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Manchester United agree £250,000 fee to sign talented 16-year-old striker this summer – reports

Manchester United have reportedly agreed on a £250,000 fee with Sunderland for 16-year-old striker Joe Hugill. The academy star is described as an ‘old fashioned striker’ and is seen as a player that could give United a different dimension, at least when playing for the U18s or the U23s next season as youth football this season has been cancelled.

United have apparently been seeking to get a deal done for the 16-year-old since March with Hugill having a decent goal scoring record for Sunderland’s U18s which prompted them to promote the player to U23 level earlier this season. Confirmation on this deal will have to wait until the coronavirus pandemic shows more signs of ending.

During lockdown, only essential travel is allowed and that does not include conducting a medical for new signings, so for this, United and Sunderland will have to wait until the lockdown is over and things such as this are allowed to happen. However, with suggestions that the lockdown could start to be relaxed soon, it might not be too far away.

It is suggested that Tottenham Hotspur were interested in Hugill earlier this year after scout Ian Broomfield went to watch him play. However, it would seem that United pressed on and have seemingly got to a stage whereby the deal could be completed as soon as possible, which is good news for United and the academy, and Hugill, of course.

The transfer will fit in well with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s approach at the club where he wants to sign young and talented players, preferably from the United Kingdom. United have not really switched from the approach to youth over the years and have had an academy player in the squad for every match since October 1937, over 4,000 matches now.

At U18 level this season, United have scored 49 goals playing in the U18 Premier League (North), the U18 Premier League Cup and the FA Youth Cup. If Hugill is added to this squad next season, he could help improve that for United, seeing them score many more goals with the attacking players able to demonstrate more quality.

At U23 level, United have scored 50 goals this season with two more being added due to own goals from opposition teams, giving United 52 goals in total. These have been scored in the Premier League 2 (Division 2), and the Leasing.com EFL Trophy. Hugill could add something at this level too, considering Sunderland promoted him this season.

Hugill is understood to have rejected terms on a new contract with Sunderland, which has enforced the situation for the club to sell the player. It is expected that he will sign his first professional contract with United when he turns 17, which is not until the 19 October 2020. By then, he could be representing United at either U18 or U23 level.

United have needed to find an out and out striker at U23 level for some time now, especially with the likes of Mason Greenwood missing out on playing regularly at that level given that he was promoted to the first team relatively early and seems to be excelling there now, scoring 12 goals and four assists in 36 first team appearances so far this season.

Report: United back to winning ways, Moyes heading to the Championship…

Manchester United beat Sunderland 3-0 at the Stadium of Light in the Premier League, forcing a much tougher relegation battle on David Moyes’ side. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the first goal in the 30th minute of the match, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan slotting home seconds after the restart in the second half. Marcus Rashford scored in the 90th minute of the match, a good finish set up by the Swede. United didn’t score enough for my liking, but a win is a win and what United needed, especially after two draws at Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho made five changes from the side which drew 1-1 with Everton at Old Trafford with Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all being involved from the start. David De Gea has a “small problem” according to the manager and he will be back next week against Chelsea. United started the game in good fashion with Jesse Lingard having a shot on goal in the third minute, but Jordan Pickford thwarted the effort easily. United won a corner in the sixth minute of the match with Luke Shaw taking it, Lingard having a shot on goal then Marcos Rojo being fouled with a free-kick awarded to United. Zlatan Ibrahimovic took the free-kick, it deflected off the Sunderland wall for a United corner.

Sunderland started to get themselves back into the game after opening pressure from United which saw them have nearly 75% of the possession in the opening 15 minutes of the match. Sunderland had two good attacking into the United half, not really threatening to score a goal. Shaw found himself being booked for a challenge on Didier Ndong from behind. Minutes later, Marcos Rojo gave away a free-kick for a high challenge on Jermain Defoe, taken by Bryan Oviedo, which went straight into the arms of Sergio Romero. United needed to get to grips with the game as Sunderland were starting to pressure United, perhaps not in a way whereby they would push for a goal, though. It has been more than ten hours since Sunderland last scored in the Premier League.

Sunderland gained some ground heading into the 30-minute mark of the game, challenging United on the edge of their box with Lee Cattermole getting a shot on goal, straight into the arms of Romero, though. A minute or so later, Defoe was through on goal, missing the target, but was flagged for offside. United needed to grab the game by the throat and do something to get themselves ahead, or Sunderland would gain control and fight for the goal themselves after a period of confidence. United did get another attempt on goal though, with Pickford making another save. United did not give up though, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring a sublime goal in 30th minute of the match, his 28th goal of the season, 18th in the league and his ninth goal in his last eleven matches.

