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Manchester United Player Season Review 2016/17: The Forwards

Manchester United did not have the best of seasons during the 2016/17 campaign which commenced in high spirits with Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal as the manager, with the Portuguese former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager bringing in Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba as his four summer signings, Pogba being the current world record signing which could be eclipsed and even surpassed this summer if reports are to be believed. Mourinho had instilled the winning mentality into his new club just weeks after be became the manager, pushing for big changes from the start of the season. United started off by beating Leicester City to win the FA Community Shield, the first of many trophies under Mourinho, which turned out the be the case only in the first season.

United started well in the league, winning their first three matches, but a three-match losing streak then turned the season upside down, losing two Premier League matches and one in the UEFA Europa League. United found their feet again, but the ups and downs kept coming. Too many draws in the Premier League, most of them at home became a problem for United, which contributed in their sixth-placed finish, a first for the club who had finished seventh (David Moyes), fourth and fifth (Louis van Gaal) post-Sir Alex Ferguson. The season had a different feeling to it though, something was being built for the future, Mourinho was bringing United back to the helm just like Ferguson did in the 1990’s.

Of course, Rome was not built in a day, but things are changing. United ended the season with two more trophies; the EFL Cup, beating Southampton 3-2 at Wembley at the end of February and the UEFA Europa League, beating Ajax 2-0 in Sweden, more importantly earning a UEFA Champions League group stage place next season, the minimum requirement for Mourinho and his team. The season reviews have been written for the Premier League, EFL Cup, Emirates FA Cup, and the UEFA Europa League now it is the player’s turn to be reviewed and rated, concluding with the forwards.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The former Swedish international signed for United on a free last summer on the expiry of his contract with Paris Saint-Germain. In the weeks after his signing, United and other supporters were suggesting he was too old to make an impact in the Premier League, something which would come to haunt them from his very first match, despite it being in the FA Community Shield. Zlatan scored a total of 28 goals for United last season and it could have been more, the chances were being created for the veteran striker. United have some over-reliance on Zlatan, which suggested there were other problems which needed to be sorted, which seems to be why Antoine Griezmann was a target earlier in the summer before Atletico Madrid’s transfer ban was kept in place following an appeal with the Court of Arbitration of Sport. Alvaro Morata and Andrea Belotti also seem to be targets for United with one or both likely to arrive at the Theatre of Dreams this summer. Zlatan suffered a season-ending knee injury against Anderlecht at Old Trafford in April, ending his season, could have ended his career. He went under the knife in the weeks following and is now recovering from his injury. United released Zlatan at the end of the season, not choosing to extend his contract as it is likely he will not play for much first half of the season if he returns to action in 2017. He will be training with United in the meantime after being offered the clubs services, which he seems to have accepted. He could play a part on the sidelines for United, maintaining his winning mentality within the squad, which he did to an extent during the past season. Zlatan added three more trophies to his impressive career haul, which ended his United career in high spirits.

Appearances: Premier League: 28, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 5, UEFA Europa League: 11, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 45

Goals: Premier League: 17, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 4, UEFA Europa League: 5, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 28

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 8, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3.5/5

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney had a good season if you count beating Sir Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record for the club. That is his season highlight. The guy, all due respect in mind, is past it. He offers nothing in an attacking basis, seemingly losing his goalscoring instinct. Once he would have shot from outside of the box, now he passes to the left or the right, losing that eye for a long-range goal. Rooney should have left United in 2010 when he handed in that transfer request, but the club were still somewhat reliant on the player who became the captain for both club and his country, which him being scrapped by England partly due to his poor form on the pitch. Rooney still has his uses, but as an attacking player who was once a figure you thought of when the words Manchester United were mentioned, now he symbolises frustration and a player trying to play in the top flight, despite no longer being all that good. I respect Wayne Rooney for his achievements at Manchester United, winning all major trophies, well apart from the UEFA Super Cup, but in terms of dragging out his career, he should really think about moving on. Gone are the days where he is worth 100% of his weekly wage.

Appearances: Premier League: 25, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 4, UEFA Europa League: 7, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 39

Goals: Premier League: 5, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 2, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 8

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 9, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 2/5

Anthony Martial

The Frenchman did not have the best second season at Manchester United. Under Louis van Gaal he was a player who excited, a bit like Adnan Januzaj did during his first season under David Moyes. Anthony Martial was a ‘panic buy’ and ‘waste of money’, a player who would not fit into the Premier League, they said. What did Martial do? He proved his critics wrong. Martial is a class act, but at times under Jose Mourinho, he was not fulfilling his potential at United. Martial was criticised by the manager, left out of matches, but given chances whereby he never actually put the effort in. His year has not been a good one though with plenty of fallout from his personal life, which should not really be affecting his game, but he is only human. Next season should be a better one for Martial. It has already been confirmed by the player’s agent that he will still be at the Old Trafford club, which is a good thing. He should not be written off after just two seasons. He is still a player very much developing in the game.

Appearances: Premier League: 25, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 3, UEFA Europa League: 10, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 42

Goals: Premier League: 4, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 2, UEFA Europa League: 1, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 8

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 3, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3.5/5

Marcus Rashford

The teenager has gone from strength to strength in his first full season at Manchester United. Rising through the ranks last season saw him being propelled into the big time. This season would be a big one for him, playing second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a player who would teach him a lot, which was the case. Marcus Rashford spent much of the season being played on the wing, something which the player said he wanted to do in order to better himself and become that forward who could play anywhere on the pitch. He’s not a winger, and in a season where only one striker was utilised up front, playing him out of position was deemed better for his development rather that sitting him on the bench. After the unfortunate injury to Zlatan at the end of the season, it was left to Rashford to lead the line, being the player responsible for scoring the goals. He did just that, not in every match, but he scored some crucial goals, including a free-kick against Celta Vigo in Spain, the goal that won United the semi-final first leg. Rashford, still a teenager has the potential, the determination and the talent to succeed. Next season will be just as big for him as he looks towards earning his stripes.

Appearances: Premier League: 32, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 6, UEFA Europa League: 11, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 53

Goals: Premier League: 5, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 2, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 11

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 3, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3.5/5

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan signed for United last summer, the third signing and one who would excite. The Armenian was wanted by many clubs in the Premier League, many of whom will deny they wanted him based on the fact Jose Mourinho and Manchester United got him. He had a tough start to his season, being hooked at half-time against Manchester City at Old Trafford, then suffering an injury and then sitting on the sidelines waiting for a chance to be given to him. When he got the chance, he paid the manager back. Mkhitaryan scored six goals in the UEFA Europa League, breaking a record in doing so. He has turned into a class act for his club, a player who will keep giving what is needed at the club. Mkhitaryan has the ability to create and score for United, as he had done throughout the season, scoring eleven goals in 40 appearances, which may not be the best, be compared to his peers, he did just as much, if not more than them. The Armenian will be fired up for the new season. New acquisitions are coming, ones to better the team and strengthen the weakened areas, better still, more of that winning mentality, which has been needed for the last three years following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Appearances: Premier League: 23, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 2, UEFA Europa League: 11, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 40

Goals: Premier League: 4, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 6, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 11

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 4, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3.5/5

Manchester United Player Season Review 2016/17: The Midfield

Manchester United did not have the best of seasons during the 2016/17 campaign which commenced in high spirits with Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal as the manager, with the Portuguese former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager bringing in Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba as his four summer signings, Pogba being the current world record signing which could be eclipsed and even surpassed this summer if reports are to be believed. Mourinho had instilled the winning mentality into his new club just weeks after be became the manager, pushing for big changes from the start of the season. United started off by beating Leicester City to win the FA Community Shield, the first of many trophies under Mourinho, which turned out the be the case only in the first season.

