Tag Archives: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Player Ratings: West Ham United 0-2 Manchester United

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for West Ham United’s home clash versus Manchester United in the Premier League:

West Ham United

Darren Randolph – 6.5

Came up with an important reflex save to deny Antonio Valencia a simple tap-in, with the Irish goalkeeper left with little to work with in denying the visitors’ two goals.

Håvard Nordtveit – 4.5

The weak link in West Ham’s defence, adapted at right back and fully exposed by Marcus Rashford’s entrance in the second half.

Winston Reid – 6

Kept the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as quiet as possible throughout much of the game, eventually falling foul to an offside goal by the Swede.

Angelo Ogbonna – 6

Much like Reid, Ogbonna kept things tight as best as he could in what seemed to be an inclined pitch following Sofiane Feghouli’s early red card.

Aaron Cresswell – 5

Due to obvious circumstances, we didn’t see the ex-Ipswich Town full back bomb up and down the left flank as often as he would’ve hoped, taking away a key outlet in the Hammers’ attack.

Cheikhou Kouyaté – 5.5

Closed many avenues centrally but also tired substantially as the game went on, allowing for greater dominance by United.

Pedro Obiang – 6

Among the best in a West Ham shirt, evading the bodies situated in the middle of the park to set counters with the ball in his possession, but like his midfield counterpart, Kouyaté, Obiang appeared visibly fatigued in the latter stages of the game.

Sofiane Feghouli – N/A

In his first start for the London club, the former Valencia wide man was sent off rather controversially after just 15 minutes of football.

Manuel Lanzini – 6.5

The key threat going forward, somewhat muted following Feghouli’s red card.

Dimitri Payet – 5.5

Looked sharp in the early exchanges, but he also shrunk in size and effectiveness after Mike Dean’s controversial decision in the game’s infancy.

Michail Antonio – 4

The West Ham top scorer spurned a great chance one-on-one to give the hosts the lead and United weren’t so merciful soon after at the opposite end.

Subs:

Andy Carroll – 4.5

Came on in response to United taking the lead, but the man most likely to find him inside the box turned out to be the player he replaced – Payet. A missed opportunity from Slaven Bilić, rather than anyone else.

Edimilson Fernandes – N/A

Manchester United:

David De Gea – 7

As reliable as ever, De Gea came up with two big saves to deny Lanzini and Antonio a goal either side of the half time interval.

Antonio Valencia – 5.5

Arguably should’ve scored from close range, didn’t, but there’ll be few complaints from a defensive perspective, which is never a bad thing.

Phil Jones – 6

Another clean sheet for the file, strengthening the defender’s case to enter the defensive equation definitively in the José Mourinho era.

Marcos Rojo – 6

Started the game at centre back, ended it at left back. Solid, once again, in both positions, as his versatility begins to prove fruitful.

Matteo Darmian – 5

Victim of a tactical shift at half-time that saw Juan Mata replace him against 10-man West Ham. A solid, if insignificant, first-half performance by the Italian.

Michael Carrick – 6.5

Very sound in conducting United’s search for a goal, keeping them composed, as they eventually broke through the Hammers’ barricade.

Ander Herrera – 6.5

Typically kept play ticking, pressed high to retain possession and provided a threat late in the second half, as the game opened up. Good again from the Spaniard.

Paul Pogba – 6.5

In the same boat as Herrera, the multi-million pound man grew as the game went on, going close to goal himself a couple of times in the second period.

Jesse Lingard – 4

Hit the post from just yards out in United’s clearest goal-scoring opportunity in the first period, as the 24-year-old failed to inflict damage upon a compact West Ham side prior to be replaced by Marcus Rashford.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 5

Not his finest performance of late, with space to operate in proving to be limited.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 5

Starved of service for the best part, but Ibrahimovic still managed to add a goal to his name, despite being in an offside position.

Subs:

Juan Mata – 6.5

The goal scorer of yet another crucial goal for the Red Devils, as he tipped the balance once more in United’s favour.

Marcus Rashford – 7

The key to unlocking the game, Rashford was able to cause disruptions down the left flank and, crucially, assist Mata for the game’s opening goal.

Chris Smalling – N/A

Robbie Savage Names These 2 Manchester United Players In His Team Of The Season So Far

Writing for The Mirror, former footballer Robbie Savage had his say on the team of the season so far. Despite their mediocre performances to date, Jose Mourinho’s men were fairly well represented. 

He seemed to be rather generous to Manchester United, naming two of their players in his eleven. Controversially, he decided that no Liverpool player had made the grade, and that infuriated their fanbase.

Michael Carrick was given the nod in midfield, ahead of the likes of N’Golo Kante and Adam Lallana. The English midfielder has really helped change United’s fortunes in recent weeks, but he has only played around half of his teams games this season – leading many to believe that he hasn’t warranted a space in the team.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was also selected in the team, which was given a 433 formation, the Swede was placed alongside Alexis Sanchez and Diego Costa in the line up. Liverpool fans felt that Sadio Mane may have been a better fit in the side, especially as Savage had previously suggested that Mane may be the signing of the summer (ahead of Zlatan).

Carrick has no doubt been influential, as has Zlatan, but whilst they have been good, it is understandable that many disagree with them being placed in the team of the season so far. The bemusement of many fans is that Savage only included 1 Arsenal, 0 Liverpool, 0 Tottenham and 2 Manchester City players – all clubs which sit ahead of United in the league currently.

