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Manchester United Disappoint In Bern

Manchester United Face Young Boys

Manchester United fall to Young Boys in Switzerland after a late winner from American international Jordan Siebatcheu in the final minute of the match.

Young Boys decided to match Manchester United with formation, both sides used the 4-2-3-1. Donny van de Beek steps in the starting XI as Paul Pogba moves more towards the wing.

Cristiano Ronaldo got the scoring underway when he attacked a cross to the back post from Bruno Fernandes. He slipped it under the goalie to take the lead, the goalie could have done better.

The dynamics of the game changed when Aaron Wan-Bissaka overran his dribble, his subsequent challenge showed his studs and he was sent off.

Manchester United try to tame Young Boys

Despite the man advantage most of the match, Manchester United kept their lines tight and let Ronaldo try and run on to things.

Ronaldo had a penalty shout early in the second half after he beat his man to get in behind. He was eased off the ball when looking to shot, but the ref waved it off.

Raphael Varane came in for Donny to start the second half. Five defenders flooded the box for United, making life real difficult for the Swiss side despite the man advantage.

The goal finally came for Young Boys in the 66th minute after some sustained pressure from the Swiss side. The ball was switched out wide and Young Boys had plenty of space, the cross found Nicolas Ngameleu and his redirected shot found the back of the net.

A long range shot in the 87th minute by Sandro Lauper had to be tipped over the bar by David de Gea. Young Boys continued their siege on the Manchester United box.

It was the American international who got his goal in the final minute after Jesse Lingard played a terrible back pass that played in the American. He kept his cool and slotted it past de Gea with ease.

Champions League 21-22 Preview: United Start Tournament Against Strong Young Boys Side

Manchester United Face Young Boys

Manchester United will head to Switzerland tomorrow to kick-off an optimistic Champions League campaign for the Red Devils. United will face Swiss side Young Boys tomorrow night.

United announced the traveling squad on Monday as well as the main squad and five main replacements. Edinson Cavani misses out because of an injury in training lead up to the Newcastle match. U23 players Matej Kovar and Anthony Elanga will travel with the squad.

United took care of business this weekend against Newcastle and with a loaded international break some squad rotation could happen. Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof could be rotated in. The Red Devils face an inform West Ham side on Sunday.

Champions League Expectations

The Cristiano Ronaldo signing has renewed optimism for Champions League success after a disappointing group stage exit last season. The defending run away Swiss champs is a stern test on the road to open the group for United.

The summer signings of Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane have given fans new hope for silverware in the competition. In his podcast Gary Neville explains the atmosphere around the city of Manchester since the arrival of Ronaldo.

Gary Neville said the city of Manchester’s spirits have been boosted because of Ronaldo.

We have mentioned on this blog before about the caliber of player Ronaldo is and his lofty expectations of himself and the players around him. It has instantly elevated the club so much already that the squad has already began to mimic Ronaldo’s diet.

Young Boys

Young Boys won the Swiss League by 31 points last season. It is only a 10-team league, but their are decent teams in that league, FC Basel have produced great players playing at a high level in Europe now and in the past. Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Ivan Rakitic are a few. St. Gallen is also decent.

Teams like Young Boys, FC Basel and other central European clubs thrive and play for Europe mostly. They compete well in Champions League and Europa League with the occasional shock victory or close game that showcases the talent that they eventually sell.

Young Boys got dropped in the round of 16 of the Europa League by Ajax last season. In the previous round they knocked out Bayern Leverkusen, scoring for at home and picking up an impressive win 2-0 win at Leverkusen on the return leg.

Champions League qualifying was not the easiest. They got passed two solid regional sides, Romanian champions CFR Cluj and Hungarian champions Ferencvaros.

Young Boys are managed by former Huddersfield manager David Wagner. Wagner was sacked early in the 2020 season with Schalke as the club was eventually relegated. Wagner was hired by Young Boys this summer.

Their is some solid talent in the Swiss side. American international Jordan Siebatcheu leads the line and scored 15 goals for the club in all competitions. Jean-Pierre Nsame a top forward on the club is injured. Meschack Elia and Felix Mambimbi are two exciting players from DR Congo.

Miralem Sulejmani is experienced on the outside. Christian Fassnacht, Nicolas Moumi Ngameleu and Marvin Spielmann are also effective outside and 19-year-old Alexandre Jankewitz joins an already solid midfield on loan from Southampton. Jankewitz was sent off against United in that 9-0 thumping last season.

