Manchester Utd hosted a familiar foe in the form of West Ham in the EFL Cup Quarter-Final. These two teams just met on the weekend with Utd dominating but not finishing their chances on the way to a 1-1 draw. José Mourinho was serving his one game touch line ban but was sure to have been watching closely to see how his attacking midfield trio of Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan would perform as this area has been the source of much experimentation this season. Zlatan Ibrahimovic continued up front and Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick were paired in central midfield with Paul Pogba serving his one game suspension. Luke Shaw returned at left back, with Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Antonio Valencia rounding out the defense, and David De Gea was in the net.
Burnley 1 v Man City 2:
Pep Guardiola did not begin with a significant portion of his first choice midfield as Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Ilkay Gündogan were not in the starting lineup. Burnley had a confident start and took a surprise lead when an unlikely source in Dean Marney hammered home a stunning volley from distance. City responded with a pair of scrambly goals on either side of the half with Sergio Agüero ultimately finishing both and the visitors had re-established control of the game. Burnley did send a plethora of crosses and long balls at the City defense but they held firm and took a hard fought 3 pts.
Manchester Utd hosted West Ham on Sunday, looking to build off of their impressive Europa League win a few days earlier. José Mourinho made a few changes from that victory as youngsters Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard came in for Wayne Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryan while Ander Herrera replaced Michael Carrick. The defense was back to the same four that featured in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal last weekend.
In the second minute it was a dream start for the Hammers as Dimitri Payet showed off his set piece expertise, delivering a dangerous free kick into the box which Diafra Sakho headed in. Utd led the possession for the next portion of the half but were not creating any clear cut chances until Paul Pogba unlocked the West Ham defense with a perfect lofted pass over the top and Zlatan headed in, 1-1. Utd immediately returned to the offensive, looking to take the lead. There was a bit of drama as Pogba was given a yellow card for a dive to which Mourinho had what was deemed to be an excessive reaction, kicking a water bottle and coming outside of his technical box, so he was sent to the stands. Rashford had a breakaway after a nice dummy by Zlatan, but Darren Randolph came out and made the save. Utd were the better team for the remainder of the first half but it went into the break all square.
Manchester Utd are coming off a win on Thursday over Feyenoord in the Europa League in which the offense came to life leading to a 4-0 scoreline. José Mourinho gave Henrikh Mkhitaryan a rare start and he impressed greatly, but was it enough to earn him a Premier League shot against West Ham on Sunday at Old Trafford? Even if Mkhitaryan begins from the bench, expect him to get some minutes and much more playing time over the busy schedule coming up. Zlatan Ibrahimovic returns from his one game PL ban and he also looked good along with Wayne Rooney in the Europa win. Juan Mata has been excellent of late and should remain in the starting 11 also. Paul Pogba was back in the central midfield pair on Thursday and that may be where he continues for the foreseeable future, though his partner may vary between Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick.
With the arrival of the Thanksgiving holiday, it meant no game for Crown this past week, but as promised, it is time for the second installment of Meet Crown. After initially being introduced to the founder and captain, we turn our attention to our elder statesman and trusty veteran, Keith Jarrell.
Q1: I know I speak for the whole team, past and present, when I say that we all wish to play as long as you have so while this is seen as a rude question in society, it is being asked in this regard with the upmost respect…so, how old are you?, and how long have you been playing recreational indoor soccer for?
Manchester Utd need a win at home against Feyenoord to move past them into a qualification spot for the last 32 of the Europa League. Utd lost the first meeting earlier in the group but were favorites going into this one at Old Trafford. José Mourinho still had injury issues on defense, but the offense chosen looked more like what people thought it would after all the summer signings. Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned and started up front with an offensive midfield trio of Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in behind. Mkhitaryan in particular had a lot to prove, and a lot to gain from a positive performance. Paul Pogba was back in the central midfield, partnered by Michael Carrick, and Utd generally win when the veteran has started this season.
My latest article, previewing Gameweek 13, is up on the Draft Fantasy Football blog:
And a HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my US followers from everyone here at simonsayssoccer.com, which is just this guy…
Manchester Utd 1 v Arsenal 1:
Everton 1 v Swansea 1:
Everton saved some blushes at home thanks to a late tying goal by Seamus Coleman. The game marked the return of Leighton Baines and was supposed to be a kind fixture but it did not end up that way. Swansea held their own in the first half and were rewarded towards the end when Gylfi Sigurdsson was brought down in the box by Phil Jagielka. Sigurdsson calmly put it away and the Swans had the lead. Everton responded almost immediately as some neat passing ultimately put Yannick Bolasie in on goal but he was stopped by Lukasz Fabianski. Everton were not creating many chances as the game wound down but Swansea were defending deeper and it cost them as Coleman’s looping header from a poor clearance denied Bob Bradley his first victory. This result combined with the Sunderland win puts Swansea in last place in the Premier League.
Manchester Utd hosted Arsenal in the feature early game on Saturday, and José Mourinho was looking to execute the right game plan to send the Old Trafford faithful home happy. Antonio Valencia, coming off a broken arm, was deemed fit enough to start but Luke Shaw was not so Matteo Darmian played out of position at left back. A central pairing of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo was preferred so Daley Blind was relagated to the bench. Ander Herrera returned from his suspension and joined Michael Carrick in the centre midfield. Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Juan Mata took up the three attacking midfield positions in front of striker Marcus Rashford. Wayne Rooney made the bench after his controversial week in the news. For Arsenal, Alexis Sánchez did make the starting 11, Aaron Ramsey got just his 2nd Premier League start and Carl Jenkinson came in the for the injured Hector Bellerín.
The TDA Bulls were coming off of an impressive opening game win when they faced a new team to the Friday Coed league in FC Peeps. There was a roster change of note as Ricky dropped to sub list and was replaced by Phil. Justin was unavailable so everyone had their 👀 on passing him in the Golden Boot standings. A cold front arrived in North Texas earlier in the day and it led to some interesting pre-game fashion statements as Simon was rocking some felt pajama pants, while Carolyn was sporting some new head wear: