Man U plot January Ramsey move

Monday, 15 October 2018 00:58

Man United plot January Ramsey move

Manchester United are said to be interested in signing the Welsh midfielder this upcoming winter transfer window.

Aaron Ramsey will be out of contract at Arsenal at the end of the season.

Talks between Arsenal and Aaron Ramsey over a new contract for the 27-year-old last week hit a deadlock – as Arsenal are unwilling to meet the wage demands of the former Cardiff midfielder.

The Red Devils, who last winter transfer window, snapped Alexis Sanchez up from Arsenal are reported to be interested in signing another Arsenal player in this winter transfer window.

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has identified Ante Rebic and Nikola Milenkovic as possible January midfield recruitment, but should the United hierarchy fail to release funds, Ramsey has been identified as a more affordable target.

 

Ramsey is also a target for Italian sides Juventus and AC Milan, as the former will move for the Welsh international should attempt to sign Adrien Rabiot from PSG fails.

Published in Transfer Rumors

Wenger can give Man U a fresh start- Merson

Monday, 08 October 2018 18:49

Wenger's 22-year reign with Arsenal ended at the end of last season – and the French manager has been without a job since then.

With the future of Man United boss Jose Mourinho being cast into doubt in recent days – with reports emerging on Saturday morning that the Portuguese manager would be sacked irrespective of the outcome of the game against Newcastle, Paul Merson believed Wenger could give United a fresh start.

The former Arsenal player believes with Wenger, United don’t need to spend much in the transfer window – as the Frenchman’s gem could be the deciding factor.

Ahead of the Saturday game, where United came from a 2-0 goal down to defeat Newcastle 3-2, Merson said on Skysports: Seriously, that’s not the worst idea in the world.

“You’ve got to look at what Wenger did. You don’t have to go out and buy £70m to £80m players with some of the gems he’s got over time.

“It’s not bad shout. Sometimes you just need a fresh start.”

Published in International Watch

‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ chants came Jose Mourinho’s way early on from the Newcastle fans at Old Trafford, but this was one of those times when that overused line of words had some justification. The morning before the game against the Toon, news had started circulating about the Portuguese manager’s impending dismissal, with UK’s Daily Mirror bringing out an ‘exclusive’, which, after supposed information from ‘top sources’, stated that Mourinho was getting the sack irrespective of what happened against Newcastle. Manchester United’s board were quick to dismiss such reports, but given how the two previous managers had been dismissed, many would be forgiven for thinking there was an element of truth about the rumour.

And things looked to be going even more south on the pitch on Saturday, less than 15 minutes had been played when United found themselves two goals down, strikes from Kenedy and Yoshinori Muto from Newcastle, courtesy of some atrocious defending, seemed to put Mourinho on the brink of a p45. That the goals were easily avoidable, as well as the overall play of United in the first, once again raised the issue of whether the players were playing for the manager. At fulltime it seemed like they were, a remarkable fight-back turning a nightmarish afternoon into the stuff that’s made United so reputable and historically formidable.

Not that the manager was prioritising the players playing for him over winning for the club. ‘If the players play just for the manager, they are not good professionals because, one day, they like the manager and they play for them, and the next day comes a manager they don’t like and they don’t play for him…’ said Mourinho post-match. ‘So I think it’s ridiculous talk’.

From Mourinho’s demeanour on the pitch, it seemed like he knew a lot- if not everything- was on the line. His usual sulk of resignation when United concede bad goals lately wasn’t there, instead there was yelling, bellowing, gestures of obvious displeasure, and the tactical move of taking off Eric Bailly after 20 minutes and bringing in Juan Mata.

That was one of the changes that showed United were out to risk it all on the day, as well as the removal of Scott McTominay for Marouane Fellaini before the second half began, which meant Paul Pogba played as something of a false centre-back. ‘Of course we had some tactical touches, of course we risked a lot, of course we went in different directions’ said Mourinho, while forward Romelu Lukaku also echoed his manager’s point risking it all. ‘We thought let’s just go for it, give everything we have got’.

