Should Manchester United, Liverpool and the other clubs be punished for wanting a Super League?

The Super League was laughed out of football folklore before the first chapter had commenced, almost everyone connected with football despised the idea of the new competition. One could say it wasn’t even a competition as it was closed to 99% of other teams, but now that project is in tatters surely there should be ramifications.

The six clubs in the Premier League that wanted a breakaway were Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham. It is thought that Manchester United and Liverpool spearheaded the negotiations. These clubs represent the big six in English football, though not all this season have acted in that manner.

One has to wonder now with the Super League dead in the water only 3 days after being announced when the FA are going to step in? It doesn’t matter that the clubs have pulled out, that’s just one step back to normality. How about the fact that these clubs wanted and also signed for a breakaway to happen? According to Real Madrid president Florentino Perez this was a legally binding contract. Well Perez got a taste of his own medicine as these clubs have simply walked away, just as they had walked away from UEFA a few days ago.

So what should the FA do? Fines are really no good, that won’t punish the teams enough and the ideal scenario would be a points deduction. Now if you are a fan of any of the six clubs you could be angry about this, save that anger and remember all the protests against your own club at the beginning of the week. Ultimately this is about weeding out club owners who have very little care about the fans and the history of the game.

Each team should be deducted at least 10 points and of course that should mean the 12 teams involved. This is a time when the FA and UEFA need to flex their authority, they can’t be messed around like this.

For UEFA the Champions League resumes next week and how awkward does it feel and look that 3 of the four semi-finalists opted to leave this competition all behind this past weekend? Only PSG, and much to the surprise of the football world wanted no part in the Super League. The French champions will surely be pumped up now to win the competition.

Let’s wait and see what the FA do, that’s if they do anything, but they need to do the right thing, these clubs did wrong, and they need to be punished.

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Cracks in Chelsea’s foundations reappear after shocking West Brom defeat

Chelsea fans around the globe would have been having terrible flashbacks on Saturday afternoon as relegation threatened West Brom ran the Blues ragged at Stamford Bridge. To say it was an embarrassing afternoon in west London would be an understatement.

With Thiago Silva sent for an early shower after two yellow cards inside the first 30 minutes, Sam Allardyce’s side went on to thrash Thomas Tuchel’s 10 men. Matheus Pereira’s double fired the visitors into a 2-1 lead before the break, whilst a brace from Callum Robinson and a strike from Mbaye Diagne followed in the second half.

Perhaps under the reign of Lampard, the result would have been hard to fathom but still somewhat believable. Yet since Tuchel’s arrival in January, nobody would have seen the result coming by any stretch of the imagination. It’s certainly a wake-up call for the Blues, who were on a 14-game unbeaten streak.

Worryingly, however, some of the cracks that the German boss seemed to immediately paper over when he replaced Lampard at the helm reappeared, both on the pitch and in the aftermath.

Tuchel had made Chelsea defensively solid, a trait they lacked under Lampard. Yet they were torn apart by the Baggies, who had only scored 20 times in 29 league outings prior to their trip to Stamford Bridge. Of course, the red card shown to Silva played its part. However, attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech was sacrificed for centre-back Andreas Christensen to help Chelsea at the back almost immediately after the sending off.

One of the major tasks that faced the former Paris Saint-Germain boss when he arrived at the club was to get Timo Werner firing. But he has scored just one goal under Tuchel, and that was against Newcastle back in mid-February. Getting Kai Havertz back on form is also proving to be a difficult task.

Off the pitch, there are clearly rifts as well. Tammy Abraham hasn’t featured for the Blues since their 1-1 draw away to Southampton on February 20th. An apparent injury has played its part in that. However, Abraham has returned to training, but still can’t make it into Tuchel’s matchday squads, which has led to rumours of a potential falling out between the new gaffer and the 23-year-old.

That aside, news broke from The Telegraph on Sunday that Antonio Rüdiger, who was cast out by Lampard before being brought back into the fold by Tuchel, had been involved in a training ground bust-up with out-of-favour goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Tuchel confirmed that things ‘got heated’ between the pair after a reported late tackle on the goalkeeper from the centre-back and it is believed that Rüdiger was dismissed from the session due to his actions. After bringing the dressing room closer following similar situations under Lampard, this was the last thing Chelsea fans would have wanted to read in the Sunday papers as the race for a top four spot heats up.

