Tag Archives: Patrice Evra

Predicting Chelsea and United’s Starting XI For Today’s UCL Matches

The current league leaders Chelsea and nineteen time English champions Manchester United face each other in Sunday’s huge Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge, but before that they have some Champions League business to attend. 

The defending champions, Chelsea make the trip to Ukraine to battle it out against joint group leader Shakhtar Donetsk, while Manchester United – who failed to make it past the group stages last term – face Portuguese side Braga at Old Trafford. Both the managers will be keen to get all the three points today, but at the same time they face some selection dilemmas about who to rest and keep fresh ahead of the huge clash on Sunday.

Here at IntoTheTopCorner, we predict the starting XIs for both, Chelsea and Manchester United keeping in mind Sunday’s important Premier League clash.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Bransilav Ivanovic, John Terry (C), David Luiz, Ashley Cole; John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard; Juan Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard; Fernando Torres.

Roberto Di Matteo’s side haven’t picked any new injuries during the Tottenham game and the Italian isn’t expected to make a lot of changes to his line-up. Captain John Terry, who is banned for four domestic games, is expected to make the return in the heart of the defence in place of Gary Cahill. Full-backs Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole will have to be at their best against Shakhtar’s dangerous wingers. Frank Lampard, who was a late substitute in the 4-2 win at White Hart Lane, could get the nod in midfield instead of Ramires. The former West Brom boss is expected to play the same attacking four which scored four past Tottenham, with Juan Mata and Eden Hazard starting on the wings, while Oscar playing in the hole behind Fernando Torres.

Manchester United (4-1-2-1-2): Anders Lindegaard; Rafael, Scott Wootton, Jonny Evans, Alexander Buttner; Darren Fletcher; Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa; Wayne Rooney; Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck.

Sir Alex Ferguson rested a number of players for Stoke’s visit after the hectic international fixtures, with Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa and Darren Fletcher not evening making the squad. The trio will straight away be drafted in to the starting XI for today’s game. With David De Gea having started the previous two Premier League games, Anders Lindegaard is expected to start in goal for the Red Devils. Keeping in mind Sunday’s big game, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand are rested, which means youngster Scott Wootton and summer signing Alexander Buttner are expected to start in the defence along with Rafael and Jonny Evans. Robin van Persie – United’s top goal scorer in all competitions – could also be rested, that could see Javier Hernandez start along side Danny Welbeck in attack with Wayne Rooney playing at the top of the midfield diamond.

Liverpool v Manchester United Preview

One of English football’s oldest and fiercest rivalry will be renewed this Sunday as Liverpool and Manchester United go head-to-head at Anfield.

The encounter promises to be an emotionally-charged affair, marking the Reds’ first home game since the recent report into the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy in which 96 Liverpool supporters lost their lives. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has already confirmed the Red Devils will offer any assistance possible in ensuring the day goes smoothly, calling for mutual respect from both sets of fans.

The lastest fixture between the two sides at Old Trafford saw Liverpool’s Luis Suarez refuse to shake the hand of Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during the pre-match hand-shake following a much-publicised race storm, but reports ahead of Sunday’s game suggest there will be no such incident at Anfield, with the players not expected to cause further controversy on such an emotional occasion. The two teams are also expected to release 96 red ballons before the match as a tribute to those who passed away in the disaster.

TEAM NEWS

Liverpool

Manager Brendan Rodgers will bring back his big names for the visit of Manchester United. Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Joe Allen and Martin Kelly were rested for the 5-3 Europa League win at Young Boys but will return as they go looking for their first Barclays Premier League victory of the season. Forwards Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling, substitutes in Switzerland, are likely to start while midfielder Jonjo Shelvey pressed his claims for inclusion with a two-goal second-half cameo.

Manchester United

Winger Ashley Young has been ruled out for two to three weeks with a “bruised cartilage”, Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed. The 27-year-old missed out on the England squad for the World Cup 2014 qualifying double-header against Moldova and Ukraine this month, and Ferguson now expects to be without the player until October. The United manager has also ruled out Wayne Rooney but could feature next weekend, while Darren Fletcher would play from the start in Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup tie at home to Newcastle United. The Scotland midfielder came on as a substitute in the 1-0 Champions League win over Galatasaray in midweek, his first competitive outing since last November.

