MLS, welcome to Zlatan: Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy on two-year deal but will not be a DP

It’s official. It’s a deal that has been rumoured for a number of years and it’s now come to fruition as Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy for what will surely be the final years of his incredible career.

The 36-year-old Swedish striker terminated his contract with Manchester United on Thursday. That meant he could join LA Galaxy on a free transfer. But in addition to that coup, the Galaxy have been able to convince him to come to MLS without being a Designated Player.

Ibrahimovic’s contract will run through the 2019 season and he will earn $1.5 million per year, according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl. That amount is the maximum allowed for a contract using Targeted Allocation Money. So it means Giovani Dos Santos, Jonathan Dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini will remain DP’s with the Galaxy.

“Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome”

Ibrahimovic is one of football’s biggest characters. He is a global superstar as a result of both his incredible goalscoring exploits and his enormous ego that has made headlines wherever he has played.

He hasn’t even landed in Los Angeles but has already started his famous antics. An entire page of the LA Times was dedicated to Ibrahimovic’s signing on Friday, with a very short message from the man himself. It simply read: “Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome.”

Ibrahimovic is expected to arrive in LA next week, on either Wednesday and Thursday. He has only played seven times since making an incredibly fast recovery from cruciate knee-ligament damage. He suffered the injury in the Europa League last April.

However, if he feels ready to play from the outset, he could make his debut in the hugely anticipated Los Angeles Derby between LA Galaxy and LAFC on Saturday, March 31 – the first ever meeting between the new rivals.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy following a trophy-filled career. The powerful forward scored 421 goals in 21 seasons across Europe. With those goals coming for the likes of Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and Manchester United.

He is the only player to have won 13 titles in four different leagues. He is Sweden’s all-time top goalscorer. And he is the only player to have scored in the following derbies: De Klassieker, the Derby della Madonnina, the Derby d’Italia, El Clásico, Le Classique, the Manchester Derby and the North-West Derby. Don’t bet against him making an immediate impact with a goal in the first LA Derby next weekend.

MLS, welcome to Zlatan.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic action returns, North London Derby the standout fixture

Premier League Predictions: Week 12 – Domestic football is back following the international break. Many fans will be delighted that there are no more interruptions until March.

The top six are all in action on Saturday, with the North London Derby kicking things off at 12:30. League leaders Man City travel to Leicester, while Chelsea are also on the road at West Brom. Liverpool and Man United return with home fixtures against Southampton and Newcastle respectively.

Just the one game on Sunday as Watford and West Ham face off in another London Derby. Week 12 is finished off on Monday evening when Brighton host Stoke.

Read on for predictions to all ten of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 12 could see plenty of change at the top…

Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham

Easily the biggest game of the weekend. The North London Derby usually doesn’t disappoint. Arsenal put in a poor display against Man City before the international break, losing 3-1. Arsene Wenger needs a response from his players, a loss to their bitter rivals could see them slip down to 7th. Spurs won 1-0 at Wembley against Palace last time out. A result that in years gone by they may not have been able to grind out. They look a strong force at the moment and confidence is high. Harry Kane and Dele Alli should be refreshed following his exclusion from international call ups, expect them to be at the forefront of the Spurs attack.

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Crystal Palace 1-1 Everton

The Premier League’s bottom side welcome out of form Everton to Selhurst Park. Palace fans may well have been looking forward to the international break in hope of their side having a chance to rebuild and get ready to face Everton. The Toffees really haven’t had anything to shout about. Their loss to Watford last time out meant that they have now conceded as many goals as Palace (22) this season. Both sides are desperate for a win, a scrappy score-draw could be on the cards.

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Liverpool 3-0 Southampton

Jurgen Klopp’s side have got their season on track again. They are sitting 5th in the league and that 4-1 thumping against Spurs seems a long time ago now. However, they are going to have to make sure they do not slip up this weekend. Sadio Mane is ruled out through injury once again, so the pressure for the inform Mohammed Salah to deliver has increased. Southampton have hardly set the world alight so far this season. Their home loss against Burnley before the internationals has left them loitering just four points above the relegation zone. A home win looks likely.

