What is the point of pre-season?

Pre-season, huh, what is it good for? Well not preparation judging by the opening two rounds of Premier League football from 2016/17. All those tours, all those ‘tournaments’, the transfers and money spent and yet, the teams that have a settled starting line up at this point of the season are few and far between.

 

This had led to an underwhelming start, with competitors lumbering, slowly emerging from the cocoon of July, rather than exploding into life. Yes, there have been exciting new signings scoring (Zlatan!), new managers emoting (Conte) we’ve had villains (Costa) and late winners (Costa again), so why the sense that something is missing? Continue reading “What is the point of pre-season?”

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The Premier League Contenders from the North

As we move north, the three biggies from the North West really start to put the cat amongst the pigeons on trying to predict this season’s Premier League.

 

It’s been a summer of change and transitions from Liverpool to Manchester. As Pep and José decide to kick start their rivalry from Spain in the same city and Jürgen Klopp finally gets his pre-season, it could be more than feasible to see all three of Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United vying for title honours come April and May next year. Continue reading “The Premier League Contenders from the North”

What this summer says about Manchester Utd and Mourinho

Football transfers have long gone a little bit mental but this summer the Premier League has taken borderline madness into realms of just sheer hyperbolic ridiculousness. It’s the summer of the £30 million player with Manchester United more than happy to add many a name to the once revered ‘£30m plus club’.

 

It was always going to be interesting to see José Mourinho’s first transfer window. A man who’s success is so heavily built on short termism that youth falls by the wayside (at least in this writers opinion anyway) and the ability to build a dynasty as realistic as finishing a 4th season, Mourinho embodies the complete diametric opposite to the Fergie’s years. Mourinho is a trophy winning wrecking ball; Fergie on the other hand became some kind majestic perennial winner. So what does this summer say about Manchester United under José Mourinho? Continue reading “What this summer says about Manchester Utd and Mourinho”

JG’s Transfer Update Pt.2

Here we are with pt.2 of JG’s transfer round up and its full of the big hitters. It’s L to W, taking in the likes of Liverpool, United, City and Spurs and the newcomer who loves being linked with the big names – Middlesbrough. Continue reading “JG’s Transfer Update Pt.2”

Can the FA Cup save Louis Van Gaal?

The domestic season finally ends on Saturday with its signature showpiece – The FA Cup final; but is a victory for Manchester United and Louis Van Gaal enough to save the Dutchman’s job?

It’s been a familiar narrative to United’s season with Van Gaal lurching from one crisis to another and the preparation for the FA Cup final has been no different. Rumours are rife about José Mourinho taking the helm come the summer with United even going as far as to guaranteeing the job for José should Van Gaal leave. With the failure of securing Champions League for next season, the pressure certainly is on for LVG to secure United’s first FA win since 2004.  Continue reading “Can the FA Cup save Louis Van Gaal?”

Mourinho lines up his first United transfer

For all of their defensive woes, one criticism no fan or pundit can have of Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United is that they concede silly goals.

With a potential Champions League place still up for grabs, Manchester United currently have the second best defence in the league, conceding only 31 goals in the process. And yet question marks still arise about the personnel in United’s back four and more pertinently how impressive David de Gea has been for the third season in a row.

No one can doubt the improvement in Chris Smalling this season who will be a certain starter this year in France for England. Daley Blind as well as seemingly adapted nicely into a deeper role in the central of defence, a position that is a key component of van Gaal’s philosophy – the ability to be able to play out of the back and have a defender who is almost a quarter back’s quarter back (if that makes sense!).

With van Gaal’s future far from certain as José Mourinho still waits in the wings, lingering like some managerial reaper, any rumour involving Manchester United can hardly be concrete with so many if’s and but’s going into the next season but one player that is supposedly catching the eye of the Manchester United hierarchy and Mourinho is Raphael Varane. Continue reading “Mourinho lines up his first United transfer”

Another pricey teenage prodigy for Man Utd?

And once more Manchester United look to spend more £30million+ on a teenage sensation this summer. Long gone are the days where such money was able to buy the likes of Brazilian Ronaldo and Christian Vieri. Even one United legend in the form of Ruud van Nistelrooy came in at a paltry £24.5million. In this inflated and most bizarre world of football transfers, money seemingly has about as much value as a box of tic-tacs, frittered away like any one’s business however, it surely is only fair though to look at Sanches as a player without the eye-watering £45million price tag. Continue reading “Another pricey teenage prodigy for Man Utd?”

‘A Falling Great’ – Something’s Wrong At Man Utd: Is This Man The Answer?

The biggest present day footballing side note to the Mourinho sacking is the ever growing clamour to know what the hell is wrong at Manchester United. Admittedly this is quite a small aside to the ginormous news of Mourinho’s sacking and just exactly what is going on in that dressing room. However with Mourinho on the market, Pep’s future still sort of up in the air (I will expand on all this a little later on) and Ancelotti circling over Europe’s biggest clubs, there hasn’t been many occasions when three of the best club managers in Football are looking for their next city to call home.

When I checked immediately after the José sacking on Sky Sports News, SkyBet had Juande Ramos somehow as 2nd favourite for the Chelsea job (if Roman had decided an awful Tottenham outcast was an adequate enough Captain to try and save his blue sinking ship I was intrigued to see if Jacques Santini odds were to be slashed…), I did start wondering who would appear on the Manchester United list if Van Gaal decided to exit stage left this summer from English Football’s biggest commercial asset. However, before such a hypothetical question, what is going wrong with Manchester United this season?

Continue reading “‘A Falling Great’ – Something’s Wrong At Man Utd: Is This Man The Answer?”