Tag Archives: leicester

FOUR GAMES IN: WHAT THE RED DEVILS KEEP DOING WRONG

The Red Devils drew with Southampton on Saturday, an obvious improvement from their loss to Crystal Palace the previous week.

An improvement, yes, but, only because it wasn’t a loss. It wasn’t a loss because United were just lucky.

This particular result means that they have only won two of the last 13 matches they have played across all competitions. What a stunningly awful statistic, considering that this is Manchester United, one of the most premier soccer clubs in the world.

Why are the Red Devils in a seemingly overwhelming tailspin?

From what I can tell from at least their first four matches this season is that they keep repeating the same mistakes.

Put in a better way, the same issues keep re-emerging in every game, and Solksjaer seems unable to identify and fix them.

Which problems are these you might be wondering?

The same problems they demonstrated during their loss to the Eagles the previous week.

  • Ineffective Attack

The lack of depth and experience in this team is quite apparent, and more so, when it comes to the attack.

Lukaku’s and Sanchez’ departure has left big shoes to be filled, and Rashford just isn’t cut out for the job at the moment.

Just like in the game against Crystal Palace, on Saturday we saw a Rashford who was unsure of himself in front of goal, who made the wrong passes and squandered a couple of scoring opportunities.

In the last 3 games, after his brace against Chelsea in the opening match of the season, the 21-year-old has been unable to score despite having 12 shots at goal.

Daniel James, one of the Devils’ most recent signings, has been a sigh of relief at the front- having brought his goal tally to three goals in four games after the Saturday match. However, he’s still young, and his form is bound to dip and peak throughout the season. When his performance lulls, will the likes of Rashford and Martial be ready to pick up the slack?

Doubtful.

Jesse Lingard seems to be out of Solksjaer’s attacking equation. He was left out of the starting lineup against Southampton, with Solksjaer opting to put Pereira in his place. Lingard’s shockingly horrific performance against Crystal Palace is definitely what has put him in the docks, and we might not know for how long.

Luckily though, he has something to look forward to as Gareth Southgate has picked him to be a member of the England squad that will face Bulgaria and Kosovo this December in the Euro 2020 qualification rounds.

As if Manchester United does not have enough problems at the moment, Martial is facing some injury problems, and we do not know if he’ll be able to play in the next few matches.

Sad…just sad! I really like Martial.

  • Pogba Problems

At the beginning of the season, the only problem anyone really had with Pogba was that he missed a penalty.

But, the frustrations that Red Devils fans had with the central midfielder last season have reared their ugly heads once again in the last two matches.

Against Crystal Palace, his error and later slip-ups by the defense, allowed van Aanholt to score the late winner.

In the game against Southampton, his performance alternated between flashes of glory and silly mistakes that stopped Man-U from winning the game fair and square.

He was uncomfortable with the pace of the game from the beginning, hence, his constant dispossession of the ball throughout the game. In some instances, even in his own half, can you believe it?!

We also saw a variety of over-shot and misfired passes, amongst other glaring mistakes.

What in the world was going on with Pogba on Saturday? A total and complete lack of concentration from what we could all gather.

But, in the midst of that chaos, he was still integral to his team’s most compelling attacks and managed to create four chances for the Devils, more than any other man in his team.

Weird….how can you be your team’s worst player, and with the same breath, the best?

It’s such a shame because he is supposed to be the experienced one there, bringing in the depth and the consistency that his team so badly needs right now.

However, this kind of inconsistency can dearly cost Solksjaer’s team down the line.

He needs to move already, seeing as he’s not feeling the Manchester United vibe anymore. Yes, the transfer rumors are still buzzing!

Oh, yeah, and now, he’s injured…the rain is beating Manchester United a bit too hard these days.

  • Defensive woes

This is a theme that has become consistent in every game that the Devils play.

It has become apparent that Victor Lindelof’s weak spot is aerial duels. He lost the ball to Schlupp during the Palace match, and Ayew took advantage of this to score the opener for the Eagles.

Against Southampton, he was out-jumped by Jannik Vestergaard, who then scored the equalizer for The Saints, and got them back into the game.

What does this tell us? It should tell us that:

a) Solksjaer needs another solution to aerial duels in his backline

b) Bissaka and Maguire need to be constantly aware of this weakness, and offer more support to Lindelof. A total of £130 million, and they cannot be bothered to help offer more cover for the central-back. What a waste! What a phenomenally gigantic waste!

 

United’s game is against a strong Leicester that is currently third in the standings. The Foxes have won 2 and drawn an equal number in their last four matches this season. Not a single loss!

It’s highly doubtful that United will cause Leicester’s first loss of the season. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Until then,

Kwaheri!

