Leicester City 0-2 Manchester United: Solskjaer and his men pull through on the final day to achieve Champions League football

On the final day of the 2019/20 Premier League season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United had to avoid a defeat at all costs in order to receive Champions League football for next season, as they took on a Leicester City side that were missing a number of key players from the starting XI.

With the likes of Ben Chilwell, Caglar Soyuncu, James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira unavailable for the Foxes, Brendan Rodger’s men had a huge task ahead of themselves on Sunday afternoon, as they left themselves in a difficult position since the season restarted, winning just two games out of eight.

Looking into the game as a whole, the visitors had the edge when it came to dominating possession of the ball and making full use of it, achieving 55% possession, creating two big chances during the match and completing 95 passes in the attacking third. On the other hand, the hosts managed 68 successful passes in the final third, given that it took them till the hour mark to gain momentum.

In all honesty, there was hardly any action in the first half or much urgency from either side to go on to taking the lead, with both teams ensuring that there was no room for any mistakes. Following the half-time break, the game was taken up a notch by both Leicester City and Manchester United, as they had realised that Chelsea were beating Wolves and were not showing any signs of weaknesses.

From there onwards, Leicester were causing problems to the United defence but were not testing the goalkeeper at all. The visitors were able to make the breakthrough at 70th minute, as the host were caught out at playing from the back, which led to them giving a penalty away. Bruno Fernandes calmly stepped up to take it and sent Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way to give his team the lead.

The Foxes continued to pile on the pressure and go all out for a top four finish in the final 15 minutes of the game, however, the Red Devils’ managed to seal the victory late in added time, through substitute Jesse Lingard, who managed to caught Schmeichel off guard before kicking the ball into an empty net. In the end, United finished in third place on 66 points, just above Chelsea on goal difference, whilst Leicester City remain in fifth place and have to settle for Europa League football.

Here are the three things we learnt from United’s final league fixture of the campaign…

Champions League football is now officially confirmed for next season

After the side’s recent drop off in terms of results and performances, it did not look like the Red Devils had it in them to pull through on the final of the day season. With stalemates at Old Trafford to Southampton and West Ham as well as the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea, majority of the Manchester United supporters were expecting the team to typically crumble under pressure.

However, that was not the case today, as they were able to keep the likes of Jamie Vardy, Youri Tielemans and Ayoze Perez very quiet whilst having the capability to work on a few good phases themselves in midfield and attack. With Champions League football now confirmed for next season for Manchester United, the club will be able to make progressive moves financially and sportingly.

The only way is up for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his exciting long-term project

It’s been quite the first full season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at United, who will be more than happy with a 3rd place finish as well as the opportunity to still compete in the Europa League competition next month. Given the ups and downs, the injury issues alongside the lack of squad depth, Solskjaer has done a good job in removing the deadwood and helping the football club to move into the right direction once again, something that Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho had actually failed to do.

Solskjaer has put the club and the players ahead of himself, and the immense work he has put in is now starting to pay off, as there is a cheerful and encouraging environment on and off the pitch, where the players are playing attractive and intelligent football whilst picking up the much needed results. The critics and the Ole haters have been totally silenced, as United’s unbeaten run since the end of January has allowed the team to do the unthinkable and push for a late top four finish.

Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial have played a crucial role since the restart

A lot of the focus has been on the likes of Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood since the Premier League has restarted, though, Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes have been the deadly duo that has allowed the team to finish in the top four with their chances. Despite Chelsea and Leicester City’s lack of consistency, Bruno and Martial have been the two key individuals to be the constant threat for Solskjaer’s side, as their movement and creativity has been second to none.

Bruno’s ability to score from the penalty spot has to be appreciated, especially when you have to remember the fact that both Rashford and Pogba had missed a couple of penalties at the start of the season, which could have helped the side to confidently finish in third place. Not only that, Martial’s playmaking quality and clinical instincts are now starting to be well-recognised, particularly by those who thought he was not good enough to lead the line and become United’s main number nine.

Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United: The Red Devils pick up the victory in an unconvincing manner

Following the side’s 2-2 stalemate on Monday night at Old Trafford against Southampton, Manchester United had to ensure they picked up the much needed victory away at Crystal Palace, to keep their top four hopes alive after Chelsea and Leicester City had won their respective games.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men went on to exactly do that, despite the unconvincing and sloppy performances from many of the individuals. At the end of the day, at this late stage of the season, all that counts is the results that the team achieve as a whole rather than any inconsistent displays.

