Tag Archives: Newcastle

Five Things: Arsenal boss in denial, Man City striker the star of the show, Newcastle dig in for big win

Five Things: Arsenal boss in denial, Man City striker the star of the show, Newcastle dig in for big win – originally posted on Sportslens.com

It was another fun-packed weekend in the Premier League, with plenty of areas for discussion at both ends of the table.

Manchester City’s victory over Leicester City left them eleventy million points clear at the top of the standings and they could have things wrapped up by the end of March.

Sportslens takes a look at five talking points from over the weekend.

Wenger in denial about his defence

Arsene Wenger hit back at Martin Keown’s criticism of Arsenal’s defence after Saturday’s derby defeat, but the club’s former centre-back was spot on with his assessment.

Harry Kane was given a free header for the winning goal, but the Spurs striker could easily have had a hat-trick against the Gunners’ flaky backline.

Arsenal look dangerous going forward, but they are still an accident waiting to happen at the back. The first step in solving a problem is recognising there is one. Wenger’s continued denials are a joke.

Hernandez proving his worth with West Ham

Javier Hernandez’s goal against Watford on Saturday was his third in his last four games for West Ham and he’s beginning to show his true form for the club.

Hernandez struggled to hit it off with Andy Carroll, but he is thriving with the big striker out injured once again.

The Mexican looked to be on his way out of the club during January, but in this sort of form West Ham would be silly to let him go.

Aguero the star of the show

Kevin De Bruyne has picked up many of the plaudits for Manchester City this season, but Sergio Aguero demonstrated his own value to the team against Leicester City on Saturday.

City were off the pace in the first half, but Aguero’s four-goal haul after the break perfectly showcased his finishing ability.

His fourth was a touch of magic, taking a pass 25 yards from goal and unleashing a spectacular shot that rattled the upright and went straight in. Simply breathtaking.

Benitez can keep Newcastle up

It’s been a frustrating season for Newcastle United fans, especially with the ongoing uncertainty over whether owner Mike Ashley will ever sell the club.

Manager Rafa Benitez has made no secret of his frustration over what he believes to be a lack of investment in the squad, but Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United certainly boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation.

The Red Devils created enough chances to win the game, but Newcastle were competitive throughout and this result could be crucial in their fight for survival.

Aldridge off target with striker comments

There’s a few questionable pundits around the Premier League at the moment and John Aldridge is pretty high up the list.

Aldridge claimed Liverpool’s potential title challenge this season has been hampered by the lack of a recognised striker, but one thing you can’t accuse the Reds of is a shortage of firepower.

Robert Firmino and Mohamed Salah have both broken through the 20-goal barrier in all competitions and the former Liverpool striker’s views are laughable.

Unresolved defensive issues remain Liverpool’s biggest problem, while a creative midfielder also wouldn’t go amiss. Scoring enough goals is the least of their worries.

Aldridge was a superb finisher during his playing career. Punditry? Lousy.

From Sportslens.com – Football News | Football Blog

Jose Mourinho disappointed with how Manchester United conceded against Newcastle United

Jose Mourinho has expressed his frustration at the way Manchester United conceded in the second half during their 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United on Sunday.

Chris Smalling, who was already causing supporters to melt in fury with a dire performance, produced a truly awful dive inside his own half to hand the hosts a free kick.

The ball sailed to the far post and, for reasons that remain unclear, Paul Pogba refused to jump and Dwight Gayle was able to nudge the knock-down in Matt Richie’s direction and the midfielder duly slid the ball home.

And Mourinho, when asked about the goal, didn’t want to discuss the dive that led to the goal but insisted his side had to do better recovering the second ball.

It was, in many ways, a microcosm of the 90 minutes overall: Smalling producing unnecessary blunders, Pogba clearly hampered by injury and completely absent as a result, Newcastle wanting it a bit more, and United ultimately drifting. Once again.

There were moments when, after Anthony Martial and then Alexis Sanchez went incredibly close, United could have pushed the knife in at St James’ Park and made their dominance count.

But they did the opposite, coasting through the game and allowing the hosts to deliver the ultimate sucker punch. And with Sevilla, Chelsea and Liverpool coming up, this needs to serve as a big lesson.

Newcastle exposed a major Alexis Sanchez & Romelu Lukaku problem

Newcastle United 1 – Manchester United 0

Man United blew it on Sunday away at Newcastle.

Rafa Benitez’s side picked up an enormous three points thanks to a 1-0 win over the Red Devils.

The hero for the Magpies was midfielder Matt Ritchie. He drilled home a left footed shot after Chris Smalling gave away a free-kick for diving.

The win boosted Newcastle’s hopes of beating the drop as they shot up to 13th in the table.

Man United remain second, however they are 16 points behind champions elect Man City.

Alexis Sanchez & Romelu Lukaku problem

On Monday in the Times, columnist Tony Cascarino has posted his thoughts on a major problem flagged up for Man United in the Newcastle defeat.