In his first 14 games in charge, Tuchel turned around Chelsea’s season and made them much more favourable in the Premier League winner odds. However, he must now ensure that his side can bounce back from this and prove that the defeat against West Brom was a one-off freak result. The last thing he will want to do is miss out on the lucrative Champions League spots.

Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak: What does the Future hold for them at Liverpool?

Liverpool’s defensive issues have been well documented over the past few months. Shortly after Virgil van Dijk suffered a season-ending injury against Everton in October 2020, Jurgen Klopp also lost Joe Gomez and Joel Matip for the rest of the 2020-21 campaign. The German manager experimented with Fabinho and Jordan Henderson at the back, before the latter tore his groin.

With a lack of options, the Reds sealed a loan-to-buy deal for Ozan Kabak in January. His recent partnership with Nat Phillips has given Liverpool supporters optimism for the business end of the season. Few can argue that the pair aren’t doing a respectable job in the short term, but their long-term futures are up in the air. So, what will Klopp do with Phillips and Kabak?

The Most Unlikeliest of Partnerships

At the start of the campaign, Liverpool supporters would never have believed that a fringe squad player and a loan purchase from bottom-of-the-league Schalke would be keeping their season on track. Although the Reds have fallen well short in defending their title, a top-four finish isn’t out of the question. As of April 6th, Liverpool are 10/11 in football betting to finish in the top four this season. If the Reds hope to qualify for the 2021-22 Champions League through the Premier League, Kabak and Phillips may hold the key.

Prior to Kabak’s substitution against Arsenal in the Reds’ three-goal victory at the Emirates, he and Phillips had played together for 263 minutes. As a result, this made them the club’s longest-serving partnership this season. Liverpool’s unexpected central defensive pairing kept clean sheets in their first four games together against Sheffield United, RasenBallsport Leipzig, Wolves, and Arsenal.

The Reds Have Decisions to Make

There can be no doubts that Kabak and Phillips have brought some much-needed solidity to Liverpool’s season. However, things could have been very different for the Bolton-born defender. In the 2020 summer window, the Reds allowed Phillips to talk to Swansea ahead of a loan move, but the Swans instead opted to pursue other targets. The 24-year-old’s contract at Anfield doesn’t expire in 2021, and with Gomez, Matip, and Van Dijk set to return next season, Phillips may once again find his opportunities limited.

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Kabak, on the other hand, is playing for his Liverpool career. The Reds aren’t obliged to pay the £18 million fee to make the Turkish international’s loan move permanent. Despite impressing after quickly adapting to a new club, country, and league, Klopp’s team are in talks to sign Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig. Although the deal isn’t near completion, it raises question marks over Kabak’s future. Along with Gomez, Matip, and Van Dijk, do the Reds need both Kabak and Konate? That said, one thing is for sure; if the six-time Champions of Europe go for both, a repeat of this season’s crisis is avoidable.

Football is a Game of Opportunities

Few would have expected Liverpool to end the 2020-21 season with Kabak and Phillips in defence. While that’s not a reflection of their talents, it instead speaks volumes of the standards that supporters expect at Anfield. As a partnership, they may not take Liverpool to the title or a seventh Champions League triumph, but they have given hope to the Anfield faithful.

 

Premier League Game of the Week: Chelsea 2-5 West Bromwich Albion

Curse those international breaks, this is what Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was probably thinking when the final whistle sounded at Stamford Bridge this past weekend. But this was a game that looked over and out at least 20 minutes before the end.

West Bromwich Albion defeating Chelsea away from home was something, a shock, a surprise on a certain level. It can happen. But scoring 5 goals, that simply was not expected and the result was easily up there with Aston Villa putting 7 goals past Liverpool earlier in the season. It was mammoth and it had Tuchel fuming and Baggies manager Sam Allardyce laughing and grinning like a Cheshire cat. It was a small beautiful moment in a season, which for West Brom has looked desperate and toothless.

