Watford 3 – 1 Manchester United


Two defeats in a row. After an exciting derby match that broke a 3 point gap between the city rivals, the Dutch Europa league game was as tepid and directionless we had seen United all season. So the bounce backability of Mourinho team was due.

After a scintillating thrashing of Bournemouth by Man City previous night, the pressure was on. But the performance was far from what was expected.

The team reverted back to a more solid premier league line up with pace on the wings with Martial and Rashford and solidity in the full backs through Shaw and Valencia. Smalling replaced Blind clearly to obviate the aerial and physical challenge of a double center forward system of Watford.

Despite their two defeats so far, Watford has had a solid start to the season, and it was evident with the confidence on the ball. As the media likes to highlight everytime that Manchester United is a huge outfit with the team average height more than most in the league, it was ironic that they were being hurried and harried on and off the ball.

Most of the players got frustrated with the physicality. And thanks to Michael Oliver opting for a pro home side stand throughout the match, there was not much protection for the players.

They never really got going and there was not sufficient impact of the bench.

De Gea while having a relatively quiet game apart from a misunderstanding in the first half with Smalling, was clearly beaten in both the open play goals by quality strikes by Capoue and Zuniga.

Shaw was hesitant to stride forward, Smalling grappling players all the while and having poorer distribution compared to Blind.

Bailly’s performance seems always below par compared to his outstanding start to the season. He was clearly unable to bully Deeney and Ighalo up front.

Young brought more solidity and versatility when he came on and is likely to stake a much higher claim to the starting XI than the rest. Mata probably needs to start as Rashford was fairly nullified starting for the first time this season.

Zlatan’s finishing has been below par today and many quality chances we expected him to take were missed. Rooney having been rested looked totally off radar with his long range passing and short on speed as usual.

cso0bnawcaayxqjTactically Mourinho never really got a grip even in the second half even though things did improve. But it means 3 defeats in a row, 6 points behind the top of the table and more worries than joy into the next week. #GGMU

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Community Shield 2016-17 Manchester United 2-1 Leicester City


I was looking forward to a football match after the Euros. Watching the ‘International Cup’ , ‘Champions Cup’ and all that nonsense was just a waste of time with players just getting game time and managers and players (new and old) learning the trade and exchanging ideas.

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Zlatan with Rooney behind looked good on paper. But it was the back 7 that was shining in the first 30 odd minutes. Rooney was awful on the ball, while Ibra was not getting enough balls to feet. Valencia was definitely the performer at full back with probing darts forward as well as solid defence. The darting Lingard run which seemed to take Leicester by surprise considering the monotony that was ongoing prior to it. The subtle change of pace, accompanied by composure from the young lad meant he etched his name into history books having scored in consecutive FA cup winning and community shield winning sides.

Shaw was happy to be bit more conservative moving forward. Martial hardly ever got into the game and the link up between those two haven’t been great. Shaw did get caught out twice and fortunately got away with it.

The lack of pace will be a big factor when the season begins. With the squad available to him, now that Pogba is confirmed, Henrikh will be a strong creative force. Mata being subbed in and then out is probably an indication to him of how little play time he is going to get under Jose. The presence of one left footer in the midfield is more than enough. The dynamism of Henrikh will be always preferred over Mata. Mata deserves full play time and needs to move to another club for his own career.

Zlatan was quiet for most of the game primarily due to lack of service. His defending of corners were awful to begin with, but he settled in well towards the latter half of the game.

And of course he did get the most important touch in the end, as he rose early to a well crafted Valencia cross to outmuscle Morgan in central defence.

Can’t wait for one more week to see the battle begin. Bring it on premier league

Welcome Jose


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The change was imminent, demanding. The targets weren’t met. The football was sleep inducing. The manager defensive and unapologetic. We had to move on. For all the charisma in the press and off the field with his tongue in cheek English, van Gaal failed abysmally in two years.

 

The numerous injuries that were part of the regimen packed with embalming a uniquely boring defensive possession football with absolute nothing in counter attacking, a season which saw many fans like me around the world tune in to the most boring first 45’s ever this season. Burst of energy in the first ten minutes followed by tepid side and backwards passing.

