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Why are Manchester United struggling to score goals under Erik ten Hag?



Cristiano ronaldo

After Sunday’s scoreless draw with Newcastle, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag observed, “We broke them, but we didn’t kill them.” His club needs to develop a killer instinct soon or the advancements achieved under the Dutchman risk stalling. They had 15 shots, but only two were on goal.

You can tell that United is a better team than they were last season without using a complex statistical model. Ten Hag’s early losses to Brentford and Brighton may have raised some concerns about his suitability for the position, but wins over Liverpool (2-1) and Arsenal (3-1) and a gradual rise to fifth place have allayed such concerns.

The key area for improvement is in front of goal, but it’s still a work in progress under a manager who has only been in place since the summer. The only team in the top half of the standings with fewer goals after last weekend’s round of Premier League games was Bournemouth with 10. Manchester United scored 13 goals after nine league games, including three against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium after the game, it’s ended with 6-3, was already gone.

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Ten Hag’s club currently sits outside the top six in almost every attacking category after only one-fourth of the season has passed. United ranks 11th in the Premier League for shots with 114 and shots on target with 29, while they are 10th for touches in the opponent’s penalty area. They also rank 11th for expected goals.

Only Crystal Palace has tried fewer crosses than United’s 115, while United and Palace are matched for the league’s fewest corners with 31. This season, 60.5% of United’s shots have came from within the penalty box, which is the fourth-lowest percentage in the Premier League.

Ten Hag claimed he is still confident his squad would score soon following the draw with Newcastle, but he added that it’s not only a matter of his strikers taking their chances. To date this season, United only ranks 10th in the area of “big chances missed,” as both Marcus Rashford and Fred failed to capitalise on significant chances to help their team defeat Newcastle.

Man united shots in PL 22-23
Man united shots in PL 22-23

Ten Hag remarked at Old Trafford on Sunday, “There can be moments when you are in a period [when you don’t score], but our strikers will score, will score a lot. I’m confident about that, as long as we keep doing the job in and out of possession. It’s obvious it’s about accepting responsibility, and I am certain our attackers will take responsibility, but also other players, midfielders, and defenders, can score goals. Today we didn’t score, but in the other games we did.

On the practise field, it appears that the players are still figuring out what Ten Hag wants, which has stifled their ability to attack. Ten Hag wants his players to be more adaptable and rely more on their own intuition than Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola’s organised approach of attacking teams with the pitch divided into precise zones and channels.

The aim is to make them unpredictable as they move forward by encouraging them to base their positions and moves on what is going on around them as opposed to being commanded to be in a specific place during a specific phase of the game. However, it is acknowledged that this approach may take more time to perfect than a more rigid approach.

Ronaldo sad
Man United have scored just once in their past three home games. 

Ten Hag and his coaching staff have used post-game video sessions to highlight areas where space might have been created if different choices had been taken. There is a perception that during this early period of his rule, players are obstructing one another rather than clearing space.

Ten Hag emphasized on Sunday, nevertheless, that all will fall into place eventually. And his players have the same opinion.

Luke Shaw, a left back, said, “He wants intensity, he wants aggression, he wants us to play high, press high, and, of course, he wants us to play football when we have the ball.” “There are very promising signals right now and we, as players, can see it in day-to-day training with him,” the player said. “There are a lot of movements, a lot of playing in between the lines, and I think, of course, we are in a transition.”

Ten Hag is confident that his approach makes it easy to assemble aggressive, exciting teams, and he only needs to look at his Ajax team from the previous season, which led all clubs in Eredivisie goals scored with 98. United, however, is still not there and has only scored once in their past three home games against Newcastle, Omonia Nicosia, and Real Sociedad. The match with Tottenham will take place on Wednesday at Old Trafford.

Despite this, United will face third-placed Spurs as small favorites’, which is a statement in and of itself that Ten Hag has made progress in his short time as manager, but he would still like to see a few more goals to show for it.


