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Manchester United’s four best signings post-Sir Alex Ferguson

In the later years under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United were not known for spending large sums of cash. Ferguson and then Chief Executive David Gill used the available funds to bring in what they needed to get the job done. When Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United in 2009, the Glazers did not allow United to get a like for like replacement. Instead United settled for Antonio Valencia from Wigan Athletic. Valencia himself, not of the same ilk as Ronaldo but has been a great servant at Old Trafford since his arrival.

Due to the Glazers reluctance to give Ferguson and co. the budget to build for the future, Manchester United had a major fall from grace when David Moyes took over in 2013. Due to an aged squad and the clear need for an overhaul at Carrington, the Glazers finally agreed they needed to allow more of a budget to bring in quality players at Old Trafford.

In recent times, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have brought in some of the biggest names in football such as Angel Di Maria and Paul Pogba. However, some of these big money signings have turned out to be major flops in North West of England. Here are four of United’s best signings in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era:

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Juan Mata

Having signed for United from Chelsea in the January transfer window of 2014, United fans will agree the Spaniard is one of the few positives to result from David Moyes’s appointment. Since joining United, the former Valencia man has played a total of 237 games for Manchester United and scoring 44 goals. Mata has acted as a technical playmaker for United by registering 27 assists for the reds during his spell at Old Trafford. Under Van Gaal, Mata was a regular starter and became a fan favourite in Manchester. With the arrival of Jose Mourinho, there were some doubts over Mata’s future at United as Mourinho was the man to sell Mata to United. However, this has had no effect on the players future as he has played 102 games for United under Mourinho. Mata has demonstrated the perfect attitude to succeed in a Mourinho team and will remain a senior player in the squad for seasons to come.

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Zlatan Ibrahimović

Arrived on a free from Paris Saint-Germain, the legendary Swede only lasted a season and a half at Old Trafford. However, this does not mean he has not been one of United’s better signings since Ferguson. In such a short space of time, the six foot five striker has had such an impact at Old Trafford and will remain in the hearts of United fans in the future. In only 66 appearances for United, Ibrahimović has produced 29 goals and 9 assists for the red half of Manchester. Unfortunately, his United career was cut short due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury against Anderlecht in the quarter-final of the Europa league. Zlatan Ibrahimović brought experience to a young United squad and his presence at Carrington will have a lasting impact on those who have played with him in the red shirt.

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Romelu Lukaku

Brought in as a direct replacement for the injured Ibrahimović, Romelu Lukaku has enjoyed a brilliant debut season for Jose Mourinho’s side. Having played for United 50 times in his first season, the Belgian scored 27 times and registered 7 assists for United. Not only does Lukaku bring power and pace to United’s frontline, he has shown up many critics by demonstrating the intelligence that exists in his game. Lukaku is a player that Mourinho relies on, and without him in the side, the team look like they have no focal point. He is expected to be United’s number nine for many years to come.

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Nemanja Matic

Another player who has only played one season for United but has a made such an impact in a short space of time. Nemanja Matic picks up the holding midfield role for the reds, making tackles, picking passes and a world-class goal in the dying minutes to win the game away at Selhurst Park has made the Serbian a joy to watch. The tough as nails midfielder has featured for United 47 times this season. Matic has an 87.9% pass completion rate for United, and whilst Michael Carrick has retired, the former Chelsea man will need to be more influential on and off the pitch in Manchester. The midfielder has sat in front of the back two all season and has provided extra security for United’s defence. As Mourinho hopes to bring in an extra midfielder, Matic will be crucial over the next few seasons as the Portuguese manager attempts to get a tune out of perhaps the most naturally talented player in the squad, Paul Pogba.

Jose Mourinho will hope to bring in players this summer that can have an impact at Manchester United like these four players have had.

It is worth noting that three out of four of the players named above were signed by Mourinho which is an indication that Mourinho is the right man for United going forward. When the day comes that Mourinho leaves United, the new coach coming in will have inherited the best squad since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Written by Shane Purcell

Where Are They Now? Saidy Janko – Manchester United’s apparent heir at right-back

The name Saidy Janko is one which will be fondly remembered at Manchester United, a player once considered to be the heir of Antonio Valencia in the right-back role. Despite the player having bags of potential and ability, at United he just did not make it. I thought he had a great chance to become the right-back for years to come after his rise to fame from the U18’s to the reserves after signing from FC Zürich on deadline day in the summer of 2013.

Janko played 27 matches in his debut season (2013/14) at the club, playing in the U18’s, U19’s and the U21’s, scoring once and assisting a further five goals. Despite being a right-back, he spent his time playing for the U21’s in a right-wing role, which is where his only goal that season came from and four of his five assists. The following season, Janko played his football for the U21’s making 14 appearances and assisting five goals. He also played in the first team on one occasion, making if 15 appearances for United that season. That fateful 4-0 defeat to MK Dons in the League Cup.

During his debut season at United, Janko was named the 2014 Denzil Haroun Reserves Player of the Year, as voted for by the supporters of the club, after emerging as a key figure in Warren Joyce’s U21 side. He was nominated alongside both Reece James and Charni Ekangamene. After receiving the award from Class of 92 graduate Nicky Butt, Janko said:

“I’m very proud. I didn’t expect something like this. I’ve settled in pretty well because Manchester United is like a family, so I made friends really quickly. Warren Joyce had confidence in me and gave me a chance to prove myself.”

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The player was loaned out to Bolton Wanderers on deadline day in the winter transfer window, playing the rest of his season in the Championship. It was a strange transfer as Bolton’s Andy Kellett went the other way, playing for United’s reserves. Janko played ten times for Bolton, scoring from 25-yards and assisting on his debut, a 3-1 victory over Fulham. It was thought he would return to United in the summer and put himself in contention for the first team but it was not meant to be for the Swiss youth international.

On the 1st July 2015, Janko signed for Celtic on a four-year contract, which was a blow but United manager Louis van Gaal had signed Matteo Darmian as the clubs new right-back and with other players in the squad deemed much better, he would not have been a shoe-in for a more advanced role. Janko made 13 appearances for Celtic in his debut season at Celtic Park, failing to score a single goal. We were starting to see signs as to why he did not make it at United, not that it is a bad thing.

During his second season in Scotland, Janko made seven appearances for Celtic before being loaned to Barnsley for the remainder of the season where he made ten appearances, scoring one goal in a 4-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers a fortnight after being loaned out but did not star for the side again. Janko returned to Celtic at the end of the season where he was sold to French side Saint-Etienne, again signing a four-year contract.

This season, Janko has made 19 appearances in Ligue 1 for his new club, failing to score a single goal or register a single assist thus far. According to Squawka, Janko has a shot accuracy of 50%, has created four chances for his teammates, averages a passing accuracy of 79% – with his average pass being 15 metres, has made an average of three defensive actions per match – not yet making a defensive error. Perhaps Janko has found a club he can get his career back on track after failing to do so thus far into his career. At just 22, he still has time to reach for the stars.

