Tag Archives: champions league

Man United Look to Exciting Youngsters Ben Godfrey and Logan Pye To Build Old Trafford Future

Manchester United this summer have got to play smart if they want to find the right recruitment to rebuild. Many of their rivals and European giants are all in the search for talent, and the Red Devils are looking a little closer to home.

Man United now know they will not be playing Champions League football next season and, can plan accordingly. What United have not to do is what has happened in recent transfer windows, buying for the here and now.

The Red Devils need to start nailing their recruitment once again and invest in not only now to improve the team but look two, maybe three seasons ahead. United’s academy is one of the best around, and has been for a number of decades with it bringing through the infamous class of 92, and more recently Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford to name a few.

Two young names United have been linked with is Ben Godfrey and Logan Pye…

Ben Godfrey

Rio Ferdinand’s starlet Godfrey has been making waves in the Championship with League winners Norwich City. Currently, under the New Era umbrella, Ferdinand has been championing the 21-year-old defender who has made 35 appearances this season, scoring four goals in the process.

Currently rated at 3.50m, Norwich are currently looking for a rumoured 15m for the player. Godfrey isn’t pushing for a move, however, Old Trafford is always an irresistible offer for any player.

He seems good in the air, and his short passing game out of defence is a huge bonus.

Logan Pye

Logan Pye is only 15-year-old and is already attracting the likes of United, a rumoured £500,000 move for the left-back is in the pipeline this summer, with United looking to bring in the highly rated Sunderland man.

He’s made three appearances in the Premier League u18 league, scoring once and is yet to make his England u16 debut. However, with his current potential career trajectory, this won’t be far off.

We may not see Pye come to fruition any time soon, but United are taking the right steps for the future of the club.

Pep Goes Against His Former Team Barcelona For Ajax Star Matthijs de Ligt But What’s All The Fuss About?

Manchester City are always on the lookout for Europe’s best talent to improve their already incredible team, and none come more exciting than Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt.

With the possible departure of Nicolas Otamendi and legendary club captain Vincent Kompany getting to his twilight years, City need to continue their impressive recruitment by bringing in a player of age and quality – De Ligt fits the bill perfectly.

It seems Ajax are going to be a victim of their own success this transfer window, much like Monaco a few seasons ago. Ajax have built a team of talented youngsters and they have all seemed to come to fruition at the same time. With most of the European giants starting to hover around, it looks like the Dutch defender is the target for Pep’s old side Barcelona also, with the competition for buying the best hots up massively again this year.

The 19-year-old looks strong in the air and his passing game would suit Pep Guardiola’s style perfectly, however his tackling can let him down at times. This is where Kompany’s experience and guidance in his latter years would pay dividends.

De Ligt has also found himself on scoresheet four times this season in his 45 appearances, as Ajax push for the Eredivisie title and a possible Champions League final.

The 63m rated star is already a full Dutch international, with 15 appearances and one goal for his country – which in itself speaks volumes of this lads talent and hype. No doubt many clubs will be linked, nevertheless, when Man City come knocking, especially with Pep, you can’t see many players turning that chance down lightly.

Manchester City fans what do you think, do you think De Ligt fits the Pep bill perfectly, or is there someone else you’d prefer?

Part 1: Fifa19 Challenge: Oldham to the Champions League in Six Years

Hello, I’m Ian, and I’ve been handed the task of taking Oldham Athletic to the Champions League in six seasons!

Yeah, you read that right…six seasons!!

If you didn’t know we put a Twitter poll out of various Fifa19 challenges:

The winner by some distance was Oldham to the Champions League.

So, having last played Fifa17, and not picked up the PS4 pad for a while, I’ve set myself on the professional level – we’ll see how it goes.

Now I have a little system that I feel works for manager type games, and I’m hoping it pays off one more time. I’ve disabled the first transfer window, as I want to see what I’ve got in my team for the first half of the season at least. So no incomings until January, which I’m hoping I don’t need as I bid to build the bank for later seasons.

The board have set the following objectives for the season:

  1. Win League Two
  2.  Get to the last 32 of the FA Cup

My first course of action was to hire two scouts for my youth academy, this is going to be vital in the coming seasons. With the 1.4million budget I’ve got, I need to rely on youth coming through and also start to become a feeder club to bring in the money for when I hit the Championship and Premier League.

I feel like I’ve got two decent scouts to start off with; One with experience and one with judgement. I’ve set them both a 6-month assignment in England and Scotland to find the best out there they can…so we’ll see come Jan.

My formation is going to be determined with the players I have to hand, I like either a 433 or a 442 diamond with my wingers way out wide, a holding midfielder and a player with the free-range behind the front two – a little old school but I prefer it.

I currently have a squad of 27 players, in January I’d like to trim that by a couple. I like to have two in each position, ideally a first-team starter and either a youngster or an older player as a backup. I also like to have 2 utility players who can play a number of roles in defence and midfield.

On first glance it’ll seem two out of my six strikers will be earmarked to go in the winter window, and possibly a left back.

We’ve just entered a preseason tournament with the prize money set at £1.3m. We have Accrington, Antalyaspor and Yeni Malatyaspor in the group stages, I’m quietly confident we can claim one of the two qualifying spots to progress through.

I should have a clearer idea of the formation path I want to go down after the tournament before season one starts…

Let’s get going!

Man United Ending Up In Sixth Would Not Be a Bad Thing

Much as been made over the need for Champions League football at Old Trafford next season.

Granted last time the Red Devils qualified for the Europa League, they went big in the transfer market and massively overspent on players to lure them to Manchester, eventually winning the competition.

However, this time around is a completely different feel to back then. Solskjaer needs to rebuild a squad that has lacked any sort of consistency over the years, there’s deadwood in there that should have gone a long time ago and a need to bring in players to suit the style and history of Old Trafford.

Being in the Europa League may not be what the financial people want at the club. However, what United must learn from the last time they were in this position is not splash the cash to hunt for instant success. United now need to rebuild over two, three transfer windows, time has to be given and recruitment needs to be on point.

United are competing in the market with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs and going toe-to-toe in a bidding war is not what the board want to get involved in.

Looking outside the box, using their vast scouting network and most of all being shrewd. Man United is still a big attraction for the majority of players around the world, and throwing cash at players shouldn’t have to be the answer. The Norwegian needs to convince players to be apart of the rebuild – one that could see some further bad times for the United faithful.

However, if they now and understand that the club is restructuring from top to bottom, they’ll be a little more forgiving: as long as they don’t go into mid-table mediocrity of course.

United could attract the type of player that is up for the battle over the salary, players with prospect. So maybe, just maybe finishing in the Europa League spots could be a blessing and drive United into going a different direction. They can’t afford to throw more money at flops and underperforming players anymore.

This is a crucial time in United’s recent history, and one they can’t afford to get wrong.

VAR In Review: Three Dreaded Words Man City Fans Don’t Want To See Again

For many years football has asked for technology. UEFA decided to bring VAR into the Champions League in January in order to sort out ‘clear and obvious decisions’.

‘Can somebody please tell me what clear and obvious is?’ said BT Sport Host Gary Lineker to ex ref turned pundit Peter Walton, as TV discussed Danny Rose’s handball from a Raheem Sterling shot in The Champions League first leg quarter final between Tottenham and Manchester City last week.

Lineker’s view echoes what many football fans think. As delirium turned to heartbreak at the Etihad Stadium last night, Man City fans probably wanted the use of VAR to be shelved right back in the wardrobe and never be brought out again. Twelve months ago though, when Guardiola’s side played Liverpool when VAR was inactive, City fans sung loudly from the rooftops for UEFA to be included in European games.

Technology in football is a rather funny thing. If it works in your favour you become a fan, if works against your team fans seem to want nothing to do with the system.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has always had is reservations where VAR is concerned, on Wednesday night he may just have found a new ally. On the other side of the touchline, Pep Guardiola, leading advocate for video assistance in football, his reaction as referee Cuneyt Cakir disallowed Sterling’s near but not so near winner was one of heartbreak.

Whatever the answer, VAR’s way of clearing up problems is throwing up more heartbreak than anyone may have thought. On another note, the time taken for the whole thing to work needs much looking at in the close season.

The atmosphere inside the Etihad become a church graveyard. All starting when the stadium announcer calls ‘VAR in review’. Then there is silence, pure silence. 54,000 fans cramped in one building and you can hear a pin drop.

Anticipation or dread may well be the answer. But staring at an empty blue screen stating, ‘Goal in review’ can only kill an atmosphere. Twice in one half is quite simply no good for fans, especially when they have no clue what the match day official is being told  or why he has his hand to an earpiece.

This happened when PSG played United last month. Before Marcus Rashford tucked away an injury time penalty winner, The crowd inside Le Parc des Princes found no words to describe their emotions as somehow a trio of pitch side officials plus a man by a computer could send the French Champions out of Europe.

