Liverpool have booked their place in the last eight of the UEFA Champions League. This is the first time they would go this far in the continental competition since the 2008/09 season. Following their 5-0 demolition of FC Porto in the first leg of the fixture away, it was a done deal. They played a goalless draw in the return leg at Anfield.
Player turned pundit Owen Hargreaves opines that Liverpool have the easiest draw in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. The former Manchester United man says the Reds are lucky to have Porto as their next opponent when the continental tournament restarts in February.
Well given the other possibilities Coach Jurgen Klopp would be contented that they got Porto as the pool of second Pot had very tough teams. With the Porto draw, Liverpool avoid top teams like Real Madrid and Juventus. Many, including Hargreaves, expect Liverpool to get past the Portuguese side in the knockout phase.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has confirmed that French midfielder Paul Pogba will be making his injury comeback alongside the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo in the festive fixtures this weekend. The France international has missed the last 12 outings for United with a hamstring injury sustained during the 3-0 Champions League triumph over Basel in September.
Speaking to MUTV, Mourinho was relieved to have the midfielder back in his ranks, he said: “[With] Paul, now I can speak because he’s back. I didn’t like to speak while he was injured, but you can clearly see Manchester United this season before Paul’s injury and after Paul’s injury. There are qualities in our football, there are qualities that influence our approach in matches with Pogba and without Pogba – it’s as simple as that.” Continue reading
Former Bundesliga star Owen Hargreaves strongly opines that current Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp would not leave Anfield for the Allianz Arena. With the sack of Carlo Ancelotti, Bayern is searching for a long term replacement. Following their bad experience with Ancelotti, the Germans would be less likely to employ another experiment; they would likely go for tested and familiar hands.
Hargreaves says the German serial champions cannot take Klopp away from the Merseyside. There are better chances for Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann and former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel.
On August 8 of 2016, Paul Pogba became the most expensive football player ever after Manchester United splashed out €105 million in luring him away from Juventus and into Old Trafford.
During his debut season of his return to the English Premier League club, Paul Pogba could not really live up to the expectations or to his price tag as the impact that the French player made in the club was not really significant or influential in any real way.
The €105 million man could only score 5 goals and create 4 assists for his teammates in 30 appearances. This is not really impressive for a player that had such a big price tag; people were expecting to see him be more of an influential figure.
Former Manchester United player, Owen Hargreaves is not surprised in any way to see those stats as the BT Sport pundit said: Continue reading
Former Manchester United player Owen Hargreaves has had a few things to say concerning the 24 year old midfielder Paul Pogba who became the most expensive football signing ever after completing his move from Juventus over to Manchester United on August of 2016 for a transfer fee of £89 million.
After Paul Pogba´s transfer to Manchester United was done, expectations were high for the French player as supporters of the club and of the player himself wanted to see him showcasing his skills as well as proving why the Premier League club decided to splash out so much cash in a performer.
Unfortunately, those expectations were not met as Paul Pogba was a regular starter but he could not really shine as his performances were average at best. There wasn´t anything really game-changing from the French player who became the most expensive signing in the history of the sport.
During Pogba´s debut season in Old Trafford, he managed to make 30 appearances where the French player scored 5 goals and provided his teammates with 4 assists.
Owen Hargreaves has emerged and defended Paul Pogba as the former Manchester United player said that Pogba is being unfairly judged. Continue reading
Manchester United just concluded their 2016-17 Premier League season and in many ways, it was one of their most forgettable campaigns in recent times as Jose Mourinho could only push the team to a 6th spot finish in the top tier English League.
Finishing in the 6th position of the English Premier League is not good enough for a club to qualify for the UEFA Champions League but Manchester United was able to win the UEFA Europa League of that same season and are automatically qualified for the Champions League of the upcoming season of 2017-18.
Unfortunately for Jose Mourinho, one of his star players sustained an injury which left him unable to perform for the final stages of the season and this was what occurred with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
This injury forced the Portuguese coach on having to play the final 7 matches of the season without the Swedish attacker.
Wayne Rooney continues to underperform and now there are a number of players that have been linked with a potential move to Old Trafford including: Antoine Griezmann, Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala just to name a few.
