No Manchester United player is guaranteed to play, warned manager David Moyes, speaking after his side’s victory over Liverpool in the Capital One Cup. The Cup win came just a few days after the Red Devils experienced a humiliating defeat in the Manchester Derby, falling 4-1 to rivals Manchester City, their only goal a late consolation from Wayne Rooney.
On the heels of such a defeat, then, it was unsurprising that Moyes had plenty to say about the quality of his players. He did defend certain individuals, most notably new signing Marouane Fellaini. The United manager admitted he may have rushed the former Everton man into the big game against Manchester City, stating that, despite the Belgian looking a little off the pace in training, he felt Fellaini’s presence would be needed. He also warned against making snap judgments about Fellaini’s abilities to fit into the squad, stating, “When you have only played two games for the club it is difficult to make a judgment on anybody.”
Yet this is Ashley Young’s third season for Manchester United, so the excuse that he’s not yet played enough games to judge his worth won’t fly when it comes to the Englishman. Critics were harsh following Young’s performance in the Derby, and it seemed Moyes was disappointed as well, leaving him out of the squad for the clash against Liverpool. Yet the Scot spoke up in defense once more, stating ” Ashley played against Crystal Palace [two weeks ago] and probably won us the game. He got us a penalty and was through with a chance to score. He didn’t play particularly well against City but as I said you could probably have picked another half-a-dozen who didn’t. Ash is fine. We will give him every chance to prove what he can do.”
Every chance, yes. But every Manchester United player — including, presumably, Robin Van Persie, whom without United have struggled to score — must prove himself worthy of a start. “I want to see good form. If you play it makes the job much easier. You’ve got to play and you’ve got to play well,” Moyes emphasized.
Moyes will get the chance to back up his words when United face West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon. Van Persie is available after recovering from injury. Fellaini may return after being cup-tied against Liverpool. Javier Hernandez scored the winner midweek. United are negotiating for new contracts with both young Adnan Januzaj and veteran Nemanja Vidic. And of course, there’s still Young. Who will earn a spot against the Baggies?
This is a big blow to Everton, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Yannick Bolasie is set for a long spell on the sidelines after suffering an ACL injury in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
The 27-year-old attacker has played in every match for the Toffees, and is an electric attacking threat. He has one goal and four assists in PL play this season, after nabbing five and four for Palace last season.
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A $32 million buy from Crystal Palace, Bolasie will miss the Africa Cup of Nations next month and likely send the Toffees into the transfer market.
Manager Ronald Koeman has made no secret of his Memphis Depay admiration, and this could tip Everton’s hand.
Game changer, season changer, title changer.
It’s hard to find a phrase that would overstate what it would mean if a club could pry Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the hands of Borussia Dortmund.
Aubameyang raised eyebrows Monday with his non-dismissal of a transfer possibility. It wasn’t quite a “come and get me”, but the door is certainly open.
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“I don’t know if I will stay. I just think about playing good football right now. I want to give my best and win titles. I just think about the sport and nothing else.”
If you don’t pay a lot of attention to the Bundesliga, it might be easy to overlook Aubameyang. But the season he’s having with BVB’s wealth of playmaking midfielders is overwhelming. Give him less than a yard, and he’s all set.
Throw in the UEFA Champions League, and “Auba” has 18 goals in 18 matches. In the Bundesliga, he has a 4-goal night at Hamburg but also goals against Bayern and Hertha. Aubameyang has two braces, and has only been held off the score sheet three times (BVB is 1D-2L in those contests).
Put plainly, no one is doing what he’s doing right now.
Top Five leagues, 2016-17 goals (matches)
- Aubameyang, BVB — 15 (12)
- Edinson Cavani, PSG — 14 (14)
- Anthony Modeste, Koln — 12 (13)
- Mauro Icardi, Inter Milan — 12 (14)
- Eden Dzeko, Roma — 12 (15)
- Alexandre Lacazette — 11 (11)
- Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal — 11 (14)
- Diego Costa, Chelsea — 11 (14)
- Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid — 10 (11)
- Sergio Aguero, Manchester City — 10 (12)
- Andrea Belotti, Torino — 10 (13)
- Lionel Messi, Barcelona — 9 (9)
- Luis Suarez, Barcelona — 9 (12)
- Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich — 9 (13)
- Iago Aspas, Celta Vigo — 9 (13)
- Ciro Immobile, Lazio — 9 (15)
- Alassane Plea, Nice — 9 (16)
As we await the future of both the North American Soccer League and its champion New York Cosmos, another dark cloud arrived regarding both.
Empire of Soccer reports that the Cosmos have terminated all of its player contracts, putting a 2017 season into the neighborhood of improbability.
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New York’s staff is on furlough, and the club has been “on the brink of collapse” for weeks (if not longer).
The USL avoided having its champion collapse by finding new owners for the Rochester Rhinos in the offseason. Will New York be able to do the same?
U.S. Soccer unveiled the finalists for its top 2016 Male, Female, and youth awards on Monday.
MLS stars Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Clint Dempsey are joined by Geoff Cameron and Bobby Wood as top men’s player nominees. The winner will be announced on the eve of Saturday’s MLS Cup Final.
[ MLS: Best XI has historic American low ]
Stoke City’s Cameron and Hamburg’s Wood are the European-based players on the list, while Fabian Johnson did not make the cut. Dempsey has been limited by heart problems, but still found a way to the list.
John Brooks and Christian Pulisic are also notable exceptions, though the latter is a finalist for the younger award.
The five-woman list for Female Player of the Year sees Crystal Dunn, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, and Becky Sauerbrunn vying to finish second behind Carli Lloyd (Sorry, we couldn’t resist even with Heath’s incredible season).
The Young Male award promises to be a showdown between Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) and Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), though it’s difficult to see the latter edging the former. Also in the frame are Spurs back Cameron Carter-Vickers, Atlanta United teenager Andrew Carleton and U.S. U-17 star Josh Sargent.
The Young Female nominees are midfielders Emily Ogle and Andi Sullivan, defenders Kaleigh Riehl and Karina Rodriguez and forward Ashley Sanchez.