Those of you that follow me (not many I know) will know that I have been very much in the ‘Mourinho-In’ camp for some time. Whilst many, including our very own Mark Goldbridge, have pitched up tents over in the ‘out’ camp, I have remained across in my field, like an old man at Glastonbury a week after the festival has finished. Continue reading What is going on??
Manchester United fans felt Jose Mourinho was too harsh on Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial after the win over Huddersfield.
Mourinho decided to drop Pogba and Martial amongst others for the Huddersfield game after the disappointing Wembley loss to Tottenham on Wednesday night. And whilst many Manchester United fans felt the dropping of Phil Jones and Ashley Young was justified, leaving out Pogba and Martial was seen as a step too far and led to some unhappy opinions outside the ground after the game.
See what the fans outside Old Trafford had to say here
Anthony Martial’s future at Manchester United has been thrown in to doubt again by Jose Mourinho’s recent actions.
Arguably Manchester United’s player of the season, Martial has excelled on the left hand side of United’s attack providing numerous goals and assists that like Burnley a couple of weeks ago, have turned out to be match winning contributions. However, with the signing of Alexis Sanchez, Martial immediately found himself shoved out to the right hand side against Tottenham, to allow Sanchez to take up his position on the left hand side of the attack.
What message that sends to Martial’s confidence only time will tell, especially when he’s worked tirelessly this season to impress a publicly sceptical Mourinho and delivered the goods.
Martial was back on the left hand side for the second half against Spurs, with Alexis Sanchez moving in the number ten position. But it again it raises the question of how much does Jose Mourinho truly trust and rate Anthony Martial?
It’s been a bumpy ride for Martial over the last eighteen months under Jose with Mourinho constantly criticising Martial whilst championing the more limited talents of Fellaini, Lingard and Rashford. Anthony Martial is without question one of the most exciting young forwards in world football and a firm fan favourite with the majority of Manchester United fans. But Mourinho doesn’t appear to share that excitement for Martial and ultimately it’s Mourinho who will dictate Martial’s Manchester United future.
Signing Alexis Sanchez was a huge statement by the club. But even signing a player of Sanchez’s calibre would be viewed as a waste of time by most fans if that signing was made to replace Martial, who was already established as United’s player of the season elect. Sanchez is required in one of United’s weaker attacking positions as either a right sided attacker or a number ten. But maybe Mourinho has other plans? And those plans may not involve Anthony Martial? Much to the frustration of many Manchester United fans.
Get Manchester United vs Tottenham Fan Reaction on our YouTube Channel here
Manchester United enjoyed a successful pre-season over the course of July and the beginning of August. They managed to claim six wins out of seven despite coming up against the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester City. More importantly though, they managed to create good chances and finish them off (including an excellent counter-attack against Sampdoria).
One of the main problems last season was killing teams off. This problem seems to have been sorted though with the arrival of Romelu Lukaku. The extra years experience that Rashford has gained also looks to be paying off as he looked sharp throughout the summer and will hopefully contribute more goals this term. Furthermore, the signing of Nemanja Matic makes players like Pogba and Mkhitaryan more confident knowing that they have defensive cover. This allows them to get further up the pitch.
With one problem solved, what else do Manchester United need to do to lift the league title? Well, while a marquee signing such as Gareth Bale would certainly help them towards success, balance down the left hand side of the pitch is crucial. This is what sparked Mourinho’s interest in Inter’s Ivan Perisic. However, as the transfer window rumbles on, chances of Manchester United getting their key target are fading. Therefore, United may need to look elsewhere for a player capable of filling the left wing-back role. Someone like Alex Sandro, perhaps?
Apart from the need of balance, United look to be heading into the new season feeling fairly confident and looking a lot more dangerous. There is also reason to believe that United are more prepared than their biggest Premier League rivals this term. If we look at Liverpool’s pre-season preparation, then yes, they may have won a trophy, but are they stronger than last season? While they have made the same amount of signings as Manchester United, the signings aren’t quite on the same level. Furthermore, if Coutinho does leave for Barcelona then they will be significantly weaker than last year.
Additionally, Arsenal have signed Lacazette, a striker that previously played in the top French division, Ligue 1. The former Lyon player will also need time to adjust to the demands and physicality of the Premier League. Then, there’s Chelsea, who will need to juggle Champions League and Premier League this term, and there are question marks over whether their squad has the depth to handle both. Tottenham Hotspur are also slightly weaker than last season. This is due to the loss of Kyle Walker to Manchester City and the fact that they haven’t made any signings as of yet. Then, lastly, there’s Manchester city who have spent huge money on trying to fix their defence. Whether this has worked remains to be seen, but all signings will need time to get onto the same level as one another.
