Virtual Football League
www.safaribet.com.gh
Football is always in action. Now you can bet on Virtual Football League
Virtual Horse Classics
www.safaribet.com.gh
Bet on a virtual horse classics. Choose your favorite and win!

Juan Mata: There is no game like Liverpool v Manchester United

Published in England Premier League
Friday, 13 October 2017 09:46

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has revealed that no other game in the Premier League calendar compares to Liverpool against Manchester United.

The two bitter rivals go head-to-head on Saturday, with the unbeaten United sitting joint top of the table while Liverpool are five places back in seventh.

Liverpool have won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions and will hope to reignite their season with a victory in front of their own fans.

Mata has fond memories of Anfield, having scored twice in a 2-1 win during the 2014/15 season – including a stunning scissor kick.
And the midfielder has revealed he cannot wait for kick off on Saturday lunchtime.

When asked if the fixture is United’s biggest game of the season, he told Sky Sports: "I believe so, since I came here I always knew the rivalry was big over the years. Everyone in the training ground, fans in the street, they remind you that Liverpool is the game.

"There is no game like this. Through the history there have been great games, big rivalries, and it is a special game to play in, and we feel very lucky to have the chance to play in these games.

"The view from Spain I think is that all of the big Premier League games are viewed similarly. Once you are in England you realise United v Liverpool stands out.
"I have pretty good memories from our games against Liverpool. Every United supporter even now, after a few years, remind me of that goal. When you play for United and score at Anfield and win the game, it stays in peoples' minds."

The Anfield crowd are sure to provide United with a hostile atmosphere, but Mata is adamant his side can quieten them down if they go into the game with the right attitude.

"It's tough. It's a tough atmosphere. Obviously, the stadium is full of supporters wanting their team to go over us and win. That's what makes football special. Not speaking about violence at all, but about the atmosphere. You have to have personality to play in these games,” he added.

"If we manage to impose ourselves in the game to control the emotions from the crowd, and play good football, I think we have a chance to win."

Parker: Mourinho has got United right in one season, the same can’t be said of Klopp and Liverpool

Published in England Premier League
Friday, 13 October 2017 09:44

Paul Parker has been impressed with Manchester United’s improvement under Jose Mourinho and expects the Old Trafford club to win their fixture against Liverpool this weekend.

I think Manchester United will beat Liverpool this weekend. The match represents United’s biggest test this season. However, United are a different proposition to last year. Mourinho’s men have absorbed everything that has been thrown at them. Unlike last season, Mourinho will go there and look for more than a point.

Mourinho’s default is to be conservative, particularly in away games, so don’t expect swashbuckling attacking play. However, they will actually try to do more with the ball than they did at Anfield last season, when they were more than content to leave Liverpool monopolise possession. Mourinho has more trust in *his* team now. Last season he went there looking not to lose and served up one of the worst ever Premier League games. United started well but then it was 80 minutes of cold custard.

This time United have a strong backbone - they look solid, they have improved. If you look at Liverpool, they have failed to address the glaring issues from last year. Yes, they signed Mohamed Salah but they still lack a goalkeeper and the defence remains ramshackle. Their centre-halves simply aren’t good enough.

WHERE KLOPP HAS FAILED, MOURINHO HAS SUCCEEDED

Both sides had huge issues last season. However, United addressed theirs, while Liverpool have let them fester. United have signed well (more on that below) but Mourinho has also improved the players he inherited, take for example Marouane Fellaini. Klopp has neither improved defensive players at his disposal nor signed better players to address their issues.
Defensively, the Reds look like they have gone backwards and look more porous than they were back under Brendan Rodgers. At least his side were great going forward; defensively they might not have survived in the second division and they appear to have gotten worse.

"Mourinho has got Manchester United right in one season but Liverpool still look all at sea after two years into Klopp’s tenure. "
The pressure will eventually start to ramp up on Klopp – he will definitely get to the end of the season, but if there are no signs of improvement between now and then he might be in trouble. It is pretty poor that they did not have a back-up plan when they missed out on Virgil van Dijk. They identified the problem and did not solve it.

