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The Manchester United U23s have been revamped but what are their expectations for the 2019/20 season…

Manchester United U23s found themselves relegated from the top flight of the Premier League 2 Division 1 at the end of the 2017/18 season, finishing twelfth with just 20 points after 22 matches were played. United only managed to score 22 goals that season, an average of one per match, conceding 40, nearly two per match.

A season on the Premier League 2 Division 2 seemed like a good thing a year ago, especially with the likes of Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, James Garner and even to an extent, Mason Greenwood coming through the ranks. It was seen at the time, at least by myself, that United would be able to get themselves back into the top flight at this level pretty easily.

How wrong was I? United finished sixth at this level, amassing just 30 points after 22 matches. They did score more goals – 33, conceding just 31, an improvement – but not much of one. That really was the only positive that could have been taken from a poor season, which at times seemed to match that of the first team, who towards the end of the season struggled to formulate anything.

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U23 coach Ricky Sbragia was sacked at the end of the season, something that was coming and the writing was already on the wall. The coaching of this team was poor and in terms of development, there were many players that were not going to cut it at the club. United’s announced that 13 players from the youth ranks; 12 from the U23s and one from the U18s would be released at the end of the season.

Regan Poole, Zak Dearnley, Tom Sang, Callum Whelan, Matty Willock, James Wilson, Matthew Olosunde, Tyrell Warren, DJ Buffonge, Callum Gribbin, Millen Baars, Josh Bohui and James Thompson all left the club. It was a shame for some but they had been playing at this level for a few years and just were not finding their way into the first team so had to be let go.

On Thursday, despite reports suggesting that Nemanja Vidic had been offered the role, Neil Wood and Quinton Fortune were announced as the lead coach and assistantfor the U23s for this coming season. It was also announced that academy director, Nicky Butt would also be assisting. Wood and Fortune have been left with a barebones squad for the upcoming season, however, there are many players likely to rise from the U18s into the U23 ranks before the start of the season.

United are currently left with five goalkeepers; Matej Kovar, Alex Fojticek and Paul Woolston (both offered new contracts), Dean Henderson and Kieran O’Hara, although the latter two may head out on loan with Sheffield United interested in Henderson for their first season back in the Premier League. In defence, United have; Max Taylor, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Demetri Mitchell, George Tanner, Luca Ercolani (who was being offered a new contract), and Lee O’Connor.

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In midfield, United have few backup options, based on the current squad, with just; Aidan Barlow (United took up the option to extend his deal this summer), Angel Gomes and Ethan Hamilton. In the forward roles, United have just Tahith Chong and Nishan Burkart. Obviously, this list does not include the likes of Garner, Greenwood, Aliou Traore, Arnau Puigmal, Dion McGhee, Dylan Levitt, and Largie Ramazani, to name a few.

It is possible that Wood and Fortune could bring some or all of these, maybe others into the fold, which will see them playing a much higher level of football, which after time will be beneficial for their development. The key thing that both coaches will need to sort out this season though will be to get this squad of players playing a good brand of football, which may get them noticed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the first team.

After these players are playing as a team and gelling together, the next step will be to get them winning matches and proving themselves at Division 2 level with the view of winning the league and getting back into Division 1 for the start of the 2020/21 season. This might be a challenge based on what we saw last season but with some good coaching and the player digging deep for their club, wonders could happen. If these squad of players wants to achieve things at this club and reach the first team, on a regular basis, this is the minimum that they will need to be doing.

Women’s Player Ratings – 2018/19 Season: Sigsworth the Player of the Season; Chamberlain, Zelem, Green and James all strong contenders

The Manchester United Women’s team has a great first season playing in the second tier of women’s professional football. At the time the squad was announced in July 2018, many would not have thought the season would have been as good as it was. The majority of the players had not played in the same team before and the way they literally took apart their opposition in the majority of matches was impressive.

Casey Stoney has done a magnificent job as the manager at the club and will be looking to continue the feat in the FA Women’s Super League next season where they will be taking on the giants of English women’s football – a challenge in itself. This season though, winning the FA Women’s Championship by winning 18, drawing one and losing one of the 20 matches played, scoring 98 goals and conceding just seven is great. Stoney’s side also reached the semi-finals of the FA Women’s League Cup and the quarter-finals of the Women’s FA Cup.

Here are the player ratings for the entire 2018/19 season for each player to have represented United Women at least once in any of the competitions the club has played in; the FA Championship, the Continental Tyres League Cup and the Women’s FA Cup. All ratings are out of ten stars; five being the level all players start out at during each game. If the player rates over five stars, they are doing well, less than five, they are not doing so well.