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Bournemouth 1-1 Huddersfield

Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are in desperate need of a run of form. They have been unlucky in stages so far this season but it cannot be used as an excuse for their league position. The Cherries are just one point outside of the relegation zone and if results were to go against them this weekend they could be second bottom by Sunday evening. Huddersfield are still progressing well. They won 1-0 before the international break and are more than worth the place bang in the middle of the table. They will no doubt see this as a winnable fixture so expect an energetic game. Score draw.

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Leicester 1-4 Man City

Leicester City may think they were unlucky not to take all three points last time out. But it’s the same inconsistency that cost them. They are creating plenty of chances but are not clinical enough. They are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games, so there is reason to be optimistic ahead of this game. Man City have looked on a completely different level to the rest of the league so far this season. Pep Guardiola’s men are already being spoken about as one of his best ever sides and there is even talk about whether they can go the season unbeaten. Goals are free flowing for the Citizens, so don’t expect anything less this weekend.

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West Brom 1-3 Chelsea

West Brom are in trouble. Tony Pulis reportedly has two games to save his job. One of those is at home to the reigning champions here. The other sees the Baggies head to Wembley to take on Spurs. If the West Brom squad want to show they are behind the manager, now is the time. But they haven’t won in nine-straight league games and have slipped to 16th in the table. Chelsea impressed in their 1-0 win over Man Utd before the international break. Now Antonio Conte’s men need to kick on and keep the pressure on the three sides above them. Expect the Blues to prove too strong.

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Burnley 1-0 Swansea

Swansea have a 100% record against Burnley in their four previous Premier League meetings. But don’t expect that to continue beyond the weekend. Burnley are flying and Sean Dyche’s men are picking up plenty of plaudits for their strong start to the season. The Swans are 19th and seem to be struggling for goals and creativity. Paul Clement will find himself under serious pressure if results don’t improve, but they are unlikely to find at joy at Turf Moor on Saturday in what should be a tight game.

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Man United 2-0 Newcastle

This is a big game for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. They could be 11 points behind Man City by the time they kick off on Saturday evening and they will have to get that gap back to eight, if City indeed win. They failed to score at Chelsea without properly threatening over the 90 minutes but they will have to take the game to Newcastle here. Rafa Benitez’s men will be setting up to contain the hosts and try and hit them on the break and from any set-pieces. It might not be pretty, but United should be able to get it done.

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Watford 2-2 West Ham

David Moyes starts life as West Ham manager with a tricky trip to Watford. Hornets boss Marco Silva looks like he’ll be staying put for now, and that’s a major boost for the home side considering their impressive start to the season. It’s unclear how much the speculation will have got to the Watford players but they’ll have a chance to show they are focused when the Hammers arrive on Sunday. Moyes has a tough job on his hands but he’ll set the visitors up to be solid and try and play as a unit. If they try and impress the new manager they could well come away with something positive.

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Brighton 1-1 Stoke

The fact that Brighton come into Monday night’s game three points ahead of Stoke highlights what an excellent start to the season they’ve made. Chris Hughton’s men have established themselves and have made the Amex Stadium a bit of a fortress so far. They’ve picked up eight points from a possible 12 since losing to Manchester City on the opening weekend of the campaign. They will fancy their chances here, especially with the whole nation’s eyes on them for Monday Night Football. Stoke showed signs of much-needed improvement before the break, beating Watford away before drawing 2-2 at home to Leicester. Mark Hughes has a talented squad of players but is not getting the best out of them. If they show up, they can cause anyone problems, but Brighton will be resolute and hard to break down.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 10 – 2nd vs 3rd as Man Utd take on Spurs, while Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool expected to win

Premier League Predictions: Week 10 – The Premier League weekend kicks off with an absolutely huge clash. It’s 2nd versus 3rd as Manchester United welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Old Trafford. Expect plenty of goals across the ten fixtures this week, while there is the potential for upsets in must-win games for the top sides.

The three o’clock action comes thick and fast after the early kickoff. Struggling Crystal Palace face off against West Ham in the only London Derby of the weekend. Pace-setting Manchester City travel to West Brom, while Arsenal and Liverpool have home ties. Chelsea complete Saturday’s action with the late kickoff away at Bournemouth.