So compared to Manchester United’s rivals, they are not as far away from Premier League glory as some may think.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Manchester United can return to Premier League glory this year? Share your opinion in the comments below or with The United Stand on Twitter!
Which Manchester United players would make YOUR top five this week? Vote for YOUR top five from the Manchester United players listed below and then tune in to our new United Stand YouTube show on Saturday morning to see who tops the Manchester United players charts this week.
United started the week with a convincing 4-0 win over Wigan in the FA Cup. The second half especially throwing up some fantastic individual performances from a number of players. However, this was followed up by yet another United home draw in the Premier League, when Hull City played out a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.
So with two very contrasting performances, which five Manchester United players will get your votes this week?
Simply click YOUR five United players of the week from the list below and press VOTE. Then tune in to The United Stand YouTube channel on Saturday morning to see who is top of the Manchester United player charts for this week.
We’ll be collating votes across the website, our Facebook page and our Twitter page to come up with the final chart listings. So make sure you get your votes in every week and have YOUR say on deciding who are the most important Manchester United players to the people who matter the most. You the fans.
Before I go on writing this blog post I want to make it clear that it is a reaction to what I have been reading on Twitter and other media outlets. This means what I am writing is my own opinion formed from rumours I have read and not from facts.
This morning I woke to find Twitter in meltdown over Anthony Martial and his change of shirt number from 9, to 11.
I have read on various websites and blogs that he is “annoyed” with Manchester United – mainly because he just launched his “AM9” brand – and that he has unfollowed the club on both Twitter and Instagram.
Fans have reacted on Twitter by both attacking and defending the player.
Before I give my opinion on the matter, not that it is in any way important, I would also like to mention something else I read this morning. I read that United had apparently told Zlatan Ibrahimovic he could have any number he wanted and so he chose Martial’s number, 9.
Okay, I get that Martial may be a little upset with the number change due to his “AM9” brand being launched. But he only has himself to blame for that. Sure, Cristiano Ronaldo uses his number 7 in his branding. But Ronaldo had that number for years. Martial has had the number 9 for ONE year and doesn’t even wear it when he plays for France.
How did Martial know he wasn’t going to have a tough season next year and perhaps lose the number 9 shirt the year after if another proven, world class striker was brought in? I say that with the assumption that plans to create the “AM9” brand started some time ago, before the Zlatan rumours surfaced.
Since when did players assume that they immediately own a shirt number once they have it? Shirt numbers change all the time.
And yeah, okay, you could argue that the club maybe should have said something to him in advance to show him a little respect. However, I don’t necessarily agree with that. At the end of the day, it wouldn’t have changed anything. Martial was losing the number 9 shirt and he would have still had his back up.
Now the bigger problem here is how Manchester United apparently gave so much freedom to Ibrahimovic, telling him he could have any number he wanted. This would be United pulling out a lovely, rouge lipstick, applying it, puckering up and planting one right on Zlatan’s derriere while gently whispering, “No Zlatan, you are bigger than us. You can have anything you want.”
What happened to “no one is bigger than the club”?
I hope it’s not true that Zlatan had the pick of any number. I would have hoped United would have told Zlatan he could have any of the AVAILABLE numbers. Zlatan is a grown man. I’m sure he would have been okay with picking any available number. Right?
At the end of the day, the club should make the choice on who has what number and not have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings. United should not have to sit down with Martial (or any other player for that matter) and tell him his number would be changing.
If Martial decided to use the number 9 in his branding then that’s on him. Did he discuss using the number in his branding with the club? I bet he didn’t.
As far as I am concerned you get given a number and you play.
By Larry Taylor
Attack! Attack! Attack! United came out of the blocks, displaying offensive intent as they hosted Leicester, who with a win, would secure the Premier League title.
The Red Devils’ were rewarded in the 8th minute when Anthony Martial was on the receiving end of an Antonio Valencia cross, placing the ball under Leicester ‘keeper Schmichael, giving United a 1-0 lead.
The Reds’ were in the ascendency and had a glorious opportunity to extend their lead in the 14th minute when Jesse Lingard had a shot thudded away by Schmichael, maintaining the pressure and having the United faithful applauding the antics.
