What the papers say
- Amazon Prime making film on Manchester United midfielder
- Solskjær not giving up on unlikely late title charge
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is unconcerned by Paul Pogba being the subject of an Amazon Prime documentary, as Manchester United’s manager believes the midfielder will remain focused on winning games for the club.
In the absence of the suspended Harry Maguire, the Frenchman was made captain for Thursday’s 2-0 win over Granada that confirmed passage to a second consecutive Europa League semi-final, which will be Solskjær’s fifth time in a cup competition’s last four as the club’s manager. Pogba impressed in a display that included creating Edinson Cavani’s opener and Solskjær is calm about a documentary that will be aired next year.Continue reading...
Manchester United can cut the gap to Manchester City to eight points by beating Burnley but even then only six games will remain so Ole Gunnar Solskjær is right to rate as unrealistic the chance of a late surge for the title. But finishing second is an improvement on last year so there is an incentive against a Burnley team who will aim to be problematic for the home side. Jamie Jackson
Sunday 4pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
- Manchester United midfielder criticises his former manager
- Pogba points to Solskjær’s different way of working
Paul Pogba has attacked José Mourinho’s man-management style, accusing him of “going against players” and making them feel like “they don’t exist any more”.
Mourinho made Pogba the world’s most expensive player after his 2016 appointment as Manchester United manager. Pogba was instrumental as United claimed a League Cup and Europa League double in 2017, but the pair had an uneasy relationship before Mourinho was sacked in December 2018 and succeeded by Ole Gunnar Solskjær.Continue reading...
Tuchel v Guardiola at Wembley, Leicester need Covid trio and Jürgen Klopp’s front-three selection problems
The blueprint for beating Manchester City is not complex, because it is identical to the blueprint for beating any other team: attack well and defend properly. Of course there are subtleties within that and City’s ability to retain possession while creating chances can make both aspects extremely taxing, but Chelsea are better placed than most to find a way. At some point, Thomas Tuchel will probably instruct his team to play more expansively than they do now, but at Wembley he will station two defensive midfielders in front of three centre-backs – a difficult barrier for any team to pick through, never mind one facing players as good as Chelsea’s. Going forward, though, things are trickier, because although City’s defensive record is better than their defending, Tuchel has yet to find the right creative blend. He will, though, be heartened by the recent improvement of Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz. DH
Man City v Chelsea, FA Cup semi-final (Saturday, 5.30pm. All times BST)
Man City v Chelsea, FA Cup semi-final (Saturday, 5.30pm. All times BST)
Leeds v Liverpool, Premier League (Monday 8pm)
Manchester United v Burnley, (Sunday, 4pm)
Arsenal v Fulham, Premier League (Sunday, 1.30pm)Continue reading...
Manchester United booked their place in the semi-finals, where an appointment over two legs against Roma awaits
Jamie Jackson was at Old Trafford to see Manchester United ease through to the semi-finals of the Europa League. Here’s how he saw the action unfold.
Bruno Fernandes speaks: ““It was a good game,” he says. “The Europa League is always difficult to play. It doesn’t matter who you play against. We know Granada have quality - they can create something. We did well. We controlled the game and had a lot of the ball. We kept the ball moving. The result shows that.”
On the prospect of facing Roma: “Every team will give you problems,” he tells BT Sport. “They have a good organisation defensively, they can create problems offensively. Some of their players have played in England. We know what we have to do. If we do the right things, we will have our chances to win the game.”
Hats off to United. But first, mega-hats off to Granada, who have defied the odds in getting this far. A team assembled for less than €8m has done themselves proud in their first European adventure. They played well tonight but couldn’t find that cutting edge up front.
United are through to the semi-final: It was pretty routine for United, even if Granada did squander several decent chances against a team that never really had to come out of second gear. They will play Roma in the last four, while Arsenal will face Villarreal.
United score. A Juan Mata cross from the left evades all comers except Granada defender Jesus Vallejo, who unwittingly sticks it past his own goalkeeper with his face. THat about sums Granada’s night up and their heroic European odyssey is over.
90 min: A brilliant save from point-blank range from De Gea, who somehow keeps out a header from point-blank range from Herrera.
89 min: Granada corner. The ball’s swung into the United penalty area and cleared at the near post.
87 min: Close but no cigar again for Granada, as Victor Diaz is teed up but shoots straight at De Gea form distance.
81 min: Manchester U|nited double-substitution: Amad Diallo (on for his senior debut) and Brandon Williams on for Mason Greenwood and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
78 min: As you can probably imagine with Manchester United three goals to the good on aggregate, the tie is petering out. United are going to help it peter out even more by making another double-substitution whenever the opportunity arises.
74 min: There was a long break in play there as Fred received treatment for an injury and the referee brandished a couple of yellow cards in the general direction of a group of players. I think Yangel Herrera got one of them but I can’t be sure.
72 min: Manchester United substitution: Bruno Fernandes off, Juan Mata on. Dan James on for Edinson Cavani. Granada substitution: Carlos Neva off, Victor Diaz on.
69 min: Twenty minutes remain and Granada need three goals to take the tie to extra time. They’ve had a few decent chances but need to start putting them away. Yangel Herrera tries a shot from the edge of the United penalty area but his effort is blocked.
