The results of ego!

Against both expert as well as fan observation, #LVG has held firm that his #ManchesterUnited side do not need a new out-and-out striker and that his Captain (who can do no wrong in his eyes) the slow, technically deficient #WayneRooney is the man who will score all the goals United need to have a successful season (although in this post #SAF era, who knows what that even means for them?). The slight glimmer of hope in the 3 goals he put past an absolutely rubbish #Brugge side, impressed only the naive (and LVG apparently) because today’s performance against an impressive #Swansea side, where #GaryMonk has done an absolutely incredible job with the limited resources he has, showed just how rubbish Rooney actually is – he had the fewest touches on the ball, aside from United’s B-grade keeper #Romero and the 3 gilt-edged chances he had on goal, he was bereft of ideas and terribly slow to even attempt to pull the trigger before the Swans defenders were able to intercept. #Aguero #Costa and even the hitherto unknown #Collins of #Bournemouth would have scored most of those 3 chances.

#VanGaal’s other assertions – he doesn’t need a top quality Center Back to partner #Smalling and that #DeGea should be benched until his transfer to #RealMadrid is decided one way or the other, are both starting to wear thin as well as the excellent #Ayew and #Gomis were able to score doosies today in their 2-1 win against the #RedDevils, both of which should have been saved by even a half-decent goal-keeper, let alone the best there is in DeGea.

These decisions (and the 5 points dropped in the last 2 games) have huge impact on the season and Van Gaal’s legendary ego are starting to cost this United side dearly. Expect a disappointing season ahead – again.

The other dutchman had a great game however as #Koeman’s #Southampton side demolished #Norwich 3-0 with goals from #Pelle and 2 from #Tadic.

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Can Mourinho outdo Moyes?

Another well deserved defeat, this time at home to a visiting #CrystalPalace 1-2 and #Mourinho and his reigning champions are already 8 points behind run-away leaders #ManchesterCity, who comfortable beat a battling #Watford 2-0 at the Emirates thanks to a debut goal by #sterling and another rocket by #Fernandinho. If this trend continues post the needless (and annoying) international break into September-October, #Chelsea might well surrender their title just as soon and as convincingly as #Moyes did when he took over then champions #ManchesterUnited. Being compared to Moyes might be the one thing Mou does not ever want. That something isn’t right at Chelsea, is a given. But this really comes back to Mourinho’s 3rd season syndrome – not sure what it is but it makes him a lot more miserable, the internal battles begin (the Eva Carneiro fight, the potential #JohnTerry issues, the 3 players he singled out to be dropped) and rapidly, the assault on the ‘biased’ media, the ‘appalling’ referees and siege-mentality start showing up week after week. He did this at #Real as year 3 began and unless some sort of harmony returns soon, it won’t be surprising to see the Blues have a relatively poor season followed by another exit by their favorite coach. He’ll be at #PSG next if that does happen. Take nothing away from Palace though in all this – they were superb and #Pardew has created a side that will upend more than their share of top 6 teams this season.

#Arsenal were lucky to come away with all 3 points at #Newcastle thanks to their ‘Own Goal’ striker (from a deflected own goal from an #Ox shot) and find themselves in the top half of the table again, but with more questions asked than answers found as far as their readiness for the season goes. Like United, if they can’t land themselves a 20+ goal striker by Tuesday, it’s going to be yet another disappointing season, competing for that customary 4th spot.

#Liverpool had their good start for the season undone in some style by a visiting #WestHam, who put 3 unanswered goals past the hapless Reds with the added ignominy of having their talisman #Coutinho sent off and thus missing the visit to #OldTrafford after the International break. #Spurs and #Everton split the points as they played out a goalless draw at the Lane and #Leicester continued their great start with a come from behind 1-1 at #Bournemouth.

Over in the #Bundesliga, mighty #Bayern continued their customary dominance with an easy 3-0 win at the #Alliance over #Leverkusen thanks to a brace by #Müller and a penalty by #Robben to go top after 3 games. In the #LaLiga #RealMadrid answered #Barcelona’s 1-0 win at home to #Malaga with a 5-0 thumping of #RealBetis at the #Bernabeu thanks to 2 goals a-piece from #Bale and #James and one from #Benzema. The free-kick that James scored is a must watch – it’s one of the better goals you’ll see all season!

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Same old, same old!

The 2016 #ChampionsLeague Group Stage draw is out this morning and once again, #ManchesterCity get a tough group (they’ve had bad luck for the last 3 years it would seem) with #Juventus #Sevilla and #Monchengladbach in their potential group of death. But this City side are the best they’ve ever had and with some CL experience under their belt, expect great things.
#Arsenal who seem to attract the mighty Bavarians year after year, get them again, in a group that could be tricky for them, with #Bayern #Olympiakos and #Zagreb and will likely result in a 2nd placed finish (again) behind Pep’s men, which again means they likely face one of the top European teams in the knock-outs, a banana peal they’ve now become proficient at slipping on.