If Carrick and Zlatan continue their good form and help United get closer to the summit of the Premier League then their inclusions will be a bit more understandable, but for now it does seem a little biased to include both.

Kante, Lallana and Mane have all been incredible this season and influential in helping their teams to the top of the Premier League. For me, all three of those players deserve to be in the team ahead of Carrick at this moment in time. Kante has continued his form from his Leicester City days and continues to be an integral part of his team, whilst Lallana has improved tremendously under Jurgen Klopp – he already has 6 Premier League goals and 6 Premier League assists this season, proving that he can be an incredibly productive midfielder.

The team represented with the most players was Chelsea, with Costa, Azpilicueta, Luiz and Hazard all in Savage’s 11 – so even without Kante, Conte’s men have 4 players in the team.

‘Incredible’ Twitter Heaps Praise On Manchester United Man After Performance vs. West Brom

All talk was reserved for one man in particular, as Manchester United continued to brush up their fortunes with a 2-0 victory away to Premier League high-flyers West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns this Saturday.

As Wayne Rooney continues to set his sights on Bobby Charlton’s historic 249-goal haul for the Red Devils, denied the feat on the night by the crossbar, it was Man United’s other veteran in attack, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, that hogged the plaudits with his renewed stream of goals.

The Swede gave José Mourinho’s reviving side the lead as early as the 5th minute with a well-taken header from Jesse Lingard’s cross, whereas Ibrahimovic was on hand to double the dosage in the second half and ease any lingering worries that existed concerning a potential banana skin that was the trip to 7th placed West Brom.

Of the two shots taken by Ibrahimovic, all ended up in the back of the net in what was a Man of the Match performance, whereas the brace bagged tonight sees the target man hit his 34th goal in 33 league games throughout 2016.

Just the one goal was enough, however, for the 35-year-old’s name to dominate the reactions emerging from United’s evening in the West Midlands.

Ibrahimovic was widely expected to struggle in the Premier League when arriving at Old Trafford, in particular due to his age, but the striker’s first goal of the night told a very different story, taking him to double figures in the Premier League and pushing his total for the season to 15.

In response, United fans and loyal ‘Ibra’ backers were on hand to outline the former Paris-Saint Germain star’s good work, without a doubt aimed at those branding him a flop.

Ibrahimovic, a champion in Italy, Spain, France and the Netherlands, has always had the question mark hanging over his head around these alleys of Europe over whether he could replicate his success in front of goal in the popular goldfish that is Premier League.

Now testing his capabilities at the ripe old age of 35, the odds weren’t as favourable as the man himself might like to think, but the striker has always strived to discard such claims that he’s “finished” at the highest level.

Even as recently as today, the well-preserved Ibrahimovic was keen to outline that he feels fresh in the prospect of being handed a rest in coming games.

“In football, sometimes you have to listen to everybody around you, but in my mind I’m a 20-year-old boy,” the Man United number 9 said. “I’m fresh and I’ll keep going, as long as the team needs me.”

A repeat of Ibrahimovic’s current goal scoring exploits in 2016 certainly wouldn’t go amiss in United’s bid to climb back up the Premier League.

Player Ratings: F.C. Zorya Luhansk 0-2 Manchester United

Manchester United qualified for the Europa League next stage with a fairly comfortable 2-0 away win against Zorya Luhansk. Although it was a fairly good performance from Jose Mourinho’s men, they will be disappointed as despite the 3 points, they finished 2nd in the group because Fenerbahce beat Feyenoord in the other match in the group. 

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for Manchester United’s Europa League clash away to Zorya Luhansk.

Manchester United

Sergio Romero – 5

A comfortable night for Man United’s number two between the sticks, with the Argentine pulling off a decent save when required in the 72nd minute to prevent a Zorya equaliser.

Ashley Young – 5

No fireworks, but Young was able to do a job without any flagrant complaints. Kept himself in Mourinho’s plans by again showing versatility, this time at right back.

Eric Bailly – 7

A big display from Bailly, steadily returning to full fitness. The ex-Villarreal man swept up much of what was played in and around of United’s defence, providing a fair share of crucial interceptions in the meantime.

Marcos Rojo – 6

Comfortable in possession and helpful in recycling possession. Had little to do with regards to defending, however.

Daley Blind – 5

A quiet one from Blind, but solid nonetheless.

Ander Herrera – 6.5

Alongside Bailly, Herrera proved to be pivotal in pressing higher up and ensuring that the Red Devils recouped possession as soon as possible.

Paul Pogba – 4.5

Pogba was one of the few to try and speed up proceedings within the visitors’ large spells of possession, but his general execution of passes/shots from range left a lot to be desired.

Juan Mata – 6

The Spaniard has been among the most impressive for United this season and today, albeit throughout lacklustre spells, the former Chelsea midfielder stood out again before being replaced by Jesse Lingard.

Wayne Rooney – 3

A no-show from the United captain on the night. Passes going astray, poor control…forgetful. Does he warrant a place in the starting eleven at the moment? Not based on this performance.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 6.5

The goalscorer of the well-taken first goal prior to dazzling the Zorya defence with individual some brilliance. Mkhitaryan continues to impress in a United shirt since he was finally selected by Jose.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 5

A bit hit and miss, but the Swede began to grow into the game once Rooney was taken off, freeing up his habitual radius of action. Ibrahimovic was on hand to kill the game off late on with United’s second goal.

Subs

Jesse Lingard – 4

The winger was able to quicken play up, but made his fair share of poor choices in the final third.

