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Red Devils 2017-2018


Alfrescian (Inf)
How, tonight away to Geordies? :cool:

Newcastle loan signing Islam Slimani is struggling to shake off a thigh injury and will face a fitness test ahead of Sunday's game.

Central defender Ciaran Clark has recovered from a minor knee issue and should retain his place in the side.

Manchester United have no fresh injury concerns ahead of this clash.

Forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has returned to training but will not be considered, while Eric Bailly and Marouane Fellaini are long-term absentees.

Guy Mowbray: "It's Rafa v Jose, it's Newcastle v Manchester United - but it doesn't feel like one of the classic clashes of yesteryear.

"Benitez is at the other end of the table from Mourinho, and too preoccupied with keeping the Toon up to be concerned with his bitter rival from Liverpool-Chelsea battles and beyond (it even became a family affair!).

"It's nice to think that he'll see this as a 'free hit' and send a side out to attack a la the cavalier Kevin Keegan days and the famous 5-0…but he can't and won't.

"One point could be a precious one, if never, ever, a 'special one'."

Twitter: @Guymowbray

Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez: "We have the same problems as the other teams in the bottom half. You have so many good teams at the top. One bad result can change everything.

"We have to stay calm and be stronger with the new additions."

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho: "I like to go there and like the feeling of going to Mr [Bobby] Robson's home. I like the stadium, I think it's really nice, and the atmosphere. They are good and enthusiastic. I like the Geordies.

"I lost and drew a few times. I hope the result is different but I know the characteristics of the game are not going to be different.

"They had a very good transfer window with Kenedy and Islam Slimani [arriving]. They are two players I know very well and they can really improve their team. Rafael Benitez knows how to get points, so I think it will be a difficult game."

Newcastle have not won at home in the league since October and this fixture is not exactly helpful when it comes to them trying to improve on that poor run at St James' Park.

Islam Slimani could make his debut and should give Newcastle more of a focal point in attack, but I just think we might see a classic Rafa Benitez performance at home against a top-six team - which is a bit like parking 10 buses, not just one.

Prediction: 0-2

  • Newcastle have won just twice in 28 Premier League meetings, most recently at home in 2012 (D7, L19).
  • The Red Devils have won nine of their last 13 league visits to St. James' Park (D3, L1).
  • Newcastle have conceded 92 Premier League goals against Manchester United, more than against any other club.
Newcastle United
  • Newcastle haven't won in eight Premier League games at St James' Park, their second-longest run without a home victory in the Premier League (D3, L5).
  • However, their only league defeat in six games came at leaders Manchester City (W1, D4).
  • They've failed to beat any side who go into the weekend in the top half of the table this season (D2, L10).
  • They are only one point better off than at this stage in the 2015-16 season, which ended in relegation.
Manchester United
  • Manchester United have kept clean sheets in five of their last six Premier League games. Their season's tally of 15 clean sheets is the most in the division.
  • United have lost just once in 10 top-flight outings (W6, D3). However, that defeat came in their last away game at Tottenham.
  • Jose Mourinho has never won a Premier League match at St James' Park (D3, L3).
  • Romelu Lukaku averages a goal or assist every 65 minutes against Newcastle in the Premier League, with six goals and four assists in 651 minutes.
  • Alexis Sanchez has eight goals in his last 10 Premier League games against newly-promoted sides.
  • However, Sanchez has played four Premier League games against Newcastle without scoring.
SAM's verdict
Most probable score: 0-1 Probability of draw: 24%
Probability of home win: 19% Probability of away win: 57%

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Liverpool that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.


Alfrescian (Inf)
Risk assessment for Red Devils
Can Romelu Lukaku help Jose Mourinho become the first manager to win the European Cup with three clubs?

Manchester United
Last-16 opponents: Sevilla (Spain) - Wednesday, 21 February (a); Tuesday, 13 March (h)

2017-18 Champions League group stage:

Group A
Team P W D L GD Pts
Man Utd 6 5 0 1 9 15
FC Basel 6 4 0 2 6 12
CSKA Moscow 6 3 0 3 -2 9
Benfica 6 0 0 6 -13 0

Phil McNulty's verdict: Jose Mourinho has effectively conceded the Premier League title to Manchester City - which might just make his focus on a competition he relishes even more intense.

