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Red Devils 2017-2018


United will be lucky if they finish top 4. The football is lousy and the tactics predictable. The constant jibe between managers is turning the premier league into a circus.
Mou's comments on Conte is unwarranted. If anything he showed that he fears Conte. In short Mou has no class.
The big piece of Belgian dung has confirmed once and for all that he is not a big game player.


Alfrescian (Inf)
You guys predicted right (unfortunately). From my soapbox:
> Chelskis midfield overan us. Mikhi was off, leaving all the work to Matic
> Bumbling sweet potato Jones contributed 2X. 1st, was a 'well executed' OG.
Truth be told, unsure of ref's blowing foul.
> And what was he doing in midfield, and losing the ball allowing Chelski to score?!:oops:
> Can't disagree on that mop haired bugger. He also gave away cheap balls 2X after coming on

Footy has to be more of the players, and NOT just the managers' egos.:rolleyes:

Yup. Negative tactics coming from Mourinho to be sure. It’s gonna be 8 points rift.
United will be lucky if they finish top 4. The football is lousy and the tactics predictable. The constant jibe between managers is turning the premier league into a circus. Mou's comments on Conte is unwarranted. If anything he showed that he fears Conte. In short Mou has no class. The big piece of Belgian dung has confirmed once and for all that he is not a big game player.


Alfrescian (Inf)
Alvaro Morata seals win to reinvigorate Antonio Conte's Chelsea reign
yet could end Manchester United's title chances

Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0: Striker's brilliant finish is enough to secure all three points
and keep Blues in touch of Premier League leaders Manchester City


Manchester United pay the price for going on the attack,
Chelsea rely on moment of magic from Alvaro Morata

Five things we learned: Eden Hazard getting back to his best, Antonio Conte rewarded for dropping David Luiz and consistency the key for Anthony Martial

Chelsea celebrate after Alvaro Morata's winning goal against Manchester United Getty

Mourinho opens up and pays the price
The criticism that Jose Mourinho faced for his Manchester United side’s performance in the draw with Liverpool and win over Tottenham may have been behind his decision to go for the jugular on his return to Stamford Bridge, and for the first half at least, United had chances to score.

But they were also far more vulnerable at the back as a result, and eventually the pressure told when Alvaro Morata was left free to score the opener. Mourinho has always been a defence first, attack second kind of coach, and it has brought him phenomenal success throughout his career. So why change it?

Mourinho is unlikely to change his tactics due to public pressure. More likely, the United manager will have seen the 3-0 defeat by Roma in midweek and decided that his former side were vulnerable and there for the taking. Sadly for him, they weren’t.

Morata delivers when it was easier to choke
As the Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross floated through the air towards Morata, the crowd held their breath in anticipation of a clear-cut chance. However, few will have expected the Spaniard to find the back of the net.

Morata's header was a brilliant finish from the edge of the area (Getty)

The striker was positioned on the edge of the area, had decided that he was taking on the cross first-time and was facing arguably the best goalkeeper in the Premier League. The stage was set for Morata to choke, and fluff his header anywhere but goal.

But not this time. His true class shone through as he timed his jump to perfection, connected fully with the ball and used the pace of the cross to guide it beyond the reach of De Gea with a delicate curl on the effort. It was a lovely finish and one that was deserving of such a grand occasion.

Hazard getting back to his best
Eden Hazard has not been able to reach the same highs this season as what he’s produced in the past, but his broken leg that delayed his start is almost certainly behind that. This was as good a performance as we’ve seen from the Belgian this season though, with the forward able to hold up the ball and protect possession when needed, link-up with Morata in attack and do his share of defending as well.

He may not have got his name on the scoresheet, but it was his cross that allowed Morata to score the winner and there were definite signs that Hazard was beginning to get close to his best again.

If Antonio Conte can return Hazard to his highest level, there is no reason why Chelsea cannot claw their way back into the title race after this result.

Hazard is returning to the top of his game (Getty)

Conte’s decision to drop Luiz rewarded
Antonio Conte caused a stir when he dropped David Luiz not just from the starting line-up, but from the matchday squad completely. The Brazilian has not been at his best recently, and he also has a long-term knee injury that he has been playing through the pain barrier in order to appear.

Instead, Conte put his faith in young defender Andreas Christensen, and his performance throughout was one of a man who looked at home in the Premier League. The Dane may only be 21 years old, but he settled in alongside the experienced pairing of Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta and certainly strengthened Chelsea’s back line.

He also did well to nullify Romelu Lukaku’s threat, with the Belgian largely absent for most of the game. If Luiz is simply being rested, Conte may have a big decision on his hands to bring him straight back in given Christensen’s performance.

Consistency will get Martial regular football
Once again, Anthony Martial’s return to the starting line-up lasted a single game. Excluding the EFL Cup, Martial has not started consecutive matches this season, and the lack of consistency in game time looks to be affecting his ability to string together positive performances.

He saved United when he was sent on by Mourinho to score the winning goal against Spurs last time out in the league, and his reward was a start against Benfica in the Champions League. Starting two games in the same week should not be beyond a 21-year-old, yet even though he has scored six goals this season, Mourinho clearly still wants more before he becomes a regular.

