise Beckham’s personality and ethics with regard to how he handled himself even at a mature age, when he went to play for Paris St Germain:

“As a footballer it is important to be yourself and live your life – not to live in a bubble, not enjoying your life. That is what I admire about Beckham. The attention that follows him is not easy to live out your life. But he does it. I even told him that I admired him because he brings his children to surfing, to the park. I felt sometimes I would stay at home, because I want to be left alone. But after I saw him, he brought me off the couch and he motivated me to take my family out and do these things. If he can do it, then me, someone with 10% of his attention, can do it.”

For me David Beckham is a United legend, a man who won many trophies with us and contributed sublimely at many key times. He will forever belong to the greatest exclusive club in football, those who have worn the hallowed United Number 7 shirt and his football prowess justifies that he is within that pantheon, a player who played with grit, style, determination and panache in equal measure. Without Beckham’s efforts United fans would not have so many enduring memories with which to comfort our souls during this barren period of true domestic success. Beckham will remain interwoven in the rich tapestry of United’s history, the member of the Class of 92 with abilities so unique and special; they even made a movie about one of them. Indeed, nobody could bend it like Beckham and precious few in United’s history have been as good as he was, a legendary player, never forgotten.

Mourinho Questions Players Desire

Jose Mourinho has been the subject of much discussion among Manchester United fans this week and Paul and Ash are no exceptions.

In this weeks Talking Manchester United podcast, the guys give their thoughts on the managers comments as well as reviewing the games against Sevilla and Brighton.

As ever, the guys also read out and discuss your tweets to ensure you are involved!

Thanks for listening!

Listen/download/subscribe below!

You can now listen to the Talking Manchester United podcast on YouTube! Click here and be sure to comment and subscribe.

VanCam links:

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

Mourinho out? Here we go again…

Immediately following last night’s defeat to Sevilla I turned my phone off. Not because I was a sore loser. Not because I was sulking. I knew we got what we deserved. The two legs were terrible, devoid of anything resembling the so-called United way. No, I turned my phone off because I knew I would be tempted to go on Twitter, see the usual ‘Mourinho out’ brigade and end up in an argument I didn’t want to be in.

Even after watching that performance last night, the thought of Mourinho leaving Old Trafford is one that wasn’t even close to entering my mind. To jump on that bandwagon would see me as a hypocrite, as a man who has constantly backed our manager. Unless things drastically change, you will not see me calling for Mourinho’s head. Why? Because I’m a realist.

My thoughts on those calling for his head are simple. Are their memories so short-sighted that they do not remember the dross that was served up under David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal? Do they not remember that LVG famously stated how he had guided us back into the Champions League after Moyes’ failure, only to see us crash out of the competition at the group stage? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Mourinho inherited the worst Manchester United squad of recent times.

Fixing this squad was never going to be a quick fix. Before anyone jumps on the hundreds of millions that have been spent, it was always going to take more. In a market where strikers now cost £150 million and defenders cost £75 million, the amount of money spent is almost irrelevant. £80 million for a player these days is what £30 million would have bought you less than five years ago.

The Manchester City comparison is always going to be at the forefront, particularly because of the dominant nature in which they will storm to the Premier League title this season. Guardiola has also spent an astronomical amount of money but it is true that he inherited a better squad than what Mourinho did at United. However, what scrutinises Mourinho’s position further is that, whether we care to admit it or not, Guardiola has City playing in the way in which us fans want to see our club play.

 

 

Whichever way Mourinho is criticised, there is no getting away from the fact that United under him have improved. Sixth last season, five points clear in second this. Try and disguise it all you want, but progress is progress. The former Chelsea manager stated he wanted to win the Premier League within three seasons. That target is still more than achievable, and his record at other clubs, for me, confirms that he is still the best man in the job to do this.

Some are saying that his comments after the defeat last night were unacceptable. Listen to them back now that the adrenaline has subsided. Was it that bad? What he said was factual. United are used to crashing out of the Champions League. Fergie ‘only’ won it twice. The great man himself will be the first to admit that he should have won it many more times. Mourinho did knock us out twice, and losing to that Porto side was unacceptable, whether they went on to win the competition or not.

Last night was horrific, but it was under Fergie at times. Many will point to those classic nights in Barcelona and Moscow but who remembers going out at the Group Stage in a group that contained Benfica, FC Basel and Otelul Galati in 2011. Did we call for his head then? Of course we didn’t.

Guardiola represented our chance to grab a manager who would play in the way the fans want to see. We didn’t take it, opting instead for blind faith in LVG. Mourinho was the next best option, still perhaps the best option given his track record in the Premier League with Chelsea.

Ashley Young watches on as Sevilla take the lead (pic: gettyimages)

My response to the Mourinho out comments every time I see them is always the same. If not Mourinho, who?

