What the papers say

Rangnick bereft as Manchester United slip to Solskjær levels at Newcastle | Andy Brassell

What the papers say - Tue, 12/28/2021 - 00:18

The new interim manager has quickly realised he has a job on his hands to turn things around at Old Trafford

The festive programme in the Premier League is fabled for its surprises, but for Manchester United this was an unwelcome dose of déjà vu. From the start at St James’ Park, this game called to mind the early days of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s reign, with this exact fixture his fourth game in charge – and fourth win – three years ago and precisely two weeks into his tenure at Old Trafford.

On that occasion at least club and fans were still basking in their escape from the José Mourinho psychodrama, and a sense of goodwill towards Solskjær was clear. The Norwegian had his fingerprints smeared generously over the victory too, his double substitution just after the hour – bringing on Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sánchez – swinging a game of high tension and low quality. It seemed feted, Lukaku breaking the deadlock 38 seconds after coming on as a second-half substitute and Sánchez at the hub of Marcus Rashford’s goal which wrapped things up. It all added up to an underwhelming but successful performance, which mapped out with reasonable accuracy what we could come to expect from United for the next few years.

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Newcastle 1-1 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

What the papers say - Mon, 12/27/2021 - 22:21

Manchester United were fortunate to escape with a draw at relegation-threatened Newcastle

The teams make their way to the pitch to the sound of Carmina Burana. This is a big game for both teams even if the match has lost the lustre of decades past.

Keith Barclay emails in: “Two sub goalies for Newcastle has to be quite unusual even for these Covid times: Woodman and Gillespie?”

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Cavani salvages draw for Manchester United as Newcastle show new fight

What the papers say - Mon, 12/27/2021 - 22:10

For much of the evening Ralf Rangnick’s grimace suggested that Manchester United’s manager was suffering from severe toothache. Instead of following the supposed script and pressing Newcastle into submission, Rangnick’s disjointed team were frequently pulled apart by Allan Saint-Maximin’s attacking manoeuvres and Joelinton’s midfield excellence.

Although Edinson Cavani stepped off the bench to rescue a point for United, the period between Saint-Maximin’s seventh minute opener and the Uruguayan’s 71st minute equaliser possibly ranked among Rangnick’s least comfortable technical area interludes.

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Ralf Rangnick: Manchester United are above league average for jabbed players

What the papers say - Sun, 12/26/2021 - 22:30
  • United may consider vaccination status of prospective signings
  • Interim manager not aware of any offers for Anthony Martial

Ralf Rangnick says Manchester United have a “higher ratio” of double vaccinated players than the Premier League average, and the club would hesitate before signing any player not vaccinated against Covid.

United’s past two games – against Brentford and Brighton – were postponed after an outbreak of the virus among Rangnick’s squad that left only eight outfield players available. But with 25 players now in training before Monday’s trip to Newcastle, the German claimed that United’s number of double vaccinated footballers is among the highest in the division.

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Newcastle v Manchester United: match preview

What the papers say - Sun, 12/26/2021 - 09:00

Manchester United’s Ralf Rangnick has experienced something like a Christmas miracle: from having 11 players in total available last week (including three goalkeepers), he now has an almost fully fit squad to select from, with the sole exception of Paul Pogba. That means 25 outfield players are ready to go, Rangnick said – bad news for Eddie Howe and Newcastle in their hunt for a second Premier League win. In his own pre-match press conference Howe harked back to the eras of Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson, urging his players to recreate that “attacking verve and swagger”. But those vibrant times seem a long way away, with a relegation dogfight to look forward to in the new year. Luke McLaughlin

Monday 8pm

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Premier League fans’ half-term reports, part two: Liverpool to Wolves

What the papers say - Sat, 12/25/2021 - 10:00

Fans rate the best and worst of the season so far – the stars, the flops and what needs to change in 2022

It’s going pretty much how most Liverpool fans expected: we’re up at the top and we cruised through the Champions League group stage to the knockouts. We’re playing some brilliant football and we’re a joy to watch. We’ve had our big names back from injury, which has boosted confidence, and, when we do go behind, the belief is there that we’ll score and score again, and usually go on to win. 9/10

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Boxing Day 1963 goal feast is famous but what happened two days later?

What the papers say - Fri, 12/24/2021 - 12:00

The results on 26 December 1963 – 66 goals in 10 games – are celebrated every year. They are only half of the story

By Richard Foster for The Football Mine

As the frenetic Christmas schedule swings into action, players in England are very much in the minority among major European leagues in readying themselves for the customary glut of games squeezed into the tightest of holiday schedules. While the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 are embarking on a winter break, Premier League and Football League clubs face the prospect of three games in a week, starting with the traditional Boxing Day fixture. Until the late 1950s, there was even a full programme of games on Christmas Day itself, as one of the few public holidays that allowed working people to attend matches.

