What the papers say

Ole Gunnar Solskjær not risking Paul Pogba because of ‘worst’ pitch

What the papers say - Wed, 10/02/2019 - 19:29
• United manager not happy with surface for Alkmaar game
• Pogba not a definite starter against Newcastle at weekend

Ole Gunnar Solskjær would not confirm whether or not Paul Pogba will return to the Manchester United squad for the Premier League game at Newcastle on Sunday, though he did admit that the chief reason he has stayed at home for the Europa League match on Thursday night is fears over AZ Alkmaar’s synthetic surface.

Strictly speaking the artificial pitch in question belongs to Den Haag – the game is at a borrowed venue because of storm damage at Alkmaar’s own ground – but Solskjær is something of an expert on artificial turf and confessed he would not have risked the player anyway.

Related: Aubameyang and VAR earn Arsenal draw to leave Manchester United in mire

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Massimiliano Allegri learning English as he targets Manchester United job

What the papers say - Tue, 10/01/2019 - 19:55

• Former Juventus manager keen on move to Old Trafford
• Allegri attending Tottenham v Bayern Munich match

Massimiliano Allegri has been learning English as the former Juventus and Milan manager targets a new role in the Premier League, with the Italian understood to be keen on taking over from Ole Gunnar Solskjær should Manchester United sack the Norwegian.

Related: Lionesses set to break attendance record for women’s match in England

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Manchester United v Arsenal felt and looked like a mid-table game | Jonathan Wilson

What the papers say - Tue, 10/01/2019 - 11:05
One of football’s great lies is that success is cyclical and that if you are big enough and wait long enough you will sooner or later be back at the top

Everywhere you turned, there were the memories. In the tunnel, there was Roy Keane telling Patrick Vieira he’d see him out there. By the touchline there was Gary Neville kicking José Antonio Reyes. Just outside the penalty area, there was Martin Keown jostling Ruud van Nistelrooy. Remember? Remember how every man knew when we reached out to claim the throne? Remember when we were kings?

Those pre-Abramovich days when this was the biggest game in English football seem a long time ago now, two decades gone with atrocious haste. Manchester United and Arsenal aren’t even the best sides in their respective cities any more and on nights like Monday it was impossible not to wonder how long it will take them to get back to where they were, whether they ever will get back.

Related: Aubameyang and VAR earn Arsenal draw to leave Manchester United in mire

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær backs his players despite worst start in 30 years

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær backs his players despite worst start in 30 years

What the papers say - Tue, 10/01/2019 - 00:09
• Solskjær: ‘This is a steep learning curve for us’
• Unai Emery supportive of Granit Xhaka after United goal

Ole Gunnar Solskjær insisted he was still confident of Manchester United having a successful year after a 1-1 draw with Arsenal condemned the 20-times Premier League champions to their worst start to a season for 30 years.

United’s tally of nine points from their opening seven fixtures is the first time since the 1989-90 season they have not reached double figures but Solskjær argued that his team’s performances had merited a better return – and he took a swipe at the media who, he believes, have exaggerated their problems.

Related: Aubameyang and VAR earn Arsenal draw to leave Manchester United in mire

Related: Highlights fail to hide plight of two fallen giants lost in transition | Barney Ronay

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Highlights fail to hide plight of two fallen giants lost in transition | Barney Ronay

What the papers say - Mon, 09/30/2019 - 23:49
A nice goal and VAR controversy could not disguise the truth that Manchester United and Arsenal are far from their peak

Are you not entertained? Actually. Now you mention it: not so much. On a rain-sodden night at Old Trafford the Premier League dished up the usual ration of bread and circuses.

Related: Aubameyang and VAR earn Arsenal draw to leave Manchester United in mire

This was like a tribute night off the main Vegas strip, two grizzled old A-listers crooning out the same old standards

Related: Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal: Premier League player ratings

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Aubameyang and VAR earn Arsenal draw to leave Manchester United in mire

What the papers say - Mon, 09/30/2019 - 23:00

Such is life for the modern Manchester United the first point to make is that their supporters no longer need to check the bottom half of the Premier League table to find their team.

This result lifts them from 11th to 10th, just above the jagged line. It still isn’t where they want to be – but Arsenal did enough, ultimately, to warrant a point from a thud-and-blunder evening that demonstrated how far these old rivals have to go before they can harbour realistic title ambitions. On this evidence, it is going to be a long way back. Scott McTominay did score a peach of a goal for United but, last season included, the difficult truth for Ole Gunnar Solskjær is that his team have not managed more than one goal in 11 of their last 12 league fixtures.

Related: Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal: Premier League – live!