Every championship-winning team has a standout goalkeeper and back four. Liverpool have neither. Yes, they have Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah but when Liverpool dominated the league, it was because of their defence. Not anymore. Klopp brought in a goalkeeper (Loris Karius) that is no better than the one they already had (Simon Mignolet).

The defence have no trust in Mignolet. You need a keeper with a personality and Simon Mignolet does not have one; he lacks the arrogance that all greats have. Liverpool look worried at set-piece situations and his concentration levels are not good enough.

MATIC THE KEY TO UNITED TRANSFORMATION

Mourinho has Romelu Lukaku realising how good he is. And he compares very favourably to Ibrahimovic, the Swede scored great goals for United but was he a great goalscorer? Lukaku has the makings of a great goalscorer and suits them perfectly. He has been in the right place at the right time and has that hunger to play.
However, the player who has made the real difference to United is Nemanja Matic. He has been a very shrewd signing, who gives United perfect balance. He is a big man but is certainly more brains than brawn, with smart passing and cute interceptions. There is no doubt that he has freed Paul Pogba, too. Pogba no longer feels he has to take on the world to justify his price. Matic has made the rest of the team look and feel better.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic must not rush Manchester United return - surgeon

Published in England Premier League
Wednesday, 04 October 2017 08:11

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been warned not to rush his Manchester United return by surgeon Freddie Fu Ho-keung, who operated on his knee in May.

Ibrahimovic has not played since suffering a career-threatening knee ligament injury in United's Europa League quarter-final second leg match against Anderlecht at Old Trafford in April.

"He (Zlatan) is very strong but soccer is still a combative sport. As a doctor, of course I want to see him return as slow as possible, only when he is fully fit for the game," Fu told the South China Morning Post.

"There have been many cases of a player returning prematurely with bad consequences."
United manager Jose Mourinho is keen on leaving the 35-year-old striker out of first-team plans until January though he included him in the squad for the Champions League group stage which runs from September to December.

"I have no worry about his injury as it always takes time to fully recover," Fu added.

"In fact the EPL (Premier League) has just started and I am sure Manchester United would not need the player urgently for any crucial game either in the league or European competitions."

Ibrahimovic finished as the club's top scorer last season with 28 goals in 46 appearances.

Scan reveals no serious injury for Romelu Lukaku who remains a doubt for Belgium

Published in England Premier League
Wednesday, 04 October 2017 07:50

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has been cleared of serious injury after having his ankle scanned while on international duty with Belgium.

Lukaku needed to be checked after being hurt in United's 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday, in which he scored his 11th goal since joining the club from Everton in the summer.

The 24-year-old will now be put on a special training programme in the hope of proving his fitness for Belgium's World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia on Saturday and Cyprus on Tuesday.

A statement from the Belgian football association, the KBVB, read: "Romelu Lukaku underwent an MRI scan but no fracture or structural damage has been diagnosed.
"The next days he will follow an individual training program.

"It is however too early to state that he won't be match fit for the Bosnia and/or Cyprus game."

News the injury is not serious will be a relief to United ahead of their Premier League trip to Liverpool on October 14.

Belgium, who have already qualified for Russia 2018, are without captain Vincent Kompany for their upcoming fixtures. The Manchester City defender, who has not played since the last international break due to a calf injury, was called up for assessment but has now returned to his club to continue his recovery.

Manchester United preparing £155m bid for Paulo Dybala – report

Published in England Premier League
Monday, 25 September 2017 07:48

Manchester United are preparing a bid of £155million for Juventus forward Paulo Dybala according to a report.

The Mirror say that whilst United know Barcelona are interested in Dybala, and are his preferred destination, they will try to sign him next summer with a fee of £155m likely to be enough to persuade Juventus to sell.

Dybala has started the season in fine form with ten goals in just six Serie A games.
Recently general manager Beppe Marotta admitted the club would be powerless if Dybala decided he wanted to leave, even though the forward has no release clause.

The Mirror’s report says that one factor in United’s favour is the fact that executive vice chairman Ed Woodward has a good relationship with Marotta and the United chief has told Dybala’s management they would be interested in signing the forward.
In the summer of 2016 United re-signed Paul Pogba from Juventus in what was then a world-record fee of £89million.