66 min: Another Granada chance goes to waste as German scuffs a shot wide of the far post after a curled free-kick drops from wide on the right breaks his way.
63 min: The game is something of a non-event at this stage, with Granada plugging away gamely despite knowing the task of scoring four goals against superior opposition is beyond them. Manchester United are comfortably keeping them at arm’s length.
60 min: German gets booked, either for a late tackle on Fernandes, or for handling the ball as he slid through the Portuguese with his arms outstretched.
55 min: Edinson Cavani shoulders the ball wide of the far post after giving his man the slip but failing to make proper contact with his head from around the penalty sport. A let-off for Granada.
52 min: Half-time substitution that escaped me: Roberto Soldado off, Luis Suarez (not that one) on.
49 min: Chances at either end, as Jorge Molina heads into the hands of David De Gea, via a deflectino off the face of Aaron wan Bissaka. Moments later, Greenwood fires straight at Rui Silva, having been teed up by Donny van de Beek.
48 min: Off topic but more important than anything that’s going on at Old Trafford. Excellent work from Arsenal, who are battering Slavia Prague in their second leg ...
46 min: Play begins, with one change in personnel on either side. For Granada, Kenedy makes way for Antonio Puertes. For United, Donny van de Beek is on for Paul Pogba.
Peep! It’s half-time at Old Trafford lead with the only shot on target either team could muster. Edinson scored the goal, rifling home a left-footed volley after six minutes.
45 min: Lovely play from United. Paul Pogba sort of donkey-kicks the ball down the touchline, whereupon Cavani heads the ball inside to Pogba who had run to receive the return pass. He lays it off to Fernandes for the shot and the Portuguese elects to try to pick out of Cavani on the edge of the six-yard box instead and the ball bounces wide. A waste, but very impressive from Pogba.
43 min: Mason Greenwood blasts a shot well wide from the edge of the Granada penalty area. He went for power rather than finesse.
40 min: Pogba tries to send Greenwood on his way up the right flank with a ball from deep, but the youngster is unable to shake off his marker.
39 min: Fernandes pulls a shot well wide of the far post after being teed up on the edge of the Granada penalty area by Cavani.
38 min: Pogba is limping following a collision with Kenedy.
36 min: It’s nice and relaxed for United, who are three goals to the good across the tie. They’re keeping Granada at arms length but the Spanish team have had a couple of decent chances. Paul Pogba runs at their defence, plays the ball to Cavani but is unable to collect the return pass.
34 min: Good tackle from Jesus Vallejo, who slides in to prevent Mason Greenwood getting away down the right wing.
32 min: Bruno Fernades volleys over from a tight angle after connecting with a ball over the top from Nemanja Matic. It wasn’t a terrible effort.
28 min: Manchester United throw-in, deep in their own half after Darwin Machis fails to keep the ball in play. Granada substitution: Maxime Gonalons off with a shoulder injury, 38-year-old Jorge Molina on. It’s a striker on for a central midfielder.
25 min: A brilliant block tackle from Maxime Gonalons, who wins possession for Granada on the edge of the final third then plays the ball wide to Kenedy. The Brazilian is promptly dispossessed.
23 min: On the touchline, Donny Van De Beek is warming up for Manchester United. Is Ole Gunner Solskjær going to hook Paul Pogba before he gets sent off?
20 min: From the free-kick, Yangel Herrera blows a wonderful chance to pull a goal back for Granada. He got in behind Herrera to steer a free header from seven yards just wide of the right post. He should have scored!!!
19 min: Roberto Soldado gets booked for dissent. He appeared to be asking for a second yellow for Pogba, who had just tackled Yangel Herrera from behind. Pogba needs to watch his step here.
18 min: Granada throw-in, deep in Manchester United territory. Carlos Neva and Roberto Soldado combine down by the touchline but the hosts clear.
17 min: Paul Pogba gets booked for catching Granada skipper German with his elbow as he tried to hold him off. That looked a little harsh.
15 min: Fred plays the ball high behind Granada’s high line for Mason Greenwood to chase, but overcooks his pass. Rui Silva dashes out of his penalty area and beats the United striker to the ball.
13 min: Kenedy, the Brazilian winger on loan at Granada from Chelsea, picks up the ball on the right wing but is unable to get a cross into Roberto Soldado. Granada are doing OK, despite their horror-start.
10 min: Granada right-back Dimitri Foulquier sends a cross into the Manchester United penalty area. It’s put out for a corner, which Bruno Fernandes hacks clear at the near post. United win a free-kick in their own penalty area.
8 min: Granada corner. Yangel Herrera rises to steer a header just wide of the bottom right-hand corner. De Gea was beaten.
Edinson Cavani extends Manchester United’s lead. A cross from the left and Paul Pogba sends a looping backward header into the path of Cavani. He scores with a left-footed volley from just inside the Granada penalty area. The ball sails into the bottom-right hand corner.
5 min: Granada attack on the counter, their effort comes to naught and then Manchester United surge forward. With Mason Greenwood haring through the centre in acres of space, Edinson Cavani’s pass from the inside left is too near Granada goalkeeper Rui Silva.
3 min: Foulquier belts the ball out of play for a Manchester United throw-in, deep in Granada territory.
