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 take on rivals Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils knowing that a win will take them only five points behind Pep Guardiola’s men.
City have looked vulnerable in recent weeks, but have continued to pick up crucial wins. Huddersfield Town, Southampton and West Ham United were all unlucky not to gain anything against City but those matches are a source of encouragement for Jose Mourinho.
City showed elements of weakness in those games and if United target these certain areas, then the three points could be won.
1) Set Pieces
It is a well known fact that Manchester City aren’t the best at defending set-pieces and have looked extremely shaky when opposition sides put balls into the box.
United need to have immaculate set-piece deliveries on Sunday and can’t afford any corners or free-kicks failing to beat the first man. Getting a corner against City will be hard enough so when the opportunity arises, the delivery has to be accurate.
Also, besides Vincent Kompany, City don’t have the biggest players, which automatically gives us an advantage. The likes of Chris Smalling, Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku should all feel confident in the air going into this game and of course, there is Marouane Fellaini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who can also be a nuisance in the air.
City conceded from corners against Huddersfield and West Ham, so it’s their obvious weak spot.
2) Attack their left-side of defence
Losing Benjamin Mendy was a real blow for City. Fabian Delph has covered into the left-back position but when he has come up against good wingers, he’s looked vulnerable. Danilo is also an option to start, but he has struggled to settle in since he moved to City.
The likes of Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku need to peel away onto Delph (or Danilo) and run directly at him to get him on the back foot. Lingard should be confident of beating Delph with ease.
Also, Leroy Sane doesn’t have the best record of tracking back and helping out his full-back so if United try to attack down City’s left as much as possible, it could open up an opportunity to score.
3) Nullify De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne has the keys to unlock every defence in the Premier League. However, take him out of the picture and City will have a huge creative hole in their side.
United need Ander Herrera or Nemanja Matic to follow the Belgian everywhere he goes. Herrera may be better suited as he has already done the same job on Eden Hazard last season.
De Bruyne has eight assists in the league but without his creativity, City will find it hard to give service to their strikers and wingers, who thrive off his through balls.
Keep him quiet, which is easier said than done, then we have a great chance of inflicting a first defeat of the season on City.
What do you think? How do you think is the best way to exploit City?
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Manchester United’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho has ordered the club to force through a £40.6m deal for Monaco midfielder Fabinho as he looks for one last signing before the transfer window closes, according to a report on the Express.
A move for Fabinho seemed off the cards after United secured the signing of defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic from Premier League rivals Chelsea, but Fabinho is still a target for Mourinho but for a very different reason.
Mourinho is targeting Fabinho to play in a right-back position after the manager openly said that the Red Devils wanted to add a wide-player. 23-year-old Fabinho has played in a right-back position before and can compete for a place with Antonio Valencia as well as deputising in midfield whenever needed.
The move makes sense as Fabinho is still young and in a few years he can become the main defensive midfielder and with United competing in every competition this season, the versatile Fabinho will be very valuable.
Monaco will prove to be stubborn to break down as they claim that they are not going to sell any of their main players anymore. However, Mourinho is hopeful that a £40.6m offer will be too good to refuse. The Red Devils had attempted to sign Fabinho earlier in the transfer window to play as the holding midfielder but ended up signing Matic, who has made a good impression as a United player already.
The Brazilian was one of the key players for Monaco last season on their road to the Ligue 1 title. It is likely that Mourinho wants Fabinho to compete for a position with Antonio Valencia and Fabinho can also play on the right side of a back three should Mourinho alter his formation.
What do you think of Fabinho in right-back?
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Exciting times are ahead for Manchester United. With the Premier League’s most successful club rightfully back into the Champions League, this season could be the beginning of United re-establishing themselves as one of the dominant forces in English and European football. Fans will now look forward to Tuesday nights against the most elite teams in Europe and with the world class talent that the club have available, it seems that United are back where they belong and are ready to return with a bang!
Another place where United belong is at the top of the Premier League. Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United have struggled to genuinely challenging for the title. This could all change this season though if Jose’s second season statistics are anything to go by. During the manager’s second season at Porto, Inter Milan, Chelsea, and Real Madrid he has won the domestic title each time. This impressive record also includes both times he had his second season at Chelsea. So will Jose Mourinho follow his career pattern and win the Premier League with Manchester United this season? Only time will tell.
A huge boost towards completing United’s jump from the sixth place finish of last year to becoming the champions of England is the signing of Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. One of the main problems from last season was Man United’s inability to finish off countless scoring opportunities. So, Mourinho’s purchase of a proven Premier League striker that scored 25 league goals last season isn’t a bad way to solve this problem.
Furthermore, with Manchester United strengthening by signing Lindelof, Lukaku and Matic, United look a much more dangerous side already. It is not just the new signings that could help make the difference though. Pogba now looks a lot more comfortable expressing himself in the final third of the pitch due to the defensive cover that Nemanja Matic now brings to the team. The recent world-record transfer of Neymar to PSG could also help Paul Pogba impress more this season as the weight of being the world’s most expensive footballer has now been relieved from his shoulders.
Manchester United look set for great things this season and it is definitely an exciting time to be a United fan. Nothing is for certain in football, but the club are surely heading in the right direction. So lets look forward to another entertaining season at the Theatre of Dreams.
What are you most excited about heading into the new season? Will Lukaku and Pogba shine in the Premier League this season? Share your thoughts with The United Stand!