Posts Tagged ‘ Robin Van Persie ’

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.

 

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.

Players to Watch in Action This Week

Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

Ronaldo smilingCristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford is a highly anticipated prospect that millions will tune in to see.

Real Madrid rounded off their preparation for the game by fielding an almost B-team in the Liga Clasico and winning, and the Portuguese forward will be firing on all cylinders.

He was endeared by everyone connected to the club during his time as a Manchester United player, and he’s sure to be given a warm, if cautious, welcome by the home faithful.

How will he respond to the occasion?

Robin Van Persie, Manchester United

Robin van Persie hasn’t scored for three games.

At the Santiago Bernabeu he missed a gilt-edged chance, and he hasn’t completed 90 minutes since thanks to a run-in with a particularly ferocious-looking camera at Loftus Road.

He’s due a goal, and he’s the exactly the kind of player to thrive on these big nights.

Robert Lewandowski, Borussia Dortmund

he rumours continue to swirl around Robert Lewandowski and his future, but he hasn’t let it affect his game.

He was back with a bang over the weekend, scoring two against Hannover in a dominant display alongside fellow striker Julian Schieber.

Borussia Dortmund have the edge in this tie thanks to two away goals at the Donbass Arena, but don’t expect anything other than an epic offensive effort on home turf.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Shakhtar Donetsk

Shakhtar Donetsk’s leading scoring in the Ukrainian Premier Liga is attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Forget Luiz Adriano, forget Marko Devic. Mkhitaryan is an incredibly fruitful outlet from behind the striker and he’s worth watching for a full 90 minutes.

He’s not been at his goalscoring best in the UEFA Champions League, but he’s capable of scoring at any time.

Lucas Moura, Paris Saint-Germain

Lucas MouraAfter surrendering a commanding position in the dying minutes at the Mestalla, Paris Saint-Germain have to put in a real performance at home to beat Valencia.

Without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the goalscoring burden will fall to someone else. Ezequiel Lavezzi’s role is difficult to predict. He usually drops deeper and links the play while pressuring the opposing defensive midfielders, but will he be asked to provide the central scoring threat instead?

Whatever happens in the forward line, many eyes will be fixed upon Lucas Moura. He’s taken to Ligue 1 like a duck to water and is expected to really shine in this fixture.

 

Stephan Lichtsteiner, Juventus

There’s a million reasons to watch Stephan Lichtsteiner.

He’s a passionate player who voices his frustrations on the pitch in every single game, and his antics at corners demand an eye at all times such are his odd methods of “marking”.

But when he’s not in the ear of the referee, he’s a superb player. Working hard, he shuttles up and down the line from the right-wing-back position and puts in all-action, exciting performances for his side.

Scott Brown, Celtic

Despite Celtic losing the first leg 3-0 on home turf, a number of their players really shone during a committed performance.

But it wasn’t Emilio Izaguirre or Victor Wanyama who caught the eye. It was Scott Brown and his dogged, determined performance in shutting down Andrea Pirlo.

Juventus were pinned into their own half for long periods and the Scottish champions stopped Pirlo from playing out from the back—Neil Lennon clearly took notes from Mario Mandzukic’s job on him during the European Championships.

While this game seems done and dusted, watch out for a similar performance from Brown—it’s not often anyone gets close to stopping the Italian regista, so savour it.

 

Manchester United vs Norwich City EPL Preview: Red Devils look to continue rampant run against Hughton’s side

Manchester United v Reading - FA Cup Fifth Round

 

Sir Alex Ferguson will be without defender Phil Jones (ankle), but Robin van Persie has been passed fit after overcoming a hip injury.

However, veteran midfielder Paul Scholes (knee) may recover in time to feature this weekend, while Ryan Giggs and Danny Welbeck will also be in contention.

Nevertheless, Sir Alex will no doubt cast one eye over next Tuesday’s momentous Champions League clash with Real Madrid and may look to rest some of his big-name stars as a result.

