Tag Archives: Leicester City

Marouane Fellaini – It’s Not All Bad, Is It?

Marouane Fellaini – now there’s a player that divides opinion. By divide opinion, I mean that Manchester United fans normally debate on whether he is simply just not a Manchester United player, or he is downright terrible. Myself included.

A quick look through my Tweets which include our Belgian maestro’s name since he signed back in 2013 read something like this…

 

 

 

 

It’s fair to say that I’ve been pretty scathing over the years, as I am sure have most of you. But, here’s the thing. Something strange has happened. It’s painful, so I’ll just come out with it. And here it is…

My name is Jamie Ward, and I have warmed to Marouane Fellaini

When Jose Mourinho was appointed manager in May 2016 we all thought Fellaini’s days as a Manchester United player were done. As every second during the transfer window last summer, again in January and then the current one, we all prayed that this was the one player that would be let go. But he didn’t. Morurinho constantly claimed that he was happy with the 29-year-old.

“But why, Jose?” we all screamed.

But now I’m beginning to see it. Fellaini has not started a single game this season, and nor do I expect him too either. However, what he has proven during the early stages of this season was that he has now become a valuable squad player. Mourinho sees this. He offers us something different. In a squad that now oozes flair and pace, Fellaini is the type of player that does the messy things, and actually does them reasonably well. He is never going to be a footballer that gives us that wow factor, but he does have his uses…trust me.

A lot of us couldn’t see the logic in bringing Fellaini on against Leicester, with the game finely balanced at 1-0, whilst Ander Herrera continued to warm the bench. And this is why we’re not the manager. What Fellaini did during his 20 or so minutes on the pitch was add a different dimension. Leicester were producing the type of football that they have perfected over the last three or so seasons. Sit back, soak up the pressure and hope to capatalise on any mistakes made by the opposition. We needed something different. The 2015-16 Premier League champions had to chase for the equaliser, and Mahrez was beginning to show glimpses of his obvious class. Fellaini gave us that something different.

The former Everton midfielder complimented Matic well in the middle of the park, bullied Leicester into making mistakes, offered us some height up top and was eventually rewarded with a goal. Yes, it was a messy goal, probably the type of goal that some might say suits his end product.

His performance against Swansea was perhaps a little more understated but the end result was similar. Fellaini entered the fray at 1-0, put in a shift similar to that against Leicester and United eventually ran out 4-0 winners. No, I’m not saying that this was down to the Belgian, but I’m perhaps beginning to realise that Fellaini changes our style when he comes on which perhaps unsettles the opposition.

It’s fair to say now that Fellaini is perhaps a victim of what can now be referred to the dark era, the Moyes era. Fellaini was indeed a panic buy once Moyes realised that taking over Manchester United in real life is nothing like taking over Manchester United on Football Manager. Once it became apparent that he couldn’t attract the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Cesc Fabregas and Sami Khedira, he turned his attentions back to Fellaini. After being teased with big names all summer, we were disappointed to end up with just the big, bullying midfielder from Everton.

In hindsight, we never forgave him for that. It wasn’t Fellaini’s fault, but he was on the back foot from the moment he stepped into Old Trafford. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending all of his performances over the last 3 or so seasons. What I am saying is that it is now perhaps time to take off our blinkers, maybe appreciate the fact the he adds something different to the squad, something that may be extremely useful as the season drags on.

So, in response to one of my above, aged Tweets, I say this….Marouane Fellaini, in Manchester United hearts since 2017.

Andreas Pereira Nears Loan Exit

As the 2016 Rio Olympic Games edges near, Andreas Pereira has voiced his desire to seek a loan move away from the club to try and cement a place in the Brazilian national side this summer. Speaking to GloboEsporte, the talented youngster is quoted as saying:

“I do not know if United want to lend me, but I’m working hard to get more opportunities. Manchester will decide.”

The 20-year-old is viewed as the jewel in the crown in the next batch of United youngsters and this revelation, whilst not a shock, will no doubt hand some sections more ammunition against manager Louis Van Gaal despite a decent start to 2016. With Van Gaal providing a platform for many youngsters during his tenure, with the likes of Jesse Lingard, Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson enjoying time amongst the first team over the past two seasons, Pereira has found his appearances limited despite United struggling in front of goal.

Many fans have called for the 20-year-old to be utilised more often, an opinion reinforced by his stunning free kick against Ipswich Town in the Capital One Cup earlier this season. A string of impressive displays for the under-21 side have only added more fuel to the fire whilst the return of fellow academy graduate Adnan Januzaj, previously on loan at Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, could well see Pereira fall further behind in the pecking order.

Interestingly enough, news of Pereira’s current availability has sparked rumours from all angles, although Leicester City are rumoured to be the frontrunners which would be absolute madness. Leicester currently sit second in the Premier League on goal difference, and seven points above United. Handing the Foxes one of the club’s most talented prospects would be a major error. Leicester must be seen as United’s main rival for the lucrative fourth Champions League spot.

