Premier League: Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 5

Everton are still top after they drew 2-2 against rivals Liverpool in a fiery derby match that saw Everton reduced to 10 men and a good goal ruled out for Liverpool. Aston Villa continue their 100% start to the season and West Ham stunned Tottenham by coming back from 3 goals down to draw 3-3 in a very exciting weekend for the Premier League once again.

Did any of your players make the best 11 of the weekend? Let’s see below.

Goalkeeper: Damian Martinez – Aston Villa 7pts

As has been the case this season defending hasn’t been the strongest element in the league so far and that means more goals. However Damien Martinez pulled off a clean sheet and it was an impressive one with Aston Villa going to Leicester and winning 1-0.

Defender: Tyrone Mings- Aston Villa 5pts

Tyrone Mings makes the final 11 cut for the second time in a row. Mings was rock solid in defence as Leicester could not score at the King Power Stadium for the 2nd game in a row. Mings is racking up the points now and if he isn’t in your team may be worth looking into getting.

Defender: Matt Targett- Aston Villa 5pts

Matt Targett was assured and collected 5pts at the weekend and he now has a total of 12. Villa have started the season in stunning fashion and Targett can be brought into your team for an absolute bargain of only 3m.

Defender: Kyle Walker- Manchester City 5pts

Manchester City really needed a win and a clean sheet after a bumpy start to the season and they did well to beat Arsenal 1-0. Kyle Walker put in an assured display and made some very good interceptions and earned 5pts at the weekend.

Defender:  Ruben Dias- Manchester City 4pts

Ruben Dias was just as good as Walker in the defence of Manchester City, though he did lose a point because he was booked in a game that got more tense as it went on. The result, a win over Arsenal will have been a huge lift to Manchester City though.

Midfielder: Raheem Sterling- Manchester City 6pts

Raheem Sterling scored the all important goal that was enough for his side to beat Arsenal 1-0 at the Etihad. Sterling now has scored 2 goals so far this season and has 12 points to his name.

Midfielder: Ross Barkley- Aston Villa 6pts

Ross Barkley looks like a new player since moving from Chelsea to Aston Villa. He followed up his goal against Liverpool, by scoring the last minute winning goal for Villa as they beat a very tough Leicester side away from home.

Midfielder: William Zaha- Crystal Palace 4pts

Where would Crystal Palace be without the quality of Wilfried Zaha? He keeps scoring the goals and has started well for the Eagles. He earned 4pts as Palace drew 1-1 with Brighton. His goal at the weekend was his 4th of the season so far.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 4pts

Bruno Fernandes had another eventful game for Manchester United as they overcame Newcastle 4-1. Fernandes had a goal ruled out by VAR, he then missed a penalty, then scored a goal and then set up United’s 4th goal. At least he is the centre of the party and it is very clear that the club need the Portuguese player to remain fit this season.

Striker: Harry Kane- Tottenham 10pts

Every week Harry Kane seems to make the best 11 cut and yet again he was on fire at the weekend. Kane scored another 2 goals and now has 5 for the season and he has already assisted in a further 7, in a stunning start. The only disappointment for him will be that Tottenham let a 3 goal lead slip with just 8 minutes of the game left as their opponents West Ham came back to draw 3-3.

Striker: Timo Werner- Chelsea 10pts

Timo Werner was under a lot of pressure to perform for Chelsea as he still hadn’t scored yet but the German international rectified that at the weekend when he scored a brace as Chelsea drew 3-3 with Southampton. Like Kane Werner will be annoyed with the final result but personally this was a great weekend for the 24 year old.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players for Matchday 3

Another 29 goals were scored at the weekend in the Premier League from 8 games, keeping a frantic and exciting goal average up since the beginning of the season. The stunning result was Leicester travelling to Manchester City and beating them 5-2, as a result Brendan Rodgers side are now top of the league.

Chelsea and Tottenham could only draw their games and West Ham finally put in a great performance to condemn Wolves to their 2nd defeat in a row.