Overall, the visitors dominated the game for majority of the match and were the ones who were the most effective on the attacking side of the game, as they went on to achieve 60% possession of the ball and 121 passes in the attacking third compared to Crystal Palace’s 93 successful passes in the final third. However, the host enjoyed a small period of possession from time to time, but were lacking the required creativity and end product to go on to causing further problems for United.

In the end, United’s pure quality and individual class from Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford were able to guide the team to a victory, allow them to remain in fifth position, and most importantly on the same amount of points as Leicester and one point behind Chelsea. On the other hand, for the Eagles, they stay in 14th place and with enough comfort above the relegation zone.

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

Solskjaer’s front three continue to produce the goods

Ahead of the match, the questions and opinions were circulating around social media and between the pundits, on whether United’s attackers are able to sustain their quality and threat for the remainder of the season or not. Both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford went on to show their intelligence and sheer brilliance in front of goal, as they have each contributed to more than 20 Premier League goals this season through goals and assists, showing how much, they have improved.

The duo have been more than incredible this campaign, proving they a lot to offer to the team more than their end product, as the pair have shown enough movement, creativity and work rate on to keep the critics silence. If Martial and Rashford are able to show this consistency for another season or two, then they can settle themselves to be seen as one of the best players in the Premier League.

The Red Devils away form has improved in huge numbers

For sure, the fixtures at home and the games away to another team may not seem as a big difference to one another at the moment, given the current situation of the Corona Virus and the fact that football supporters are not able to attend the stadium to encourage and inspire their beloved club. However, it does not change the fact that United’s away form has had a massive turnaround, where they’ve been able to pick up 11 points out of 15 in their last five away games.

And just before the side’s last five away games, United were only able to pick up 15 points from 13 away games of this season, which is simply not good enough for a team that wants to finish in the top four let alone for a side that wants to challenge for the league title in the near future. The team now have the sixth best away form in the league, just behind the likes of Southampton and Wolves.

Top four still remains in the hands of Manchester United

After Chelsea and Leicester City had confidently beaten Norwich and Sheffield United, the pressure and tension had simply risen on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United, as nothing less than the three points against Crystal Palace would be acceptable. The Red Devils then went on to produce the goods and pick up the vital victory, even if the performance was too difficult for a neutral to see.

Now, moving forward to the current situation, United have to achieve two important wins in their final two games of the season, which is against West Ham at home and then to Leicester City away. Should the Foxes fail to beat Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, United can confidently finish in the top four by beating West Ham and picking up a point away at King Power stadium. Before then, Ole’s men face a trip to Wembley Stadium to meet Frank Lampard’s Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Manchester United: Predicting the results of the final four games of the Premier League season

As we enter the final four games of the Premier League season, Ole Gunnar Solskajer’s Manchester United will be hoping that the likes of Chelsea and Leicester City drop points whilst they take maximum points from their remaining fixtures in order to finish in one of the top four positions.

The Red Devils had a really poor period when looking at the side’s results from the first half of the campaign, given that they were sitting in eight-place and four points behind fourth-place Chelsea, whilst key man Paul Pogba was expected to be on the sidelines for majority of the season leaving everything to be done by the likes of Anthony Martial, Daniel James, Fred and Marcus Rashford.

Even then, United were still not good enough, as they had only won seven league games at the half-mark of the campaign, as well as scoring just 30 goals and conceding 23 goals in 19 games. However, they were in luck, as the teams above and below them were unable to remain consistent and dominant, to allow them to have a gap of a couple of points or more ahead of Manchester United.

On the other hand, the club’s fortune has fully turnaround following the arrival of Bruno Fernandes in the January transfer window, who has managed to be an instant impact and has helped Solskjaer’s men to go on to be unbeaten from his first appearance for United up until now. And because of his contributions, the side are a point away from fourth-place Leicester City, in the FA Cup Semi-finals and are in the Europa League, which can be used as a backup option for Champions League football.

Before looking into United’s remaining fixtures of the season, it’s time to have a quite look at Chelsea and Leicester City and who they have left, as the Blues are yet to face Norwich, Liverpool and Wolves. On the other hand, the Foxes, have the likes of Sheffield United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United to play, teams that are still looking to finish high up the league table.