1 min: Play begins with Manchester United wearing their usual home kit, while the players of Granada are wearing black shirts, black shorts and white socks. Moments after kick-off, Axel Tuanzebe is penalised for a foul on Roberto Soldado.
Not long now: The teams are out on the pitch, United led by Paul Pogba and Granada led by German. The Spanish visitors have been patronised to within an inch of their lives by several memebrs of the BT Sport matchday team, who don’t give them a prayer.
That’s fair enough because they probably don’t have a prayer. However, one suspects that in the Mastermind chair, neither Jake Humphrey nor Paul Scholes would be able to point to the beautiful city on a map of Spain, let alone tell you anything about how far its football team has come in recent years.
David De Gea starts in goal, as he did in the first leg, while Axel Tuanzebe and Victor Lindelof are in the heart of United’s defence. Despite speculation that 18-year-old winger Amad Diallo, who arrived at Manchester United from Atalanta in January for a fee that could rise to £37m, might start tonight the Ivorian is on the bench.
Manchester United (4-3-3): De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Telles, Tuanzebe, Lindelof, Fred, Matic, Fernandes, Pogba, Greenwood, Cavani.
Subs: Grant, Henderson, Fish, Williams, Diallo, James, Mata, Van de Beek, Elanga, Rashford, Shoretire.
Contrary to expectations, Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani both start for Manchester United despite speculation both would be rested. Donny van de Beek still can’t get a look-in and is on the bench again. We’ll have the full line-ups for you very shortly.
Diego Martinez speaks: “There’s things we can take advantage of, because the way we played in certain facets of the game last week was good,” said Granada’s coach. “We need to be more efficient and play with personality during the 90 minutes plus that there’ll be. We need to play with intelligence, understanding that we need to play a perfect game and that’s what we want to do.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjær speaks: “We have got a great foundation, but we have to win,” said Manchester United’s manager. “They will give everything they have got. Momentum is big in football. It is a quarter-final in Europe and Granada need to score goals. We have seen them against Barcelona, Real Madrid, how dangerous they can be. We have to play a good game and not give them those opportunities.”
Asked if his squad’s mentality has changed under his watch, Ollie had this to say. “It is not up to me to say if their mentality has changed. Our job has been to get the best out of the players, that is different in every coaching style. I can feel change in the confidence. When I started rebuilding this squad we had a few months, seasons, to learn. They have learned on the job. Now we want to win a trophy, go as far as we can.”
Manchester United have a trio of players sitting out this second leg on the Naughty Step, with Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw all suspended. Eric Bailly is back in Manchester after a month in his native Ivory Coast with Covid but will not fill in for Maguire tonight as Ole Gunnar Solskjær says he is not ready. The lesser-spotted Axel Tuanzebe will make a rare appearance. Marcus Rashford and Dan James are both doubtful for tonight’s game, while Ole has hinted several fringe players will get a run-out.
Old Trafford is the venue for tonight’s quarter-final second leg between Manchester United and Granada, with the hosts in the box-seat for a place in the last four thanks to their two unanswered goals in Spain last week.
European minnows operating on a tiny fraction of United’s budget, Granada have already over-achieved by making it this far in their maiden season in Europe but are nothing if not dogged and tenacious. If they are to exit the tournament tonight, expect them to go down swinging. Kick-off at Old Trafford is at 8pm (BST) but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.Continue reading...
After a serene win in which Granada were cuffed aside 4-0 on aggregate, Manchester United will hope to end a run of four consecutive semi-final disappointments under Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
Roma block their way to next month’s showpiece in Gdansk but with Paulo Fonseca’s side seventh in Serie A and 20 points behind the leaders, Internazionale, England’s second-ranked team will be confident of progressing.Continue reading...
- Red shirts with red banners and red seats a problem
- Black banners introduced to help split-second decisions
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has stated Manchester United’s red shirts had merged with Old Trafford’s red surrounds and prevented players from seeing a teammate in the “split second” required during games, leading the club to introduce black banners in the stands.
United host Granada in the Europa League quarter-final second leg on Thursday with a 2-0 lead. Solskjær was asked why in previous rounds Real Sociedad and Milan were defeated 4-0 and 1-0 away but his team could only draw at home – 0-0 and 1-1 respectively.Continue reading...
- Manchester United manager’s son Noah jokes after Spurs win
- Solskjær Sr was upset with Son Heung-min feigning injury
The son of the Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, has weighed in on his father’s spat with Tottenham’s José Mourinho after the Norwegian coach said he would not feed his son if he simulated an injury.
The row erupted following the 3-1 win in the Premier League for United on Sunday when Solskjaer Sr criticised the Spurs forward Son Heung-min for exaggerating a blow to the face.Continue reading...
The game cannot let a true community A-League club be shafted, rebranded and parachuted into a region lacking soul
So, Central Coast Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth is reportedly considering selling the soul of the club to the Red Devils, otherwise known as English Premier League and world football giants Manchester United.
Worse still, and much to the alarm of the Mariners faithful, the Sydney Morning Herald suggests if the deal comes off, United will rebrand the club and relocate it to the sporting death trap of the northern suburbs of Sydney.
Manchester United would disenfranchise thousands of fansContinue reading...
