Posts Tagged match previews
copyright Andrew Orchard
Date: Saturday, December 21 Venue: Old Trafford Kick-Off: 15:00
Can Manchester United continue their mini-revival in the Premier League, or will they fall to three successive home league defeats for the first time since 1978-79 when West Ham visit Old Trafford?
Wayne Rooney “has a chance” of being fit to play against West Ham, despite missing the midweek League Cup win over Stoke, according to United manager David Moyes.
However, Nemanja Vidic is a doubt while Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie are definitely out.
West Ham captain Kevin Nolan serves the last game of his three-match ban, but James Tomkins will return from a groin injury.
Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Mladen Petric, Winston Reid and Ricardo Vaz Te are all sidelined.
If United lose to West Ham, they will have lost three successive home league games for the first time since 1978-79.
However, they have not lost to the Hammers in their last nine league encounters.
West Ham have won just two of their last 15 Premier League matches (W2 D5 L8).
The Red Devils have 25 points after 16 matches – their lowest at this stage of a Premier League season since 2001-02.
De Gea, Rafael, Jones, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Cleverley, Giggs, Januzaj, Rooney, Welbeck
Jaaskelainen, O’Brien, Collins, Tomkins, Demel, Diame, Morrison, Collison, Noble, Jarvis, Maiga
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This fixture used to be a nailed-on six-pointer for Manchester United, but is now one that could represent another banana skin based on recent form.
United have not lost to West Ham in their last nine league encounters, have picked up twenty wins from 23 Hammers visits to Old Trafford since 1986, and haven’t conceded a single goal against the visitors in the last five.
Yet this season is different, and the Theatre of Dreams is no longer an impenetrable fortress where opponents fear to tread.
United have lost three times at home already this season, and haven’t lost more games in front of their own fans in a single season since 2001-02 – and it’s not yet Christmas.
A loss here would represent a third-successive home league defeat for the first time since 1978-79 and would, pardon the pun, Hammer the final nail into the coffin of their title defence.
Fortunately, West Ham aren’t exactly in a rich vein of form themselves – two wins in their last 15 Premier League matches have left the Londoners a point and a place above the relegation zone, and they could slip into the bottom three by the end of play this weekend.
For all United’s fallacies this season, I’m still backing them to get back on track and put serious pressure on Sam Allardyce’s side.
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Date: Wednesday, December 4th Venue: Craven Cottage Kick-off: 19:45
Martin Jol was deprived the chance to get things back on track for Fulham against his former club this week, and instead the task falls to Rene Meulensteen – that chap who was sat next to Alex Ferguson for past couple of years. The fact Fergie rated him highly enough to make him his first team couch is credit enough for his coaching skills. Whether he can front a Premiere League club will be put to the test as his Fulham enter into the grueling Christmas fixtures. They have won just four of their last 21 watches and collected just four points from their last ten.
AVB and his goal-shy and leaky Spurs side have equally as many questions to answer, and this may or may not prove to be the best match for them to truly show their credentials. While they are just three points outside of the top four, the fact they received such a drubbing from City ten days ago and the form of their neighbors has brought their early season promise into doubt.
Spurns trounced Fulham in the corresponding fixture last season 0-3, but Fulham walked away with the three points when they visited the Lane at the end of last season and snatched a hard fought 0-1.
Both teams go into this with much to prove. For Fulham, they’ve lost their last five successive matches, and are quickly in danger of going into Christmas at the root of the table. Meanwhile, Spurs form is nowhere near what the fans expected it would be after a promising if not awe-inspiring start. Despite the point against United, the drubbing received from the other Manchester outfit will still be on the tip of their tongues.
Don’t expect wholesale changes from Fulham; Meulensteen has been influencing their play since the start of the campaign. They will still be without other former spurs man Dimitar Berbatov, so Darren Bent is likely to continue his loan spell from Villa as a lone striker for the Cottagers.
The big question surrounding the Spurs’ line up will be whether AVB decides to stand by his goal-shy 26-million pound penalty taker Roberto Soldado or go with Jermaine Defoe who has been prolific in the Uefa Cup. Andros Townsend also looks likely to get a start after missing out on the weekend.
Fulham: Stekelenburg; Hughes, Senderos, Amorebieta, Richardson; Sidwell, Parker, Kasami; Duff, Bent, Ruiz
Spurs: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Vertonghen; Sandro, Paulinho; Townsend, Sigurdsson, Lennon; Soldado
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Venue: Villa Park Referee: Martin Atkinson Date: 9th of November
Aston Villa’s poor run has stemmed from the dip in form of their front trio Gabriel Agbonlahor, Andreas Weimann, and Christian Benteke. They will be without Agbonlahor and Weimann for the Cardiff clash, which means a new look attacking pairing again for Lambert’s men. Left-back continues to be a problem area for the Midlands side, with Antonion Luna and Joe Bennett both ruled out with injury – leaving Lambert to stick with a makeshift left-side with Leandro Bacuna set to deputise.
