Mar 15 2017

Manchester United vs Rostov: Team News, Predicted Lineups, Key Stats

Manchester United vs Rostov Prediction, Preview & Key Stats ahead of this week’s Europa League fixture. 

Manchester United vs Rostov
Europa League 2016/17
16th March, 20:05 pm BST
Old Trafford, Manchester
Live Stream: Watch Manchester United vs FC Rostov live on BT Sport 2

After bowing out of the FA Cup earlier this week, Manchester United now turn their attention towards the Europa League.

United earned a 1-1 draw in Russia in the reverse leg, and they are favourites to go through. Jose Mourinho’s side haven’t won in their last three games, and the Portuguese will be desperate to get back to winnings ways on Thursday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who missed United’s FA Cup clash through suspension, will lead the attacking line up once again.

Ander Herrera was sent off against Chelsea, but the Spaniard is eligible to play in Europe. The United midfielder will incur a ban if he picks up a yellow card against Rostov.

United, however, will miss the services of Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney through injuries.

Predicted Manchester United Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): De Gea, Valencia, Rojo, Bailly, Blind, Herrera, Pogba, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Ibrahimovic

United have an enviable home record, having lost just once at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Rostov’s strategy will be to get a goal somehow and take this game into extra time and beyond.

Rostov are unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions. However, they have struggled to win matches at a stretch, having won only two competitive matches on the road all season.

Vladimir Granat suffered a nasty injury in the return leg, and he won’t make the trip to Old Trafford. Timofei Kalachev and Aleksandru Gatcan are both suspended for the return leg.

Predicted Rostov Starting Lineup (3-5-2): Medvedev, Kudryashov, Navas, Mevija, Baryramyan, Noboa, Prepelita, Erokhln, Terentjev, Poloz, Bukharov

MANCHESTER UNITED VS FC ROSTOV KEY STATS

1  – United have lost just once in their last 11 games in all competitions

3 – United have not won in their last three competitive games

7 – Rostov are unbeaten in their last seven competitive matches

 

Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Rostov 


Mar 08 2017

Europa League: Jose Mourinho says Rostov pitch is hard to believe

Ahead of Manchester United’s Europa League last 16 tie on Thursday, Jose Mourinho has slammed the state of the pitch at Rostov’s Olimp-2 stadium.

The Portuguese said that he would like the game to be shifted elsewhere or to be postponed, after seeing the condition of the pitch.

Mourinho has compared the playing surface to that of the shambolic pitch at Bird’s Nest in Beijing last summer that forced the pre-season tour game against Manchester City to be cancelled.

The Portuguese said, as quoted by The Guardian:

It is still hard for me to believe we going to play tomorrow on that field, if you can call it a field and I don’t know which team to play [select], really.

It’s a very similar pitch to the one in summer in China – we and Man City decided not to play but it looks like we have to play [on Thursday].”

I don’t know. I spoke to one Uefa official and he said: ‘It doesn’t matter if one of the players gets injured as they are insured’.

Daley Blind also looked unimpressed with the state of the pitch, but the Dutchman has urged his team to focus on the game instead. He has echoed Mourinho’s concerns but said United can hardly afford to use the pitch as an excuse.

The Dutch defender said, as quoted by The Telegraph

The pitch is not the best, not good, maybe quality of game will be a bit different, but it doesn’t have to be an excuse for us, we have to try to win, that’s what we’re here for.

 The pitch is not good, maybe not for safety as well, but it is no an excuse, we want to win here, try to play a good game, that’s the most important thing.

Ivan Daniliants, the Rostov coach, had already issued a warning that United could face a huge shock with the pitch. He admitted that the pitch could be an issue following the mid-season break in the Russian Premier League.

The Russian Premier League has just returned after the winter break, but Rostov are yet to host a home match at their stadium in an attempt to protect the pitch. Rostov players haven’t trained before the game, but United players were allowed to practise on the surface.

Mourinho has confirmed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be in his squad for tomorrow’s game. Ibra, who has been handed a three-match ban by the FA, is free to play in European games.

Henrikk Mkhitaryan is available again after a hamstring injury, but Mourinho said he is unsure whether to take a risk with the Armenian forward, given the condition of the pitch.


Mar 08 2017

Blow for Manchester United: Zlatan Ibrahimovic to serve three-match ban

Swede striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, will miss Manchester United’s next three domestic games after he accepted his Football Association charge for violent conduct.

Ibrahimovic has been one of the top performers for United this season and has scored 26 goals in all competitions.

The FA had charged both Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings for separate incidents that took place during Manchester United’s Premier League clash last Saturday.

The Bournemouth defender was seen stamping on Ibrahimovic’s head shortly before the half-time. Soon after, Ibra’s right elbow caught Mings on the side of the face when the duo jumped to meet a cross.

TV replays showed that both were bookable offences, but the players escaped punishment at the time as the referee, Kevin Friend, failed to spot them.

However, a retrospective decision was made by a panel of three former elite officials. They felt that both the players deserved to be sent off for their acts and charges were brought on Monday.