United started well in the league, winning their first three matches, but a three-match losing streak then turned the season upside down, losing two Premier League matches and one in the UEFA Europa League. United found their feet again, but the ups and downs kept coming. Too many draws in the Premier League, most of them at home became a problem for United, which contributed in their sixth-placed finish, a first for the club who had finished seventh (David Moyes), fourth and fifth (Louis van Gaal) post-Sir Alex Ferguson. The season had a different feeling to it though, something was being built for the future, Mourinho was bringing United back to the helm just like Ferguson did in the 1990’s.

Of course, Rome was not built in a day, but things are changing. United ended the season with two more trophies; the EFL Cup, beating Southampton 3-2 at Wembley at the end of February and the UEFA Europa League, beating Ajax 2-0 in Sweden, more importantly earning a UEFA Champions League group stage place next season, the minimum requirement for Mourinho and his team. The season reviews have been written for the Premier League, EFL Cup, Emirates FA Cup, and the UEFA Europa League now it is the player’s turn to be reviewed and rated, now the midfielders.

Paul Pogba

The £89 million man had a bad season according to his critics with their mentality being that he cost that much so should be scoring 189 goals, assisting 1001 times and keeping 250 clean sheets a season. A transfer fee does not dictate how many goals a player will score. Some suggest he should be a striker for the money paid. I don’t get why they get involved in conversations clearly above their mentality at the end of the day. Paul Pogba has been consistent despite changing from the Serie A to the Premier League, which is a much different league but still keeping his personal stats on par with the past four seasons at Juventus. Some will never appreciate Pogba and what he does for his club. Those people need to learn to accept that they have no control in any factor concerning the player but they won’t.

Appearances: Premier League: 30, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 4, UEFA Europa League: 15, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 51

Goals: Premier League: 5, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 3, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 9

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 10, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Juan Mata

The Spaniard was set to be the first player out of the door when Jose Mourinho was named the manager of the club, based on the opinion that he sold him at Chelsea so would do the same. That did not happen and Juan Mata became an important player throughout the season. Mata suffered an injury late on into the season with Mourinho ruling him out for the remainder, but he returned week after an operation, showing the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, who were still on the sidelines after seven weeks from suffering their injuries in March whilst on England duty. Mata played 41 times this season, winning three trophies, two of them major honours, scoring ten goals, which was much-needed form the midfield during the course of the season. United need to be scoring more goals from midfield, with this summer’s acquisitions important into commencing that. Mata could well remain at United after this summer, he should at least.

Appearances: Premier League: 25, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 3, UEFA Europa League: 10, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 41

Goals: Premier League: 6, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 2, UEFA Europa League: 2, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 10

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 5, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard is a player who has offered a lot for his club over the last few seasons, scoring in the Emirates FA Cup final, the FA Community Shield and in the EFL Cup final, something he should be celebrated for, but for some reason, supporters don’t see what he offers the team. They seem to think he is not good enough and certainly not worth of a pay rise or a new contract, which he signed earlier in the season. Lingard may not be a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque player, he has something to offer. Many choose not to see it. He may not be a guaranteed starter, and next season with new additions coming, he may not be, but as a squad player, he has something to offer, until at least he leaves the club or does something special to become a starter. Sir Alex ferguson said he would be a late developer, of which he was. Perhaps he should be given a better crack of the whip.

Appearances: Premier League: 25, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 4, UEFA Europa League: 10, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 42

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 2, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 5

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 6, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Michael Carrick

The veteran midfielder will race the pitch against in the coming season, signing a new contract at the Old Trafford club over the past few weeks. Michael Carrick has been the midfielder that United would not want to lose over the past season, calm and assured on and off the ball, putting in the effort needed, the majority of the time at least, which United needed in order to control the midfield. Carrick is an important player, one which when Paul Pogba plays too, sees the Frenchman able to play in a more advanced position, adding something else to United’s team. Carrick will play for another year at least, then United will have to find his replacement if he does not arrive at the Old Trafford club this summer.

Appearances: Premier League: 23, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 5, UEFA Europa League: 7, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 38

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 1

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 1, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Ashley Young

Ashley Young is probably a player who will be allowed to leave the Old Trafford club this summer. He does have some teams interested in signing him. He has done well over the past season, despite playing a more defence minded position, playing in both the left-back and right-back positions, helping his team with what they needed. Only 23 appearances will not impress him, at the stage of his career, he will need to be a starter, which could see him leave for China, Turkey or even a lower ranked Premier League club. He was wanted by Watford in January, a former club of his before he signed for Aston Villa.Young was not a player many wanted to see at the club, especially after losing Cristiano Ronaldo, but to give him his dues, he has scored some important goals, playing some important parts at the club. This season saw him end it on the sidelines through injury, which would have irked him a little.

Appearances: Premier League: 12, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 7, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 23

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 5, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Ander Herrera

The Spanish midfielder has found his purpose this season under Jose Mourinho. Ander Herrera has played a much deeper role, marking players like Eden Hazard and helping United find some form this season, beating Chelsea 2-0 at Old Trafford from probably his best match for the club in three years. Herrera is wanted by Barcelona if you believe the transfer reports in the newspapers, but the player wants to remain at Old Trafford, which has been said by his own mind and mouth. United’s midfield is much better with him in it, now that he has seemingly found his purpose. Herrera, Paul Pogba, and another midfielder will do well for United, Pogba being allowed to do what he does, not having to continually drop back and defend the midfield, using his creative aspect for the game instead. Herrera is a crucial player for United, offering everything he needed to offer, doing what he needed to do. I am sure Hazard still has dreams about him marking him out of the game, something he was unable to get through during that match.

