Tag Archives: Man Utd News

Tahith Chong Debut Against Huddersfield?

Tahith Chong, a name Manchester United fans may not have heard of a few months ago, is suddenly the man, or boy, many fans want to be the next youth player given a run out for the first team. With Huddersfield up next in the cup, is it the perfect time for Chong to be given his chance?

For someone so young – Chong only turned 18 in December – Tahith Chong is already making up for lost time. A serious knee injury kept him out for most of 2017 so it’s credit to him and his talent that we’re only two months in to 2018 and he’s already banging on the door of the first team.

Fast, skillful and a competent finisher, Chong has the look of accomplished United wingers from years gone by. Ryan Giggs is an obvious comparison and Chong does possess that ability to glide along with the ball at speed and beat a man. But for anyone who’s seen Chong and old clips of George Best in his younger days there’s definitely a resemblance in the way Chong keeps the ball close, can ride a tackle, and never looks in any trouble despite the number of players around him.

Of course comparing an 18 year old youth player to one of the world’s “Best” ever players is at this stage fanciful. Chong’s first challenge is to force his way in to Jose Mourinho’s plans before he can even begin to think about how good he can be.

So how close to a first team call up is Chong and is he likely to be involved against Huddersfield?

In answer to the first question, he should be very close. He’s recently featured and performed well for the U23’s, which is effectively the reserves, and with Mourinho monitoring those performances a first team call up should be imminent. However, I’d be very surprised if Mourinho calls him up any time soon. Mourinho isn’t Sir Alex Ferguson. If he was then Chong would be involved against Huddersfield. Sir Alex was never shy in promoting youth, especially young talented flair players, and Chong fits that particular statement like a glove.

Mourinho is different though. His record with bringing through youth, despite his protestations, isn’t good. He’s also already stated that he wants to bring through one youth player a season and this season it’s McTominay. Others have been given a few minutes here and there but Mourinho doesn’t appear to be the sort of manager that would consider Chong’s involvement any time in the next month or so a priority.

The more realistic hope for Chong is that the first team find some sort of consistent form between now and April and tie up Champions League football so that Mourinho has the option of blooding some youth in the remaining dead rubber league games. But with the way United are playing at the moment it could be be that every game counts between now and the end of the season. Which is likely to mean no debut for Chong any time soon.

Mourinho Reveals Summer Transfer Targets

Jose Mourinho has indicated he will sign two midfielders this summer, as he looks to strengthen an area that currently looks bereft of ideas and cohesion.

With Michael Carrick retiring Mourinho already knew he’d need to bring in at least one midfield replacement this summer. However, with Marouane Fellaini yet to sign a new contract and free to leave in the summer that would force Mourinho in to making two midfielder signings.

With Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera and Scott McTominay Mourinho’s only midfield options if Carrick and Fellaini leave, it’s not hard to see why United will need strengthen. Even with Fellaini and Carrick Manchester United currently look decidedly lightweight in the midfield, and many United fans feel that Mourinho should already have been prioritising the midfield area regardless of departures.

With the January transfer window shut Mourinho will have to wait until the summer to remedy the issue and that at least gives him a few months to assess his options and scout the possibilities.

So who might be on Mourinho’s scouting list? Milinković-Savić of Lazio, Jorginho of Napoli, Seri of Nice, and Fabinho of Monaco are four names that instantly spring to mind and with the current state of Manchester United’s midfield any two from that four would certainly improve Mourinho’s options. Although it shouldn’t be forgotten that Mourinho likes players who are established in the premier league and there are some suggestions that he’ll go back for Eric Dier from Tottenham if as many expect, Tottenham fail to qualify for the Champions League and a mass exodus ensues.

Mourinho Hands Klopp Manager of the Month

Jose Mourinho was nailed on to be January’s manager of the month. Premier League wins over Everton, Stoke and Burnley meant that a draw or better against Spurs would have guaranteed Mourinho a first manager of the month award of the season and broken his big rival Pep Guardiola’s unprecedented four in a row winning streak.