Siobhan Chamberlain: The 35-year-old veteran goalkeeper made 27 appearances and managed to keep a total of 19 clean sheets whilst representing her club. She did not concede a single goal in the league until the sixth match of the season. Formerly of Liverpool, Chamberlain has been welcomed by the fan base and is a well-loved shot-stopper at this club. She will certainly bring the best out of both Emily Ramsey and Fran Bentley. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Emily Ramsey: The 18-year-old from Salford made just three appearances for the club this season, one of those from the bench. She did, however, keep three clean sheets (one for each appearance) which will be seen as a great start for the young goalkeeper, he played last season at Liverpool having started out in United’s academy, where she will now be able to continue her career. She has worked with Chamberlain for a year previous to joining United, so will have learned a lot already. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Fran Bentley: The 17-year-old goalkeeper has already spent time at United, having five years in the clubs academy (from 2010 to 2015), also spending three years at Manchester City. She only made one appearance for United this season, coming off the bench against Millwall, of which United were 6-0 up at the time, winning 8-0, keeping a clean sheet in what was he debut. Bentley was loaned to Sheffield United in February where she played six times. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Martha Harris: The 24-year-old fullback, formerly of Liverpool, made 22 appearances for United this season, scoring a single goal. Harris made her debut in the 12-0 destruction of Aston Villa but had to wait until April for her first goal at her new club which came against Millwall, which was a 5-0 away victory. Harris will be looking forward to the new season and challenge. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Alex Greenwood: The former Everton and Liverpool left-back, now 25, played 27 times for United this season, the second most-capped outfield player in the squad. Greenwood captained United this season and has added the determination and leadership to bring this group of women together to make waves in the game with the added hunger to achieve. Greenwood scored five goals for the club this season, four of them from the spot. A great captain for United. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Amy Turner: The 27-year-old defender was one of nine players to sign for the club from Liverpool last summer. Turner made 26 appearances for the club, all starts, scoring twice. Her first goal came in April in the 5-0 victory over Millwall. She has proven herself at this level and will be well up for the challenge of playing in the Women’s Super League once again next season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Naomi Hartley: The 18-year-old defender made just three appearances for United this season, two of those were from the bench. She made her debut on September, a 75th-minute substitute against the London Bees – a 5-0 victory to United. She made her full debut against Lewes in December. However, in March, she was loaned to Sheffield United and ended up being released by the club at the end of the season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lucy Roberts: Another former Liverpool player, the 18-year-old defender never made a single appearance for United this season and was released by the club after the final match of the season, in which United lifted the FA Women’s Championship. She did, however, play many matches at academy level, helping the side to reach the final of the Academy Cup. She was loaned out to Huddersfield Town, making six appearances and scoring two goals for them. It is a shame it did not work out for her at United. As she did not feature at this level, she will not be rated.

Kirsty Smith: The 25-year-old Scottish defender signed for United from Hibernian last summer, along with teammate Lizzie Arnot. Smith played 23 times for United, four appearances from the bench and did not score a single goal for the club. Smith has become a valued defender in this squad and her experience will help the club this coming season when they raise the bar to challenge the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Birmingham City and Reading. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Millie Turner: The 22-year-old former Everton and Bristol City defender played 29 times for United this season, the most-capped player in the squad, scoring two goals, both in the FA Women’s Championship. Turner was one of seven senior players who returned to the team she started out at, being able to play competitive matches for United. Turner scored her first goal for the club against the London Bees back in September. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Aimee Palmer: The 18-year-old midfielder played 15 times for United this season, eight times from the bench, scoring one goal for her club. Palmer signed from Bristol City last summer and will be happy with her debut season at United. The midfielder scored her first and only goal in the 5-0 thrashing of Lewes on the final day of the season which saw her and her teammates lift their FA Women’s Championship trophy. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mollie Green: The 21-year-old midfielder, formerly of Liverpool and Everton, represented United 27 times during the course of the season, scoring a total of 16 goals for her club – 13 of which came in the league. Green scored her debut goal in the first league match of the season, a 12-0 thrashing of Aston Villa. She scored her first career hat-trick in the 8-0 belittling of Millwall in November and after scoring five goals in three matches that month, was named the FA Women’s Championship Player of the Month. This coming season will be a big challenge for Casey Stoney and her squad but I think Green and her teammated are ready for it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Katie Zelem: Now 23, Zelem will be happy to be back at United having spent nine years in the clubs Centre of Excellence from 2004 until 2013. She has played for Liverpool and Juventus before returning to the club she spent many years of her youth at. Zelem made a total of 26 appearances this season, starting all matches, scoring 11 goals. Her first goal came from the spot against Aston Villa in that 12-0 thrashing of the Birmingham club. She was named the FA Women’s Championship Player of the Month for March, also winning the clubs Player of the Year award this season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Charlie Devlin: The 21-year-old midfielder signed for United from the Millwall Lionesses in the summer and made a total of 21 appearances for United, 13 of those from the bench. Devlin scored his first of six goals this season in the 4-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the league. Sadly though, Devlin was released by the club after lifting the FA Women’s Championship after the final game of the season. It is a shame it has not worked out for her at United. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lauren James: The 17-year-old made a total of 27 appearances for the club this season, nine of which came off the bench. James scored a total of 17 goals, 14 of those in the league alone. She arrived at United from Arsenal, taking a step down in order to play for this club after so far, it seems to have worked. James scored her the opening two goals in the 12-0 thrashing of Aston Villa, the first league match of the season. James was named the FA Women’s Championship Player of the Month for September after scoring three goals; a month United were unbeaten in. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ella Toone: The 19-year-old forward returned to United after spending time in the academy from 2007 until 2013. She has also played for Blackburn Rovers at academy level, playing senior football for Manchester City, the team she left to re-sign for United last summer. Toone made a total of 29 appearances for United, ten of those from the bench, scoring 15 goals, 14 of those in the league. Toone scored he first goal in the 12-0 victory over Aston Villa and was named the FA Women’s Championship Player of the Month for February after scoring five goals in United’s two matches that month. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Jess Sigsworth: My Player of the Season. The 24-year-old forward, a reigning FA Women’s Championship champion, before the league was renamed, with Doncaster Belles, before signing for United. Sigsworth scored 18 goals for United this season, the clubs top scorer. 17 of her goals came in the league, where she won the golden boot. Sigsworth scored five goals for United in their opening league match, the 12-0 thrashing of Aston Villa. She is on to bigger and better things now and will be challenged in the FA Women’s Super League next season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Leah Galton: The 24-year-old forward had a varied career before signing for United, playing College football in the United States of America for Hofstra Pride, playing professional football for Sky Blue FC in New Jersey. Galton also played for Bayern Munich in 2018 after leaving the USA in 2017. Galton played 21 times for United, seven of those from the bench, scoring four goals, three of those in the league. She scored her first goal Everton in a 3-0 victory in the League Cup and her first league goal against Tottenham Hotspur in Match, a 5-1 victory for United. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lizzie Arnot: The 23-year-old Scottish forward signed for United form Hibernian, with teammate Kirsty Smith last summer. She has played 24 times for United, eight of those from the bench, scoring seven goals for the club, six of those in the league. Arnot scored her first goal for United in the 1-0 League Cup victory over Liverpool, which was the first competitive match for the club. Her first league goal came against Sheffield United back in September. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kirsty Hanson: The 21-year-old forward was one of seven players to return to the club after being part of the academy in the past. She left for Liverpool, playing senior football with Sheffield FC Ladies and the Doncaster Belles. Hanson made a total of 26 appearances for United this season, nine of those from the bench, scoring five goals, all in the FA Women’s Championship. She made her debut in the League Cup against Liverpool, scoring in her league debut against Aston Villa, the 12-0 victory and the clubs biggest win of the season. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ebony Salmon: The 18-year-old forward signed for United from Aston Villa last summer and did not play a single minute of football for Casey Stoney’s side during the course of the season. In January, she was loaned to Sheffield United for the remainder of the season, where she made 11 appearances, scoring eight goals. Sadly, she was released by United at the end of the season. She will not be rated as it would be unfair as she never played for the club.

The 2018/19 season for Manchester United Women will be talked about as the best inaugural season in women’s football, especially by the United supporters who saw a great brand of football with the team taking no prisoners. In total, 113 goals were scored across the entire season; 98 in the FA Women’s Championship, conceding seven; seven in the Women’s FA Cup, three conceded; and eight in the FA Women’s League Cup, conceding four.

The upcoming season will be a big challenge for Casey Stoney and her squad of players. It was a shame to see four players released at the end of the season but the manager will be making preparation for the rise to the top flight of women’s football where the club will be seeking to take on what may seem to be a surprise title challenge in the next few seasons. After the way this season elapsed, they should not be written off based on the experience at the club, the winning mentality and the work ethic of this squad. They really showed the men’s team up this season. Great stuff.

U23 Player Ratings – 2018/19 Season: Ercolani, O’Connor, Gomes and Chong the stars of the season at this level

Manchester United U23’s saw their season end back in April and it would be safe to say it was not the season they expected. After being relegated from the Premier League 2 Division One at the end of the 2017/18 season, it was expected that the squad would achieve promotion back to the top flight of the league but United finished sixth, much like the first team and endured a season which will not be reflected upon favourably.

At this level, the team only competed in the league and the Premier League International Cup, of which they reached the quarter-final stage after drawing against both Derby County (1-1) and PSV Eindhoven (0-0) but beating Paris Saint-Germain 3-0. They then faced Reading at the quarter-final stage, losing 3-1, therefore ending their run in the tournament, which was won by Bayern Munich.

It would be safe to say that next season, with a new influx of players coming up from the U18s and a new approach, it will be important that this side starts to show their footballing ability, earning a place back into the top flight of this league and possibly even working towards winning the Premier League Internationa Cup, however, that seems to be easier said than done.

Here are the player ratings for the entire 2018/19 season for each player to have represented United at least once in any of the competitions the club has played in; Premier League 2 and the Premier League International Cup. All ratings are out of ten stars; five being the level all players start out at during each game. If the player rates over five stars, they are doing well, less than five, they are not doing so well.

