Wayne Rooney and DC have playoffs in sight ahead of pivotal clash with Montreal

DC United’s upturn in form has been stunning since former England captain Wayne Rooney crossed the Atlantic to bolster their offensive ranks. The all-time leading England and Man Utd goal scorer joined a DC side sitting bottom of the Eastern Conference, with a miserable record when it came to goals, shots on target and chances created. But he has dragged them up to seventh in the standings and was instrumental once again as they drew 3-3 with conference leaders New York Red Bulls at the weekend. DC United now stand on the brink of a playoff spot and they will bid to further those claims when they take on Montreal Impact on Saturday.

Montreal are currently in sixth place, four points clear of DC United, but Rooney and co have a game in hand. Win at the weekend and they will close the gap to just one point, with a fair amount of games left in the season. The top six teams go through to the playoffs, and it would be exciting to see Rooney taking on the best in the league, so fans hope he can produce more magic.

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Check out a BetDSI review and check their odds and you will see that DC United are the favourites to pick up the win. With Rooney in the team, anything looks possible. He has five goals and seven assists in 12 starts, including the most incredible play of the season. DC United were drawing 3-3 with Orlando City and they won a corner deep into injury time, so the goalkeeper went up for it. But the ball was cleared and Orlando’s forward was in possession with an empty net gaping in front of him. However, Rooney burst back with phenomenal pace, delivered an inch perfect slide tackle, won the ball cleanly, carried it up the pitch and blazed a long ball directly onto Luciano Acosta’s head, allowing the diminutive forward to nod in the winner.

Rooney followed that up with a well-taken brace in a 4-1 victory over Portland in their following game, and he has scored in his last two matches. He is pulling the strings with aplomb, and Acosta’s performances have improved greatly since teaming up with the former Everton and Man Utd star. His arrival gave the entire team a lift, and they have not lost in four games now.

Yet Montreal Impact are also in great form, so it should prove to be a cracking game. Last time out, they travelled to fifth placed Philadelphia Union and earned a thrilling 4-1 victory courtesy of Alejandro Silva Gonzalez’s brace and further strikes from Saphir Taider and Quincy Amarikwa. That followed a 3-0 win over Red Bulls, in which former Arsenal and Man City right-back Bacary Sagna was on target. Evan Bush has arguably been the best goalkeeper in the league this season, and they too are surging with confidence.

The last meeting between these teams finished 1-1 in August, and DC United have not beaten Montreal since 2015. Yet after a testing few years there is finally optimism around this club, thanks to Rooney’s arrival and their subsequent upswing in form. If they want to finish in the top six and surge into the playoffs they need to win games like this in front of their home fans. They have the quality and the momentum to pull it off. But Montreal know that victory will leave them heavy favourites to seal the final playoff spot, so the stakes are extremely high. Both teams have been exceptional in front of goal lately, so we should be in for a high-scoring affair, full of chances and individual brilliance.

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MLS has ‘significant money’ available in chase for United star

There is no hiding the fact that a number of Major League Soccer franchises have the ability to tempt world-class players into a move to the US. The latest name to be linked with a high-profile move is Wayne Rooney.

Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson has stated clubs in MLS have been monitoring Rooney’s situation at Manchester United with a view to bettering offers from China, the Daily Mirror reports.

Rooney’s current contract at United ends in 2019 and he has previously spoken of the possibility of a move to MLS at the end of his playing days in Manchester.

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Paulson feels Rooney still has a lot to offer but that a move would be tempting for the United captain. “I would argue he still has some good soccer ahead of him. I think he would be a great signing for MLS.”

The Timbers’ owner is excited at the prospect of another high-profile player coming at an earlier stage of their career. “Keeping in mind that he is a very talented footballer, who has quality soccer ahead of him, you are not talking about a 34 or 35 year old.

“I get excited about the impact he would have in the MLS more than a guy who is coming in later in his career.”

There is evidently the funding available to attract some of the biggest names in world football. Paulson revealed that Orlando City are one of the latest clubs to have been in talks for high value deals.

