How can Sunderland avoid relegation this season?

David Moyes has a real job on his hands at the Stadium of Light but if anyone is capable of keeping the Black Cats in the Premier League, it is him.

The Sunderland boss transformed Everton into a reliable top-flight side during his tenure at Goodison Park and Moyes will be keen to help his new outfit climb up the division as they look to secure their Premier League status.

Unfortunately, Sam Allardyce’s England situation hindered Sunderland’s ability to act quickly and effectively in the transfer window this summer.The former Black Cats boss left his post in July and Moyes had just over one month to line up a few targets – and he decided to turn to a number of young loanees; a decision that could potentially come back to haunt him at the end of the season.

Whilst the likes of Paddy McNair, Donald Love and Adnan Januzaj have plenty of potential, they are a long way from being the finished article. Moyes didn’t have much choice or much time, he had to do something during the summer window and the Scot took a huge gamble on these players blossoming into fine talents.

So Sunderland fans, it could be a nervy campaign for the Black Cats…

It’s early but Sunderland have been inconsistent so far this season – and Moyes will be looking for focus and commitment in the coming weeks. If the Black Cats can create opportunities for Jermain Defoe, they will fancy their chances of staying up; it really is that simple.

And Januzaj could be the man to fire Sunderland up the Premier League table. On his day, the Belgium winger is phenomenal and Black Cats supporters have already witnessed his skills first-hand; both for their own club and during his Manchester United career.

The youngster scored twice in a 2-1 victory for United at the Stadium of Light under Moyes and it could be argued that the Belgian’s development was one of the highlights of the Scot’s miserable tenure at Old Trafford.

At the time of writing, Sunderland are 2/1 to suffer relegation in Bet365’s Premier League betting odds and Januzaj will be looking to help the Black Cats to avoid the drop; and he is certainly capable of doing just that.

Januzaj’s silky footwork and ability to glide past defenders will prove useful for the Black Cats throughout the campaign, particularly if Moyes continues to place his trust in the youngster. Who knows, Januzaj could be one of the signings of the summer – just watch how he tore the Southampton defence to shreds in Sunderland’s recent clash…

via GIPHY

On their day, Sunderland have the nous to compete with the top teams in the division – there’s no doubt about it.

If Moyes can get the most out of his key men, the Black Cats will begin to climb up the division and the Stadium of Light faithful will be fully behind the Scot. Sunderland are showing glimpses of their best quality and Moyes could be the man to preserve the Black Cats’ top-flight status…

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How does Louis Van Gaal’s start at Manchester United compare with Moyes?

Louis van Gaal

As the second international break of the 2014/2015 season allows Louis Van Gaal’s stars to travel across the world to represent their country in friendlies and Euro 2016 qualifiers, it provides the best opportunity for everyone to analyse how Manchester United have performed so far. Van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford in the knowledge that he faced one of the biggest challenges in his illustrious 23-year managerial career, with his World Cup heroics with Holland counting for little if he was unable to inject fresh confidence and life into a squad which does not appear as formidable as it has done in the past.

Being in charge of such an illustrious club also comes with the pressure of producing instant results on the pitch, and while there appears to be signs of gradual improvement performance-wise, Van Gaal has yet to produce the real impact many fans were hoping for. Manchester United are not the type of club to sack managers at the drop of the hat, and even the legendary figure of Sir Alex Ferguson was given time to turn the club’s fortunes around following a difficult spell, but pressure is gradually building on the Dutchman’s shoulders to deliver the goods. Although United were backed to win the Manchester derby, the 1-0 defeat illustrated that Van Gaal is faring no better than David Moyes who made a better start to life in the hotseat.

Where Moyes comes out on top

Many fingers were pointed in Moyes’ direction following his inability to put his ideas across to the players in a job that some argued was too big for him, but he may be justified in feeling let down by his players who performed well below their high standards throughout the forgettable 2013/2014 campaign. His disappointing spell at Manchester United does not make Moyes a bad manager overnight, and his return to football management with La Liga side Real Sociedad could be the best move to reignite his promising managerial career.