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MANCHESTER UNITED VS CRYSTAL PALACE- RED DEVILS UNDONE BY THE FAMILIAR

The Red Devils started off their campaign vibrantly enough. They beat THE Chelsea 4 goals to nil in the first game of the season. In that match, everything went right. Rashford managed to strike a penalty into the box, the midfielders (Pogba and Pereira) were on top of their game and provided assists for three of the goals. Maguire and Wan-Bissaka kept it clean and tight at the defense.

It seemed that finally, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had managed to rebuild this broken team, and this was the season for glory.

But, as with every fairy tale, things began going wrong.

Their game against Wolverhampton the next week was going according to plan when Anthony Martial scored in the 27th minute, his second goal in two games. He scored that goal with his weaker foot to add on to the drama of it all. It seems, however, the Reds were not prepared for a dramatic fight that saw man of the match, Ruben Neves equalize with a spectacular 25-yard thunderbolt of a goal.

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Pogba had the chance of a lifetime to bring his team back ahead when he was fouled inside the penalty box around the 65th minute. However, this attempt was easily saved by the Wolves goalkeeper, Rui Patricio.

Pogba ended up being the butt of numerous racist jokes and comments, which is quite appalling because even the best can miss a penalty. It’s just sad that pigs with racist tendencies can access the Internet and abuse people they don’t know. Sad!

Anyway, they ended up drawing that match, much to the chagrin of Manchester United fans all over the world.

If they were expecting a marked improvement in the third match of the season, well then, they must be sorely disappointed with their team at this point.

Last Saturday, Manchester United was up against Crystal Palace, and boy, did they have it rough. They managed to lose to the Eagles, 2 goals to 1, much to my amusement I must confess.

This was the first time since 1989 that Crystal Palace had secured a win at Old Trafford. 3 decades of drought, and then Patrick van Aanholt’s injury-time goal changed everything!

So, what happened?

Credit to the Crystal Palace players, they played their hearts out, and took advantage of the few chances they were presented.

But, what did the Manchester United players fail to do right that saw them hand over to Crystal Palace their first win of the season?

  • Penalty woes

In two separate occasions in these last two fixtures, Manchester United have been awarded a penalty that they have failed to convert.

The first one we spoke about above, when Pogba was unable to net one past the Wolves goalkeeper from the penalty box.

The second event occurred during the Crystal Palace match when Rashford hit the post, and squandered the penalty opportunity awarded.

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These two events seem to suggest that Solksjaer is not preparing his players well when it comes to taking penalties. Two missed penalties in two games by two different players of the same team is one too many, and something needs to be done to remedy this situation.

…or not, because, hey, I’m not a Red Devils fan, and it won’t be too painful to bear seeing this team waste every penalty opportunity they are given.

  • Defensive Issues

In their game against Chelsea, their first match as Manchester United players, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka seemed a formidable pair. At that time, from their performance, it seemed that the £130 million spent on both of them was more than justifiable.

However, things began to unravel for the two during the Wolves game and really came to a head in the Palace clash.

Ayew’s goal, Palace’s first of the game, can be credited to Maguire and Wan-Bissaka’s failure to offer enough support to Lindelof. If they were covering him properly after he lost the ball to Schlupp, then one of them would have been able to clear the ball before Ayew got his feet on it.

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Crystal’s second goal cannot be solely blamed on the defenders…but, perhaps better ball-watching by Maguire would have averted the situation? Perhaps the defenders shouldn’t have hang back as much as they did when Zaha and Aanholt were leading the counter-attack charge, that eventually led to a last-minute goal by the Eagles’ left-back.

But, truth be told, Maguire has had a terrible time against Crystal Palace for many seasons before he joined Manchester United. During his time at both Hull, and Leicester, Maguire has never experienced a win against Crystal Palace.

Shocking! We just might have found his kryptonite (what a useful little gem).

Maguire and the rest of the defense line-up better put their act together this coming weekend, or else, Southampton’s pressing style, and pace might just overwhelm them. Oh, what joy Manchester United’s undoing will bring to the rest of the world that is not red!

  • Toothless Attack

It’s almost as if the likes of Rashford were scared to score, or just simply indecisive on how to go about it. In the case of Martial, who was the better forward of Manchester United’s attacking trio in this match, was simply not being the fed the ball enough times.

It was almost an hour before Guaita had to make a save, and that is a demonstration of how lackluster the Red Devils attack was.

Such a shame considering the immense talent that Rahsford, Lingard, and Martial individually and collectively possess.

 

There’s so much more to write about that woeful Red Devil’s performance, but those were the main points of the match.

