Apr 242015

Belgian is better than any player in the Everton squad, according to Football Fanager rankings

Former Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini has performed better this season than every member of the Toffees’ squad, according to leading fantasy football manager site Football Fanager.

The attacking midfielder has amassed 91 Football Fanager points in just 22 league and European appearances. Of his former side, only Steven Naismith and Romelu Lukaku can match that total, but they have needed six and nine more games to get there respectively.

Manchester United travel to Goodison Park on Sunday, and the overall picture doesn’t make good reading for Everton fans. United’s top performer Wayne Rooney has accrued in excess of 40 points more than the hosts’ leading pair. He’s now on 136 points, thanks in the main to his 12 goals and five assists. There are a further seven Red Devils on more points that Naismith and Lukaku.

Belgian international Fellaini won’t need motivation this Sunday. In the corresponding fixture last season, he was an unused substitute for a match which turned out to be David Moyes’ final game in charge at United. Then, when the teams met at Old Trafford in October, he warmed the bench again before managing just 11 minutes on the pitch.

However, over the course of this season, Fellaini has found eye-catching form and can expect to start at the weekend. He has netted five times and been on the victorious side 14 times – that’s an impressive 64% win rate. Plus, he represents good value-per-game, averaging more than four Football Fanager points per appearance, which again betters anything Everton can muster. Naismith top performs for the home side with an average of 3.5 points per game.

United have also had the luxury of squad rotation to keep their players flesh. Aside from ever-present David De Gea (on 33) and star striker Rooney (29), Everton’s players make up six of the top eight when it comes to match starts. Phil Jagielka (32) is the most played outfielder likely to feature on Saturday, with Seamus Coleman (29), Leighton Baines (28), Gareth Barry (28) and Lukaku (27) not far behind. Tim Howard (27), Robin van Persie (24) and Antonio Valencia (24) make up the top 10.

While the home side do have players that can cause United problems – goals have tended to come from Kevin Mirallas (6), Naismith (7) and Lukaku (8) – they’ll have their work cut out if they’re to fend off a United side looking to confirm that coveted Champions League qualifying place.

Marc Saba, co-founder and director of Football Fanager, said: “Marouane Fellaini was useless last season, but under Louis van Gaal he’s back to the form he was in for old club Everton. His Football Fanager ranking is better than any of The Toffees’ squad and I bet Roberto Martinez wishes he was back at Goodison Park wearing blue rather than red.”

Football Fanager’s top 10 performers, EVE v MAN
Name  Team FF Value Points
Wayne Rooney Man Utd £39.60m 136
David De Gea Man Utd £15.84m 131
Juan Mata Man Utd £35.20m 116
Angel Di Maria Man Utd £44.00m 111
Robin van Persie Man Utd £29.04m 108
Ander Herrera Man Utd £23.76m 97
Antonio Valencia Man Utd £11.44m 95
Radamel Falcao Man Utd £52.00m 94
Marouane Fellaini Man Utd £17.60m 91
Steven Naismith Everton £3.52m 91


Football Fanager’s top 10 most starts*, EVE v MAN
Name  Team FF Value Points
David De Gea Man Utd £15.84m 33
Phil Jagielka Everton £5.28m 32
Wayne Rooney Man Utd £39.60m 29
Seamus Coleman Everton £11.44m 29
Leighton Baines Everton £16.72m 28
Gareth Barry Everton £3.08m 28
Romelu Lukaku Everton £26.40m 27
Tim Howard Everton £1.76m 27
Robin van Persie Man Utd £29.04m 24
Antonio Valencia Man Utd £11.44m 24

*Premier League and Champions League

 Posted by at 2:24 pm
Apr 212015

Although there is still plenty to play for in the remaining weeks of the 2014/2015 season, managers will already have one eye on the summer transfer window with a view to bringing in good quality players. The English Premier League, in particular, is expected to see a flurry of activity as the big teams will spend considerable amounts of money in the market to improve their squad and strengthen their title chances. They will undoubtedly be joined by other major clubs across Europe who will source the very best players who may be tempted to move onto pastures new.

Arturo Vidal is certainly one player who will be on the radar of a number of clubs, with the Chilean star continuing to shine for Juventus as one of the best midfielders in world football. Vidal certainly knows where the back of the net is, with his superbly-taken penalty against Monaco giving the Bianconeri a one-goal lead to take to Monaco in their Champions League Quarter Final tie. However, Juventus have stated that they will only sell their prized asset if Vidal expresses his wish to leave the club, which may be enough encouragement for potential suitors to test their resolve.

Manchester United

Louis Van Gaal is believed to be a big fan of Vidal, with the Chilean high on Manchester United’s wish list since last summer. Inquiries during the transfer window were rejected as Juventus refused to let their midfield star leave the Juventus Stadium, but with Van Gaal expected to spend big this summer in order to improve their squad, Manchester United may make a serious move to tempt Vidal to move to Old Trafford.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid were the other team that were strongly linked with a move for Vidal last year, with Ancelotti keen to add Vidal to his enviable list of star players. Any interest this summer may ultimately depend on whether Ancelotti remains in the hotseat, but with so many outstanding midfielders already at the club, Vidal may be better suited to consider other options to guarantee regular first-team action.