It’s always a surprise when one third of the game has gone without goals and then there were 7 but that was almost the case with this match and the goals didn’t arrive until the 27th minute and it would be predictably the home team that would open the scoring through Christian Pulisic. Marcos Alonso produced a near brilliant free kick that the keeper could not take hold of and Pulisic was in the right place at the right time to tap in from only a few yards out.

It is worth mentioning by this time that Thiago Silva of Chelsea had already been booked for holding, because just two minutes later he received his second booking and was sent off for a challenge that had actually happened after the ball was struck. The challenge looked nasty and was two footed but one could also believe that there was no malice intended, it didn’t matter though and Chelsea were now down to 10 men.

Everything was to change in injury time of the first half, something quite spectacular indeed, and it is this unpredictable nature of the Premier League which probably makes it the best competition in Europe- barring the fact of course that Manchester City are running away with the league.

West Brom’s Sam Johnstone looping pass found an unmarked Matheus Pereira who then looped the ball past Edouard Mendy in goal and on the 45th minute +1 it was 1-1. Pereira wasn’t finished yet though. There was chaos in the Chelsea defence as West Brom came forward again and despite there being 3 defenders in front of Pereira his shot still went past them and into the back of the net. Suddenly West Brom were heading into the break 2-1 up.

True you could argue that Chelsea had had the better chances of the first half but West Brom had not come here to defend and park the bus like many would have expected, and they remained a constant threat and had chances of their own. Even still Chelsea remained the favourites to go on and win the game despite being reduced to 10 men. That myth was busted within 20 minutes of the 2nd half re start.

There would be no 2-2 score line and then the inevitable Chelsea come back, West Brom firstly went 3-1 up and then 4-1 up. It felt like madness on paper but in reality was grounded in hard work and a desire to win a game that nobody thought would be possible for Allardyce’s side.

Callum Robinson slotted in a beautiful third and when Mbaye Diagne soon after scored a fourth goal for the Baggies, this was suddenly looking very easy for the away side who are in 19th place.

West Brom did show some vulnerabilities at the back, and this is why they could get relegated this season to let in Chelsea for 2-4 when the Blues easily picked them off and the goal was finished by the impressive Mason Mount from just a few yards out. Suddenly a threat from the home side was there, this is a game that Chelsea could possibly draw. But it was the away side that needed these points.

But as the time went on Chelsea were not able to find the chances in the final third to create much danger and then Robinson scored his 2nd of the game, perhaps the finest of the encounter with a beautiful little dip beating the keeper for an incredible 5-2 victory.

Chelsea lost their first game in over 2 months and Tuchel has faced his first taste of defeat in the Premier League. The result is a blow to the Blues top 4 chances too and they saw West Ham pass them for 4th place and the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham have edged nearer.

As for West Brom, well Sam Allardyce has never been relegated with his teams and perhaps the great escape is on. It would indeed be the greatest given how West Brom are in 19th with 21 points and are 8 points from safety with just 24 left to play.

Let’s take a look at the latest betting odds for relegation in the Premier League.

Sheffield United 1/500

West Bromwich Albion 1/25

Fulham 8/11

Newcastle 11/10

Burnley 16/1

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Premier League: Best 11 Players of Week 30

Chelsea losing 5-2 at home to West Bromwich Albion, let that sink in because it may have to do over the course of several weeks. This season in the Premier League has thrown out some very surprising results, and it is as if the league was giving a welcomed if not delayed response to the arrival Thomas Tuchel. The defeat was Tuchel’s first in charge of the Blues and it has come at a dreadful time for them.

Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-0 and perhaps Jurgen Klopp’s side are over their dismal form and they are just 2 points from the top 4 now. Both Manchester teams won with Manchester City beating Leicester and they are 14 points clear. Manchester United consolidated 2nd place and they will surely finish in the top 4 now and are 11 points clear of 5th.

Let’s look at the players who made a difference over this past weekend.

Goalkeeper: Alisson- Liverpool 7pts

Alisson will have been very happy to keep a clean sheet away to a quality side like Arsenal as Liverpool looked solid again to win the match 3-0. That was Alisson’s 7th clean sheet of the season so far and he had to make a few good saves early on as well and stayed very focused throughout the game.

