Last season Smalling was a standout player in a defence that was almost ever changing due to injuries and with that image in mind United fans were left praying, ‘please don’t let it be serious.’
Further news of the story then started to leak, and at first, we were led to believe that he had been stung by a jellyfish whilst on the last few days of his holiday in Bali; which would just be typical after the luck that the England team had in France last week.
Smalling has been given the all clear
The story caused so much concern among fans that United released an official statement to clarify the situation on their website. They informed us that it was in fact Chris Smalling in the picture, however, the cause of illness was not from a jelly fish sting but because of food poisoning which resulted in him fainting.
He has since been given the all clear and will continue with his vacation in Bali before reporting back to training later in the month.
As mentioned Mourinho has officially started his work with Manchester United today and posted up pictures to his personal Instagram page showing him on holiday with the caption “Always working”. He’ll be expected to have his first press conference on Tuesday 05/07/2016 and discuss in further detail his future plans for Manchester United.
United centre back Chris Smalling could feature against Arsenal on Sunday.
Chris Smalling has been one of United’s most consistent players this season along with goal keeper David de Gea, who could also return for the clash against Arsenal.
Smalling picked up a shoulder injury in the FA Cup game against Shrewsbury Town on Monday night and missed only his 2nd game this season when United played Midtjylland on Thursday evening.
The 26 year old has made good progress on the recovery and when asked about his recent form, he had this to say:
Touch wood, that carries on.
I was disappointed to miss the other night, but I’m hoping to be okay to play this game.
I’ve not really done anything differently to the other lads but, probably from about halfway through last season, I got on a good run in the team and I’ve just tried to carry that on from there. Long may it continue.
Arsenal are Smalling’s boyhood club and when asked about the fixture he said:
I always look forward to these games.
It’s no secret that I was an Arsenal supporter growing up, so this fixture is even bigger for me and especially given it involves two of the biggest teams in the country.
I hope I can step out onto the field.
In other injury news, United boss Louis van Gaal is expecting David de Gea to be fit for the Arsenal match:
I expect (David can return) because I saw the way he was today.
You can read the article on the Daily Mail website by clicking here.
United cruise comfortably past Shrewsbury Town with a 3-0 victory to set up a quarter final tie, at home, against West Ham United.
This was the first time in the clubs history that United have played Shrewsbury Town and the home team, including their fans, were excited for the occasion. They even fancied their chances of causing an upset based on United’s recent form and who can blame them? But it wasn’t to be thanks to goals from Chris Smalling (right footed volley), Juan Mata (cleverley worked free kick where three United players looked to have been offside) and Jesse Lingard (getting on the end of an Ander Herrera cross).
The win itself is of course something to be happy about as it sends United into the quarter final of the FA Cup, but it’s nothing to write home about considering the opposition. Typically, of a United under van Gaal, they controlled the game from start to finish having an 80% share of the possession in the first half and 75% possession overall. Also, United were reduced to long shots for most of the first half as they failed to find a way to break down a resilient Shrewsbury defence. Something else we have become accustomed to during the van Gaal reign. United did, however, finally make a break through late in the first half when Chris Smalling, staying up front when a cleared corner was played back toward the box, hit a right footed volley past the Shrewsbury keeper. Shortly afterwards, on the stroke of half time, Juan Mata doubled United’s lead from a free Kick that was awarded after Anthony Martial was brought down on the edge of the box when he was through on goal.
For the second half Shrewsbury altered their approach and played further up the pitch. This allowed United to play their game, bringing the attacking players into the fold with some much quicker football. And it didn’t take long for United to get their third goal to seal the win. The goal came from a counter attack that started with Romero. The United keeper released the ball quickly, picking out Herrera who touched the ball on to Mata on the left. At the edge of the box, Mata played the ball back into Herrera who hit a cross to the back post finding Lingard who hit it first time into the back of the net. United then took their foot off the pedal and played possession football very effectively to see the game out.