Paul Woolston: The oldest goalkeeper at this level at the age of 20, the Englishman played only three matches this season but only joined the club in November 2018 after being released by Newcastle United last summer. He made his debut for the club in January, keeping three clean sheets for his club. He could have the ability to prove himself at this level, be tested on loan next season or even work his way into the first team in the future. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Alex Fojticek: The 19-year-old Slovakian made just three appearances at this level during the season, still playing at U18 and U19 level. He conceded three goals, keeping one clean sheet for the U23s, only making his debut at this level back in January. Granted, he may have a way to go to feature more at this level but he is a talented goalkeeper who is willing to learn his trade. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Matej Kovar: The 18-year-old goalkeeper form the Czech Republic played the most matches out of all the goalkeepers at this level, making a total of 19 appearances at this level, also playing six times at U19 level. Of the 19 appearances at this level, Kovar kept a total of five clean sheets, conceding 26 goals. The first team might be a big step for him, considering the players he will be competing against so a loan spell could help his case. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Matthew Olosunde: The American U20 international has played for United during the course of four seasons now, making his way from U18 level into a mainstay at U23 level. This season, the 21-year-old was largely absent due to injury, making only five appearances at this level, which was a shame. He is a talented defender and can play at right-back and as a central defender. It could be a make or break summer for him. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tyrell Warren: The 20-year-old player is a bit or a utilitarian as he can play in a number of positions, including right-back, central defence and as a right winger. Warren made nine appearances for the U23s this season, not scoring or assisting a single goal. He was on trial at Bolton Wanderers in February and despite being praised by Jose Mourinho in 2016, it seems that this could well be the end of the road for him at United. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Max Taylor: The 19-year-old defender, formally known as Max Dunne, has been suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, which has kept him out of action this season. Back in February, United confirmed that the player had responded successfully to treatment and hopes to resume his playing career once more if he is able. As he has not played this season, it would be unfair to give him a rating but I decided to include him anyway, if only to update people who did not know.

Luca Ercolani: The 19-year-old Italian central defender has played 16 times this season; six times for the U19 and ten times for the U23s. I have high hope for this player as he seems to be able to defend superbly, at times. However, there has been some interest in the player from a host of Serie A clubs and the last thing reported was that United planned to give the lad a new contract. I do hope that happens. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lee O’Connor: The 18-year-old Irish fullback-cum-midfielder is another talent in this squad. He has been on the cusp of the first team, training with them recently amid rumours that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would include many youth players in the final match of the season, which did not happen. O’Connor made a total of 25 appearances at U23 level, also playing seven times at U19 level, getting one assist for the U23s. He is a great talent and should not be overlooked by this club. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

George Tanner: The 19-year-old midfielder, who can also play at right-back, made 21 appearances at U23 level this season, adding a further three at U19 level. He assisted twice, not scoring a single goal so far at this level – in his fourth season at the club. Tanner was sent off against Sunderland in October but later had that card rescinded. Tanner signed his first professional contract in January 2018 and should be retained for the upcoming season, which could see him on the radar of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and play a part in the rebuild of the club, which will take a number of seasons to complete and stabilise. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

DJ Buffonge: The 20-year-old midfielder played 12 times for the U23s this season, scoring three goals. This was his third season playing in the U23s, although during the 2016/17 season, he was still playing at U18 level also. At stages this season, Buffonge has been training with the first team but has not made many waves at that level. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Callum Gribbin: The 20-year-old midfielder will probably not play for this club again, which is a shame. After a period of injuries, it has left him behind many young talents in the academy. Gribbin was a technically gifted player and represented the U23s twice from the bench this season. He will probably go on to have a career elsewhere and I wish him all the best. This happens many times at this club, sometimes it just does not work out. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Aidan Barlow: The 19-year-old midfielder has played 23 times this season; six times for the U19s, scoring three goals and one assist and 17 times for the U23, scoring once and assisting once. The player has represented United at U18, U19 and U23 level over the past five years and is considered to be one of the talents in the squad. He may have a lot of work ahead of him to break into the first team but that may not be beyond him. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Angel Gomes: This was his fifth season at academy level and perhaps needs to be challenged either in the first team or with a loan spell in order for him not to stagnate. The 18-year-old made 17 appearances at this level, scoring six goals and assisting a further eight. He got minimal chances in the first team and currently, according to rumour, is not happy at the club. Should emerge within the first team this summer by may need to make some changes to his physique, which will take time. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Joshua Bohui: The 20-year-old English winger made a total of 29 appearances in the U19s and U23s this season, making 25 appearances at this level. Bohui scored four goals, assisting a further five, also scoring twice in the UEFA Youth League. The player was included in the pre-season tour last summer and could find himself included against this summer. It is possible that he could even feature in the UEFA Europa League if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chooses to include him in the squad. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tahith Chong: The 19-year-old Dutch international has played at U19, U23 and first team level this season, playing most of his football in the U23s. Chong made a total of 18 appearances in the U23s, scoring eight goals, assisting a further four. At U19 level, he played six times, scoring twice and assisting three more. He also made three first team appearances, from the bench, showing his ability in a declining first team squad who now have a lot to prove. The future could well be his. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Millen Baars: The 19-year-old Dutch winger only made three appearances at U23 level this season all from the bench. He scored just one goal. He arrived at United back in 2016 but was unable to play any matches that season because his international clearance had not gone through. The 2017/18 season was the first he was able to play in. Injuries have not goe in his favour and it is likely that he may be able to leave this summer to try and rebuild his career, which is a shame. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nishan Burkart: The 19-year-old has spent three seasons at United now and has moved from the U18/U19 level into a mainstay in the U23 squad, which is a great challenge for him. This season, the Swiss forward made 15 appearances, scoring six goals and assisting a further four more. It may be a big step to reach the first team but looking at the problems there, it could also be the best time to get Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to notice him if that is the level he wants to reach. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The likes of Mason Greenwood, Diogo Dalot, Andreas Pereira, Sergio Romero, Marcos Rojo, Di-Shon Bernard and more also played at this level during the course of the season but these players had already been rated at first team or U18 level, which included excerpts about their appearances at this level, so I did not include them here. There were also players who spent much of or part of the season on loan, they will be rated in a separate article.