Leicester are, of course, the surprise package of the season and their expected decline just doesn’t seem to be coming. Their Christmas fixtures were as tough as it gets, games against United, City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, but the club still find themselves on the brink of the Premier League summit. Realistically, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham are shoe-ins for the top four spots. Leicester are the one anomaly, and loaning our most exciting prospect to them to aid their title challenge would be shear lunacy.

However, with some of the decisions that have been made this season, it wouldn’t come as a major surprise…

Leicester City 1-1 Man United | Full match report

Man United miss out on going top of the Premier League after managing only a draw away at Leicester City.

For the majority of the first half Leicester moved the ball around quickly and looked the more likely team to score, despite Man United having the bigger share of possession.

The first attempt on goal came from the home team in the 13th minute when a misplaced pass from Michael Carrick fell to Jamie Vardy who laid the ball to Kante. Kante hit a shot but was quickly closed down and the shot deflected out for a corner.

In the 17th minute Wayne Rooney had a chance with a volley near the edge of the box but was unable to connect cleanly, leaving an easy save for Kasper Schmeichel.

Leicester broke the deadlock mid way through the second half and it was Jamie Vardy who put the foxes ahead. Fuchs spotted Vardy making a run and played a perfectly timed, long range through ball into the strikers path. Making no mistake Vardy hit the ball across the face of the goal, beating David de Gea and finding the back of the net. This goal saw Jamie Vardy break Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in ten consecutive Premier League games.

Jamie Vardy beats Man United's Darmian and de Gea to put Leicester city ahead (Source: Daily Mail)
Jamie Vardy beats Man United’s Darmian and de Gea to put Leicester city ahead (Source: Daily Mail)

Okazaki almost put Leicester two up just seven minutes later. He played a quick one-two with Mahrez, but saw his shot saved excellently by de Gea.

United had a couple of attempts on goal either side of the Okazaki chance with the first coming from Bastian Schweinsteiger, however the German dragged his long range shot wide. Ten minutes later it was Wayne Rooney who had a go with a header from a United corner, but it didn’t trouble the Leicester keeper.

On the stroke of half time Man United found an equaliser when Bastian Schweinsteiger won a man to man battle with Okazaki to head home from a corner.

Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates his equaliser for Man United (Source: Daily Mail)
Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates his equaliser for Man United (Source: Daily Mail)

Early in the second half it was Man United who had the first try at going ahead. Bastian Schweinsteiger again winning a header, this time from an Ashley Young free kick, but the header lacked direction and was easy for Schmeichel.

Mid way through the second half Leicester had a couple of chances. The first came from a counter attack. Mahrez made easy work of a long run down Leicester’s right wing and picked out Ulloa who hit a shot but David de Gea was out quick and saved with his feet.

Ulloa found himself with another shooting opportunity about seven minutes later but was unable to catch the ball properly, hitting it high and wide.

Man United started to dominate possession more as the game entered the later stages but they were only able to create a few chances. The best of these fell to Mata in the 79th minute. He brought down a cross from Memphis and turned to shoot but the shot cannoned off a defender and went out for a corner.

Five minutes later Memphis also had a good chance but slightly over hit his first touch and the shot that followed was blocked.

Man United had once more chance to snatch the three points in injury time when Darmian picked up a loose ball. Frustratingly, for him and the travelling fans, he couldn’t hit the target.

The draw means Man United drop to third in the Premier League, one point behind Manchester City and Leicester who sit first and second respectively.

Man United sit third after the draw at Leicester City (Source: BBC Football)
Man United sit third after the draw at Leicester City (Source: BBC Football)

What did you think of the game? Are you growing frustrated with the style of play and lack of goals? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

You can also watch the Watford V Man United match reaction on The United Stand’s YouTube channel by clicking here. Or by watching below.

Leicester City Team Sheet

Schmeichel
Simpson (de Laet – 80′)
Morgan
Huth
Fuchs
Mahrez
KantΓ©
Drinkwater
Albrighton (Schlupp – 70′)
Okazaki (Ulloa – 60′)
Vardy

Substitutes

de Laet
King
Schlupp
Ulloa
Dyer
Schwarzer
Inler

Man United Team Sheet

de Gea
McNair
Smalling
Blind
Darmian
Carrick
Schweinsteiger
Young
Mata
Martial
Rooney (Depay – 68′)

Substitutes

Depay
Romero
Fellaini
Schneiderlin
Rashford
Borthwick-Jackson
Pereira

Leicester’s Ben Chilwell on United radar

It is understood that Leicester City starlet Ben Chilwell is being monitored by Manchester United and Arsenal.

Scouts from both United and Arsenal were present during Leicester’s game with Hull City in the Capital One cup earlier this week, where Ben Chilwell made his full debut.

Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri thinks highly of the young left-back describing him as a “very, very good player”.

You can read the full article on the Daily Mail website here.

Watch Ben Chilwell’s Academy Player of the Year award 2015 interview below or by clicking here.