And it did look like United were going hammer and thongs for it, especially in the final 20 minutes, wave after wave of attack, roared on by the Old Trafford faithful, before Juan Mata and Anthony Martial dragged them level with two goals in six minutes. ‘I think, at halftime, we had a good conversation’ said Mourinho. ‘We didn’t promise each other that we are going to win the match, because we couldn’t promise that. We promised each other that we were absolutely going to give everything without any fear...’ I think the boys they deserve (the win), but even if the game ends with 2-2, even if we don’t score the last goal, the feeling would be a positive feeling…’

But they would score that last goal, an Ashley Young cross was met by the head of Alexis Sanchez, who hasn’t had the best time since swapping Arsenal for United in January. The Chilean started this game on the bench after his poor run of form, and his goal was only his fourth for the goal, but it says something that it was one of the players who has quite underperformed lately that would complete their turnaround on Saturday.

So, the question: Is this a turning point for Mourinho and United or a stay of execution? United’s kitchen-sink final 20 minutes, as pleasing and rewarding as it turned out, left holes that other sides would have capitalised on, just as other teams would have taken even more advantage of that dire first half. They travel to Chelsea next, after the international break, and whether sets the tone for their season to get back on track under Mourinho, or is just a mighty gesture of defeating defiance, remains to be seen. But at least there’s defiance in them. For once in a long time, they simply left it all on the pitch.

Cherries keep going

‘It was an incisive, efficient performance and we dealt with the physical contest really well’, said Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe after his side’s 4-0 at Watford. The comfortable victory, after which Howe said his side could still play better, puts the Cherries in sixth-place, and in the top four in terms of league goals, only Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea have found the net more often this season. The side from Dorset have 16 points after eight games this term, it took them 17 matches to reach that much in the last campaign.

Goalless at Anfield (!!)

Well congratulations and nice going to us all, our salivation over the Liverpool v Manchester City game jinxed it, as it produced only goalless game of the weekend. There was no shot on target until the 56th minute, just one overall in the first half, and there was even a penalty miss from City’s Riyad Mahrez. Absurd!

Elsewhere

  • Nine wins in a row for Arsenal, up into fourth place, braces from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and a cheeky finish from Aaron Ramsey to boot. Only Man City has scored more league goals than Unai Emery’s side so far. It’s all coming together nicely for the Gunners.
  • So it’s a trio of twenty at the top, with City, Chelsea and Liverpool all locked on 20 points. Before Liverpool and City contrived to play a goalless stalemate, Chelsea made light work of Southampton at St. Mary’s, Eden Hazard getting on the score-sheet, as is customary, while Ross Barkley got his first for the club.
  • For Southampton, they could look back at a glaring three-yard miss from Danny Ings with the score still goalless, as their woeful run of form continued, despite the positives on show. They’ve now lost their last 31 games against top-half opposition, and since December, haven’t won as many games on their own turf as Leicester City. Yes, really.
  • It looks to be coming together for Marco Silva and Everton as well, who grabbed a second successive win, away at Leicester, thanks to a gorgeous piece of finishing from Gylfi Sigurdsson, who has three goals in two games, and looks to be hitting form for the Toffees. Leicester, for the second time in four league games, had Wes Morgan sent off.
  • Two goals in three games for Huddersfield. Don’t make it a familiar feeling, lads!
  • Crystal Palace didn’t win at home. But you knew that already.

Results

Fulham 1-5 Arsenal

Brighton 1-0 West Ham

Burnley 1-1 Huddersfield

Manchester United 3-2 Newcastle

Leicester 1-2 Everton

Liverpool 0-0 Manchester City

Crystal Palace 0-1 Wolves

Southampton 0-3 Chelsea

Watford 0-4 Bournemouth

Tottenham 1-0 Cardiff

 

Published in International Watch

It seemed too good to be true. After the pre-season build up to Jose Mourinho’s third season at Old Trafford, then the two defeats in the opening three games, three away wins in a row to repress the growing sense of discord was supposed to be perceived as a false dawn. This was Jose Mourinho’s third season at the same club after all; the house of cards are supposed to fall, the ticking time-bomb expected to go off anytime soon, and successive victories at Burnley, Watford, and Swiss side Young Boys are just gestures of defeating defiance.