This coming season will be important for this age group, some of which will find themselves in the first team, others may be loaned out of even leave the club completely. However, with talent always coming up through the ranks, these players will be replaced and they will earn the opportunity to propel their careers in the right directions, should that be what they endeavour.

Manchester United Women win FA Women’s Championship in their first season back in contention

The Manchester United Women’s squad will be crowned champions of the FA Women’s Championship after their 7-0 victory against Crystal Palacegave them an advantage on the league table that second place Tottenham will have no chance of beating. This is a momentous occasion as this is also the first season the Women’s team has been active at United since it was ended by the clubback in 2005.

The massive season was aided heavily by solid performances in both attacking and defence. Goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain has had a season to remember as in her eighteen league appearances the squad has achieved thirteen clean-sheetsincluding Saturday’s win against Crystal Palace. The overall defense of the squad will also be proud, however, as the club only allowed seven goals throughout the season. 

Alex Greenwood has been the primary choice for captain in Casey Stoney’s squad and has made seventeen appearances for United this season. Amy Turner and Kirsty Smith have also played crucial roles in the defence, both making fourteen appearances in the league, and finally Martha Harris, who has made thirteen defensive appearances including Saturday’s win. 

Attacking has been impressive for the women’s squad as well as Jessica Sigsworthleads the squad with fifteen goals, and Ella Tooneis one goal behind Sigsworth with fourteen goals. Finally in third, but also not far behind, is Mollie Greenwith thirteen goals. Head coach Casey Stoney will be pleased with her squad’s attacking ability as they have already put up eighty-eight goals as a team with two matches still remaining in the league, and it will definitely be a huge boost to the players, many of whom are still fairly young and early on into their career.

The United Women’s squad held a fairly firm grip on the league when it came to their top quality play, as their high amounts of scoring, and solid defending did not go unnoticed. This season alone, four women on the United squad have been awarded the honour of Player of the MonthKatie Zelem was the most recent player to win the award, winning in March. One month before Zelem, attacker Ella Toone was awarded Player of the Month, and finally last year, midfielders Mollie Green (November) and Lauren James(September) also won the award.

The excitement of this year’s success will definitely be amplified because of the women’s squad only just re-emerging back into operation this season. Simply achieving promotion alone would have already been seen as successful, and winning the league completely will definitely earn a strong show of confidence from United for any future plans.

With only two matches remaining this season in the league, the women’s squad will soon begin its preparations for a step up in quality of play, which will definitely require the current players, and whoever might come into the squad to be at the top of their game next season to ensure that United stay in the FA Women’s Super League next season. 

Currently, Manchester City and Arsenal are in a battle for the top spot in the Super League, and will more than likely be contenders next season assuming no major changes occur during the summer. If United’s women’s squad can adapt to the increase on their quality of play and perform similarly to this season, then they too will more than likely be contenders in the Super League next season.

Written by Joel Dulka

Confirmed Starting XI: Greenwood, Burkart & Mellor lead the line as United look to clinch U18 Premier League North title

Manchester United U18’s could clinch the U18 Premier League North today if they beat or even draw against Manchester City at the Leigh Sports Village. The match will be shown live on MUTV, with United also making the game available for free on YouTube. United have scored 62 goals at this level this season with Mason Greenwood the top scorer with 16 goals in the league this season.

United have done well at this level over the last few seasons after losing twelve consecutive matches in the league during the 2015/16 season which saw Paul McGuinness leave the club. Last season, in the Northern section, United finished second to City, finishing fourth in the second stage of the league.

If United win the northern section this season, which will either happen this weekend with a victory or next weekend, they will play one further match this season against the winners of the Southern section, which looks set to be Chelsea once again and that could be a tough match for this United side.

Manchester United:

Kovar;

Tanner, Laird, Bernard, B. Williams;

Garner, Galbraith, Levitt;

Burkart, Greenwood, Mellor

Substitutes:

Dunne, Fojticek, McGhee, Baars, Ramazani

Manchester City beat United in the reverse fixture back in November, conceding four goals against their local rivals. In the ten league matches since that defeat, United have won eight times, drawing once and losing once. McKenna’s side has scored 33 goals, conceding 12 goals, also keeping two clean sheets. Beating City to clinch the title will be the one they want though.

Ratings: Tosin Kehinde the Man of the Match in draw with Manchester City

Manchester United draw 1-1 with Manchester City at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday afternoon. James Wilson put United ahead in the 21st minute of the match and had chances to build on that lead. City equalised at the start of the second half, just after United should have gone 2-0 up, by Ethan Hamilton’s effort was ruled out for offside.