So which players performed the best this past weekend, are they in your team, look below to find out.

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Lukasz Fabianski- West Ham 7pts

Lukasz Fabianski didn’t have a lot to do but made some good saves and kept himself composed as he kept a clean sheet. He really got over his instructions to the back four also, and played his part in a fantastic win for the Hammers. He now has 3 points overall as was in the minus points after a poor start from the club.

Defender: Arthur  Masuaku- West Ham 7pts

With Masuaku earning 7 points at the weekend for his clean sheet in West Ham’s 4-0 win over Wolves he now has the most points for any defender at the club with an overall score of 6 points his value is 5.5m. Masuaku capped off a great match by assisting for the clubs 4th goal.

Defender: Jannick Vestergaard- Southampton 5pts

Not many clubs are keeping clean sheets in the league this season, but Southampton did and they won their first game by beating Burnley 1-0 away. Vestergaard was clearly the best defender for the Saints and earned the most with 5pts, in an important victory for the club.

Defender: Liam Cooper- Leeds United 5pts

Leeds had conceded 7 goals before this game and so it was a surprise to see the club keep a clean sheet. Liam Cooper really rose to the occasion to keep Sheffield United quiet and Leeds marched on with back to back wins. Cooper is valued at 6m.

Defender: Aaron Cresswell- West Ham 5pts

It’s been a nightmare time for West Ham, so beating Wolves 4-0 was very welcome. Cresswell was able to keep a clean sheet in the process and made some very daring tackles and set the play up well as the game went on.

Midfielder: Riyad Mahrez- Manchester City 6pts

Manchester City had a nightmare losing 5-2 against Leicester but one bright light was Mahrez’s performance. He scored the opener for the home side and assisted in the clubs 2nd goal, of course by then the game was over. Mahrez is valued at 9.5m.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 5pts

Bruno Fernandes was one of the best players for Manchester United last season. He has started this one slightly quiet but made up for it this past weekend as United beat Brighton 3-2. He scored an injury time penalty which was the winning goal, assisted in the clubs 2nd goal, and got booked though which lost him a few points.

Midfielder: Lucas Moura- Tottenham 4pts

A controversial game saw Tottenham draw 1-1 with Newcastle who were clearly the second best side. Lucas Moura got the goal to put Tottenham ahead and he will hope this is the first of many to come this season.

Midfielder: Jack Harrison -Leeds United 4pts

Jack Harrison had a solid game in midfield for Leeds and capped off his day by setting up Patrick Bamford to get the only goal and winning one for Marcelo Bielsa’s side in the 88th minute. Harrison now has 8 points overall and is valued at 5.5m.

Striker: Jamie Vardy -Leicester 14pts

Easily one of the best Premier League strikers of the decade, Jamie Vardy like a fine wine just keeps getting better and better defying his age. Vardy was remarkable as he scored a hat trick against the mighty Manchester City away from home. Two were penalties but he still had to put them away and then scored a cracking goal in between. Vardy earned a huge 14pts and now has 5 goals already this season.

Striker: Callum Robertson- West Bromwich Albion 8pts

Callum Robertson had a fantastic game as his side took on Chelsea and ended up drawing 3-3. He will feel disappointed given that he had given WBA a 2 goal lead, but the final result shouldn’t distract from his fantastic performance and he makes the team of the weekend. He is valued at just 3.5m.

Player of the weekend: Jamie Vardy- Leicester 14pts

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Brighton 2-3 Man Utd: The Red Devils win the game in the final moment from a Bruno Fernandes penalty

Following the shocking defeat at home to Crystal Palace to start off the new Premier League season, Manchester United were intending on returning to winning ways as they travelled away to Brighton & Hove Albion, who are predicted to have an exciting campaign under the reigns of Graham Potter.