Since scoring the goal, United have seen more of the ball and nearly had another in the back of the net with Shaw and Zlatan working well and Marouane Fellaini, today’s captain failing to tap in from close range. Sunderland got themselves back into United territory once again in the 40th minute of the match with Victor Anichebe getting through on goal, with Romero showing his class as a goalkeeper and thwarting his effort. Sunderland found themselves in hot water with Sebastian Larsson being shown the red card by Craig Pawson for challenges on Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera. It took him a while to leave the pitch, seemingly trying to argue his case, which will not go in his favour. The first half ended with United leading 1-0.

United doubled their lead in the 46th minute of the match, seconds from the restart through Mkhitaryan, who nutmegged Lamine Kone and saw his shot beat Pickford. Mkhitaryan has scored eight goals this season, five in the last twelve matches. United ideally needed to get themselves more goals, which would heighten their confidence ahead of Anderlecht and Chelsea, their next two matches. Just after the hour, Mourinho made his first change of the match with Daley Blind replacing Shaw, with the manager giving Shaw a pat on the back after coming off the pitch, which was good to see. Perhaps the media will make less of a big deal about the situation now? Lingard saw himself booked on th 64th minute, and being replaced by Marcus Rashford just after, United second change of the match.

United tooked lively on the attck after the introduction of both Blind and Rashford, with the latter having two chances on the attack, but being broken down both times. Sunderland had been trying to get themselves back into the game, when in actual fact, they need to be looking at getting out of the Championship next season. United made their third change of the match with Anthony Martial replacing Mkhitaryan. I would have liked to see Axel Tuanzebe or Timothy Fosu-Mensah, though. Fellaini was booked, for the eighth time this season, for a challenge shortly after the substitution. The resulting free-kick for Sunderland came to nothing, shock horror. Martial saw himself being booked in the 82nd minute after a challenge with Pickford, who received a back pass.

Despite being 2-0 up, United still attacked but gained nothing. Paul Pogba took a free kick inside the last eight minutes of the match, just putting it wide of the post. United did need to return to winning ways today, which has seen them rise to fifth in the league again, three points clear of Arsenal, who face Crystal Palace on Monday evening. Arsenal have a three-goal advantage ahead of United goal difference, so United will be hoping Palace do United a favour on Monday. United scored a third goal in the final minute of normal time through Rashford, who passed to Zlatan, him setting the 19-year-old up for his eighth goal of the season, his second in the last 16 matches. Matteo Darmian became the fifth United player to be booked in the victory over Sunderland.

It may not have been a high scoring match for United, but to push Sunderland that little bit closer to the Championship is a good thing for Premier League football. Anderlecht on Thursday will be next up for United, which Chelsea on the horizon in the Premier League a week today.

Goals: Zlatan Ibrahimovic 30′, Henrikh Mkhitaryan 46′, Marcus Rashford 90′

Assists: Ander Herrera 30′, Luke Shaw 46′, Zlatan Ibrahimovic 90′

Manchester United: Romero; Darmian, Bailly, Rojo, Shaw (Blind 61′); Herrera, Fellaini; Lingard (Rashford 64′), Pogba, Mkhitaryan (Martial 78′); Ibrahimovic

Substitutes Not Used: Pereira; Tuanzebe, Fosu-Mensah; Carrick

Bookings: Luke Shaw 15′, Jesse Lingard 64′, Marouane Fellaini 79′, Anthony Martial 82′, Matteo Darmian 90+2′

Team News: Romero, Shaw, Mkhitaryan and Ibrahimovic start against Sunderland

Manchester United are pitted against relegation fodder Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in the Premier League this afternoon. United have drawn their last two Premier League matches, needing a win against David Moyes’ side in order to keep within a chance of breaking into the top four this season, which is looking slimmer as the weeks pass. Sunderland will need a miracle to remain in the Premier League this season, being ten points from safety with seven matches remaining after this one. United have injuries to contend with, especially in defence and with a busy April ahead of them, Jose Mourinho will need to keep the defence fresh with a visit to Anderlecht coming in the week, plus hosting Chelsea at Old Trafford in a weeks time.

Manchester United:

Romero;

Darmian, Bailly, Rojo, Shaw;

Herrera, Fellaini;

Lingard, Pogba, Mkhitaryan;

Ibrahimovic

Substitutes:

Pereira; Tuanzebe, Fosu-Mensah, Blind; Carrick, Martial; Rashford

Sunderland:

Pickford;

Jones, Kone, Denayer, Oviedo;

Cattermole;

Ndong, Rodwell, Larsson;

Defoe, Anichebe

Substitutes:

Mannone, Djilobodji, Borini, Khazri, Pienaar, Manquillo, Gibson

United and Sunderland have a long history, playing 144 matches in their history with United winning 64, drawing 38 and losing 42 times. United did not head away from the Stadium of Light with a victory last season, losing 2-1 with Anthony Martial scoring United’s only goal. United went a period of twenty matches unbeaten against Sunderland from January 2001 to October 2013, winning 16 and drawing four of those matches. That is the sort of form United will need against teams such as Sunderland, starting today. Let’s hope for more than one goal, a decent victory and a starting point for United’s return to the UEFA Champions League. Two chances are there for the taking, both need to be taken.

