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Report: Manchester City 1-1 Manchester United – Premier League 2 2016/17

Manchester United’s U23 side faced Manchester City in the Premier League 2 at the Etihad on Friday night looking to get back to winning ways after a draw and a loss in their last two games. Going into the game City were two points ahead of United in the table. United made two changes to the side which drew with Chelsea with Kieran O’Hara replacing Sam Johnstone in goal and Charlie Scott replacing James Weir in midfield. There were also places on the bench for U18 players Ilias Moutha-Sebtaoui, Ethan Hamilton, Max Dunne and D.J. Buffonge alongside Joshua Doughty.

The game began in a scrappy manner as both teams launching into challenges and giving away a number of free kicks in the opening stages. The first chance of the game fell to City in the seventh minute as Poole’s sliced clearance left Kongolo one-on-one with O’Hara but he fired high over the bar when he looked certain to score. Nemecha then went close a couple of minutes later but his shot was blocked by Tuanzebe and went out for a corner. It was City applying all the pressure in the opening 15 minutes as United struggled to keep possession.

After soaking up a lot of pressure United took the lead in the 25th minute as Willock picked up the ball outside the box and beat a couple of challenges before finishing well with his left foot. United’s tactical change of switching Willock and McTominay was working well as Willock went close again a few minutes later but his shot was lacking power and rolled wide. City’s Nemecha was causing problems for United whenever he got the ball and drew a foul from Poole in the 40th minute and from the resulting free kick City went close twice but United got bodies in the way of both efforts in a packed penalty area. United went in at half time leading 1-0.

The first chance of the second half fell to City as Dilrosun played a one-two with Diaz and fired a powerful shot from outside the box but his effort flew well wide. Diaz was causing United problems when he ran with the ball and won a free kick in a dangerous area in the 54th minute but his effort from the free kick was poor. United went close to extending their lead in the 59th minute as Tuanzebe intercepted on the edge of his own box and brought the ball forward before finding Mitchell who cut inside a defender and curled a shot towards the bottom corner but City’s goalkeeper did well to push the ball away and Harrop’s follow-up was blocked.

City drew level in the 63rd minute as Diaz picked up a loose ball on the right hand side and beat a challenge before curling a brilliant effort past O’Hara to make it 1-1. United responded to the goal by replacing the tiring Mitchell with Hamilton. A few minutes later United made another change with Scott being replaced by Buffonge who made his U23’s debut. United had a chance to retake the lead in the 72nd minute as Willock made another impressive run and found Harrop with a reverse pass but he took to long to get his shot away and the goalkeeper came out to smother the ball.

Dilrosun again tested O’Hara from long-range in the 75th minute before McTominay fired wide from long-range at the other end after good work down the left from Harrop and Hamilton to create the opportunity. City were putting a lot of pressure on in the closing stages and had a succession of corners without creating any clear-cut chances as United defended resolutely including an extremely impressive defensive header from El Fitouri to clear a dangerous cross. United made their final change in injury time as Max Dunne came on for his under 23s debut replacing Scott McTominay. There was one last chance for City to win the game in the 95th minute as a lucky bounce saw the ball fall to Diaz who was 1 on 1 with O’Hara but the keeper spread himself brilliantly to deny the Spaniard. The game finished 1-1 after some impressive defending from United.

Goals: Matty Willock 25′; Brahim Diaz 63′

Manchester United: O’Hara; El Fitouri, Poole, Tuanzebe, Riley; McTominay (Dunne 93′); Scott (Buffonge 69′), Redmond, Willock, Harrop; Mitchell (Hamilton 65′)

Substitutes Not Used: Moutha-Sebtaoui, Doughty

Bookings: Joe Riley 42′, Ethan Hamilton 81′

Starting XI: Manchester City v Manchester United – Premier League 2 2016/17

Manchester United face Manchester City in the Manchester derby at reserve level in the Premier League 2. Both teams meet at first team level less than 24 hours later at Old Trafford in the Premier League, meaning that this match will be goo to get everyone ready for the derby on Saturday afternoon. United was narrowly beaten in this fixture at the end of last season, a season where they retained the Barclays U21 Premier League trophy, something both teams will have their eye on this season. Warren Joyce has seen many changes in his side with players heading out on loan before the closure of the summer transfer window last week, with James Weir sold to Hull City, so he will be looking for a new captain at U23 level, with Sean Goss being considered for that role. United have played three matches in the Premier league 2 this season, winning one, losing one and drawing one. Joyce’s side will be looking to get back to winning ways against their local rivals.

