Tag Archives: chris smalling

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.

Deserved: Two reasons why Man Utd are right to extend centre-backs stay

Swedish outlet Sportbladet reports new contract for Victor Lindelof, taking him to 2025 with Man Utd.

The partnership between Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire in Man Utd’s 4-0 victory over Chelsea was something Red Devils haven’t seen in years. Their defensive solidarity allows for the Reds to play the ball out from the back. The team can now attack with confidence as they trust the defensive barracks behind them.

Maguire signed a contract with Man Utd until 2025, with the option of extending a further year. Victor Lindelof, according to reports, is also being offered a contract until 2025. Coincidence? I think not.

The Football Manc Cave bring you 2 reasons why Victor Lindelof signing a new contract is essential to Man Utd’s future…

The perfect match

Maguire and Lindelof against Chelsea

Since Lindelof’s arrival at Man Utd, he has been playing alongside Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on the majority of occasions. Two defenders who were completely dropped from the squad on the opening day this season.

Partnered with Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof’s deficiency (aerial dominance) is covered.

Maguire acts as the rock of the defence, whilst Lindelof is slightly more nimble and can pull off last-ditch tackles and keep up with pacey attackers.

The way the newly wedded partners Maguire and Lindelof behaved, conducted and commanded the game against Chelsea was nothing short of outstanding. Solskjaer has landed himself one of the best defences in the league, especially with Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the mix.

Do one, Barca!

Reports over summer suggested Barcelona were interested in Victor Lindelof. Upon his arrival, the Swede struggled with the physicality of the Premier League. At this time, he would have been a perfect fit for Barcelona.

Lindelof’s quality suggests that he still is. However, the ‘Iceman’ has worked on his physicality, as well as aerial dominance and other areas he lacked in. This made him the first choice centre back for both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Although the defender is not seen in the limelight, shouting and raving about his love for the club, his determination to improve himself and his weakness demonstrates that he is the perfect fit for Man Utd.

Making him all the more likely to see a renewed contract as a reward, and not as a hurdle in stepping up to a bigger European club.

Solskjaer has instilled a fighting team spirit. Soon, the squad will be drilled in winning everything, every time, just like the old days.

His management kept Paul Pogba committed to the club, so keeping Lindelof should be a breeze.

Man Utd can score goals but are one injury away from the inadequacy of last season – Agree?

The dark cloud over Old Trafford appears to be fading. What does Man Utd’s 4-0 thrashing over Lampard mean for the Red Devils as they march on?

No honest Man Utd or Chelsea fan can admit they saw that coming. Despite Chelsea having moments of showing how they can find themselves in dangerous areas, the attacks were always snuffed.

Man Utd and Chelsea are in similar situations, both have a much weaker squad than they have done in the years gone by, both feel they are underachieving and both are managed by a club legend.

This occasion was truly boys versus men. Man Utd allowed Chelsea the arrogance to try and bring the game to the Reds on their home turf, backfiring 4 goals from 5 shots on target. Which leads on to the first key thing we learned from Solskjaer’s 4-0 win…

Clinical United

Romelu Lukaku’s departure from the club left many fans scratching their heads. Where on Earth was Manchester United going to get their goals from?

If Man Utd had just beaten Norwich, Sheffield Utd or Newcastle 4-0, with respect to those clubs, there would still be concern about how Man Utd will cope this season.

However, in a campaign where Man Utd are fighting for 4th place with Chelsea and Arsenal, the Reds have already sent one of them to the bins. With a fairly given penalty buried by Rashford, he continued to show how much bottle he has.

A real number nine goal for Man Utd’s number nine. It saw Man Utd play it out to the wing, whipped in across goal from Pereira and met in front of the net by Anthony Martial to make it 2-0.

Merely seconds later, a beautiful pass behind the Chelsea defence came from a quiet Paul Pogba, controlled and slotted home by Marcus Rashford. Challenging Martial for his striker spot.

Finally, a dream debut for substitute Daniel James. As Pogba drove forward, the Welsh speedster caught up to him on his right-hand side, was played in and buried it home.

Basically, Man Utd can score goals this season.

Ole agrees! Team selection

Man Utd fans worldwide disagree on many things, to the abuse of players, to the ownership to how nice the new strip is. But one thing they all agree on is that Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, and Nemanja Matic are crucial to why Man Utd will fail this season.

Be it silly mistakes, lack of quality or inability to keep up with the new style of play; Solskjaer gave none of them game time today.