Preview: Manchester United need to help earn Sunderland relegation

Sunderland -v- Manchester United

Stadium of Light, Sunderland

Premier League 2016/17

Sunday 9th April 2017; KO 13:30 BST

Live on Sky Sports 1HD

Manchester United travel to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on Sunday afternoon as Jose Mourinho and David Moyes go head-to-head once more. Moyes’ relegation threatened side need all the help they can get to avoid the drop to the Championship at the end of the season, which is a position the Black Cats have been in for many of the recent seasons, avoiding the drop with some resurgent play in the latter matches of the season. At this stage of the season, though, Moyes’ side sits ten points from safety, which could change if Hull City beat Manchester City or if Swansea City beat West Ham United. Middlesbrough’s clash with could put Sunderland under a bit more pressure, but Boro are three points clear of Moyes side before that match has even kicked off. Moyes has his work cut out this season, perhaps he could take the Premier League strugglers down this season, as that is what they deserve. There are better Championship teams ready to come up, who could provide a much better challenge. Enough of that, though.

Mourinho’s United have struggled to score goals this season. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored 27 goals in all competitions, which looks good, but the fact that other players are far from scoring, is a problem. When the Swede does not play, United do not have a player ready to step into his boots. Goals are scored, but not enough. After Zlatan, Juan Mata has scored the most goals with ten in all competitions. United’s attacking contingent need to find a way to score more goals, which could even happen without reinforcement. We have seen some attacking play this season, lots of chances being created, but finishing is the major problem that needs to be addressed. Ibrahimovic has missed 17 clear-cut chances in the Premier League alone this season, Paul Pogba has hit the woodwork nine times in all competitions. Creatively, United are there, but the finishing needs to be much better. If only half of United’s failed goals were scored this season, they would be in a much better position and not be having to wait for chances to break into the top four – they would be there already. Time is running out for things to fall into place this season.

Sunderland will be a tough match for United. Earlier in the season, United beat Sunderland 3-1 at Old Trafford with Daley Blind, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scoring the goals, but Fabio Borini scored in the 90th minute of the match, a consolation goal for the visitors. Sunderland have only seven Premier League matches remaining after the visit of United, so if they don’t fight for a victory, time to salvage their season and their Premier League safety will in effect run out. If the teams above Sunderland keep winning, especially those outside the bottom three, the void will only grow larger, which will see the Premier League strugglers finally fall into a league they deserve to be playing in. I am not one to hold a grudge, but back in the 2011/12 season when Sergio Aguero scored that late goal to see Manchester City win the league, the Sunderland fans, who has seen their team beaten by United at the Stadium of Light, did the ‘Poznan’ in celebration that United did not win the league. That would see me only shedding tears of laughter if this season gave them relegation. Well deserved.

Match Officials:

Craig Pawson will take charge of this match, his third involving Manchester United this season. Pawson was the referee in the FA Community Shield where United beat Leicester City 3-1 at Wembley. In that match, Eric Bailly was the only United player to be booked. Pawson then took charge of the match against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on the 14th December. United won the match 2-1 with goals from Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Three United players were booked in the match; Marcos Rojo, Paul Pogba, and Marcus Rashford. The assistant referees have been named as Ian Hussin and Richard West, with the fourth official being Mike Jones.

Form: Twenty matches unbeaten in the Premier League mean nothing when half of them were draws!

Manchester United: Manchester United are unbeaten in 20 Premier League matches this season. Their last defeat came against Chelsea back in October. That sounds good when you say it like that, but when you realise that half of those unbeaten matches were draws, you then realise that Manchester United are underachieving once more. United have progressed since the dark days under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, but there still is a way to go before we see a United side capable of challenging for a Premier League title. This season started well, but defeats in the first nine matches of the season caused more problems than Jose Mourinho would have wanted. The fact United have drawn twelve times in the league in total this season, nine of those being at Old Trafford, underlines the fact improvement is needed.

Sunderland: David Moyes’ Sunderland side just do not belong in the Premier League. Every season they can be found at the bottom of the league table, seemingly fighting for their safety. They seem to play poorly throughout the season, then turn on some form at the end, avoiding relegation so far. This season, though, everything is against them. They are ten points from safety, at least before Saturday afternoon’s matches, which means time will soon run out to secure another avoidance of relegation into a league they belong in. If the teams above them keep winning, that will be enough for Sunderland to admit defeat and succumb to the lower leagues. There are many decent clubs in the Championship and beyond who will happily accept the challenge of the Premier League. Look at the three teams that were promoted last season; Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull City. Burnley are 13th in the league, Boro are 19th and Hull are 17th – but that could change this afternoon.