To their credit, Leicester fought back and got a goal back when Morgan out-muscled Marcus Rojo and head the ball in to bring the game level. Unfortunately for United, they never recovered and outside of a header by Chris Smalling in the closing moments of the game, Manchester United never looked like scoring the goal they needed.
With Leicester needing a mere two points to win the league pre-game, the Foxes were happy to sit back while counter attack where ever they could. Leicester came for a draw and given United’s struggles to break teams down, it was no surprise they got the result they came for.
But this meant more for United. Considering a top 4 spot was touching distance and Manchester City had lost against Southampton later in the day, fans sat in anticipation of the proverbial kitchen sink to be thrown.
Sir Alex on the touch-line pulls off a defensive midfielder for a striker, tells Rio Ferdinand to push forward and give the opposition nightmares until we got the desired result. That’s Manchester United; that is what that emblem represents – or at least, represented.
Now, with 7 minutes remaining, Blind and Smalling interchange in passes while Herrera and Memphis are given 16 and 8 minutes respectively to make an impact. It is illogical and is the type of complacency that should see Louis Van Gaal lose his job at season’s end.
The Dutchman’s team selections were again maligned. Fellaini has played well in the last few weeks and probably deserved his spot; but he was ineffective; slowed play down and was an elbow graze away from a red card.
You also have to question why Argentinian international Marcus Rojo continues to be picked. The defender was at fault for the goal and struggled against PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez. He packs the composure and pace to be a consistent left back at Manchester United and is terribly out of form. Considering his bright performances and great crossing ability, it is surprising Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has not been afforded an opportunity as of late.
As it stands, Manchester United still have a mathematical chance to make the top 4. Realistically, Manchester United would need Arsenal to beat Manchester City with the hope they will drop points in their last two games. Even so, given Van Gaal’s 50% win rate and the inconsistencies, I sadly cannot see it happening.
Your Aussie Correspondent,
Larry – The United Stand.
United come from behind at Old Trafford to secure replay at Upton Park.
West Ham started the game bright, pushing forward and creating chances. In the first 10 minutes they had three attempts on goal to United’s none, despite the home team pressing very well off the ball.
United eventually settled into the game and began creating their own chances although, none of which really put the West Ham keeper under any pressure.
The start of the second half was somewhat scrappy with very little being created by either team and this continued until the hour mark when West Ham stepped up a gear.
On the 68th minute the visitors took the lead through a fantastically taken, long range Payet free kick. Even David de Gea was unable to stop it.
United reacted well and with the introduction of Schweinsteiger and Memphis in the 75th minute, chances were being created. In the space of ten minutes United had created about 7 or 8 chances and it was during this spell that United found their equaliser.
In the 83rd minute, Ander Herrera played a good cross from the right hand side to the back post where Martial was able to get on the end of it and tuck the ball into the back of the net.
West Ham did fight back in the last ten minutes but United held them off to secure a replay at Upton Park.
The game was a scrappy one and again saw United’s defence perform better than their attack. Michael Carrick was United’s stand out player. The midfield veteran played several passes into the forwards, putting United onto the front foot and he also made as many defensive interceptions and tackles as our defenders did.
There really isn’t much to be said about this game other than it was underwhelming. But that’s something that has become commonplace at United in recent seasons so you could go as far as saying it was a typical United performance. I hate to say it but, post-Alex Ferguson this is very typical.
Our next game is the home leg of the Europa League last 16 tie against Liverpool. We are 2-0 down on aggregate so need three goals to win. If Liverpool score, we need four. It will be a very tough task against Liverpool under Klopp as they have, by far, been the better team against us since he’s been their manager.
What did you think of today’s game? Did we deserve the draw? Did West Ham deserve to go through to the Semi Final? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Paul’s player ratings – Man United V West Ham
David de Gea (6) Kept United in the game with a late save.
Guillermo Varela (6) Made some important interceptions but almost ineffective going forward.
Chris Smalling (6) Did his job in the air and made a couple of important tackles.
Daley Blind (7) Made several interceptions and tackles and his distribution was an improvement on his last game.
Marcos Rojo (7) Had a good game in defence and going forward, making interceptions and playing some good forward passes and crosses.
Michael Carrick (8) A MOTM performance. Dictated the play from midfield playing many key forward passes and contributed to the defence with plenty of interceptions and tackles.
Marouane Fellaini (5) Gave the ball away too often and committed a couple of unnecessary fouls.
