What the papers say
Forward’s hat-trick off the bench and substitute role for Fernandes in 5-0 win are signs of Manchester United strength
Ole Gunnar Solskjær keeps saying that having too many good players to use all at once is a sign of Manchester United’s standing and ambition, and perhaps by way of proving it he left out Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes against RB Leipzig.
That was quite a big call against an unbeaten side at the top of the Bundesliga. Rashford may have been making most of his headlines off the pitch in recent weeks and Fernandes finding himself a member of a rather crowded selection panel for midfield, but the pair are United’s leading goal scorers this season.Continue reading...
- Rashford bangs in hat-trick after coming off the bench
“[Rashford] came on and did well. We want that from the subs. That’s only possible, though, when the others have laid the ground work. What a shift they put in, because Leipzig do make you work. We had to really dig deep and work hard for each other. Spaces open up when you’re winning. Today we had to rest a few because this season is relentless so we had to use the squad .... This group is coming together. The more quality and spirit you have, the better chance you have of [getting] a performance.”
“We made some changes today because of Sunday [against Arsenal in the Premier League] because we’ve played a game less than everyone else in the league and we need to pick up points.”
“Thanks for the great MBM!” declares Chris. “Please stick around long enough to share the inevitable hat-eating mea culpa from Niall O’Keefe?” Ah yes, Rashford providing yet another meal for others.
“The manager just told us when we came on to try to up the tempo ... there were definitely spaces there and today we managed to find the passes. We got Bruno and Paul on the ball, and had Anthony running forward, and we looked dangerous every time we went forward. It was a real team performance. As a squad we can’t really ask for much more than that in terms of attitude, intensity and determination to kill the game off.”
Stay tuned for as much reaction as we can get for you to today’s match. Solskjaer’s is sure to speak and we may even to hear from Rashford. Doubtless people will be queueing up to try to speak to him. With one shameless exception.
What a satisfying win for United. They’ve started their Champions League campaign by beating two of last season’s semi-finalists to rack up six points from six. This was a disciplined, dynamic and ruthless display. For most of the match they played like an away team, absorbing pressure and looking to counter-attack. Greenwood shot them in front with a deadly finish. And then, in the second half, Fernandes and Rashford came off the bench to take the match away from the German league leaders with a devastating display of opportunism. There were plenty of other good individual performances from United, including Pogba, Fred, Wan-Bissaka, Martial and Shaw. And Solskjaer, too, can take pride from a plan that worked well. Upamecano? Not so much.
After the selfless Rashford delegates penalty-taking duties, Martial strikes the ball low and hard into the corner
Is there nothing he can’t do?! Rashford completes his hat-trick after lovely service from Martial, controlling the ball with on touch and then lashing it into the net from 10 yards. He arrived as a second-half substitute and will depart with the match ball to go with the admiration of a nation!
88 min: Cavani sweeps the ball into the net with his left foot after a pass from Fernandes. But that one was blatantly offside so it won’t count.
85 min: Sabitzer is deemed to have brought down Martial after sliding in to dispossess the Frenchman following an attack instigated by Rashford.
84 min: Rashford channels his inner George Best and feints his way past two defenders at the edge of the area, then dodges another one and tries to get off a shot. But it’s blocked.
81 min: United substitutions: Tuanzebe and Cavani on, Wan-Bissaka and Pogba off. Pogba had a good game.
What a finish! The ever-busy Fred pestered Leipzig into surrendering possession, and when the ball broke to Rashford, the striker took it forward and rifled a powerful low shot beyond the keeper and into the net! The man who saves children from cruel governments in his spare time has wrapped up victory for United!
76 min: Kluivert, moments after coming on for Kampl, clatters into Pogba and is shown a yellow card.
As with Greenwood in the first half, VAR upholds the goal for United!
74 min: Fernandes releases Rashford with a splendid first-time pass. Rashford runs half-way and finishes smartly, then the linesman raises his flag for offside. But the repay suggests Rashford was in his own half when the pass was made. Will VAR allow the goal?