Appearances: Premier League: 31, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 6, UEFA Europa League: 9, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 50

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 2

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 5, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Marouane Fellaini

The Belgian had a mixed season. Jose Mourinho trusts him and he trusts Mourinho. That is something we shall have to get used to should he remain at the Old Trafford club this season. Marouane Fellaini has played his part for much of the season, scoring some important goals, but he has helped undo the work United have put in, that late penalty he gave away against Everton which turned what was looking to be a 1-0 victory, into a 1-1 draw. Fellaini offers aggression and physicality in the midfield, also playing well on the attack, offering height and an eye for a goal, especially from a header. That seems to be something that many will not congratulate him for because he arrived under David Moyes, was the only summer signing of that season and was not the player many wanted. I like Fellaini for what he offers, as over the past few seasons he has done some good things, but United do need much better than him in midfield, especially for Paul Pogba to be played to his strengths.

Appearances: Premier League: 28, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 5, UEFA Europa League: 10, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 47

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 1, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 4

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 9, Red Cards: 1

Season Rating: 4/5

Manchester United Player Season Review 2016/17: The Defence

Manchester United did not have the best of seasons during the 2016/17 campaign which commenced in high spirits with Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal as the manager, with the Portuguese former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager bringing in Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba as his four summer signings, Pogba being the current world record signing which could be eclipsed and even surpassed this summer if reports are to be believed. Mourinho had instilled the winning mentality into his new club just weeks after be became the manager, pushing for big changes from the start of the season. United started off by beating Leicester City to win the FA Community Shield, the first of many trophies under Mourinho, which turned out the be the case only in the first season.

United started well in the league, winning their first three matches, but a three-match losing streak then turned the season upside down, losing two Premier League matches and one in the UEFA Europa League. United found their feet again, but the ups and downs kept coming. Too many draws in the Premier League, most of them at home became a problem for United, which contributed in their sixth-placed finish, a first for the club who had finished seventh (David Moyes), fourth and fifth (Louis van Gaal) post-Sir Alex Ferguson. The season had a different feeling to it though, something was being built for the future, Mourinho was bringing United back to the helm just like Ferguson did in the 1990’s.

Of course, Rome was not built in a day, but things are changing. United ended the season with two more trophies; the EFL Cup, beating Southampton 3-2 at Wembley at the end of February and the UEFA Europa League, beating Ajax 2-0 in Sweden, more importantly earning a UEFA Champions League group stage place next season, the minimum requirement for Mourinho and his team. The season reviews have been written for the Premier League, EFL Cup, Emirates FA Cup, and the UEFA Europa League now it is the player’s turn to be reviewed and rated, moving onto the defenders.

Eric Bailly

The £30 million man who many did not know of when he arrived at Manchester United last summer. £30 million for an unknown many said. I remember the same criticisms when Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra rolled up at the Theatre of Dreams. The Ivorian was tipped to be one for the future by Jose Mourinho, but he turned into one for the now too. Bailly fits in at Manchester United like a hand into a glove. Did what was expected and showed the aggression needed to play at the back. Bailly has played in the right-back position too, but centrally he is much better. The arrival of Victor Lindelof this summer will be a big boost for Bailly, he will not have to be relied upon as much as he was during the past season, which is good for the player who will get some rest, but he will also form a partnership with the Swedish international, which could bode well for the club, securing the defence and pushing from the back, ensuring that late goals are not conceded, with United looking to turn their home draws into victories, which is important if the club wants to challenge in the Premier League next season, which will be a must.

Appearances: Premier League: 25, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 11, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 38

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 7, Red Cards: 2

Season Rating: 4/5

Phil Jones

This was the season Phil Jones was to return to his best, and at a point, it looked like he was getting there, then injury struck, again. Jones has been plagued with injury for almost all of his career at United, signing from Blackburn Rovers in 2011. Partnered with Marcos Rojo at a point over the last season, Jones was playing well, improving and impressing at times. There was still a long way to go, but at least he was heading in the right direction. Jones is the better option compared to Chris Smalling, in my opinion at least and if one was to leave this summer, I would give Jones another chance to show what he could do, making a decision at the end of the coming season. Mourinho likes Jones, injuries have been a problem, but this one saw those less serious. Jones has been at United for six years, Smalling seven, so allowing him the same amount of time could well prove to be a good decision. United need English players in the team and getting rid of both Jones and Smalling could well be a mistake.

Appearances: Premier League: 18, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 3, UEFA Europa League: 3, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 26

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 3, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 2.5/5

Marcos Rojo

The Argentinian central defender was tipped to leave the Old Trafford club last summer, but he put his head down, concentrated on his football and became a resurgent player, partnering Phil Jones during part of the season, nicknamed RoJones, then forming a better partnership with Eric Bailly. Rojo earned his place on the team this season, and his place heading into next season. The fact he can play at left-back and in a more central role will be a big bonus. Victor Lindelof will add more competition for places, but with Rojo suffering a serious knee injury back in April, the fact that he probably will not play again in 2017 will see the Swedish international partner Bailly, forming a strong partnership, which will take a lot of work to break into for Rojo, but saying that it will give Mourinho another option at the back, as will Daley Blind. Rojo should remain at the Old Trafford club this summer, he is far too important to let go. Not that it is rumoured he will leave this summer, he can’t being that he is injured.

Appearances: Premier League: 21, Emirates FA Cup: 4, EFL Cup: 5, UEFA Europa League: 10, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 41

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 1

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 5, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3.5/5

Chris Smalling

Chris Smalling is a player who could well be sold this summer, which is what many would like to see. Under Louis van Gaal, the England international played well, and at a time was considered the best central defender at the club. Fast forward a year, that is no longer the case. Eric Bailly has that crown now, with Marcos Rojo also performing well under Mourinho, pushing the almost always injured pairing of Smalling and Phil Jones onto the sidelines, a place they have spent a lot of time over the past six or seven seasons. Smalling played well in the UEFA Europa League final against Ajax, which should not be suggested that he ended his season well. His was poor the majority of the time, criticised but his manager for not playing through the pain barrier, returning just at the right time after Bailly was ruled out of the final because he was sent off in the semi-final second leg. Smalling is not the guy that could replace Rio Ferdinand or even Nemanja Vidic. The arrival of Victor Lindelof could show him the door, here’s hoping. I am thankful for what Smalling has done at the club, but post-Sir Alex Ferguson, he has been a player who is yet to rise and lead the team, I not sure he could lead the team.

Appearances: Premier League: 18, Emirates FA Cup: 4, EFL Cup: 4, UEFA Europa League: 10, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 36

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 2

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 0, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 2.5/5

Daley Blind

The Dutch international had a good second season at United, playing well as a central defensive player, rather than the left-back or even left-wing-back he had played in under Louis van Gaal. The player was paired with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly during the season, partnering Bailly for the last few weeks of the season after Rojo suffered a severe knee injury, ruling him out for the rest of the season and probably the rest of 2017. Blind may not be the best at what he does but he has the eye needed to play football, able to read the game well and do what is needed most of the time. Blind should remain at the club this coming summer, as he is an option. With Mourinho signing Victor Lindelof, which should go through this coming week, Bailly will have a partner for much of United’s matches, but the pair will also be split up in times where United will need to rotate, which will be for much of the season with United back in the Champions League and fighting on three domestic fronts.