With no further ado, it’s time to predict the results of United’s final four league fixtures…

Southampton (H)

Arguably the toughest game of United’s remaining fixtures, Southampton will certainly be no pushovers when they come to Old Trafford on Monday night, as they have the fifth best away form in the league, achieving eight victories and collecting 27 points out of a potential 51. With how they are playing under Ralph Hasenhuttl and his pressing system, the side have been able to reap their rewards, from creating chances due to the opposition’s mistakes to conceding as less as possible.

If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are to successfully accomplish the full three points, they will have to be on top of their game and the opposition, who will not be afraid to play with a narrow high line and attempt to force United’s defence and midfield to lose the ball and push them into making errors. In the end, United’s home form has been more than consistent, and the quality of Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba will be too much for the Saints to handle.

Prediction: 2-1 victory to Manchester United.

Crystal Palace (A)

Although the match against struggling Crystal Palace should be straightforward, it will take place two days ahead of United’s FA Cup semi final fixture against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium, which will leave Solskjaer in a mixture of thoughts on whether to rest the key players and rotate around or not. Roy Hodgson’s side have had a poor run of results since the Premier League season has restated, as they have only won one of their last six fixtures in the league, scoring four goals and conceding 13.

Nevertheless, even if the likes of Daniel James, Fred and Scott McTominay were to start ahead of United’s key players in the starting line-up, the team would still have enough individual quality and key moments within the side to overcome the Eagles. If the Red Devils are able to complete the victory over Crystal Palace, the team would look dead on to finish in the top four positions.

Prediction: 2-0 victory to Manchester United.

West Ham (H)

As David Moyes’ West Ham sit just above the relegation zone by three points, the side will certainly consider the final three games of the season as three monumental finals, given that it would be seen as a huge surprise if they were to get relegated with the amount of quality they have midfield and attack. And when looking at their away form, the Hammers have been growing quietly into picking up the much needed points, following their dominant win over Norwich and draw at Newcastle.

However, they will have to come up with something special in order to walk away from Old Trafford with something, as the Red Devils have the fourth best home record and second best defence in the league as things currently stand. With the work ethic and mentality being at an all-time high for Solskjaer and his men, we should expect a ruthless and complete performance and result from them.

Prediction: 3-0 victory to Manchester United.

Leicester City (A)

With Ricardo Pereira still on the sidelines, Caglar Soyuncu suspended for Leicester City’s final three games of the season as well as Ben Chilwell and James Maddison missing a few of the side’s crucial games in recent weeks, Brendan Rodgers’ men are in deep trouble of losing their spot in next year’s Champions League football after being in the top four positions for majority of the current season.

On the other hand, the results from the fixtures ahead of this game could complete the table on who will finish in the top four and who will not, as United’s remaining games look to be straightforward when comparing it to both Chelsea and Leicester City. In the end, both teams will be at each other and it could be seen as a match that will be end-to-end, depending on the potential circumstances.

Prediction: 2-2 draw between Leicester City and Manchester United.

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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Manchester United ought to give Angel Gomes what he wants

After securing a loan for Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still has some unfinished business at Old Trafford. Like most clubs across the world, Manchester United are working on their summer transfers, albeit with limited financial resources. Punters on betway98 online and other sports betting platforms are following closely to see how the events unfold for various teams. All clubs are working on ways to navigate through these unique times.

All the clubs have taken a significant financial blow from the temporary halt of sports activities. The shock is severe that the third richest club in the world, according to Forbes’ latest rankings, is facing challenges.

Ed Woodward, the club’s commercial chief, stated that business would not be “usual” in this year’s transfer market. This summer’s transfer window will stretch probably to October, but we might not see the big-money transfers that have become the norm in the recent years.

As a result, clubs have to be swift and efficient in the transfer market to get the best deals. One manager that has shown his qualities is Frank Lampard of Chelsea. After signing Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, he is closing in on Timo Werner. Chelsea seems to be doing well at the moment. He is building a squad that will be a choice for many betters on Betway88 and other sports betting sites.

Ole has had a tough time despite extending the stay of Ighalo until January, a move which could be described as a necessary one. The goal-scoring department has given the manager sleepless nights. Furthermore, the Red Devils fans are always demanding more.