It is positive for fans to see their club moving forward, after falling behind for so many years. It appears the concerns of the fans are also the concerns of Solskjaer and all are on the same page with how this Man Utd team should look, behave and perform. Unfortunately, the Reds are merely and injury or two away from having an inadequate squad.

If Man Utd play this 11, they will ease past Chelsea

Now that the transfer window has closed, The Football Manc Cave has predicted Manchester United’s starting line up for the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team start the season on Sunday the 11th of August and they’ll face Chelsea at 4.30pm.

The transfer window is now closed and one of the biggest talking points of the summer has been Harry Maguire. He’s joined Man United for a record-breaking fee. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has also joined the club and should have an impact on the squad going forward.

With that in mind, here’s the squad I’ve predicted…

Clearly, De Gea will open the line-up. Harry Maguire should then get his first start for the club to see how he’s blended in with the reds. Wan-Bissaka should also be started ahead of other options and be joined by Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling.

Despite Pogba’s future being questioned all summer, he’s ended up staying with the reds and should start this weekend with Scott McTominay accompanying him.

These two should then have the support of Rashford, Lingard and Daniel James. Martial should then be solo upfront. The formation could be changed, however, I do think this line up will be pretty similar to what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will pick.

Having new signing start is a risk, however, it’s the first game of the season and a chance to see how these players have gelled together and how they’ll cope.

Man Utd’s Transfer window: Is Solskjaer doomed before the season starts?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United are doomed before the season has even started. Here is why.

Since landing the job on a permanent basis, Solskjaer has pledged to ‘rebuild’ this Man Utd squad. He also assured the fans that he ‘will be successful’ and will be ‘ruthless’ with his squad.

Despite these promises, very little has changed. Two players have exited, Ander Herrera (the club’s second-best midfielder) and Romelu Lukaku (the club’s most prolific goalscorer). Could these two really have been who Solskjaer meant when he said we ‘wouldn’t see’ some of these players again? Surely not.

There are both positives and negatives to come out of this transfer window. Naturally, we’ll start with the negatives…

Negatives

So, with the Reds losing a striker and a midfielder. Who have they brought in to replace them? Two defenders from lower clubs and a winger from Swansea. Fantastic business, no?

Given the benefit of the doubt, Solskjaer will likely not have purposely lied to the fans. More so, the board have once again let a manager down.

During the uproar of fan concern and protest against the ‘higher-ups’ in the clubs, we saw leaks about promising players such as Paulo Dybala, Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen, all of which did not materialise.

As it stands, with ins and outs, Man Utd have a transfer window net spend of £70million. Man Utd needed to invest upwards of £200million to have a fighting chance at winning anything this season.

This is the biggest and richest club in English football with the weakest squad, fans have seen in well over 20 years. The same club that has promised a rebuild and success to the fans. Once again, let down.

Solskjaer has said that he would only want players who are keen to play for Man Utd, hence why deals with big players fell through. As Man Utd is ultimately a step-down from Juventus and even Tottenham, as of current circumstances.

However, last season Solskjaer also stated that big names are eager to join his team. Whilst their only acquisitions were players from Leicester City, Crystal Palace and Swansea City. Despite this, the signings made do look promising…

Positives

The introduction of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire have turned a laughing stock of defence, into one of the most elite defences in the Premier League. To this, hats off.

Wan-Bissaka has proven in pre-season to be practically unbeatable and will be a huge upgrade from Ashley Young. Who despite his best efforts, is not cut out for challenging for titles.

With Harry Maguire, fans know what they’re getting. A solid, English, Premier League proven defender whose mistakes are few and far between. A huge upgrade on Eric Bailly, who is always injured. Phil Jones, who tends to forget which side he plays for. And Chris Smalling, who’s decent performances are one in ten.

Daniel James gives some insight into the future projections of Man Utd. The fact they have any at all will be good news for fans.

Overall?

Drastic. Football games are won and lost in the midfield. Manchester United have a Paul Pogba who doesn’t want to be there. Andreas Pereira who is set to be Man Utd’s next 27-year-old ‘youth prospect’ and Scott McTominay who is a fantastic footballer, but totally unproven in the red jersey. There is also Fred and Matic who practically do nothing but give the ball away.

It will be a tough season for Man Utd. But remember, it most likely isn’t the fault of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It is evident that he loves the club. The best-case scenario would be for the amazing youth talents to come through and show the rest how it’s done.