Appearances: Premier League: 24, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 3, UEFA Europa League: 11, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 40

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 1

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 4, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3.5/5

Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw has not had a great time at Manchester United. His first season was plagued by injury and a lack of fitness stopping him from breaking into the team. After the dust settled, the new season came with Shaw putting in extra training to get ready, starting well. A double leg fracture ended his season just over a month in, which devastated the player. Shaw was ready to start his third season, this time under a new manager, Jose Mourinho. The supporters were raring for Shaw to have a good season, but that was not going to be the case. Injuries, lack of form and problems with his fitness and mentality plagued his season. Shaw eventually got his chance to make his manager happy, doing well but suffering a new injury, which saw him end the season on crutches, something which will also see him miss pre-season and quite possibly a chance to secure his place at left-back at the start of the new season, especially with the likes of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Joe Riley and Demetri Mitchell waiting in the wings, which could add more disappointment to Shaw’s United career, but he is young and talented enough to persevere and break through, providing he can avoid injury, which has been the main thing he has suffered since signing for Manchester United.

Appearances: Premier League: 11, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 2, UEFA Europa League: 4, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 19

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 1, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 2.5/5

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Timothy Fosu-Mensah really should have played more during the last season, making a total of eleven appearances across all competitions. I am not sure what his favoured position is, whether it be at right-back, playing second fiddle to Antonio Valencia, or as a defensive midfielder, possibly the replacement for Michael Carrick, who signed a new contract in the last few weeks. The Dutch international certainly has a good future ahead of him. I am sure United and Mourinho will have plans for the youngster, who did not play any U23 football last season, seemingly earmarked to get him ready for the next season, which is hopefully the case. The player is good at what he does, he is already a fans favourite. A loan spell could well be coming for him, but I would like to see him remain at United and utilised in whatever position he wants to play in, seeing him rise through the first team and cement a starting place. Him, Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera in a midfield three could be something to salivate in the years to come.

Appearances: Premier League: 4, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 4, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 11

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 1, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3/5

Antonio Valencia

For me the Ecuadorian was the Player of the Season for Manchester United, something thought by his peers as he was awarded the Player’s Player of the Season, but Ander Herrera was chosen by the supporters of the club, winning the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Season. Valencia turned a point under Mourinho, not being all that good defensively under Louis van Gaal, but under the Portuguese manager, he changed and could well have been the best right-back in the Premier League last season. Valencia signed a new contract earlier in the summer, which will surely mean he will keep his place, but cover will be needed throughout the season to keep him fresh, which there seems to be a lot of at the club right now with Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe and some other talented youth coming through the ranks. Mourinho could also opt to bring in cover during the transfer window. Valencia has a few years left at the top and being resurgent as he was in the last season, he could be the difference between United winning the league next season.

Appearances: Premier League: 29, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 3, UEFA Europa League: 9, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 43

Goals: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 3, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 1

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 7, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4.5/5

Matteo Darmian

The Italian defender had a chance to show what he could do under another manager, a chance to bring back his form from his first few matches for United, which saw him being compared to Gary Neville. That changes with performances not being all that good throughout his debut season, much the same this time, but injuries to Luke Shaw and the fact that Daley Blind was also covering for injuries to central defensive players, Matteo Darmian played at left-back for much of the season. He was not the best player in that position, but certainly not the worst either. Darmian may very well leave the club this summer with Mourinho looking for a side capable of challenging in the Premier League, the only competition they fell short of last season, but if he stays, he will be a valuable squad player, one which could seek a chance to become a starter, but that would depend on a few things, one being the fitness of Antonio Valencia who is the best right-back United have, despite him being a right-winger.

Appearances: Premier League: 18, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 2, UEFA Europa League: 7, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 29

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 3, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3/5

Axel Tuanzebe

Axel Tuanzebe was praised by Jose Mourinho near enough as soon as he became the manager, giving him his first team debut during pre-season on a trip to Wigan Athletic. The manager stated that giving him ten minutes was enough to see his qualities, suggesting that this season would be the season he would break through. It was but it was towards the end of the season where he was thrown into the first team, covering as a right-back with Antonio Valencia being rested against Arsenal, dealing with the threat of Alexis Sanchez very well. Tuanzebe then played out of position in midfield against Tottenham Hotspur, not playing his best game, which was understandable with him playing out of position. The player was utilised against Southampton and Crystal Palace also, as well as playing once in the Emirates FA Cup. Tuanzebe now knows what will be expected of him and with Marcos Rojo being injured for much of the coming season, along with new defensive acquisition Victor Lindelof, Tuanzebe could well find another chance to show the manager what he can do, keeping his defence rested in a bid to do much better next season, in the Premier League at least.

Appearances: Premier League: 4, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 5

Goals: Premier League: 0, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 0

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 0, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3/5

Manchester United Player Season Review 2016/17: The Goalkeepers

Manchester United did not have the best of seasons during the 2016/17 campaign which commenced in high spirits with Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal as the manager, with the Portuguese former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager bringing in Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba as his four summer signings, Pogba being the current world record signing which could be eclipsed and even surpassed this summer if reports are to be believed. Mourinho had instilled the winning mentality into his new club just weeks after be became the manager, pushing for big changes from the start of the season. United started off by beating Leicester City to win the FA Community Shield, the first of many trophies under Mourinho, which turned out the be the case only in the first season.

United started well in the league, winning their first three matches, but a three-match losing streak then turned the season upside down, losing two Premier League matches and one in the UEFA Europa League. United found their feet again, but the ups and downs kept coming. Too many draws in the Premier League, most of them at home became a problem for United, which contributed in their sixth-placed finish, a first for the club who had finished seventh (David Moyes), fourth and fifth (Louis van Gaal) post-Sir Alex Ferguson. The season had a different feeling to it though, something was being built for the future, Mourinho was bringing United back to the helm just like Ferguson did in the 1990’s.

Of course, Rome was not built in a day, but things are changing. United ended the season with two more trophies; the EFL Cup, beating Southampton 3-2 at Wembley at the end of February and the UEFA Europa League, beating Ajax 2-0 in Sweden, more importantly earning a UEFA Champions League group stage place next season, the minimum requirement for Mourinho and his team. The season reviews have been written for the Premier League, EFL Cup, Emirates FA Cup, and the UEFA Europa League now it is the player’s turn to be reviewed and rated, starting with the goalkeepers.