“MLS is offering significant money. There were conversations with some guys who are as big a name as Rooney recently. Orlando City had some high profile discussions with some players, guys in his age range. There are some big-dollar numbers that have been put out.”

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China has been attracting some big names to the Chinese Super League in the last year but Paulson feels MLS has more to offer and that it is still a more favourable move for any potential signing.

“I think America compares really favourably. I wouldn’t want to play soccer in Beijing right now. I am not saying that because I don’t like China but the air quality issue is something they have to deal with in a sport which requires fitness.

“Players need to determine where they want to play and what is going to be best for their legacy and lifestyle, where they want to live.”

Rooney has had a good start to the season under new boss Jose Mourinho and a move away looks unlikely at this stage.

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Would a move to MLS suit Rooney? What club should he join if he decides to make a move stateside?

Would this £50m striker answer Manchester United’s goalscoring problems?

Manchester United‘s goalscoring problems have been well documented by pundits and fans alike throughout this season. The summer transfer window is fast approaching and there have already been plenty of players linked to United.

According to Tuttosport.com, Alvaro Morata is a striker Manchester United are looking into. Any sale of the 23-year-old Spaniard would not come through Juventus directly. Tuttosport highlight United would be prepared to offer a figure around £50 million for the forward.

Morata has a buy-back clause of £24 million from his former club Real Madrid, who could well be tempted into resigning their former man to sell on to potential suitors for profit.

If United are interested in signing Morata as the reports state, Madrid would potentially stand to make a whopping £26 million if they were to exercise their right to buy him back from Juventus.

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But is he the right man to lead Manchester United’s frontline? Lets have a look at his statistics.

Morata vs United forward

Morata 2015/16 league stats compared to Martial, Rooney and Rashford

As we can see, Morata made the most appearances in his domestic league compared to the three United strikers in question above. However, the only area he outperformed any of them was in assists.

Anthony Martial scored the most of the strikers compared with 11 goals coming in three less appearances than the Juve man. Marcus Rashford had the highest shot accuracy, though this is unsurprising given his substantially lower amount of games played. Wayne Rooney had the highest pass accuracy and created more chances than the other three strikers listed.

Manchester United’s Martial had the highest direct involvement with goals for his side, combining with his assists to tally at 15. Morata and Rooney came in joint second, with 14 each and Rashford had the lowest output with seven.

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It is worth mentioning that these comparisons are only an indication of the output all four of the strikers in question, though it is difficult to make an exact comparison given the differing number of appearances.

With the stats presented in mind it would be hard to make a case for United to spend anywhere near £50 million on the Juventus forward and there would more than likely be a number of other candidates whose comparable statistics would provide a better option for the club this summer.

Morata’s strike rate is one goal in every 4.85 games, which in comparison to Rooney – who has had his fair share of critics this season despite an injury-stricken campaign – is worse, as the United captain has averaged a goal in every 3.5 games.

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Martial and Rashford have had far less criticism than Rooney and their statistics better both Rooney and Morata’s. Martial is averaging a goal every 2.8 games, while Rashford’s output is one in every 2.2 outings.

It is clear from the United strikers in question that the squad needs an out-and-out goalscorer in this window. This would take some of the pressure off of the young shoulders of Martial and Rashford but would also give them another quality teammate to learn from.

Given these statistics Morata doesn’t look the right option for United, but as we all know, stats don’t tell the full story in football.

Would Manchester United be wrong to make a move for Morata? Who should they be going after in the summer transfer window?

STATS: Analysing the decline of Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney is a man under the spotlight. The Manchester United captain’s performances so far this season have been below his high standards and pressure is mounting on the attacker.

Some have blamed Louis Van Gaal’s philosophies, others claim he is tired, but one thing for sure is that Rooney is not the threat he should be, nor the one Manchester United need him to be.

At 30, few are expecting him to provide the energy he did five years ago. But they are expecting him to provide the spark this United team has lacked at times this season.

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The all-time leading England goalscorer has netted just two Premier League goals in 12 appearances this term. He has made double figures for league goals in each of his 11 seasons at Old Trafford so far but looks unlikely to do that by May.

