Premier League Predictions: Hull to take another step towards safety, Man Utd set for tricky Burnley test

The FA Cup semi-finals mean there are only six Premier League games this weekend but that doesn’t mean the action is any less important, with some crucial twists and turns at the bottom end of the table certain to take place.

Hull City host Watford on Saturday afternoon, while Swansea know they need to take three points from their home clash with Stoke City at the same time. Manchester United and Liverpool can keep their top four hopes alive on Sunday, with United visiting Burnley before Liverpool welcome Crystal Palace to Anfield. Read on for all our Gameweek 34 predictions…

Bournemouth 2-0 Middlesbrough

Bournemouth may have got beaten 4-0 at Spurs last weekend but they have won two of their last three at home – both to sides below them in the table. It’s been eight months since Middlesbrough won an away game and they can’t score goals either. They know they have to win this game to keep any kind of survival hope alive beyond the weekend, but it’s difficult to see them leaving the south coast with anything on Saturday.

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Hull 2-1 Watford

Hull have been making progress in their battle against the drop and are outside the bottom three. Watford have easily secured Premier League football for next season and have little to play for, so a home win is a likely result.  

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Swansea 3-2 Stoke

This really is a must-win game for Stoke. It is the same story every single week at the moment but with Hull also playing at home on Saturday afternoon, the Swans need to get a result. Stoke beat Hull 3-1 last weekend but have lost four of their last five away games in the Premier League and don’t need this as much as the hosts. There could be goals here, but the Swans must ensure they edge it to boost their survival hopes with a month to go.

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West Ham 1-2 Everton 

West Ham have a squad riddled with injury and suspensions but are comfortably sitting in mid-table. They’ve only won once in their last six and the visit of Everton this weekend is going to be a tough ask. Romelu Lukaku has made light work of just about any opposition defence this season and this should be a winnable game for the Toffees if he is on form. 

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Burnley 1-1 Manchester United

Manchester United will guarantee a top four finish if they win each of their remaining league games. However, with a Europa League semi-final to prepare for and a mounting injury list at a crucial stage of the season, Jose Mourinho knows that the team’s priorities lie elsewhere.Burnley are still one of the league’s strongest sides at home and have actually won more points in front of their own fans that United have managed at Old Trafford this season. Score draw.

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Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace 

Liverpool have to continue to grind out wins like last weekend to ensure they finish in the top four this season. Crystal Palace aren’t completely out of trouble yet but should be able to avoid being pulled into a relegation battle considering some of their recent results. Liverpool to win again with a clean sheet. 

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Chelsea set to beat Spurs to PL title by 11 points if these results are anything to go by

The race for the Premier League title is continuing to keep fans guessing after Tottenham closed the gap on leaders Chelsea to just four points over the weekend. The two are set to face off for a place in the FA Cup Final this weekend in a huge game which will no doubt create even more talking points for who is going to end up winning the title.

Chelsea have a more favourable run-in on paper according to many fans and pundits alike and by looking into the results in the reverse fixtures, it is clear to see why that is the general consensus.

Chelsea’s remaining fixtures:

Southampton (H)
Everton (A)
Middlesbrough (H)
West Brom (A)
Watford (H)
Sunderland (H)

There is no easy game in the Premier League but Chelsea play four of their six remaining games at Stamford Bridge. The reverse fixtures saw Chelsea take maximum points and while the title race is still in their hands, Antonio Conte’s side will want his side to get the job done as soon as possible.

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Tottenham’s remaining fixtures:

Crystal Palace (A)
Arsenal (H)
West Ham (A)
Manchester United (H)
Leicester City (A)
Hull City (A)

Spurs have been in incredible form of late, but there is no doubting they have some tough fixtures in their run-in. Unlike Chelsea, four of their last six are away from home, while their two remaining home games are against top four chasing Arsenal and Manchester United.

If Mauricio Pochettino’s side do not improve on their results in the reverse fixtures they have very little chance of winning the league. They drew against Arsenal, lost to Man United, drew at home to Leicester and won the other three games, giving them a total of 11 points from a possible 18.