Marouane Fellaini – N/A

Timothy Fosu-Mensah – N/A

Update: 2 Key Manchester United Players Set To Miss Arsenal Match

Manchester United are set to be without two key players for the visit of Arsenal after the international break. 

The club were already aware that they would be missing Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the Swede picked up a 5th yellow card of the season, but now they have an injury concern of their own.

According to Sky Sports, Chris Smalling has broken his toe in training and the initial prognosis for his injury is 4 weeks. This will come as a big blow to United who will already be without star summer signing Eric Bailly due to injury.

Jose Mourinho appeared to question the pain threshold of both Smalling and Luke Shaw after both didn’t play in the win at Swansea, he said there are players in his squad “for whom a little pain can make a difference”, adding you have to “go to the limit”. This is a questionable public approach to take with his players and it’s certainly not a sustainable one.

But let’s ignore that for a second. Let’s look at how the absentees will affect United on the day. They will come up against an Arsenal side that can be very devastating in attack, although they have been silenced on a few occasions this season. The Gunners do tend however to be most devastating away from home and the match is at Old Trafford. With no Smalling and Bailly United will probably want to give their makeshift defence some protection in midfield, and I’m sure the conservative Mourinho will want to as well.

He could play Paul Pogba as a number 10 which would allow two holding midfielders to protect the back four, these are likely to be Ander Herrera and Maraoune Fellaini, a duo often preferred to Morgan Schneiderlin by Mourinho.

In attack Mourinho has a few options for replacing Zlatan. He could opt for Rashford, a player that made the devastating difference in this fixture last year, or Rooney, a player that played brilliantly against Swansea on the left hand side. A wildcard option is Anthony Martial, who has had to settle for a fringe role under Mourinho so far, but is it his time to shine?

It’ll be interesting to see how Mourinho copes with these two key players unavailable, but he will hope that his good personal record against Arsenal and Manchester United’s great recent home record against the Gunners carries them through this one with a much-needed 3 points.

Manchester United Star Breaks 2 Records With Fantastic Performance vs. Swansea

Manchester United had been in a terrible run of form but on Sunday they managed an impressive 3-1 win over a struggling Swansea side, and there was one particular player who stood out. 

The last Premier League fixture for United was at home to Burnley where they drew 0-0. The result was so poor because of their poor finishing and one of the biggest culprits of this was summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He had been on a bit of a goal drought in recent weeks but his brace against Swansea has helped change that.

As usual, Zlatan wasn’t overly involved in the game, but when he was he was deadly. He took just two shots and both hit the back of the net. He made 1 key pass and 1 dribble. He was involved perhaps more in the build up than usual though, attempting 6 through balls and being accurate with 4 of them. This helped United build sustained pressure in the Swansea half and ultimately lead to the 3 United goals.

But what will make the headlines is that Zlatan scored both the 25,000th Premier League goal and his personal 400th goal of his career. 400 league goals is, as Zlatan said himself, more than some players play games in their entire careers – it’s a pretty remarkable achievement considering he has always played at the highest level. Scoring the 25,000th Premier League goal also means that he will always be remembered in the history of English football despite his (so far at least) short time in the country.

Hopefully for United fans the records he has broken today and the two goals he has scored means that he will return to his best form.

Here’s how fans have reacted to the Swede’s performance on Twitter.

United will need Zlatan to be playing at this level consistently for them to have any chance of getting into the top 4 this season, let alone winning the league. He isn’t going to run around loads, but he is a clinical finisher, with a fantastic physical presence. The only negative of his performance against Swansea was that he picked up a yellow card and that is his 5th of the season so far, meaning he will have to serve a 1 match suspension. That match will be after the international break at home to Arsenal – a game he would not want to have missed.

Chelsea vs. Manchester United: 3 Key Battles That Will Decide Who Wins

It may seem as though José Mourinho has a grudge match scheduled for every weekend these days, but this one is truly eye-catching. The Portuguese manager returns to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, only this time he’ll be sitting in the opposing dugout, as Chelsea welcome his Manchester United side.

Just how fractious Mourinho’s decision to join a competitive rival has been for his relationship with his former club remains to be seen, as both teams go head-to-head in what undoubtedly looks to be the main event this weekend.

We’re not sure whether there’ll be any love lost, be we think we may have a pretty good idea where the crucial three points may be won on either side. Here are the three key battles to look out for:

1 – David Luiz vs. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

 

John Terry may well be on the brink of a return to the first-team after a spell out injured, but time will tell whether the Man United game comes too soon for the Chelsea skipper.

In his absence, David Luiz has deputised, somewhat unconvincingly next to Gary Cahill in the big games, and he could well find his stint in the starting XI extending itself for another week if Terry isn’t fit enough to start.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic often combats with the right-sided defender, in this case Gary Cahill, but it’ll be interesting to see if Mourinho instructs the big Swede to target his former Paris Saint-Germain teammate.

Contrarily, Chelsea may use Luiz’s knowledge on the fiery Swede when formulating a defensive duo in light of Terry’s potential return.

Liverpool – Manchester United Combined XI: Only 3 Liverpool Players Feature, Your Thoughts?

Few have been the times that these two colossal clubs of English football have come into a clash with lofty ambitions as of late, as Liverpool welcome Manchester United to the newly-renovated Anfield stadium on Monday night.

The Jürgen Klopp project and it’s suffocating press system has begun gaining some notable traction in the Premier League, in particularly in big games, whereas Man United and their array of expensive talent look to force their way back into prominence under new boss José Mourinho.