He is no longer the lead striker, despite starting the season in his traditional position. Summer signings Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial have been brought in to give the United side some pace but Rooney is failing to create chances, let alone score them.

Table: Wayne Rooney's key Premier League statistics over the past five seasons for Manchester United (via WhoScored)

Table: Wayne Rooney’s key Premier League statistics over the past five seasons for Manchester United (via WhoScored)

The table above shows just how bad a campaign the United skipper is having. He has yet to register an assist in the Premier League this year and has registered fewer shots per game than in any of the previous four seasons.

His attacking output in general is nowhere near as effective as it needs to be. His position on the field will not change the fact that he needs to carry the Red Devils’ attack, especially with youngsters such as Jesse Lingard, Martial and Depay looking to him for inspiration.

Graph: Wayne Rooney's attacking output has dropped considerably over the past five seasons.

Graph: Wayne Rooney’s attacking output has dropped considerably over the past five seasons.

The graph above shows how bad the drop in form has been for Rooney in recent years. He has registered half the number of shots per game this term compared to four years ago and has seen his goal output drop by nearly 80% over the same period.

Calls are being made for Rooney to be dropped by Van Gaal. The Dutch manager substituted his captain after the hour mark in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leicester and it will be interesting to see how much trust is now going to be placed in the 30-year-old England star.

Manchester United’s title hopes are very much alive. If Rooney can pick back up, those hopes could turn into reality next May.

Why do you think Wayne Rooney is struggling to perform to the levels expected of him this season?

Euro 2016 Qualifier Preview and Prediction: Slovenia vs England

Competition: European Championship Qualifier – Slovenia vs. England

Venue: Stadion Stozice, Slovenia – Sunday, June 14 – 17:00 GMT

Match Odds: Slovenia 3/1 – Draw 5/2 – England 17/20

Match Preview

Slovenia welcome England to the Stadion Stozice as the top two sides in Group E go head-to-head on Sunday evening.

The hosts have won three of their five qualifying games so far and will feel they have a great chance of making it through to the knockout rounds.

Slovenia’s last outing in the qualifiers was a 6-0 thrashing of minnows San Marino. They have scored ten goals so far in the group, which is only five less than England, but they did lose in their friendly match against Qatar back in March.

A positive result here will give them a real chance of qualifying and will leave them in a good position going into their next qualifier against Switzerland, who are level on points with them at the moment.

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Srečko Katanec’s side are the only opposition to have netted against England in the qualifiers so far as the reverse fixture saw Roy Hodgson’s men win 3-1 at Wembley.

England come into this one off the back of their 0-0 friendly draw with the Republic of Ireland last weekend and will need to show more hunger and determination if they are to pick up the three points here.

The Three Lions have won all five of their qualifiers so far and will feel they have a great chance of getting through the group stages without losing.

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Hodgson’s side are unbeaten in their last ten games and they have only conceded three goals in those outings.

Team News

Slovenia will more than likely line-up in their preferred 4-1-3-2 formation. The England faithful will be familiar with Inter Milan’s Stefan Handanovic, the Slovenia number one. Veteran goalscorer, Milivoje Novakovic, will hope to spoil England’s 100% run.

England welcome back Fabian Delph after his injury, other than that, Hodgson has no other concerns to his squad. Charlie Austin will hope this will be his chance for his England debut.

Key Points

Slovenia’s last five: W/L/L/W/L

England’s last five: W/W/W/W/D

Key Stat: England have not lost a game since the World Cup last summer.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – The England captain is still waiting to become the all time leading goalscorer in their history and will expect to inspire his side to victory.

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Score Prediction

Slovenia 1-2 England – A closer encounter than the reverse fixture in a hostile away tie for England.

STATS: Who is more influential – Rooney or Sanchez?

With this weekend’s showdown battle for third place between Manchester United and Arsenal fast approaching, Lewis Addley looks at who has been more influential in the Premier League this season, Wayne Rooney or Alexis Sanchez?