David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper played 45 times throughout the season, a figure which was only topped by a few players; Marcus Rashford 53, Paul Pogba 51, Ander Herrera 50 and Marouane Fellaini 47. David De Gea played well throughout the season, keeping 17 clean sheets, 14 of which were in the Premier League alone, being one of the best goalkeepers in the league, but Chelsea keeper and former Atletico Madrid shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois was the recipient of the Golden Glove. De Gea is a player who has kept United competing over the last four seasons, being named Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for three out of four seasons, with Ander Herrera winning the award for the past season, at last, a player who was not a goalkeeper, suggesting that United were ready to move in another direction under the guidance of Jose Mourinho. De Gea has been a target for Real Madrid post-Sir Alex Ferguson with the La Liga and UEFA Champions League holders failing because of a fax machine on deadline day in Spain during the summer of 2015 – two-years later falling foul of the fee United have placed on the head of their number one goalkeeper. Things may change yet this summer, but it would seem that United will keep their Spanish goalkeeper after this summer with Madrid looking to other targets, Courtois was one before he committed himself to Chelsea.

Appearances: Premier League: 35, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 5, UEFA Europa League: 3, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 45

Clean Sheets: Premier League: 14, Emirates FA Cup: 0, EFL Cup: 2, UEFA Europa League: 1, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 17

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 2, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 4/5

Sergio Romero

The Argentinian goalkeeper was signed by Louis van Gaal during his second summer managing United, a free agent coming into replace both Victor Valdes and Anders Lindegaard. Romero is the number one goalkeeper for Argentina but has not played in the same position ay his club, something which seems strange, but when he has been called on, he has done what he needed to do. Under Mourinho, Romero was thought to be surplus to requirements, but that was far from the case, as was the fact Juan Mata was thought to be the first player out of the door. Romero was trusted in the UEFA Europa League during the past season, playing in 12 of the 15 matches, doing what he needed to do and trusted to play in the final, a match United needed to win to secure UEFA Champions League football. In 18 appearances, the Argentinian kept 12 clean sheets, which is pretty good for a player not trusted to fill the position on a more permanent basis. That could well be the case if De Gea does actually leave the Old Trafford club this summer, but that is looking unlikely at this moment in time.

Appearances: Premier League: 2, Emirates FA Cup: 3, EFL Cup: 1, UEFA Europa League: 12, FA Community Shield: 1; Total: 18

Clean Sheets: Premier League: 2, Emirates FA Cup: 2, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 8, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 12

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 0, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 3/5

Joel Pereira

Joel Pereira started the season on loan in Portugal playing for Belenenses. He was recalled in January because of a goalkeeper injury crisis which meant he would return to U23 action in the Premier League 2 with Jose Mourinho giving him his debut in the 4-0 victory over Wigan Athletic in the Emirates FA Cup, albeit only around ten minutes of action, but the manager’s trust in the player was shown at the end of the season with Pereira making his full debut for the club, this time in the Premier League against Crystal Palace. Pereira is a wanted man this summer with Portuguese clubs looking to sign him, which could well happen unless Mourinho was able to persuade the player into staying at the club unless any move was on loan again. Pereira is a talented goalkeeper – perhaps if De Gea did leave the club this summer, he could be the number two goalkeeper, but he would need to play regularly in order to develop into a better shot-stopper.

Appearances: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 2

Clean Sheets: Premier League: 1, Emirates FA Cup: 1, EFL Cup: 0, UEFA Europa League: 0, FA Community Shield: 0; Total: 2

Discipline: Yellow Cards: 0, Red Cards: 0

Season Rating: 2.5/5

Manchester United Season Review Part Two: EFL Cup 2016/17

Manchester United under the management of Jose Mourinho, the third (fourth if you count Ryan Giggs) manager to lead the club after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the 2012/13 season was now pitted with returning the Old Trafford club to their glory days. Making four new signings in the summer, the mood was good amongst the supporters with Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba coming to the club, all without the lure of UEFA Champions League football. United may not have done the business in the Premier League this season, but in the cup competitions, United were a better team throughout the season, winning the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League, which secured their status as a Champions League club once again, the second time in four seasons for United. Here is the review of United in the EFL Cup this season, a trophy that currently resides at Old Trafford.

Third Round – Northampton Town 1-3 Manchester United – Wednesday 21st September 2016

United entered the third round of the EFL Cup this season, some Premier League teams entered in the second round of the competition like United did after they finished seventh under the guidance of David Moyes. The first team up for United would be Northampton Town, which seems a long time ago now. This was a must-win match for United who had lost their previous three matches; two in the Premier League and one in the UEFA Europa League. Returning to winning ways was what was needed for Jose Mourinho’s men. Normally, youth would be playing in this competition, well under Ferguson, they would have. Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Marcus Rashford were the only youth used, and this was their second season in the first team. United took the lead in a nervous match through Michael Carrick in the 17th minute of the match, but the home side equalised, deservedly so three minutes before the end of the first half, giving United more work to do in the second half. United did just that. In the 68th minute, Ander Herrera put United ahead for the second time in the match, with Rashford hitting home seven minutes later to complete the scoring for United, earning a fourth-round tie against noisy neighbours Manchester City at Old Trafford, one of the teams to beat United in their three-match losing streak at the start of the season.

Fourth Round – Manchester United 1-0 Manchester City – Wednesday 26th October 2016

The Manchester derby part two, another to be played before the end of the season, in the Premier League of course. United played a good game against their noisy neighbours, unable to break the deadlock before the 54th minute when Juan Mata struck home. It was enough to put United into the fifth round, or the quarter-finals of the competition. The Spanish midfielders intelligent finish nine minutes into the second half of the match was a brilliant play bu the home side, who had been working on getting the ball into the back of the net throughout the first half. This match was another United needed to hit back in, losing 4-0 to Chelsea the weekend previous in the Premier League, which shocked United into submission. City played well but just did not seem to want the cup as much as United did. A quarter-final clash with West Ham United at Old Trafford would follow in the next round, which would see United playing the Hammers twice in the spell of only a few days.

Quarter-Final – Manchester United 1-4 West Ham United – Wednesday 30th November 2016

West Ham United visited Old Trafford for the second time in three days with United earning a 1-1 draw against the Londoners with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring United’s only goal on the day, a bit of a let down for United, who could have done with the victory. Second-time lucky, United would have the chance to send the Hammers packing from the Theatre of Dreams. This match was much different with United fired up from the start. The Hammers took the lead a few minutes into the match in the league, with United, through Ibrahimovic taking charge early this time. Former United Academy player Ashley Fletcher equalised for his side ten minutes from half-time, which set United back a little, with another draw happening, at this time at least. Anthony Martial took just three minutes to put United ahead with a decent finish, which added some confidence for the home side. In the 62nd minute, the Frenchman scored his second, putting United 3-1 up and cruising into the semi-finals with the Hammers retreating. In injury time, Ibrahimovic scored his second of the match, winning the game for United, which they were winning from the moment Martial scored his first goal. It was a good match for United, seen as a turning point by many, and there were many turning points to come throughout the course of the season. United were up against Hull City in the semi-finals, two legs; home and away.