Consistency will be the key for Martial, as if he can start to produce his moments of magic on a regular basis, there’s certainly a place there to be tied down.


Alfrescian (Inf)
Man Utd star Juan Mata wanted by Real Madrid in SHOCK January swoop - EXCLUSIVE
REAL MADRID are set to make a shock move to take Juan Mata back to Spain from Manchester United.

Real Madrid are considering making a move for Juan Mata in January

Mata was surprisingly left out of Jose Mourinho’s 18-man squad for the defeat to Chelsea on Sunday sparking questions about his long-term future at Old Trafford, especially because his contract expires next summer.

It is understood that Real want the Spain international midfielder to spark fresh impetus into their faltering season.

Mata started his career as a youngster at the Bernabeu before making a name for himself at Valencia and then Chelsea.

Mourinho sold Mata to United during his second spell at Stamford Bridge and even though he was a regular last season when United won the League Cup and Europa League double, he has not been as effective this season and continues to be played wide rather than in his favoured ‘No 10’ position.

Significantly, he has been substituted in each of his 11 starts this season.

He is 30 in April and United could be willing to listen to offers in January to avoid him leaving on a free in the summer.

Fans favourite Mata was humiliatingly hauled off at half-time of the recent shock defeat at Huddersfield after a mistake that led to one of the Terriers’ goals.

He was then an unused sub for the home win over Tottenham and then left out of the 18 for the Chelsea game altogether, although he did travel to London with the squad.

Real are keeping an eye on developments as they prepare to make their move as soon as the transfer window opens in January.

Mata insists he is still at the peak of his powers and feels he can perform at the highest level for years to come.

"It's gone quickly to be honest. I made my professional debut when I was 18 in Real Madrid's second team, and then in Valencia in the first division when I was 19,” Mata said.

"So it's 10 years which went really, really quickly.
"Time flies, in general but, in football, even more. But I see myself young in a way, you know, my body feels good, my mind feels good.

"I'm hungry to keep enjoying this sport. So hopefully, all being well, I can be playing football for many more years.

"You just have to be professional - as I have been - and take care of your body, because your body is your tool to perform at the good level for many years.

"I think it is so important that you don't take anything for granted.

"You must wake up every day feeling lucky and privileged and go to training with the best motivation, because anything can change in one second.

"So don't taking anything for granted, even in football."




Alfrescian (Inf)
How do United solve a problem like Mkhitaryan?
The Armenian is out-of-sorts but still starting and it is affecting the rest of the side



Henrikh Mkhitaryan's form has tailed off after a promising start to the season

Romelu Lukaku has attracted much of the criticism for Manchester United's recent sub-par performances, but with Zlatan Ibrahimovic still sidelined, Jose Mourinho has little option but to defend his “untouchable” striker and persist playing him.

The Portuguese has other fires to fight in any case and the most urgent may be located directly behind Lukaku, where the decline of United's creator-in-chief needs to be quickly arrested.

Take a glance at the basic raw numbers and it is hard to deny that Henrikh Mkhitaryan enjoyed an excellent start to the season. The playmaker registered five assists in his opening three league games, each of which was an authoritative United win that promised much for the season ahead.

Mkhitaryan was more than meeting his quotas back then, even if some of the assists had more to do with the scorer’s finishing than his own vision and passing. When the final of the five came, a deflected corner that Marcus Rashford volleyed home against Leicester City, the Armenian's productive start all seemed a little unsustainable. Indeed, so it was.

His personal numbers since those first three games do not make for pleasant reading. Mkhitaryan has failed to set up one of his team-mates in the league since August and he has scored just once all season, notching with a late finish against an Everton side ready to throw in the towel. A single strike and a single assist on the Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow is all he has managed in other competitions too.

It is, all told, seven games since his last goal or assist. Rather than playing ‘in the hole’, Mkhitaryan seems to have fallen down one and United have suffered as a result.

Incredibly, since the start of September, Mourinho’s side have created less than Stoke City, Crystal Palace and Bournemouth, three clubs experiencing difficulties at the wrong end of the table. Who are the Premier League's five most inventive teams in the same period? United’s direct title and top-four rivals, of course. Is it any wonder then that the displays against Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea were poor on the whole, even if the results were mixed?

Mkhitaryan has to take a portion of the blame for these recent struggles and if the Armenian’s time on the pitch is anything to go by, Mourinho has realised as much. The Armenian has been substituted in all 10 of his league starts this season and he is gradually being taken off earlier and earlier. Whereas at the beginning of the campaign he was only withdrawn after the 80-minute mark, Mkhitaryan is now trusted for little more than an hour.

The nadir of his season so far came at Stamford Bridge on Sunday when he was replaced after 62 minutes. He could have no complaints. While Cesc Fabregas, operating alongside Eden Hazard and behind Alvaro Morata, laid on six chances for Chelsea that afternoon, Mkhitaryan could not manage one. Marouane Fellaini, his replacement, fashioned two despite being on the pitch for the half the time.

It seems the right moment to pull Mkhitaryan out of the firing line and hope the rest will help him rediscover some form. A dose of tough love certainly appeared to help last season, when his full integration into life at Old Trafford was postponed until November.

