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‘Some say Gary Neville is still talking about Pogba’s penalty’ Has Neville overreacted to Man Utd star?

Gary Neville is being criticised for his relentless targeting of Paul Pogba after his penalty miss against Wolves at Molineux.

The Wolves v Man Utd fixture gave the fans, players and coaches plenty of positives and negatives to take away from the game.

For example, Man Utd’s defence looks incredibly solid and confident. However, Luke Shaw is a blatant weakness as he found himself in the back pocket of super-sub Adama. Daniel James has all the right ideas but needs more game time and confidence to become more clinical and consistent.

Martial and Rashford looked deadly, but with 65% possession and almost double the passes of their opponents, more chances need to be created.

But despite all of these lessons learned and improvements made, Gary Neville had only one thing to talk about after the game…

Gary Neville used his post-match analysis time to talk about Paul Pogba taking the penalty over Rashford. He makes fair and reasonable points about how the penalty taker should be decided in the dressing room and not on the pitch. But this conversation could have been five minutes long.

Neville’s constant criticism of Pogba has raised many eyebrows, particularly since the ex-Utd man isn’t perfect himself…

Uncalled for racial abuse

Paul Pogba received racial abuse on social media after his saved penalty that lost the Reds two points. People have made accusations that Neville’s monologues of Pogba’s shortcomings have incited this horrendous behaviour…

The likelihood is that Gary Neville did not want these repercussions. But merely targets Pogba due to his status as a world-class player. However, the persistent criticism remains unjustified, as there are eleven players with the World’s most prolific badge on their chest, not just one.

Some are waiting for Neville to address the issue…

Racism in football or anything at all is totally unacceptable by today’s standards.

But setting that part of the overall issue aside, there is still cause for concern with the amount of criticism aimed at Paul Pogba for his penalty after the 1-1 draw against Wolves…

…when there are so many positives, negatives, improvements and moments of brilliance to talk about instead.

What Are Plymouth Getting if They Get Their Man Ryan Lowe

Despite the marathon 46 game season done and dusted, Bury just cannot keep themselves out of the headlines.

Following on from Wednesday’s player statement which announced the heroes from promotion would indeed have to find another club in order to be paid, rumours of whether the architect to the Shaker’s success might have to leave the North of England to find paid work.

Having turned his hand to punditry over the past few weeks as part of Sky Sports playoff coverage, the man behind promotion looks more than likely now to replicate his success from this season down south.

The Sun have reported the former striker is heading for the exit door at Gigg Lane. So what exactly will Plymouth be getting if they manage to secure Lowe as a manager?

Goals, Goals, Goals

A league-high of 82 goals were scored during the 2018/19 with leading man Nicky Maynard racking up 20 of them.

Although a fair few were leaked at the other end, 56 the second highest in the top seven behind Newport County, the expansive way of playing earned rave reviews up and down the country.

Articles and reports aplenty were dedicated to Bury and Lowe in particular. Argyle fans will see something rather rare next season at Home Park, football-inspired and complimented than non-other than Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp himself.

Ditching of traditions

Despite the EFL not being known for glamour football, Bury certainly booked the trend for long ball football, seen far too much in the lower leagues for Lowe’s liking anyway.

Four at the back was quickly ditched for a more expansive and innovative 3-5-2, with the utilisation of wing-backs Nicky Adams and Callum McFadzean being a key to Bury’s play.

The question to Lowe’s success down South, should he go, of course, may come down to which players he can bring in to be able to re-create his attacking style of play.

The relationship he has with Rangers boss Steven Gerrard could pave the way for fresh attacking talent down south. Jordan Rossiter arrived from Scotland in January and, was by far the most consistent signing steering his loan side to automatic promotion.

What Can Keith Hill’s Winter Signings Bring To Rochdale?

Rochdale have had a busy transfer window with Joe Rafferty, Andy Cannon, David Perkins, Harrison McGahey and Brendan Moore departing the club permanently. Sam Hart, Magnus Norman & Connor Randall also returned to their parent clubs from loans.