Food fights are extremely uncommon in the serious world of professional association football. Yes, there was the time in the early 2000s when Cesc Fàbregas attempted to spice up a rather bland margherita by flinging it at the startled pepperoni-hued face of Sir Alex Ferguson. The moment on the Channel 4 documentary Club for a Fiver when Orient boss John Sitton offered most of his squad outside for a fight at half-time, telling them that they should bring their dinner because they’re going to need it. And of course there was the most notorious incident of all, when 1930s England hard man Wilf Copping came at Stanley Matthews in the FA canteen with a slice of Spam, neatly cut across the diagonal, and rammed it sideways into the young winger’s mouth with such force that it nearly left him with a permanent, albeit very tasty, Chelsea Grin [subs, please check]. But all in all, nutritious substances rarely feature in the game’s discourse.Continue reading...
Rodgers prizes discipline over principle, Martinelli cheers up Arsenal while Guardiola’s reserves let him down
Manchester United are highly familiar with a José Mourinho team riding their luck against them. A key moment in his rise to prominence was Porto’s 2004 triumph at Old Trafford, where Paul Scholes had a goal chalked off for offside. The simmering rage on Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s face when Edinson Cavani’s “opener” was wiped away by VAR echoed Sir Alex Ferguson 17 years ago, and nine years after that when the disputed dismissal of Nani handed Mourinho’s Real Madrid a passage into the Champions League quarter-finals. A United team containing many of Mourinho’s former players will have been familiar with Tottenham’s botched blueprint to stay in touch with the top four. Keeping shape in defence and midfield was the bedrock for the brilliance with which Lucas Moura set up Son Heung-min to score. But unlike those Porto and Madrid teams, this Spurs team does not have the same resilience or quality to exploit good fortune. John BrewinContinue reading...
- Manchester United manager criticised player for staying down
- Tottenham reveal Son received racist abuse on social media
José Mourinho diverted attention from Tottenham’s diminishing hopes of Champions League qualification after their 3-1 home defeat by Manchester United on Sunday by attacking Ole Gunnar Solskjær over claims that Son Heung-min had conned the referee into disallowing a goal.
Tottenham’s manager, whose side sit seventh in the Premier League, six points off fourth place, launched a bizarre rant against Solskjær after his United counterpart said he would not feed his own son if he behaved like Son had.Continue reading...
Manchester United manager has taken his side 14 points clear of Spurs, six months after losing 6-1 to them
José or Ole? Who would you choose as a nextdoor neighbour? Granted, appearances can deceive, but surely there’s an obvious winner.
Who wants moody, mercurial, narcissistic and, frankly, a bit needy when you could have reassuringly dependable, unfailingly nice and warmly collegiate? Yet if Ole Gunnar Solskjær seems an infinitely better bet to present a consistently friendly face over the garden fence, the Manchester United’s manager’s technical area input also compared pretty well to that of his Old Trafford predecessor, José Mourinho, on Sunday.Continue reading...
Fred, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood scored as Manchester United overwhelmed Spurs with an outstanding second-half performance
That’s it for today’s blog. Jonathan Wilson was lucky enough to be at the game, and I’ll leave you with his match report. Thanks for your company, goodnight!
Here’s Jose Mourinho
“We played against a good team - lots of quality, lots of power - and they reacted [to going behind]. We had great opportunities to score the second goal. Dean [Henderson] made two very, very good saves, especially the one from Harry Kane. We were dominant at 2-1, but then they scored the third goal. My opinion is that it was a very good game and we did not deserve this result at all. But we lost against a very good team.
Mourinho’s first Chelsea team dropped only six points from winning positions in his first two seasons.
18 - Spurs have dropped 18 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, second only to Brighton (20). It’s the most points a José Mourinho side has dropped from winning positions in a single Premier League campaign. Susceptible. pic.twitter.com/SwAuY2BnnX
Here’s Scott McTominay
“It’s a brilliant win. We were frustrated at half-time but the message was clear from the manager: keep calm. That’s what he kept saying to the players, that there’s no need to panic. We’ve been here before, we know we have good characters in the team and good players who want to take the ball against a really difficult team.
One more game and then you can watch Line of Duty
That second-half performance is as well as United have played under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. They were sulking towards the end of the first half when a big VAR call went against them and then Son gave Spurs the lead, but they channelled it during half-time and played with ferocious purpose thereafter. Fred equalised - Fred equalised! - and then Mason Greenwood had a decisive impact. He set up a classic diving header for Edinson Cavani and sealed a deserved victory in injury-time. After a difficult second season, he is quietly hitting form at a very good time.
For the ninth time this season, and the eighth away from home, Manchester United come from behind to win a Premier League game.
Cavani played a short pass back to Pogba, 30 yards from goal. He beat Dier and Hojbjerg with some smart footwork and then slid the ball across to Greenwood on the edge of the area. Greenwood lost Reguilon with a typical stepover and smashed a right-footed shot that beat Lloris for pace aat the near post.
Mason Greenwood seals a glorious second-half performance!
90+5 min “Very satisfying,” says Ciarán Brennan, “seeing Solskjaer shut the game down with the most Mourinho signing ever in Matic.”