The hosts were dominating the match and were constantly in the opposition’s half, where the movement and pace of Brighton’s wing-backs along with the front three were proving to be too much for the United defence to handle. Not only that, but the Seagulls deserved at least a draw from the game, as they were denied three penalties, as well as the by crossbar and post on five occasions.

Looking at the game as a whole, Brighton had surprisingly experienced more time in possession of the ball, achieving just over 53% of the possession, whilst creating 13 chances throughout the whole game with three of them being big chances. Meanwhile, for United, they had only managed 60 passes in the final third, with eight passes in the penalty box and just one big chance being created.

Graham Potter’s men took the lead from the penalty spot in the 40th minute of the game, through Neal Maupay, as Bruno Fernandes was penalised for bring Tariq Lamptey down in the box. However, the home side’s lead was cancelled out in a matter of minutes, with Bruno Fernandes’ free-kick into the far corner of the box was met by the perfect touch from Nemanja Matic to return it into the danger area, which led to centre-back Lewis Dunk accidentally hitting the ball into his own net.

After the half-time break, the situation between both sides had remained the same, where the visitors were lacking the aggression and intensity to keep the home team contained and isolated. Despite Brighton’s missed chances and inconsistent end product, United were able to pounce effectively on the counter, as Bruno Fernandes was able to set Marcus Rashford through on goal, who had perfectly cut in and out on Ben White before smashing the ball into the back of the goal.

The last 10 to 15 minutes of the game was the main highlight of the fixture. Brighton continued to constantly attack United around the penalty box, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with no option but to move to a defensive stance, as Eric Bailly and Fred came on from the bench for Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba. On the other hand, Graham Potter had to change the game around and went all out with the attacking options, as both Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Pascal Gross entered the pitch.

Brighton were able to pick up a last-minute equaliser through Solly March, who was a very busy player down the left flank and was causing problems for Aaron Wan-Bissaka time after time. Though, eight minutes into stoppage time, Maupay handled the ball in his own penalty box when trying to block the headed attempted from Harry Maguire, which resulted in a crucial penalty for the visitors, leading to Bruno Fernandes scoring from the spot to give his side the much needed three points.

The situation was controversial, given that the referee had blown the whistle for full time, with the Brighton players believing they have earned the crucial point that they deserved. However, the United team complained instantly, meaning that the referee had to do his job and refer to the replay of the incident in the penalty box, which resulted in the match being called back for the penalty.

Overall, Graham Potter and his men will be absolutely gutted that they could not pick up a point. And for a United point of view, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will surely be concerned about the side’s fitness and performance as a whole, but will be content with picking up their first league victory of the season. On that note, The Red Devils sit in 14th place whilst the Seagulls remain above them in 12th place.

 

EPL Predictions Gameweek 2

A full fixture list this weekend as Manchester City and Manchester United start their season in gameweek 2 of the 2020-21 English Premier League.

Arsenal will be looking to build on their impressive win last weekend when they host West Ham United this Saturday, whilst all three promoted teams will be looking for their first points of the campaign.

Here’s a look at each of the weekend’s games:

Everton vs West Bromwich Albion
Everton are one of many people’s dead certs to win this weekend following their impressive 1-0 win away to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend whilst West Bromwich Albion looked like relegation candidates in their 0-3 hammering at home by Leicester City. Another clean sheet could be on the cards, so Jordan Pickford and Lucas Digne should be sensible picks. Going forward, James Rodriguez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin may be the best options for your fantasy team.

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Premier League player of the season? Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes has to be a contender

Make no mistake players stepped up and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had an amazing period since the restart, but the reason Manchester United finished 3rd and will be playing in the Champions League next season is because of Bruno Fernandes.

Here is a fact about Fernandes which may blow you over: He has not lost a game in a Manchester United shirt. Fernandes may have only been at United since January but his contribution has been outstanding. Time and again the Red Devils have dipped into the transfer market to find the ‘United playmaker’ that would change their fortunes, players have come and gone, some in the form of Paul Pogba are still there. But in Fernandes United finally have a player that fans can get excited about once again.

