Author Archives: Leanne Smith

Man City can edge closer to Liverpool with these 2 key fixtures

Man City boss Pep Guardiola

It is going to be crucial for Man City to pick up as many points as possible in the next few weeks. They need to close the gap on Liverpool.

Liverpool currently sits at the top of the Premier League on 34 points. Man City have now dropped to 4th with 25 points following last weekend’s defeat.

Leicester City and Chelsea have overtaken them recently. Now it is time for the Blues to step up if they want to regain their title for the third time in a row.

Pep Guardiola’s side lost 3-1 to Liverpool last week in a VAR debated game. This caused them to fall behind even more and the gap between the two clubs has opened up.

However, Man City will have to make the most of upcoming games and try to get as many points as possible.

Here are two games that stand out…

Man City v Chelsea

Frank Lampard’s side has recently overtaken Man City in the League. They have gone to 3rd with 26 points.

However, the blues need to take advantage of them. Their team is quite young, which could see them gain from with the experience they have.

Chelsea has also not had many big goal-scoring games. Most have been 2-1 wins. Man City can try to score a few in this game to make sure they take 3 points. They face Chelsea at home next weekend.

Southampton away

This fixture isn’t until April. However, that is closer to the end of the season and it will be a critical time for City in the title race.

That is if a race is still on. Southampton is currently 19th in the League. They only have 8 points. Pep’s side has already played them twice this season.

Pep Guardiola’s side won both meetings. However, this gives them an advantage as they should know what to expect.

Wigan Athletic hope these 2 key fixtures will turn form around

Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook

Wigan Athletic fans are getting increasingly frustrated with their team’s performances. Their away form is poor and the results aren’t going their way.

The Latics are currently 20th in the Championship. they sit on 15 points. However, teams below them are catching up.

Luton Town is on 14 points, Middlesbrough is just below on 13, Stoke City are on 11 points and Barnsley is at the bottom on 9 points.

Some fans are getting fed up of manager, Paul Cook. They think it’s his time to go. However, the Wigan team need to focus on each game.

Another criticism that the squad have received, is the fact that they don’t play a full 90 minutes. It’s like the team switch off too early and concede late on.

Wigan also had a poor game at the weekend. They lost 3-0 to Brentford at home and even went 1-0 down after 5 minutes. Cedric Kipre got sent off too.

In a bid to turn these performances around, there are a couple of fixtures that Wigan could take advantage of…

Stoke City away

Next Saturday, Wigan will face Stoke away. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware of Wigan’s poor away form.

I am also aware that Stoke won their last game against Barnsley, 4-2. This means they could be feeling confident ahead of their clash with Wigan.

However, Stoke City is below Wigan in the league and the Latics should take full advantage of that. If they can go ahead early, they should stand a chance of taking all three points.

Wigan Athletic away at Luton Town

On the 7th of December, Wigan will travel to Luton. Even though this is another away clash, like many fans, I hope they will be able to take advantage of the fact Luton are currently below them in the Championship.

Luton’s last win was on the 19th of October against Bristol City. Wigan needs to take advantage of that fact and try to take all 3 points.

If they don’t manage to take the maximum points from at least one of these games, I think fans will make it clear that it is time for Cook to go.

Oldham Athletic’s 2 key fixtures to jump-start season

Oldham Athletic manager Dino Maamria

Oldham Athletic are having a tough time down at the bottom of League Two. Even though they have drawn more recently, they need to find wins.

In difficult times for a football club like Oldham, focussing on League Two is something that should be a priority. They recently got knocked out of the Leasing.com Trophy but went through in the FA Cup.

Now it is time to try and get some wins in League Two. Oldham is currently 20th on 16 points. The team’s below them aren’t far behind as only 2-3 points separate them.

Fans are getting fed up with their club. They want change in ownership and management but that doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon.

Therefore, the team will just have to work hard to change things around. They need to start attacking early on in games and defending wins so that they can climb to a safer League position.