Well, Southampton is now a day away, let’s just wait and see if these issues would have been solved by then.

Goodbye!

 

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CHELSEA VS NORWICH: FINALLY, A WIN FOR LAMPARD, BUT WHAT AN INCREDIBLE FIGHT BY THE CANARIES!

Frank Lampard has finally managed his first win as head coach for Chelsea, and that is a major cause for celebration.

I might not be a big fan of Chelsea, but I love and admire Lampard, and it’s great watching him taste some bit of success after nearly everyone wrote him off i.e. Mourinho (the used-to-be special one).

The Blues have had a torrid start to the season, having lost four goals to nil in their opening match against Manchester United, and then drawing with Leicester at Stamford Bridge. To add chaos and depression to injury, they managed to lose to Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup Final just days after their loss to the Red Devils.

But, as we all know, bad times do not last forever, and finally, the Blues have something to smile about.

Going into this game, Chelsea was the obvious favorite against a team that has just been recently promoted from the EFL. However, Norwich put up a damn good fight, managing two goals against the EPL heavyweight.

Chelsea might have won this game, but Norwich did not take it lying down. Both teams were fired up, and this was a true battle for the 3 points. I don’t think Chelsea were ready for such a spirited fight from Norwich.

So, which players caught my eye in this game?

We’ll start with some of the Norwich players that were super incredible in my humblest of opinions. They are going up against West Ham next, and these will be the players to look out for:

  • Pukki

To say that this man has been incredible since the start of the season would be a serious understatement of his contribution to his team’s progress so far.

He now has five goals to his name; one from his team’s match against Liverpool, three from Norwich’s match against Newcastle, and one from their match against Chelsea last Saturday.

He is currently the EPL’s top scorer, and that is very impressive from a player whose team stands at number 17 at the moment. He is tied at the top of the goal-scoring list with Raheem Sterling.

To put it in even better context, he has more goals than our lead striker, Aubamayeng, and yet, we are currently number 3.

Pukki is now the 10th player to have scored in the first three games of the Premier League.

Remember, he was also the top scorer in the Championship last season.

His goal against Chelsea was so sublime and effortless, a marvelous beaut!

He is a goal-scoring hero in the making, and I hope he’ll help his team bring down some big clubs, EXCEPT Arsenal of course.

But, as his teammates will attest, he brings more than just goals to Norwich. He is a nightmare for the opponent’s central backs, and he is the main charge when it comes to his team’s high press mode of football.

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Let’s see how effective he will be against West Ham.

  • Todd Cantwell

There is no denying it, Norwich players have improved their game significantly from before their promotion, and one Todd Cantwell is sufficient proof of that.

In this first three games for Norwich in the EPL, he has scored one goal, and provided two assists. That is equal to his total contributions in 24 appearances in the EFL last season.

That’s a tremendous improvement!

 

 

Now, we move to Chelsea, and kudos to Lampard for having faith in the youngsters in his squad, and giving them a chance to shine! They are going up against Sheffield United next, and these will be the players to watch out for:

  • Mason Mount

Here is one youngster who had an incredible game. He scored the second goal for Chelsea, his second of the season.

His overall play was calm and confident. He kept pushing for a goal and posed a constant threat for the Norwich defenders. Five shots at goal is no small feat, plus he made some crucial passes that amped Chelsea’s attack.

The only downside was the knock he acquired towards the end of the match. Hopefully, he’ll be fit for their upcoming match.

  • Tammy Abraham

I’m still not used to seeing this youngster in Chelsea’s starting line-up, but credit to him for taking every opportunity to prove that he deserves a spot in the starting XI.

He scored a brace for Chelsea, his first and second goals for his team, bringing back a glimmer of hope for all Chelsea fans. His brace makes him the youngest Chelsea player to score twice in a match since 1998.

It’s going to be interesting to see how his confidence shapes up as the season continues, and whether he can replicate his performance in upcoming games.

And, anyone who’s made racist remarks against this young man should feel very ashamed of themselves!

 

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But, curiously enough, it took him two hours to provide a urine sample to drug testers after the game. I wonder what’s that all about…

…anyway, moving on swiftly…

  • Matteo Kovacic

Impressive form in midfield and he’s shown great skill in going forward, something he was not quite good at last season. Kovacic was able to step up in the absence of Ng’olo Kante, which are indeed very big shoes to fill.

He picked up an assist against Norwich, and I know going forward, the team is going to rely on him significantly more.

He has something to prove after a lackluster performance last season, hence, the Croatian is someone to look out for in future matches.

 

Good luck to both teams, especially Norwich, in their next games.

I’ll be watching!

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