In their place in have come; Ryan Mclaughlin permanently from Blackpool, Rory Holden from Bristol City, Ethan Ebanks-Landell from Wolves, Ethan Hamilton from Man Utd, Rekeil Pyke from Huddersfield and most recently Joe Bunney from Northampton all on loan. With such a massive overhaul mid-season, there is the risk of it having a detrimental effect on the team.

However, with how results have gone in the first half of the season Rochdale now knows that they find themselves in a relegation battle again, with arguably a much stronger squad than they had last season. It is difficult to try and understand why but over this article I will assess each of the new signings individually, and try to outline what they could bring to Rochdale as they attempt to battle bravely against relegation again.

Rory Holden

Rory signed on loan from Bristol City on the 3rd of January and has so far made 5 appearances, starting 4 games mostly from the right of midfield. I have had the pleasure of watching 2 of the matches he was involved in and he looks to have good quick feet and isn’t afraid to take a man on. Something Rochdale have in short supply.

Ethan Hamilton

Ethan joined Rochdale on loan from Manchester United on the 11th of January. He has started all 3 games for Rochdale since he signed playing in the centre of midfield. He scored against Peterborough in a 2-1 loss earlier this month. Another player I have seen play and he looks like he has a decent level of technical ability, I expect him to be a great addition if he can continue how he started.

Ethan Ebanks-Landell

The second Ethan to sign for Dale on the 11th January, joining from Wolves. He also has started every game since his arrival. Playing centre back. I think he is an excellent signing and a real solid centre back, let us just hope he can raise the game of the other defenders around him.

Ryan McLaughlin

Ryan arrived from Blackpool on the 23rd of January as a direct replacement for the departing Joe Rafferty on the same day. He made his debut at the weekend against Barnsley as a right back in a losing effort. I haven’t seen him play yet myself but, can see he looks to be a like for like replacement for Rafferty with both players coming through Liverpool’s academy

Rekeil Pyke

The newest arrival for Rochdale who signed just yesterday on loan from Huddersfield for the rest of the season and is expected to play up front. Huddersfield cut short his loan spell at Wrexham where in 14 starts and 12 sub appearances he scored 5 goals this season. Wrexham averaged 1.78 points per game he started and he has been described as “a good size, a threat aerially but having a poor work ethic.

Having known nothing about Pyke I’m reserving judgement and will give him my full support, I expect him to be a striker option to play off Henderson, and hopefully offer him support and inject a little pace into Rochdale’s attack.

Joe Bunney

Joe made a deadline day return to Dale on loan after Northampton cut short his loan at Blackpool after leaving 12 months ago in the January transfer window last season. He looks like the left back Keith Hill has been after all window and is very familiar with the club, the fans and what the manager will want. With it not been long since his departure he should slot back into the team with relative ease and, should bring another useful option in that left back position.

It’s Clear Bury AND Lincoln Will Need to Strengthen Next Season to Thrive in League One

The fixture of Bury vs Lincoln City is likely to be given a second helping in the 2019/20 season of football. The most likely outcome is the game will take place in League One rather than League Two.

For having seen two of three teams in the automatic playoff places pit against each other only two days ago, to talk about one is to talk about the other almost.

Both with young managers who encourage open, expansive football, it was little wonder we were treated to such a spectacle. A total of 22 shots on goal at either end which saw six goals scored, it was no surprise that either team played a type of football which merited better than the soggy playing surface and worse for wear conditions.

Yet despite an end to end attacking fixture, it will leave both Ryan Lowe and Danny Cowley believing that more is needed to do, in order to fix a set of teams that are capable of leaving the back door open at times.

Lincoln only managed three shots on target in the game and had were dominated in possession by The Shakers, their third goal was ever so slightly dodgy however. In defence of the Shakers back line, Callum McFadzean was adjudged to have brought down Imps player Harry Anderson in the box where Lincoln striker John Akinde thought he’d scored the winner.

