Winning in SAF time?

#ManchesterUnited looked a lot like the star-studded team of the #SirAlexFerguson era (not the one he had in his last few years but the one with #Ronaldo and #Tevez and #Scholes and #Giggs) as they played away at #Hull, dominated much of the game, had 28 chances and finally won late late in injury time, thanks to a #Rashford winner. It’s still hard to understand why #JoseMourinho isn’t starting #Mhikitaryan (for #Mata) and eventually #Rashford for #Rooney (or atleast bringing him on with more time to spare) because both of them turned United up about 5 levels once they were on the field late in the 2nd half. While the Tigers defended brilliantly, it’s hard to imagine this wouldn’t have been a 3 or 4 goal game for the #RedDevils if both of them were in the starting 11. Still, Mourinho will be a happy man – his team looks well oiled all over the pitch, with #Bailly looking like the CB they’ve missed (since #Vidic and #Rio) and #LukeShaw returning from his broken leg with some gumption – he might well be the best left back in the #EPL already. It’s been a long time since #DavidDeGea has NOT been the MoM for United and that’s a good thing for the United faithful.

#Chelsea look every bit like a team that’s going to be in the mix for the top4 at the very least, with another spirited performance in their 3-0 win over #Burnley at the #Bridge. #Conte has been able to bring his tactical and player management skills to full result at the Blues and watching #Hazard come back to life the way he has, means this Chelsea side are going to keep getting results week after week.
#Spurs and #Liverpool played out a 1-1 draw with #Rose canceling out #Milner’s penalty. Ordinarily both these teams would have had a guaranteed chance at the top 4, but with United, #City and #Chelsea playing the way they are, it’s going to be a very hard battle to that 3rd/4th spot alongside the likes of #Arsenal, who came away with an excellent 1-3 away win at #Watford, thanks to goals by #Sanchez #Özil and a penalty from #Cazorla. They’ll need to beef up defense for certain and it seems like #Wenger has finally splashed the cash on #Mustafi, the CB from #Valencia. Champions #Leicester got their season started with a 2-1 win at home to a battling #Swansea thanks to goals from #Vardy and #Morgan, while #Everton beat #Stoke 1-0 at Goodison.

Over in the #Bundesliga, the #Ancelotti reign continues to impress with a 6-0 thrashing of a piss poor #Bremen side, with yet another #Lewa hat-trick and even though #Dortmund won 2-1 at home against #Mainz, it’s hard to see the Bavarian giants being remotely challenged on their way to a 4th consecutive title. Ho-hum! #Juventus continued their winning ways as they won away at #Lazio 0-1 thanks to a #Khedira goal – they haven’t missed #Pogba so far in the #SerieA but #ChampionsLeague might be a whole other story.

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The Swagger shows up….

What a difference a couple of months and £156 million of top quality purchases makes, as #ManchesterUnited started their home season with a comfortable 2-0 win over #Southampton thanks to a #Zlatan double and a dominant debut performance by £100 mil signing, #PaulPogba. #JoseMourinho has started his United reign well – 2 wins from 2 games, both relatively easy, with all his new signings looking not just solid (#Bailly looks quite the natural at CB) but laced with swagger – with Zlatan you expect it, but after a shaky first touch today, Pogba showed swagger, power, confidence and skill that few midfielders in world football have today and even though #Mkhitaryan has only been used as a substitute thus far, he’s looked very good on the ball and once he’s put into that position behind the striker, he will produce assists and goals with gumption. Thus far, Jose has even made #Valencia look good – and that is both physically and conceptually not possible!

Things look good, for now. It’s a long way to go and they might well stumble along the way but this team will likely get better. The Super-Manager battle is going to be fascinating to watch this season!

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Gunner struggle this season!

After a fairly clinical #ManchesterUnited won 1-3 away to #Bournemouth, thanks to goals from #Mata #Rooney (again, the worst player on the pitch, by a country mile) and the new king at #OldTrafford, the mighty #Zlatan, #Mourinho is showing early on that he will gladly transition away from the old boring possession humdrum that #LVG had created at United and that he seems to trust experience over youth – plating #Valencia at RB instead of the ridiculously talented #Fosu-Mensah and the utterly useless Rooney over the mesmerizing speed and talent of young #Rashford. Rooney couldn’t even control the ball most of the 1st half and it’s now embarrassing to see him in an #EPL match, let alone at the level of a Manchester United and as the club Captain.

