Manchester United’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Saturday was widely hailed as a thrilling fixture that showcased much of the best of what the Premier League has to offer. It was played at a high tempo, offered plenty of excitement and was bursting with quality.
Well for Arsenal fans, it was yet another dismal occasion, where they failed to turn up against the big guns. Results such as these, are somewhat starting to become of a norm in recent times at the club.
Despite being the dominant side for majority of the match, the Gunners somehow ended up losing with a degree of comfort. Well the reason for that, would simply be down to their shambolic defending and poor organisation in midfield.
Allowing United to play in the counterpunching style that they thrive upon, Wenger's men fell victims and were virtually caught out. It seems as though Wenger, has never been exposed to the usual counter-attacking displays, as showcased by United throughout these years. Lack of tactical insight and anticipation, was what cost Arsenal the 3 points.
For José, it seemed like another tactical masterclass - which is what he's undoubtedly known for.
However, to cut to the chase, will Arsenal ever achieve consistency and momentum in the league? I'm afraid that's still a 'no'. Arsenal are still a long way off their bitter Manchester rivals and fellow North London rival, Chelsea, at the moment. Why is that so? Having gone on a decent winning run, and eventually losing to one of the big guns, virtually brings the Gunners back to square one. Just proving that their previous efforts have been meaningless.
Playing beautiful football is an art itself. However, Wenger must address changes to Arsenal's gameplay, if consistency and results, were to be ever achieved in the first place.
by UnitedInsight (Instagram @UnitedInsight)
Ipswich Town v Sheffield United
Watford v Bristol City
Birmingham City v Burton Albion
Liverpool v Everton
Brighton & Hove Albion v Crystal Palace
Aston Villa v Woking or Peterborough United
Bournemouth v AFC Fylde or Wigan
Coventry City v Stoke City
Newport County v Leeds United
Bolton Wanderers v Huddersfield Town
Port Vale v Bradford City
Nottingham Forest v Arsenal
Brentford v Notts County
Queens Park Rangers v MK Dons
Manchester United v Derby County
Forest Green Rovers or Exeter City v West Bromwich Albion
Doncaster Rovers v Rochdale
Tottenham Hotspur v AFC Wimbledon
Middlesbrough v Sunderland
Fleetwood or Hereford v Leicester City
Blackburn Rovers or Crewe Alexandra v Hull City
Cardiff City v Mansfield Town
Manchester City v Burnley
Shrewsbury Town v West Ham United
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Swansea City
Stevenage v Reading
Newcastle United v Luton Town
Millwall v Barnsley
Fulham v Southampton
Wycombe Wanderers v Preston North End
Norwich City v Chelsea
Gillingham or Carlisle United v Sheffield Wednesday
The following was written by James Wootton. Find him on Twitter @JamesWootton95.
4 years, 6 months and 15 days ago, Crystal Palace knocked Brighton & Hove Albion out of the Championship play-offs in their own backyard. Since then, Palace have gone on to assert themselves as Premier League regulars whilst Brighton spent a few more years flirting with promotion until they finally made it to the big time in May.
The ‘M23 derby’ is a strange one, due to the teams being separated by over 45 miles. But the animosity both sets of fans share makes for a cracking atmosphere for Tuesday’s upcoming Premier League fixture.
This will be the first time the sides have met in the top flight since 1981. Brighton’s nickname ‘The Seagulls’ originated from their rivalry with their south London counterparts. During a match in the 1975/76 season, Albion supporters drowned out the visitor's chants of 'Eagles' by producing a louder counter chant of 'Seagulls'.
A key talking point will no doubt be Brighton striker Glenn Murray, who famously left Albion first time around to join Palace. The Eagles chairman, Steve Parish, has recently said about his regret of selling Murray to AFC Bournemouth. His 30 goals during Palace’s promotion year solidified Murray as a fan favourite, and many were disappointed to see him leave.
Palace’s season got off to a horrendous start, without a single point in their opening seven games. But with the return of Wilfried Zaha from injury, and the form of Chelsea loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek, they seem to be turning their season around, winning their most recent game against Stoke City with a stoppage time winner.
Brighton fans would say they’ve had a solid start to life in the Premier League, with the team sitting in the top half of the table on 16 points. Unbeaten at home since the opening day against Manchester City, the Seagulls have been in fine form. One concern would be that they’ve drawn their past three home games, so fans would be eager to get one over the Eagles.