Related: Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal: Premier League player ratings

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Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal: Premier League player ratings

What the papers say - Mon, 09/30/2019 - 22:45
Scott McTominay produced Manchester United’s best moment while Bukayo Saka again looked bright in Unai Emery’s team

David de Gea Had little to do in the first half until double save kept contest level before United’s opener. 7

Related: Aubameyang and VAR earn Arsenal draw to leave Manchester United in mire

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Manchester United v Arsenal: Premier League – live!

What the papers say - Mon, 09/30/2019 - 20:31

8.31pm BST

30 min: And another. It’s Pépé this time. It’s hopeless but it still counts. He’s in a decent amount of space on the corner of the United box but wangs his effort way over the bar.

8.30pm BST

29 min: What’s this? A SHOT! Pereira skitters forward, angling his run in from the right and getting defenders backpeddling. David Luiz is beaten with aplomb but his shot from the edge of the box is smartly stopped by Leno.

8.28pm BST

27 min: Rashford joins Chambers in the book after sliding in slightly wildly on Sokratis.

27 - There have been no shots in the opening 27 minutes of #MUNARS, the longest wait for a first attempt in a single @premierleague game this season. Stale.

8.26pm BST

25 min: The good news is that the rain seems to have eased a touch. I’m not sure we can blame the weather for the lack of goalmouth action but we’ve got to lay the responsibility somewhere …

8.24pm BST

24 min: Pepe completely wastes a free-kick on the left, looping the ball miserably out of play.

8.24pm BST

23 min: Halfway through the first half and neither keeper has had to make a save. In fact, no one has had a shot yet. Not a one.

8.23pm BST

22 min: Leno gathers James’s low cross after a nice but of work from McTominay in midfield.

8.21pm BST

20 min: Players from both sides surround Kevin Friend: Arsenal players want Lingard booked for pulling back Pepe; United’s are eager to point out that their should’ve been a handball against Guendouzi just prior to Pepe’s break. Neither set of players seem particularly satisfied by Friend’s response.

8.19pm BST

18 min: Tuanzebe calmly and confidently deals with a dangerous through-ball under pressure. He’s started well.

8.17pm BST

16 min: James again runs at Chambers but this time his touch is too loose and the Arsenal man can deal with the situation. Pretty clear what United’s plan is at the moment – get the ball to Daniel James and ask him to run at the Arsenal defence.

8.14pm BST

14 min: Kolasinac charges forward into space and looks to curl a pass into the danger area. He does … but his teammates aren’t on the same wavelength and De Gea can collect with little bother.

8.12pm BST

12 min: McTominay and Pogba are getting the better of Arsenal’s midfield trio thus far.

8.10pm BST

10 min: Chambers goes into Kevin Friend’s Big Book Of Very Naughty Boys for a pulling back Daniel James. It’s 2-0 to the United winger so far.

8.09pm BST

9 min: … slung deep to Maguire, who wins the header but Rashford can’t bring the loose ball under his spell.

8.08pm BST

8 min: James gets a chance to run at Chambers and gets the better of his man. David Luiz blocks the low cross – corner to United …

8.06pm BST

6 min: It’s been a bit of a scrappy start, with United enjoying most of the ball but things all a little untidy.

8.05pm BST

5 min: … which comes to nothing.

8.04pm BST

4 min: Xhaka takes a quick free-kick looking long for Chambers flying forward. Tuanzebe nods behind for an Arsenal corner …

8.02pm BST

2 min: The rain continues to hammer down at Old Trafford. Guendouzi gives away the first free-kick of the evening with a trip on McTominay.

8.01pm BST

1 min: Interestingly Tuanzebe has started at left-back for United, with Ashley Young switching to the right.

8.00pm BST

Peep! Off we go then. Arsenal, in yellow, get us under way.

7.56pm BST

The players are in the tunnel … handshakes, hugs and smiles seem to be the order of the day rather than angry words and jabbing fingers. Ashley Young and Arsenal’s newly-confimed full-time captain Granit Xhaka lead the teams out.

7.43pm BST

A bit of pre-match Ole: “It’s two good attacking teams. We have to stamp our authority on the game. Getting the first goal is always important in these games.”

7.41pm BST

Roy Keane is on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football for the first time. He’s been reminiscing about his rivalry with Patrick Vieira and some of those classic Arsenal-Manchester United meetings – and he’s been great in all honesty. He’s much better on these topics than he is in Old-Man-Shouts-At-Cloud mode.

7.33pm BST

I should point out as I made an error in the team lineups earlier: Maitland-Niles is not suspended; he’s on the bench having served his one-match ban in midweek.

7.29pm BST

A bit of pre-match stattage: Bukayo Saka, at 18 years and 25 days old, is the youngest player ever to start in this fixture in the (apologies) “Premier League era”. Axel Tuanzebe, meanwhile, hasn’t started a game for Manchester United since May 2017.