The two attackers go head-to-head in arguably their most important fixture of the season after Arsene Wenger’s comments regarding the difference coming third can make in terms of transfers. The game has added importance as the victor will edge closer to securing third place and will therefore avoid the Champions League qualifiers.

This has been another transitional season for United and it looks like Louis Van Gaal is getting closer to the side he wants and bringing United back to the top level.

Rooney has been used in a number of different roles this season and the United captain has remained very professional about it. He is still arguably the best striker for the Red Devils and his qualities have made him the stand out attacking option in the United side.

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Sanchez’s first season with Arsenal has been brilliant. He was nominated for PFA Player of the Year and he has been the difference in many of his side’s games.

So how do the two compare in their key offensive areas this season?

Stats via Squawka Apps Goals Assists Pass Accuracy Chances Created Shot Accuracy Duels Won Successful Take-Ons
Rooney 32 12 10 85% 45 51% 43% 38
Sanchez 32 16 8 77% 72 64% 51% 111

Having both played the same number of games, Rooney’s goal output is still impressive. It is lower than previous seasons, but being used in a midfield role on occasions certainly hasn’t helped. Sanchez does have a better goals-per-game ratio than the England captain.

Rooney has more assists, which isn’t surprising given he plays a more central role, and has a more successful pass rate. Surprisingly though, Sanchez has created more chances, as his ability to get his head down and run at defences makes him a very tough player to stop.

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Sanchez has a far greater success rate when it comes to take-ons which also gives him a better ‘duels won’ percentage.

Both are playing in similar squads and are certainly the key players when looking at offensive options.

Their battle this weekend will help to show who can perform at the highest level under immense pressure. Rooney could well edge it with the home crowd behind him but Sanchez will look to hurt the Red Devils where possible.

Who do you think is the more influential player, Rooney or Sanchez?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Manchester United 

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, April 18th – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 1/1 – Draw 12/5 – Manchester United 11/4

Match Preview

Chelsea host Manchester United on Saturday evening in the standout fixture in the Premier League this weekend as they look to take one more step towards their first title since 2010.

The Blues endured a tough game last weekend against Queens Park Rangers, stealing all three points in the final knockings of the game through Cesc Fabregas, and are still seven points clear at the top of the table.

Manchester United will be absolutely buzzing ahead of this one though, and will be full of confidence after their demolition of rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford last Sunday.

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Louis Van Gaal’s team are coming good and things are really kicking into place as they have won six on the bounce as things certainly look to be back on the up for United.

United are probably one of the last teams Chelsea will want to face at this stage of the season and this is a must win for Jose Mourinho ahead of the following week’s game against title rivals, Arsenal, at the Emirates.

The earlier meeting in the season between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw and United haven’t beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since 2012.

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Van Gaal’s side are in fine form though and this is the strongest United side to face Chelsea since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.

This could be a pivotal game in the race for the title and Mourinho will not want to give the chasing pack any hope that his side can be caught.

Team News

Chelsea will be without goal-machine, Diego Costa, who also missed out in the reverse fixture, but Loic Remy could return after missing out last weekend too. Those are Chelsea’s only two injury concerns as the squad is in good shape. Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic will need to be on high-alert once again after escaping last weekend without a yellow card. If either of the midfielders picks one up here they will miss the clash with Arsenal the following week.

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Manchester United have just three injury concerns to Michael Carrick, Robin van Persie and Luke Shaw to deal with, but all three players could be set to return to the squad this weekend. Jonny Evans remains banned and we can expect a key performance from former Chelsea man, Juan Mata. The Spaniard has hit fine form and is scoring important goals, and he will have a point to prove against his former employers.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/D/W/W/W

Manchester United’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 16 home league matches at Stamford Bridge and it will take a lot for United to end that run on Sunday afternoon.

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Key Player: Juan Mata – United’s player of the moment is on fire, scoring in their wins over Liverpool and Manchester City as he looks to be back to his very best and Chelsea could be on the receiving end of his supreme talent this weekend.