Sunday has a couple of interesting fixtures, Brighton welcome Southampton, before Claude Puel begins his reign as Leicester City manager at home to Everton, who have recently sacked Ronald Koeman. The weekend’s action is completed with Monday Night Football as Newcastle visit Burnley.

Read on for all of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 10 will be an interesting one…

Manchester United 2-2 Tottenham 

Easily the biggest fixture of the weekend. Man Utd vs Spurs has provided some classic fixtures through the years. Both sides are coming into this one needing to bounce back. United’s loss at Huddersfield last weekend was a shock result and Jose Mourinho needs a reaction like his side showed in their midweek Carabao Cup clash. Spurs were emphatic last time out in the league. Their 4-1 win over Liverpool sent out a message to the rest of the league, however their dismal loss against West Ham in midweek was unforgivable and they owe it to their fans to pick up a positive result here. Expect goals as Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku go head-to-head.

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Crystal Palace 1-1 West Ham

This is a big game. Make no mistake about that. Some reports suggested that failure to win this one would result in the sacking of Slaven Bilic as West Ham manager. However, Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Spurs may change that. Either way, Premier League points are the priority for both. Palace have struggled but did win their last home game. Another home win here would be a major boost. However, they haven’t scored in 9 of their last 10 games, losing each. West Ham haven’t been much better, failing to win 11 of their last 12 away games. Don’t expect this to be pretty.

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West Brom 0-3 Manchester City

Tony Pulis, like every West Brom fan was devastated not to have picked up at least a point last weekend. However, they have to hold their hands up to accept losing at the hands of one of the goals of the season. West Brom are sitting in and around mid table but they won’t be looking forward to a visit from league leading Man City. Pep Guardiola’s side didn’t have it all their own way in midweek, yet they sealed their place in the next round of the Carabao Cup, despite his displeasure of the ball. Normal service resumes with a ‘normal ball’ here and we expect City to continue their early title charge.

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Watford 2-0 Stoke

They might have lost 4-2 at Chelsea last weekend but Watford are undoubtedly this season’s surprise package so far. The Hornets are enjoying their best ever start to a season in the top flight. They beat Arsenal in their most recent home fixture and should prove too strong for Stoke here. The visitors are in trouble. Last week’s home loss to Bournemouth left them down in 17th. They’ve not won away from home yet this season. Don’t expect that to change here.

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Arsenal 3-0 Swansea

Arsene Wenger & co. have reason to be in high spirits. They took apart a very sorry Everton side last weekend keeping them at pace with the top four. Following up from that a much changed side secured progression in the cup in midweek. Arsenal should be looking to take three points in what has the makings of a routine home game this weekend. Swansea are sitting 15th but are only outside the relegation zone on goal difference. They cannot afford to take a drumming here as we all know how important goal difference can be in the Premier League. A win to ‘nil looks likely for the hosts.

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Liverpool 2-1 Huddersfield

The fact that Liverpool come into this game just one point ahead of Huddersfield tells you all you need to know. The Reds have been inconsistent and have not solved their defensive problems. Last week’s 4-1 loss to Spurs further highlighted their vulnerabilities and they now need to bounce back. They will fancy their chances at home, but the visitors are riding high in confidence. Their 2-1 win over Man Utd was arguably the shock result of the season so far. Don’t rule out another surprise result at Anfield, although Liverpool should edge it.

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Bournemouth 1-2 Chelsea

Bournemouth remain in the bottom three. They picked up a much needed win last weekend away against Stoke and made it a week with plenty to cheer about having progressed in the cup. This is going to be another big test for them but they’ll be relishing a visit from Chelsea. Antonio Conte’s side are coming through a rough patch with promise. Despite being a way off the top of the Premier League their squad depth stood the test of three games in a week. Last weekend’s win at home to Watford showed they have the resilience to fight back and if they go behind here, don’t expect them to let it phase them. Narrow victory for the Champions.

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Brighton 2-2 Southampton

Neither of these sides have really set the world alight yet this season. They have showed some signs of promise but inconsistency has prevented either side from making a statement. Brighton will be pleased with their start to life in the top flight. They are unbeaten in three-straight home league games and will now hope to keep that form going. The Saints picked up a first league win in four last weekend. It’s hard to tell which Southampton side will turn up. But goals could be on the cards here.