One achievement that Moyes can attest to is that he enjoyed a better start to the season than Van Gaal has, with recent statistics proving that the Scot comes out in top in almost every department. Prior to Manchester United’s fixture against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, Moyes had recorded 17 points at the same point of the season after 10 games – 4 more than Van Gaal has managed. The current manager has only enjoyed 3 Premier League victories compared to Moyes’ 5, and seen his team score one fewer with 16 despite spending almost £150 million during this summer’s transfer window. Moyes also comes out on top in terms of shots on target (48.15% to 43.93% under Van Gaal) and tackles won (84.43% to 73.26%), with one fewer goal conceded (13) and no red cards, indicating that Manchester United were more disciplined and better in defence. The only statistic which Van Gaal comes out on top in is pass completion rate with 85.83% slightly ahead of Moyes’ 84.43%; for the considerable outlay Manchester United made during the summer compared to the £27.5 million spent by Moyes on Marouane Fellaini, many would have expected United to fare much better in all departments.

Why Van Gaal is not in the firing line

Rafael Benitez once famously said that “you can prove anything with facts,” and this may be the only saving grace that prevents Van Gaal from coming under fire in the media and from Manchester United fans. The Opta statistics may indicate that Manchester United performed better under Moyes, but there are numerous mitigating factors which hide behind the reasons why Van Gaal has not enjoyed the same success.

It could be argued that Moyes had a much stronger squad to work with, while Van Gaal joined during a summer when Manchester United had lost their entire defensive core. The loss of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra not only depleted the squad of defensive options, but also removed considerable experience and quality that Moyes was able to utilise during his first 10 games in charge. Moyes also inherited a squad that had just won the Premier League for the 20th time in their history, whereas Van Gaal had to pick up the pieces of a team low in confidence and form. The former Holland manager had no option but to spend a considerable amount of money in an effort to inject fresh quality throughout the team and make them formidable once again, although the only sticking point with the £149 million spent is why Van Gaal did not sign at least one commanding centre-back to eradicate Manchester United’s soft centre which continues to be exposed by every team they face.

There is no doubt that Van Gaal deserves time to implement his own tactics and stamp his own authority on the team to prove that statistic can often be misleading, but results have to improve – and quickly – before pressure begins to build.

Moyes: Van Persie might feature against my former club

van persie

The Dutch International, who missed the midweek champions league show, might be set to face Everton this Wednesday , claims Manchester United’s new manager David Moyes, while praising his Successor Roberto Martinez at the Goodison Park.

Manchester United star Robin Van Persie could feature in David Moyes’s line up on Wednesday, according to the pre-match conference reports. Moyes said,  “Robin’s okay. He’s got a chance and might play against Everton.”

Meanwhile, the former Everton boss also took time to praise the newly appointed Toffees manager Roberto Martinez saying, “They have a new manager there and he’s brought in his own players as well. He has done a really good job.”

Manchester United sits two points below Everton and nine points clear of the leaders Arsenal.

Barcelona to go after Manchester United star

Manchester United

Manchester United

 

Manchester United manager David Moyes has not got off to what could be described as one of the best starts at a new club since taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson, but he did have a bit of a respite last Saturday when United managed to come back against Sunderland in the Stadium of Light for a 2-1 win.

Both of United’s goals were courtesy of attacking midfielder Adnan Januzaj after the Belgium born star captured all the headlines over the weekend with his two stunning strikes.

Januzaj joined United as a 16-year-old from Belgium side Anderlecht, but has had to wait two years before Moyes finally gave him a first team start and judging by his performance against the Black Cats could very well become a main player in the strategy of David Moyes team.