So, three successive games without a win since that victory in the Champions League seem more like it, first a draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, then a penalty shootout defeat to Derby County in the League Cup, all mixed with off-field chaos. First Paul Pogba pointed out that United need to attack more, after the draw with Wolves, then Mourinho announced that the Frenchman would never captain the side again, and, after the League Cup exit at the hands of Championship side Derby, footage appeared of a supposed hubbub between the player and manager.

And the week was capped off with a hapless defeat at West Ham on Saturday. There was general bafflement at Mourinho’s system at the London Stadium, the decision to play Scott McTominay in a back three, the apparent game plan of trying to sit back and exercise caution away at a West Ham side, who had beaten United once in the last 21 meetings, and had one won of their last 12 home league games before this encounter.

United look second-best from the get-go, and only five minutes had gone when Felipe Anderson scored for West Ham. ‘We were a team that comes with that mental fragility of a bad result (that Derby match)’ said Mourinho. ‘Coming here and after five minutes we were losing 1-0, which is not the best way to start’. Mourinho also pointed out, and rightly so, that Pablo Zabaleta was offside in the build-up to Anderson’s opener, but the linesman was given cause for hesitation after McTominay failed to keep in line with the rest of the defence, highlighting his exoticism in that position.

The Red Devils did grow into the game, putting West Ham on the back foot, Romelu Lukaku hitting the outside of the post with a header, yet when the next goal came, it was into the back of David de Gea’s net once more, Andriy Yarmolenko’s shot ricocheting in off Victor Lindelof. Mourinho noted the lack of aggression at West Ham’s second goal, and to be fair, the aggression was lacking all-game, the Portuguese manager citing flaws in United’s ‘mental approach in certain duels’. Even in United’s best spells, they could barely fashion out anything, despite the fact that Marcus Rashford halved the deficit before Marko Arnautovic put them out of the picture. 

So, who’s to blame? Who’s been to blame all season? The players, for looking so off the pace, and performing nowhere near their best? The manager, for constantly talking down the club’s chances all-season? The vice-chairman, for keeping hold of players Mourinho seemed to be happy to let go, and for not backing him enough in the summer window?

Either way, a split for Mourinho and United looks inevitable, like the players are waiting for it, the manager is waiting for it, the media are waiting for it, and it’s almost a matter of ‘how soon’. To paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson as Augustus Gibbons: checkmate in three, Jose. You should see it coming.

Elsewhere:

  • Not that United’s current state of tartness should take the shine off what has been a positive couple of weeks for West Ham. Seven points from three league games for Manuel Pellegrini’s side, after none in the previous four. The Hammers have finally got going.
  • Stat attack: Manchester United conceded their 12th league goal of the season at West Ham. It took them until December 17th to concede that much last season.
  • It seemed like there would be no breakthrough for Liverpool, who fell behind at Chelsea to the in-form Eden Hazard, as they headed for a second defeat to Chelsea in four days. On Wednesday, in the League Cup, it was a moment of brilliance from Hazard that decided the game in Chelsea’s favour. This time, it was Daniel Sturridge who produced a bit of magic late on, to drag the Reds level. Jurgen Klopp’s side no longer has a 100% league record, but they showed another form of persistence and quality to fashion out a point at the Bridge.
  • Two minutes. Two goals. Just like it was for them at home to Everton, Arsenal delivered quickfire strikes to see off Watford. Alexandre Lacazette was lively again, despite not scoring, but questions remain on how the Frenchman’s form and presence lessens the influence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gunners were still far from convincing in an end-to-end game, but most importantly, have garnered five league wins in a row.
  • There were boos at the end at St. James Park, after Newcastle lost at home once again, their fourth league loss on their backyard in four games this season, at the hands of Leicester. A trip to Manchester United up next means things are unlikely to get better soon.
  • That looked more like it for Everton at Goodison Park, who scored three without conceding against Fulham, a double from Gylfi Sigurdsson, who initially missed a penalty, for only a second league win of the season for Marco Silva’s side.
  • Harry Kane looked quite sharp at Brighton a week ago, and he certainly looked just as strident at Huddersfield this weekend, as his double led to Spurs’ second league win in a row at the John Smith’s Stadium. Huddersfield remain just as hapless as they are winless.
  • And Southampton lost without scoring. Would you believe it?