While it is unlikely both Chelsea and Spurs will replicate the exact same outcomes in their remaining fixtures, it does give some insight into potential results. Chelsea would hypothetically finish the season on 93 points, if they picked up the maximum 18 on offer, while Spurs would stand to take 11 points, putting their final tally at 82.

Are Chelsea going to win their 5th Premier League title or will Tottenham pull off an incredible turnaround?

Premier League Predictions: Mourinho looking for Chelsea revenge, Arsenal looking to bounce back at Boro

The Premier League season is heading towards it’s finale but there is still plenty to play for. Manchester United welcome league leaders Chelsea to Old Trafford in the standout fixture of the weekend on Sunday, while the battle to avoid relegation intensifies.

Tottenham kick things off on Saturday lunchtime with the visit of Bournemouth, while Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal all have tricky away trips to Southampton, West Brom and Middlesbrough respectively. Read on to find out all of our Gameweek 32 predictions…

Tottenham 3-0 Bournemouth

Spurs are still chasing Chelsea at the top of the league. Their 4-0 win over Watford last weekend furtherdemonstrated their intensity and classy finishing. Bournemouth cannot afford to let Tottenham in early otherwise they could be on the receiving end of another rout. The Cherries look like they’ll be safe from relegation this season, they’re seven points above the drop zone but know they’re in for a tricky afternoon here.

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Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

Sunderland really are in the last-chance saloon. They are in huge trouble at the bottom of the Premier League table and haven’t scored a goal in over two months. West Ham’s season has been inconsistent throughout but they got a much-needed win against Swansea last weekend and should be able to follow that up with another narrow win against a team that looks destined for the drop.

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Stoke City 2-2 Hull City

Stoke’s season has become a little stale. They face relegation threatened Hull this weekend who have hit some form as they continue their fight against the drop. Mark Hughes will be expecting his side to win here and edge closer to that 40-point mark. Hull will be hoping results go their way to ensure they don’t drop back into the bottom three.

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Crystal Palace 2-1 Leicester City

Crystal Palace have turned their season on its head in recent weeks as Sam Allardyce has worked his magic once again. They have won five of their last six and could overtake Leicester with a win on Saturday. The Foxes have also turned their season around since a managerial change but they have a Champions League quarter-final to focus on and that distraction could see Palace take full advantage in this one.

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Everton 2-1 Burnley

Everton stunned Leicester with an impressive attacking display last weekend but still showed their defensive issues. Romelu Lukaku is the Premier League’s top scorer and he will be looking forward to causing the Burnley defence problems here. Sean Dyche’s side have conceded 44 goals this season but look comfortable in mid-table.

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Watford 1-2 Swansea City

If Swansea stand any chance of staying in the Premier League they need to win games like this. A loss at Watford on Saturday would leave them in huge trouble, but Paul Clement has a team good enough to get the job done. Watford got battered at Spurs last week and look like a side that’s season is already over. They’re effectively safe from relegation and don’t need this as much as Swansea.

Southampton 1-3 Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s side face a tricky away trip to Southampton on Saturday evening. The Saints will be looking to take a positive result here as they continue to apply pressure to West Brom above them in 8th. Manchester City cannot afford to drop points, they will potentially let Arsenal and Manchester United back into the race for the top four and miss the chance to go ahead of Liverpool by winning their game in hand.

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West Brom 1-1 Liverpool 

These are the sort of games Liverpool have struggled to win this season and they can expect another tricky test at the Hawthorns. They might have produced a comeback at Stoke last week but the Baggies are a tougher unit to break down and proved their threat with that 3-1 win over Arsenal a few weeks ago. Liverpool can’t really afford to drop any more points if they are to secure a top four spot, but they might have to settle for one point on Sunday.

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Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea

Jose Mourinho welcomes league leading Chelsea to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. He has faced his former employers twice already this season, losing both games. Antonio Conte’s side cannot afford to get complacent at this stage of the season as they are pushing for the title. United are on a 21-game unbeaten run and a draw looks a likely result this weekend.