Usually this argument lands at the feet of either Mauricio Pochettino or Carlo Ancelotti. Ancelotti I can kind of understand. Premier League winning experience, various trophy-laden seasons across the continent, including three unrivalled Champions League wins, and currently out of work. However, would it be anymore of an upgrade to a manager that also has Premier League winning experience and multiple trophies across Europe.

The Pochettino argument I really struggle with. Yes, he is a manager which plays an exciting brand of football, but at what cost? Mourinho is being rightly chastised for his team selection against Sevilla and how wrong he got it tactically. Rewind one week when the exact same scenario panned out at Wembley. Tottenham 3-2 up on aggregate three quarters of the way through a two-legged tie against Juventus. Instead of shutting shop, the Argentine manager pressed for a fourth, instead conceded two and lost the tie.

Mourinho gets it wrong and crashes out of Europe…sack him. Pochettino does the same…hire him. Get your heads around that one. And, remember, Pochittino famously guided Spurs to a third place Premier League position when they were in a two horse race for the title.

My suggestion for the Mourinho out brigade, be very careful what you wish for. Slowly but surely, he is starting to rebuild our club. It isn’t pretty, but rebuilding it he is. 65 points last season at this stage would have had us in a title race, and then who would be complaining?

Rashford Runs Riot

Manchester United academy graduate, Marcus Rashford, scored a brace to secure three precious points against fierce rivals Liverpool.

In this week’s Talking Manchester United podcast, Paul and Ash review the tie, giving their thoughts on the performance and look ahead to the games against Sevilla, in the Champions League and Brighton in the FA Cup.

As ever, the guys also read out and discuss your tweets to ensure you are involved!

Thanks for listening!

Listen/download/subscribe below!

You can now listen to the Talking Manchester United podcast on YouTube! Click here and be sure to comment and subscribe.

VanCam links:

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

Jorginho agent responds to transfer rumours

The 26 year old Brazilian born is a reported target for Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United with rumours that all have scouted the midfielder this season.

Interest in the Italian International is ever-growing with his fine displays in the middle of the field continue to be crucial for Napoli who currently sit at the top of the pile in the Serie A.

Jorginho has two years left in Naples but his agent believes the midfielder would quickly settle in the Premier League but also refused to confirm nor deny a £60 million valuation set by Napoli.

(Picture:http://www.squawka.com/news/jorginhos-agent-denies-claims-italy-midfielder-wants-brazil-switch/998494)
During the international friendly between Italy and Scotland on May 29, 2016 in Malta, Malta.

‘I follow the Premier League. I’m sure Jorginho has the characteristics to play there. He runs more than 13 km every game and he has a great technique. I don’t have a figure in my mind, the price is set by the president.’

Despite this, Joao Santos has admitted there isn’t anything ‘concrete’ at this moment in time but tells the media that ‘It’s normal for top European clubs to keep players of this type on their radars. ‘We’re waiting for May. We hope Napoli can win the league. Then if Napoli wants to renew the contract, we can talk about it.

‘The same if they want to sell Jorginho. There are no official and concrete proposals for him from UK. ‘We are available to deal with [Napoli]. He has become Neapolitan and is in a family. He is a top level player.’

Tournament Apps Mins Goals Assists Yel Red SpG PS% AerialsWon MotM Rating
UEFA Champions League 2 162 1 1 84.9 7.38
Serie A 24 1960 2 4 4 0.6 89.3 0.5 7.10
UEFA Europa League 0(1) 8 92.3 6.42
Coppa Italia 1 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total / Average 28 2130 3 4 4 0 0.6 89.1 0.5 0 7.09
(www.whoscored.com)

Matic Magic Sinks Eagles

Manchester United pulled off a stunning comeback on Monday night as they fought back from 2-0 down at Crystal Palace to win 3-2 thanks to a 30-yard wonder strike from Nemanja Matic. It wasn’t all singing and dancing though as United failed to find their rhythm until late on.

This week, Paul, Ash and guest, Andrew, give their thoughts on the game and as ever, the guys also read out and discuss your tweets to ensure you are involved!

Thanks for listening!

Listen/download/subscribe below!

You can now listen on YouTube! Click here.

VanCam links:

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

They just don’t cut it

While Man City continues to impress and dominate every week in the Premier League questions are beginning to be asked of Jose Mourinho and his players; are they good enough to challenge next season? As Man City are set to strengthen to their already world class squad, who are the weak links in the Manchester United squad that the club cannot afford to have next season?

Two of those whom don’t meet the requirements to play for this club are:

Marouane Fellaini

Transfer fee: £27,500,000

Appearances: 94

Goals: 19

Marouane Fellaini has been a controversial signing ever since he walked through the doors of Carrington alongside ‘The Chosen One’ David Moyes.