In the past Pogba has been very vocal in his praise for Dybala saying “I call Dybala 'Square R2'. That's the combination you press on PlayStation to do a turn and shot. He always scores like that.

“Has he surprised me? No, because I always said he was a phenomenon. To do what he has done, playing for Juve, is something phenomenal."

OUR VIEW

Everything we've heard about this Dybala story so far has been that he wants to go to Barcelona.

Having failed to sign Philippe Coutinho you'd imagine Barcelona could afford him.
Dybala has admitted in the past that he and Lionel Messi haven't had 'a great relationship' but that's not to say they couldn't form one.

A player of his calibre could easy fit into any team in the world, it may be a straight decision for Dybala as to whether he's prefer Barcelona or United.

Jose Mourinho sent off as Manchester United hold on for win at Southampton

Published in England Premier League
Sunday, 24 September 2017 07:59

St Mary's, Premier League - Southampton 0 Manchester United 1 (Lukaku 20')

Jose Mourinho was sent off at the death as Romelu Lukaku's first-half goal secured a 1-0 victory for Manchester United against Southampton.

Manchester United struggled to find their feet in the first half, and their Belgian striker's quick reactions gave them the lead against the run of play.

Southampton had just one home goal in 725 minutes of play in the league, and struggled to find their way past David de Gea.
In the second half, the home team ramped up the pressure on United, and Marouane Fellaini had to head an effort off the line from Oriel Romeu's attempt at goal. Romeu missed two other excellent chances to equalise.

United finished the game with six defenders in their team, but had to make do without Mourinho after he was sent off at the death after creeping on to the pitch. United remain in touch with Manchester City at the top, but fall into second on goal difference.

TALKING POINT

Who will blink first? While Manchester United are now behind on goal difference, they displayed the concentration and focus required to suggest that they are able to grind out victories as well as blast the opposition away. United should be confident of a win against Crystal Palace, and Liverpool are out of sorts – it is tough to see where their or City's first defeat will come from.
MAN OF THE MATCH

Phil Jones (Manchester United): He was at fault against Stoke, but this was another improved performance from Jones. He was at his best when he didn't have to think, and the relentless pressure from Southampton was to his advantage. He played to his strengths and was on hand to provide plenty of blocks and cover in and around the penalty box.

PLAYER RATINGS

Southampton: Forster 7, Cedric 7, Hoedt 6, Yoshida 7, Bertrand 6, Lemina 6, Romeu 6, Tadic 6, Davis 6, Redmond 6, Long 6. Subs: Ward-Prowse 6, Gabbiadini 6, Austin
Manchester United: De Gea 7, Valencia 7, Bailly 7, Jones 8, Young 6, Matic 6, Fellaini 6, Mata 6, Mkhitaryan 6, Rashford 6, Lukaku 7. Subs: Blind 6, Smalling 5, Herrera 6.

KEY EVENTS

5' - FORSTER SAVE - Rashford breaks down the left, is tackled by Hoedt as he overruns it, and the ball runs to Mkhitaryan on the edge of the box. He drills in a low shot that is easily stopped by Forster.

20' - GOAL! Southampton 0-1 Manchester United. Lukaku scores - Young swings in a cross from the left, Lukaku meets it, Forster flaps at it quickly, but Lukaku reacts to tap it in.
51' - ROMEU MISS - Long finds Tadic on the right, but the bal is bundled away. The corner is swung in, it drops to Romeu in the six-yard box, and he toes it wide. What a miss.

67' - FELLAINI CLEARANCE - Jones concedes United's seventh corner. Tadic's cross to the back post sees Fellaini head Romeu's effort off the line.

78' - ROMEU SHOT - So close for Southampton. Romeu gets onto the end of Gabbiadini's through ball slips the ball past De Gea, and just wide of the post.

90+5' - MOURINHO IS OFF! Mourinho has been sent off for going onto the pitch to direct his players. Absolutely well worth the sending off that, good job everyone. He takes about two minutes to walk off.

KEY STAT

Southampton have scored in just two of their last 12 Premier League home games.

Romelu Lukaku: United fans meant well but let's move on from chant

Published in England Premier League
Saturday, 23 September 2017 10:07

Romelu Lukaku knows Manchester United fans "meant well with their songs" but hopes everyone can move on from chanting Kick It Out called "racist".