HEAD TO HEAD

Played – 185
Liverpool Wins – 62
Draw – 51
Manchester United Wins – 72

HEAD TO HEAD FIXTURES (LAST FIVE)

11-Feb-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool
28-Jan-12 – FA Cup – Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United
15-Oct-12 – Premier League – Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United
06-Mar-11 – Premier League – Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United
09-Jan-11 – FA CUp – Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool

FORM GUIDE

Liverpool – WDLDD
The Reds are yet to register a win in the Premier League this season under new manager Brendan Rodgers and he will be desperate to break that duck against their fierce rivals.

20-Sep-12 – Europa League – Young Boys 3-5 Liverpool
15-Sep-12 – Premier League – Sunderland 1-1 Liverpool
02-Sep-12 – Premier League – Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal
30-Aug-12 – Europa League – Liverpool 1-1 Hearts
26-Aug-12 – Premier League – Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City

Manchester United – WWWWL
United come into this match on the back of four back-to-back wins in all competitions and are sitting second behind Chelsea in the Premier League table.

19-Sep-12 – Champions League – Manchester United 1-0 Galatasaray
15-Sep-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 4-0 Wigan Athletic
02-Sep-12 – Premier League – Southampton 2-3 Manchester United
25-Aug-12 – Premier League – Manchester United 3-2 Fulham
20-Aug-12 – Premier League – Everton 1-0 Manchester United

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
The Uruguayan will surely be the one to watch when these two sides meet tomorrow at Anfield. Suarez has dominated all the talk in the last two games between these sides at Anfiedl, but for different reasons. His mesmerizing performance helped Liverpool outclass United in March 2011 while the incidents involving him and Patrice Evra made the headlines after the last league game. With the ability to produce something out of the extraordinary, he will be hoping to do his best to help his team beat their fierce rivals while his battle with Evra will also not go unnoticed.

Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
The 28-year-old striker could not have asked for a much better start to life at Old Trafford. After scoring on his full debut against Fulham, with his very first shot, the ex-Feyenoord man then notched a hat-trick in the very next game against Southampton. Liverpool know all too well about van Persie’s predatory instincts after he scored both goals in the 2-1 win for his former side Arsenal at Anfield last season. Centre-back pairing of Agger and Skrtel will have improve on their showings so far this season if they are going successfully stop Dutchman from scoring.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Liverpool (4-3-3): Pepe Reina; Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Jose Enrique; Steven Gerrard (C), Joe Allen, Jonjo Shelvey; Fanio Borini, Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling.

The regular first teamers are expected to return after rested against Young Boys. Reina will start in goal, with Johnson, Skrtel and Agger to take back their regular positions. Jose Enrique might get the nod ahead of Martin Kelly in the starting XI. Gerrard and Allen will be back in place Henderson and Suso, while Shelvey is expected to keep his place in the side at the expense of Nuri Sahin, following his two goal second half cameo. Sterling will provide the Reds with natural pace and width on the left, while Suarez and Borini will complete the rest of the front three.

Manchester United (4-4-1-1): David De Gea; Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic (C), Patrice Evra; Antonio Valencia, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Nani; Shinji Kagawa; Robin van Persie.

Not many changes are expected to be made to the side that defeated Galatasaray at Old Trafford during the midweek. De Gea, Rafael, Vidic and Evra are all expected to keep their place in the defence, while Ferdinand will come in for Evans. The rest of the side is expected to be the same with Valencia and Nani on the wings and Carrick and Scholes in the centre of the midfield. Kagawa, who has excelled in the role behind striker, will start again behind Van Persie, who will lead the line on his own.

OPTA FACTS

  • 0 – Danny Welbeck has had 0 shots on targets in the Premier League this season, despite 10 attempts. 7 of them came in last week’s win over Wigan.
  • 2 – Nemanja Vidic has been sent off in his last 2 games at Anfield. 3 of his 4 red cards in the Premier League have been against Liverpool.
  • 2 – Liverpool have won just 2 of their 11 Premier League games at Anfield in 2012 (W2 D4 L5).
  • 4 – Robin van Persie scored both the goals in the 2-1 win against Liverpool for Arsenal at Anfield last season and has netted 4 times in his last 5 games against the Reds
  • 12 – Luis Suarez has created more goalscoring chances than anyone in the Premier League (12), but has yet to register an assist.
  • 75 – Liverpool have had 75 shots so far this season – the joint-most in the Premier League – but only 15 of them have been on target.