David von Ballmoos has been the starting keeper for the club since 2017 and kept 19 clean sheets in 42 games last season. He will be shielded mainly by Silvan Hefti, Sandro Lauper, Mohamed Camara and Cedric Zesiger. Club captain and central defender Fabian Lustenberger is currently injured.

Champions League is a big way for these players to gain exposure especially against a team like United with plenty of eyes on them. Both sides will look to start their Champions League campaign off strong and a draw for Young Boys would be huge, they are also fighting for third, a Europa League appearance would also be a success for the club.

THE NAME IS RONALDO, CRISTIANO RONALDO!

Written by John White for Manchester United Did You Know That

James Bond’s most famous line, used in so many of the 007 movies is: “The name is Bond. James Bond. ”

CR7 made a sensational second debut for us today, scoring twice.

“The name is Cristiano. You may call me CR7. ”

Normal service resumed as far as I am concerned.

Who ever doubted the impact he would make for us, for a second time?

Maybe one person, the man on the Moon? Does that person wear a blue shirt by chance?

“He’s past it.

Too old.

The legs have gone.

Never go back to a former club.

He’s 36.

A has been looking a big fat salary at the end of his career.”

I heard them all plus more.

Time the Village Idiot went indoors and hid beneath the blankets. Or maybe he should dodge behind the sofa and try and hide if his team are facing us!

Be afraid. Be very afraid!

And, I mean hide, because rival clubs be afraid, be very afraid, because The Boy Is Back In Town! Where is my Thin Lizzy Greatest Hits CD when you are in the mood for celebrating?

CR7 was born to play for us and that is why Sir Alex signed him in 2003. And, thanks to the Boss, Sir Alex played an influential role in persuading Ronaldo to re-join us. The return of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32 in the Holy Bible) was replayed at Old Trafford today. CR7 played the part of the Prodigal Son this afternoon whilst the fatted calf from the Parable was actually a magpie (Newcastle United are nicknamed The Magpies) and Ronaldo and his teammates participated in the feast, a 4-1 win.

The Old Man (Ronaldo aged 36) left The Old Lady (Juventus’s nickname) to start a new Chapter in the illustrious history of Manchester United.

That Chapter began today.

SUPER DENIS IRWIN

Written by John White for Manchester United Did You Know That

On 31 October 1965, Denis Joseph Irwin was born in Cork, Republic of Ireland.Denis played a lot of Gaelic football and hurling during his school days at Coláiste Chríost Rí (CCRí), a Trusteeship Board Catholic secondary school for boys located on Capwell Road on the south side of Cork. Indeed, the young Irwin once marked his future Republic of Ireland team-mate, Niall Quinn, in a minor game of Gaelic football played at Croke Park, Dublin. However, Denis was also an excellent footballer and was capped at schoolboy level by his country. It came as no surprise to his family and friends when he left Turners Cross College football team and crossed the Irish Sea to join Leeds United as an apprentice in March 1982. He was 16-years old at the time and his manager was ex-Leeds United striker, Allan Clarke. His progress at Leeds United was slow and it wasn’t until the 1983-84 season when he made his debut for the Elland Road club (January 1984). He played 12 Second Division games for Leeds United in season 1983-84 and the following season he missed just one League game scoring once in his 41 appearances. Denis lost his place in ex-Leeds captain, Billy Bremner’s, team in the 1985-86 season playing in just 19 Division 2 games without scoring. In May 1986, Denis was placed on the Yorkshire club’s transfer list and was on the verge of moving to Chesterfield. However, the ex-Everton striker Joe Royle, the Oldham Athletic manager, moved in for him immediately. ‘When Leeds let me go, I was devastated. I was only a youngster and I felt like I’d run into a dead end. I’m sure that if I’d not been picked up by Oldham I’d have been tempted to go home to Ireland.’ (Denis speaking to Ted MacAuley of the Sunday Mirror in April 1999)