Failing to repeat the wonderful achievements of last season may force Brendan Rodgers to make serious moves in the transfer market to appease the fans’ desire for glory. His need for a top quality midfielder will become more apparent when long-serving club legend Steven Gerrard departs for the LA Galaxy, with Vidal among a plethora of star names linked with a summer move to Anfield. Signing the Chilean would be a wonderful coup for Liverpool and certainly a step in the right direction, but they may have to pull out all the stops if other interested parties make a move.

Bayern Munich

Although they have taken a dominant hold of German football in recent years, Bayern Munich always remain in the market to acquire players that will make them even stronger. This is particularly with the view of becoming more competitive in the Champions League, with last season’s comprehensive Semi-Final exit at the hands of Real Madrid still lingering over them. Vidal would certainly be the sort of player that Pep Guardiola would be interested in if he became available, and with midfield lynchpin Xabi Alonso not getting any younger, Bayern Munich may be the first to make a move for the Chilean this summer.


A transfer embargo which lasts until January 2016 will not prevent Barcelona from being active in the transfer market, with Vidal amongst a number of names who could create a new era at the Nou Camp. Although team-mate Paul Pogba may be their preferred target, Luis Enrique would undoubtedly be interested in a player of Vidal’s quality in an area where Barcelona may need reinforcements. There are suggestions that Xavi and Andres Iniesta’s best days are behind them, while the likes of Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano do not offer the creative spark that Barcelona have lacked in certain matches this season. Vidal certainly has the array of passing, eye for goal and attacking drive to fit nicely into Barcelona’s midfield and make a name for himself at another big club.

 Posted by at 1:00 pm
Apr 112015

Football Fanager enables fans to take control of top teams from the best leagues in Europe, in the Champions League and from other major competitions. Players can pick a fantasy team for the season or just a weekend, with great cash prizes up for grabs alongside iPads, GoPro cameras, signed football memorabilia and more. Best of all, you can play for free every week.

The platform awards points to players across 17 different categories using the latest match data from sector specialists OPTA.

It’s derby day in the North West this Sunday as Manchester United take on Manchester City at Old Trafford. The blue half of Manchester has been victorious in the last four meetings between the pair, however a resurgent United have won their last five matches and should feel confident against a City side searching for form.


Key Players: Manchester United

David De Gea – The Spanish stopper is Manchester United’s best performing player this season with 130 Fantasy Fanager points. Conceding less than one goal a game, De Gea has been part of a rock-solid defence that is second only to Chelsea’s in the league. A misfiring City frontline have found the net just four times in as many games, so a solid performance in the United goalmouth could prove decisive.


Wayne Rooney – At the other end of the field, Rooney has been the unsurprising focal point of Manchester United’s attack with 12 goals and 4 assists from his 27 starts, including two in his last three appearances. Football Fanagers may need to be wary of the England star’s temperament – he’s received a yellow card in five games this season as well as red in the September meeting with West Ham.


Antonio Valencia– The Ecuadorean winger has been something of a good luck charm in the United side this season, with the team winning almost 70% of the 25 games he has appeared in. That said, don’t expect too many goals with Valencia on the field – he’s yet to bag a goal, has only assisted two and there have been 10 clean sheets from games he’s been involved in.


Manchester City danger man:

Sergio Aguero – Stick with this one. The Argentine may not have scored in six, but take out that sextet of goalless games and the stats tell a different story – 23 goals in 27 games before the drought took hold. With class to spare, the forward is due a comeback, and where better to banish some poor City form, both personally and as a team, than in the backyard of their Manchester rival. His tally of 199 Fantasy Fanager points also blows United’s top performers out of the water.


More about Football Fanager’s game

Football Fanager awards or deducts points to players in Europe’s top five leagues across 17 different categories using OPTA stats. For example, a goal scored by a striker is worth five points, one by a midfielder six points and one by a defender or goalkeeper seven points. Starting a game, coming on as a substitute, assists, clean sheets and winning a game all accrue points while losing, yellow and red cards, as well as conceding goals if players are defenders or keepers all see points taken off.

Fantasy managers choose a team from a £250m budget and can enter leagues for free or for a small fee and win prizes for the best performing team over a weekend, a particular competition, or a whole season.

For your chance to play for the lion’s share of £100 for free, no deposit, every weekend then sign up and play in Football Fanager’s Premier League tournament here. Who will you pick?


 Posted by at 10:36 am
Apr 102015

23-year old Carl Jenkinson has reportedly caught the eye of Liverpool manager, Brendan after impressing at West Ham this season. Having covered up for former team mate, Bacary Sagna last season, Jenkinson’s temporal leave from the Emirates  was as a result of lack of playing time which spurred Arsenal boss, Arsenal Wenger to send him to West Ham on a loan deal.

With a loan move away from the Emirates, Liverpool are reported to be interested in seeing the player switch allegiance on a permanent basis having impressed at West Ham under Sam Allardyce.

And with Glen Johnson reportedly close to leaving Anfield at the end of the season, a replacement in Carl Jenkinson is Rodgers bet as the Reds’ manager is said to be willing to offer £7 million to see the full back at Anfield.

