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Four Players to Watch: When will the Premier League end

Manchester United’s season is over, and for that reason, it’s ridiculous that Jose Mourinho is still trying to play United’s second side and park the bus to get results. Firstly, why park the bus and drain out players who may be needed for the Europa League, for a potential result that won’t even matter? Secondly, why not allow youth players to get some Premier League experience?

United, now mathematically certain not to finish in the top four, will need to win the Europa League final, otherwise there will be massive issues heading into this summer involving sponsorship deals, ability to attract players in the transfer market, and perhaps most importantly, having to play in the awful competition that is the Europa League again.

Southampton will be looking to pip West Brom to 8th place, If United wins the Europa League, 8th place will qualify for the competition, most likely Southampton, West Brom, Bournemouth, or Leicester City. Below are two players from Southampton who could influence the match, and two United players who will be competing (with each other) for a place in the Europa League Final.

 

 

Cedric, Right Fullback, Southampton

One of the most underrated fullbacks in the Premier League, Cedric would get into almost every side in the country, and potentially in Europe’s Top Five Leagues. Playing in the European Championships for Portugal, Cedric’s defence-first style was perfectly met with the ability to influence the match moving forward, and the result was a solid defence that saw Portugal triumph in Euro 2016 despite not having one of the better-attacking units in the competition.

Cedric is consistent, intelligent, tough to beat, and the prime example of Southampton’s excellent replacement recruiting. Replacing Nathaniel Clyne, the side hasn’t even skipped a beat, and Cedric is quietly going about his football much like the rest of Southampton’s top-notch side of talented footballers.

 

 

Oriol Romeu, Defensive Midfielder, Southampton

Even further under the radar is Oriol Romeu, who, again, would get into almost every side in the Premier League, including United’s. Romeu, the heartbeat of the Southampton side, is excellent in the fundamental areas of a defensive midfielder, as shown by his average of 3.2 tackles and 2.5 interceptions in the Premier League.

While he isn’t a fancy signing, Ander Herrera wasn’t either, and United could do worse than recruiting Romeu to fill the current void in defensive midfield and provide some much-needed relief for Michael Carrick. Romeu doesn’t have the same passing range or steadiness as Carrick, but he’d bring a different level of grit and allow Pogba and Herrera to finally take complete control over a football match.

 

 

Phil Jones, Centre-Back, Manchester United

Hopefully, you haven’t made the connection yet, but it has become clear that Phil Jones is the favourite to start alongside Daley Blind in central defence for the Europa League Final. Blind’s recent good form, combined with his experience in the Eredivisie with Ajax, all but confirms his place in the side, but Jones is an entirely different animal who has struggled this season when needed most.

If anyone in United’s side can step up to the task (Jose Mourinho won’t use Axel Tuanzebe), it’s Jones, and he’s capable of doing the spectacular on his day, as shown by his reputation for good performances on the big stage. Also, if you have some spare time and a few connections, I’d politely ask if you could email the Europa League and beg that they rescind Eric Bailly’s suspension.

 

 

Chris Smalling, Centre-Back, Manchester United

Jones’ only competitor is Chris Smalling, who showed against Tottenham that he’s genuinely worse at defending than most of the defenders who were relegated with Hull City, Sunderland, and Middlesbrough. Smalling is tall, but he’s clumsy in the tackle, poor with aerial positioning and awful on the ball. Besides being tall, there’s nothing that makes him a good defender.

Some argue that Smalling was good last season, but they’re not right- United’s midfield was very defensive under Louis van Gaal and protected Smalling, but as soon as the pressure came, he folded and everyone blamed Blind. He’s going to have to show at some point that he’s worthy of the start in the final, which will likely determine which of the two leaves the club.

Written by Aaron Moniz

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