Results

West Ham 3-1 Manchester United

Manchester City 2-0 Brighton

Huddersfield 0-2 Tottenham

Wolves 2-0 Southampton

Newcastle 0-2 Leicester

Arsenal 2-0 Watford

Chelsea 1-1 Liverpool

Cardiff 1-2 Burnley

Everton 3-0 Fulham

Monday Night Football: Bournemouth v Crystal Palace

 

 

Published in International Watch

Pogba is not as good as he thinks he is

The former Liverpool defender said he has grown tired of people making excuses for the highly rated France midfielder.

Jamie Carragher has said Jose Mourinho had his backings over the Portuguese manager row with Paul Pogba, who Mourinho announced on Tuesday that he would no longer wear United’s captaincy armband anymore.

The duo of Mourinho and Pogba endured strain relationship for the latter part of last season, but fury was re-ignited of late when Mourinho criticised his team after last Saturday 1-1 draw at home against Wolves.

Pogba, on Monday, speaking to reporters launched attacks on his coach tactics – saying United needs to attack more when playing

Carragher said on Sky Sports Football that Pogba “is not as good as he thinks he is.”

“He’s got talent, but his big problem is his understanding of the game. It has been a problem since he came, and it hasn’t changed now.

“You can sum Paul Paul Pogbas Man Utd career up in the last two games. He scored a great goal against Young Boys, showing his quality, but then gets robbed of the ball on the halfway line, falls over doesn’t break his neck to get back against Wolves and there’s an equalizing goal.

“That sums it up.”

The 38 capped English international went further to discuss the Mourinho-Pogba feud.

“People are saying Mourinho is causing problems, taking the captaincy off him, but he’s not really a captain, is he, in terms of how he plays? He’s letting his agent speak negatively about the club, how can that happen if he’s that man for Man Utd, fighting for the club, fighting for the manager.

“Jose Mourinho has got his problems in terms of the end of the season… But in terms of this confrontation, I’d be with Mourinho before I’d be with Pogba.

“… People talk about Matic coming in, Fred coming in to help Pogba. Help yourself! I’m sick of excuses for big players and managers not getting the best out of you.”

 

 

Published in International Watch

Arsenal, Man U interested in Pepe’s signature

Saturday, 22 September 2018 19:02

 English giants Manchester United and Arsenal have been reported by Telefoot to be interested in signing Ivory Coast and Lille’s winger Nicolas Pepe.

Telefoot claimed that the two sides might be bracing up for a January bid for the Ivorian who has scored four goals already in the Ligue 1 this season.

According to reports, Barcelona, Dortmund and Schalke 04 are also on the watch for the 23-year-old.

Pepe joined Lille from Armiens in 2017, in a deal worth around €9m, and he scored 13 league goals in 31 appearances in his maiden campaign with the French side.

Southampton reportedly failed with a €12.5m bid last summer – as Lille are said to be holding on to a bid in the region of €30m

Published in Transfer Rumors

Carragher clarifies his position on Marcus Rashford's development under Jose Mourinho

United boss Jose Mourinho has been under fierce criticisms for Rashford’s development under him – with the 20-year-old having failed to nail down a spot as the centre-forward for the Red Devils.

Last week, at his post-match conference ahead of the game against Watford, Mourinho launched a defence of the development of Rashford under him – saying the England international has played an incredible number of minutes for a player of his age.

One of the focal advocates of Rashford moving away from Old Trafford, Jamie Carragher, though said Mourinho was spot on in his defence, insisted that the United youth product must leave the club if he wants to play as a centre-forward.

“I agree with everything Jose Mourinho said, but that's not me backing down on what I said,” the Liverpool great said on Monday Night Football

“What I don't like - and maybe Mourinho or others felt it - is the thought I just threw away a lazy comment.

“I'm not talking about how many minutes Rashford gets. The minutes and appearances he gets for a 20-year-old lad at a club the size of Man Utd, you look around the world and you think only maybe Kylian Mbappe gets similar.