Luis Rubiales FIFA Ban: Three-Year Prohibition by FIFA



Luis Rubiales delivering a speech at a press conference

The global governing body of football, FIFA, delivered a strong message on Monday as it issued the Luis Rubiales FIFA ban, prohibiting former Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales from all activities related to the sport for a period of three years. This consequential decision comes in the wake of a controversy that emerged during the Women’s World Cup earlier this year. Reports revealed that Rubiales was found guilty of gross misconduct, specifically for an incident that overshadowed Spain’s victory at the World Cup trophy ceremony in Sydney.

The Controversial Incident

A disciplinary committee was promptly assembled to investigate the disturbing incident, yet the specifics of the verdict have not been disclosed to the public. Rubiales faced severe charges related to what FIFA described as a violation of the “basic rules of decent conduct” and “behaving in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute.” The episode in question pertains to an incident where Rubiales forcibly kissed a Spanish player on the lips during the trophy ceremony, tainting what should have been a moment of triumph for the nation’s football team.

Misconduct and Resignation

The aftermath of the incident was marked by Rubiales’s initial defiance and refusal to acknowledge any wrongdoing, leading to a prolonged period of controversy. However, mounting pressure from various quarters, including the Spanish government and the national team players, eventually forced Rubiales to resign from his esteemed position within the Spanish football hierarchy. The incident not only tarnished Rubiales’s reputation but also cast a shadow over the accomplishments of the national team.

Ban and Appeal

While the FIFA ban on Luis Rubiales has been imposed for a duration of three years, Rubiales still has the option to contest the verdict. FIFA has granted him a window of ten days to request a review of the decision, following which he can file an appeal with the governing body. It remains to be seen how Rubiales will proceed in light of this substantial ban.

Luis Rubiales wearing a black blazer at an event

The Response and Controversy

Despite facing widespread backlash, Rubiales has garnered some support, notably from his mother, Angeles Bejar. In a bold demonstration of solidarity, she initiated a hunger strike to protest what she described as “the inhumane and bloody hunt” against her son. While some may sympathize with Rubiales, the gravity of the incident and the subsequent ban imposed by FIFA underscore the importance of maintaining integrity and respect within the world of professional sports.

In conclusion, FIFA’s decisive action against Luis Rubiales serves as a reminder that no individual, regardless of their position, is above the fundamental values of respect and sportsmanship that form the bedrock of football’s global community. As the sport continues to evolve, the need for upholding ethical standards remains paramount, ensuring that the spirit of fair play and camaraderie endures for generations to come.

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Rubiales Scandal: Soccer’s Integrity Unveiled



Rubiales and Jenni Hermoso

Exploring the Rubiales Scandal and Its Implications
In the world of soccer, where triumphs and controversies intertwine, the recent incident involving the president of the Spanish soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, has ignited a fiery debate. Reports from Spanish media suggest that Rubiales might resign from his position after five years of leading the body. The controversy stems from an episode where he kissed a player during a celebration and his subsequent actions during a significant match. This article delves into the details of the incident, the potential repercussions, and the broader implications for both Rubiales and the soccer community.

The Kiss that Stirred Controversy
The Spanish soccer federation president found himself in hot water due to an unexpected gesture. Following Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final, Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy and medal ceremony. This gesture, intended to be celebratory, quickly became the center of attention and sparked a wave of discussions.
The incident prompted FIFA, the global governing body of soccer, to intervene. FIFA’s disciplinary committee initiated an inquiry to determine whether Rubiales’ actions violated the organization’s code of conduct and brought the sport and FIFA into disrepute. The core issue here is whether Rubiales’ behavior aligns with the principles of decency expected from a soccer official.