90+4 min Aurier is booked for flattening Shaw, a petulant foul that allows United to kill a bit more time.
90+3 min Reguilon makes an excellent lunging tackle on Greenwood, who played a one-two on Cavani and was almost through on goal.
90+3 min Pogba and Fred waste a bit omre time by keeping the ball in the Spurs half.
90+2 min Spurs are struggling to get any attacking momentum, and now Sissoko has been booked for a foul on Fred.
90+2 min “Mourinho has got to go,” write Mike and Jill Mahoney. “This is beyond a joke. It’s exactly the same every game. Get this toxic man out of my club now.”
I’m sensing rancour.
90+1 min There will be six minutes of added time.
90 min Another change for United: Nemanja Matic replaces Bruno Fernandes, who didn’t get a goal or assist but played an important part in both goals.
88 min “Pogba has, as you said, a fine game,” says Colum Farrelly. “His skills seem best deployed in front of the holding midfielders as opposed to with them. A bit like Gerrard under Benitez, I think.”
I’m not sure there’s a natural position for him in a 4-2-3-1, but I agree that you want him much further forward when possible, especially in games where you dominate possession.
86 min After a dreadful first half hour, this has been richly entertaining fare.
84 min: Cavani hits his own post! The corner was flicked on at the near post by Pogba, and Cavani, stretching desperately, headed it onto the post. He had to go for it, with Sissoko waiting behind him to score, and really had to strain his neck muscles to get enough on the ball to take it away from goal. Just.
83 min Now Spurs have to push for an equaliser. Aurier slides a very dangerous low cross that is belted behind by Lindelof, facing his own goal.
82 min Gareth Bale comes on for Lucas Moura, who was lively as always and made the opening goal for Son.
81 min United have been sensational in the second half. It’s even more impressive because they had totally lost the noggin at the end of the first half. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deserves so much credit for turning that petulance into a furious purpose.
The move started with some crisp short passing on the right wing. Then Bruno Fernandes nutmegged Reguilon to find Greenwood on the right corner of the area. He curled a stunning first-time cross to the far post, where Cavani flew through the air like Keith Houchen and slammed a header back across Lloris. What a brilliant goal.
A classic goal!
78 min A change for Spurs: Erik Lamela, the pantomime villain of the return fixture, comes on for Tanguy Ndombele.
77 min United win a free-kick 30 yards out. It’s the perfect distance for Rashford, but he’s off the field, so Fernandes plays it out to McTominay. His cross is blocked by Hojbjerg. Well done everyone.
75 min “I have no real view on the McTominay flick/slap/assault (delete as applicable),” says Tom Atkins, “but I do recall Manchester United’s current manager getting Sol Campbell sent off in 2003 for a similar fending off. It cost him a three match ban, a place in the FA Cup final and arguably the league (his backup was Pascal Cygan). If you hold a grudge long enough sometimes you get to enjoy moments like this.”
Well, that was an elbow to the forehead, which is slightly different. But it’s a good point and it was a huge story at the time. The only other thing I’d say is that Campbell was still available to play at Bolton, which was the decisive game in Arsenal’s collapse.
73 min The corner ricochets around the area until Aurier, five yards out, puts an overhead kick into orbit. He was in an offside position, though had he scored there would have been an argument over whether he was active the last time a Spurs player touched the ball. There’s always an argument.
73 min: Good save from Henderson! Son finds Kane near the byline on the left. He cuts inside and then hammers a disguised shot towards the near post. Henderson reacts smartly to kick it behind for a corner.
71 min Mason Greenwood comes on to replace a very weary Marcus Rashford.
71 min United have battered Spurs in the second half, but the score is 1-1 so they are still ripe for a Mourinho mugging. I don’t think Spurs have done the double over United since 1989-90, so it would be a worthy achievement.
70 min Maguire loses the ball to Kane, pulls him back and is booked.
68 min Shaw is booked for a foul on Lucas Moura.
67 min: What a chance for Pogba! A corner is half cleared, only as far as Shaw on the left. His deep cross picks out Fernandes, who cushions the ball across the six-yard line to Pogba. He tries a backheel towards goal that is blocked by Dier, and then falls over. He should probably have just tried a shot on the turn. It was a brilliant cross from Shaw in the first place, flicked nonchalantly with the outside of the foot. He is playing with stratospheric confidence the noo.
66 min United have dominated the game since half-time, playing with an impressively controlled aggression. I thought they might lose the plot after the way the first half ended.
63 min: Lovely save from Lloris! Bruno Fernandes picks up a loose ball 35 yards out and heads for goal. He gets to within 20 yards and cracks a left-footed shot across goal that is pushed away at full stretch by Lloris. That’s a brilliant stop.
62 min Henderson forces a pass behind Maguire towards Kane, and Henderson charges out of his area to clear. That was good goalkeeping; for a split-second it looked like Kane was through on goal.
61 min A change for Spurs, with Moussa Sissoko replacing Giovani Lo Celso.
60 min: Good save from Henderson! This is a cracking game now. Aurier’s shot was blocked by Lindelof and looped to Son on the other side of the area. He dragged a low shot through the legs of Wan-Bissaka that was kicked away by Henderson. “A de Gea save”, as Gary Neville observes on Sky Sports.
