Tag Archives: man

Why Ander Herrera is Man United’s Forgotten Man

Voted Manchester United’s player of the year last season, the fall from grace of Ander Herrera this season has been one that some Man United fans have found hard to fathom? Herrera has endured a mixed career at United, criminally underused by Van Gaal, to first name on the sheet for Mourinho last season, to forgotten man this season. So what’s gone wrong with Herrera? And why is he suddenly such a divisive figure amongst United fans?

The big positive with Herrera is he gets the importance of wearing a Manchester United shirt. In a sentence he gets what Manchester United is all about. Passion, intensity, drive and an appetite to win and play fast football. Herrera at his best is quick across the ground, hard in to the tackle, and has an eye for a defence splitting pass from deep. Not to mention a very good cross when he finds himself out wide on the right. Reading that back, he’s exactly what Manchester United currently need to complete a balanced midfield three with Pogba and Matic.

Jose Mourinho has been reluctant to use Herrera this season though. An ever present last season many predicted that the arrival of Matic would see United move to a more dynamic midfield three, with Pogba free to express his game on the left hand side, Matic holding things centrally from deep, and Herrera the tenacious box to box midfielder on the right with a bit of everything to his game. It’s a combination, that sat here in mid February with Mourinho’s midfield a laughing stock, makes total sense. The question is why has Mourinho ignored it for six months? Or more to the point, why has he ignored Herrera?

Amazingly, Herrera didn’t make his first Premier league start until mid September. Benched throughout the start of the campaign in August, Herrera went from Mourinho’s most trusted player to a bit part bench player. Mourinho wanted to utilise the now exposed and defunct 4231 formation and Matic and Pogba were the 2 Mourinho wanted to use. By the time Mourinho did turn to Herrera it was evident to everyone that Herrera was no longer the player of last season. The dynamism had given way to sluggishness and an odd reluctance to play a forward pass. In short Ander Herrera was no longer the player United fans loved.

With that came the usual, but somewhat unexpected and shortsighted, criticism of Herrera. “Sell him” “He’s useless” were just some of the comments flying around the United fan community, and a player that only a few short months ago had been fundamental to United’s season was suddenly on the scrapheap.

The question still remains why? What has caused Herrera to go from that exciting wears his heart on the sleeve player to one that looks lost on a football pitch? When you look back over the season, even when Pogba was out injured Mourinho regularly opted for Fellaini over Herrera. Limited Fellaini over Herrera who at his best optimises what United should be about! With Mourinho ignoring Herrera’s talents so consistently there can only be one conclusion. Over the summer something happened between Mourinho and Herrera that destroyed their great relationship of last season.

Some say Herrera wanted a move and Mourinho refused it. Others say it’s because Herrera won’t commit to a long term contract and is running it down so he can go for nothing. Both points would lean towards Mourinho being right and refusing to use a player who isn’t committed to the club. The only issue with that is that whenever Herrera has played for United it’s very clear that he loves the place and is totally committed. So what else could be the issue? Could it be as simple as Mourinho decided he wanted to go down a different direction? That he didn’t like the speed and dynamism of Herrera’s midfield play and he wanted taller more simple players like Matic and Fellaini in there? His selections over the season and introduction of another of those types of players in McTominay would add credence to that theory.

Whatever the reason, Herrera is no longer the player he was and that’s a big shame for Manchester United. A midfield three of Pogba, Matic and Herrera at his best would provide United with the perfect balance as they approach the most important part of their season.

Are Manchester United Better Under Jose Mourinho?

Some people like fast cars. Others enjoy fine dining while some like nothing more than settling down at the end of the day with a glass of wine and an episode of Eastenders. As for me, I get excited when I unearth a new statistic article.

I know, I know, it’s pretty depressing right? I don’t know why, but something feels pretty damn good about being able to pull out another useless piece of information as a trump card in yet another football related argument. So imagine my delight when I woke up this morning to a fantastic piece comparing United’s start to this campaign to that of last season under LVG, courtesy of Sky Sports.

It is worth noting at this point that, at the same stage last season, United were top of the table and three points better off than they currently stand today, a statistic that has been pointed out to myself, as I am sure it has many a United fan, several times since Sunday afternoon. However, that statistic alone doesn’t begin to tell even half the tale.

Perhaps the most compelling statistic of the piece is the percentile gem which lists United as top of the pile when it comes to shots on goal this season, with 92, compared to 54 last season, which was placed as the 17th best in the Premier League.

As we are well aware, United last season became almost a chore to watch. Sideways and backwards passing became the norm, whilst attacks on goal were just a mere rose-tinted memory of the Sir Alex Ferguson days. Mourinho seems to have altered the mentality of the squad in his short stint as manager, cutting the amount of passes down to 3623 from 4053. Interestingly, 31.5% of these passes have come within the final third, a near 2% jump on last season.

David Moyes was famously criticised during his tenure as Manchester United boss for throwing cross after cross into the opposition box, with LVG opting to play patient passing football in order to create the killer chance. Mourinho has opted with a mixture of the two to try and recreate the attacking fluidity of that seen during United’s stellar years, seeing his side launch 179 crosses, the 2nd best in the Premier League, compared to only 123 last term.

