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Man City vs Man Utd: Why Yaya Toure Is A Key Player In Derby

Published August 3, 2014 by gossipzoo

Media Image Ltd

Media Image Ltd

Manchester City’s box-to-box midfielder Yaya Toure is widely regarded as one of the side’s most influential players since signing from Catalan giants Barcelona in 2010.

Often known for his rampaging runs through midfield and his casual swagger style of play, Toure has risen to star status during his time in the Premier League. He’s been utilised largely in two positions for the Citizens – as a holding midfielder or a central midfielder given license to roam up the pitch.

This season has once again seen him playing a relinquished role in midfield, positioned in front of the defence as protection. New manager Manuel Pellegrini has used the 30-year old to break up the attacks and move the ball on in a swift fashion, or to set up counter attacks – dribbling the ball out of midfield at a minimum.

When title rivals Manchester United come to town this weekend, the Ivory Coast international will be a key player for the hosts. Yaya Toure has boasted high ball-retention stats early on this season – a 90.8% pass completion, while making an average of 86.8 passes per league game.

Manchester United duo Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney will have been targeted as the two biggest creative threats to the side, and the pair will need to be kept from picking out passes in the final third whenever possible.

As Rooney can often drop very deep to receive the ball, the job to stop both him and Carrick from playing will be on Yaya Toure, and should he collect the ball after making a challenge or interception, he’ll then be required to launch a counter-attack or to simply play it to an available teammate close-by.

Toure could be a pivotal player for Manchester City this weekend, and he could well be the one who decides which sides come out the victors in the pending clash.

The post Man City vs Man Utd: Why Yaya Toure Is A Key Player In Derby appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Man Utd Transfers: 7 Deals To Save David Moyes’ Disastrous Window

Published July 5, 2014 by gossipzoo

Leighton Baines 2

Manchester United have not enjoyed the best transfer window so far: they have been forced to concede defeat on a number of high profile targets, including Gareth Bale who was finally unveiled as a Real Madrid player today, to the collected hysteria of his new fans.

United might face problems if they are to ramp up their activity today, ahead of tonight’s 11pm deadline, especially with an underwhelming start to the season, and the continued problem of the perceived difficulty of competing with London clubs, but United fans have urged their new manager to show more ambition and make a marquee signing.

What is clear, despite those potential obstacles, is that David Moyes needs a big transfer window to appease those fans, who have seen all of their major rivals improving squads, and who were not universally enamoured by his appointment. One high-profile fan has offered his own opinion on what Moyes needs to do today, with a creative midfielder at the top of the bill:

It’s important to remember that United have form of making big signings on the last day of the window, with both Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov signing for big money in the last hours. So fans perhaps shouldn’t write off their club just yet.

Honourable Mention

Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil

It seems that long-term rivals Arsenal are about to complete a deal to bring in German international Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid, after the Spanish side signed long-term United target Gareth Bale, but with reports emerging that United made an enquiry for the German, it seems the Champions might have missed a major opportunity.

Though United sources have subsequently denied those reports, that still begs the question of why United were not in the running for Ozil, who would represent a huge boost to Moyes’ squad. If the side want to express their ambitions, to allay fan fears that they will be left behind, Ozil would have been the perfect option, and they could have scored the extra bonus of pushing Arsene Wenger’s nose out of joint in the process.

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Man Utd Transfer News: Ander Herrera Deal Back On!

Published July 5, 2014 by gossipzoo

ander herrera

According to Sky Sports’ Spanish expert Guillem Balague, Manchester United’s big money pursuit of Ander Herrera is now back on, after David Moyes’ side suggested they are willing to pay the 36 million Euro buy-out fee required to activate a release clause in his contract.

Herrera

The Athletico Bilbao midfielder, who has been called “the new Paul Scholes” would represent one marquee signing who could potentially appease some of the fans whose grumblings have been very loud throughout the summer, and he would certainly improve the new manager’s midfield options.

Balague says that while Herrera is not necessarily worth the fee, he will be worth it within two years, and he could become an extremely important signing, particularly if Moyes can move ahead with the deal to sign Marouane Fellaini as well. With those two brought in, United could have a massively impressive central midfield.

Herrera was left out of his side’s weekend defeat against Real Madrid, with the Bilbao manager insisting it had nothing to do with a potential move for the player, but it seems he spoke too soon with Sky Sports now confident that the deal will happen, as long as Herrera comes through a medical, and the financials are ironed out.

Balague says that the player agreed terms some time ago, and it all simply relies on the medical and the two sides agreeing on the fee being paid in cash.