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Middlesbrough 0-1 Arsenal

To call this the biggest game of Arsenal’s season might seem a bit farfetched, but a defeat at Middlesbrough could see their top four hopes all but ended, depending on results over the weekend. Boro are in trouble themselves and look set for relegation. They have struggled to find goals all season but will be giving it their all against the Gunners on Monday night. Arsenal have the quality to stroll past Middlesbrough but it depends which side shows up. If it’s the one that lost 3-0 at Palace last week, then they’ll be in big trouble.

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Three reasons Man Utd need to pull out the stops to beat PL rivals to £26m-rated left-back

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is on the hunt for a new left-back and he needs to do everything he can to ensure the Red Devils beat Premier League rivals Manchester City and Chelsea to the signing of AS Monaco left-back Benjamin Mendy this summer.

The 22-year-old Frenchman has starred for Monaco as they chase a first Ligue 1 title in 17 years this season. He joined the club in a £13 million deal from Marseille last summer but is expected to be on the move again this summer, with an offer of around £26 million expected to be enough to force Monaco’s hand.

Mourinho’s critical comments about Luke Shaw in recent weeks suggest he may not see a long-term future at Old Trafford for the youngster. Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian are also options at the position but none of them are natural left-backs and struggle to get up and down as much as Antonio Valencia on the opposite wing.

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Mendy would give Manchester United a fresh look and another attacking outlet down the left side. He has proven his quality in Ligue 1 and in the Champions League this season so here are three reasons United need to do all they can to sign him in the coming months…

1. Attacking threat from left-back

Mendy would offer United something they don’t currently have – a consistent attacking outlet down the left side. Luke Shaw is an attacking full-back but is clearly not one of Mourinho’s favourites, while Matteo Darmian struggles to offer regular support in the attacking third.

Mendy has eight league and Champions League assists this season – more than any other defender in Europe, including Real Madrid’s Marcelo and Bayern’s David Alaba who are both rated as two of the world’s best in the position.

Antonio Valencia gives United a regular threat from right-back but they become quite one-sided due to the lack of similar support on the left, so the addition of Mendy would add balance as well as some much-needed creativity from deep.

2016/17 League Stats
Games
Assists
Chances
Created Per 90 Mins
Pass
Completion (%)
Tackles
Won Per 90 Mins
Benjamin
Mendy
21
5
1.05
76%
1.9
Luke
Shaw
10
1
1.32
85%
0.92
Matteo
Darmian
12
0
0.21
81%
2.00

Table: Benjamin Mendy’s league statistics compared to Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian this season (stats via: Squawka).

2. Play style perfectly suits the Premier League

The table above shows how Mendy compares to Shaw and Darmian – the two most natural left-backs United have at their disposal at the moment. His stats suggest he is a well-rounded full-back, who is as adept at winning the ball back as he is creating chances. His pass completion could be better but 66% of his passes go forward, further highlighting his direct approach.

Premier League full-backs that can get forward quickly but also defend well in 1v1 situations tend to standout and Mendy fits that billing perfectly. A move to Old Trafford could see him establish himself as one of the club’s best left-sided defenders, as his approach to the game isn’t too dissimilar to that of Patrice Evra’s when he joined the Red Devils in 2006.

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3. Bright future ahead

Mendy is still only 22. That’s easy to forget considering he made his professional debut almost six years ago. But he has established himself as one of Europe’s best full-backs this season as Monaco continue to impress domestically and in the Champions League.

Mendy made his France debut last month, getting an assist in the 3-1 win over Luxembourg and a long and successful career is expected for club and country, no matter where he is plying his trade.

Luke Shaw is a year younger than Mendy but with his future unclear, the Frenchman would be an ideal replacement this summer and would potentially give Manchester United a reliable and improving left-back for many years to come.

Should Man United do everything in their power to sign Benjamin Mendy this summer?

Why Dele Alli could become one of the greatest Premier League midfielders of all time

Dele Alli is having a fantastic Premier League season for Tottenham. He has netted an impressive 16 goals, racked up five assists and has fully deserved the plaudits he has received. His style of play is quite unique and his ability to find and create space gives him great grounding to go on to be a Premier League great. His performances this season have heaped huge expectancy on his shoulders and it’s important for him to keep his head down and work hard to continue to improve.