 

Records were broken. None went in favor of united. Records of decades, teams who never even had a sniff in the Theatre walked away with first time glory. Midway through the season as Christmas approached, the form was so awful that tolerating van Gaal was turning out to be out of good will and club tradition more than anything.

 

As Jose walked in today officially realizing a much desired role of his, he brings in a charismatic persona that thrives on victory. Apart from his off field cameos, his endless desire to enjoy success will bring back life into a club of such tradition that seems to be spiralling into an abyss in the last three years. As he rightly quoted, let’s rather not remember the last three years. Let’s remember the Manchester United we know.
GGMU.

LvG out


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I was running through the series of events that led to the downfall of Mourinho over the weekend. LvG’s press conference was for the first time, one of apprehension – he just got a trailer of a possible fate. But how contrasting are the two situations?

 

On one hand we have a manager who with remarkable ease strolled off with the premier league title 7 months ago, who had returned to a club where he is legendary. And yet, over a series of issues, on and off the field, eventually culminating in players conspiring, led to his downfall.  Having had a relegation fighting team to play against at home, immediately after sacking their manager, they couldn’t have asked for a better fixture, as chelsea moved their reluctant bus off the pitch, and attacked. The fans attacked the players as well, and anything but a win was not going to make life easy for any of the players.

 

Quite the contrary, Manchester United were facing a conundrum they were not familiar even when the team was managed by David Moyes. A team with such prolific names in the frontline, youngsters with potential, were all synchronized to operate in a style of football, that is so unique that it bores everyone from the viewer, the spectator, the refereees, the oppoonents, and eventually now the players themselves.

 

With central midfield side and backward passing stats having been the highlight of the previous two to three seasons of united, ever since the godly red headed Scholes retired, the question was where was the quality service going to be provided.

 

The problem as fans like me face is, that is absolutely boring to watch united not conjure a single shot on goal like ever. With no end product, I wonder what is the purpose of this play. What are we trying to prove? Giving opportunity to youngsters is the reason van Gaal cited for selling so many first team united players and loaning the other few available.

 

His man management has been so awful that with a few key injuries, the team is unable to conjure any form of teamsheet that gels. The backline has been solid for most of the season, but the players employed there has to be questioned.

 

Pushing back midfielders to defensive duties whilst having youngsters with little experience channeling midfield, coupled with aging stalwarts in the core of attack, united looks sorrier each day.

 

Watching the game today against Norwich, what was so terribly pissing off was the lack of impetus from the bench when united when 0-2 down. No plan B, absolutely stoned expression. And that is what is transforming on to the pitch. As tepid as it gets, this run of united has to be halted. And if there is any honor left in the higher echelons of united, #LvG should be out.

Swansea 2-1 Manchester United August 2015


Attacking start to the game with dangerous Memphis free kick in the first minute. United dominating play from the beginning. Minute later Mata blasts over from outside the box. Manchester playing like a home game, dominating possession and looking comfortable. Looks like Smalling is taking over handling Gomis. Clearly Blind would be no match.

 

The through ball from Shaw to find Rooney might have been put in the back of the net from the Rooney of yester.. wonder what would have happened had it been RvP at the end of that!!

 

Mata’s striking has been poor this season, he gets at least 2-3 goal scoring opportunities every game, yet to convert as one more chance goes begging. Despite being closed down, his class means, he should be at least working the keeper.

 

Shaw and Darmian continue to impress, solid in defending.

 

Smallings conceded free kick gave Shelvey an opportunity to find Gomis who with a lovely turn put the ball into Sigurdssons path only for him to curl it just wide. Seconds later a nervy clearancy by Romero, but fortunately Shelvey found the keeper. The movement of Gomis with ball at feet is brilliant as Swansea enjoy the best spell of the game after 25 min but the Swans keep inching closer this time Gomis finding the upright.

 

Another overhead falls for wazza but he pokes it high. The need for a solid CB and CF screeching loud!

 

One on one once again and Wazza.. totally out of color.

 

Its amazing how this game remains 0-0 at HT but there will be goals for sure at FT!

 

A brilliant drive by Shaw early in the half finds Mata in the far post to smash it to the roof of the net with his weaker foot!

 

Missed both the fucking goals conceded in the second half thanks to a tiff at the hotel with some people wanting to watch Roma Juve.

