Manchester United have just kissed goodbye to Champions League football next season

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Manchester United could only draw 1-1 against Chelsea and that should be the final nail in their coffin of what has been a miserable season for the Red Devils.

It started off in pre season when Jose Mourinho seemingly moaned about everything from missing out on transfers, not feeling the support of the board and not having all of his players on their American tour, and it has never really let up.

Yes his sacking was needed even if by and large certain players were not pulling their weight- a new a manager had to step in and at first Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked like that man. The team went the next 3 months unbeaten and flirted with the top 4 when in December it looked impossible.

Confidence cannot be underestimated and the happiness and let’s face it love that the Norwegian brought to the club even extended outside of the Premier League when they stunned PSG in Paris to knock them out, with some luck, in the Champions League. And then it all went wrong.

Now in the quarter finals of the Champions League and top 4 of the Premier League, United gave Solskjaer the job full time, and the results started to go stale. Wolves knocked them out of the FA Cup and Barcelona made light work of them in the Champions League. Wolves also beat United in the league, something was wrong and the mood in the camp was back to five months ago.

This was brought to a head when Everton slaughtered United 4-0 and then they lost the derby to Manchester City. This Chelsea match was seen as the final roll of the dice and even though ex Chelsea player Juan Mata put his side in front, Chelsea struck back to earn a draw.

United have won just 1 game in their past five and people are searching for scapegoats. This is unfair of course, because surely you win and lose and draw as a team. However the spotlight has been shone on two players. Romelu Lukaku who rarely scores now and looks unfit and David De Gea one of the best goal keepers in Europe who has been poor in the clubs last four games. De Gea isn’t just having bad games, he is making blunder upon blunder which is completely unlike him, but his performances are mirroring United’s season.

The Draw against Chelsea will most probably mean United will not be playing Champions League football next season. With 2 games to go Tottenham are 5 points clear of United and home and dry. Chelsea are 3 points. It just seems too far a stretch to come back from now.

United will play Huddersfield next and that should be 3 points and Cardiff could make it two wins. But it seems too much to ask to see both Chelsea and Arsenal simply collapse in their final two games. Having said that Arsenal are experiencing their worst form of the season and much like United have imploded at the final jump.

One thing for United is sure- none of this latest form should be blamed on Solskjaer- the Norwegian needs a summer transfer window and a full season to be judged properly.

Though it is clear that the roses have been tossed in the bin, and the gloves are off.

This weekend’s predicted lineups for all EPL games

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With just a couple of weeks left in this Premier League season, it’s time for you to start making that final fantasy EPL push up the table.

Here are our predicted lineups for those EPL fixtures so have a read in preparation for another EPL fantasy football round.

Liverpool v Huddersfield Town

Liverpool XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita, Salah, Firmino, Mane

Huddersfield XI: Lossl, Smith, Schindler, Kongolo, Durm, Hadergjonaj, Mooy, Stankovic, Bacuna, Lowe, Mounie Continue reading

EPL Game of the Weekend – Everton vs Man Utd

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The late Jerry Reed once released a song entitled “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” – and no truer words could possibly be spoken about Marco Silva’s Everton of late. Just a few weeks ago, Silva’s position at the club seemed questionable, and the Toffees faced a nightmare run of home fixtures against Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd – not the type of fixture list a manager under pressure would be hoping to see! Having now emerged from that run of games with three wins and one draw – and without conceding a single goal in the process – Everton fans will be delighted with the football their team has been playing against some of England’s top teams. Everton have been the club of the week several times in the last month or so, and beat Man Utd 4-0 this weekend.

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How Barcelona will beat Man Utd

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They might be favourites to win the tie over two legs, but there’s no way that Barcelona will be taking Manchester United lightly, particularly at Old Trafford.

Playing at the Camp Nou for the second leg may seem to afford the Catalans an advantage of sorts, but Ernesto Valverde and his team will want to make that a formality.

In order to do so, they’ll need to take the game to the Red Devils and quieten the expected 75,000 crowd.

But just how are they going to manage it?

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How many Manchester United players would get in Manchester City’s matchday squad?

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One of the biggest matches of the 2018-19 Premier League season so far takes place on Sunday when Manchester United make the short trip to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City.

Jose Mourinho’s United have had a resurgence of late but their tally of 20 points from 11 games is still below expectations, while Pep Guardiola’s table-topping City have continued their fine form from last season and remain unbeaten in the league.

Every time two of the Premier League’s elite go head-to-head, you can expect to see people comparing the teams by putting together a combined XI from both squads.