Cardiff City are playing with confidence, but have had unwanted distractions from the club’s owner Vincent Tan. Nevertheless, they will still be on cloud nine following the Swansea victory and will regard this weekend’s match as winnable considering Aston Villa poor home form – with just one win at Villa Park this season.
Aston Villa are enduring an injury crisis of late. Antonio Luna, Jores Okore are out of action, and the side could also be without Andreas Weimann, Gabby Agbonlahor, Fabian Delph, and Joe Bennett.
Cardiff have just Andres Cornelius as the only absentee from the first-team.
Villa have been suffering from a goal drought of late – with the side failing to score in their last four league outings. With just one win from their previous five games means the Villans regard this fixture as a must-win.
Cardiff have been in decent form, recently beating Swansea City 1-0 in the first ever South Wales derby in the Premier League. The Bluebirds have won just once on their travels so far this campaign, but are sitting pretty in 12th place – three places and two points above Villa.
- Aston Villa (3-5-2) – GK: Brad Guzan, DC: Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker & Ron Vlaar, LWB: Leandro Bacuna, MC: Fabian Delph, Ashley Westwood & Karim El-Ahmadi, RWB: Matty Lowton, ST: Libor Kozak & Christian Benteke
- Cardiff City (4-1-4-1) – GK: David Marshall, DL: Andrew Taylor, DC: Ben Turner & Steven Caulker, DR: Theophile-Catherine, DMC: Gary Medel, ML: Craig Bellamy, MC: Peter Whittingham & Jordon Mutch, MR: Don Cowie, ST: Peter Odemwingie
Source: BBC Football
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Venue: Anfield Referee: Michael Jones Date: 9th of November
Liverpool will be hopeful of putting the Arsenal defeat behind them as they continue to keep themselves in contention with Arsenal at the summit. Coutinho is hit and miss whether he will indeed start against a Fulham side greatly lacking in confidence, but Brendan Rodgers’ men are heavy favourites to dole out another defeat for the Cottagers.
Martin Jol and Fulham look to be in another relegation dogfight this season as they cannot stop conceding goals. The side are surrendering chances far too readily in the Premier League this campaign, and the manager’s job is on the line as a result. They’ll do well to keep Liverpool quiet, as only two other sides have scored more league goals than the Reds this season.
Liverpool will be without Iago Aspas, Jose Enrique, and Sebastien Coates, but Steven Gerrard who was a doubt is expected to start.
Fulham have Hugo Rodallega out on a long-term injury, and Matthew Briggs is also out of action. Brede Hangeland is doubtful. Sascha Reither is undergoing action on a violent conduct charge, and is undergoing a three-match ban.
The Reds have been sent back down to earth following a 2-0 away to Arsenal, but the side are still in 3rd place in the league. They’ve lost just once at home this season, which incidentally was the only time they haven’t scored at Anfield this campaign.
After back-to-back wins against Stoke City and Crystal Palace respectively, Fulham have recently succumbed to back-to-back defeats to Southampton and Manchester United. As a result, the Cottagers are now just two points ahead of the drop zone.
- Liverpool (3-5-2) – GK: Simon Mignolet, DC: Sakho, Skrtel & Toure, LWB: Cissokho, MC, Steven Gerrard, Lucas Leiva & Jordan Henderson, RWB: Glen Johnson, ST: Daniel Sturridge & Luis Suarez
- Fulham (4-4-1-1) – GK: Maarten Stekelenburg: DL: Kieran Richardson, DC: Fernando Amorebieta & Philippe Senderos, DR: Aaron Hughes, ML: Patjim Kasami, MC: Scott Parker, MC: Steve Sidwell, MR: Alex Kacaniklic, AMC: Bryan Ruiz, ST: Dimitar Berbatov
Source: BBC Football
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copyright Andrew Orchard
Venue: Craven Cottage Referee: Lee Probert Date: Saturday 2nd of November
The Cottagers will be without Hugo Rodallega and Matthew Briggs for today’s tough home fixture. Influential defender Brede Hangeland remains doubtful. Manager Martin Jol is likely to stick with Darren Bent and Dimitar Berbatov up front, while Kacaniklic could be preferred in midfield over Bryan Ruiz.