Cascarino believes that Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku have yet to prove that they can play together.

That’s obviously a major worry for Red Devils supporters. Lukaku cost 75 million pounds, while Sanchez is costing United a huge amount in wages after his move from Arsenal in January.

Cascarino has argued the following:

Manchester United have a fixed point in their striker Romelu Lukaku and are therefore predictable.

I feel for Lukaku as it’s not his fault, but United’s formulaic style does not suit Alexis Sánchez.

They have spent all that money but are such a long way from the days of Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

If they are to be a success with Sánchez I don’t see how Lukaku fits in, particularly for tough away games.

For the record, Sanchez has played four matches for United since joining. The results are two wins and two defeats, while Sanchez has scored once: a rebound after his penalty against Huddersfield was saved.

Also see: How Jena Frumes watched Newcastle vs Man United & cheering up Jesse Lingard.

Chris Smalling was an idiot, Newcastle were robbed.

Man Utd fans react to Smalling's performance vs Newcastle

Manchester United fans were hugely disappointed in Chris Smalling‘s performance vs Newcastle on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League.

Jose Mourinho’s men fell to an unexpected 1-0 defeat to the Magpies who were full of grit and determination, proving they wanted the three points more.

Smalling was at centre stage of the loss after his dive gave away the free-kick through which Rafael Benitez’s men scored.

The display from the Englishman itself was dire as he failed to put in one single successful tackle over a period of ninety minutes.

However, supporters have long been frustrated with Chris and it may just be that his time at Old Trafford has finally come to an end.

Chris Smalling must be looking over his shoulder not just because of his performance but because of the abundance of options Jose Mourinho has in defence.

The Portuguese manager temporarily flirted with the three centre-back formation but has mostly played with his preferred 4-2-3-1 tactic.

This of course leaves just two centre-back spots in the starting XI with the club currently employing five players capable of playing in the position.

Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof are the remaining senior players and Axel Tuanzebe is a highly rated youngster that should return next season from his loan spell ready for first team action.

It’s difficult to see the summer transfer window shut without any of the above defenders leaving and considering how Bailly and Lindelof were bought by Mourinho himself, it has to be the remaining three who are in trouble.

Man Utd star admits players weren't good enough vs Newcastle

Manchester United’s Phil Jones has admitted that his teammates and himself were not good enough vs Newcastle as they fell to a 1-0 defeat.

Jose Mourinho’s men were expected to get a routine win over the Magpies and perhaps complacency was one of the factors in the loss.

No one was blameless after such a result and it now leaves United 16 points behind fierce rivals and league leaders Manchester City.

Worse though is that the teams below the club can now catch up to them such as Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea and risk kicking them out of the Champions League spots.

The Red Devils will even face both the Reds and the Blues in two of their next three upcoming fixtures in a time that will surely test the club’s ability.

Whilst Phil Jones wasn’t particularly poor during the loss to Newcastle, recent performances have called into question whether he’s a true Manchester United centre-back.

Chris Smalling has also frustrated fans hugely and it’s tough to see both of them remaining at the club next season with surely at least one being sold.

The competition for spots in the centre of defence has never been higher with Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof also all fighting for just two starting positions.

If one counts youngster Axel Tuanzebe that makes it six centre-backs competing for two spots- surely one or two players have to go.

One gets the feeling that the only reason Mourinho hasn’t sold any of them already is due to the injury crisis the club’s defenders seem to go through every season but perhaps this will be their last straw.

Blow for Man United: Key player injured after Newcastle loss

Injured

Manchester United could well be handed a double blow on the same day they lost to Newcastle United, and now it seems that they could well be facing time without Paul Pogba.

There were injury concerns for the midfielder before the game after he pulled up in the warm up and it seemed he could miss the match, but after playing and then looking poor and out of sorts, then being taken off by Jose Mourinho everyone wondered what was going on.

Then, reports came out that the player was limping through the mixed zone – yet stopped to speak with the waiting kids regardless, showing some class from the under fire Frenchman.

Champions League

United fans know that there are some key games coming up for them – with Chelsea to face in a battle that is not only a showdown between Mourinho and Conte but also one that will see the winner take three points from a rival for a spot in the top four – something both sides will be desperate to do.

The fight for a Champions League place is tighter than ever, and four teams are trying to squeeze into three spots after Manchester City in first place – meaning they know every win is vital – and after the revival from Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool and a fall off from Chelsea and inconsistency from Man United, the question of who will miss out is still a key one no one can answer.

Not only that, but the Champions League itself returns soon, with the knockout stages coming up and United will want Paul Pogba fit and ready to play in that, even if he is struggling in the new role Mourinho is expecting him to play in.

Jose Mourinho blames one player for Newcastle winner vs Man United

Pogba

Jose Mourinho has hit out at Paul Pogba in an interview after Manchester United’s latest loss.

The Red Devils lost to Newcastle by a one goal margin, and the United boss aimed the dig at Pogba without naming him, noting that one player – Pogba – lost the challenge in the air, and then the goal happened.