Amidst the uproar, reports surfaced indicating that Rubiales might step down from his role as the president of the Spanish soccer federation. The speculation has fueled further debates about whether resignation is an appropriate response to the controversy. If Rubiales indeed resigns, it would mark the end of his five-year tenure at the helm of the organization.The incident has drawn mixed reactions from both the public and the players. While some view the kiss as a harmless expression of celebration, others see it as an inappropriate breach of professional boundaries. Player Jenni Hermoso expressed discomfort with the kiss, and the national players’ union, once led by Rubiales, called for accountability regarding his actions.
FIFA issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to upholding the integrity of all individuals associated with the sport. The organization condemned any behavior that contradicts this commitment. While FIFA did not specify the exact acts under investigation, their emphasis on maintaining the sport’s reputation is clear.
Beyond the kiss, Rubiales’ conduct during the match drew attention. He was seen making a gesture by grabbing his crotch as a victory celebration. This action further added to the controversy, raising questions about appropriate behavior for a soccer official, especially in the presence of dignitaries.
The FIFA disciplinary panel has the authority to impose various sanctions on individuals found in violation of its code of conduct. These sanctions can range from warnings and fines to suspensions from soccer-related activities. The severity of the punishment will depend on the outcome of the investigation and the panel’s assessment of the situation.
Luis Rubiales holds the position of vice president at UEFA, the governing body for soccer in Europe. This role carries both prestige and responsibilities. The controversy has yet to garner a response from UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, leaving the soccer community curious about the organization’s stance on the issue.
Rubiales is currently spearheading a bid to host the men’s World Cup in 2030, a joint effort involving Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and possibly Ukraine. However, his involvement in the Rubiales Scandal has raised concerns about the bid’s viability and the image projected to potential supporters.
The incident has wider implications for both the Spanish soccer federation and the broader soccer landscape. It highlights the importance of maintaining professionalism and ethical conduct within the sport’s leadership. The outcome of this controversy could set a precedent for addressing similar situations in the future.
As the Spanish soccer federation holds an emergency meeting to address the situation, the soccer community awaits a decision. The meeting’s outcome will not only impact Rubiales’ future but also shape the federation’s trajectory. The controversies surrounding this incident underscore the need for open discussions about behavior expectations and consequences.
The Rubiales Scandal serves as a reminder that even in the world of sports, actions can have far-reaching consequences. The incident involving the kiss and subsequent gestures has ignited discussions about leadership, professionalism, and the image projected by soccer officials. As FIFA investigates the matter, the soccer community anticipates the outcome and the potential shifts it may bring.

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Vlahovic Double Helps Juventus beat Salernitana 3-0.



Dusan Vlahovic

Juventus beat Salernitana 3-0 in Serie A on Tuesday, with striker Dusan Vlahovic scoring two goals and setting up another to lift the visitors to 10th in the table.

Vlahovic, a Serb who has been injured a lot this season but played in the league for the first time since October, found his old form again in this match.

Hans Nicolussi gave Juventus a penalty kick when he sent Manuel Locatelli off in the 26th minute. Vlahovic converted the penalty.

Vlahovic almost scored a second goal in the 37th minute, but his shot from the edge of the box from an acute angle went just past the post.

At the end of the first half, Filip Kostic made it 2-0 when he tapped the ball in from close range after Vlahovic’s initial shot had bounced into his path.

In the last seconds before the halftime break, Locatelli ran into the penalty area unchallenged and gave Juventus a chance to score a third goal. However, Salernitana goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa reacted quickly to prevent Locatelli from lobbing the ball over him.

80 seconds into the second half, Vlahovic scored his second goal when he ran through the penalty area and shot the ball flat into the right corner.

In the 51st minute, Junior Zambia hit a cross that reached almost everyone in the box, but Salernitana striker Boulaye Dia could not stretch far enough to put the ball in the open net.

“The team responded well and we played a good first half. But after taking a 3-0 lead, we got a little too comfortable and allowed too many shots on goal. We did not move enough and stayed in the same places, and the players know we have to do better,” Allegri said.

“In the first 10 minutes we played the ball too often down the right side. We need to improve the passing game, become more supple and keep things simple.”

Angel Di Maria hit the crossbar after 53 minutes and Moise Kean hit the post just before the end of the game, preventing Juve from adding to their tally.

The win moved Juventus to 26 points after 21 games, while Salernitana dropped to 21 points and 16th place.

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