Mourinho completed phase one of United's European rehabilitation by winning the Europa League in 2017 to guarantee entry into the top tier this year, and qualification for the knockout stage was relatively untroubled.

The Portuguese always has an eye on history, and he is attempting to become the first manager to win the Champions League with three different clubs after triumphs with Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan six years later.

Sevilla demonstrated their threat with that stirring comeback from 3-0 down against Liverpool to get a draw but they won only two of their six group games this season, the least among the 16 teams left in the competition.

Wissam Ben Yedder will be the danger, having scored 50% of Sevilla's 12 goals in this season's Champions League. Only Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo has a greater proportion of his side's goals (53%).

United, however, will find their Champions League hand greatly strengthened by the arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, and they should carry too much attacking weight for Sevilla.

Mourinho will want a big trophy this season after coming off second best to City domestically. He will demand serious Champions League progress and should get it.

Manchester United's recent European record
Season Round
2014-15 DNQ
2015-16 Champions League group stage, Europa League last 16
2016-17 Europa League winners

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Alfrescian (Inf)
No 2nd bite (we hope) :rolleyes::cool:

FA Cup 5th round: Huddersfield v Man Utd (17:30 GMT)

Premier League (17th) v Premier League (Second)
Who did they beat?
4R: Birmingham (C) 4R: Yeovil (PL)
3R: Bolton (C) 3R: Derby (C)

I was at this game when Huddersfield beat them in the league. They beat them comfortably and convincingly but I think Manchester United are a different side now.

FA Cup: Yeovil Town 0-4 Manchester United highlights
Lawro's prediction: 1-2

Tekkerz Kid's prediction:
In the last round Huddersfield ended up winning comfortably at St Andrew's against Birmingham, and Manchester United did the same at Yeovil. I think there will be goals in this game. I don't think Manchester United can afford to have another loss so I think they will put out a strong team and win.

I think Jesse Lingard will score one, Lukaku will score one and Alexis Sanchez will score two but I have no doubt Huddersfield will score. 2-4.


Alfrescian (Inf)
Nemanja Matic's moment of magic caps off Manchester United comeback to leave Crystal Palace fearing the worst

Crystal Palace 2 Manchester United 3: The visitors were trailing by two goals at the break but fought back in the second half to secure all three points

The Independent Sport

Nemanja Matic celebrates his late winner for Manchester United Getty
You could just tell as soon as the fourth official signalled that there were to be three additional minutes, and this increasingly neurotic crowd wailed in unison. Selhurst Park knew. And, as if on cue, up stepped Nemanja Matic to win the game with a stunning half-volley from distance. The goal — Matic’s first in a Manchester United shirt — completed a comeback that was as surprising as it was stirring, as relegation threatened Crystal Palace were once again made to rue injury time.

In the end, they simply did not have enough left in the tank to rewrite history. Two up and coasting thanks to goals from Andros Townsend and Patrick van Aanholt, Roy Hodgson’s stubborn refusal to turn to his substitutes bench allowed a curiously out of sorts United a way back into this match, with Chris Smalling, Romelu Lukaku and Matic on hand to deny Palace their first ever Premier League win over United. This could have been the defining result of the fledgling Hodgson era. It already feels one of the worst.

Simply put: this is a result that hurts Palace so much more than it helps United. Jose Mourinho’s side jump back above Liverpool into second, just the 16-points behind runaway league leaders City. Meanwhile Palace — who threw away a two goal lead, three precious points as well as five league places — remain mired in the relegation zone. Chelsea and Liverpool await.

Andros Townsend gave Palace the lead (Getty)

Agonisingly for the home side, it all started so well, and there are so many positives they can take from this performance. And, comfortable in the knowledge that the odds were so firmly stacked against them, Palace flew out of the blocks. James Tomkins of all people went close with a speculative overhead kick, while Alexander Sorloth left Paul Pogba flat on his arse before the Frenchman had even finished putting his gloves on.

