Tag Archives: Manchester United

New Post: Watch Bastian Schweinsteiger score on his MLS debut

By, Kyle Gibson

The Montreal Impact must not have read the scouting report on that new Chicago Fire player.

German legend and Manchester United cast-off Bastian Schweinsteiger needed just 16 minutes to open his MLS account, scoring a header on his home and league debut.

Schweinsteiger almost added a second goal late as well, but the Fire went on to win the match 2-1 anyway.

The silent treatment and shunning Jose Mourinho gave Schweinsteiger at Old Trafford this season was confusing, especially because the midfielder looked good in the handful of appearances he made. He never outwardly lost his class though, posting a heartfelt goodbye video.

Schweinsteiger was one of the best of his generation and in German history. Hopefully this is the start of a fun and successful second chance at a swan song in the Second City.

Premier League Preview: Top 4, Bottom 3, Golden Boot and Fantasy

By, Kyle Gibson

It’s almost Christmas in August. The Premier League is finally upon us. New superstar managers, new superstar players, huge egos and more!

Let’s get into a quick preview, featuring the predictions Champions League sides, relegated sides, Golden Boot winner and my Fantasy EPL side.

Champions League Teams and Champions

4. Chelsea – Antonio Conte is a badass. His Italy team could have won the Euros if Germany did not beat them in penalties. I kept thinking they would win it, but I’m not sure of the back line.

3. Arsenal РSuch a talented team, but Arsene Wenger still did not sign the top-of-the-line striker the club needs. Olivier Giroud looked so good at the Euros setting up Antoine Griezmann. Give him someone to work with!

2. Tottenham – “Lads (retches, sweating profusely) it’s…Tottenham.” That line from Alex Ferguson¬†now has a different meaning. This Tottenham team is talented, deep, well drilled and only finished third last year on the final day. Spurs did not make huge changes over the summer, but did not need to.

Spurs needed a backup for Harry Kane and got that with Vincent Janssen, who scored 27 league goals for AZ last year. Adding Victor Wanyama also provides more steel in the midfield.

Many have seen the Spurs falling off, but I see the club improving.

1. Manchester United¬†– I wish i wasn’t jinxing my favorite club. I’m just buying into the hype. Jose Mourinho has so much to prove, after the debacle last season with Chelsea.

The club worked through its central defense slightly with the emergence of Chris Smalling last year. Adding Eric Bailly in the off-season should really help.

Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrihk Mkhitaryan are the elite level signings the club has been lacking.

This all should culminate in a spellbinding year for United. Pau

Relegated Squads

20. Hull City – Ownership in turmoil. Manager Steve Bruce left just a few weeks ago. Selling their best players and not replacing them.

19. Burnley – I still think they are too small of a club, but they are a very solid team and probably the 21st best in England.

18. Swansea City – Sold the team’s heart and soul in Ashley Williams. Borja from Atletico was a solid signing, but too little. Plus, Swansea bought Leroy Fer, who relegates almost every EPL team he is with.

Golden Boot Race

Harry Kane – 24 Goals

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 22 Goals

Jamie Vardy – 20 Goals

Sergio Aguero – 20 Goals

 

My Fantasy EPL Team

I believe that I will win.

Goalkeepers – Kasper Schmeichel, Adrian

Defenders – Hector Bellerin, John Stones, Wes Morgan, Antonio Valencia, Patrick van Aanholt

Midfielders – Anthony Martial, Danny Drinkwater, Andre Ayew, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Phillipe Coutinho

Forwards – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Callum Wilson,Jermain Defoe

New Post: Manchester United Transfer Watch; James Rodriguez

By, Kyle Gibson

As Jose Mourinho looks to strengthen the Manchester United squad in the summer transfer window, Kicking It breaks down players whose names are caught in the Old Trafford rumor-mill. 

The Player: James Rodriguez

Rodriguez was one of the stars of the 2014 FIFA World Cup for Colombia before and made the big-money move from AS Monaco to Real Madrid. In his first season he had a huge impact in La Liga, with 13 goals and 13 assists.

That form dropped in 2015-16, largely due to injury and a change in lineup under Rafa Benitez. Rodriguez was an unused substitute in the Champions League Final last Saturday.

James has his name thrown into the hat for manager Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United transfer war-chest. So, let’s examine the pros, cons and the likelihood of the signing.

Pros:

1.¬†He’s a dynamic midfielder who can double as a central midfielder and winger. Mourinho will more than likely ship out Juan Mata, which would open up space. United doesn’t have many other attacking midfielders (we will get to one of the others in the next section), so this could help bolster the attack.