REFEREE

Name – Mark Halsey
Based – Lancashire
Age – 51
Games – 3
Yellow Cards – 6
Red Cards – 1

MATCH ODDS

Liverpool 7/4, Draw 9/4, Manchester United 13/8

PREDICTION

It has been an emotional week in the North West after the Hillsborough report’s release and the emotional atmosphere might play spoilsport. The two sets of players will have to rise above the occassion to make the game a football spectacle. These derbies are rarely open, free-flowing, end-to-end affairs, so expect a cage game until the first goal is scored. United are in form having won three of their four Premier League games, with summer signing Van Persie scoring four in his two starts. But Liverpool are a hard team to break down at home, especially against Manchester United and their ability to take their chances might decide the outcome of the game.

Predicted Score: Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 4

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting third weekend in the Premier League. Aston Villa, Arsenal and Tottenham have provided two players each, while there is one each from Stoke, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United and Fulham.

Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)

The American completely justified Paul Lambert’s decision to select him ahead of the experienced Shay Given with some stunning saves. The saves from Nathan Dyer and Ashley Williams were the key moments in the match and the difference between the two sides.

Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa)

The 23-year-old was a perfect example of Lambert’s policy of playing youngsters who are eager to establish themselves in the top flight. He scored an absolute belter as his first Premier League goal and also played his part in Villa’s first clean sheet of the season to mark a performance to remember.

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)

It was not at all an easy task of keeping Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko at bay for the whole match, but the Stoke skipper did it. His goal-line clearance denied the reigning Premier League of all three points. A battling performance by the former Manchester United player and a future England regular.

Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

The former Ajax skipper has settled nicely with life in Tottenham’s defence and had little trouble dealing with Reading’s Pavel Pogrebnyak. The Belgium international was equal to the Russian’s goal threat and snuffed out the Royals’ main attacking option. He will only be disappointed of not keeping a clean-sheet.

Alexander Buttner (Manchester United)

Put in a Man-of-the-Match performance on his debut. He was a big threat going forward but never ignored his defensive duties. He assisted Chicharito’s goal with a shot across goal and then went past three defenders to open his own account with a shot from a very acute angle. His display surely must have given Patrice Evra some nightmares.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

What a signing this man has been for the Gunners. Completely bossed the midfield and his incisive passing effortlessly tore the Saints apart on Saturday. The Spainish international is becoming a regular in the Premier League Team of the Week along with Jan Vertonghen and has created a total of 18 chances this season – the most by any place.

Javi Garcia (Manchester City)

Excellent debut by the former Benfica star at the Britannia Stadium. The defensive midfielder is not known for his scoring but he did pop up with a headed equaliser and also came close to scoring a second but was only denied by a very good Asmir Begovic save.

Lukas Podolski (Arsenal)

The German international opened his goal scoring account for his new club – Arsenal against Liverpool at Anfield before the international break and continue his goal scoring form with a cracking free-kick against Southampton to double the Gunners’ lead in the first half.

Demba Ba (Newcastle United)

The Senegal striker started from the bench but he made the difference when he came on at half time for the second half. He scored within minutes of his arrival and then did the same again in the last minute to secure the share of points against Everton at Goodison Park.

Dimitar Berbatov (Fulham)

In his home debut for Fulham, he put in a classy performance to help Fulham beat West Brom at Craven Cottage. He opened the scoring with a curling effort and then sent his former Manchester United team-mate Ben Foster the wrong way from the penalty spot. Looking like a very good signing for the Cottagers.

Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur)

A sterling performance by the in-form Englishman, who again proved his finishing abilities. He led the line superbly and grabbed a deserved brace to see-off Reading and earn Spurs their first win of the new season. His first goal was a neat first-time finish, while his second one was with a superb run and finish.

10 Things You Should Know About Manchester United’s Latest Signing – Alexander Buttner

Manchester United confirmed yesterday that they have completed the signing of Alexander Buttner from Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem for an undisclossed fee.

The Dutch defender, who was linked with a move to Southampton early in the summer, passed his medical on Tuesday, agreed personal terms and signed a five-year contract at Old Trafford until 2017.

His new manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the club’s official site:

“Alexander is one of the best young left backs in Europe and we’re delighted to sign him. He’s someone we’ve been watching for a while now. He gives us some really exciting options in that position.”

