It has been a busy last week for José Mourinho’s Manchester Utd squad with both EFL and FA Cup action to contend with but he should have a fairly fresh side on the pitch against Hull on Wednesday as quite a few regular starters were rested for the 4-0 FA Cup victory over Wigan on the weekend. These two teams met last Thursday in the second leg of the EFL Cup with Hull pulling off the upset 2-1 at home but it was not enough to overcome the 2-0 first leg deficit so Utd advanced to the final. Hull should find things a lot tougher at Old Trafford as they have a small roster right now with the recent sales of Jake Livermore and Robert Snodgrass and it showed as they were handed a 4-1 FA Cup loss at the hands of Fullham. Let’s see if we can figure out how Utd will line up for this one.
Manchester Utd hosted Wigan in the 4th Round of the FA Cup on Sunday. With this game sandwiched between two matchups with Hull, in the EFL Cup and the Premier League, it came as no surprise that some fringe players got a chance to get some much needed minutes. José Mourinho named Sergio Romero in net and a defensive unit of Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw. The midfield consisted of Marouane Fellaini, Bastion Schweinsteiger, Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was given a rare break so Wayne Rooney got a chance to lead the attack and add to his record totals. Wigan are mired in a relegation battle in the Championship but had a chance to forgot those woes for a night on the big stage at the Theater of Dreams.
So much to talk about, so little time…Gameweek 23 starts in a couple of days for Premier League Fantasy Football managers. We’ve got rotation due to Cup action, injuries, and a private jet involved, read my latest for Draft Fantasy Football here:
BlueSky Indoor Soccer Facility in Keller was the site for the Over 30 Division II Coed Championship on Saturday night. The Final featured an interesting group of misfits in the form of Team Fireball. Let’s take a look at the brief history of this newly formed team before we get into the Championship recap. Like any good recreational indoor soccer team this one was formed when drinking, which is always a good idea, right? So one fateful night, at a wedding, a bunch of this group decided, over shots of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, that they should start a coed team. And could there be a more fitting choice of name than the alcohol that spurned the decision? And so Fireball was created:
Manchester Utd took a lead to Hull after their 2-0 victory in the 1st leg of their EFL Cup Semi at Old Trafford. José Mourinho had a pretty full roster to choose from, and Eric Bailly is also on his way back from the AFCON. The Utd manager had his sights set on Wembley stadium and a shot at silverware as he named a very strong side:
Hull’s new manager, Marco Silva, had his work cut out for him as he was without influential midfielder Robert Snodgrass for this one. To add to the woes, Ryan Mason suffered a terrible head injury on the weekend but his prognosis is promising, we wish him a speedy recovery.
Monday night saw the culmination of the Over 40 Winter indoor season as One Touch took on White Lightning in the Championship Playoff Final. But before we get to the result, let’s examine how One Touch made their way to the title game by looking at their season in depth. It began strongly as usual with some lopsided victories putting them in a strong position heading into the holiday period, which always causes some lineup disruption with various players away on vacation. But One Touch persevered, despite having matchups with some of the other top teams, and managed to finish the season with yet another undefeated record. Here were the final standings:
Before we get into the nitty gritty of John’s soccer life, there is the small issue of why this interview is happening this week. Well that is because Crown slumped to defeat in their Semi-Final game last Tuesday, here is a brief recap:
Crown (3rd) took on DW Energy FC (2nd) in the second Semi of the night with the winner going on to face Black Ops (4th) in the Championship after they upset the favored Honey Badgers (1st). It was always going to be a tough task as Crown had to do without the services of top scorer Phil who has been ruled out long term due to an upcoming foot surgery. The first half was one to forget for Crown as they were outplayed badly and trailed 6-0 at the break. Despite the result being out of reach, Crown did play a more competitive second half as the game ended 8-1 with Brian breaking the DW shutout. The season ended on a sour note but the new look Shawn went out in style:
José Mourinho made a few changes as his Utd side travelled to Stoke looking to get back on the winning track. David De Gea continued in net but his backline looked a little different as Chris Smalling and Daley Blind took the places of Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian, joining Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia. Marouane Fellaini also got a rare start as he partnered Ander Herrera in the central midfield. Anthony Martial dropped to the bench, replaced by Juan Mata, but the rest of the attack was the same with Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic rounding things out. Wayne Rooney would have to hope his next shot at the club record for goals would come in a substitute appearance. Of note for Stoke, Peter Crouch was named to the starting 11 as he went for a personal milestone of his own, looking for his 100th career Premier League goal.
It all came down to this, one game separated the The TDA Bulls from the 3-peat. Their opponent in the Final was Genesis, clearly their best competition this past regular season. With regulars Phil (injured) and Justin (getting 😼s down from 🌲s) out, Ricardo was called in to sub, and despite falling ill earlier that day, he still showed as he did not want to let us down and leave of short-handed…now that is a team player, we love you Ricky. Another big loss was that leading scorer Kim was also unable to make it, so who would step up to fill the role?, you will have to read on. Genesis were boosted by the late addition on everyone’s favorite turncoat Brandon so the game promised to be closer than the regular season standings showed.
Manchester Utd hit the road to take on Stoke on Saturday looking to get back in the win column. Utd had their 9-game winning streak broken by the 1-1 draw with Liverpool last weekend but the unbeaten run over all competitions continued and hit 16 matches. With top 5 rivals Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal all with plum home fixtures this weekend it is an important 3 points to get. Their previous meeting at Old Trafford earlier this season ended in a 1-1 tie, highlighted by an outstanding performance in net by Stoke’s Lee Grant. The Potters are being led by an unlikely source as Peter Crouch has enjoyed a return to form over the last few weeks, and Marco Arnautovic scored a pair of goals in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Sunderland. Let’s talk Utd more in depth now and how José Mourinho could line up for this clash.