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Leicester City 1-1 Everton

The battle two sides who have recently sacked their managers. Leicester have acted promptly to replace Craig Shakespeare with Claude Puel. They picked up an impressive win away at Swansea last weekend and also reached the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup in midweek so things are on the up. Everton’s woes continue, they sacked Ronald Koeman after being demolished by Arsenal last weekend and were knocked out the cup by Chelsea on Wednesday evening. Their poor run of form has to come to an end soon, but we don’t expect them to win here. Score draw.

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Burnley 1-1 Newcastle

The weekend is rounded off with an intriguing matchup. Burnley have been a better side away from home so far but will still see Monday’s game as one they should be winning. Their only home win so far this term came against Palace. For Newcastle, they’ll be looking to keep picking up points. They’ve only lost one of their last seven and look like they’re all pulling in the same direction as Rafa Benitez. It might not be the most entertaining game, but expect it to be interesting.

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Premier League Predictions: Week 8 – Expect a one-sided affair as Liverpool host Man Utd, while Man City should keep on rolling

Premier League Predictions: Week 8 – Premier League action returns after the international break. Liverpool and Manchester United face off to get things going on Saturday lunchtime in what is the standout fixture of the weekend. Two games take place on Sunday, while Monday night rounds off what should be an action-packed weekend.

The remainder of the top four are in action on Saturday. Man City welcome Stoke, Spurs host Bournemouth and Chelsea travel to struggling Palace. Arsenal complete Saturday’s fixtures with a cross-London trip to Watford in the late game.

Brighton take on Everton, while Newcastle have the trip down south to Southampton in the Sunday double-header. The final fixture on Monday night sees Leicester face West Brom.

Read on for all of this weekend’s Premier League predictions: Week 8 marks the anticipated return of domestic football…

Liverpool 0-3 Manchester United

The latest instalment of the historic fixture. Jose Mourinho’s United have been in fantastic form this season, while Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have struggled defensively. Both sides have been hit with injuries of late, Liverpool will be without Sadio Mane, while Paul Pogba remains out for United. Given how free-scoring United have been and that Liverpool have just a +1 goal difference, we predict a healthy win for the Red Devils.

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Burnley 2-2 West Ham 

Burnley are high-flying in sixth place. Sean Dyche’s men picked up three points away at Everton before the international break and they will be looking to continue their great run of form here. West Ham’s struggles have been all too apparent, but they steadied the ship last time out with a 1-0 win over Swansea. This is going to be a tight one. Score draw.

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Manchester City 4-0 Stoke

Pep Guardiola would not have wanted the international break to come after his City side put in an outstanding tactical performance to win away at Chelsea. The Citizens are league leaders on goal difference and will be praying results go their way to open a gap at the top this weekend. Stoke also picked up three points heading into the international break, but this is going to be a huge ask for them. Expect goals from City.

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Crystal Palace 0-1 Chelsea 

Negative runs have to come to an end at some point. Crystal Palace are yet to even score a goal this season, so what better way to do it this weekend against the Champions. Chelsea are without a few key faces, N’golo Kante and  is sidelined, while Alvaro Morata also continues recovery from a hamstring injury. Antonio Conte’s squad depth will be tested but in all honesty, anything less than three points and a clean sheet will be a failure for Chelsea fans here. It couldn’t happen, could it?

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Tottenham 2-0 Bournemouth

The end to the Wembley hoodoo for Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino’s side have to pick up three points this weekend and with the goalscoring form of Harry Kane they should do. That said, Spurs cannot be too reliant on their Ballon d’Or nominee. Bournemouth are sitting second bottom and will not be looking forward to an away tie off the back of the international break. Spurs to win to nil.

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Swansea 1-1 Huddersfield 

The Premier League can be a cruel animal and Swansea are experiencing how tough things can be. They are without a league win since August and are going to need to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later. Huddersfield have been giving a good account of themselves since so far this season. They’re only four points outside the top four, however as the games roll on they may quickly find out how quickly things can change. An away point will seem a better result for them than the hosts this weekend. 1-1 draw.