Yet if he is to drop out of the side, who should replace him? Juan Mata, the natural choice, is quietly getting away with an even less productive season. The Spaniard has scored just once and is yet to assist. Jesse Lingard could fill in but his audition during the defeat to Huddersfield Town was hardly convincing. None of the other options are a natural fit: injuries mean Ander Herrera is better deeper and needed there, Fellaini is more of a ‘Plan B’, Paul Pogba remains out and is more effective in a midfield pair.

Therein lies the rub. In Mkhitaryan, Mourinho has a second out-of-sorts player who still has to start week in and week out despite his slump in form. There are too few alternatives in United's squad and ultimately, none of them can compete with the invention of a player who is capable of racking up 32 assists in a single season.

That was the Henrikh Mkhitaryan who arrived in Manchester for £26.3m during the summer of 2016. United desperately need to see that player again.


Alfrescian (Inf)
About bloody time he works for his wages :rolleyes:

Manchester United handed boost with Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo and Michael Carrick set for imminent comebacks
  • Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo and Michael Carrick have been injured this term
  • The trio could return for Manchester United following international break
  • They took part in a session with U23s on Wednesday and again on Thursday
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been increasing workload - but away from main group

PUBLISHED: 22:31 GMT, 9 November 2017 | UPDATED: 22:31 GMT, 9 November 2017

Jose Mourinho expects his squad to be strengthened following the international break after Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo and Michael Carrick returned to training this week.

The trio took part in a session with United's U23s on Wednesday and again on Thursday as they stepped up recovery from their respective injuries.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has also been increasing his workload — though the striker is still working separately from the main group.

Paul Pogba has missed 12 games for Manchester United because of a hamstring tear

Michael Carrick is understood to have been combating a virus which has made him dizzy

Pogba has missed 12 games because of a hamstring tear but could be back to face Newcastle United on November 18.

Rojo may need more time before his comeback as he has been out since the end of last season following knee ligament damage.

Carrick has made just one appearance this season against Burton Albion and is understood to have been combating a virus which has made him dizzy and nauseous.

Their returns are timely after Mourinho came under fire for his tactics at Stamford Bridge last Sunday as United slipped to defeat at Chelsea and saw the gap between themselves and rivals Manchester City at the top of the Premier League widen to eight points.

Meanwhile, a Paris Saint-Germain spokesman has claimed they have 'no interest' in appointing Jose Mourinho as their next coach. The United manager has 18 months left on a contract worth around £15million a year.

Marcos Rojo may need more time before comeback as he has been out since end of last term

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/fo...ick-set-imminent-comebacks.html#ixzz4xz40voLV


Alfrescian (Inf)
Didier Deschamps fuels talk of 'globetrotter' Jose Mourinho leaving Manchester United to manage PSG
United manager has already confirmed he will not end his career at Old Trafford


France manager Didier Deschamps believes that Jose Mourinhowould consider leaving Manchester United for Paris Saint-Germain in the future because the country remains one that he is yet to tick off on his CV.

Mourinho spoke warmly of PSG last month, fuelling rumours that he could already be courting the leading job in Ligue 1 despite only being in his second season at Old Trafford. He has since played down suggestions of a move across the Channel and insisted he is happy with United, although the Portuguese did reiterate that he will not end his career with the club.

With this in mind, Deschamps’ latest comments add weight to the theory that Paris will be Mourinho’s next destination, having already ticked off Portugal, Italy, Spain and England three times on his “globetrotter” career.

“Jose Mourinho, why not?” said Deschamps. “He's pretty happy at Manchester United at the moment. But he's a bit of a globetrotter. So why not in France too? He has not been to France yet.

“PSG are the most stand-out team in France. They are doing well nationally and in the Champions League.”

The rumours have surfaced after Mourinho labelled PSG “magic” following their summer spending spree on Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, the former setting them back a world record £200m and the latter due to sign permanently at the end of the season for £160m once his loan deal from Monaco ends.

The 54-year-old has still never managed four complete seasons at any club since his first job at Benfica in 2000, and the prospect of him emulating Sir Alex Ferguson and building a dynasty at United looks very slim by his own admission.

“The only thing I can say is I'm still a coach with worries, with ambitions, and with the desire to do new things. I'm sure that I won't end my career here,” Mourinho said last week.

“The other day, my son who lives in London went to Paris to watch a PSG match instead of Manchester because at the moment in Paris there is something special. Magic, quality, youth, it's fantastic.”

Reports have claimed that Mourinho is already in talks with United offer a potential contract extension, although he has also played that down in recent public appearances and remains contracted to the club only until the end of next season.


Alfrescian (Inf)
Manchester United's January transfer plans
taking shape with Jose Mourinho eyeing
Valencia's Carlos Soler

Mourinho still wants a winger and regrets missing out on Inter's Ivan Perisic but is aware that funds in what will be a quiet winter window will be tight

The Independent Sport

Jose Mourinho has identified Carlos Soler as his No 1 target in the January window

Jose Mourinho currently sees Valencia’s Carlos Soler as his main January transfer target, in what is likely to be a limited window for Manchester United.