When the news about Timo Werner broke last week, there was desperation among the fans for United to do something. Many are pushing the club to do whatever it takes to land a marquee signing like Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, who has been under the club’s radar for a bit of time.

Meanwhile, Manchester United have another issue that they have to address within their ranks. Angel Gomes’ future has not been resolved yet. The Academy playmaker’s contract ends this month, and they are yet to agree on a contract extension since the talks have reached a deadlock. However, the club can still reach a decision that benefits both parties.

Gomes’ main concern is whether he will get enough playing time if he commits to the club for three years. This season he has been behind Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, and Andreas Pereira in the pecking order. His hopes were further dimmed by the arrival of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon in January. His arrival sparked life to a squad that had frustrated punters on betting sites like Betway88 due to United’s inconsistent form.

The silver lining is that Ole has shown his trust in younger players, particularly those from the Academy, as he looks to lower the average age of his squad. The manager could decide to give the young lad a chance ahead of the older players who have had the majority of the season yet failed to perform. The United boss has to get his priorities right for his attacking midfielders; otherwise, he could lose Gomes.

Other clubs are circling, and Manchester United are running out of time. It would be more painful to lose such a promising talent to rivals Chelsea who have shown interest in luring Gomes as a free signing. Luckily, United have until the end of June to sort out the issue.

The manager must be bold enough to bench Lingard and Pereira, or leave them out to make room for Gomes. This would solve the issue in such a way whereby all parties end up as winners.

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.

Man Utd 3-0 Watford: The Reds Devils move up to fifth place as Bruno Fernandes shines once again

After seeing the likes of Leicester City, Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur drop crucial points on Saturday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United went on to beat Nigel Pearson’s Watford in what was quite the comfortable and straightforward victory at Old Trafford on a Sunday afternoon.

Ahead of the game, the main thoughts on a United point of view was if they can taken the advantage for once from the results of the other teams above them, as they have failed to do so on many occasions throughout the season and it is why they are currently not in the top four positions. Meanwhile, for Watford, who still remain in the relegation zone and just a point away from safety, the questions were if they could pull off an upset against a big side or would their poor run continue.

Looking at it as a whole, the hosts had unsurprisingly dominated possession from start to end, along with creating a couple of clear-cut chances and completing just under 10 shots on target. Although it took the side some time to get into the game, with the visitors pressing high up the pitch and causing a number of problems, they were able to play on the front foot after the half hour period.

With the crucial goals coming from the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, the side were able to work on their inconsistent home form and show to the neutral supporters that the race for a top four finish is not over anytime soon. And the side should have had a fourth goal here and there, but Daniel James was sadly not convincing enough in front of goal.

On the other hand, the Hornets posed a decent threat through a few set pieces and on the counter-attack, with a goal from Troy Deeney being harshly ruled out due to an apparent handball from Craig Dawson. Watford will want to work on their performances and decision making in the final third of the pitch, as they did not create a single chance and ended the game with just four shots completed.

In the end, United made the advantage count and picked up the much needed win, allowing them to move above Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United into fifth place. And for Nigel Pearson’s Watford, there will be a huge amount of concerns and fears on what is in store for them for the rest of the season, as they still need to face the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal.

Here are the three things we learnt in United’s latest league fixture…

Bruno Fernandes completes another perfect performance

Completing one goal and one assist in his third league game for Manchester United, it just feels like Bruno Fernandes has been playing in the Premier League and at Old Trafford for a number of years. Once again, he has shown the capability that he can play in many areas and is able to be seen as the heartbeat of the side’s attack, as he continues to show his intelligence and class on and off the ball.

As long as the movement and pace are up there in the final third of the pitch, he is able to create the clear-cut chances that the likes of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood are always looking for. With Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba still remaining on the sidelines and are not expected to return from injury anytime soon, Solskjaer along with the squad are blessed with an individual that they can depend and rely on, who is able to create something out of nothing and is also quite a vocal leader.

The Red Devils produce the ideal result and performance after a long time

It’s been a long time since United have been able to match the three points along with a convincing performance and a number of goals. The last time they completed that, was against Norwich in the second week of January, which still feels like a long time ago for a side that wants to reach Champions League football and start challenging for the league title once again. Despite the lack of quality and squad depth, the team are making small steps of progress, whether it can be seen or not.