With that in mind, here are two fixtures coming up for Oldham that they could take advantage of…

Morecambe away

On Boxing Day, Oldham will travel to Morecambe. They are currently bottom of League Two on 13 points.

If Morecambe doesn’t suddenly improve, Oldham will be able to take advantage of them and try to take an early lead.

Oldham can also aim to improve their goal difference in this game. If they can keep their confidence up, they may be able to score a few in this game. However, they will also have to keep on top of their defence.

Oldham Athletic v Scunthorpe

Oldham will also have to play Scunthorpe on New Year’s Day. They are also down at the bottom of League Two.

Scunthorpe currently sits on 15 points and if they are still struggling next month, Oldham could take advantage of this fixture too.

So this means that Oldham could give fans a nice Christmas and New Years present if they collect as many points as possible from these fixtures. However, they also face Salford City at home on the 29th if December.

This is a lot of game time to take on in such a short amount of time. Fitness will become a priority.

Bolton Wanderers’ 2 Key fixtures to close the gap

Bolton Wanderers Keith Hill

Bolton Wanderers sit on -2 points in League One. However, despite improved form recently, hard work needs to continue to climb out of the relegation zone.

Despite the injury blows within Keith Hill’s squad, he has got his men playing to a great standard recently.

Even though they got knocked out of the FA Cup by Plymouth Argyle last weekend, they have been improving in League One. They have also gone through to the next round of the Leasing.com Trophy.

They recently beat Fleetwood at home, 2-1. This win took them to -2 points. A massive improvement on the -12 they started out on this season.

In order to now climb out of the minus points and relegation zone, they will need some wins. Here are two fixtures they could take advantage of soon…

Bolton Wanderers v MK Dons

This Saturday will see the Trotters play MK Dons. Not only does being at home give them an advantage, but MK Dons being 21st in the League also helps.

When they have been beating the likes of Fleetwood who are in the top half of the table, Bolton should be confident here.

MK Dons currently have 13 points and are struggling. Bolton need to take advantage of that and aim for a win.

Accrington Stanley away

On the 23rd of November, Bolton will travel to Accrington Stanley. The fact that Bolton will be the away team may not favour their chances of winning.

However, Accrington Stanley are currently 19th in League One and are on 15 points. They should be able to use that to their advantage.

If Bolton can get some points from MK Dons, that should give them the confidence to beat Accrington Stanley too.

EFL Decision

Despite the positive thinking about Bolton getting out of the minus points and possibly the relegation zone too, there may be another issue.

Earlier in the season, Bolton couldn’t fulfil two fixtures. After a player strike, their clash with Brentford was called off. Then a player welfare issue meant that their clash with Doncaster also didn’t go ahead.

This has all meant that further misconduct charges could be placed on the club. The Bolton News has reported that the EFL will make a decision and it will be announced next week. Could all the hard work at Bolton be a waste of time?

Oldham Athletic are in freefall, 2 lessons they need to learn fast

Oldham Athletic fans are getting fed up with performances, management and the owners. The team can try to turn this around with some tactical changes.

Last night saw Oldham lose to Fleetwood Town in the Leasing.com Trophy. It wasn’t just a small loss, they ended up losing 5-2.

However, at least that means they can focus more on League Two football as that are out of the competition.

Fans are getting fed up of the performances though. For example, last night, Oldham went 3-0 down before any response.

Jonny Smith was responsible for the goal and he has been outstanding for Oldham so far. However, he is only on loan and the goals keep coming too late.

Oldham have recently made slight improvements. They won 2-0 against Walsall, drew 0-0 with Port Vale and 2-2 with Northampton. They also won their FA Cup clash with Gateshead 2-1.

However, they are still 20th in the League with a struggling 16 points. Scunthorpe and Walsall both sit underneath them on 15 points. Then Morecambe and Stevenage sit at the bottom on 13 points. There’s not a lot in it.

With that in mind, here are two lessons Oldham need to learn quickly…

Oldham Athletic defence

At the start of the season, the defence seemed to be Oldham’s biggest problem. They recruited the likes of David Wheater who came in and made a difference.

