Manchester United v Swansea City Review

Manchester United continued their fine start to the 2017-18 season with a second successive 4-0 win against Welsh club Swansea. The Old Trafford club remain top of the table having made it two from two, and are yet to concede having kept a second clean sheet of the season. The starting line-up remained unchanged from last week’s victory against West Ham, with two of United’s summer acquisitions earning themselves a starting berth once more. Nemanja Matic started in the centre of the park, with Romelu Lukaku starting as a lone striker.

In the first half, The Red Devils failed to break the Swans’ defence down, and weren’t able to find the net until just before the half time whistle. They eventually found their feet and began to run riot in the closing stages of the game which allowed them to increase their goal difference to 8 continue their blistering start to the season.

The Swans were able to start the game strongly, with them holding off United until the 45th minute in which Eric Bailly commenced the scoring. The Ivorian pounced onto a deflection of the ball to find the back of the net after Paul Pogba hit the woodwork with a header from a United corner.

The Welsh club recently sold their star player Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton in a £45 million deal, and are yet to find a replacement. The Liberty Stadium based club are yet to find the net in their first two games of the season, having started their campaign with a 0-0 draw against Southampton.

Summer signing Romelu Lukaku was next to find the net, scoring his third goal in two games in the 80th minute to continue his strong start in his career with the Red Devils. The towering Belgian took advantage of poor defending by Swansea with an assist provided by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, to put the ball past Polish keeper Lukasz Fabianski with a powerful finish from an unmarked position. Henrikh Mkhitaryan gained his fourth assist in 2 games with United’s fourth goal, in which Paul Pogba scored, chipping the ball over the keeper with a sublime finish. This will send a stern message to United boss José Mourinho that the Armenian deserves a regular starting place having struggled on occasion last season. Anthony Martial again found the scoresheet with a fourth goal for United, assisted by compatriot Paul Pogba.

The Frenchman glided past the defence with ease to put the ball in the lower right-hand corner of the net. The former AS Monaco forward made his second appearance of the season having replaced Marcus Rashford in the 75th minute, proving he is worthy of regular game time having been linked with a move away from Old Trafford for much of the summer.

United dominated the game in the latter stages of the second half, and finished the game with superior ball possession with 59% in total. 17 shots on goal were registered by the Red Devils, in contrast to Swansea’s five attempts on goal. United look strong having bolstered their squad this summer, and given their strong start they will look to continue this and establish themselves as serious title challengers, hoping to improve on a sixth-place finish in the 2016-17 season. The Old Trafford club struggled against teams they should arguably have beaten last season, as their poor home form saw them drop points with a series of draws.


Tenerife Holiday Blog: Vanilla Garden Hotel

For our first holiday abroad together as a couple, my girlfriend and I mutually decided to visit Tenerife. After changing our minds one too many times, and after several hours, days and weeks of indecisiveness and stress (because as we all know, booking holidays can be somewhat stressful!) we eventually came across the wonderful Vanilla Garden Hotel in the Playa De Las Americas area of Tenerife.

After hearing several good things about the hotel courtesy of scouring several TripAdvisor reviews, we decided it would be the perfect hotel for a week’s stay for us.

We flew out on the 27th July 2017 from Manchester Airport for a late afternoon flight so we weren’t due to arrive until in the evening. After we had arrived and collected our baggage and boarded the transfer coach, trouble soon struck as the coach engine failed to start. Just our luck! We thought to ourselves.

A gentleman boarded the coach and informed us that another would be along in five minutes. Wishful thinking that appeared to be, as we were left waiting for at least thirty minutes. Many people gave up and decided to obtain alternative travel arrangements, however we held out for the replacement coach despite feeling somewhat tired and in need of a good sleep.

Due to our relatively late flight, we were the last ones to check in. Our coach dropped us off across the road from the hotel so not much of a walk. We were greeted by a young gentleman on reception checked us in promptly and efficiently. He was very polite and friendly and an asset to the team. He let us know our room number and informed us that a cold meal had been prepared for us along with offering us a welcome drink. This was greatly appreciated and a nice touch.

In terms of the room itself, it was absolutely fantastic, very clean and spacious. There was a large wardrobe offering plenty of storage, tea and coffee making facilities, microwave and flat screen tv. The bathroom was large and had a walk in shower with a hairdryer and toiletries provided. The bed was large and extremely comfortable and you we enjoyed a great night’s sleep every night easily.

The air conditioning in the room was extremely reliable and much appreciated in the height of the summer! (be sure to keep your balcony door shut though as it will switch off). The location of the hotel was very convenient, easily accessible to all local bars, restaurants and shops. It is situated just down the road from all the main nightlife Playa de Las Americas has to offer, however we were never disturbed by any noise despite it being relatively close to the Veronicas.