Former Reds:

Sunderland seem to have an affiliation with former Manchester United players, having many over the years. John O’Shea, Sunderland’s captain will go head-to-head with his former club on Sunday. O’Shea was a decent level player for United, more of a utilitarian by then manager Sir Alex Ferguson, putting in some good memories whilst wearing the famous red shirt. In the summer, David Moyes pounced on United pair Paddy McNair and Donald Love, both of whom were out of favour with Jose Mourinho. McNair is currently on the sidelines with an ACL injury. Darron Gibson left United for Everton back in 2012 but signed for Moyes’ side during the winter transfer window. Perhaps he will be looking to help his new side beat his former club, aiming for Premier League safety this season. Adnan Januzaj, currently on loan, is ineligible to play against his parent club, and could well find himself out of favour by Mourinho in the summer, who confirmed on Friday that he had made his decision on the forward’s future but did not give any indication what that could be.

Who are the top scorers at both Manchester United and Sunderland this season?

Manchester United: 27 – Zlatan Ibrahimović, 10 – Juan Mata, 7 – Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, 5 – Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, 3 – Marouane Fellaini, 2 – Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling, 1 – Daley Blind, Own Goal, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Antonio Valencia

Sunderland: 14 – Jermain Defoe, 3 – Victor Anichebe, Patrick van Aanholt, 2 – Younes Kaboul, Paddy McNair, 1 – Fabio Borini, Adnan Januzaj, Lamine Koné, Didier Ndong

Team News:

Manchester United will be without Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young for the visit to Sunderland. United also have three long-term injuries to Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Juan Mata. Aside of that, United have a full squad to pick from. Mourinho has not given any clues as to who will play against David Moyes’ side, but the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera all need to be involved as that could see United through to scoring goals aplenty. Moyes will be without Jan Kirchoff, Steven Pienaar, Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair through injury and Adnan Januzaj is not eligible to play against his parent club. United will have a period of rest after this match, ahead of Thursday’s visit to Belgium to face Anderlecht, so putting a strong team out to help Moyes’ side into the Championship next season would be a good result, in my book at least.

Previous Meetings:

Manchester United and Sunderland have a great history which stretches back to the 4th March 1893 with a total of 144 matches being played to date. Of those matches, United have won 64 times, drawing 38 and losing 42 times. The last time United lost to Sunderland was not all that long ago. On the 13th February 2016, Sunderland beat United 2-1 at the Stadium of Light with Wahbi Khazri and David De Gea scoring an own goal. Anthony Martial scored for United that day. With this being the last trip to Sunderland, United will need to keep this result in the back of their minds, ensuring they do what is needed to get the three points and the return to winning ways in the league. United’s longest stretch unbeaten against Sunderland last twenty matches from the 31st January 2001 until the 5th October 2013. All the matches were played in the Premier League with United winning 16 times, drawing four times. United’s biggest victories over Sunderland were 5-0 maulings on the 21st December 1996; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Eric Cantona both scored a brace with Nicky Butt getting on the score sheet, and the 26th November 1966; four goals from David Herd and one from Denis Law. The biggest defeats, both 6-0 maulings came on the 11th December 1926 and the 4th April 1893.

Starting XI Prediction: Who is going to start against Sunderland?

Predicted Score:

Sunderland 0-2 Manchester United

CONFIRMED: Carrick, Herrera, Pogba and Ibrahimovic start against Sunderland

Manchester United face Sunderland at Old Trafford in the Premier League this Boxing Day afternoon. David Moyes will return to the Theatre of Dreams for the first time since he last managed a match at home for the club in the ill-fated 2013/14 season. Sunderland will find themselves in a relegation battle once again, shock horror, a point from safety and likely to suffer a poor season again, as long as they go down this time, it will be a good season. United find themselves in a period of good form, undefeated in their last ten matches, winning their last three in the league, for the first time since August.

Should United beat Sunderland today, it will be the first time they have won four league matches in a row since March 2015, which would be a good thing for Jose Mourinho’s squad as they look to better their league position, cutting Arsenal’s eleven point lead over them to just four points. United would need to get past Tottenham Hotspur first, who lie in fifth place – three points better off than United. United were written off just a matter of weeks ago with suggestions they would not be able to get into the top four this season, but only a matter of weeks later, there is a massive opportunity, as long as United keep winning their matches, of course.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Blind;

Carrick, Herrera;

Mata, Pogba, Lingard;

Ibrahimovic

Substitutes:

Romero; Smalling, Darmian; Martial, Mkhitaryan, Fellaini; Rashford

Sunderland:

Pickford;

Jones, Kone, Djilobodji, Van Aanholt;

Larsson, Denayer, Ndong;

Borini, Defoe, Anichebe

Substitutes:

Mannone, Khazri, O’Shea, Love, Asoro, Honeyman, Embleton

Manchester United Festive Preview

Manchester United will play three times between Boxing Day and the 2nd January 2017. Jose Mourinho’s side, who have been playing some tremendous football at this stage of the season, will be looking to extend their ten-match unbeaten run in all competitions, which includes the last three Premier league fixtures, which United have won, beating Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace, and West Bromwich Albion. David Moyes’ Sunderland will visit the Theatre of Dreams on Boxing Day, with Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough visiting Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve and United then travelling to the London Stadium to face Slaven Bilić’s West Ham United, for the third time in just over a month.