7.19pm BST

Ozil might quickly become the hill Emery lives or dies on. Start him in PL; rest him from EL to keep him fresh for PL; drop him from PL and make him skipper for Carabao; drop him for PL again. Just doesn't add up at all.

7.18pm BST

A bit of pre-match Unai. He’s asked about the absence of Mesut Ozil. “Not today!” he says of the Germany midfielder, which is as goos an answer as any I suppose.

7.17pm BST

Weather watch: it’s hammering it down at Old Trafford.

7.07pm BST

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Tuanzebe, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; McTominay, Pogba; Andreas Pereira, Lingard, James; Rashford. Subs: Romero, Rojo, Williams, Fred, Mata, Matic, Greenwood.

Arsenal (4-3-3): Leno; Chambers, Sokratis, David Luiz, Kolasinac; Guendouzi, Xhaka, Torreira; Pepe, Aubameyang, Saka. Subs: Martinez, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Ceballos, Willock, Nelson, Martinelli

6.51pm BST

A bit of pre-match reading:

Here’s Jonathan Wilson on the malaise at Manchester United: “It may be that a squad this piecemeal, patched together from the remnants of four very different managers’ inclinations under a board that has demonstrated little in the way of football expertise, makes the act of management almost impossible …”

Related: Ditching Ole Gunnar Solskjær will not stop the rot at Manchester United | Jonathan Wilson

Related: Arsenal have edge as they and Manchester United try to regain old glory | Nick Ames

3.09pm BST

Hello all. And welcome to what could be a wet and wild night in Manchester and this clash between perhaps the two most interesting teams in the Premier League right now.

Of course, being interesting isn’t necessarily a good thing. There are strains of fungal infection that are presumably extremely interesting (to some) but that doesn’t mean you want to get intimately involved with them. Or follow their progress through thick and thin over nine months.

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Arsenal have edge as they and Manchester United try to regain old glory | Nick Ames

What the papers say - Mon, 09/30/2019 - 10:00

This fixture used to revolve around the likes of Vieira, Keane and Keown as both sides have work to do to be title contenders

It caused a flutter of interest last week when Arsène Wenger was quoted referring to the manager’s position at Manchester United as a “dream job”. He had apparently outlined his old foes’ failings in some detail while admitting “I have ideas” when it comes to any potential vacancy at Old Trafford. As it happened, Wenger had made no such comments during a broadcast interview in which his actual observations were considerably more moderate. Somebody had completely made them up and, in a parable for these times, undue haste in places that should know better ensured the nonsense quickly spread.

The rush to inform the world that the former Arsenal manager had dangled vaguely provocative remarks in relation to United told of something else, too. Where there would once have been a queue of protagonists capable of fanning the flames before this fixture, the most expedient way to set pulses racing before Monday night’s meeting was to stir controversy through voices from the past.

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær accepts Manchester United need more strikers

Related: Manchester United v Arsenal: match preview

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær accepts Manchester United need more strikers

What the papers say - Sun, 09/29/2019 - 22:30
• ‘We’re looking for some creativity and goals’
• 17-year-old Mason Greenwood in line to play against Arsenal

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is open to signing a striker in January, with Manchester United’s manager admitting a rocket scientist is not required to identify his need for one.

Romelu Lukaku, United’s top scorer of the past two campaigns, was sold in the summer, while Alexis Sánchez was loaned to Internazionale. Neither player has been replaced.

Related: Ditching Ole Gunnar Solskjær will not stop the rot at Manchester United | Jonathan Wilson

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Ditching Ole Gunnar Solskjær will not stop the rot at Manchester United | Jonathan Wilson

What the papers say - Sun, 09/29/2019 - 07:59

By now the malaise at Old Trafford has deep roots – only equally deep systemic change can put it right

All in all, it’s been an excellent week for Manchester United. There was progress in the Carabao Cup and the announcement of record revenues of £627.1m. What more could anybody want?

Excellent, that is, as long as you don’t worry about details such as the limp 2-0 defeat at West Ham last Sunday. Or that the weekend kicked off with United eighth in the Premier League table. Or that a club with a proud cavalier tradition have scored just 18 goals in their last 20 games. Or that the one outfielder of undoubted outstanding quality spent the summer trying to leave. Or that Old Trafford, essentially undeveloped in more than two decades, has an entirely appropriate air of shabbiness. Or that this is, relative to the rest of the league, the worst Manchester United squad in at least 30 years. Or that the share price has fallen 36% since its peak at the end of August last year.

Related: ‘I never said it was going be easy’: Ole Gunnar Solskjær is staying positive

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