“He is getting great minutes.

“I’m not saying Jose Mourinho is wrong and should play Rashford ahead of Lukaku - I'm not saying that, because he shouldn't, Lukaku is better than him - but if that lad wants to play centre-forward, how does he do that?

“My point was, he may have to move away and then maybe come back, the same as Lukaku did.

“That's the problem you've got as a young player. If Rashford doesn't want to play centre-forward, he should stay. If he does, I feel he'd have to move away.”

Rashford has only managed one start this season this season – his red card, in the game against Burnley means he won’t be available for United’s next two league games – as he had missed the game against Watford, which was one of the three-game ban he would serve.

 

Published in International Watch

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has reportedly accepted a one-year prison sentence as part of a plea bargain deal with prosecutors accusing him of a £2.9million (€3.3m) tax fraud.

The Old Trafford manager has accepted a six-month jail sentence for each of the two financial crimes he was accused of after accepting wrongdoing as part of the agreement with prosecutors, respected Spanish newspaper El Mundo said on Tuesday.

The investigating court in Madrid which has led the criminal probe into Mourinho — Pozuelo de Alarcon Court Number four — is expected to be informed about the deal in the coming days.

El Mundo reported the 55-year-old, whose future at United has been called into question after a disappointing start to the season, had also agreed to pay a fine totalling £1.78m (€1.98m) representing 60 per cent of the amount defrauded.

Prosecutors and court officials could not be reached early on Tuesday morning for comment.

First-time offenders in Spain do not normally serve jail sentences of two years or less – meaning the one-year jail term Mourinho has reportedly accepted for two counts of tax fraud will almost certainly be suspended at a later date after the investigating court has been officially informed of the situation.

Mourinho's tax affairs were placed under new scrutiny last year.

Prosecutors alleged Mourinho owed the Spanish state almost £2.9m in undeclared revenue relating to image rights in 2011 and 2012 — when he was in charge of Real Madrid.

The allegations involved claims false information was given to Spain's Tax Agency during a 2015 probe, prompting prosecutors to reopen a case that had been archived after Mourinho paid a six-figure fine.

(Dailymail)

 

 

Published in International Watch

 

There’s something surprisingly quite normal about the top of the table at this embryonic stage of the Premier League season, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea making up three of the current top four. That three sides are part of the four teams with 100% records so far is barely surprising, even despite the Blues being at infancy stage under Maurizio Sarri and Spurs having spent nil in the summer transfer window.

But take a look at the fourth side completing the current Champions League quartet, and there’s a touch of normalcy over an unfancied side being that high, mixed with a side of surprise that the team is Watford. The same Watford that have never had a manager for more than a season since 2013, that are having a manager who finished a season start the next one for the first time since 2014. It’s the same Hornets whose form away from home last term was horrendous, and whose previous season petered out in the final months. They were tipped by many for relegation, especially after losing Richarlison, and manager Javi Gracia was seen by many as the first to get the sack.

It could still happen, Gracia might well still be the first manager to get the boot, and Watford are far from immune to relegation talk right now, but three wins from three, with seven goals scored and two conceded, make for very good reading. ‘I have no complaint with our start), really’ said Gracia to Spanish newspaper AS. ‘And less with this beginning of the season, so… you see everything looks better’.

Gracia does deserve credit for the way the team has begun this season. The first few weeks of Watford’s previous Premier League seasons have always symbolised a raft of changes and a side whose cohesion was a work in progress, but not this time; the summer transfer activity was minimal, and Gracia is taking it slow to insert his new signings into the side, Ben Foster the only summer arrival that has really been part of the first-team furniture so far. The notable change has been with the system rather than personnel, a 4-4-2 style that seems to suit the squad, not least Will Hughes and Roberto Pereyra, and perhaps the primary reason behind their upbeat start to the campaign.

Despite the feel-good atmosphere and the praise that deservedly comes with the Hornets’ start to the campaign, though, it’s worth noting that those triad of games have come against Brighton, Burnley and Crystal Palace, games you might not expect them to win, but certainly won’t be surprised if they did. And so, when Spurs come to Vicarage Road on Sunday, that is likely to be the first real test Watford will go up against this season. Spurs are in a buoyant mood of their own, as they also have three wins from three, the latest of which was that victory at Old Trafford.