United drew 1-1 with the Hammers in the league at Old Trafford, beating them 4-1 three days later in the EFL Cup. United’s festive period sees them in a good position, still sixth-placed in the league; three points behind fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and four points behind fourth-placed Arsenal. Manchester City sits in third just six points ahead of United, so there really is everything to play for, despite United being written off in the league some weeks ago. Winning the title will be unlikely, but finishing in a UEFA Champions League place is very much possible, right now at least.

Sunderland – Monday 26th December 2016 – Old Trafford – KO: 15:00 GMT

David Moyes returns to Old Trafford as a manager on Boxing Day, just shy of three years since he was sacked by the Red Devils for a poor season in charge of the club, his first of what could have been six years. United will be looking for Jose Mourinho to lead them to victory against the struggling Premier League side, who sit in 18th place in the league, a point away from safety. Sunderland has earned themselves just 14 points in 17 Premier League matches this season, winning four matches, drawing twice and losing eleven. Moyes’ side have scored only 15 goals in the league, conceding 28, leaving them in a precarious position. Injury has struck Moyes’ side this season, which will see Paddy McNair miss the return to his former club, having been ruled out this season with a knee injury. Adnan Januzaj is not allowed to play against his

Adnan Januzaj is not allowed to play against his parent club, which will leave Donald Love as the only recent departure from the club eligible to play. John O’Shea will be pitted against his former club, though. Sunderland usually survives relegation, have done for the past few seasons, which is pretty unfortunate as they never better themselves, just play the same pitiful football, drag their supporters through a season of turmoil and then, in the last few matches of the season, pull a dramatic bid for safety. Hopefully, this season, Moyes’ magic will rub off and the Mackems will end up in a league they belong in – the Championship.

Match Prediction: Manchester United 3-0 Sunderland

Middlesbrough – Saturday 31st December 2016 – Old Trafford – KO: 15:00 GMT

Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough side won promotion from the Championship last season. They are currently the highest placed side which won promotion to the Premier League last season, sitting in 14th place with 18 points after playing 17 matches. Boro have played well at times, but also suffered, which will give them something to fight for come the end of the season. Boro has won four matches this season, drawing six and losing seven; scoring 16 goals, conceding just 19. Burnley, the Championship champions last season are in 16th position in the league, just three points adrift of Boro, with Hull City, the play-off winners, are positioned in the relegation zone, the bottom team in the table with just 12 points from 17 matches, winning three times, drawing three times and losing eleven matches. Hull look likely contenders for relegation, whereas Middlesbrough, at this moment in time, look well positioned to remain in the Premier League.

Boro currently have two former Manchester United players, who could both return to the Theatre of Dreams; Fabio da Silva and Victor Valdes. The Spanish goalkeeper left United in the summer on a free, signing for Karanka’s Premier League side. Fabio left United in 2014 for Cardiff, finding his way to Middlesbrough during the summer, establishing himself in the team. Valdes and Fabio could well cause United some problems, but with the player’s United have available, it could be a return to the Theatre of Dreams which both will want to forget. United find themselves in a position whereby they need to keep winning, in order to catch those out above them, earning a higher position in the league, which if both Arsenal and Spurs slip up just once, could see United firm their sites on one of their positions, leaving them to fight for scraps for the remainder of the season, which would be so great to see.

Match Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Middlesbrough

West Ham United – Monday 2nd January 2017 – London Stadium – KO: 17:15 GMT

Manchester United will travel for the first time to the London Stadium to face West Ham United in the Premier League. Both teams have a history, but the Hammers are not having a very good season. Slaven Bilić needs some players to leave his side contending for something, which at this stage can only be a better position in the league at the end of the season. West Ham currently sits in 13th place in the Premier League, earning 19 points in 17 matches. The Hammers have won five matches, drawing four and losing eight; scoring 19 goals, conceding 31, which leaves them wide open as clubs with better forward lines will wreak havoc against them. Bilić has recently been linked to two Manchester United players; Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, seeing them both as loan options based on the matches they play for United this season. Both look unlikely to be allowed to leave on loan and one would question whether both would see it as an opportunity or a punishment.

West Ham is a club many hate, especially in the fact their club is literally run by the taxpayer with them not paying much to keep the London Stadium running, let alone paying much to convert the former Athletics stadium into one to host football matches. For a Premier league team to be run this way is questionable to those allowing the country to keep them. Ashley Fletcher, a striker who left the United Academy in the summer could be a handful against his former side, scoring against them in the EFL Cup, equalising in the 35th minute, 33 minutes after Zlatan Ibrahimovic took the lead. In the second half, United took the lead again just three minutes into the half through Martial, who scored again 14 minutes later. Zlatan completed the scoring in injury time with United winning 4-1.

Match Prediction: West Ham United 1-3 Manchester United

Manchester United will be busy throughout January with the Emirates FA Cup commencing with United drawing Jaap Stam’s Reading at Old Trafford on Saturday 7th January 2017, KO 12:30, then the EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Hull City at the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday 10th January 2017, KO 20:00. United then entertain Liverpool at home on Sunday 15th January 2017, KO 16:00, before facing Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday 21st January 2017, KO 15:00. United will end the month away to Hull City in the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final on Thursday 26th January 2017, KO 19:45. United could end the month in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup but will need to beat Reading to earn a place in the draw.

Preview: Mourinho’s United to welcome Moyes with more upset?

Old Trafford, Manchester

Premier League 2016/17

Monday 26th December 2016 – KO 15:00

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Assistant Referees: Stuart Burt and Adam Nunn

Fourth Official: Lee Mason

Manchester United welcome David Moyes back to Old Trafford on Boxing Day as the resurgent Red Devils look to win four Premier League matches in a row since the 22nd March 2015 when United beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield, after previously beating Tottenham Hotspur 3-0, Newcastle United 1-0 and Sunderland 2-0. United’s streak went on for six matches in a row, also beating Aston Villa 3-1 and Manchester City 4-2, a great period of matches under Louis van Gaal, finishing fourth at the end of the season. United, though, are much better this season, needing time to get things sorted, but at this stage, Jose Mourinho has something good going on. Injuries had mounted up over recent weeks, but Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are all available for the match on Boxing Day, with Luke Shaw the only absentee from the squad – not long from his return. Speaking at his press conference on Friday, Mourinho said:

“It’s good to have everyone available apart from Luke Shaw, who is not far [away]. In the central defender position, we now have all of them. 

“Chris Smalling is back, Eric Bailly is back, Phil Jones is fine, Marcos Rojo is fine, Daley Blind is fine, so it’s a position where it’s very important to have some stability in the options. We were in a difficult position a couple of months ago but now we are safe. We know that Bailly is going to the African Cup [of Nations] in January but, for the next three matches, we have them.”

Jose Mourinho has got Manchester United firing again, part of that is because he loves the club, that can be seen from what he has been saying about his appointment, since the day it was announced, until now. Personally, I was not convinced he was the right man for the job, but looking at what we have experienced, despite the media comparing his start to that of Moyes and Van Gaal, things are so much more different. The style of football has adapted and United have been through a tough period. Those things can be excused when things have started to click, which is where United seem to be at this moment in time. Mourinho, speaking about the initial pressure of the role, said:

“For me, it was easy to acclimatise. It’s a difficult job, but it’s easy to feel at home, easy to feel good at the club, easy to feel that the club wants to progress and that the people want to be happy again. I felt good immediately, I’ve had five or six months here and have felt right at home so, for me, it was easy.

“I thought about the difficulty of the job, I thought to myself why the club in the past three years was going – in terms of results – in a different direction. I tried to answer that, but I couldn’t think much about coming to United, it was an easy decision.”

Mourinho also spoke of the comparisons to those before him, saying:

“Honestly, I don’t like to compare. I think you know me; you don’t hear many opinions from me, many stories or comparing with previous clubs. When I leave clubs, I close the door, I close the chapter, I wish them well and say goodbye. I try to be happy. 

“What I can say is that, here, I have felt people with open arms. It’s not just a very calm and intelligent board and owners, they know what they want, they have big experience already and they’re very calm and pragmatic – I have good conditions to work. 

“Expectations are high, results are up and down and we are in a position where we don’t want to be. I have passion for my new work. I’m feeling really happy here.”

Manchester United Form: WWWWD

West Bromwich Albion 2-0 W, Crystal Palace 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 W, Zorya Luhansk 2-0 W, Everton 1-1 D

Manchester United have been playing some good football at this stage of the season, winning three Premier League matches in a row, for the first time since the start of the season, cutting the deficit of the teams above them. Arsenal, for instance, were eleven points clear of United, but now their cushion is just four points, showing that it is never too late to show some resurgence. United had been playing some good possession-based, attacking football for much of the season, but at times it did not go their way. Ten matches unbeaten and United have started something ahead of the busy festive period. Victories over Sunderland and Middlesbrough would send United into 2017 in high spirits and possibly higher in the league table.

Sunderland Form: WLLWL

Watford 1-0 W, Chesea 1-0 L, Swansea City 3-0 L, Leicester 2-1 W, Liverpool 2-0 L

Sunderland did not start very well this season under the guidance of David Moyes, earning 14 points in the 17 matches already played this season. Sitting at the top of the bottom three in the relegation positions, Sunderland needs to make things work in order to survive this season, which would be a crying shame if they did. For the past few seasons, Sunderland had sat in relegation positions for much of the seasons, saving themselves before the end of the season comes, defying relegation despite playing poor football for the majority of the season. Many will be hoping that David Moyes can do the Premier League a favour and take Sunderland back to the league they belong in – the Championship.

