What the papers say
Another hideous mistake from David de Gea gave Chelsea a point at Old Trafford and surely ended Manchester United’s hopes of finishing in the top four
“I feel quite privileged to have watched the two laziest centre forwards in world football on the pitch at the same time,” says Stephen Carr. “It feels as momentous as the Pacino-De Niro scene in ‘Heat’.”
That’s an excellent result for Chelsea, who look likely to play Champions League football next season. Manchester United will almost certainly be playing in the Europa League. They started the match superbly and deserved to lead through Juan Mata’s goal. But another bad mistake from David de Gea, which allowed Marcos Alonso to equalise just before half-time, changed the mood of the match and Chelsea were comfortable for almost all of a bitty second half.
90+7 min De Gea makes a vital save from Higuain, although he didn’t know much about it.
90+6 min There’s a manic desperation to United’s attacking, but not so much in the way of quality.
90+3 min: Pedro clears off the line! Young’s deep, inswinging corner from the left was headed firmly towards goal by Rojo, and Pedro danced across the line to head clear. Chelsea would have been fuming had Rojo scored.
90+3 min McTominay wins a corner after a good header down from Sanchez, who is actually playing really well.
90+2 min Lukaku, who had been flagged offside, is denied anyway by an excellent save by Kepa.
90+1 min There are seven added minutes, mainly because of the injuries to Rudiger and Bailly.
90 min Hazard’s stinging shot from the edge of the area is blocked by McTominay, who had both arms held tight behind back in the VAR position.
89 min Young is booked for dissent. United can’t put Chelsea under any sustained pressure. Lukaku was brilliant in the first half hour but it looks like he shot his bolt.
88 min Pedro crashes over the bar from the right side of the box. Chelsea, for all their good play, have hardly bothered David de Gea in the second half.
86 min McTominay bullies Kante off the ball and finds Pogba, whose angled through pass to Lukaku is crucially intercepted on the edge of the area by Alonso.
85 min Can Manchester United score? They occasionally score.
84 min Willian, who is still feeling the impact of Rojo’s studs, limps off to be replaced by Pedro.
83 min Chelsea don’t need a winner, but it’s there for them if they want it enough. They are much the better side now.
81 min United started so well but they have lost their way in the second half, exemplified by Matic spraying a crossfield pass straight out of play. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes his final change, with Scott McTominay replacing Juan Mata.
80 min Willian is going to try to carry on, although he’s limping heavily.
79 min Rojo is booked for planting his studs into Willian’s ankle. It was an appalling, reckless challenge and he should have been sent off.
79 min United miss Marouane Fellaini. They do.
78 min Herrera sweeps a good pass out to Young, who then plays a dreadful pass towards Sanchez. He does well to win the ball off David Luiz near the byline, only to rake a miserable cross straight out of play.
77 min “Sanchez is improving,” says Matthew Stephens. “He’s touched the ball twice already.”
76 min Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaces Kovacic, who is brought off for his own protection.
75 min “Saying ‘David Luiz could’ve done X without faking an injury’ is tantamount to saying ‘Romario could’ve just put it in the net without humiliating the keeper so thoroughly’,” says Phil Podolsky. “Some things are signature elements of one’s art.”
74 min Willian wins a corner for Chelsea, who look the likelier scores. It’s been a stop-start half, which probably hasn’t helped United, although the bigger problem is their porcelain confidence.
73 min “I’d love to know what percentage of dedicated season-ticket football fans who cheer on all their foreign players every week voted for Brexit?” says Nigel Moore. “More than the national average, I bet.”
And the best thing is that, if you do want to place a bet, football can direct you about 500 different companies who will happily take your money. Thank you, football!
72 min Willian curls a free-kick over the bar from 25 yards.
71 min A stretcher is brought on for Bailly, but he’s able to limp slowly off the field with support from the medical staff. Marcos Rojo replaces him.
68 min Now Bailly is down injured after a challenge with Kovacic on the edge of the area. This looks really bad. It’s his right knee, and he’s in agony.
67 min Blimey. Bailly flattens Alonso just outside the area with what looked like a two-footed tackle. He got the ball but that doesn’t really matter.
66 min David Luiz is fine. I think he faked that injury to justify kicking the ball out of play so that Christensen could come on. Bit weird, as he could have just kicked it out anyway.
65 min Christensen comes on for Rudiger, but now David Luiz has gone down holding his groin. Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez has replaced Marcus Rashford. That looks like an injury as well.
65 min “Thoroughly enjoying the fifty-fifty challenge between Eden Hazard and Juan Mata,” says Joe Mann. “The footballing equivalent of war between Luxembourg and Andorra...”
64 min Antonio Rudiger is limping off with what looks like a recurrence of his knee injury. Andreas Christensen will replace him.
61 min “Further to the debate about De Gea,” says Robert Darby. “It is all well and good playing him against Cardiff and Huddersfield, but putting on his kit and jumping up and down between the posts before the kick-off is likely to be the sum total of all the action he will see.”
60 min Kovacic, who has already been booked, leaves one on Herrera. It wasn’t enough for a second yellow card, but his next tackle might be.
59 min A draw is of little use to United, unless they want to play on Thursday nights next season. It would be a decent result for Chelsea, though.
58 min Chelsea are looking threatening at the moment. It’s been a very enjoyable game, full of subtle momentum shifts.
56 min Hazard tries to test de Gea with a long-range shot that spins behind off Young. Willian’s corner is headed away by Bailly.
56 min “Couldn’t disagree more about de Gea,” says Reg Gorczynski. “He’s shown little loyalty to the club… missed a transfer last time only because of delayed fax…clearly holding out as (like Sanchez) he sees the club as a cash cow. I’d move him, and several other like-minded players, out NOW!”
55 min A United free-kick falls nicely for Bailly, who drags an apologetic left-footed shot straight at Arrizabalaga from 12 yards.
53 min Kovacic is booked for kicking the ball away.
52 min Willian is booked for a foul on Mata. He walks away in disgust, motioning extravagantly that he got the ball. Replays show he was right.
50 min Rashford’s free-kick kicks up awkwardly in front of Arrizabalaga, who does well to hold on with United players sniffing around for a fumble.
50 min Kante shoves Bailly over 30 yards from goal. Hazard was fouled just before that by Matic, so Chelsea will have a bit of a humour on if this leads to a goal.
48 min The manner of that equaliser has deflated United and invigorated Chelsea, who have started the second half confidently.
46 min Peep peep! Chelsea begin the second half, probably with instructions to shoot on sight.
“The knives will really be out for David de Gea but we must not forget that he is our best player since Sir Alex’s days and thus persist with his slump even if it is a gamble with the Champions league qualification,” says Adarsh Ashokan. “We as a club must show faith in him in such testing times which would show him that we value him very highly as a club and would like to resign a new contract.”
For what it’s worth - nowt - I agree. If they were about to play Liverpool in a Champions League semi-final, I think there would be a big decision to make, but I’d play him against Huddersfield and Cardiff. He’s an all-time great who’s having a bad spell; happens to them all.
J Stand chanting De Gea's name. Stretford End will doubtless warmly applaud him when he re-emerges. Deserves to be cut some slack but his form rivals his first six months at the club. #mufc
“A friend of mine once went on a double date in Chelsea, only to find out her half of the date was Juan Mata,” says Norrie Hernon. “‘Quite shy and very polite,’ apparently. No, she didn’t give any further details, despite my whinnying. Which is exactly how I imagined him.”
“I’m suggesting that after all that fawning, Neville is not the most partial of judges,” says Paul Fitzgerald.
Hmm, I’m not sure what your point is. We know Neville’s allegiance, and his friendship with Solskjaer, but whenever I’ve seen him on Sky Sports he has been as near to objective as dammit. When the time comes that Solskjaer is fighting for his job, I think he’ll be as considered and fair as he was with Mourinho, van Gaal and Moyes. I would agree there is a developing problem with grating bias, but there are other pundits who come to mind before Neville. Each to their own, I guess.
Peep peep! Juan Mata gave United an early lead before another sad error from David de Gea led to Marcos Alonso’s equaliser. The scoreline flatters Chelsea a touch, though they’ll not give a solitary one about that.
45+1 min Another opening for United. Rashford bursts into the box on the right and lofts a cross towards Mata beyond the far post. He cushions it back into the middle and Chelsea scramble it behind for a corner.
That was another surreal error. Rudiger moved forward and smashed a hopeful shot from 30 yards. It was well struck but straight at de Gea, who fumbled it to his right. Alonso, who was the only one to follow the ball in, bounced a clever shot across de Gea and in off the far post.
David de Gea has made another mistake!
43 min Herrera is booked for a foul on Alonso.
41 min A double stepover from Pogba is too much for Azpilicueta, who boots him and is lucky not to be booked. Pogba has been excellent in the first half.
40 min Mata’s lovely, dipping cross from the left is headed behind by the stopping Alonso. Nothing comes of the corner.
38 min “A lot of things are ridiculous,” says Paul Fitzgerald. “Such as Neville asking Ole where he wants his statue after the PSG game.”
Are you suggesting that was a serious question?
37 min I think Matic was trying to hold Azpilicueta off, but ultimately he elbowed him in the face and should at least have been booked.
36 min Azpilicueta is down holding his face after being hit by a flailing arm from Matic. Martin Atkinson waves play on, and United eventually kick the ball out.
35 min Matic slides a penetrative pass down the inside-left channel for Rashford, who runs at Rudiger in the area but gets the ball stuck under his feet.
34 min Lukaku, who is really up for this game, shoulder barges Azpilicueta into the advertising boards as they challenge for a ball on the left. Great stuff.
33 min Mata, played in on the right of the area by Herrera, crosses too close to Arrizabalaga. This is a fun, open game.
32 min “If Mata writes an autobiography,” says Kevin Wilson, “I want to read more about his love of Chinese art.”
I’d like to hear his thoughts on why so few footballers have bothered to pledge 1 per cent of their income to Common Goal.
30 min Bailly almost makes it 2-0. Young swung a corner from the left towards the six-yard line, where Bailly got between Alonso and Rudiger to plant a downward header just wide of the far post.
29 min “There are many factors, of course,” says Colum Farrelly, “but to what extent has the absence of Ander Herrera contributed to Utd’s recent poor form?”
A bit, yeah, although he did play in the FA Cup game at Wolves that really started the slump. He’s limited but I like him a lot and they’ll miss him.
28 min The resulting corner is headed by Rudiger onto the back of Alonso’s head, and luckily for Chelsea the ball ricochets to safety.
28 min Lukaku plays another nice through pass, this time to Rashford. Azpilicueta tracks him all the way to concede a corner. Excellent defending.
26 min Chelsea have been much the better side in the last 10 minutes, although they haven’t really worked David de Gea.
24 min “Mata’s only 31?” sniffs Hubert O’Hearn. “Seems like he’s been around since Stanley Matthews. One thing – when he retires, if he wants to do it, Juan Mata will have one fascinating autobiography to read. The scenes he’s seen in and out of clubhouses at Chelsea and United, my my.”
He’s not really the whistle-blowing type, is he.
23 min Willian and Jorginho try the Beckham/Scholes corner. Goal kick to Manchester United.
22 min This is a good spell for Chelsea. A poor header from Shaw goes straight to Higuain, but he redeems himself by blocking the subsequent shot.
20 min A couple of corners for Chelsea, the second of which is half cleared to Jorginho 25 yards out. Goal kick to Manchester United.
19 min There was a lovely line from Rob Hughes about Romario - “darting between defenders like a lizard between rocks” - which comes to mind even time Hazard slips past people. He is despicably good.
18 min Alonso cracks the free-kick over the bar.
16 min Hazard slips gloriously past Herrera, who trips him 25 yards from goal. He’s fortunate not to get booked for that.
14 min “Seems like Man U’s problem is pretty simply a lack of a technical director with clear authority over transfers,” says Joe Harvey. “An additional problem seems to be an organizational chart where no one knows who’s precisely responsible for what. For my taste, the TD has sole say and is higher up the chart than the manager, but that’s just me.”
Yes, agreed. When you see clubs like City (Manchester and Norwich), you realise how important it is to have a clear identity and purpose. I mean, there are lots of other problems at United but this is probably the biggest one.
12 min This is the same United system - and the same personnel, bar Bailly and De Gea - that Solskjaer used when they put Chelsea out of the FA Cup in February.
The goal was made by Lukaku, who chipped a beautiful pass over the defence into the path of Luke Shaw. Kepa came out to block the shot, so Shaw touched the ball across the area for Mata to score his right foot. There were a few defenders on the line but Mata stayed cool and passed it into the net.
It’s been coming, and that’s a really nice goal from Juan Mata.
10 min Lukaku plays an excellent pass to Shaw, whose low cross is kicked away by Azpilicueta. United are playing some good one-touch football.
9 min The first goal is even more important than usual, given the fragile confidence of both sides, United in particular.
8 min It’s been a breezy, open start to the game, with United in particular showing a zest and intent that hasn’t been evident of late.
7 min Rashford beats Alonso with a lovely turn on the right. He looks really sharp.
5 min “How can Neville be seen as an impartial judge when he obviously has an ever-ready excuse available for his friend Ole,” says Paul Fitzgerald. “Man Utd’s biggest problem is not just Ole’s lack of nous but former Utd players’ omnipresence and their sense of entitlement over the Utd debate.”
I think that’s harsh, verging on ridiculous, but that’s just my opinion.
4 min: Big save from Kepa! That was a great chance for Lukaku, who made a good run onto a long ball forward from Shaw and was through on goal. He spent too long trying to move the ball onto his left foot, which allowed Rudiger to get round, but Lukaku still managed to hit a low shot that was smothered by the outrushing Kepa.
4 min “Right now the Premier League table looks ridiculous,” says Phil Podolsky, “but overall the hierarchy at the very top seems to be less rigid than in all the other top leagues. You can see Chelsea buying, I dunno, Griezmann, Coutinho and Alaba and challenging for the title, with Liverpool weakened after losing Mane and Salah to the Spanish big two, City facing uncertainty after Pep walks out at the end of next season etc. (I know Chelsea have the transfer ban which they’re appealing, but in the realm of the hypothetical etc.)”
Yep, agreed. The top six has been set in stone for years, the Leicester miracle notwithstanding, but there’s been a lot of change within that sextet. It’s a different kind of predictable to Spain, Italy and Germany. I still prefer the Championship, though.
3 min A good attack from Chelsea. Hazard hammers a dangerous low cross that Kante flicks towards goal on the six-yard line, and Shaw comes round to make a fine block.
2 min “True about Azpilicueta,” says Nelson Kalberer, “but doesn’t he always look like he wants to kill someone?”
1 min Peep peep! United kick off from right to left.
The players are in the tunnel. Cesar Azpilicueta looks like he wants to kill someone. Eden Hazard is laughing and joking.
Manchester City have beaten Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor, which leaves them two wins away from retaining the title.
There are just over 15 minutes remaining in the vital match between Burnley and Manchester City. You will not believe the score!
Ander Herrera, so impressive in the last two months, returns to the side in what looks like a diamond midfield. Juan Mata and Eric Bailly have also been taken out of cold storage.
Manchester United (4-D-2) de Gea; Young, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic; Herrera, Pogba; Mata; Rashford, Lukaku.
Substitutes: Romero, Rojo, McTominay, Darmian, Pereira, Sanchez, Martial.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Manchester United v Chelsea from Old Trafford, the latest instalment in the strangely compelling stumble for Champions League places.
Actually, to call it a stumble might be bit generous. Spurs have lost six of their last league 10 games; Arsenal have lost four of the last five and were plugged 3-0 by Leicester earlier today. Manchester United have lost four of their last six league games – and seven out of nine in all competitions – while Chelsea, who are in reasonable form compared to the others, have still lost five of their last seven away games in the Premier League.Continue reading...
The Manchester United manager insists he can halt an alarming slump in form and stave off talks of crisis with a top-four finish
The Ole Gunnar in jokes have suddenly stopped raising a smile. Ole at the wheel was fun while it lasted, but the mood has switched in a matter of weeks to the driver being thrown under the bus.
“It was Roy Keane who said that, wasn’t it?” the Manchester United manager asked on Friday in perhaps the nearest he will ever get to an “Et tu, Brute?” utterance. Solskjær is loyal to his friends, of whom he counts Keane as one of the oldest, though he seems to be in denial about what has gone awry since his job at the club was made permanent.Continue reading...
Three wins from the last three games will give Manchester United the best chance of claiming a Champions League berth. Yet the 527 minutes since Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team last scored from open play is an encouraging statistic for Chelsea as they arrive knowing victory will help their own top-four challenge. Given how Arsenal split the two in the table, a draw by final whistle will not aid United or Chelsea greatly. Jamie Jackson
Sunday 4.30pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
- United likely to demand €130m for French midfielder
- Juventus have met with Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola
Juventus would like to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United this summer but would have to sell two or three important players to be able to afford the Frenchman. United are likely to demand €130m (£112.4m) for the 26-year-old.
United want to keep the World Cup winner but his second spell at the club has not been a success so far. The midfielder may look to leave in the summer, especially if Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side misses out on a Champions League place for next season.
Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sportContinue reading...
• Players urged to make top four and Europa League final
• ‘The season, at the moment, is good,’ manager says
Maurizio Sarri will consider his first season at Chelsea a success whatever the outcome of the club’s pursuit of Champions League qualification, but he has challenged his players to secure a top-four finish and a place in the Europa League final in the weeks to come.
Chelsea can open a six‑point gap over Manchester United, effectively knocking their hosts out of top‑four contention, by winning at Old Trafford on Sunday with qualification for Europe’s elite competition in their own hands. Sarri has also taken the team to a Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt, and saw his side beaten on penalties by Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.
Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sportContinue reading...
Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have one win from eight games between them – who will win the race?
The battle for the top four continues this weekend with all four teams seemingly doing their utmost to miss out. Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have managed a single win between them in eight games (and that was Spurs’ late win against Brighton) and Mauricio Pochettino’s team recently picked up four points from an available 15.
So with this in mind we asked our writers how it came to this and why these clubs are still fighting to secure a place in the top four with three games to go – as well as if there is any hope of any of them mounting a serious title challenge in the next two years.Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes that the future of Paul Pogba is at Manchester United. The midfielder has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, however Solskjær said: 'I can assure you that he is very determined to be successful at United.' Pogba's side have lost four of their last six matches and, despite their recent dip in form, the Frenchman made it into the PFA Team of the Year. United host Chelsea on Sunday in a key battle for the top fourContinue reading...
• Solskjær believes Paul Pogba will remain at club next season
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has stated he will not drop David De Gea for Sunday’s visit of Chelsea despite the Manchester United goalkeeper’s shaky form.
De Gea was at fault for each of Manchester City’s goals in Wednesday’s 2-0 derby defeat at Old Trafford. The Spaniard was also culpable for Lionel Messi’s second in the 3-0 loss at Barcelona in last week’s Champions League loss.Continue reading...
A chance for Shaqiri to shine, City may need to show their dark side and Cardiff can pile pressure on Brighton
Pep Guardiola is not usually short of post-match praise for his players, but he struck a different note after the Manchester derby win. “Tonight we can enjoy it, but tomorrow it’s over, so we have to be focused,” he said. “I know people are going to talk about how beautiful, how handsome we are, but now we have to go to Burnley”. Guardiola is rightly taking nothing for granted even after taking the necessary six points from Spurs and United. Burnley were one of six teams to take points off City last season and have routinely posed problems for the top six this term. It is to City’s advantage that they have been winning ugly for a while. The 6-0 thrashing of Chelsea in February was perhaps the last time City were at full throttle in the league, but the wins have kept coming, drawn out through force of will. Guardiola’s handsome team will need to show their dark side again on Sunday. NMContinue reading...
Of the many telling facts, stats and scalding-hot takes to emerge from Wednesday night’s Manchester derby – a game that felt as if two clubs were passing briefly on airport travelators, waving curtly as they rolled off in opposite directions – perhaps the most poignant was the touch map of Alexis Sánchez.Continue reading...
While Ole Gunnar Solskjær tries to reconjure old values, City are breaking free from their past with the title a step closer
In prospect, six weeks ago, in that golden age when Manchester United didn’t have a permanent manager, the derby looked like being the biggest obstacle between Manchester City and retaining the league title. History, perhaps, will continue to view it as such: it is a derby, it is United; how could it not have been a night of furious passions and impossible tension? And yet in the moment, once the initial United surge was over – there was, at least, some sort of reaction to Sunday’s humiliation at Everton – the overwhelming sense was of how vast the gulf between the sides has become.
That is 11 league wins in a row now for City, a run of absurd consistency. United battled, at least until going behind, but as Roy Keane pointed out that should be a prerequisite. The presence of a bit of fight, though, served only to highlight the difference in quality, a disparity highlighted by the way United set out with three central defenders shielded by three deep-lying midfielders – and nobody accused Ole Gunnar Solskjær of needless ideological negativity; breaking the game up was just the best way of trying to get something out of the game.Continue reading...
Who ate well? Who left it late? Who won on goal difference?
Which player was mentioned by name in Kevin Keegan’s infamous "I would love it" rant during the 1995-96 run-in?
Which club has won the Premier League on goal difference?
Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Anfield in 2014 is often remembered for Steven Gerrard’s slip. Which player made his league debut for Chelsea in that game and was named man of the match (in the Guardian, at least)?
Manchester United won the first Premier League title in 1993. Who came second?
Arsenal did not lose any of their 38 league matches in the 2003-04 season. How many did they win?
Manchester City won the title in 2012 thanks to a 3-2 victory over QPR on the final day. When did Edin Dzeko and Sergio Agüero score their goals?
The 87th minute and 89th minute
The 90th minute and 93rd minute
The 92nd minute and 94th minute
The 95th minute and 98th minute
What food did Claudio Ranieri promise his Leicester players if they kept clean sheets during their run to the title in 2016?
Fish and chips
Manchester United pipped Chelsea to the title by two points in the 2007-08 season. Which player made the most league appearances for United that season?
Edwin van der Sar
Arsenal beat Everton 4-0 in May 1998 to clinch the title. Which player (who went on to become a Premier League manager) opened the scoring with an own goal?
Which club won the title even though they lost their last two games of the season?
1 and above.
2 and above.
3 and above.
Not familiar with the title race. Do you support Spurs?
5 and above.
Not familiar with the title race. Do you support Spurs?
4 and above.
Not familiar with the title race. Do you support Spurs?
6 and above.
That's an impressive score.
7 and above.
You made top four but didn't win the title
8 and above.
You made top four but didn't win the title
9 and above.
Close but you just missed out on goal difference
0 and above.
10 and above.
You are the title winner of this quizContinue reading...
• United midfielder makes players’ XI
• City have six players in team and Liverpool four
Title chasing Manchester City and Liverpool dominated the The Professional Footballers’ Association’s team of the year when it was announced on Thursday but there was a surprise inclusion for Paul Pogba.Continue reading...
Manchester United’s derby performance was that off a club cranking out the same jangly playlist while locked in a time warp as the present ebbs away
Not even close. Not even close to being close. If there is an accurate measure of Manchester City’s domestic dominance over the past two seasons, and more specifically that combined 50-point lead over the creaky 1990s tribute act from across the way, it is perhaps the sight of Old Trafford at the final whistle of this room-temperature 2-0 derby victory.
As the home crowd filed out in added time you could see the bones of this ground open up, its clanky iron clavicles exposed to the air. The only noise came from the sky blue corner where City’s fans sang “this city is ours” and – a little prematurely: the bigger test of Burnley away is yet to come – a few late rounds of “Campeones”.Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær: 'I need to see who is willing to make sacrifices for Manchester United' – video
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said his side did not have enough quality in Manchester United's 2-0 derby defeat to Manchester City.
The loss for United may prove to be damaging in their hopes to finish in the top four, as they remain in sixth place with three matches left to play.Continue reading...
• Guardiola: ‘We still have a job to do’
Pep Guardiola has called on his Manchester City players to finish the season with three more victories after watching them win 2-0 against Manchester United to move into a position of strength at the top of the Premier League table.
City are now a point ahead of Liverpool with three games to go after second-half goals from Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sané extended United’s run to seven defeats from their last nine games, their worst sequence of results since 1962.Continue reading...
David de GeaContinue reading...
Every season there is always one game in the title race when the team who are going to win the Premier League know it is going to be their year. One game when everything turns in their favour, all the hard work comes together and the supporters can think it is going to be a season to cherish.
For Manchester City, was this that night? It certainly felt that way even if they still have to negotiate a tricky assignment at Burnley on Sunday before closing their season with a home game against Leicester and a trip to Brighton. City have made it 11 league wins in a row and if they can extend that sequence to 14 there will be nothing Liverpool, in second place, can do about it. No wonder there was such jubilation at the final whistle from the players in blue.Continue reading...
- Premier League updates from the 8pm BST kick-off
- Do read: Marina Hyde on football and its pathetic omertas
- And you can email Paul or tweet him here
Hello. They’ve been playing Manchester derbies since 1881, the year Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson first met and Pat Garrett killed Billy the Kid. And there has never been a United-City duel in a context exactly like today’s. The 178th showdown between the clubs is assured of at least mention in each clubs’ history books no matter how it unfolds. Some shade of glory beckons for both, but deep regret, even ignominy, also lurks. This match has immediate importance to each team’s season and is a bellwether game for what could happen beyond that. And Liverpool are watching in the role of helpless bystanders hoping that United, their fiercest rivals, will do them a favour in spite of themselves. But what if the twist in this season’s title race is that there is no twist? And City just keep on winning.
Pep Guardiola’s men haven’t dropped a point in the Premier League since late January and there’s little to suggest they’re about to slip up now, especially not against a United side who have been in wretched form, with Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at Everton not so much humiliating as contemptible. Everything suggests the gulf between the neighbours is growing. But this is a derby. This is at Old Trafford. City are not perfect and United do have some quality and, presumably, some pride.Continue reading...
The British are celebrated for their ability to laugh at themselves. Which is good – because we’re not celebrated for much else at the moment. But even our talent for self-mockery is being strained. The cause is understandable: Westminster’s incompetence is so farcical it should be funny. But it’s not. We’re in danger of becoming a nation of dour, po-faced haters (and self-haters). So thank the lord for Manchester City fans. And as a Man United fan I never thought I’d hear myself say that.
In these dark days it is the blue half of Manchester that is showing the rest of the country it is still possible to not take yourself too seriously. City learned the hard way. They endured 35 years of pain – not winning a single trophy while United swept up everything in front of them. And in that time they learned the invaluable lesson – it’s best to poke fun at yourself before others get the chance.Continue reading...