Despite the 3-0 scoreline it was a very average team performance. I’m finding it difficult to pick out any player who had a particularly impressive game. In my match review for the Midtjylland game on Thursday, I was very critical of Memphis. Today, however, despite a shaky start, he grew into the game and gained confidence; particularly in the second half. He showed glimpses of what he did at PSV by running at defenders, cutting in and getting shots at goal. An extra yard of pace and he will become dangerous again. He also linked up with players very well during attacking moves with some neat one-touch passing. What’s important now is that he carries that into the next game. He has a great opportunity, with Rooney out, to prove himself and build on today’s performance.
Another player I enjoyed watching was Daley Blind. He makes things happen. Plenty of times tonight he was able to pick out a pass from deep, finding the forward players and at the same time taking several Shrewsbury players out of the game.
Andreas Pereira also made a positive impact coming on as a substitute just after the hour mark. His positioning was on point, making sure he found space off the ball to receive a pass. When he was in possession he moved the ball quickly. He proves a nightmare for defenders with his pass-and-move football which is something United need more of.
So, United did what was expected of them and have progressed to the quarter final of the FA Cup. But the pressure is still on Louis van Gaal with the focus now on the second leg of the Europa League tie at home to Midtylland. The danish team bring to Old Trafford a 2-1 advantage, but United could progress with 1-0 victory having scored an away goal in the first leg. As with tonight’s game, United will be fully expected to win this 2nd leg with the real test being the game against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday.
What did you make of tonight’s game? Did any players stand out to you? Was the performance good enough? Let me know in the comments below!
Paul’s player ratings – Shrewsbury V United
Romero (6) Kept a clean sheet but was rarely called upon.
Borthwick-Jackson (6) Played the long ball that led to Chris Smalling’s goal but was generally quiet.
Smalling (7) Scored the opening goal and won the majority of aerial battles.
Blind (7) Showed great vision picking out long ground passes into the forward players.
Varela (6) Fairly quiet for most of the game.
Herrera (7) Helped to control the united midfield and provided an assist for Lingard’s goal.
Schneiderlin (6) Helped protect the defense on the rare occasion he needed to.
Lingard (6) Was quiet for most of the game despite scoring.
Mata (7) Scored the free kick and played his part in the build up to Lingard’s goal.
Memphis (6) Poor start to game but grew in confidence in the 2nd half linking up well with other players.
Martial (6) Was isolated as a lone striker with several defenders around him.
Riley (6) Made his debut as a sub an wasn’t afraid to run at defenders.
Keane (6) Came on for Martial, hit the post, then left the field after just 4 minutes after picking up a groin injury.
Pereira (7) Proved a nuisance for the Shrewsbury defenders with his quick movement.
You can also watch The United Stand’s live match reaction with Mark Goldbridge by clicking here or watching below:
Before the game started, many thought it would be a close encounter considering Manchester United’s record at Goodison Park in recent years. But it was not the case as United made sure that they put the result of their last game, against Arsenal, behind them with a comfortable 3-0 victory. Their first victory at Goodison Park since October 29, 2011.
Apart from two Manchester United goals the first half was fairly quiet. United looked comfortable but the game was very open with both teams seeing plenty of the ball.
The first of United’s goals came from Morgan Schneiderlin on 18 minutes. Chris Smalling, on the penalty spot following a corner, chested the ball down into the path of Schneiderlin toward the left side of the box. Schneiderlin then hit the ball first time with some power across a full stretch Tim Howard and into the bottom right corner.
The corner kick that led to the goal was won by an Ander Herrera shot from the edge of the area, which was tipped over the bar by Tim Howard.
Just four minutes later, Herrera popped up again to head home an early Marcos Rojo cross, for Manchester United’s second.
After the second goal Manchester United were beginning to see more possession, keeping control of the game. They probably should have gone three up after Wayne Rooney selflessly played the ball back across the box into Martial, who could only shoot at Tim Howard. Rooney had a great chance to shoot and probably should have, instead of playing in Martial.
Everton had one great chance to pull a goal back just before the break when Ross Barkley shot from a tight angle but was unable to beat David de Gea who punched the ball clear.
