Posts Tagged ‘ Manchester United ’

Radamel Falcao Would Not Be the Answer for Manchester United

Falcao

 

 

Radamel Falcao is a world-class striker, but is he really going to solve Manchester United’s problems?

 

Sir Alex Ferguson and the Red Devils apparently believe so, as the club is reportedly throwing its name in the hat

It’s almost impossible to argue that United’s attack isn’t strengthened by bringing in the Colombian striker. A partnership of Falcao and Robin van Persie would be the most intimidating in the world.

Goals haven’t exactly been a problem for Manchester United, though. The Red Devils have scored 71 times in the Premier League, which is 10 more than Chelsea, who is in second place.

The Wayne Rooney transfer rumors are seemingly neverending, so the arrival of Falcao would likely either precede or follow the departure of Rooney. You can see where United would want to replace a striker of Rooney’s reputation with another big-name player.

But what about Javier Hernandez?

Chicharito is still only 24 years old. While not the quality of Falcao at this point, there’s every reason to expect the Mexican striker would be able to suffice in the absence of Rooney. Hernandez has scored 11 goals in 26 domestic and European league matches this season. He’s energetic and always manages to pounce on any chance in the box. You could very easily see Hernandez scoring 20 goals next season if he’s given a starting role. Plus, the money spent on Falcao would inevitably subtract money from the transfer budget that could be spent much more wisely elsewhere. Ferguson is not a heavy spender during the summer, so it’s unrealistic to expect him to break the bank this season.

United spent a little over £50 million on the trio of David de Gea, Ashley Young and Phil Jones back in the summer of 2011. Something comparable could be expected this summer. But with Falcao taking up £27 million, that doesn’t leave much to spend on what has been United’s biggest issue: midfield.

Surely the club would be much better off spending the lion’s share of the transfer budget on a player like Kevin Strootman, Sven Bender, Mario Gotze, Isco, Victor Wanyama, Etienne Capoue or any combination of those players.

Manchester United is built for success in England. There’s no doubt about that. Bringing in Falcao would be a shot across the bow of Europe’s elite that the Red Devils are back to take their place atop the throne of club football. But what good will Falcao be if Ferguson leaves the midfield untouched?

It’s hard to envision United being any more successful in Europe than it currently is by continuing to rely on Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Anderson to occupy the midfield. You can have the best strikers in the world, but there rendered ineffective against good clubs when you don’t have a ball-winner or someone to pull the strings in the midfield.

Falcao is a great player, but he should not be the top transfer target for Manchester United this season.

 

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Manchester United vs Manchester City EPL Preview: Only pride at stake for Mancini’s men with title race all but over

Wayne Rooney

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

MANCHESTER UNITED

De Gea
Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra
Valencia, Giggs, Carrick, Young
Rooney
Van Persie
MANCHESTER CITY

Hart
Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy
Barry, Toure
Milner, Tevez, Silva
Aguero

Sir Alex Ferguson is still without Darren Fletcher, who is out for the season, but full-back Rafael is expected to return from a groin injury.

However, there could still be a place for Phil Jones or Chris Smalling at right-back, though the experienced pairing of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are expected to start at centre-half.

Up front, Sir Alex’s wealth of options means Chicharito, Danny Welbeck or Shinji Kagawa could be in contention to start ahead of Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie.

The visitors, meanwhile, are still without injured full-back Maicon (knee) but could welcome Micah Richards (knee) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring) back in time for Monday’s clash.

Out-of-favour defender Joleon Lescott is likely to continue on the bench for Roberto Mancini’s men, though City’s top scorer in the Premier League Edin Dzeko could be in contention for a starting place.

