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Cristiano Ronaldo ‘broke transfer pact’ by leaving Juventus – reports

Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly broke a transfer pact with Juventus by leaving the club at the end of the summer transfer window, according to reports.

It was expected that the 36-year-old would see out the final year of his contract at the Italian club, leaving in the summer of 2022. However, the player returned to United with the deal being agreed on the 27 August, which was completed on deadline day.

It has bene suggested by Spanish radio station Cadena Ser that Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes had agreed with Juventus that the player would not leave the club after the 15 August 2021, giving the club a fortnight to sign a replacement.

It seems rather strange that this rumour would materialise at this time, which funnily enough sees United challenging the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table and Juventus sitting in 18th place in the Serie A table.

At the time the deal with United was struck, Ronaldo was linked to Manchester City with the City fans laughing at United supporters and copying Ronaldo’s goal celebration, which was funny to see at the time – even funnier on the Friday evening after his return to United was announced.

It was also revealed that Mendes offered Ronaldo to Atletico Madrid but the club turned the chance to sign Ronaldo down because of a prospective backlash from supporters of the club.

Juventus ended up signing Moise Kean on a two-year loan from Everton, which included an obligation to buy the player. Kean came through the youth ranks at Juventus, playing for the first team from 2016 to 2019 before signing for Everton, a move which did now work and the player being loaned to Paris Saint-Germain last season.

So it just goes to show that the club did not need a fortnight to replace Ronaldo and the club seemed happy to offload the player, which makes these reports even more strange. It was rumoured that the club did want to offload the player anyway during the summer.

Getting his ‘eye-watering’ wages off the books was one of the reasons Juventus wanted to get rid of the player, so these reports just seem to be bitter and an attempt at bad mouthing the player, which seems so pathetic. Ronaldo’s return to United has become big news in the Premier League.

Since making his debut against Newcastle United in the Premier League, Ronaldo has scored four goals in three matches, scoring three in the Premier League and one in the UEFA Champions League. He how has 122 goals for the Old Trafford club in 295 appearances and is four goals away from matching the goal tally of manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ronaldo’s return to United might have been six to eight years too late but despite his age, he still seems to be able to offer something, which has been seen by his four goal and his determination to score goal and win matches for United – despite only paying three times so far.

United will face West Ham United for the second time this week, this time in the Carabao Cup in a match which will be played at Old Trafford. Ronaldo scored in the Premier League fixture at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon, which was a 2-1 victory for United with Jesse Lingard scoring the winner.

It is expected that Ronaldo might be rested for this match but on the bench in case he is needed, which shows the clout he still has, even at his age. Zlatan Ibrahimovic proved that age is just a number with his form at United, at least before injury, scoring 29 goals and 10 assists in 53 appearances for the club.

Another player to show this, again for United is Edinson Cavani, who signed for the club as a free agent in the summer of 2020, and so far has scored 17 goals and six assists in 40 appearances for the club so far and despite the fact he has few minutes for the club this season, he could be leading the line against the Hammers.

A player with the record like Ronaldo will always garner attention in the media, both positive and negative. The player has scored 678 goals and 229 assists in 898 competitive appearances at club level, also scoring 111 goals, a record, for Portugal, including nine hat-tricks. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner could even extend that tally in his time at United.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United ‘targeting’ Franck Kessie ahead of contract expiry next summer

Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie who will be a free agent next summer. Spanish news outlet Mundo Deportivo, via The Sun have reported the transfer news, which is interesting to say the least.

United will need to find a defensive midfielder ahead of the 2022/23 season despite needing to sign one this summer to balance the midfield with Nemanja Matic the only experienced player in this position at the club, even with Scott McTominay, who has excelled in the position – but it is not the position he plays in the best.

It is expected that Paul Pogba, 28, will leave the Old Trafford club in the summer on the expiry of his current contract, which is rumoured to be in discussion to be renewed but there are also reports that suggest the player could leave the Theatre of Dreams after six years back at the club. Kessie is a good option for United but there will be a number of clubs interested in signing him as a free agent.

It is reported that Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool all have an interest in the player with some especially keen if he does end up running his contract down and leaving the Italian club as a free agent.

Providing he does not sign a new contract at the San Siro, Kessie will be eligible to speak to foreign clubs from the 1 January 2022, just like Pogba and could sign a pre-contract agreement to join a club outside of Italy from the 1 July 2022, which would be a good deal for the 24-year-old.

United are said to be interested in West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice but it is suggested that the club will see a price possibly higher than £100 million for the player next summer as they intend to keep him – although he is also a target for Chelsea, a club he was once part of the academy of, which suggests he could be interested in returning to the club, if he leaves.

Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans is also reported to be a target of United but Kessie could be a cost-effective signing if the Old Trafford club were able to get it done. There is a suggestion that his wages demands could be as little as £130,000 a week, which is good for the type of player but this will only further the interest of other clubs who are interested in signing the player.

This would make it much harder for United to get a deal completed. It all depends on what the player wants to achieve and whether United could deliver those options. There is a chance that United’s 2021/22 season results could propel the club as a better option than other.

If United end up challenging for the Premier League title this season, they will become more marketable for new signings in the summer but the lure should be good enough with the players that United currently have at the club with Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and David De Gea, amongst others.

I would say Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani but at this time, they will both be out of contract with the club in the summer, therefore, at this time, have no future plans at the club.

Kessie has two international teammates at United currently with Eric Bailly, who recently signed a new contract and Amad Diallo, who joined the club in January 2021. This could be a boost for United as it will be easier for the player to settle in at the club. His contract expires at the end of June 2022 and there is a chance that he could sign a new contract in Milan.

This season, Kessie has made three appearances for his club, two in the defensive midfield position and one in central midfield. He has yet to score or assist a goal. Last season (2020/21), Kessie made 50 appearances in all competitions, scoring 13 goals and assisting a further six – which is a good rate of goals and assists from the midfield.

Of the 50 appearances he made for Milan, Kessie played in the defensive midfield position 37 times, scoring 11 goals and all six assists, also playing in the central midfield position 13 times, scoring three goals from there. It shows that he is more effective in the defensive midfield position, which is good for United.

Formerly of Cesena FC, in the third tier of Italian football, then signing for Atalanta before moving to Milan, Kessie seems to have a good pedigree in the game. The 24-year-old is a physical and mobile body in the midfield and will not lunge into tackles and will strive to win the ball with his determination.