The game of the week though was the 4-3 win that #Liverpool pulled off at a generally poor #Arsenal side, highlighting all the things that have ailed the #Gunners for 10 years now – they just don’t have a solid backbone and depth in defense. 1-2 injuries to their mainstays and their cover is terrible. Today’s game is worrying sign for the Arsenal faithful for the season – it’s not just that they look a little weak in offense, midfield and defense, certainly compared to the big boys from Manchester and #Chelsea but that #Liverpool look really really good. #Coutinho is reaffirming his status as the best no 10 in the Premiership and their new signing #Mane is ridiculously fast and very very good!

4th might be above #Wenger’s self-imposed pay grade this season. As a fabulous tweet this afternoon said ‘Wenger is the managerial equivalent of Wayne Rooney. Finished years ago yet still lingering around holding his club back.’

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Title for Hull City?

Last year before #LeicesterCity played their first game against #Sunderland on August 8th, they were expected to fight for their survival after having miraculously escaped relegation the season prior. A 4-2 win set the ball rolling for what we all now know as the greatest underdog miracle in modern European Football. Fast-forward 1 year and Champions Leicester took on the most woefully prepared team ever promoted to the #EPL in #HullCity – caretaker manager, bare bones squad, no signings, injuries et al. A 2-1 upset win for Hull (and the first time since #Arsenal in 92 that a defending champion has lost a season-opener) shows just how difficult this league is and just how incredible #SAF’s time at the helm of #ManchesterUnited was that he could get them to win game after game, season after season. Leicester are still too good to fade away this season and will bounce back from this upset but I’m sure there are a couple brave souls putting £100 on the 2000:1 odds that Hull City win the title!

Southampton and came from behind to tie 1-1 to visiting #Watford; #Stoke salvaged a point away to #Middleborough; #Swansea won 0-1 away to #Burnley; #WestBrom won away at #CrystalPalace and an injury hit #Everton, under their new #Koeman regime were lucky to draw 1-1 to visiting #Tottenham, who should have come away with all 3 points.

The #PepGuardiola era almost got off to an unpleasant start when #ManchesterCity’s early 1-0 lead, thanks to an #Aguero penalty was canceled out by a typical #Defoe goal for #DavidMoyes’ #Sunderland side only to lose to City in the final minutes of the game thanks to a #PaddyMcNair own goal. Watching the game, 3 things stand out – #City didn’t deserve the win; it will take a while for this side to start playing comfortably the Pep way and Moyes is best suited for a small team that he builds into a hard fighting underdog that finds ways not to lose and precisely why he was so utterly out of his depth and ill suited for that Manchester United role!

What will the other title favorites do tomorrow?

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The Rooney Problem

The first ‘trophy’ of the season, the #CommunityShield may have gone #ManchesterUnited’s way, courtesy of a #Zlatan headed winner and a stunning solo effort by #Lingard (and a disastrous #Fellaini back pass that gifted #Vardy an equalizer) but the performance was anything but convincing (or exciting) and in many ways, looked like an #LVG hangover loomed large over #JoseMourinho’s new side. At the core of what ails this United side is this ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ leadership seems to have with #WayneRooney. he has been United’s worst player on the pitch for 2-3 seasons and mediocre for about 5, including the last 2 of #SAF. Why they can’t just part ways with him (I get that he’s been at United for 12 years now and a very good player for atleast 7-8 of those) but his presence in the starting 11, aside from how poorly he plays now (terrible 1st touch, terrible pass percentage and slow as a turtle) is how the balance of the current team is thrown off – let me explain – with Rooney at 10, Mourinho, even post the big #Pogba signing, cannot play both #Mhikitaryan and #Rashford at the same time, which means he doesn’t have a speedy winger on the right (Rashford) and thus needs to play #Valencia at right back instead of someone like #Fosu-Mensah or #Darmian. Drop Rooney from the side and suddenly this is what United’s starting 11 looks like:

Zlatan

#Martial        Mhikitaryan      Rashford/Lingaard

Pogba          #Schneiderlin/Herrera

#Shaw      #Bailly      #Smalling      Fosu-Mensah/Darmian

#DeGea

Not half bad, is it?

For what it’s worth for United supporters, the last 2 trophies in English Football have gone to the struggling and piss poor #RedDevils. Imagine if they start playing well now?

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