While the Portuguese still wants to bring in a winger and regrets not signing Internazionale’s Ivan Perisic in the summer due to the effect it has had on his attacking plans, the club have already made it known that funds for purchases will be much more constrained than then, and the United boss has in that time become increasingly concerned on how injury to Paul Pogba has had a greater effect on his whole team.

The absence of the French star due to a hamstring problem has suddenly seen United forced to play a much less expansive game without his passing, having left Mourinho with few alternative options in midfield.

Soler has meanwhile greatly impressed United staff in the 11 months since making his debut for Valencia in December.

Even though he is just 20, the Spanish under-21 international has shown many qualities United lack as well as a maturity, and would likely cost around £40m.

United have also considered the possibility of offering Andreas Pereira - who is currently thriving on loan at Valencia - plus cash for Soler.

Soler has impressed for Valencia this season (AFP)

Valencia are enjoying something of a revival on the sporting side, second in the league and thriving under new coach Marcelino but the club is still in a financial hole.

This year they recorded a €26m deficit, their third consecutive annual loss. Those losses stack up to around €70m and despite their lofty league position there is an understanding that it would be financially disastrous if they cannot find a way to return to the Champions League.

Sources inside the Spanish club insist that Soler, an academy product, is way down the list of players that they want to sell but, equally, concede that a big offer from United would force the hand of a club still struggling to balance the books.


Alfrescian (Inf)
Manchester United announce increased revenues in latest financial figures

Commercial, broadcasting and matchday revenues all increase from the same period last year, thanks in part to the club's return to the Champions League

Manchester United have announced increased revenues in their latest financial results Getty
Manchester United announced record first quarter revenues of £141m on Thursday, up 17 per cent from the same period last year.

The latest set of financial results, relating to the three-month period between July and September 2017, take into account the club’s pre-season tour of the United States and the summer signings of Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof.

In a statement, the club’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: “We are just over a quarter of the way through what promises to be another exciting season.
“In the Champions League we have won all four games played to-date; we are through to the quarter final of the Carabao Cup; and are looking forward to the next few months as the number of matches ramps up.”

United's commercial revenue for the quarter rose by £6.2m to £80.5m, with the increase attributed to a greater number of pre-season friendly matches during the club's summer visit to the United States.

A return to the Champions League under manager Jose Mourinho helped broadcasting (£38.1m) and matchday revenues (£22.4m) rise by around a third.

What you might have missed from United's latest financial figures

Qualification for European football’s elite club competition also saw salary increases for members of the playing staff, with the expense of employee benefits rising to £69.9 million, an increase of 12.2 per cent

The other headline figure saw the club’s net debt, a point of contention ever since the Glazers’ controversial takeover in 2005, listed as £268.1m, a 20.6 per cent decrease over the course of the year.

United's gross debt remains unchanged but an increase in cash reserves to £216m, up from £164m last year, helped the net figure to fall.

Net income for the period was listed at £7.9m and for the forthcoming fiscal year, United expect total revenues to hit between £575m and £585m.

In January, United returned to the top of the Deloitte Football Money League for the first time in 11 years after recording the highest annual revenues for a football club in history.

The club’s revenue of £515.3m for the 2015/16 season saw them unseat La Liga rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona. In September, for the year ending 30 June 2017, United reported increased total revenues of £581.2mil



Alfrescian (Inf)
Man Utd: Zlatan Ibrahimovic & Paul Pogba in squad against Newcastle

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba will return to the Manchester United squad for Saturday's Premier League game against Newcastle at Old Trafford.

Striker Ibrahimovic, 36, is yet to play this season after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in April.

Midfielder Pogba, 24, has not played since injuring a hamstring against Basel in September.

Defender Marcos Rojo is also available and manager Jose Mourinho said "all three will be selected".

Rojo, 27, suffered cruciate knee ligament damage in the same match as Ibrahimovic - a Europa League quarter-final second-leg victory over Anderlecht.

Former Sweden striker Ibrahimovic made 46 appearances and scored 28 goals for United last season.

He was released by the club in June after his season was ended prematurely, but re-signed on a one-year deal in August.

"Last season we played with Zlatan every minute," said Mourinho.

"We have learned how to play without him. Of course we welcome him back. He is an incredible personality."

Of Pogba, Mourinho said it was clear there was a "Manchester United before and after" his injury.

United recorded three wins and one draw in the four league games they played before the France midfielder was forced off during the Champions League fixture at Old Trafford.

Without him they won three Champions League games and two EFL Cup ties but lost twice in seven league games - drawing one and winning the other four.

"He has qualities that influence our approach in matches," said Mourinho.

'Ibrahimovic and Lukaku can play together'
Ibrahimovic's return came after United had signed striker Romelu Lukaku from Everton for an initial £75m, and the 24-year-old has scored seven times in his first 11 Premier League games.

Mourinho says the Belgium international and Ibrahimovic can play together.

"Good players can play together," said the Portuguese. "With good players, it is easy to play together.

"We can't expect him [Ibrahimovic] to play full 90 minutes or consecutive matches. He needs time to be back to his level - fitness and sharpness is everything.