73 min: Rashfords sends Fernandes racing down the right with a lovely flick. The Portuguese fizzes the ball across the six-yard box, fractionally too far for Pogba, who had sprinted into the area in the hope of getting on the end of an assist.
70 min: Freekick to United in a very dangerous position, three yards outside the D. Fernandez dinks it over the wall towards martial, who stretches out his leg but can’t get a crucial touch. A good idea tantalisingly close to successful execution.
69 min: Leipzig have switched into all-out attack mode. They’re throwing even more players forward. Which puts United under more pressure but is also leaving more scope for counter-attacks ...
67 min: United substitution: Fernandes on, Van de Beek off. The Dutchman had a quiet game on his first start. Did nothing wrong but did not exert as much influence as hoped, at least not in an attacking sense.
66 min: Leipzig substitution: Sorloth on, Nkunku off.
64 min: Fred penalised for tripping Poulsen. Freekick to Leipzig about 30 yard, and central. They take it short and then, when they eventually cross. Poulsen sends a looping header towards the top corner. But it’s slow enough for De Gea to be able to react and palm it over the bar.
63 min: United substitutions: Rashford and McTominay on, Greenwood and Matic off.
Leipzig substitution: Sabitzer on, Henrichs off
61 min: The ball drops to Pogba narly 30 yards out. He’s played well, he’s in the mood, a sensational volley into the roof of the net might just be on the cards ... or, as it turns out, the connection might be poor and the ball could trickle sadly wide.
59 min: Upamecano fends off Martial, stopping him from getting a shot away after United launched an attach after Van de Beek won the ball in midfield with a challenge that angered Leipzig.
57 min: Matic hooks the ball clear from inside his own six-yard box. The pressure is building from the visitors, who continue to dominate possession.
55 min: Poulsen and Maguri are having a frank exchange of views after the striker went down in the box as if fouled off the ball by Maguire. The ref isn’t interested.
53 min: Matic catches an opponent with his arm in another aerial challenge. It was very similar to the one that got him a yellow card in the first half. This time he gets away with an angry chiding from the ref.
51 min: Pogba harasses Upamecano into losing possession in United territory, giving United a chance for a rapid counter-attack. United work the ball to Greenwood, whose blaster from the right-hand corner f the box is blocked by the keeper.
49 min: Shaw slides in to poke the ball away from the feet of Henrichs after a flowing Leipzig move. The second half is following the pattern of the first, with Leipzig having most of the play and United absorbing it and looking or chances to counter-attack/
48 min: Upamecano intercepts a loose pass and then strides forward, skipping past Fred. But he then misdirects a cross from the left.
47 min: Henrichs booked for pulling back Pogba after the Frenchman rolled past him by the left touchline.
46 min: Play resumes with a united kickoff.
“I must give credit to the oft-maligned (including by me) Pogba,” ays Duncan Edwards. “He’s drawn a lot of attention from (up to four) players in that half but made the most of a bit of space to set up the goal.” True, and Leipzig haven’t shown any such quality in the final third.
United are half-way to a fine result. It’s been an energetic and disciplined performance in which the hosts have played mainly on the counter-attack. Leipzig have had plenty of possession but United have kept them at bay without straining too much, and Greenwood gave them the lead thanks to a superbly clinical finish after good service by Pogba. Van de Beek hasn’t had much of a look-in yet.
45 min: Corner to Leipzig. Nkunku pulls it back beyond the D, where Angelino collects it and tries to dink a cross towards the back post. But he overhits it and the ball drops out of play.
42 min: A setpiece gives United a chance to threaten again. Shaw floats it over from the left, looking for Maguire. But it’s cleared.
39 min: Martial drops deep into his own half to sabotage a Leipzig move. That sums up how things have been going for the last while.
