What the papers say
Marcus Rashford’s deflected stoppage-time shot gave Manchester United an edgy victory over Wolves and ensured Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side start 2021 second in the Premier League.
The encounter was the sides’ fourth meeting of 2020 and appeared destined to end in a third goalless draw. But United showed a spirit that is beginning to characterise Solskjær’s team, Rashford capping a memorable personal year by sealing the win after the indefatigable Bruno Fernandes played him in with a sublime pass.Continue reading...
Marcus Rashford’s deflected injury-time goal gave United a flattering victory over a Wolves side who defended brilliantly at Old Trafford
Ugly 1-0 wins are a mark of potential champions, so United will take great pleasure from that - especially as they have struggled to win games likes these in the last few years. Marcus Rashford’s deflected injury-time goal puts them second in the table, two points behind Liverpool. You have to feel for Wolves, whose youngsters defended almost flawlessly and deserved a 0-0 draw. Thanks for your company, goodnight!
Manchester United move up to second with the ugliest of victories.
90+5 min Scott McTominay replaces Bruno Fernandes.
That is so harsh on Wolves. Fernandes started the move with a booming crossfield pass to find Rashford on the right of the area. He faced up Ait-Nouri, twisting this way and that before hitting a left-footed shot that deflected off the chest of Saiss and wrongfooted Rui Patricio. It’s Rashford’s goal I think.
Manchester United have nicked it!
90+3 min Martial was touched very slightly by Neves during that run. It wasn’t a foul, but had he gone down, in the current climate, it would probably have been given.
90+2 min Martial does brilliantly to wriggle away from two defenders just inside the area, but Saiss comes across to make his umpteeth interception of the night.
90+1 min Five minutes of added time. Steve Bruce is getting ready to come on.
90 min Pogba plays a one-two-three with Martial and tries to move away from Hoever, who wins the ball immaculately and is then fouled by Pogba. He’s been so good.
89 min They could play until 2021 and it would probably still be goalless.
87 min This has been a near perfect defensive away performance from Wolves.
85 min Shaw fires a sharp pass into Fernandes, unmarked 25 yards out. His first touch is perfect, teeing himself up for a vicious shot that is superbly blocked by Coady. Fernandes appealed for a penalty but there was nothing wrong with it.
84 min David de Gea is rolling round in pain. He threw the ball out and then accidentally ran straight into Adama Traore, which is one of the less rewarding things you can do on a football field. After a bit of treatment, de Gea is okay to continue.
82 min Wolves’ young defenders - Hoever, Kilman and especially Ait-Nouri - have been brilliant.
81 min Moutinho flips a delicious outside-of-the-foot pass over the defence for Ait-Nouri, who surges into the area and drives a cross shot from a very tight angle that is pushed away by de Gea. Happily for him it goes straight to Maguire rather than Fabio Silva.
79 min Saiss makes a great block from Rashford, though again the flag went up once the attack was completed.
77 min Fernandes and Pogba combine nicely to find Martial unmarked on the edge of the D. He hammers a first-time shot over the bar. United have been better in the last 10 minutes though, with Pogba and Fernandes much more influential.
76 min Both teams have one substitution remaining, though there’s no sign yet of Donny van de Beek, or Axel Tuanzebe for that matter.
75 min Pogba, found by Fernandes, hits a blistering long-range shot that is well held to his left by Rui Patricio.
74 min “Fabio Silva,” says Gary Naylor, “looks like an extra in a Derek Jarman movie.”
73 min Rui Patricio is booked for timewasting.
73 min “Hi Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “If Matt’s needing a bit of a pick me up, and let’s be honest, why wouldn’t he after the year Liverpool have had, he can have a #hoorayfordony from me for nothing.”
72 min de Gea makes another good reaction save from Saiss, who was up for a corner. The flag went up subsequently so it wouldn’t have counted.
No penalty! That would have been given earlier in the season but not now, and thank goodness for that.
69 min: Cavani has a goal disallowed for offside! United are appealing for handball just before that. Bailly’s header hit the hand of Coady, and then Cavani - who was offside from the header - swept it past Rui Patricio. Coady’s hand was slightly away from his body, but I think it would be very harsh to give this.
69 min Pogba crosses low towards Cavani, who is just beaten to the ball by Saiss. Corner to United...
68 min Wolves make another change: Fabio Silva on, Pedro Neto off.
65 min Ait-Nouri is also down receiving treatment on his left arm.
64 min Anthony Martial does indeed replace Mason Greenwood. He goes left, Rashford moves right.
64 min Fernandes’s cross is headed over by Rashford, under a lot of pressure from Coady. It wasn’t much of a chance. Podence was down at the time, so Wolves wouldn’t have been thrilled had that gone in.
63 min Wolves have been the better team in the second half. Traore plays in the overlapping Hoever, whose chipped cross is headed away by Bailly. The 18-year-old Hoever has been ever so impressive at right wing-back.