The second half begun with Everton putting some pressure on United with Lukaku proving to be a nuisance with his ability to hold the ball. But Phil Jones and Chris Smalling made sure that was all he did.
Lukaku did manage to get a shot off in the 54th minute, but David de Gea once again showcased his lightning-quick reactions by blocking the shot with his outstretched left foot.
Everton’s period of pressure came to an abrupt end on 61 minutes when Ander Herrera found Wayne Rooney with a perfectly weighted through ball. Rooney, one-on-one with Tim Howard, calmly struck the ball in at the near post with Howard going the other way. This was a much needed goal for Wayne.
Wayne Rooney had a chance to get his second 7 minutes later when his run from just past the half way line saw him only manage a tame shot which was easily saved by Tim Howard. However, there were claims that he was being pulled back.
Midway through the second half Everton looked as though they had switched off with several passes going wayward. But United were not able to capitalise on the mistakes.
On the 80th minute Everton were again close to scoring with a Barkley free kick going narrowly over the bar. This would surely have been only a consolation goal.
Throughout the game Chris Smalling proved to be a rock at the back once again with Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo also putting in good shifts. Ander Herrera also showed why he should get more game time with his goal, assist and fantastic off the ball play, creating space for others.
As it stands, Manchester United now sit second with Arsenal playing their game in-hand this evening away at Watford.
What did you think of the game? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
You can also watch the Everton V Manchester United match reaction on The United Stand’s YouTube channel by clicking here or watching below.
Please also visit The United Stand Fan Forum here to discuss the game or start your own discussion.
Everton Team Sheet
Lennon (Deulofeu – 73′)
Naismith (Koné – 45′)
Manchester United Team Sheet
Schweinsteiger (Carrick – 74′)
Mata (Lingard – 45′)
Herrera (Fellaini – 81′)
Manchester united seal their first win in the UEFA Champions League group stage with an entertaining 2-1 victory over VfL Wolfsburg at Old Trafford.
The first half saw United dominate possession and create many chances; despite Draxler causing one or two problems and Wolfsburg being particularly dangerous on the break.
And it was VfL Wolfsburg who drew first blood.
In the 5th minute, some deft passing on the edge of the Manchester United box created space for Max Kruse to pick out Daniel Caliguiri with a through ball who shot past David de Gea with his right foot. A split second before Kruse’s killer pass, three of the United back line stepped forward in an attempt to catch Caliguiri offside. Only Valencia was not in tune and played the striker onside.
Manchester United reacted positively. They took control of the game and created several chances with Mata, Rooney and Memphis all having shots saved or blocked.
On 33 minutes United were rewarded for their persistence by winning a penalty after a hand ball by Wolfsburg goal scorer Daniel Caliguiri. It was Mata who stepped up and he made no mistake in drawing United level; converting into the bottom left, sending Benaglio the wrong way.
The second half was full of promise for United fans and they were not let down when on 52 minutes, a reverse back-heel flick on the edge of the area from Mata dropped conveniently in front of Smalling who slid in and knocked the ball past Benaglio to put United 2-1 ahead.
Although the game ended with Manchester United winning 2-1, Wolfsburg, immediately began to push forward and test Manchester United’s defence. But there was no way through as the United back line remained resolute right up until the final whistle, allowing Wolfsburg only a handful of chances.
Manchester United, VfL Wolfsburg, PSV and CSKA all now have three points and a zero goal difference after two games.
Did you find this match report useful or informative? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
You can also watch the Manchester United V Vf Wolfsburg match reaction on The United Stand’s YouTube channel by clicking here or watching below.
Please also visit The United Stand Fan Forum here to discuss the game or start your own discussion.
Manchester United Team Sheet
A Valencia (Young 45′)
Schweinsteiger (Jones 72′)
Depay (Pereira 62′)
VfL Wolfsburg Team Sheet
Träsch (Jung 77′)
Arnold (Schurrle 70′)
Dost (Bendtner 70′)