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Chief Mrs Eugenia Ngozi Dike
ICON RECIPIENT: Chief Mrs Eugenia Ngozi Dike.
November 3, 2018


MAN UNITED continued their roller coaster start to the season with a sterling performance at THE STAMFORD BRIDGE. To many who know JOSE MOURINHO teams, it was not a surprise, coupled with the boost of the phenomenal comeback of his team at OLD TRAFFORD fortnight ago, from two goals down, a game MOURINHO tagged A GAME OF TWO DIFFERENT HALVES.


As always, MOURINHO, usually sets up his teams in the big games either in a very unique way or by selecting an unusual personnel. Dropping the highest earner in the team to the bench (ALEXIS SANCHES) This time around, he combined the two but largely the former. In this game he chose what looked like an attack-minded selection, but set them up in a counter attacking manner. Allowing CHELSEA a lot of possession but restricting them to non dangerous areas(a tactic he often uses against possession-based teams, WENGER being is most victim) while bouncing on any errors by the BLUES. ASHLEY YOUNG was chosen to stay in HAZARD’s face while JUAN MATA a surprise inclusion in the starting 11 was mandated with being nuisance to JORGINHO, and MATA ended up having a hand in UNITED’s both goals. Though the BLUES managed to take the lead through a corner kick owing to PAUL POGBA’S defensive indiscipline. Knowing CHELSEA doesn’t pose much threat upfront through the middle and THE SARRI BALL discourages long ball, he concentrated on man-marking the two most influential men (HAZARD and JORGINHO), everything in the middle went through JORGINHO, who had a very good and influential first 45 minutes.

In the second half, when serious pressure was put on JORGINHO, with MATIC asked to step alittle further up the pitch, the SARRI BALL collapsed and according to SARRI, his players disobeyed him under pressure and resorted to long balls, which played into UNITED’s hands, once they got the equaliser, it became even more difficult for CHELSEA.




KOVACIC RELEVANCE– this man is very key to CHELSEA and how they want to play. He is very disciplined and offers protection to JORGINHO. Very intelligent on the ball and plays a huge role in transition. Once he was substituted, CHELSEA lost the battle in the midfield and had JORGINHO exposed, which UNITED quickly capitalised on.

CHELSEA LACK QUALITY IN CENTRE FORWARD – neither MORATA nor GIROUD is good enough to compliment the SARRI BALL. They do not possess the qualities. MORATA managed just a look at goal in the first 45 minutes while his substitute was anonymous throughout his time on the pitch. No surprises, they have only managed a combined 3 goals this season, in the league. SARRI must get a different type of striker in JANUARY to stand a chance to compete for trophies this season. Every move breaks down once it gets to their hands. I believe the SARRI BALL requires a quick, movement-oriented striker, or even a false 9.

MOURINHO IS TO BLAMED– for all he has cried about lack of quality, the last 2 performance/results have shown that MOURINHO has himself to blame for his teams woes this season. He must find a different way to motivate his team and get them to perform consistently in this form.

MARTIAL/RASHFORD– this pair have shown they have what it takes to play for UNITED if adequately motivated, utilised and managed. RASHFORD was key to ENGLAND destroying SPAIN last weekend while MARTIAL has consistently looked a different player recently. They both showed top quality discipline and power in their roles, while utilising their pace at every opportunity.

OVER RELIANCE ON HAZARD- other players must step up to compliment HAZARD efforts. MOURINHO selected ASHLEY YOUNG once more to shut down HAZARD and he once more proved he can do it. Though HAZARD was not poor in the game, but his impact was hugely reduced.


Whether UNITED will sustain this newly found form, is left to be seen, while we are soon to find out the true character of the SARRI BALL. It was indeed an entertaining and spectacular game of football at THE BRIDGE.


Article and Analysis by

Reginald Uche.