There were some controversial decisions made by the referee with a handball and penalty in the first half and possibly another sending off in the second which were not given. This was a point for United, one they needed but one which won’t change their position greatly at this stage of the season.

James Wilson put United ahead in the 21st minute of the match with a sublime finish. Minutes later, United should have had a penalty after Ethan Hamilton saw his shot forced out by the hand of Tosin Adarabioyo only for the referee to give a corner. It should have been a penalty and a red card for City though. United failed to get anything from the corner.

The first half ended with United still in command of the fixture, seeking a win which would bring them up to the mid-table zone from the bottom. Wilson and Hamilton combined at the start of the second half with United finding the back of the net through Hamilton. The goal was disallowed by the referee for offside with United still having one goal to the good.

City then equalised minutes later through Lukas Nmecha which restored the game level with City turning up in the second hard and turning the pressure on United. City seemed the team most likely to score again, but United had stopped that, thus far at least. Wilson and Hamilton had some good interplay in trying to restore the lead for United, Wilson coming closest to scoring in the 68th minute, hitting his shot wide of the target.

United tried to get something from the game but a point will have to do. Changes were made late in the second half with Indy Boonen, Josh Bohui and Callum Gribbin all coming on to replace James Wilson, Charlie Scott and Zak Dearnley – but it was not enough for United to take command of the match and all three points.

Goals: James Wilson 21′

Manchester United: O’Hara; Riley, Ercolani, Williams, Mitchell; Sang, Scott (Boonen 83′); Dearnley (Gribbin 85′), Hamilton, Kehinde; Wilson (Bohui 83′)

Substitutes Not Used: Warren, M. Johnstone

Manchester United

Kieran O’Hara

Had little to do in the first half, but made a save to deny City. Conceded early in the second half. Made more saves to deny City from their winner.

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Joe Riley

Helped United defensively and in attack. Did what was needed which did not bring the much-needed victory. A positive performance.

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Luca Ercolani

Booked unnecessarily for a foul he won the ball in. Did well defensively.

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Ro-Shaun Williams

Tried to help United keep a clean sheet but was unlucky for that not to take place. Did what he could do during the match.

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35 Demetri Mitchell

Got forward at times and helped defend. Might need to work much harded to get on Mourinho's radar for the first team with left-back still up for the taking.

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Thomas Sang

Played well with Scott in the heart of midfield. Tried to shield his defensive teammates.

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Charlie Scott

Did what was needed and tried to do more. Played well with Sang in midfield and got forward at times. Replaced with seven minutes left.

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Zachary Dearnley

Played well until he was replaced by Gribbin five minutes from time. Got forward and helped create chances. Played well on the right.

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Ethan Hamilton

Should have won a penalty after his shot on goal, which could have doubled United's lead, was touched by a hand but only a corner given. Scored at the start of the second half, but it was disallowed for offside.

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Tosin Kehinde

Had one of his best matches to date. Creativity was good, running was quick and really helped his team get involved and take the challenge to City. His cutting in and dribbling was sublime. Man of the Match for me.

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James Wilson

Scored a decent goal in the 21st minute to put United ahead. Had opportunities to score again, failing to. Played well throughout the match. Replaced seven minutes from time.

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Substitutes

Indy Boonen

Replaced Scott. Got involved in the match ut perhaps too late to help United push for that victory.

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Joshua Bohui

Replaced Wilson. Had the chance to find the winner for United in the final few minutes of added time. Broke forward with a throughball and tried to set up his teammate but the City goalkeeper won the ball.

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Callum Gribbin

Replaced Dearnley. Had a five minute plus stoppage time cameo. Not enough time to influence the game.

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Report: James Wilson shone for Manchester United in draw with City

Manchester United draw 1-1 with Manchester City in the mini-derby in the Premier League 2. James Wilson put United ahead in the 21st minute with a sublime finish but United’s hard work was undone by Lukas Nmecha who equalised for City early in the second half. It was controversial for United with a penalty not given for a handball and possibly two red cards for City. United will be happy with the point though.

Ricky Sbragia fielded a strong side against Manchester City in the first mini-derby in the Premier League 2 this season. United started the match at rock bottom in the league and a victory would propel them to seventh – the position City started the match in. United started well, pushing their opponents to try to take advantage of the match.

United nearly took the lead through James Wilson in the 15th minute of the match, earning a corner, which Wilson tried to pounce on but the bounce on the ball made it hard to get a shot on goal. United looked confident going forward. In the 19th minute, Zak Dearnley won another corner for United after seeing his shot deflected over the crossbar. The corner came to nothing.

James Wilson put United ahead in the 21st minute being played through on goal and scoring from a tight angle and pegging City behind. United looked set to take this game from the off, but it all depends on whether City start to dig deep for the rest of the match and claim something.

United had some not so good chances to double their lead, nothing coming of any of them. In the 32nd minute, City had a shot through Phil Foden and Kieran O’Hara sent the ball out for a corner, the first for City today, which amounted to nothing. United were still on top with around eleven minutes before the break, still one goal to the good.