Manchester United Top Scorers:

16 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 5 – Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, 4 – Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, 3 – Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, 2 – Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 1 – Michael Carrick, Own Goal, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling

Sunderland Top Scorers:

8 – Jermain Defoe, 3 – Victor Anichebe, Patrick van Aanholt, 2 – Patrick McNair, 1 – Adnan Januzaj

Manchester United Squad;

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone

Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe

Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

Injuries and Suspensions: Luke Shaw (knock)

Sunderland Squad:

Manager: David Moyes

Goalkeepers: Vito Mannone, Mika, Jordan Pickford, Max Stryjek

Defenders: Billy Jones, Patrick van Aanholt, Jason Denayer, Papy Djilobodji, John O’Shea, Paddy McNair, Javier Manquillo, Donald Love, Lamine Koné, Tom Beadling, Thomas Robson, Michael Ledger, Josh Robson

Midfielders: Lee Cattermole, Sebastian Larsson, Jack Rodwell, Wahbi Khazri, Duncan Watmore, Didier N’Dong, Steven Pienaar, Ethan Robson, Jan Kirchhoff, Rees Greenwood, George Honeyman, Adnan Januzaj, Lynden Gooch

Forwards: Fabio Borini, Jermain Defoe, Victor Anichebe, Joel Asoro, Josh Maja

Injuries and Suspensions: Billy Jones (hip), Jan Kirchhoff (knee), Javier Manquillo (knock), Steven Pienaar (calf), Duncan Watmore (ACL), Lynden Gooch (ankle), Paddy McNair (ACL), Lee Cattermole (hip), Jack Rodwell (hamstring)

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 3-0 Sunderland

Report: Nicky Butt’s U23’s concede twice to lose to Sunderland

Manchester United U23’s faced Sunderland in the Premier League 2 on Monday as they began life without Warren Joyce as manager. With United still to name a permanent U23 manager, Nicky Butt took on the role of caretaker manager. United hadn’t played a competitive game at this level since a 1-1 draw against Spurs on October 28th and were looking for all three points against a Sunderland side who had lost their last two games. United’s youngsters were up against an experienced Sunderland team which included first team players Sebastian Larsson and Jan Kirchoff.

United began the game brightly in extremely windy conditions as they saw most of the ball in the opening stages with Willock prominent as he carried the ball forward on a number of occasions.  There was little by way of chances early on however as both teams misplaced a number of passes as they looked to come to terms with the conditions. The first real shot of the game came from Sunderland’s Larsson in the 13th minute but his powerful shot from the edge of the area flew over the bar.

Sunderland went close to taking the lead in the 17th minute as Gooch spun on the edge of the box and fired a low shot across goal which flew narrowly wide of the post. United struggled to build any momentum as Sunderland were quick into the tackles in midfield and were a bit overly aggressive on a couple of occasions with Robson booked for a foul on Harrop and Larsson lucky not to be booked for a foul on McTominay. As United played on for  few minutes with 10 men they had the best chance of the game as Harrop’s pass was deflected to Poole who beat the defender but saw his shot from 8 yards beaten away by the goalkeeper in the 30th minute.

Sean Goss was the brightest player on the pitch in the first half as he displayed his passing range spraying 40 and 50 yard passes around the pitch in spite of the conditions. Sunderland took the lead in the 43rd minute as Poole’s poor clearance went straight to Larsson on the edge of the box and his weak shot looked like it would be comfortably dealt with by O’Hara before it deflected off Tuanzebe and into the net. The sides went in at half time with Sunderland leading 1-0.

United began the 2nd half on top as they upped the tempo of the game and won a number of free kicks around the Sunderland area but struggled to create any chances. Sean Goss continued to impress in the 2nd half and saw a 30 yard free kick blocked by the wall after he had been brought down by Kirchoff. In the 60th minute Sunderland made it 2-0 with their first attack of the 2nd half as Kirchoff won the ball in midfield and found Honeyman with a through ball, Honeyman then pulled the ball back to the edge of the box for Kirchoff to finish powerfully.

Sunderland went close to making it 3-0 in the 68th minute as Gooch smashed a powerful shot towards goal from 25 yards out but O’Hara did very well to push the ball wide for a corner. It was all Sunderland for 15 minutes following the 2nd goal as United looked to have given up and struggled to keep any possession as Sunderland attacked at will. United created a good chance in the 77th minute as McTominay chested the ball down to Redmond on the edge of the box but his half volley flew over the bar.

United should have had a penalty in the 88th minute as Harrop’s through ball found Redmond who was brought down in the area but the referee waved away United’s protests and gave a corner instead. United went close to scoring a consolation goal twice in injury time as Mitchell fired over from outside the box before Harrop saw a powerful strike beaten away by the goalkeeper. The game finished 2-0 with Sunderland deserved winners after a poor display from United.