With some tough fixtures coming up over the Christmas period with a defeat at Old Trafford on Saturday, and matches against Tottenham and Chelsea to come, Albion will feel this is an important game and huge opportunity to increase the gap between themselves and the relegation zone. For Palace, every game is a must win now until they get themselves out of trouble. It’s all lined up to be an exciting fixture at The Amex on Tuesday.
This article was written by Sam Sneddon. Follow him on Twitter @samjsneddon.
The Premier League is one of the biggest leagues in the world. Every year is a challenge for all the teams involved and the winner is usually unpredictable. This year, though, things aren't quite the same - one team has caught the attention of many fans.
Manchester City has totally changed since Billionaire Qatar owners took over in 2008, coming from English minnows to one of the top teams in the Premier League. Now, they are sitting in first place, undefeated after 12 games.
Fans of all clubs can't help but talk about this stunning achievement; critics are saying they are 'unstoppable' that they're actually 'playing the best football in Premier League history'.
But what I want to look at is how the rest of the season will go for them.
The only team to ever go an entire season unbeaten in the English Premier League was, of course, Arsenal. In the season of 2003-04, Arsene Wenger's side regained the Premier League without a single defeat (the last time Arsenal won the PL). Many fans wonder if Manchester City could replicate that this season.
City's chances of winning the Prem this season are very high, there's no doubting that, but a totally unbeaten run, as possible as it is, is an extremely difficult thing to do. All it takes is a simple slip up and an 'invincible' stance is taken away.
There's lots of competition in the EPL and there are many teams that City's very strong squad will have to watch out for. Sitting behind them, with an 8 point difference is biggest rivals, Man. United who have started off pretty well in the season too. The rest of the top 6 also need to be watched out for with Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal (in that particular order) showing some good games in the 12 that we've had. Even though these teams are strong competition, City has shown that the top teams might not actually be that much of a problem for them; a stunning 5-0 victory against Liverpool, a 0-1 win against Chelsea and a solid 3-1 against Arsenal show that Man City are confident against all opponents.
Upcoming, City will hardly be challenged with Huddersfield (A), Southampton (H), and West Ham (H) being their next three games. After that, on the 10th December, the first Manchester Derby of the season will be held at Old Trafford, fans will be eager to see who comes out with the result.
Really, only time will tell, but if Manchester City become the second team to go unbeaten for a full season in the PL, there will be a lot to talk about.
Situated in North West London, Wembley Stadium was originally built in 1923 before being demolished and reopened in 2007. I’ll stop there with the boring Wembley facts though (if you’re a fan of The Apprentice, you’ll especially appreciate that gesture).
Wembley is regarded as the home of football, certainly within the UK, and it’s where the England national team play their home games. Every single home game England play, whether it be a World Cup Qualifier, friendly or any other type of match, is played at Wembley stadium, in London. Just to clarify, that means a football team which represents an entire country, plays all of its games right at the South of that country. Is it just me, or does that seem a little odd? What about fans who want to watch England but live nowhere near London?
Lets take an example of a football fan, maybe a 35-year-old man, living in somewhere in the north like Liverpool. Realistically he'll never get the opportunity to watch his national team play because of how far it is to travel to Wembley. Sure, you can watch it on TV. But it’s not the same.
Continuing with the example of the person from Liverpool, if he were to travel to London to watch England hed’d have to pay a very expensive train fare. From there, he'd have to navigate an unfamiliar tube system to make his way to Wembley. Once the game is over, he’d have to take a late night train ride back to Liverpool which isn't ideal, right? So he might be forced to book accommodation for the night and travel back to Liverpool in the morning. As you can imagine, these costs all rack up, resulting in some fans having to pay £100s to see England play.
It’s not just England that has this problem, though. The vast majority of countries play all of their national team games at just one stadium. It just seems like a very unusual system. One nation that doesn’t follow the status quo, though, is Spain - they play national team games in a variety of stadiums across the country. Even when it comes to competitive games, the national team could play at any one of the Bernabéu, Camp Nou or Estadio Olimpico de Sevilla – and if you take a look at a map, those three stadiums are spread quite evenly across the country. Moreover, each of those stadiums has a high capacity and is correctly facilitated to hold a large number of fans.
Why can’t England copy the Spain model? There certainly isn't a lack of quality stadiums in England. Even if national team games were shared between just a few different venues, it would still allow almost every fan the opportunity to see their nation play, live in the flesh. There are no stadiums in England that can even match the mammoth 90,000-person capacity of Wembley. However, Old Trafford in Manchester can hold 75,000, St James’ Park in Newcastle has a capacity of 52,000 and Villa Park in Birmingham can hold 42,500. When you consider that Wembley rarely reaches maximum capacity anyway, it seems quite logical that games of less importance could easily be played at different locations around England.
