Bouncing back in 2016

Rooney (right) taking on Chelsea’s John Terry during the EPL match at Old Trafford last Monday.

What will Manchester United followers have in store for 2016? A lot, I hope! Things can only get better after a dismal 2015.

Yes, there was a return to Champions League football, albeit briefly, but there were also many mediocre and limp performances. Rather painful to watch, to be frank.

Well, there was a glimpse of the old Man Utd last Monday when Chelsea visited Old Trafford.

There was pace and urgency in the Red Devils’ performance and Louis van Gaal’s men played well as a unit.

The team created enough opportunities to win the game and give their under-fire manager a little bit of breathing space.

But Man Utd still lack conviction in front of goal.

Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial looked like they were short of confidence so the goals continued to dry up for the team.

The Spanish duo of Juan Mata and Ander Herrera were lively and showed a lot of creativity, while David De Gea, Chris Smalling and Ashley Young all had impressive games.

Swansea come into this game still without a manager after Garry Monk was sacked earlier this month but they are unbeaten in three games under caretaker manager Alan Curtis.

They have also won four of the last five meetings with Man Utd in all competitions, all by a 2-1 scoreline, including two of their last three visits to Old Trafford.

Now that is a worrying statistic for any Red Devils fan.

Another stat that will not be good reading for their fans is that five of Man Utd’s last eight games at Old Trafford in all competitions have ended goalless.

My gut feeling tells me that LVG’s boys will start the year with a bang and put in a good performance filled with intensity and go on to win comfortably.

Leaders Arsenal welcome struggling Newcastle hoping to consolidate their lead at the top of the log.

Sterling will be the man to watch as Man City look to continue their pursuit of leaders Arsenal when they tackle Watford away.
Sterling will be the man to watch as Man City look to continue their pursuit of leaders Arsenal when they tackle Watford away.

They ended 2015 as the best team in the English Premier League and will be confident of beginning 2016 with three point against the lowly Magpies.

Steve McClaren’s men were dealt a massive blow in their last two games when Everton and WBA scored late on to secure wins and look like a team that is short of confidence.

The Gunners meanwhile, bounced back from their Boxing Day hammering at the hands of Southampton with a routine win over Bournemouth last Monday and all things point to a comfortable home win for Arsene Wenger’s boys.

Joint leaders and surprise package Leicester will be eager for all three points when Bournemouth visit the King Power Stadium and will be eager to get back to winning ways after losing to Liverpool and holding Man City to a scoreless draw over the busy holiday period.

Is this the start of Claudio Ranieri’s team fantastic run going downhill?

Two games without scoring against the likes of The Reds and The Citizens will surely not give Leicester fans sleepless nights, in my opinion.

They played well in both games and held their own so I am predicting another win for the Foxes against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.

Third-placed Man City face a potentially tricky clash when they go to Watford in the late game this evening.

Manager Quique Sanchez Flores has done an amazing job with the team and anyone who saw their loss against Tottenham at Vicarage Road would have been impressed.

Even down to 10 men, the Hornets were full of swagger and energy in the closing stages of the match and only lost when Son Heung-Min scored a dramatic late winner for Tottenham.

In Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney, Watford have the most in-form duo after Leicester’s Jamie Vardy and Riyaz Mahrez.

With Man City captain Vincent Kompany out injured, the Citizens will surely find Ighalo and Deeney a handful.

However my feeling is Man City’s class will prevail and I expect Raheem Sterling to have another good game after his encouraging outing against Leicester in midweek.

The EPL season so far has seen a lot of surprising results.

The performances of teams such as Leicester, Watford and Tottenham bodes well for the coming year as they are a joy to watch, especially for the neutrals.

It promises to be an exciting five months with more twist and turns.

My beloved Man Utd must start winning again, in style, please.

So here’s hoping to a good year ahead to all Red Devils.

May the force be with us.

Randeep Singh wishes everyone a Happy New Year with hugs all year round for his newly born daughter and beloved wife.

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