Manchester United:

O’Hara;

El Fitouri, Tuanzebe, Poole, Riley;

McTominay; Redmond, Willock, Harrop; Mitchell

Scott, Willock, Redmond, Harrop;

Mitchell

Substitutes:

Moutha-Sebtaoui, Dunne, Hamilton, Buffonge, Doughty

Manchester City:

O’Brien;

Horsfield, Humphreys-Grant, Oliver, Wood;

Kongolo, Diallo, Fernandes;

Buckley-Ricketts, Nmecha, Dilrosun

Substitutes:

Duhaney, Grimshaw, Johansen, Davenport, Diaz

Preview: Manchester City v Manchester United – Premier League 2 2016/17

Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Premier League 2

Friday 9th September 2016, KO 19:00 [Live on MUTV]

Manchester United U23’s face Manchester City in the first Manchester derby of the Premier League 2 this season. Not even 24 hours before the two sides meet at senior level at Old Trafford, the youth, and future of both teams battle to find out who are the kings of Manchester. United have had a mixed start to the new season, beating Leicester City 1-0 at the start of the season, then falling to a 2-0 defeat away to Southampton, before drawing 1-1 against Chelsea just before the international break. United’s squad has changed considerably this summer with James Weir being sold to Hull City before the closure of the summer transfer window and Joel Castro Pereira and Dean Henderson being loaned out for the foreseeable future, along with Guillermo Varela, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Adnan Januzaj, Andreas Pereira and James Wilson, leaving United a little thin on the ground at this level.

Warren Joyce does not have an out-and-out striker in his ranks, with Weir used in that role, along with Demetri Mitchell. The U18 side has a lot of attacking talent, which could be plucked from that squad to bolster the U23’s this season, which is normally the case for those who have adapted well to the U18 group and need to be challenged to raise their game. This was the case with Marcus Rashford, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe over the past season or so, and could well be Joyce’s only option to add talent to his team. The match against City may come too early for Joyce and his coaching team to add talent to the squad, which was begging to be strengthened with all the players that have been sold and loaned out for the season, or part of it. Nicky Butt, the head of the Academy seems to be speaking about how well the changes he has made have been adopted, which would suggest that he knows that is going on more than we do, which is a great thing to see. Developing players at the highest level possible is what needs to be done, and seems to be the case here, this season at least.

Joyce could see some fringe players within the first team given options to get fit for the matches they may play this month with the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League starting with players like Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Michael Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin et al all looking to get fit and ready for when they are called upon. Failing this, Joyce has been shafted in a way and will make do with the hand he has been given, tinkering with his squad to find the right fit and the right mentality to get the better of te situation they are in and challenge with their rivals in order to retain their trophy for the third consecutive season. U23 manager Warren Joyce, speaking to the official Manchester United website, spoke about the predicament he finds himself in with his squad and what his options may be:

“A couple of the older Under-18 players have got injured. The Under-18s sometimes need bedding in and the new lads at that level have got to know how the club works, how we are going to play and adjusting to full-time training. It’s difficult for young players but those things probably compound our kind of selection problems.

“Our job is to develop players for the first team or move them on but we’ve been victims of our own success a little bit with a squad mainly made up of midfield players. We have Joe Riley at left-back but he was a right-winger and nearly everybody else is a central midfielder. There aren’t really many wide players, forwards, full-backs or left-sided players.”

Manchester United U23 Squad:

Manager: Warren Joyce

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

Manchester City U23 Squad:

Manager: Adrian Viveash

Goalkeepers: Ian Lawlor, Angus Gunn, Billy O’Brien, Daniel Grimshaw

Defenders: Pablo Maffeo, Tosin Adarabioyo, Charlie Oliver, Angeliño, Ellis Plummer, Cameron Humphreys, Demeaco Duhaney, Erik Sarmiento

Midfielders: Denzeil Boadu, Aaron Nemane, James Horsfield, Paolo Fernandes, Marcus Wood, Aleix García, Rodney Kongolo, Jacob Davenport, Javiraro Dilrosun

Forwards: Lukas Nmecha, Daniel Thompson, Thierry Ambrose, Issac Buckley-Ricketts,

Manchester United U23 Form:- DLWLLW

Chelsea 1-1 D, Southampton 1-0 L, Leicester City 1-0 W, Oldham Athletic 1-1 (3-4 penalties) L [F], Port Vale 4-2 L [F], Salford City 5-1 W [F]

Manchester City U23 Form:- WDWWDD

Reading 2-3 W, Arsenal 1-0 W, Derby County 3-2 W, Borussia Dortmund 5-0 W, Liverpool 3-0 W [F], AS Monaco 1-0 W [F]

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester City 1-1 Manchester United

Ratings: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea – Premier League 2 2016/17

Manchester United earned a 1-1 draw against Chelsea in the Premier League 2 at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday afternoon after Kyle Scott took the lead for the visitors at the death of the first half with a decent strike on goal, which beat Sam Johnstone. United goat an equaliser in the final five minutes of the match with Regan Poole putting a cross into the box towards the onrushing James Weir, only for Joseph Colley to put the ball into his own net. United did play a lot better than they did on Monday night away to Southampton, where they were beaten 2-0 with Warren Joyce calling some of his players deluded and questioned their ambition. United have plenty of talent at this level, but not having a true striker in the team could be something that costs them this season. Will Keane could be that player, but that all depends on what happens between now and the closure of the summer transfer window on Wednesday evening. Ethan Hamilton made his debut at U23 level, which could have been a good occasion for him. United had only just equalised, albeit through an own goal, but Hamilton rushed forwards in to the box looking for a second, but his attempt was thwarted. Joyce’s side now have a rest during the international break, with their next match played against Manchester City at the Etihad on Friday 9th September, just a day before both teams meet at first team level in the Premier League.

Goals: Joseph Colley OG 85′

Assists: Regan Poole 85″

Manchester United: Johnstone; El Fitouri, Tuanzebe, Poole, Riley; McTominay (Kehinde 35′); Weir, Redmond, Willock, Harrop (Hamilton 83′); Mitchell (Scott 77′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson, Doughty

Bookings: McTominay 22′

Manchester United

40 Sam Johnstone

Beaten at the death of the first half. Did not look comfortable at times. Maybe his mind is not on football at United?

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Ratings: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea – Premier League 2 2016/17

Did what was needed of him as a right-back; got forward and dug in at times. Not all that impressive. He has a good story, but not seeing much improvement from him, but time will tell.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Great defending from Tuanzebe. Cleared one off the line, nullified threats at times. Looked at the top of his game at this level.

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Regan Poole

Defensively, apart from conceding, the Welshman did well throughout the match. Chris Coleman will be watching him closely. Got the assist for United's equaliser after sending the ball up to Weir, with Colley finding his own net.

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Joe Riley

Played at left-back and did what he needed to do. Got forward, helped to defend and used his pace and skill to threaten going forward, helping United chase the game.

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39 Scott McTominay

Played well from the start of the match, did what he needed to do. Was booked for a foul on Solanke, which injured both players. His match ended ten minutes before the end of the first half.

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Ratings: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea – Premier League 2 2016/17

Will have a point to prove after his teams criticism from the manager. Played well with Harrop and Mitchell at times, and looked to direct his team to find Chelsea's weaknesses. May have scored the equaliser, if Colley did not score it for him, into his own net.

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Devonte Redmond

Did what he needed to do during the match. Got forward, dropped back when he needed to.

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Matty Willock

Played well in his midfield role. Not all that lively, but he did his bit.

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Ratings: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea – Premier League 2 2016/17

Got forward quite a lot, threatened at times. Seemed much brighter in the second half, looking to level the game.

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35 Demetri Mitchell

Looked lively, had a few chances in the first half. In the second half, broke forward and nearly scored the equaliser. Had to come off as he signalled to the bench that he could not continue.

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Substitutes

Tosin Kehinde

Replaced McTominay. Did what was expected of him. Helped the midfield attack and defend. Played well since he was introduced.

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Charlie Scott

Replaced Mitchell. Played well and did what was needed of him in his little time on the pitch.

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Ethan Hamilton

Replaced Harrop. Made his U23 debut. Rose to the occasion and tried to break through to score United's second goals, but was thwarted. Will give him plenty of confidence.

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Report: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea – Premier League 2 2016/17

Manchester United came back from a late Chelsea goal at the end of the first half, scored by Kyle Scott. Regan Poole sent a promising ball into the box towards James Weir, but Joseph Colley buried the ball into his own net whilst trying to clear the threat. United extend their unbeaten record at home and earn their plaudits for a better performance after their 2-0 capitulation away to Southampton nearly a week ago.

Warren Joyce made a few changes to his team following on from their 2-0 defeat to Southampton on Monday. Sam Johnstone replaced Dean Henderson and Demetri Mitchell replaced Tosin Kehinde. The defence was made up of Sadiq El Fitouri, Axel Tuanzebe, Regan Poole and Joe Riley, with Scott McTominay playing as the holding midfielder. James Weir returned to midfield, playing alongside Devonte Redmond, Matty Willock and Josh Harrop, with Mitchell leading the line. United looked more determined heading out to face Chelsea, days after Joyce called then deluded and questioned their ambition. United started well on the attack with Mitchell looking like the player that could do the business today. Josh Harrop got forward in the initial stages of the match, putting a good chance together for United.

Chelsea put it out for a corner, which failed to threaten the visitors. United look a little more resurgent in their attempts to impress their manager, who was less than impressed almost a week ago. Chelsea imposed on United’s defence, breaking through with Dominic Solanke, who was thwarted by Johnstone, who was on the ground and used his feet to clear the ball. United then cleared, albeit to a Chelsea player, which amounted to nothing damaging. Chelsea looked a little more organised heading into the tenth minute, but United still had that determined mind about them, which could carry them through to turn their criticism from Joyce into praise. Warren Joyce’s side are unbeaten in 20 home matches, their last home defeat was in January 2015, twelve of the unbeaten matches had been played at Leigh Sports Village.

Chelsea, on the attack, broke through United from the midfield and seemed threatening. Johnstone got to the ball to thwart their chances of scoring. United still playing well and having their fair share of attacking play so far in the match, which will impress the manager, but getting a goal will go a long way to impress Joyce, and head of the Academy, Nicky Butt who was watching in the crowd with John Murtough. Scott McTominay was shown United’s first yellow card for a foul on Solanke, which seemed to hurt McTominay too, with both players receiving treatment heading into the halfway point of the first half. After treatment to both players, play was a little disjointed but McTominay and Solanke seem to be struggling, with Chelsea replacing Solanke with Ugbo in the 30th minute and Joyce ordering Tosin Kehinde to warm up, in view of replacing the United midfielder.

