Manchester United vs Valencia
Jose Mourinho and Manchester United are in a mess, but they still have a chance to get things right and recover from their recent slump when they play Spanish side Valencia in the Champions League.
The Red Devils need a win right now, especially after their embarrassing defeat to West Ham United last time out. The club is in chaos—with fans and pundits alike pointing the blame to manager Jose Mourinho—and only a victory will ease things for them, even just a little bit.
Struggling Valencia seem to be the perfect opponents for United at this point in time, though Marcelino and his men will also see the game against the English outfit as an opportunity to hit the ground running.
More pressure on Jose Mourinho
Mourinho’s days of being “special” seem to be over, and the Portuguese boss appears to be a mere shadow of his former self—struggling to find an answer to save his team and guide them back to relevance.
Manchester United have lost four and drew one of their last nine games in all competitions, and the future isn’t looking particularly bright for them with a three-game winless run.
They drew with Wolverhampton two weeks ago and everything has been in a downward spiral since then. The Red Devils bowed down to Derby County in a penalty shoot-out in the Carabao Cup before losing 3-1 to the Hammers at London Stadium.
While the team could have been forgiven had they played with intensity, that was not the case as Mourinho appeared to have lost the locker room. As what numerous outlets reported, the team played with no real desire and hunger against West Ham, and it’s all the manager to blame.
The pressure is indeed on Mourinho, and he needs to deliver if he wants to stay at Old Trafford. He still has the support of the club’s top brass and, perhaps, some of the fans. However, it remains to be seen how long can their patience last. After all, this is Manchester United we’re talking about.
Lifeless Pogba, Ineffective Sanchez
While all fingers point to Mourinho for United’s slump, Manchester United’s top players should also share the blame.
There are high expectations on Paul Pogba after his expensive return to Old Trafford two years ago, but he is yet to live up to his hefty price tag two seasons later.
Pogba’s conflict with Mourinho has been well documented too, with the Frenchman even stripped off the captaincy duties following his criticism of the manager’s defensive tactics even when playing at home. The 25-year-old midfielder, however, didn’t help his case as he was lifeless and non-impactful in 70 minutes of action against West Ham.
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba looking frustrated during a Premier League match against West Ham United
With the clear disconnect between the manager and his best player, their relationship looks like a ticking time bomb. In fact, according to the latest reports, Pogba made it clear he won’t back down against Mourinho and is even willing to stop playing for the Portuguese tactician.
Besides Pogba, Alexis Sanchez’ current form also doesn’t help Mourinho and the Red Devils. The Chilean forward showed flashes of brilliance during the preseason, but he failed to translate that form to top-flight level and has reverted back to his old self.
Sanchez hasn’t found the back of the net so far this season, and Mourinho has run out of patience and decided to drop him from the Starting XI.
The two will be crucial for Manchester United when they play host to Valencia, but the question remains if they are willing to play and if they will be at their best.
Can Valencia take advantage?
With all the off-the-pitch issues surrounding United, Valencia have a great chance to strike and make the Champions League 2018 news.
The team cannot become overconfident as they have only won once in their first seven games in La Liga. Nevertheless, they know they are in a way better form than United right now, and that they have the likes of Michy Batshuayi, Rodrigo, Kevin Gameiro, Santi Mina and Denis Cheryshev who they can lean on in difficult situations.
They lost to Juventus in their UCL opener, but they recently ended their winless skid with a clinical 1-0 win over Real Sociedad in the Spanish top flight.
The two clubs have played some close matches over the years, with five of their previous eight encounters—and four of the last five—ending in a draw.
Manchester United have won twice, the latest a 1-0 victory in their 2010/11 Champions League group stage match. Meanwhile, Valencia’s last win over the Red Devils was 36 years ago, a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in the 1982/83 UEFA Cup.
The Red Devils currently lead Group H of the Champions League after their 3-0 drubbing of Young Boys in the opener. Meanwhile, Valencia are third but remain point-less after also losing their opening fixture.
||Manchester United vs Valencia
||1X2 Draw @ 3.40
|October 03, 03:00 (GMT+8)
The Champions League 2018 odds at us put Manchester United way ahead of Valencia, but I don’t like their prospects of winning given their issues and current form. Besides, drawing with a team like Wolverhampton and then losing to a championship side aren’t easy to overlook.
I think both teams have an equal chance in this game, and it won’t be wrong to expect a draw at Old Trafford this time around.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:
| = €20 (Highly confident)
|| = €10 (CONFIDENT)
|| = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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