Boxing Day has become enshrined in English football culture as a much-loved curiosity of the fixture list. One reason why Boxing Day matches gained popularity was the extraordinary events of 1963, when 10 matches in the First Division produced a scarcely credible 66 goals, a feat that is still commemorated to this day. What fans may not know is what happened in the fixtures that followed two days later on 28 December. Many of the games were rematches from Boxing Day and there were some stunning turnarounds.

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Ipswich poised to land Manchester United’s Kieran McKenna as manager

What the papers say - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 15:50
  • McKenna has worked under Mourinho, Solskjær and Rangnick
  • Martyn Pert likely to leave United to work alongside him

Ipswich are on the verge of appointing Kieran McKenna, the Manchester United first-team coach, as their manager and he could be installed in time for their match with Sunderland on Saturday.

The League One club have been looking to replace Paul Cook since his sacking on 4 December and have settled on the highly rated McKenna, a 35-year-old who was a member of United’s coaching staff under José Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær. He was kept on to work alongside Ralf Rangnick after Solskjær’s departure but will decamp to Portman Road after being offered the chance to take a first managerial role.

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Second Manchester United game off due to Covid but league rejects call for break

What the papers say - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 14:54
  • Outbreak at Leicester means game against Spurs is off
  • EFL reveals 25% of its players do not intend to have vaccine

Manchester United’s game against Brighton on Saturday has followed Leicester’s at home to Tottenham on Thursday in being called off because of Covid but the Premier League has emphasised its determination to continue with the season after Brentford’s manager, Thomas Frank, said no top-flight fixtures should be played this weekend.

The postponement of United’s game took to five the top-flight games forced off by the virus in the space of a week. United’s fixture against Brentford on Tuesday was among those called off and the league said on Thursday “additional positive tests have been confirmed” at the club, leaving Ralf Rangnick unable to field a team.

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Premier League faces Covid storm clouds with uncertainty over future | Paul MacInnes

What the papers say - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 18:54

The sudden Covid outbreaks at clubs threatens to derail the busy festive programme with fears of another shutdown

Midnight on Monday is an unusual hour to announce a fixture postponement. Manchester United would not be playing Brentford on Tuesday, a Premier League statement with a timestamp of 23:53 said, because of “an ongoing Covid-19 outbreak within Manchester United’s squad”. If the news had to be released under the cover of darkness, it was tempting to wonder, how ongoing might the outbreak actually be?

Clubs don’t publish data on Covid cases within their squads and the Premier League doesn’t breakdown its division-wide stats, either. But earlier on Monday a record number of positives across the league had been confirmed, 42 in a week, and so it was possible to imagine that the United outbreak was indeed substantial.

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Chris Armas was a forgettable head coach in MLS. So why is he at Manchester United?

What the papers say - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 10:00

Ralf Rangnick’s new assistant at Old Trafford had a disastrous reign in charge of Toronto FC. But his role in England may well complement his skills

There has long been familiar faces among the Old Trafford coaching staff. From Ryan Giggs to Michael Carrick to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United have been keen to maintain the link between players and coaches. However, the appointment of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager hints at a different approach.

Rangnick is just one of the new faces United fans will have to become familiar with and Chris Armas, announced as the club’s new assistant coach following the exit of Carrick, is another. The former USA midfielder has been out of work since leaving Toronto FC in Major League Soccer in July, and is, on the surface, a left-field choice. Few in Premier League circles had heard of him before his arrival at Old Trafford.

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Champions League last 16: tie-by-tie analysis and verdicts after redraw | Jonathan Wilson

What the papers say - Mon, 12/13/2021 - 20:00

The redraw of the Champions League last 16 was kind to the Premier League clubs and the quartet should progress

Bayern, as ever, have been dominant in the Bundesliga and they romped through the group stage winning six out of six, scoring 22 and conceding only three. Under Julian Nagelsmann they play with as high a line as they did under Hansi Flick, and Robert Lewandowski remains as prolific as ever. If there are doubts, they are only over two things: Bayern’s squad is not as deep as those of many of their rivals, making them susceptible to injuries, and top-class sides may be able to exploit that high line. Salzburg have in the past caused problems against other hard-pressing teams, notably against Liverpool two seasons ago when they lost 4-3 at Anfield and drew 2-2 in Austria, but they have been a little less open and fluent under Matthias Jaissle than they were under Jesse Marsch and took only one away point in the group.

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Manchester United close first-team training ground amid Covid outbreak

What the papers say - Mon, 12/13/2021 - 15:17
  • Club in talks with Premier League over game at Brentford
  • United delay travel to London as they await decision

Manchester United have closed the first-team area of their Carrington training complex for 24 hours after positive Covid tests among players and staff and delayed travel to Brentford for Tuesday’s Premier League fixture pending a decision on whether the game will go ahead.