Defender: Benjamin Mendy- Manchester City 9pts

It was the perfect weekend for Benjamin Mendy who kept a clean sheet as league leaders Manchester City impressively beat Leicester 2-0 away from home. The icing on the cake was that Mendy scored a goal- the opening goal just before the hour mark which set up the eventual win. That was Mendy’s 2nd goal of the season and his value is worth 6.5m.

Defender: Trent Alexander- Arnold- Liverpool 7pts

Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates for a fantastic win for the champions. Alexander-Arnold now has 8 clean sheets to his name for this season he also assisted in the clubs first goal of the game bringing his total to 36 points.

Defender: Ruben Dias- Manchester City 5pts

Another solid performance from one of the most impressive defenders in the Premier League this season. Dias was commanding and very confident on the ball even away to Leicester who are in 3rd place in the league. Dias now has 78 points so far and his value is 7.5m.

Defender: Andrew Robertson- Liverpool 5pts

Andrew Robertson looked back to his self assured best holding the back line particularly well and frustrating Arsenal as Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners. Robertson earned 5 points in the process for his clean sheet and now has a total of 43 points.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 6pts

Salah looked back and sharp especially in the 2nd half of the Arsenal goal and the player scored his 18th goal of the season as he put the Gunners to the sword. He looks set to finish the season strongly.

Midfielder: Diogo Jota- Liverpool 9pts

An absolutely brilliant weekend for Diogo Jota saw the Liverpool player come back from an injury lay off to start scoring the goals again and he scored 2 for Liverpool as they beat rivals Arsenal 3-0. Jota now has 8 goals for the Reds and considering his injuries this season he has had a very good campaign in his debut season for the Reds.

Midfielder: Nathan Redmond- Southampton 6pts

Nathan Redmond was involved in one of the best games of the weekend as Southampton came back against Burnley from two goals down to beat them 3-2. Redmond assisted in Danny Ings 2nd goal for the Saints and then grabbed the winner.

Midfielder: Jack Harrison- Leeds United 4pts

Jack Harrison scored a good goal to open the scoring for Leeds as they beat Sheffield United 2-1 at the weekend. That was Harrison’s seventh goal of the season and he now has 54 points.

Striker: Harry Kane- Tottenham 8pts

Harry Kane has had a fantastic season and the Tottenham striker was on hand to score 2 goals as they drew 2-2 with Newcastle at the weekend. Ultimately it was a disappointing result for Tottenham given that they were leading 2-1 but personally for Kane those 2 goals means he has 19 goals. Kane is the top scorer now in the Premier League.

Striker: Callum Robertson- West Bromwich Albion 8pts

In an incredible game not just for Callum Robertson but for 19th placed West Bromwich Albion who beat Chelsea- unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel 5-2 at Stamford Bridge. Robertson scored 2 goals and now has 4 goals for the season. His value is 5m.

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Man Utd: Three Brighton players to look out for on Sunday evening at Old Trafford

With both Chelsea and Leicester City dropping points in their respective fixtures following the international break, Manchester United have a huge chance of extending their gap from the two teams in the top four should they beat Graham Potter’s Brighton. The Seagulls have shown to play some good football from time to time this season, with the end product being the only thing missing.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should have majority of his squad available for the Sunday evening fixture, despite the likes of Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Phil Jones being unavailable due to injury. On the other hand, Brighton have quite a number of players that aren’t free for use themselves, as Adam Webster, Dan Burn, Percy Tau, Solomon March and Tariq Lamptey remain on the sidelines.

With no further ado, here are the three key individuals to keep a close eye out for..

Lewis Dunk

Regarded as one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League outside of the top-six sides, Lewis Dunk is quite the complete and dominant defender as far as they come, with his main strengths being his leadership skills, his aerial ability as well as his quality to effectively defend in one-on-one situations. Not only that, but he also just happens to be Brighton’s second top goal-scorer in the league along with Leandro Trossard with four goals, with three of them coming through as headers.

The 29-year-old’s remarkable form so far this season is the main reason to why he was linked with Arsenal and Chelsea during the transfer window, clearly showing how far he has come as a player and how closely he has been watched by the analysts and scouts as the top teams in English football. With his presence in the backline, United will find it difficult to create chances through set-pieces or crosses from the full-backs, as Brighton are coached intelligently on the defensive side of the game.