Alfrescian (Inf)
How late tonight? Glad Zlatan's back with Pogba :wink:

Romelu Lukaku scored three times during the international break - but he has failed to score in his last seven games for Manchester United

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says long-term absentees Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo are in contention to return on Saturday.

However, defender Phil Jones is set to miss out with a thigh problem.

Newcastle pair Jamaal Lascelles and Christian Atsu are absent with respective ankle and thigh problems.

Mikel Merino remains sidelined by a back injury, while Paul Dummett won't feature because of a lack of match fitness.

Steve Wilson: "Given that they're second in the league and unbeaten in 37 home matches, there seems to be a lot of negativity about Jose Mourinho's Manchester United.

"Is anyone at Old Trafford really surprised if United aren't the most thrilling team in the league - or even the city? When they appointed Mourinho it was because he's a winner, not because he's an entertainer.

"How Newcastle would love to win something. Their roll of honour over the last few decades reads like an entry from Phileas Fogg's diary as he went Around the World in Eighty Days: The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the Anglo-Italian Cup, the Texaco Cup and the Intertoto Cup.

"At least with Rafael Benitez at the helm, and with a takeover a possibility, Newcastle have what is - after silverware - football's next most-prized asset: hope."

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on the return of Paul Pogba: "I can say now because he's back - I don't like to speak while he's injured - you can clearly see there is a Manchester United this season before Paul's injury and after Paul's injury.

"There are qualities in our football, qualities that influence our approach in matches, with Pogba and without Pogba. Simple as that."

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez: "We are a newly-promoted club that has to settle down in the Premier League.

"We have a young squad, so it's a learning process for everyone and losing some games is part of the process.

"Hopefully we can stop that this weekend, but we know it has to be like this. We have to think that the target is to stay in the Premier League, then after try to go as high as we can in the table."

Newcastle will be well organised but it will just be a question of whether Manchester United can break them down.

Rafa Benitez's side will make it difficult for them but there is only one outcome.

Prediction: 2-0

Lawro's full predictions v actor Will Ferrell


  • Manchester United have lost just one of their last 32 league games against Newcastle at Old Trafford (W22, D9), with the sole defeat coming in December 2013 when Yohan Cabaye scored the only goal.
  • The Magpies have lost this fixture 84 times in all competitions, more than against any other side in their history.
Manchester United
  • The Red Devils are the only side in the five major European leagues yet to concede a top-flight goal at home this season.
  • They are unbeaten in 22 league games at Old Trafford (W12, D10), winning the last six without conceding a goal.
  • The last time Manchester United won seven consecutive home league games without conceding was between December 2009 and March 2010.
  • Jose Mourinho's side have lost two of their last three games in the Premier League, as many as in the previous 37 combined.
  • They have scored a league-high total of 12 goals in the final 15 minutes of games this season.
  • After scoring 11 goals in his first 10 games for Manchester United, Romelu Lukaku has gone seven games without a goal, registering just five shots on target in this period.
  • Lukaku has been directly involved in nine goals in eight Premier League appearances against Newcastle United (five goals, four assists).
  • Antonio Valencia is set to play his 300th Premier League game. The only South American with more appearances is Peruvian Nolberto Solano (302).
  • Valencia's first Premier League appearance came against Newcastle, in Wigan's 2-1 defeat on Tyneside in August 2006.
Newcastle United
  • The Magpies have won one of their last six league games (D2, L3) and have lost their last two matches.
  • Rafael Benitez could become the first manager to win Premier League away games at Old Trafford with three different clubs, having done so with Liverpool and Chelsea.
  • This will the the first managerial meeting between Benitez and Jose Mourinho since August 2007. Benitez has lost five Premier League games as a manager against Mourinho teams - he has only endured more defeats against Alex Ferguson (eight).
  • Conversely, Benitez has won five competitive matches as a manager versus Mourinho - only Pep Guardiola has a better record, with eight.
SAM's verdict
Most probable score: 2-0 Probability of draw: 15%
Probability of home win: 78% Probability of away win: 7%

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)
After an early scare from Magpies, a satisfying OT win. Jose played his top guns, and our noisy neighbours continue with their relentless run. But that awful goalmouth slip by Lindelof does him no favours. Is he becoming a dud, after all the transfer hooha? o_O

Five reasons why Zlatan has been missed...
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in Manchester United's match-day squad for the first time this season after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury in April- BBC Sport picks out five reasons why fans have missed him.


Last edited:


Alfrescian (Inf)
Gunned down, despite our behind in statistical possession?

Manchester United ruthlessly punished defensive errors to become the first side to win a league game at Arsenal since January in one of the matches of the season so far.

Jose Mourinho's side were reduced to 10 men late on when Paul Pogba was sent off for a dangerous tackle and they were aided by a stunning goalkeeping display by David de Gea throughout.

But they did telling damage early on when Antonio Valencia pounced on a loose Laurent Koscielny pass to drill the opener, before Jesse Lingard side-footed a second after robbing Shkodran Mustafi to link smartly with Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial.

The strikes meant United had scored as many goals in 11 minutes as they had in eight away fixtures against the Premier League's so-called 'big six' clubs

An end-to-end first-half, which delivered 20 shots on goal, saw Arsenal hit the woodwork through Alexandre Lacazette and Granit Xhaka during a frenetic goalmouth scramble, before De Gea denied Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, and spectacularly prevented a Lukaku own goal.

