Ranking Mourinho’s signings at Man United

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We all know it is the manager who has to bite the bullet if results aren’t going well on the pitch, but what about the players he sends out there?

Specifically, what about the ones he brought to the club with him?

[ MORE: Mourinho on United exit

Jose Mourinho will likely be sat in his swanky London house rubbing his chin right about now, and as he tucks into another mince pie (’tis the season, Jose…) he will wonder if signing the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly was really worth all of the hassle.

It is also worth remembering he shipped out the likes of Wayne Rooney, Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger from Old Trafford, but all of those moves still seem like the correct ones. Then there is his treatment of Luke Shaw, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and others. With no Director of Football in charge, Mourinho had the ultimate say on which players were bought and sold, so the buck has to stop with him for building this squad.

With that in mind, lets rank all of Mourinho’s signings since he arrived in the summer of 2016 to try and turn United’s fortunes around. Parental guidance: some of these scores may be offensive.

Summer 2016 transfer window
Eric Bailly – $38 million from Villarreal: Had a great debut season but regressed massively in last few years. One of the victims of Mourinho’s preseason comments about wanting to sign a new deal. Lacking in confidence. 6/10

Paul Pogba – $112 million from Juventus: Probably the biggest problem for Mourinho throughout his time at United, as Pogba played, scored, assisted and tried to do it all. Mourinho benched him multiple times and in the end, despite giving him the captaincy which he then took away after Pogba’s comments in the media, it felt like it was a battle between Pogba and Jose to win the dressing room. Pogba won. 4/10

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – $33 million from Borussia Dortmund: Played mostly in the Europa League in 2016-17 and scored some big goals in the run to win that trophy. United thought they had a great deal when they swapped him for Alexis Sanchez in January 2018, but we all know how that worked out. Never suited Mourinho’s defensive style and apart from a few amazing goals, can be considered a flop. 3/10

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Free transfer from PSG: Incredible signing who held the squad together. Scored 28 goals in all competitions before his serious knee injury. Never returned to the same form before leaving to join the LA Galaxy in March 2018 as Lukaku was the main man at that point. Still, probably Jose’s best signing as United’s manager. 9/10

Summer 2017 transfer window
Victor Lindelof – $38 million from Benfica: Struggled massively last season but was better in recent months after a strong World Cup for Sweden. Still guilty of a howler or too, but you can never question his commitment. The entire defensive unit has had a shocker alongside him 5/10

Romelu Lukaku – $114 million from Everton: If you judge him by the goals he has scored, Lukaku is a success. 33 goals in 70 games for United is just less than a goal every other game but his overall play hasn’t been good enough. You can argue that Lukaku hasn’t had enough support around him, and that is probably true. But his hold-up play really hasn’t improved that much over the past 12 months. 6/10

Nemanja Matic – $50 million from Chelsea: Was very good for the first half of last season after arriving from Chelsea, and quite why they allowed their Serbian destroyer to leave was baffling. However, like Bailly and others he regressed this season markedly. Mourinho turned to one of his favorites to lock down the midfield and Matic has been okay. Nothing more. Nothing less. 6/10

Winter 2018 transfer window
Alexis Sanchez – Swap deal for Mkhitaryan with Arsenal: Just hasn’t worked out at all. Sanchez’s tenacity seemed like a perfect fit for Mourinho but he didn’t deliver goals, was played out of position several times and in the end they fell out despite a few key goals from the Chilean. Sanchez’s recent injury means this season has been a write off and he perhaps, alongside Pogba, has the most to gain from a new manager coming in. 2/10

Summer 2018 transfer window
Diogo Dalot – $24 million from FC Porto: Has shown promising signs in recent weeks. Still just 19 years old, but looks set to be United’s long-term right back once he shakes off his recent injuries. Whips in some dangerous crosses, and one of the better deals Mourinho did. 7/10

Fred – $60 million from Shakhtar Donetsk: This has been one of the most disappointing deals so far. The Brazilian midfielder was a perfect two-way midfielder at Shakhtar in recent seasons but he seems to have lost his bite after a decent start to life at Old Trafford. Was meant to shore things up alongside Nemanja Matic in midfield but had the opposite impact. 3/10

Lee Grant – $1.9 million from Stoke City: Back up goalkeeper who has hardly played but hasn’t done much wrong when he has. 4/10

Preview: Borussia Dortmund v. Hertha Berlin

Borussia Dortmund v. Hertha preview, how to watch
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Four Bundesliga teams are unbeaten in their last five matches and Hertha Berlin is the unlikeliest of the bunch.

They’ll tangle with Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday in the latest challenge of the Bruno Labaddia era in Berlin.

[ BUNDESLIGA: Week 30 preview and predictions ]

Labbadia is Hertha’s third manager of the season and Hertha has played a scrappy brand of football that has punched and counter-punched under his tutelage. That doesn’t mean they’ve failed to find finish, as Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic and Brazilian youngster Matheus Cunha have been potent.

Borussia Dortmund is a bigger ask, though Hertha made RB Leipzig make mistakes in a 2-2 tie.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores, stats ]

Will it be able to get a result at the Westfalenstadion? Perhaps this is a bridge too far, because Dortmund’s shown an explosive offense and its defense has been strong far more often than not this season.

That said, Erling Haaland is just returning to fitness and has just one goal since the league’s restart from the coronavirus pause. Mats Hummels will miss with a yellow card suspension and Marco Reus still isn’t back.

Maybe American teen Giovanni Reyna will get prolonged run along with Jadon Sancho. We’ll see!