Having won back-to-back league games for the third time this campaign, the side’s consistency and effectiveness on both sides of the pitch is starting to show its rewards, as they once looked close to finishing in the middle of the league but are now a couple of points behind fourth-place Chelsea. With the side yet to reach their peak and are still missing a few key individuals within the line-up, who knows what the squad are capable of achieving if they all have the same winning mindset.

Can Solskjaer do the unthinkable and guide the team to a top four finish?

For sure, the side’s chances of finishing in the top four does look slim, especially when you consider the difficult run of games United still have and how they are also busy with the Europa League fixtures. However, if the results in the remaining league matches go in their favour and they are able to pick up maximum points from now till the end, anything can really happen in the Premier League.

The victory against Watford makes it their 11th league win of the season, with only the four teams above United that have won more games than them so far this campaign. And given the situation that the noisy neighbours Manchester City have found themselves in with the UEFA, with them receiving a two-year ban from Champions League football, it could potentially mean that if Solskjaer’s Manchester United were to finish in fifth-place, they could actually qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Chelsea 0-2 Man Utd: The Red Devils walk away with the much needed three points as the Blues’ unconvincing home form continues

Ahead of gameweek 26, the main focus was the incoming battle between Chelsea and Manchester United, two clubs who used to go neck to neck with one another for the league title back in the early years of the 21st century, but are now challenging it out with one another for a top four position.

Going into the game, the main thoughts were purely on how both teams would react following the long winter break, as neither of the sides have entered into 2020 in winning spirits and have been failing to show consistency. A win for Frank Lampard’s men would have killed United’s chances of finishing in the top four whilst extending their gap in fourth place away from both Spurs and Sheffield United, meanwhile, the three points for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team would be a huge sigh of relief for himself and the players, who have been criticised by the English press in recent weeks.

Overall, if one was to see the actual match and compare it to the end result, you would be shocked with the amount of chances that the hosts had from the first second of the game until the final whistle, as they were unable to convert their attempts on goal into the back of net. And in the end, despite the two goals that were cancelled out in the second half, they had only completed one shot on goal in the whole game, which is not good enough for a top-four side that are playing at home.

On the other hand, United showed how clinical and effective they are in the big games, where they are able produce something out of nothing and are always posing a threat through Anthony Martial and Daniel James. Surprisingly for the visitors, both their goals had actually come from headers, which has not been the usual way of scoring for them, especially with their difficulties on set-pieces.

In the end, United picked up the much needed victory, allowing them to move up to seventh place and three points behind Chelsea, who have a tough run of fixtures that are coming up which includes facing the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Manchester City. The result at Stamford Bridge is what the Premier League supporters would have hoped for, as the race to finish in the top four will continue till the final day of the season whilst the challenge for the league title is already over.

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

Bruno Fernandes went on to complete quite a performance

Completing one assist, three key passes, 31 passes at a success rate of 79.5% and 54 touches on the ball, Bruno Fernandes had put on quite the performance in the number ten role, where he was also playing more as a false nine from time to time. With how quickly he has settled into English football, the chances of him being an expensive flop is really minimal as showed his intelligence on and off the ball as well as his immaculate positional awareness in what was his second game for United.

Looking at the understanding and chemistry he has formed with the likes of Fred, Daniel James and even Anthony Martial, there is no doubt that he can play a pivotal role in helping the side to finish the season on a high, as he is starting to show that he is the one to link the side’s attack from midfield. Once the individuals in Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay return from injury, the team will have the perfect balance in midfield, which will allow Bruno Fernandes to play at his absolute best.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his setup and tactics spot on again in a big game

For sure, there are many valid questions and pure hesitation about Solskjaer’s shocking record and performances when it comes against the so-called lower teams. However, the results against the top-six sides continue to stay strong and does speak for itself, as Ole has now done the double over Chelsea, which has actually not been done by a Manchester United manager in a really long time.

Within the back-five setup, it helped the team to be more compact in their own half, especially with Luke Shaw being effective as the third centre-back and the fact that Eric Bailly’s return was more than ever needed, someone who is seen as the side’s best defender. And on top of that, the effort put in by the wing-backs up and down the flank as well as from Fred through the middle was second to none, as they were able to stretch the Chelsea defence and cause them several problems.