Age

At just 21 Alli could potentially play at the top level for another 14 or more years if the players he is likened to (Frank Lampard/Steven Gerrard) are anything to go by. While a lot of young English players struggle to deal with the pressure they’re under to deliver, Alli seems to be taking things in his stride.

Goalscoring

As mentioned, Alli has netted 16 league goals this season, taking his overall total to 26 in 63 Premier League appearances, giving him a strike rate of 0.41 goals per game. By comparison Lampard over 611 games managed a staggering 176 goals, a rate of 0.28, while Gerrard netted 120 in 504, a rate of 0.22. Alli’s strike rate will no doubt slow down with the more appearances he makes but he has given himself a platform to potentially reach the lofty heights of any midfield great in terms of goals.

Positioning

Alli was signed as a deep-lying playmaker but has been utilised in just about every attacking position this season, including stepping in for Harry Kane during some of his time on the sidelines. His versatility through the middle makes him really difficult to pick up. If Alli can stay as difficult to mark in the coming years he will not only continue his goalscoring form but also free up teammates with more attention turning to him from the opposition.

Does Dele Alli have what it takes to become a Premier League great?

Three reasons Man Utd suffered most in the PL this weekend

Saturday saw Manchester United held to their third 0-0 draw at home in the Premier League this season, as West Brom became the eighth team to leave Old Trafford with a point to further damage the Red Devils’ top four hopes.

Jose Mourinho’s side have only managed to win 40% of their home games in the top flight this season and wins for Spurs and Liverpool on Saturday mean that the challenge of securing a top four spot just got a whole lot tougher.

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Yes, Chelsea lost at home to Crystal Palace. That was a shock result and one that many will say was worse – on paper at least – than United’s home draw with the Baggies. But the difference is that the Blues had a 10-point cushion at the top of the table. They can afford to drop a few points and still lift the title. United can’t if they want to beat rivals to a Champions League spot.

Here are three reasons Manchester United were this weekend’s biggest losers:

1. Widening gap to top four

The biggest problem for United this weekend is that the gap to the top four widened by a point, following Liverpool’s Merseyside Derby win over Everton earlier in the day. Mourinho’s side were four points off Liverpool with two games in hand heading into the weekend, but not sit 5 points off Manchester City in 4th, who have only played one game more than United.

2. Easiest fixture of the month?

Man Utd will have played a staggering nine times before the end of April, with an average of a game every three days in the Premier League and Europa League leaving Mourinho with the most frantic period of his season. He will have to rotate his squad more than ever over the next four weeks but he’d had the entire international break to plan a victory over West Brom. He couldn’t do that and will now only have a couple of days to spend on preparations for each upcoming game in April.

3. Short rest time

As mentioned above, United’s hectic schedule means Mourinho will need to manage his players extremely well if they’re to emerge out of this month in good shape. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be available again for Tuesday’s home clash with Everton after serving his suspension but the 0-0 draw to the Baggies on Saturday meant the United boss had to leave his best players on the pitch for 90 minutes. Henrikh Mkhitaryan was the only played substituted but still had to get through 75 minutes first. The fact that Mourinho was unable to bring players off to save them for Tuesday might cost them when Everton come to town tomorrow evening.

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Premier League Predictions: Liverpool set for derby glory, City to pile misery on Arsenal

The international break is over. Premier League football is back and what a weekend we have in store, starting with the Merseyside Derby on Saturday lunchtime and ending with a huge game at the Emirates as Arsenal welcome Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.

There are also crucial clashes at the bottom of the table, with Swansea hosting Middlesbrough on Sunday after Watford face struggling Sunderland on Saturday afternoon. It should be another thrilling weekend of action so read on for all our Gameweek 30 predictions…

Liverpool 3-2 Everton 

The Merseyside Derby is always a big occasion and that will be no different on Saturday. Liverpool need to win this to keep their top four hopes alive and should be able to edge past an Everton team who have only won one of their last five away games in the Premier League. The Toffees are unlikely to end their 18-year winless run at Anfield here.