The Belgium International has been used as a somewhat go to player under José Mourinho’s tenure so far with direct plays and long balls being used as a way back into the game. However, the 6’4 midfielder never has had the skill or the ability to play for a club of Manchester United’s stature.

He was a panic buy from the Scotsman who missed out on targets such as Cesc Fabregas and by doing so over spent for a mid-table wreckless midfielder. Fellaini will always be a liability to the defence with his wreckless challenges and flailing arms. With rumours a new contract is trying to be negotiated for him the Belgian is playing hardball and is demanding a higher salary than what has been offered.

(Picture: dailystar.com)

My Verdict: He never has and never will be good enough to play for Manchester United and therefore should be let go in the summer. If Mourinho needs a tall bushy haired midfielder; we have an exciting 6ft tall teenager, Tahith Chong who every fan would rather see step onto the Old Trafford turf alongside the first team.

 

Ashley Young

Transfer fee: £17,000,000

Appearances: 140

Goals: 16

Ashley Young, bought in his prime in 2011 from Aston Villa by Sir Alex Ferguson he was used sparingly as an in and out left winger. Of late the experienced ex England International has been playing in deeper wing back roles and on either flank.

The transition from right midfield to right back for United skipper Antonio Valencia has been a revelation with the Ecuadorian finding his feet and putting in mammoth performances every week for the past few years, becoming an integral rock in the united defence. However, the transition for Ashley Young has not been quite as smooth. With a few months of fine performances almost solidifying his left back position under Louis Van Gaal delivering fine crosses into the box on either foot making the defence guess was a joy to watch for the small period that he produced it.

But with poor performances being turned out each week the fans are left questioning why Mourinho keeps starting the aging Englishman over the young and exciting Luke Shaw who has bags of potential but is just not been shown the same faith from the manager as is from the fan base.

My Verdict: Ashley Young is now too old and doesn’t have the nohow to play in the left back role. His defensive positioning is terrible and recovery is not good enough. His recent performances remind me of an even worse aging Patrice Evra who just didn’t have the legs to get back anymore. The difference is the fans still love Patrice whereas i don’t fully think Ashley has ever won over the fans at Old Trafford in his seven year stint. He needs to leave and allow Luke Shaw and others such as Joe Riley a chance and let the club grow and get stronger especially in the defensive areas.(Picture: express.co.uk)

Preview: Crystal Palace vs Manchester United

With Manchester United visiting, Roy Hodgson’s Palace have got to impress as their run of six games without a win may set to continue with the home side failing to win any of their 17 Premier League meetings with Manchester United (D3, L14) which is a Premier League record for most games against an opponent without winning.

The Eagles will want to put on a good show in front of their home fans after a demoralising late 0-1 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspurs last time out. They will need goals from somewhere as Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke’s six league goals between them will not spark their home crowd with confidence going against the leagues most resilient defence.

United Injury News:

United are missing six first team regulars for Monday night’s fixture.

Ander Herrera will miss out due to his recent muscle injury , while Daley Blind remains in rehab from an ankle problem which has kept him out of the side for sometime; possibly to the happiness of some fans.

Centre back pairing of Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are also ruled out with knocks, with

(Picture: dailymail.com)
             Fellaini remains sidelined.

Jose confirming that they have not been considered for selection.

Regarding Fellaini, Mourinho explained on Friday: “He’s still a young player, his injury had a little surgery, a minor surgery, and he will be back to play again in a couple of weeks.” Which will give the squad a greater depth in midfield alongside Ander’s return as the United midfield three could begin to strain with the accumulation of matches.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has recently returned back to first team training but will be unlikely to be involved in the fixture despite being confirmed that the Swede is not currently ‘injured’. The experienced striker has reportedly stated that he doesn’t believe he will be of value in his current physical state and will continue to train hard and be back soon.

With Chelsea dropping points and falling to 5th place United could stretch the gap to 9 points with a win tonight and will give them great momentum going into the derby weekend game against on-form Liverpool.

Predicted lineups:

Crystal Palace starting XI:

Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Kelly, Delaney, Van Aanholt, McArthur, Milivojevic, Riedewald, Townsend, Benteke, Sorloth

Zaha still out injured and Timothy-Fosu Mensah not allowed to play against parent club.

Man United starting XI:

De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw, Mctominay, Matic, Pogba, Rashford, Sanchez, Lukaku

Mourinho may be tempted to play Eric Bailly to regain fitness ahead of the Liverpool game on Saturday. Also the right midfield spot could be anyone’s with Martial out, Rashford could be tipped by Jesse Lingard or Juan Mata. 

Manchester United news and blogs