The 23-year-old couldn’t hide his excitement about the move, he told manutd.com:

“Joining Manchester United is one of the best days of my life. It’s a team I have admired for many years now and I can’t wait to join my teammates and play my part in helping the club be successful.”

Buttner, who can also play as a left winger, a defensive midfielder, an attacking midfielder and as a right-back, will add much needed depth to the defence and will be a pretty good cover for Patrice Evra. If the £3.9m fee on this move is to be believed, then Manchester United have got themselves a pretty solid bargain here.

With the move now officially completed and announced by the 19 times English champions, here are the ten things you should know about Alexander Buttner.

  • Alexander was born on 11th Feb, 1989 in Doetinchem, other footballers to hail from the Dutch town include former Cardiff and Celtic defender Glenn Loovens and ex Dutch international and Man City midfielder Paul Bosvelt.
  • After impressing with local side VV Doetinchem, Alexander joined the famous youth academy of Ajax.
  • After leaving the Dutch giants aged 16 he moved back to Gelderland, and despite being from Doetinchem, home of De Graafschap he signed instead for rivals Vitesse Arnhem.
  • After making his debut in 2008 he went on to score his first goal for the club against FC Volendam in a 3-1 victory.
  • He has since gone on to make 107 league appearances for Vitesse scoring 10 goals.
  • Alexander is a versatile player who has operated on the wing, holding midfield, attacking midfield and a right back but has more recently established himself as a left back.
  • He was included in the 36 man preliminary squad for The Netherlands disastrous Euro 2012 campaign but was not taken to the tournament itself.
  • He has therefore yet to make his full Dutch debut but has represented the Netherlands at youth team levels.
  • In July it seemed certain Alexander would sign for Southampton with a fee agreed between both sides and a medical being, seemingly, the only obstacle. However an unnamed third party requested a portion of the transfer fee and the deal collapsed.
  • After failing in their attempts to sign Leighton Baines, The Red Devils have moved to take the 23 year old to Old Trafford to provide backup, and competition, for Patrice Evra.

Premier League 2012/13 Team Preview – Manchester United

Welcome to IntoTheTopCorner’s team-by-team preview to the new Barclays Premier League season. Here we look at Manchester United’s vital stats, their summer transfers and analyse their chances.

Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson.
Captain: Nemanja Vidic.
Stadium: Old Trafford (75,811).
Last season: 2nd.
Leading scorer (PL): Wayne Rooney (27).
Odds: Title 2-1. Relegation 1000-1.

In: Shinji Kagawa (£13.2m, Dortmund), Robin van Persie (£24m, Arsenal), Nick Powell (£6.6m, Crewe).

Out: Ben Amos (Loan, Hull City), Reece Brown (Loan, Coventry), John Cofie (Loan, Sheffield United), Ritchie De Laet (£1.1m, Leicester City), Fabio (Loan, Q.P.R), Matt James (£1.1m, Leicester City), Tomasz Kuszczak (Free, Brighton & Hove), Sean McGinty (Loan, Oxford), Olver Norwood (£440k, Huddersfield), Park Ji-Sing (£2.7m, Q.R.R), Paul Pogba (£800k, Juventus), Michael Owen (Released).

Kits

Key Man – Wayne Rooney
Even with the immitent arrival of Robin van Persie from Arsenal, Wayne Rooney remains the main man at Manchester United. The England international striker ended as the club’s top scorer last season and remains the man that United look for some inspiration. He will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing Euro 2012 and also win the Golden Boot for the first time this season, whilst helping United regain their Premier League crown from their city rivals.

Opening Fixtures
20-Aug – Everton (A)
25-Aug – Fulham (H)
02-Sep – Southampton (A)
15-Sep – Wigan (H)
23-Sep – Liverpool (A)
29-Sep – Tottenham (H)

Probable Formation (4-4-2): De Gea; Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Kagawa, Young; Rooney, Van Persie.

Verdit: United took the title race to very last minute last season but were eventually made to pay for defeats home and away to their noisy neighbours, plus some other crucial dropped points in the run-in, especially against Everton at home. However, with City set to be distracted by their Champions League ambitions, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men could come good again when it matters. Shinji Kagawa will add extra creativity in an attacking midfield role, and with the latest capture of Robin van Persie their front-line is only rivaled by that of Man City’s. The return of Nemanja Vidic back from injury is certainly a major boost to their chances as his presence at the back was sorely missed last season. The Red Devils will definitely push the reigning Champions City all the way to the end of the season, but in the end, Mancini’s side may be just too strong for the 19 times English champions.