He is a defensive player but has the ability and the guile to attack and the footballing mind to read the game and deliver at least one shot or key pass every 90 minutes, which is a good attribute to his game. United will be seeking a player with energy who will deliver for the club and his teammates and that could be Kessie.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: Cavani, Sancho, Van de Beek and Lingard to start against West Ham? Ronaldo, Fernandes, Pogba and Maguire on the bench?

Manchester United will return to Carabao Cup action on Wednesday evening as they welcome West Ham United to the Theatre of Dreams just tree days after the two sides met in the Premier League at the London Stadium, which saw United leave victorious. Cristiano Ronaldo equalised five minutes after Said Benrahma opened the scoring with Jesse Lingard scoring the winner for United before David De Gea saved a last-minute penalty taken by Mark Noble, who was substituted before the spot kick. It was a good match to witness for United supporters and even better that is was another match unbeaten on the road – 29 now.

Over the last two seasons, United have reached the semi-final stage of the Carabao Cup, losing to Manchester City at this stage, who have been the eventual winners of the cup. Granted, the Carabao Cup is not the club that many would want to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lift as his first for United as it would not placate the fans who want to see him win a trophy as their stance will change as soon as it happened. I guess the flip flop fans are here to stay, even if they end up getting embarrassed week in and week out. Solskjaer should strive to make it to the final of this competition and lift the trophy – it could well be the first of many for him as a manager.

Previous meetings with West Ham and their connections with Manchester United.

United and West Ham have played a total of 147 matches in the history of the two clubs. United have won 70 times, drawing 32 times with the Hammers winning the remaining 45 matches. The majority of the matches have come in the Premier League, Football League Division One and Two, with the remaining being played in domestic cup competitions; 13 in the FA Cup with just three in the League Cup, which is now called the Carabao Cup with United winning twice and losing once. United won 1-0 in 1985, in 2010, the Hammers won 4-0 with United winning 4-1 in 2016. Solskjaer will want to win this match too.

There is a lot of history between United and the Hammers. David Moyes, the Hammers’ manager was the former manager of United during the ill-fated 2013/14 season and he was sacked before the season even finished. There have been many players to have played for both clubs, the most receipt being Jesse Lingard, who spent the second half of last season at the club. The likes of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Teddy Sheringham, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Tevez, Roy Carroll, David Bellion, Jonathan Spector and Ravel Morrison have all played for both clubs and probably more in the not too distant past.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face West Ham United in the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has been in great form this season and it seems that he is determined to retain his number one shirt at the club, seeing off the challenge of Dean Henderson, who needs to play regularly to continue his development. Tom Heaton will also challenge De Gea for a place in the team being that he is experienced and has a part to play, however small. These things will help De Gea continue to find his place at the club once again, which has seemingly shrunk after a few seasons of mistakes and a lack of direction under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.

De Gea will be ready to step into the goal for this match days after saving a last-minute penalty which could have resulted in United moving from a winning position to a draw, which would have felt like a defeat. United are so much better with De Gea at the club and his experience and passion for United will be great for the club with United expected to challenge for the Premier League title this season, which has started well but needs to continue. United are in a much better place than they were five years ago, not that a section of the fan base will recognise that as the negativity seems to be something that they love more than United, which is strange.

Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw

United’s defence has some strength and experience this season and it will be a luxury for Solskjaer to make some changes to keep the players fresh for what the rest of the season will present them. Against the Hammers, Diogo Dalot could step into the right-back position and show what he has to offer at the club this season and perhaps beyond. I believe that with the injury to Alex Telles, which he has overcome and will be working on returning to the squad, Luke Shaw will keep his place in the squad for this match, which is good because he has done nothing wrong this season so far and looks to be achieving a lot at the club.

Victor Lindelof could return to the starting XI for this match which will result in Harry Maguire being rested but on the bench in case he is needed to fortify the defence late in the game. Raphael Varane will partner Lindelof making his debut in the Carabao Cup this season, which realistically is a competition that United could win, stopping Manchester City from winning it for the fifth successive time with the trophy spending the last six seasons in Manchester with United winning it in the 2016/17 season. It is the first trophy to be won during the course of a season – not the best trophy for Solskjaer but a trophy none the less.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic

United’s midfield is far from perfect but it is something that will have to be endured for the 2021/22 season, or at least until January if the club have plans to make a purchase. Nemanja Matic will be due a start, which could be good for United, as long as he is not playing next to Fred, who offers little in most matches that he plays. Matic is getting older which has seen the club become less reliant on him but there are not many options in the defensive midfield area that have experience. Scott McTominay is a player that can operate well in that area, but he does offer more going forward. Replacing Matic is a problem for United that will have to wait.

Having both Matic and McTominay on the pitch at the same time could work well with the former shielding the back four and the latter linking the midfield with the attack and ensuring balls are played forward for the players in the advanced roles in the squad, aiming to get the better of the Hammers for the second time in three days. There will be options off the bench which will involve Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes which would either mean Matic came off and McTominay had to step in his role, of the Scotland international came off and Pogba played alongside Matic, which has happened before and worked well.

Attacking Midfield: Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek, Jesse Lingard

In these positions there are bags of talent available for Solskjaer and a few players who have not been given a lot of minutes so far this season. Jesse Lingard had a strange week last week with a mistake that cost United a point in the opening Champions League group stage match with Young Boys, which resulted in a 2-1 defeat with United in a leading position before Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off in the 35th minute. Lingard came on late in the match against West Ham on Sunday and scored the winning goal in the 89th minute of the match before David De Gea saved a penalty in added time, which secured the victory.

Donny van de Beek has not had many minutes of late and he is a player that should be doing so much more for United this season after the small part he played last season. I think he should play in Bruno Fernandes’ position in this match which will test him and see what he can bring to the table. To have the luxury of being able to rotate players will stop fatigue from setting in later in the season. Jadon Sancho has not yet settled in at United and playing in this match, which will not have the pressures of the Premier League or the Champions League could be good for him and allow him to show what he can do before the negative fans write him off.

Forwards: Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani has not played since the 1-0 victory away to Wolverhampton Wanderers which was almost a month ago. Solskjaer has suggested that he will be back in action for this match, which to me suggests that he will be starting. There are many positives here as he will rotate with Cristiano Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and even Marcus Rashford when he is fit and there is a possibility with the number of attacking players in the squad that Solskjaer could change the formation at times for matches, which would allow the club to not be seen as predictable going forward.

