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Sevilla 0-0 Manchester United – The Paul Pogba problem remains for Jose Mourinho

Jake Jackman



Manchester United

Manchester United earned a credible away draw against Sevilla in the first leg of their Champions League tie, but the manner of their performance will be a disappointment. They were reliant on David de Gea, as their goalkeeper made a number of good saves to keep the scoreline at 0-0. It was far from an assured defensive display and there are clearly cracks begin to emerge in the Jose Mourinho era.

Paul Pogba was once again centre of attention as he was left out of the starting eleven for youngster Scott McTominay. The academy graduate had a decent game, but it speaks volumes about Pogba’s current relationship with Mourinho.

Although the club will suggest the decision was made due to the Frenchman’s recent illness, the midfielder came on in the first half and was clearly fit to play. Here are three talking points from the dull game at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium:

The Paul Pogba problem remains

The past week has been filled with negative press stories regarding Paul Pogba and the midfielder was the centre of attention when the teams were announced. He wasn’t in the starting eleven, but was fit enough to take up a place on the bench and came on shortly into the match after an injury to Ander Herrera.

It wasn’t his best performance, but he added quality and offered more in the final third than the rest of the Manchester United midfield. If they can get him motivated and settled into a system, they will be a lot stronger for it.

On Wednesday, he completed five dribbles and 90% of his passes. Every time he got on the ball, he tried to be positive and United need a player like that considering their negative style of play.

At the time of writing, it appears that there is only room for one of Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford. They clash and their relationship is damaging the rest of the squad.

The focus should have been on the game against Sevilla, but it is on the friction between midfielder and player. If they don’t find a solution soon, it could ruin their season.

Joaquin Correa caught the eye

Sevilla aren’t the team they once were and the loss of Monchi has had a negative effect on the club. However, there remains a lot of talent in the squad and Joaquin Correa caught the eye on Wednesday.

Every time he got on the ball, Manchester United looked nervous and he was the player most likely to make something happen in the final third.

The winger attempted three shots, completed three dribbles and made one key pass. In a match short of attacking quality, he was a bright spark and got the home fans off their feet.

His movement was superb and there were times when the wrong decision was made in the build-up, which meant the ball didn’t arrive at his feet.

Correa seems to be a player well-liked by Vincenzo Montella and he could kick on over the next few months. His end product needs to improve, as he has yet to contribute a goal or assist in La Liga, but he has had better showings in the cup competitions. Across the Champions League and Copa del Rey, he has got six goals and two assists.

David de Gea showed his worth yet again

The world has run out of superlatives to describe David de Gea. The goalkeeper has emerged as one of the leading players in his position since joining Manchester United, if not the best.

The club’s decline during the last five or six years would have been sharper if it wasn’t for the Spanish international. He regularly bails them out and Wednesday night was no different.

During the contest, he made eight saves, including one superb stop to deny Luis Muriel. The Colombian striker should have done better, but that doesn’t take anything away from the work done by De Gea between the sticks. It was an excellent display of anticipation and athleticism as he made a save from point-blank range. Few other keepers in the world would have kept the ball out.

At the age of 27, De Gea has a long future ahead of him and he will want to challenge at the very top of the game. It remains to be seen how long he stays at Old Trafford as the team isn’t progressing at the same rate.

Only one player in their team played to their maximum on Wednesday and that was the goalkeeper. Until the rest of the team match him, United aren’t going to challenge.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.


New Everton deal great for the future and gets one over on Steven Gerrard

The midfielder has committed his future to Everton until 2020.

Mathew Nash



This summer saw Rangers appoint Steven Gerrard as manager. The former Liverpool man was swiftly linked with plenty of young talent from Merseyside and not just those he worked with as academy coach at Melwood.

Gerrard was also linked with a move for Everton youngster Alex Denny back in May. As reported by the Liverpool Echo, Rangers were keen as contract talks with Everton had broken down.

However, those deals must have got back underway.  Yesterday, the 18-year-old signed a new deal at Everton.

Denny signed his first professional deal with Everton this week. Whilst keeping him out of the clutches of Liverpool legend Gerrard is a win in itself, Everton fans will be far more excited about what he can bring to the club in the future.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

The England youth international is the latest in a long line of promising talent to emerge at Everton.

With the likes of Jonjoe Kenny, Beni Baningime and Tom Davies in first-team action last term, Denny can easily begin to hope he can follow in such footsteps.

Denny is now contracted at Everton until 2020 and in the next two years will hope to show he is capable of being a star at Goodison Park.

Sorry Stevie G but for now, this one’s a Toffee.

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Liverpool should stay away from Domagoj Vida despite World Cup heroics

Liverpool are reportedly weighing up a move for the Croatian international.

Liam Thomas



"Photo: Getty Images"

Liverpool have reportedly joined the race to sign Croatian World Cup star Domagoj Vida, with the Reds looking to bolster their squad depth in a bid to bring Jurgen Klopp his first piece of silverware with the club.

According to the Express, Liverpool have already made a bid for Vida, who is partnering current Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren for Croatia at this summer’s World Cup.

Vida currently plays his football in Turkey with Besiktas, after making a move from Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kyiv back in January but, at 29, is the Croatian international the man to solve Liverpool’s defensive frailties?

Despite impressing at the World Cup, there is no doubt that Liverpool should be aiming higher in a bid to find their £75million centre-back Virgil van Dijk a worthy partner.

It could even be argued that Van Dijk and Lovren did enough to prove to Klopp at the end of last season that they had a solid enough partnership to carry the club forward next season. Howwever, it seems the Liverpool boss still identifies the centre-back position as an area of improvement for the Reds.

Unfortunately, Vida is not in the top bracket of centre-backs that Liverpool so desperately need to partner Van Dijk at the heart of their defence, and making a move for the Besiktas man would be a disappointment to many.

With Klopp on the verge of potential greatness with the Reds, it would be a silly time to invest in any player who is not quite up to scratch.

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Did one year ago today mark the start of Ronald Koeman’s Everton demise?

Everton focussed on one man for too long and never replaced Romelu Lukaku.

Mathew Nash



This time last year saw Everton busy in the transfer market. Sandro Ramirez arrived from Malaga on the same day the club also procured Michael Keane from Burnley. But it was also the day that reports first started emerging that Everton had targeted the man to replace Romelu Lukaku.

According to The Mirror, the Toffees were lining up a £20 million bid for the Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman was seeing his future at Arsenal cast into doubt by the signing of Alexandre Lacazette and Everton hoped to lure him to Goodison Park.

It was a deal that rumbled on throughout the summer but, in the end, Giroud chose to remain at Arsenal.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It was, according to Ronald Koeman, the decision that eventually cost him his job at Everton. As he told Voetbal International, as relayed by The Telegraph, they had Giroud ‘in the building’ but he decided he did not want to leave London.

Everton’s inability to replace Lukaku left them desperately short in attack. It proved a massive contributing factor to Everton’s woeful start to the season which saw Koeman dismissed in October.

Giroud, of course, went on to join Chelsea in January.

Everton’s demise from last season, as far as Koeman is concerned, can be pinpointed too hedging their bets on Giroud 12 months ago.

This summer the club must be more fluid in the transfer market.

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