The Scot, Moyes seemed overly confident when he was asked if Januzaj would be offered a new contract and stay at Old Trafford once his current deal ends in June of 2014 which had Moyes saying “every young lad wants to play for Manchester United.”

He might want to be a little more careful in what he says, when according to the British tabloid Daily Mail Barcelona who have been tracking the progress of the 18-year-old since his old days playing in Belgium, and are sure that they can get him to join them and move to Spain where he can play alongside Messi and Neymar at the Nou Camp.

It is not only Barcelona that is interested in Januzaj either with his agent saying that there has been a host of clubs showing interest in his client.

“I’m not going to say which teams are interested in him, but I can tell you that there is interest from several European clubs,” said Januzaj’s representative Dirk de Vriese last week.

Manchester United made a mistake with another young player called Paul Pogba who has gone on to be a big star at Italian Serie A leaders Juventus.

Moyes would never live down his remarks if Januzaj decided like Pogba to leave United for another club meaning whatever Barcelona offer United must be prepared to pay more.

 

Both Manchester feature in tonight Champions League action

Champions League

Champions League

 

Tonight see’s the start of the Champions’ League group stage matches kick off with both Manchester teams in action.

Both clubs have new managers and each one of them will be under tremendous pressure to make sure that their respective clubs both make it to the knockout stage of the competition.

For Manchester United manager David Moyes it will be a challenge he is eager to take on hoping to get United back to the latter stages of the competition for the first time since 2011.

Even though United t remain a favorite to move on from the group stages where they will play German side Bayer Leverkusen, Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk and Spanish side Real Sociedad it is still not a certainty as all three clubs on their day can beat the Premiership champions.

Tonight the Red Devils face north-Westphalia side Bayer Leverkusen at Old Trafford, after the Germans finished third in the Bundesliga last season just one point behind second place Borussia Dortmund.

Currently being managed by former Liverpool manager Sami Hyypia the Germans will be coming to Manchester looking to take home a point after having one four out of five games this season in their domestic league.

Manchester City

New Manager Manuel Pellegrini know that for him to remain secure in his job at the Etihad that City need to have a good run in the Champions League, and that it was the failure to move on from the group stage last season that led to the departure of Roberto Mancini.

City has spent big again this summer and will have high expectations of the Chilean delivering trophies.

City travel to the Czech Republic today, where they will take on Viktoria Plzen in their first Group D match, which also contains last season’s winners Bayern Munich and CSKA Moscow.

The good news for City is that Belgium international Vincent Kompany should be available, but that defender Martin Demichelis, signed from Atletico Madrid in September, will be out with a knee injury. Also doubtful are David Silva, Gael Clichy and Micah Richards.

Plzen are currently leading the Czech League, and have a bit of a reputation of being giant killers and despite being the underdogs have promised that they will fight for every inch of ground.

Pellegrini will not be complacent either after he took Malaga to the latter stages of the competition last season when nobody fancied the Spanish minnows to make it out of the group stage.

Moyes is wrong not to play Shinji Kagawa for Manchester United

Shinji Kagawa

Shinji Kagawa

Manchester United’s Japanese import Shinji Kagawa has been talking to reporters about not being selected by manager David Moyes to play for Manchester United.

 

The Japanese youngster is hugely popular with the fans and was a stellar signing when Sir Alex Ferguson bought him from Dortmund, yet for some reason United’s new manager David Moyes has left the playmaker on the bench for the clubs first three games of the season.

To an outsider looking in it does not make any sense as to why Kagawa has not featured for United when it is obvious to all who have been watching that they are desperate for someone to create a little magic in midfield.

Moyes at first said that he was being rested as he was unfit after the Confederations Cup, and United’s pre-season tour yet it has not stopped him playing for Japan against Ghana in a friendly where he looked anything but unfit scoring a goal for his country.

Feeling frustrated about being not allowed to play at Old Trafford he told the AFP news agency:

“Please ask David Moyes why I’m not in the side.

