Tag Archives: EFL Cup

EFL Cup Final Player Ratings: Manchester United 3-2 Southampton

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for the EFL Cup final between Manchester United and Southampton.

Manchester United

David De Gea – 6.5

Made a couple of decent saves throughout the encounter, with the Spaniard left with little chance in stopping the other two Southampton strikes in a 3-2 win.

Antonio Valencia – 6.5

Solid and active down the right flank, particularly towards the end of the game.

Eric Bailly – 5.5

Not the best showing in a United shirt, offering a few moments of unease when in possession and struggling to cope with Manolo Gabbiadini’s presence inside the box.

Chris Smalling – 6

Slightly better than his centre back duo, but, again, hardly the convincing performance José Mourinho will have been hoping for in a final.

Marcos Rojo – 5

Stranded and in real trouble out on the left-hand side of United’s defence, as Cedric and Dusan Tadic caused problems for periods of the game. Subsequently, the Argentine offered very little going forwards, too.

Ander Herrera – 5.5

Outfought for periods of the game, as the Saints swamped the midfield, but Herrera did eventually come up with the pass of the match when assisting Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the win.

Paul Pogba – 6.5

Struggled with the intensity of Southampton’s game for large periods, but once Claude Puel’s side waned, the Frenchman grew into the game to regain some control for United.

Juan Mata – 4.5

Ineffective throughout his 45-minute showing, which is why Mourinho saw him as the strongest candidate to make way for Michael Carrick at half-time.

Jesse Lingard – 6

Hit a big goal for United, but aside from that, there was little else to take note of, minus a lot of running.

Anthony Martial – 5

Lively and threatening when given space to attack, but the Frenchman was very rarely afforded the opportunities to do so.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 7.5

The match-winner for United, as he put the Red Devil’s ahead in the first half with a free-kick. Having lost many of his fair-share of battles against the Saints’ defensive duo, the Swede had the last laugh with the winning goal deep into the final stages of the game.

Subs

Michael Carrick – 6

Helped regain some sort of control and method to United’s play, as Southampton relinquished their dominance.

Marcus Rashford – N/A

Marouane Fellaini – N/A

Southampton

Fraser Forster – 5

Could have done better to stop Ibrahimovic’s goal from a free kick, although the wall also didn’t offer a great deal of help to the former Celtic man either.

Cedric Soares – 7.5

A quality performance from the Portugal international, who found Gabbiadini for the one-touch finish on two separate occasions, despite only one of them counting in accordance to the linesman’s flag.

Maya Yoshida – 7

The Southampton old-timer led by example up against Ibrahimovic at the heart of a depleted defensive sector.

Jack Stephens – 6.5

Bar a couple of costly mistakes in two of United’s three goals, Stephens but up a fight in front of Forster’s goal.

Ryan Bertrand – 6.5

A decent performance from the ex-Chelsea full back, both going forwards and backwards.

Oriol Romeu – 7.5

Took on the heavy duty of destroying United’s play and did so very well, despite being yellow carded early on.

Steven Davis – 7

A big effort from the Saints captain, who helped Romeu in his defensive duties to great success.

James Ward-Prowse – 6.5

One moment he was wide, the next closing down through the middle – a tricky role for the young midfielder, but he executed it quite well.

Dusan Tadic – 5

Despite a handful of decent deliveries from set-pieces, the Serbian playmaker can feel a little disappointed with himself in the final third.

Nathan Redmond – 8.5

A strong contender for Man of the Match, irrespective of being on the losing side, Redmond was at the heart of plenty of positive moves created by Puel’s side.

Manolo Gabbiadini – 8.5

Up there with Redmond, the ex-Napoli and Sampdoria man took his chances brilliantly when they came, as his hot streak with the South Coast club continues.

Subs

Sofiane Boufal – 5

In to refresh Southampton’s attacking sector, but Boufal ended up seeing very little of the ball.

Shane Long – N/A

Jay Rodriguez – N/A

‘Our Best Player Is Out’ Manchester United Fans Fearful Ahead Of EFL Cup Final

Manchester United cruised through to the last 8 of the Europa League on Thursday night with a 1-0 away win against St. Etienne ensuring they won 4-0 on aggregate. However it wasn’t all good news for United. 