Spreading games out in this manner is also helpful for players who live further away from Wembley. Instead of having to travel to London every time there is an international break, it gets shaken up a bit to make things a little more fair for those players who live away from the capital. Plus, if clubs have the pressure of knowing that during an international break they may have to host the national team, it will force them into renovating their facilities and ensuring the stadium is of good quality, which then will benefit the fans and players of that particular club, too.
It just seems like it would be beneficial to the majority if England games were played at various stadiums across the whole country, rather than solely at Wembley. And who knows, maybe the national team will start performing better on the pitch as a result.
by George (@georjecb on Twitter)
Philippe Coutinho seemed set to sign for Barcelona this summer. He wanted to leave, Barcelona desperately wanted him, and the media made it look as though it was only a matter of time until the Brazilian winger was playing for perhaps the greatest club in world football. In fact, the only thing that prevented him from leaving was stubbornness of Liverpool’s board – they seemed absolutely adamant that he wouldn’t leave under any circumstances.
As the days and weeks went by and it became closer and closer to transfer deadline day, the prospect of Coutinho staying at Liverpool became all the more likely.
As you know, Coutinho did begrudgingly stay at Liverpool, which gave him an entirely new problem: winning over the fans. Would he be able to get back into the hearts’ of the Liverpool faithful? Will they welcome him back with open arms, despite him clearly showing he’d rather be at Barcelona? Simply put, yes – the majority excused his behaviour and were more than happy to see Coutinho back. Rightly so, too, because he’s a brilliant player who gives his side that extra little bit of magic.
Philippe Coutinho scored his first goal of the season in Saturday’s game against Leicester City – and what a goal it was! Liverpool had a free-kick from about 25 yards out. In typical Coutinho style, he strolled up to the ball and effortlessly curled it into the top corner.
Liverpool went on to win the game. It was a brilliant end-to-end display of attacking football and Coutinho, who was named the man of the match, was a huge part of that.
The World Cup is coming up and Coutinho will be desperate to nail down a spot in Brazil’s starting eleven. Although he’s a world-class player, Brazil have an entire squad of world-class players. There’s no guarantee he’ll get into the team, so it’s imperative he has a good season. It’s no surprise that as soon as the transfer window closed and the opportunity to move Barcelona was gone, he went straight back to smashing free-kicks into the top corner as if nothing had changed.
This season has the potential to be Coutinho’s best in a Liverpool shirt. He has all the correct incentives to play well – if this season goes well he could find himself in Brazil’s starting eleven at the 2018 World Cup. By playing well this season he’ll also show Barcelona just how badly they need him, pressuring them into making an offer for the 25-year-old that Liverpool can’t refuse.
It’s make or break for Coutinho this season, and if his performance against Leicester City is anything to go by, this season will be the making of him.
by George (@georjecb on Twitter)
This article is written by @unitedinsight. Find him on Instagram.
United celebrated their return to the Champions League with a 3-0 win against Basel, however, the victory was tainted as Paul Pogba was forced off after just 19 minutes. "In my experience, muscular injury stops you from playing for a few weeks," said Jose Mourinho, confirming Pogba's injury was more severe than what was first hoped.
The Frenchman captained United for the first time in his career, yet the joyous occasion rapidly turned sour when he was forced off the pitch. Mourinho's men didn't let that affect them though, and rightly so, but they would have preferred Pogba to have been on the pitch.
Furthermore, Paul Pogba's departure from Old Trafford on crutches did not ease concerns from the United camp. Pogba's absence will undoubtedly hinder the Red Devils, because this season he has played a pivotal role in the team's attacking thrust and movement on the counter.
His two goals and two assists means only Man United team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata have been directly involved in more Premier League goals this season (both with five) than Pogba. But he has delivered more than just goals and assists; Pogba has been the heartbeat of this fluid United side.
With Pogba now sidelined for the foreseeable future, though, United's attacking intensity will not be the same, if only for a few weeks. In the matches the midfielder sat out last season, they lacked the same attacking vigour to hurt opponents. Pogba could potentially miss the next 5-6 matches (depending on his recovery and match fitness).
He will be missed for this Sunday's clash, when Manchester United welcome Everton at Old Trafford. That being said, United head into this match in fine form - contrary to their opponents, who've suffered three consecutive defeats, failing to score in each of them.
Even without Pogba, I feel another win is on the cards for United.