The match-up promises plenty, and in its lead-up, Fresh Football has sought to bring you a combined XI. Here’s how we’d line-up:

GK: David De Gea (Manchester United)

There won’t be many more straightforward choices to be made than including David De Gea, one of the best shot-stoppers in the world and, arguably, the main man between the sticks in Premier League football. Even if we weren’t to see him in such light, Simon Mignolet’s shaky past and new boy Loris Karius don’t offer us any great alternatives from Liverpool’s end.

RB: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool)

Nathaniel Clyne’s Man United counterpart, Antonio Valencia, has gained his fair share of plaudits so far this season from a right back position, but his systematic nature in the final third, particularly his over-hit crosses, raises a few question marks. Meanwhile Clyne’s associative play makes him our preferred option, we’re not even sure Valencia, despite good form, is the best right back at his own club.

CB: Eric Bailly (Manchester United)

Among the trickiest of introductions to this combined XI is Eric Bailly, simply because Joël Matip has excelled so much in his short time in the Premier League as well. Whereas the latter might be better at reading the game, we think Bailly’s physicality, especially once his aggression is more refined, sees the Ivorian pip the ex-Schalke man.

CB: Chris Smalling (Manchester United)

As someone who can blend his ability to read the game, bring the ball out from defence and impose himself physically upon attackers, Smalling’s addition is a no-brainer. On his day, he’s one of the very best centre backs in the Premier League.

LB: Luke Shaw (Manchester United)

Alberto Moreno came to mind, who, based on his Liverpool career thus far, is enough to hand the left back slot to just about anyone else. Such is his unreliability that Klopp has chosen to deploy James Milner at left back, a successful invention in the meantime, but we’d prefer to go down the old-fashioned route and opt for a natural left back. It’s also Luke Shaw, by the way, so we’re in good hands.

CM: Daley Blind (Manchester United)

We’re striving for a team that makes sense, here, which in turn sees us scramble a little for a convincing midfielder to play deep in this combined XI. Although talented, Emre Can’s yet to leave his definitive stamp at Anfield, whereas his teammate, Jordan Henderson, is more box-to-box than deep-lying. The same goes for Ander Herrera at United, who’s come into the fold ahead of Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger. We’re trusting the versatility of Daley Blind on this one, who’s put in exemplary displays at left back and centre back in the past.

CM: Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

He’s been fairly underwhelming since his blockbuster transfer from Juventus this summer, but it’d take a brave man to overlook his talent in order to shut him out of this combined XI. We wouldn’t dare.

RM: Sadio Mané (Liverpool)

At last, some more Merseyside-based presence, and it goes to their new acquisition. Many an eyebrow was raised at the £34 million price tag of Sadio Mané when joining from Southampton, but the Senegalese winger has been quick to allay any fears and become an instant hit at Anfield. The 24-year-old provides a constant threat with his movement in behind, whereas his trickery and pace make him a real handful across the attacking third.

AM: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)

The Brazilian can offer the odd irritation with his relentless attempts at goal from range, but when it works, there’s little left to do but admire. Coutinho’s general low centre of gravity coupled with his dribbling ability and flair are the real reasons why we think he’s best suited to the free role in attacking midfield, however.

LM: Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United)

Up against the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, our preference is to go with Henrikh Mkhitaryan on this one. Being quick on the turn, the Armenian is lethal in transition, just as he was in his storming 2015/16 season with Borussia Dortmund prior to his transfer to Manchester United. We’re yet to see the versatile wide man exemplify the same prowess at Old Trafford, but should he be given the chance, it’d be no surprise to see him star.

ST: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)

Even with Rashford and Martial in the equation, Daniel Sturridge might well serve as the biggest opposition to Zlatan Ibrahimovic at striker. With both representing different profiles of strikers, this one comes down to consistency, and almost by default, Sturridge’s injury prone history and mix-and-match attendance when fit under Klopp sees Ibrahimovic pip him. Additionally, the Swede’s hold-up play and playmaking ability is quite the sight when coupled with aforementioned runners in the attacking third.

3 Replacements For The Banned Aguero In Your Fantasy Football Team

So Sergio Aguero is banned for 3 matches. Can you really afford to keep such a valuable asset not scoring points for 3 weeks? We don’t think so and because of that we’ve drawn up a list of three possible replacements for your Fantasy Football teams.

1 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Price: £11.8m
Next 3 matches: Man City (h), Watford (a), Leicester City (h)

First, the obvious option. Zlatan has already scored three Premier League games and as a man of the big occasion, you would expect him to play a big part in the Manchester derby this weekend against a Manchester City defence that still looks rather frail. After that United have two games that they will be heavy favourites for, but remember that both Watford and Leicester can set up rather strong defences against the big teams. Zlatan’s ability to score in every way though, makes him very hard to defend against and that makes him a reliable, albeit expensive, option for your Fantasy Football teams.

It may be a case of one or the other for your teams when Aguero does return. Between them they cost just short of £25m, making them an incredibly expensive duo to have should you want to include both. If you opt for Zlatan to replace Aguero then it may be a 3-week trial for the Swede to see if he’s capable of replacing the Manchester City striker permanently.

No. 2 – Manchester United Signing Named 2nd Best Signing Of The Summer

We’ve been asking the fans who they think have been the best signings of the summer. This is your list and this, is your number 2.

Who else? Zlatan gets the silver medal for this one, ranking number 2 in the Fresh Football signings of the summer. Manchester United have already had Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly in our top 10 and they have another in Zlatan.

