Author Archives: Jordan Dignan

Two reasons why Man Utd shouldn’t renew injury-prone defender’s contract

Man Utd is looking to renew the contract of an injured defender who contracts runs out next summer…

Although there have been obvious and exciting changes to Manchester United on the pitch, it appears the boardroom has stayed the same. According to reports, Man Utd want to extend Eric Bailly’s contract by triggering a 2-year extension.

The reason behind this is to ensure that the Ivorian defender doesn’t leave on a free transfer at the end of the current season.

This is insanely terrible business and management of the club, here are two reasons why…

Woodward never learns

Man Utd has been plagued with a ridiculous wage structure, Marcus Rashford earning more than Raheem Sterling says it all.

Bailly currently earns £120,000 a week, which will surely increase during negotiations of the contract extension. This means that Man Utd, once again, will not be able to sell the individual because they cannot match the player’s wages. We have seen this with Marcos Rojo failing to join Everton on deadline day.

In the coming years, Woodward will be trying to profit on a £30m transfer for Bailly from Villareal made in June 2016. With his high wages, his ever-increasing age and being very injury-prone, it is highly unlikely that any club would pay north for £30m or be willing to match or increase his wage.

7 is definitely a crowd

Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe are all senior centre-backs. This is far too many to establish defenders without pushing two or three players into the reserves.

Chris Smalling is far from a fan favourite. Phil Jones himself is injury prone but potentially more reliable than Eric Bailly.

It is great to have aggressive defenders who love a crunching tackle. But there are too many arguments as for why Eric Bailly should be let go from the club.

Tottenham Hotspurs tactics against Man City show they are ready to challenge to the title, agree?

Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur showed their resilience in a dramatic draw against Man City at the Etihad. A draw so impressive, some are considering Spurs title contenders…

When looking at the statistics of the game, it appears as though Spurs went backs to the wall. Man City had 30 shots and 10 on target, compared to Spurs’ 3 shots with 2 on target.

However, Mauricio Pochettino has been hailed an incredible manager and tactician in recent months. Particularly since his display in the Champions League.

Has Pochettino translated his team’s European performances to the Premier League? The game against Man City certainly showed that.

Furthermore, many scratched their heads as Lucas Moura sat on the bench for the first 55 minutes. He came on and scored with his first touch…

Why are Spurs capable of winning of the Premier League this season?

If Pochettino had ignited Spurs’ incredible fight to salvage something from the game and played a role in how clinical his side was. As well as meticulously planting Moura in at the right time, the man could be labelled a genius.

The Tottenham squad consists of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Son Heung-min amongst other top European talents. Most astute managers could get this team in the top four. But Mauricio Pochettino proves time and time again that he is not ‘most managers’.

The result against Man City is the first demonstration that Pochettino can salvage points from teams who should beat them. According to current form and state of the squad, only Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd and Arsenal could go toe-to-toe with Tottenham.

Is Pochettino in the process of learning how to break down the top teams? Do we have a modern Jose Mourinho on our hands?

With the controversial VAR decisions, mass amounts of wasted chances by Man City and lack of chances created for Spurs. There is room for argument that Spurs were lucky in getting a point from the game.

Should Tottenham continue with their flexible tactics depending on their opponent and getting results against the likes of Man City (again), Liverpool, Arsenal and Man Utd. Those aforementioned arguments would be almost void.

‘For Man City, this game wasn’t about VAR, it was about wasted chances’

It hasn’t taken long for VAR to make its mark on the Premier League as both Man City and Tottenham Hotspur experienced. Fans took to Twitter to vent their frustration, here’s what we can gather…

When asked about the consistency of VAR in the Man City v Spurs post-match press conference, Guardiola responded with “ask the VAR guys” in a tone that suggested he was uncertain about the accuracy and consistency of the virtual referee.

Fans, unlike Pep, were able to go full force on their objections, or their support, of VAR.

Man City was toe-to-toe with Spurs in a 2-2 lockdown. A controversial handball against the Citizens detected by VAR prevented the team from scoring in the dying minutes of the game.