Goals: Tuanzebe o.g. 43′, Kirchoff 60′

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

Substitutes Not Used: Moutha-Sebtaoui, Doughty

CONFIRMED: Williams, Tuanzebe, Goss and McTominay start against Sunderland

Manchester United U23’s face Sunderland in the Premier League 2 at Leigh Sports Village this evening, their first match under Nicky Butt after Warren Joyce left the club to manager Wigan Athletic over the past few weeks. United drew their last U23’s match 1-1 away to Tottenham Hotspur and are looking for a win this evening, hopefully to propel them into the top five with a chance of taking on their rivals and retaining their league title this season, which seems unlikely unless additions are made to strengthen the attack, being that United don’t have an out-and-out striker at this level. Here are the starting XI and list of substitutes for both team this evening. Come on UNITED!

Manchester United:

O’Hara;

Williams, Tuanzebe, Poole, El Fitouri;

Goss, Kehinde;

Willock, McTominay, Harrop;

Redmond

Substitutes:

Moutha-Sebtaoui, Scott, Doughty, Mitchell, Olosunde

Sunderland:

Domnigues;

J. Robson, Ledger, Brady, T. Robson;

Kirchoff, E. Robson;

Larsson, Honeyman, Greenwood;

Gooch

Substitutes:

Maja, Stryjek, Asoro, Casey, Molyneux

Preview: Nicky Butt’s U23’s out to impress against Sunderland?

Leigh Sports Village, Leigh

Premier League 2

Monday 21st November 2016, KO 19:00 [Live on MUTV]

Manchester United U23’s entertain Sunderland in the Premier League 2 at Leigh Sports Village on Monday night, the first match after Warren Joyce left the club to manager Wigan Athletic. United last played just over three weeks ago with a 1-1 draw away to Tottenham Hotspur, which saw United’s U23’s fifth-placed in the Premier League 2, seven points adrift of leaders Manchester City. United have their problems this season, which seems to stem from the fact they have no main striker, with James Wilson leaving on season-long loan, only to return injured and out for the remainder of the season, Will Keane sold to Hull City and James Weir left for the same club. It has left United a little short of players at this level and no first team players filling in the void, which is understandable. United will need to find a resolution to sort out the problems, or there is a chance they will not even be able to retain their title this season, which has been the case for the past two seasons.

Nicky Butt, United’s head of Academy will stand in for the U23’s on match days, leading them whilst the club are looking for a successor to Joyce and Tommy Martin will guide the players through training during the rest of the week, which is something that will have to work for the foreseeable future. In January though, United do need to be looking for players to strengthen the U23 squad, whether that is promoting from the youth ranks, or bringing players to the club during the transfer window, there does need to be a solution. The U18’s are firing on all cylinders this season, drawing 3-3 with Liverpool away from home at the weekend, which is a good result after losing 2-1 at home to the same club earlier this season. The likes of Callum Gribbin, who has recently returned from injury for the U18’s could be a solution for the U23’s, who are looking for some creativity in the squad, as well as an outlet to score goals, which seems to be the main problem.

Manchester United U23 Squad:

Manager: Nicky Butt

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone, Kieran O’Hara

Defenders: Matthew Olosunde, Axel Tuanzebe, Ro-Shaun Williams, Regan Poole, Charlie Scott, Sadiq El Fitouri, Joe Riley

Midfielders: Scott McTominay, Tosin Kehinde, Josh Harrop, Sean Goss, Devonte Redmond, Matty Willock

Forwards: Demitri Mitchell, Josh Doughty

Sunderland U23 Squad:

Manager: Andy Welsh

Goalkeepers: James Talbot, Max Stryjek

Defenders: Dan Casey, Denver Hume, George Brady, Josh Robson, Michael Ledger, Tom Beadling, Tom Robson

Midfielders: Dan Pybus, Dan Wright, Ethan Robson, George Honeyman, Jordan Blinco, Luke Molyneux

Forwards: Andrew Nelson, Carl Lawson, Jean Yves Poame, Rees Greenwood

Manchester United U23 Top Scorers:

2 – Josh Harrop, Scott McTominay, 1 – Own Goal, Demetri Mitchell, Matthew Olosunde, Joe Riley, RoShaun Williams, Matty Willock

Sunderland U23 Top Scorers:

4 – George Honeyman, 2 – Ellion Embleton, Josh Maja, 1 – Joel Asoro, Tom Beadling, George Brady, Rees Greenwood, Donald Love, Ethan Robson, Daniel Wright

Manchester United U23 Form:- DWDLW

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 D, Arsenal 1-0 W, Liverpool 1-1 D, Everton 2-0 L, Derby County 3-2 W

Sunderland U23 Form:- WWLDD

Benfica 1-0 W, Blackburn Rovers 1-0 W, Arsenal 4-0 L, Reading 1-1 D, Derby County 2-2 D

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 1-0 Sunderland

copyright: JW