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Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace 

Premier League leaders Chelsea are ten points clear of the chasing pack. They face a Crystal Palace side who are looking to grind out results to ensure their survival. The Blues know what they need to do to win the league from here on it and Antonio Conte will expect nothing less than a win.

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Burnley 0-1 Tottenham 

Burnley have made Turf Moor a fortress this season. They have the fifth-best home record in the top flight but are facing a Spurs side that are still fighting for Champions League football. Tottenham haven’t been great away from home, winning just two of their last ten on the road in the Premier League but should be able to win by the odd goal here.

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Hull 2-2 West Ham 

Hull City come into this tie off the back of a 4-0 thumping before the international break. West Ham are going through a difficult patch so Hull will see this as a game they have to pick up points in. Unless The Tigers can put a string a positive results together they look set for the drop. Score draw.

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Leicester 3-0 Stoke

Leicester have been resurgent since Craig Shakespeare took over from Claudio Ranieri and the Foxes don’t look set to slow down here. They have won four in a row in all competitions and have rediscovered their goalscoring form. Stoke on the other hand can’t seem to score on the road, having failed to do so in their last three away games. Should be a routine home victory.

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Manchester United 2-0 West Brom 

Jose Mourinho knows his side have to win this game. West Brom shocked everyone before the international break with a stunning 3-1 win over Arsenal but a winning two on the bounce is a big ask. United are still pushing hard for a top four finish and they look capable of doing so.

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Watford 1-1 Sunderland 

This is a massive game for Sunderland if they are to keep their survival hopes intact. They need to start winning games to have any chance of pulling off another great escape but they haven’t scored in four games and are taking on a Watford side that have only lost one of their last five at home. It should be tense and we can’t see either side leaving with all three points.

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Southampton 3-1 Bournemouth 

Southampton host Bournemouth in a south-coast derby on Saturday evening and will be looking to keep their unbeaten home record against the Cherries going. Bournemouth have lost four of their last five away games but having been scoring goals. The Saints won the reverse fixture 3-1 and the same scoreline could well be on the cards here.

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Swansea 2-0 Middlesbrough 

This is a huge game at the bottom of the league. Swansea are working their way towards safety under the guidance of Paul Clement but there is still plenty of work to be done as they are just three points above the drop zone. Middlesbrough look destined for a return to the Championship unless they can turn their fortunes around. They’ve won the least amount of games in the league this season, just four.

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Arsenal 1-2 Manchester City 

The pressure is on Arsene Wenger to deliver in this one. His Arsenal side have lost four of their last five Premier League games and face a continually improving Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side are 12 points off the top and will be looking to keep chasing with a win here. They haven’t conceded in their last three away league outings.

Do Liverpool hold the key in Hazard’s Chelsea departure with attempt to sign €80m Madrid star?

Liverpool could potentially play a key role in Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea at the end of the season as they are reportedly interested in signing Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez, so long as they qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The Colombian has been in and out of the Madrid side since joining for a whopping €80 million in 2014, but Los Blancos may well entertain offers for him this summer in a bid to fund a potential world-record transfer for Hazard.

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It’s no secret the Chelsea man is wanted by Real. Many have dubbed him a ‘Real Madrid sort of player’ and with the current state of the transfer market in mind this could be the first fee to reach over £100m.

Madrid have broken transfer records to land Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale and are unlikely to hesitate doing the same thing to bring Hazard to the Bernabeu this summer.

Chelsea are not a club renowned for selling their top players but have been making a name for themselves with the business they’ve been doing over the last few seasons in terms of selling stars they no longer need for big money. While Hazard certainly doesn’t fall into that category it shows if the right price is offered they could agree to sell him.

An offer of the sort of value that is being spoken about would no doubt be tempting for any club, no matter how good the player is and it would provide Chelsea with the purchasing power to sign a like-for-like replacement and potentially break even.

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Jurgen Klopp looks set to be preparing for the possibility of life after Philippe Coutinho, who is heavily tipped for a move to Barcelona in the coming months, so the potential purchase of Rodriguez would almost definitely have a knock-on effect across Europe.