For many, VAR is killing the sport we all know and love…

A large concern with VAR was that its accuracy will destroy the conversations, the arguments and the camaraderie of debating a referee’s decisions. As it stands, VAR is failing on that front. Many people find the usage of VAR to be very suspect, and it most certainly stirs up a conversation…

However, similar to a suspect referee decision, the team who benefits from it tend to support…

Opposition fans make a fair argument, pro-VAR. In the Man City v Spurs fixture, Man City had 30 shots with 10 on target. Compared to Spurs’ 3 shots with 2 on target…

It looks like VAR is just another referee that won’t get its feelings hurt by criticism. Fans arguing about VAR is evidence of its lack of inaccuracy, and it most definitely has a long way to go.

Man Utd need to rid themselves of Wolves jinx by playing this forward line, agree?

Solskjaer’s Man United has been unable to beat Wolves in his two fixtures at Molineux. However, he didn’t have this forward option last season…

Wolves were a stick in the mud for the top 6 last season. A chart on Reddit shows the Wanderer’s results in a mini-league versus the top 6, where
Wolves place 3rd on thirteen points compared to Man Utd who placed 7th with seven points.

Solskjaer heads to Molineux for his second Premier League fixture of his first full season in charge. But this time feels different for fans and players alike.

After Man Utd’s 4-0 victory against Chelsea, the red side of Manchester is starting to buzz once again.

Man Utd will be facing a defensively sturdy and well-drilled Wolves. They tend to play a possession-based style, as “Ole ball” will see the Red’s forwards chased it down relentlessly.

There is a very specific forward line that can undo the Wolves defence, it goes a little something like this…

Jesse Lingard

Lingard’s natural athleticism gives him the ability to press defenders aggressively and force errors. Fairly similar to undisputed Man Utd legend Ji-Sung Park.

He will drift wide right as Rashford drifts wide left with Martial central, giving space in the attacking midfield for Pogba and/or McTominay.

Lingard will be imperative to way Man Utd press and tire out their defence in order to strike late-game.

These 60/70 minute substitutions will be the Reds clutch the game…

Dan James and Juan Mata

Introducing Dan James towards the end of the game against Chelsea finished the Londoners off. His goal came from a Paul Pogba run towards the box as James’ unmatched pace overlapped him, received the ball, and scored.

With Wolves being tired out by a very fit Man Utd, facing a fresh Dan James would be their worst nightmare.

With Mata introduced, there will be slightly less emphasis on pressing and more picking out passed into the final third. Passes that Dan James will be itching to get on the end of.

Throughout Summer, Juan Mata signed a new contract at Man United, leaving fans concerned about his age and ability. Jesse Lingard’s juvenile personality and lack of consistency gain him negative attention. Dan James has been thoroughly doubted due to coming from a Championship level squad. But all three players will play a huge role in a Man Utd victory over Wolves.

2 exciting Man Utd prospects that you simply need to keep tabs on, could be worth big money

With a lack of depth in Man Utd’s squad, youngsters will likely be called up at some point this season. Should it be an injury, lack of form, or fatigue, Solskjaer has promised youngsters game time, and two players, in particular, should be high on his list…

Manchester United have always been praised for their academy. How the club has harnessed and integrated their youth over time has been a large part of the club’s success.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will likely continue Sir Alex Ferguson’s project of turning youth players in the starters. We have seen this already against Chelsea, where Man Utd had five academy graduates on the field and two on the bench.

Two youngsters, in particular, both need and deserve game time this season. If not for the future of themselves, then for the future investment they will bring to the club’s wallet.

Angel Gomes

Gomes, 18, is one of England’s best young prodigies. His goal against Tottenham in pre-season and his legacy in the youth academy shows all the signs of a world-class player in the making. Gomes could easily be the next Jadon Sancho. A young English talent who isn’t the first choice, moving abroad and finding success.

Gomes has a very continental style of play and could fix any league ranging from German, English, French and Spanish. His close control, dribbling ability and low centre of gravity make him akin to Lionel Messi. Could we see this youngster move to Barcelona for £100million in the coming years? The concept is not unlikely.

Ethan Laird

Laird is an 18-year-old full-back who has been extremely impressive over recent months in the academy. At under-16s level, the right-footed defender played left-back and bagged himself 22 goals in that season.

Having an attacking full-back who can work on both sides is becoming more and more important in modern football. Despite the demand not being high just yet, the future demand could result in a huge fee from a top club for this versatile and well-drilled defender.