Chelsea, immediately after the change had a chance on goal, which was deflected by a United player with Chelsea being given a corner, which was played short but Axel Tuanzebe closed down the visitors chance to break the deadlock, albeit a poor one. Scott, moments later shot on goal from distance, which was wide of the target. Ten minutes before the end of the half, United replaced McTominay with Kehinde, with Joyce looking to change things up after the player failed to recover from the knock he received during the foul he was yellow carded for. Chelsea again was testing United heading into the final few minutes of the half, threatening on goal, but Tuanzebe thwarted their attempts to break the deadlock. United need to turn up the pressure on the visitors, threatening to break the deadlock themselves.

Chelsea had another shot on goal in the 40th minute, which was again thwarted by Tuanzebe, who cleared the ball from the line. Chelsea, starting to take charge of the match were dangerous. United have a little work to put in to change the direction of play, which seemed to be all Chelsea heading into the end of the first half. With two minutes remaining in the first half, Mitchell got forward and threatened, trying to hold off Chelsea, but his attempts to score just did not work. Chelsea won a corner, which was too high to threaten United, with Tuanzebe clearing, Chelsea winning possession further up the field. Four minutes were added at the end of the first half, with Chelsea taking the lead a minute in through Scott. Chelsea was 1-0 up at the end of the first half. United had some work to do in the second half in order to impress the manager.

United started the second half brightly, getting forward at times, but still not threatening to level the scoreline. Harrop looked to be one of the players that wanted to level the match, playing strongly on the left-wing, letting the ball into Chelsea’s final third and trying to earn something from the match. He squared the ball to Kehinde, who only had the option to pass back, in order to keep possession. The bass then found its was to Weir, who was flagged offside, heading into an open goal, where his shot went over the crossbar, much to his blushes. United looked like they wanted something from the match, but proving that they could get something was what Joyce wanted to see. Chelsea then went into a resurgent period, looking for their second, but United kept them at bay, for now.

Axel Tuanzebe is looking like the best player on the pitch for United, doing all be can to thwart Chelsea from doing any more damage. Perhaps Jose Mourinho is watching and rubbing his hands with glee. He rates the player, as do many and he could well see his chance in the first tea, this season, being that United are challenging in three competitions next month. Just after the hour, Mitchell and Weir got forward, with the former threatening Chelsea. He shot towards goal, the keeper parried then got the grasp of the ball again. Close for United, who now seem to be banging on the door. Josh Harrop, seconds later challenged Chelsea, got his shot on target, which was pushed clear by the keeper, with United winning a corner, which came to nothing. United seemed to be back in the game and searching for that equaliser.

United had a great spell half way through the second half, taking the game to Chelsea, attacking well, but with the visiting team parking the bus, space was a problem for United, who were searching for that equaliser, banging on the door and not giving up. Chelsea was getting forward, but not in numbers as it seemed they did not want to get caught on the break. United could have this in the bag with a credible chance on goal, something to test the keeper. United made their second change of the match with Mitchell coming off for Charlie Scott. United now need to break Chelsea down without the threat of pace from Mitchell, which may be much harder for them. This could be United’s first defeat in a home league match at this level since early 2015, since then, they have scored 47 home goals, conceding just ten.

United made their third change in the final ten minutes of the match with Ethan Hamilton making his U23’s debut, replacing Harrop. United had a bright bit of play, attacking Chelsea and looking for that equaliser, which seemed like it was never coming. Regan Poole crossed the ball into the area, to the waiting Weir with Chelsea scoring the goal for United. United was back in the game. Hamilton tried to advance into the box with the ball, with United looking for their second, but he was powered out by the visitors. United looked dangerous but seem to be content with the fact they have levelled the match. United ensured that a defeat was not on the card, maintaining their home record at this level. United now have a break before facing Manchester City at the Etihad on Friday 9th September, the day before the two sides go head-to-head in the Premier League.

Goals: Joseph Colley OG 85′

Assists: Regan Poole 85″

Manchester United: Johnstone; El Fitouri, Tuanzebe, Poole, Riley; McTominay (Kehinde 35′); Weir, Redmond, Willock, Harrop (Hamilton 83′); Mitchell (Scott 77′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson, Doughty

Bookings: McTominay 22′

Starting XI: Manchester United v Chelsea – Premier League 2 2016/17

Manchester United U23’s face Chelsea in the Premier League 2 at Leigh Sports Village this afternoon. Warren Joyce’s side will be looking to get back to winning ways after their 2-0 away defeat to Southampton on Monday evening. United, the current holders of the last Barclays U21 Premier League trophy have some problems to get over in order to rise from the poor form. Joyce called his players ‘deluded’ with his player’s desire and ambition also questioned after Monday’s defeat on the South Coast, in which United played their third competitive match of the season without a striker, which is something that cannot go on. Chelsea will be a tough match for United, one that the home side need to pull together and ensure they get a result, or be left wondering what will be this season, as they head into the international break. Here are the starting XI’s and list of substitutes for both teams this afternoon.