While the 23-year old is said to be enjoying his playing time at Upton Park, a return to the Emirates may be unlikely for the full back whose absence has seen the emergence of Hector Bellerin. And with Mathieu Debuchy sidelined for almost the remainder of the season, Carl Jenkinson may plunge deeper in the ranks of full backs at the Emirates.

Initial reports suggested that West Ham have been planning to seal the 23-year old  to Upton Park on a permanent but may likely face a stiff competition from Liverpool who see the young full back as an ideal replacement for Glen Johnson.

Spanish youngster, Bellerin is reportedly set to pen a new contract with Arsenal and could further complicate Jenkinson’s return to be with the Gunners. The 23-year old, earlier this year had disclosed that he needed to leave Arsenal on loan to save his career.

“I didn’t want to have another season sitting on the bench,” he said.

“It was starting to drive me up the wall a little bit, I wanted to get out and play football, and I’ve realized that I’m happiest when I’m playing regular football.

“I wanted to go to a team where I was going to learn and improve and I think I’m definitely doing that here at West Ham.”

With soothing words and assurance of first team football from Brendan Rodgers, Jenkinson could leave Arsenal for good in search of a future with Liverpool.

And with Wenger, having signed the youngster from Charlton for €1.13 million in 2011, a £7 million bid could see him release the player.

 Posted by at 6:41 pm
Apr 102015

Although the 2014/2015 season hasn’t ended, this has not stopped clubs from getting linked to different players. Manchester United is definitely not an exception as the club has been reportedly monitoring Atletico Madrid’s João Miranda. Miranda who plays as a central defender for the Spainish club has been constantly linked to a move to  Manchester United and with the next transfer window few months away, the rumours are intensifying.

Miranda is an experienced and highly respected player, he plays a major role in the defence department of the Atlético Madrid partnering with Diego Godin in the central. Although the player still have over a year on his contract, Jose Gimenez has been bought by the club and he is seen as the long term replacement for Miranda in the current Atlético Madrid side. This has further fuelled speculations about the Brazilian’s future. It is believe Atletico already know the player will leave and want to strengthen their own position by buying Jose Gimenez in advance.

According to media reports in both England and Spain, Manchester United have been interested in the player since last summer and are going to make another attempt to sign the defender to solve their shortage of centre back come the summer transfer window.

New reports has it that United manager Louis Van Gaal is ready to pay as much as €27m to acquire the services of the high rated centre back. To further fuel the rumours, the player himself was quoted to have said;

“Of course this news reaches me, and it makes me happy. It shows I am doing well,”

“It makes me proud, but my intention is to stay at Atletico because I still have a year and a half on my contract.”

Although Manchester United could do with an experienced centre back in the summer, at the reported €27m price target, signing Miranda who is 30 years of age will make no sense. The chances of the player coping with the pace of premier league due to his age is extremely very small. United would do better to go for a player who is younger though not necessarily cheaper since at the current market, getting a reliable centre back for less than €25m is almost impossible.

Not taking anything away from Miranda, but what United needs right now is someone who is young and is very likely to be around for 4-6 years. This person is definitely not Miranda. I think by all means United should sign Mats Hummels in the summer. He has big stage experience, quite young and just a little more expensive than Miranda and is likely to command the same in wages.

 Posted by at 3:14 pm
Apr 022015

Real Madrid’s Portugal international, Fabio Coentrao is open to a Manchester United move in the summer. Recent reports have it that the Portuguese will welcome a move to the English giants. This is coming in a week when the left-back said it would be an ‘honour’ to play for the Old Trafford club. The talented defender is a key figure for Portugal and has represented the Nation in two different World Cups.

Fabio Coentrao, 27, has played an important role at Real Madrid since joining the Spanish giants from Benfica in 2011, helping the Spanish side claim major trophies over the years. He was also instrumental in the impressive run that saw them capture of a double of the Champions League and the Spanish cup, last year. However, the left-back who is also capable of playing a defensive midfield role, has struggled to get match time at The Bernabeu this season, as he seems to have fallen down the pecking order at the Spanish side.

Brazilian left-back, Marcelo Silva’s regular first team appearance this season means Coentrao’s has managed only three starts in the league, and has failed to break into coach Carlo Ancelotti’s starting XI. The Portuguese’s struggle for first team football has forced him to consider his future and would welcome a move away from the Spanish giants. Coentrao’s is currently on a long-term contract at Real Madrid which sees him bag a weekly wage in the region of £100,000 until the summer of 2019. However, it remains unclear if Real Madrid will be willing to allow the Portuguese to leave the club this summer.

Manchester United are desperate to end their defensive woes and are willing to bring in some new faces this summer. Coentrao’s addition would be a massive boost for the English side who have been at the end of some awful defending this season. The combative Portuguese is a good crosser of the ball, he is decent going forward and covers well in defence. The athletic defender will be excited by the prospect of joining the Red Devils and making the left-back position his, but he will face tough competition from talented English man, Luke Shaw, who joined the Old Trafford side from Southampton last summer, as a replacement for veteran French man, Patrice Evra. Luke Shaw has had an injury ridden season and Coentrao’s addition would give the Red Devils some depth.