One thing is for sure, if Real Madrid want Hazard they will do everything possible to get him. They’ve got a history of splashing huge amounts of cash on players and would no doubt be willing to spend whatever it takes to get their man, even if they were to keep hold of Rodriguez.

Will Rodriguez join Liverpool? Is Hazard on his way out of Chelsea?

Spurs can win first Premier League title if Mauricio Pochettino signs these players

Mauricio Pochettino has been impressive since taking over at Tottenham Hotspur but they are still the nearly men at the moment. They’re challenging for the Premier League title again this season but look more likely to finish in either second or third place with Chelsea ten points clear. Squad depth is a small issue that Spurs are still battling and if they were to sign these three players, they could put themselves in a really strong position to win a first Premier League title next season…

Alejandro Gomez

The Atalanta forward has made a real statement with his performances in Serie A this season. He is an extremely versatile player who is capable of causing trouble as a centre-attacking midfielder, a winger or even as a striker. The Argentinian wouldn’t cost Spurs the earth and a move would be favourable as it would allow him to play in the Champions League next season. He has netted 11 goals in 31 appearances and would be a hugely reliable back-up to take some of the pressure off Harry Kane.

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Ross Barkley

There isn’t a huge amount to say about this exciting young Englishman that hasn’t already been said. He is built for the fast-paced attacking style of football that Spurs play. While he might be a more expensive option than some other attacking midfielders he has plenty of Premier League experience already. At just 23 he could form a formidable partnership with Dele Alli for both club and country and the appeal of competing at the highest level makes a move possible. Whether or not Barkley would accept not starting every game is a different question but if he wants a move to a Champions League club he will have to embrace the competition for places and Spurs would be a great place for him to develop.

Christian Pulisic

The 18-year-old American is one of the hottest prospects in the Bundesliga. Despite being little-known to many across Europe he is showing signs of working his way to the very top. He has impressed for Borussia Dortmund this season and hasn’t looked out of place against anyone in the Bundesliga or Champions League. He would provide Spurs with even more unpredictability and would certainly be an ideal replacement for Erik Lamela, whose future looks uncertain as a result of injury struggles as well as time out due to personal reasons this season.

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Spurs are not far off landing some silverware soon, but they need to win something to silence some of their doubters, including fans of their own. Pochettino looks set to stay at the club and it’s an exciting time to be a Tottenham fan. They’re building for the long run and increasing their squad size would only give them a greater chance at success across all fronts in the 2017/18 campaign.

Will Spurs try to sign any of these players this summer? How far off winning the Premier League are they?

Should Mourinho be looking to replace Martial with this £40m Premier League champion?

Jose Mourinho will no doubt ring the changes at Manchester United this summer. His first season in charge has been steadily improving but he needs to bring more quality to the squad in order to compete for the title in 2017/18.

One man who has struggled more than most under the Portuguese manager is Anthony Martial. He’s struggled to make much of an impact throughout the current campaign and while he is still young, he has offered little to show Mourinho that he is the best winger for United next season. Fans and pundits alike know Mourinho is ruthless and if he sees the potential to cash in on an underperforming player, he’ll do it.

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Jesse Lingard has been included in the matchday squad more times than the Frenchman – 38 times to 36 – and considering the money spent to bring him to the club, that is a worrying statistic for Martial.

A potential replacement for the former Monaco man could be Chelsea’s Willian. The Brazilian has seen his game time limited this season at Stamford Bridge and has found himself second choice to the in-form Pedro. Mourinho is a huge fan of Willian and would no doubt love to sign him for United.

The 28 year old won the Premier League with Mourinho at Chelsea and would be an ideal fit for United. He is a set-piece specialist and would offer the Red Devils more than their current options for free-kick and corner duties.

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Willian’s is currently valued at just below £30 million by transfermarkt and United would have to pay a little over the odds for him from a rival club. An offer of £40m should be enough to secure his services if Mourinho can persuade him to leave and Chelsea to sell in the coming months.

Would Willian be an ideal fit for United? Is he a better option than Martial?