Soft penalty? Yes. It defiantly needed a fair few looks on the replay to give a clear cut decision.  Needn’t so the Shakers found themeless trailing again and their goals against tally had racked up to 36 by seven thirty pm. Second place Mansfield have let in 14 fewer.

The same could be said at the other end of course. Lincoln are by no means rock solid at the back, but still have the best goal difference in the league. Now 5 clear of Mansfield with a game in hand over Bury, they look are most likely uncatchable. But Bury can draw many positives as several times they managed to split the Lincoln defence.

Their Boss Cowley stated post-match that his side are better ‘with and without the ball’ yet ‘Bury are very good with but not as good without it’. A note to his colleague on the positives and negatives of this style, one of the reasons they are probably on the same page in terms of style and management.

Lowe’s encouragement of attacking football in the EFL should always be applauded and would have been seconded by the neutral. The only problem with this game was Millwall’s giant-killing over Everton was played at exactly the same time and may have stolen a few viewers more as part of the terrestrial TV.

However good the open football was, it took a good old set piece for the home side to steal a point through centre back Will Aimson. Part of a back three by Lowe which contains two wing backs which play virtually as wingers, it’s no surprise to see them a tad exposed at times. Yet Aimson deserved his goal after an impressive display.

But there is no doubt Lowe will work to solve this problem of course. He can take Bury to League One playing this current way as the last 30 games suggest. But a bit of defensive work this summer may not go amiss.

A Must Win For Bury Over Lincoln to Stay in The Title Race

Back in August the majority of Bury fans would have been pleased to see their side make the play-off places this season. The fact that the end of January is upon us and the Shakers are second in League Two and into the Checkatrade semi-finals, the season so far has been above and beyond what any Gigg Lane regular would have believed possible.

To end the season as League Two champions would be a bonus, rather than a necessity for the club. Just to bounce straight back up to League One, which of course is still not a guarantee, will be so very valuable as the side look to consolidate themselves as a stable League One side over the next few years.

After battling for the play-off places for the majority of the season, suddenly Ryan Lowe’s side have found themselves in an unlikely position to what many, including Lowe himself, could have imagined.

Now however things are different. A win for Bury over Lincoln in their Sky live clash on Saturday will have them only three points off The Imps. Impressive you think? Most definitely, especially since Bury have had a winter takeover in a new chairman which saw Steve Dale take over the ranks from Stewart Day. The club put their faith in Lowe, who leading into the season had very little managerial experience.

The League Two table is tight though and despite Bury’s unbeaten run in 2019, they can’t afford a defeat anytime soon. To start with one against rivals Lincoln wouldn’t be ideal. Only six points keep apart second place Bury and seventh-placed Colchester, while a matter of four points keeps them above Carlisle in fourth. A few winless games would be fatal, yet this side managed by Lowe doesn’t seem to do this very often anymore. 77 goals have been scored in all competitions this season by the likes of Maynard, O’Shea and co. The only team ahead of them on that front is near geographical neighbours in Manchester City.

A Lincoln win tomorrow will see the Shakers fall nine points behind the Table toppers, and they have a game in hand as well over Bury in the league. Most likely impossible to chase down. But to dismiss Bury this season would be careless. Just ask the other 22 teams below them in the league.

Oldham Defeat Means Lowe Will Start to Ponder Bury’s Away Form

On Friday I wrote about how Bury were ready to make a charge for promotion automatically, missing out on those pesky playoffs. Three days later I won’t now start saying the Shakers are suddenly in a crisis.

However, even the most loyal Bury fan would admit going 3-0 after just thirty minutes was pretty alarming, especially in a local derby against an Oldham side who began the day outside the top twelve.

When finding out nearest rivals Colchester had also been thumped 4-0 by Carlisle, the away dressing room at Boundary Park would have had smoke whistling out of the windows.