62 min Anthony Martial is about to come on, probably for the disappointing Mason Greenwood.
61 min “Just catching up with events so far, scrolled back through the coverage and saw Neil Carter’s questions about van de Beek,” says Matt Dony. “In my haste, I mis-read his hashtag, and thought it was some long-overdue positivity aimed at me. Ah well. Maybe next year will be my year. Matt Dony (with just the one N).”
60 min Bruno Fernandes plays a good pass to Greenwood on the right edge of the area. He tries to beat Ait-Nouri with a stepover but Kilman comes across to calmly lift the ball over Greenwood and clear the danger.
59 min “Sweepstake for the minute Donny will get on the pitch?” says Neil Carter. “I’ll go for 75th.”
I’ll go next year.
57 min Rashford, by far United’s liveliest attacker, plays the ball infield to Pogba and keeps running. Pogba tries to find him with a return pass over the top, but Rui Patricio gets there first.
56 min It’s been a textbook away performance from Wolves. United never have an easy game against them and, even allowing for the form of both sides, it was naive to expect anything different tonight.
55 min “How on earth was a shoulder charge a booking????” asks Martin Lancon.
When did that happen? Have I missed something?
54 min Wolves make their first change: the excellent Daniel Podence replaces Vitinha, who made a promising full debut.
52 min Can you wake me up when something happens?
51 min Pogba, who is having a stinker, again plays a long pass straight to Rui Patricio.
50 min Rashford is booked for a retaliatory foul on Hoever, who had (fairly) taken man and ball a few seconds earlier.
49 min The second half has started pretty sluggishly. I don’t know what else to say.
46 min Shaw wins a free-kick on the left wing straight away. Bruno Fernandes’s inswinger is headed away by Ruben Neves.
46 min Peep peep! United begin the second half. Luke Shaw has replaced Alex Telles, who is presumably injured.
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Episode 4 of United Rewind is OUT NOW!@DanielHarris and Rob Smyth revisit a brilliant performance from the 1995/96 double-winners as they out-play and out-muscle title rivals Newcastle in December 1995.
(Includes in-depth haircut chat)
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Peep peep! In recent years, Manchester United plus Wolves has equalled binary, and that was a typical half of football between them. Wolves defended excellently to frustrate United, while looking dangerous enough on the break to keep Nuno happy. Bruno Fernandes missed the best chance - but that was United’s only shot on target. They might need a plan B in the second half, or even a plan DvdB.
45+1 min Another dangerous attack from Wolves. Neto wriggles into the area from the right and tries to cut back inside Maguire, who makes an excellent, probably goal-saving challenge. At the other end, Rashford miscontrols when through on goal. The flag went up after that so I don’t think it would have counted, but it was a poor touch.
45 min Wolves break dangerously again, and Neto has the chance to put Traore through with an angled pass from right to left. But it’s slightly underhit, which allows Bailly to make a vital interception on the edge of the area.
44 min Rashford waits for the overlapping Bruno Fernandes and plays him on the left side of the area. Fernandes hammers a cross that flashes past everyone in the six-yard box. It wasn’t a great ball actually, with only Cavani in the area.
42 min There’s a break in play while Ait-Nouri receives treatment, having fallen awkwardly after an aerial challenge with Rashford. It allows the TV director to focus on Sir Alex Ferguson, sitting in the stands wearing a jaunty tweed cap. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the great man in a flat cap before.
40 min “Team with loads of dosh and poor coach being outplayed by the opposite,” says Tim Stappard.
Yes, an abysmal coach. I hear he can’t even spell his own name.
39 min: Good save from de Gea! Neto hammers the free-kick towards the near post, where Saiss gets in front of Rashford and flicks the ball towards goal. David de Gea reacts smartly to punch it behind for a corner.
38 min Rashford goes over in the area after a challenge from Moutinho. It wasn’t a foul: Rashford jumped to avoid a collision with Moutinho and fell over. Wolves break and Neto is fouled just outside the penalty area on the right by Maguire.
37 min Hoever is bit lucky not to be booked for a late tackle on Telles.
35 min “Quicker! Quicker!” screams somebody on the United bench.
34 min: Good save from Rui Patricio! Bruno Fernandes has missed a good chance to put United ahead. Greenwood cut inside from the right and curled a fine cross to the far post, where Fernandes got on the wrong side of Hoever and twisted in mid-air to flick a volley towards goal from six yards. It was straight at Rui Patricio who pushed it away, and Cavani, facing away from goal, couldn’t put the rebound away on the stretch. Fernandes’s was the bigger chance.
33 min Rashford appeals for a penalty after being manhandled by Coady in the area. The ball had gone out of play just beforehand, and it wasn’t a foul anyway.