Last season, Cavani scored 17 goals and six assists in all competitions which was a great fit for United as with other players, they helped the club to achieve their second place in the Premier League and reach the final of the UEFA Europa League. Solskjaer will be hoping that the attacking line he has at the club this season, which has been fortified by the arrival of Jadon Sancho and Ronaldo will result in goals galore, which is something the Norwegian will be memorable of during the management of Sir Alex Ferguson which saw a swashbuckling United side take on their opposition.

Substitutes: Tom Heaton; Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka; Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes; Cristiano Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood

Just three substitutes can be used in this competition this season, two fewer than last season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Only seven substitutes can be named on the bench too, which is two fewer than in the Premier League this season. Solskjaer may be able to use some fringe players in this match, also utilising some minutes for the players that are not currently playing regularly. I think Solskjaer will give other players the chance to earn a place in the starting XI ahead of the next match, keeping players fresh as the club starts to play two matches each week for the foreseeable future with the Carabao Cup and the Champions League here.

I think Tom Heaton might be on the bench, but there is also a chance that Solskjaer rests De Gea but after his penalty save, he might be in the zone to continue playing for the club in the League Cup. In defence, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka should be available, but Eric Bailly could well step in to replace the United captain on the bench. In midfield, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes could add something, should they be required in the match and in attack, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mason Greenwood should be available with Anthony Martial getting a midweek rest based on the fact his form is not up there with his teammates.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Solskjaer to shuffle the pack against the Hammers? Cavani to lead the line?

Manchester United -v- West Ham United

Carabao Cup

Old Trafford, Manchester

Wednesday 22 September 2021, KO 19:45 BST

Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: Marc Perry, Timothy Wood

Fourth Official: Chris Kavanagh

Manchester United will return to Carabao Cup action on Wednesday evening as they welcome West Ham United to the Theatre of Dreams just tree days after the two sides met in the Premier League at the London Stadium, which saw United leave victorious. Cristiano Ronaldo equalised five minutes after Said Benrahma opened the scoring with Jesse Lingard scoring the winner for United before David De Gea saved a last-minute penalty taken by Mark Noble, who was substituted before the spot kick. It was a good match to witness for United supporters and even better that is was another match unbeaten on the road – 29 now.

Over the last two seasons, United have reached the semi-final stage of the Carabao Cup, losing to Manchester City at this stage, who have been the eventual winners of the cup. Granted, the Carabao Cup is not the club that many would want to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lift as his first for United as it would not placate the fans who want to see him win a trophy as their stance will change as soon as it happened. I guess the flip flop fans are here to stay, even if they end up getting embarrassed week in and week out. Solskjaer should strive to make it to the final of this competition and lift the trophy – it could well be the first of many for him as a manager.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLWWDW

West Ham United 2-1 W, BSC Young Boys 2-1 L, Newcastle United 4-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Leeds United 5-1 W

Goals: 4 – Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo, 3 – Mason Greenwood, 2 – Jesse Lingard, 1 – Fred

Assists: 7 – Paul Pogba, 1 – Bruno Fernandes, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane

West Ham United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LWDDWW

Manchester United 2-1 L, Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 W, Southampton 0-0 D, Crystal Palace 2-2 D, Leicester City 4-1 W, Newcastle United 4-2 W

Goals: 5 – Michail Antonio, 3 – Said Benrahma, 2 – Pablo Fornals, 1 – Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek

Assists: 3 – Michail Antonio, 2 – Said Benrahma, 1 – Jarrod Bowen, Vladimir Coufal, Pablo Fornals, Declan Rice

Previous meetings with West Ham and their connections with Manchester United.

United and West Ham have played a total of 147 matches in the history of the two clubs. United have won 70 times, drawing 32 times with the Hammers winning the remaining 45 matches. The majority of the matches have come in the Premier League, Football League Division One and Two, with the remaining being played in domestic cup competitions; 13 in the FA Cup with just three in the League Cup, which is now called the Carabao Cup with United winning twice and losing once. United won 1-0 in 1985, in 2010, the Hammers won 4-0 with United winning 4-1 in 2016. Solskjaer will want to win this match too.

There is a lot of history between United and the Hammers. David Moyes, the Hammers’ manager was the former manager of United during the ill-fated 2013/14 season and he was sacked before the season even finished. There have been many players to have played for both clubs, the most receipt being Jesse Lingard, who spent the second half of last season at the club. The likes of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Teddy Sheringham, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Tevez, Roy Carroll, David Bellion, Jonathan Spector and Ravel Morrison have all played for both clubs and probably more in the not too distant past.

Team News: United have two players out due to injury with the Hammers missing one – others will be missing as they step up their fitness though – time to see Donny van de Beek and Jesse Lingard?

Marcus Rashford (Shoulder) and Amad Diallo (Thigh) will both be ruled out of the Carabao Cup clash with the Hammers at Old Trafford. Alex Telles (Ankle) and Phil Jones (Match Fitness) are both stepping up their return from injury and Edinson Cavani (Other) is said to me eyeing this match to make his return from injury. Scott McTominay made his return from injury on Sunday against the Hammers and slotted right in to the action, giving United’s midfield a boost ahead of the rest of the season. Perhaps Jesse Lingard, who scored the winner against the Hammers and Donny van de Beek will start this match with some players given a rest?

Winston Reid (Knee) is the only West Ham player to be injured for the clash against United at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening in the Carabao Cup. Michail Antonio will be eligible to face United in this match having been suspended for the Premier League clash at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon which the Hammers lost 2-1 after Jesse Lingard scored a late goal for United and David De Gea saved a penalty in added time. David Moyes has no other doubts ahead of the match, at this time anyway and there may be some rotation for both teams as they keep their eyes on the Premier League matches at the weekend.

Predicted Starting XI: Solskjaer to shuffle the pack with Dalot, Lindelof, Matic, Lingard, Van de Beek and Cavani all starting in the Carabao Cup clash with West Ham?

It is expected that Solskjaer will shuffle the pack for this match, giving some fringe players the chance to get some minutes under their belts also giving other players a rest ahead of the Premier League clash with Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon, which has been moved to a 12:30 BST kick off. I think the likes of Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard, Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani could all start in this match, which would be good to see. Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba could all be on the bench in case they are needed at some point in the match.

