Manchester United have struggled since the great Sir Alex Fergus retired in 2013. They have not won the major club trophies. Even though last season they won the Europa League that is not the top European club tournament but it was a way for them to get into the Champions League with the big boys.
Having watched United in preseason and the calibre of players they have compared to the top clubs in Europe they are a level or two away. Manchester United are one of the biggest club in the world but currently they are some way of being the best in the world and that is just the harsh reality.
Manchester United have had a pretty solid preseason thus far with the only defeat coming against Barcelona. Their trip to America they’ve accumulated wins over the LA Galaxy, Manchester City and Real Madrid. That is not bad going but there is a lot of room for improvement. As it’s only preseason we have to take those wins with a pinch of salt. With the additions of Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelöf they have strengthened parts of the team but that is not enough. There are still glaring weaknesses such as the defensive midfield position and they are short up front. There is no doubt Mourinho would want to bolster those two positions if they’re challenge for the trophies.
If you were to compare United’s squad to Real Madrid, Juventus, Barcelona, PSG and Bayern Munich they are not on that level. They do not possess the talent and skill those teams have. Those teams are all winners; they know how to win. We can say that about United under Sir Alex Feruson but since he retired United have not been challenging for the big accolades such as the Premier League and Champions League. It is not only about the shortage of talent at United compared to Europe’s best but they need to implement that winning mentality which Mourinho is slowly doing. He has won 3 trophies in his debut season for united and everyone is expecting more to come.
United are still some way off having spent a lot of money but they are slowly getting better under the guidance of Jose Mourinho and the belief is coming back, you can sense it amongst the fan base. If United can add a couple more world class talent, then they can compete with the likes of those teams named above. The transfer window is still open and be ready for Manchester United to make some moved.
The £75m signing for Romelu Lukaku is the biggest transfer of the summer so far. Manchester United had to splash the cash in order to prize away Lukaku from Everton. He is a young and proven striker in the Premier League and therefore he comes with a big price tag.
Manchester United identified the positions of their squad that needed strengthening. With Zlatan Ibrahimovich not returning to the club they needed someone who will fill his void. Lukaku is the man that can take United to that next step and put together a strong challenge in the league again. They’ve not manage to do that since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and that is not good enough for a club like Manchester United.
Romelu Lukaku will bring a different dimension to what Zlatan bought last season. Lukaku is much more mobile and physical than Zlatan and that will give defenders all sorts of trouble. Lukaku is also more versatile than Zlatan given their age difference Zlatan is unable to chase ever ball down. Everything had to be so precise when playing with Zlatan, Lukaku gives United a little more room for error. Scoring goals has been a problem for United over the last few seasons, even if Lukaku is able to get 25 plus goals next season that may not be enough for United. They need players around him to step up and contribute, the likes of Rashford, Martial, Mkhitaryan, Mata and Pogba have to help out.
Next season will be interesting for United, they’ve added a talented, young striker who is proven in the Premier League and will only get better. One worry is that the price tag will put added pressure on the striker and he may take some time to fit into United system under Mourinho. If Lukaku can hit the ground running who knows where Manchester United will be come the end of next season.
Last summer José Mourinho signed as the new Manchester United manager after a season of disappointment under Louis van Gaal. Even though Manchester United was able to win the FA last year it was no way near good enough after missing ever so narrowly out on top four and most importantly a Champions League spot.
Manchester United league campaign was not good enough for them to get top four, they drew 15 games, the most of any team in the league. These draws lead them to falling away from the teams they were fighting for the top 4 places. All season long they lacked the ruthlessness in front of goal. They created opportunities to win games but didn’t take them. Finishing 6th and one place worst than last season is not what United or Mourinho would have wanted. Surely next season they’ll have to do better and put up a strong challenge.
Jose Mourinho was able to win the his first trophy which was the Community Shield against Leicester City. It gave the young players a platform to build on for the rest of the season. To start a season of winning a trophy is very positive and gives his team confidence but as we saw the team couldn’t go through the gears and play to a level where you would think they are a team to watch.
United was very good at winning games in the cup competitions and getting through the stages. Mourinho and United was able to win the Capital One Cup against Southampton in a fiercely contested game. Winning two trophies isn’t too bad for a debut season for Mourinho. Even when United are not playing great football or in top form they’re still able to win trophies.
This is the competition Mourinho and United focused on the most. The Europa League wasn’t the ideal way to get into the Champions League but it was the most likely route. The Europa League did hinder United’s performances in the Premier League due to having less rest than their rivals but ultimately they should have done better. As I mentioned above United didn’t play too well throughout this competition but they managed to win it all and that is what’s most important. The final against a very young Ajax team they proved the can control a game and get the job done. Mourinho got his tactics spot on that night.
Success or Failure?
Overall it has been a good season for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. Winning 3 trophies is a good achievement even though the trophies are not the most prestigious of the ones available. Winning the Europa League completed the whole set for Manchester united, they’ve now won all the trophies they can win. United didn’t play free flowing football like the Sir Alex Ferguson days but Mourinho has implemented a tough, gritty mentality to the united team and it is clear to see. However next season I feel Mourinho will have to try and play better football and push for a title challenge.
Before the season started i would say getting into the top four in the League was the target for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. With them winning 3 trophies and getting a spot in the Champions League, Mourinho has somewhat overachieved.
Arsenal and Arsene Wenger have come under immense scrutiny lately due to poor form and ultimately poor results. It has been a very tough season for Wenger, section of the fans are getting on his back and his situation with the club after this season has yet to be sorted. All this leaves an uncertainty around the Arsenal and I can’t help but feel this has unsettled the players.