Borussia Dortmund v. Hertha Berlin, how to watch

  • TV Channels: FS2
  • Stream LiveVia Fox Soccer
  • Americans Abroad: Giovanni Reyna (Dortmund)
  • When: Saturday, June 6 – 12:30 p.m. ET: Dortmund v. Hertha

Sheffield United season restart preview

Sheffield United season restart preview
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

Sheffield United is next.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Blades when it comes to the season restart.

Outlook: Sheffield United has welcomed itself to the Premier League and put its feet up on the big boys’ tables while asking what’s for dinner. Blades sit seventh and will hope to continue a fairytale which has them on the precipice of the Europa League. Their fixture list in monstrous, especially at Bramall Lane, but Wilder’s proven capable of outwitting even the smartest of bosses for long periods of time. A name to remember is Simon Moore. The backup keeper and starter from Blades’ League One days could become vital should Manchester United defy expectation and pull Dean Henderson home from his loan upon its June 30 expiry.

[ MORE: Ranking every Southampton player in 2019-20 ]

Tactical analysis: Chris Wilder has flummoxed many a Premier League manager with his creative use of defenders in attack. United typically uses Jack O’Connell, John Egan and Chris Basham as a back-3 with Enda Stevens and George Baldock as the two wingbacks. Those players have accounted for six of United’s 18 PL assists this season. For more on the tactics, Wilder laid things out in entertaining fashion for Arlo White late last month.

Possible XI (3-5-2) 

—– Henderson* —–

— Basham — O’Connell — Egan —

— Baldock — Fleck —  Berge —– Norwood — Stevens—

—– McBurnie —– Mousset —–

The challenge here is fitting January signing Berge into the mix, as fellow central midfielders John Fleck, Oliver Norwood, and John Lundstram have been instrumental in this amazing season. Lundstram seems the most likely to cede his spot if someone will, which really says something about Berge’s immense talent. David McGoldrick and Billy Sharp have provided a lot up top, so McBurnie and Mousset will see plenty of time on the bench. And the biggest question of all is Henderson, who’s on loan from top seven rival Manchester United.

[ MORE: The 2 Robbies assess Sheffield United’s chances ]

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Spurs, Wolves, Chelsea, Everton
Away: Newcastle, Manchester United, Burnley, Leicester City, Southampton

Predicted finish: The Blades will get the chance to defend their home turf from not one, not two, not three, but four would-be European rivals (It’s a little generous to include Everton, but the talent is there). Throw in Leicester and Manchesteer United away, and there is a huge bridge to cross for Wilder’s men to keep their incredible season on the path toward unprecedented heights. It’s not just about keeping Spurs and Arsenal in the rear view mirror, as Blades meet the next four teams above their seventh-place footing.

Petersen’s header leads Freiburg past 10-man Gladbach

Freiburg v. Borussia Monchengladbach recap
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Nils Petersen’s second half goal led Freiburg to a huge 1-0 win over 10-man Borussia Monchengladbach at the Schwarzwald-Stadion on Friday.

Freiburg keeps its Europa League hopes alive by moving onto 41 points, one behind sixth and seventh.

Gladbach fails in a bid to go third and remains fourth with 56 points, ahead of Bayer Leverkusen on goal differential.

A second yellow card to Plea was a double curse to Gladbach, who went down a man and now will miss a star forward against Bayern Munich.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores, stats ]

Bayer’s Ramy Bensebaini utilized a slick backheel turn to nutmeg an opponent and send in a cross that was put out for a corner kick.

Freiburg keeper Alexander Schwolow made a tight-angle save on Alassane Plea just after the quarter-hour mark.

Gladbach saw a chance chalked off after two dangerous bids resulted in an offside deflection into the goal.

Florian Neuhaus came close to scoring again when Lars Stindl headed the penultimate move of a fine team play into the six, but he popped it over the frame.

[ BUNDESLIGA: Week 30 preview and predictions ]

Gladbach’s second half again settled into the Freiburg final third, but it was a home sub that paid dividends at the other end.

Petersen improved his club record for goals when he nodded Vincenzo Grifo’s free kick home in the 59th.

Stindl wasn’t too far from equalizing with a 17-yard shot at the hour mark, but Plea’s second yellow card damaged Gladbach’s hopes of a comeback.

LA Galaxy release Katai after wife’s social media mocks protestors

Aleksandar Katai released
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The LA Galaxy have “parted ways” with Aleksandar Katai after the Serbian winger’s wife posted racist and violent comments regarding protestors.

On Tuesday, Tea Katai posted a comment to “kill the s—-” with an accompanying video of a New York PD police vehicle ramming into a barricade help up by protestors and another photo of looters with sneakers she captioned, “Black Nikes Matter.”

[ BUNDESLIGA: Week 30 preview and predictions ]

Aleksandar Katai issued an apology on Instagram saying that the views would not “be tolerated in my family” and condemned white supremacy while posting that “Black Lives Matter.”

That wouldn’t be enough for the Galaxy, who announced they would meet with Katai on Thursday. Their consideration may have been affected by protests outside their stadium.

According to the LA Times’ Kevin Baxter:

On Thursday four men stood before a statue of David Beckham outside the team’s stadium holding a bedsheet-sized banner that read “No Racists in Our Club” with Katai’s uniform No. 7 encircled with a red line through it.

Katai, 29, was in his first season with the Galaxy after spending 66 matches with the Chicago Fire, scoring 19 goals with 12 assists. Prior to that, he spent time with Red Star Belgrade and Vojvodina. He is nine times capped by Serbia including thrice in 2019.