Irwin spent four highly enjoyable and successful seasons with the Boundary Park club and quickly established himself as the best full-back outside the First Division. He was calmness personified when placed under pressure and rarely made a mistake in the Latics’ defence. A solid performer who was hard but fair in the tackle, a player of immaculate timing, excellent distribution and he posed an attacking threat from his left-back berth. Denis was a vital member of Royle’s team which were runners-up to Nottingham Forest in the 1990 League Cup Final and who gave United a scare in the semi-final of the 1990 FA Cup, drawing 3-3 with United in the first game at Maine Road before losing the replay 2-1 at the same ground. United went on to win the FA Cup, Alex Ferguson’s first trophy success as Manchester United manager, but Denis’s performances in both games at Maine Road were firmly embedded in Fergie’s mind. On 8th June 1990, Fergie persuaded Royle to allow Denis to leave cushioned with a £625,000 transfer deal which was good business for Oldham Athletic who got Denis from Leeds United on a free transfer. ‘When I heard United were interested in me I didn’t even want to talk to anyone else,’ said Irwin at the time of his move. However, Alex Ferguson told Royle that he had placed a coveted eye on Denis long before he finally got his man and he had Denis watched more than 20 times by his team of scouts and advisors. Fergie also informed Royle that he never once received a negative report from his scouts or advisors after they watched Denis play. When he left Boundary Park Denis was full of praise for his former manager; “Joe Royle got my career up and running again and I owe him an awful lot. I got released and Oldham picked me up. I had four years there and they were the stepping stone for me to the success I’ve had at United. I had four great years there.’

Irwin Debuts

Irwin was handed his Manchester United debut on 18th August 1990 in the 1990 FA Charity Shield (now known as the Community Shield) versus Liverpool. He played at right-back in a game that ended 1-1 (scorer: Clayton Blackmore) resulting in the two sides sharing the trophy for six months apiece. On 25th August 1990, Denis made his Manchester United League debut in a 2-0 First Division win at Old Trafford with goals from Steve Bruce and Neil Webb. He was flawless at right-back alongside fellow Irishman Mal Donaghy who played at left-back with the step-up in class proving no obstacle to Denis who looked extremely comfortable among his new team-mates. Denis played in 33 of United’s 42 League games in his first season at Old Trafford (1 as a substitute) and collected a League Cup runners-up medal on 21st April 1991 after United lost 1-0 to Sheffield Wednesday managed by ex-United manager Ron Atkinson. On 15th May 1991, Denis won the first of his 15 winners’ medals with United (excludes 4 Charity Shield winners’ medals) when they beat FC Barcelona 2-1 to claim the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

In August 1991, Fergie paid £1.7 million for Queen’s Park Rangers right-back Paul Parker and decided to switch Irwin to left-back, an inspired move for both manager and player with Denis taking a stranglehold on the No.3 jersey for the next 11 years. In season 1991-92, Denis made 37 Division One appearances for United and scored 4 goals; his first coming against Norwich City at Old Trafford on 7 September 1991 (Brian McClair and Ryan Giggs also scored). The United v Norwich City game was a huge moment in my life as it was the first ever trip to Old Trafford which I organised for The Carryduff Manchester United Supporters’ Club following our affiliation to United as an official Branch of Manchester United’s Supporters’ Club network in July 1991. I can still recall the game that day and often think back to it as the start of something very, very special which 20 years later is as strong as it ever was. Since then I have organised more than 300 trips to Old Trafford for our members and I have seen young boys, including my oldest son Marc who was only 1-year old when I formed the Branch, grow up and become men. Our Paul was born on 4th June 1993 and as I write this book he too is fast approaching manhood. Indeed, one of our early junior members, Michael Morrison, is now a Committee member and a close friend whilst my sparring partner, John Dempsey, has stood firm beside me as Branch Chairman for the past 19 years. I bet our members wish we were still charging them £69 for all their travel, 2 nights in a hotel and a match ticket to go and see United play today which is what it cost us back in 1991 to see the United v Norwich City game!

On 19 November 1991, Denis won a European Super Cup winners’ medal following their 1-0 win over Red Star Belgrade 1-0 at Old Trafford. It was United’s first piece of European silverware in 23 years. On 12 April 1992, Denis won a League Cup winners’ medal after United beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 (scorer: Brian McClair) in the final at Wembley Stadium. A fellow Cork man played for Forest that day and a player who would go on to become an iconic figure at Old Trafford, Roy Keane. It is fair to say that Denis was part of the beginning of Alex Ferguson’s new revolution at Old Trafford which saw United become the most dominant side in English football over the next two decades and beyond and Denis very rarely put a foot wrong in a United shirt. The fans loved his swashbuckling style as he was capable of turning defence into attack, robbing an opposing winger of the ball and then racing off up the line to start an attack at the opposite end of the pitch. When he switched over to left-back he would regularly feed Ryan Giggs on the wing whilst the pair formed one of the most feared attacking partnerships in the Premier League.