The latest defeat to Crystal Palace last week was enough was enough for Wenger and he decided the mix things up. Instead of his usual 4-2-3-1 formation he changed it to 3 at the back to help solidify there vulnerable defence. The experiment somewhat paid of against Middlesbrough where Wenger first tested it out, they eventually got the victory they desperately needed.
The weekend then arrived and it was a big semi final FA Cup match against Pep Guardiola’s Man City. Wenger knew if he didn’t get a result it’ll pile even more pressure on him from the fans. He stuck with playing 3 at the back, he used the 3-4-3 formation which worked wonders for him on Sunday. They played a good game and got the win which took them through to the finals against Chelsea back at Wembley. It was a vital win and it may push Arsenal on through till the end of the season and finish the campaign of strongly.
The last week we have seen things that we haven’t from Wenger for a long, long time. He is finally changing his tactics. It is not the same old, same old and getting the same results. The Crystal Palace game played a big factor as to why Wenger decided to change formations because that pushed him over the edge and he knew he needed to make adjustments which he has not been doing for the last 10 years. The Arsenal fans on Sunday was united and they were over the moon with the result and some even praised Wenger for his performance which we haven’t heard much of lately.
The big questions that needs to be asked will he stick with this formation or is it temporary? and will he revert back to his old ways if results aren’t going Arsenal’s way.
With Arsene Wenger’s contract running out at the end of the season. The Arsenal fans are still left not knowing know will be there manager come next season. There have been unrest amongst the fans, there’s section of fans wanting Wenger out and fans wanting the Wenger out fans to show more respect towards there greatest manager.
I believe Wenger needs to make an announcement quickly because not only the fans are left wondering but the players are too. The results have shown that they are not performing well and are in real danger of not making the top 4 and that would be absolutely devastating for Arsenal football club.
The sooner Wenger makes an announcement the better the atmosphere around the stadium would be. Right not it is unhealthy and it is probably affecting the players also. Wenger can’t keep delaying the decision, if he does decide to leave at the end of the campaign then Arsenal would not have much time to look around and approach a new coach. By then all the top available coaches may have been taken and signed up.
The 2-10 aggregate defeat suffered by Arsenal to the hands of Bayern Munich is devastating and is the lowest point of the Arsene Wenger reign. They were embarrassed by Bayern Munich and the gulf is class was clear to see. The fans are getting on the managers back and there is no where for him to hide and the atmosphere in and around the stadium has become unhealthy.
There is something seriously wrong with Arsenal right now, the players look lost and crumble when their backs are against the wall. They crumbled and folded on the biggest stage in club football in the Champions League. With all the issues and tension rising, something needs to happen. Whether that is for Wenger to announce he is leaving or staying at the end of the season, but the way it is going at the moment it is very difficult to see him staying beyond this season.
Arsenal have a dilemma regarding the contract situation with two of the pries assets in Ozil and Sanchez. If they both decide not to sign a new contract where do Arsenal go from here? They will need to rebuild and that will be tough given the financial situation they are in compare to their rivals who possess a much bigger budget. Arsenal are in danger of not getting the top 4 this season and finishing in the Champions League, this will be a major blow. This will effect them hugely, how will they attract the big names to the club without that competition? They don’t have to money to entice the players to the club.
Arsenal football club have some massive decisions to make. They need to get the fans back on their side and this is possibly the biggest challenge for the Arsenal board.
The Brooklyn Nets and Jeremy Lin fans have finally a date to look forward to and that is the 24th of February when Lin will be returning against the Denver Nuggets. It has been too long since we last seen Jeremy Lin step foot on court in the Brooklyn Nets uniform. His injury nightmare will soon be coming to an end and he will be back helping the Nets who are in dire trouble at this present moment. They seem lost and have run out of ideas and they will be turning to Jeremy Lin to get them out of their current situation.
The Brooklyn Nets have by far the worst record in the league with only 9 wins in 47 games and are breaking records for all the wrong reasons. Loosing a franchise record 17 straight games at home is some achievement and they do not look like stopping the rot without Lin.
What Jeremy Lin will be able to offer on his return, no other player on the Nets roster will be able to match. Lin offers a buzz and excitement, fans will want to tune in and watch the Nets again. Since Lin has been sidelined there really hasn’t been much excitement around the Barclays Center, it has been awfully quiet in a lot of games. The opposition fans seems have made more noise than the home fans and this is something that needs to be addressed. This is where Lin comes in, he is a player who can get the crowd going and I expect a better atmosphere when he returns and this will give the Nets a much needed boost.
There are so many aspects of the game the Nets have struggled with this season. No more so than defence and when it comes to the fourth quarter. Poor defence has been a theme all season and it’s frustrating that they have not been able to develop this part of the game as a team. A big part of this is because they lack the physicality and toughness in and around the rim. Only Trevor Booker possess both of these attributes. Another problem for their poor defence is lack of organisation and communication, too often they get dragged out of position. They also need more two way players but they are difficult to get especially the situation the Brooklyn Nets are in.
In the fourth quarter the Nets have lost pretty much all their games in winnable situations and it doesn’t help when their best player in the fourth quarter is watching from the bench. After watching plenty of games from the bench I’m predicting Lin will know what he has to do in the fourth, he knows he has to be the man that takes over for his team and pull them to victory.
I’m not saying Lin will do miracles with this Brooklyn Nets roster when he comes back after the All Star break but I do expect the level of performance from the Nets to rise. Lin is a point guard who gives his team mates confidence and with a bit of confidence the Brooklyn Nets will be able to turn those close loses into wins. The Nets should all be looking forward to the return of Jeremy Lin and fingers crossed he can see out the season healthy.
Art, sports and review blog containing original content. These are my opinions.