59 min Pogba, who has been superb in the second half, finds Fernandes on the right side of the area with a good pass, but Fernandes’s low cross is behind everyone and Spurs clear.
United sliced the Spurs defence apart with some beautiful short passing just outside the penalty area. Rashford, Fernandes and Fred were all involved. Eventually Fred put Cavani through on goal, and though his shot was saved superbly by Lloris, Fred followed up to score from close range.
Fred has scored a goal!
55 min A crisp sidefoot from McTominay, 25 yards out, is pushed away by Lloris as he falls to his left. It was a pretty comfortable save, but United are looking more dangerous than they did before the break.
54 min It’s easy to forget, with all the shouting about VAR, that this is an extremely important 35 minutes for Spurs. A win today would put them above Liverpool on goal difference and only four points behind Leicester in third.
53 min Pogba’s dangerous cross from the right is poked just wide of his own goal by Rodon. He had to go for it with Cavani behind him; Cavani was offside but Rodon couldn’t have known that. Shaw’s corner is cleared.
50 min What VAR has exposed is that nobody really knows how to apply the laws of the game, even the referees. Football is drowning in ambiguity.
49 min Shaw’s long cross finds Wan-Bissaka, whose volleyed cross from a tight angle turns into a shot. Lloris, well positioned, pushes it away at the near post.
48 min A slick move from United ends with Pogba playing the ball through to Rashford. He tries to work an angle for a shot but the Spurs defender, Dier I think, does really well to hold him up. At the other end, Kane chips over the bar from 20 yards, and Fred is booked for fouling Aurier in the build up.
46 min Peep peep! Spurs begin the second half. Fred dumps Ndombele on his derriere after nine seconds, so maybe United haven’t cooled off.
I’ve had a quick scan of the emails (thanks one and all). Roughly 60 per cent of you reckon it was a foul, 40 per cent say the game’s gone.
The issue isn’t whether it was a foul, it’s whether it was a ‘clear and obvious error’. The fact there is nothing resembling consensus suggests it probably wasn’t. But the bigger issue is the ruinous fasttracking of VAR. Had they trialled it properly, over a few years, it could have been a great thing. At the moment it’s about as rewarding as a smart speaker that senses when you’re on the cusp of orgasm, and at that precise moment starts playing your mother’s voice.
“It’s a flick in the face,” says Phil Beattie. “I honestly have no idea what you are watching. Son is a good yard behind McTominay - he isn’t ‘holding him off’. He throws his arm backwards and hits Son in the face. It’s a foul, and he’s really lucky not to get a second booking. Gary Neville might be confused but he’s not exactly neutral is he?”
I’m watching the same game as you, Phil. For what it’s worth, Manchester City alumnus Micah Richards and former Spurs midfielder Jamie Redknapp also thought it wasn’t a foul.
And to think United need somebody to score a goal.
“You wrote, ‘Some of the behaviour in the last few months has been a bit pathetic,’” says Ingo Herzke. “While I fully agree with your sentiment in general and in particular, I don’t think that’s what you intended to write.”
I realised that a couple of minutes later and amended it to ‘minutes’, though on reflection I think I prefer ‘months’.
I’ve just checked and Kane was onside in the build-up to Son’s goal, so there’s no controversy there.
Another half dominated by VAR. Edinson Cavani had a goal controversially disallowed for a foul on Son, who then gave Spurs the lead a few minutes later.
45+2 min Fernandes’s cross just evades Cavani at the far post.
45+1 min Three minutes of added time.
45 min Martin Convery writes to say that Kane was offside in the build up to Son’s goal. I haven’t seen a replay but that would make an even greater mockery of this first half. Now Fernandes is saying Hojbjerg has elbowed him. Some of the behaviour in the last few minutes has been a bit pathetic, but it all stems from that disallowed goal.
44 min Rashford thinks he has won a corner but then finds out he has been penalised for a challenge on Son. United need half-time to cool off.
41 min: It’s kicking off! Cavani has been booked. He pushed Rodon over, then went back for more, at which point the players on both sides converged. United are in high dudgeon; even Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a murderous look on his face.
Ndombele fired a pass into Kane on the edge of the D. He half-volleyed a first-time pass around the corner to release Lucas Moura, with Lindelof getting in a tangle as he tried to intercept. Moura could have shot but instead slid the ball across the penalty area to Son, who beat Henderson from close range.
And now Son has given Spurs the lead!
39 min Kane wriggles away from Wan-Bissaka on the left of the area and drags a low cross that beats everyone in the middle.
38 min VAR, so much to answer for.
United are fuming, and you can understand why - I think that was a 50/50 call rather than a clear and obvious error. The only upside for United is that McTominay didn’t receive a second yellow card.
McTominay flicked his hand out, just to hold Son off, but he caught him in the face.
Chris Kavanagh is going to the monitor. Manchester United could lose a goal and a man here.
It’s still being checked by VAR. This could go either way.
McTominay definitely caught Son, though it was a hand-off more than anything. The goal was excellent: an imaginative short pass from Pogba to Cavani, who made a great run behind Dier and swept the ball past Lloris.
Cavani scores, but there’s a big but: Son is down holding his face after a challenge from McTominay, who has already been booked, in the build up.
