What the papers say
• Video clip circulating online shows fan making gesture
• City: ‘Officials from the club are working with police’
Manchester City are investigating after a video clip from the derby defeat by United appeared to show a home supporter aiming racist abuse at Jesse Lingard.Continue reading...
Is there a better attacking player in the country right now than Marcus Rashford? There’s a sentence you wouldn’t have expected to read eight weeks ago.
The answer, to be fair, is probably maybe; or may I introduce you to Sadio Mané, Son Heung-min and Jamie Vardy; or better still – never mind that, just enjoy the show.Continue reading...
Manchester City’s hopes of winning the Premier League title for a record-equalling third time in succession had felt slim at kick-off time but does anybody truly think they can overhaul Liverpool after this?
It was hard enough for the City support to see their team dismantled by their crosstown rivals, Manchester United, during what amounted to a first-half counter-attacking masterclass – led by Marcus Rashford, who was close to unplayable. But a glance at the table at the end of it all showed that City now lagged 14 points behind Liverpool.Continue reading...
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City get the ball rolling for the second half. There have been no half-time changes. There doesn’t appear to be any change in Guardiola’s mood, either, as he’s still bending the fourth official’s ear. A very animated discussion. Let’s hope they can iron out their differences.
Half-time reading. Just to put City’s current plight into proper context.
For the first half hour, that was the best display of counter-attacking by Manchester United since the days of Andrei Kanchelskis. The last 15 minutes or so were all City’s, though, and that’ll give United pause. This is far from over.
45 min +2: Walker cuts one back from the touchline, to the right of goal. Fred slides in and blocks out for a corner. City want a penalty, but Fred’s arm wasn’t in an unnatural position, and neither referee nor VAR is interested. Pep is once again livid.
45 min: De Bruyne crosses from the right. David Silva nearly bundles in at the far post, but can’t hook the ball goalwards, and De Gea was on point anyway.
44 min: City are completely on top. United can’t get out, and after 30 minutes of freewheeling around like they own the place, will now be desperate to hear the half-time whistle. Strange old game.
43 min: David Silva wafts a dismal effort towards the top right. It’s weak, and easy pickings for De Gea.
42 min: City are beginning to ask some questions. They’ve spent 50 percent of the last ten minutes in United’s final third. Lingard knocks Rodri to the ground, and it’s another free kick in a dangerous position.
40 min: Sterling glides in from the left and is clumsily brought down by Wan-Bissaka, just outside the box. De Bruyne takes the free kick, and lofts it uncharacteristically over the bar, never troubling De Gea.
38 min: City carve out their first gilt-edged chance of the match. De Bruyne, just to the right of the D, pitching wedges a delightful cross towards Jesus, who dives to meet it with his head on the penalty spot. He should at least get his header on target, but it sails harmlessly wide left. What a ball by De Bruyne, though, and a reminder that, for all their early sass, United haven’t got the win locked down yet.
36 min: James rolls a cross along the corridor of uncertainty from the right. Had Martial really stretched for that, he’d have poked home. But as it is, the ball sails off out of play on the left. Another huge chance for United, who are ripping City’s back line apart with ease. Will they live to rue all these missed opportunities?
35 min: De Bruyne finds Walker with a lovely sliderule pass down the right wing. Walker fizzes a low cross into the box but there’s nobody in blue taking a chance, and it’s an easy claim for De Gea.
34 min: A bit of space for David Silva, 30 yards from goal. He’s inexplicably allowed to make it to the edge of the box, where he lashes a shot goalwards. Fortunately for United, it’s straight at De Gea.
33 min: Bernardo Silva cuts in from the right and has a dig from the edge of the box. His effort slaps McTominay in the chest. United clear. Sterling comes back at the visitors down the left, but he can’t get past Wan-Bissaka. Frowns on City faces right now.
31 min: On the touchline, Pep Guardiola looks utterly stunned. And no wonder, his team are being ripped to shreds here. United could easily be five or six up! Higher up in the stand, a certain knight of the realm allows a warm smile of satisfaction to play across his face. And the United fans are extremely vocal in their support of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
James and Martial combine at speed down the right. Martial spins on the edge of the area, just to the right of the D, and threads a shot into the bottom right, past the outstretched fingers of Ederson. To repeat: this is no more than United deserve. City need to wake up and quick.