 

But our efforts to come from behind were left wanting as the need to have a solid CB and a CF couldn’t be emphasized any more.

Manchester United 0-0 Newcastle United Review August 2015


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It started on a good note with Bastian starting the game. The movement off the ball was good. The passing was crisp. The early chance that fell to Rooney was wrongly called offside. When you are down, nothing seems to go your way. Memphis was bright, coming off the midweek European double, but yet again the final ball was left wanting.

Operating Rooney up top and Januzaj behind did not quite workout that well today as Wazza never really looked like hassling and harrying the central defence of Taylor and Coloccini. Taylor for having come into the side after a while, had a quiet calm game. Haider was very impressive with his pace throughout the game, the most prominent fellow in the few forays newcastle had into united’s half.

Second half Mata started floating and playing more central while Januzaj looked to hunt the wing, however, Newcastle kept growing in confidence and were well able to stifle the pressure from United. Memphis had a quiet second half, but the back four for Man Utd continued to impress with both Darmian and Shaw making positive forays forward.

The decision making in the final third was questionable many a times and as a result, the outcome was no real effort on goal. Whilst Mitrovic hit the cross bar in the first, he had a disciplined game trying to keep his physical presence felt all throughout. Smalling did a good job handling him. Good to see Chicharito back playing again in the premier league and he nearly made the most of a fortuitous one on one with Krul but the latter came out better as his feet kept the ball from reaching the net.

Rooney in the meantime continued to cut into a frustrated figure and there is no doubt that the discussion everywhere today would be on who Man Utd needs up front.

Player Ratings:

Romero 7.0

Shaw 7.5

Smalling 7.5

Blind 7.5

Darmian 7.5

Memphis 7.5

Januzaj 7.0

Mata 7.0

Rooney 6.5

Schneiderlin 7.0

Manchester United 3 – 1 Chelsea


 

I I’d opted for a quiet weekend this time around. No getting out to chill out in the weekend after a long week at work.. jus sit back in the room, laze, order in some good food, listen to music, watch some football and get plenty of sleep. Well, I couldn’t have imagined that the weekend would turn out this good!

It was as if the London mauling of Kenny’s troops wasn’t enough, the standard of football played by Spurs took it right back to last season whilst Spurs played some blazing eye candy football.. yes.. more sumptuous than Arsenal. The buildup to this fixture was anxious.. especially since even the reputation tarnished Torres had a good going when it comes to United.

Rio did not get cleared for the game, and had to satisfy himself to watching some breathtaking end to end football from the stands with his son.

United started pretty and were off the blocks early when a marginally offside Chris Smalling nicked a goal off a trademark Young cross.  Moments later Chelsea was at the other end with Torres dragging the ball wide of the far post.

David De Gea was no doubt the busiest of both the keepers the first 45, but the irony was how chelsea kept squandering umpteen piece of cake opportunities.

A darting run from Nani to the edge of the box with 3 defenders standing him off, the outcome was a ferocious right footed swerving bullet into the far top corner of Cech’s goal. The ball was past Cech before even he could move his feet towards the direction of the ball. This goal was of such high quality that it surpassed Modric’s earlier curling scorcher from a similar distance.

Phil Jones has made a reputation for his darting runs into the box.. and he led to all the Blues confusion with a fortuitous deflection off Nani falling kind for Rooney’s 9th goal – a tap in.

At HT, Chelsea was in tatters, and it was time for Boas to show what he is made of. Anelka swapped in for Lamps, and it took him only 30s to unleash Torres to form, who with a cheeky flick over De Gea brought life immediately into the game 3-1.

The number of misses that followed in the next 45 min does no justice to the scoreline. End to end football with some ridiculuous misses – Nani rapping the cross bar, Rooney missing a penalty after losing his footing, Rooney hitting the upright, Torres MISSING AFTER BEATING DE GEA. The ugly side of the ugly faced Ashley Cole digging his foot late into Hernandez was the only downside of an evenly matched game.. even in the column of missed chances.

The scoreline does no justice to the treat delivered, the exhilaration after a monsterous strike from Nani, or the jaw dropping miss of an open goal by Torres.. but that is why we love this game.. Cheers!