Is this the kind of signing Moyes should be making? Share your opinion below or click next to reveal the seven big signings we think Moyes should consider to rescue his transfer window, including Ander Herrera…

The post Man Utd Transfer News: Ander Herrera Deal Back On! appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Chelsea Transfer News: Wayne Rooney Has 48 Hours To Decide Future

Published June 20, 2014 by gossipzoo

copyright Andrew Orchard

copyright Andrew Orchard

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has given Wayne Rooney 48 hours to decide if he wants to leave Manchester United and move to Stamford Bridge, according to the BBC.

The Blues have been chasing the striker for much of the summer and have already failed with two bids, while United continue to insist the 27-year-old is not for sale.

Speaking after his side’s 0-0 draw with United last night, a game of which saw Chelsea play with no recognised striker, Mourinho said of the Rooney situation:

“One way or another he has to say ‘I want to leave’ or ‘I want to stay’.

“The person that started the story has to finish the story. For the good of everyone, it is time to finish the story.”

Mourinho seemed to suggest that Rooney himself was the catalyst for the on-going transfer saga, saying that the ex-Everton star “told someone very important in his career” that he wanted to leave.

It is likely that the Portuguese boss was referring to Sir Alex Ferguson, who claimed Rooney wanted to quit the club shortly before he retired as United manager.

That was back in May and, asked how much longer he was prepared to wait for the Rooney situation to come to a resolution, Mourinho replied: “Twenty-four hours, 48 hours.

“If you look at a manager like me, a club like us and the people who work at the club with me, we are not silly enough to try to get a player from a big club that doesn’t want to sell.

“We are not silly enough to try something if somebody didn’t start it.”

“After that, if he wants to leave he has to say – or if he has decided now he doesn’t want to leave any more then he has to say.”

Rooney was given a warm reception by both United and Chelsea fans during last night’s 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, with the home and away support both chanting his name.

And it remains to be seen which club he will be playing for come the closure of the transfer window a week today.

The post Chelsea Transfer News: Wayne Rooney Has 48 Hours To Decide Future appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Man Utd: 5 Things We’ve Learned From Their New Year Slump

Published March 11, 2014 by gossipzoo

Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

You have to go back to May 2001 to find the last time Manchester United lost three matches in a row. At that stage they had already wrapped up yet another Premier League title under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Fast forward the best part of 13 years and the Red Devils find themselves in quite a different situation with David Moyes at the helm. United had looked equal to the task of a demanding festive fixture programme after winning six in a row after an early December wobble.

To his credit Moyes has made relatively plain sailing of his first proper crack at the Champions League as a manager, but the Old Trafford faithful are used to being a force in all competitions.

Victories ground out over West Ham, Hull and Norwich have been belied, however, by successive losses to Spurs, Swansea and Sunderland. The Red Devils are a dozen points off the pace in the title race. Moyes is also out of the FA Cup and progress to the League Cup final is in the balance.

What are the hallmarks of his nightmare start to 2014? More importantly, what can be done to reverse United’s fortunes? Here are five things we’ve learned about United because of their New Year slump.

The post Man Utd: 5 Things We’ve Learned From Their New Year Slump appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Man Utd: Everything You Need To Know About Olympiakos

Published February 23, 2014 by gossipzoo

copyright Andrew Orchard

copyright Andrew Orchard

Monday’s Champions League last 16 draw saw David Moye’s team paired with the Greek side Olympiakos, with the first leg to be played in Athens on the 25th February. What should we expect from the team blocking United’s path to the quarter finals?

Who’s The Boss?

Former Real Madrid midfielder, Michel, is the current manager of Olympiakos. The 50-year-old had two fairly uninspiring spells in his native Spain, with Getafe and Sevilla, before moving to the Greek capital in February 2013. His team went on to win the championship last season and have already made a strong start to their current campaign.

The Spaniard took the opportunity to revamp his squad in the summer transfer window, bringing in the likes of Javier Saviola from Malaga and Joel Campbell from Arsenal (on loan). Never shy to voice his opinion, he is certainly feeling confident ahead of the prospect of facing United. He has announced that his side “are in for two tough matches… but I fear no opponents”.

How’s Their League Form?

United’s poor start to the season would suggest that domestic form isn’t necessarily an indicator of how a team will perform in the Champions League. However, it is worth noting that Olympiakos have got their Super League campaign off to a scintillating start. They already sit 10 points clear of second place PAOK after 16 games, having scored a spectacular 48 goals on their way to the top. Averaging over 3 goals a game, home and away, is no mean feat.