28 min: This is a quite sensational United performance. They look dangerous every time they cross the halfway line. City are a ragged rabble!
27 min: United should be three or four goals up here. James makes good down the right and cuts back for Rashford, who tries to guide a curler into the top right. The ball clips the top of the bar with Ederson beaten all ends up.
25 min: Martial is sent wheeching down the right. He knocks the ball towards Rashford, just inside the box, coming in from the left. Rashford has time to take a touch, but with Ederson off his line, attempts a first-touch curler around the keeper and into the bottom right. His effort is well wide.
24 min: Guardiola has a full and frank exchange of views with the fourth official. Meanwhile, Bernardo Silva tries to repair the damage by dribbling down the right and entering the box. His shot is deflected out for a corner, from which nothing occurs.
Rashford stutters, sends Ederson one way, then passes the ball into the bottom right. This goal had been coming. United deserve their lead.
22 min: Bernardo Silva is also livid at the decision, and talks his way into the book.
21 min: VAR intervenes, and it’s a penalty to United! Pep Guardiola is furious, but that was as clear a penalty as you’ll get. I have no idea why the referee said no in the first place.
20 min: Rashford squeezes between Bernardo Silva and Stones, into the box down the inside left. He goes over. It looks like a penalty, Silva coming across Rashford, sticking out a leg, clipping his knee. But the referee’s not interested!
18 min: Sterling wins a corner for City down the left. Nothing much happens, the ball sent sailing over everyone in the box. I suppose that qualifies as a lull, in the context of what’s gone before. This is non-stop fun.
16 min: City are shipping a large number of good chances. James is sent scampering down the right by Rashford, and pulls back for Martial, who shoots towards the bottom right. Ederson saves well. He’s earned his money today already.
14 min: United spring upfield from the Lindelof incident and nearly break clear. Fernandinho does well to intercept just as it looks like Martial will zip free down the right.
13 min: Bernardo Silva is sprung down the inside right channel and cuts the ball back. There’s a scramble on the spot, Jesus sliding in, and the ball hits Lindelof’s arm. But the referee says it’s accidental, and VAR agrees. It looks like the correct decision, there was little Lindelof could do, the ball kicked up to his arm from close range as he challenged.
11 min: “They will have to break out the oxygen tanks if this pace keeps up,” suggests Mary Waltz. “Electric.” It’s that, all right. City attempt to calm things down a little bit by passing and probing, probing and passing. They shift the ball this way and that, but United hold their shape and stay patient. Eventually the move peters out.
9 min: This match is absurdly entertaining. Rashford slips a ball down the inside left for Lingard, who shoots at Ederson from a tight angle. Ederson kicks away brilliantly in the style popularised by the man between the sticks up the other end.
8 min: Shaw swings a dangerous ball in from the left. Martial manages to handle with both hands in his attempt to chest down and turn on the penalty spot.
7 min: More space for James down the right. His cutback flies behind Rashford and Martial. City counter, Sterling dribbling at great speed down the left and cutting back for David Silva, who squirts a low shot across the face of goal and wide right.
6 min: Space for James out on the right. He chips a fine pass over the City back line in the hope of sending Martial clean through. Walker does exceptionally well to turn on the jets himself and get his body in between Martial and the ball. Danger over.
4 min: David Silva nearly releases Sterling down the inside left. McTominay intercepts sensationally, springing up after sliding to trap, then hooking clear. City want a penalty but the ball hit the midfielder’s chest as he slid.
3 min: City go straight up the other end and nearly score themselves, David Silva shooting from a tight angle on the left. His effort is blocked. This is very open. It certainly doesn’t look like a 0-0 in the making.
2 min: But it’s United who have the first chance of the game, and they probably should have scored. Martial romps into City territory and then Fred slips James free on the right. James is in an absurd amount of space, but shoots straight at Ederson.
1 min: A first touch for Harry Maguire, who having chosen red over blue this summer, gets pantomime pelters. And United struggle to get out of their final third in the opening exchanges, City stringing plenty of passes together as they briskly probe this way and that.