Is it any coincidence that he is Portuguese? The last great United player was of course Cristiano Ronaldo, but that was a decade ago. Fernandes has done so much in just the last seven months that one has to compare him to Ronaldo. Maybe he will never get up to Ronaldo’s level but is Fernandes possibly United’s best buy since Ronaldo?

Despite only joining halfway through the season Fernandes ranks as the 4th best player for United on the Euro Fantasy League statistics. He got 62 points with Anthony Martial ranking 1st with 79 yet Martial has played 17 more games. This just underlines had Fernandes started from the beginning of the season surely he would have been ranked as United’s best player?

Fernandes like Ronaldo is adept at scoring and creating goals, he was an instant impact when he arrived and that is what got everyone excited at the club. He scored 8 goals in the league and assisted in a further 7. That’s a contribution of 15 goals, more than any other player in the league from that time period.

It’s incredible to think that he could have been bought for your fantasy team at just 4m. That is sure to rise for next season.

Fernandes will be relishing playing in the Champions League next season and helping his side bridge the gap to both Manchester City and Liverpool.

Should he be given the player of the season? In reality it would be harsh not to give it to a Liverpool player looking at the season they have just had, with many suggesting that club captain Jordan Henderson should get it. But Fernandes should be a contender, and he may well win it next season or the season after. He has been the player United have been looking for for some time. He is so good that maybe the club will feel confident enough to sell on Paul Pogba now.

For now the future looks very good at Old Trafford under Solskjaer’s guidance and the sublime playing skills of Bruno Fernandes.

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Manchester United vs Southampton: Three key battles to look out for on Monday night football

Ahead of gameweek 35, Manchester United sit in fifth-place and are constantly pushing to take either Chelsea or Leicester City’s spot in the top four and will be taking on Ralph Hansenhuttl’s Southampton, who have been top notch since the season has restarted, having picked up 10 points out a potential 15, including important victories against the likes of Man City, Norwich and Watford.

Both clubs will be going into the game with their energy and confidence levels being really high, and will be hoping it stays the same until the season ends, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will only be satisfied with finishing the campaign in the top four position whilst the Saints will look to push for a spot in the top half of the Premier League table, as they are currently five points behind Tottenham.

It’s time to look at the three vital battles that could help to decide the fate of this huge fixture…

Mason Greenwood vs Ryan Bertrand

Over the last couple of weeks, the attention has been on the likes of Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes, and Paul Pogba, however, 18-year-old Mason Greenwood is the one that has stolen majority of the newspaper headlines with his playing style and knack for goals. In 1000 minutes of Premier League football this season, the forward who is currently playing on the right flank, has gone on to impressively achieve nine goals and one assist, with four league games still remaining.

Greenwood will be in for a close and tight encounter with Ryan Bertrand, who is Southampton’s main player at left-back and is known to be one of the side’s best defenders, as well as an attacking option that constantly runs up and down the left flank. With how the Saints are seen as a team that presses high up the pitch, Bertrand will have to make sure that he does not commit himself too much pass the half way line, otherwise, Greenwood will pounce with his pace and decision making.

Danny Ings vs Victor Lindelof

It’s no secret that Southampton’s most important and valuable player in the final third of the pitch is none other than Danny Ings at the moment, an individual that has helped Ralph Hansenhuttl’s men with 19 goals and three assists in 34 league appearances, allowing the team to be far away from the relegation zone and close to the middle of league table. Not only that, his intelligent movement on and off the ball, unique ability to bring his team-mates into the game has been second to none.

Danny Ings will aim to continue his fantastic form against United and will hope to reach a personal aim of 20 Premier League goals in a single season, which he has been unable to complete since playing in the top tier of English football from the 2014/15 campaign. The centre-forward will be up against Victor Lindelof, who has recently been proving to be inconsistent and a liability to the backline, as he does not have the physicality or the ideal pace to keep on top of many strikers.