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Watford 2-2 Arsenal 

Arsenal’s early-season problems seem to be behind them. Contract sagas remain ongoing but on the field, the Gunners have won six of their last seven in all competitions. The only exception was that 0-0 draw at Chelsea. But Watford have impressed and the fact they come into this game just a point behind Arsenal is testament to their strong start. Marco Silva’s men lost 6-0 to Man City in their last home game and will be hoping to show more fight against one of the top sides this time around.

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Brighton 1-1 Everton

Both sides come into Sunday’s game tied on seven points from seven games. Brighton will be content with that. Everton will not. The Toffees have failed to get going, despite heavy summer investment. Ronald Koeman is under pressure and needs to get a result here. However, Brighton are tough to break down. They beat Newcastle in their last home game and will be hoping to secure at least a point here.

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Southampton 1-1 Newcastle

Southampton have really struggled to get going so far. They are short of goals and have lost three-straight home games in all competitions. They need to avoid defeat here but come up against a resolute Newcastle side. The Magpies seem to be growing in confidence. They battled well to a 1-1 draw with Liverpool before the international break and could add to their points tally with another strong showing here.

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Leicester 2-1 West Brom

Leicester come into the weekend outside the relegation zone on goal difference only. They could be in the bottom three by Monday night, depending on results and need to win this game. They have only won one league game all season so far but have enough quality to get three points here. West Brom are winless in five league outings themselves. The fact they are on the road here further limits their chances, so the Foxes should just edge it.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Man Utd vs West Ham

Premier League: Manchester United vs West Ham

Old Trafford – Sunday, August 13 – 16:00 BST (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Man Utd 30/100 – Draw 17/4 – West Ham 9/1

Man Utd vs West Ham: Preview

Manchester United open their Premier League season against West Ham on Sunday afternoon. The two sides have made some strong signings this summer and will be raring to go in the opening weekend’s final fixture.

Man Utd have spent big on bringing in Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic. Jose Mourinho knew he had to strengthen the squad after last year’s fifth-placed finish. The Red Devils did qualify for the Champions League as a result of their Europa League win.

But the aim will be the mount a serious title challenge this season. Mourinho has assembled a strong squad and knows his side need to get off to a winning start here.

United fell 2-1 to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday night. They put in a strong display, despite losing, and will be looking to hit the ground running against the Hammers on Sunday.

West Ham’s main summer signing will be a familiar face to the Old Trafford crowd. Former United striker Javier Hernandez has joined the Hammers for around £16m, in what is surely going to be one of the best deals of the window.

Slaven Bilic has also brought in Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Sead Haksabanovic. West Ham will surely improve on last season’s 11th-placed finish.

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The Hammers couldn’t have been handed a much tougher opening game. West Ham will have to wait a month until their first home game of the campaign, with away trips to Southampton and Newcastle to come following Sunday’s game at Old Trafford. That’s due to the ongoing athletics World Championships currently taking place at the London Stadium.

These two sides met three times last season. The pair drew 1-1 in the Premier League at Old Trafford, before United won 4-1 in the League Cup three days later. The Red Devils then beat the Hammers 2-0 at London Stadium in January.

Man Utd vs West Ham: Team News

Manchester United have no new injury concerns heading into the new season. Jose Mourinho is expected to give debuts to Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku. Though Victor Lindelof might have to start on the bench, with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones available again after being suspended for Tuesday’s UEFA Super Cup game. Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are injured.

West Ham could welcome back Aaron Cresswell and Manuel Lanzini after recent injuries. But Slaven Bilic will be without Sofiane Feghouli, Cheikhou Kouyate, Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll and Michail Antonio. Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez are expected to make their league debuts for the visitors.

Man Utd vs West Ham: Key Points

Man Utd’s preseason form: W/L/W/W/L

West Ham’s preseason form: W/L/D/D/L

Key Stat: Manchester United are unbeaten in their last nine home Premier League games against West Ham. Their last league defeat to the Hammers at Old Trafford came on the final day of the 2006/07 season.

Key Player: Romelu Lukaku – Manchester United’s big summer signing loves playing against West Ham. The powerful striker has scored in nine of his last ten games against the Hammers in all competitions.

Man Utd vs West Ham: Prediction

Manchester United 2-1 West Ham – United struggled for goals against teams like West Ham throughout last season. However, the signing of Lukaku is meant to fix those problems. Things are unlikely to be perfect for either side in the opener, but the hosts look primed to get off to a winning start. West Ham are a stronger side than they were last term. But the hosts have spent big. Expectations are high and they need to prove they can kick on, starting on Sunday.

