For Manchester United, the beginning of the regular season hasn’t been the smoothest of transition for a squad that is not at 100 percent fitness and strength.
Since United has spent $216.68 million on several key players during the offseason, the heat has turned up, while media and numerous fans have expected immediate results, not the kind of bottom-tier football that’s been noticed throughout this very short acclimation period at the start of the year.
Down the line, however, United’s 11-year veteran Darren Fletcher thinks that his side will come together to produce the brand of football that viewers assume the legendary EPL club maintains.
And part of the adjustment can be witnessed in their recent change of formation, Louis van Gaal switching to 3-4-1-2 formation, which, Fletcher admits, could demand acclimation.
“It’s mentally challenging but that has always been the case,” Fletcher revealed, via Sky Sports. “The players are learning a new system and developing ideas. It is going to make us better players in the long term.”
Nevertheless, the goal of 2014-15 revolves around exceeding the rut of David Moyes’ short reign, and completing this task will beg dedication to van Gaal’s coaching ways.
“These things take time and we just have to keep believing in the manager’s philosophy and ideas. There are other things that come into it, it’s not just the system, but I am confident we will put things right.”
“The manager was very straight and forward with the players and I think the players appreciated that,” Fletcher said.
- Costa opens scoring in fifth minute
- His 8th goal in 10 appearances
- Magpies back into drop zone on goal diff.
- Townsend strikes late to break shutout
Diego Costa and Pedro scored before the match was nine minutes old, and Willian put an exclamation point on a wild first half in the 17th minute as Chelsea battered Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Pedro added another in the second half before Baba Rahman tallied to make it 5-0, and that’s how it finished at the Bridge. Chelsea now has 33 points, and is within two points of 10th and nine back of fifth place Manchester United.
Newcastle is back in 18th, lower than Norwich City on goal differential. Andros Townsend scored late for the Magpies.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
It took barely more than four minutes for Chelsea to take the lead, as Costa burst past Steven Taylor to slide Willian’s pass past Rob Elliot. 1-0.
Pedro doubled the advantage when he took advantage of 20-year-old Rolando Aarons, who was forced to play right back despite starting as a right wing under Alan Pardew. It was an awful pass regardless of his normal position, and Pedro picked it off and went the distance.
Andros Townsend cut in from the left to provide a counter threat, but his low shot was gobbled up by Thibaut Courtois.
Still, 3-0 came first. Costa worked a long ball and then watched Fabricio Coloccini back off. Willian tore through an unmarking back line to push home an easy goal.
[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
The Magpies found some life in the second half, as Chelsea had to cope with an injury to John Terry that moved Branislav Ivanovic inside and put Baba Rahman into the game.
Aleksandar Mitrovic absorbed a tricky cleat to his achilles, staying in the game to hit a low shot wide of goal.
But Pedro added another goal moments later on a counterattack (of sorts) and it was 4-0 in the 59th minute.
Townsend broke the shutout when he belted a left footed shot home late for his first ever Newcastle goal.
Luis Suarez has upset fans of every Premier League team by saying he’d never join their club.
[ MORE: Van Gaal downbeat after defeat ]
On Valentine’s Day weekend his heart belongs to one PL club: Liverpool.
Speaking to former Liverpool teammate Jamie Carragher on behalf of the Daily Mail, Suarez insisted he is loving life at reigning Spanish and European champions Barcelona.
But if the 29-year-old striker ever left the Nou Camp and came back to the PL he wouldn’t play for Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United or Chelsea. Oh no.
“I’d prefer to stay here [Barcelona] for many more years. I know it doesn’t always turn out that way. But if I had to return to the Premier League, I would only go to Liverpool,: Suarez said. “I wouldn’t go to another team. It wouldn’t be a move for money. I’d also love to play again for Ajax, as they allowed me to develop as a player in Europe.”
So, in 2019 once Suarez has won the Ballon d’Or at Barcelona and won four-straight UEFA Champions League titles, could he be back at Anfield to help attend to some unfinished business with Jurgen Klopp still in charge?
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Just a thought, but Suarez is obviously keen to repay the loyalty both Liverpool’s fans and the club have shown him over the years during many difficult moments on and off the pitch. At away stadiums across England he was lambasted by fans of the opposition and he obviously remembers that. Suarez was the subject of a cheeky bid from Arsenal and Arsene Wenger obviously admires him but the fact of the matter is, it would be shocking to see him leave Barcelona anytime soon.
Suarez still has plenty to give for Barca in the meantime as he has 36 goals in 34 appearances for the Catalan club this season so far.
“We are on a tricky run and need to fight out way out of this form.”
That’s how Alan Pardew is describing his club’s brutal form of early 2016. Crystal Palace has one point in its last seven matches, their streakiness matching what we expected from Pardew when he led Newcastle United through a topsy-turvy few seasons at St. James Park.
[ MATCH RECAP: Crystal Palace 1-2 Watford ]
Pardew says injuries and bad luck have hurt his side, and Yannick Bolasie‘s absence looms large in a midfield-vital Premier League. But Palace has managed just three points since Dec. 26 despite playing a manageable schedule of opponents.
Since beating Stoke at the Britannia on Dec. 19, this is Palace’s Premier League form:
Dec. 26 — 0-0 at Bournemouth
Dec. 28 — 0-0 vs. Swans
Jan. 3 — 0-3 vs. Chelsea
Jan. 12 — 0-1 at Villa
Jan. 16 — 0-4 at Man City
Jan. 23 — 1-3 vs. Spurs
Feb. 2 — 1-2 vs Bournemouth
Feb. 6 — 1-1 at Swans
Feb. 13 — 1-2 vs. Watford
Fortunately for Pardew, he has his old charges in Newcastle, Aston Villa and Norwich City not doing much to threaten a climb out of the drop zone. But Palace has gone from Top Four contender to bottom-half side in a month and a half.
Diego Costa, Pedro and Willian are terrorizing Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, battering the Magpies by three goals.
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And the game’s not even a half-hour old as of posting time, so we’re just going to leave these videos right here, Toon Army.