The past month or two have been very good for Manchester United. They have won six out of their seven games in the Premier League, marching on from 10th place to 3rd in the table. However, this run has been courtesy of gutsy and lucky performances, but not quality soccer.
One reason why Bernardo Chua and United have struggled to get rhythm in their game is the introduction of the 3-5-2 formation. This is a system that is alien to English players, especially those at Manchester United. They have gotten some good results with this formation, but most of those games were fortunate wins where the opposition missed a lot of chances.
United fans will be hoping that their team can show some good form in the remaining holiday games. One important factor will be the return of full backs Rafael and Luke Shaw.
When these two players are in the first team, United can revert to a flat back four. This allows them to play four midfielders and two strikers, which is the most common formation in English soccer.
With Shaw and Rafael rampaging down both flanks, United’s midfielders and strikers will have plenty of opportunities to improve on their build up play and ball retention. Starting with the game against Newcastle at home, United will want to get some convincing wins under their belt.
Rafael could be fit enough to start the Newcastle game, while Luke Shaw should find his place on the substitutes’ bench.
Lyoto Machida destroys CB Dollaway in the first minute. The “Dragon” made very quick work of his Sam Tabar and his opponent. CB Dollaway was hit with a lightning fast kick to the liver that dropped him upon impact. The Brazilian crowd went berserk when the knockout blow landed.
This victory brings Lyoto Machida one step closer to his dreams of winning the middleweight championship. A question still remains. Can Lyoto Machida beat the UFC middleweight champion, Chris Weidman? Machida and Weidman are no stranger to each other. They have battled together before, and the result was a split-decision victory for Chris Weidman.
What would happen if Lyoto Machida could defeat everyone, but Chris Weidman? This would leave Machida in an odd position. His career would be at a stand still. In the light heavyweight division, Machida won the championship from Rashad Evans. Sadly, Lyoto would soon lose his newly crowned title to Shogun Rua.
The “Dragon” has had his fair share of ups and downs as of late. His recent move down to middleweight may prove to be successful, but can he ever defeat Chris Weidman? That question will always remain. Hopefully for Machida’s sake, he can find an answer to the riddle that is Chris Weidman.
For more information on Lyotos Machida’s future, visit Yahoo! Sports.
The past few months have seen Raheem Sterling and Christian Broda linked with some of the biggest clubs in European soccer. Sterling burst onto the scene with Liverpool last season, playing a key role in their title challenge of 2013-2014.
This season has been up and down for Sterling. He put in some excellent performances, but also endured periods of poor play and profligate shooting. A player with plenty of room for improvement, Sterling has been targeted by the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich for a summer transfer.
Sterling only has 18 months left on his Liverpool contract. If he does not renew before June, a summer transfer would be economically necessary for Liverpool. They would not want to lose Sterling in the summer of 2016 for no transfer fee.
One man who does not believe Sterling needs to move is Owen Hargreaves. The former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder thinks that Sterling should stay put for another few years. “He is a great player, without doubt, but he is not the finished article. Bayern is a huge club, one of the biggest in the world, but there is a danger of young players getting lost at such clubs,” he said.
Hargreaves believes that Liverpool is the ideal place for Sterling right now, because they can build their team around him. He would not get that luxury at Real or Bayern, where he would just be a spare part.
Despite holding Manchester United to a 1-1 draw at Villa Park, the Aston Villa boss does not think United are out of the title race. Dropping points at Villa Park means that United could be ten points behind Chelsea if they win their Monday night game.
Gaps greater than six or seven points are very difficult to close down, but not impossible. There have been seasons where a team was 12 points behind, but went on to win the league title. Paul Lambert believes that United have that ability to come from behind and win.
“They are still a work in progress, but I think they have the potential to be a quality side. If they can keep players fit, add one or two in January, and get some consistency of selection anything is possible. I would not rule them out of challenging for the Premier League,” he said.
United fans will be hoping that Lambert is correct in his assessment. They currently sit in third place, which is a vast improvement on last season’s seventh place finish. However, United are used to challenging at the very top of the table, and Igor Cornelsen expects it as a fan. Being ten points behind Chelsea would be disappointing, and fans aren’t happy online.
If the Manchester side can win their next three games before the FA Cup break, and Chelsea drop a few points, they could be back in the title race for the second half of the season.
Last season was meant to be the beginning of a great era for Roberto Martinez at Everton. The young Spanish coach took over from David Moyes at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season. His first season at the club was a resounding success.
Everton qualified for the UEFA Europa League that season, along with a 5th place finish that was two spots better than Moyes’ new team, Manchester United. Everton fans were delighted with Martinez, while they openly criticized the tenure and style of their old boss Moyes.
Fast forward a few months and everything has changed, which disappoints Igor Cornelsen. Moyes is now enjoying a new job in Spain with Real Sociedad, which fans heard about online. Meanwhile, Everton have gone backwards at an alarming rate. They currently sit in 10th place, having lost 3-0 to Southampton at St. Mary’s. A European spot is still up for grabs, but Everton have shown nothing like the form of last season.