33 min “I’m pretty sure we’ve entered a parallel universe,” says Stephen Carr, “where its Mourinho’s Utd v Mourinho’s Spurs.”
32 min Lo Celso sweeps Rashford’s feet from under him, right on the edge of the area, but the referee doesn’t deem it a foul. That doesn’t impress Rashford much.
31 min At this stage of the return game, Spurs were 2-1 up and Anthony Martial had been sent off.
29 min United’s passing and movement has been really sluggish. They look like a team who need the cattle prod of going behind.
28 min Pogba and Rashford have swapped again, so Pogba is back on the left.
27 min I’ll wake you up when something happens.
24 min Pogba and Rashford have switched wings.
23 min Bruno Fernandes tries to release Rashford with a long angled pass. Aurier does well to get across and intercept. It hasn’t been the greatest game so far, I won’t lie to you.
20 min Son wins another corner for Spurs, who have quietly been the better team in the first 20 minutes. Nothing comes of it.
18 min McTominay is booked for a hack at Ndombele. Poor tackle, that.
17 min Good defending from Dier! Fernandes’s long, angled ball from the right was headed down by Pogba to Cavani on the edge of the D. He cushioned a disguised half-volleyed pass to Rashford, who stormed into the area and smacked a shot that deflected behind off the sliding Dier.
15 min Lo Celso steals the ball off Pogba with a lovely, Giggs-like sliding tackle. Nothing comes of it but the tackle was too good not to mention.
15 min United haven’t really got going as an attacking unit. Spurs have been a bit better, with Lucas Moura especially lively.
12 min Shaw curls a good ball down the left to Fred, who tries to cut inside Aurier and slips over. And it was going so well.
10 min Lucas Moura’s cross is headed behind by Lindelof at the near post. It’s been a perky start from Spurs, but Lo Celso’s corner isn’t the best and Shaw clears.
9 min “If United were to sign Kane, I feel that his laser-focused desire for silverware would result in the goals needed to drive them to the title,” says Duncan Edwards. “The precedent being Robin van Persie.”
I know what you mean, although the gap to the champions wasn’t as big then.
8 min Aurier is down holding his face after wearing Pogba’s forearm. Nothing was given, and Aurier looks pretty aggrieved.
7 min Nothing much to report so far. It’s been quite an open start to the game though.
5 min Reguilon is shoved over by Rashford, but the referee Chris Kavanagh sees no evil. That was definitely a foul.
3 min Lo Celso’s corner is headed away to the edge of the area by McTominay. Son is first to the loose ball, albeit under pressure from Fred, and he slashes over on the half-volley.
2 min Spurs have started with Lo Celso as the No10 and Lucas Moura on the right. Moura has an early run and rifles a shot that goes behind off Luke Shaw.
1 min Peep peep! Manchester United kick off from left to right.
It looks like Paul Pogba is starting on the left, with Marcus Rashford as the right-sided attacker.
There will be a two-minute silence in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh.
The players are in the tunnel. Lucas Moura and Fred embrace, as do Edinson Cavani and Giovani Lo Celso. If only Graeme Souness’s internal monologue was on the red button.
“On the assumption that football with crowds will return for next season, United have a big opportunity to do what they have always done, which is to break the British transfer record,” says Rick Harris. “Forget Kane, he is unlikely to go to another PL outfit if he leaves Spurs. Haaland is the player United need to get if at all possible. Yes, he will cost big bucks, and yes he will demand the highest salary at the club, but he is the single player out there that can take United to the next level and score the goals they will need to lift the title.”
I’m not sure United can afford him this summer. Even if they can, I suspect Alfie will be as receptive to the idea as Jack Walker was to Alan Shearer joining United in 1996.
Never mind United: who should Spurs sign in the summer? Let’s assume Kane stays.
“On who United need,” is the subject of Francis Mead’s email. “My take is that, if we are to get better, we need a better organising/defensive midfielder - who can provide threat upfront with passes and more. So I think we need to replace Fred, solid as he is - with one of the following: Kalvin Phillips or Ruben Neves - I like Neves, since he’s good in possession and provides a goal threat with his shooting. Yes, Phillips has been rather conservative for England, but his passing is usually excellent. Rice is very good defensively - but does he give enough going forward? Kane I’m agnostic on.”
Jose Mourinho has selected 16 different defensive combinations in the Premier League this season. The latest of Aurier, Rodon, Dier and Reguilon enjoyed its only previous in a 0-0 draw at Chelsea in November. #THFC
“It can’t be too often that fans of all clubs from 3rd to 11th, including those of Liverpool and Leeds, will be hoping (quietly or not) that Manchester United win,” says Julian Menz. “Nine clubs chasing three European places (depending on cup results of course) is going to be a tight squeeze.”
“How seriously should United entertain the notion of going after Kane, given his price and what we need elsewhere?” wonders Christopher Faherty. “Personally think Rice should be our primary target with a bullet but it’s clear that Solskjaer doesn’t trust in either Martial or Rashford to do the business up front regularly enough and while Kane has a limitation with his pace if he was to be played as a nine, if Solskjaer sees us a team that needs to maximise chance-taking over chance-creation, Kane’s a good fit for that. It’s a no for me, but the idea has merits.”