Denis’s first four seasons at United were simply breathtaking playing in a Manchester United side that was bursting with talent and brimming in confidence, but even more success was to come for the quiet unassuming Cork man. He was a key player in the United team which clinched the inaugural FA Premier League title in season 1992-93 to end the club’s 26-year wait to be crowned Champions of England. He was an ever-present in the side during the 1992-93 campaign and weighed in with five goals. Irwin was the solitary ever-present during United’s Double-winning season in 1993-94 and two years later helped United to a second Double.

Club Legend Ronaldo Returns To Old Trafford

Injury Scare

On 5 November 1997, Denis Irwin’s glittering career was almost brought to an end by a thuggish tackle. United were playing Feyenoord in a Group B Uefa Champions League game at Feijenoord Stadion, better known by its nickname De Kuip (the Tub) where United lifted the 1991 European Cup Winners’ Cup, and leading the game 3-0 after 76 minutes of play. An Andy Cole hat-trick had United in full control of the game and then in the 82nd minute Paul Bosvelt made a very dangerous tackle on Denis. The Dutch player’s studs ripped into Irwin’s calf resulting in the Irishman being stretchered off as Phil Neville came on as a substitute for him. Quite amazingly, the referee, Sándor Puhl from Hungary, didn’t even show Bosvelt a yellow card. At the time Denis feared his career was over and in an interview with Ted McCauley for the Sunday Mirror on 4 April 1999, Denis recalled the incident: ‘I was furious because it was such a bad challenge – and even when I was lying on the floor I was having a right scream at the referee because he didn’t do anything about it. I was in a lot of pain, too. But players are always getting stretchered off and then sprinting straight back on again so the fans probably don’t recognise that a man can get hurt. The thought was there, that my injury was serious and I didn’t really know how bad it was. It was only when the physio told me in the dressing room that it was probably the medial ligaments, that I knew I would be OK. I thought it was a terrible challenge and there’s no place for that against a fellow professional.’ Puhl was dropped by Uefa from refereeing any further games in the competition in season 1997-98 and not selected by Fifa as one of their panel of referees for the 1998 World Cup Finals in France. By missing the latter competition, Puhl missed out on the chance of becoming the first referee to take charge of two Fifa World Cup Finals; he was the referee in the 1994 Final which saw Brazil beat Italy 3-2 on penalties after the game ended 0-0 after extra-time.

However, the pinnacle of Denis’s Manchester United career came in the 1998-99 season when Manchester United won an unprecedented treble of Premier League Championship, FA Cup and the Uefa Champions League. Irwin missed out on the 2-0 FA Cup victory over Newcastle United due to a very harsh red card that he received at Anfield on 5 May 1999 where United won a precious point in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool (United won the Premiership by a single point in 1998-99). Denis Irwin scored United’s second goal that day. Alex Ferguson described Irwin’s sending off as ‘…an affront to commonsense … it ruled out one of the best-behaved and most respected pros in England out of the Cup final.’ Marshall Angus recalls the incident: ‘I never met Denis but in my life I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more consistent player. I honestly don’t remember seeing him have a bad game and some great goals from a left back too. One thing that stands out in my memory is him getting an undeserved red card against Liverpool. I don’t know why it stuck out, maybe because he may have been the most honest player I’ve seen and he certainly did not deserve it. Denis was a great player and one of only two players whose names I’ve had on more than one shirt! Cantona was the other.’ Nevertheless Irwin was awarded an FA Cup winners medal which his earlier performances more than merited. His performances in the United defence alongside Gary and Phil Neville, Henning Berg, Ronny Johnsen, David May and Jaap Stam played a key part in United’s Treble success which saw the team win 36 of their 62 matches and only lost 4 times.