Olympiakos are also very strong defensively, having only conceded 6 league goals this season. Clearly they are a team high on confidence, with both defence and attack currently firing on all cylinders. Historically however, their domestic dominance has hindered rather than helped any progress in the Champions League, as United’s opponents have only reached the last four of the competition once, back in 1999. It would seem that teams who enter the competition from poor domestic leagues ultimately struggle to transcend their league form into continental dominance. For more information, just ask Celtic.

Fox In The Box?

Konstantinos Mitroglou has been in sparkling form this season, with the striker contributing 22 goals for club and country. With Liverpool and Arsenal reportedly monitoring the 25-year-old’s progress, a two legged tie against United will give the Greek international a chance to showcase his talents against an English opponent.

His goals per game ratio has been exceptionally impressive; he has bagged 14 league goals in 10 games this season. With Moyes still uncertain of his best central defensive partnership, there is a chance that Mitroglou could expose any weaknesses. United would be wise to play a high line against the prolific striker, as he is prone to straying offside. He was caught out 11 times in the group stages; only Olivier Giroud bettered that unwanted statistic.

How Did They Get This Far?

Olympiakos came through as runners up to PSG in a group that also contained Benfica and Anderlecht. The Greek side sneaked through by the skin of their teeth, courtesy of a superior goal difference over Benfica. Interestingly, their water tight domestic defence conceded 8 times in the 6 group matches. Mitroglou top scored for the club in the group stage, with 3 goals.

Anything Else We Should Know?

UEFA have announced that the first leg, in Athens, will be played in a partially closed stadium. This punishment has been handed down for “racist conduct of supporters, insufficient organisation, the setting-off of fireworks and the use of a laser” during Olympiakos’ clash with Anderlecht in their last group game. The news could be a bonus to United, who will be looking to use the subdued home atmosphere to their advantage.

On a cheerier note, the tie will also give United fans the opportunity to welcome back a legend to the club in the return fixture. Whether Roy Carroll, current Olympiakos shot stopper, can expect quite the reception Ronaldo received last season, remains to be seen…

Likely Result?

Moyes has complained about his side’s bad luck this season, so seeing Olympiakos’ name come out of the draw on Monday must have felt like Christmas coming early. Compared to facing Real Madrid at the same stage last season, United’s second round opponents this time are possibly the lowliest side left in the competition. United famously enjoy strong finishes to their season and their players are well trained in the art of playing in continental competitions midweek, before league duties at the weekend. It is possible that Olympiakos will face the full wrath of a United team just beginning to find their rhythm when the two sides meet in February and March next year.

If United fail to overcome Olympiakos it will be a major surprise. Moyes will be confident of wins, home and away.

Stats courtesy of ESPN

The post Man Utd: Everything You Need To Know About Olympiakos appeared first on WhatCulture!.

Man Utd Transfers: 3 Midfielders Who Could Propel United To The Title

Published January 16, 2014 by gossipzoo

Media Image Ltd

Media Image Ltd

The summer transfer window was one of great disappointment for many United fans. July began with them favourites to land Barcelona’s much-coveted Thiago Alcantara, whose subsequent move to Bayern Munich’s midfield oligopoly was merely an indication of what was to follow.

After a lengthy silence, Cesc F bregas emerged from his summer holiday to rubbish claims that he had been in talks with the Manchester club, and proceeded to declare his love affair with the Catalan giants very much ongoing.

Rumours of Luka Modri angling for a way out of Madrid were quickly quashed following Xabi Alonso’s broken foot, and, mysterious lawyers aside, a move for Bilbao’s Ander Herrera never came close to materialising.

Through all of the miscommunication, rumours and confusion one thing was clear – Moyes was determined to add a creative spark to aid the oft overworked Michael Carrick in the deeper parts of the pitch, and provide another weapon to United’s somewhat predictable attacking transitions.

This made the last minute purchase of Marouane Fellaini, a player Moyes had worked with for a number of years at Everton, puzzling. As a player, Fellaini is many things – hard working, aggressive, a physical threat and surprisingly good at producing quick, short passes to the more creative players. In essence, he’s the polar opposite to smaller, creative midfielders Moyes had been chasing all summer.

Fellaini has had a mediocre (at best) start to the season and seems to be struggling to reproduce his Everton form on the bigger stage. During the Manchester derby, where City cruised to a 4-1 win, he was completely overrun and outplayed by his opposite number, Yaya Tour . This has done little to endear him to a United fan base still coming to terms with a string of poor results and lacklustre performances, and it remains to be seen if he really can handle the pressure of playing for the most widely supported club in world football.

Fellaini needs time to settle in, and the United squad as a whole are still adjusting to Moyes’ style of play, but the midfield is an area of concern for many fans who have their eyes fixed on the January transfer window.

Here we look at 3 midfielders who could propel United to the title.

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