Neal Maupay

Currently the side’s top goal scorer with eight goals in the Premier League, Neal Maupay will be looking to overcome his record of ten league goals in what was his debut season in the top-tier of English football during the 2019/20 campaign. Given his pressing high up the pitch, intelligence and movement off the ball and his quick burst of pace whilst dribbling, the Frenchman has all the traits to a perfect number nine, but he sadly let’s himself down with his finishing and decision-making.

However, with United’s partnership of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof sitting at the half way line at Old Trafford, Maupay will surely find himself with a couple of opportunities on the counter-attack to cause some problems. Having already found himself on the scoresheet once against the Red Devils this season, he will be looking to do so again come Sunday evening, as he will be aiming to improve his record against the big teams in the league, in order for him to reach the next level.

Yves Bissouma

Every team needs a defensive-midfielder that is able to take up more than one role, with their main task being to protect the backline at all costs, followed by making the team tick from midfield to attack. This is what Brighton and Graham Potter have in central-midfielder Yves Bissouma, who has completed the most tackles (74), second most interceptions (47) and second most successful dribbles (34), predominantly proving how crucial and important he is to both club and manager.

As United have a tendency to play through the middle with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, Bissouma will have a monumental task of man-marking the latter, whilst also looking to help his side to progress the ball when they have the chance to counter-attack the hosts. And if he continues to show his consistency for the remainder of the campaign, it would not be a surprise to see him leaving in the summer window, as he remains as one of the most wanted players in the league.

3 key players who have reinvented Chelsea’s winning way under Thomas Tuchel

When Thomas Tuchel landed the Chelsea job at the end of January after Frank Lampard was sacked Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp mused that he has been given a gift, and Klopp was absolutely right.

The problem with that statement though was that Chelsea’s brilliant players- and they really do have plenty were not performing to their maximum best under Lampard. They simply could not be coached by him and he had to go.

Bringing in Tuchel was an ace move, the German had worked wonders at PSG and stream rolled their domestic success. He almost reached the top of the mountain last summer as he guided PSG to their first ever Champions League final, but ultimately they lost in a close final to Bayern Munich.

Even though there would be disappointment for Tuchel last year with being a runner-up in the Champions League and then being sacked from PSG, he did earn pedigree and he also earned respect. It is this respect which is now filtering through to the Chelsea stars, and it is obvious that Tuchel gained it as soon as he arrived at the club.

But which players have really picked up their game since he took to the Stamford Bridge dugout? It’s interesting that one player in Timo Werner, Tuchel’s German countryman continues to struggle and Werner only has 30 points so far for a striker and has scored just 5 goals.

Let’s take a look then at the best 3 Chelsea players who have really stepped up their game and made an impact under Tuchel already.

- Mason Mount was bubbling with form under Lampard but has exploded with Tuchel in charge. He is quick, confident on the ball and is scoring goals. Six months ago he may have not been on Gareth Southgate’s list for the Euro’s this summer, but he will be one of the first on it now. Mount is able to score goals in the important games.

-Mateo Kovacic has really benefitted from Tuchel’s tactical switch of playing 3 at the back and while the defender looked lost under Lampard at times he has come into his own. He reacted very well to Tuchel’s method of play, but Chelsea have a strong team and he will have to keep that form up.

-N’Golo Kante is in a long line of brilliant midfielders for Chelsea, from everyone from Michael Essien to Frank Lampard. Though unlike Lampard Kante’s forte is not about goals, instead he has been dominating the midfield and games and has looked like one of the shining stars of this Chelsea side.

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How a blank Gameweek 29 will affect your team!

The season is steady drawing to a close and for FPL addicts like us, it has been quite a ride and we have been rolled with it until now. Game week 29 is what we call a blank, meaning some teams will not be playing at all. There will only be a total of four matches, and eight teams in action.

If ever there was a time to think of drawing a joker, including a Ladbrokes promo code, now is the time because it may be a telling week going forward, especially if you fall in the trap of making one particular hasty decision.