Manchester United are in pole position for a top-four finish and boss Louis Van Gaal has been linked with quite a number of defenders ahead of next season. However, Real Madrid will be demanding a sum in the region of £26million for the talented Portuguese, who also happens to be close friends with fellow country-man and former United star, Cristiano Ronaldo. With other options on the cards, it remains quite unclear if Manchester United will be willing to spend that much on the talented left-back. It will be interesting to see how things unfold in the coming weeks.

 Posted by at 8:19 pm
Feb 072015

Manchester United travels to Upton Park on Sunday on the back of an impressive FA cup win over Cambridge United. It promises to be an exciting game. Below are five reasons why I think Manchester United will beat West Ham.

The 4-4-2 diamond formation, key to attacking fluidity:

It’s no coincidence that since Louis Van Gaal reverted back to four at the back and a diamond midfield, United have played better. They’ve moved the ball around quicker, the players are used to the formation and respond to the formation plus it guarantees goals. Should Louis Van Gaal continue with the 4-4-2 diamond formation, I expect West Ham to be soundingly beaten.

Maroune Fellaini/Rooney:

The big, afro haired Belgian who was key to United’s six wins on the trot just before the end of last year is back in form and will be important against Sam Allardyce’s men. Not just because of his aerial strength but the physical presence he brings to the fore in a midfield lacking grit at the moment.

We all thought it would be a few years before we see Wayne Rooney in midfield. Many United fans were expecting him to continue to play from the attack for at least some few more years but alas he’s played in the midfield more times this season than his favored attacking position just behind the front man. He gives his all, gets stuck into every tackle, can pick a pass and has re-invented the Scholes esque play of ghosting into the box from midfield to score goals like the match against Liverpool. He’s like a mixture of Bryan Robson, Roy keane and Paul Scholes rolled into one person. He’s been one of the stand-out performers this season.  With he and Fellaini in the middle of the pack, there is no stopping the red devils.

Stable Defense (no Injuries):

For the first time in a long while Manchester United will have the same back four starting back to back games as the back four that started against Leicester city is available for the West Ham game and I won’t bet against LVG fielding them. Defensive continuity is key, it helps the Goalkeeper the defenders and makes the defense line in sync with each other since they play with each other week in week out.

Angel Di Maria:

The club record signing started his OT career in spectacular fashion but after a couple of niggling injuries began to struggle. But he is slowly coming back to form at a crucial phase of the season, the signs are there. He was fantastic against Leicester city and in the FA cup against Cambridge united. He is expected to spearhead United’s midfield play against West Ham.

 Posted by at 11:30 am
Jan 262015

The future of Wojciech Szczesny remains in doubt after reports claims that he has been informed that he can leave the club in the summer. The Polish goalkeeper has since lost his place to David Ospina after his errors against Southampton in the first match of the year led to a defeat. The errors were followed up by a foible in the team’s shower, when he smoked in the team’s shower after the match at the St. Mary’s. David Ospina has taken the reigns in the back stick and brought some calmness to an Arsenal back line that has not been used to such privileges this season. The Colombian has since kept three clean sheets in the last three matches and you can bet on him continuing as the number one goalkeeper unless he gets injured. Bet365 are already taking bets on Ospina maintaining his number one spot till the end of the season – you can use this bonus code for bet365 if you are a putter

What then are the repercussions for Wojciech Szczesny?

Firstly, I do not think he would be sold?  And the reasons for such is obvious. He was brought in by Arsene Wenger at a young age, 16 years to be precise in 2006, and Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal coaching staff have invested a lot in his development over the past nine years. And Arsene Wenger does not easily abandon any project of his after guiding such a player for a sometime. The Frenchman has a loyalty to his players that betrays a shred of ruthlessness he may have.

Although, it must be said that Wojciech Szczesny might have been a beneficiary of the club’s huge investment in youth players, his continuous battles with focus is rooted in his arrogance coupled with his cocky nature. Prior to his ascension to Arsenal’s first choice goalkeeper in December 2010 against Manchester United at Old Trafford, he was of the opinion that he was a better goalkeeper than Manuel Almunia and Lukas Fabianski without publicly declaring it. It is such arrogance rooted in a sense that he is better than the other lot that has caused him to lose focus several times. The last time he was dropped for Lukas Fabianski in March, 2013, he later pointed out that it was something he needed having struggled with focus and form at the time. Now the same situation has resurfaced this season which has caused his latest drop from the side.

Conversely, apart from the investment that has gone into him since he arrived at the club, there are several physical attributes he has that David Ospina lacks, which could be key in certain matches. He stands at 6ft 5in, and with his stature and height, he has a capacity to dominate his penalty box as he showed at Upton Park against West Ham. It is that lapses of concentration that has been a weak point in his game. That ability to dominate the penalty box is not something that can be expected of David Ospina. He is just 6ft, and he has a little stature. His only attempt to punch clear against Manchester City was not convincing, not because it was not well executed, but he lacked the height to generate a lift on the punch.

The names of Neto of Fiorentina might have been mentioned in dispatches as possible replacements for Wojciech Szczesny, but the reports that he could be out the door in the summer has little or no substance to it because it is not Arsene Wenger’s way to abandon a project.