I wonder if Tom Heaton could start this match, giving David De Gea a rest, but then again, after saving that last-minute penalty against the Hammers on Sunday, having De Gea start would be good as he will still be feeling confident, which is a good thing. Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw could play in the fullback positions with Lindelof and Raphael Varane in the centre of the defence. In the midfield, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay could partner in the pivot with Jesse Lingard, Donny van de Beek and Jadon Sancho playing in the attacking midfield positions. Edinson Cavani could lead the line for United.

Match Prediction: United to get the victory they need to see them in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup this season but it will not be an easy victory for the Red Devils.

Solskjaer and United will be seeking to get through the Hammers for the second time in a week and put themselves in the draw for the fourth round of the Carabao Cup this season. Perhaps they will face lower league opposition, which is the path that Manchester City seem to get each season, not really tested in the competition until at least the latter stages of the competition when they have faced United in the past two seasons. This is normally a competition that United field youth in but with the level of competition each season, that has not been possible. This match should feature some fringe players though.

I think United will get the win that they want but it will not be easy with the Hammers seeming to head to the Theatre of Dreams with the mindset of causing an upset, which is hat they wanted to do against United on Sunday, however, Ronaldo’s equaliser five minutes after the home side scored, followed by Lingard’s winner – not to mention De Gea’s penalty save stopped that from happening. United got the points on Sunday and I think they will get their second victory over the Hammers this season, just three days after facing them in the Premier League. I wonder what kind of draw they could get for the fourth round of the competition, if they win?

Manchester United 2-1 West Ham United

Written by John Walker

Veteran Players at Manchester United: Risk vs Reward?

The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo by Manchester United this summer has been the main story in football for several weeks, with everyone having an opinion on the signing, weighing up the pros and cons of signing the striker, regarded by many as one of the best players of all time. 

One of the key talking points of the transfer has been the age of Ronaldo, at 36, the €13.5 million United paid for him is the most expensive fee ever paid for a footballer over the age of 35. For some, even for Ronaldo, this was as risk due to many players retiring around 35 in football, however at United, there is a history of players achieving great things while in the perceived twilight of their careers. 

The most obvious example of this would be Ryan Giggs, a player who was an Academy graduate at the club, Giggs won all there was to win at United before retiring at the age of 40 and becoming Louis van Gaal’s assistant coach, as reported by ESPN. If we perceive over 35 as the benchmark for players in the twilight of their careers, Giggs achieved a tremendous amount during that period. 

Most notably, at the age of 35, Ryan Giggs was awarded with the PFA player of the year award, a particularly prestigious award that is voted for by fellow players in the league, with the Guardian reporting it as the ‘highest honour possible’.

 During this season Giggs made 47 appearances for the club, scoring four goals and getting 17 assists across all competitions. During this season he played a crucial role in getting Manchester United into another Champions league final as well as winning the Premier League, League Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup. 

The fact that Giggs won this accolade in a season where United achieved so much, indicates how crucial he was to the success of the team, and shows that even in the perceived twilight of his career, Giggs was more than a valuable player for United. Many fans will be hoping that Ronaldo can replicate the longevity of the Welsh winger. 

Teddy Sheringham is another footballer who had the best season of his United career, in terms of goals and assists, when he was 35. In the 2000/01 season Sheringham scored 21 goals across all competitions, significantly helping United win the Premier League that season. On top of this, Sheringham was awarded the PFA player of the year award, becoming the oldest player to do so at the time, as was reported by Sky Sports

Once again this shows how valuable veteran players can be at a club like United with both Giggs and Sheringham winning one of the most prestigious personal accolades in football at an age many pundits and fans deem a player ‘finished’ at the highest level. 

More recently United have been criticised for signing players for cheap prices who are in their 30’s, most notably Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2016, and Edinson Cavani in 2020. Both players were signed on high wages and were in their mid 30’s at the time of signing, leading to criticism on both. 

However, both strikers have played vital parts during their time at the club, with Ibrahimovic leaving the club having scored 29 goals in 53 appearances and helping the club towards the EFL Cup and UEFA Europa League trophies, as reported by Manchester Evening News.

Similarly, Cavani’s signing was met with suspicion from fans and pundits alike, with Gary Neville labelling the transfer of the Uruguayan ‘very last minute’ as reported by Sky Sports. However, Cavani soon changed opinions, scoring crucial goals all through the 2020/21 campaign, ending with 17 goals and 6 assists in 39 appearances. Cavani once again proved that signing an experienced player can be hugely beneficial to a club like United.  

These examples are of course highlighting the instances when players towards the end of their career have been a success for United, and there is no doubt that at other times this strategy has not paid off for the club, in recent memory players like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Alexis Sanchez both arrived at the club in their twilight, with big expectations, and did not live up to them. 

 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has proven during his time at manager that his main focus is developing a young team that can go on to great success, shown through the integration of Mason Greenwood and the more recent signing of youngster Jadon Sancho

However, he has also highlighted how key experience is for a team like United with the signings of Harry Maguire, Cavani and now Ronaldo. Solskjaer commented on the suspicions of Ronaldo’s age stating ‘I am sure he likes all the talk about being old. Make it personal and he will show what he can do.’, as reported by The Guardian

There is no doubt that Ronaldo can go on to replicate the likes of Teddy Sheringham and Ryan Giggs during his second spell at United and bring much success to the club. The striker has already gotten off to the perfect start, scoring two in his second debut against Newcastle United at Old Trafford. 

With no sign of the Portuguese star slowing up any time soon, United fans will be hopeful that once again one of their veteran players can prove the doubters wrong. 

Written by Jennifer McCord

Ratings: Ronaldo and Lingard score against the Hammers but De Gea saved the day…

Manchester United beat West Ham United 2-1 in the Premier League at the London Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side once again came from behind to set their unbeaten away run to 29 matches now, two more than Arsenal’s record from 2004. Said Benrahma opened the scoring in the 30th minute for the Hammers but five minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo levelled the match. It looked like a 1-1 draw before Jesse Lingard won the match for United. There was late drama with a penalty awarded for the Hammers but David De Gea made the save from Mark Noble’s effort. What a match, what a moment, what a result!