In contrast, #LVG’s #RedDevils seem to have the luck of the draw, after they were handed a ‘relatively’ easier group with #PSV #CSKA and #Wolfsburg, on paper atleast. But if fans of #ManchesterUnited are brimming with confidence after their big 7-1 aggregate victory in qualifying against #Brugge yesterday, especially after a rare #Rooney hat-trick, they really shouldn’t. Brugge were absolutely pedestrian at best. If they had a half decent forward line, they could have scored 3-4 yesterday, which would have changed the game entirely. United may have kept a clean sheet (again) but, my, did they ever look shaky in defense and for long periods of the game, their dominance on the ball was some of the most boring ball-possession you’ve seen in a CL game. The goals may have come for Rooney but they came against absolutely garbage defending, none of which they can expect from their #EPL opponents and certainly from well-drilled teams like CSKA and Wolfsburg (even with their star midfielder #DeBruyne heading to City).

#Chelsea have it easy with #Porto #DynamoKiev and #MacabiTelAviv and their new #Pedro (and if rumors are to be believed, #Pogba) powered midfield should run through these teams relatively easily.

The 2 big clubs drawn together though are #RealMadrid and #PSG, who will compete with each other for 1st spot with #Malmö and #Shakhtar playing for pride, at best. #Barcelona have #Leverkusen and #Roma who might ask questions of them, if any, with #BATE making up the likely 4th place.

So, predictions – which teams progress out of this group?

A: 1. Real 2. PSG
B: 1. ManUtd 2. Wolfsburg
C: 1. #Atletico 2. #Benfica
D: 1. ManCity 2. Juventus
E: 1. Barcelona 2. Leverkusen
F: 1. Bayern 2. Arsenal
G: 1. Chelsea 2. Dynamo
H: 1. Valencia 2. Zenit

Thoughts?

May the fun times begin!

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Well, hello Sergio!

#ManchesterCity look irresistible 2 games into the season as they demolished #Chelsea 3-0 at the #Etihad, thanks to goals by #Aguero #Kompany and #Fernandino and had it not been for about 5 top saves by Chelsea’s 2nd keeper #Begovic this scoreline could have been a LOT worse. It’s only 2 games into the season, so it’s a tad early to start announcing where the title is going but City definitely have the spring in their step they were missing last season and something definitely looks off at Chelsea, with their performances on the field and the in-fighting in their management staff. What is it about a 3rd #Mourinho season anywhere he goes?

Both Manchester clubs have 2 wins each now but they couldn’t be more dissimilar. #United lumbered to two 1-0 wins, while City have steamrolled their opponents – and you don’t often do that to a defensive genius that is #Jose. City’s main striker Aguero looks fantastic – he’s fast, has great technique, holds the ball, makes penetrating runs and can finish from positions he shouldn’t score from. United, well, they have #Rooney (while rumors suggest that supposed target #Pedro seems unwilling to play for #LVG). In defense, Kompany is back to top form, #Mangala looks the player they paid so much for last season and rumors are they have closed the signing of #Otamendi (while #LVG and the idiots at United are busy with their silly wet dream of getting #Ramos from #RealMadrid) and with #Yaya and #Silva they have a midfield general and a creative talisman that #Schneiderlin and #Mata can barely hold a candle to.

But it’s still early, so we’ll stay off the City bandwagon, for now.

#Arsenal got their shaky campaign righted after winning away at #CrystalPalace (one of the tougher games of the season) with a spectacular goal from #Giroud (I don’t score much, but when I do……) and a #Sanchez influenced own goal by Palace. A home win next week and they could be on the way again.

Over in the #Bundesliga, #Dortmund have started fabulously with a comprehensive thrashing of #Monchengladbach and last year’s runners up #Wolfsburg got a win #Frankfurt to start off on the right foot. Can these 2 truly give mighty #Bayern a run for their money – finally?

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Can no one else see it?

Yeah, #ManchesterUnited have started with 2 wins out of 2, after yet another professional 1-0 win, this time away to #AstonVilla, thanks to a goal by surprise starter #AdnanJanuzaj that was created by #JuanMata and #LukeShaw (notice the absence of one #WayneRooney in this sentence) and coupled with a solid defensive performance by the United back 4, including yet another impressive run by the two wing backs #Darmian and #Shaw. And for the time being, they are at the top of the table, something that hasn’t happened even once in the last 2 years. But the here’s the thing, once again, Wayne Rooney was absolutely useless. He wasn’t incisive in his runs, he can’t dribble, he can’t hold up the ball and he lost the ball a bunch of times. The fact that #LVG doesn’t see this and the commentators seem to ignore the deficiencies in Rooney’s game, is very surprising – a classic case of reputation over actual performance. If United don’t bring in more firepower, they will regret this Rooney dependance greatly.