He cost no money and he’s going to make a big impact. Although Zlatan will be earning a lot of money in terms of weekly wage, he looks like he will be worth every penny, especially if you factor in that he arrived on a free transfer. Considering the amount of money other clubs have had to spend on signings this summer, particularly those looking to strengthen their attack, then Manchester United must be extremely pleased they managed to tie up the Bosman signing of such a talented player early in the window.

Zlatan has hit the ground running, scoring 3 Premier League goals in as many games, making him the league’s joint top goalscorer. It is early days but that kind of record goes some way to dismissing those who thought the seasoned Swedish international would struggle in the Premier League. Really, it is incredible that many expected him to make no impact in the Premier League. Yes he has never played in England, but he has proven himself at the highest level in Holland, Spain, Italy and more recently France. His style of play makes him a useful player no matter where he plays.

Despite being aged 34, Manchester United revealed the striker broke many physical records during his medical at the club. His game has never been reliant on pace, so the only other important thing is that he maintains a good physical level of fitness and continues his strength training. We’ve seen already how his additional strength and power have given him an advantage over opposition defenders.

Don’t underestimate the effect off the pitch that Zlatan’s arrival has had too. He is a global name, and much like the signing of Paul Pogba, he has helped the club re-establish themselves as amongst the very best football powers in the world. Zlatan was not short of suitors this summer and a Champions League-less Manchester United managed to sign him, that says something about the power they have and it commands respect. As much as he will command respect from other clubs, he also commands respect in the dressing room – his arrival at the club appears to have given everyone a lift. He has taken particular liking to young forward Marcus Rashford, for whom he may act as a mentor and that could certainly aid the young Englishman’s development.

I think it’s hard for anyone to argue that Zlatan was not a good signing and those that do are probably jealous. That is why he got so many votes and comes in at number two on our list. Stay close to freshfootball.co.uk to find out who the number one signing of the summer is.

£146million Spent, 4 Deals Complete: Grading Manchester United’s Summer Signings

Manchester United have had a busy summer. First Jose Mourinho came in and then he started making big waves in the transfer market. Many thought that without Champions League football, Jose would struggle to convince the very best players to join the club, but those who thought that couldn’t be more wrong. Here’s the four signings he’s made and how good a signing we think they are.

1 – Eric Bailly

When Bailly signed you would’ve forgiven many Manchester United fans for not really knowing who he was. Many raised eyebrows at the £30million fee for a 22-year-old defender that had so far failed to make a name for himself. The early signs are that under Mourinho he will make a name for himself and he will justify that transfer fee. In the clubs opening three Premier League games he has been extremely composed on the ball, mature and strong in possession. He looks like an established Premier League defender already, but he’s only 22 and has played just four games in English football. It’s too early to say that Bailly will be definitely worth the money United have paid, but on the evidence that we have, it looks a good signing from Jose.

Fee: £30million
Grade: 8/10

The 3 Must Pick Players For Your Fantasy Football Team This Week ft. Man Utd Star

Gameweek three of the Premier League is upon us and, as always, Fresh Football will be here to offer you guidance with regards to your Fantasy Premier League teams. Here are our three hot picks for this week:

1 – Riyad Mahrez
Club:
Leicester City
Position: Midfield
Price: £9.5m

Much like last year, nobody knows quite what to expect from Leicester City this season after the heroics of the past campaign. What’s deemed acceptable for the Foxes may well mould itself as the season goes on, but one objective remains clear – they’ll want to win their first league game of the season fairly sharpish!

A disappointing 2-1 defeat away to a depleted Hull City side was followed by a far more respectable score line at the King Power Stadium, drawing 0-0 to Arsenal, but with Swansea City coming to town, Leicester have the chance to right the wrongs.

Leicester will need to look no further than Riyad Mahrez for inspiration, despite the Algerian firing blanks so far this season. The winger grabbed a hat-trick in the Foxes’ 3-0 win versus Swansea at the Liberty Stadium last December, whereas he was also on the score sheet in the return fixture that saw the Premier League champions win 4-0 back in April.

Player Ratings: Manchester United 2-0 Southampton

Here are the Fresh Football Player Ratings for Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Southampton at Old Trafford. Ratings by Aidan Small.

Manchester United

De Gea 6 – He was forced to make one save against Long which any keeper could save – even at Sunday League! His distribution was composed as always.

Valencia 8 – Valencia’s one job was to torment Targett and he done it superbly. His physicality when driving forward was a nightmare to contain and his crossing was much improved from last season. Baily 8 – Long and Redmond had a quiet day today and it was greatly down to this man. He’s assured on the ball, dominant in the air and an attackers nightmare with his rough and physical style. Manchester United have truly found their man at the back.

Blind 7 – produced some timely tackles when needed and helped to redistribute play effectively, but held no star moments Shaw 8- United’s failures last year were greatly down to Shaw’s absence. He was key in all phases of play and looked like the player that Southampton sold. Fellaini 5 – the game passed him by and his only notable impact was providing a nuisance to the opposition with fouls. Pogba 7 – some fantastic footwork and some brilliant ideas in his play but the final product

Bailly 8 – Long and Redmond had a quiet day today and it was greatly down to this man. He’s assured on the ball, dominant in the air and an attackers nightmare with his rough and physical style. Manchester United have truly found their man at the back. Blind 7 – produced some timely tackles when needed and helped to redistribute play effectively, but held no star moments

Shaw 8 – United’s failures last year were greatly down to Shaw’s absence. He was key in all phases of play and looked like the player that Southampton sold.