Matic to Man Utd: Should Chelsea be selling him?

Matic to Man Utd: The Serbian midfielder is close to a reunion with Jose Mourinho, but are Chelsea making the right decision to sell him to Premier League title rivals?

Matic to Man Utd: Pro’s for Chelsea

The reported fee for Matic to Man Utd is £40m. A similar amount to what Chelsea have paid for Tiemoue Bakayoko, meaning the Blues would break even in terms of transfer spend.

Antonio Conte is stamping his mark on his squad for the new season. He is signing the players he wants and allowing those he doesn’t want to leave the club. So if he is able to do so while balancing the books, he’ll be even happier.

Matic to Man Utd: Con’s for Chelsea

Chelsea are losing an established midfielder. At 28 Matic is in his prime with plenty still to offer. He’s also won two Premier League titles with Chelsea over the past three seasons.

Matic’s replacement is unproven in the Premier League. Bakayoko may need time to adapt to his new surroundings and has far less experience.

Chelsea’s squad depth will be tested unless they sign more midfielders. Conte has already allowed Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah to depart the club. With the demand of more games this season compared to last, Chelsea are going to need to ensure their squad can handle the busy schedule.

Matic to Man Utd: Pro’s & Con’s for United

Signing Matic will work for United. He is a grafter and will free up the likes of Paul Pogba to have more of an impact on the game in the final third.

Matic registered seven assists for Chelsea in the Premier League last season, more than any other Manchester United player. This shows his creative edge even though his main job is to provide extra cover for the defence. Plus, Mourinho knows Matic well. The Serbian has played a total of 90 games under the Portuguese head coach in the past.

However, another midfielder gives Mourinho a selection dilemma. He has at least four players who can play in a similar role. So adding Matic to the squad could lead to some discontent among those vying for a place in the starting lineup.

Photos of Matic in Man Utd training wear have appeared online over the weekend, suggesting a deal is all but done. Although the legitimacy of these is yet to be stated, it certainly looks like Matic has played his final game for Chelsea.

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: Preseason Scout Report

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: Match outlook

Real Salt Lake welcome Manchester United to Rio Tinto Stadium on Monday night for the Red Devils’ second game of their US tour. The game kicks off at 8pm local time, which will be 3am in the UK.

It will be the Premier League giants’ first ever game in Utah. And comes off the back of Saturday’s convincing 5-2 win over LA Galaxy at StubHub Center.

Big-money signings Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof made their unofficial debuts for Man Utd at the weekend. Lukaku didn’t get on the scoresheet but the £75m signing will no doubt be planning to find the net against RSL.

Mourinho has said he will once again field two different sides in each half of Monday night’s game. United still have five games to play after their clash with RSL, including friendlies against Man City and Real Madrid before the end of the week.

Real Salt Lake have had a tough MLS campaign so far this season. They are currently at the halfway stage but their hopes of making the playoffs look slim.

But Monday’s friendly gives the team the chance to put aside their league form and enjoy playing against some of the world’s top players.

MLS veteran goalkeeper Nick Rimando can’t wait to be tested by the likes of Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.

“I think the city deserves a team like Manchester United come here. The fans deserve it,” he said.

“For me to be able to play against such great players is exciting for sure. They have huge players and to step onto the field with them is going to be great.”

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: RSL scout report

Real Salt Lake’s league form has been poor in 2017. They’ve taken 20 points from 20 games and sit ninth in the Western Conference. They are only two points off the bottom and four points adrift of the playoff places at the midway point.

They have the joint-worst goal difference in MLS this season and have lost as many home games as they have won this term. That will give Manchester United hope of bettering their result from the LA Galaxy game on Saturday.

Interestingly though, RSL did run out 6-2 winners at LA Galaxy in their latest outing before the MLS Gold Cup break set in two weeks ago. So they have proven they can be a really dangerous attacking outfit. The problem is they can’t seem to keep goals out.

Head coach Mike Petke will undoubtedly be looking ahead to Wednesday night’s MLS battle with the Portland Timbers. He will likely give plenty of fringe players a chance to impress against United on Monday night, and is unlikely to play anyone for more than 45 minutes.