  • Manchester United are on course for a record 21st domestic title. City pipped them to the post last year, winning their first title in 44 years but United now look set to regain the trophy with a 15-point lead.
  • The Red Devils can do the double over City with victory on Monday after a 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the season.
  • Robin van Persie  is Manchester United’s top scorer with 23 goals in all competitions this season, but he has not netted in his last nine games for the club.
  • Sir Alex’s men have not finished outside of the top three since 1991. They have also finished at least second in their last eight consecutive league campaigns.
  • Manchester City have lost just once in their last seven games in all competitions.
  • City have scored 15 fewer goals than United this season, subsequently making their goal difference weaker than that of their cross-city rivals by 10.
  • Away form has been the biggest problem for Mancini’s men, with City suffering three defeats and five draws on the road. In stark contrast, the Premier League champions have only lost once and drawn three times at the Etihad, amassing 11 wins.
  • Manchester City have beaten the Red Devils 16 times at Old Trafford in their history, though they have lost to United 36 times at the same ground.

Chelsea vs Manchester United FA Cup Replay Preview: Manchester City await winners of quarter-final replay

Ramries, Oscar and Mata

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

CHELSEA

Cech
Azpilicueta, Luiz, Terry, Cole
Ramires, Mikel
Oscar, Mata, Hazard
Ba

MANCHESTER UNITED

De Gea
Jones, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra
Cleverley, Giggs
Welbeck, Rooney, Nani
Chicharito

Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Ashley Cole, David Luiz, Ramires and Demba Ba should all return to Rafa Benitez’s starting line-up after missing Chelsea’s league defeat at Southampton on Saturday.

The Chelsea boss could make around six changes to his side ahead of a run of five games in the next 13 days.

Gary Cahill (knee) is a doubt so John Terry is likely to continue in defence alongside Luiz. With Ba cup-tied for the Blues in the Europa League, the Senegalese should be handed a start on Monday. Mata should return to the side after missing the match at St Mary’s with illness.

Sir Alex Ferguson is also likely to make several changes to his side after rotating the team in the weekend win at Sunderland.

Phil Jones could return to the side at right-back after Rafael (groin) was forced off at the weekend. Tom Cleverley and Ryan Giggs are also likely to feature after sitting out Saturday’s match.

In attack, Danny Welbeck and Chicharito will hope for a starting berth with Nani also ready to come in. Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Robin van Persie should drop to the bench.

  • Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has won the FA Cup more times than any other player, lifting the famous trophy an astonishing seven times.
  • Juan Mata recently became the first Premier League player to score 10 goals and provide 10 assists.
  • Manchester United striker Chicharito  enjoys playing against Chelsea, the Mexican striker has struck in five of his last seven games against the Blues in all competitions.
  • No player in the top flight has hit the woodwork more than Van Persie this season. The Dutchman has been denied by a post or the crossbar seven times.
  • Left-back Patrice Evra has played more minutes (2,430) than any other United player in the league this season.
  • Eighteen goals have been scored in the three meetings between the sides this season.

Is This Manchester United’s Easiest Title Win Ever?

Ferguson with the title

 

It is very easy to recall better teams than the current crop for every one of the “Big Five” except of course City.

Certainly the title race was a much closer affair in 2007/08 when the top three (United, Chelsea and Arsenal) finished within four points of each other. That in itself shows what some people may already suspect and that is how far some teams have fallen away. Liverpool were only 11 points back in fourth place that year. The following season, they ran United all the way to the wire, losing by a mere four points.

Compare those performances of only four or five years ago with last season. While United and City slugged it out until the last minute of extra time on goal difference, Arsenal finished 19, Chelsea 25 and Liverpool 37 points back.

So the most impressive thing about this season’s epic performance by United is that while they have leaped so far ahead of their cross-city rivals, the other big clubs have made no real progress whatsoever. And while some people will point to Robin van Persie making the difference, that would be a harsh under-estimation of what Sir Alex has achieved having been hurt so badly by last season’s collapse.

With just one key signing he has gelled his squad, including far too many players that have had “so-so” seasons, into arguably the most impressive team in many a year.

Frankly United have crushed them. Irrespective of three matches still to come, they have won all five of the matches they have played against Arsenal, Chelsea, City and Liverpool. Only resurgent Spurs have threatened them.

So you would have to concede that the competition has deteriorated. That suggestion is also backed up by the failure of any Premier League club to get past the last 16 of the Champions League.