 Posted by at 3:58 pm
Jan 252015

Arsenal travel to the Amex Stadium to face Championship side Brighton in the fourth round of the FA Cup in what is their first trip out of London in the FA Cup competition since the defeat to Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates in January, 2013.  Arsenal’s triumph at Wembley was achieved without leaving London last season. With the FA Cup competition the club’s best opportunity to win a silverware this season, and with several big name clubs no longer in the draw, we take a look a five reasons why Arsenal will beat Brighton in Sunday’s match.

  1. Saturday’s Results

The Arsenal players would have seen the way Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton lost at home to Bradford, Middleborough, Leicester City and Crystal Palace on Saturday. Any hint of complacency would have been erased from the player’s subconscious. Which means they would be expected to put up a flawless performance to beat Brighton by not taking the championship side lightly. Yesterday’s results would have also shown the players they now have a real chance of retaining the FA cup won last season.

  1. Players Eager to Prove Themselves

The likes of Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil are expected to start against Brighton, both players have been out injured and face competition for their positions from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Santi Cazorla in top form. A strong performance from the duo should put Brighton to the sword. Wojciech Szczesny has sat out the last three matches after being dropped. He would be eager to put up an improved display to work his way back to the manager’s plans.

  1. Arsenal’s Recent Performances

Arsenal have won ten of it last 14 matches in all competitions, and the pick of the bunch was the convincing win over Manchester City at the Etihad last week. That victory lifted a weight of the players’ shoulders after having not won away to a top four rival since 2011. The result should spur them to play more without the hand brake starting with the match against Brighton. Arsene Wenger’s side should extend their run to four wins in the last five matches after today’s match.

  1. Brighton’ Home Form

Chris Hughton’s Brighton have only one win at the Amex Stadium since November. That win came as recently as last Wednesday in a 3-2 victory over Ipswich Town, With that Arsenal should add more misery to their poor home form by putting one over Brighton to advance to the next round of the competition.

  1. Recent History Between Both Sides

Arsenal beat Brighton 3-2 at this stage two years ago at the Amex Stadium, with goals from Kieran Gibbs, Oliver Giroud and Theo Walcott the scorers. With the trio certain to start again today, the atmosphere should not be strange to the players, and they should produce a good performance especially with Mesut Ozil back in the side for Sunday’s match. Add should inspire another victory.

 Posted by at 10:37 am
Jan 242015

Rave-making young Argentine striker labeled the ‘beast’ is attracting interest from Arsene Wenger as the Frenchman continues to search for top talents all over the world. Arsene smelled the blood with the signing of Alexis Sanchez last summer, and is set to go for another South American in his bid to secure the future of the club he has been managing since the past 19 years.

Maximiliano Romero is the name, and he is one of the most exciting youngsters in Argentina at the moment. According to an Argentine newspaper Ole (translated by byfarthegreatestteam.com), the 16-year old has attracted the attention of the Gunners who have put in a bid of £2 million for his signature. He currently plays for Velez Sarsfield, and scored two goals after a 5-star performance against All Boys, with reports in the media emerging that he could be a part of the full team against Boca Juniors next week.

The Velez Sarsfield young forward has had a phenomenal rise this season, which has also attracted a lot of clubs according to the newspaper. Perhaps it is time for Wenger to move in for the teenager, and that is why a bid reported to be in the region of £2 million is being quoted.

However, the £2 million bid said to have been put in by the Gunners was to secure parts of the right to the player as the paper reports. Arsenal do not want to take the player to London immediately, but wants him to continue his development in the Argentine league where they hope he would be nurtured into a world-class striker before moving him over to the Emirates. However, that offer seems to have been dismissed by Romero’s club.

It is thought that Velez want the young striker to continue his development in the club by also offering him a professional contract. Perhaps, his club may get a better offer for him if he continues in his fine form.

Arsenal are quite active in the transfer window this winter, and have already secured the signing of 17-year old Krystian Bielik from Poland and are also on the verge of securing the signing of Villarreal centre back Gabriel Paulista.

 Posted by at 6:36 pm
Jan 232015

Ahead of Manchester United’s FA Cup clash with League 2 side, Cambridge United, later this evening, the defensive duo of Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling will be missing in action, Red Devils Boss, Louis Van Gaal has announced in his pre-match conference. According to the Dutch tactician, the pair in addition to Ashley Young are definitely out of contention for a place either on the bench or on the field due to injury.

While Smalling suffered his injury during a training session at the club’s Carrington training ground, Evans limped off during the team’s 2-0 away victory against QPR at Loftus Road. Though the defensive duo have been much maligned this season due to their unconvincing displays at the heart of the Red Devils’ back four, they remain the best option for Manchester United if they will stand any chance of catching the posse of teams chasing Champions League spots in the Premier League.

It’s not all gloom and doom from the injury room however as Robin Van Persie and Luke Shaw have been declared fit to feature for the Red Devils. The former Arsenal striker has struggled to replicate his stellar first season form this season as injuries and lack of fitness has restricted Van Persie while the team has suffered a lack of goals.