Over in the #Bundesliga mighty #Bayern started out with a massive 5-0 thrashing of a very poor #HamburgerSV at the #AllianzArena with goals for new boy #Costa, #Lewandowski, #Benatia and a regular double from the clinical #Müller. Aside from just how poor Hamburger were, there is probably not a lot to glean from this game from a Bayern perspective. A little more competition in the Bundesliga would serve them and the spectators a lot better!

Over in the #SpanishSuperCup hard-charging #AtleticBilbao comprehensively thrashed an otherwise all-conquering #Barcelona 4-0 in the the 1st leg in Bilbao, the first non-friendly defeat (and how!) #LuisEnrique’s side have tasted in a while! The alarming trend though for Barca is that they have now let in 8 goals in the last 2 games, after their #UEFASuperCup win over #Sevilla 5-4. Can the Catalans fix their leaky defense before their #LaLiga campaign begins?

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Lucky United are 3 players short!

While #ManchesterUnited started the 2015 #EPL season with a home win (unlike their loss to begin last season) beating a very good #Tottenham side 1-0, thanks to a fortuitous own-goal by #KyleWalker, for any objective and knowledgeable viewer, the alarm bells ought have been ringing instead of the celebration for the 3 points. #LouisVanGaal’s boys look short in 3 distinct areas – One, they DO NOT have even one world class striker because #WayneRooney is not just world class, he lacks speed, guile and has a terrible first touch. If any United supporter thinks he is the man to get 30 goals for the team this season, try dropping that number by 15 and still expect to be disappointed. His dwaddling about clear in front of goal (#Aguero would have struck that pass from #Depay into the top right of the goal without taking a touch) ended up in that Kyle Walker own-goal as he tried to toe poke the ball out of Rooney’s way. Second, they lack genuine pace and when they come up against better opposition, this labored pace they play with will hurt them repeatedly. To his credit, LVG has been saying he needs a fast, creative player but it isn’t just buying one that’s the problem – his teams are setup to slow things down, hold possession and dominate. Try doing that against the pace of even #CrystalPalace or #LeicesterCity. And finally, the long-standing problem area for the #RedDevils – their Center Backs. #Smalling is unpredictable and #Blind is just not a CB, and #Kane showed him up repeatedly today.

#Chelsea started their defense with a 2-2 draw against an impressive #Swansea side at the Bridge as they gave up the lead twice and had #Courtois sent off for a straight red, which means they travel to #ManchesterCity without their #1 goal-keeper. The Blues weren’t bad at all, certainly in the first half, but the draw was more a reflection of how well Swansea played, rather than any of Chelsea’s shortcomings (they have so few, anyways)

Impressive starts for #Leicester (a 4-2 win over #Sunderland); #CrystalPalace (3-1 winners at #Norwich, although the scoreline flattered them) and #Villa who were lucky to come away with a 0-1 win at new boys #Bournemouth.

#Arsenal #Liverpool and Man City start their campaign over the next 2 days.

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Finally Wenger gets one over Mourinho

It took years but it’s finally happened – #Arsenal have beaten #Chelsea. There, now that’s out of the way, their 1-0 win at #Wembley means 3 things:
1. The Gunners have defended their #CommunityShield trophy that they won last year, beating the 2013-14 title holders #ManCity 3-0.
2. #Wenger has his first win against his arch enemy (not so much in terms of vying for the title or anything meaningful like that but in terms of just how much #Mourinho has got under the skin of poor ol Arsene).
3. Nothing really. No one takes this game particularly seriously, least of all Jose Mourinho, who will not read much into this loss as a team (he will be smarting like crazy losing to the guy he thinks has a ‘losers mentality’) and if last season is any indication, that thumping defeat of Man City meant very little for Arsenal’s eventual #EPL fortunes.

But there are signs that might play themselves out from these kind of Cup games. In this one for instance, the sale of #Cech from the Blues to the Gunners has significant impact on the Arsenal side and while he didn’t really have to make any saves that #Ospina wouldn’t have today, his calming presence will clearly make the Arsenal back 4 or 5 play much better and that has been their achilles heal for years! Or the continuing of #Falcao’s rubbish form (he’s never really recovered from that pre-WC knee injury) that made him look entirely useless all game today. But these signs were also prevalent in the 2 other Cup games in Europe – #Bayern’s penalties defeat to an ever resurgent #Wolfsburg highlights how much this team is struggling to come to terms with the new identity #Pep has tried to give them, which in all honesty has not improved what was an otherwise brilliant team he took over 2 years ago. I suspect this #Bundesliga season will not be the cakewalk that it has for them in the past many years. Expect Wolfsburg and a resurgent #Dortmund to push them all the way.
An entirely opposite trend is starting to form in #France as money-bags #PSG seem to be getting stronger by the day and their dominant 2-0 win over #Lyon combined with the impending £45 million acquisition of #United misfit #DiMaria will see them cake-walk their way to another #French title and make a proper go at the #ChampionsLeague.

The English Premier League begins in a week and to be honest, it’s not a day too soon. May the battle begin!

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