Of course some of the matches haven’t been easy, especially in the first half of the season. United conceded far too many goals and a host of “narrow squeaks”.

Nevertheless, since they have had a full complement of defenders back from injury they have conceded far fewer goals, including none in their last five matches.

So the story has been one of scoring plenty in the first half and conceding few in the second.

Sir Alex was determined that United would not succumb on goal difference this season and that target has probably been achieved.

For the first few months it looked as if they might set a new goal-scoring record for the Premier League and indeed the top division. That is unlikely now. 69 so far only equates to 90 for the season.

In that epic 1999/2000 season, United scored 97 goals on their way to their 91 point total. So you would have to conclude that mathematically this was their best title win to date.

However, that season they drew seven matches and lost three. With nine matches still to go, United have also lost three but only drawn two matches.

Irrespective of those three tough matches still to come, therefore, there is every prospect that this could turn out to be the easiest title ever.

On a pro rata basis their 74 points to date translates into 97, the same as in 1999/2000. But if they can go the rest of the season unbeaten surely this will be their best ever; and a triumph for a manager whose passion is still there at 71 after a mere 26 years at the greatest club in the world.

 

 

Football Gossip : Javier Hernandez, Mario Gotze, Hulk

Juventus Target Javier Hernandez as Backup Plan?

Javier HernandezJuventus have identified Manchester United’s Mexican striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez as a backup transfer option if they cannot sign Liverpool’s Luis Suarez this summer, according to the Daily Mail.

Hernandez, 24, joined United from Chivas in 2010 and has scored eight goals in 15 Premier League appearances (six starts) this season. He has also been linked with Atletico Madrid.

Juventus are reportedly searching for a strike partner for 28-year-old Spaniard Fernando Llorente, who is set to join Juve from Athletic Bilbao on a free transfer this summer.

 

Mario Gotze Attracted to Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United

Mario GotzeBorussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze says he is attracted to clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United (Sport1 via ESPN FC).

Gotze, a 20-year-old full German international, has scored eight goals in 24 Bundesliga appearances this season. He debuted in BVB’s first team as a 17-year-old in 2009.

Gotze said:

I’d like to leave my options open. Clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United are attractive. In other leagues, you could develop further—but I’m not thinking that far ahead right now. I am happy at Dortmund and delighted about the way things are going. I would not have extended my contract (until 2016) otherwise.

 

Hulk Wants out of Zenit St. Petersburg? Chelsea Still Interested?

HulkBrazil international forward Hulk has grown tired of life in Russia and wants to leave Zenit St. Petersburg less than a year after joining the club, according to Metro.

Hulk, 26, joined Zenit from Porto last summer for a reported £40 million. Reports from Russia claim he has requested a summer transfer away from the club.

Chelsea reportedly had two bids for Hulk turned down last year and are thought to be interested again.

“My future? I love the Premier League,” Hulk said. “The Premier League is a great competition with great clubs. If I have time, I watch the matches on television.”

 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan Wants to Leave Shakhtar Donetsk?

Henrikh MkhitaryanHenrikh Mkhitaryan says he will try to leave Shakhtar Donetsk this summer, according to the Daily Mirror.

Mkhitaryan, a 24-year-old Armenian attacking midfielder, has impressed with Shakhtar in the UEFA Champions League the last two seasons. Chelsea and Manchester City are thought to be interested in signing him.

“For every player, to play for the strongest clubs in the world is a dream, and the main goal,” Mkhitaryan is quoted as saying. “I will do everything possible to move this summer to a different team.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manchester United vs Reading EPL Preview: Managerless Royals have not beaten the hosts since 1927

Wayne Rooney

 

PROBABLE LINEUPS

 

MANCHESTER UNITED

De Gea
Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Evra
Valencia, Carrick, Anderson, Young
Rooney, Van Persie
READING

Taylor
Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte
Leigertwood, Akpan
McCleary, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu

Le Fondre

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted that full-backs Patrice Evra and Rafael were knackered after the 2-2 draw with Chelsea last Sunday, but are not expected to be rested after nearly a week off between games.