Captain Irwin

Denis had good reason to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 2001 when Sir Alex handed him the captain’s armband for the Premiership home game versus Leicester City. It was his 10th season at the club and his 500th appearance for United who won the game 2-0 thanks to two very late goals from Dwight Yorke (88 mins) and Mikael Silvestre (90 mins). On the final day of the 2000-01 campaign Denis was given the honour of captaining United again in what was their last home game of the season for the visit of Derby County. United had already clinched their third successive Premiership crown, their 7th overall, despite the fact that they still had three games to play such was the team’s dominance. We lost 1-0 to The Rams that day but fittingly it was Denis who stepped on to the purpose-built platform on the pitch at Old Trafford to hold aloft the Premier League trophy before 67,526 fans including me. It was a very special moment for Denis who had helped United win all 7 Premiership crowns. He may have been a much underrated player by certain sections of the media and opposing fans but his peers and his adoring United fans knew just how much of an asset he was to United.

The hugely popular Irishman spent 12 memorable years at Old Trafford and in that time he played 356 League games (Division One and Premier League) and scored 22 times (7 from the penalty spot); 42 FA Cup games, 7 goals; 28 League Cup games, 3 goals; 74 European games, 4 goals. In total, he made 529 appearances for United which is just six behind another Irish full-back, Tony Dunne which places Denis 8th in the table of all-time appearance makers for the club. Irwin scored many important goals for United, he had a ferocious shot, was a cool penalty taker and was lethal from free kicks. Denis remains Manchester United’s most successful Irish player in terms of winners’ medals and at a bargain £625,000 represents one of the best transfer deals Alex Ferguson ever did. Even in his mid-30’s Denis was Sir Alex’s first choice left back with Phil Neville waiting in the wings and unquestionably the most consistent performer in the United team season after season. In season 1999-200, he broke the club record for the highest number of European Cup/Uefa Champions League appearances when he played in his 47th game in the competition in the 3-2 quarter-final defeat at Old Trafford to Real Madrid (19th April 2000). On 16th August 2000, Denis was given a Testimonial in recognition of his first 10 years with United and Manchester City provided the opposition. ‘Mr Dependable’ walked out of the tunnel at Old Trafford with his three young children Liam, Lauren and Katy and was welcomed by a standing ovation from his adoring United fans and received a guard of honour from his fellow professionals. However, he was forced to leave the game early after George Weah injured him in a late and clumsy challenge. United won the encounter 2-0 with goals from Teddy Sheringham and Dwight Yorke. Denis won just about everything the domestic game could offer but was never arrogant about his success as a professional footballer. When he was at United he was perceived by just about everybody as being extremely shy but Denis maintained that this was illusionary and a false image of him: ‘I think it’s a bit false. It’s one that seems to have been created by the media. The supporters don’t know me, so they accept that view of my personality. I’m not complaining. I know I don’t get the headlines – but I’m happy to leave that to the forwards because when the stick is being dished out they’re usually the first in line.’ (Denis speaking to Ted MacAuley of the Sunday Mirror in April 1999) Winners’ Medals with Manchester UnitedPremier League (7) – 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01 FA Cup (3) – 1994, 1996, 1999League Cup (1) – 1992Charity Shield (4) – 1990, 1993, 1996, 1997Uefa Champions League (1) – 1999European Cup Winners’ Cup (1) – 1991 European Super Cup (1) – 1991Intercontinental Cup (World Club Championship) (1) – 1999

Irwin’s playing motto was if it’s unnecessary don’t do it. Keep it simple. Keep it plain. He played his last ever game for Manchester United on the final day of the 2001-02 season, 11 May 2002, which ended in a 0-0 draw versus Charlton Athletic. In honour of his sterling service to United Fergie made Denis captain for his final game as the hugely popular Irishman received a standing ovation before and after the game. Irwin’s longevity with United is borne testimony by the fact that not one of his team mates, including substitutes, from the 1990 Charity Shield game was with the club on the day of his last game for United. During his United career there were only two seasons in which he did not collect a winners medal (1994-95 and 2001-02). When he was asked for his best moment at United he said: ‘Winning the Champions League in 1999 was great but my favourite memory is that first league title win in 1993.’ Sir Alex Ferguson labelled Denis as: ‘The best two footed player in my time here.’ I have spoken to many United fans over the years who have lamented over a post-match drink or two how impossible it has been for United to replace the likes of Bryan Robson, Mark Hughes, Eric Cantona and Peter Schmeichel. But for me Denis ‘Mr Dependable‘ Irwin also falls into the latter category of irreplaceable Reds although I must admit Patrice Evra is getting close.