United had the chance to double their lead in the 36th minute with Tosin Kehinde and Wilson on the advance with Wilson passing to Ethan Hamilton, whose shot towards goal seemed to touch the unnatural hand of Tosin Adarabioyo for which the referee gave a corner, which should have been a penalty and possibly a red card. Nothing came of the corner other than more pressure for City to deal with.

Luca Ercolani, who was having a good game, slid in with a tackle on Lukas Nmecha, winning the ball. Then Nmecha went to ground with Ercolani being booked for the challenge which is pretty poor refereeing, especially after he gave nothing for the deliberate handball in the box minutes before. Three minutes were added on at the end of the half.

Wilson and Dearnley had the chance to get something in added time for United but were unable to get anything through the City defence, who seemed to have turned up after Wilson’s opening goal earlier in the first half. The first half ended with United still in control of the fixture but with all to play for in the second half.

At the start of the second half, Kehinde showed his skill by getting the better of five or six City players, with Wilson and Hamilton forward threatening and the pass was played with Hamilton finding the back of the net but the goal was disallowed for offside. Another decision in favour of City today but probably a correct one.

City forced the equaliser from the restart through Nmecha with a lovely finish, which will mean United need to get back on track or face losing today, which would be hard to take after going ahead and not being awarded a blatant penalty – not to mention the disallowed goal from moments ago.

City had the chance to take the lead in the 52nd minute of the match but O’Hara had it covered, collection the ball and sending United on their way forward with City winning possession and pressuring United – something which United needed to overcome, turning the tables on the side like they did throughout the first half of the match.

Joel Latibeaudiere was booked in the 54th minute of the match for a cynical foul on Kehinde who had beaten his first man, which won a free-kick for United – amounting to nothing for Sbragia’s boys who were looking to regain control of the fixture again. Latibeaudiere fouled Wilson in the 58th minute of the match, which was a yellow card offence yet nothing shown by the referee. It should have been the second red card of the game, in my opinion at least.

Foden had the opportunity to put City ahead but O’Hara made the perfect save and his defence cleared the threat. City were banging on the door with United pressured for much of the second half, which needs to change with United dishing out the pressure, then them seeming to change the game with another goal. City had another chance to gain something, it missing all City players in and around the box.

United had the chance to retake the lead in the 66th minute of the match with Charlie Scott putting pressure on City, not able to get the ball into the back of the net though. It was a good period by United, who were still in possession of the ball in City’s area but putting the ball out of play and City in possession to try to win the game themselves.

Wilson had the chance to restore the lead for United in the 69th minute after more good play from United. The English forward unleashed his shot which was off target, not really pressuring City despite causing them some problems throughout the match. Kehinde is a runner for Man of the Match today after his play throughout the match, dribbling well and running in and out of the space left vacant by City.

In the 83rd minute of the match, James Wilson and Charlie Scott were replaced by Indy Boonen and Josh Bohui.A minute or so later, Callum Gribbin replaced  Zak Dearnley with United seemingly looking to string enough together in order to find a second goal, or even play for the draw. United tried to get something late into the match, just before five minutes af added time were announced.

Bohui had a shot on goal inside the first minute of added time, cutting in from the left and striking his attempt from outside of the box. The City keeper saved his effort though and United were then on the defence with City seeking that winning goal – to no avail.

There was a bit of excitement at the end of the match with City banging on the door, threatening for a goal and United making the clearance and Bohui on the run. His pass did not meet his teammate with the City keeper getting the ball and sending City up the other end to threaten.

City were on top in the second half, with United on top for the first half, so it was a fair result at 1-1. Lots to think about from the game though, the penalty not given, two possible red cards and the disallowed goal, which could have changed it all for United.

Goals: James Wilson 21′

Manchester United: O’Hara; Riley, Ercolani, Williams, Mitchell; Sang, Scott (Boonen 83′); Dearnley (Gribbin 85′), Hamilton, Kehinde; Wilson (Bohui 83′)

Substitutes Not Used: Warren, M. Johnstone

Confirmed Starting XI: Wilson, Dearnley, Kehinde and Hamilton to lead the line against City

Manchester United will face Manchester City in the Premier League 2 at Leigh Sports Village this afternoon. It is the first match in the league for United since they beat Sunderland 1-0 at the end of October. United though, have played two matches in the Premier League International Cup beating Swansea City and Athletic Bilbao by the same 2-1 scoreline sandwiched either side of the international break. United sit at the bottom if the Premier League 2 with just eight points – which is something the teams above them have in common with eleventh to eighth all on the same number of points – goal difference separating them. City

United sit at the bottom if the Premier League 2 with just eight points – which is something the teams above them have in common with eleventh to eighth all on the same number of points – goal difference separating them. City are seventh in the league, a point ahead of United so it is fair to say they are not doing all that well at this level either. A win for United will propel the side from the bottom to mid-table – a defeat will make it much tougher for United to catch City up.