The 24-year-old has swiftly established himself as a fans' favourite since his big-money summer switch from Everton, thanks in no small part to six goals in as many games.

Lukaku already has a couple of chants in his honour, although one to the tune of the Stone Roses' Made of Stone has caused controversy as it references the size of his penis - a song the striker hopes will stop.
"Great backing since I joined #MUFC," he was quoted as saying on the club's official Twitter account. "Fans have meant well with their songs but let's move on together. #RespectEachOther"

The song, using a stereotype about black men, led anti-discrimination body Kick It Out to call for action against the "racist" chant.

United contacted relevant bodies to see whether the song could be categorised as racism by the letter of the law, while saying in a statement they have a "zero tolerance towards all forms of discrimination".

The club posted on social media ahead of Wednesday's Carabao Cup match against Burton that "action will be taken against any offensive behaviour", reminding supporters of the club's commitment to inclusivity.
Stewards were briefed on the matter before the match and prepared to act where necessary, with United liaising with supporters' groups before kick-off.

Midway through the first half a chant to the tune of Made of Stone was heard at Old Trafford, with a pocket of fans chanting about Lukaku but having appeared to tweak the words.

"We'll sing what we want" would get a heartier rendition on a night where it is understood there were no arrests or complaints to the Greater Manchester Police.

Lukaku was an unused substitute in the 4-1 defeat of Burton, but is set to go back into the starting line-up as United return to Premier League action at Southampton on Saturday.

Romelu Lukaku: United fans meant well but let's move on from chant

Published in England Premier League
Friday, 22 September 2017 08:12

Romelu Lukaku knows Manchester United fans "meant well with their songs" but hopes everyone can move on from chanting Kick It Out called "racist".

The 24-year-old has swiftly established himself as a fans' favourite since his big-money summer switch from Everton, thanks in no small part to six goals in as many games.
Lukaku already has a couple of chants in his honour, although one to the tune of the Stone Roses' Made of Stone has caused controversy as it references the size of his penis - a song the striker hopes will stop.
"Great backing since I joined #MUFC," he was quoted as saying on the club's official Twitter account. "Fans have meant well with their songs but let's move on together. #RespectEachOther"

The song, using a stereotype about black men, led anti-discrimination body Kick It Out to call for action against the "racist" chant.

United contacted relevant bodies to see whether the song could be categorised as racism by the letter of the law, while saying in a statement they have a "zero tolerance towards all forms of discrimination".

The club posted on social media ahead of Wednesday's Carabao Cup match against Burton that "action will be taken against any offensive behaviour", reminding supporters of the club's commitment to inclusivity.
Stewards were briefed on the matter before the match and prepared to act where necessary, with United liaising with supporters' groups before kick-off.

Midway through the first half a chant to the tune of Made of Stone was heard at Old Trafford, with a pocket of fans chanting about Lukaku but having appeared to tweak the words.

"We'll sing what we want" would get a heartier rendition on a night where it is understood there were no arrests or complaints to the Greater Manchester Police.

Lukaku was an unused substitute in the 4-1 defeat of Burton, but is set to go back into the starting line-up as United return to Premier League action at Southampton on Saturday.

Manchester United will miss Paul Pogba, says Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Published in Champions League
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 07:02

Manchester United may struggle to maintain their explosive start to the Premier League season if injured midfielder Paul Pogba is out for long, the club's playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan has said.

Pogba hurt his hamstring during United's Champions League win over Basel last week and will undergo further scans to determine his recovery period.

The France international, who captained United against the Swiss champions, limped off in the 3-0 win and some reports have suggested he could be out for 12 weeks with a muscle tear.

But manager Jose Mourinho has said the nature of the injury would not be known until after the results of the scans.
United thumped Everton 4-0 over the weekend with Marouane Fellaini stepping in for Pogba but Mkhitaryan said the club would miss Pogba's creativity that has help them script big victories this season.

"It's hard, because he's a top player for us," he told France's SFR Sport.

" It's going to be very difficult, but the coach knows how to make up for that and we're going to help him come back stronger.""
Mourinho's side share top spot in the Premier League table with Manchester City and have 13 points from five games. Both Manchester clubs have scored 16 goals and conceded only two.