“We train, we work, we organise… and the players have their individual jobs when they defend zonal. 

“The players they know there are responsibilities but I am pretty sure you already watch that goal on TV a few times, I didn’t. 

“So you know more than me and you know who lost the challenge in the air, you know clearly that so I think it is bad if you put me in a position where I have to criticise a player. 

“By yourself you make your own analysis.”

Pogba had a poor game and was once again taken off – and even appeared to be limping through the mixed zone following the game, sparking fears the player could well be injured and that he may miss the upcoming games.

Smalling

The one player who many decided was at fault however was Chris Smalling, who had a terrible game – and it was said defender who Mourinho actually defended following the game, and made it clear he thinks defenders have to give away fouls at some point – and it seems that the main annoyance for the United boss was actually that the side managed to lose balls in the air – something they simply don’t expect and something the manager will not accept.

He added: “A defender has to concede free-kicks now and again.

“It was an intuitive thing. Players [who do it] in the box deserve a card more than [Chris] Smalling in that situation. ‘Clearly I know we lost the duel in the air and it’s difficult to accept that.”

Man Utd fans react to Lukaku's performance vs Newcastle

Manchester United fans were delighted to see Romelu Lukaku put in one hell of a shift when the team faced Newcastle away from home in the Premier League.

The Beglian has been unfairly criticised at times this season but performed admirably against the relegation candidates.

Playing as the lone striker, Lukaku had to be heavily involved in the build up play and did just that to a great effect.

Ever willing to drop deep to receive the ball, the former Everton man battled with the opposition’s defenders relentlessly and was perhaps the team’s best player heading into half time.

For all his good work though it was Newcastle who managed to score first after the break with United forced to then chase the game.

Romelu arrived at the Red Devils as a player known for his goalscoring ability and his power but it was his link up play that gained due praise.

With the direct style of playing that Jose Mourinho prefers his teams to play with, the strong forward was often required to not just win the ball in the air but to also find his teammates in more advanced positions.

There was initial talk of Romelu Lukaku possibly losing his spot in the first team when Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned from injury.

However, things haven’t transpired that way with the Swede since struggling and then picked up another small knock to keep him out of the side.

Either way, it’s since been made clear that Lukaku is the club’s undoubted first choice striker and after his performance vs Newcastle, it’s truly deserved.

Mourinho blames this incident for reason Newcastle beat Man Utd

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has tried to explain exactly why Newcastle managed to beat his side 1-0 in the Premier League.

A win was absolutely crucial for his team and while closing the gap on Manchester City would’ve been nice, it had more to do with creating a gap of their own on the teams below.

United headed into the fixture firm favourites with many expecting a routine win but it was Rafael Benitez’s men who managed to get all three points.

Mourinho will certainly be furious with players for slipping up but perhaps he should also pay attention to his own decisions too.

His insistence on playing the 4-2-3-1 formation has increasingly frustrated fans who believe a 4-3-3 suits the team better but it was something else that Jose blamed for the result.

To be fair to the Portuguese manager the Red Devils did have chances to win the game themselves with Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez both failing to convert.

Both players are typically clinical finishers but their inability to score ultimately foreshadowed what was to come as Newcastle grabbed a goal of their own.

Paul Pogba was the focus of the media as he seemed to struggle throughout the match before eventually being substituted despite Manchester United needing an equaliser.

The Frenchman seemed to pick up a knock in the pre-match warm-up but Jose Mourinho has since denied those claims which makes the substitution even stranger.

United will have to quickly put the result behind them though if they wish to remain in the Champions League spots otherwise their season will quickly unravel.

Man Utd fans react to Sanchez's performance vs Newcastle

Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez left fans encouraged by his performance vs Newcastle despite losing 1-0 in the Premier League.

The Chilean international was one of the very few players who could keep his head held up high after walking off the pitch.

Unfortunately Sanchez couldn’t help the Red Devils score a goal and get an equaliser let alone a winner in a crucial match.

Jose Mourinho’s men fell further behind fierce rivals Manchester City in the Premier League title race as the gap opened up to 16 points.

United will certainly need Alexis at his best in their rest for securing a place in the Champions League group stages next season.

Alexis Sanchez’s arrival has sparked some concerns from Manchester United fans who are worried about whether he will impact the development of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

The pair of youngsters have been competing for the left wing position all season before the former Barcelona man came to Old Trafford.

Concerns were temporarily put aside when it seemed that Sanchez’s versatility would mean he would not decrease their match time.

However, recent matches have proven that Jose Mourinho prefers keeping him in the left wing in his best position and forcing the youngsters to the other flank.

Martial featured for Manchester United on the right wing against both Tottenham and Newcastle; matches Mourinho’s men lost.

It’s not a surprise that the Frenchman struggled in both games and the question has to be asked why Alexis isn’t moved to the right wing where he would be more comfortable.