Preview: Manchester United v Bournemouth – Barclays Premier League 2015/16

Old Trafford, Manchester

Barclays Premier League 2015/16

Tuesday 17th May 2016, KO 20:00 BST Live on Sky Sports 1HD

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Assistant Referees: Adrian Holmes and Harry Lennard

Fourth Official: Graham Scott

Manchester United face Bournemouth in their final Barclays Premier League match of the season at Old Trafford on Tuesday after Sunday’s match was abandoned after a device, which later turned out to be a training aid forced the club and police to cancel the match from commencing. It was not the season we all wanted or a season we predicted. In fact, it was a season that many will not want to remember for many reasons. The football was dire, the philosophy was not working, the players seemed to lack the ability to drive forward, pressure their opposition and win matches, injuries again were not kind to the team, but there were some reasons to remember. Louis van Gaal blooded in yet more talented youth, whether you believe it was meant to happen, or seem to look at the fact they came during a period of injuries. Despite the Dutchman suggesting, he decreased the size of his squad at the start of the season for that reason. Manchester United’s youth are very talented, you can see that in the way they won the Barclays U21 Premier League this season, despite for much of the season lacking an out-and-out striker. Many players were given a chance in the first team, some are still there now, others will be fighting for their chances again, that is the one thing that has excited me this season. Youth coming through is what Manchester United are all about, yet there are still moans galore with many supporters refusing to let go of the glory sustained under Sir Alex Ferguson. He’s retired now, he will not be coming back. Remember his time at the club as successful, let go of it, there is a chance that nothing like that period will ever happen again. Look forward to the future. Get behind the team.

United have had a poor week in football. Beating Norwich City last weekend, with Manchester City and Arsenal drawing, United had the chance to steal a top four place by beating West Ham United in the last ever fixture at Upton Park. United ended up losing 3-2, despite leading 2-1 early in the second half of the match. That was United’s chance to earn a top four place on their own. This weekend, they will have to rely on Swansea City to beat Manchester City and they will have to beat Bournemouth in order to steal a top four place, which I have to say is not something Manchester United deserve this season. How they are even in the top five amazes me after the season the club has had. Eighteen clean sheets have been kept in the league this season, fifteen of those by David De Gea himself. He will find himself going head to head with Kasper Schmeichel, Petr Cech and Joe Hart for the golden glove. Keeping a clean sheet against West Ham United would have given him a head start to win the honour, but that was just not meant to be. United have the second best defence in the league this season, with only Tottenham Hotspur ahead of them. United have only conceded 34 goals this season, which has to be an achievement, considering Daley Blind has partnered Chris Smalling for the majority of the season.

Louis van Gaal has a chance to finish the season at the club on a high with a top four finish, even to win at Old Trafford on the final day of the season will be enough to end the season on a high, heading into the Emirates FA Cup final in a week’s time. Manchester United could find themselves lifting the FA Cup for the first time in twelve years, which will be an achievement, but will also not paper over the cracks at the club, with abject failure surrounding the club, with not just the manager and players in the firing line. Those in the board room have also been shown up for what they are. Ed Woodward included. The club needs to bring in a Director of Football this summer, someone who knows football. Someone who knows what they are doing. Woodward does a great job in bringing money to the club, but spending it, and spending it right seems to be a massive problem for him. Should that happen this summer, the club will be on the right track heading into the new season, but it will not work overnight. Patience will need to be afforded. Something which supporters have shown they do not have.

Manchester United Statistics (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 37 matches, won 18, drawn 9, lost 10 and currently have 63 points

Scored 46 goals (1.24 goals per match) and conceded 34 goals (0.92 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 7 matches

Clean sheets 49%

Bournemouth (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 37 matches, won 11, drawn 9, lost 17 and currently have 42 points

Scored 44 goals (1.19 goals per match) and conceded 64 goals (1.73 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 6 matches

Clean sheets 19%

Top Scorers (all competitions):

Manchester United: 17 – Anthony Martial, 14 – Wayne Rooney, 9 – Juan Mata, 7 – Memphis Depay, Marcus Rashford, 6 – Own Goal, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard, 4 – Marouane Fellaini, 2 – Daley Blind, Chris Smalling, 1 – Matteo Darmian, Adnan Januzaj, Andreas Pereira, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger

Bournemouth7 – Joshua King, 5 – Glenn Murray, Marc Pugh, Junior Stanislas, Callum Wilson, 4 – Benik Afobe, Steve Cook, Dan Gosling, Matt Ritchie, 3 – Charlie Daniels, 2 – Adam Smith, 1 – Harry Arter, Joe Bennett, Tommy Elphick, Lewis Grabban, Max Gradel, Yann Kermorgant, Shaun MacDonald

Manchester United Form: LWDWWW

Last Six Matches (all competitions): West Ham United 3-2 L, Norwich City 1-0 W, Leicester City 1-1 D, Everton 2-1 W, Crystal Palace 2-0 W, Aston Villa 1-0 W

Bournemouth Form: DLLLWL

Last Six Matches (all competitions): West Bromwich Albion 1-1 D, Everton 2-1 L, Chelsea 4-1 L, Liverpool 2-1 L, Aston Villa 2-1 W, Manchester City 4-0 L

Head to Head:

Played four matches in the FA Cup and League Cup at Old Trafford – the first time both clubs have met in the Premier League was earlier this season:

Manchester United: Won 4, Drawn 0, Lost 0; Goals Scored 12, Goals Conceded 0; Clean Sheets 4

Bournemouth: Won 0, Drawn 0, Lost 4; Goals Scored 0, Goals Conceded 12; Clean Sheets 0

Manchester United Squad:

Manager: Louis van Gaal

Goalkeepers: 1. David De Gea, 20. Sergio Romero, 40. Joel Castro Pereira, 50. Sam Johnstone;

Defenders: 4. Phil Jones, 5. Marcos Rojo, 12. Chris Smalling, 23. Luke Shaw, 30. Guillermo Varela, 33. Paddy McNair, 36. Matteo Darmian, 37. Donald Love, 38. Axel Tuanzebe, 41. Regan Poole, 43. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 49. Joe Riley;

Midfielders: 8. Juan Mata, 11. Adnan Januzaj, 16. Michael Carrick, 17. Daley Blind, 18. Ashley Young, 21. Ander Herrera, 25. Antonio Valencia, 27. Marouane Fellaini, 28. Morgan Schneiderlin, 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger, 35. Jesse Lingard, 44. Andreas Pereira, 47. James Weir;

Strikers: 7. Memphis Depay, 9. Anthony Martial, 10. Wayne Rooney, 39. Marcus Rashford, 48. Will Keane

Doubts/Injuries: 3. Luke Shaw (broken leg), 11. Adnan Januzaj (knock), 18. Ashley Young (muscular injury), 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger (MCL knee ligament), 36. Matteo Darmian (ankle/foot), 49. Will Keane (groin) [injury details from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: 27. Marouane Fellaini (two matches) [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Bournemouth Squad:

Manager: Eddie Howe

Goalkeepers: 1. Artur Boruc, 21. Ryan Allsop, 23. Adam Federici;

Defenders: 2. Simon Francis, 3. Steve Cook, 5. Tommy Elphick, 11. Charlie Daniels, 14. Tyrone Mings, 15. Adam Smith, 22. Elliott Ward, 25. Sylvain Distin, 33. Joe Bennett, 38. Baily Cargill;

Midfielders: 4. Dan Gosling, 6. Andrew Surman, 7. Marc Pugh, 8. Harry Arter, 10. Max Gradel, 16. Shaun MacDonald, 19. Junior Stanislas, 20. Christian Atsu, 24. Lee Tomlin, 30. Matt Ritchie, 32. Eunan O’Kane;

Strikers: 9. Tokelo Rantie, 13. Callum Wilson, 17. Joshua King, 18. Yann Kermorgant, 27. Glenn Murray;

Doubts/Injuries: 14. Tyrone Mings (knee), 15. Adam Smith (inguinal hernia), 25. Sylvain Distin (back) [injury details from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: None [suspensions confirmed by the FA]

Predicted Formation/Starting XI:

Score Prediction:

Manchester United 2-0 Bournemouth

Preview: West Ham United v Manchester United – Barclays Premier League 2015/16

Upton Park, London

Barclays Premier League 2015/16

Tuesday 10th May 2016, KO 19:45 BST Live on Sky Sports 1HD

Referee: Mike Dean

Assistant Referees: Simon Long and Simon Bennett

Fourth Official: Roger East

Manchester United face West Ham United in the last ever Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park on Tuesday evening. United have it all in their hands to earn a UEFA Champions League place after Manchester City failed to beat Arsenal at the Etihad on Sunday. City have one more match to play this season, with this being United’s game in hand after their meeting with the Hammers was postponed at the end of April due to either of the club participating in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final, which was United after they beat the East London side earlier last month, also beating Everton at Wembley to earn their first FA Cup final for nine years; facing Crystal Palace. United have not had a good season, but Sunday’s result meant that United have it in their hands to make this season memorable, earning a Champions League place with two victories, then heading to Wembley on Saturday 21st May to beat Palace to lift their first major trophy since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson three years ago.

United are far from a completed team, but they are in some form, not losing a match in all competitions since the 3-0 capitulation at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur, who recently saw their own title race end with a draw against fallen former champions Chelsea. Imagine Pep Guardiola managing City next season in the UEFA Europa League. That is what the players needs to be thinking about heading out to play the Hammers on Tuesday evening. The thought of the great Guardiola managing a team in the secondary European competition is certainly something to savor, especially if it happens. City’s supporters deserve to suffer, especially after how they treated Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the 2-2 draw with Arsenal – they left the stadium promptly whilst the team was walking around the pitch and the Etihad was saying goodbye to the outgoing manager. There was also a trophy presentation with the U18 side receiving their title. Pathetic. Those supporters – for want of a better word should be ashamed. They did need the beat the traffic though as they all live within a one-mile radius of the Etihad, yeah right!

Manchester United can make their season so much better by beating the Hammers and Bournemouth in their last two games of the season, pipping City into fourth will be a great achievement seeing as they were the pundits and most journalists choice of champions this season – how they got that wrong! United have not lost a match in their last six, drawing one and winning five in all competitions – some of the best form they have had all season, coming just at the right time where it could mean something. The Hammers are not in great form, slumping to a 4-1 home defeat to Swansea City at the weekend, winning twice, drawing twice and losing twice in their last six matched, which includes the defeat to United in the FA Cup back in April. United have the chance to make it memorable for themselves and for the Hammers – beating them in their last home match at Upton Park – ever! What a chance to make history. Yes, this season has not excited me – I am excited by this – as I was with relegating Aston Villa and pushing Norwich City into likely relegation. United have lost three matches at Upton Park in all competitions since the Premier League era began – that is a great record and one to keep going, where it can never be changed again. Come on UNITED!

Manchester United Statistics (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 36 matches, won 18, drawn 9, lost 9 and currently have 63 points

Scored 44 goals (1.22 goals per match) and conceded 31 goals (0.86 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 7 matches

Clean sheets 50%

West Ham United (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 36 matches, won 15, drawn 14, lost 7 and currently have 59 points

Scored 35 goals (1.69 goals per match) and conceded 61 goals (1.31 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 10 matches

Clean sheets 31%

Top Scorers (all competitions):

Manchester United: 15 – Anthony Martial, 14 – Wayne Rooney, 9 – Juan Mata, 7 – Memphis Depay, Marcus Rashford, 6 – Ander Herrera, 5 – Jesse Lingard, 5 – Own Goal, 4 – Marouane Fellaini, 2 – Daley Blind, Chris Smalling, 1 – Matteo Darmian, Adnan Januzaj, Andreas Pereira, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger

West Ham United: 12 – Dimitri Payet, 9 – Michail Antonio, Andy Carroll, 7 – Mark Noble, 6 – Manuel Lanzini, 5 – Cheikhou Kouyaté, 4 – Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia, 2 – Aaron Cresswell, Emmanuel Emenike, Victor Moses, 1 – Angelo Ogbonna, James Tomkins, Mauro Zárate

Manchester United Form: WDWWWW

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Norwich City 1-0 W, Leicester City 1-1 D, Everton 2-1 W, Crystal Palace 2-0 W, Aston Villa 1-0 W, West Ham United 2-1 W

West Ham United Form: LWWDLD

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Swansea City 4-1 L, West Bromwich Albion 3-0 W, Watford 3-1 W, Leicester City 2-2 D, Manchester United 2-1 L, Arsenal 3-3 D

Head to Head:

Played 22 matches in the Barclays Premier League, Capital One Cup and Emirates FA Cup at Upton Park, since the Premier League era began:

Manchester United: Won 9, Drawn 10, Lost 3; Goals Scored 40, Goals Conceded 30; Clean Sheets 5

West Ham United: Won 3, Drawn 10, Lost 9; Goals Scored 30, Goals Conceded 40; Clean Sheets 3

Manchester United Squad:

Manager: Louis van Gaal

Goalkeepers: 1. David De Gea, 20. Sergio Romero, 40. Joel Castro Pereira, 50. Sam Johnstone;

Defenders: 4. Phil Jones, 5. Marcos Rojo, 12. Chris Smalling, 23. Luke Shaw, 30. Guillermo Varela, 33. Paddy McNair, 36. Matteo Darmian, 37. Donald Love, 38. Axel Tuanzebe, 41. Regan Poole, 43. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 49. Joe Riley;