He was given the Captain’s armband and acted as leader. Things seemed to improve and then Oldham needed to work on the attack.

However, since the arrival of Dino Maamria, things have gotten sloppy again. Fans already want to see change with the management and owners.

That is something that is out of the team’s control and they need to focus on each game. Defending for 90 minutes to a high standard needs to be prioritised.

Goals

Linking with the previous point, the defence standard needs to match the attack. It’s like Oldham can’t do both.

For example, they have shown that goals can be created. However, they are coming too late in the game. Against Fleetwood last night, it took 25 minutes for any response from Oldham Athletic.

In their draw with Northampton, both goals came in the 80th-90th minute period of the game. If they can start by attacking early and getting an early goal then they can try to defend a win.

Manchester FA Frank Hannah Premier Cup quarter final round-up

Tuesday night saw some quarter-final games take place in the Manchester FA Frank Hannah Premier Cup. The semi-final draw also took place at half time.

Hyde United faced FC United of Manchester to see who would go through to the next round.

Droylsden FC also faced Mossley FC. Wythenshawe Town should have also played Trafford FC. However, this game was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Results

Droylsden Town drew 0-0 with Mossley. This game had to be decided on penalties. After the shootout was finished, Droylsden went through in a 3-2 battle.

Hyde United hosted FC United and lost 3-0. Adam Dodd, Tunde Owolabi and Louis Myers were responsible for the goals. Hyde also had a penalty saved. FC United are now through to the semi-finals.

Irlam and Maine Road are the other two teams in the competition. However, they are yet to play each other but because of league commitments. This will have to be played in January.

Manchester FA Semi-final draw

The draw was done last night after the Hyde and FC United game. You can see that on Twitter here…

So, Wythenshawe Town or Trafford FC will play Droylsden.

FC United of Manchester will play Irlam FC or Maine Road.

All semi-final clashes will be played week commencing, 03/02/2020.

Man City should be going all out for Rennes 17y/o midfielder for these 2 reasons

Man City transfer target Eduardo Camavinga

According to 90min.com, Man City have joined the race for Rennes wonder-kid, Eduardo Camavinga. The Blues will face some competition for his signature.

The 17-year-old midfielder has started all games so far this season for Rennes. He has since gone from strength to strength as every game passes.

He signed a contract in the summer that puts him with the Ligue 1 side until 2021. However, European and Premier League giants have started to express their interest in the teenager.

This is an advantage to Rennes as they would have leverage over an asking price if Camavinga draws in a lot of attention.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United are all said to be interested. However, Man City are ready to fight them all off.

Here are two reasons why Man City should make him a priority signing…

Man City struggles in defence

Man City have been struggling in defence and with their defensive midfielders. Eduardo may not be able to step up to the first team straight away, however, he could help.

A lot of the Man City defenders are injured which has seen Fernandinho slide into a defensive position. Some of the midfielders have had to go into a more defensive position too.

This has had an effect on the attack. Bringing this teenager in could help. He is a comfortable defensive midfielder but also produces phenomenal assists.

Experience

Eduardo is currently starting every game for Rennes. At such a young age, that is a huge responsibility.

Even though he would probably be placed in Man City’s academy to start off with, he would bring this experience to the Premier League.

However, this may be a problem to the 17-year-old as he is getting full-time football now and may not want to give that up.

2 other Man Utd players that should follow Matic out of the door in January

Man Utd midfielder Matic may be on the move

According to the Telegraph, midfielder Nemanja Matic is edging closer to a Man Utd exit in the January transfer window. A move that may be welcomed.

Apparently, Matic could be leaving Man Utd in January after he has received interest from other clubs. He has also fallen behind in the pecking order at Old Trafford.

Scott McTominay and Fred are favoured more in the midfield of late. AC Milan and Inter Milan have supposedly shown Matic some interest and he looks like he is willing to go.

