Such a shame we had the international break to truncate what felt like a steady improvement in our form and results. The momentum was building, and with so many players sent away on national team duties, the fear is that we are back to square one. Yet a fair few remained, and no major new injury woes, other than Rabiot has the Covids. I suspect like 99.9% of people who test positive, he will be fine.
Mourinho’s Roma sit in 4th, four points ahead of us. A victory would be superb in our comeback routine and inch us back towards the leading pack.
The self anointed special one has enjoyed a promising start to his tenure in the capital. Winning five of seven in the league and progressing comfortably in the new European conference tournament. Pellegrini and englishman Tammy Abraham have been leading the charge and both will need to be well marshalled.
As for our crowd…
Some talk of Chiellini joining Big Leo at the back, at the expense of De Ligt. The dutchman has enjoyed a strong opening few performances under Max. As with many others, improved under a more experienced coaching set-up. He wasn’t at his best last season, and neither were the majority of his team mates under Pirlo’s haphazard reign. And it came as no surprise to find him far from impressive in the EUROS, and yet still, I rate him as incredibly talented though also one of our few saleable assets.
Recent rumours of a move for Romagnoli tie in with a potential sale. Not sure how I feel on the idea, beyond a vague pleasure in becoming more italian as a side. Though given our hideous financial situation, it would not be a major surprise for the club to be considering how to monetise assets, speculate to accumulate…
Dybala is still injured, though back in 7-10 days, according to Allegri. Morata remains an unknown, though may be fit enough for the bench. Which means that Kean may well get a start. I hope so, as feel he is overly criticised by many and has worked hard enough to earn repeated recalls to Mancini’s Nazionale. He could even become a regular challenger to Immobile, who has far more a natural born goal scorers instinct, is just as quick maybe less crafty, but more physical and perhaps more intelligent a footballer.
In the middle, Max may well be realising our best bet is Locatelli with Bentancur. And yet Arthur is now fit, but not match sharp, so expect him to make an appearance after looking eager in the recent friendly with Alessandria.
Very hard to suggest how the side will line up, but I will hazard a guess at>>>
What impressed me most of the last two games was the major improvement in defending as a team. Which has been absent for far too long. We possess in the ranks – even with Ronaldo departed – an array of offensive talent, and yet we have proven a shambles defensively since Sarri left. Not to suggest we were great under Sarri, but we were functional, and he seemed far removed from an organic connection to the squad rather than tactically inept.
As for how Ronaldo is faring at United – which interests me as I have long followed more of the premier league than any other, as well as having some connection to United from my time in Manchester and my reverence for King Eric…I was one of his few detractors at Juve. Some of which is referenced on the financial front HERE. Beyond the huge investment of mega millions of EUROS, I have very rarely indeed criticised his performances, for he was prolific as a striker, broke records, often carried the side with his elite level determination to WIN WIN WIN. However, I felt he derailed any sense of potential development of others as soon as he arrived on the scene. All tactics had to be shoe horned around making the most of his amazing talents, which worked for him, but did not work so well for the development of the side as a whole.
Now at United, the same suspicion abounded before his first appearance for the club, and now morphs into a conviction. He is not a team player. He is a player to build a team around, and the difference between these focal points, I believe, is much of the reasoning behind why we are taking time now he has departed to learn how to exploit the best of those who for too long have been tasked to find Ronaldo, operating very much in his ever looming large shadow. Seeing Ole come out to say that the evergreen superstar wont be able to play every game from the start, but is one of the best of all time, even now, then Ronaldo’s apparent response of expecting to start every game. Cavani was a better option. Sancho appears a shadow of his former self. Greenwood is given far fewer chances. Bruno, as with Portugal, is less explosive…I am glad Ronaldo has gone.
I very much hope that this newfound defensive solidity continues to blossom, as we have enough in the final third, even missing Dybala and probably Morata, to beat most sides in the division IF we can defend as a team.
Roma presents a good opportunity for Kaio Jorge, who Max spoke highly of in his press conference, and also, despite the widespread condemnation on social media, we may well see Ramsey start.
Will hope it proves an entertaining match which continues our trajectory of reviving and becoming a team who work for each other and the collective strength provides the platform for our high level offensive talents to prosper.