Score Prediction

Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United – Chelsea to just edge over the line once again as they have done so many times this season. Mourinho will want a tidy and tight performance from his side but the United machine is moving at full pace, so they will be very hard to stop.

Loyal Manchester United star rules out Serie A switch

Manchester United and England captain, Wayne Rooney has ruled out moving away from the Premier League to play in Serie A.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of tonights England friendly against Italy, Rooney outlined his love for Serie A but admits he doesn’t see himself plying his trade there as he loves the Premier League.

“I’ve never thought of playing in Italy,” Rooney said.

“Growing up I watched Italian football. They had some great teams like Juventus and AC Milan and I loved to watch Fiorentina because I loved watching Batistuta.”

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The only likely destination Rooney would choose in Italy would be to ‘The Old Lady’, Juventus, who are the most prominent Italian side to currently feature in the Champions League. But the 29-year-old forward doesn’t think a move is likely.

“But to be honest I don’t think I will be playing in Italy.”

Rooney has also been linked with moves away from United to other Premier League clubs, with the likes of Chelsea having previously been interested, but for now it looks like he will continue to turn out for the Red Devils.

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He is thriving under Louis Van Gaal and seems to love playing for the Red Devils.

As well as closing in on Bobby Charlton’s all-time leading goalscoring record, Rooney is pressing on to try and reach Alan Shearer’s Premier League goalscoring record of 260 goals. Rooney has 184 goals in 400 league appearances.

Would Wayne Rooney suit Serie A? Will he stay with Manchester United for the rest of his career?

Wayne Rooney says England are to be feared

Wayne Rooney has stated England have what it takes to be feared as a footballing nation as they maintain their 100 per cent record in Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of England’s friendly with Italy on Tuesday night, the Manchester United forward feels the players have what it takes to be feared.

“The players are so quick and when we lose the ball we want to be aggressive and win it back quickly.

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“I am sure you have heard the manager talk about those little ‘furies’ – that when we lose the ball we have to win it back as quickly as possible.

“With the players we have got, we have to play like that.”

England are unbeaten in their last eight games, winning the last seven, and have rapidly improved since their hugely disappointing World Cup performance in 2014.

And Rooney has highlighted the importance of teams not wanting to face England.

“You don’t want to go into games and teams enjoy playing against you.

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“You want teams to look at England and think, ‘we know we have a tough game, it is going to physically hard against them, we are going to have to defend and we are going to have to be good on the ball to keep the ball’.”

England face arguably their toughest task since the World Cup last year on Tuesday evening against Italy and can send out a message to other nations if they can defeat the four-time World Champions in Turin.

Are England a nation to fear in world football?

Wayne Rooney close to ‘fantastic moment’ by entering history books

Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney is just three goals behind all-time England leading goalscorer, Sir Bobby Charlton and hopes he will become the highest goalscorer in national history “sooner rather than later”.

Rooney currently has 46 goals, compared to Charlton’s 49 and he stands a strong chance of eclipsing that record over this international break, especially in Friday’s home game against Lithuania.

Don’t Miss: Euro 2016 Qualifier Preview and Prediction: England vs Lithuania 

Rooney was quoted by Sky Sports as saying how proud he would be of the achievement.

“Obviously I am close. It will be a fantastic moment for myself, a proud moment if I can do that.”

The 29-year-old forward has plenty of time to surpass the record but isn’t focused on personal achievements and just wants to see the team succeed.

“Hopefully one day it will happen and sooner rather than later, I have to keep concentrating on what has got me to this position and try to do my best for the team and hopefully I can get goals along the way.”

After missing the chance to get on the scoresheet at Anfield in his last Manchester United game he will be keen to kick on and prove that his best position is as a striker, though Rooney isn’t worried about where he plays.

“I’m sure in other games [Van Gaal] might put me back in midfield, but I’m delighted to be playing up front and scoring goals. It’s helping us win football matches.”

The England captain will lead his side out in tonights qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley, knowing a hat-trick will put him level with Sir Bobby Charlton’s record.

Will Rooney become England’s all-time leading goalscorer this international break?