It was a lacklustre start for United and the Hammers with chances being created by the home side and United seemingly using luck to deny the Hammers from the lead. Harry Maguire seemed to have a mistake in him in this match, which was a worry but the doubts were soon forgotten about as United started to find comfort in the match. There was a hairy moment for Paul Pogba in the opening stages after Kurt Zouma caught his foot and the Frenchman was writhing on the floor in agony – he soon recovered through. The Hammers took the lead in the 30th minute through Said Benrahma, assisted by Jarrod Bowen.

David Moyes seemed ecstatic with the goal as he has not yet beaten United since he was sacked in April 2014 but like Alan Pardue in the Emirates FA Cup final in 2016 – he celebrated too soon. Five minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo had scored his fourth goal of the season – his 122nd goal for United, levelling the score in this match. United then started to dominate the game for bursts, pressing for a second goal to put them in the lead for the first time in the match – but it was not coming, at this time anyway. The Hammers regained possession and were trying to get ahead again but at the end of the half, if was a fair 1-1 scoreline.

There were no substitutions at the start fo the second half from either team and United were once again seeking to get the better of the Hammers, but were not able to at this stage. The home side were also trying to get back in the match and take the lead – things not working out for them either. It all seemed to be one way traffic around the hour mark in the match, which was probably worrying for the Hammers but United were unable to get anything from their attacks – but that would be tiring out the defence, which is dangerous ground for them. The Hammers then broke forward but the game was stopped due to a foul on Scott McTominay.

The Hammers made their first substitution in the 68th minute of the match with Andriy Yarmolenko replacing Nikola Vlasic. Just after the change, it seemed that United could have given away a penalty after Aaron Wan-Bissaka tackled Tomas Soucek, but the referee gave the free-kick to United. Solskjaer was readying a double substitution with Jadon Sancho and Jesse Lingard replacing Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba. Minutes after the substitution, Ronaldo was seemingly fouled in the box but the referee gave nothing. On replay, it seemed that Ronaldo ran into the player, therefore was not fouled. United were still trying to break the deadlock.

In the last 12 minutes or so of the match, David De Gea gave away a corner after a defensive error in lofting the ball back to him. Luckily nothing came of that set-piece. United made their third substitution in the 88th minute of the match with Nemanja Matic replacing Fred. The Hammers also brought Manuel Lanzini on for Benrahma. It seemed that Lingard won the game for United a minute after coming on, beating the Hammers goalkeeper from range to put United ahead with Matic assisting the goal. The West Ham fans had their heads in their hands as they knew what Lingard could do after his loan spell last season and he righted a wrong from the last game too.

There was some more controversy in this match though with penalties. Ronaldo went down in the box again, and yet again nothing was given with the Portuguese record breaker looking bemused. It seemed to be one of those days. But at the other end of the pitch, as the Hammers were seeking to avoid defeat, Luke Shaw gave something away with an outstretched arm in the box, which clipped the ball. The referee had given a corner but VAR was brought into play for this one and the penalty was awarded. Declan Rice stepped up by Moyes made his third substitution with Mark Noble replacing Bowen to take the penalty, which David De Gea saved.

What a day for De Gea, who was no stranger to penalties but saving them was a different story. United lost the UEFA Europa League final to Villarreal on the 26 May 2021 11-10 on penalties with De Gea not saving a single one, also missing his spot kick. To see him save this and keep the win for United, as opposed to the draw is magnificent. The confidence he will gain from that is immense and it will help him on the road to becoming the goalkeeper he once was for the club. What a match, what a moment and what a result. United will have the Hammers again on Wednesday evening, this time at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup third round.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made a save from a Bowen strike but conceded on the half hour with the Hammers ahead through a deflected Benrahma effort. United levelled through Ronaldo and seemingly won the match through Lingard but De Gea was not done yet. A late penalty given to the Hammers saw De Gea save Noble's spot kick and confirm the victory for United.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Ever present on the right flank. Made four clearances and two tackles with a positive pass success rate too. His crossing lets him down though. In the second half, his attacking was not very present.

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19 Raphael Varane

The deflection off him beat De Gea in the 30th minute. It happens though. He defended well for United as they persevere for the victory - which they got in the end.

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5 Harry Maguire

Seemed to strengthen the Hammers with his lack of decisiveness in defence at times. Carried on doing what he did and played a part in the victory.

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23 Luke Shaw

Attacked constantly on the left, which was lacking against the Young Boys on Tuesday. Hs service was something United failed to capitalise from. Conceded a penalty in added time, which De Gea saved.

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17 Fred

Careless at times with the ball. That is Fred though. Was replaced by Matic in the 88th minute of the match.

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39 Scott McTominay

Glad to see him back. He was right amongst it against the Hammers. Had a shot off target but was present with the defensive duties in midfield.

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11 Mason Greenwood

The Golden Boy contender played well against the Hammers. His pace was a problem, as was his ability but he never got a goal or an assist in the match. He was replaced by Sancho in the 73rd minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Lacked rhythm at the start of the match but soon found it. Played a part in the equaliser scored by Ronaldo. Might find himself rested on Wednesday, but on the bench no doubt.

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6 Paul Pogba

The Frenchman seemed to have been caught by Zouma in the first half and was in agony after the challenge. He soon recovered. He played on the left in the attacking three (behind Ronaldo) and did well at times. United needed a change to break the deadlock in this game and Lingard replaced him in the 73rd minute of the match.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Scored his fourth goal in three matches for United - his 122nd goal for the club. Seemed unlucky with penalties today with nothing given, with one of them seemingly standing though. Great to see him back for United, scoring the goals as he did before he left and did more of after leaving.

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Substitutes

25 Jadon Sancho

Replaced Greenwood 73'. Came on to provide something different for United but seemed to be lacking a lot. It will take time for him to become acclimatised in the Premier League. But some will not be happy to give him a chance to earn his stripes.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Pogba 73'. Came on to create and did just that. Won the game for United in the 89th minute and the Hammers fans knew what it meant to see him score at the London Stadium once more, just in a different shirt this time.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Fred 88'. Came on at the death and assisted a minute later. Did was was required of him.

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Goals: Said Benrahma 30′; Cristiano Ronaldo 35′, Jesse Lingard 89′

Assists: Jarrod Bowen 30′; Nemanja Matic 89′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Fred (Matic 88′), McTominay; Greenwood (Sancho 73′), Fernandes, Pogba (Lingard 73′); Ronaldo

Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Bailly, Dalot; Mata, Van de Beek; Martial

Bookings: N/A

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Ronaldo leads the attack against the Hammers; McTominay starts too

Manchester United return to Premier League action this afternoon when they travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham United, which is the first of two matches against the London club in the next five or six days with United welcoming the club to the Theatre of Dreams in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be looking to bounce back from the defeat to BSC Young Boys in the opening UEFA Champions League group stage match on Tuesday evening, which saw Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent off for a challenge, Cristiano Ronaldo score his third goal this season and United fail to keep their 1-0 lead.