Manchester United have Danny Welbeck and Darren Fletcher as the confirmed absentees. Marouane Fellaini is likely to start alongside Michael Carrick in midfield – replacing the equally unimpressive Tom Cleverley. Manager David Moyes must consider whether Javier Hernandez deserves a starting birth after his recent goal-scoring form.
Fulham are coming off the back a 4-3 defeat to Championship side Leicester City in the Capital One Cup. The side also lost to Southampton 2-0 prior to the cup game. Jol is under intense pressure as the London outfit are currently enduring a lukewarm start to the season.
Manchester United have started to enjoy an upturn in form, with victories against Stoke City & Norwich in the league and Capital One Cup respectively. They also boast a flawless recent record against Fulham – winning their last six meetings.
- Fulham (4-4-1-1): Stekelenburg, Riether, Senderos, Amorebieta, Richardson, Kasami, Parker, Sidwell, Kacaniklic, Berbatov, Bent
- Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea, Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Carrick, Fellaini, Januzaj, Rooney, Nani, Van Persie
source – bbc football
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Venue: Upton Park Referee: Howard Webb Date: Saturday 2nd of November
For West Ham United; Matt Taylor, Alou Diarra, James Collins, Andy Carroll, Ricardo Vaz Te and Stephen Henderson are all confirmed absentees. Mladen Petric and James Tomkins are doubtful for the clash, so manager Sam Allardyce is hardly spoilt for choice with his squad.
The Villans are short of options at left-back, with Antonio Luna and Joe Bennett both ruled out of action, meaning centre-back Nathan Baker could deputise in their absence. Forward Gabriel Agbonlahor is also doubtful, meaning Lambert will most likely give the out-of-form Andi Weimann a start.
The home side find themselves in poor form of late, with just one win in their last eight games. The Hammers are in 15th place with 9 points from 9 games and are likely to once again be without a recognised striker. West Ham’s home form has been below par this campaign – with three defeats from four outings at Upton Park.
Aston Villa’s recent form has also been lacking. The Midlands outfit have failed to score in their last three league games, with their most recent PL victory coming at the end of September. However, Villa boast a good run of form on their travels – with the side having taken 7 points from a possible 12.
- West Ham (4-2-3-1): Jaaskelainen, Rat, Reid, Tomkins, Demel, Nolan, Noble, Jarvis, Morrison, Downing, Diame
- Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, El-Ahmadi, Delph, Bacuna, Tonev, Weimann, Benteke
source – bbc football
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Date: Wednesday, October 23 Venue: Old Trafford Kick-Off: 19:45 BST
Can Manchester United seize control of Group A of the Champions League with a much-needed win over Real Sociedad?
Manchester United manager David Moyes has concerns over the fitness of defensive duo Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic ahead of the visit of Real Sociedad to Old Trafford.
The centre-backs missed the 1-1 draw with Southampton at the weekend after sustaining minor knocks.
Midfielder Tom Cleverley has a calf injury and missed training on Tuesday while striker Danny Welbeck was also absent from United’s final training session ahead of this tie.
Adnan Januzaj has however been added to the Champions League squad as a home-grown player and could make his European debut for the Red Devils.
This is the first competitive meeting between these two teams.
Manchester Utd have only won one of their last six Champions League games (two draws, three defeats).
Real Sociedad have won none of their last eight Champions League games (three draws, five defeats), their last win coming against Galatasaray in September 2003.
Wayne Rooney has scored in only one of his last 10 Champions League games at Old Trafford – his brace in the 4-2 win v Bayer Leverkusen this season.
De Gea, Rafael, Jones, Evans, Evra, Carrick, Fellaini, Valencia, Januzaj, Rooney, Van Persie
Bravo, Martinez, Gonzalez, I. Martinez, De la Bella, Pardo, Bergara, Vela, Prieto, Griezmann, Seferovic
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Manchester United play host to Real Sociedad tonight knowing a win is essential to pick up flagging morale.
Domestically, United have made their worst ever start to a Premier League season after dropping yet more points against Southampton at the weekend, and will be looking to get their European campaign back on track also.
A late Shakhtar Donetsk strike in the Red Devil’s last outing ruined what would have been a flawless start to the group stages and with Group A finely balanced with a point separating first and third place, three points here is crucial.
This is the first ever competitive meeting between these two sides but United’s record against Spanish opposition isn’t terrific.
Of their last 12 games against opposition from Spain, Moyes’s men have won only two games – against Barcelona in April 2008 and Valencia in September 2010.
And the last time a Basque club came to Old Trafford? The Reds were outplayed by Athletic Bilbao over two legs and dumped out of the Europa League. Food for thought then for Moyes.
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