“It is frustrating not playing but to score a goal like that gives me confidence. Hopefully I can take that back to my club with me and things will improve.

“It’s hard not playing regularly. Some days the frustration is worse than others; it comes in waves.

“So it’s nice to come back to Japan and get to play, and to score felt good.

“I just have to keep working hard and keep pushing for my chance. When I get back it will be a challenge to get into the team.

“When I get back to my club I have to wait for my chance in the Champions League and the Premier League. I’m sure my chance will come.”

I cannot understand what Moyes is doing, and I will not be alone here as I am sure that plenty of other fans express my concern over David Moyes and what he is doing with the club that so easily won the Premiership title last season.

The way the summer transfers was handled was a complete debacle, as is the way Moyes is running the team. A player like Kagawa needs to be on the field not the bench which is where Ryan Giggs needs to be yet Moyes not only started him against Swansea where he gave the ball away every third pass, but against Liverpool as well!

What is Moyes thinking? Ryan Giggs is 39 years-old and should not be in your starting line-up.

United fans you need to make your voice heard before it is too late Moyes is going to bring you down with his defensive way of thinking.

As for Kagawa, Jürgen Klopp would have him back in a heartbeat, and he would be snapped up buy any number of clubs should United put him up for sale.

Have a look at the goal for Japan below and tell us if you think Kagawa needs to be in the team or not?


 

Rio Ferdinand Confident about next season

Ferdinand

Ferdinand

 

News dominating all the papers this morning is of course about Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, and his desire to join Real Madrid.

Rather than keep speculating about whether a deal is imminent or not you must remember the Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy is known to be a tough negotiator, and if reports coming out of Spain are correct when we read that a meeting has been arranged between Levy and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to be held in Miami between the 6th and 7th of August we can put this story on the back burner for a week.

Meanwhile Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand feels that the current United squad is good enough to retain their Premier League title without the help of any new signings.

So far manager David Moyes has failed in his attempt to bolster the United midfield having lost out to Bayern Munich for Barcelona’s Thiago Alcantara and also former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas who prefers to stay at the Nou Camp.

United veteran Rio Ferdinand however feels that the current squad is capable of retaining the title no matter what happens in the transfer market.

Saying: “We’re confident. If we had to go into the season with the players that we’ve got now I’d be more than confident and with high hopes of doing well and winning trophies.

“If the manager adds to that and chooses to add to that, then great – but it remains to be seen.”

Manager David Moyes also appears upbeat following the tour of Asia: “I’m taking away a great experience of my first trip with Manchester United in general and what the football club means around the world.

“But I’ve also had a chance to get to know the players, try and settle into my new environment and the players to get to know me as well.

“They’ve been working with a great manager for a long time, a lot of them, so it’s going to take time. But I’ve enjoyed working with them, they’re incredibly professional and I can see why they’re champions. The way they conduct themselves and go about their business and I’ve been very impressed by them.”

 

Chelsea to test United with a £40m bid for Rooney

Rooney

Rooney

 

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has already said that his number one target this summer is Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, and after already having a first bid of £25 million turned down but Chelsea is prepared to test their resolve by offering £40 million for the 27-year-old striker.

United maintain that the England international is not for sale with current manager David Moyes convinced he can get Rooney to stay, despite the fact the Sir Alex Fergusons presence as a director at the club is a problem for Rooney after Sir Alex claimed Rooney asked for a transfer back in April, something the Rooney camp denied ever happening.

Mourinho definitely wants Rooney who still has two year remaining on his contract, and after hearing Moyes say that he will play second fiddle to United’s top scorer Robin van Persie there is a definite feeling around the Bridge that Rooney will be heading south.

Talk of the first bid involved a cash sum plus either Juan Mata or David Luiz something that Mourinho later denied saying never happened as neither player was for sale although it is known that either Paris Saint-Germain or Barcelona are likely to make an offer for Brazilian defender Luiz who Chelsea would let go for around the £45 million mark.