Fellaini 5 – the game passed him by and his only notable impact was providing a nuisance to the opposition with fouls.

Pogba 7 – some fantastic footwork and some brilliant ideas in his play but the final product was lacking. It’s clear to see that Pogba is exactly what United have needed in the middle of the park – someone who is physically strong whilst also possessing great technical ability. It was a promising performance but the 9’s and 10’s you will be finding in tomorrow’s papers will be due to the hype and excitement.

Mata 6 – Mata found some exciting positions but failed to provide that killer pass or add any real excitement to the frontline. Rooney 7 – his general play was certainly more efficient than usual and he provided the assist for Ibrahimovic’s goal with a delightful cross. Minus that, his impact on the game wasn’t as destructive as Monday nights.

Martial 6 – he had the right idea on a number of attacks but the final ball simply wasn’t there. Had he executed his ideas this could easily have been an 8.

Rooney 7 – his general play was certainly more efficient than usual and he provided the assist for Ibrahimovic’s goal with a delightful cross. Minus that, his impact on the game wasn’t as destructive as Monday nights.

Ibra 9 – are there many players more clinical in football? Zlatan is proving to be the ruthless force that we all hoped he would be in the Premier League, and I’ve got to say, I’m loving every second of it.

Southampton

Forster 5 – the big man had next to no chances to impact the game. When Ibrahimovic is firing it takes a world class keeper to even stand a chance, but nevertheless, he conceded two goals.

Cedric 5 – Martial managed to send the Euro 2016 winner the wrong way on a number of occasions. He also failed to deliver any dangerous crosses into the path of Long. However, there was a number of cutting passing through the midfield that helped to push the team forward. Fonte 7 – Southampton’s second Euro winner provided a mature performance that involved a number of superbly timed tackles to stop some dangerous attacks. VVD 8 – as always, Van Dijk was composed on the ball and dominant in the air. He even offered an attacking threat at moments by charging forward into the United defence. Targett 4 – I believe that Targett has a future at a decent level, but in

Fonte 7 – Southampton’s second Euro winner provided a mature performance that involved a number of superbly timed tackles to stop some dangerous attacks. VVD 8 – as always, Van Dijk was composed on the ball and dominant in the air. He even offered an attacking threat at moments by charging forward into the United defence. Targett 4 – I believe that Targett has a future at a decent level, but in

VVD 8 – as always, Van Dijk was composed on the ball and dominant in the air. He even offered an attacking threat at moments by charging forward into the United defence. Targett 4 – I believe that Targett has a future at a decent level, but in

Targett 4 – I believe that Targett has a future at a decent level, but in Puel’s system he is simply lost. He doesn’t possess enough pace to track back into the space left behind him and is all too indecisive in high offensive positions. But his worst aspect of the game by far was the fact that he was destroyed by Valencia three times over in the same manner. Despite Valencia always looking to bomb down the line, Targett dived in too early and allowed Valencia room to get in behind. However, he delivered two well struck crosses into the box Romeu N/A – sadly the Spaniard was forced off in the opening 15 minutes after an injury. He didn’t have enough time to impact the game in any way.

Clasie 7 – first things first, Clasie was wrongly punished for the supposed “foul” on Lule Shaw. Beyond this, he is looking more and more suited to the PL as times goes on. Finally we are seeing some bite, freedom and high relentless pressing in his play. Hojbjerg 8 – Højbjerg was smart when starting attacks and winning the ball back. The positioning of his body when receiving the ball was that of a truly

Hojbjerg 8 – Højbjerg was smart when starting attacks and winning the ball back. The positioning of his body when receiving the ball was that of a truly high class midfielder. This is another performance that will give the fans great promise over his quality Davis 5 – the Northern Irish International covered his ground superbly in the opening 25 minutes but his touch soon become clunky and he wasn’t aware of his position – most likely due to playing a more advanced role under Koeman. In addition, he also failed to follow one of the first rules in defending by allowing Rooney the time and space to deliver the cross for Ibrahimovic’s opener. Potentially tired after a tough physical battle in the

Davis 5 – the Northern Irish International covered his ground superbly in the opening 25 minutes but his touch soon become clunky and he wasn’t aware of his position – most likely due to playing a more advanced role under Koeman. In addition, he also failed to follow one of the first rules in defending by allowing Rooney the time and space to deliver the cross for Ibrahimovic’s opener. Potentially tired after a tough physical battle in the Euro’s. Tadic 6 –

Tadic 6 – Puel’s main attacking outlet played a number of smart through balls, but his play is greatly determined by the service from the CM’s and FB’s which at times was lacking. Alongside this, he also shanked a number of chances that would have worked the keeper if taken by a recognised goalscoring number ten. Redmond 5 – every single time that Redmond picked up the ball he was marked by three players at each and every attack. The rating of five is handed to him not because of his own play, but simply because Mourinho ensured that his side marked him so tightly Long 5 – Long worked the channels well in moments but quite simply, he fluffed his two big chances in the game when faced with a goalscoring opportunity. As our main goalscorer, that simply

Redmond 5 – every single time that Redmond picked up the ball he was marked by three players at each and every attack. The rating of five is handed to him not because of his own play, but simply because Mourinho ensured that his side marked him so tightly Long 5 – Long worked the channels well in moments but quite simply, he fluffed his two big chances in the game when faced with a goalscoring opportunity. As our main goalscorer, that simply

Long 5 – Long worked the channels well in moments but quite simply, he fluffed his two big chances in the game when faced with a goalscoring opportunity. As our main goalscorer, that simply isnt good enough.