Prediction: 2nd.

Manchester United’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

Manchester United had a decent last season as they finished second – just on goal difference – behind city rivals, Manchester City in the league but were very disappointing in both European – both the Champions League and Europa League – and the domestic cup competitions. 

This summer, United will look to strengthen their squad as they look to win back the Premier League title from their noisy neigbhours and also try and win the Champions League for the first time since the 2008. Sir Alex Ferguson has already strengthen his squad this summer by signing the Japanese international Shinji Kagawa and the highly-rated youngster Nick Powell, but the Red Devils will have to bring in some more new names if they want to challenge for trophies on all fronts. Here are Manchester United’s potential transfer targets the summer..

LEIGHTON BAINES – EVERTON (DEFENDER)

The Everton left-back has been linked with a move to Old Trafford for some time now and its highly likely that the England international will be a United player before the start of the season. Patrice Evra’s form dipped last term and the Frenchman is not getting any young. With Fabio away on loan at QPR, United need a new left-back and the 27-year-old would be a great choice. Baines, who is very good at set-pieces, is valued around £15m and would be a quality replacement for Evra.

MATS HUMMELS – BORUSSIA DORTMUND (DEFENDER)

The German defender had an outstanding Euros in Poland/Ukraine this summer and was one of the best performers for his country. The former Bayern Munich youth player has been one of the reasons for Dortmund’s success in the past couple of years as they did the League and Cup double last year. The Turkish origin defender, who is rated around £30m, has stated he is very happy to stay at Dortmund having sign new contract recently, but he would be a great signing for the Red Devils and with Rio Ferdinand past his best, he would be a great replacement for the veteran.

ALEX WITSEL – BENFICA (MIDFIELDER)

Portuguese giants Benfica are ready to cash in on the Belgium international, just a year after they signed him from Standard Liege. The 23-year-old was instrumental in helping the Portuguese side make the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season. Manchester United are interested in signing the £20m rated midfielder as they look to add more depth and quality in their midfield. Chelsea are also interested in him and a chance to play alongside his Belgium teammates – Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku – might just incline him towards Stamford Bridge.

LUKA MODRIC – TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (MIDFIELDER)

Luka Modric is one name that has been on the Manchester United radar for some time now. With the playmaker ready to leave White Hart Lane this summer in search of regular Champions League football, Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to bring the £36m rated Croatian international to Old Trafford. But according to the reports in various papers in Spain, Modric has already agreed a deal with the La Liga champions Real Madrid and is expected to sign for Jose Mourinho’s side before July 15.

JOAO MOUTINHO – FC PORTO (MIDFIELDER)

Moutinho has attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League this summer after some putting in some impressive displays for Portugal at the Euros. The £25m rated midfielder has been a United target since his Sporting Lisbon days and is seen as an alternative for Luka Modric. Some reports claim that the Red Devils have already launched a bid for the Portuguese international, but they will have to battle with the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham – who are also interested in him – to bring him to Old Trafford.

KEVIN STROOTMAN – PSV EINDHOVEN (MIDFIELDER)

Sir Alex Ferguson is said to be interested in the the Dutch midfielder who has been dubbed as the ‘new Roy Keane’ because of his combative style of football. With the future of Darren Fletcher uncertain and with number of injury prone players in the squad, Strootman could be the answer to all of Ferguson’s problems. The PSV star has attracted a lot of interest because of his impressive performances over last couple of years and was also a part of the Dutch squad in Poland/Ukraine. The £15m rated Dutchman, who can also play as a holding midfielder, would no doubt strengthen the United midfield.

JAMES RODRIGUEZ – FC PORTO (MIDFIELDER)

The young Colombian is another player linked with a move to Old Trafford many times in the last couple of months. The 21-year-old had an impressive last season in the Portuguese league with FC Porto and has attracted interested from a host of Premier League clubs. With the future of Nani doubtful, Rodriguez could be a great addition to squad but it looks highly unlike that United and Sir Alex Ferguson would be ready to pay around £30m for the midfielder who has been dubbed the ‘new Cristiano Ronaldo’.