VAR intervened on a few occasions with nearly all the correct calls

There has been a huge debate about whether the VAR system is actually useful or not, since the start of the footballing season up until now. Despite many decisions going against and for a club, it has to be seen as a fact, that nearly all the outcomes produced by this method have turned out to be correct. It may take a couple of minutes or so to review an event, which could unsettle the players and the supporters, but as long as the decisions are right, there should be no arguments at all.

Besides the outcome of the kickout from Harry Maguire on Michy Batshuayi, which could be analysed and reviewed in a number of ways, with no red card shown following the incident, the rest of the decisions made by the officials was spot on, including the moment where they had to cancel Kurt Zouma’s goal due to a foul in the build-up and Olivier Giroud’s goal because he was marginally offside. Although VAR is not a smooth and straightforward process at this moment of time, but it definitely will be soon or later, when the Football Association will go over how the method is used once the season comes to an end, and think of ideas on how to improve how it is implemented.

Chelsea vs Man Utd: The three key battles for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men to look out for ahead of the Monday night fixture at Stamford Bridge

Ahead of gameweek 26, Manchester United shockingly sit in ninth-place and six points away from the top four positions, as they take on Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge on Monday night. Given that there are only two league wins that separate both teams from one another, it does show the how competitive as well as how inconsistent the Premier League has been this campaign.

There are no doubts that both sides will be showing their energy and work rate on and off the ball along with the intention of securing the three points to help their side move a step forward to playing Champions League football next season. A top four finish for both teams would help them target the world class players in the summer window, in order for them to become title contenders.

Most importantly, this would be the perfect opportunity for the Red Devils to mark their stamp and also turn their away form around, having only won three games away from Old Trafford and have picked up just the 12 points out of a potential 36, whilst Chelsea’s record at home has been quite on and off with nine other teams having a better home record than them.

It’s time to look at the three key battles that can decide the outcome of this fixture…

Daniel James vs Cesar Azpilicueta

With Marcus Rashford on the sidelines for a couple of months along with Anthony Martial being really off form for the last month or so, the main attention and focus on the go-to-man will look to be Daniel James, who is always a handful with his incredible burst of pace and movement in the final third of the pitch. He may lack the final quality when needed the most, but there is a huge certainty that he will be the dangerman out on the flanks and mainly when he cuts through into the middle.

James will be in for a skin-tight and a difficult clash with Cesar Azpilicueta, who is now being utilised as a left-back due to the rise of youngster Reece James in the right-back position. The Spaniard is known to be one of the most complete defenders within the league, having played as a centre back, left back and right back throughout the last couple of years. Given his experience and exceptional positioning defensively, it would be no surprise to see him keeping Daniel James in his back pocket.

Tammy Abraham vs Harry Maguire

Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham is having quite the season and especially in his first full campaign as a regular starter, as he has played on loan for the likes of Aston Villa, Swansea City and Bristol City in recent years, in order for him to gain the intelligence and understanding before he plays in the top flight of English football. And now he is on double figures in league goals, notching 13 in 24 league appearances, with only six players in the Premier League that have more goals than the 22-year-old.

Abraham has the capability to play as a target man and also as a poacher, when you consider his aerial ability as well as how he is in the right place at the right time, and he will be up against none other than Harry Maguire, who is starting to be seen as Manchester United’s best centre-back. Despite his poor performances and lack of consistency towards the end of last year, he has than more than enough to turn his form around, as the side have conceded only six goals in 10 games in all competition.

Bruno Fernandes vs Jorginho

When you see the lack of options that Solskjaer has within midfield, remembering that Paul Pogba is still a few weeks away from returning and Scott McTominay has just returned to regular training, It will mean that Bruno Fernandes will have to guide the team and show in a big match that he is the real deal. After a bright display against Wolves at home, there should not be many worries for the Red Devils of if he will be a flop or can he handle the intensity and physicality of English football.

On the other hand, for Chelsea, Jorginho will be the individual to keep an eye out for, someone who dictates the play deep in his own half and is able to pull out the much needed passes to the his teammates on the flanks and through the middle. The Italian deep-lying playmaker has been proving his critics and the English media wrong since moving from Serie A to the Premier League, as he has shown the class and composure in playing as the deepest player in the midfield trio, which is not a straightforward job for a player like him who lacks the required physicality and acceleration or pace.