Manchester United:

O’Hara;

Riley, Ercolani, Williams, Mitchell;

Sang, Scott;

Dearnley, Hamilton, Kehinde;

Wilson

Substitutes:

Warren, M. Johnstone, Gribbin, Boonen, Bohui

United and City have a rivalry throughout all levels, the biggest one being at first team level. United though will take this game to the stocks, aiming to turn their season around with a scalping victory in the mini-derby, which could galvanise the side to get something out of the season – which is much needed with the U23’s stalling for the past few seasons.

Starting XI: Shaw and Young return for the U23’s against Swansea

Manchester United U23’s face Swansea City U23’s in the Premier League 2 at Leigh Sports Village this evening. A week ago United beat Leicester City 1-0 with a  Demetri Mitchell free kick which was a tough game for United. Three points in the bag already, the young Red Devils will be looking to have a similar start to the first team, winning both of their Premier League fixtures against West Ham United and Swansea City. Ricky Sbragia’s side will be looking to take advantage of the Swans. Luke Shaw and Ashley Young return from injury which will be a big boost for Jose Mourinho with added strength and depth coming back in, especially Shaw coming in which will give United a solid left-back, something Mourinho and the squad have missed in the latter part of last season and so far this season. United could well have a great start in this league, but this will not be an easy encounter for Sbragia’s side.

Manchester United:

J. Pereira;

Olosunde, Williams, Tuanzebe, Shaw;

Willock, McTominay;

Young, Boonen, Mitchell;

Bohui

Substitutes:

Warren, Richardson, Hamilton, Riley, Kehinde

Swansea City:

Zabret;

Reid, Harries, Rodon, Lewis;

Maric, Evans;

Garrick, Byers, Gorre;

Baker-Richardson

Substitutes:

Cullen, Thomas, Dulca,  Plezier, Bainbridge

Ratings: Harrop, Redmond and Mitchell bright sparks against Sparta Prague

Manchester United made it two wins in two matches in the Premier League International Cup, beating Sparta Prague at leigh Sports Village on Thursday evening. United had previously beaten Villarreal in the tournament earlier in the season, with Josh Harrop, one of the goal scorers this evening, scoring the only goal of the match. Devonte Redmond was United’s other goalscorer against the Czech side, putting United in the driving seat in the group, ahead of next week’s clash with Middlesbrough to head the group after three matches. United have played some good football at this level this season, despite playing without an out-and-out striker, seeing the liked of Scott McTominay, Devonte Redmond, Matty Willock and others lead the line at times. United will be up for the challenge in their last match of 2016 in a weeks time, one which will give them something to aim for next season, being that their performances in the league have not been too good. Nicky Butt will guide the side to aim for the top spot next week, although they could still qualify as one of the best runners up next week if the worst comes to the worst.

Goals: Josh Harrop 21′, Devonte Redmond 56′

Manchester United: O’Hara; Olosunde (El Fitouri 78′), Tuanzebe, Poole, Mitchell; Willock, Goss; Harrop, McTominay, Kehinde (Gribbin 68′); Redmond (Scott 68′)

Substitutes Not Used: M. Johnstone, Doughty, Buffonge, Warren

Manchester United

Kieran O’Hara

Had a good game in goal with not a lot to do. Seemed to deal with everything that he had to get involved in.

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Matthew Olosunde

Played well on the right with United more than enough for he visitors, who just did not test United enough. The American was replaced by El Fitouri with 12 minutes remaining.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Composed and confident display. Got forward at times, pushing the visitors in order to see United prevail. Star in the making.

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Regan Poole

Dominant in defence and did his bit going forward with United pressing forward.

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35 Demetri Mitchell

Assisted in United's second goal, playing well in the left-back role, despite playing further forward for much of the game.

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Matty Willock

Commanding in midfield and strong on the ball. Had his moments in the match. Usually plays further forward, or has this season. Good to see him in the heart of defence.

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Ratings: Harrop, Redmond and Mitchell bright sparks against Sparta Prague

Had some good moments in the match, helping control the game in midfield, which seemed to be where United were stifling their oposition.

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Ratings: Harrop, Redmond and Mitchell bright sparks against Sparta Prague

Scored United's first goal in the 21st minute, breaking forward, staying onside, rounding the keeper for a cool finish. Looked to had injured himself soon after, but was fine to continue.

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39 Scott McTominay

One of the players who can play many different positions and does so to the best of his abilities to help his team.

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Tosin Kehinde

Played well on the left side of the attack, not always getting involved, but doing his bit. Replaced by Gribbin with just over twenty minutes remaining.

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Devonte Redmond

Scored United's second goal with a great finish after being assisted by Mitchell. Had a good game as United furthest forward player, which will instill confidence ahead of next weeks clash with Boro. Replaced by Scott in the 68th minute.

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Substitutes

Charlie Scott

Replaced Redmond. Unlucky not to score United's third goal of the evening. Had a good game.

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Callum Gribbin

Replaced Kehinde. Saw upset on Monday in the FA Youth Cup, but was on the winning team tonight. Played well in his twenty minute cameo.

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Ratings: Harrop, Redmond and Mitchell bright sparks against Sparta Prague

Replaced Olosunde. Helped United steer home the win. Had little influence in the game other than that.

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copyright: JW