Midfielders: 8. Juan Mata, 11. Adnan Januzaj, 16. Michael Carrick, 17. Daley Blind, 18. Ashley Young, 21. Ander Herrera, 25. Antonio Valencia, 27. Marouane Fellaini, 28. Morgan Schneiderlin, 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger, 35. Jesse Lingard, 44. Andreas Pereira, 47. James Weir;

Strikers: 7. Memphis Depay, 9. Anthony Martial, 10. Wayne Rooney, 39. Marcus Rashford, 48. Will Keane

Doubts/Injuries: 3. Luke Shaw (broken leg), 9. Anthony Martial (hamstring), 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger (MCL knee ligament), 36. Matteo Darmian (ankle/foot), 49. Will Keane (groin) [injury details from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: 27. Marouane Fellaini (two matches) [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

West Ham United Squad:

Manager: Slaven Bilić

Goalkeepers: 1. Darren Randolph, 13. Adrián, 34. Raphael Spiegel;

Defenders: 2. Winston Reid, 3. Aaron Cresswell, 5. James Tomkins, 12. Carl Jenkinson, 17. Joey O’Brien, 19. James Collins, 21. Angelo Ogbonna, 22. Sam Byram, 25. Doneil Henry, 32. Reece Burke, 33. Stephen Hendrie;

Midfielders: 4. Alex Song, 8. Cheikhou Kouyaté, 14. Pedro Obiang, 16. Mark Noble, 20. Victor Moses, 27. Dimitri Payet, 28. Manuel Lansing, 30. Michail Antonio, 35. Reece Oxford;

Strikers: 9. Andy Carroll, 11. Enner Valencia, 15. Diafra Sakho, 29. Emmanuel Emenike

Doubts/Injuries: 12. Carl Jenkinson (ACL), 13. Adrián (calf muscle strain) [injury details from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: None [suspensions confirmed by the FA]

Predicted Formation/Starting XI:

Score Prediction:

West Ham United 1-2 Manchester United

Preview: Norwich City v Manchester United – Barclays Premier League 2015/16

Carrow Road, Norwich

Barclays Premier League 2015/16

Saturday 7th May 2016, KO 12:45 BST Live on BT Sport 1HD

Referee: Craig Pawson

Assistant Referees: Mike Mullarkey and Dave Bryan

Fourth Official: Keith Hill

Manchester United go head to head with relegation fodder Norwich City in the Barclays Premier League to Carrow Road on Saturday lunchtime. United have three matches in the league remaining this season, including a game in hand over fourth-placed Manchester City. United need to pile the pressure on Norwich on their home turf by effectively confirming relegation for them in order to gain advantage over City, who face Arsenal on Sunday afternoon with anything less than a win putting the ball in United’s court, stealing fourth place on Tuesday with a victory over West Ham United, again away from Old Trafford. United have not had a good season, but you have to admit that injuries have added to the poor season, especially that of Luke Shaw who suffered a double leg fracture in the UEFA Champions League match away to PSV Eindhoven. That not only dealt a blow to his team-mate but destabilised the back four, especially in the fact that Shaw got forward a lot, supporting team-mate Memphis Depay, who has also suffered a loss of form and not been anything near his form for PSV last season, but he is playing in a much tougher league, which he may need to adapt to before starring. Some United supporters have written him off as a failure, despite the fact patience needs to be afforded. Not them, though, they know everything, including the future. I remember that some wrote of David De Gea and also Cristiano Ronaldo. Both are great examples of players that have adapted to a tougher league and grown considerably in their roles.

United have a tough run-in to the season, facing West Ham United in the last league encounter at Upton Park on Tuesday evening, before entertaining AFC Bournemouth at Old Trafford on the final day of the season – a team which beat United 2-1 earlier in the season. An Emirates FA Cup final against Crystal Palace at Wembley will end the season, possibly on a high, a better high than last season where UEFA Champions League football returned to the club, albeit through the play-off round. This season could be similar, but United could instead see UEFA Europa League football from the group stages, which is a letdown, but still European competition and a tournament which United have never won. Whether Louis van Gaal remains the manager, Ryan Giggs or even Jose Mourinho – who knows, but I am sure all will be revealed in the summer. Rumours have suggested Mourinho will be installed as the manager, with more recent ones suggesting the Dutchman will be given until the end of his contract. We shall see.

Manchester City could end their season disappointingly. Seeing them eradicate themselves from the title race earlier in the season, then see themselves knocked out of the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League at the semi-final stage by Real Madrid, their end to the season could see another severe blow handed to them. Arsenal meet City on Sunday with them looking to secure third place in the league this season, a step up from their favoured fourth place. Should Arsenal do the business against the club which has siphoned their best players in the past, they will ultimately do United a favour in giving them the advantage over City in the race to fourth place. United first need to beat Norwich, then hope that this favour can be handed to them. United should, of course, have done it all themselves, beating Leicester City last Sunday would have been a great result with City losing to Southampton, United could have been within a point of them going into this weekends matches, which could have been much better for them, but it was not to be and United drew with the champions of the Premier League, who were handed their title on Monday after Tottenham Hotspur failed to beat former champions Chelsea. Imagine a Manchester City, under the leadership of Pep Guardiola playing UEFA Europa League football next season.

I am sure that would give the red side of Manchester, well actually Manchester a massive smile at the club that does not seem to get any negative press, not even for their Academy, which is not al gleaming as the media make out, despite the fact it is obvious that their articles and praises for the club, come from the club itself. How can an Academy which does not bear fruit into the first team be considered a success? Also one which seems to lose many talented players due to the fact they do not feel they are progressing at the club. The media seem to have slam-dunked themselves by praising something which should earn the praise by actually doing something good, rather that asking the media to praise them, in reward for hospitality and other things. It is clear that this is the case in that many journalists seems to have unrivalled access to City’s Academy, something which United and other clubs would not dream of doing.

United have a good record away from home against Norwich City in the Premier League, playing seven matches, winning five and losing two. Scoring ten goals and conceding five. Also keeping three clean sheets. The last time these two sides met at Carrow Road was back in December 2013. Ryan Giggs was still playing and Danny Welbeck scored the only goal of the game in the 57th minute. United were beaten 2-1 by Norwich back in December 2015 at Old Trafford, with Anthony Martial scoring a consolation goal from 2-0 down in the 66th minute of the match, but United could not change the result. It would have been a big win for Norwich, but their season has been poor ever since and they find themselves scrapping for survival once again – no doubt they will play like Barcelona to try and grind out a favourable result, but United need the win a lot more than they do – they are not a proper Premier League club and just like Sunderland, who also seem to be scrapping for survival at the end of every season, deserve the Championship. Hopefully United will put them half way back there by the 3pm kick-offs in Saturday. Come on UNITED!