And whilst Guardiola is still highly unlikely to win the award for January, Mourinho’s tactical nightmare at Spurs looks to have handed the award to another rival in Jurgen Klopp.

Of all the premier league managers Klopp, Mourinho and Guardiola have the best record in January with three wins and one loss. However, with Guardiola’s one loss coming against Liverpool that surely counts Guardiola out as a contender? To give the award to Pep over a manager who beat him would be extremely dubious. So with Guardiola out of the running it’s a straight race between Mourinho and Klopp.

Klopp’s record reads wins over Burnley away, City home, Huddersfield away and then a loss to Swansea away with 9 goals scored and 5 conceded.
Mourinho’s record reads wins over Everton away, Stoke home, Burnley away and then a loss to Spurs away with 6 goals scored and 2 conceded.

When analysing the above a fair conclusion would be that Mourinho should still be awarded his first manager of the month award for the season. United and Liverpool mirrored each other’s results against Burnley and when you look at the fixtures United’s are definitely the tougher run of games with a more even spread of goals that highlight a strong defence and decent attack. Liverpool have scored more goals but with five goals conceded the stats show a side that is very imbalanced.

Don’t expect logic or fairness to win out when the award is handed out tomorrow though. The focus the Premier League panel will undoubtedly put on Liverpool beating City and ending their unbeaten run will not be ignored and will ultimately hand Klopp the award.

It’s an extremely close call but Mourinho only has himself to blame. A perfect January was destroyed by some suspect tactical decisions against Spurs that United should have comfortably expected at least a draw from. Oh well, there’s always next month.

Manchester United must beat Chelsea

Manchester United are just an expensive Stoke City, Mourinho is no better than LVG, United parked the bus at Anfield….. The list goes on and all I’ve got to say to the above is let the haters hate.

In fact, let’s welcome it. Because in reality all that’s happening is a futile attempt to deflect scrutiny of the haters own failings. In the case of Liverpool, that they’ve been exposed as a side lacking imagination and creativity when a side doesn’t give them the space to do what they want. For the press, that their determined effort to undermine our manager and champion the new boys of Pep, Klopp and Conte isn’t gathering pace. And for other rivals it’s plain old fear. Fear that United are within touching distance of every single one of them despite a mediocre start to the season.

What did I think of the Liverpool game? It was a bit like foreplay. There were really positive parts and there were things we could have done better. But it will all be for nothing if we don’t progress south – against Chelsea.

So does that mean the Chelsea game is a must win? I think it’s unfair to put that pressure on a United side that has a pretty horrific record at Stamford Bridge – only two wins in the last sixteen games. Add in to that the media meltdown and hype around Jose’s return and common sense would suggest this isn’t a game Chelsea can afford to lose. But it’s a game United really could do with winning.

Another point and another battling performance with plenty of heart and commitment wouldn’t be a terrible outcome. However, with Arsenal and City both having very winnable home fixtures this weekend even a well earnt point at Stamford Bridge will see us drift to seven points behind the leaders – not an insurmountable amount but still a healthy gap for two major rivals to have at this time of the season.

Without question four points from Liverpool and Chelsea is exactly what United should be targeting if they want to get back amongst the title challengers. Some might say it’s a big ask from arguably our two hardest fixtures of the season but the way the seasons gone so far we need that sort of boost. Two draws whilst not a disaster, isn’t quite enough, especially after the costly two points we let slip at home to Stoke. But football is an odd mistress and there’s a world of difference between another ground out nil nil draw and a six goal thriller where both sides share the points. So to totally dismiss a draw against Chelsea at this stage would be unfair when it very much depends on the circumstances come six o’clock on Sunday evening.

The positive is that I’m sure Jose Mourinho will go with the intention of taking all three points from his old employers. He’s got more than one point to prove to Chelsea and if he can pull it off it would be the perfect catalyst to kick on and have a great season.

What we mustn’t do is lose.

By Mark Goldbridge