Fans will have to do their bit and support through thick and thin. As most of the Man Utd squad can’t be trusted to perform, the fans should remain consistently supportive throughout the season. If not for the club, then for every moment of glory that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given them in the years gone by.

‘I’ll buy Rojo the train ticket to Everton’ Twitter reacts to Man Utd offloading defender

Man Utd could deem Marcos Rojo surplus to requirements in a deadline day transfer to Everton.

Everton has lost Kurt Zouma, Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka leaving the side desperate for centre-backs. Luckily for them, Man Utd now seven senior defenders in their squad. The Reds reportedly rejected a loan bid for Chris Smalling from Everton, who have now decided to pursue Marcos Rojo on a permanent basis.

It seems Manchester United fans are happy about cutting down on their amount of defender…

When asked about who will big news like Romelu Lukaku’s replacement, this user couldn’t help but bring up the issues with the Man Utd defence. But would prefer to keep Rojo over Smalling.

However, some fans would just get rid of both…

This Tweet sums up Everton’s transfer window deadline day, they may have found a door into getting their centre-back.

Both Everton and Manchester United would benefit from this deal. Solskjaer now has Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Axel Tuanzebe, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling in the first team. It is likely for the manager to favour three and have one or two ready to step in for injuries/suspensions.

This would give a reason for Man Utd to offload at least two defenders on deadline day.

Two qualities Maguire will finally bring to Man Utd’s backline

Harry Maguire has completed his long-awaited move to Old Trafford. Here is how one man from Sheffield can fix Manchester United.

Harry Maguire has become the world’s most expensive defender after joining Man Utd from Leicester for a reported fee of £80million.

Fans of the great Red Devils have been keen on bringing in a new defender for many years, particularly after the frequent injuries of Eric Bailly.

Maguire was in the spotlight during England’s 2018 World Cup in Russia. The centre-half pitched in with goals and assists in a competition which brought the nation together over the love of football, making a name for himself on the biggest stage.

Regardless of the huge price tag, public interviews and interactions with Harry Maguire show him to be a very humble and hard-working professional. Solskjaer has added a great character to his dressing-room. But what has he added to what we see on the pitch?

Ball playing centre-half

Manchester United struggle immensely with bringing the ball out from the back. The only top-quality defender in the side, Victor Lindelof, has begun to do this more often since the arrival of Solskjaer, to great effect.

However, pre-season taught us that Rojo, Smalling and Jones are incapable of playing from the back. Often running into trouble and losing the ball.

By having Harry Maguire in the squad, there will be two defenders able to carry the ball forward, preventing the fear of leaving a weakness alone at the back. Maguire completed 17 ‘take-ons’ last season. This is more than any other centre back in the Premier League.

So, not only is Maguire capable of bringing the ball into the midfield, he is one of the best at it.

Aerial wins

Solskjaer’s defence falls apart from set-pieces. They are completely lost when it comes to handling aerial threats in their own box.

This is where the ex-Leicester City man steps in. According to the following statistic from a football statistician who is frequently seen on MUTV, “Harry Maguire won 73% of his duels in the Premier League last season, Virgil van Dijk (76%) was the only CB with a better success rate (minimum 2000 minutes played).”

Therefore, David De Gea will have two fantastic defenders in front of him. Capable of dealing with a multitude of threats.

With Harry Maguire’s aerial abilities and desire to transition the ball into midfield, you can expect this Man Utd side to concede fewer and score more. A great signing for Manchester United.

Look forward to it Man Utd fans. How many stoppage-time headers will Maguire score this season?

2 strengths, 2 weakness that will get Man Utd a top-four finish in the league

Solskjaer’s rebuild of Manchester United looks promising as Man Utd win their first two games of pre-season.

Manchester United have begun their pre-season tour with two victories. The Reds beat Perth Glory 2-0 and then went on to crush Leeds United 4-0. Though being lower-tier clubs than Man Utd, fans saw glimpses of what Solskjaer is instilling into his squad.

The coaching staff have vigorously trained the boys, even having double sessions on several occasions.

Solskjaer will have a full pre-season under his belt, and it looks as though the Red Devils are on their way to being fully prepared for the 18/19 campaign.

Here are 2 strengths this Manchester United squad have that can place them in the top four…

High Intensity

The high pressing has been notable in the two pre-season games so far. This is something we haven’t seen for years. Previous managers took a defence-first approach which made pressing high up the field almost impossible for the players.