Yet the away dressing room hasn’t always been a happy place for the Shakers this season. More recently the atmosphere may be getting just a bit worse. After a penalty save against Exeter only seven days previously, Joe Murphy had an afternoon to forget, Oldham’s fourth goal is certainly a moment he won’t want to relive.

The Shakers have dominated virtually all their games this season until Saturday’s derby, therefore this may have just been a ‘bad day at the office’. However, with both sides operating in a 4-4-2 formation, Oldham found themselves in dreamland with Latics manager Frankie Bunn winning out on the tactical battle.

But Bury’s defence certainly has a fair few weaknesses. Chris Stokes at left back looks a particularly weak link for example and there are times when –  should the Shakers end the season with promotion – this defence could need investment.

Whereas Jose Mourinho can spend millions upon millions on a back line in the January transfer if afforded such luxuries by those above him. Ryan Lowe is not quite as fortunate, yet will have to work out where best to play Eoghan O’Connell and find Bury’s strongest centre-back partnerships amongst a fair few defenders.

Away from home though and Bury aren’t quite having the same luck. In 11 away league games, Bury have won 3, drawn 3 and lost 5. Something similar in 2019 and the Shakers will struggle to make the top three or need an over-reliance on their performances at Gigg Lane.

That might not be such a worry though in this season so far, as 7 wins in 11 have been topped up. For now, there should be no reason to worry, yet the hectic schedule over Christmas may be more telling.

For now, Lowe will hope some festive joy can do away with the ever-increasing away day blues.

Pep Should Continue to Blood The Youngsters When City Resume Carabao Cup Action

Despite not being a top priority for Premier League title-chasing clubs, the Carabao Cup offers City the chance to continue to breed in their young guns.

Last time out, eighteen-year-old and boyhood City fan – Phil Foden made his mark against Oxford in the last round, capping off a wonderful night with his first goal for the club.

City’s academy are surely banking on Foden and co to deliver on the big stage in the future.

The reigning Carabao Cup holders take on Premier League strugglers Fulham tomorrow night, and it would be nice to see how these academy graduates perform.

Brahim Diaz

It’s been a long while seen we saw Diaz in a City shirt. In fact, it was the last round at League Two Oxford when the Spaniard stepped over the white line. Reports suggest Diaz is unlikely to remain in Manchester in the long run, with Spanish giants Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund amongst the teams who have been interested.

A place for the City winger in tomorrows starting eleven may give Diaz some believe that his football career lies here in Manchester.

Despite the Nineteen-year-olds future up in the air, it would be nice to see him make a rare start against the Cottagers tomorrow night.

Arijanet Muric

A slightly surprise selection, however, it is most likely City’s current number two goalkeeper Muric will get the nod in goal tomorrow again.

With Claudio Bravo unavailable through injury, the nineteen-year-old will again start for City as he fills the void of ‘domestic cup goalkeeper’.

Tomorrow will again see the young goalie get a chance to impress under the spotlights. The chances of him featuring in sky blue permanently are very little at this moment. Yet a good game tomorrow should ease all nerves that the Kosovan is a more than a fitting replacement should Ederson suffer an injury.

WHY 2-Goal Hero Can Be Key as Bury Look to Gain More Points on The Road

Just five games of the new season and Bury fans weren’t feeling very optimistic.  It’s easy to jump at early conclusions and football fans are the worst at times. Some fans of the Shakers fans were already considering back to back relegations. The loyal faithful feared the worst as Bury just couldn’t stop losing late leads.

Yet since a difficult start, things have fallen nicely into place for Ryan Lowe’s men. As the away day blues looked to have been cured, Bury look to go four unbeaten away at South Manchester side Crewe Alexandra.

The visitors go into the game as favourites and fresh off two goals at home to Mansfield, Nicky Maynard goes into this game on top form. On his home debut last Saturday, Maynard got off to the best possible start getting onto the scoresheet after firing blanks at Northampton and Colchester on his first outings.