I’d imagine the only chance is a player-plus-cash deal. There are a few United players that Mourinho likes, Lingard in particular. I don’t think Rice is a priority, fine player though he is. Personally I’d buy a centre-forward - ideally Kane - and a right-winger (or attacking right-back) first. But so much depends on who is available and how much money they have.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1) Lloris; Aurier, Dier, Rodon, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Ndombele; Lucas Moura, Lo Celso, Son; Kane.
Substitutes: Hart, Alderweireld, Tanganga, Winks, Lamela, Sissoko, Alli, Bale, Vinicius.
Manchester United (possible 4-2-3-1) Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba; Cavani.
Substitutes: de Gea, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe, Mata, Matic, van de Beek, Greenwood, Amad.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Spurs v Manchester United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. This game is loaded with context and intrigue: Spurs’ 6-1 win in the return fixture, the passive-aggressive needle between Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the rumours that Harry Kane will ask to leave – possibly to United – if Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League.
The tactical similarities are also interesting, with both teams are their best on the counter-attack. The cliché is that football matches are decided by who wants it more; this game might be won by the team that wants it less, it being the ball.Continue reading...
Same manager, similar players, same result. The familiar pattern played out again. Tottenham had a lead and Tottenham lost the lead and the result is that the gap to the top four is now six points.
It was the reverse round of fixtures in October – Leeds unnerving Manchester City, West Ham outplaying Leicester, Aston Villa thrashing Liverpool – that created the sense that this was not going to be a normal season, Tottenham’s 6-1 win at Old Trafford even conjuring the frankly implausible thought that Spurs might be able to mount a title challenge. How long ago that seems now. All that remains to be decided, it appears, are the circumstances of José Mourinho’s departure, when it happens and how big his payoff is.Continue reading...
Second place is not good enough for the manager but keeping leaders Manchester City in sight would be progress
Barring a Devon Loch-like collapse starting on Grand National weekend, Manchester City will canter to a third title in four years, but Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s second full season at rivals United has to show a continuation of the upward curve that began with last year’s third-place finish in the league. The United manager is in no mood to dress up a prospective second-place finish, conceding it may take “blood, sweat and tears” to close the gap on Manchester City next season.
Solskjær, whose United side travel to Tottenham on Sunday, says: “You can’t say that is an achievement. Our ambition is a lot more than second place. I said that when I wasn’t at the club – you can never be happy with that. Our ambition is to catch the team in front of us.”Continue reading...
Manchester United’s place in the top four looks secure for the time being so a tepid draw – like many of those produced since being thrashed 6-1 by Tottenham – against José Mourinho’s side would suffice. Spurs on the other hand need a win to catch up and Mourinho will be eager to stick it to his former employers. A full complement of defenders will certainly help the endeavour after last week’s misfire against Newcastle. Graham Searles
Sunday 4.30pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
- Manager believes Martial was ‘conned’ into red card in October
- Solskjær says Cavani is unsure over United future
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has told Manchester United’s players to keep cool heads when they play Tottenham on Sunday as they look to avenge a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of José Mourinho’s side.
Anthony Martial was sent off in the 28th minute in the humiliating October defeat at Old Trafford after retaliating to an elbow from Érik Lamela with a push in the Argentinian’s face. Solskjær says Martial was “conned” into reacting and he does not want to see a repeat in London as they look to put a club record-equalling defeat in the Premier League era firmly behind them.Continue reading...
Tottenham and Everton both need a result while Pep Guardiola and Marcelo Bielsa may serve up another feast of football
When the dust settles on José Mourinho’s Tottenham tenure - and that could be one day soon - 4 October’s 6-1 win at Manchester United will probably be a high watermark. It happened on a day when the Premier League took on a demented quality. That Sunday also featured Liverpool’s 7-2 loss to Aston Villa. Six months on, Spurs announcing themselves as title contenders feels like a dim, surreal memory. United have since regrouped and victory in north London would further frank their passport into next season’s Champions League. Meanwhile, Spurs continue to scrap on the peripheries of the top four with their manager running his playbook of running battles with his own players. “Same coach, different players,” was his explanation at Newcastle for yet another concession of a late goal, also suggesting his team “create instability to ourselves”. Back in October at Old Trafford, he was “very happy with the squad that I have”. JB
Tottenham v Manchester United (Sunday, 4.30 pm, all times BST)
Manchester City v Leeds (Saturday, 12.30pm)
West Ham v Leicester (Sunday, 2.05pm)
Fulham v Wolves (Friday, 8pm)
Liverpool v Aston Villa (Saturday, 3pm)
Sheffield United v Arsenal (Sunday, 7pm)
Crystal Palace v Chelsea (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Burnley v Newcastle (Sunday, 12pm)
West Brom v Southampton (Monday, 6pm)
Brighton v Everton (Monday, 8.15pm)Continue reading...
- Maguire, Shaw and McTominay all to miss home second leg
- ‘Not a perfect night’, says manager after win in Europa League
Ole Gunnar Solskjær was delighted at Manchester United’s 2-0 Europa League quarter-final first leg win over Granada, though admitted it was not a “perfect night” as Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay were all booked and will miss next week’s return game at Old Trafford through suspension.Continue reading...