Bruno Fernandes vs Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

Now, focusing on the key battle in midfield, with United expected to dominate possession and look to bypass the Southampton high press, the focus and attention will be on Bruno Fernandes, who is on the form of his life and is aiming to continue working on his goals and assists. Since his arrival to Old Trafford, the playmaker has 13 goal involvements in 10 Premier league appearances, having the joint-most by a player in their first 10 games in the competition’s history alongside Mick Quinn.

Meanwhile for Southampton, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will be sitting as the deepest midfielder just ahead of the backline, as he will be expected to complete the much needed interceptions and tackles as well as help the team in the build-up play going forward. The 24-year-old has constantly proved himself to be an essential team member within Ralph Hansenhuttl’s system, even when he came under a vast amount of criticism from his own supporters and the English media, which has helped him to become the complete player he is today.

Manchester United are currently the best side in the Premier League, this is why

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge of Manchester United he makes it very hard for critics to get on his back. One of those reasons of course is that he is so friendly, the guy smiles even after a bad game, just imagine Sir Alex Ferguson doing the same.

But the main reason it is so hard to tear Manchester United apart is that they are not a bad team, or at least not as bad as many would have you think. True Solskjaer has had his downs with the club and some of their form over two periods have merited a few whispers of ‘you’re getting the sack in the morning’. And just when you think everything is going wrong, he motivates the players, gets the best out of them and they start winning games, but by winning that is scoring plenty of goals and going on good 1-2 month runs. United are currently doing that right now.

It could well be that the Red Devils fail to qualify for the Champions League for next season, though they are currently giving that a very good shot. But on form they are the best side in the Premier League- we should expect Solskjaer to be picking up manager of the month anytime soon.

Along with Newcastle they are the only team not to have lost since the league restarted, not many could have predicted that. And United would be in 1st place on form collecting 13 points from 15. They are scoring goals too, 11 in their last 3 games and have just come off of the back of beating Bournemouth 5-2. Whisper it but everything is feeling like Ferguson/United.

But why is this, what has changed at United? Because if they were playing this good earlier in the season they would be where Chelsea are now and possibly challenging for 2nd position.

Here are three key players that have upped their game:

Mason Greenwood

Greenwood has displaced Daniel James and he is scoring goals, setting up play and his pace is fantastic. He is a real find, just look at his solo goal a few days ago against Brighton. Solskjaer had this to say about him: “You can see clearly that he’s maturing and improving. He’s only 18 still so we will see more from him. I’ve said it throughout the year that as long as we can get him faced up in and around the box he’ll create chances for us. But in this game his hold-up play and his link up play and general movement was fantastic as well.” The scary part is that he is only 18. Could be a future legend with the club.

Fred

What a turnaround it has been for Fred in midfield. Last season and at the beginning of this one he was playing so bad that memes were being made of him and cruelly he was becoming a laughing stock. Maybe though all Fred needed was the right manager to guide him and he has been very very good especially this year.

Bruno Fernandes 

Potentially Bruno Fernandes could be Manchester United’s best buy since Cristiano Ronaldo. He has been superb for the club, a new signing and already carrying the team. A born leader and he should be setting the stage alight for many years to come. In just 9 league games for United he has scored 6 goals. It is obvious he will be a regular fixture.

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Brighton 0-3 Manchester United: The three key things we learnt as the Red Devils sink the Seagulls

Ahead of gameweek 32, with only seven games remaining in the Premier League, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United faced a difficult trip away to the Amex Stadium to take on Brighton, where the visitors have not been able to take a point away from the hosts for the past two seasons.

Going into the game, Graham Potter’s Brighton were intending on continuing their unbeaten run since the campaign had resumed, as they currently sit in 15th place and just six points above the relegation zone. On the other hand, for United, who aiming for a top four finish, they have to make an attempt in turning around their results away from home to increase their chances of finishing above Leicester City and Chelsea, who have been resting in third and fourth place for a long time.