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How many Manchester United players have actually improved under Jose Mourinho?

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho’s third-season crisis has kicked into gear extra early in 2018-19, with Manchester United currently sitting 10th in the Premier League table after losing three of their first seven games of the new campaign.

The club’s below-par start to the season, which has included defeats against Brighton, Tottenham and West Ham, as well as a League Cup exit on penalties to Derby, has led to intense speculation about Mourinho’s future at Old Trafford.

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David De Gea deserves more appreciation and gratitude from Manchester United

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Unlike the old days under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United do not have a large number of world-class players within the squad compared to the likes Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain. However, if there is one individual within Jose Mourinho’s team that stands out the most and is always there for when his side need him the most, its goalkeeper David De Gea.

The Spaniard has been at Old Trafford for seven years and counting. And in that time, he has gone from a player with huge prospect and potential to one of the best goalkeepers within the world. Without his brilliance between the goalposts, it is more than fair to say that the side would struggle to finish in the top four of the Premier League as well as seriously challenge in any competition.

Despite his rise from being an error prone goalkeeper to one of the best shot-stoppers in Europe, his early days at the club were moments to forget for De Gea and the Manchester United supporters, as he was seen as a weak individual when up against physical strikers that were dominant in the air. He started to lose confidence in himself and it unfortunately led to a number of fans turning on him.

In his second season at the club, he started to work harder off the pitch in terms of improving his physicality and strength which allowed him to become effective and superior in the air. On top of that, he ended the 2012/13 campaign in incredible fashion as he played a crucial role in the side winning their 20th English league title whilst being nominated as the Goalkeeper of the Season.

Furthermore, the 27-year-old finished the same season on 11 clean sheets and 84 saves produced in 28 league appearances, clearly showing that he was consistently there in the right place and at the right time. Although the end of the campaign was more focused towards the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and how Manchester United cope, the rise of De Gea was slept on for quite a while.

The new and short era under the likes of David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal did not end well, as both managers did not have the mindset and the style of play that was required to manage of one of the most successful clubs in England and Europe. Also, if it was not for the influence and presence of the former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper in net, then the club would have suffered an unfortunate decline.

Not only that, but De Gea was seconds away from joining Real Madrid in the summer of 2015, when all of a sudden the paperwork was not submitted before the transfer window had closed due to a fax machine that was playing up at a surprising time. However, since that moment, the Manchester United supporters had learnt to cherish and treasure the devotion and loyalty of the player.

Looking back at the last couple of years, the defence and most importantly the club have been more or less saved by the brilliance of the Spaniard, someone who has never complained about the managerial changes that happened in the past or asked about the direction of which way the club is heading. One simply cannot imagine the situation of the club without Spain’s number one in goal.

Overall, David De Gea has been at the club through thick and thin. His dominant displays on the pitch alongside his pure loyalty and professionalism off it should be rewarded with a huge wage rise that allows him to be paid a figure similar to what the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba earns.

Lucas and Spurs Provide a Feast For Fantasy Managers

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Our match of the weekend goes to a weekday game at Old Trafford which featured Tottenham Hotspur slipping into an interesting dimension of youthful spirit and togetherness waltzing with mature English grit and determination that has many Lillywhite loyalists dismissing the perception of a two-legged title race. A back four of Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, and Rose did the job as well as was needed, keeping a clean sheet away from home and earning a boatload of points between them.

Further up in the midfield, buyers of Christian Eriksen will rejoice as he puts some much needed returns on the board, assisting the first of Lucas Moura’s goals. Dembele rejoined the starting 11, seeing his stock increase with the first clean sheet of Spur’s season. Elsewhere,  Dele Alli’s number of goal celebration finger displays has now outpaced his goal tally, even though he had a few chances of his own, including a gilt-edge one on one with De Gea who was out of goal.

However the real winners of this week’s Fantasy EPL round were the owners of a diminutive and unproven Brazilian, unto whom the always-vindicated manager of Tottenham Hotspur granted a third consecutive start. Lucas repaid his manager’s trust by taking some of the strain off the shoulders of the normal star man, letting Kane know there would be no need to stay late at the office that night.

He put the poorly-constructed United back line to the sword and finished with a brace. If you haven’t watched his second goal, do yourself a favor; it hearkens back to a time of static center-halves stumbling over their feet trying to stop the speedy superstars of years gone by. More importantly however, it hearkens back to a time when a select group of fantasy managers spent 7 million on an unproven goal-scorer, and were rewarded with a point haul which places the young Brazilian among the best in the league so far.