Mourinho sent out a coded message to Rooney last week that you can see in the video below indicating that is you want to play for your country in the World Cup you need to be playing first team football for your club.

The only way I can see Rooney not going to Chelsea is if United decide that they do not want him playing for the competition and would rather keep a very expensive bench warmer.

 

 

Chelsea fire the first shot in the race to sign Rooney

Rooney

Rooney

 

Just about every big club in the world has been on alert over the Wayne Rooney situation since Manchester United manager David Moyes said over the weekend that Rooney would be used as a backup for United’s star striker Robin van Persie.

This of course is a role that Rooney would find to be unacceptable, as the England international has no intention of being a backup player to anyone or playing for a team that rotates their players in and out.

Chelsea currently on tour in Asia have expressed an interest in the 27-year-old with new manager Jose Mourinho commenting on the news of Rooney possibly looking for a way out of Old Trafford.

Mourinho said: ‘If Wayne is a second choice for Manchester United, then the national team will be affected.’

He also said that Rooney is ‘a player I like very, very much.’

Today we can reveal that Mourinho like’s Rooney enough to have made Manchester United an offer of £10 million plus either Spanish playmaker Juan Mata or Brazilian defender David Luiz.

The offer was immediately rejected by Manchester United sticking to what they have said all along, and that is that Wayne Rooney is not for sale.

Now we all know that everyone is always for sale, and that this is just United’s way of trying to get more money for the England striker.

The question now is who is ready to play the game, with United much more inclined to see Rooney if he is sold go to a team outside of the Premiership, yet it would appear to be Chelsea and Arsenal that would be the most interested in his services.

Sky Sports just aired the following statement from their reporter Kaveh Solhekol:

Rooney believes he is at the peak of his career and has no intention of becoming a squad rotation player or by playing second fiddle to anyone at Old Trafford.

He believes he has nothing left to prove after nine successful seasons – yet that is what is being suggested by reports in the media which have interpreted the club’s statement as meaning he’s currently on trial for the coming season.

Since he’s returned from the pre-season tour due to injury, Rooney has been in touch with the club and spoken to David Moyes on the phone – he is angry and confused at the way he’s been treated.

If this report is to be believed it appears that even if he is not sold United will have a very disgruntled player on the bench in Rooney who can prove to be a distraction to the rest of the team.

Moyes plays hardball with Rooney

Rooney

Rooney

It is looking more likely that Wayne Rooney days at Manchester United are coming to an end after listening to new manager David Moyes comments regarding United’s star striker Wayne Rooney when he said that Rooney was only vital if “we had an injury to Robin van Persie.”

“Wayne can play up on his own, he can play dropped in. Overall my thought on Wayne is, if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie, we’ll need him,” said Moyes, speaking in Thailand before flying to Sydney for the next stop of their summer tour.

“I want to be able to play the two of them; I want to use Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernández as well. I want to give myself as many options as possible.”

Moyes has said every time he has been asked that Rooney is not for sale, and new United chief executive Ed Woodward has no plans to discuss a new contract with Rooney at the moment with the England international being one of the premierships top earners on a salary of £250,000 per-week.

To put it more bluntly it sounds like United only need Rooney if Robin van Persie is unable to play, hardly a position the former top dog wants to be in.

While at Everton Moyes preferred to use a lone striker up front, in what you would call a traditional center forward role, with a number 10 man in behind which in United’s case will be Japanese international Shinji Kagawa.

That man up front would of course be the Premierships leading scorer last season Robin van Persie, and not Wayne Rooney.

Rooney had been hoping that the arrival of Moyes at United would see him play as the front man, as that was his natural position, and the reason he and Sir Alex had problems because Rooney thought he was not playing where he should be.

I am sure that Jose Mourinho is watching the situation closely and could offer Rooney a way out of United as Chelsea desperately search for a strong striker to play the role that would be perfect for Rooney.