Subs

Austin 5 – Austin made next to no impact on the pitch when given 25 minutes to show his worth.

Mkhitaryan 5 – Jose has promised that Mkhitaryan’s time in the side will come, and sadly tonight, he simply couldn’t impact the game with the opportunities that he was given.

Rashford N/A – coming on as a late sub, the talented youngster had no opportunities to please the fans at Old Trafford.

Player Ratings: Leicester City 1-2 Manchester United

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for Leicester City vs. Manchester United in the Community Shield.

Leicester City

Kasper Schmeichel – 5.5
Bar a couple of sketchy moments, Schmeichel will have more strenuous games throughout the season. Some decent distribution to go with his performance.

Danny Simpson – 5.5
Started pretty well, often forcing Anthony Martial wide rather than onto the Frenchman’s preferred foot, but quickly became reckless after Lingard’s goal. Yellow carded and later replaced by Luis Hernández.

Robert Huth – 5.5
Struggled a little with the movement from Man United’s attack, whereas his role in Lingard’s goal won’t have covered him in much glory, either.

Wes Morgan – 5.5

Much like Huth, Morgan saw his display tarnished by the way he committed to tackling Lingard, as the Englishman skipped away to open the scoring.

Christian Fuchs – 6.5
Very solid throughout, with the left back rarely breached in his presence. After being subbed off for Jeffrey Schlupp, it took just two minutes for
Man United to have some joy on that side, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his first official goal for his new club.

Riyad Mahrez – 5
The ideas were visible, but nothing seemed to come off for the Algerian. Minor improvement in the second half.

Danny Drinkwater – 5.5
With an eye for the direct option for Vardy to latch onto, the long passes needed a little more calibration.

Andy King – 5.5
The Welshman remained disciplined throughout the game, presumably the message pre-match. Safe, perhaps overly so.

Mark Albrighton – 4.5
Typically, Albrighton’s defensive duties were never neglected throughout the game, but the Englishman’s consistency on the ball going forwards was particularly disappointing.

Shinji Okazaki – 5
The Japanese striker did all the all the things we’ve come to expect from him in his time at the King Ppwer Stadium, working hard for his team, but other than the chance deflected wide in the first half and a near-post header onto the bar, little else came from the ex-Mainz man.

Jamie Vardy – 7
His touch was a little off at first, but his tenacity more than made up for it, as he welcomed Eric Bailly to English football. Equalised for Leicester in the 52nd minute.

Substitutions:

Ahmed Musa – 5.5
Looked particularly threatening on the counter, but fluffed his lines deep into the second half when he headed over from inside the 6-yard-box.

Demarai Gray – 6
A positive display from Gray, providing the Foxes with an outlet on the break.

Nampalys Mendy – 5
Looked interesting enough following his introduction in the 63rd minute, but a little too reserved in a two-man midfield, often leaving Drinkwater isolated.

Luis Hernández – 5
Kept Marcus Rashford fairly quiet once he came on, not that he had a great deal to handle.

Jeffrey Schlupp – N/A

Leonardo Ulloa – N/A

Manchester United

David De Gea – 5.5
Simple saves made throughout the game, with the ex-Atlético Madrid goalkeeper having little chance in stopping the efforts he failed to reach.

Antonio Valencia – 5.5
Demonstrated good anticipation from right back, but fairly ineffectual going forward.

Eric Bailly – 6.5
Among the Red Devils’ best, as he fought hard against Vardy. Some battles won, others lost, but he seemed to control his erratic nature quite well, nevertheless.

Daley Blind – 6
A sound display from Blind, rarely troubled by Vardy and Okazaki swarming to provoke the Dutchman’s decisions in possession.

Luke Shaw – 6
A fairly good performance up against Riyad Mahrez, who he kept quiet throughout his time on the field. Subbed off in the 70th minute.

Michael Carrick – 6.5
A standard Carrick performance, with all the composure you’d expect from the 35-year-old. Sacrificed in the 60th minute for Ander Herrera’s entrance at 1-1.

Marouane Fellaini – 4.5
Offered De Gea a target from goal kicks, winning his aerial duels in the meantime, but that was about it. Oh, and an assist for Vardy.

Jesse Lingard – 6
Struggled to come into the game, later opting to switch wings with Anthony Martial. Made the Leicester defence pay with his solo effort in the 32nd minute and grew in confidence before being replaced with an injury.

Wayne Rooney – 6
A good display from a far more liberated Rooney than we’ve become accustomed to in past months. May feel he should have done better with either one of his two chances from the edge of the box, though.

Anthony Martial – 4.5
Among the quietest Martial displays you’ll see.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 7
Offered an interesting proposition by acting as the chief creator himself, later scoring the goal to gift United the Community Shield. A very sound debut.

Substitutions:

Ander Herrera – 5.5
Looked to add a little more urgency in place for Carrick’s manipulative ways, and it worked to an extent. Retained much of United’s control too.

Juan Mata – 5
Helped United, alongside Herrera, cope with Carrick’s absence, but the second half substitute then came off with a supposed injury.

Marcos Rojo – 5.5
Helped top-up on Shaw’s grasp of Mahrez in a time when the Algerian was coming into the game.

Marcus Rashford – 4.5
Looked to cause Luis Hernández some trouble, but rarely did in his time on the pitch.