2 positives and 2 negatives for Man Utd should Pogba leave

European football clubs still have until September to sign players. Could we see Man Utd lose Paul Pogba in the coming weeks? And how on Earth would Solskjaer cope with even less midfield quality?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has appraised Paul Pogba even before joining as a manager. He said he would aim to build a squad around the midfielder, but have these plans changed after Pogba’s plans changed?

There is no doubt that, should Pogba stay this season, Solskjaer will be building and aiming high with his team in order to gain the approval of the Frenchman.

Should Man Utd come away with silverware, a top-four finish and the feeling of a positive future, Paul Pogba may well decide to commit to the club.

But preparing for the worst is always the best option. Man Utd needs to learn how to survive without Pogba or a replacement.

Here are the pros and cons of Paul Pogba leaving (this month).

‘Ruthlessness’

Man Utd and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have stressed the fact that they have no interest in players who are not ready to commit to the club. By dismissing Paul Pogba, it would be a huge statement about what type of character they want in the squad.

Youth development

Losing a senior player without a replacement inline offers little progression for the club except for the involvement of youth. By losing Paul Pogba, there would be space for players ranging from Fred and Pereira to James Garner to step up to the plate.

Goodbye top four

Man Utd would have nowhere near enough quality to finish top four without Paul Pogba. Against Chelsea, the Blues could have easily scored one or two goals on a different day. Paul Pogba was heavily involved with two goals with fantastic assists, meaning that the Reds may well have come away without three points had Pogba been absent.

Angry fans

The fan base would be furious. As at least £150million will go into the owner’s wallet until the next disappointing transfer window. Having failed to secure a midfielder in summer, fans would feel as though they had been robbed blind should Pogba leave in the current transfer window.

3 more players Man Utd need to shift before the Euro window closes

Man Utd should get rid of these three players before the season starts…

One saving grace to Man Utd’s summer transfer window could be the players they lose. In the European market, they can still purchase players from the Premier League until 2nd September. This has caused great confusion and speculation about the whereabouts of Paul Pogba.

Solskjaer has favoured the academy graduates of recent weeks, which proves that there is ‘dead wood’ within the squad.

There are some players in the Man Utd team who either deserve to be moved on or don’t deserve to stay. Here are the top three players that Man Utd should move on before the Premier League season really gets underway…

Phil Jones and/or Marcos Rojo

Chris Smalling is just about useful enough to be a rotation defender for Manchester United. The same cannot be said for Phil Jones or Marcos Rojo. As Axel Tuanzebe climbs the ranks and inches ahead of Smalling, Jones and Rojo in Solskjaer’s books, it’s time to move some defenders on.

Rojo was denied a move to Everton on deadline day. Could it be another defender who leaves, if any?

Nemanja Matic

Matic has been a fantastic Premier League player for both Chelsea and Man Utd. However, the Serbian’s stature and style is the polar opposite of what Solskjaer is trying to do.

Matic would be much better in a slower and more pragmatic league, such as Italy or the USA.

Tahith Chong or Angel Gomes

Hold your fire! I’m talking about a loan. These two fantastic young talents are good enough for first-team football, as seen in pre-season. Should Solskjaer’s squad have too much depth to see Chong or Gomes make a mark on the team this season, allowing them to gain some experience abroad could allow them to walk into first-team football next season.

The form of Man Utd’s two attackers will prove the difference against Wolves, agree?

Solskjaer’s Man Utd will be looking to avoid a repeat of last season where the Reds failed to beat Wolves and lost twice at Molineux.

After winning every single game of pre-season, the Red Devils marched on into the Premier League season with a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford over top four competitors Chelsea.

Solskaer’s team selection spoke volumes by dropping Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Nemanja Matic from the starting eleven. Having five academy graduates in the starting eleven and two on the bench tells you what direction Ole is steering the club in. The risk was worth the reward as the Reds thumped a very naive Chelsea.

Will Solskjaer go back to relying on experienced players or allow this winning formula to develop?

Man Utd

Most fans will want to see a very similar eleven walkout on Monday at Molineux. Scott McTominay is quickly becoming a fan favourite, covering more ground on the pitch than any other player against Chelsea and playing a large role in the slick passing from the back, he could be the answer to Man Utd’s midfield mayhem.