His return to the team is expected to boost the team’s options forward while offering the team experience which it has been solely lacking as Van Gaal’s trust in younger players has not yielded the much needed experience needed to win games. In contrast, Luke Shaw has not really had the opportunity to showcase the immense talent that saw Manchester United shell out an eye-watering £30m to secure his move from Southampton in the summer of 2014 due to a series of injuries that he has had to grapple with since joining the Red Devils.

New acquisition, Victor Valdes, who joined the Red Devils on an 18-month deal is also expected to be handed his first start after sitting on the bench for the games against Southampton and Queen Park Rangers. The Red Devils were handed a trip to Cambridge United for the fourth-round of the FA Cup after beating Yeovil Town 2-0 in the third-round.

 Posted by at 8:16 am
Jan 232015

Ahead of Manchester United’s FA Cup Fourth-round tie with League 2 side Cambridge United tonight, manager Louis Van Gaal is expected to face some questions with respect to on-loan Colombian striker, Radamel Falcao during a press conference.

The erstwhile Monaco striker has come in for heavy criticism in recent weeks due to his goals drought and fitness issues, leading many to question the wisdom in sanctioning a £43m permanent move for the striker seeing that he has failed to impress since making a summer move to the English giants.

Despite having a plethora of creative players supplying him with the requisite ammunition necessary for him to fire in the goals for which he was hired, Falcao has failed to shake the net as regularly as he did with all his previous clubs.

The voices of  discontent increased a few decibels higher when the striker fluffed a couple of glaring goal scoring opportunities in Manchester Unite’s colourless  2-0 Premier League victory over QPR at Loftus Road. Indeed it took the impact of Marouane Fellani and James Wilson to save the team’s blushes as the Colombian huffed and puffed in front of goal. If the Red Devils hierarchy are to make a decision to either keep or discard the player based on form and statistics, then the numbers don’t make for happy reading. 3 goals in over a dozen of games for the Red Devils, miserly as it were, tells part of the story. His shots on target per game ratio so far in his loan stint at Manchester United is 0.9. Compare that to a healthier ratio of 1.7, 1.76,1.56, and 1.41 during his time at Porto, Atletico and Monaco.

His camp, led by his agent Jorge Mendes have been critical of any ire directed at him, insisting that the Colombian hitman has been dogged by injuries which has hampered his renown lethal streak whilst he has not fully settled in to the English football milieu.

Despite the commercial success enjoyed by the Red Devils over the last couple of seasons, they know can ill-afford to spend £43m on a reputation and not form manifested in the form of goals and they will be careful to scrutinize the player over the coming months. However the odds are on that the striker may probably not have his spell extended beyond the end of this current season-long £6m, £285,000/week deal signed during the summer of 2014.

 Posted by at 8:11 am
Jan 222015

The name of German midfielder, Marco Reus has only been mentioned in dispatches in this transfer window. Much of that had to with the fact that he was injured for last months of last year. The 25 year old has been linked to Arsenal in recent times; there were reports last week that he has an agreement in place to join Real Madrid.

The form of Borussia Dortmund has been used as a reason why most of the club’s key players could leave in the summer. Mats Hummels is another name that has been linked with a move away from the club if they fail to secure Champions League football.

However, Jurgen Klopp manager of Borussia Dortmund has now weighed into the debate. He claims he would have made a mistake with Marco Reus if he leaves this summer if Champions League football is not secured.

He told German publication BILD;

“I don’t think any of our players will leave if we don’t qualify for the Champions League next season.

“If Reus does ask to leave then I will have made a mistake with him.” Quotes via express.

Despite Jurgen Klopp’s best impression to firm up sentiments, Marcos Reus is unlikely to remain at Dortmund if they fail to secure Champions League football next season.

Already his buy out clause has been revealed to be around £20 million; several clubs would be willing to pay that, as it is not much in today’s transfer market.

The German international has so far not extended his deal with the club, unlike Mats Hummels that signed a new contract last season.

However, it is no panic station yet for the Signal Iduna outfit as Marco Reus still has two and half years to run in his contract. From an Arsenal perspective, he remains a player the club could do with, he is world class, and as being schooled in the pressing game that Alexis Sanchez brought to Arsenal from his Barcelona days.

Arsenal was closed to signing him last summer if reports were anything to by at the time. It is likely that there would be a high turnover of players at Arsenal in the summer, especially with the likes of Joel Campbell, Lukas Podolski and others that could leave, as a result there could be an opportunity within the squad for a player like Marco Reus to come into the team.

If Borussia Dortmund’s form does not improve in the second stanza of the bundesliga, and they end up out of the European places, it would be interesting to see whether Jurgen Klopp maintain his talk of a mistake. Either way, there should be an interesting scrap for Marco Reus’ signature from several top European clubs in the summer.

 Posted by at 8:00 pm
Jan 222015

Ahead of our FA Cup match against Cambridge on Friday, we bring you latest injury round up.

The team was handed a massive boost as Robin van Persie and Luke Shaw have been passed fit to take part in the match. Both players were not part of the team that took on Premier League strugglers QPR. RVP was ruled out due to an ankle injury while Luke Shaw didn’t take part in the same match as the manager wanted him to recover fully from his injury.