The visitors, as expected, were in full control of the game from the first second of the game to the final whistle, as they went on to achieve 63% possession of the ball and 132 passes in the attacking third compared to Brighton’s 49 successful passes in the final third. However, the hosts were able to hit some stride into the match once it was game over, and when both Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba were taken off the pitch, but they were lacking the cutting edge of quality to score a goal.

At the end of the day, the Red Devil’s quality in each department was just too much for Brighton to handle, at the fixture was simply game, set and match ten minutes before the hour mark. United remain in fifth position, and will be hoping that the sides above them drop points over the coming days, whilst Brighton will be aiming to pick up three to five points over the next few fixtures to ensure they are safe from the relegation zone and are in the Premier League next season.

Here are the three things we learnt from United’s latest league game…

Bruno Fernandes continues to prove that he is the real deal

Notching five goals and three assists in eight Premier League appearances, Bruno Fernandes continues to prove to the English media and the rival supporters that he is the real deal, the same people who had thought that his style of play would be found out sooner rather than later. As his partnership alongside Paul Pogba carries on to develop and improve day by day, the duo have helped the team to seriously dominate possession and create constant chances for the attackers.

Since the arrival of the Portuguese international at the end of January, the side have incredibly gone on to be unbeaten in 15 games in all competition, where his contributions in the attacking phase has been top notch, along with his work rate and inspirational mentality. Bruno went on to scoring two crucial goals in each half of the game against Brighton, where both goals were cleverly taken, with the first one being just outside of the penalty box and the second one being a first-time volley.

Mason Greenwood is on the rise, as he takes Daniel James’ spot

At the age of 18, Mason Greenwood has just under 900 minutes of Premier League game time so far this season, and he already has six goals and one assist to his name. Being regarded as a youngster that is rapidly on the rise, he is starting to be seen as a player that has more potential than both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, and the best part about it is the fact that he is not fazed or worried about these remarks as he is more than happy to reach the expectations that have been set.

Currently playing as a right-sided winger, Greenwood has been bonding well with the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, especially in a position that he is not familiar of. On top of that, his pressing high up the pitch, ability to linkup with his teammates, dribbling style with both feet deserves to be praised highly, as he is offering a huge amount of threat in many ways for Solskjaer and United, compared to Daniel James, who looks to be very inconsistent and predictable.

The Red Devils are finally starting to turn their away form around

If Ole Gunnar Solskajer and Manchester United are seriously looking to push for a top four finish, then they will have to turn their away form around instantly and before it is too late. As things currently stand, the side have the seventh best record away from home, with even the likes of Leicester, Southampton and Wolves achieving more points than United when on the road.

When looking at United’s remaining fixtures away from home, they still have to go away to teams such as Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Leicester City, which will certainly not be straightforward as many would think. As long as Solskjaer is able to keep Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba at the top of their game and of the opposition too, with the attackers taking their chances when it matters the most, the team should find zero issues in picking up maximum points from the remainder of the games, let alone the three away fixtures they have from now till the end of the footballing season.

Man Utd 2-0 Man City: The Reds complete the league double over the Citizens as they continue to push for a top four finish

After dropping points away to Everton in their last league game, Manchester United’s intention were the three points only in their next fixture, which was against no one else but their local rivals in Manchester City at Old Trafford. They went on to achieve the victory with conviction, as the team managed to do the league double over the Citizens for the first time since the 2009/10 season.

Due to Chelsea and Sheffield United winning their respective games whilst Leicester City face Aston Villa on Monday night, it was a must win game for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men, who were quite confident going into the game as Pep Guardiola’s key man in Kevin De Bruyne was unavailable to play because of a shoulder injury. And without the Belgian international, Man City were still able to dominate possession, but did not have the cutting edge of quality to create the key chances.

The visitors, as expected, were in full control of the game from the first second of the game to the final whistle, as they went on to achieve 73% possession of the ball and just under 150 passes in the attack third compared to United’s 50 successful passes in the final third. However, it was the hosts that made the key moments count, as the crucial goals from Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay were more than enough for the side to pick up much needed victory to go back into fifth-place.

At the end of the day, the noisy neighbours simply did not have much to play for in the league and did not bring their A Game to a fixture they have dominated on so many occasions over the past three to five seasons. On the other hand, the Red Devils had the motivation of the manager and most importantly the whole of Old Trafford behind them, to proceed onto winning the game.

Here are the three things we learnt from United’s latest league game…

The back-three/five setup is proving to be the perfect plan for the Red Devils

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not had a regular system or style of play in place that has been consistently successful and effective at the same time. However, the back-three/five setup fits the current squad of players like a glove, as it allows the team to totally nullify the opposition’s attack before going onto producing a few attacks of their own. The perfect example was honestly from today’s game, as City had managed to create one chance and complete just seven shots throughout the whole game.

And when United had their time and space on the ball, they were able to counter attack through the likes of Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James, who were offering the perfect mixture of creativity, movement and burst of pace on and off the ball. Meanwhile in midfield, Fred and Nemanja Matic did more than enough to cover the middle of the pitch, two individuals who have the aggression and intelligence to protect the backline whilst help the team to push high up the pitch.

Solskjaer’s record against the top-six teams continues to grow and flourish

For sure, after doing the league double over Chelsea and now over Man City, the talks about Solskjaer’s incredible record in the big games will continue to increase, as he has played the top-six teams on 12 occasions in all competition so far this season, having won seven times, drawn twice and lost three times. This is actually quite a positive record for a young manager who does not have the greatest of squads and is still missing the key individuals in Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba.

As long as he is able to do the double over Jose Mourinho’s Spurs next week as well as pick up maximum points in the remaining league games, to help the side qualify for next year’s Champions League football, he may end up managing the club for another couple of years, despite the recent rumours of Max Allegri or Mauricio Pochettino taking over as manager. And if he does end up doing the unthinkable, the board will have no choice but to back him up in the summer, which could lead to a potential charge for the league title along with possible success in the domestic competition.

The complete performance from the likes of Bruno, Martial and Wan-Bissaka

The whole United starting line-up played intelligently and superbly from start till end, even the likes of Eric Bailly, Scott McTominay and Odion Ighalo had put on quite the perfect cameo from the bench towards the last 15 to 20 minutes of the game. However, the key individuals that stood out the most were none other than Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes, three important players that are pure specialists in their expertise and are truly indispensable from the first XI.

Wan-Bissaka, who has been the side’s player of the season just after Fred, has got the whole right flank on lockdown time and time again, as he successfully kept Raheem Sterling in his pocket for the third time this campaign. Bruno Fernandes, since arriving to United in January, has completely transformed the team around and has helped to bring the best out of a number of players. Finally on Martial; he has had a lot of unnecessary criticism towards him in recent weeks, but his performance as well as his key goal to give his team the lead should be enough to see him getting back to his best.

Everton 1-1 Man Utd: Solskjaer’s men fail to take the advantage as they pick up a point at Goodison Park

After seeing both Leicester City and Chelsea drop crucial points in their respective games as well as sixth-place Tottenham Hotspur going head-to-head with eight-place Wolves on Sunday afternoon, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United had the potential of taking the advantage, which was dependent on if they could go away to Goodison Park and pick up the three points against Everton.

Looking at the match as a whole, the visitors had dominated possession but were missing the cutting edge in the final third of the pitch, which could not be provided as the likes of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood were closely marked by the Everton defence. On the other hand, the host went onto complete more shots and actually created three big chances, but the opportunities were not taken, and David De Gea did more than enough to bounce back from his error early in the game.

It took just three minutes for Everton to take the lead, as De Gea thought he had enough space and time on the ball to clear it away, and when he did so, the ball was kicked right onto Dominic Calvert-Lewin and into the back of the net. This was the Spaniard’s seventh error that led to a direct goal since the start of last season, making him the joint-most with Bernd Leno and Martin Dubravka.