A quick blast of Blue Moon ... and then we’re off! United get the ball rolling. “Call this a sheer gut shot, but I really like United’s chances in this match,” opines Hubert O’Hearn. “From a distance, I admire what Ole’s doing in building a squad with youth and I just think they’ll have a willingness to bleed on the pitch more than City who probably are more focused on Big Cup. I’m calling it 4-2 United. Onwards!”
The teams are out! The greatest thing about derbies? Both sets of teams get to wear the colours that made them famous. You don’t need me to tell you, but just for the sake of completion: City are in sky blue, United in red. In the tunnel beforehand, David de Gea and David Silva enjoyed a nice friendly catch-up. All smiles. So much for the two teams being sworn enemies. A pow-wow that won’t shift the dial on the Roy Keane-o-meter very far. Anyway, there’s a derby-day atmosphere inside the Etihad, and it’ll only get louder when we kick off in a minute.
Pep talks. “They have pace up front. So fast. They have a lot of quality, one against one. We know what they are going to try to do, so we have to try to control it. We will try to be clinical. It is special for our fans, but we have to be focused on what we are trying to do, we cannot be emotional. The battle will be with the players on the pitch, but of course our supporters will make it extra.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks to Sky. “You want as many good players on the pitch as possible, especially when you play a fantastic team like Man City. We know we will have to play our best to have the chance of a result. Luke Shaw is ready. He’s trained really well, and hopefully we will see the best of him. We would like to keep the ball. If you let City have it too much, they can out-football any team, they can football you to death. We will have to be good in our pressing and our defensive shape, but we want to keep the ball as well. We want to attack quickly. We must be confident but also humble. We are playing a fantastic side on their own ground.”
If the Manchester derby wasn’t big enough anyway, on its own merits, Liverpool have just won 3-0 at Bournemouth. The result puts them on 46 points, 11 clear of second-placed Leicester City, who go to midlands rivals Aston Villa tomorrow ... and 14 clear of defending champions Manchester City in third place. City need a result tonight. But then United have their own agenda, and three points would take them into fifth spot, a little closer to the Champions League places after Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat at Everton. Plenty up for grabs.
A festive feel at the Etihad.
Blue Christmas, that’s the way you see it when you’re feeling blue
Blue Xmas, when you’re blue at Christmastime you see right through
All the waste, all the sham, all the haste
And plain old bad taste
City make one change to the team that ran out easy winners at Burnley on Tuesday night. John Stones takes the place of Nicolas Otamendi.
United make two changes to the side who saw off Tottenham Hotspur and Jose Mourinho on Wednesday. Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw replace Mason Greenwood and Ashley Young.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Jose Angelino, De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Sterling.
Subs: Bravo, Gundogan, Mendy, Mahrez, Joao Cancelo, Otamendi, Foden.
Manchester United: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, James, Lingard, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Mata, Andreas Pereira, Young, Romero, Greenwood, Tuanzebe, Williams.
City have had the upper hand in the Manchester derby in recent years, there’s no denying it. They did the double over United in last year’s treble season. They’re on a current streak of three wins in a row at Old Trafford. They’ve recently dished out some memorable pastings: a 3-0, a 4-1, that 6-1. Tough times for United, traditionally the bosses of this rivalry, with 73 wins on the tally to City’s 53.
You’d expect title-chasing City to prevail again this evening. Especially as they’re coming off the back of that fine confidence-restoring performance at Burnley. United by comparison have only won nine of 22 matches in all competitions, and are still struggling for an identity under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.Continue reading...
For a moment all is stillness. Marcus Rashford grinds to a halt. Old Trafford pauses with him. Rashford waits. There’s a wiggle of the toes. And then the explosion.
Rashford’s second goal against Tottenham on Wednesday night was, in many ways, a distillation of everything he does best. As Serge Aurier closed him down on the left flank, Rashford paused for an instant, waiting for his opponent to commit. A twitch of the boot was enough to convince Aurier that Rashford was planning to cut inside. And in that moment, with a conjuror’s cunning, Rashford was away: knocking the ball through Aurier’s legs, sprinting past him, burning around the outside of Moussa Sissoko – himself an exceptionally quick player – and eventually drawing the foul from which he would convert United’s winning penalty.Continue reading...