Real Salt Lake vs Man Utd: Man Utd scout report

Manchester United got their US tour off to the perfect start with that 5-2 win at the Galaxy on Saturday. Mourinho rotated his squad and experimented with three at the back.

He has admitted the team will return to a tradition four-man defence at Rio Tinto Stadium, but 22 players are likely to feature as he continues to test things ahead of the 2017/18 Premier League season, which is now just 25 days away.

Lukaku will be looking to score his first United goal following his £75m move to the Red Devils last week. He could be handed a start here, and will look to do better than he did in LA on Saturday.

Man Utd are expected to cruise to victory, given the quality they have throughout the squad. But RSL will offer an attacking threat, which United will look to contain after conceding two late goals against the Galaxy.

Premier League Predictions: Spurs can cut the gap to one point before Arsenal welcome Man United on Sunday

Another huge week of Premier League action is upon us. Tottenham could close the gap on league leaders Chelsea to just one point as they visit West Ham on Friday before Antonio Conte’s blues welcome relegation-threatened Middlesbrough to Stamford Bridge on Monday night. Manchester City kick things off on Saturday against Crystal Palace and there are some key games in the battle to avoid relegation as Hull welcome already doomed Sunderland.

Sunday sees two huge games in the race for the top four as Liverpool host Southampton, while the standout fixture of the weekend takes place at the Emirates as Arsenal welcome Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United. Read on for all our Gameweek 36 predictions in the Premier League…

West Ham 1-2 Tottenham

Spurs will be looking to apply the pressure on Chelsea as they open gameweek 36’s fixtures on Friday night. Mauricio Pochettino’s sides remarkable run continued last weekend as they won the last ever North London Derby at White Hart Lane. West Ham manager Slaven Bilic says he wants to put relegation beyond all doubt on Friday evening, so Spurs could be in for a tough one.

Manchester City 2-0 Crystal Palace

Manchester City’s underwhelming season was somewhat summed up in their 2-2 draw away at Middlesbrough last weekend, a game that they could have easily lost with Boro left seething at what they thought was a dive for the penalty. Palace aren’t completely out of trouble yet and have caused upsets this season, but an away win would be a big ask for Big Sam’s side.

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Bournemouth 1-1 Stoke City

Bournemouth sealed Sunderland’s fate with a late win against the Black Cats last weekend and will want to pick up another positive result here after reaching that important 40-point mark. Stoke played out one of the less eventful games of the season against West Ham last time out and another draw looks likely, only this time with a bit of action.

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Hull City 1-0 Sunderland

Hull to take another huge step towards securing Premier League safety at home against relegated Sunderland. David Moyes was left devastated at what has been on the cards for some time now for Sunderland and more misery will surely be heaped upon the North East club in their final four games before they drop out of the top flight.

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Burnley 2-2 West Brom

Sean Dyche’s Burnley have battled their way to what looks likely to be Premier League survival as they’re now up to 14th. Their home form has been impressive all season and played a large part in their battle against the drop. West Brom have seen their season slump into second gear, which may be frustrating for Baggies fans but they’ve made progress this season and should finish in the top half.

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Leicester City 2-0 Watford 

These sides come into the weekend level on 40 points with Premier League safety guaranteed. Leciester have been excellent at home in recent weeks, winning four league games in a row at the King Power Stadium.Watford have lost three of their last four and look like they might already be on the beach. It’s tough to see anything but a home win here.

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Swansea 2-2 Everton

This is a crucial game for Swansea City, who will already know the outcome of Hull’s clash with Sunderland before they kickoff on Saturday evening. The Swans have to match Hull’s result – or better it – if they are to stay in the survival picture. Everton haven’t got much left to play for. They have secured Europa League football next season and can’t finish any lower than tenth. They’ll still be looking to end the season on a high and could stop Swansea from taking three vital points here.

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Liverpool 1-0 Southampton

Liverpool know this is another potential banana skin as they try to secure Champions League football. They come into the weekend four points clear of Man Utd in fifth, but their rivals have a game in hand. The Reds edged past Watford on Monday thanks to Emre Can’s incredible bicycle kick, and they look poised to get a similar result here against a Saints side that hasn’t won in three.