Manchester United Statistics (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 35 matches, won 17, drawn 9, lost 9 and currently have 60 points

Scored 43 goals (1.23 goals per match) and conceded 31 goals (0.89 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 7 matches

Clean sheets 49%

Norwich City (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 35 matches, won 8, drawn 7, lost 20 and currently have 31 points

Scored 35 goals (1.00 goals per match) and conceded 61 goals (1.74 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 3 matches

Clean sheets 14%

Top Scorers (all competitions):

Manchester United: 15 – Anthony Martial, 14 – Wayne Rooney, 8 – Juan Mata, 7 – Memphis Depay, Marcus Rashford, 6 – Ander Herrera, 5 – Jesse Lingard, 5 – Own Goal, 4 – Marouane Fellaini, 2 – Daley Blind, Chris Smalling, 1 – Matteo Darmian, Adnan Januzaj, Andreas Pereira, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger

Norwich City5 – Dieudonne Mbokani Bezua, Nathan Redmond, 4 – Wes Hoolahan, Jonny Howson, 3 – Robbie Brady, Cameron Jerome, Russell Martin, 2 – Sebastien Bassong, Matthew Jarvis, Alexander Tettey, 1 – Timm Klose, Kyle Lafferty, Steven Naismith, Martin Olsson, Steven Whittaker

Manchester United Form: DWWWWL

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Leicester City 1-1 D, Everton 2-1 W, Crystal Palace 2-0 W, Aston Villa 1-0 W, West Ham United 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 L

Norwich City Form: WDWWWW

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Arsenal 1-0 L, Sunderland 3-0 L, Crystal Palace 1-0 L, Newcastle United 3-2 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 W, Manchester City 0-0 D

Head to Head:

Played seven matches at Carrow Road in the Barclays Premier League:

Manchester United: Won 5, Drawn 0, Lost 2 – Scored 10 goals, conceded 5 goals and kept 3 clean sheets

Norwich City: Won 2, Drawn 0, Lost 5 – Scored 5 goals, conceded 10 goals and kept 2 clean sheets

Manchester United Squad:

Manager: Louis van Gaal

Goalkeepers: 1. David De Gea, 20. Sergio Romero, 40. Joel Castro Pereira, 50. Sam Johnstone;

Defenders: 4. Phil Jones, 5. Marcos Rojo, 12. Chris Smalling, 23. Luke Shaw, 30. Guillermo Varela, 33. Paddy McNair, 36. Matteo Darmian, 37. Donald Love, 38. Axel Tuanzebe, 41. Regan Poole, 43. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 49. Joe Riley;

Midfielders: 8. Juan Mata, 11. Adnan Januzaj, 16. Michael Carrick, 17. Daley Blind, 18. Ashley Young, 21. Ander Herrera, 25. Antonio Valencia, 27. Marouane Fellaini, 28. Morgan Schneiderlin, 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger, 35. Jesse Lingard, 44. Andreas Pereira, 47. James Weir;

Strikers: 7. Memphis Depay, 9. Anthony Martial, 10. Wayne Rooney, 39. Marcus Rashford, 48. Will Keane

Doubts/Injuries: 3. Luke Shaw (broken leg), 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger (MCL knee ligament), 49. Will Keane (groin) [injury details from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: 27. Marouane Fellaini (three matches) [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Norwich City Squad:

Manager: Alex Neil

Goalkeepers: 1. John Ruddy, 13. Declan Rudd;

Defenders: 2. Steven Whittaker, 3. Andre Wisdom, 5. Russell Martin, 6. Sébastien Bassong, 17. Timm Klose, 23. Martin Olsson, 24. Ryan Bennett, 25. Ivo Pinto, 30. Ben Chilwell;

Midfielders: 7. Steven Naismith, 8. Jonny Howson, 12. Robbie Brady, 14. Wes Hoolahan, 16. Matt Jarvis, 18. Graham Dorrans, 20. Anthony Andreu, 21. Youssouf Mulumbu, 22. Nathan Redmond, 27. Alexander Tettey, 28. Gary O’Neil, 32. Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe;

Strikers: 9. Dieumerci Mbokani, 10. Cameron Jerome, 11. Patrick Bamford

Doubts/Injuries: 3. Andre Wisdom (knee), 17. Timm Klose (knee), 24. Ryan Bennett (illness), 27. Alexander Tettey (ankle/foot) [injury details taken from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: 29. Jamie Vardy (one match) [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Predicted Formation/Starting XI:

Score Prediction:

Norwich City 0-2 Manchester United

Preview: Manchester United v Leicester City – Barclays Premier League 2015/16

Old Trafford, Manchester

Barclays Premier League 2015/16

Sunday 1st May 2016, KO 14:05 BST Live on Sky Sports 1 HD

Referee: Michael Oliver

Assistant Referees: Gary Beswick and Lee Betts

Fourth Official: Craig Pawson

Manchester United face Barclays Premier League champions-elect Leicester City at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. United are in better shape at this stage of the season, winning their last four matches and earning a place in the Emirates FA Cup final against Crystal Palace in three weeks time. Manchester United have not conceded a goal at Old Trafford in the Premier League since the 3-2 victory over Arsenal on the 28th February, playing four league matches at home since – against Crystal Palace 2-0, Aston Villa 1-0, Everton 1-0, and Watford 1-0. That is good form going into the match against a resurgent Leicester City, who are one victory away from clinching the Barclays Premier League title for the first time in their history, despite a year ago looking like relegation fodder in the league. That is a great story for English football and the fact they have not brought expensive world-class players should show the rest of the league that big names no longer mean years of success. Determination, strength, and character (don’t call me Brendan Rodgers) are the key to winning the league, amongst other things, of course.

Manchester United are still within a chance of earning a top four finish this season and it will hinge on Arsenal and/or Manchester City dropping points with Manchester United winning each and every league match left this season, which is a bit much to ask for, but that is what needs to happen. United are currently five points shy of Arsenal, who currently occupy the fourth place in the league. Arsenal will have played 36 matches at the time of this being published, which gives United two matches in hand, the first against Leicester on Sunday. Should Arsenal beat Norwich City, Arsenal will be eight points ahead of United, which if United won their two matches in hand, could see them two points behind the North London side. Manchester City currently occupies third place in the league, with them facing Southampton in the later afternoon kick-off on Sunday, after United’s match. Them dropping points could be key to United getting into the top four also, with them being level on points with Arsenal, with a better goal difference. Chances are one of the two teams will drop points at some stage, they have both played one more match than United, which could see United getting into the top four through the back door. It could have all been very different should United have beaten both teams twice this season.