37 min: The hosts are playing like the away side now. Leipzig are camped in the United half, but Solskjaer’s team are staying tight and disciplined, preventing any breakthroughs. De Gea has been untroubled so far.
35 min: Olmo unloads a shot from 20 yards after sustained possession by Leipzig. It cannons off Maguire’s head and rebounds to safety.
33 min: Matic is booked for fending off Forsberg with his forearm in midfield. The game’s going through a scrappy spell. “I’m afraid Niall O’Keefe, like many others, is talking out of his bottom,” opines Arwell Jones, raising the question as to just how many people can talk out of one man’s bottom. “Who is he to say Ole did not plan this team four games in advance? What last season taught us is that we can’t play the same 11 week in/week out without burning the players out. And each game brings its own challenges which sometimes requires a change of approach. Leave Ole alone please, he’s doing a fine job.” The injury rate at other clubs would suggest there are good grounds for rotating lineups this season, especially with a squad as strong as United’s.
30 min: It’s been a decent first half hour for United. They’re playing mostly on the counter-attack but have been very diligent and strong in the way they’ve prevented Leipzig from making any inroads and looked threatening when they’ve gone forward, and not only when they scored.
27 min: Upamecano tries to blast one into the top corner from over 25 yards. He misses by miles.
25 min: Two important clearances by Matic in the space of a minute as Leipzig crank up the pressure in search of an equaliser ...
23 min: Leipzig counter-attack. Forberg picks out Nkunku at the right-hand corner of the United box. Nkunky booms a shot towards goal. De Gea bats it out for a corner.
Fred won the ball in midfield and gave it to Pogba, who cantered forwad and then slipped a perfect pass through to Greenwood, who finished with impeccable accuracy, shooting low across the keeper and into the far corner. But wait, there’s a VAR review.
20 min: When one of Leipzig’s back three have the ball United let them keep it ... until they try to enter the home half. That is when the United press is triggered. The hosts are looking well organised and highly driven. As they should be, of course, but it hasn’t always been the case.
17 min: Fred pings a low pass to Martial, who takes it near the centre circle and spins away from his man before gaining ground and trying to pick out Pogba. He overhits the pass but Pogba sprints to the corner to retrieve it. The move eventually comes to nothing but that was an encouraging bit of play.
15 min: Fred, who has been very busy and effective so far, charges back to hook clear a dangerous-looking cross by Leipzig.
13 min: So far United have pretty much matched Leipzig’s intensity and have pressed well, if not particularly high. Can’t accuse anyone of laziness at this stage.
11 min: This is a gripping enough contest so far, with both sides hinting at real menace. Wan-Bissaka has just had to clear the ball from inside his own six-yard box after a nice move by Leipzig that culminated in a shot by Forsberg.
10 min: Upamecano makes a slack pass in his own half, gifting the ball to Fred, who helps it on quickly to Martial. The Frenchman scampers down the right but fails to pick out one of two teammates who were waiting for it in the box.
7 min: After another bout of pressure from United, Shaw wraps his foot around a shot from 25 yards. He catches it nicely but Poulsen gets his head in the way to stop t reaching the target.
6 min: Kampl clunks into Pogba from behind, giving United a freekick about 30 yards out, near the left touchline. Shaw curls it in. Maguire, soaring beyond the back post , heads it back into the danger zone. It’s cleared as far as Fred, who lets fly from the edge of the area. Gulasci plunges to the left to push it out for a corner.
4 min: Van de Beek is a very advanced tip of the midfield diamond, looking for every opportunity to dart forward into the gap left when Martial and Greenwood split to let him through. That seems to be the theory, anyway. But United are going to have get a lot more of the ball to put it into practice. So far Leipzig have had most of it.
2 min: It’s been a perky start by the visitors, zipping forward with their customary verve and mesmeric movement.
1 min: Leipzig, wearing all white with red trims, get the game going.
The teams amble out on to the grass, all looking very relaxed and cheerful...
“I fear RB are a significantly sterner prospect than PSG and not sure our defence or indeed midfield will hold them back, especially with a back four,” trumpets Aran Scutcher. “I appreciate OGS doesn’t just have a ‘best 11’ these days and it’s really good to see DVDB starting but Pogba hasn’t shown much recently and not sure I see a future for him at United. On his day he’s wonderful but those days are too few and far between. Hopefully he’ll prove me wrong. Martial needs to get back to scoring ways (for us) too, be great if Cavani teaches him a thing or two. Our defence frailties are well known, Linderlof is like some travelling salesman wondering around the pitch offering freebees to the opposition whilst Maguire has a look of a child staring at a maths exam willing it to reveal its secrets. AWB was great defensively but has obviously been working on his offensive game and seems to be caught out of position a lot more. At least now he only darts for the byline 80% of the time before crossing. This is too depressing, I’ve not even got to Luke Shaw…”
The final result from today’s other game in this group was Basahsekir 0-2 PSG, with Moise Keane bagging both goals after an unhappy spell in the Premier League. The man could be the new Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
“Looking at Oles starting 11 over the past three games, I am increasingly concerned he has no masterplan,” announces Niall O’Keefe. “No long term vision. You would hope he would plan his starting eleven at least four games in advance. Sadly he looks like a lower league manager and is being found out again and again. I doubt tonight will be a repeat of Paris last week.” It certainly won’t be a repeat of Paris, since he seems to be taking a very different approach to this game, which is no bad thing in itself.
Julian Nagelsmann wants his team to show what they’re all about today: “We have come here to take all three points,” says the Leipzig manager. “That is entirely possible ... They know what qualities we have and what we can do.”
If you don’t want to know the latest score in this group’s other game, look away now. PSG have just taken the lead at Basaksehir thanks to a 65th-minute goal by Everton Moise Kean.
“Our substitutions will be the difference tonight in a close 2-1 win,” reckons Neil Carter, who I’m going to assume is a United fan. They sure do have strength in depth and it’ll be no surprise if they need those subs to turn this game around.
Well look at that! Solskjaer has decided to start both Pogba and Van de Beek in what will presumably be a midfield diamond, with Fernandes on the bench. It’ll be interesting to see how Wan-Bissaka and Shaw, full-backs in a flat back four, cope on the flanks. The visitors, meanwhile, will line up with a back three and have made four changes to the side that beat Hertha Berlin at the weekend, with Konaté, Halstenberg, Olmo and Poulsen all coming in.
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Matic, Pogba, Van de Beek; Greenwood, Martial
Hello. Manchester United made an ideal start to a tricky Champions League group by winning in Paris last week; now they aim to capitalise on that by doing the business at home to the team whom PSG beat in last season’s semi-final, RB Leipzig. The visitors arrive in fine form: they, too, won their first group game and are top of the Bundesliga. What is more, they did not lose an away trip in this tournament last season, winning three times and drawing once. United, remember, have not won at Old Trafford since Anthony Martial scored a late second-leg winner against LASK Linz in last season’s Europa League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team selection will be fascinating. Martial is available despite domestic suspension but the real intrigue is at the back and in the middle. Will the manager opt for a three-man central defence? That is what Leipzig tend to use and, of course, it was the system that worked so well against PSG, thanks notably to Axel Tuanzebe. Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have played pretty well in the last couple of games but that won’t stop United fans from keeping an envious eye on Leipzig’s young French centreback Dayot Upamecano. United are longstanding admirers of the player – they tried to sign him when he was a teenager – and he is an obvious target if the club decide to spend big on a new centreback next year. But they’ll be hoping United’s attackers make him suffer at Old Trafford today. And what of United’s midfield? Will Solskjaer find a way to fit Donny Van de Beek and/or Paul Pogba into it? Answers to all those questions, and much more, are imminent. Let’s get it on!Continue reading...
Marcus Rashford continues to elevate himself. In Manchester United’s emphatic victory over RB Leipzig the striker joined the action after 63 minutes and proceeded to score a hat-trick in a cameo display of menace and ruthlessness that personified Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side.
The 22-year-old continues to be an inspiration in his unswerving fight against food poverty that has already caused one government U-turn and is aiming to provoke another. Against United’s German visitors he was a one-man demolition act, scoring on 74, 78 and 90 minutes, even having time to display the selflessness that drives him to help those less fortunate.Continue reading...
RB Leipzig manager Julian Naglesmann has planned to exact revenge on Ole Gunnar Solskjær as his side head to Old Trafford in the Champions League. The German is a Bayern Munich fan and he was asked by a reporter how he felt coming up against the player that dashed his side’s dreams in the 1999 Champions League final. ‘First of all I will tackle him when I see him,’ said the 33-year-old coachContinue reading...
- Midfielder has not started in Premier League this season
- ‘It’s nice for some commentators to have a little go’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær offered a barbed response to pundits who have criticised Donny van de Beek’s lack of playing time for Manchester United, stating it is nice for them to have “a little go”.
The manager has not started the midfielder in United’s opening four Premier League games, Van de Beek having signed for £35m from Ajax. The 23-year-old has, though, featured in seven of United’s eight matches in all competitions, starting two EFL Cup ties – Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea being the first time he has not been used.Continue reading...
Our cartoonist on the striker’s mission to provide meals for children in need, and the grimly predictable obstacles in his wayContinue reading...
In an extract from his new book about Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Jamie Jackson finds a future foretold during the Norwegian’s time as a Manchester United striker
See the three figures out on the green grass of Manchester United’s Carrington training base. Working in the hot June sun. Two are together, one stands apart. The two are practising finishing – the other encouraging, coaching, feeding them endless balls to try to score with. They are relentless in their quest to become better. They are Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Ruud van Nistelrooy. They are being schooled by René Meulensteen, a Dutch skills coach who will one day manage Manchester United reserves and have Ole as his assistant. Then one day René will be part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s inner circle, becoming first-team coach. For now, he is drilling Ole and his countryman Van Nistelrooy ahead of their coming internationals.
When he was on the bench, he was always looking at the game, analysing the gameContinue reading...
Bamford continues to prove doubters wrong, Van de Beek should be unleashed and Saints find perfect pairing
Jamie Vardy proved his importance to Leicester City just as much when he was in the stands as he was on the pitch. The Foxes were flat from the off, without a functioning plan B to put into operation in Vardy’s absence. The team is so used to utilising the striker’s clever running in behind a defence, they seem to lack other creative ideas when he is not spearheading the team. Considering they ripped Manchester City apart just weeks ago, it will concern Brendan Rodgers that he cannot get his side to repeat that perfect performance, suffering home defeats to West Ham and Aston Villa in the two games that followed. Vardy’s arrival on the pitch enlivened Leicester, with his teammates looking more confident in the company of their talisman who duly scored a late winner. Rodgers might be best finding a striker in the mould of Vardy to ensure they can maintain the status quo whenever he is absent; otherwise they are just one tweaked muscle away from mediocrity. Will UnwinContinue reading...
The Manchester United attacker has risen from sportsman to statesman with his campaign for free school meals
First Marcus Rashford put in a decent shift on the pitch. Then came an even more impressive one off it.
Barely 45 minutes after a pallid, punchless 0-0 draw with Chelsea on Saturday night, the Manchester United striker was back working his second job: a three-hour magic set in which dozens of cafes, churches, restaurants and ordinary folk all promised him they would donate free food to the poorest children in society during this half-term.Continue reading...
The former Manchester United striker on being omitted from the biggest match of his career, practising with basketballs as a kid – and refusing to change his style
Dimitar Berbatov is talking about the most disappointing day in his football career but he is in a conciliatory mood. In May 2011 the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, told him that he would not be in the starting XI for the Champions League final against Barcelona. Even worse, he was not even in the squad.
My Way by Dimitar Berbatov is available here.Continue reading...
Solskjær’s players lacked spark and Lampard’s were cagey – but in a wild season, will such caution become more prevalent?
Ole Gunnar Solskjær can do one big thing well, and that is sit his side deep and attack on the counter. Frank Lampard has one big thing he has struggled to do well, and that is set his side up to defend well against the counter. That’s why when these sides met at Old Trafford last season, Chelsea had 54% possession, won the shot count 18-10 and lost 4-0. Everything Lampard did on Saturday seemed aimed at avoiding a repeat.Continue reading...
The Chelsea manager seemed to be reacting to criticism of his leaky defence as he set his side out to repel Manchester United
Splurge on the attack. Make yourself the envy of the world by signing Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz in one wild summer. Make the journey to Old Trafford, where Manchester United were last seen losing 6-1 to Tottenham, and pick a back-five. Take Werner and Havertz off with 20 minutes left. Give Ziyech 10 minutes at the end. Settle for a second consecutive goalless draw. Flip the narrative on its head.
By the end of a grim match it was clear Frank Lampard had no interest in another defensive aberration from his leaky Chelsea side. He will not apologise for setting out to contain United. Attacking cohesion can wait: for a manager accused of failing to focus on shape and resilience during his time at Chelsea, a shutout inspired by Thiago Silva’s serenity in central defence represented another step forward.Continue reading...
Edinson Cavani had not kicked a ball since 7 March. The Uruguay striker had missed the end of last season at Paris Saint-Germain because of a contract dispute, he tested positive for coronavirus over the summer and he was forced to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival at Manchester United having travelled over from France as a free agent.
Cavani has been dreaming of getting back onto the field for longer than he may care to remember, through an awful lot of strangeness and upheaval and, when it finally happened, his first touch as a United player almost brought a fairytale reward.Continue reading...
- Live updates from Old Trafford, kick-off 5.30pm BST
- Lampard still way off winning formula at Chelsea
- Feel free to email Scott with your thoughts
20 min: From the corner, Pulisic drives at McTominay down the left but the United midfielder stands strong. However United are struggling to get out of their final third. Chelsea continue to press them back.
19 min: Chelsea are beginning to dominate possession. Jorginho sprays a ball wide left for Chilwell, who earns another Chelsea corner off Wan-Bissaka.
17 min: Jorginho and Havertz combine down the right and force Shaw to concede a corner. Chilwell takes. It’s half cleared. It’s slapped back weakly by Pulisic. Neither keeper has needed to get his hands warm yet.
16 min: A pause in play as Rashford goes down, having been accidentally nutted in the back of the head by Zouma, the pair contesting a high ball. He’s up again quickly enough, good to go.
15 min: Kante is close to sliding Havertz clear down the middle, but his precision pass is well read, just in time, by Maguire.
13 min: Jorginho passes long down the right. Werner nearly latches onto the ball, but Maguire gets across in time to head away from danger. Neither team are prepared to risk too much in attack right now, perhaps mindful of their recent defensive travails.
11 min: United stroke it around awhile, not to any great effect. Both teams very much putting the feelers out at the minute.
9 min: It’s all a bit too fast at the minute. Passing sequences are at a premium right now.
7 min: It’s nice and open. Fernandes and Mata nearly open Chelsea up with a crisp one-two down the right, but Zouma gets in the road.
5 min: Pulisic drives at United down the inside-left channel. He’s got the chance to spring Werner clear through the middle, but opts to dribble his way into a shooting position. His notions of scoring are checked by Wan-Bissaka, who aquaplanes across to block.
3 min: Jorginho launches long. Lindelof stands tall against Werner to clear the danger. I hope they’ve fixed that hole in the Old Trafford roof.
2 min: The conditions are horrendous. The rain’s been hosing down for hours, and the pitch is very heavy as a result. Plenty of scope for slapstick shenanigans. Everyone quite literally finding their feet in these opening exchanges. Take care, everyone!
Chelsea get the ball rolling ... but not before everyone takes a knee. Black lives matter. There’s no room for racism. The visitors will be kicking towards the Stretford End in this first half.
The teams are out! United are in their famous red, Chelsea their storied blue. The weather in Manchester is, well, positively Mancunian ... the rain is sheeting down. We’ll be off in a minute or two. “In a season where making predictions is turning out to be a fool’s errand, there is one result that can already be called - the Guardian footballer of the Year,” writes Vibhanshu Bisht. “Unless Alisson emerges from his injury break with a Covid vaccine that he tested on himself and then gives it away for free.” There’s a lot of love around for Marcus Rashford all right, and every last bit of it richly deserved. What a seriously impressive young man. (And while we’re on the subject, here’s a quick reminder about the donation page for Gorse Hill packed lunches, as explained in this MBM’s preamble.)
Frank Lampard talks his Chelsea team up ... with caveats. “We’re doing OK. We can do better, without a doubt. We’re seeing across the league that teams are trying to find form, and we’re one of those, but our result in midweek was good because you saw a team that was solid. That’s what we’ve been striving for. But we can do better. Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem, but we’re coming to a very good team so we have to get both sides of our game right. We’re making relationships through the team so I expect progression with that. We must play with a real organisation and be confident. We know we can give Manchester United - any team - a problem.”
Should Manchester United be defeated today, they’ll equal an unwanted club record by losing their first three home games of the season. That was their fate in 1930-31, when they lost their first 12 matches straight. Their first three defeats at Old Trafford that season saw Aston Villa win 4-3, Huddersfield Town 6-0 and Newcastle United 7-4. And you thought the Spurs debacle was bad. United were unsurprisingly relegated at the end of the campaign, and manager Herbert Bamlett was sent on his way. This fiasco seems to be Bamlett’s legacy, which is slightly unfair seeing he took unfashionable Oldham Athletic to the brink of the title in 1915, but this is where we all are.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has kept his team together since Paris, staying in a hotel last night. “It was something that we wanted to do this time, keep everyone together. The atmosphere has been good, so we want to keep it going. Sometimes you have to reward players who play well, and there are a few players who deserve to be in the team. This set-up was the best we felt. You go through different scenarios, and the team that played in Paris also deserved to play again. But of course Anthony is suspended so we had to change a little bit. Every substitute is match-dependant. I hope to get Cavani on in a comfortable position, but if it is a precarious situation he’ll be a threat because he has looked really good in training.”
Pre-match reading. These two have a habit of racking up the goals. Here are a few blasts from the past as we while away the time before kick-off.
Harry Maguire is back, baby. He’s one of three changes to Manchester United from the XI named against PSG midweek. Juan Mata and Dan James also return. Making way: Alex Telles, Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe. The latter has our permission to feel a little miffed at being stood down after his excellent performance up against Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. Alongside him on the bench: Edinson Cavani, who could make his United debut this afternoon.
There’s just one change to the Chelsea side from the team picked for the goalless draw with Sevilla. The captain Cesar Azpilicueta returns; Mason Mount drops to the bench.
Manchester United: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, Mata, Bruno Fernandes, James, Rashford.
Subs: Pogba, Cavani, Greenwood, Henderson, Matic, van de Beek, Tuanzebe.
Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Zouma, James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell, Havertz, Pulisic, Werner.
Subs: Rudiger, Abraham, Caballero, Kovacic, Giroud, Mount, Ziyech.
Welcome to our live coverage of Marcus Rashford v The Man. “Gorsehill is in spitting distance of Old Trafford,” begins Judith Mellor. “The Primary School is down the road from the ground. It is a rainbow nation of a school. My daughter (who is a teacher) will be volunteering for ‘Gorsehill Mums with Limited Funds’, which will be organising packed lunches for local schoolkids next week during half term. These are mums with limited funds helping those with no funds. There is a GoFundMe page.”
We’ll also be keeping tabs on Manchester United v Chelsea, one of the blue-riband fixtures of English football. United did the double over Chelsea last season, winning 4-0 at Old Trafford and 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, but the Blues got some revenge in the semi-final of the FA Cup with a comprehensive 3-1 victory. There are often goals when these two meet, and hopefully that’ll be the case today, with plenty of attacking talent on show and neither defence exactly on top of their game.Continue reading...
- Liverpool ‘show solidarity’ with Manchester United player
- ‘It is a bit of a shame he has to do it but it is wonderful as well’
Jürgen Klopp has praised Marcus Rashford for showing the kind of leadership the UK government is failing to provide with his “absolutely incredible” campaign for free school meals. The Liverpool manager joked it was “tricky” to speak so highly of the 22-year-old England striker because he plays for arch-rivals Manchester United.Continue reading...
- Intense scrutiny comes with playing for United, says Solskjær
- Manager hopes forward will be well enough to face Chelsea
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is not concerned that Mason Greenwood is “making a target” of himself, the manager stating that this comes with the territory of playing for Manchester United. The manager revealed the 19-year-old has been ill, though he is hopeful Greenwood can be available for Chelsea’s visit on Saturday.Continue reading...
The Manchester United and England footballer says he has been ‘blown away’ by local businesses offering support for his free school meals campaign after MPs voted against extending the provision into the half-term and Christmas holidays.
Marcus Rashford visited the food bank charity FareShare in Greater Manchester, where a new warehouse has been named after his mother, Melanie.
Earlier this month Rashford was awarded an MBE for his work in combating child food poverty during the Covid pandemicContinue reading...
When Manchester United were hammered 6-1 by Tottenham this game was one of a subsequent run of fixtures that made grim reading for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side. Yet after convincing victories over Newcastle and Paris Saint-Germain United have shrugged the pressure off as Chelsea arrive at Old Trafford after enduring their own wobble. They have won one of their past four league games. Jamie Jackson
Saturday 5.30pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
Axel Tuanzebe should start, Everton’s and Aston Villa’s credentials will be tested and Rhian Brewster returns to Anfield
Following their last-ditch heroics against Tottenham, West Ham host Manchester City and in this white-knuckle rollercoaster ride of a season not even the combined forces of Mystic Meg, Nostradamus and Sally Morgan could boldly predict what might happen. City came from behind to beat Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday but their win was far from convincing. The Portuguese side carved open the City defence on several occasions, while Ederson was lucky to survive an uncharacteristic howler. Already without Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus, City were dealt a further blow with the news Fernandinho will be sidelined for four to six weeks. While undeniably valuable to their cause, the Brazilian may not be quite the loss Guardiola fears – the season before last, City averaged 2.7 points per top flight game in which he played, compared with 2.0 in those in which he didn’t. Last season, with Fernandinhooften covering in City’s now-replenished central defence, they earned more points in the eight games without him (2.4 per game) than in matches he played in (2.13). BG
Southampton v Everton – Sunday 2pm GMT
Aston Villa v Leeds United – Friday, 8pm BST
Wolves v Newcastle United – Sunday, 4.30pm GMTContinue reading...
Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo says he is ashamed of the Nigerian government after reports that soldiers opened fire on those protesting against police brutality in the country's largest city, Lagos.
Nigerians have been demonstrating nationwide every day in recent weeks against a now disbanded police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars), which has been accused of extrajudicial killings and abuse.
Ighalo said in a video message on Twitter that while he rarely talks about politics he could not stay silent about events back home. He was joined by several other athletes, including boxer Anthony Joshua, basketballer Chiney Ogwumike and footballer Victor Osimhen, in condemning the violenceContinue reading...