United host Championship side Burton Albion in the third round of the League Cup on Wednesday before travelling to Southampton in the league on Saturday.

Manchester United v Everton preview: Red meets blue on Super Sunday

Sunday, 17 September 2017 07:57

Red meets blue in the second part of Super Sunday as Manchester United host Everton in a mouth-watering Premier League clash.

United have made their best start to a Premier League season (after four games) since Sir Alex Ferguson departed.

They go into the weekend top of the Premier League and have already spent more nights top of the tree this season (34 up to an including Friday night) than in the previous four seasons combined (16), since the departure of Ferguson.
Hope has sprung eternal that United could sustain their strong early season form, although Jose Mourinho has never beaten Ronald Koeman as a manager in five meetings between the two.

Confidence could be low within the away ranks though after back-to-back 3-0 defeats (Tottenham and Atalanta) with Koeman criticising the team's attitude in the surprise thrashing in Italy.

Team news

Paul Pogba's hamstring injury rules the midfielder out.

The 24-year-old limped off in Tuesday's Champions League win against Basle - a match Phil Jones and Eric Bailly missed through suspension. Mourinho intends to bring the pair back in at centre-back on Sunday.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo continue their recovery from knee ligament damage, while Luke Shaw is pushing for a recall after recovering from ligament damage in his foot.

Ross Barkley (hamstring), Ramiro Funes Mori (knee), Yannick Bolasie (knee) and Seamus Coleman (broken leg) all remain out of contention for Everton, but Morgan Schneiderlin should return to face his former club as will Wayne Rooney.

Opta stats

Manchester United have won 18 and lost just one of their last 24 Premier League home games against Everton, losing 0-1 in December 2013 while former Everton boss David Moyes was in charge of them.
Everton have lost more Premier League games versus Man Utd than against any other side in the competition (33).

Sunderland still have more Premier League away wins in 2017 so far (2) than Everton (1).

Jose Mourinho has faced Koeman more times without winning (5) than any other manager in the Premier League.

Romelu Lukaku has scored four goals in his first four Premier League apps for Manchester United, only two players have scored five goals in their opening five games for the Red Devils (5 - Louis Saha and Robin van Persie).
Rooney (or Schneiderlin) could become the eighth different player to score against Manchester United having already played for them in the Premier League (Hughes, Dublin, Ince, Gillespie, Berg, Campbell and Welbeck).

Gylfi Sigurdsson has been directly involved in six goals in his last six Premier League appearances against Man Utd (three goals, three assists), including netting in his last appearance at Old Trafford in April for Swansea.

Paul Merson's prediction

Everton have disappointed me this season. They have signed all these players but last week they got ripped apart by Tottenham and they weren't much better at Stamford Bridge before that. I don't see anything other than a comfortable Manchester United win.

Pogba has been playing well and will be a miss, although not in this game. Marouane Fellaini will come in and will probably cause Everton problems. They will be alright for this game without Pogba.
Everton are up against odds of 9/1 with Sky Bet to leave Old Trafford with a win as Manchester United are considered 1/3 favourites. Jose Mourinho's men headed into the weekend as 11/4 second favourites for the title, while the Toffees have drifted out from 7/1 to 18/1 for a top-four finish. Lukaku heads the first goalscorer betting at 11/4, with Wayne Rooney enhanced from 11/1 to 14/1 to net first in Sky Bet's Price Boosts.

Page 1 of 7

Football

First Ballon d'Or nominees announced

First Ballon d'Or nominees announced

The first Ballon d'Or nominees have been announced with Chelsea's N'Golo Kante amongst the players p...

African Football

Football Transfers

Djilibodji is loaned to Dijon

Djilibodji is loaned to Dijon

French side Dijon have completed the signing of defender Papy Djilibodji on loan from Sunderland. T...

Virtual Football League
www.safaribet.com.gh
Football is always in action. Now you can bet on Virtual Football League

Sponsored Links

Virtual Football League
www.safaribet.com.gh
Football is always in action. Now you can bet on Virtual Football League

Like Us On Facebook

Formula 1

    Tennis

    Connect With Us

    Contact Us

    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Our Sponsors

    JoomShaper