Semi-Final First Leg – Manchester United 2-0 Hull City – Tuesday 10th January 2017

This was a crucial match for United who had lost five matches in all competitions at this point, needing a good home win to take to Hull 16 days later. Jose Mourinho played his cards right and United got the win they needed. Hull and United had already played at the start of the season, with Marcus Rashford scoring in injury time to take all three points home in the league, this showed how Hull were going to play in this match, deep defensive play. United broke the deadlock in the 56th minute through Juan Mata, who had scored some important goal this season, putting United through to the last round after scoring against City. United were one goal to the good, needing another. Three minutes from time, Marouane Fellaini headed United’s second, the goal which would see them through after the away leg. The Belgian is not a fans favourite and has cost United at stages during his career, but this season, his goal and contribution, at times, were crucial. United took a 2-0 aggregate lead to Hull for the second leg – 90 minutes or so from their first cup final under the management of Jose Mourinho.

Semi-Final Second Leg – Hull City 2-1 Manchester United – Thursday 26th January 2017

This big one, well at this stage of the season it was as there was much more to do in the Premier League, the Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. United had a two-goal lead from the first leg, something that should help them get through, and it did, just! Tom Huddlestone scored the opening goal for Hull in the 36th minute of the match, putting his side back into the game, 2-1 on aggregate. United needed to score to stay in with a chance of their first final, which would be against Southampton as they beat Liverpool 2-0 on aggregate, scoring in each leg. Paul Pogba equalised for United in the 66th minute of the match, restoring United’s two-goal lead, 3-1 on aggregate. United failed to capitalise even more though. Hull did! They scored through Oumar Niasse five minutes from time, making it a nervy end for United, who clung on to earn their first cup final of the new era under Mourinho. United were going to Wembley, again!

Final – Manchester United 3-2 Southampton – Sunday 26th February 2017

The big one. Well not THAT big, but is was for United, who had one glimpse of silverware post-Ferguson by winning the Emirates FA Cup under Louis van Gaal during the 2015/16 season. United were ready for their moment in the limelight. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, United’s talisman of the season, opened the scoring in the 19th minute of the match, scoring a 25-yard free-kick after Ander Herrera was fouled. Manolo Gabbiadini had the ball in the net minutes before Zlatan struck, but it was ruled out, which seemed a wrong decision. Seven minutes before half-time, Jesse Lingard, a well-versed goalscorer at Wembley having scored the winner in the FA Cup the season prior to this one, also scoring in the FA Community Shield victory over Leicester City and now doubling United’s lead in this match. United were 2-0 up going into the break. Job done, right? No, not at all. In injury time at the end of the first half, Gabbiadini got one back for Southampton, putting the, back into the match. Three minutes into the second half, Gabbiadini equalised, making it game on for both teams once again. United had lost their 2-0 lead. The rest of the second half was a nervy one with Zlatan striking three minutes from time to win it for United, just like he did against Leicester at Wembley at the start of the season. Zlatan equals talisman, United’s savour this season, lifting his 32nd trophy of his career.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho broke a club record as no United manager has ever won a major trophy in their first season at the club. Mourinho got two; one being a European honour, his fourth in his management career. Already having won the FA Community Shield, which is not a major honour and the EFL Cup after beating Southampton at Wembley, United had already qualified for the UEFA Europa League next season, but that was not what they wanted. Finishing sixth in the Premier League, for the first time, United had one last chance to earn a UEFA Champions League place, by winning the UEFA Europa League, which they did, beating Ajax 2-0 at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, earning a group stage berth in the Champions League next season. Liverpool, who finished fourth, will have to qualify for the group stages, whilst Arsenal, who finished fifth, for the first time ever in the Premier League, will contend with Thursday night football in the Europa League, which is fitting after their fans mocked United all season.

Report: Lingard and a brace from Ibrahimovic win the EFL Cup for United

Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in the EFL Cup final with Zlatan Ibrahimovic opening the scoring for United and Jesse Lingard doubling the lead less than twenty minutes later. Manolo Gabbiadini scored in the dying seconds of the first half to give Southampton something heading into the second half. Gabbiadini then equalised for United early in the second half, with United battling to take control of the match, which came three minutes from time, in Fergie time with Zlatan scoring his 26th goal of the season and winning the cup for United.

Jose Mourinho made six changes to his side ahead of the Southampton match with David De Gea, Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial return to the starting XI. The Portuguese manager will be looking to end the day on a high, getting United’s first trophy of the season and his reign at the club in the bag. This match is Mourinho’s thirteenth cup final and he has won ten of the twelve already played. Only Benfica and Atletico Madrid have stopped Mourinho from winning back in 2004 and 2013. United started the match well, but Southampton were equally as good in the opening few minutes.

In the fourth minute of the match, Paul Pogba had the first shot on goal for United, stinging the palms of Fraser Forster, which was unlucky. Five minutes later Ryan Bertrand had a shot for Southampton but saw his low effort deflected wide of the target. Two minutes later Southampton scored through Manolo Gabbiadini but it was disallowed for offside. In the 19th minute, United opened the scoring with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring a free-kick from 25-yards past Forster which was his 25th goal of the season so far, his second at Wembley this season.

In the 24th minute of the match, Ander Herrera was booked for a challenge on Nathan Redmond and he made a meal of the challenge. Gary Neville said it should have been a free-kick, not a booking. Minutes after the booking, Southampton were on the attack once again with James Ward-Prowse, whose effort was stopped with a fine low save by David De Gea. In the 32nd minute of the match, De Gea thwarted an effort from Dusan Tadic, which could have been the equaliser. Both teams are up for the challenge today and United are not playing anywhere near their best.

United doubled their lead in the 38th minute of the match with Marcos Rojo setting Jesse Lingard up to score his second cup final goal of his United career. United were 2-0 up over Southampton, who had not been playing too badly, but this match was not over yet. Minutes after the goal, Southampton were battling to get something from the game and Jack Stephens was impeded by Lingard, he then fouled Anthony Martial and was booked, as was Lingard for his part in the fracas. Southampton were awarded a free-kick, which amounted to nothing for them.

A minute into the two minutes of added time at the end of the first half, Gabbiadini got a goal back for Southampton in the dying seconds of the first half with them very much back in the game with more to do from United. United had been warned earlier in the game when Gabbiadini’s effort was ruled out for offside that Southampton have the pace and ability to cost them. In the second half, United needed to stay on top of the threat and go for victory. The first half ended 2-1, with United still in the lead, but with a chance of Southampton making it a tough day for them.

At the start of the second half Michael Carrick replaced Juan Mata with Jose Mourinho looking to give United more control of the ball in midfield. Almost from the off Southampton were looking to get back into the match with an equaliser. Nathan Redmond had his effort thwarted by De Gea with a great reflex save. The equaliser came moments later through Gabbiadini, scoring his third goal of the game, his first was disallowed for offside. United were back to square one with everything to do in the match. Lingard looked to be on dangerous ground after being booked in the first half and still putting in poor challenges. Could let the side down today.