Some Man Utd fans would probably be happy to see him go. However, he wouldn’t be the only one.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be reluctant to sell some of his players as the future of others, like Paul Pogba, is still unknown. Alongside the lack of midfield options he has on his hands at the moment, OGS can not afford to lose another player in this area of his squad.

Here are two players who should follow Matic should he leave in January…

Man Utd defender Phil Jones

Most Man United fans would probably agree that Phil Jones needs to go. The 27-year-old has fallen way out of favour at Man United.

It is safe to say that Old Trafford wouldn’t exactly miss him. Man United are going through a time of developing young talent and moving forward.

It doesn’t look like Phil Jones is part of that plan, so why not let him go?

Ashley Young

Even though the 34-year-old still gets game time, some fans think his time at Old Trafford is up.

When January comes around, some fans may want to see a replacement for Young drafted in.

To get some new talent brought in when the transfer window opens, Man United will need to make some money and open up some spaces.

Who do you want to see leave Old Trafford?

Two players that impressed in Rochdale’s win over Bradford City

Rochdale travelled to Bradford City last night in the Leasing.com trophy. Even though they won 2-1, other results in their group have stopped Dale from progressing. However, there was a lot of talent in the squad.

Bradford went 1-0 up last night after 15 minutes. Rochdale then woke up and an equaliser came after 29 minutes.

In an eventful first half, Fabio Tavares also managed to score meaning that Rochdale would win 2-1. The side then managed to keep on top of their win throughout the second half.

Rochdale have been treating this competition as an experiment for their squad. They have been mixing youth team members with experienced players.

It was definitely the youngsters who came through last night. However, it is just unfortunate that Rochdale couldn’t progress to the next round.

They had a tough group to compete in. Bolton Wanderers and Man City Under 21’s have gone through in their group. Putting that aside, here are two stand out players from last night…

Joe Dunne

The 17-year-old deserves all the praise after last night’s performance. He made his debut in the squad and is a future star.

Dunne is a centre half who was put into the squad to see how he played. He definitely impressed with strong blocks, getting stuck into every ball and performing to a great standard.

This is great for the teenager who will now be monitored by Brian Barry-Murphy. He surely has made an impact on fans and management after last night.

Rochdale’s 18 y/o Fabio Tavares

The 18-year-old striker is a name that Rochdale fans will be familiar with. This is because he has already been featured in the first-team squad.

However, last night saw him shine due to being in a younger squad. He is another rising star in the Dale squad.

His goal in the 35th minute was the final goal of the game. This goes to show that not only can the Rochdale squad produce goals, they can also defend well too.

Two players that have to be in the team tonight for Oldham Athletic against Fleetwood Town

Oldham Athletic will face Fleetwood Town tonight in the Leasing.com Trophy. It will be a ‘winner takes it all’ scenario as the two teams will battle to get to the next round of the competition.

The Oldham team will have a trip to Fleetwood tonight to battle it out in the Leasing.com trophy. Only a point separates the two sides in their group.

Accrington Stanley is currently at the top of group B with 9 points. Fleetwood is 3rd with 2 points and Oldham sits 2nd with 3 points. Therefore, losing is not an option.

For Oldham to stand a chance getting to the next stages, the squad must be strong. While some use this competition as a chance to let their younger squad members shine, Oldham fans will want the squad to be the strongest possible.

Here are two players that need to be in the starting line up tonight…

Jonny Smith

The 22-year-old winger has been on top form for Oldham recently. However, he is on loan for the season from Bristol City.

Oldham will need to use him as much as possible this season to get the most out of him. He has recently scored against Gateshead and Northampton.

He now has an eye for goal now and will be looking to score tonight if he is in the squad.

Filipe Morais

The ex Bolton player is very experienced and acts as a leader in the squad. While David Wheater is a great Captain and leader at the back, it seems clear that Morais is having a good impact at the other end of the pitch.

It is also worth mentioning that he scored against Gateshead at the weekend too. This may inspire him to score again tonight.

However, he just needs to stay calm, keep his tackles clean and stay out of trouble. He picked up a red card a few weeks ago and won’t want another.

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