Manchester United:

Johnstone;

El Fitouri, Tuanzebe, Poole, Riley;

McTominay;

Weir, Redmond, Willock, Harrop;

Mitchell

Substitutes:

Henderson, Kehinde, Scott, Doughty, Hamilton

Chelsea:

Collins;

Colley, Chalobah, Tomori;

Sterling, Quintero, Scott, Dasilva;

Mount, Colkett;

Solanke

Substitutes:

Christie-Davies, Thompson, Ugbo, Wakefield, Ali

Preview: Manchester United v Chelsea – Premier League 2 2016/17

Leigh Sports Village, Leigh

Premier League 2

Sunday 28th August 2016, KO 13:05 [Live on MUTV]

Manchester United U23’s face Chelsea at Leigh Sports Village in the Premier League 2 on Sunday afternoon. United have played twice in the league this season, beating Leicester City 1-0 and losing 2-0 to Southampton. Warren Joyce’s side will need to get sorted quickly to salvage their season at the earliest opportunity. Chelsea will be a tough match for Joyce’s side as they are unbeaten this season, drawing with Sunderland 1-1 in their first match and beating Liverpool 4-1 in their second. United will need to find some organisation if they are to get anything out of this match. One defeat can turn into two and before you know it, the U23’s could capitulate, much like the U18’s did last season – losing twelve league matches on the bounce. Warren Joyce was not all that impressed with his squad after Monday’s defeat and made his views known to the media, and presumably, the players would have received a bigger brunt of his annoyance. Speaking after Monday’s 2-0 defeat to Southampton at St Mary’s, Joyce said:

“I certainly thought we didn’t look like we had a method to our play, with and without the ball. We looked like a group of individuals just thrown together, but that can be too easy, because you can still have a desire and still have a passion to play for Manchester United.

“It’s not the first time that I’ve actually said to this group straight after the game ‘You’re actually embarrassed – the way we’ve played,’ it’s probably the third time in the pre-season games. 

“So it’s a situation where it’s not an automatic thing at this place that players just go on and be successful, as they have been in the last few years, where if they’re not good enough to play for Manchester United they drift into leagues and have successful careers.

“This group are almost deluded really, as to where they’re at. And there is certainly a lot of hard work to be put in during the coming season to keep our head above water, really.”

United’s U23’s are a team without much guidance, on the pitch at least. Not having a true striker is only the start of their problems. In order to learn something, you need to be able to learn from someone by playing alongside them. United are currently not using any overage players or even players that would fit the age group, of which United have many within the first team. Jesse Lingard might be a contender on Sunday if he is not involved with the first team against Hull on Sunday as he has just returned to training from an injury. Bastian Schweinsteiger could also play a part in teaching the youth something, which would give him something to work for and the chance may well earn him a place in Mourinho’s squad this season, despite what Mourinho said in his press conference, albeit unlikely. Joyce needs some experience in his side, that would be key for him, and a striker would be great, although Will Keane, who doesn’t seem to have got himself a loan move sorted, may well return to the reserves, solving their striker problems, which would be beneficial, more beneficial in fact instead of playing James Weir or Josh Harrop out of position.

Manchester United U23 Squad:

Manager: Warren Joyce

Goalkeepers: Joel Castro Pereira, Dean Henderson, Kieran O’Hara

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

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

Forwards: Demitri Mitchell, Josh Doughty

Chelsea U23 Squad:

Manager: Adrian Viveash

Goalkeepers: Bradley Collins

Defenders: Fikayo Tomori, Fankaty Dabo, Jake Clarke-Salter, Dion Conroy, Ali Suljić, Jay Dasilva

Midfielders: Kyle Scott, Isaac Christie-Davies, Ruben Sammut, Mukhtar Ali, Tika Musonda, Charlie Colkett, Charlie Wakefield, Miro Muheim, Josimar Quintero

Forwards: Islam Feruz

Manchester United U23 Form:- LWLLWW

Southampton 2-0 L, Leicester City 1-0 W, Oldham Athletic 1-1 (3-4 penalties) L [F], Port Vale 4-2 L [F], Salford City 5-1 W [F], Altrincham 2-1 W [F]

Chelsea U23 Form:- WDWWDD

Liverpool 4-1 W, Sunderland 1-1 D, West Ham United 3-0 W [F], Vitesse 3-2 W [F], Reims 1-1 D [F], RC Lens 0-0 D [F]

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 1-0 Chelsea

Bastian Schweinsteiger could help Warren Joyce by playing in the Premier League 2 this season

Manchester United and Bastian Schweinsteiger continue to rumble on through the media, with the player making a statement via his Twitter and Facebook profiles earlier on Wednesday stating that the Old Trafford club would be the last European club he played for, which then makes you wonder whether the United States of America or China would be his next destination. It is clear that the German veteran midfielder does not want to leave the club he signed for little over a year ago, leaving Bayern Munich, a club he had played for and loved for most of his career. United manager Jose Mourinho has told the player he is not in his plans, and the club seems to be finding it hard to get rid of the player and his wage bill. With that not happening, perhaps Schweinsteiger can help United in another area? He clearly loves the club, which can be seen from the statement he made on Wednesday, saying:

“MUFC will be my last club in Europe. I respect other clubs, but Manchester United was the only one which could make me leave FC Bayern München. I will be ready if the team needs me. This is all I can say about the current situation. I want to thank the fans for the amazing support over the recent weeks.”