The Spaniard could do nothing about Lacazette's simple finish on 48 minutes but after Lingard had hit the post in a breathless start to the second half, De Gea produced an unbelievable double save from Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez.

His heroics maintained the advantage during an opening 15 minutes to the second half which saw United have just 26% of possession, but Lingard was on hand to tap in a third on 63 minutes after good work by Pogba.

Pogba was dismissed when he mistimed a tackle to effectively stamp on the back of Bellerin's leg, and the Frenchman will now miss the Manchester derby next Sunday.

But his moment of woe felt merely a footnote in a riveting encounter which moved second-placed United to within five points of their city rivals.

Mourinho opens up in a thriller
Jesse Lingard has three goals in two games, as many as he managed in his previous 51 matches
Mourinho has garnered a reputation for defensive set-ups on trips to the league's traditional big clubs but his side went after their hosts early on, hounding possession high up the pitch to great effect.

Their opening two goals owed much to slack use of possession by the home side but needed clinical finishes, notably when Martial cleverly flicked into the path of Lingard for the second.

The reward for their adventure secured a first win for Mourinho in his past 12 away fixtures against the 'big six'.

He could be forgiven for not enjoying seeing Arsenal fire 33 shots at goal and said he later told De Gea - who equalled the league record for saves in a match - he had witnessed the "best from a goalkeeper in the world".

Arsene Wenger also labelled De Gea "absolutely outstanding" but while his brilliance points to United riding their luck at times, they were impressive in offering a balance between defence and attack.

Nemanja Matic was consistently well placed, never more so than when blocking a goal-bound Aaron Ramsey shot with the score at 2-0.

And the presence of the defensive midfielder once again freed Pogba, who in bursting into the box to lay on Lingard's second now has five assists this season, surpassing his four in the previous campaign.

Whether Mourinho will choose to live so dangerously against Manchester City next week remains to be seen, but those watching from a neutral stance would be fortunate to see a game as good as this one again.

Errors leave a mountain to climb

Wenger spoke of a "good performance" and "impeccable attitude" from his players but he will be familiar with this feeling.

Only twice in 18 meetings with Mourinho has he got the upper hand and the charitable way in which his side gave away goals will not sit well.

Koscielny's cross-field pass and Mustafi's indecision ultimately left a mountain to climb if Arsenal were to record a 12th straight home win in the league.

The ease with which Pogba sauntered into the area to create a third just as Arsenal were seeking to build on Lacazette's goal also smacked of weakness.

Arsenal can justifiably feel aggrieved by a penalty shout that was turned down late on when Danny Welbeck was caught by Matteo Darmian but by that point, the 10 men of United had finally managed to calm a frantic affair.

Wenger's side drop out of the Champions League qualification places into fifth. They were superb going forward at times and will scratch their heads as to how they only found the net once but, not for the first time, it was at the other end where their shortcomings showed up.

Man of the match - David de Gea

In what is possibly one of the easiest man of the match decisions in the history of BBC Sport, David de Gea gets the nod. He provided resistance when Arsenal chased the game and made 14 saves, none more impressive than the double save from Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez.
'Arsenal could not cope' - analysis
Alan Shearer, BBC Match of the Day pundit

It was a magnificent game of football. We have talked about Manchester City going forward but what we saw at times from Manchester United was equally as good.

They were just breaking, too quick and too sharp with their pace and their power. They went after Arsenal, put them under pressure and wanted to get behind their defence, and Arsenal could not cope with their one- or two-touch football.

It was great to watch, and Manchester United were too good and too clever for Arsenal. Superb.

On David de Gea's performance

I think De Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world. He was brilliant.

On Paul Pogba's red card

I think it is a red card. It looks terrible. It was dangerous and he was endangering his opponent.

'Amazing, phenomenal, fantastic' - reaction

Arsenal were absolutely brilliant - Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: "David de Gea was man of the match by a clear mile.

"We played well but there is nothing more frustrating when you have that quality of performance and nothing to show for it at the end. The attitude was impeccable until the end. But you cannot make the mistakes we made at the beginning."

Arsenal 1-3 Man Utd: Jose Mourinho accuses Gunners of 'loving the grass'
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said: "I loved the way my team played and fought. Arsenal played in some period amazing attacking football - creating difficulties for us.

"But I have to say that my players deserve all the great words. I don't know so many in English but amazing, phenomenal, fantastic. They deserved three points."