And so there was, remarkably, little surprise when Palace opened the scoring. Benteke ran on to a well-weighted Luka Milivojevic through-ball and cut inside, meandering his way to the edge of the box and laying off Townsend. The winger opted for precision rather than power — not that it mattered — with the ball flying into the hapless Victor Lindelof and looping past a stranded David de Gea. It marked the first time Palace had ever taken the lead over United in the Premier League.

From that moment on, Palace would have been forgiven for settling back into the dogged trench warfare tactics that so nearly won them a point against Tottenham. But they pressed on — which was ultimately to prove their undoing. The impressive Sorloth — blonde and baby-faced but blessed with the frame of a moderately successful WWE wrestler — almost made it two. Robbing the ball from a thoroughly emasculated Matic, he careered into the final third with all the abandon of a fun runner inexplicably finding himself at the front of a marathon, only to screw his shot directly into the midriff of De Gea. He should have done better.

Paul Pogba tussles for possession with Luka Milivojevic(Getty)

It was to be Palace’s best chance for an uncomfortably long spell, as a rattled United began to dominate possession. Lukaku almost lumbered through clear on goal. Jesse Lingard pinged one wide. Wayne Hennessey flapped at a cross, or five. But they lacked dynamism in the final third and could have few complaints for trailing at the break.

At the heart of their troubles was that expensive mess of a midfield. Pogba, all inexplicably heavy touches and imploring looks towards the bench, was abject for the most part. Meanwhile proud Scotsman Scott McTominay shuffled around the place with all the presence of a wizened old family butler, regularly touching the ball but doing precious little with it. He was lucky to escape with a yellow card for a wild lunge on Van Aanholt, and looked crestfallen to receive what can only be described as a royal bollocking from a grim-faced Alexis Sanchez, who was tortuously pulling his shirt up to his armpits as early as the half-hour mark.

Something had to change. Something did: Palace went 2-0 up immediately after Mourinho withdrew McTominany for Marcus Rashford. And what a comical goal for a club of United’s standing to concede.

Chris Smalling rose highest to pull one back for United (Getty)

Benteke was fouled by Matic on the halfway line, with both the Serbian and Antonio Valencia more interested in venting to the referee than paying attention to the wily Jeffrey Schlupp, who snatched at the opportunity to take a quick free-kick. Van Aanholt could barely believe the acres of green in front of him, striding into the box and thumping a no-nonsense shot past De Gea at his near post.

United needed a hero and up stepped Smalling. Just moments after spurning an opportunity to head home an instant reply the defender connected with a long punt forward from Valencia, following another set-piece. Played on by Tomkins, Smalling set his sights properly this time, heading across Hennessey and into the net.

A lesser team would have sunk into their shells, scrambling back behind an increasingly entrenched defence. Palace kept up the pressure, but such adventure presented more chances to United, who went close through the improving Pogba and the substitute Juan Mata. And with Hodgson refusing to make a change, an equaliser seemed inevitable.

Romelu Lukaku hit the equaliser (Getty)

As the seconds ticked down United went even closer. Matic rifled a low shot across the face of goal which — rather bizarrely — centre forward Benteke hacked off the line; then Sanchez’s wild strike careered off Milivojevic and fell in a surreally slow parabola which bounced off the crossbar. Lukaku was to equalise from the rebound. Pouncing upon the ball he feinted one, two, three, fourtimes, each delay from pulling the trigger prompting louder howls from the crowd, before lashing a low finish under the flailing Hennessey.

Two pieces of late United magic — at either end of the match — saw them salvage what had promised to be a dismal night. First the now obligatory piece of De Tea wizardry. Attacking Townsend’s deflected cross, Benteke brushed Lindelof and Smalling out of the way to head the ball towards goal at point blank range, only to be denied by the kind of world-class one handed save that Hennessey is perhaps incapable even of dreaming of.

And then the winning goal, by far the best of the evening. Bringing a horribly deflected Pogba cross under neat control, Matic chanced his arm with one final effort: a dipping half-volley from all of 30-yards. He hit it sweetly, the ball sailing over Palace’s despairing ranks and beyond Hennessey’s despairing lunge.


Alfrescian (Inf)
Home rivalry early tomorrow night, how?

Steve Wilson: "It may only be the battle for second place, but no problem - Manchester United and Liverpool would happily battle each other if the prize were only the last charred chorizo from Pep Guardiola's summer barbeque.:cool:

"The top flight's most intense rivalry comes with an edge honed by more than a century of arguments over politics, music, football and a canal. This 200th meeting will be no different.

"At Anfield in October Liverpool's prodigious attack was tied in knots by the defensive web which Mourinho had spun for them. At Old Trafford United will surely attack more readily, hopefully leading to a better game for the neutral. But when these two meet - who cares about the neutral?

Twitter: @Wilsonfooty



Alfrescian (Inf)
Manchester United will play to win against Liverpool, insists Jose Mourinho

Mourinho's 'park the bus' approach to this fixture in the recent past has attracted criticism
The Independent Sport

Jose Mourinho will take whatever approach he feels is necessary to beat Liverpool Getty
Jose Mourinho has insisted that he will send his Manchester Unitedplayers out to win when Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool visit Old Trafford this weekend.

Second-placed United can move five points clear of their third-placed visitors with victory on Saturday, though recent meetings between English football’s two most successful clubs have rarely lived up to their billing.

Mourinho was widely criticised for his conservative approach in the reverse fixture last October, which ended as an unremarkable goalless draw. United had left Anfield with the same scoreline a year earlier, having played in the much the same manner.

Given the attacking talents of Klopp’s Liverpool, who have scored more goals away from home than any other Premier League side this season, Mourinho may well be tempted to prioritise the defensive side of the game once again.
However, the United manager also stressed that whatever approach he adopts, his players will play to win.

“We want to win every match and it doesn’t matter the approach, we want to win every match,” he said. “Against Liverpool, I think in these three matches we had one bad result [the 1-1 draw at home in January of last year] and two good results. That’s my feeling.”

Mourinho sees the lunchtime kick-off as a meeting between two teams of a similar standard enjoying similar seasons and hailed Klopp’s side as a “very good team”, though one not without its faults.“They have qualities and they have weaknesses. We have qualities, and we have weaknesses,” he said. “One of my good qualities as coach was always to know my team’s weaknesses very well and sometimes I tried to hide them and sometimes I have to try to compensate [for] them with other things, but Liverpool is Liverpool and we are what we.

“I think they are a very good team. I repeat, they are a very good team with some weaknesses, and I don’t think weaknesses is a strong word because I used that word in relation to my own team.”

Mourinho would not expand on what weaknesses he sees in his own side, though he suggested the journalists present should look for answers from former players now working in the media, who he described as “the oracles”.

Mourinho had earlier hit out at unnamed former managers working in the media who criticise his side's style of play.

“Some of the guys with an opinion couldn’t resolve their own problems when they were managers, so they are giving opinions like they have solutions for everything but is not like that,” he said.

“They are in a position where they can give opinions about everything. Sometimes I read and listen, sometimes I don’t. This week I was more focused on enjoying Champions League and Europa League and preparing my match than be focused on opinions.”


When Fellaini started the match against Sevilla, it was doomed from the start. The players from Sevilla looked fitter and faster with or without the ball. Mou's tactics is killing the club.


Truth be told, the first half stats revealed that Sevilla had more shots at goal in the first half. That says alot about Mou and his tactics.
It's that deja vu feel all over again. It certainly feels like a Van Gaal sequel.:mad:


Mou has had a verbal joust with just about everyone-media, reporters, pundits, managers and fans. He's unable to change the way United approach each game-much the same for the large part of the games played so far.
He's just not cut out to manage big teams IMO at least not with his temperament. It's been all about him and not the players nor the club. I think it's time to let him loose.:(


Man Utd news: Luke Shaw UPSET as Jose Mourinho’s shock comments provoke FURIOUS reaction

MANCHESTER UNITED left-back Luke Shaw has been left upset by Jose Mourinho’s criticism of his display against Brighton.

The 22-year-old was hooked off at half-time during the 2-0 FA Cup quarter-final win.

Explaining his decision to substitute Shaw, Mourinho said: “Luke, in the first half, every time they went in this corridor, the cross was coming, the situation was coming so I was not happy with the performance.”