Warren Joyce has started his Premier League 2 season with the now U23’s in a bit of a dilemma. He does not have a true striker, with James Wilson on his way to Derby County, Will Keane looking for a new club (whether on loan or permanently) and Marcus Rashford part of the first team, which does not help Joyce. The U23’s also do not see to have much experience, and in order to teach players, the experience is key. United have a lot of talent in their U18 and U23 squads, bit with players such as Jesse Lingard now forming a career in the first team, Adnan Januzaj on loan at Sunderland, Andreas Pereira looking for a loan spell and others such as Joe Rothwell and Tyler Blackett leaving the club for football elsewhere, experience is another loss for Warren Joyce. Bastian Schweinsteiger has been training with the U23 squad so far this season after finding himself surplus to requirements within the first team, playing for the U23’s would be beneficial for the player and the squad.

The Premier League 2 rules state that one overage goalkeeper and three overage outfield players can be part of each match squad, which is something that happened last season, and the ones before that. In the run-up to the closure of the summer transfer window in a week’s time, it is understandable that the players on the fringes of the first team had not been playing, as their fitness is something that could stop them signing for a new club this summer, whether on loan or permanently. After the closure of the summer transfer window, Joyce, and his U23 squad may see that the likes of Schweinsteiger, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo among others, may be able to maintain their match fitness by playing U23 football, which will keep them fresh and be able to show the manager what they can do, in order to win back their place, which is something the German seems intent on doing. He did this at Bayern Munich early into his career, and he feels he could do the same again.

It is also understandable as to why Mourinho has told the German that he is not in his plans, he has brought in Paul Pogba and intends to keep Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Carrick in the squad, which gives Schweinsteiger little option other than to be a player sitting on the bench, or even in the stands each matchday. That would be a waste of a player, but it seems to be the option he currently has, which makes playing for Warren Joyce’s side as an overage player a great option. He has the chance to prove his fitness, and with that, show the Portuguese manager what he can do, which could get him back into the pecking order, however unlikely it may seem. At the same time, those playing alongside him can learn from the German, who in his career has won eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB-Pokal’s, two DFB-Ligapokal’s, two DFL-Supercup’s, one UEFA Champions League trophy, one UEFA Supercup a FIFA Club World Cup and a FIFA World Cup with Germany in 2014, which makes him a great player to learn from. Imagine how the likes of Matthew Willock, Josh Harrop, James Weir, Axel Tuanzebe, among a few, would feel being able to learn from Schweinsteiger this season, if the player wants to do that, which may well be the question.

Rise To Fame: Regan Poole; compared to Rio Ferdinand, this Welshman could make the grade

Manchester United made a move for Welsh defender Regan Poole towards the end of the 2015 summer transfer window, with the player waiting for the move to happen. He eventually moved from Newport County, which left his international clearance, before he was eligible to play for his new club, competitively at least. During his time at the club awaiting clearance to play, it was a positive for the then 17-year-old as it gave him time, out of the limelight, to settle in to his new club – completely different from his former club. Poole used to play for Cardiff City, but left for Newport to rebuild his career, coming on a long way, also becoming the youngest player to represent County in a League Two fixture against Shrewsbury Town – aged 16 years and 94 days. Poole spoke to the official Manchester United website after his first year at United, speaking about his time at his former club, his time on trial at United, playing the waiting game before he made his debut, his best performance last season, winning the Barclays U21 Premier League title and living in digs away from home. Poole said:

“We had a lot of injuries in defence. I’d been on the bench before but my debut came in an away game at Shrewsbury, who were high in the table and got promoted that year I think. If it wasn’t for Newport, I wouldn’t be here now. I’ve got a lot to thank them for.

“Justin Edinburgh [the former Tottenham defender] was the manager and I still speak to him now. He’s a really nice guy and it was a massive decision to throw me in at Shrewsbury. We drew 0-0 so it was a good clean sheet for me. I loved every minute of it – the crowd was always unbelievable and to be part of a promotion push at 16 was great.

“I came on trial for a week with the Under-21s and, after going back to Newport, I also had trials with Liverpool and Fulham. It was coming to the end of the transfer window and, although I could have stayed there, I felt it was time to move.

“It was hard on trial and I wasn’t sure I’d be coming back but Warren [Joyce] came to watch me a few times in Newport’s first team and he must have seen enough of me to make the decision before the end of the window.

