Connect with us


Formation Debate: United debates on either Five at the back or remain with usual formation for Atletico clash



It promises to be a tactical battle in the Spanish capital when Manchester United meet Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.

There is talk in the local press that the home side may opt for five at the back in a bid to gain the upper hand in the first leg, with Jose Maria Gimenez starting, and it has been suggested in some quarters that this is also an option for Ralf Rangnick to consider.

Although we usually play with two centre-backs, Raphael Varane came off the bench late on at Leeds United to assist Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof and, with such strong options in the middle of the defence, it may tempt the interim manager to change things.

Ahead of making your United Predictions, and trying to win a signed shirt, we provide our views on the matter…


Sometimes, you can be spoiled for choice and that is seemingly the case for Ralf Rangnick in the centre-back department, with Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane all in a great place heading into our huge European night in Madrid. Could you really leave one of them out?

Lindelof and Maguire were both excellent in Sunday’s stormy victory at Elland Road, while Varane has been playing his best football as a Red in 2022 – plus, he has faced Atletico more than any other opponent in his illustrious career. That’s why I’m anticipating a change in formation from our interim manager, who had made it clear he isn’t adverse to mixing it up when the scenario demands it.

A back three could provide a solid base to build from and might also help us to control the tempo, which would be crucial in the cauldron of the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. When you’re away from home in the first leg, a clean sheet is so, so important to your chances of qualification, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Lindelof-Maguire-Varane triumvirate in that starting line-up


We know Ralf Rangnick will have a plan for this vital away leg but whether he’ll decide to change things dramatically by playing five at the back is another matter.

It must be tempting considering the fact that skipper Harry Maguire did well at Leeds after scoring the opener, Victor Lindelof was also excellent at Elland Road and Raphael Varane’s Champions League and La Liga experience will prove useful at the Wanda Metropolitano. However, I think the boss will just make a tough call on which pairing to start with.

Although the away-goals rule has been scrapped, I’d still like to see United get on the front foot and try to pick holes in a defence that traditionally had been the most miserly in Europe before springing some leaks in La Liga this term.

There are clear signs of Ralf being an attacking coach (I must admit I love the way he throws caution to the wind when we’re chasing a goal) and I don’t see this altering too much, even if a draw would surely be considered a good result to take back to Manchester.

It’s going to be a fabulous atmosphere in the Spanish capital and I want to see some of our top creative talents, such as Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, getting on the ball and helping us dictate play from the midfield


Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag




Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

Continue Reading


Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club




Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

Continue Reading


Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer




Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

Continue Reading