31 min Neto goes down holding his face after a block from Matic, who led with his forearm. VAR has a look and decides there’s nothing in it, rightly so in my eternally humble opinion. He should have been booked but VAR can only intervene if it’s a red-card offence.
30 min Shots on target so far: Man Utd 0-3 Wolves.
29 min Fernandes frees Wan-Bissaka on the right. His cross is poor, straight at Moutinho. Wan-Bissaka’s attacking play is a big problem for United at home, especially as they have no right-footed right-wingers.
28 min Neto’s driven cross is half cleared by Bailly. Ait-Nouri picks up the loose ball on the edge of the area but drives it miles wide with his right foot. But Wolves look good going forward.
26 min Rashford runs Hoever in the area, turns neatly back onto his right foot and tries to pick out Fernandes near the penalty spot. The ball is poked clear but Telles returns it to Matic, whose cross skims the head of the stretching Cavani and drifts wide. It wouldn’t have counted anyway; replays show he was just offside.
24 min The tempo of United’s attacking play has been too slow. This often happens at the start of games, especially at home. Sometimes they look like a team waiting to go 1-0 down.
23 min: Wolves hit the bar! Moutinho’s free-kick is met by Saiss, whose looping header hits the top of the bar. I think de Gea had it covered, but it was pretty close.
21 min Wolves continue to keep United at arm’s length without too much difficulty. Ait-Nouri breaks into space down the left and puts in a cross that is cleared by Maguire. Wolves have got into some good positions on the counter-attack.
18 min Telles’s cross is cleared as far as Fernandes, 25 yards from goal. He runs round the ball and rakes a shot that is blocked.
17 min Bruno Fernandes is coming into the game a bit more, which will encourage United. He barely touched the ball in the first 10 minutes.
14 min Fernandes plays a one-two with Greenwood and slides a little pass towards Cavani in the area. He flicks it behind his standing leg to nobody when he might have been better off going for goal. At the moment United are struggling to find an eye in the Wolves needle.
13 min A long-range stinger from Ruben Neves is punched away by de Gea; then Neto has a shot blocked by Wolves. This is good stuff from Wolves, who have been the better side so far.
12 min Pogba looks up and swishes a beautiful 80-yard pass straight into the arms of Rui Patricio.
11 min Vitinha finds a bit of space between the lines and hits a good 20-yard shot that is pushed away by the sprawling de Gea. Wolves look perky in possession.
10 min Possession so far: Man Utd 60-40 Wolves. But Wolves will be pleased with their start, which has been pretty comfortable.
9 min Rashford’s speculative long-range shot wobbles a few yards wide. It almost turned into a decent cross for Cavani.
8 min Traore beats three players and finds Neto on the edge of the box. He whips a right-footed shot that is comfortably saved by de Gea. That’s the first shot on target at either end.
8 min Wolves’ defence is very narrow, inviting United to go down the side. That’s why Telles has been on the ball so much in the first few minutes because there’s very little space in central areas.
7 min There’s plenty of space for Wolves to play when they do get on the ball. Moutinho tries to put Traore through on goal but he can’t find the right angle for the pass and the ball runs through to de Gea.
6 min “Hiya Rob,” says Paul Howarth. “I remember as a United fan in the 70s, walking to Molineux singing ‘We’ll be top, We’ll be top by Five O’clock’. Anyway, we lost, so we weren’t.”
Were you there for the FA Cup game in 1976? That sounds like a helluva night.
4 min Lots of early United possession, with Telles involved in most things on the left.
3 min Telles and Rashford try to work a short corner, and make a Horlicks of it.
3 min Telles breaks down the left and curls in a good cross that is put behind for the first corner by Saiss.
2 min “Leeds though, eh, Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “The thinking man’s Man United?”
Simon McMahon’s email address is available for a small fee, and his postal address for a slightly larger one.
1 min Peep peep! Wolves, in the old gold, kick off from right to left. Manchester United are in red.
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Episode 4 of United Rewind is OUT NOW!@DanielHarris and Rob Smyth revisit a brilliant performance from the 1995/96 double-winners as they out-play and out-muscle title rivals Newcastle in December 1995.
(Includes in-depth haircut chat)
Subscribe nowhttps://t.co/d2WJnEDGjI pic.twitter.com/g1pi3cvHco
“Tough job for Hoever against that United front three - guess he’ll just have to suck it up,” says Felix Wood. “I’m not sorry.”
“If Wolves do score tonight,” says Kevin Porter, “it will be from outside the box, because nobody in the starting XI is going to venture there. Feeling very pessimistic as befits 2020 and indeed 2021 for whom someone will hold its beer.”
Adama Traore is due. Just putting that out there for consideration.
Big Sam 0-5 Bielsa, and other stories
“Hey Rob,” says Neil Carter. “Answer me this, has Donny done something wrong? Is he a bad person? WHAT IS WRONG WITH DONNY? #Pray for Donny.”