United had been shown many time by Southampton just how dangerous they can be and the warning signs were still coming, but United were just not able to thwart the chances from coming, just luck being the only factor in United not conceding again this afternoon. Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial could have made the difference for United on the attack, but neither took their chance to hit the ball towards goal with both seemingly up for the chance. Communication was not at the top of their minds at that moment, obviously.

United were still looking for another goal, as were Southampton. Jesse Lingard broke through, assisted by Martial who played a clever ball into the box, but Maya Yoshida challenged Lingard, stretching to put the ball out for a corner. United took the corner quickly, but could not threaten Southampton or do anything to even create a third opportunity for a goal. in the 76th minute of the match, after some good interplay United had the chance to find their third goal with Lingard striking it from the cross. The attempt was off target, flying over the crossbar. Not long left for United to take the lead again. Marcus Rashford replaced Lingard moments later.

United left it late to get themselves ahead again, not for the want of trying. Ibrahimovic was left open on the run towards goal after picking the ball up just inside the Southampton half, running towards goal. Marcus Rashford was in the box, but could not be reached by the Swedish veteran striker, instead he passed into midfield with Ander Herrera passing it to Zlatan who buried home his second goal of the game and his 26th so far this season. United were 3-2 up. Wayne Rooney was waiting to come on when the goal was scored, the change was then changed with Marouane Fellaini replacing Martial with United needing to see out added time, of which four minutes was playable.

United have won their 44th major trophy with a 3-2 victory over Southampton, who lose their second League Cup final in 37 years. Mourinho has won a major trophy in his first season in charge of the club.

Goals: Zlatan Ibrahimovic 19′, 87′, Jesse Lingard 38′

Assists: Marcos Rojo 38′, Ander Herrera 87′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Rojo; Herrera, Pogba; Lingard (Rashford 77′), Mata (Carrick 46′), Martial (Fellaini 90′); Ibrahimovic

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Blind, Young; Rooney

Bookings: Ander Herrera 24′, Jesse Lingard 41′

Written by Mike Wilson

Ibrahimovic, Herrera, Pogba, Martial and Bailly start against Southampton

Manchester United go head to head with Southampton in the EFL Cup final at Wembley this afternoon. This is United’s ninth League Cup final, the second for Southampton. United have won the cup four times, Southampton have never lifted the cup before. This will be a tough match for both teams for various reasons. United have played three matches in the past fortnight and Southampton have had a break as they are no longer involved in the UEFA Europa League or the Emirates FA Cup. The break may well be of benefit for Southampton, but it could easily go against them as United will be fitter than their opposition.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Rojo;

Herrera, Pogba;

Lingard, Mata, Martial;

Ibrahimovic

Substitutes:

Romero; Blind, Young; Carrick, Fellaini; Rooney, Rashford

Southampton:

Forster;

Cedric, Yoshida, Stephens, Bertrand;

Romeu, Davis;

Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond;

Gabbiadini

Substitutes:

Hassen; Long, Rodriguez, Caceres, Boufal, Hojbjerg, McQueen

Manchester United and Southampton have faced each other 119 times since 1897 with United winning 62 matches, drawing 29 and losing just 28. Since the year 2000, United and Southampton have met 23 times, three of those in the Emirates FA Cup, 20 in the Premier League. United have lost just four matches, drawing twice. This is good form for United against the South Coast side. Jose Mourinho will be looking to continue this form against Southampton and break records by winning a major trophy in his debut season – something which a United manager has failed to so in the history of the club.

Preview: Mourinho out to break records winning first trophy in first season?

EFL Cup final 2016/17

Wembley Stadium, London

Sunday 26th February 2017; KO 16:30 GMT

Live on Sky Sports

Manchester United will battle Southampton to win the first silverware of the season in the EFL Cup final at Wembley on Sunday afternoon. United have had a good season so far with Jose Mourinho helping to turn things around from a previous three poor seasons following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in May 2013. United have won the FA Community Shield twice and the Emirates FA Cup in the time Ferguson has spent out of football management, which is not that great based on the standards the gaffer set at the club during his nearly 27-year reign. United have been guided by David Moyes, Ryan Giggs, Louis van Gaal and now Mourinho, the latter seems to be finding his feet, getting things done and getting United ready to challenge for trophies.

Mourinho could be the first manager of United to win a major trophy in his first season in charge of the club, but the Portuguese may not stop there as United are the only team to still be in four competitions this season. United will face FC Rostov in the round of 16 in the UEFA Europa League next month, also face Chelsea in the quarter-final of the Emirates FA Cup and still find themselves in a good position in the Premier League, although it would be very unlikely for Mourinho’s side to lift the trophy at the season’s end, but they do stand a good chance of bettering their current position in the league. United may not be amazing their supporters, but they do seem to be getting the backs up f their rivals, which is a good thing.

Match Officials:

Andre Marriner has been appointed as the referee for the Wembley final with Richard West and Stuart Burt as the assistant referees. The fourth official will be Kevin Friend.

Road To Wembley:

Manchester United commenced their participation in the EFL Cup in the third round, beating Northampton Town 3-1 with Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford all scoring. In the fourth round, United were drawn again local rivals Manchester City, beating them 1-0 through a Juan Mata goal. In the fifth round, United faced West Ham United just days after a 1-1 draw in the Premier League, winning 4-1 with braces from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial. United were drawn against Hull City in the semi-final which was played over two legs. United won the first at Old Trafford with a 2-0 scoreline with Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini scoring the goals. In the second leg, United fell to a 2-1 defeat with Paul Pogba scoring United’s goal.

Southampton commenced their EFL Cup run in the third round by beating Crystal Palace 2-0 with goals from Charlie Austin and Jake Hesketh. In the fourth round, they were drawn against Sunderland, winning 1-0 with the only goal of the game scored by Sofiane Boufal. Southampton were then drawn against Arsenal beating them 2-0 with goals scored by Jordy Classie and Ryan Bertrand. The semi-final saw Claude Puel’s side draw against Liverpool beating them 1-0 in the first leg with Nathan Redmond scoring the goal, then winning by the same scoreline in the second leg, with Shane Long scoring in injury time.

League Cup History:

Manchester United have reached the League Cup final eight times in the history of the club, winning the cup on four occasions. United were beaten 2-1 by Liverpool in 1983, then were beaten 1-0 by Sheffield Wednesday in 1991, beaten 3-1 by Aston Villa in 1994 and then suffered a 2-0 defeat by Liverpool again in 2003. United won the League Cup for the first time by beating Nottingham Forest 1-0 in 1992, winning it for the second time in 2006, beating Wigan Athletic 4-0. United then won the League Cup twice on the bounce in 2009 beating Tottenham Hotspur on penalties then retaining the trophy for the first time since Nottingham Forest did in 1990 by beating Aston Villa in 2010. Southampton have made it to the League Cup final once in the history of the club, being beaten 3-2 by Nottingham Forest in 1979. This will be United’s ninth League Cup final, Southampton’s second. Liverpool have been involved in the most finals – twelve in total – winning eight.