It is one of those things in football – it happens. It just annoys me that some supporters seem to put the victories down to ‘individual brilliance’ but always seem to blame Solskjaer for the defeats or the draws. Some of these people on social media seem to be very quiet when United win, seemingly only tweeting when United lose or draw, which seems very strange to me. That said, you are not allowed to criticise these people as they are always right, even when they are wrong. They seem to want the club to never achieve anything, always changing the manager, then moaning about the lack of stability brought by their demands.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, McTominay;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba;

Ronaldo

Substitutes:

Heaton; Bailly, Dalot; Mata, Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek; Martial, Sancho

West Ham United:

Fabianski;

Coufal, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell;

Soucek, Rice;

Vlasic, Benrahma, Fornals;

Bowen

Substitutes:

Areola; Dawson, Diop, Fredericks, Masuaku; Lanzini, Noble, Kral; Yarmolenko

United and West Ham have played a total of 50 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won 30 times, drawing 13 times with the Hammers winning the remaining seven matches. United have scored a total of 99 goals against the Hammers, winning five penalties and scoring four of them. West Ham have scored 45 goals, winning three penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Hammer keeping just seven. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown a total of 62 yellow cards and four red cards with the Hammers’ players being shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

There is a lot of history between United and the Hammers. David Moyes, the Hammers’ manager was the former manager of United during the ill-fated 2013/14 season and he was sacked before the season even finished. There have been many players to have played for both clubs, the most receipt being Jesse Lingard, who spent the second half of last season at the club. The likes of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Teddy Sheringham, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Tevez, Roy Carroll, David Bellion, Jonathan Spector and Ravel Morrison have all played for both clubs and probably more in the not too distant past.

Written by John Walker

Tahith Chong: A player soon to be reborn?

In May of 2019 Tahith Chong won the Denzil Haroun Reserve player of the year award at Manchester United, adding to his Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award won the previous year, as reported by the official Manchester United website. This impressive double sweep of awards was a clear indication of the potential Chong had, with the club reporting that during the 2018/19 season the winger was joint top goal scorer for the Under 23’s, one of the contributing factors towards him receiving the award. 

That season was also an important one for Chong as it was the season he made his debut for the senior team in the FA Cup against Reading, going on to make debuts in the Premier League and Champions league. All signs were pointing towards Chong breaking into the first team for the 2019/20 campaign, but unfortunately for the young player, this was not the way things turned out. 

In the 2019/20 season most of Chong’s minutes still came in the reserve team, with the winger only amassing 245 minutes in the Europa League and a mere 34 minutes in the Premier League, also making two appearances in the FA Cup and one in the EFL trophy, it’s safe to say that this was a season that stalled the progress of Chong due to a lack of playing time in games at a higher level than the reserves. 

The disappointment of this campaign led to Chong being loaned out for the 2020/21 season in order to gain crucial experience at the highest level as well as playing time. 

Chong was sent on loan to Bundesliga club Werder Bremen, with the club stating they were ‘very pleased that Tahith has opted for us’, going on to note that the player had to ‘take the next step in his development with us’, as was reported by the Bundesliga.

However, what at first appeared to be a perfect fit for Chong soon turned into a disappointing spell for the youngster, with him only making 15 appearances across all competitions for the club before January, scoring once and assisting twice. Another issue was the fact that most of these 15 appearances for Werder Bremen were as a substitute, with Chong only playing one full 90 minute game in the Bundesliga during his spell. 

The disappointing spell in Germany led to Chong being recalled in January and loaned out to Club Brugge in Belgium, with United stating that the move should ‘enable Chong to get the game time he is seeking’.  However, while Chong’s output was better in Belgium, scoring once and assisting five times, the game time was still an issue, with the winger only amassing 579 minutes across all competitions. 

This season of moving from club to club and having a disappointing amount of game time could have easily unsettled Chong and led to him having little confidence left, especially when it was announced that for the 2021/22 season, Chong would be sent out on loan once more, this time in England to Birmingham City.

Many could have been negative about a third loan move in Chong’s position, however, it is at Birmingham City this season where the young players fortune seems to be changing. Most crucially, Chong has started every game he has been available for in the Championship so far this season, something that was not happening for him at his previous two loan spells. 

This shows not only managerial belief in Chong, but an ability to play well in a notoriously tough league like the Championship.  

Chong has also grabbed two assists for the Blues and has produced performances that have already made him a fan favourite. After Chong picked up another Man of the Match award for his performance against Derby County last week, manager Lee Bowyer praised Chong highly stating the winger is a ‘credit to United’, as was reported by Manchester Evening News

Bowyer went on to say the player was hardworking and ‘beautiful to watch’. This kind of praise from a manager can only boost the confidence of a young player who is finding their feet on loan and can only be a bonus for United. 

While this start to life at Birmingham is a dream come true for Chong, the hope now is that he can continue this form and show consistency at a high level. If he manages this, it will prove to United and its fans that the now 21-year-old winger has a place in the United squad, something many were doubting last season due to his difficulties on loan. 

Chong has always been touted for big things, as can be seen with the awards he received as a youngster, and perhaps this season, we are seeing the player many believed he could be during his time at the United academy.

Written by Jennifer McCord

Predicted XI: Ronaldo to continue scoring goals for United? Sancho, Greenwood and McTominay to start against Hammers?

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Sunday when they travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham United, which is the first of two matches against the London club in the next five or six days with United welcoming the club to the Theatre of Dreams in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be looking to bounce back from the defeat to BSC Young Boys in the opening UEFA Champions League group stage match on Tuesday evening, which saw Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent off for a challenge, Cristiano Ronaldo score his third goal this season and United fail to keep their 1-0 lead.

It is one of those things in football – it happens. It just annoys me that some supporters seem to put the victories down to ‘individual brilliance’ but always seem to blame Solskjaer for the defeats or the draws. Some of these people on social media seem to be very quiet when United win, seemingly only tweeting when United lose or draw, which seems very strange to me. That said, you are not allowed to criticise these people as they are always right, even when they are wrong. They seem to want the club to never achieve anything, always changing the manager, then moaning about the lack of stability brought by their demands.

Previous meetings with West Ham and their connections with Manchester United.

United and West Ham have played a total of 50 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won 30 times, drawing 13 times with the Hammers winning the remaining seven matches. United have scored a total of 99 goals against the Hammers, winning five penalties and scoring four of them. West Ham have scored 45 goals, winning three penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Hammer keeping just seven. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown a total of 62 yellow cards and four red cards with the Hammers’ players being shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

There is a lot of history between United and the Hammers. David Moyes, the Hammers’ manager was the former manager of United during the ill-fated 2013/14 season and he was sacked before the season even finished. There have been many players to have played for both clubs, the most receipt being Jesse Lingard, who spent the second half of last season at the club. The likes of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Teddy Sheringham, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Tevez, Roy Carroll, David Bellion, Jonathan Spector and Ravel Morrison have all played for both clubs and probably more in the not too distant past.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face West Ham United in the Premier League at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea will be seeking to keep his place in goal ahead of the clash with West Ham on Sunday afternoon. The Spanish goalkeeper has played all five matches that United have played this season, conceding five goals and keeping one clean sheet. It was an unfortunate defeat against the Young Boys in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, which is something that the club must bounce back form this weekend, keeping their place at the summit of the Premier League, which would seem a likely outcome. If they were not the top team in the league, they would be close to it. United need to continue the momentum they have set this season.

The supporters of the club could do with getting behind the manager and the players, rather than wishing defeats come and the manager is sacked, as that has happened before and each time it seems to set United back even further. Things are done without their acceptance because they have no control of any outcome at the club, so the sooner they realise they are nothing but critics who people don’t listen to, the better. De Gea has started this season in fine form, turning back the years and proving himself ahead of the challenges that will come – Dean Henderson seeking to become number one and Tom Heaton also challenging for matches.

Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence suffered a setback in the opening Champions League match of the season, falling to a 2-1 defeat to the Young Boys. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off for a bad foul which left United with ten men and having to sacrifice an attacking player for Diogo Dalot, then resort to a five at the back formation, under attack, which was unable to keep a 1-0 lead from Cristiano Ronaldo’s opening goal. Against the Hammers, Solskjaer will need to find a way for his side to bounce back and grind out another win in the Premier League this season, also seeking to extend their 28-match unbeaten record on the road in the Premier League.

Diogo Dalot could be given a rare Premier League start with Wan-Bissaka being dropped to the bench for this match, giving him a rest ahead of the suspension he will receive in the Champions League in just over a week and a half, which could be good for United and keeping key players fresh for other matches. Luke Shaw should keep his place in the left-back position, doing well against the Young Boys, despite doing more defending than attacking, which was rare after his start to the season. Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane should start in the centre of defence, which could keep United ticking over – although Victor Lindelof will be seeking a start too.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

The midfield is not ideal for United at this time as there is a lack of balance. Nemanja Matic is the only experienced defensive midfielder with Fred making more mistakes that settling in at the club after a number of years. Donny van de Beek seems to be getting few chances with Scott McTominay sitting out a period of time following the groin injury he sustained against Southampton earlier in the season. With the Scotland international back in training and likely to be involved against the Hammers, either this weekend or in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, things could start to improve a little for United.

With McTominay picked to start in this match, providing that he has gone through all the fitness tests and he is ready to start playing again, it could come at the right time for Solskjaer, whose options in this area seem limited with players selected being limited in terms of their ability. Paul Pogba could feature in the pivot once again, as he played an advanced role on the left-wing against the Young Boys, which did not seem to work for United, especially after the sending off of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. This could work though with McTominay mopping up the defensive duties and Pogba linking the defence with the attack.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho

United have many great options in these positions ahead of the clash with the Hammers. I think Solskjaer will go back to basics with Mason Greenwood, who scored in the first three Premier League matches of the season, playing on the right-wing, which is a position that he has excelled in at times, also running into the box and picking off the goalkeeper, or even assisting for the striker or another attacking player, which was shown a few times last season. Bruno Fernandes will play through the middle but we could Donny van de Beek come on in the second half to give the Portuguese magnifico a bit of rest ahead of the challenge later in the week.

Fernandes has scored four goals for United this season, also getting one assist but he is being challenged by Cristiano Ronaldo, who has three goals in his first two appearances for the club this season. Jadon Sancho could start on the left-wing once again, which is a position he can play in – although he may be more comfortable on the right. He was taken off before half time against Young Boys on Tuesday as United were down to ten men – which was through no fault of his own. United attacking players have lots of excitement in them with Ronaldo, Fernandes and Greenwood al scoring so far this season and Sancho seeking to score.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo

Since re-signing for United this summer, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored three goals in two appearances, making it 121 goals for the club, matching Andy Cole. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in his sights, scoring 126 goals for the club during his time as a player. Wayne Rooney’s record is a long way off and might not be achievable for the 36-year-old but you never know in this game. Ronaldo was determined to get a good result for United in the Champions League this week, but a 2-1 defeat – the first of the season will have hit the team hard but given them determination against the Hammers to get back to winning ways.

There seems to be a lot of criticism of United and Ronaldo in the media and amongst fans of other clubs but that just shows you that Manchester United are coming back and people are threatened as to what the club could achieve. Manchester City lost their opening match this season, losing to Tottenham Hotspur but little was said about that but when United lose – hold the front page and the following seven pages as every man and his dog wants to say something about that. United are back, they are still a work in progress but to be able to grind out the results they already have grinder out this season shows that something is being created at the club.

Substitutes: Tom Heaton; Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka; Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek; Anthony Martial, Anthony Elanga

Solskjaer made many changes in the defeat to Young Boys in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, but the gamble did not pay off for him as United capitulated and conceded two second half goals to earn their first defeat of the 2021/22 season – it was going to come at some point. Back in the Premier League, United will be able to name nine substitutes, using just three of them. I think Tom Heaton will remain on the bench for United as I don’t think Dean Henderson will be over his fatigue from his battle with coronavirus and his match fitness will not be where it needs to be to play his first match in the top flight this season.

Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be the substitutes in the defensive positions, although Alex Telles is now back in training from his ankle injury but it may be a week or so before he is considered for a place on the bench, let alone a starting place for United. In the midfield, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek could all be available against the Hammers – which will be another challenge for United – one that they will need to get the better of this weekend, if they want to challenge for the Premier League title this season. In attack, Anthony Martial and Anthony Elanga could both be available – it would be great to see the latter.

Written by John Walker

Preview: United to bounce back against the Hammers; Moyes still seeking a victory over United since being sacked in 2014

West Ham United -v- Manchester United

Premier League

London Stadium, London

Sunday 19 September 2021, KO 14:00 BST

Referee: Martin Atkinson Assistants: Lee Betts, Richard West

Fourth Official: David Coote

VAR: Darren England Assistant VAR: Dan Robathan

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Sunday when they travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham United, which is the first of two matches against the London club in the next five or six days with United welcoming the club to the Theatre of Dreams in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be looking to bounce back from the defeat to BSC Young Boys in the opening UEFA Champions League group stage match on Tuesday evening, which saw Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent off for a challenge, Cristiano Ronaldo score his third goal this season and United fail to keep their 1-0 lead.

It is one of those things in football – it happens. It just annoys me that some supporters seem to put the victories down to ‘individual brilliance’ but always seem to blame Solskjaer for the defeats or the draws. Some of these people on social media seem to be very quiet when United win, seemingly only tweeting when United lose or draw, which seems very strange to me. That said, you are not allowed to criticise these people as they are always right, even when they are wrong. They seem to want the club to never achieve anything, always changing the manager, then moaning about the lack of stability brought by their demands.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LWWDWW

BSC Young Boys 2-1 L, Newcastle United 4-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Leeds United 5-1 W, Everton 4-0 W

Goals: 4 – Bruno Fernandes, 3 – Mason Greenwood, Cristiano Ronaldo, 1 – Fred, Jesse Lingard

Assists: 7 – Paul Pogba, 1 – Bruno Fernandes, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane

West Ham United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WDDWWW

Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 W, Southampton 0-0 D, Crystal Palace 2-2 D, Leicester City 4-1 W, Newcastle United 4-2 W, Atalanta 2-0 W

Goals: 5 – Michail Antonio, 2 – Said Benrahma, Pablo Fornals, 1 – Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek

Assists: 3 – Michail Antonio, 2 – Said Benrahma, 1 – Vladimir Coufal, Pablo Fornals, Declan Rice

Previous meetings with West Ham and their connections with Manchester United.

United and West Ham have played a total of 50 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won 30 times, drawing 13 times with the Hammers winning the remaining seven matches. United have scored a total of 99 goals against the Hammers, winning five penalties and scoring four of them. West Ham have scored 45 goals, winning three penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Hammer keeping just seven. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown a total of 62 yellow cards and four red cards with the Hammers’ players being shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

There is a lot of history between United and the Hammers. David Moyes, the Hammers’ manager was the former manager of United during the ill-fated 2013/14 season and he was sacked before the season even finished. There have been many players to have played for both clubs, the most receipt being Jesse Lingard, who spent the second half of last season at the club. The likes of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Teddy Sheringham, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Tevez, Roy Carroll, David Bellion, Jonathan Spector and Ravel Morrison have all played for both clubs and probably more in the not too distant past.

Team News: Five United players could be out of the clash with the Hammers this weekend with two missing for the home side; Ronaldo and Greenwood to be involved in the goals once again?

Marcus Rashford (Shoulder) and Amad Diallo (Thigh) have been ruled out of the clash with the Hammers this weekend. Alex Telles (Ankle), Phil Jones (Match Fitness) and Edinson Cavani (Other) seem to be doubtful for this match with the Uruguayan likely to feature in the Carabao Cup next week. Scott McTominay, who had to undergo groin surgery earlier in the summer, could be back in action after training for the last week or so, which is good news for United after the problems with the midfield recently with only one player, Nemanja Matic, able to play in the defensive midfield area. United will get there in the end.

Winston Reid (Knee) is the only West Ham player to be injured for the clash against United at the London Stadium on Sunday. This seasons top scorer (so far) Michail Antonio is suspended for this match after his sending off against Southampton last week, but he will be back in contention to face United at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. David Moyes will have something up his sleeve to get the better of United this weekend with the Hammers sitting in eighth place at the time of writing and United sitting top of the league, which will change with the seven matches being played before this one kicks off.

Predicted Starting XI: Ronaldo, Sancho, Fernandes and Greenwood to lead United’s attack against the Hammers; Pogba and McTominay in midfield; Dalot given rare Premier League start?

Solskjaer will be seeking to get back to winning ways after a defeat in the Champions League to Young Boys on Tuesday evening. David Moyes has never beaten United in seven Premier League matches since being sacked by United in April 2014 – he has lost five times, drawing twice. In his last four appearances against the Hammers, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored six goals against the Hammers and will be seeking to continue his goalscoring run against the club. The Hammers are unbeaten in seven Premier League matches, which is a record for them. Either that will continue or be ended on Sunday.

I think David De Gea will keep his place in goal this weekend. In defence, Diogo Dalot could be trusted ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was sent off against Young Boys. Luke Shaw will keep his left-back position. Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane will partner each other in the centre of defence. In midfield, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba could play in the pivot with Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho playing in the attacking midfield positions behind the striker. Cristiano Ronaldo will keep his place leading the like for United after scoring three goals in his first two starts after returning to United.

Match Prediction: United to get back to winning ways against the Hammers, using last seasons double over the club and David Moyes not beating United after being sacked by them in 2014.

United will need to bounce back against the Hammers this weekend. Solskjaer’s side have done well this season and at the time of writing, sit top of the Premier League. That will change before a ball has been kicked at the London Stadium with Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton, Manchester City, Brighton and Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur all seeking to make their way to the top of the league, however, Spurs and Chelsea will face each other in the late Sunday afternoon kick off after the Hammers v United match. The Red Devils will need to rediscover their good form to take all three points in this match.

Last season, United won 3-1 in this fixture with Tomas Soucek opening the scoring for the home side and Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford getting the better of the Hammers at home, taking all three points back to Manchester. At Old Trafford, it was a 1-0 victory for United with a Craig Dawson own goal settling the tie between the clubs as United did the double over the Hammers. Solskjaer will be hoping to do the same this season but first must find the route to victory in this match, coming from a defeat in the opening Champions League group stage clash against the Young Boys earlier in the week.

West Ham United 1-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW