What the papers say

Manchester United ‘warrior’ Harry Maguire may be fit for Saturday

What the papers say - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 10:24
• Initial fear was Maguire faced long absence with hip injury
• Solskjær sees ‘perfect’ chance to bounce back from City defeat

Harry Maguire will undergo a fitness test on his injured hip before Norwich City’s visit to Old Trafford, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær describing the Manchester United centre-back as a “warrior”.

United believed earlier in the week that Maguire would be out for a prolonged period because of the severity of the problem yet he is determined to play.

Related: Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

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Football transfer rumours: Fellaini to be denied reunion with Moyes?

What the papers say - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 08:49

This fluff knows what it likes

When you think about it, it’s a glaringly obvious transfer link-up. Marouane Fellaini and David Moyes, the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton of the English Premier League, hooking up for a third time. With Moysey getting his feet under the table at West Ham and ‘Big Felly’, as his old Everton and Manchester United boss calls him, facing a 75% paycut at Shandong Luneng due to new regulations in China, it looks a match remade in heaven. Except, except, others in the know suggest that the Hammers have no interest in the king of chest control. That’s the thing about transfer rumours, they can’t always come true, no matter how much you might want them to.

West Ham have no interest in signing Marouane Fellaini #whufc

Related: Inter offer £3.4m for Olivier Giroud but Chelsea holding out for £8.5m

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

What the papers say - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 00:01

Odds are against depleted Spurs, Everton need to respond after their derby woe while Solskjær is feeling the heat again

José Mourinho’s life in football can be measured out in vendettas. There are two clubs he reserves a special enmity for, and for much the same reason. Both Barcelona and Liverpool passed over his services, choosing instead to turn to Pep Guardiola and Rafa Benítez, by little consequence two managers he has most enjoyed getting the better of. Only recently arrived at Tottenham, his latest club are near powerless to stop Liverpool’s procession to the Premier League title, save for performing the unlikely act of ending the leaders’ unbeaten run. To do so would be one of the shocks of the season. Where Liverpool have suffered a fair share of injuries, with James Milner’s muscle injury adding to a shortfall in midfield, Tottenham are completely riven, with Moussa Sissoko out until April and Tanguy Ndombele succumbed to a hip injury that in the words of Mourinho offers “no continuity in his development”. And, crucially, there will be no Harry Kane, a huge loss for a manager with such a tactical reliance on centre-forwards, and no obvious replacement within a squad he already appears dissatisfied with. JB

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Related: Patrick Cutrone set to join Fiorentina after only five months at Wolves

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Manchester United’s Harry Maguire faces long absence with hip injury

What the papers say - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 18:01

• Centre-back suffered problem in FA Cup draw at Wolves
• Marcus Rashford says United can recover in Carabao Cup semi

Harry Maguire faces a prolonged period out after tearing a hip muscle, adding yet another name to Manchester United’s list of injured defenders. The 26-year-old centre-back, the defensive lynchpin of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side, suffered a problem during Saturday’s goalless draw at Wolves and was ruled out of Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.

After the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, Solskjær hoped Maguire could be available for the weekend visit of Norwich but he has now been ruled out. Maguire joins Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo as unavailable central defenders and leaves Solskjær with Victor Lindelöf and Phil Jones as his only senior players in the position. The manager also has Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Timothy Fosu-Mensah on his injured list while Luke Shaw is yet to return following illness.

Related: Manchester City's 3-1 defeat of United took 15 minutes to plan, says De Bruyne

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It took City 15 minutes to plan 3-1 defeat of United, says Kevin De Bruyne

What the papers say - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 12:20
• Guardiola’s tactical switch helped City surge into three-goal lead
• ‘We did 15 minutes this morning [on tactics] – that’s about it’

Kevin De Bruyne has revealed it took all of 15 minutes in training for Pep Guardiola to plan Manchester City’s 3-1 mauling of their neighbours Manchester United in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.

City were beaten by United in the Premier League last month but on Tuesday evening at Old Trafford Guardiola made an astute tactical change. With centre forwards Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus on the bench, he played with a false nine in a fluid front line of two No 10s.

Related: Shape-shifting City almost disappear from sight as United grandees look on | Jonathan Liew

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'The worst we've played' says Solskjær after 3-1 defeat to Manchester City – video

What the papers say - Wed, 01/08/2020 - 10:00

Ole Gunnar Solskjær slated his Manchester United side's first-half performance after their 3-1 defeat to Manchester City. The United manager said the first-half showing, during which City took a 3-0 lead, was 'the worst we've played'.  There was some consolation for Solskjær's side after Marcus Rashford slotted home to give them hope going into the second leg. 

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Solskjær furious with Manchester United’s ‘worst’ start in City defeat

What the papers say - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 23:52

• Manager questions United saying they must start quicker
• Solskjær surprised to hear Ashley Young in talks to join Inter

Ole Gunnar Solskjær was scathing about Manchester United’s first-half display in in Tuesday’s 3-1 3-1 home defeat by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg, describing it as the worst this season. United conceded Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez strikes plus an Andreas Pereira own goal before the break. While Marcus Rashford’s second-half finish gives them hope of overturning the tie in the return leg the manager was unhappy.

“From their goal until half-time is the worst we’ve played,” he said. “From the first goal until half-time we couldn’t cope. We let them play, our heads dropped, we made decisions we shouldn’t and it needed sorting at half-time. The second half was a good response – [but] it’s a steep mountain to climb.”

Related: Internazionale in talks with Manchester United over Ashley Young transfer

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Internazionale in talks with Manchester United over Ashley Young transfer

What the papers say - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 23:06

• United captain set to sign deal until end of next season
• Aston Villa set to bid €28m for Milan’s Krzysztof Piatek

Internazionale are in talks with Manchester United over the transfer of Ashley Young, with the 34-year-old ready to accept a contract until 2021 with the Serie A club.

Young, who did not feature in United’s 3-1 defeat by Manchester City in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday night, is out of contract at Old Trafford in the summer and has made 10 Premier League starts this season. Inter have held talks with United over whether they will have to pay a fee for the former England international and he is understood to be keen to reunite with former United teammates Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sánchez under the former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.

Related: Shape-shifting City almost disappear from sight as United grandees look on | Jonathan Liew

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Shape-shifting City almost disappear from sight as United grandees look on | Jonathan Liew

What the papers say - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 23:05
An early onslaught from Pep Guardiola’s side gave the watching Sir Alex Ferguson and Ryan Giggs nothing to smile about

You can’t hit what you can’t see. On a mild but riotous night at Old Trafford Manchester City served up a beating as swaggering and dominant as any they have managed at this ground. In front of the grandees of Red Manchester – Wayne Rooney, Sir Alex Ferguson, Ryan Giggs – City executed a coup de grâce born of pure disrespect, United taking the best part of an hour to work out just what, exactly, was going on out there.

What had happened was that City had simply disappeared from view, slipped into the cracks, eluded detection. Had Raheem Sterling been a little more clinical in front of goal, the scoreline might even have been embarrassing. United’s Plan A, meanwhile, foundered against a fluid, kaleidoscopic City side who moved the ball forwards with seamless, almost ghostly speed. It’s hard to play on the counter-attack, after all, if there’s nothing to counter.

Related: Silva strike helps Manchester City beat United but the tie is still alive

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Manchester United 1-3 Manchester City: Carabao Cup player ratings

What the papers say - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 22:57

Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez starred for City while Victor Lindelöf was overrun for United in the League Cup semi-final


Related: Silva strike helps Manchester City beat United but the tie is still alive

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Silva strike helps Manchester City beat United but the tie is still alive

What the papers say - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 22:06

Manchester United were exposed in embarrassing fashion before the interval then somehow rallied to give themselves a lifeline via a courageous second-half display. Manchester City remain firm favourites to reach the final with the second leg in three weeks but Pep Guardiola’s side really should have killed the tie here. For Ole Gunnar Solskjær there is relief this did not finish as a hiding that could have seriously damaged his young side.

The remarkable element of how City came close to destroying United is that it is only a month since the tables were turned at the Etihad Stadium when United gave the champions a lesson in the 2-1 Premier League win.

Related: Manchester United 1-3 Manchester City: Carabao Cup player ratings

Related: Shape-shifting City almost disappear from sight as United grandees look on | Jonathan Liew

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Manchester United v Manchester City: Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg – live!

What the papers say - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 21:05

9.04pm GMT

47 min: Pereira slips a decent ball down the left for Rashford, who checks back and finds Fred. A few rat-a-tat passes on the edge of the box, and finally Williams sends a pea-roller towards the bottom left. Bravo gathers.

9.02pm GMT

United get the second half underway. They’ll be looking to reboot just like Arsenal did last night in the FA Cup after being outplayed in the first 45 by Leeds. Problem is, of course, as good as Leeds are, they’re no Manchester City ... and Arsenal weren’t three goals down. Still, United need something, anything. Reaching this year’s League Cup final already looks to be a pipe dream, but they’ll be desperate for some sort of response. Or at least to not totally capitulate. To this end, Matic has been sent on for Lingard.

8.53pm GMT

Half-time entertainment.

Related: Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action

8.48pm GMT

City have been as breathtaking as United have been shocking. A few boos from the home crowd, but only a smattering. Nothing that sounds as though a revolt is on the cards. “Of all the players on the field, Sterling is the only one with any desire to make the scoreline look remotely respectable for United.” Naveen RS, a United supporter, with the gallows humour there.

8.45pm GMT

45 min: There will be one added minute. The next 60 seconds can’t go by quickly enough for Manchester United.

8.45pm GMT

44 min: Pereira has a dig from 25 yards. United need something, anything. But not this. The ball flies harmlessly over the bar, miles off target.

8.44pm GMT

43 min: For the second time, it’s nearly four, as De Bruyne whips a low ball across the face of goal from the right. Sterling will curse clipping his toenails last night, because he was a couple of millimetres away from poking home at the far post.

8.42pm GMT

42 min: It’s important to remember that City have been quite outstanding since the get-go. Few teams could live with their relentless attacking. But of course the normal rules of analysis never apply in derby matches.

8.41pm GMT

40 min: This is already embarrassing for United. It could get a whole lot worse. City win a corner out on the right. The ball’s worked all the way to Bernardo Silva on the left. He breaks clean through down the channel, and he’s one on one with De Gea. The keeper makes a sensational save, and it turns out Silva was offside anyway. United are in danger of totally capitulating.

8.40pm GMT

Another City break. Silva slips Mahrez away down the middle. Mahrez brushes past Williams with ease and slips the ball wide left to De Bruyne, who sits Jones down as he enters the area. De Bruyne looks to curl one into the bottom left. De Gea saves, only for the ball to pinball off Pereira six yards out and into the unguarded net.

8.37pm GMT

36 min: United nearly find some succour as Fred plays a fizzing pass down the inside-left channel for Lingard, who cushions the ball towards Greenwood. The young striker drags a shot well wide right. But that’s given a worried Old Trafford a little something to go on.

8.35pm GMT

35 min: A frustrated Lingard is shown the yellow card, sticking his studs up while chasing a heavy touch and catching Fernandinho. United need to clear their heads and quick, or this semi-final will get away from them very soon.

8.34pm GMT

Another simple goal, perfectly executed. Bravo clears. Bernardo Silva picks up possession in the centre circle, and slips a pass down the middle. Mahrez is clear! He rounds De Gea on the right, and rolls home. As easy as that. City might not be perfect at the back, but they’re damn well near it up front.

8.32pm GMT

32 min: United win a corner out on the right. Fred’s delivery is not great, but only half cleared, allowing Pereira to swing one in from the same flank. The cross causes momentary panic in the City defence, but unfortunately for United, there’s nobody in red in a central position to latch onto the ball and poke home. A reminder that City are not infallible.

8.31pm GMT

30 min: Bravo, quarterbacking from the goalkeeping position, sprays a lovely pass wide left for Sterling, who finds himself one on one with Wan-Bissaka. It looks very promising for City, until Sterling executes one shimmy too many and falls over, kicking the ball out for a goal kick. United fans take the rare opportunity to cheer.

8.28pm GMT

28 min: Since the goal, City have enjoyed 70% possession. United are having to work at full pelt to plug all the gaps and keep City at arm’s length.

8.27pm GMT

26 min: Williams is a prospect, and he drops a shoulder out on the left to make himself a lot of space, then slips James away further upfield. James knocks it inside to Lingard, who can’t decide whether to shoot or return the ball to James. The ball clanks through to Bravo. Some very nice play from deep by Williams, though.

8.25pm GMT

24 min: Walker drives down the inside right at full speed. A crisp one-two with De Bruyne sends him free into the box. It’s another simple but glorious City move. Walker picks out Sterling on the penalty spot. Sterling shoots, but is denied by a combination of Wan-Bissaka and Lindelof. Blocked. Cleared. But that was so close to 0-2.

8.23pm GMT

22 min: City continue to ping it about. United are struggling to retain any significant possession at the moment.

8.21pm GMT

20 min: There’s been a wonderful atmosphere since kick-off, though that goal has dampened the majority’s spirits a little. The knowledge that City have won six of their last nine at Old Trafford may also be a factor. City fans in full voice.

8.19pm GMT

18 min: United try to respond immediately, Pereira nearly sending James clear down the middle with a sliderule pass. But Bravo has been attentive, and he’s out quickly from his area to clear.

8.17pm GMT

This is so simple, but so, so good. De Bruyne advances down the inside-right channel. He slips the ball inside for Bernardo Silva, who takes a touch to ghost past Fred, and launches an unstoppable curler into the top left. De Gea, at full stretch, had no chance whatsoever. First blood to City!

8.16pm GMT

15 min: City hog the ball some more. They’ve had 57% possession so far. United will presumably be happy enough too, coiled to spring on the break as they are.

8.14pm GMT

13 min: City take the pace down a notch by stroking it around the back for a while. The slowly advance forward. Mahrez has a gander down the right; Sterling probes down the left. And then back to Mahrez again. The treble-winners are beginning to establish a little control; it’s the first period of sustained possession by either side in the game so far.

8.12pm GMT

11 min: A long ball down the middle. Rashford cushions a header into Greenwood’s path; the young striker wins a corner off Fernandinho, who was taking great care not to concede a penalty kick. The resulting corner comes to nothing. This has been great end-to-end fun so far. Mind you, Wolves-United at the weekend was pretty good for the first 15 minutes, and look what happened there, so let’s not get too carried away yet.

8.10pm GMT

9 min: Mahrez sashays in from the right. He rolls the ball inside for Sterling, coming in from the other flank. Sterling momentarily has a chance to curl one into the top right, Curtis Jones style, but he’s quickly crowded out by a swarm of red shirts. The chance, split-second as it was, is gone.

8.08pm GMT

8 min: United put their first meaningful attack together. Greenwood plays Rashford in down the right. Rashford takes one silky touch to glide past Otamendi with ease, but can’t find Lingard in the middle with his pullback from the halfway line.

8.07pm GMT

7 min: ... Lindelof heads Gundogan’s near-post delivery powerfully clear. “I see that both teams are wearing white shorts,” notes Stephen Carr. “This could well cause VAR to malfunction whilst making tight offside calls and ultimately lead to the collapse of modern civilisation.” Oh that’s already jiggered. To be fair to VAR, association football’s going to be one of the last pieces to fall.

8.06pm GMT

6 min: Sterling works his way down the left and wins the first corner of the evening. From which ...

8.05pm GMT

4 min: James scampers down the right into an awful lot of space, and very nearly finds Greenwood in the middle with a fiercely whipped cross. Otamendi is positioned well to intercept and clear. The brisk pace of this match continues.

8.03pm GMT

2 min: Well it didn’t take Phil Jones long to start sliding across the turf on his nipples. He nearly gifts possession to De Bruyne down the right in doing so, but he does just enough to usher the ball away from danger as he falls. You wouldn’t have him any other way.

8.02pm GMT

1 min: Fernandinho, deep on the right, pearls a delightful crossfield ball towards Sterling, who briefly threatens to get away down the left. He can’t find a route through, so City settle for stroking it around the back instead. United are pressing hard; it’s a fast-paced start by both teams.

8.00pm GMT

The first leg of the semi-final is go! City get the ball rolling; they’re kicking towards the Stretford End in this first half.

7.59pm GMT

Here come the teams! United in red, City in blue. This is the one, warble the Stone Roses, though Ian, John, Reni and Mani’s retro jangle is nearly drowned out by the special Mancunian-derby roar that greets the players. Handshakes and coin-tossing going on all over the shop. We’ll be off in a minute!

7.52pm GMT

Why has Pep left Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus on the bench? “I decide for this team,” he tells Sky Sports. Was it anything to do with the last game against United? “No.” Will it be a different game? “We will try to make a lot of passes.” Does it suit that the first leg is away? “It doesn’t matter.” Giving the square root of nothing away there, just the right side of disdain. His old mentor Louis van Gaal would be proud.

7.47pm GMT

Some late, breaking team news. Manchester City have two big names positioned in the away end tonight: Oleksandr Zinchenko and Taylor Harwood-Bellis, the latter, by the looks of it, popping into the little room to do some falling water.

7.41pm GMT

Solskjaer speaks! “If we create as many chances as we did last month, I’ll be happy! But of course we’re playing against a good team so you can’t expect to create that many. We were excellent that night, hopefully we can see that tonight. We’re a young team with lots of energy, so hopefully we’ll see something similar. Every game is big for Manchester United, so we are going to go out there and enjoy it, give our best, and see where it takes us.”

7.38pm GMT

Look at the quality of the embroidery on this corner flag! That’s some top-notch stitching. You could forgive Manchester United for whacking a cheap transfer onto an old sheet and making do; it’s going to be soaked by the end of the 90 after all, as players repeatedly wipe their muddy paws on it. But no, they’ve refused to cut corners, almost literally, marking them out as the sort who always use the best linen and uncork the good wine when folk come round for dinner. Say what you like about Old Trafford; it may have seen better days, there may be water coming through the roof, but the old pile will always have that indefinable class.

7.18pm GMT

No out-and-out striker for Manchester City there, you will have noticed. Cue much speculation over the possible jiggery-pokery Pep has cooked up in response to the recent derby defeat at the Etihad, where United ripped the champions to shreds for the first 30 minutes or so, a period of extreme dominance that proved more than enough for a shock win. In other news, United defender Harry Maguire has been ruled out with a foot injury.

7.12pm GMT

Both managers have made plenty of changes to the sides sent out for FA Cup battle last weekend. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes six from the side that drew at Wolves: David de Gea, Phil Jones, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Fred and Aaron-Wan Bissaka take the places of Sergio Romero, Harry Maguire, Ashley Young, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Tahith Chong.

Pep Guardiola makes eight changes to the team that beat Port Vale. The only survivors from that starting XI are Claudio Bravo, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva. In come Kyle Walker, Raheem Sterling, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Nicolas Otamendi, Riyad Mahrez, Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho.

7.04pm GMT

Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Jones, Lindelof, Williams, Fred, Pereira, James, Lingard, Rashford, Greenwood.
Subs: Romero, Dalot, Matic, Chong, Gomes, Mata, Martial.

Manchester City: Bravo, Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Mendy, Rodrigo, Gundogan, Mahrez, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Sterling.
Subs: Ederson, Jesus, Aguero, Silva, Cancelo, Foden, Garcia.

4.26pm GMT

The League Cup semi-finals; a Manchester derby. We’ve been here twice before.

In December 1969, City welcomed United to Maine Road for the first leg. Colin Bell gave the hosts an early lead, Bobby Charlton drove home an equaliser midway through the second half, then with two minutes to go, Ian Ure brought down Franny Lee, who belted home a penalty to give City the halfway advantage. Outside, 14 house windows, and one shop window, were broken, leading to the arrest of seven juveniles and three adults for disorderly behaviour. Here come the seventies!

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'I'd never train Manchester United,' says Pep Guardiola – video

What the papers say - Tue, 01/07/2020 - 09:28

Pep Guardiola has said he would rather live in the Maldives or play golf than be Manchester United manager even if it were the only job on offer. Manchester City travel to Old Trafford on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg as he seeks to win the competition for the third successive season

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I want to take Manchester United back to the top, says Ole Gunnar Solskjær

What the papers say - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 22:30
United manager knows he needs success in Carabao Cup, with Pep Guardiola offering some encouraging words

Before Manchester City’s visit for Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg Ole Gunnar Solskjær offered an intriguing take on Manchester United’s status. “We are still, in our own heads, one of the biggest clubs in the world but we know that’s going to take time,” the manager said.

If this poses the question of how soon, more than a year into Solskjær’s tenure, the short-term mission is clearer: to reach the end of this season still in the job.

Related: Rashford and Martial give Manchester United derby honours against City

Related: Pépé strikes as Arsenal rediscover their mojo to master Manchester United

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Pep Guardiola: ‘I’d rather live in the Maldives than manage United’

What the papers say - Mon, 01/06/2020 - 22:30
• Manchester City manager laughs off transfer talk
• Ole Gunnar Solskjær calls for more protection for his team

Pep Guardiola has said he would rather live in the Maldives or play golf than manage Manchester United even if it were the only job on offer.

Guardiola takes Manchester City to Old Trafford for Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg as he seeks to win the competition for a third consecutive season.

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Adama Traoré provides reminder Manchester United lack old fear factor | Jonathan Wilson

What the papers say - Sat, 01/04/2020 - 20:46

Wolves supporters taunted the away end during their FA Cup draw with United no longer deemed a major threat on the pitch

“You’re not famous any more,” sang the home fans in the Jack Hayward Stand, but that isn’t really true. Manchester United are still famous, it’s just not for the same thing anymore. Once, as Steve Bull observed at half-time, Wolves would have feared United, but no longer. There was at least a semblance of pattern here, at least until they got into the final third, but unless they get an early goal and can counter, United rarely look like blowing opponents away.

Related: Wolves force FA Cup replay against flat Manchester United after goalless draw

Related: Harry Arter’s long-range winner fires Fulham past weakened Aston Villa

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Wolves force FA Cup replay against flat Manchester United after goalless draw

What the papers say - Sat, 01/04/2020 - 19:36

Wolves looked a little jaded; Manchester United looked drained of quality. The result long looked inevitable and the replay must feel like a punishment for two teams with clogged fixture lists.

“If you ask me what is my preference, [I say] straight to penalties,” said Nuno Espiríto Santo after his team’s 36th match of what is turning into an epic season. “The FA Cup will become more emotional for sure if it goes straight to penalties.”

Related: Phil Foden strike seals easy FA Cup win for Manchester City over Port Vale

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Wolves v Manchester United: FA Cup third round – live!

What the papers say - Sat, 01/04/2020 - 18:10

6.10pm GMT

39 min: Lindeof bustles his way down the left and earns a corner. He meets the set piece himself, but sends a directionless header deep into the stand behind the goal.

6.09pm GMT

37 min: James dances into the Wolves box down the right and tries to thread one into the bottom left. He drags it across Ruddy and out for a goal kick. The Wolves keeper still hasn’t had much to do, though United have enjoyed the bulk of possession.

6.08pm GMT

36 min: Chong feeds Young down the right. Young whips it in low. Doherty is hip to what’s going on and belts clear.

6.06pm GMT

34 min: Traore wins a corner down the right. From the restart, Neves has a dig from 30 yards. Nope.

6.05pm GMT

32 min: A VAR check for a penalty, after Dendoncker miscontrols in his own box and Williams falls over as he tries to skip off with the ball. There’s not a great deal of contact; certainly nothing clear and obvious enough to overrule the initial decision to wave play on. Though you’ve seen them given; one of those. The fans break into a chorus of the English folk standard Fuck VAR. Altogether now...

6.02pm GMT

30 min: Doherty launches long down the middle. Traore turns Maguire with ease. Maguire falls to the floor, demanding a free kick he’s never going to get. Fortunately for United, Lindelof is on hand to get to the ball before Traore, and clears.

6.00pm GMT

29 min: Chong probes down the right and cuts back for James on the edge of the D. James leans back and sends a shot sailing miles over the crossbar.

5.59pm GMT

27 min: Neto bustles his way through a couple of half-arsed United challenges and reaches the byline on the left. He whips a wonderful cross through the United area, but none of his old-gold pals have kept up with play, and it’s an easy mop-up job for Williams.

5.58pm GMT

26 min: United are beginning to dominate possession, and they’re spending increasing time in the Wolves half. Pereira has a whack from 25 yards; it’s high, wide and not so handsome. But United will be happy with the last ten minutes or so.

5.57pm GMT

25 min: Pereira sends James skittering down the left at great speed. James whizzes into the box and rolls a cross through the six-yard box. But there’s nobody in a black shirt waiting to poke home. Coady is able to hook clear without too much fuss.

5.56pm GMT

24 min: Greenwood tries to spark the game back into life with an ambitious shot from distance out on the left. It’s deflected, spinning high into the air, an easy gather for Ruddy under no pressure whatsoever.

5.54pm GMT

22 min: More scrappiness. The 18 min entry really has done a number on this match.

5.51pm GMT

20 min: So having said that, it suddenly goes scrappy for the first time. Pulitzer, please!

5.51pm GMT

18 min: Vinagre gets on the end of a long ball down the inside left channel. He guides a weak shot straight at Romero from a tight angle. Then United go up the other end through Chong, who skips into the box from the right and very nearly works space to shoot. But one touch too many allows Kilman to nick the ball away and go over for a cheap free kick. This match is good end-to-end fun.

5.48pm GMT

16 min: Saiss blasts a witless free kick straight into the United wall. United half clear. Wolves come back at them again, Vinagre attempting to flick the ball past Lindelof down the left. Wolves claim a hand ball, and a penalty, but neither ref nor VAR is interested, and it was outside the area anyway.

5.46pm GMT

15 min: Traore burns his way down the inside-right channel. He’s got Maguire and Lindelof back-pedalling furiously. Maguire sticks out a leg to block. Saiss picks up the loose ball, and purchases a cheap free kick from Matic, coming in from behind in the clumsy style. This is a dangerous position, 30 yards out, just to the right of centre.

