Connect with us

Opinions

Top 5 this weekend: Chelsea v/s United’s midfield battle, Matic’s return, Ajax v/s PSV and more…

The latest feature (the first of many new ones on this website) is our way of getting football enthusiasts excited for the weekend. “Top 5 this Weekend” provides you with a list of things you can look forward to this weekend, thus assisting you in helping your football viewing. This feature will be published every Friday, looking ahead to all the football action on the weekend, with a slight tactical tinge. No more boring previews, no more pointless Friday articles, “Top 5 this Weekend” will satisfy your Friday football reading needs.

Week Five

Chelsea welcome United

Sunday will see a clash between two of the Premier Leagues big names, as Manchester United make the journey to London to take on Mourinho’s Chelsea. United come into the game on the back of a solid win against Swansea last weekend, but prior to that, they had suffered 3 defeats in a row, and have generally been quite unconvincing. Chelsea on the other hand, have started to pick up their form and are looking dangerous. Since the defeat at Sunderland, the Blues have conceded just once, with some defensive control returning to the team.

The game will be interesting for two things. Some of United’s recent victories over Chelsea have come after the champions have used cut backs and wide areas very effectively. Last season, they picked up 3 points in this fixture with narrow 2-3 victory in a game marred by controversy. Their best player that day was Robin van Persie, who scored one and basically forced Luiz’s own goal. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, the Dutchman is expected to miss the game, and their talisman Wayne Rooney is also out. Their wing play this season hasn’t been particularly impressive either, the game against Tottenham (analysis here) representing a real low for Antonio Valencia. With the Chelsea defence looking strong too, United will have their work cut out if they want to pick up the three points and end Jose’s enviable record at the Bridge.

The other aspect is the midfield battle. That’s another area where  United have been weak. Even with Fellaini, the player who was brought in to add steel to that area of the park, they struggled in the defeat to Everton (analysis here). The return of Darren Fletcher will obviously help, but it may not be enough. Chelsea themselves have had trouble in midfield this season. The promising van Ginkel has been sidelined, and this has left Mourinho with a paucity of options here. Essien hasn’t been up to the mark, and Mikel, Lampard and Ramires have had to hold the fort. This weekend, Lampard is injured, which could mean that the Blues go in with Mikel and Ramires, a combination that often turns too defensive because neither is really a good forward passer, or we could see the second debut of Nemanja Matic.

Matic’s Return

In what seemed to be a difficult area of the park, Mourinho has identified Nemanja Matic, and the club went and got him for a fee of between 20-25 million pounds, depending on the sources you believe. The transfer was a tad embarrassing for the Blues, as Matic was previously at the Bridge, but was used as makeweight in the deal for David Luiz. Regardless of how it reflects on their transfer policy, Chelsea have signed a good player as Matic could well be the right player to complement Ramires in the middle of the park. The Serb can sit and allow him to run forward, and is a fine passer of the ball. He also adds to the defensive and offensive capabilities of the side from set pieces. The Serbian is a good all round player, and will be an asset as Chelsea look to chase the league title.

However, whether 3 days of training are enough to get him playing at a good level or not is a big doubt. Midfield is an area where one needs to have a good understanding with team mates. Also, throwing him into the starting line up for such an important fixture may be a bit risky, as he still has to prove himself in the league.

Seedorf’s Serie A Debut

Allegri’s plans to leave AC Milan were advanced a little as the Italian got the sack this week after a poor showing by the side in the 4-3 defeat to Sassuolo, a club from a town with a lower population than Milan’s stadium capacity. The discontent has long been evident at the club, with fans and Barbara Berlusconi alike expressing displeasure with the team of Allegri and Galliani in the past, and it has come to a head now, with the sacking.

Allegri is gone, and has been replaced by former Milan player and fan favourite, Clarence Seedorf. The Dutch midfielder had a very productive stint at the Rossonieri, and retired as a player from Botafogo to make his debut as a manager. In midweek, he watched from the stands as the team beat Spezia 3-1 to make the last 8 of the Coppa Italia. He doesn’t have an easy start to life as a manager either, with his first game coming against high flying Hellas Verona. Seedorf will want to get off to his life as a manager on the front foot to try and get the fans behind the team. He’s also going to have to instill confidence in a team that has been poor in the first half of the season, and coax the best out of players like Balotelli who have the potential to take Milan up the table. It will be interesting to see how he fares.

Ajax and PSV lock horns

One of the most intense rivalries in Dutch football will be reignited this weekend, as PSV Eindhoven travel to the Amsterdam Arena to take on the leaders and defending champions, Ajax Amsterdam. The teams are led by former stars, and both have a whole host of young and talented players, but the similarities end there. PSV currently sit in 7th place in the table, 11 points behind their rivals and leaders Ajax. Despite the fact that likes of Wijnaldum, Bakkali and Depay play there along with a host of other talents, PSV have been unable to do as well as they were expected to, and find themselves well adrift of their rivals.

Ajax, on the other hand, have been very impressive. They had a slow start, and the sale of their star man Eriksen set them back a little, but they’ve bounced back with young Davy Klaassen chipping in with some great performances. Aside from that, even the move to shift Daley Blind from the wide left to the centre of midfield into the ‘Busquets Role’ has worked like a charm, with many experts calling for him to take on that role for the national team as well.