Although it took them ten minutes to regroup and sort out the organisation within midfield, United went onto dominate the rest of the first half as they were superbly shifting the play from side to side and playing at a high tempo. And because of their pressing high up the play, they caught Everton out in the right moment where they were playing the ball out from the back, which allowed Bruno Fernandes to pick up the ball and fire his low shot past Jordan Pickford to get the needed equaliser.

The second half was one-sided, with the hosts edging out the control in possession and were attacking the United defence on all fronts, especially with players such as Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof on a yellow card. The Toffees huge and final chance came in the last moments of the game, where Calvert-Lewin’s attempt took a slight deflection off Maguire’s before reaching the corner of the net, but the Video Assistance Referee ruled the goal out eventually as Gylfi Sigurdsson was in an offside position and was apparently obstructing the goalkeeper’s view from the play.

In the end, United failed to make things count when it mattered the most, whilst Everton will be disappointed that they only picked up a point and the winning goal was unfortunately ruled out in the dying seconds of the match. The Red Devils remain in fifth-place, still three points behind Chelsea, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men sit in eleventh-place just below Arsenal due to goal difference.

With no further ado, here are the three things we learnt from United’s latest league game…

United’s defensive issues continue as De Gea and Lindelof fail to perform

For sure, United are undefeated in all competitions and have completed six clean sheets since the disastrous loss to Burnley back in January, but the fact still remains that the side’s backline is not good enough to guide the team to a top four finish or help them to challenge for the Europa League trophy. Despite bolstering this department up with the arrivals of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, the side are conceding way too many chances and most importantly, a lot of cheap goals.

The weakness within the backline happens to be both David De Gea and Victor Lindelof, two individuals who have not shown the consistency and quality that shows they are good enough to play week in and out. With their lack of concentration and incapability to be intelligent in the key moments, they are seriously preventing the team from progressing as a whole.

The main solution to this would be to replace Lindelof with Eric Bailly, who has returned to full fitness recently and is seen as the best centre-back in the squad, and in with De Gea, his place in the team will be under huge amount of pressure once Dean Henderson returns to the club in the summer, who is having a superb season at Sheffield United.

Bruno Fernandes continue to show his quality and comes up with the goods

Since arriving to Manchester United on the final days of the January window, Bruno Fernandes has gone to be a huge influence for the side, on and off the ball, as he continues to show his incredible quality time and time again. With two goals and two assists in four league appearances, he is proving to be the heartbeat of the team and the one to get the best out of his teammates, which is exactly the type of player that the Red Devils have been missing for the last couple of years, in all honesty.

The 25-year-old was working his magic in a number of different areas today, whether it was in the number ten role, the deep midfield position centrally or on the left flank, he was making a statement that he is not a limited player and he has a lot in his locker to offer to the team. United seriously have a phenomenal  player who is more than capable of being placed into the category of world class players or just below it, especially if he helps them to somehow reach Champions League football, but it’s up to the manager and the squad to look after him and also get the best out of him.

The Red Devils have a number of huge games coming up in the month of March

Derby, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Sheffield United and the Europa League tie against Austrian side LASK. There are six huge games for both Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the month of March, which will play a crucial part towards the final third of the season and if the club’s season is a successful one or not. As things stand, the campaign will go down as a failure, due to no Champions League football next season and no success in any of the other competition, and this will lead to a difficult summer window of not being able to attract the much required players.

However, everything can turn around in a matter of matches, as the side are three points behind Chelsea, who have only won two league games this year and have a few difficult games coming up in the league. And in the Europa League, the team look to have a straightforward tie and could have a simple route to the final if the other results in the competition go their way and if they receive some luck in the draws. And not only that, Paul Pogba has returned to regular training and Marcus Rashford could potentially be back in April, two great players who are game changers and winners.