Ibrahimovic said that he respects the decision of the FA, but at the same time has denied that he had any malicious intent of harming the player.

“I respect every decision,” he said, as quoted by the Guardian. “I am not here to attack anybody. My purpose was not to do that. The game is hard.”

As a result of the ban, the Swede striker will be suspended for Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Chelsea and the Premier League fixtures with Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion.

The ban, however, applies only to domestic games, which means the 35-year-old is free to play in European competitions. He will be available for both legs of United’s Europa League clash with Rostov.

Meanwhile, Mings could be hit with an even longer suspension, after the FA suggested that the standard three-match ban would be clearly insufficient for him.


Mar 07 2017

Zlatan Ibrahimovic charged with violent conduct

Manchester United striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Bournemouth defender, Tyrone Mings, have been charged with alleged violent conduct by the Football Association.

Both of them have been charged for separate incidents during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Bournemouth on Saturday.

The Bournemouth defender was seen to stamp on Ibrahimovic’s head shortly before the half-time. Soon after, Ibrahimovic caught his opponent with his elbow.

TV replays showed that both were bookable offences, but neither player was dismissed by  referee Kevin Friend during the game.

“The players were involved in two separate incidents in or around the 44th minute which were not seen by the match officials at the time but caught on video,” the FA said in a statement.

It continued: “Furthermore, The FA has submitted a claim that the standard punishment that would otherwise apply for the misconduct committed by the Bournemouth defender is ‘clearly insufficient.'”

Both the players have until 6 pm on Tuesday to respond to their charges.

Ibrahimovic will face an automatic three-match ban, should he accept the charge. In that case, he will miss the FA Cup quarterfinal clash against Chelsea and subsequently the Premier League games against Middlesbrough and West Brom.

On the other hand, if he refuses to accept the charge, the case will be heard by a panel before the end of this week. And if he is not found guilty, the Swede will be allowed to play against Chelsea.

The disciplinary actions have no bearing on European games. Therefore, Ibra, United’s top goal-scorer this season with 26 goals in 35 appearances in all competitions, will be available for the Europa League round-of-16 games against FC Rostov.


Mar 07 2017

Manchester United favourite to win the Europa League

Tag: Manchester United @ 7:00 am

Man Utd showed great determination to finally overcome a plucky Southampton and win the EFL Cup last weekend, and now manager Jose Mourinho could be on course for an unlikely treble in his first season at the helm. What a difference a few months make: towards the end of 2017 he was written off as a manager past his peak, left behind by veritable whippersnappers like Antonio Conte and Jurgen Klopp, with his side well adrift in the league.

The reaction has been superb as Man Utd have emerged as one of the form teams in the land. It culminated with the EFL Cup triumph, but Utd have been excellent for months now, having really closed the gap on the top four and progressed in the FA Cup and Europa League. Now they have genuine hopes of winning both those trophies and finishing in the Champions League places come the end of the campaign.

Football odds show that Man Utd are now the favourites to win the Europa League. They are heavy favourites too: Man Utd are 2/1 and the next team, Roma, are all the way back on 11/2, followed by Lyon and Celta Vigo at 12/1, Schalke 04 at 14/1, Borussia Monchengladbach on 16/1 and Besiktas and Ajax, who are both 20/1. Man Utd are vastly superior to all of those teams, bar Roma. Luciano Spalletti’s side have enjoyed another strong season in Italy and look set to finish second, behind the mighty Juventus. For the past couple of seasons they have been fantastic going forwards, and that has continued, and poor defensively, but they have also tightened things up at the back and are keeping more clean sheets now. They beat Villarreal, a team in the top six in Spain, 4-1 on aggregate in the last round, so they are to be feared.

But nobody will be more feared than Man Utd, boasting the attacking talents of Zlatan Ibrahimovich, who only seems to get better with age. In Paul Pogba they have a marvellous midfielder and David De Gea is great between the sticks. They are far from the finished article and there are question marks over the defence, but there is a good spine to this team now, plenty of options going forwards and a strong mentality. Success breeds success and that EFL Cup win will have done wonders for the players’ belief and confidence. The league cup was the first one Mourinho won at Chelsea and it ushered in a golden age. Man Utd fans will be hoping for a similar situation now.

They face a monumental task in getting through to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, as they face a Chelsea side that has dominated the Premiership this year and has opened up a huge gap at the top of the table. Antonio Conte’s men have the league title in the bag and can afford to really focus on the FA Cup in a bid to win the double.

Odds show Chelsea to be favourites at 6/5, while Man Utd are the 29/10 underdogs. Home advantage certainly plays a part in that, as does the form of Chelsea, but it is telling that the Blues are not odds-on to win it, which they would be against virtually any other team in the land. If Man Utd can scrape through – and it will take a vast improvement on their performance when these sides met in the league – they will surely be favourites to win it.

Right now they are fifth favourites, but that is down to the difficult draw, as Arsenal and Tottenham face lower league opposition, but if they make the semis they will be in the driving seat and should go on to win it. Right now Man Utd need fear no one, and more glory this season looks a distinct prospect.