Retirement

Two months after his final appearance in a United shirt he was on his way to Wolverhampton Wanderers in a free transfer and scored twice for Wolves in his first season with the Black County club (Burnley and Grimsby Town). On 26 May 2003, Wolves beat Sheffield United 3-0 in the Division One Play-Off Final to win promotion to the Premier League, returning to the top tier of English football after a 19-year exile. On 27 August 2003, Denis received one of the loudest welcomes I have ever heard an opposing player receive from United fans when he played for Wolves against United in the Premiership. United won the game 1-0 with a goal from his former United and international team-mate, John O’Shea. At the end of the 2003-04 season, Wolves finished bottom of the Premier League and were relegated back to the First Division of the Football League. The 38-year old Irwin then announced his retirement.

In his autobiography Bobby Charlton chose Denis Irwin in his personal ‘very best of Manchester United.’ The legendary Charlton’s high praise of Irwin is despite the fact that Sir Booby played in the same team as two other legendary Manchester United full-backs, Roger Byrne and Tony Dunne. In his autobiography Sir Bobby said: ‘You never worried about Denis Irwin. I remember him once making a mistake, an occasion so rare I found myself thinking really, I never thought I would see that.’ (Sir Bobby Charlton – My Manchester United Years – The Autobiography; Bobby Charlton with James Lawton (2007), Headline Publishing Group). Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson was equally full of praise for his Irish gem and stated in his autobiography: ‘Nowhere in football is there a more popular player than the unassuming Irishman, who is the ultimate professional, one of those quiet, under-praised heroes who constitute the bedrock of all great teams.’ (Managing My Life- My Autobiography; Alex Ferguson with Hugh McIlvanney (2000), Hodder and Stoughton Ltd). Denis Irwin made his debut for the Republic of Ireland on 12th September 1990 at right-back in a 1-0 friendly win over Morocco at Dalymount Park, Dublin. Indeed, most of his games for his country were at right-back. His first competitive game for his country came on 17 October 1990 versus Turkey in a qualifying game for the 1992 European Football Championships. The game was played at Lansdowne Road, Dublin and Ireland won 5-0. Denis represented Ireland at the 1994 Fifa World Cup Finals in the USA and played in the famous 1-0 win over Italy in Ireland’s opening group match at Giants Stadium. He scored the first of his 4 goals for his country on 29th April 1992 against the USA in a friendly match at Lansdowne Road. Denis pulled on the Irish shirt for the 56th and final time on 17th November 1999 in the second play-off leg against Turkey for the 2000 European Football Championships. The game ended 0-0 and having drawn 1-1 against the Turks in Dublin four days earlier the Irish missed out on Euro 2000 on the away goals rule. Denis Irwin was probably the first name his international manager, Jack Charlton, put down on his team sheet such was the Cork man’s dependability and eagerness to play for his country at every opportunity. Whether it was an international friendly or a crucial Euro or World Cup qualifying game, Denis wanted to pull on the Irish jersey and he never once let his country down. He was a player’s player with commitment, dedication, drive and hard work at the very core of his game. Every time he wore the Irish jersey he knew that a nation depended on him and so he wasn’t going to let them down. Charlton had nothing but the utmost admiration for Denis saying: ‘There are certain types of players who give managers headaches and I’ve come across a few in my time in the Ireland job. Denis, though, is a manager’s dream, a class act, a nice guy and a player you could always bank on to come up trumps.’In 2002, he was named to the ‘Overall Team of the Decade’ for the Premier League’s 10 Seasons Awards (1992-93 to 2001-02).

Newcastle Breakdown For The Return Of A United Hero

The dreaded international break for Premier League fans is coming to a close and the league will be back up and running. The opponent for United could not be a better coming back/warm-up game, Newcastle.

Newcastle are a weird side, someone would even call them dysfunctional. The reports of dysfunction and Newcastle going down were all the rave in the months of March and April until some great form towards the end of the season saved Newcastle from a relegation scrap.

Newcastle only have a point from their first three games. A 2-2 draw their last time out against Southampton, a common opponent for both United and Newcastle. Newcastle was also unlucky to draw Burnley in the league cup, falling in pens.

Their response to getting knocked out of the League Cup was the draw against Southampton. Newcastle were unlucky to lose, they were pegged back twice and gave up the last goal deep in stoppage time by conceding a penalty.

Newcastle’s Tactics

Newcastle operate in the 5-3-2 on paper. It fluctuates and really is more of a 3-1-4-2 because Matt Ritchie and Jacob Murphy in their career have been deployed in more offensive positions with Newcastle and their previous clubs, they are not wing-backs, but they are also not wingers.