Team News:

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the only Manchester United player that has been ruled out of the EFL Cup final on Sunday, but he has travelled to the capital for the match. Michael Carrick was another player likely to miss the match after suffering a calf injury, but he has been ruled fit for the match, as has United captain Wayne Rooney with Jose Mourinho confirming he will play a part in the match. Southampton have Sofiane Boufal, who could make the final, but Virgil van Dijk, Charlie Austin, Alex McCarthy, Matt Targett and Jeremy Pied have been ruled out. United will feel that Mkhitaryan’s injury will cost them more, but with the likes of Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata able to step in, the strength-in-depth will be shown by Mourinho.

Previous Meetings:

Manchester United have met Southampton 119 times in all competitions since 1897. United have won 62 matches, drawing 29 times with Southampton winning 28 matches. Southampton last beat United on the 23rd January 2016 in the Premier League with Charlie Austin scoring three minutes from time. This season, United have played Southampton once already, winning 2-0 with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring both goals, one from the penalty spot. United were due to meet Southampton in the coming weeks, but participation in the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final meant the match was postponed for a future date which is as yet unknown. Since the year 2000, United have played Southampton 23 times with only four matches being lost and two being drawn – all in the Premier League. In the FA Cup, United have been drawn against Southampton three times since 2000, winning all three in 2005, 2009 and 2011.

Starting XI Prediction:

Match Prediction:

Manchester United 2-0 Southampton

Written by Mike Wilson

Report: United defeated by Hull, but earn a place in the EFL Cup final

Manchester United were beaten 2-1 by Hull City in the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final, but earned a 3-2 aggregate victory, heading through to the final to meet Southampton at Wembley.

Jose Mourinho made five changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Stoke City last weekend with Matteo Darmian, Marcos Rojo, Michael Carrick, Jesse Lingard, and Marcus Rashford replacing Antonio Valencia, Daley Blind, Marouane Fellaini, Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. United beat Hull City 2-0 just over a fortnight ago and keeping that the case after tonight’s match will set up an EFL Cup final against Southampton at Wembley on Sunday 26th February 2017. Hull kicked off the match trying to look for an early goal to get them back into the fixture with United holding well in the opening few minutes.

In the tenth minute of the match, Hull has a chance to get something from the tie with a corner, which found its man in the box, but the resulting shot was well off target and not likely to cause any problems for United. Seconds later, Phil Jones gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box, getting booked at the same time. Samuel Clucas took the free-kick, which David De Gea punched clear with United then going on the attack with Marcus Rashford being fouled by David Meyler, earning a free-kick with no yellow card shown to Meyler, which was a talking point early in the match. Ander Herrera took the free-kick, which went through the box and out for a corner.

United had a spell of possession the threatened to cause Hull some problems, building up their play in Hull’s final third. After some good passing, Marcos Rojo had a shot on goal, which was wide of the mark and could have been better. United seemed to look like they were getting started, looking to capitalise on a first half goal, which could give Hull too much to do in this match. In the 25th minute of the match, a moment the home fans applauded for Ryan Mason who suffered a fractured skull at the weekend, Rojo gave a corner away, which threatened United with a shot on goal, which De Gea deflected then Hull were given another free-kick, which came to nothing.

Hull were awarded a penalty in the 35th minute of the match for a questionable foul in United’s box. Tom Huddlestone took the resulting penalty, putting Hull back in the side. I must say it was (another) poor decision by Jon Moss, who has shown he’s even lesser of a referee that I actually thought. United nearly got back into the match through Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose shot was on target, but David Marshall parried the shot for a corner, which amounted to nothing for United. The half ended with United trailing 1-0 (1-2 on aggregate) with Mourinho’s side needing some inspiration from somewhere to settle the tie, or find themselves in a position whereby another goal could make a difference for the home side.

United stuttered for the early stages of the second half, still needing a goal to regain their two-goal cushion on the tie. Chris Smalling was denied a penalty after being fouled in the box, but Jon Moss did not want to know about it – seemingly another poor decision from the so-called referee again this evening. United levelled the score through Paul Pogba with Marcus Rashford deep inside the box, seemingly setting up the French midfielder, but the ball was passed to him from Huddlestone. United were 3-1 up on aggregate and seemingly on their way to Wembley to face Southampton.

United were unlucky not to take the lead in the match with Marcos Rojo rattling the crossbar and minutes later Hull did the same, which could have put the home side back into the fixture. In the 83rd minute, United’s goalscorer Paul Pogba had a shot on goal but was ruled offside. United were still doing enough to keep their two-goal lead on aggregate, earning that final place next month. Hull got their second goal in the 85th minute through Oumar Niasse, which puts them ahead on the night but still needing goals to earn a place in the Wembley final. Rojo was shown a yellow card, United’s second this evening for a foul, which may have been questionable.

Goals: Paul Pogba 66′

Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Jones, Smalling, Rojo; Carrick, Herrera; Lingard (Rooney 78′), Pogba, Rashford (Fellaini 90+2′); Ibrahimovic

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Shaw, Fosu-Mensah; Mata, Mkhitaryan

Bookings: Phil Jones 11′, Marcos Rojo 87′

Written by Ryan Beecham

Ibrahimovic, Lingard, Pogba and Rashford start against Hull

Manchester United face Hull City in the semi-final second leg of the EFL Cup at the KCOM Stadium this evening. Just over a fortnight ago, United earned a 2-0 victory over Marco Silva’s side at Old Trafford and stand in good stead to earn their first Wembley cup final this season, where they could face Southampton – the team that beat Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool with a 2-0 aggregate victory at Anfield on Wednesday evening. Klopp’s side have won one match in 2017 against Plymouth Argyle – and that was after a replay! United are still unbeaten, despite drawing their last two Premier League matches against Liverpool and Stoke City. Tonight could see United get back on track this season.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Darmian, Jones, Smalling, Rojo;

Carrick, Herrera;

Lingard, Pogba, Rashford;

Ibrahimovic

Substitutes:

Romero; Shaw, Fosu-Mensah; Mata, Mkhitaryan, Fellaini; Rooney

Hull City:

Marshall;

Meyler, Maguire, Dawson, Tymon;

Niasse, Huddlestone, Clucas, Maloney;

Bowen, Diomande

Substitutes:

Kuciak, Robertson, Hernandez, Elabdellaoui, Weir, Evandro, Markovic

Manchester United and Hull City have met 30 times in the history of both clubs with United winning 21 matches, drawing four and losing just five – the last on the 23rd November 1974, which would suggest it would be a tough night for Silva’s side against Mourinho’s men this evening. Jose Mourinho has won on trophy during his reign as United manager, the FA Community Shield at Wembley in August, but he will be looking to aim for a second, with a victory this evening, setting up a date against Southampton at Wembley on Sunday 26th February 2017 – hoping to add more success during his first season as Manchester United manager.

copyright: JW