A blank week just before a final stretch of eight game weeks is not the most ideal of positions because it forces you to make changes that may be irrevocable to your team or at the very least have consequences down the line. In the matches for the game week, Fulham take on a reeling Leeds team that will be eager to right their ship after a string of hard-to-digest losses.

Patrick Bamford will be the talk of the day, after picking up an injury early on in the last game. He is the third most owned player in FPL and is still uncertain for Friday’s game. Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier is hitting on some good form and a favourable run of games should see him continue to thrive. In Saturday, Brighton and Hove Albion face a scrappy Newcastle side that broke hearts last week by snatching a last-minute draw against Villa (Martinez owners felt this one). Dunk, Gross, and Maupay are the players to watch out for in Brighton, while Lascelles seems to be picking up a nice bit of form for Newcastle.

On Sunday, another London Derby will be in the works for Arsenal as they take on West Ham. Arsenal is looking resurgent and should be sky high in confidence after taking down Tottenham last week. Mikel Arteta was not clear on how long captain Aubameyang will be out due to disciplinary sanctions but Lacazette looked good enough for any Frontline, meanwhile, West Ham have been this season’s surprise team and will have Lingard back in the lineup after missing out last week against parent club Manchester United. Finally, Aston Villa will take on a Tottenham side that may be without the most owned player in FPL, Hueng Min Son. The Korean picked up a muscle injury against Arsenal and was force d to come off.

For most players, the maximum they have in the game week is five players. Playing against someone who is still diligent enough to have their Free Hit card will be plain old bad luck, but points will be hard to come by. With Bamford’s status unknown, it will be a gamble to use a free transfer or taking him off only to see him suit up. Unlike Bamford, Son can be weighed when Tottenham play in Europe on Thursday, even though that could still be misleading. The trap for this Gameweek will be to rush in and use a Wildcard chip, which could be a great way to get maximum points but then you are stuck with some head scratching lineup going down the stretch.

Five Bargains to shine in the final months of the Premier League season

With the Premier League set to enter its final two months, now is the perfect time to begin preparations for the all-important run-in. Ending the season with a flurry can be the difference between securing league victory or falling at the final hurdle.

Most fantasy football competitors are going to want to keep hold of their expensive, high-scoring stars. The key now is to find some bargain buys that can complement them with consistent point-scoring performances and the occasional stellar showing.

Below we have highlighted five players that could be in for a good end to the season.

Defender – Joachim Anderson – Fulham – 3.0m

There is no doubting that Fulham have endured a tough campaign, but they are certainly still fighting to stay in the division after an upturn in form.

One key element to this has been their recent battling qualities and new-found rigidity in defence. Scott Parker’s men are now priced at 9/5 with Betiton to go down. In fact, many popular new betting sites now make Sheffield United, West Brom and Newcastle more likely for the drop.

Crucial to this has been 24-year-old Norway defender Joachim Anderson and his partnership with Tosin Adaraybioyo. Fulham’s recent win over Liverpool at Anfield took their clean sheet tally to five in seven.

Goalkeeper – Dean Henderson – Manchester United – 7.0m

Manchester United continue to develop under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their recent win over champions-elect Manchester City proved. United have also looked much more solid at the back thanks to the impressive form of both left-back Luke Shaw and centre-back Harry Maguire.

Goalkeeper Dean Henderson is now set to get even more game-time due to David de Gea returning to Spain to be with his new-born child. Henderson took his opportunity with two clean sheets in his first two games. It means he could be a value pick to continue to chalk up more clean sheets heading into the final months.

There is nothing to say de Gea will get the shirt back upon his return and Henderson is also eyeing the number one spot for England ahead of this summer’s Euros.

Defender – Nelson Semedo – Wolves – 4m

Wolves have been inconsistent in the extreme this season as injury issues, formation changes and a questionable summer transfer policy all came to a head in 2020/21.

However, a recent return to their trusted 3-4-3 formation has helped them find their feet again. Nuno’s men now have a favourable run of fixtures against teams below them in the table and this could be a good time to look at their players.

Summer signing Nelson Semedo struggled with the pace of the league early on but looks to have settled down into the right wing-back role at Molineux. He is getting into more advanced positions and benefiting from the extra protection that playing with three centre-backs affords. More points are due to come his way.