United have a good record in the Premier League against Leicester City, playing nine matches at Old Trafford, with United winning six, drawing twice and losing just once. United beat Nigel Pearson’s side 3-1 at Old Trafford last season, but this is a completely different Leicester City side, and much better than the one which beat United 5-3 at the King Power Stadium last season. United and Leicester drew 1-1 earlier in the season with Jamie Vardy scoring on the 24th minute of the match and Bastian Schweinsteiger equalising at the end of the first half. Both players will be unavailable for their respective teams for this match, through suspension and injury. United are in better form in the league than they were back in November; that match started a six-match winless record in the league, which saw Louis van Gaal slaughtered by the media in the run-up to Christmas, with rumours surfacing about his sacking, which never happened. United are unbeaten in their last two league matches, four in all competitions. Their home performances recently have seen them not conceded a goal at home in their last four matches in the league, which goes back to the start of March. It was the 28th February when United last conceded a league goal at Old Trafford. This will be a very interesting match, many will be backing Leicester City, as it will mean they have won the league. Even Manchester United supporters are hoping that their team lose, which is piss poor support and those people are not supporters of the club, they will probably latch onto the Leicester City bandwagon in the summer, which is no real loss. Come on UNITED!

Manchester United Statistics (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 34 matches, won 17, drawn 8, lost 9 and currently have 59 points

Scored 42 goals (1.24 goals per match) and conceded 30 goals (0.88 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 7 matches

Clean sheets 50%

Leicester City (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 35 matches, won 22, drawn 10, lost 3 and currently have 76 points

Scored 63 goals (1.80 goals per match) and conceded 33 goals (0.94 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 10 matches

Clean sheets 43%

Top Scorers (all competitions):

Manchester United: 14 – Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney, 8 – Juan Mata, 7 – Memphis Depay, Marcus Rashford, 6 – Ander Herrera, 5 – Jesse Lingard, 5 – Own Goal, 4 – Marouane Fellaini, 2 – Daley Blind, Chris Smalling, 1 – Matteo Darmian, Adnan Januzaj, Andreas Pereira, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger

Leicester City25 – Romelu Lukaku, 12 – Ross Barkley, 7 – Arouna Koné, 6 – Aaron Lennon, 5 – Ramiro Funes Mori, 4 – Gerard Deulofeu, Kevin Mirallas, 1 – Tom Cleverley, Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy, Leon Osman

Manchester United Form: WWWWLW

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Everton 2-1 W, Crystal Palace 2-0 W, Aston Villa 1-0 W, West Ham United 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 L, Everton 1-0 W

Leicester City Form: WDWWWW

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Swansea City 4-0 W, West Ham United 2-2 D, Sunderland 2-0 W, Southampton 1-0 W, Crystal Palace 1-0 W, Newcastle United 1-0 W

Head to Head:

Played nine matches at Old Trafford in the Barclays Premier League:

Manchester United: Won 6, Drawn 2, Lost 1 – Scored 16 goals, conceded 6 goals and kept 4 clean sheets

Leicester City: Won 1, Drawn 2, Lost 6 – Scored 6 goals, conceded 16 goals and kept 1 clean sheets

Manchester United Squad:

Manager: Louis van Gaal

Goalkeepers: 1. David De Gea, 20. Sergio Romero, 40. Joel Castro Pereira, 50. Sam Johnstone;

Defenders: 4. Phil Jones, 5. Marcos Rojo, 12. Chris Smalling, 23. Luke Shaw, 30. Guillermo Varela, 33. Paddy McNair, 36. Matteo Darmian, 37. Donald Love, 38. Axel Tuanzebe, 41. Regan Poole, 43. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 49. Joe Riley;

Midfielders: 8. Juan Mata, 11. Adnan Januzaj, 16. Michael Carrick, 17. Daley Blind, 18. Ashley Young, 21. Ander Herrera, 25. Antonio Valencia, 27. Marouane Fellaini, 28. Morgan Schneiderlin, 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger, 35. Jesse Lingard, 44. Andreas Pereira, 47. James Weir;

Strikers: 7. Memphis Depay, 9. Anthony Martial, 10. Wayne Rooney, 39. Marcus Rashford, 48. Will Keane

Doubts/Injuries: 3. Luke Shaw (broken leg), 11. Adnan Januzaj (hamstring), 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger (MCL knee ligament), 49. Will Keane (groin) [injury details from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: None [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Leicester City Squad:

Manager: Claudio Ranieri

Goalkeepers: 1. Kasper Schmeichel, 12. Ben Hamer, 32. Mark Schwarzer;

Defenders: 2. Ritchie De Laet, 5. Wes Morgan, 6. Robert Huth, 13. Daniel Amartey, 17. Danny Simpson, 27. Marcin Wasilewski, 28. Christian Fuchs, 29. Yohan Benalouane, 30. Ben Chilwell;

Midfielders: 4. Danny Drinkwater, 8. Matty James, 10. Andy King, 11. Marc Albrighton, 14. N’Golo Kanté, 15. Jeff Schlupp, 22. Demarai Gray, 24. Nathan Dyer, 26. Riyad Mahrez, 33. Gökhan Inler;

Strikers: 9. Jamie Vardy, 20. Shinji Okazaki, 23. Leonardo Ulloa

Doubts/Injuries: 23. Leonardo Ulloa (back) [injury details taken from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: 29. Jamie Vardy (one match) [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Predicted Formation/Starting XI:

Score Prediction:

Manchester United 1-0 Leicester City

Preview: Everton v Manchester United – Emirates FA Cup 2015/16

Old Trafford, Manchester

Emirates FA Cup 2015/16

Saturday 23rd April 2016, KO 17:15 BST Live on BBC One HD

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt and John Brooks

Fourth Official: Jonathan Moss

Manchester United face Everton in the semi-final of the Emirates FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday evening. United are in good form heading into the match with three wins in their last three matches, after the disappointment earlier in the month away to Tottenham Hotspur where the Red Devils lost 3-0 and in the previous month where they exited the UEFA Europa League at the hands of Liverpool, who are in the last four of the competition. United have had a poor season, but they could still end up with a trophy, providing they win tomorrow, and again in the final of the Emirates FA Cup. Top four in the Barclays Premier League is also still something United could make this season, with just two points separating them and Manchester City, who play this weekend, with United then having a game in hand, which if City loses, could see United go above them once again this season. The players will need to dig deep to ensure they finish this season on a high, taking their chances on the pitch and training off the pitch to ensure they go into each and every match at the top of their game.

Injuries have cost United, but those are coming to an end with only Luke Shaw, who has now returned to training in a bid to win a place in the England squad this summer and to start for United next season. It would be a bonus if he played again this season, but that does not look all that likely, to be honest. Bastian Schweinsteiger is the only other long-term absentee on the sidelines with Adnan Januzaj close to a return, albeit for the U21’s and Will Keane seemingly ruled out for the remainder of the season. Phil Jones, who has been absent for long spells this season is apparently fit, but has not featured for United at U21 level for around a fortnight and does not seem to be earning a first team place at this stage of the season, which may suggest he’s just not ready and could be looking for a new club in the summer. It is unfortunate for him, but his career has been plagued by injury and it just does not seem to be getting any better. Recently, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young strengthened the side with their returns from injury with Valencia slotting in a right-back and looking his best in the last two matches. United will go into this match with Everton as the strongest side, considering Everton have not won in their last six matches, and were subjected to a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of local rivals Liverpool on Wednesday evening.