It is not known at this time if the former Southampton man would start or take part in the FA Cup match against Cambridge, but what better opportunity to prove his fitness than the match itself. Perhaps, the manager may consider resting RVP for the match. This is not an attempt to disrespect Cambridge, but I think the former Arsenal man should give way to Falcao who has not been given enough game time since joining on loan in the summer.

The FA Cup match could also serve as a massive opportunity for James Wilson to continue his fine form after showing the manager what he was capable of in our last match. Resting RVP is the key to help Manchester United maintain their position in the league and further secure a Champions League spot, which is the minimum target expected of the team this season.

The Dutchman used the occasion of his weekly presser to confirm the fitness of both players. All things being equal, van Persie and Shaw could be named in the starting line-up; whether or not they will both start the match is something for the manager to decide.

However, the team is still without Ashley Young, Smalling and Evans who will all miss Friday’s match against Cambridge.

“We have to wait until training but Ashley Young, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans are out for sure,” Van Gaal told MUTV. “Robin van Persie is available, Luke Shaw is also available.”

Unleashing a full squad against Cambridge is perhaps, inevitable considering how much rest the players have had and the fact that United only have the EPL competition to play in since they are not in the champions league and are already out of the league cup.

 Posted by at 6:45 pm
Jan 222015

Arsene Wenger has confirmed to the media that talks to sign Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista are progressing. The Frenchman revealed this during his weekly presser. He was asked by journalist to confirm if there were truths to the stories of a bid for the 24-year old, of which he answered:

“The talks are progressing quite well. I don’t think there is need to say much more,” he told Sky Sport on Thursday. “We are talking at the moment, whether we can find an agreement or not, I don’t know.”

When asked by journalists to confirm the exact amount of the player’s release clause, Wenger had this to say:

“We are slowly progressing, but there is a chance. At the moment we are talking. The 20 million is euros, it’s £15m to transform the amount.

“We are ready to pay the price we think right for a good player, no matter what the price is. If we think it’s the right price we will pay.”

It was quite unlike Wenger to open up on a transfer the way he did today, which indicates a remarkable departure from what we have always known the Frenchman for. He is not the one to give away information about a potential transfer, let alone disclosing the exact details in terms of fees. This could only mean Wenger is sure of a deal been completed for the player any time soon.

Today’s press briefing also confirms various reports in the media on the Gunners’ interest in the quick and strong defender. Hopefully this transfer will be sorted out before the window draws to a close in about 10 days from now.

The fee may not be the only huddle to signing Paulista as Arsenal may need to convince the Home Office to grant the Brazilian a Work Permit based on the status of a special talent. The 24-year old is an uncapped player at international level for Brazil, and that might work against him.

However, Arsenal may be able to successfully get a work permit for the player through an appeal something West Brom have done successful when they sign Brown Ideye of Nigeria from the Ukrainian league.

 Posted by at 6:17 pm
Jan 222015

Manchester United could be in line for a shock capture of Barcelona mega star, Lionel Messi. According to the Metro, the mammoth deal worth over £200m is expected to be facilitated by German kit manufacturers, Adidas.

The Red Devils will however face competition for the forward’s signature from runaway league leaders, Chelsea. While a few seasons ago such rumours would have been dismissed as the fiction of the febrile imagination of a still-recovering convulsion patient, the aura of incredulity around such a once unthinkable idea has unraveled with unnerving insidiousness.

First, the departure of club legend and record-setting coach, Pep Guardiola on a supposed sabbatical was the beginning of a domino effect which snowballed into a series of  separate and unrelated events that threw the club into turmoil, thereby unsettling the Argentine captain.

Soon after, Tito Vilanova, who took over from Guardiola lost his battle with cancer. More troubles followed as Messi had to face court charges for tax evasion.

The Neymar fiasco followed and although the club was cleared of wrongdoing, it was euthanasia administered as a placebo. Due to the stench that emanated from the Neymar saga, Sandro Rossell had to step down as club president.

Niggling injuries dogged his steps and more woe was to befall his club as Barcelona were banned from purchasing players for 2 seasons by UEFA  after they were found guilty of employing underhand methods in their purchase of underage players.

The latest in a long litany of afflictions that has unsettled the Rosario-born native is his reported bust-up with his current coach, Luis Enrique. All these contributed in no small way in causing Messi to re-evaluate his options.

At 27, he is at peak condition and still nurses a huge appetite to win more honours. His hunger for success is also fueled by his endless rivalry with Real Madrid legend, Cristiano Ronaldo.

For him to keep pace with the Portuguese wizard he will need a stable club environment free from the distracting influence of power-hungry politicians.

Can Messi move to Manchester United? It is very possible and plausible. Despite the Argentine’s brilliance, many still argue that Cristiano Ronaldo is the better player as he has featured in the notoriously difficult English Premier league and even ruled the roost unlike Messi who has spent the entirety of his career so far in the Spanish La Liga.

And what better place to prove his doubters wrong than the Theatre Of Dreams, that hallowed turf where Ronaldo earned the adulation of an adoring fanbase?

Another plausible reason why the Barcelona ace may join the Red Devils is because from next season, Adidas would start kitting Manchester United as part of the £750m shirt sponsorship deal signed in 2014. Adidas also doubles as Messi’s sponsors and they are quite keen to bring together both entities whom they view more as commercial interests devoid of sentiments.