The hotel is very quiet at night and ensures you can enjoy a good night’s sleep with the odd exception of a small amount of noise from people leaving early for flight’s but you would get this anywhere so not so much an issue.

We attended a meeting the first morning of our stay and the Thomson rep was very friendly and professional, he thoroughly explained all the excursions and explained on a map all the points of interest. He didn’t make us feel pressured or rushed into buying any tickets to any excursions and allowed us to take a look at which ones would interest us the most.

We returned and booked Teide by night which at 85 Euros seems steep but it was worth every penny (or cent in this case!) transport from the hotel was included, and you were able to experience picturesque, panoramic views of Tenerife in which we were able to watch the sunset from above the clouds,which was absolutely incredible. We had a lovely three course meal included in the cost, and a perfect end to a perfect day came in the form of a well informed and professional stargazing session.

The other excursion we chose to do was the Freebird Catamaran trip, which was also very enjoyable. We were able to view both dolphins and whales which was a great experience and something I had never done previously, highly recommended!

In terms of other things to do, we visited the Las Vistas beach which was approximately thirty minutes walk away, although you could get a taxi should you wish to. Word of warning though! Ensure you take flip-flops or a pair of shoes as the sand is unbearably hot! At least in the height of summer anyway. There was a beach close to our hotel, but we didn’t really fancy the nearby black sand beach as it doesn’t look quite as appealing despite being natural!

We also visited the Safari Centre which was approximately twenty minutes away, absolutely fantastic surroundings, nice and modern and made you feel like you were in Las Vegas, or at least I thought so! Additionally, we visited two of the nearby resorts in Costa Adeje, which was very picturesque and had a nice beachfront walk. Los Cristianos isn’t too far away also, and although this has a less touristy feel and felt more authentically Spanish, I would definitely recommend a visit. Plenty of lovely bars and restaurants available with decently priced drinks and meals.

Additional aspects of our hotel included the lovely pool surrounded by plenty of sun beds which we were always able to get no matter the time of day. There were notices around the hotel not to reserve them but as we all know everyone does it anyway! In terms of food we stayed half board so had breakfast and an evening meal included.

The breakfast was plentiful and catered for a wide range of tastes including cooked breakfasts including fried eggs, bacon and pancakes at the show cooking, and you could even get English hash browns which were lovely! drinks were included at breakfast but not at evening meal.

You could get drinks charged to your room which saved taking cash to the poolside for example, although you needed to set this up at reception first. We found the evening meal to be adequate and had a variety of meals throughout the week. You could get options from the show cooking including beef, steak and chicken which we tried and thoroughly enjoyed and they even asked how you liked your steak cooked which was perfect.

There was a pool party twice a week in which there was a live DJ however we chose not to attend. The music was quite loud but it was during the day and didn’t really bother us although it may not be to everyone’s tastes.

We spent a lot of time on the balcony which overlooked a terrace below however you could see the road when sat out on it so the view wasn’t the best, but this did not affect our stay in any way so no complaints. The overall cleanliness of the hotel was fantastic and the grounds were cleaned by the staff every morning. Our room was usually cleaned by 11.30am to a very high standard with fresh bedding and towels provided and the maids were very friendly whenever greeting you.

There is an outdoor gym under cover with a small but adequate selection of equipment, along with an outdoor jacuzzi which when we checked out was cordoned off so we weren’t able to use this unfortunately. There is a chillout area at the reception with a 24 hour bar and there is also the pool bar which offered an excellent selection of drinks at decent prices, including the local beer Dorada which is very nice and widely available across Tenerife at a cheap price.

The front gate at the hotel is locked after 12am I think it was, but you are able to obtain entry once reception staff notice you are stood there. There is also a back gate situated by the pool which was locked at 10pm although we only used this for walking out of the hotel so weren’t sure on how to gain access back into the hotel through this gate. It is a good option though if you wish to avoid any punters enticing you into their bars etc.

When checking out there was an option to pay a fee to extend your check out time from the usual 12pm which in hindsight we probably should have paid for, along with the option for a courtesy room they provided you with for half an hour to have a quick shower before your flight. However don’t make the mistake we made, you have to let reception know in advance as it is first come first served, so unfortunately we weren’t able to obtain one of these courtesy rooms which was disappointing, but understandable given we had not given adequate notice.

Overall I would highly recommend staying here, there were couples and small groups of all ages and nationalities staying at the hotel and so we didn’t feel out of place at all. It was generally younger people but don’t feel put off if you are slightly older. I would definitely return if staying in Las Americas again and any positives far outweigh any negatives.