United detected a relatively small number of cases via lateral flow tests after Saturday’s 1-0 win at Norwich City and training on Monday was cancelled in light of PCR test confirmation.

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Manchester United to face Atlético not PSG after Champions League redraw

What the papers say - Mon, 12/13/2021 - 14:32
  • United had been set to face PSG but errors forced redraw
  • Liverpool get Inter not Salzburg as Chelsea land Lille again

Uefa were forced to redraw the last 16 of the Champions League after an error-strewn first attempt that wrongly pitted Manchester United against Villarreal, excluded them from a possible tie with Atlético Madrid and paired them with Paris Saint-Germain before Ralf Rangnick’s side landed Atlético at the second attempt.

European football’s governing body blamed the “software of an external service provider” for an embarrassing episode that involved the first draw being declared void almost an hour and three-quarters after it started.

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Newcastle target Sven Botman signing with Jesse Lingard on radar too

What the papers say - Mon, 12/13/2021 - 12:59
  • January transfer window first under new owners
  • Lille may be reluctant to sell mid-season

Newcastle have made the Lille centre-back Sven Botman a priority signing in the January transfer window with Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard also on Eddie Howe’s wishlist.

The upcoming transfer window will be Newcastle’s first under new ownership and they are in desperate need of reinforcements, sitting 19th in the table after one win in their first 16 games. They are, however, only three points from Watford above the relegation zone and Howe is confident of dragging the side out of trouble if the right players are signed.

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Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

What the papers say - Mon, 12/13/2021 - 08:15

Chelsea still lack rivals’ cutting edge, Youri Tielemans makes welcome return and Jack Grealish has lost his sparkle

Mikel Arteta has had his fill when it comes to off-pitch issues at Arsenal, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has given him another. We only know one side of the story but the manager’s position is that Aubameyang returned late from a trip abroad and, not for the first time, violated one or more of his “non-negotiables”. Arteta was already grappling with his captain’s dwindling goal output to the extent that Aubameyang was benched at Everton last Monday. Now he must consider whether dropping him from the squad that convincingly beat Southampton is sufficient punishment. Arsenal’s inconsistent young team need better leadership from their senior players, a theme yet to be consigned to history despite Arteta’s efforts, and there must be huge question marks over the 32-year-old’s status as captain now. Nick Ames

Match report: Arsenal 3-0 Southampton

Match report: Brentford 2-1 Watford

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Covid outbreak in Manchester United squad puts Brentford game in doubt

What the papers say - Sun, 12/12/2021 - 17:44
  • Small number of positives from group who travelled to Norwich
  • Ralf Rangnick’s team due to visit Brentford on Tuesday night

Tuesday’s Premier League match between Brentford and Manchester United has been placed in doubt after a number of Ralf Rangnick’s squad tested positive for Covid-19.

United won 1-0 at Norwich on Saturday, with a late penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo. Everyone who travelled to Carrow Road had tested negative in the last round of routine tests. However, on Sunday morning, a small number of positive lateral flow tests were found among the players and staff, who were all sent home. The rest of the squad trained outdoors and the schedule was adjusted, taking in individual and non-contact sessions.

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Ralf Rangnick: Manchester United lacked intensity against Norwich – video

What the papers say - Sun, 12/12/2021 - 12:55

Manchester United's interim manager Ralf Rangnick said Saturday's match against Norwich 'was a completely different game' to last Sunday's win over Crystal Palace adding 'we didn’t play with the same kind of intensity level.'

Rangnick accepts his team has plenty to work on after Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty earned a narrow 1-0 win at Carrow Road. The interim manager also gave an update on Victor Lindelöf, who received treatment after a heavy collision.

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Norwich 0-1 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

What the papers say - Sat, 12/11/2021 - 19:48

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 75th-minute penalty secured another 1-0 win for Ralf Rangnick’s side, but they rode their luck against an impressive Norwich

It’s a grim night in Norwich: cold, wet and not especially conducive to the production of vitamin D.

Dean Smith’s pre-match thoughts

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty gives Manchester United win over Norwich

What the papers say - Sat, 12/11/2021 - 19:46

It was not pretty. It was only just effective. It was Cristiano Ronaldo. Ralf Rangnick’s temporary tenure continued in the right vein points wise, but the performance at a sodden Carrow Road posed more questions than answers.

Yes, they dominated possession. But until Ronaldo’s late penalty, it was depleted Norwich - bottom of the table – who pressed more effectively, who looked sharper, who looked perhaps the likelier of victors. Plenty of training ground work to do.

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