5.45pm GMT

13 min: ... Wolves nearly score. They should score, in fact. The corner from the left is flicked on by Dendoncker to Doherty, who should slot home at the far post. But Romero sticks out a strong hand to deny the Wolves right-back. A sensational save, though Romero should never have been allowed to make it.

5.44pm GMT

12 min: Pereira gives up the ball with absurd ease in the centre circle, allowing Neto to burst down the middle of the park. He lays off to Traore on his right. The winger earns a corner off Williams. Saiss rises highest to meet the corner, but his header’s deflected out out to the left for another corner. From which ...

5.42pm GMT

10 min: Vinagre embarks on a fine dribble down the left, but Chong sticks to him well and the Wolves wing-back runs out of room. Vinagre strokes the ball out for a goal kick.

5.40pm GMT

9 min: There is surely no way this match will end goalless. Both teams are full of attacking vim and vigour. The game’s very open, and everyone looks in the mood. The FA Cup, right here!

5.39pm GMT

7 min: United take their turn to counter. James skedaddles down the left and wins a corner. They faff around at the set piece, but United work a second phase of play and Greenwood drops a shoulder down the inside-left channel, working space for a shot just inside the box. He leans back and skies his effort, but that was a crisp run. He’s a real prospect all right.

5.38pm GMT

6 min: Ashley-Seal goes straight up the other end, a direct, no-nonsense run down the inside-left channel. He wins a corner off Maguire. The set piece is easily snaffled by Romero.

5.37pm GMT

5 min: Pereira is clumsily bundled over by Neto, out on the United right. A chance to load the box. Pereira takes it himself, and it’s a ludicrous delivery, mishit and flat, and straight into Ashley-Seal’s coupon, ten yards away. That’s dismal, with the box teeming with scoring potential.

5.35pm GMT

3 min: Doherty launches long from the left-back position. There’s an absurd amount of space between the United centre-backs, and Ashley-Seal nearly latches onto the ball. He’d have been able to zip clear towards goal. Fortunately for United, Romero was out to cover and clear. Fair to say this has been an open start.

5.34pm GMT

2 min: James probes down the left and for a second threatens to burst into the box. Wolves hold their shape and the young winger is forced to turn tail. But this has been a fine front-foot start by United.

5.33pm GMT

1 min: Nearly a sensational start for United, as Chong is afforded way too much space 40 yards from goal. He tries to slip James away down the middle, but his pass is no good. A better ball, and the hosts would have been a goal up within 3o seconds.

5.32pm GMT

A quick burst of Hi Ho Wolverhampton ... anywhere you go now baby ... and we’re off! The visitors get the ball rolling. Molineux is bouncing. The third round of the FA Cup, right here.

5.30pm GMT

The teams are out! One stunning stadium, two gorgeous kits. Wolves are in their famous old gold, while United have opted to wear their black change shirt, shades of Eric Cantona, Sharp Viewcam, all that. We’ll be off in a minute. One minute later than usual. Here’s the heads up ...

5.25pm GMT

A reminder that there are some other ties being played this evening. The incomparable Rob Smyth will keep you up to date with Bournemouth-Luton, Fleetwood-Portsmouth, Leicester-Wigan and Manchester City-Port Vale. He’s been at Clockwatch since the break of dawn, too, pretty much. Rumours that he’s also powering the National Grid via some pedals under his desk have yet to be verified.

Related: FA Cup clockwatch: Man City v Port Vale, Leicester v Wigan – live!

5.20pm GMT

Then a cheery Ole Gunnar Solskjaer adds: “We have to learn from our Arsenal performance. We’ve had improvements in the games we have played against Wolves in the last ten months. It’s about performing, turning out. I know when we play to our best, we have the chance to beat anyone. Tahith Chong has been bright lately with the reserves and gets his chance. Anthony Martial is ill, so it’s a matter for Mason Greenwood to take his chance again.”

5.20pm GMT

A relaxed Nuno Espirito Santo speaks to BT Sport. “We must play good, be organised, and compete. Benny Ashley-Seal is ready, I hope he competes well and enjoys the game. Man United are a fantastic team. They are such a huge club, you have to really go for it and compete well.”

5.06pm GMT

Catharsis. Here’s what happened to Wolves after that quarter-final triumph, and how they eventually escaped from the slough of despond.

Related: ‘Everybody felt that sadness’: Nuno says Wolves grieved after Cup semi-final exit

5.01pm GMT

Bringing things a little more up to date ... this is a repeat of last year’s quarter final. Paul Doyle was on hand to witness that one, and here’s his memory-refreshing report.

Related: Diogo Jota and Wolves carve apart Manchester United to reach semi-finals

4.59pm GMT

En route to Molineux, you’ll see this. Memories of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ last FA Cup win. Bill Slater, there, lifting the famous old pot at the famous old Wembley in 1960, after a 3-0 win over injury-depleted Blackburn Rovers. Norman Deeley was Wolves’ two-goal hero in the second half that day. The first had been a nightmare for Rovers: the unfortunate Mick McGrath had opened the scoring by putting through his own net, then Dave Whelan broke his leg. No subs back then. It wasn’t much of a spectacle, and Wolves were pelted with apple cores, orange peel and screwed-up newspaper on their victory lap. Poor Wolves, who had just been pipped to the title by Burnley, getting no respect. The past, kids, another country.

4.42pm GMT

Wolves make four changes to the XI sent out for the defeat at Watford on New Year’s Day. John Ruddy, Max Kilman, Ruben Vinagre, Ruben Neves and under-23 scoring sensation Benny Ashley-Seal take the places of Rui Patricio, Ryan Bennett, Jonny Otto, Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez.

United also ring the changes. Seven, they’ve made, with only Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Daniel James and Nemanja Matic keeping their places after the miserable 2-0 non-event at Arsenal. In come Sergio Romero, Ashley Young, Brandon Williams, Andreas Pereira, Tahith Chong, Juan Mata and Mason Greenwood, as David de Gea, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Jesse Lingard, Fred, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford rest up.

4.34pm GMT

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Ruddy, Doherty, Dendoncker, Coady, Kilman, Vinagre, Saiss, Neves, Traore, Ashley-Seal, Neto.
Subs: Patricio, Bennett, Raul, Otto, Moutinho, Otasowie, Rasmussen.

Manchester United: Romero, Young, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams, Pereira, Matic, Chong, Mata, James, Greenwood.
Subs: Grant, Dalot, Jones, Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Gomes, Rashford.

2.42pm GMT

Manchester United played Wolverhampton Wanderers for the very first time in October 1892. They were trading at the time as Newton Heath, and won the First Division fixture by the whopping scoreline of 10-1. Not a great day at the office for Wolves’ captain and defensive linchpin Harry Allen, though fortunes can change quickly in football, and he ended the season by scoring the winner against Everton in the FA Cup final. Not sure what relevance this has, but having found it out, it seemed silly not to at least mention it.

Wolves have won three more FA Cups since then. They saw off Newcastle United in the 1908 final, beat Leicester City 3-1 in 1949 (having beaten Matt Busby’s holders in the semi) and trounced ten-man Blackburn Rovers in 1960, whereupon they were pelted with rubbish by the crowd, the match having been that boring.

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Categories: What the papers say

Solskjær tells Robin van Persie: ‘You took my shirt number but that’s all’

What the papers say - Fri, 01/03/2020 - 22:30
• Manchester United manager hits back at criticism for smiling
• ‘I will not change my management style. That’s definite’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has rounded on Robin van Persie by saying the former Manchester United striker took his shirt at the club but will not take anything away from his management style.

Van Persie had criticised Solskjær for smiling after Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal, saying: “I would like to see him more mean at times, just be angry. I see him smiling after a game like that. This is not the moment to smile.”

Related: Paul Pogba out for up to four weeks with new ankle injury, says Solskjær

Related: Solskjær’s game of patience at Manchester United is running out of time | Jonathan Wilson

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Categories: What the papers say

‘Everybody felt that sadness’: Nuno says Wolves grieved after Cup semi-final exit

What the papers say - Fri, 01/03/2020 - 22:29

• Wolves lost to Watford in painful fashion at Wembley last season
• Diogo Jota unfit to face Manchester United with thigh injury

The Wolves manager, Nuno Espírito Santo, says the “grieving” his team did in the aftermath of their FA Cup semi‑final defeat against Watford in May has made them better able to face this season’s competition.

On Saturday Wolves host Manchester United, whom they eliminated in the quarter-final last season before losing a two-goal lead in the semi‑final against Watford, who won 3-2 in extra time. Nuno admits that elimination hit him and the players hard and they had to grieve in order to come back stronger.

Related: Paul Pogba out for up to four weeks with new ankle injury, says Solskjær

Related: Tottenham’s Harry Kane set to be out until March with torn hamstring

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Categories: What the papers say