2. He scores some amazing goals and can provide some amazing assists. Just look at these highlights from last season.

3.¬†James could be a signing to excite fans again. After the stagnant reign of Louis van Gaal, fans are looking for excitement again at Old Trafford. Mourinho isn’t known for free-flowing soccer, but his clubs tend to score plenty of goals. This is a big name who can provide some exciting finishes and flashy moves.

Cons: 

  1. Rodriguez is not known for his defensive capabilities, which is unfortunate because Mourinho teams are known for overall team defense. This most recently led to a freezing-out of Oscar while he was at Chelsea.
  2. What will happen with Wayne Rooney? The United legend insists that he wants to play in midfield beyond this season, after making the switch in recent weeks. If Rodriguez displaces Rooney in the middle, that could hurt the team balance. Playing him on the right could slow the development of Jesse Lingard. I think that James is personally better in the center.
  3. Real Madrid players are always rumored to make the jump to United but never do. Recent cases are Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale, former Red Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos. The Spanish press has even more misinformation than the English press and rumors swirl all the time in Madrid, so you never truly know what’s happening.

Likelihood of Signing: Moderate

The chances should be lower than this, because the Manchester Evening News reported that Rodriguez wanted to stay at Madrid. However, this came after winning the Champions League, which is always a high even if you don’t play in it.

Also, Rodriguez could just be batting his eyes at United and other clubs.

I’m not willing to go above moderate on this signing, but I’m not willing to go any lower.

Follow Kyle Gibson on Twitter, @KyleisGibson. 

 

Manchester United Transfer Watch: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

By, Kyle Gibson

As Jose Mourinho looks to strengthen the Manchester United squad in the summer transfer window, Kicking It breaks down players whose names are caught in the Old Trafford rumor-mill. 

The Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan is still doing his thing at 34-years young. Being a legend/demigod? Yep. Bagging the goals? Yep. Asking to have the Eiffel Tower replaced with his likeness? Yup.

Ibra’s time in Paris has come to an end though – and he’s now available on a free transfer – which has led to rampant speculation regarding his future, including many links to Manchester United.

So, would he work at United? Let’s weigh the pros, cons and likelihood of signing.

Pros:

  1. Zlatan gets along with Mourinho splendidly. Many find both the player and manager to be abrasive. But these two had a successful spell together at Inter Milan together in 2008. This could be the pairing Mourinho needs to kick start his inaugural campaign.
  2. Goals. Goals. Goals. He’s bagged them at every stop in his career and topped Ligue 1 with a whopping 38 this year. There’s probably no way he gets that in the tougher EPL, but if he gets at least 20-25 league goals, he’s well worth the signing.
  3. United needs a top striker.¬†Wayne Rooney is now a midfielder by admission and Anthony Martial excelled on the wing. Actually, Martial became everything United fans had hoped Memphis Depay would be on the left wing. Read more about Mourinho’s need to prioritize strikers in my previous post.

Cons: 

  1. Is age just a number? Mourinho and  Ibra will be hoping so. 34 is the age most players retire or are winding down.
  2. Will his personality work in such a crazy climate?¬†The English press is insane, circling like sharks from the moment Louis van Gaal showed any sign of weakness. If Zlatan makes a lot of noise like normal, but also doesn’t perform well, fans and the media alike could call the project a disaster before it even gets half a season of trial period.
  3. What about Marcus Rashford? The 18-year old had a breakout half-season, scoring eight times in 18 matches, including the winner in the FA Cup Quarterfinal Replay at West Ham, a goal-of-the-season contender. Mourinho almost never relies on youth and Zlatan is unlikely to play a huge role as mentor. The best case scenario is that Rashford excels as an impact sub and starts games that Zlatan needs to rest.

Likelihood: High

Unlike previous United fiascos involving huge names (think Thomas Muller, Sergio Ramos, Neymar, Cesc Fabregas and Wesley Sneijder), this one seems to have a good chance of actually happening.

United is one of the only clubs willing to pay the massive wage Zlatan will demand and the link with Mourinho seems to excite the player.

Follow Kyle Gibson on Twitter, @KyleIsGibson and make sure to read the next United transfer watch, which features James Rodriguez. 

 

Blog: 3 Things Jose Mourinho Must do at Man United

By, Kyle Gibson

It isn’t official at the time of writing, but Jose Mourinho has all but been appointed the next manager at Manchester United, replacing the much maligned Louis van Gaal just days after the Dutchman helped United lift the FA Cup.

Mourinho has been tabbed as the next United manager since his firing from Chelsea in December, so he’s had some free time to plan his strategy for a club he’s always dreamed of coaching.

Here are three things Mourinho should do right away to help ensure a steady start at Old Trafford.