In the Premier League, a high level of intensity and constant pressure is a key ingredient to success.

Back on the saddle

Solskjaer has mentioned a rebuild on several occasions, and also revealed that each player will start with a clean slate. After a full break and a full pre-season, we could see a totally different Manchester United next season.

The disappointment of last season and the seasons before should spur the Reds on as their closest rivals both grabbed silverware at the end of last season.

Manchester United are far from having a world-class team who can be aiming for several trophies each season. The following weaknesses at Man Utd could destroy the dream of the reds having a great season for the first time in six years.

Defensive clown show

This could be entirely fixed by bringing in Harry Maguire. Manchester United need a solid defender who can protect the Reds from conceding as many set pieces as they have in recent years. The purchase of Aaron Wan-Bissaka has already massively improved the defence.

Chris Smalling struggles on the ball, and Phil Jones is extremely unreliable. Eric Bailly is prone to injury and Marcos Rojo is prone to red cards. Axel Tuanzebe may not yet be in contention to start for Man Utd. This leaves Man Utd with one reliable and high-quality defender; Victor Lindelof.

Slow negotiations

An unfortunate weakness with the Manchester United board. The Reds are terrible at securing transfers and a long time to negotiate with other clubs in order to spend as little money as possible.

This could mean that Man Utd don’t get the players they require to rebuild the Man Utd squad. Which would mean they are in for a very difficult season.

Two reasons why Maguire is the answer to Man Utd’s defensive puzzle

Harry Maguire is set to leave the foxes. The Football Manc Cave has two reasons why Leicester City’s loss is Manchester United’s gain.

Harry Maguire is rumoured to be having his medical at Manchester United today, according to Express.

However, ‘Maguire to Man Utd’ is a phrase we have heard for well over a year. The Red Devils’ boardroom failed to secure the deal when Jose Mourinho demanded an improved defence over twelve months ago.

There are obvious reasons why both Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have desperately sought the services of Harry Maguire.

Here are two of them…

Aerial Protection

Last season, the Englishman scored three goals for Leicester City. A figure that matches his financial competitor Virgil Van Dijk. The Dutchman of Liverpool won 75% of his aerial duels, whilst Maguire won 78%. This statistic is music to Man Utd fans’ ears. With their defensive line having been bullied by dominant attackers since the likes of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand was protecting the man between the sticks.

Victor Lindelof proved to be Manchester United’s best ball-playing defender, whilst his partner Chris Smalling proved to be a hindrance. The Swede’s one fault, aerial dominance, could be patched up by sticking him alongside World Cup hero Harry Maguire.

Stop passing it backwards!

The Leicester City defender had a passing range of 86% last season, compared to Virgil Van Dijk’s 90%. However, placing Maguire in a better squad could see this statistic soar.

With two defenders that can successfully play the ball out of their own box, we would see a tremendous improvement in the way the Reds move the ball up the field. This will impact both slow build-ups, as well as the old-school counter-attacking football Man Utd, is famed for.

In the recent pre-season game Man Utd vs Perth Glory, new signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka made a fantastic debut, completing 4/4 tackles in his 45 minutes. Next season we may see him partnered with Luke Shaw at full back, with Maguire and Lindelof in between. This would be the most solid Man Utd defence in the last 10 years.

Twitter reacts: ‘Man United signing Harry Maguire is a move that will greatly benefit the club’

Leicester City’s Harry Maguire to Manchester United deal is looking more realistic by the day, and here is what the fans think about it

Social Media and modern football don’t always mix well, as millions upon millions of fans throw their opinions at the wall. Today, The Football Manc Cave will delve into Twitter and pull out some of those fan opinions, which give a general feeling about how people feel about Harry Maguire to Manchester United.

According to reports, Maguire will be fetching £80million for the move from Leicester City, a world-record transfer fee for a defender. Interestingly a similar figure Real Madrid paid for the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo.

A select few are displeased with the huge sum of money for Maguire’s services.

In recent seasons, Manchester United’s defence has been a source of negativity for the red devils. As a result, fans have pointed the finger at the likes of Chris Smalling, Ashley Young and Nemanja Matic as they believe these players are incapable of keeping up with the force of Premier League attackers.

Some fans believe the figure of £80million is far too high for the English centre-back. However, other fans feel that the fee doesn’t matter as Maguire will improve the ever-failing Man Utd defence.

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