In the middle Isaac Hayden will look to drop deep in that six role and Miguel Almiron and Joe Wilock will roam and provide mainly attacking support. Wilock has been a game changer for Newcastle, the club made him a permanent signing in the summer after impressing on loan in the second half of the season from Arsenal.

Wilock was the only business the club had in the window to the dismay of Newcastle fans. The business was defended by the club in a statement. Wilock is a wild card for Manchester United, if United are not smart in the middle they can lose track of Wilock. Wilock’s main position is in the midfield maybe as a roaming 8, but could play forward, he scored 8 goals for Newcastle in 14 games since joining in January and was popping up all over the place.

Wilock and Almiron are great underneath Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin. When the forwards are fit Newcastle can be a problem. Wilson provides that direct threat, if the ball is at his feet in the box, the shot will likely be on target. Saint-Maximin provides that directness along with flash and the ability to take defenders on.

Contrary to what people may think about Newcastle’s tactics, they do have a plan and it is not that bad. Send in crosses with Ritchie and Murphy to let Wilson attack and have Wilock get to the back post and slip his marker. Get Saint-Maximin and Almiron on the ball to take on defenders opening up the quick switches, putting defenders in bad situations.

Defensive Woes

Offensive tactics are not bad, defense is a problem for Newcastle. This season they have already given up 8 goals, last season they gave up 62 goals, only four other clubs were worse defensively. Newcastle decided not to upgrade their defense after such a poor campaign last season and will rely on continuity.

Fabian Schar, Jamal Lascelles, Federico Fernandez, Ciaran Clark and Emil Krafth are the main defensive options with the ladder two on the bench after giving up four goals to West Ham in their opener. It seems like Newcastle may not have the right players for their defensive tactics.

No team plays the 3-center back formation better than Man City and another good example is England, what they both have in common is Kyle Walker. City will have Cancelo playing the wing-back next to Walker and England will use Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold and James. All great players, that is why they do have success in the formation.

Walker knows when to stay and go in defense. When to press the winger, when to stay with the full back when they overlap. Fabian Schar struggles at times. If Murphy and Wilock are too high up the pitch that could leave Schar on an island. The winger now has complete control of the situation, he can take Schar on and drive to the line or play the quick pass inside and the switch is on.

Aston Villa exploited Newcastle often with Ashley Young and Anwar El Ghazi. Manchester United could also take advantage of Newcastle’s defense with Luke Shaw and Jadon Sancho on the left. Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes could also get involved when the switch is on. Long shots and the opportunity to play a teammate in could be abundant for the playmakers.

They have the ability to change it up and if their original game plans do not workout they could add a player like Jonjo Shelvey, Ryan Fraser and Joelinton off the bench. Not the worst options off the bench.

Man Utd Team News and Presser

It is going to be Ronaldo’s first game at Old Trafford since 2009 and manage Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed this during his press conference.

“He’s been having a good pre-season with Juventus, he’s played for the national team, he’s had a good week with us here. He’ll definitely be on the pitch at some point, that’s for sure.”

“He’s developed into one of the most accurate finishers that I’ve seen. He’s one of the best in the air, his timing, desire to get on the end of crosses is second to none. He still hits the target 99 times out of 100 as well when he shoots outside of the box. He knows the game more, he knows which positions to drop into and when to run in behind and he’s still as quick, it looks like from the stats, and he’s a shining leading star, everyone’s going to look up to him. He’s going to be a leader in this dressing room.”

There could be some late fitness tests for some United players who did play late in the international break as well as picking up some slight injuries.

“Jadon has come back in with a minor knock but he’s trained the last couple of days. He’s disappointed he couldn’t play for England but determined to be fit and he’s available. So that’s a positive. Cristiano has trained all week so he’s available. The international break, we didn’t get anyone injured. Luke, Harry and Victor played late on Wednesday night so they’ve not had a lot of recovery but they will be available I think.”

United should be able to control the game on Saturday, but Newcastle could be up for the task of playing spoiler to what likely will be a joyous atmosphere at Old Trafford for the return of Ronaldo.

Ronaldo Our Hat-Trick Hero

By Artyom Tonoyan

In his career, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 57 hat-tricks. In this context, he has no equal in the 21st century and even his main rival Leo Messi is three lines below. The Portuguese scored his first hat-trick with Sporting. For the Red Devils, Cristiano has only one hat-trick.