The gap in quality between the two sides was obvious and Henrikh Mkhitaryan was one player whose performance helped highlight the quality difference between the two sides. His goal was the only goal of the game and he scored it early to settle any nerves United may have had.

However the night ended early for Henrikh and on a sour note with Mkhitaryan going off injured in the 24th minute, the extent to his injury has not been revealed yet, but given his recent form the fans will be hoping it is nothing serious.

He only managed to make 11 touches during his time on the pitch and made 1 shot, which crucially hit the back of the net.

Aside from the goal, he didn’t look great before going off injured and that has led many to question whether he may have been carrying an injury before the game started. So is Mourinho to blame for his injury? Why did Jose potentially risk his fitness when the team had all but certainly advanced to the next round already thanks to their 3-0 first leg win. With the EFL Cup final coming up at the weekend, it makes the decision even more bemusing. Mourinho has also said that Carrick has no chance of playing in the EFL Cup final – so why did he feature vs. Saint-Etienne? It is obvious how important Carrick is to making United tick – so it is ridiculous to risk him just days before a final.

Here’s how some fans reacted to the midfielder’s performance and his injury. 

 

United have been drawn Rostov in the last 16 and Mourinho will surely be confident of advancing to the last 8 of the competition considering that draw.

Despite their terrible start to the Premier League under Mourinho, the team have a serious chance of winning 3 trophies this season under Mourinho – the EFL Cup, Europa League and the FA Cup. If Mourinho manages to land two of those trophies and finish in the top four then it would surely be a successful debut season for him at United.

With both Carrick and Mkhitaryan out of the final at the weekend, Manchester United’s chances of winning have surely fallen significantly. Should United’s midfield put in a lacklustre display in the final then there is only one man to blame…

EFL Cup Player Ratings: Manchester United 1-0 Manchester City

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for the EFL Cup tie between Manchester City and Manchester United at Old Trafford:

Manchester United

David De Gea – 5

It’s a 5 for De Gea, purely on the basis that he had absolutely nothing to do all game.

Antonio Valencia – 5

Tactically disciplined, but largely unrefined in attack. Not a great deal got past Valencia, mind

Marcos Rojo – 6

There were a few concerned faces at the prospect of Rojo deputising at centre back, but the Argentine appeared comfortable, particularly in possession.

Daley Blind – 5

Technically comfortable, as we’ve come to expect from Blind, but another who didn’t appear to have much to do with regards to defending.

Luke Shaw – 5

Although the ex-Southampton man linked up fairly nicely with Rashford on the left flank, handling Jesus Navas’ pace proved to be an issue. The distance kept in the second half, however, made the task of containing the Spaniard become far more manageable for Shaw.

Michael Carrick – 6

A super composed performance from the midfield veteran, which once again adds to the case being made for him to start more regularly for Man United.

Ander Herrera – 6

Carrick’s presence freed Herrera of some of his newly-appointed defensive responsibilities of late, which allowed him to press higher up the pitch to great effect.

Juan Mata – 6

Floated in and out of the right flank, which kept the home side’s possession flowing, but also limited the options out wide. Mata, of course, came up with the all important goal too in a 1-0 victory.

Paul Pogba – 5

The Frenchman looked to make something happen every time he got onto the ball, often a little forceful in doing so.

Marcus Rashford – 8

Head and shoulders above everyone on the night, proving to be a menace to young Pablo Maffeo on United’s left wing and causing City plenty of issues on the counter-attack.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 6

It looked as though the former PSG man would be heading for another disappointing display based on his first-half performance, but Ibrahimovic managed to up his game in the second period to create a couple of good chances and assist Mata.

Subs:

Morgan Schneiderlin – N/A

Manchester City

Willy Caballero – 5

Pulled off a good save from a left-footed Pogba shot in the second half, but rare were the occasions when the Argentine shot-stopped was called into action.

Pablo Maffeo – 6

An impressive display from young Maffeo, who was undoubtedly among the best in a City shirt, despite having his hands full with dealing with Rashford.

Vincent Kompany – 5

A standard performance by the Belgian, who was taken off at half-time, presumably with another injury to add to the tally.