Darren Fletcher (bowel condition) will miss the remainder of the season, while Nani (hamstring), Paul Scholes (knee) and Phil Jones (ankle) are all doubtful and will undergo late fitness tests.

Ahead of his first match in charge of Reading’s first team, caretake boss Eamonn Dolan has a few injury concerns to contend with ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.

Goalkeeper Adam Frederici (ankle) looks set to be out until the end of March and he is joined by Jimmy Kebe (groin) and Pavel Pogrebnyak (three-match suspension).

Jason Roberts (hip) continues to miss out, but Alex McCarthy has been back in training and looks to be touch-and-go due to a lack of match fitness.

  • Following Brian McDermott’s  sacking, academy coach Eamonn Dolan will take charge of his first match for Reading‘s senior side on Saturday.
  • The Royals have not beaten Manchester Unitedsince 1927 when they triumphed over the Red Devils in the FA Cup.
  • Reading come into this match on the back of five consecutive defeats in all competitions.
  • The Royals have already lost twice to United so far this season, losing 4-3 at the Madejski Stadium in the league and 2-1 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup.
  • United have come out with three points in 14 of their last 16 Premier League matches.
  • The only team to beat the hosts in their last 20 fixtures is Real Madrid.
  • Reading have completed the least amount of passes in the league with 69 per cent meeting the intended target.
  • Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, on the other hand, have completed 85.7% of their passes, a stat bettered only by Arsenal.
  • Robin van Persie has scored just one goal since the end of January, coming against Everton over a month ago on February 10.

Manchester United vs Chelsea FA Cup Preview: Both sides looking to bounce back from European defeats

Ferdinand and Torres

 

Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to make a number of changes to the side that lost to Real Madrid on Tuesday, with Wayne Rooney – surprisingly dropped against Los Blancos – expected to come back into the starting XI.

Chris Smalling has started all of Manchester United’s FA Cup matches this campaign, and could partner Jonny Evans in the centre of defence. Antonio Valencia, Anderson and, hat-trick hero against Norwich, Shinji Kagawa should also all return to the side.

Phil Jones (ankle) remains sidelined, while Paul Scholes (knee) is a doubt for the match. Midfield enforcer Darren Fletcher (illness) is out for the remainder of the season.

Rafa Benitez left Juan Mata on the bench in the Europa League last 16 match against Steaua Bucharest on Thursday, while Demba Ba was ineligible, but both are expected to start against United.

Chelsea’s only injury worry is Oriol Romeu (knee), a long-term absentee, while Ashley Cole could return to the side after being rested in Romania.

Club captain John Terry has started all of the Blues’ FA Cup ties since returning to full fitness and chould partner Gary Cahill, another player rested against Steaua, with David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic dropping to the bench.

  • Manchester United’s Champions League defeat against Real Madrid on Tuesday night ended a run of 18 games without defeat in all competitions.
  • The Red Devils have scored at least three goals in each of their last four meetings against Chelsea in all competitions, while 14 goals were been scored in the two meetings between the sides this season.
  • Chicharito enjoys playing against Chelsea, the Mexican striker has struck in five of his last six games against the Blues in all competitions.
  • Robin van Persie has scored just one goal in eight games, and has not found the back of the net in his last five matches; but the Dutchman has bagged four goals in his last three appearances against Sunday’s opponents.
  • Chelsea have been inconsistent in 2013, winning just eight of their 18 matches in all competitions since the turn of the year, losing five times and conceding over a goal a game.
  • The west London club initially enjoyed rich form on their travels under Rafa Benitez, but have lost two and drawn one of their last three league away fixtures, and suffered defeat in Romania against Steaua Bucharest.
  • Blues defender Ashley Cole has won the FA Cup more times than any other player, lifting the famous trophy an astonishing seven times.
  • Chelsea have travelled to Old Trafford five times in the FA Cup, but have never won; the Blues have lost four of those encounters, and scored just one goal – a 70th minute consolation strike by Dennis Sorrell in March 1963.