LUCAS MOURA – SAO PAULO (MIDFIELDER)

Lucas Moura is one of the most talented youngsters and the most hottest property in world football. The 19-year-old Brazilian has attracted interested from almost every top club in Europe and Manchester United are said to be one of them. According to the latest gossip columns, United have sent a delegation to Brazil to convince the £35m rated Brazil international – who has already been capped 13 times by his country – and his family about a move to Old Trafford, where he will join his fellow compatriots – Anderson, Rafael and Fabio.

MOUSSA DEMBELE – FULHAM (MIDFIELDER)

Dembele has had a successful time, so far, at Craven Cottage since joining Fulham in 2010. The forward who scored 24 times for AZ Alkmaar, has adapted very well to a midfield role in the Fulham team and was very impressive in the previous season. Dembele has just a year left on his contract and is in no hurry to extend it because of interest from several big Premier League sides like United and Chelsea. Some papers reported that the Reds Devils had an offer for the Belgium international rejected by Fulham over the weekend.

IKER MUNIAIN – ATHLETIC BILBAO (STRIKER)

Iker Muniain is another teenager who is on the Manchester United shopping list. The 19-year-old Spaniard caught Ferguson’s eye after he played an important role in knocking the Red Devils out of the Europa League last season. The versatile striker, who can play upfront or on the wings or just behind the striker in the midfield, scored the winner in the first leg and impressed in the second leg in Spain. The Bilbao forward, who made his international debut this year, is rated around £25m and would no doubt be great signing for the team.

ROBIN VAN PERSIE – ARSENAL (STRIKER)

Along with Juventus and Manchester City, United are also interested in signing the Arsenal skipper – Robin van Persie, who has said that he won’t be signing a new deal at the Emirates Stadium. Van Persie was in some outstanding goal scoring form last season and ended the league season as the Premier League’s top goal scorer with 30 goals. With Michael Owen having already left and Dimitar Berbatov expected to leave, there is place for another striker in the squad and Van Persie will be an outstanding option. The Rooney-Van Persie combination up front will be just too deadly to deal with for any team. With just one year left on the 28-year-old’s contract, the Gunners are expected to cash in on the forward this summer and an offer around £16m-£20m may well be enough.

ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI – BORUSSIA DORTMUND (STRIKER)

The Poland international, who scored the opening goal of the UEFA EURO 2012, is another Dortmund player to be linked with a move to United this summer. Lewandowski has had an incredible past 12 months and has scored 30 goals including a hat-trick in the 5-2 win over Bayern Munich in the German Cup final. The striker has just two years left on his contract and has attracted interest from many Premier League clubs including Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea.

France 1-1 England – Player Ratings

Both Joleon Lescott and Samir Nasri were on target for their respective teams as England and France battled out to a 1-1 draw. Here, we take a look at how the players fared at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk on Monday.

FRANCE

Hugo Lloris – 6
With England having just one attempt on goal, he was largely untrouble. He was dominant in his own penalty area and managed to deal with England’s crosses easily. Joleon Lescott’s header from a Steven Gerrard did beat him in the first half, but he had no chance to stop it.

Matthieu Debuchy – 7.5
Debuchy was one of France’s star for this match. He was very dangerous making his overlapping runs and going forward, at the same time he did his defensive duties very well. He coped well with the threat of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and kept him at bay for the whole game, and then later also dealt well with Ashley Young.

Philippe Mexes – 6
Was lucky Welbeck didn’t get many chances to take on the French defence. It’s very well known that Mexes lacks pace and if Rooney was playing the AC Milan defender could have been in huge trouble. Made an important clearance from a James Milner cross towards the end of the game.

Adil Rami – 6
There was some discussion at the start of the match whether Rami should play or Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny, but the Valencia man proved his doubters wrong as he put in a solid display in the center of the defence. Like Mexes, he was largely untroubled by the English attack for most of the game.

Patrice Evra – 6.5
Gave away the needless foul which lead to Lescott’s opener from the resulting Gerrard freekick. Otherwise the Manchester United left back had a steady game. He was stable defensively and at the same time good going forward.

Alou Diarra  – 6
He is only there because of the injury to Yann M’Vila. He was at fault for England’s opener, as he let Lescott get in front of him and head the ball past Lloris. Made a couple of good tackles here and there, and troubled Hart with a powerful header from a Samir Nasri freekick in the first half, but otherwise he was not involved a lot in the game.