Manchester United have a great record against Everton in the league, winning 33 matches, drawing seven and losing eight home and away in the Premier League era. United have scored 90 goals, conceding 60 goals and have kept 21 clean sheets against the blues of Everton. In the FA Cup, Everton have been a different side. The last time the two teams met was at this stage of the competition back in 2009, which ended in a 0-0 draw at Wembley with Everton winning 4-2 on penalties, but losing the final 2-1 to Chelsea. United have done the double over Everton this season, they are touted as a good side away from home, but have been humiliated by Liverpool and already been beaten away from home by United. Injuries and suspensions could cost Roberto Martinez’s team/ The protests about sacking the manager could well cause some problems for Everton, who go into this match as the underdogs once again. United are 90 minutes, or 120 and/or penalties from an FA Cup final, for the first time in years – chances must be taken and United need to ensure they return to Wembley at the end of the season. Come on UNITED!

Manchester United Statistics (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 34 matches, won 17, drawn 8, lost 9 and currently have 59 points

Scored 42 goals (1.24 goals per match) and conceded 30 goals (0.88 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 7 matches

Clean sheets 50%

Everton (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 34 matches, won 9, drawn 14, lost 11 and currently have 41 points

Scored 53 goals (1.56 goals per match) and conceded 48 goals (1.41 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 6 matches

Clean sheets 26%

Top Scorers (all competitions):

Manchester United: 14 – Wayne Rooney, 13 – Anthony Martial, 8 – Juan Mata, 7 – Memphis Depay, Marcus Rashford, 6 – Ander Herrera, 5 – Jesse Lingard, 5 – Own Goal, 3 – Marouane Fellaini, 2 – Daley Blind, Chris Smalling, 1 – Matteo Darmian, Adnan Januzaj, Andreas Pereira, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger

Everton25 – Romelu Lukaku, 12 – Ross Barkley, 7 – Arouna Koné, 6 – Aaron Lennon, 5 – Ramiro Funes Mori, 4 – Gerard Deulofeu, Kevin Mirallas, 1 – Tom Cleverley, Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy, Leon Osman

Manchester United Form: WWWLWW

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Crystal Palace 2-0 W, Aston Villa 1-0 W, West Ham United 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 L, Everton 1-0 W, Manchester City 1-0 W

Everton Form: LDDDLL

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Liverpool 4-0 L, Southampton 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 0-0 D, Watford 1-1 D, Manchester United 1-0 L, Arsenal 2-0 L

Head to Head:

Played 48 matches at Old Trafford and Goodison Park in the Barclays Premier League:

Manchester United: Won 33, Drawn 7, Lost 8 – Scored 90 goals, conceded 60 goals and kept 21 clean sheets

Everton: Won 8, Drawn 7, Lost 33 – Scored 60 goals, conceded 90 goals and kept 8 clean sheets

Manchester United Squad:

Manager: Louis van Gaal

Goalkeepers: 1. David De Gea, 20. Sergio Romero, 40. Joel Castro Pereira, 50. Sam Johnstone;

Defenders: 4. Phil Jones, 5. Marcos Rojo, 12. Chris Smalling, 23. Luke Shaw, 30. Guillermo Varela, 33. Paddy McNair, 36. Matteo Darmian, 37. Donald Love, 38. Axel Tuanzebe, 41. Regan Poole, 43. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 49. Joe Riley;

Midfielders: 8. Juan Mata, 11. Adnan Januzaj, 16. Michael Carrick, 17. Daley Blind, 18. Ashley Young, 21. Ander Herrera, 25. Antonio Valencia, 27. Marouane Fellaini, 28. Morgan Schneiderlin, 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger, 35. Jesse Lingard, 44. Andreas Pereira, 47. James Weir;

Strikers: 7. Memphis Depay, 9. Anthony Martial, 10. Wayne Rooney, 39. Marcus Rashford, 48. Will Keane

Doubts/Injuries: 3. Luke Shaw (broken leg), 11. Adnan Januzaj (hamstring), 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger (MCL knee ligament), 49. Will Keane (groin), 51. Timothy Fosu-Mensah (knock) [injury details from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: None [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Everton Squad:

Manager: Roberto Martinez

Goalkeepers: 1. Joel Robles, 24. Tim Howard;

Defenders: 2. Tony Hibbert, 3. Leighton Baines, 5. John Stones, 6. Phil Jagielka, 23. Séamus Coleman, 25. Ramiro Funes Mori, 27. Tyias Browning, 30. Mason Holgate, 32. Brendan Galloway, 38. Matthew Pennington;

Midfielders: 4. Darron Gibson, 8. Bryan Oviedo, 12. Aaron Lennon, 15. Tom Cleverley, 16. James McCarthy, 17. Muhamed Bešić, 18. Gareth Barry, 20. Ross Barkley, 21. Leon Osman, 22. Steven Pienaar;

Strikers: 9. Arouna Koné, 10. Romelu Lukaku, 11. Kevin Mirallas, 14. Oumar Niasse, 19. Gerard Deulofeu, 28. Leandro Rodríguez

Doubts/Injuries: 2. Tony Hibbert (knee), 5. John Stones (illness), 6. Phil Jagielka (hamstring), 18. Gareth Barry (groin/pelvis), 23. Séamus Coleman (hamstring), 27. Tyias Browning (knee) [injury details taken from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: 25. Ramiro Funes Mori (three matches) [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Predicted Formation/Starting XI:

Score Prediction:

Everton 0-3 Manchester United

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United – Barclays Premier League 2015/16

White Hart Lane, London

Barclays Premier League 2015/16

Sunday 10th April 2016, KO 16:30 BST live on Sky Sports 1 HD

Referee: Mike Dean;

Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt and Eddie Smart;

Fourth Official: Jonathan Moss

Manchester United face Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Premier League at White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon, a week after their last match against Everton at Old Trafford, which resulted in a 1-0 victory by Louis van Gaal’s side. United may have had a tough season, but there are plenty of positives to look at. Deadwood has been removed from the club, with more to get rid of, but youth is coming through, taking their chances and looking good in the first team, which just goes to show that the Academy was never-failing, despite the criticism from the media, the same media who seem to shout from the rooftops about Manchester City’s Academy, despite no players actually making it into their first team on a consistent basis. Pep Guardiola may just change that, but it is something that the club would need to hope will succeed, rather than watch it succeed, which is the case for United. Not all player forge careers for themselves at Manchester United, but they do forge careers for themselves at other clubs, consistently, which goes to show everything is working.

United are having that much of a poor season, which is something you can read about daily in the media, that they are in fifth place, not a position where United are used to being, but they are in fifth with a great chance of increasing that before the end of the season. United are also in the quarter-final stages of the Emirates FA Cup, and will need to get through West Ham United in order to become a semi-finalist, in which they could face Everton at Wembley, a side they have already beaten twice in the league this season. United are at present four points behind Manchester City, it was a point but they have beaten West Bromwich Albion at a rather empty Etihad Stadium this evening, with United playing Spurs, with a chance to take it back to a point behind City. Arsenal are in third place just six points ahead of United, which could be three points by this time tomorrow night. United may be long out of the title race, but the race for a top four place is well and truly open, and achievable for United, no matter what any of the naysayers suggest.