On the other side, one noticed some obvious and much needed changes from the Brighton game among Manchester United’s starting lineup. Jose opted not to stick with what he bought, but rather what was there when he arrived – replacing Lindelof and Bailly  with Jones and Smalling. I’ll admit I thought Smalling did a good job of marshaling the obvious threat of Kane during what was a resilient first half for United, who looked on the whole, from Smalling, through Pogba, and up to Lukaku as if they were really trying to turn the ship around.

Unfortunately for those who picked the ladder, he missed or was denied every opportunity the enterprising United left-flank provided him. Owners of Luke Shaw, who started brightly at Leicester on the opening weekend, might be puzzled to see the lack of points he accumulated during his third consecutive ninety minute spell. But as unfortunate as the United attack proved, woe unto those who selected the ragged defensive unit which Mourinho trotted out onto the field, who were bested and bullied for most of the second half by the aforementioned tactful and mature Lost Boys of north London.

Manchester United in the meanwhile seem rooted as firmly as ever in the post-Ferguson limbo they’ve been in for years now. Jose Mourinho, who once had players breaking down walls for him, can’t quite get the best from a group  who shouldn’t look this mediocre. I don’t blame Jose for anything more than the football, but even concerning that, it must be an immense challenge when such a giant chunk of world football fans are wondering whether or not you will get the sack before Christmas.

Navigating the waters of the Manchester United squad in relation to lineups and who might score or provide from here on out is above my pay-grade you understand, so I can’t offer much advice for those looking to try. Away from home at Burnley is not an ideal place to start silencing the already enormous amount of critics, but the Special One needs some results to get the fan’s support back – and the quicker the better.

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Play EPL Fantasy: Aguero, De Bruyne, Salah, Kane, De Gea & more Stars!

The English Premier League season kicks-off on Friday with Manchester United hosting Leicester City at Old Trafford. The 2018/19 EPL season will offer a number of intriguing plots starting with whether Manchester City will repeat as champions, how will Man United cope with the mounting pressure on Jose Mourinho to deliver one of the big trophies (League or Champions League) and more.

Mourinho’s relationship with French midfielder Paul Pogba will be one to keep an eye on, but on a more positive note Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was the star player last season. He finished as top scorer in the Premier League and in doing so helped Liverpool finish in the top 4 to qualify for the Champions League. It will be interesting to see whether Salah can duplicate his great form from last season, or at least come close to those remarkable numbers, including a record-breaking tally of 32 league goals.

Beyond Man City,fueled by coach Pep Guardiola’s philosophy & his desire to win more trophies, and United or Liverpool, there will be other interesting story-lines to follow. Will new Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri outdo his fired compatriot Antonio Conte? Conte and the previous Italian manager at Chelsea- Carlo Ancelotti- suffered a similar fate. Both were let go after the end of their season season despite winning the Premier League crown in their first year in charge. Will Sarri share the same fate? Can he even challenge for the league title? Chelsea lost Thibaut Courtois but immediately replaced him with the most expensive goalkeeper in the world Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Will the pressure of the massive transfer fee get to Kepa? Chelsea did get Real Madrid’s midfielder Mateo Kovacic on loan for the season as part of the deal which saw Courtois head to Spain. Will a midfield of summer signing Jorginho, Kovacic and France’s N’Golo Kanté prove enough to carry the London side to the EPL title? Chelsea also still have Eden Hazard on the books.

Tottenham did not sign anyone but still have Harry Kane and the likes of Christian Eriksen. It is likely difficult for Spurs to compete on multiple fronts and the European commitment may take its toll on the relatively smaller squad when compared to the likes of City.

Do you know enough about English football? Think you can prove you are the best EPL Fantasy Manager? If you are up for a challenge and want to prove your knowledge of English football then join now here https://epl-fantasy.com/users/register

Should Real Madrid sell Keylor Navas and sign Thibaut Courtois?

courtoisReports are emerging that Real Madrid have made a breakthrough in their efforts to bring in a new goalkeeper this summer, with French media outlet RMC claiming that a deal has been struck with Premier League side Chelsea for the capture of their goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. The 6ft 6in goalkeeper is said to be on his way to the Bernabeu for around £31m, but that deal would throw a spanner into the works regarding to future of incumbent custodian Keylor Navas at Los Blancos. Navas joined Real back in 2014 from Levante and has gone on to make 94 appearances, but Courtois’ potential arrival could bring an end to a tenure at the Spanish giants that didn’t seem in too much doubt.

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