Shaw has been repeatedly been singled out by Mourinho since he rocked up at Old Trafford in 2016.

And, according to BBC Sport, the England international’s camp have been left furious by the United boss' latest outburst..........



As far as Shaw is concerned, he hasn't been the player he was when LVG was in charge. He lacks the will,initiative and the discipline to play in United colors. Mou should share part of the blame as he's constantly shouting instructions to Shaw and not allow him to play to the best of his ability.

The fact is Mou is a control freak and contradicts himself in pre and post interviews about 'micro managing' and wanted Shaw and Valencia to play in a certain way. Prior to that he claimed that he never instructs the players to pass the ball from A to B to C.

The fact of the matter is players do not want to take risk and earn the wrath of the manager. The public persecution of players has to stop to save what is left of the season. Me thinks Mou knows he has rattled not only the players and fans but the entire board with his senseless rants. If he doesn't watch his words and thread carefully, the fans will probably get their message across Wembley and and ask that the gaffer be booted out.

The board only need to look at DeBruyne and Salah. Stop the witch hunt and call Ancellotti.


Alfrescian (Inf)
FA Cup: Man Utd face Tottenham, Chelsea play Southampton in semi-finals

Tottenham beat Manchester United 2-0 at Wembley in their most recent Premier League meeting on 31 January

Manchester United will play Tottenham and Chelsea take on Southampton in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Spurs made the semi-finals for a second successive season with victory at Swansea on Saturday, while 12-time cup winners United beat Brighton.

Chelsea secured their semi-final place by winning at Leicester in extra time on Sunday, as Southampton knocked out League One side Wigan.

The ties will take place at Wembley on the weekend of 21-22 April.
Wigan's defeat means it is an all-Premier League line-up. United are second, Tottenham fourth, Chelsea fifth and Southampton 18th.

Tottenham, eight-time winners, last lifted the cup in 1991, while United's most recent triumph was under Louis van Gaal two seasons ago.

United were drawn at 'home' in their semi-final, and so Spurs will be in the visitors' dressing room at Wembley - where they are playing their home games in the Premier League this season while White Hart Lane is rebuilt.

Last year's runners-up Chelsea have won the trophy seven times, most recently in 2012, while Southampton - in the last four for the first time since 2003 - lifted it for the only time in 1976.

Four clubs, one trophy - who needs it most?

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty:

The FA Cup has once again answered those who claim it has lost its lustre and magic - one look at the semi-final line-up is the reply to the cynics.

Southampton take on the role of underdogs while three of the Premier League's genuine superpowers will be fighting it out for their only chance of silverware this season.

The FA Cup has assumed massive significance for Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and his counterparts from Manchester United and Tottenham, Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino.

And for Southampton manager Mark Hughes, at Wembley after one match in charge having succeeded sacked Mauricio Pellegrino, it presents an unlikely route to success this season after his sacking at Stoke. It is a competition he won four times as a player with Manchester United and Chelsea.

Conte will want victory to make amends for last season's final defeat by Arsenal that denied him a Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season at Stamford Bridge. It could also prove to be the perfect farewell with the growing expectation that the Italian will leave Chelsea at the end of the season.

Mourinho, that serial accumulator of trophies, will now be eyeing the FA Cup as his response to those who have criticised him and Manchester United's sterile football this season, especially after the timid exit to Sevilla at the last-16 stage of the Champions League.

He and United face a tough task against Spurs - who have already beaten them comfortably at Wembley in the Premier League this season - but he will relish the opportunity to prove once more that when the big occasion arrives he can plot the big result.

The manager who arguably has the most riding on the FA Cup is Spurs boss Pochettino, who will want the trophy as tangible evidence of the very obvious progress he has made in building an attractive, emerging side.

Spurs' disappointing Champions League loss to Juventus once again posed the question of just how highly Pochettino and his team can be regarded until they have a trophy to their name.

The FA Cup presents a perfect opportunity to put that right - but all four managers and clubs who will fight it out at Wembley on semi-final weekend have compelling reasons for wanting to win the famous old trophy.

FA Cup semi-final draw
Manchester United v Tottenham
Chelsea v Southampton