According to the former Manchester United player and current pundit for BT Sport, Owen Hargreaves has revealed his thoughts on which attackers should Jose Mourinho focus on signing during this approaching summer transfer window as the 36 year old Canadian pundit said:
´´You have to look at what you have and what you desperately need. I think they need a Dybala-type player. Everybody speaks about Griezmann, I think Griezmann would be terrific. But I think Dybala, he’s a little bit younger, he’s going to be a superstar if he isn’t already. He would be magnificent. That star power that Ibra bought, I think Dybala could bring that as well.”
Owen Hargreaves also went on to praise the 19 year old rising star Marcus Rashford as the retiree stated that Rashford has what it takes to become the next big attacker for Manchester United but he still needs more time to fully develop himself as a player.
Former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves claims that the club lack the ability to win matches whenever Zlatan Ibrahimovic does not feature.
The Swedish striker has been a huge presence for the club this season. He has scored 28 goals in all competitions, and he is expected to be nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award. After having cost United nothing to join from Paris St Germain, he is already looking like transfers of the season – especially in comparison with Paul Pogba, who cost an astronomical £ 90 million. However, the presence of Ibrahimovic has been the only positive factor, as United have not been able to get performances from elsewhere across the pitch.
The likes of Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial have been disappointing this season. The lack of goals from these forwards coupled with players like Paul Pogba not contributing much in terms of goals has meant that Manchester United have been over reliant on the 35-year-old striker.
Owing to the lack of contribution from other players, it is looking highly unlikely that the club will be able to secure a top four finish at the end of the campaign. The club are currently four points behind Manchester City, who are in the top four place.
“Besides Ibrahimovic, Pogba, Herrera and Mata were out which is a lot of quality missing. They have got the most draws – if they could have turned those three or four draws into victories, they would genuinely be in the top four or competing for the title. They created tons of chances against West Brom – conversion is an issue for Mourinho when Ibrahimovic is missing,” said Hargreaves, who has the experience of winning Premier League titles. It is widely believed that José Mourinho will make significant changes to the squad in the summer in order to start challenging for the top honours.
Owen Hargreaves credits Antonio Conte for making those players look world-class whose abilities were questioned in the past.
Hargreaves says people were not sure if somebody like Marcos Alonso was up to the standard of the Premier League, if he belonged to this level, but, he is making such a hell of a lot of difference under Conte and has been the reason of several of Chelsea’s wins.
So, it’s actually the credit of the coach that he is taking 100% out of each individual who is at his disposal.
Hargreaves however refuses to declare Chelsea the certain Premiership winners at this stage.
Despite so many wins coming back to back for Chelsea; Hargreaves, who himself played in the Premiership for 5 years, is not convinced just yet that the title is well and truly in their grasp.
The former playmaker reckons the Blues can still lose the race.
As per Hargreaves, Chelsea has had the services of its main players available throughout the season so far and that’s why they are cruising, but, they will actually be tested when they have a couple of injury issues.
Singling out the Hazard-Costa duo, Hargreaves says if any one of those two is taken away from the eleven, the strength of Chelsea will decrease significantly because those two are of a different class and the other players playing at their positions can’t make the same impact that they are making.
Before Hargreaves, Jurgen Klopp had also talked about the same thing some time back and had suggested that Chelsea, which is way ahead in the points’ standings right now, may not have a cake walk in the second half of the season with their players due to get injured at some point of time.
Former Manchester City player Owen Hargreaves believes that despite the fairly slow start of the season that Manchester United has been going through; they still have a realistic opportunity of becoming the new champions of the Premier League.
Out of the 11 league matches that Manchester United has played so far, they have gathered 18 points with 5 triumphs, 3 defeats and 3 draws. This is not an extremely underwhelming start of season but Jose Mourinho and his squad have dropped a significant amount of points against opponents that they were expected to come out on top with a victory.
On October 2 of 2016, Manchester United locked horns with Stoke City in a match that concluded in a draw and 27 days later they had to settle with yet another tie but this time when facing off with Burnley.
Neither Burnley or Stoke City are considered to be title-contenders while Manchester United were one of the clubs that were initially expected to lift the Premier League, especially with the arrival of Jose Mourinho as the Portuguese is a manager with huge ambitions but these recent results have seen Manchester United slowly slipping away from the top spots and they are currently positioned at the 6th spot.
Even though Manchester United has been slipping away and losing a considerable amount of points, Owen Hargreaves believes that Jose Mourinho and his men still have a realistic chance of emerging as the champions but only if the Portuguese coach utilizes his best players as Hargreaves says:
“I think they can win the Premier League if Mourinho plays his best players. The team right now as it is won’t finish in the top four.”