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This article was written by Sam Sneddon. Follow him on Twitter (@samjsneddon) and Instagram (@samjsneddon).
What have Tottenham Hotspur done this transfer window? Almost nothing. They were quiet for the first couple of months of the transfer window - in fact, they've only recently just made their first signing of the summer.
There's not long left in the transfer window and Tottenham seem to be leaving it pretty late to improve a squad which failed to win the league last season, despite coming close. Only on Thursday did they secure the services of defender Davinson Sanchez from Ajax for a club-record fee of £38m.
Tottenham are also set to complete the signing of Serge Aurier, a right-back from PSG, who has been pretty impressive recently. The deal is rumoured to have already been completed but the 24-year old defender is still awaiting a work permit. According to Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, the Premier League runners-up are still looking for another two players (one of which being a new goal-keeper) before deadline day, as well as Aurier.
On top of a looking for a new goalkeeper, Spurs might be in the market for some players to replace the likes Kyle Walker and Dele Alli (if he leaves). Dele Alli has proven himself to be an outstanding player and has put in some great performances, especially last season, and is keen to move to Barcelona, according to Spanish news outlet Don Balon. Alli would be a key-player in anybody's squad, but for Spurs to let him go they'd need to receive a bid in the region of £139m for the 21-year old.
The goal-scoring midfielder has bagged 28 goals in 70 games for Spurs.
Although Barcelona might not need Dele Alli due to their recent purchase of Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, they certainly have the finances to sign him following the sale of Neymar.
In my opinion, Spurs need another two or three players to strengthen their squad and contend for the title. Who do you think Tottenham Hotspur need to sign to strengthen their squad? Let me know on Twitter @samjsneddon.
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This article is written by @unitedinsight. Check him out on Instagram.
The UEFA Champions League draw (UCL) took place just a few days ago. Having seen some of the fixtures that will take place in the group stages alone, I think we can all anticipate a very tight contest this year. It looks very exciting and there are more than a few mouthwatering clashes on the cards.
United were drawn into group A and face some fairly tricky opponents. The Reds share a group with SL Benfica, FC Basel and CSKA Moscow. To be brutally honest, United could consider themselves quite fortunate; having avoided the big boys once again. Yes, there will be some tricky games for United but when you look at who teams like Chelsea and Tottenham have in their groups', it's really not that bad.
United can't afford to be complacent, though, and shouldn't underestimate their group-stage opponents. Back in the 2011/12 season, United finished 3rd in their group; finishing behind SL Benfica and FC Basel! They can't let that happen again. Needless to say, United had underestimated their opponents back then. To avoid that this time around, United must be well prepared and wary of their opponents' threats.
Moreover, José will certainly want to make his mark in the UCL once again, having being knocked out in the semi-finals three times in a row with Madrid and in the round-of-16 with Chelsea in his last four encounters. United should be able to get past the group-stages without much hassle, given the quality and depth of their star-studded squad. United should be able to at least reach the quarters or semi-finals if everything goes well. However, with the likes of Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, FC Bayern München, PSG, Atlético Madrid etc. out there as well, it won't be an easy task for the lads.
Do you think Man United can win the Champions League? Let us know on Twitter @socabol.
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This article was written by @pxulpogba. Follow him on Instagram.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has announced he has signed a new one-year contract with Manchester United. In the Swede's first season he ended up as United's top goalscorer with 28 goals in all competitions. Unfortunately, though, in April he suffered a major knee injury which ended his season far too early. The 35-year-old was expected to be out of action until January 2018, however, he is now targeting a return for October 28 - the day Manchester United face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.
The return of Zlatan means that Manchester United won't have to rely on Romelu Lukaku to score the goals - they now have back up for when things aren't working. However, could the signing of Ibrahimovic mean that Marcus Rashford will get less playing time? Perhaps. Although he needs lots of minutes on the pitch to develop, he's still only 19-years-old and will learn a lot from sharing the dressing room with a striker like Zlatan Ibrahimovic for another year. Having Zlatan back in the squad will also mean than it'll be easier to rotate our strikers for games in the Premier League, EFL Cup, FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. That's the theory, anyway. But who knows what Jose Mourinho is planning...
Speaking of Jose, two weeks ago in an interview he revealed that Ibrahimovic was dissatisfied with the way the season ended and is hungry to play again. Could Zlatan's hunger make a difference to this season's title race? Will his second season be as lucrative as the first? How far will Man United go in the Champions League with the help of Ibrahimovic? We will find out shortly...
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