De Gea's unbelievable day - the key stats

De Gea prevented a Romelu Lukaku own goal with the score at 2-0 before half-time
  • Arsenal suffered their first home league defeat since losing 2-1 to Watford in January.
  • Manchester United have won more Premier League away games at Arsenal than any other side (8).
  • David de Gea made 14 saves in the game, the joint-most in a Premier League game since 2003-04, when Opta started collecting this data. Vito Mannone and Tim Krul have also made 14 saves in a fixture.
  • Paul Pogba has scored four goals and assisted six more in his past nine Premier League appearances.
  • Alexandre Lacazette has scored more home goals in the Premier League this season than any other player (six).
  • Paul Pogba received his first red card in league competition since May 2013 for Juventus v Palermo
Up next?
Arsenal will follow Thursday's Europa League home game against BATE Borisov (20:05 GMT) by visiting Southampton on Sunday, 10 December (13:30). Manchester United need a point at home against CSKA Moscow to progress in the Champions League on Tuesday (19:45) and then host Manchester City on Sunday, 10 December (16:30

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamMan Utd
Shots on Target


It was a classic match. Reminded me of Fergie's time with Ronaldo, Rooney, Park and Valencia, the lightning launching pad for the counter attacking game. Against the tiki taka and attack minded Gunners, this was the perfect tactical option. Incidentally, the players wore their black away kit when they hammered the Gunners 4-0.
DG was superb but there were others who played out of their skin. Rojo was probably the worst performer that night. Matic was outstanding and provided the shield that kept the Gunners at bay.
Martial was clearly unhappy when he was taken off. I think he has to understand that Mou did it for tactical reasons.
We have a big Derby game this week, let's hope the Devils can prick City's winning bubble.:biggrin:


Alfrescian (Inf)
Group A
Manchester United: A point in their final game against CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford will guarantee their progress to the knockout stage as group winners. Indeed the only way they will not go through is if they lose by more than six goals and Basel also beat Benfica.



Alfrescian (Inf)
How will Manchester United cope without Paul Pogba in derby against Manchester City?
The French midfielder will miss Sunday's derby after getting sent off at Arsenal

Jose Mourinho has a number of options available to him as he looks to replace Paul Pogba

The difference between Manchester United being a good side and a very good side this season is Paul Pogba.

Jose Mourinho's men have dropped just two points in the the eight Premier League games Pogba has played this season, scoring 24 goals in the process. Compare that to the seven games he has missed: eight points dropped, just 11 scored.

Then consider the three worst performances of United's season so far – at Anfield, the John Smith's and Stamford Bridge. All three came during the midfielder's six-week lay-off with a hamstring injury and all could be described, in a word, as disjointed.

When Pogba plays, he provides a link between defence and attack. This is invaluable to Mourinho against fellow top sides as it allows him to play a deep-set defence and take advantage on the counter. The first 73 minutes of the thrilling win at Arsenal this weekend provided a perfect case in point.

In the 74th, however, Pogba was sent off for reckless challenge on Hector Bellerin and after United decided against appealing the referee Andre Marriner’s decision, they will now be without him for their most important match of their season to date, Sunday’s derby against Manchester City.

With Pep Guardiola’s side eight points clear at the top of the table, how might United overcome the loss of their most important player and reduce that gap to five?

Herrera fills in
As both Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick are unlikely to be available for the derby, Ander Herrera is the only senior central midfielder that Mourinho will be able to call upon.

Named United's player of the year last season after number of authoritative performances, Herrera has found things much harder during the current campaign and has failed to make the most out of the minutes he has received.

Yet while he lacks Pogba’s technique and vision, Herrera is more capable of providing balance between attack and defence in the middle of the park than Fellaini or Carrick, even if they were available.

Among United’s current squad, he is the best alternative and his industriousness will be needed against a City side expected to dominate possession.

Persist with 3-5-2
Mourinho's approach at Anfield in October was criticised as unambitious in the extreme, but his hopes of snatching three points and a famous victory may have been realised had he deployed his current 3-5-2 formation.

Against Liverpool, in a 4-2-3-1 shape, Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were the only two players in predominantly attacking roles and were wholly isolated. Against Arsenal, Lukaku could not end his league scoring drought, but he was more involved alongside a strike partner in Anthony Martial.

Speaking after the win at the Emirates, Gary Neville pointed out how if Mourinho retained the 3-5-2 and instructed Lukaku and Martial to play as split strikers, United may be able to exploit the space City’s full-backs often leave while attacking.

“City bring their full-backs in narrow while two centre-backs push up the pitch,” Neville pointed out on Sky Sports’ Gary Neville Podcast. “Just leave two strikers stretched wide and you play three central midfielders and five at the back, and say to City that's what we'll do, trust that the front two will get into those areas.”

Set the wing-backs free
Another way of building cohesion between attack and defence would be giving more attacking responsibility to the full-backs.

Mourinho already seems to place a lot of trust in both Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia when it comes to providing offensive support. Without a driving presence in midfield, their runs down the flanks will only become more important.

This would come with obvious risks, though. Neville is right, City tend to pack the middle of the pitch with bodies, but their attacks come predominantly down the flanks. As lone wide players, Young and Valencia would alert and not overcommit themselves against one of the most lethal counter-attacking sides in world football at the moment.

Park the bus?
All this being said, would any of us be surprised if Mourinho cut his losses, matched City up man-for-man and parked the bus, especially after losing Pogba? In these circumstances, yes we would.

This match has been on the United manager’s mind for some time. When City were swatting teams aside by five or six and building up their intimidating lead, Mourinho would talk up the importance of two derby wins and the transformative effect they could have.

United will not go all guns blazing - that would be reckless - but settling for a point will not do either. This is their chance to land a sucker punch and swing the momentum in their favour. Even Mourinho would admit it: they must win.



Alfrescian (Inf)
How, sunday derby?

Jose Mourinho has spent a decade building to stop Pep Guardiola's tactics and Manchester United are ready
City have been pushed all the way recently and United are a step up from those sides
The Independent Sport

Mourinho's teams have always been built to deal with the Guardiola tactics
Back in Spain in 2011, when the rivalry between Jose Mourinhoand Pep Guardiola was at its height and the relationship between the two men at a low, there were a few senior Real Madrid players who were more than willing to come forward with their thoughts about the Portuguese’s approach.

They felt Mourinho had become so fixated on Barcelona and what they were doing that most of his management seemed to be geared towards finding a gameplan to just beating them, rather than something more holistic that would always allow this great Spanish club to play on their own terms.

Whether those arguments from the players were true or not, it is undeniably correct to say they have reflected and fired a wider debate about Mourinho’s methods, that have carried right through his career and to Old Trafford.

It is a debate that has revolved around issues like whether big clubs should play braver football, and even touched on the “morality” of how you set up, as well as what represents best practice in the modern game. Underscoring a lot of it right now - as United lie eight points behind Manchester City going into Saturday’s derby - is also whether Mourinho has truly maximised the available resources of a club of that size in the way Guardiola has greatly suggested he is.

It is all the more pointed because the big question for this match at Old Trafford is whether United can minimise the effects of City’s play… but all of that has a specific consequence for this game. It means Mourinho would for once be completely justified in playing as defensive a game as possible, in digging in and looking to counter as much possible - even at home, and even with United really requiring a win. It is just logic. Anything else could actually be to invite defeat, and maybe the deflating end to the title race as early as December.

The bottom line is that the last few weeks have only emphasised that one of the ways to get closest to beating this City, on this form, is to sit deep, ride your luck, look to stop the flow and then start countering. It was something that Feyenoord, Huddersfield Town, Southampton and West Ham United all did in that time. Even if none of them actually stopped City’s winning run - let alone actually beat them - they did greatly stop the flow of goals, and bring them right to the brink.

Guardiola’s side went from a return of 3.33 goals a game in their first 12 league games of the season to just 2 in the last three.

Much of it reminds of what happened to the greatly Guardiola-influenced - and crucially Lionel Messi-less - Spain side between Euro 2000 and the 2010 World Cup. They were a side who used possession to pour right through space to overwhelm teams, only for most opposition managers to realise this and work out that they only way you had any of getting a result off them - since you couldn’t really get the ball - was to just look to block off all that space around your own goal and hope to then break into it.
Most opposition managers realised this, however, because there was one very pronounced success from a match that has come to represent an era as well as a rivalry and profound tactical duopoly. It was the 2009-10 Champions League semi-final between Guardiola’s Barca - and so much of that Spain team - and Mourinho’s Inter. The first leg saw the best of counter-attacking football from the Italians against what was then the best team in the world, and the second leg saw the best of defiant deep defending.
Mourinho has not yet made United as cohesive as that Inter, but nor has Guardiola yet made City as good as that Barca, and the fact remains that the Portuguese has applied that approach better than anybody. He may not have been the first to do it, but he was the first to add a forensically analytical nature to it, to figure out where to best target the Catalan’s teams to pounce from congestion to countering as quickly as possible.

It is not just that this is one of the few proven ways to play against City or that Mourinho knows the way better than anyone, then. It is also that this United do seem to be well built for the approach, and are of course so much better than all of Guardiola’s recent opponents.

Manchester United's counter-attack has been geared towards this game

If Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham could all take City to the brink, surely United - and a United empowered by a home crowd, so desperate to end their rivals’ run - can bring them over it?

There is also the fact that something does seem to have clicked in terms of countering. United were so impressively and brutally ruthless on the break against Watford and Arsenal, with six of their seven goals in those games supreme displays of counter-attacking football. The slickness of touches really stood out, especially because of how they allowed players like Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard to instantly go from standing positions to bearing down on goal.

This was much more like that Inter, and the sort of level City’s last few opponents couldn’t get near.

That is what could be so dangerous for Guardiola here. If United can frustrate City, get beyond their initial press and stand strong against so many waves and angles of attack, the space will be there to punish them. Guardiola’s sides have repeatedly illustrated that, and this City side did in the last few games.

The big wonder is whether the capacity for those transitions will be diminished without the suspended Paul Pogba, but there is another point there. Exceptional as Pogba is, there is also an argument that the freedom he requires to create means a Mourinho side can’t lock up as tightly as they usually do.

It was notable in the 3-1 win at the Emirates that Pogba’s red card actually marked the point when the chaotic tide of Arsenal attacks was stemmed, when he saw the kind of defensive sturdiness that all of Mourinho’s best sides have possessed. The gaps just weren’t there.

Mourinho know must figure out how to maintain that solidity but keep the surges, but there is an argument that could naturally come from the flow of the game, because of how many men City commit forward. United also have a series of hulking physical players who can do damage on set-pieces to a defence without John Stones.

For once, just looking to stop City playing could be the way to actually beat them.

It might no longer be the best way to win a league, but might be the only way to stop City winning it now.