Chris Hughton, meanwhile, should stick with a similar side to the one that conquered Everton at Carrow Road last weekend, although he may be able to welcome back Andrew Surman (knee) and Alexander Tettey (knock).

The Canaries will still be without John Ruddy between the sticks, however, although the 26-year-old is expected to return this month.

Elsewhere, Kei Kamara and Luciano Becchio are in contention for a starting berth up front if Hughton decides to go for a more attacking line-up with two forwards.

  • Manchester United are now undefeated in 17 games in all competitions and an impressive 15 in the Premier League.
  • United have taken 89 per cent of the league points available to them recently, having won five and drawn one of their last six matches. In the same period, title rivals Manchester City have taken just 61% of their potential points.
  • The Red Devils have also won every single one of their home league games this season bar one – a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham in late September.
  • Sir Alex’s side are still on course for a Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble, having already achieved that feat once in 1999. United have also completed a league and FA Cup double on three occasions, and won a league and European double in 2008.
  • Norwich City are unbeaten in their last four league games but have won just two of their last 11.
  • However, Chris Hughton’s side will be buoyed by the knowledge that they beat Manchester United 1-0 in November’s reverse fixture thanks to an Anthony Pilkington header (United’s last defeat in the Premier League).
  • The Canaries’ away form has been nothing short of dire this term – they have won just once in 13 games on the road, having drawn six and lost six.
  • Norwich’s Kei Kamara  has already scored against Manchester United this campaign – in a pre-season friendly for Sporting Kansas City. He also scored the equaliser for the Canaries in their 2-1 win against Everton last week.
  • Hughton’s side have three points less than Norwich did this time last season under Paul Lambert, though a win this Saturday could lift them to 10th place.

Tottenham vs Manchester United EPL Preview: Red Devils out for revenge

AVB celebrating

 

Both sides were dealt cruel blows this week as Tottenham look set to miss Sandro for some time after the midfielder underwent surgery on a knee problem picked up in the 0-0 draw at QPR last weekend.

Younes Kaboul remains sidelined with a knee problem while William Gallas (calf) looks set to miss out as well.

For Manchester United, Darren Fletcher has been ruled out for the season following surgery on his ongoing bowel condition.

Nemanja Vidic is expected to return after suffering concussion in the club’s 2-1 win over Liverpool, while Jonny Evans has been ruled out of the trip to White Hart Lane after suffering a hamstring injury.

  • Despite beating Manchester United 3-2 at Old Trafford in September, Tottenham have not tasted victory over Sir Alex’s men in 11 Premier League home games – a run stretching back to 2001.
  • The hosts have collected just three points during that barren run. 
  • Jermain Defoe  is in something of a goal drought, finding the net just once in his last seven league appearances.
  • No team has conceded more goals (17) to top eight opposition than Andre Villas-Boas’ side.
  • Since March 2011, Manchester United have won 22 and drawn five (losing none) of away games in which they have scored.
  • Robin van Persie has scored 21 goals in 27 games for United this season. At the same stage last campaign, he had 22 goals to his name.
  • Sir Alex’s side have scored the most goals away from home (26 in 11 games) than any other team.
  • However on the two occasions in which they have failed to score on the road (vs Norwich and Everton) United have lost.

Manchester United vs West Ham FA Cup Preview: Rooney set to return for FA Cup third round replay

Wayne Rooney

 

Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that Wayne Rooney is set to return to the Manchester United starting line-up for the first time since injuring his knee training on Christmas Day, with Nani also set to return after a couple of months on the sidelines.

Nemanja Vidic and Ashley Young (both knee) picked up knocks in the 2-1 win against Liverpool while Jonny Evans (hamstring) is still unfit.

Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to hand opportunities to a number of fringe players, with Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Anderson and Alexander Buttner all in contention.

Marouane Chamakh is ineligible for the Hammers’ after not being registered for the original tie, so Carlton Cole is likely to continue up front.

Mark Noble may return from a calf problem, while Mohamed Diame has returned to fitness, but may be kept fresh for the weekend.

