For once in a very long time it feels awesome to be a Manchester United fan, while many were quick to pour cold water on the results against weak sides like Cardiff and Huddersfield, they forgot the previous manager would have struggled to string wins together in such games with attacking intents; While it’s fine in football to unavoidably drop points, the manner in which you drop it matters, don’t play goalless with Crystal Palace and end up feeling lucky for getting away with a point, the team is buzzing, and if you have any doubts, ask Tottenham’s boss and co, United didn’t only win away from home, they did it in a very entertaining fashion, would they have had a single shot either on target or otherwise if they had gone up against Spurs at any minute under Mou? Not sure, they’d have been condemned to defending the lead, a frustrating norm in times past.
Talking tactics, it’s about telling the opposition who’s in charge, the midfield fulcrum cuts out threats early and either of the fullbacks launch diagonal balls to draw out opposing numbers, deadly counter attack and boom!, someone is wheeling away in celebrations; it takes a lot of guts to keep a £75m striker on the bench, he’s trying his best to earn the trust again but with Marcus Rashford doing the Ole work, he’ll have to wait a while.
Up next is Brighton, a very stubborn side, they did beat United in the reverse fixture, one of the incidents that pointed to the fact that the last manager shouldn’t be in charge, what manner of thinking was that to set up to defend against a team that was there for the taking? Here it would be a different game, United must however be weary of the threats of Jurgen Locadia with pace and precision, Pascal Gross had a game to forget against Liverpool, should he want to make amends, Ander Herrera would be on hand to keep him company; we’ll have fun in the sunshine at Old Trafford.
Elsewhere on Saturday, the other seven fixtures of the day will swing here and there, tricky fixtures everywhere before the big one at the Emirates. Wolves without the suspended Willy Boly will start off at home in the early kick off against Leicester, the Foxes were tamed by the Saints at the KP Stadium last weekend in a game they’d rather forget, the upheavals that followed weren’t needed though, calling for the manager’s head after one defeat shows how insensitive the fans can be, same man dusted City, Chelsea and Everton in quick successions and the latter two were even away from home, have some tea lads, it’s not that bad!
Liverpool at home against Crystal Palace will be entertaining but in the end, it’s bound to swing one way. Mo Salah and co have just four points to protect, they can’t afford to get it reduced, their closest rivals won’t lose anytime soon and they won’t play each other in the league anymore this season, they have it all in their hands and if it’s true that they won’t choke, they have to be commanding games like this, remember how they struggled against the Seagulls? That shouldn’t happen here and the over reliance on the Egyptian must be eased, Sadio Mane and Firminho must do better, maybe Wijnaldum needs rest, he’s been the X factor in midfield and we all know the story of the defense… Get busy you Kops.
Newcastle at home to Cardiff is the game of the weekend in the drop zone, the Magpies labored in vain against Chelsea, pegging back the hosts before conceding early in the second half, the drop zone is calling they need to hang up. Cardiff are not any better, only one point separates the two in the drop zone with the Welsh side set to drop in if they drop points here, they haven’t been very lucky as they both give their all but the quality in respective clubs can only be said to be of championship standards, down to managerial tinkering? Benitez should see this out.
To the big game of the weekend, Arsenal aren’t the team to envy right now, all those wavy fans with #WengerOut banners have suddenly lost their vociferous voices, they now know better I think; the rot above the manager will always tell on the pitch, and when Unai Emery came out publicly to declare that the club doesn’t have money to splash on new recruits, fans didn’t take it lightly, they were used to a manager coming out to tell them they’re looking at a player or two of top quality, the harsh truths from the tongues of Emery came too hard to swallow, but it is what it is, the team is under a very tensed board and fans must be ready to accept that it will get worse before it gets better.
Chelsea will beat Arsenal away, not because the Blues are better on paper, but basically because you don’t expect a warm house when you fail to pay the bills, motivations are quite different, the West Ham loss hangover is still very much in the air, instability in defense and inconsistency on the part of many players will give the game to the Blues to win, then the team goes to sixth and then same toxic fans will remember that it wasn’t Wenger’s fault…
Finally on Sunday, the champions are going to be busy, David Wagner departed from Huddersfield earlier in the week and that only means one thing, even if they get the best of managers at this stage, they will be negotiating Championship football next season, the Citizens will win here, the only question is by how many goals?
Tottenham will fancy their chances of getting back on to winning ways with a game against another relegation favorites Fulham, Claudio Ranieri’s side will concede at least two goals, but from who? Harry Kane is injured and Son Heung-min is away on international duty, it’s up to Fernando Llorente and Eric Lamela to make good use of whatever comes their way from the midfield orchestrators to deliver a result that means everything to the confidence of a team that gave everything against Manchester United but had to play against the best goalkeeper in the world and a team that was just not ready to lose.
It’s time to deliver our takes on the weekend games, strictly the opinion of the writer. It’s a weekend to enjoy, one to savor.
|Fixtures||Players to watch||Verdict|
|Wolves vs Leicester||Raul Jimenez||Wolves to win|
|Man United vs Brighton||Paul Pogba||United to win|
|Watford vs Burnley||Roberto Peyrera||Watford to win|
|Newcastle vs Cardiff||Solomon Rondon||Newcastle to win|
|Liverpool vs Crystal Palace||Roberto Firmino||Liverpool to win|
|Southampton vs Everton||Nathan Redmond||Saints to win/draw|
|Bournemouth vs Westham||Ryan Fraiser||Bournemouth to win|
|Arsenal vs Chelsea||Bernd Leno||Chelsea to win|
|Huddersfield vs Man City||Gabriel Jesus||City to win|
|Fulham vs Tottenham||Dele Alli||Both teams to score|