It’s hard to know for sure, because Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t reply to my 2am WhatsApps, but my instinct is that he’s the equivalent of buying an expensive pair of jeans one size too small and privately vowing you’ll fit into them, only to find that life gets in the way. But the good news is it’s never too late to change your waistline/association football tactics!
Man Utd make six changes from the team that draw at Leicester, with Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba among those coming into the side. Victor Lindelof is injured, so Eric Bailly continues at centre-back.
Ki-Jana Hoever, the teenage defender signed from Liverpool, and Vitinha make their full Premier League debut for Wolves. Hoever replaces Nelson Semedo in one of four changes from the 1-1 draw with Spurs on whatever day of the week the 27th was. It looks like Wolves have returned to a back three.
There are four Premier League games occuring as we speak, and Leeds have already scored four at the Hawthorns. Scott Murray has more news.
Hello. For Manchester United, Wolves at home is an appropriate way to end 2020. It’s where the year started – not on the first of January but on the first of February, when their new £47m signing Bruno Fernandes came straight off a plane to partially enliven a tedious 0-0 draw against Wolves. Fernandes quickly became United’s greatest catalyst since Eric Cantona; since he signed, only Liverpool (61) have taken more Premier League points than United’s 59. And United have played a game fewer.
It’s one thing to keep pace with Liverpool across two halves of different seasons, quite another to do it for a full season. If United win tonight they will go second, two points behind Liverpool in the real quiz, and expectation of an unlikely title challenge will grow a little more. With that comes hope, excitement – and pressure.Continue reading...
Albert Quixall brought the vital quality of glamour to Manchester United in the aftermath of the Munich air crash in 1958 that few others could have matched. He had star power and an aura of modernity that helped dispel perceptions of United as an object of pity.
I loved watching him, with his brilliant blond hair, always up for a spot of trickery. His ball control was effortlessly magnetic, his passing velvety and accurate, his penalty kicks nerveless and he was often at the heart of the best team moves. Genuinely progressive in his approach to the game, he took ballet lessons with his wife to improve his balance and posture.Continue reading...
- ‘You don’t classify a player of that quality as anything else’
- Uruguyan striker asked to wear No 7 shirt
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said Edinson Cavani can expect to exert more influence at Manchester United and “probably start more matches than he does not start”, hailing the 33-year-old as “one of the fittest players we have”. The manager even hinted at the possibility of Cavani staying at the club beyond the term of his current contract.
Cavani has made 13 appearances for United – four as a starter – since joining on October’s transfer deadline day. His contribution goes far beyond the four goals he has struck in that time, with the latest demonstration of his class coming at Leicester on Boxing Day when he replaced Anthony Martial with 15 minutes to go and set up a goal for Bruno Fernandes.Continue reading...
When Leicester cut down on his freedom it was clear once more that United rely on two or three key players
At some level, this game happened. In a sense it was perfect fare for a bleary Boxing Day lunchtime. It was engaging enough without ever being especially demanding, and if you did happen to doze off for quarter of an hour or so you wouldn’t have missed anything overly consequential. It certainly didn’t answer any questions. We still don’t know how good Leicester or Manchester United are or whether either is remotely capable of sustaining a title challenge.
Both sides have had good patches this season, but neither has entirely convinced, a pattern this game distilled perfectly. No sooner had one narrative begun to take control than another rose up to deflect it off course. Both sides have been inconsistent. Both have been better away from home. Both like to play on the break. United had gone behind in all six previous Premier League away games this season but won them all; here they took the lead twice and ended up drawing.Continue reading...
The points were shared in an entertaining Boxing Day game both sides will feel they could have won at the King Power Stadium
The points were shared at the King Power Stadium, where the Boxing Day schedule got off to a very entertaining start. Paul Doyle was there ...
“I thought it was a really good game,” the Leicester manager tells BT Sport. “Two attacking teams ... I thought our counter-pressing was really good. I thought we were very impressive in the first half. Second half we had to defend a little it more. We had lots of good moments when we were playing through ... maybe lacked our final pass.
“We went 2-1 behind and it’s perhaps the thing we’ve been talking about – we had our enthusiasm and our confidence and it really showed the mentality of our team.
Bah humbuggery dept ...
“We had loads of big chances and we could have finished it off, but Leicester are a dangerous side,” says the Man United manager, in his chat with Des. “Marcus’s first chance was a glorious one but it was just one of those things. Both their goals should have been closed down quicker - you always look at goals conceded and think you should have done better. We’ve got a game in three days ... an extra recovery day which we’ll use wisely.”
“I don’t think I’ll get that goal,” says the man who may or may not have scored Leicester’s equaliser in an interview with BT Sport’s suave, sophisticated and dishy touchline reporter Des Kelly. “I think it might have been going wide but at the end of the day it’s got us a point that I thought we thoroughly deserved.
“It is all about patience,” he adds. “You can’t score with every single attack. It’s about being patient, keeping the ball, making sure we get into the best scoring opportunity possible and me being in as postiion to get on the end of a cross at the end of it. We’re happy with that.”
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeep! A very entertaining game ends at the King Power Stadium with the sides sharing the points. Both teams will feel they should have won, a state of affairs that suggests a draw was probably fair.
90+2 min: Leicester win a free-kick wide on the right. The ball’s swung in, Pogba clears it and it comes back quickly. Ayoze Perez has his blushes spared by being flagged for offside when he misses what looks like a golden opportunity to win the game for the hosts.
90+1 min: In the blue corner, Maddison goes down holding his knee, gets a bit of TLC and is back on his feet again.
89 min: Marcus Rashford goes down with what looks like a groin injury - a six-weeker, in this non-doctor’s expert medical opinion. Manchester United have used all their subs, so he stays on for now.
87 min: Replays show Vardy needed a little help from Axel Tunazebe to equalise. His finish was less than crisp and took a deflection off the substitute’s knee on its way goalwards.
He’s been quiet ... too damned quiet. Jamie Vardy guides the ball past De Gea, converting a cross from Ayoze Perez, who is on as a sub.
84 min: Already on a yellow card, Bruno courts disaster with a late tackle on Jonny Evans ... we’ll get back to this.
80 min: Edinson Cavani doesn’t take long to make an impact, playing Fernandes in behind with a nicely weighted pass. I think it was Jonny Evans playing Fernandes onside as he ran on to the pass on the edge of the Leicester penalty area before stroking the ball home.
Well colour me pink and call me Mystic Baz! Bruno Fernandes tucks the ball into the bottom corner after being teed up by Cavani.
76 min: No goals in the second half yet, despite my promises earlier. Judging by the ebb and flow of the game, I reckon we’ll get a winner.
74 min: James Justin is on the deck holding his jaw after being caught in the kisser by a flailing Paul Pogba elbow. It was accidental as they contested a high ball. Manchester United substitution: Edinson Cavani on for Anthony Martial.
72 min: A blisteringly fast Leicester City counter-attack ends with Marc Albrighton sending in a cross that’s this much too high for the leaping Jamie Vardy. The winger signals his apology.
70 min: Free-kick for United, wide on the left about 35 yards from goal. Luke Shaw curls an outsawinger towards the far post, where Harry Maguire rises highest and heads over. He’s penalised for grappling Wesley Fofana, using the Leicester defender for leverage.
68 min: Jonny Evans makes a crucial interception for Leicester, stretching to intercept a Bruno Fernandes cross arrowing towards Marcus Rashford with his head.
66 min: Manchester United substitution: Victor Lindelof hobbles off with some manner of injury and is reaplaced by Axel Tuanzebe.
65 min: Harvey Barnes and Jamie Vardy link up down the inside left, before Barnes squares the ball for Maddison. It’s tantalisingly out of reach for the midfielder.
64 min: Luke Shawe is penalised for laying hands on the lower lumbar region of Marc Albrighton between the right edge of the United penalty area and the touchlione. That’s a very soft free-kick.
61 min: Martial runs on to a ball from deep from Rashford and slots the ball into the bottom right-hand corner, only for the linesman to rule his effort out for offside. It was very tight, but the decision was correct.
59 min: An outstanding save from Kasper Schmeichel, who gets a strong right hand on a Marcus Rashford shot after the United man had been put through on goal and fired from 10 yards or thereabouts.
55 min: Manchester United threaten to embark on a counter-attack but James Maddison puts an illegal stop to Bruno’s gallop. Yellow card. United substitution from a minute or so ago: Paul Pogba on for Dan James.
53 min: Maddison tries to curl the ball over the wall into the top left-hand corner, but Rashford jumps and puts it out for a corner. Nothing comes of the set piece.
52 min: Leicester win a free-kick for hand ball, after a Fred backpass hits Bailly’s outstretched arm. It’s just on the edge of the penalty area, almost dead centre in prime Maddison real estate.
51 min: No chances of note for either side in the early stages of the second half but Leicester are bossing possession. Paul Pogba is about to come on for United.
49 min: Youri Tielemans hoists the ball into the Manchester United penalty area from the right, but Harry Maguire clears. United embark on a galloping counter-attack with a two-on-two but if comes to nothing.
47 min: From deep, Bruno Fernandes plays the ball wide to Marcus Rashford, who is dispossessed by a well-timed tackle from the very impressive James Justin.
46 min: Leicester get proceedings under way with no changes in personnel on either side. I’d put the farm on there being more goals in this game, if I had a farm. Right now I couldn’t tell you who’ll get them ... but I will at some point.
A fairly entertaining 45 minutes is brough to a halt by Mike Dean, with the sides level. United opened the scoring, with Marcus Rashford making up for his awful miss in the opening seconds. Harvey Barnes drew Leicester level and on the balance of play, the scoreline is probably fair.
45+1 min: Bruno Fernandes gets booked for a foul on Jonny Evans. He looks aggrieved, I’d need to see it again before deciding whether or not I feel his pain.
44 min: The camera cuts to the United bench, where Ole has his arms folded tightly to ward off the cold, his chin entrenched deep in his padded jacket.
43 min: Manchester United advance with Eric Bailly on the ball. They win themselves a throw-in deep in Leicester territory.
40 min: End to end stuff as Leicester have a free-kick halfway inside the United half that’s cleared, prompting a counter-attack from the specialists of the genre. Youri Tielemans mops up at the back for Leicester. Good defending.
38 min: Oh dear. Another chance goes a begging for Manchester United. Bruno Fernandes gets a bit too much forehead on the ball, heading wide of the upright when scoring looked easier.
35 min: So, that goal. Harry Maguire half-cleared a Marc Albrighton cross from the left and the ball fell to Bruno Fernandes. He gave it away to James Maddison, who picked out Barnes on the edge of the penalty area. The youngster shimmied this way and that, making room for a shot on the edge of the penalty area before spanking the ball home.
34 min: Leicester win a corner, which is cleared. Youri Tielemans is penalised for wafting his boot perilously close to the head of Luke Shaw and United have a free-kick just outside their own penalty area.
Well, that’s awkward. Harvey Barnes restores parity, shooting from the edge of the Manchester United penalty area after stealing a yard of space. That’s a good goal.
29 min: “They’ve just taken the pace out of the game. They’ve taken control of the game.” BT Sport co-comms man Glenn Hoddle sums it up nicely, talking about Manchester United.
24 min: Dan James was the provider there, although the assist will officially go to Bruno Fernandes, who stretched to control the Welshman’s cross, but merely touched it into the path to Rashford. Unmarked again about 12 yards out, the National Treasure made no mistake this time, opening his body before sidefooting past Schmeichel. That’s his 50th Premier League goal. I think. (Other statistics are available.)
Marcus Rashford puts Manchester United ahead, side-footing into the bottom right-hand corner after getting on the end of a low cross from the right.
21 min: Leicester win a free-kick, wide on the right halfway inside the United half. The ball’s swung into the penalty area, where Youri Tielemans whacks it on the volley. His goal-bound effort is blocked by his own team-mate Harvey Barnes, despite his valiant attempts to leap out of the way.
19 min: Leicester City corner - Jonny Evans and Wesley Fofana make their way up the pitch. The ball’s played deep into the United penalty area, where Victor Lindelof thumps it clear with a firm header.
18 min: Leicester throw-in, down by the technical areas. James Justin ambles forward with the ball at his feet, plays the ball wide and Luke Shaw intercepts.
16 min: That said, Marcus Rashford’s missed chance really was a shocker. A free header at the far post from six yards ... ouch.
14 min: A fairly even match so far, with neither side looking particularly superior. Leicester are probably edging it.
12 min: Leicester seem to have identified the out-of-position Victor Lindelof as United’s weak spot and are directing most of their play towards the Manchester United right-back position.
11 min: In the Manchester United goal, David De Gea seems to have done himself a mischief and is in some discomfort. He appears to have hurt his lower back. Dean Henderson is sent to warm up.
10 min: Jamie Vardy is put in behind by a ball from deep but messes up his one-on-one with De Gea, shooting narrowly wide. He was offside, it wouldn’t have counted.
8 min: David De Gea makes an absolute pig’s ear out of an effort to play out from the back, but gets away with it.
7 min: Timothy Castagne swings a cross in from the left after good work down the flank from Leicester. The ball is cleared.
5 min: Both teams have lined up with pretty much identical formations: four at the back, with two holding in front of them behind the respective parties up front.
3 min: Jamie Vardy misses half-decent chance for Leicester, volleying over after connecting with a James Justin cross from the right. It wasn’t by any means as easy a chance as Rashford missed, but he’ll be kicking himself. Game very much on!!!
2 min: Manchester United line up with a back four, with Victor Lindelof playing at right back. Up front, Marcus Rashford gets a free header on the edge of the six-yard box, but nods the ball over the bar. Getting on the end of a dink from Fernandes, he misses an absolute sitter!!!
Mike Dean blows his whistle, Bruno Fernandes gets the ball rolling and play is under way at the King Power.
Not long now: The teams are out on the pitch and the last of the pre-match niceties are under way in a depressingly empty King Power Stadium. |In a perfect world, we’d all be at a game and looking forward to a visit to the pub but ... well, deeze times. Here’s hoping we get a decent game.
Those teams: Jamie Vardy starts, which means Leicester field an unchanged side from the eleven who saw off Spurs last weekend.
Manchester United defender Eric Bailly is in for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, making only his sixth appearance for United this season.
Leicester City: Schmeichel; Justin, Fofana, Evans, Castagne; Ndidi, Tielemans; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy.
Subs: Ward, Thomas, Amartey, Fuchs, Mendy, Choudhury, Praet, Perez, Iheanacho.
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistants: Ian Hussin and Dan Robathan
Fourth official: Robert Jones
VAR: Graham Scott
Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is expected to be fit, despite picking up a groin injury in his side’s win over Tottenham last weekend. Having recovered from the knee injury that kept him sidelined since March, Ricardo Pereira misses out again with a groin injury. Caglar Soyuncu is suffering from a similar injury and may also miss out.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær may have to plot without Scott McTominay and Aaron Wan Bissaka. McTominay picked up a groin injury during his bravura perfomance against Leeds last week, while Wan Bissaka missed United’s midweek League Cup win against Everton with some manner of unspecified knock.
Merry Christmas one and all, and welcome to our minute-by-minute coverage of the Boxing Day opener between Leicester City and Manchester United at the King Power Stadium.
Currently in second place, a point clear of their visitors, Leicester City can go within a point of the league leaders Liverpool with a win over United, whose League Cup win over Everton on Wednesday was their third victory in a week.Continue reading...
Manchester United led twice but ultimately failed to win an away league match for the first time this season, as the unfortunate Axel Tuanzebe deflected a shot by Jamie Vardy into his own goal five minutes from time.
Leicester deserved that bit of luck and a point from an entertaining game in which both sides demonstrated the qualities, and shortcomings, that account for their positions. The teams who began the day in second and third place in the Premier League produced a result and performances to satisfy the leaders, Liverpool.Continue reading...
- ‘There’s always noise around Manchester United,’ says manager
- Solskjaer says team cannot afford slow start against Leicester
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is teaching his Manchester United players to cope with a new phenomenon: receiving plaudits.
“At the moment we’re getting praise and now that’s another thing we have to learn to deal with,” said Solskjær before Saturday lunchtime’s trip to Leicester.Continue reading...
Brendan Rodgers has been well-served by veterans but Wesley Fofana and James Justin have particularly impressed
Lesser teams than Leicester City would have tumbled down the table by now, with excuses and recriminations soundtracking their fall. Brendan Rodgers could have gone into the festive season wailing about the merciless schedule, players could have howled about being deployed out of position and fans could have decried regular formation changes as evidence of a team with no identity or plan.
Listen. There is nothing like that to be heard, at least not from anyone worth hearing. And look. Leicester go into the Boxing Day match with Manchester United sitting second, the same position that City were in this time last year. Such consistency does not quite amount to a miracle but is mighty impressive considering that Leicester have had to cope with more upheaval than most this year.Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær dismissed suggestions that Edinson Cavani has had a slow start to the season after his Manchester United side set up a derby with City in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup. 'I think you're wrong, I don't think he's had a slow start. I think he's done really well,' the United manager said.Continue reading...
- Draw sets up Manchester derby in January
- Tottenham host Brentford in other semi-final
Manchester United will host Manchester City in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup after their 2-0 win over Everton on Wednesday night, while Tottenham, who beat Stoke 3-1 earlier in the day, will take on Championship Brentford at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The ties will take place in the week beginning 4 January.Continue reading...
A penalty shootout beckoned at Goodison Park but Edinson Cavani had other ideas. The veteran Uruguay international produced a stunning 88th-minute winner to maintain Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s quest for a first trophy as Manchester United manager and condemn Everton to more cup heartbreak.
Cavani opened his United account here early last month, also late in the game and at the Park End of the stadium. He found his range once again to give the visitors a victory their first-half dominance merited, but one that appeared to have eluded them in an otherwise sterile second half. With Everton wide open at the back as they went in search of an equaliser in stoppage time, substitute Antony Martial broke through to add a second. Bruno Fernandes also struck a post and Robin Olsen denied Marcus Rashford with a fine save in time added on.Continue reading...
- Live updates from the 8pm GMT kick-off
- Winning the cup is motivation in itself, says Ancelotti
- Get in touch with Nick on email or Twitter
Matt Burtz writes in on a strong Everton selection: “This Everton fan reckons that their lineup tonight is as strong as it could be considering the injuries. They recently kept a clean sheet against two of the top five in the league in xG (Chelsea and Leicester) and the back four has been stout ever since the change in the middle of the Burnley game. Hopefully Coleman’s inclusion will not upset that too much, though it should provide a bit more going forward than Holgate.”
Solskjaer says: “It’s a hectic schedule, we’ve got a game – thank you very much! – on Saturday at 12.30. Some of these players needed a game and I think it’s a strong team that can match them physically.”
Donny van de Beek gets a welcome start, as do Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani, Dean Henderson and Axel Tuanzebe.
Spurs have won 3-1 at Stoke. Get the aftermath with Paul Doyle!
Everton: Olsen; Coleman, Godfrey, Keane, Mina; Douroure, Gomes, Sigurdsson; Iwobi, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin. Subs: Pickford, Kenny, Holgate, Tosun, Bernard, Gordon, Davies.
Manchester United: Henderson; Tuanzebe, Bailly, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Pogba, van de Beek, Fernandes; Greenwood, Cavani. Subs: Grant, Fosu-Mensah, Shaw, Fred, Lingard, Martial, Rashford.
Your next instalment of festive Carabao Cup fare is here! Who’ll join Man City, Spurs (it seems) and ... yes ... Brentford in the last four?
It’s a good question because we really don’t know. Everton are flying high in the league but do have a defeat in them, including the 3-1 reverse against tonight’s opponents at this very venue several lifetimes ago last month. They looked very secure against Chelsea and Arsenal recently, and have done well despite a long injury list, but they have a formidable hurdle to jump tonight.Continue reading...
- Caicedo has four caps and scored against Uruguay
- United’s policy is to pursue best emerging global talent
Manchester United are considering a move for Moisés Caicedo, with the 19-year-old Ecaudor midfielder fitting the profile of the best emerging global talent the club have recently pursued.Continue reading...
Grealish, Fabinho, Calvert-Lewin and Bamford are exceeding expectations. Aubameyang, Havertz, Martial and Traoré are not
We’ve made it to Christmas early in the Premier League schedule this year, but there has still been plenty of time for players and teams to impress and indeed underwhelm us. In a season full of surprises, here are 10 surprise packages so far, in terms of overachieving and underachieving.
A handful of teams have surpassed expectations, with Leicester, Everton and Southampton all sitting above Manchester City. However, there are two other teams whose places in the top half of the table are even more surprising given that they were expected to be involved in the relegation battle.Continue reading...
Adrian Chiles | Jonathan Sacks | Which United is it? | Croquet, a dangerous game | Seville marmalade
There is a resonance in Adrian Chiles’s piece (I’ve cut down my drinking dramatically. So why do people think I tried to stop – and failed?, 16 December) for habitual pub drinkers and the depredations they suffer over the Christmas season. One can only assume that it’s for the sake of his sanity that he fails to recollect every barfly’s worst recurring nightmare: namely the horror that is New Year’s Eve.
Greenfield, Greater Manchester
• Thank you, Jonathan Freedland, for your sensitive and thought-provoking piece on the death of David Cornwell (Le Carré’s death touched me. It feels like the grownups are leaving the room, 18 December). One small observation: the late rabbi Jonathan Sacks offered “sage advice” to non-Jewish people too. Thankfully, I am one of them, and I know of many others.
Dr Frances Dawbarn
- Manchester United at Everton for Carabao Cup quarter-final
- Lingard back in squad after having to isolate ‘a few times’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said Manchester United are desperate to win the Carabao Cup, with the manager stating his players are hungry to learn how to win trophies.
United are at Everton for their quarter-final on Wednesday, Solskjær having yet to guide the team to a trophy after two years in charge. Last season United lost in the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Europa League semi-finals.Continue reading...
- 18-year-old set to fly to England in early January
- Ivorian had been waiting for Italian passport
The Atalanta winger Amad Diallo is set to fly to England in early January to complete his transfer to Manchester United, a €25m (£27.3m) plus add-ons deal that was agreed last summer.
The 18-year-old was waiting to receive an Italian passport, which would enable him to get the work permit to join Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side, and that came through this week. United could end up paying €40m for the highly rated teenager if he reaches all the performance-related stipulations in his five-year deal.Continue reading...
Sheffield United’s troubles worsen, Alli at a crossroads and McTominay is setting the standard at Manchester United
Which is your favourite Klopp Liverpool team? The title one? The Champions League one? Or the one the year before that didn’t win anything but broke like an avenging swarm of bees and left their opponents dizzy? For some it is still the last of these, when Klopp was still grooving his patterns, working out the best way to win, and building to the supreme efficiency of last year. In which case there will have been a fond echo in the destruction at Selhurst Park, where Liverpool did give chances in the first half-hour but attacked with fury either side. This was the first time in a year they have scored five in the league with the title race still alive. In this muddled season they do have the power to terrorise opponents and kill games early. This game was spectacular. But it was also, by the end, a much‑needed stroll. Barney RonayContinue reading...
- ‘It could have been 12-4,’ says Manchester United manager
- Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa finds it ‘very difficult to take’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær described Manchester United’s 6-2 victory over Leeds as one of the “great performances” against their cross-Pennines rivals, with his team rising to third in the Premier League.
United have been slow-starters this season but were 2-0 up inside three minutes, Scott McTominay scoring twice. Further goals by Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelöf and one from Liam Cooper for Leeds made it 4-1 at the interval. A second from Fernandes, Daniel James’s first league goal since August 2019 and Stuart Dallas’s fine finish for the Yorkshire club completed the scoring.Continue reading...