Manchester United is set for the final fixture of the calendar year on Saturday Dec 31, 2016 – the last day of the year before the world catapults into the year 2017 on Sunday jan 1, 2017 – wow! This impending matchup is a traditional 15:00 GMT kick-off with Middlesbrough visiting Old Trafford as deserving underdogs.
Photo: Zlatan Ibrahimovic & Paul Pogba pose for a stare-down picture at Old Trafford.
I think that with the fiery pace and form of the Red Devils presently – ageless Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, (above: left) expensive but slowly-getting-into-form Frenchman Paul Pogba (above: right) and the other Red Devils itching to continue the straight winning streaks now pervading the squad, which continued with Monday’s 3-1 victory over Sunderland, I believe that United will easily beat Middlesbrough, if not a mauling. This is a chance to end the year on a high and give me a parting shot at 2016 and all its wahala! Absolutely!
To be frank, another three points tomorrow will be the perfect way to cap an excellent month. Jose Mourinho’s side are unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions and a MANUTD report boasts of the Premier League’s form striker in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who too is looking to keep his impressive run going. If Middlesbrough are beaten, United will be just one point behind top-six rivals Arsenal. The Gunners are not playing until New Year’s Day 2017 so we can maintain the temporary position on the last day of 2016.
Saturday’s match with Middlesbrough will be the 18th time United are played on New Year’s Eve. United has won nine and drawn four of the previous 17, scoring 42 goals in the process. Middlesbrough were also the opposition on New Year’s Eve in 1927, when United ran out 2-1 winners at Ayresome Park.
MANUTD reports that Middlesbrough boss Karanka has spoken openly about Mourinho’s influence on his career, saying it was the United manager who persuaded him to get into coaching. Karanka was headhunted to be Mourinho’s assistant at Real Madrid in 2010, and the pair worked together for three years in the Spanish capital, winning La Liga in 2011/12. Despite the duo’s working together at Real Madrid, their scheduled matchup on New Year’s Eve at Old Trafford shall be devoid of the previous Spanish Real Madrid-infested camaraderie as the mean Portuguese is expected to go for the jugular and maul Middlesbrough as a New Year Eve present for yours truly.
The traditional kick-off on New Year’s Eve will herald a much reinvigorated Manchester United on Saturday 31 Dec, 2016 (15:00 GMT unless stated). What a day to relax and enjoy the hopeful mauling of Middlesbrough in the Theater of Dreams – to make my New Year’s Eve . . .
Up Man U!