Injuries have taken their toll on United this season, who have played the majority of the season without Luke Shaw, who has now returned to training, although he may not play again this season. The squad has also missed the experience of Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, who have both been out for long periods, not to mention the defence, which has seen Phil Jones sit on the sidelines for much of the season, although that is not much of a loss based on current form and the fact he was schooled by a Chelsea U21 side earlier this week, although he did come through that match without injuring himself, so that has to be applauded. Wayne Rooney was a big loss when he was ruled out for a period through injury, after being a player close to form again. But since then, we have seen the rise of Marcus Rashford, meaning Rooney has not been missed that much, although it could have been much better. This is a season where Rooney has declined massively, yet has managed to break the goalscoring record for England and is close to doing the same for Manchester United, which is something that some want to see happen, other don’t. That is something for another time, though. Injuries are coming to an end, although Bastian Schweinsteiger is the only long-term injury, there are other players on the sidelines. United need to get over the injuries and get back to football. Their rivals this season have dropped points; West Ham United 3-3 Arsenal earlier today was a big one, with United having the possibility to end Spurs’ title chase this season with a victory, then onto relegating Aston Villa in a weeks time – see it could be a lot worse for United supporters.

United have played Tottenham Hotspur 23 times at White Hart Lane in the Premier League era, winning 12 matches, drawing eight and losing three times. United have scored 38 goals, conceding 25 and keeping nine clean sheets. This season, United beat Spurs 1-0 at Old Trafford on the first day of the season, even if it was down to a Kyle Walker own goal. United’s record away to Spurs is a good one only losing three matches out of the 23 played. That result needs to continue with United keeping their chase on the top four, which many supporters seem to think is long gone, despite the fact that United are right in it, providing they win on Sunday. United have a lot to play for this season, something to end the season on a high. Their next two matches are important, which then sees them head into some easier matches, which we well know seem to be hard for United, especially this season. Come on UNITED!

Manchester United Statistics (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 31 matches, won 15, drawn 8, lost 8 and currently have 53 points

Scored 39 goals (1.26 goals per match) and conceded 27 goals (0.87 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 7 matches

Clean sheets 48%

Tottenham Hotspur (Domestic League):

Based on Barclays Premier League 2015/16 [statistics are taken from the Official Barclays Premier League website]

Played 32 matches, won 17, drawn 11, lost 4 and currently have 62 points

Scored 51 goals (1.78 goals per match) and conceded 41 goals (0.78 goals per match)

Longest unbeaten streak is 14 matches

Clean sheets 34%

Top Scorers (all competitions):

Manchester United: 14 – Wayne Rooney, 13 – Anthony Martial, 8 – Juan Mata, 7 – Memphis Depay, 6 – Ander Herrera, 5 – Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, 4 – Own Goal, 2 – Daley Blind, Marouane Fellaini, Chris Smalling, 1 – Adnan Januzaj, Andreas Pereira, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger

Tottenham Hotspur: 25 – Harry Kane, 9 – Erik Lamela, 8 – Christian Eriksen, 7 – Dele Alli, Nacer Chadli, 6 – Son Heung-min, 4 – Mousa Dembélé, Eric Dier, 3 – Toby Alderweireld, Tom Carroll, 2 – Ryan Mason, 1 – Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker

Manchester United Form: WWDDLL

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Everton 1-0 W, Manchester City 1-0 W, Liverpool 1-1 D, West Ham United 1-1 D, Liverpool 2-0 L, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 L

Tottenham Hotspur Form: DWLWLD

Last Six Matches (all competitions): Liverpool 1-1 D, Bournemouth 3-0 W, Borussia Dortmund 2-1 L, Aston Villa 2-0 W, Borussia Dortmund 3-0 L, Arsenal 2-2 D

Head to Head:

Played 23 matches at White Hart Lane in the Barclays Premier League:

Manchester United: Won 12, Drawn 8, Lost 3 – Scored 38 goals, conceded 25 goals and kept 9 clean sheets

Tottenham Hotspur: Won 3, Drawn 8, Lost 12 – Scored 25 goals, conceded 38 goals and kept 3 clean sheets

Manchester United Squad:

Manager: Louis van Gaal

Goalkeepers: 1. David De Gea, 20. Sergio Romero, 40. Joel Castro Pereira, 50. Sam Johnstone;

Defenders: 4. Phil Jones, 5. Marcos Rojo, 12. Chris Smalling, 23. Luke Shaw, 30. Guillermo Varela, 33. Paddy McNair, 36. Matteo Darmian, 37. Donald Love, 38. Axel Tuanzebe, 41. Regan Poole, 43. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 49. Joe Riley;

Midfielders: 8. Juan Mata, 11. Adnan Januzaj, 16. Michael Carrick, 17. Daley Blind, 18. Ashley Young, 21. Ander Herrera, 25. Antonio Valencia, 27. Marouane Fellaini, 28. Morgan Schneiderlin, 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger, 35. Jesse Lingard, 44. Andreas Pereira, 47. James Weir;

Strikers: 7. Memphis Depay, 9. Anthony Martial, 10. Wayne Rooney, 39. Marcus Rashford, 48. Will Keane

Doubts/Injuries: 3. Luke Shaw (broken leg), 10. Wayne Rooney (knee), 11. Adnan Januzaj (hamstring), 31. Bastian Schweinsteiger (MCL knee ligament), 49. Will Keane (groin) [injury details taken from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: None [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Tottenham Hotspur Squad:

Manager: Mauricio Pochettino

Goalkeepers: 1. Hugo Lloris, 13. Michel Vorm, 31. Luke McGee;

Defenders: 2. Kyle Walker, 3. Danny Rose, 4. Toby Alderweireld, 5. Jan Vertonghen, 16. Kieran Trippier, 27. Kevin Wimmer, 33. Ben Davies;

Midfielders: 6. Nabil Bentaleb, 8. Ryan Mason, 11. Érik Lamela, 15. Eric Dier, 19. Mousa Dembélé, 20. Dele Alli, 22. Nacer Chadli, 23. Christian Eriksen, 25. Joshua Onomah, 28. Tom Carroll, 29. Harry Winks;

Strikers: 7. Son Heung-min, 10. Harry Kane, 14. Clinton N’Jie

Doubts/Injuries: 5. Jan Vertonghen (MCL), 6. Nabil Bentaleb (knee), 11. Érik Lamela (calf), 14. Clinton N’Jie  (knee) [injury details taken from PhysioRoom.com]

Suspensions: None [suspensions confirmed by the FA.com]

Predicted Formation/Starting XI:

Score Prediction:

Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Manchester United

copyright: JW