Mourinho also seems content with allowing the opposition to do all the running, with United currently sitting bottom of the pile when it comes to distance covered, with 735.6km. This could be key when it comes to the latter parts of the season when it comes to the fitness of key players. Under LVG, the team had covered almost 70km more than that seen by Mourinho’s men. Interestingly, United have completed over 150 more sprints than at the same stage as last season, with 3524, with that evidence pointing to the fact that Mourinho is trying to insert a more counter-attacking feel to his side.

See, hasn’t that made you feel better? We may have felt smug when we sat at the top of the tree in early October 2015 but lest us forget how quickly that smugness faded. Whilst we may be in sixth, the stats don’t lie. This is a United team that creates chances and that is giving us reason to enjoy life at Old Trafford once again.

Forget your fast cars, your fine dining, wine and Eastenders…give me a statistic piece to digest any day!

Mourinho keen on £16m Breel Embolo

It is understood that Manchester United are hoping to capture the signature of FC Basel forward, Breel Embolo.

The talented player is currently in France with Switzerland for the Euro 2016 tournament after he featured regularly in Basel’s first team this season.

At just 19-years-old, Embolo made 40 appearances, scoring 13 goals and providing 9 assists.

Embolo is a wanted man

Manchester United will face competition from RB Leipzig as a result of the the Swiss international’s form last season. Furthermore, the German side have already made a £16m bid for the player.

Consequently, reports suggest that Mourinho is keen to bring Embolo to Old Trafford as part of his ongoing squad renovation.

You can watch Breel Embolo in action below:

Ibrahimovic Deal Edges Closer

UPDATE: 26/06/2016 16:56 – It is understood that a deal between club and player has been agreed and that all is left is for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to fly into Manchester and discuss his role in the team with Jose Mourinho. Read more here.

[Original article below]

The deal that would see Swedish legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic join Manchester United appeared to edge closer today as Sky Sports reported that a one year deal had been agreed subject to a medical taking place after Euro 2016.

It has long been thought that a move to United was all but a done deal and the news that personal terms have finally been agreed will come as a relief to incoming boss Jose Mourinho as he takes the first steps towards rebuilding the squad which finished a lowly fifth last season. Though the medical is scheduled to take place following the culmination of Euro 2016 in France, that is seen to be nothing more than a formality.

It is fair to say that the arrival of the charismatic 34-year-old has divided opinion amongst United supporters but securing the signature of one of the most decorated footballers of recent times can be recognised of something of a coup for Mourinho, especially considering the lack of Champions League football on offer next season.

The Swede, fresh from an underwhelming performance in his national side’s 1-1 draw against the Republic of Ireland at Euro 2016, will certainly bolster United’s attacking options with Mourinho believed to have complete faith in the development of Marcus Rashford. Ibrahimovic’s arrival will go a long way in helping Rashford improve his all round game as he lines up against a player that has won a league title at each club he has played for since leaving Malmo in 2001.

Ibrahimovic departs Paris Saint Germain this summer after scoring 156 goals in 180 appearances for the French champions.

Gareth Bale, The right man at the right time for Manchester United

Ever since that night in the San Siro, when Gareth Bale made the then thought-to-be best full back in world football, Maicon, look like a novice, Manchester United have been heavily linked with a move for the player. Now, with reports gathering that the club are set to launch a new world record bid in an attempt to land the Welsh Man, the dream of seeing Gareth Bale playing for Manchester United could yet become a reality.

Let’s not kid ourselves here, we have only just entered into the chaos of this summer’s transfer window, with every name under the sun been linked to our club from the usual suspects of  Wesley Sneijder to Nicolas Gaitan, but in the Gareth Bale rumours you can’t help but feel there is truth towards them.

For years now the club have lacked a real World Class winger. Yes we have had Nani do a job on occasions, the same can be said for Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, but hand on heart they just haven’t been good enough.

In Bale we all know exactly what we would be getting, A genuine World Class footballer who could take us on to the next level. There are few footballers out there who tick almost every box like the Welshman, even Messi’s box remains unticked when it comes to Premier League proven, Bale has that in abundance.

With Bale arguably already in his peak years as a footballer at the age of 26, it makes a move ever more appetizing. If there was ever more a perfect time to move to Manchester United, it would be now. The arrival of Jose Mourinho has brought a smile back onto the faces of the vast majority of the United faithful, the type of smile we haven’t seen since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson. You get the feeling Manchester United are heading back in the right direction and Bale will be fully aware of that.

Whether or not Bale does indeed make the switch to Old Trafford this summer remains to be seen. There can be no doubt Real will play every trick in the book in a bid to keep their star man, but if there is one club out there that can tempt Gareth Bale away from the Spanish giants, it would be Manchester United.

United lead race for Pogba

Manchester United are leading the race to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus this summer after Man City have seemingly pulled out of the running.

United have been told they must pay a British record £78m to land Pogba, which is nearly 100 times the amount they lost him for 4 years ago after receiving £800K in compensation from Juventus.

Man City and Barcelona looked favourites to sign the Juventus star this summer but new City boss Guardiola is looking at different options and Barcelona seem to have been priced out of any potential move. Real Madrid also remain interested but are yet to follow up on any potential deal.

United will not be perturbed by the huge transfer fee as they look to rebuild a squad capable of challenging for domestic and European success once more.

Jose Mourinho is a known admirer of Pogba, after he tried to sign him last summer for Chelsea, and wants to build the United midfield around him.

Let us know what you think. Will Pogba sign for United?

Andreas Pereira – A star ready to shine

Footage of Louis Van Gaal leaving Carrington for the final time brought a smile back to the vast majority of the united faithful in the knowing that the Dutchman’s reign at Old Trafford was well and truly over, but few would have had a smile on their face as wide as Andreas Pereira.

Under Van Gaal Pereira failed to be given a proper run in the first team, with the youngster more often than not finding himself involved with the Under 21’s.

His lack of first team football led to speculation that the 20 year old was seeking a move away from the Theatre of Dreams and in many respects you could understand why. However, with the arrival of Jose Mourinho, this could be exactly what Pereira needs.

Let’s be honest here. With Pereira we aren’t just talking about a player who can go on to become a good all round footballer, we are talking about a player who could potentially go on and become a Ballon D’or Winner. The hype and anticipation surrounding the star is much similar to the days of a certain Paul Pogba and we all know how that panned out.

Mourinho is no fool and will be fully aware of Pereira’s potential.  The fact he is only 20 years old and has little first team experience matters little, he will no doubt be given a proper chance in the first team to impress his new boss. If your good enough you’re old enough, just look at Rashford.

Do you think Pereira will be given more game time under Jose Mourinho? Let us know in the comments below.

Antoine Griezmann, Is he the right man for Manchester United?

Let’s be honest here Manchester United’s reported interest in Antoine Griezmann isn’t really anything new. Rumours of interest from Old Trafford date back even to last summer, where it was reported United were keen on taking the Frenchman on board. As we head into the summer transfer window with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Bailly already seemingly on board, Antoine Griezmann could be set to become Jose Mourinho’s third signing at the Theatre of Dreams.

Since making his switch from Real Sociedad to Atletico back in 2014, Griezmann has been a revelation in the Spanish capital, scoring a mighty impressive 57 goals in 107 appearances. Many knew beforehand the Frenchman was a talented footballer, but few could have predicted just how well Griezmann has performed for Atletico.

What makes Griezmann unique his versatility, having played previously throughout his career on the wings Griezmann has adapted to playing in a more advanced role up front. In signing the Frenchman you would be signing a player who can offer a lot more to the team, than just simply just putting the ball in the back of the net.

His knack of popping up when it matters most in the bigger games had become something of a forte for the Frenchman last season. A match winning goal against Real Madrid in La Liga, followed up by goals against Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League helped Atletico reach a 2nd Champions League final in 3 years, whilst keeping the club in touch with their arch rivals Real and Barcelona in the league.

So he is the right man for Manchester United, Yes without any doubt he is. United’s lack of goal scoring was a major issue last season, as was not having enough wingers at the club. With Griezmann he ticks both boxes. He would bring with him that goal scoring touch and would be able to fill on the wings when called upon.

At the age of 25 years old, Griezmann is arguably about to enter his peak years as a footballer and what better manager to get the best out of you than Jose Mourinho. When on the right side of Mourinho, there is no better manager out there in world football to get the most out of a player and in Griezmann I believe Mourinho will do exactly do that.

United on verge of Eric Bailly signing

Manchester United are on the verge of completing a deal to sign Villarreal defender Eric Bailly according to widespread reports.

AS and radio station Cadena SER are reporting that both clubs have reached an agreement in principle in a deal worth up to £31.3 Million pounds.

United still need to agree personal terms with Bailly, but according to the Daily Mirror that will be only a formality.

The likes of Manchester City, Paris St Germain and Barcelona have too reportedly shown keen interest in the defender, however it appears United have won the race for his signature.

Bailly featured twenty five times for Villarreal in La Liga last season and made seven Europa League appearances, scoring one goal. Whilst at international level for the Ivory Coast he has made 13 caps, most recently playing in a friendly against Hungary in May.

Source: Sky Sports, Mirror.

David de Gea wants to stay at United

Last summer David de Gea came close to signing for Real Madrid. Shortly afterward he signed a new contract with Manchester United.

Since that transfer saga, de Gea has been continuously linked with a move to the Bernabeu.

In an interview with Marca, published today, de Gea has spoken about making “a great team” with “winner” Jose Mourinho.

The Spaniard had this to say:

“Talk about Jose Mourinho and you’re talking about a winner.

“Winning is United’s, Jose’s and my philosophy. We can make a great team and I welcome him.

“I’ve got three more years on my contract with United and the desire to win more titles here.

“When it comes to United, if you don’t win everything, it’s not good enough.

“The FA Cup is important for the club, it’s important for the fans, and it’s an important step towards winning major titles again.”

So it seems like de Gea is happy at Old Trafford and it’s clear from his actions on the pitch that he loves the club. I’m confident he will remain at United, at least for another season. Are you?

Do you think David de Gea will stay at United this summer?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...