When in the summer of 2003 a skinny guy from Madeira named Cristiano arrived at the legendary Old Trafford, he was still far from the popularity of the general football audience. Of course, the Portuguese was talented and promising, but he had a long way to go to prove his stellar worth.  And it is worth noting that during the first seasons, Ronaldo tried to win the fans’ sympathy not with goals, but with dexterous tricks and feints. This behavior of the Portuguese amused the stands.  

After three years at United, Ronaldo has scored 28 goals.  After that, he realized that the road to football greatness is usually strewn with goals. To become the best player in the world, you need to either score yourself or create goals for others, influencing the outcome of matches. 

Three consecutive championships in the Premier League and two prizes for the best player of the tournament. The cherished triumph in the Champions League and of course the Golden Ball.  After such success, no one doubted that he could stand on a par with the greatest players of this game.

Nevertheless, no matter how the Portuguese shone in England, he managed to score 3 goals in one match only once. It happened in early 2008, in an amazing match with Newcastle.  Throughout the first half United dominated, but there weren’t many dangerous moments.

As soon as the second half began, justice prevailed for the actively playing hosts.  The first goal was scored by Ronaldo. The Portuguese from the free-kick struck a cunning blow under the wall, with which the guests’ goalkeeper could not cope.  Soon, Carlos Tevez doubled the lead of his team. But that evening belonged exclusively to Cristiano.  

In the 70th minute, United played a gorgeous vertical combination, during which Ronaldo was in a shock position and issued a double. The match rolled smoothly to its end. There was no longer any doubt about the success of the owners. But in the end, the guys of Alex Ferguson decided to please the audience at Old Trafford with a real waterfall of heads. 

Since 80 minutes, the Red Devils have scored 3 more goals. First, Ferdinand pleased the stands, and then Tevez. Well, between these goals, Ronaldo scored the first hat-trick in a Manchester United jersey. Cristiano put the defender on the lawn with a sharp feint, and then sent the ball into the net with an accurate blow.

When the question arises who is the best player in the world, many talk about Messi and it’s hard to argue with that. But at the same time, Ronaldo can play for Millwall, Queens Park Rangers and Doncaster and still score hat-tricks. I’m not sure Messi can do that. This is how Sir Alex Ferguson compared the two legends in 2015.

Man Utd Weekend Review: Greenwood Snatches 3 Points From Wolves, U23s Fall and James Sold

Daniel James started the Wolves game for Man Utd but with the signings of Jadon Sancho and Ronaldo playing time would not be guaranteed for the Welsh International.

Longtime admires Leeds have came in and bought James according to Fabrizio Romano. Leeds were close to buying James a few seasons ago after the player broke out for Swansea but Man Utd came in with a late bid.

Romano is also reporting that Diogo Dalot and Amad will stay at the club. Amad was close to going out on loan to Feyenoord but was recently injured.

Man Utd Grab Late Winner v Wolves

Mason Greenwood bagged another goal for United this weekend, scoring in each league game so far for Man Utd. His late goal gives United 7 points from a possible 9 heading to the international break.

Wolves looked lively at Molineux and should have probably scored if it was not for the heroics of Aaron Wan-Bissaka early and an amazing double save by David de Gea in the second half ensured the clean sheet.

Paul Pogba might have been sent off after his touch was too heavy or even get called for a foul. The ball was then played wide to Greenwood who finished.

Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho got their first starts for Man Utd. It was also the full debut for Varane, who played well and made some Premier League team of the weeks on Monday.

Man Utd U23s fall to City

Manchester City U23s won PL2 last season and look a real good side again this season. A good test for United’s U23s, who have players in and out of the side ahead of the transfer deadline.

Hannibal returned to the squad, but it was not enough losing 4-2 on the day. City scored early after United tried to play out the back. Alvaro Fernandez, probably the best player this season answered before the break.

James Mcatee looks a solid player for City and was a thorn in United’s side all game. His second goal of the game came after a beautiful switch pass into the box.

Defender Joseph Olowu came close to scoring three times on headers from set pieces for United, but just could not finish. Mcatee would get his hat-trick for City with another beautiful left footed strike putting City up 3-1.

Hoogewerf made it a game again shortly after and things go chippy between the two clubs. City would finish the game off after Mcatee played in a teammate who finished well, 4-2 on the day for City.

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