Mar 01 2017

Everton planning Wayne Rooney return to Goodison Park

With every passing day it is becoming increasingly clear that Wayne Rooney’s days are numbered at Manchester United. He has achieved a legendary status at the club, but the general perception about him is that it is time for him to move elsewhere.

There are lucrative offers on the table from the far east where Rooney could earn twice the money on a weekly basis, should any deal materialise.

Rooney could opt to stay in the Premier League, but big clubs are highly unlikely to make an offer for him. Everton are reportedly interested in bringing back their former player, with Ronald Koeman, the Toffees manager, saying that the 31-year-old would make the club “stronger”.

According to reports from The Times, Everton will intensify their efforts in signing Rooney in the summer. The Merseyside club approached United with a loan offer for Rooney in January, but it was rebuffed.

Everton keep on continuing their charm offensive, with Koeman saying:

I believe that Wayne Rooney is still playing at a high level,” the Dutchman said. “I think he made a good choice to stay at Manchester United and in the Premier League because he has still two or three years in front of him to play on a high level.

What will happen at the end of the season? I don’t know, but in my opinion he is one of the players who can make Everton stronger. It’s all about what the player likes, what Manchester United needs to do, and we are not involved in that project. But every player that we at Everton think can make the team stronger is welcome to Everton.

Steve Walsh, Everton’s director of football, has speculated further by saying that it would be wrong for the club not to be interested in Rooney.

Wayne Rooney is one of the greatest players that has ever played the game in England and for us not to be interested would be wrong.

Rooney announced last week that he would be staying at Old Trafford, despite interest from the Chinese Super League. He was an unused substitute in United’s 3-2 EFL Cup win over Southampton at Wembley on Sunday, and his future beyond the summer remains unclear.

The England striker earns about £300,000 a week at United, and meeting his wage demands could be a major stumbling block for Everton.

The decision rests on Rooney. If he is still hungry enough to play at the highest level, he may consider taking a pay-cut and return to his boyhood club. Otherwise, a move to China still makes a lot of sense.


Feb 23 2017

Double Injury Blow: Mkhitaryan and Carrick set to miss EFL Cup final

Tag: Manchester United @ 10:00 am

Manchester United progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League with a win over Saint-Etienne on Wednesday night. However, it came at a crushing cost.

The Red Devils will miss two key players in the EFL Cup final, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Michael Carrick not playing any part after picking up hamstring and calf injuries respectively.

Both the players limped out of last night’s game, and Jose Mourinho said that the duo have “no chance” of being fit for Sunday’s EFL Cup final against Southampton at Wembley.

 Mkhitaryan has been in great form recently and losing him for the big match is a huge blow for United.

After a stuttering start to the season, United have recovered well and are on the verge of winning their first trophy this season. Mourinho has taken his team on a run of just one defeat in 25 matches.

The former Chelsea manager took a swipe at the FA and hinted that his chances of winning silverware are being hindered by the organisation.

United’s FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge had been moved to Monday, March 13, which falls three days before United’s second leg of the club’s round-of-16 tie. Mourinho is surprised that the decision was made before their draw in Europe.

Mourinho said, as quoted by The Times:

Imagine we play Chelsea on Monday and go to the second match in Europe in Russia, Turkey or Greece? I think once more the interests are going [against] English football’s interests, and nobody cares about it.

The rescheduling of the FA Cup also presents United fans with travel problems. The match kicks off at 7.45pm, and if it goes to extra time and penalties, away fans who are relying on public transport would find it difficult to get back home.


Feb 23 2017

Manchester United could pay Wayne Rooney if he leaves the club

Wayne Rooney is all set to leave Manchester United next summer. His agent, Paul Stretford, was in China on Wednesday to hold talks with interested parties in the Far East.

Rooney understands that any rash decision could bring about a premature end to his England career. However, at the same time, he is frustrated by the lack of game time under Jose Mourinho.

He has started in just eight Premier League matches this season, and unless he gets regular first-team football, it would be wise of him to move elsewhere.

Mourinho claimed earlier this week that Rooney could leave for China this month, but it seems the England striker will remain at Old Trafford till June.

According to reports from The Times, United are expected to hand Rooney a pay-off should he leave the club in the summer.

Rooney will have 12 months left on his current deal when the next Chinese transfer window opens, and United could pay him the reminder of his wages, which is around £15.6m.

Also, Rooney is certain to be honoured with a loyalty bonus and the amount will be huge. Wazza, as he is affectionately known, has been at the club since 2004, when he joined from Everton in a £27m deal.

Previously, Robin van Persie was paid a bonus by United, believed to be around £8.4m, after just three years at the club.

Rooney missed United’s 1-0 win away to Saint-Etienne because of a hamstring injury suffered 18 days ago. He is also doubtful for Sunday’s EFL Cup final against Southampton at Wembley. However, Mourinho could hand him a place, if he is fit, in place of the injured Henrikh Mkhitaryan.



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