Jesse Lingard (6) Had an average performance and played his part in the build up to Martial’s goal.
Ander Herrera (7) Sparked to life late in the game with a series of crosses into the box, one of which was an assist to Martial’s goal.
Anthony Martial (6) Only manged a couple of successful take-on’s and lost possession a number of times, but did get the equaliser.
Marcus Rashford (5) Didn’t get too many chances but when in possession did give the ball away too often when under pressure.
Bastian Schweinsteiger (7) Despite only being on the pitch for 15 minutes he sparked life into United by hunting the ball down and getting it forward.
Memphis Depay (6) A couple of unsuccessful take-on’s due to poor decision making but he did contribute to United’s late surge with a couple of good passes and crosses.
For additional analysis, please watch The United Stand’s live match reaction by clicking here or watching below:
Anthony Martial was pulled out of the starting line up shortly before the Midtjylland game after pulling up with a hamstring injury.
The young Frenchman was replaced by debutant Marcus Rashford who went on to score two goals helping United into the last 16 of the Europa League.
While the injury is not considered ‘heavy’ by boss, Lois van Gaal, Martial will be rested to prevent doing any further damage to his injury.
This could prove to be a huge loss for United if the likes of Memphis and Rashford don’t put in the same performance they did against Midtjylland. Although, the burden cannot rest too heavily on Rashford’s shoulders.
Read more on the injury here.
United score two rare first half goals in their 3-0 victory over Stoke City.
As United fans we have been treated to some fantastic football over the last few days with a 3-1 victory at Derby and tonight, a 3-0 victory against Stoke City. After the let down that was the January transfer window, United fans deserved something to be positive about and the game tonight provided just that.
United started the game at a quick tempo and created several chances in the opening minutes of the game. Rooney came close in just the 6th minute, forcing a diving save from Jack Butland but, it was academy graduate, Jesse Lingard, who opened the scoring in the 14th minute. The assist came from another academy graduate in Cameron Borthwick-Jackson. The 19-year old hit a drive low cross across the face of goal finding Lingard who finished with a low diving header to put United ahead.
Summer signing Anthony Martial also caused problems for Stoke with his predator-like runs, weaving gracefully past defenders leaving them dazed and confused. He came close to doubling United’s lead just a couple of minutes after Lingard’s opener after skipping past two Stoke defenders and powering a shot towards goal. It missed, but not by much.
Martial continued to give Stoke a hard time and in the 23rd minute doubled United’s lead with a spectacular goal. Rooney, on the right hand side of the pitch, spotted Martial unmarked out on the left just outside the box, so he played a square ball across to him. Martial controlled the ball, looked up, shaped himself and struck the ball with power curling over and around Jack Butland into the far corner of the net.
United were cruising and the crowd were loving it.
Stoke City did, however, have a brief spell late in the first half where they had a few attempts at goal but United’s defence stood firm preventing Stoke from causing David de Gea any real problems.
The second half saw United come out looking for more as they continued to push forward searching for the third goal that would surely kill the game off and it only took 4 minutes. Only the goal was disallowed as Rooney was penalised for a push on Glen Johnson before rocketing the ball between Butland at his near post.
But that didn’t deter United. Three minutes later, Daley Blind played a ball into Mata, who turned and spotted Martial to his left. Mata played the ball out to Martial who struck a left foot cross across the face of goal finding Wayne Rooney who simply tapped the ball into the net. 3-0. Game over.
With United 3-0 up and the game won, Louis van Gaal gave some game time to Memphis, Herrera and Pereira. Memphis looked sharp, hungry and full of fight so hopefully we will see him regain some form in the not too distant future.
After the win, United remain in 5th, still 5 points behind 4th. Spurs’ win carries them up to 3rd as Arsenal slip to 4th after they only manage a draw against Southampton.
So United have had a good few days in terms of both performance and results. Are we about to see a turn in fortunes? Will United go on a run and power back in to the top four? Have your say below in the comments box. We would love to hear what people think.
Also, don’t miss The United Stand’s live match reaction with Mark Goldbridge. Watch by clicking here or watching below:
Man United Team Sheet
Fellaini Substituted for Herrera at 80′ minutes
Mata Substituted for Pereira at 88′ minutes
Martial Substituted for Depay at 79′ minutes
Stoke City Team Sheet
Wollscheid Substituted for Bardsley at 30’minutes
Krkic Substituted for Ireland at 60’minutes