The game is going to be a close fought one, with a lot at stake for both sides, aside from the bragging rights of course. PSV need the win to get a bit closer to the leaders, and try and grab one of the European spots, whereas a slip up by Ajax will see them losing ground to Vitesse, who are currently neck and neck with De Boer’s side, trailing only on goal difference.

AS Saint Etienne take on Lille

This weekend also sees an important battle in the French Ligue 1; 4th place St. Etienne will entertain LOSC Lille, currently in third. 6 points separate the 2 sides prior to kick off, but a win for the home team will narrow it down, and make the race for that spot very interesting.

St. Etienne have a bunch of very talented players led by the impressive Kurt Zouma. The team will be looking to maximise their home ground advantage and attack Lille. The attack at St. Ettiene has done well thus far this season, and they’ll be looking to top scorer Romain Hamouma for the impetus.

Lille will look to put an end to their slightly inconsistent run. This is a very talented team, but their form book makes for some worrying reading, with the last 6 games seeing 3 wins, 2 losses and a draw. Kalou and Roux lead the scoring charts for the team, and will be looking to get on the scoresheet again, easier said than done of course.

Vishal Patel

Vishal Patel

Massive Chelsea supporter. Follow Mourinho and love Ronaldinho. Enjoy discussing tactics anytime, anywhere. Enjoy watching the Italian National team as well.
Vishal Patel

100 to Watch

Latest

Talent Radar9 hours ago

Serie A’s 10 Young Players to Watch in 2017-18

Simone Torricini brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Serie A this season. The Under-20 World...

Tactical Analysis9 hours ago

Tactical Analysis: Manchester United 4-0 West Ham | Fluidity and exploitation

Ryan Quinn writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Premier League game that finished Manchester United 4-0 West Ham Following the signings...

Talent Radar5 days ago

Eredivisie’s 10 Young Players to Watch in 2017-18

Mosope Ominiyi brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Eredivisie this season. Justin Kluivert // Ajax...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

Primeira Liga’s 10 Young Players to Watch in 2017-18

Jose Miguel Saraiva brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Primeira Liga this season.

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Ainsley Maitland-Niles | Arsenal’s Versatile Prospect

Mosope Ominiyi provides a detailed scout report on Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Arsenal’s versatile prospect. Arsene Wenger announced that along with 17-year-old winger...

Specials2 weeks ago

Lazio’s Golden Age: The Sergio Cragnotti Era

Football News 24/7  Sam McKeever has a look back at Lazio’s golden era in the 90’s under the ownership of Sergio...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Analysis: Why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing

Kaushik Goswami has a look at why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing. Having already lured Romelu...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Monaco’s Moves: Why the Football World should pay attention

While the football world is focused on the players being sold by Monaco, Alex Lynch has a look at how...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Joel Pereira | Manchester United’s Agile Goalkeeper

Mateus Carvalho provides a comprehensive scout report on Joel Pereira, Manchester United’s agile goalkeeper. At the end of the last season, José...

Talent Radar3 weeks ago

Talent Radar: CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017 | U-23 Team of the Tournament

Football News 24/7  Jose Miguel Saraiva gives us his U-23 Team of the recently concluded CONCACAF Gold Cup featuring the...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Blindside Movements And Mental Overloads: Breaking Down Maurizio Sarri’s Tactics

Cheuk Hei Ho breaks down Maurizio Sarri’s tactics at Napoli looking at how the Italian giants use passing, blindside movements,...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Bayern Munich: What’s their game plan?

Alankrith Shankar writes a detailed article of how we can expect Bayern Munich to set up in the 2017-18 season....

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Juan Foyth | Estudiantes’ Ball-Playing Defender

Kaustubh Pandey provides a detailed scout report about Juan Foyth, Estudiantes’ ball-playing defender. Argentina has, since time immemorial, been a...

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Dayot Upamecano | RB Leipzig’s Precocious Talent

Mateus Carvalho provides a detailed scout report about Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig’s precocious talent. RB Leipzig is a source of...

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Philip Billing | Huddersfield’s young midfielder

Patrick Mills provides a detailed scout report about Philip Billing, Huddersfield’s young midfielder. Against the odds, Huddersfield Town, one of the...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Amin Younes: How the German international has redeemed his career

Alex Lynch charts the progress of Amin Younes from his days at Gladbach to his current success at Ajax Besides...

Scout Report4 weeks ago

Scout Report: Edgar Ié | Belenenses’ quick defender

Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about Edgar Ié, the Belenenses and Portugal centre back. Portugal has been facing...

Opinions4 weeks ago

The Impact of Refereeing Decisions and Need for Technology

Dayann C has a look at the impact of refereeing decisions and need for technology focusing on Barcelona’s comeback win...

Scout Report1 month ago

Scout Report: João Cancelo | Valencia’s Forward Thinking Right-Back

Mateus Carvalho writes a detailed scout report about João Cancelo, Valencia’s forward thinking right-back. Throughout the years it has been fairly...

Scout Report1 month ago

Scout Report: Bruno Fernandes | The young Portugese leader

Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about the Portugal and Sporting CP midfielder, Bruno Fernandes. When one listens...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 2016-17

More on Outside of the Boot