• Manchester United Should Be Suspicious Of Mourinho’s Familiar Patterns

    In last week's column I suggested that it was pretty likely that Jose Mourinho, if given any chance to do so was going to Mourinho. Since then, he has Mourinho'd all over the shop. Indeed, this past weekend might just be the weekend in which he has Mourinho'd the most since his arrival at Manchester United. Sure there was his petty feuding with Antonio Conte last season, the lazy jibes which followed the breakup of his second marriage with Chelsea. There was the Europa League final wherein he combined the two key forms of Mourinhoing—he negated an opponents strengths at the expense of pretty football and won a trophy. ...

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  • Ander Herrera Will Get A Chance To Re-State His Importance To Manchester United

    Marouane Fellaini tended to be known for his magnetic chest, his sadly sharp elbows and his famous frightwig. Given the fixation on other parts of one of football’s more idiosyncratic frames, his knees went overlooked. Until, that was, a medial ligament sidelined him at a point when Paul Pogba was already out. Enter Ander Herrera. Manchester United’s pivotal performer at Anfield last season should be primed for a return to the side on Saturday. The Spaniard has represented one of United’s obscured curiosities, the reigning Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, but a man granted just 131 minutes of Premier League football. ...

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  • Tactical Questions As Manchester United Approach Their First Few Tests

    Manchester United's season is about to get real. So far, it has been something of a procession. There have been four 4-0 wins and a couple of 4-1s thrown in for good measure. This means that six of of the 11 times they have taken the field in all competitions so far they have scored four. If you go and see United this season there is a better than 50 per cent chance they will score four goals. At home they have scored four in four out of six games. ...

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  • Morning Editorial: Could Mesut Ozil Really Move To Manchester United?

    According to an exclusive in the Independent, Manchester United are ready to make a move for Mesut Ozil in January, with a view to coming back for him next summer when his contract runs out. The 28-year-old's current deal runs out at the end of the season, and with talks at an impasse as he has continues to show no real willingness to remain at the Emirates beyond this campaign, United are now planning to try and sign him. The report states that Jose Mourinho is 'confident' of convincing him to join United based on their strong working relationship at Real Madrid - but could it really happen? ...

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  • Michael Essien, The King Despite Injury

    Some footballers are just unlucky - for them, it’s just a question of timing. If Michael Ballack had been born a handful of years later, he might have been at the core of Germany’s Golden Generation, who ended up sweeping the world before them. Then there’s the other form of misfortune, which is injury - and which has cheated Michael Essien more than most. As a Manchester United fan, Chelsea’s signing of Essien filled me with fear. Every now and then, a player comes on the market who is so good that the team they eventually choose will be dominant for the next few years. That’s how it was with Roy Keane, with David Silva; and, for a while, that’s how it felt with Essien. The Ghana midfielder was unstoppable in every category. It was rare enough to have a footballer with a blend of vision, technique and power - but in just one midfield, Chelsea had two of them, Essien joining up with Frank Lampard in as imposing a partnership as the Premier League has seen. ...

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  • Which Premier League Team Is Least Likely To Reach The Champions League Last-16?

    For the first time ever, five Premier League teams will be taking part in the Champions League group stages, thanks to Manchester United taking advantage of the new bonus place which has been awarded to the winners of the Europa League since 2015. ...

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  • Manchester United Have A Width Problem

    Manchester United's flying start to the season ran into some turbulence in the form of Mark Hughes' Stoke City at the weekend. Still unbeaten, Jose Mourinho's side would nonetheless have been thoroughly disappointed by the result in the Potteries. More worrying than the result, though, was the drop off in performance levels. ...

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  • Andreas Pereira Is Set For A Tactical Apprenticeship At Valencia

    Statistically, Tony Adams is the worst coach LaLiga has ever seen, taking zero points from a possible 21 during his brief stint at Granada at the end of last season. Marcelino, on the other hand, is one of the best, having amassed 363 points out of a possible 729, a rate of 1.5 per game. Considering some of the modest teams he has been coaching during his decade of top-flight experience, such as Recreativo Huelva, Racing Santander and Real Zaragoza, that is a very impressive batting average. ...

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  • Put The Caution Aside: Manchester United Are Actually Very Impressive

    Manchester United have started the season really well. Indeed, in an entire 20-team division, they are the only side to have won all three of their games so far. Now, this could be chalked up to an accident of the fixture calendar as those matches would all have been games from which they would have expected to get all three points but played three, won three, scored 10 and conceded none is just about as good as anyone could have expected in the bit between the start of the season and the first international break. And in recent years, "games from which they would have expected to get all three points" have stopped being taken for granted. ...

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  • Returning Zlatan Ibrahimovic Must Adjust To A Changed Manchester United

    “Never go back”. How many times has that old truism been rolled out to caution against a player and a club trying to rekindle the magic that lay behind a once vibrant association? Yet according to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he never truly left Manchester United. Sure, the Swede was let go at the end of last season after tearing his knee ligament but following a summer of rest, recuperation, treatment and rehabilitation, he is once again on the payroll at Old Trafford, playing for a team that has already moved on. ...

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