Again at Tottenham’s new ground last week in the run-up to Aguero’s penalty miss,  VAR made thousands of excited home fans go silent. Did the eventual decision clear up or answer the question of whether a penalty should or should not have been given. Not really.

Slowing the action down does not mean a decision is correctly awarded. Handball shouts and appeals like Danny Rose, VAR’s use is welcomed, all be it with a pince of salt and a cheesy smile.

Should Solskjaer add David Neres To His Shopping List This Summer?

Manchester United are plotting a £45 million move for Ajax striker David Neres claims The Sun. The Red Devils were the latest to join the transfer race with some of Europe’s elite clubs such as Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton.

David Neres is a star in the making, a youth product of Brazilian outfit, Sao Paulo, Neres signed for the Amsterdam club in 2017. After making an immediate impact with the reserve side Jong Ajax, the 22-year-old soon was promoted to the main team.

The following season, the Brazilian forward was more effective scoring 14 goals and providing 13 assists in just 32 league appearances. Furthermore, he has been in red hot form this season so far, bagging 12 goals and eight assists across all competitions.

His notable performance came at the Champions League when he scored a goal against the defending champions Real Madrid. Later the Dutch giants were able to eliminate Los Blancos out of the competition in a 4-1 win.

Furthermore, Neres scored a stunning equalizer against Juventus last week in the quarter-finals thus keeping alive his side’s semi-final hopes, who completed the job last night.

Man United were off to an underwhelming start in Premier League this season under Jose Mourinho but dragged themselves back to top-4 four race lately under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The key aspect that went missing with the Red Devils is the lack of attacking prowess up in front, despite Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial’s decent run, United struggled to find a consistent striker.

With Romelu Lukaku’s fluctuating form and Alexis Sanchez becoming injury-prone, the Old Trafford side ran out of options on several occasions. Neres possesses tremendous dribbling skills, agility and attributes which pertain to a typical Brazilian striker.

Moreover, he is much more effective with the counter attacks and precisive passing inside the boxes that makes him a perfect fit for all the top clubs.

Ed Woodward should seriously consider Neres as their next striker to succeed Belgian ace, Lukaku.

…And Solskjaer Has Won It!

Every Man United fan knows them words, them words created little goosebumps on your arms, the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. The glorious night back in 1999, the venue was the Nou Camp, two goals in the injury time three minutes to secure the treble for that unbelievable side. It capped off an incredible couple of week for all players, staff and fans.

Solskjaer has been down 1-0 before in the Catalan’s stadium, we all know the outcome. However, 20 years on and things are very different. United simply don’t have the team of ’99, they are also facing a very good Barcelona side who have a certain Lionel Messi in their side. A Barcelona side who are cantering to the La Liga title and a side who could rest 10 players at weekend.

Ole can certainly draw experience from them type of matches, knowing they have to stay in it until the very end – Look at PSG in the last round, albeit a dubious penalty helped them but they still had to be in the position to force the ref to make the call.

United since then have stuttered their resurgence under the Norwegian, and not looked the same side having only won two in six games.

The players will have a point to prove and, a classic European night in one of the biggest stadiums in the footballing world has to force you to up your game.

Ole needs Rashford, Lukaku, Martial, Pogba and even the invisible Sanchez all to show up tonight. They all need to make a statement, one that could define their season. If United do somehow turn Barca over in their own back yard, let’s hope it doesn’t have the same effect as the PSG game in the last round. Otherwise they’ll be in a posiiton of Champions League or bust.

Furthermore, with a very important transfer window on the horizon, Champions League football is a must has they look to overall the squad.

Every Red Devil will be hoping for a 1999 Nou Camp result. What’s your score predictions Man United fans for tonight?

5 points off PlayOffs, 3 Unbeaten, 1 Game in-Hand, Wild’s Got Things Going Right For Oldham

While most of the country were glued to their TV’s watching the Champions League quarter finals unfold, fans of any of the clubs in the top third of the League Two table will have had their eyes on the two fixtures being played at a much less lofty position.

Bottom placed Macclesfield were engaged in a fight for survival against seventh placed Exeter and, Swindon and Newport were hoping to take advantage of their game in hand to edge them nearer to the play off places.

Latics fans would have been hoping for a draw between Swindon and Newport and an unlikely but not impossible win for Macclesfield. Their wishes came true as a certain Harry Smith scored two vital goals for Macclesfield, which lifts them out of the relegation places and the other teams played out a goalless draw.

The results could not have been better for Latics, Carlisle, Colchester and Stevenage who are all capable of reaching seventh place. The one difference however, is that Latics have a game in hand and could tip Exeter out of the last promotion place if they keep up their current winning form and beat Exeter on the 27th April.

Of course to do this, Latics need to win four or five league games on the trot, something they haven’t managed to do for the best part of 14 years therefore, it might well be made easier if the teams around them continue to drop points.

In the games leading up to Easter, many of the teams surrounding Latics face some tough fixtures and given that injuries, suspensions and fatigue all play a part in late season ambitions, there is still a great chance that Latics could, incredibly as it seems, be in contention for a top seven finish.

Already, our remaining away games that would have been largely ignored at Cheltenham, Exeter and Newport are being targeted by Latics impressive travelling army. It seems incredible that Oldham’s season has been given almost a second chance and if they can overcome Swindon this weekend to make it four wins in a row it will certainly appear that with Peter Wild back in charge things are starting to go right again.

Three Players That Ole Will Hope To Light Up Old Trafford Tonight

Man United face the mighty Barcelona in the Red Devils first quarter-final since 2014, when they were dumped out by Bayern Munich under David Moyes and only the second since 2011.

United haven’t fared well in the Champions League, after a purple patch of reaching the final three times in four years. Coincidentally losing two of those finals against tonight’s opponents Barcelona. At that time the Catalan outfit were THE team in Europe under Pep Guardiola, as they changed the footballing landscape with their brand of tiki-taka style.

Barca added to their Champions League tally last in 2015, beating Juventus 3-1 in the final.

The Red Devils have only beaten Barcelona once in the Champions League era, in that memorable Paul Scholes 1-0 win back in 2008. Barca have won three times, with the teams drawing on four occasions including back-to-back 3-3 draws.

If United are to get themselves a leg up to take to the Camp Nou, we’ve identified three players that need to be on their game tonight…

Paul Pogba

The Frenchman’s performances have tailed off lately and after an impressive start under Ole. However, Pogba is more than capable of changing the momentum of the game.

He can go missing in the big games, but tonight Solskjaer will be hoping for Pogba to bring his A-game and control, what will be a fascination midfield battle.

Chris Smalling

Smalling seems to be one of Ole’s first choices in the defence. Smalling can make United fans nervous at times, and often looks like bambi on ice. However, when he wants to, he can defend with the best of them but it’s that inconsistency within games that United fans can’t put there full faith and confidence in the English defender.

Anthony Martial

The Frenchman can light up the stands at times. His goalscoring form has certainly taken an upward trajectory this season, there was point in the season he was simply undroppable.

Unfortunately, injury derailed this and he’s struggled to re-find his groove. Martial can get Old Trafford up on their feet, and set the tone for the evening.

TWO EPL Fixtures That Man City Must Win In April To Keep Title Dreams Alive

Man City’s quadruple hopes are still very much alive, and they face a season, if not history defining April. In which, they have Premier League, FA Cup semi-final and a two-legged all English Champions League quarter final to overcome.

It’s been a toe-to-toe battle with Liverpool this season, with both sides edging in front at different times of the campaign. City currently trail Liverpool by two points, but they do have a very important game in-hand over their North West rivals against no other than their Manchester neighbours United.

While Pep will no doubt be in the hunt for all three remaining trophies, however, retaining the Premier League for the first time would be a huge achievement. In order to keep in the hunt and on Liverpool’s tails, City have some tricky and big matches throughout April.

They entertain Spurs home and away in the Champions League fixture in April, with a FA Cup semi-final against Brighton near the start of the month alongside five Premier League matches – including a mouth watering Manchester derby.

However, there are two matches that are a must win for the Citizens in order to strengthen their chances of retaining their title come the end of the season.

Let’s take a look at the two fixtures in question…

Retro Football Cushions

Away v Crystal Palace – 14th April

Always a tricky place to go to and one that could be a potential banana skin for Pep’s City side – We all remember Liverpool under Rodgers!?

Pep will not want a similar story to be the headline come May. Palace on their day can mix it well with the big boys as well as City know, especially after the 3-2 defeat back in December.

A win away at Selhurst Park will make a huge statement in April and one that could go a long way in the title race.

Away v Man Utd – 24th April

It’s a tough call between this match and the Spurs match. However, as this is the game in hand over Liverpool and a Manchester derby – it edges it.

Away at a rejuvenated United side is going to be a tough fixture, but one that City have to win in order to keep either keep the pressure on or keep the distance between them and Liverpool – given the situation at the time.

This game in hand could be the title defining game. It’s going to be a tough test for City, but every game throughout the month are tough tests that Pep and his players have to overcome in order to write their name in the history books once again.

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