“For me to come to United was massive and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I was a bit scared when I first joined as I’d always lived at home – when I played for Newport I travelled for half an hour in the car. The day before the deadline, finding out I was moving to Manchester on my own was a bit daunting but I couldn’t let the opportunity slide so I cam here to sign the papers and it was crazy.”

Playing the waiting game to make his first competitive appearance for his new club was frustrating for the 17-year-old. The player was subject to international clearance being that he came from another association, which when you think about it, Newport is less than 200 miles from Manchester, but it is in a different country – Wales. Poole trained with Warren Joyce’s U21 side, which helped him adapt to his new club and what is expected of the players. Poole missed his time to play in the FA Youth Cup with the U18 side, an age group he was eligible to play in at the time. Speaking of playing the waiting game, Poole said:

“It was a frustrating time really but I didn’t think I’d be training with the Under-21s when I first joined, never mind the first team,” he said. “I thought I’d be going with the Under-18s because I was eligible for them so it was a bonus. It was six months when I was expecting two months at the most and then three more and, when I got to three months, I felt ready. I ended up having to wait another three months and it did seem to go on and on.

“But I actually didn’t miss that many games, which was a good thing, and I’d been training with the first team. It was hard, though, as I was not expecting to be sidelined for six months but it helped me settle in a way. I was able to meet people and it gave me time to find my feet. They’re a great bunch of lads and even with the first team, I was surprised at how normal people like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Wayne Rooney were. They speak to you as if you’re their friend and it’s clear it’s a great family club. I’d settled in okay three months down the line so the last bit was the hardest.”

Poole ended up making nine appearances for the U21’s last season, two of those from the bench. He also managed to score three goals, which helped his side in the Barclays U21 Premier League for the final time. The league was being renamed and restructured along with the Premier League, naming the new league as the Premier League 2, raising the age from U21 to U23, still allowing three overage outfield players and one overage goalkeeper to play in each match. Poole’s debut came for United in a behind-closed-doors fixture against Everton, then he played in the Manchester derby, which he felt was his best performance for his new club. The Welshman won the U21 league for his club, also making his full debut for Louis van Gaal’s first team, albeit a cameo performance. Poole said:

“My best performance was in the City game. Because I’d missed so much of the season to be thrown in as a central midfielder was obviously a big shock but it suited me down to the ground. I made a block in the last-minute that helped save the three points for us.

“It was an incredible experience. I was on the bench before then in the away match against Midtjylland and then at Shrewsbury in the FA Cup. It would have been nice to make my debut against Shrewsbury again! For me to make my debut for Manchester United, though, is just incredible. It’s not a bad achievement at 17!” 

Poole turned 18 in June this year and is still dealing with living away from his family. The 18-year-old is thankful for the support of his family, which has helped him to make his mark at United and carve his future into the team, which will be led into another new era by Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho. Poole will not be restricted this season, being able to play from the off, and that he has done. United’s U23 side have played twice in the Premier League 2 this season, beating Leicester City 1-0 and losing 2-0 to Southampton; of which Poole has started each match. Speaking about living in digs and being grateful for the support of his family, Poole said:

“I live in digs. They are really nice people. But I do miss my family a lot and, if I get a day off, I do go home. It’s a three-hour drive but can be a nice surprise for them so I head home as much as I can.”

Poole still has a long way to go at Manchester United, making just one first team appearance thus far, but his former coach feels that he is a player to make the mark at the club, comparing him to former United defender Rio Ferdinand, who signed for the club back in 2002 and was the most expensive defender at the time, since surpassed by Manchester City’s John Stones. Cardiff and Vale County Schoolboys coach, Matty Davies first saw the player at the age of 13, feeling that he could go ‘all the way’ in the game that he loved. Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Davies said:

“He is a smashing young man. He is as technically able as Rio Ferdinand. He has an eye for defence-splitting passes and is very comfortable on the ball, he has a little bit of everything. He can do a number of roles and he has got the hunger and desire to be better.” He started out in centre midfield and worked his way back. He can play in a number of positions. In terms of where he will end up, I haven’t got a crystal ball but he played at right-back for us as well. We used Gareth Bale as an example because he played a lot at left-back. Regan’s attitude is a bit similar to Ben Davies, who’s now at Tottenham. His attitude is spot on. He was the first in to training and the last to leave. He was like a sponge, always wanting to learn.”

Poole seems to be a player who could add a lot to the squad, should he make it that far at the club, being that the competition for places will get high with all the talent on offer at the AON Training Complex over the coming years. Poole can do a job in defence, as he has shown, but also in midfield, a role he played in last season, his debut season at Manchester United. The Welshman will have everything at his disposal to help him impress on his way to the top, which is where I can see him heading, whether at United, or another club. Poole is a Manchester United supporter, which always helps and it was clear that his dream was to play for the Old Trafford club, something he is doing now, so if he keeps trying, achieving his goals, the world could well be his oyster.