Watford don’t have the best previous when it comes to facing Spurs in the league, their record reads one draw and five defeats since gaining promotion in 2015. But as they have shown with their start to this season, they’re paying little attention to recent past.

Elsewhere

  • Three- number of league games played each so far this season.
    Three- number of points Manchester United have this season.
    Three- number of goals United conceded in that defeat to Spurs on Monday night.
    Three- number of Premier League titles Jose Mourinho has won, as he pointed out.
    Three- number of defeats United could have this season if Burnley pull off a disrespectful result at home to the Red Devils.
  • Imagine that theme playing in Avengers: Infinity War, when Thanos steps into Wakanda, that air of inevitability and realisation of defeat that came with the entrance of Josh Brolin’s character. A bit much? Perhaps, but it’s not hard to liken that mood to what’s bound to happen when Newcastle face Manchester City this weekend, a fixture in which the Magpies haven’t celebrated victory since George Bush was America’s president. Their start to the season and the usual angst that comes with Mike Ashley tightening the summer purse strings haven’t helped.
  • Three wins into the season, yet it’s not too early to say that Southampton’s game at Crystal Palace is a must-win. The Saints have one point from their opening three games, but their biggest problem of failing to find a way to score remains, the lack of invention that comes with the Saints in the final third is still palpable.
  • Speaking of might-be-must-wins, West Ham host Wolves this weekend, and after three defeats from three, victory here would come in handy for the Irons, though Wolves, having given champions Manchester City a run for their money last weekend, will be no less-difficult than the previous opposition.

Fixtures

Manchester City v Newcastle

Watford v Tottenham

West Ham v Wolves

Crystal Palace v Southampton

Burnley v Manchester United

Brighton v Fulham

Cardiff v Arsenal

Everton v Huddersfield

Leicester v Liverpool

Chelsea v Bournemouth

Published in International Watch

 

And there it is. After some grown men fiddled with some sets of balls- or how did the Telegraph put it?- we not only know the state of the 32 teams in the UEFA Champions League proper, but also who plays who in the group stage of Ol’Gazprom Cup. Europe’s most prestigious club competition is never not known for its nostalgia and ability to throw up romance, and this year sees the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Old Trafford. Having joined Juventus from Real Madrid this summer, Portugal’s captain will see his new club face his other old side Manchester United, as a pairing in Group H alongside Valencia and Swiss champions BSC Young Boys means the prospect of Ronaldo not celebrating against United when he scores at the Theatre of Dreams is more than plausible. That Group H draw also means Paul Pogba will face his former side in the Bianconeri, having left the Turin club in 2016.

In keeping with returns, Group C sees new Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti face former club Paris St. Germain, although that’s likely to be overshadowed by the fact that Liverpool being in the same group means it’s going to bear the overused ‘Group of Death’ tag. There’s also a return prospect in Group A, as Thomas Lemar will face his old club Monaco with his new side Atletico Madrid, although that’s likely to be overlooked.

Elsewhere, Barcelona and Spurs are paired in Group B, as well as Inter Milan, the three-time champions who haven’t been on this stage since losing to Marseille in 2012. Real Madrid face Roma, as they have done in 2005, 2008, and recently 2016, in Group G; Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk are dejavu’d into last season in Group F, joined by Lyon and debutants Hoffenheim; while Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax and AEK Athens make up Group E.

Full Draw

Group A: Atletico Madrid; Dortmund; Monaco; Club Brugge

Group B: Barcelona; Tottenham; PSV; Inter Milan

Group C: PSG; Napoli; Liverpool; Red Star Belgrade

Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow; Porto; Schalke; Galatasaray

Group E: Bayern Munich; Benfica; Ajax; AEK Athens

Group F: Manchester City; Shakhtar Donetsk; Lyon; Hoffenheim

Group G: Real Madrid; Roma; CSKA Moscow; Viktoria Plzen

Group H: Juventus; Manchester United; Valencia; Young Boys

Published in International Watch

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