Morgan Schneiderlin – N/A

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – N/A

Reports: Man Utd Set To Announce 2 Big Signings This Week + Want A Third

New Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho certainly expects to have a busy summer and is close to securing two deals by the end of the week, with a third target identified which could be one of the biggest transfers in Footballing history.

1 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

According to Sky Sports, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will complete his long-anticipated move to Manchester United by the end of the week.

The 34-year-old Swedish international is set to be Mourinho’s second summer signing after agreeing a one-year contract with the prolific goal-scorer.

Ibrahimovic will join Manchester United for free after letting his current deal expire with Paris St-Germain.

 

United fans should count themselves lucky, they’re signing one of the best ever strikers and a player who is only getting better with age, he was top scorer in France’s Ligue 1 last term with 38 goals but did fail to provide a single goal in Sweden’s disappointing Euro’s campaign.

Sky Sports understand Ibrahimovic will have a medical in the next week and United have no concerns as the 34-year-old is said to be in excellent condition.

Ibrahimovic will bring something special to United; he is one of the world’s best and will guarantee them at least 20 goals next season. The goal scoring machine can play as target man and can create chances himself; he can dominate any defender in the box and will bring a real fear back to Manchester United.

The veteran striker scored 1.34 goals per 90 minutes last season which is utterly flawless, a stat like this just shows why he is mentioned among the likes of Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski. Ibrahimovic can also create chances for his teammates; he managed 1.59 per 90 last season which led to him bagging himself 0.46 assists.

Ibrahimovic, if all goes well will link up with Jose Mourinho for a second time in his career having been managed by the “special one” during their time together at Inter Milan. United are bagging themselves a bargain, getting a player for free of his ability is incredible business. He can be seen as a mentor for the younger strikers coming through and will certainly push United on for the title next season.

Four Big Money Signings Jose Mourinho Wants To Make As Manchester United Manager

With Jose Mourinho set to take charge at Manchester United this summer, we take a look at four players he wants to bring to the club in the transfer window.

1) John Stones

Whilst Raphael Varane may be his number one target, John Stones could be a more realistic signing. Mourinho is a big admirer of both players but most recently tried to sign Stones for Chelsea last season. Everton refused several offers, reportedly as high as £40million. Should a similar offer arrive this summer, though, Everton may be more willing to accept. This, in part, is due to the 21-year-old’s poor form and also due to the fact that Everton need to rebuild. £40million would help Roberto Martinez (or potentially a new manager) sign an established replacement and perhaps improve in other areas of the pitch – namely by signing a goalkeeper. Mourinho will be keen to sign a defensive partner for Chris Smalling as Manchester United have consistently had problems trying to keep Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo fit. Daley Blind has done a half decent job in a central role, but he is certainly not a title-winning centre-half. Stones has won more than 65% of his aerial duels this season.

Gossip: Arsenal Beat Man Utd to Zlatan, Chelsea Prepare £50m Bid & Spurs Seal £12m Deal

Although the season is far from over, the gossip never stops and there has been a lot high-profile moves touted in recent days.

Stay up to date with all the transfer gossip, news and betting tips by following us on Twitter @FreshFootball

Zlatan wants to join Arsenal (Thierry Henry)

In an appearance on Soccer AM on Saturday, Thierry Henry sensationally appeared to reveal that he knew Zlatan Ibrahimovic wanted to join Arsenal this summer when his contract at Paris Saint-Germain expires. “I’ve heard he wants to come” he said on Zlatan, but then proceeded to reiterate the focus for Arsenal remains on winning the Premier League this season. Despite him being a free agent, would Arsenal agree to the players huge wages when he is already 34? With the players agent already revealing that Zlatan knows where he wants to play next season, there could be something in this.. but for now we’ll be taking it with a few kilo’s of salt. Of course Zlatan knows Henry well and with the Frenchman recently securing his coaching badges, there are rumours he may be the next in line to manage Arsenal.. would he have the pulling power to bring the Swede to a club like Arsenal? With competition from the likes of Manchester United, who have money to burn, the Gunners face un uphill, but not impossible struggle.

Chelsea readying £50million+ bid to re-sign Romelu Lukaku (The Sun)

Chelsea are reportedly interested in resigning former striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian moved to Everton for £28million, but the London club will reportedly have to pay double that if they want to bring him back to the club. The player himself would surely be hesitant at moving back to a club that gave him so little opportunities, but with Everton failing to progress as he might have hoped, then he may be tempted. I’m sure if he were to become available though, the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United would be extremely interested and the 22 year old would surely favour a move to one of those three clubs, over returning to Chelsea.

Tottenham have £12million deal in place to sign Saido Berahino (Daily Mail)

The 22-year-old forward has failed to play regularly under Tony Pulis, despite his obvious talent. With his summer transfer request turned down, Berahino must now hope that the fact he is out of favour means the club will accept reasonable bids. A fee of around £12million looks likely this summer, as I can’t see West Brom turning down such a high amount for a player who is no longer an essential part of the starting line up and has just 12 months remaining on his contract. The Baggies reportedly turned down four bids for Berahino from Tottenham in the summer and since then, Berahino has looked a shadow of his former self. There’s no use in keeping an unhappy players, so West Brom would be wise to cash in. I’d say that this deal is pretty certain to go through when the transfer window opens.

We tweeted earlier this month that a deal had been agreed in principle.

Stay up to date with all the transfer gossip, news and betting tips by following us on Twitter @FreshFootball