Manchester United possess the lure, tradition and platform for Messi to thrive and it will take some loyalty for him not to swap the Blaugrana jersey for the famous Red shirt of Manchester United.

 Posted by at 5:21 pm
Jan 212015

Arsenal’s hopes of signing Paulo Dybala may have hit a hitch as reports say the 21-year old is being offered a new contract by Palermo. What a player the 21-year old has been this season; scoring 10 goals and turning provider for others.

Arsenal are interested in the young forward, and this has not come to anyone as a surprise considering what he brings to his current team. Dybala is a forward whose style of play would fit in to Wenger’s system. He offers something different from what we currently have in the team; adding pace and skill to his game, which is something both Giroud and Welbeck do not offer right now.

His playing style has been compared to that of Sergio Aguero. He has terrorized defenders in the serie A this season just like Aguero has done in the EPL this season. His skill and goals have also attracted a couple of other clubs in Europe including Manchester United. Club President Maurizio Zamparini recently claimed he had turned down an offer for the exciting forward from Manchester United.

While a transfer out of Palermo may not be ruled out for Dybala this window, the likelihood of a departure in the summer is more of a possibility. Zamparini is adamant the Argentine will put pen to paper on an improved offer, and does not expect him to leave before the summer.

“He [Dybala] will renew his deal and sign a three-year deal,” Zamparini told GR Parlamento ( translated by Guardian). “And if he continues to play that well in the next six months then a big club from abroad will sign him.

“Where will he go? Abroad. In order I would say England, France, Germany and Spain, because the two big clubs in Spain [Real Madrid and Barcelona] already have a lot of forwards.”

“He is a world-class player who is being compared with Javier Pastore, so his price tag matches the skill,” said Zamparini. “We’re talking £31m and upwards.”

 Posted by at 4:30 pm
Jan 212015

Chelsea In Shock Cuadrado Move?

Fiorentina exciting winger, Juan Cuadrado is been lined up for a move to former European Champions, Chelsea. The Stamford Bridge outfit, according to respected Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio are planning to lure the Colombian star to London.

Cuadrado, 26, played a starring role as his team reached the Quarter-Finals of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Capable of running and dribbling at an astonishing speed, the former Lecce and Udinese winger who can also function as a wing-back has been strongly linked with top sides in Europe after his eye-catching displays in Brazil.

As a matter of fact, Manchester United manager, Louis Van Gaal, himself an active participant at the global soccer showpiece, was reportedly interested in bringing the exciting winger to Old Trafford during his new team’s massive summer recruitment drive.

He had met with the player’s representatives and discussions were held. However it seems the talks were not fruitful as the player later committed his immediate future to the Viola, securing a deal that handed over full ownership of his rights to Fiorentina.

The Florence-based club promptly inserted a £26.8m buy-out clause into the player’s contract. However the reports indicate that Chelsea Boss, Jose Mourinho is confident that he can match the club’s valuation of their star man and can land his target during the current winter transfer window.

Marotta Fears Pogba Exit

Paul Pogba, one of the most exciting talents in world football is a subject of a transfer tug-of-war between a slew of Europe’s top sides. The English duo of Chelsea and Manchester United are keen to ferry the Lagny-Sur-Marne born native across the English Channel.

The other club in a dogfight for the French midfielder’s signature is 10-time European Champions, Real Madrid. Knowing Madrid and their relentless pursuit of any player that catches their fancy, it might probably be a question of when not if the player would join Los Blancos or any other member of the trio who wields enough financial clout to gazump the deal.

Juventus supremo, Giuseppe Marotta has resigned himself to losing the youngster, affectionately dubbed Il Polpo Paul (Paul The Octopus) by the Italian media. Marotta was quoted as saying;

“We will do everything within out limits to hold on to Pogba, but we must not forget Italy is a country in transition,” the Juve general director said.

“The problem we have is that of offers coming in from other clubs offering him a salary that we are not able to match due to our financial situation.

“At the moment, there’s no reason to believe that Pogba will definitely leave Juventus for another team, but we have to bear in mind that we cannot compete with the wages that are being paid elsewhere. We have our limits.”

Eden Hazard Praises Cesc Fabregas

Eden Hazard has heaped praise on his Chelsea teammate, Cesc Fabregas, claiming that the Spanish maestro knows everything about football. Hazard himself, 24, who has been in stellar form for the Blues this season, ripping defences across England and Europe apart with his quick feet, explosive pace, delightful touches, has combined well to devastating effect with Fabregas, striking up an almost telepathic understanding with him.

The former Lille man said, ‘With Cesc, you don’t need to work for years together, we just needed one game, one training session and we knew each other.”

“It’s a pleasure to play with him because he knows everything about football.

“He’s a brain – you can see that because he has 15 assists in the league already, in January.

“He’s very good and he has the same vision as me, so I like playing with him.”

Hazard would be hoping that their current flourishing partnership yields a handsome harvest of honours at the end of the season as they continue their hunt for domestic and continental glory. Hazard, a £32m acquisition from Lille in July 2012 has settled well to life in London, helping them to win major domestic and European trophies and is expected to be a serious Ballon D’Or contender in a couple of seasons.

 Posted by at 4:10 pm