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English Premier League

Sunderland v Manchester United Match Preview

The Boot Room



Matchday 2 of the Barclays Premier League is on the horizon, Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United side tasted defeat in their season opener at Old Trafford against Swansea, now they face a tricky task away to Sunderland at the Stadium Of Light.

Sunderland managed a 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns last weekend against West Bromwich Albion, and will look to get their campaign off to a good start at home. Gus Poyet has rejuvenated Sunderland since taking over and his side will be looking for a mid table finish.

Louis Van Gaal was very disappointed with his sides performance last weekend and says all confidence his side had, has been crushed. Now Ander Herrera & Marouane Fellaini will join the injury list, while Robin van Persie returns for selection.

Argentinian World Cup defender Marcos Rojo signed a 5 year contract worth €16m. Although he is fit for selection, Rojo doesn’t have a work permit. So lots of players will be missing for Manchester United.

Last season, the two sides met 4 times, twice in the league and twice in the League Cup semi final. The first time the sides met at the Stadium Of Light, Adnan Januzaj got a brace as his side won 2-1. They met again in Wearside in the Capital One Cup semi final first leg which ended 2-1 for Sunderland.

The second leg at Old Trafford ended 2-1 for Manchester United but Sunderland progressed to final winning 2-1 in a penalty shootout. The two sides met at the Theatre of Dreams for the fourth time of the season and it ended 1-0 for Sunderland.

Key Players

Sunderland and Manchester United both have many quality players that will be in the game this weekend, but I will narrow it down a bit. For Sunderland, key players will be Vito Mannone, Lee Cattermole & Connor Wickham. Vito Mannone will be a key player because he will be in charge of saving the chances United get, in history, Man United tend to have lots of shots against Sunderland so he will need to play a great game.

Lee Cattermole will be key because he is the midfield engine for Sunderland and it will be his job to dictate the play and pace of the game, he will need to be very disciplined. Connor Wickham will be Sunderland’s front man, he will need to get behind the defense and use his speed and take his chances.

For Manchester United, key players will be Darren Fletcher, Juan Mata & Wayne Rooney. Fletcher will be key because he will need to fill the hole that Herrera will leave since he is out. Fletcher was very poor last weekend and will need to have better passing and discipline. Juan Mata is key because he is the player who can make something out of nothing. He will add the flare to Manchester United and will provide Wayne Rooney and maybe Robin van Persie.

Wayne Rooney will be the talisman for Manchester United, he has been the rock of the team for years and is the leader of the group. It is his job on and off the pitch to motivate the team.

Important Match Ups

Match ups on the pitch are always the most important thing, looking who you will be going up against. I will go through a few of the important ones. Rooney v Cattermole, Cattermole will need to stay close to Wayne and not let him have too much time and space on the ball. Wickham v Smalling, Wickham will have use his pace to make runs in and behind Smalling and will need to make sure his finishing is top notch. Larsson v Fletcher, Fletcher will need to make sure Larsson doesn’t put any good deliveries into the box, and doesn’t let Larsson get into shooting positions.

Possible Line Ups

Sunderland: (4-4-1-1) Mannone; Bridcutt, Brown, O Shea, van Aanholt; Johnson, Cattermole, Gomez, Larsson; Fletcher, Wickham.

Man United: (3-4-1-2) De Gea; Jones, Smalling, Blackett; Januzaj, Fletcher, Kagawa, Young; Mata; van Persie, Rooney.

Score Prediction

Manchester United have many injuries and are struggling because of it, Herrera will be a huge miss. Van Gaal will hope that van Persie and Wayne Rooney provide goals and Juan Mata adds the flare. They will need to be good defensively. Sunderland will really go for the game and show no fear, they’re playing at home and will want to get the points. Score Prediction: Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United.

Can Manchester United return to winning ways in the Premier League under Louis Van Gaal or will Sunderland cause the Old Trafford club more pain? Let us know in the comments or on twitter @TBRFootball .

West Ham United

Marlon Santos joining West Ham would be ideal solution to defensive woes



Photo: Getty Images.

There will be a summer of change at West Ham United this summer and with James Collins leaving the club there will be a spot opening up in defence. Reports from Spain indicate that the man to fill it could be Barcelona youngster Marlon Santos.