Pereira’s position of the interchanging attacking midfielder/right-winger appears to be up for grabs. The Brazilian failed to impact the game on the ball but impressed with high-pressing and an assist for Anthony Martial.

The defence of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw is looking like one of the best defences in English football. Chelsea managed to find themselves in some good positions. However, this may well be a result of the defence being brand new.

Anthony Martial is becoming much more instinctive as a number 9. He is more aggressive, vocal and attentive than ever before as he leads from the front. Having Marcus Rashford in and around him, challenging for that number 9 spot, Man Utd fans could see a lot of goals this season.

Wolves

Wolverhampton Wanderers recently won a two-legged Europa League qualifier 8-0 on aggregate against Pyunik. But when the final 4-0 win takes place four days before a big game against Man Utd, it might not bode too well.

Top players such as Diego Jota and Leander Dendoncker amongst others featured in the victory and could get exposed by a very fit Man Utd come the Monday fixture.

On the flip side, Wolves are a team full of confidence. Alongside Everton and Leicester, Wolves are a team looking to put pressure on the top six. Beating Man Utd at home would be a good way for Wolves to show the league that they mean business.

Prediction

Solskjaer is likely to go in a similar direction as he did against Chelsea. It appears he has given his side an identity and a philosophy to follow. His apparent trust in youth has allowed for the starting eleven to be stronger and more exciting, with two forwards who are eager to score.

Wolves could pick up a point against a less than clinical Man Utd. But the retrains of the Europa League will likely impact the squad and Solskjaer as ensured that his squad are one of the fittest in the league.

A 1-1 or a 2-1 victory for Man Utd would be safe judgement. Wolves will hold out for a draw, or a win if they find themselves 1-0 up. But the form of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial will definitely prove to be a challenge for Wolves.

Twitter reacts: ‘Goodbye Bury’

Fans are growing tiresome after another Bury FC fixture is postponed due to ‘outstanding evidence regarding a number of financial commitments has still not been provided by owner Steve Dale.

Bury have been unable to compete in four League One fixtures and one EFL Cup game so far. They wither away in the 24th spot on minus twelve points.


Bury fans are furious. Many stating that they just want football to watch, as of right now, they have none.

The Bury FC side of Twitter looks like a mourning ground. Many fans of many clubs are leaving their condolences for the historic club.

It may well be the case that Bury follow suit of many clubs that have found themselves in a financial crisis. This would result in one of England’s most cherished football clubs disappearing or plummeting down to non-league football.

Curzon Ashton made a fantastic gesture for Bury fans, showing how football can provide the kindest of acts…

Hopefully, Bury can pull through this dilemma. Though it looks like their season and their club, maybe coming to an end.

2 exciting Man City prospects that you simply need to keep tabs on, could be worth big money

Manchester City has the greatest quality and depth of any side in the Premier League. Even the youngsters are being hailed as future superstars, including two in particular…

Since 2008, Man City have been meticulously planning for the future. Now, in 2019, we’ve seen it paid off.

However, Man City have been purchasing players left, right and centre and have had many a different eleven for the fans to connect with.

This is begging to become less prevalent as Man City spend less and supply their own talent more often.

Jadon Sancho was one who was part of the Man City academy before moving to Germany’s Borussia Dortmund and being hailed a £100million player.

The Football Manc Cave introduces two prolific youngsters that will get Man City tonnes of trophies, cash, or both.

Phil Foden

Foden has been constantly praised by Pep Guardiola and has been referred to as the most talented player the Spanish manager has ever worked with.

Foden is a product of Man City’s youth. Is Guardiola overexaggerating the production of his academy or is Phil Foden going to be the greatest midfield the world has ever seen?

It is yet to be discovered. But the youngster has this season to seal a starting eleven spot as David Silva moves on in less than a year’s time.

Oleksandr Zinchenko

The 22-year-old full-back joined Man City in 2016 for a fee or around £1million.

This may be one of the smartest deals ever made by the club, as the Ukrainian is now seen at left-back on a weekly basis.

Quick, attacking, young full-backs fetch a sweet penny. Should the youngster’s form continue, he could be looking at a big £60million move to a European club in years to come.

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