Yohan Cabaye – 7 (Sub Off 84′)
Put in a very good display, as he was the link between the defence and the attack for France. Delivered a couple of dangerous corners and put in a couple of dangerous through balls but his team couldn’t make any good use of it. Came close of scoring, with one superb volley, taken on the rise, which was deflected just wide.

Florent Malouda – 5 (Sub Off 85′) (Flop of the Match)
Continued with his Chelsea form, as he was very anonymous almost the complete game. The former Lyon winger lacks the pace to the trouble the opposition defence and saw very little of the ball. Was substituted in the 85th minute.

Samir Nasri – 8 (Man of the Match)
Was the best player on the pitch. The Manchester City man scored his country’s equaliser, beating club teammate Joe Hart and was the heart of every chance France created to threaten the English defence. Enjoyed playing in center role just behind Karim Benzema and is one of players to keep an eye on during this tournament.

Franck Ribery – 7.5
Was very impressive and continued his club form for his country. Like Nasri, he was the heart of the French attack. He worked hard through out the game by cutting inside from the wings but was  largely left frustrated by the English defence. He will be credited with an assist to his name, as it was him who passed it to Nasri.

Karim Benzema – 7.5
France’s main target man didn’t get on the scoresheet but had a lively game. He was kept quite by the solid defensive pairing of John Terry and Joleon Lescott but managed to trouble Hart with a couple of long-range efforts.

Subs

Hatem Ben Arfa (Sub On 84′) – N/A

Marvin Martin (Sub On 85′) – N/A

ENGLAND

Joe Hart – 7
The England keeper was by far the busier of the two keepers and made several smart saves to keep his side in the game. He would be disappointed for letting Nasri’s shot beat him at near post but that was the only blight in an otherwise blameless performance.

Glen Johnson – 7
The Liverpool right-back had a good game. He did very well by not giving Ribery a lot of space to run with and was also one of England’s threat going forward. But still he could improve on his crosses.

John Terry – 7
Terry was an imposing figure at the back of the English defence, using all his experience to contain the threat of Karim Benzema. He marshaled his troops and ensured that the English defence kept their shape.

Joleon Lescott – 7
Made sure that Gary Cahill’s absence was not felt at all. Was very sound defensive alongside John Terry and also was good in the air. He showcased his aerial abilities by scoring England’s opener from a brilliant Steven Gerrard freekick.

Ashley Cole – 6.5
Was troubled a lot through out the game especially by the dangerous overlapping runs of Debuchy, but as always used his experienced and coped up well with them.  Made several timely tackles to break up the French attack.

James Milner – 6
He was selected ahead of Theo Walcott just to help Johnson out with his defensive duties and he did well against the threat of Ribery. Was, however, poor going forward and didn’t cause any threat at all to Patrice Evra and was also guilty of missing a glorious opportunity in the first half.

Scott Parker – 6.5 (Sub Off 78′)
Parker was quietly effective in his role as the anchorman and by throwing himself around to block a couple of shots. Combined well with Gerrard to deny France their second goal. Got tired towards the end and was replaced by Jordan Henderson.

Steven Gerrard – 8
Was England’s best man on the field. The skipper was an inspirational figure and delivered a brilliant freekick which led to Joleon Lescott’s headed opener. He is a dangerous man going forward but was probably told by Hodgson to sit back a bit and help Parker with the defending. He did his defensive duties very well, clearing a dangerous Evra cross and later heading away a curling Benzema shot in the second half.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6 (Sub Off 77′)
Was a surprise inclusion ahead of Walcott and Downing but the 18-year-old did not justify his selection with an unexceptional display. Showed some flashes of brilliance but was overall subdued and easily bullied off the ball.

Ashley Young – 6 
Young had a mediocre game by his own standards as he played up front, just behind Danny Welbeck but was always a threat to French defence while going forward. Didn’t create much except for that wonderful through ball to James Milner, who was unable to capitalize on the chance after beating Lloris.

Danny Welbeck – 7 (Sub Off 90′)
Welbeck was sharp throughout the game and completely justified his selection ahead of Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe. His movement on and off the ball was perfect and came back often to see more of the ball and to get involved in the game. Didn’t get many chance to proud a save from Lloris or trouble the French defence.

Subs

Jermain Defoe (Sub On 77′) – N/A

Jordan Henderson (Sub On 78′) – N/A

Theo Walcott (Sub On 90′) – N/A