Two goals in his first three games is no bad start and the League Two outfit could do with a proven goalscorer capable of twenty plus goals a season to fire them back to League One.

Ryan Lowe will want somebody to follow in his 2010/11 season footsteps when the scouser’s goals helped get Bury promoted.

Maynard may just be the man Lowe needs then. After training with Crewe during the summer, Bury may just make tomorrows opponents eat their words.

How good it would be for the former Aberdeen man too having only joined the club at the end of September with Jermaine Beckford and Caolan Lavery injured, Maynard could end up lasting till the end of the season, however, he’s only contracted till January.

Of course the amount of goals he scores will be crucial to his playing career at Bury. A goal or two at Crewe tomorrow wouldn’t be a bad way to start.

Danny Mayor Can Be League Two’s Eden Hazard as Bury Look For Promotion

When thinking of Eden Hazard running the show for Chelsea, you don’t often associate the Belgian with Danny Mayor at Bury. However both men wear the number ten on their backs, they both play in attacking midfield.

Yet Mayor could probably learn a few things from Hazard as well. Mayor can be the driving force for Bury this season, just like Hazard is for Chelsea. While the Belgian looks to take Chelsea to the title, Mayor can help Bury win promotion back to League One.

It was Nicky Maynard who helped Bury nick a point off Mansfield last Saturday, grabbing a goal in the dying seconds and denying Mansfield a valuable away win, not to mention former Shakers manager David Flitcroft three points on his return to North Manchester.

Mayor played a key role in Bury’s promotion to under Flitcroft and the Shakers may need a number of players including Mayor to shine this season.

There’s no denying his performance against Grimsby last month was eye-catching as Bury stormed to a 4-0 win. Sadly no wins at home have come since, one defeat against Carlisle and a draw last Saturday against Mansfield leaving manager Ryan Lowe with a feeling of ‘what might have been’.

Away from home The Shakers have more than found their footing. Wins against Colchester and Swindon following on from a draw at Northampton have Bury unbeaten in three, performances to the extent club boss Ryan Lowe has been nominated for ‘Manager Of The Month’.

Another win at Crewe on Saturday will be key for Bury in continuing their promotion push. Lowe will be hoping Mayor can find his creative flair once again, as the Shakers look to continue their fine show on the road.

How Important is The First Goal When Man City Are in Town?

The minute Sergio Aguero tucked home his fourth goal of the season in the driving rain at Cardiff, the home side didn’t really have a prayer.

You could say the same for most teams over the past year or so. When City get the first goal there really is no turning back.

Liverpool were the last team to beat City when behind, that in the second leg of a Champions League tie. But the men in red were already 3-0 ahead going into that game.

So it would’ve been Manchester United who completed the last proper comeback against the blues. From 2-0 down at half-time, Mourinho’s men turned the game around to win 3-2.

Yet these sort of comebacks have been very rare over the past year. However, one occurred last Wednesday night on another disappointing night for Manchester City in the Champions League.

When Maxwell Cornet opened the scoring for Lyon on twenty-six minutes last week, the French side knew they had a fighting chance. They scored another and won 2-1, City were unable to overturn the tie.

When Willy Boly put Wolves ahead against the Champions last month, the team in Gold managed to take at least a point in just their third game back in the Premier League. Perhaps some of the reasons for Liverpool’s success against City has been they’ve struck the first blow.

In City’s 5-0 battering last September, Sergio Aguero took the lead completely against the run of play after Mo Salah had missed a host of chances for the visitors. City never looked back yet, Liverpool never made the same mistake again.

So a lesson for City’s future opposition, don’t give them the opening goal. City very rarely go behind but curiously, don’t often win when conceding first. The last time City won when behind was against Bristol City in the Carabao Cup, a competition they went onto win.

‘Whoever finishes ahead of City will win the league and whoever beats them in the Champions League will win that to’ said Neil Warnock after City’s win at Cardiff yesterday.

If City’s opponents score the first goal, they’re in with a fighting chance.

 

 

 

 

 

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