1. Sign a World-Class Striker

Wayne Rooney now sees himself as a central midfielder, while Anthony Martial has looked like one of the Premier League’s best wide players, not strikers. That leaves 18-year old Marcus Rashford, who did have a great first season with eight goals. However, Mourinho isn’t a big fan of youth. James Wilson does return from loan with Brighton, but only fired-in five goals in the second division.

There plenty of chatter about United signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which might just be a great match. The fiery Zlatan is by most standards old, at 34. However, he still managed 31 goals and 13 assists in 38 games for PSG in France. Ligue 1 is not as strong as the Premier League, but if Zlatan can bring United even 20 league goals, he’s worth the signing.

2. Patch-up the back line

Items No. 1 and 2 have been tops of United’s improvement list since Sir Alex Ferguson was still giving United players the hairdryer treatment. It’s baffling that United still has not fixed its defense. Chris Smalling had a big improvement at center-half this season, but his partner, Daley Blind, struggled with defending athletic¬†and tall players. Can Mourinho replace Blind with someone like Phil Jones, who has always struggled with injuries at United? He should probably dip into the transfer market instead to buy some insurance.

The full-back positions are just as much a toss-up, but I don’t know if transfers are necessary yet. Matteo Darmian was the defender of the year in Serie A, which is either an indictment on Serie A, or Darmian’s first season in Manchester. He was either injured, or a liability. Hopefully Mournho can provide more stability for Darmian and left back Marcos Rojo. He also has Antonio Valencia, who looked impressive in the FA Cup Final on Saturday after returning from injury.

It goes against everything Mourinho does, but he should also continue to develop young backs Luke Shaw, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.

3. Make Europa League a big priority

Some clubs and managers thumb their nose at Europa League, but United can’t afford to next season. The club demands Champions League soccer and it’s harder than ever to qualify via league play. With only four (potentially five) spots up for grabs, that means clubs like United, Arsenal, Spurs, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Leicester City, Southampton and West Ham are all fighting for those spots. Winning the Europa League secures automatic Champions League qualification. If Jose and United treat¬†the¬†Europa League like small potatoes, the club’s arrogance could cost it Champions League for a second consecutive season.

Follow Kyle Gibson on Twitter, @KyleIsGibson. 

 

 

New post: Three things we learned about the EPL, Week 3

By, Kyle Gibson

1. Chris Smalling has been great for Man United

I never thought I would be saying that this time last year. After all, his red card early on against City and generally skiddish play had many wondering if he was on the way out. 

Now, Smalling is bossing the backfield and getting real results (the team has not not conceded in the league so far). He looks like he understands the team shape and is playing like the future captain of Manchester United. 

Sure he’s still making the occasional mistake, but his development is plain to see. 

2. Bournemouth is awesome

I think everyone should “Up the Cherries” this season. If they’re not your favorite team, carve a place in your heart for this little club that earned its first ever top flight win with a 4-3 road win at West Ham Saturday. Callum Wilson scored a hat trick, showing he may be the Charlie Austin of this season. 

3. Tony Pulis won’t be sending a Christmas card to Saido Berahino

West Brom striker and England youngster Saido Berahino was left completely out of the team for Sunday’s loss against Chelsea. Rumors have had him heading to Tottenham all summer and it looks like he’s all but left. 

Manager Tony Pulis has slammed the transfer window altogether, saying disruption forced him to leave something out. 

Personally, I think both men can be a bit prickly and there’s probably some dueling egos here. 

Pulis should get the deal done quick and use the money for a replacement. Otherwise, this team may very well be heading down. 

New Post: EPL Predictions that will probably all be wrong. 

By, Kyle Gibson

We have the only Friday game of the year, so let’s get to the predictions! 

Manchester United 3-1 Aston Villa

I think Memphis Depay goes off in this one. 

Everton 1-1 Southampton

Everton will feel hard done by just getting a point last week against Watford. This will be a more respectable draw. 

Sunderland 0-1 Norwich City

I’ll even give you the goal scorer here. Nathan Redmond will continue to impress. 

Swansea City 2-1 Newcastle United

Swansea became the toast of the league last week in a draw against Chelsea. Should win handily enough here.

Tottenham 1-0 Stoke City

Spurs lost against United and Stoke lost in heartbreaking fashion against Liverpool. Stoke will be in mild panic after 0 points in two games. 

Watford 0-0 West Bromich Albion

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

West Ham United 2-1 Leicester City

City put in 4 against Sunderland, but the Hammers should feel inflated now after their win against preseason favorites Arsenal. 

Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal

The panic continues!

Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City

Yes…City will go five points up on Chelsea. 

Liverpool 2-0 AFC Bournemouth

Mario Ballotelli will finally…..can’t even finish the sentence. I expect Benteke and Fermino to play well 

What are your predictions? Leave in the comments below!