The Brazilian joined the Spanish giants permanently last summer after impressing for their B team and earning a first team debut in 2016/17 and spent pre-season with Ernesto Valverde’s first team before being sent out on loan.

Now, reliable Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo say that West Ham are interested in taking the defender on loan next season after he has impressed in France, playing for OGC Nice, making 27 appearances during his loan spell.

(Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old has also been linked with Leicester but with West Ham believed to be leading the chase, it would be a wise move from Manuel Pellegrini to seal a deal as soon as possible.

Strong in the tackle, Santos would also bring some much needed pace to the West Ham defence. Replacing the likes of Collins and Jose Fonte who departed in January, the arrival of a fleet-footed defender would be a welcome turnaround at the London Stadium.

It may also suggest a change in style, with the former Fluminense youth product known for his ability on the ball, often looking to dribble out from the back to get his team transitioning from defence to attack.

Pellegrini is clearly putting the building blocks in place to build a side in his own image, and bringing in Marlon Santos would be a cheap and sensible addition to fix a major problem area.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Malcom would add another dimension to Tottenham’s attack



Photo: Getty Images.

After an impressive 2017/18 campaign, Tottenham are already beginning to plan for 2018/19 and are keen to make a statement in their first season in a new look White Hart Lane. One way they may do so is with the addition of Girondins Bordeaux forward Malcom.

Sky Bet currently list Tottenham at 7/2 to sign the Brazilian, just behind favourites Manchester United in the running at 3/1, and such an acquisition would bring an exciting new element to Mauricio Pochettino‘s attacking set-up.

Predominantly playing on the right wing, Malcom may offer more width than many of the options within the Tottenham squad, but much like Heung-Min Son and Erik Lamela, he likes to dribble on the ball and cut inside, offering a direct threat rather than looking to cross into others.

The 21-year-old scored 12 goals in 35 Ligue Un games for Bordeaux this season and whilst not exactly prolific, would help to add goals to the Lilywhites’ midfield and reduce the reliance on Harry Kane.

(Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)

He also has some similarities to the likes of Christian Eriksen as a superb set piece taker who likes to shoot from distance, helping to add another dimension as Tottenham look to break down more defensive sides who sit deep in hope of frustrating them.

With huge potential to develop even further, Malcom may not come cheaply but would represent an interesting project for Pochettino to get even more out of him. Whilst he bares many similarities to Erik Lamela when he arrived in north London, if he can avoid injury he could go on to become the player Spurs had hoped to see Lamela become.

His pace and threat would add a much needed option into the Spurs attack, complimenting the playmakers like Eriksen, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura and supporting the goalgetter Harry Kane. Strength in depth is key in Tottenham’s quest for silverware and Malcom would be a step in the right direction to achieving it.

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Newcastle United

Fulham promotion opens up £15m exit for Aleksandar Mitrovic

The Newcastle United star is likely to move away from the club this summer.

Mathew Coull



Fulham won promotion to the Premier League yesterday with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final. The Cottagers scored in the first-half through Tom Cairney to rightfully take their place back in the top-flight of English football.

It was a tremendous performance and in the summer Fulham will be looking to bring in some new faces to help them stay in the top-flight. One of those faces, will not be necessarily new. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been brilliant for Fulham since joining on loan in January.

The Serbian striker has scored 12 goals since his arrival at Craven Cottage and will no doubt be wanted permanently at the club.

Is this good news for Newcastle United?

There has been plenty of talk regarding the Serbian’s exit from St James’ Park in the winter. Many fans on Tyneside are wondering whether the club should have kept him at Newcastle, considering his goal record in London.

(during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on November 25, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

However, it is clear that Rafa Benitez is not a fan of the player and the Spaniard certainly made things work without him.

The best thing for Newcastle right now is to sell him and ensure they bring in enough money to cover the cost of his original signing.

Fulham represent their best option to do so. Newcastle want about £15 million for the player, according to the London Evening Standard, which is the fee they paid for the Serbian in 2015.

Fulham will no doubt want to bring him to the club this summer, but would not have been able to bring him to the club had they failed to secure promotion to the Premier League.

The Cottagers can now afford the player and Mitrovic’s price-tag is unlikely to be a problem with the bonus they will receive for heading into the top-flight. Newcastle must be pleased that Fulham earned promotion, as it will allow them the best opportunity to move Mitrovic on without a major loss.

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