Joey O’Brien, James Collins (both hamstring), George McCartney and Andy Carroll (both knee) remain sidelined for the Hammers.

  • The last time West Ham faced Manchester United in the FA Cup at Old Trafford, the Red Devils ran out 6-0 winners in January 2003.
  • This will be the 10th time the two sides have met in this competition, with West Ham enjoying the upper hand, winning four times compared to the Red Devils’ three.
  • In two games against the Hammers this season, Robin van Persie has ended up on the scoresheet, with goals in the first and 90th minute.
  • West Ham youth product Michael Carrick is in line to make his 20th FA Cup appearance for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side
  • Manchester United have not won the FA Cup since 2004. For the Hammers, cup glory last came in 1980.
  • The winner of this tie will face either Fulham or Blackpool in the fourth round at home.

Robert Lewandowski to Sign a 5-Year Deal with Manchester United

Robert Lewandowski

 

Polish international striker Robert Lewandowski is set to sign a 5-year deal with Manchester United in the summer, according to emerging reports in German publication Bild. It claims that Borussia Dortmund have agreed to allow Lewandowski to leave for approximately £18 million when he moves into the final year of his contract at the end of the current season.

The risk of losing the highly sought-after marksman on a free transfer is too great a gamble for Dortmund, consequently allowing Manchester United to leverage a deal with the German club. The rumours linking Lewandowski with a dream move to Old Trafford have persisted for some time now, and despite the signing of Robin van Persie, Sir Alex Ferguson seems intent on securing the 24-year-old’s signature.

Lewandowski’s goal-scoring pedigree is impressive: This season alone, he has scored 10 goals in 16 starts in the German Bundesliga and four in five starts in the UEFA Champions League. He has also made four assists. However, his potential signing by Manchester United would raise question marks over exactly how he would fit into the first team. The Premiership leaders already have the highest goal-scoring record of the league campaign so far, with 48 goals from 19 games.

There are also four established strikers in the first-team squad: Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck. Waiting in the wings are young prospects Angelo Henriquez and Will Keane.

Rooney and Van Persie hugging

 

There is the increasing possibility of Wayne Rooney accepting a more permanent role in midfield, which would free up one place in the rotational team of four strikers, but in turn questions are then raised over which formation United would play to accommodate Rooney in midfield.
The 4-1-2-1-2 (diamond) could see Rooney at the head of the midfield diamond with van Persie and Lewandowski in front of him. However, this would be a marked departure from the history of Manchester United—it is customary to play with wingers, and the only width would come from the full-backs.

The traditional 4-4-2 would mean Rooney playing in a central midfield two. However, many fans believe this would be too much of a restriction of his attacking capabilities, and the discipline required would shackle his natural creativity.

Of course, there is the possibility of the 4-3-3 accommodating all three big-name strikers up front, but would this make the side top-heavy with a lack of fluidity?

The in-vogue 4-2-3-1 formation would appear to be the most obvious choice to accommodate another new forward, in what will be the final team of Sir Alex Ferguson’s illustrious career. Lewandowski would play as the lone striker with Rooney, Shinji Kagawa and van Persie as the attacking midfield three.

Van Persie has already described his and Rooney’s playing position as a “nine-and-a-half,” thus able to roam between the AMC/FC and SC positions seamlessly. Wayne has often played as an old inside left, and van Persie has been seen on the right when he has dropped deep this season.

This leaves Kagawa to operate directly behind his former teammate at Dortmund, Lewandowski—a partnership that returned 35 league goals and 16 assists for the German Champions last season, according to WhoScored.com.

This option would still be a departure from Manchester United’s long tradition of playing with width. But Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and perhaps even Nani (if he remains at the club) could rotate into two of the three attacking midfield roles and stretch the 4-2-3-1 wide.

One thing for sure: If United do invest in Lewandowski, it will be fascinating watching yet another of Sir Alex Ferguson’s master plans unfold.