Ratings: Southampton 2-0 Manchester United – Premier League 2 2016/17

Manchester United’s U23’s had a trip down south to face Southampton and played at the home team’s main stadium – St Mary’s. The first half replicated the senior team fixture just gone as Southampton dominated the possession, unchallenged much by United until they got closer to goal, and they had some good chances to take the lead which wasn’t taken although they eventually got the goals they searched for. Unlike the first team, United didn’t get a goal before half-time and in fact didn’t get a goal at all as Southampton ultimately ran out 2-0 winners in a reverse of the scoreline   that the senior Reds had. United players were obviously receiving the ball, not many appeared to actually want it, and still without a natural centre-forward, they struggled to break through an organised Saints defence. Embarrassing and deluded were two words used to describe the United side by unhappy coach Warren Joyce in his post-match interview and on the showing it’s hard to disagree.

Manchester United

26 Dean Henderson

Two goals conceded was a harsh end to a decent display from the keeper. He made a fantastic save from a shot that was bound for the top corner but he was unable to do anything about the goals that went past him, especially the first which was deflected past him off of Joe Riley.

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Ratings: Southampton 2-0 Manchester United – Premier League 2 2016/17

A much better showing from El-Fitouri defensively at least, winning most if not all of his one-on-one duels. In possession, though, he always looked hurried and was unable to do anything of note going forwards.

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Regan Poole

Poole was much more comfortable defensively than he has been in previous games and he was good in making a number of important clearances both in the air and on the floor. He can be pleased with his own display today despite being part of a defence that conceded two goals.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

For the most part Tuanzebe had another good game, both on and off the ball, however, he'll be disappointed with his part in both of Southampton's goals where both of his only mistakes of the night were punished. An awkward header went straight to Southampton's Josh Sims who scored and he lost his man for the second goal from a corner after being blocked by another opposing player. He made a very important interception in the first half and a vital tackle to deny a certain goal in the second, although he lost his focus a bit towards the end of the game with several unneeded fouls as the game ran away from his side.

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Joe Riley

It was a difficult night for Riley as he was often under a lot of pressure when receiving the ball. He didn't get forward as much as usual and his general play suggested tiredness which is a rarity for him but he was decent on the ball when he did get it. He was an unfortunate victim of wrong place, wrong time when Southampton's first goal deflected in off of him from a shot that looked initially like a comfortable save for Dean Henderson.

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39 Scott McTominay

Playing in a more familiar position, sitting in front of the back four, McTominay was the pick of the United players on the night as he was impressive in his passing and in regaining possession. He made a great run from deep which ended with him setting up James Weir for a golden chance that, if taken, would've changed the game. As usual, he got stuck in and looked like one of the only players with any desire on the night.

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Ratings: Southampton 2-0 Manchester United – Premier League 2 2016/17

As always Josh Harrop was getting on the ball and looking to create, although there was not much in front of him, which led to him taking on some shots from distance himself, one of which stretched Southampton's keeper to tip wide. He was constantly dragging the team forward and taking responsibility in the match, always showing for the ball and displaying a hunger that most of his teammates didn't share on the night. Like Tuanzebe, he got quite petulant towards the end and got himself booked and that's something that he needs to stamp out of his game but he can take heart from his evening's work.

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Matty Willock

He was tidy in possession and made a few good runs forward with the ball although he drifted in and out of the game. He looked one of the more likely to create something and although not everything he attempted came off, he was persistent up until the last-minute. He looked leggy getting back at times as Southampton consistently got in behind the midfield and he'll be looking to improve upon this display on Sunday against Chelsea.

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Devonte Redmond

It is often said that Redmond needs to impose himself on matches more and this game was no different as he never really got going. With McTominay behind him, Redmond didn't appear to have much of an actual role in the side and would likely have been one of the player's manager Warren Joyce was referring to when he said after the match that they looked like a group of individuals thrown together with no plan on and off the ball. He was far too passive in possession and ineffective going both backwards and forwards.

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Tosin Kehinde

Again out wide, Kehinde was positive on the ball and clearly forward thinking. He was one of the players that struggled with not having a recognised striker ahead of him with him not playing many line-breaking passes. He and Harrop rotated effectively and often linked up to try to force openings which never manifested. He will be hoping for an opportunity in his favoured central spot and on the showing of those currently in his place, he may well get it soon.

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Ratings: Southampton 2-0 Manchester United – Premier League 2 2016/17

A bad day at the office for the captain. Nothing really came off for Weir as he spurned two great chances in both halves. One of which he got just inside the box unchallenged and skied way over and the second he dragged way wide from around six yards out. Although Tuanzebe lost his man for the corner that led to the second half, Weir tried, failed and should have done better in picking up the runner as he was pushed away with ease before seeing the header fly in.

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Substitutes

35 Demetri Mitchell

Replaced El-Fitouri. After his late winner last week, Mitchell came on with expectations of a big impact but he was limited in what he could do as he came on at left back. Still, he got forward a lot in the time that he had and constantly came for the ball, looking to make things happen when he did. He was booked for a late challenge at the very end as he was visibly frustrated and eager to make the difference. He continues, however, to look good whenever he comes on and a start can't be too far away for him.

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copyright: JW