Nicolas Otamendi – 3

Far too dedicated to pressing and winning the ball back, which often left massive gaps behind him for Man United to target.

Gael Clichy – 4

Fairly anonymous, particularly in attack, which is disappointing from the ex-Arsenal defender considering the potential licence to do so thanks to Juan Mata roaming inwards.

Fernando – 6

He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but Fernando appeared fairly solid and much improved on the ball.

Aleix Garcia – 6

Another, alongside Maffeo, to catch the eye in the middle of the park. Garcia looked the likeliest to make something happen.

Jesus Navas – 4

Attacked Shaw well, but at the same time, Navas appeared very predictable once more in his decision making.

Leroy Sané – 3

The winger, operating behind the striker in this encounter, failed to inflict any damage in the final third, meanwhile ghosting through much of the second half before being replaced by Raheem Sterling.

Nolito – 4

Found a couple good passes in attack, but notable involvement came few and far between.

Kelechi Iheanacho – 3

Missed a great opportunity to stun Old Trafford in the early exchanges of the tie, but the Nigerian’s miss would go on to commence a lacklustre performance.

Subs:

Aleksandar Kolarov – 3

Slotted in terribly next to Otamendi in the second half, allowing United to grow in confidence and eventually take the lead.

Raheem Sterling – 4

Replacing Sané, Sterling tried, but ultimately failed to ignite any potential City comeback.

Sergio Agüero – N/A

11 Changes! Arsenal’s Likely Line-Up To Face Reading On Tuesday Night

Here is Arsenal’s likely line up to face Reading on Tuesday night. 

With the Gunners stuttering for the first time in weeks against Middlesbrough on Saturday, it highlighted to the fans and the manager that the players were tiring and the need for rotation is important.

Goalkeeper: Damian Martinez

Arsenal are using their three goalkeepers this season. Petr Cech starts in the league, David Ospina in the Champions League and Martinez appears to have his spot in the English League Cup. Martinez is a talented young goalkeeper, but aged 24 he needs to make sure he is playing regularly now. For him to get games at Arsenal they need to remain in this competition. He has everything to prove.

Defence: Carl Jenkinson, Gabriel Paulista, Rob Holding, Kieran Gibbs (c)

Gibbs will captain the team again like he did against Nottingham Forest. With Monreal struggling at left back, another impressive performance from Gibbs could see Arsene select him ahead of the Spaniard in the Premier League. Monreal’s crossing has been particularly poor of late, and if Gibbs can demonstrate a good attacking performance then he will put pressure on Nacho. Jenkinson is the headline in this defence, he looks set to return after a long time out. With Mathieu Debuchy out in the cold, Arsenal could do with Jenkinson fit and performing again, as there is no natural back up to Hector Bellerin in the squad currently. In the heart of defence Mustafi and Koscielny will be rested, enabling Holding and Gabriel to get more minutes.

Midfield: Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mohammed Elneny; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jeff Rene-Adelaide, Alex Iwobi

There could be a real mix up in midfield, with Wenger unlikely to give Coquelin a third start in less than a week following his injury. This means Elneny is almost certain to start in the centre of midfield, with Granit Xhaka suspended and Cazorla and Ramsey injured, we may see young Maitland-Niles in midfield alongside Elneny. The youngster is a player I really rate highly and he played well in an unnatural right back posisition in the previous round – I think he deserves to play again. In front of them, Wenger has said that Chamberlain, Jeff and Iwobi will all play. Iwobi was rested in last weeks Champions League game and he needs to find his best form again – this home game against Reading will be a good chance for him to do so. With Ozil and Alexis not in the squad at all, Jeff will get a chance in attacking midfield – it’ll be interesting to see how he performs in this position with Wenger having high hopes for the teenage Frenchman.

Striker: Lucas Perez

Lucas has only managed two starts in an Arsenal shirt to date, but he made an impressive cameo in the Champions League recently, notching up two assists in the final 25 minutes against Ludogorets. In his most recent start against Nottingham Forest he netted two goals. With the Gunners drying up in front of goal on Saturday, Lucas will have a good chance of starting the clubs next league game if he impresses again on Tuesday.