Midfielder – Pedro Neto – Wolves – 6.5m

The same reason that Semedo has been included means there is also an argument for finding a space for Portuguese wonderkid Pedro Neto.

The Wolverhampton winger is flourishing in his new role out on the right where he can cut in-field and shoot with his left. However, recent games have also seen examples of how comfortable he is trusting his right foot to get accurate crosses into the box.

He already has five goals and seven assists to his name in the league and will be targeting more in the coming matches. Throughout April and into May, Wolves will take on Fulham, Sheffield United, West Brom, Burnley and Brighton.

Midfield – Mason Mount – Chelsea – 8m

Mason Mount has had a fine campaign for Chelsea and anyone who thought he was only a favourite of former boss Frank Lampard has quickly been proven very wrong.

The young England midfielder has quickly become an important part of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea too. He has scored goals and made assists as Tuchel’s influence has grown. Getting him in your team for the run-in could be a great move.

Chelsea are another side with favourable fixtures on the horizon, including West Brom, Brighton, Crystal Palace and Fulham.

Man Utd: Three players that need to do much better after the international break

As the international break is a couple of days away from ending, the majority of Manchester United supporters will be wondering how the manager and the players will prepare for the final four to six weeks of the season. Sitting in second place, along with remaining in the Europa League, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men still have a fair amount to play for in the remaining short period of the campaign.

Following the club’s departure from the FA Cup to Leicester City two weeks ago, the chances of winning a piece of silverware this season is through the Europa League route only, which still has the likes of Arsenal, Ajax, Roma and Villarreal in the intense competition. Nevertheless, the Red Devils are still favourites to win the trophy, and if the manager goes two seasons without delivering a league title or trophy, a lot of doubts and questions will be raised by the Old Trafford faithful.

With no further ado, here are the three players that need to improve after the international break…

Anthony Martial

From having his most prolific campaign in a Manchester United shirt last season, scoring 17 goals and producing six assists in 32 league appearances, to being on the worst form of his professional career, Anthony Martial has contributed to only seven league goals directly in 1488 minutes of Premier League football. The Frenchman’s issues in front of goal and lack of consistency, has led to the links to Erling Braut Haaland, who was wanted by both the club and manager, over a season ago.

Given how Manchester United play under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Martial is a key individual for his system, especially with his hold-up play and his ability to bring the midfielders and the other attackers into the game. On the other hand, the 25 year old’s stiff movement in the final third of the pitch and his consistency to hide away in games is showing to be a huge problem, and if these weaknesses are not ironed out, it would not be a surprise to see him slowly drifted away from the starting line-up, as the top teams in European football have a number nine that is complete and dominant.

Bruno Fernandes

For sure, many will wonder why Bruno Fernandes has made this list, someone who is proving to be one of the key performers for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United this campaign. However, the Portuguese international has not been himself since the start of 2021, as he has found it difficult to effect and influence the game in the way he normally does so. Not only that, but he has been playing week in and out without an actual rest, causing a massive hinderance on his day-to-day impact and output.

Over the last few months, Fernandes has been showing some inconsistency and flaws in his game, where he tends to overdo his passes, spam constant crosses as well as lead a single and unnecessary press, allowing the opposition to take advantage of the space that he leaves behind. The good news happens to be, he is suspended for Portugal’s final fixture of the international break, resulting in his return to Manchester a couple of days ago, which will allow him to enjoy the final days of resting before playing in the Premier League again.

David De Gea

Without a doubt he is regarded as a fans favourite and someone who has individually helped Manchester United during their decline after the Sir Alex Ferguson-era, though, David De Gea is now holding back the football club from playing their best football and most importantly from competing for titles and trophies under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The fact that he can no longer produce his outstanding reflexes, he is not vocal enough as a goalkeeper and is seriously unconvincing at playing out from the back, makes him a huge defensive liability.

Furthermore, Dean Henderson has been given a number of chances to prove himself in De Gea’s absence, in which he has outdone the expectations of the manager as well as the supporters with quality performances against the like of Manchester City, Real Sociedad in both legs and AC Milan in the second leg. And if he continues to perform at a high level as well as minimise the weaknesses in the Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof partnership, then the Spaniard’s time at Old Trafford will most certainly look to be over.