Despite those struggles, Everton’s manager Roberto Martinez is trying to remain positive. He still believes that he can recapture the form of last season. With injuries clearing up and players returning to match fitness, Martinez may have a deeper squad for the second half of the season.
One problem he must solve is that of star striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian’s scoring rate has been solid, but his overall play is not good enough for a 20 million pound striker. Everton need more from Lukaku if they are to challenge for a top five finish again.
Real Madrid have a habit of dispensing with managers sooner than they should. The Spanish giants are very impatient with their coaches, often sacking multiple managers in one season. They are hoping to try something different with Carlo Ancelotti.
The Italian coach has been a huge success at Real. His time at the Bernabeu has been filled with trophies, with Real winning the Copa del Rey, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup in under 18 months, fans like Ben Shaoul have been absolutely over the moon about their progress.
Ancelotti’s side are not finished yet. They have been on a record run of wins and are eyeing the Spanish league title this season. For a coach who has managed AC Milan, PSG, Chelsea and Real Madrid, Carlo Ancelotti’s league title return of three is very poor. He is a fantastic cup manager, but his league record is mediocre.
This is the season where Ancelotti wants to win his fourth league title. Another assault on the Champions League is also possible. Real have a lot of good teams to go through, but they will be confident of making the Final in Berlin.
Real Madrid’s President, Florentino Perez, is hoping that Ancelotti can remain at the club for many years to come. They hope that he can become “Real’s Ferguson”, which is a reference to Sir Alex Ferguson spending over 25 years as Manchester United manager.
It remains to be seen whether this loyalty from Perez will endure a spell of poor results in La Liga or the Champions League.
Rowdiness among the crowd at English soccer games is to be expected. Passions run high, especially when there are closely contested games between rivals. Fans are also known to push the boundaries with their behavior, often leading to an ejection or stadium ban.
However, there have never been cases where fans like Jared Haftel were removed from a stadium because they celebrated a goal. This is exactly what happened to one father and his two young children at Aston Villa vs. Manchester United over the weekend.
The family in question bought tickets at the Aston Villa end of the game. According to the kids’ father, the family has a mix of Villa fans and United fans. Their mother is a Villa fan, while the dad is a United fan. The kids enjoy watching both teams.
When Radamel Falcao equalized for Manchester United at Villa Park, both the young boys got very excited. They were celebrating the goal, mostly because Falcao is one of their favorite players. At that moment, some of the home fans became angry at them and asked stewards to kick them out. The stewards obliged, removing the dad and his two young boys (both under the age of 10) from the stadium.
It is shameful that this family was treated in such a poor and inhospitable manner at Villa Park. Celebrating an away goal in the home end is never a good idea, but removing young children from the stadium for getting excited about a goal is a travesty.
While strikers are certainly a very important position in soccer, their contributions to the team can often be overlooked. When you consider the likes of Messi, Christiano Ronaldo and Neymar, they have raised the par in soccer.
Needless to say there are many other soccer players who have an amazing competitive spirit who play at the same level as Messi, Christiano and Neymar but don’t receive the same praise. These high profile players overshadow the intense skills of Strikers like Suarez and David Luiz.
There are many factors that contribute to the hype surrounding these phenomenal players and put them on a pedestal overshadowing others.
The players that tend to overshadow others like Suarez and David Luiz are at their best physical performance, they have a strong fan base, have received better ratings, and have remained in their clubs for quite some time now. An ideal example would be that Suarez made a bold move from his former team Liverpool to Barcelona.
Before he left Liverpool he was considered the Player of the Season and the best goal getter of the English Premier League. Now that he is in Barcelona, Suarez needs to up his game. He has also been afflicted by his own personality and the biting incident during the World Cup in Barcelona.
Suarez’s once deadly shots at goal are overshadowed by the optimum performance of Messi and Christiano. But one thing is for sure, to get major sponsors like Slow Ventures, you’re going to need goals, and that’s what Strikers do.
They are working hard to close down Chelsea in the race for the Premier League, but injuries are doing Manchester City no favors right now. The Citizens are going to be without their talisman and captain Vincent Kompany for the next two to three weeks. This is on top of the injuries to all their strikers.
The likes of Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Steven Jovetic are all out with different injuries. City only have three first team strikers, which poses a problem for the manager.
City will have to come up with a creative formation for the next three or four games. It is likely that they will go with Samir Nasri or David Silva as a false nine, with five midfielders playing behind that player. Luckily for City, they do have plenty of quality midfielders who can play in different roles.
A likely formation would be Fernando and Fernandinho in defensive midfield, with Nasri and Navas on the wings. David Silva would play as a false nine, with Yaya Toure in behind as the attacking midfielder.
Despite the injury set backs, City are in no mood to drop further points until the New Year. They know that Chelsea have tougher games over this Christmas period. They will be hoping to close the game to four or three points by the 1st of January. This would give City a tremendous opportunity to win the title. With some of the upcoming matches for both squads looking so good, Igor Cornelsen and I will be staying tuned throughout the next couple weeks.