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Arsenal 1-1 Manchester United

This is undoubtedly the biggest game of the weekend, with both clubs fighting for a place in the top four. Realistically, only one of these has a chance of qualifying for the Champions League, while it’s also a distinct possibility that both miss out. Arsenal have to bounce back from last week’s loss at Spurs, while United are going to be tested after flying back from their Europa League semi-final with Celta Vigo on Thursday evening. Mourinho will likely set up for a draw, and that usually works as they look to keep their long-standing unbeaten league run going.

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Chelsea 3-0 Middlesbrough 

Chelsea could be just one point ahead of Spurs coming into Monday’s clash but they’ve responded to the pressure in this title race whenever it has come, and Middlesbrough are unlikely to threaten the Blues charge to a second title in three years. Boro showed fight against Man City in last week’s 2-2 draw, but ultimately they are set to be relegated and that could well be confirmed with defeat on Monday.

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Premier League Predictions: Chelsea and Spurs resume title race before huge Manchester derby

There are five Premier League fixtures in midweek as ten teams are playing catch up after the weekend’s FA Cup action. Chelsea return to Premier League action against Southampton on Tuesday evening, while Tottenham travel to the in-form Crystal Palace the following day. Wednesday night also sees Arsenal take on Leicester and Sunderland visit Middlesbrough as the bottom two sides fight for a glimmer of survival hope at the bottom of the table.

The Manchester Derby takes place on Thursday night in a huge game in the race for a spot in the top four, so read on for all of our Gameweek 35 predictions…

Chelsea 2-0 Southampton

Chelsea seem to have got over their dip in form with their weekend FA Cup semifinal victory over Tottenham. The Blues now have a real shot at the double but there is still work for them to do in the league. Playing a day earlier than Spurs may not be what Antonio Conte wanted but he will be delighted if his side open up a seven point gap again and apply even more pressure to their rivals. Southampton were on the receiving end of a 3-0 loss to Man City last time out and this tie is one they know will be difficult. Chelsea know what they need to do and should pick up another three points at home on Tuesday evening.

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Crystal Palace 1-2 Tottenham

This is a huge game for Spurs, who know they need to take three points from Selhurst Park regardless of Chelsea’s result against Southampton 24 hours earlier. Mauricio Pochettino’s side must put Saturday’s FA Cup disappointment behind them if they are to topple a Crystal Palace side that has won six of their last eight league games, including Sunday’s 2-1 win at Anfield. However, Sam Allardyce has warned that he might need to rest players with such a quick turnaround for this game and that could see Spurs just edge it to keep the title race alive.

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Arsenal 2-1 Leicester City

Arsenal’s season has been a difficult one for the fans to take but their progression into the final of the FA Cup at the weekend has lifted some of the tension. Arsene Wenger’s side are seven points outside the top four but could potentially force their way back into contention if they get on a run and win their games in hand. Leicester have been hit by an injury blow ahead of this tie as Morgan and Slimani are out but their squad should be fresher than Arsenal’s for Wednesday’s game. The Gunners should be heading into this one expecting nothing less than three points, but their inconsistency has been there for all to see this season.

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Middlesbrough 2-3 Sunderland

This could have been an absolutely pivotal game in the race for survival but the truth is that both sides look destined for the drop. Sunderland have six games to try and close a gap of 12 points if they are to survive. They haven’t won in eight and will surely be relegated, regardless of their result on Teesside. Boro have the joint-worst home record in the division this season, along with Sunderland, but know they have to win this match to have any kind of hope remaining themselves. A draw doesn’t suit either side but Sunderland look the more likely to take three points, just based on the experience in the side.

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Manchester City 1-1 Manchester United

This is a huge Manchester Derby. The two clubs are battling for a place in the top four and United can overtake their city rivals with a win. Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge has been an uncomfortable one and is surely now going to be a trophyless one too after they crashed out to Arsenal in the semifinal on Sunday. Realistically City have to finish in the top four for this season to not be labelled a huge disaster, but with potentially five clubs battling for two remaining spaces their task is far from easy. Expect a cagey affair lacking that killer instinct both these clubs have missed this season. A draw would be an awful result for either side, but it seems a likely outcome.

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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?