Manchester City need a victory to ensure Liverpool’s lead is kept to a minimum of 11 points. For Manchester United it is about winning a consecutive league game for the first time since March. Both, of course, want the three points because this is the 179th Manchester derby. Jamie Jackson
Saturday 5.30pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
Liverpool’s stellar form, a weakness in central defence and a group of players who before Tuesday’s 4-1 rout of Burnley lacked an edge are key factors for Manchester City being 11 points behind the Merseyside club. Pep Guardiola rates the midfielder Fernandinho over John Stones or Nicolás Otamendi as first-choice cover for the injured centre-back Aymeric Laporte, illuminating how the failure to acquire an A-list replacement for Vincent Kompany was a serious error. The win at Turf Moor was a reminder of how energy and effervescence from the manager’s pass-and-move play had dipped: given the deficit this has to remain until May.Continue reading...
• Solskjær says Martial should be available but rules out Pogba
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has aimed a dig at Manchester City before Saturday’s derby by stating that at least it now occurs every season, unlike when he was a player.
Solskjær signed as a striker for Manchester United in summer 1996 with City outside of the top flight. They would not gain promotion to it until the 1999-2000 season.Continue reading...
Fred is finding his feet under Solskjær, Maddison and Grealish jostle for England attention and do Everton have a new plan?
Fred has described Fernandinho has his role model in the past but, until recently, it seemed like the only thing the pair had in common was that they both moved from Brazil to Shakhtar Donetsk before arriving in Manchester. Over the last month, however, Fred has finally started showing the quality that persuaded United to spend £52m on him last year. He and Scott McTominay form a midfield partnership of formerly maligned players who have become more than useful. They, along with Marcus Rashford’s refulgent form and the fact that United now relish being underdogs, are reasons why City might not annihilate Saturday’s visitors to the Etihad. Paul Doyle
Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sportContinue reading...
It is the counterintuitive detail that strikes at the heart of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Manchester United rebuild; firing optimism one week, stasis and frustration the next. How can Solskjær’s team play with a freedom of expression against the Premier League’s best, en route to getting encouraging results, but so frequently run into walls against less-fancied opponents?
The manager had a stab at answering the question on Wednesday night, after the stirring 2-1 Old Trafford victory over Tottenham, and it was one of those moments when he caught himself a couple of times before he said too much.Continue reading...
Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjær has praised Marcus Rashford for his performance in the team's win over Tottenham at Old Trafford on Wednesday. United revelled in their 2-1 victory with José Mourinho admitting that the opposition 'were much better than us'Continue reading...
• Ole Gunnar Solskjær praises Rashford’s ‘best performance’
José Mourinho admitted he tried to avoid the “arrogant” Tottenham attitude Dele Alli blamed for their 2-1 defeat at Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Spurs’ first loss under their new head coach came against his former club, with two Marcus Rashford goals securing victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side after Alli’s equaliser.
Afterwards, the England midfielder stated “arrogance” and “overconfidence” cost his team and Mourinho agreed.Continue reading...
This was billed as the Return of José Mourinho but was undoubtedly the Marcus Rashford Show. Here was his finest display for Manchester United, the 22-year-old a blur of menace and inventiveness and registering both goals.
On arrival Mourinho had shaken hands with a security guard and club photographer then hugged a media officer with a warmth missing from the end of his United tenure. Back then he was a sulky figure, sacked last December following a demise signposted by the 3-0 loss to Tottenham on the day of his infamous “respect, respect, respect” tirade.Continue reading...
The sight of Marcus Rashford in smooth and pacy flow – the components of his thrilling technique in sync from first to last – would once have delighted José Mourinho. Not here. Mourinho had wanted to mark his return to Manchester United with a fourth win on the spin with Tottenham; to make his biggest statement yet with his new club.
Instead, Rashford comprehensively upstaged him, scoring both of the goals in a United victory that ought to have been more emphatic, such was their first-half domination, to provide his current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, with a sorely needed tonic.Continue reading...
José Mourinho may have mentioned this once or twice. Actually, there has not been a press briefing during his short time at Tottenham when he has failed to do so. Yes, the manager is starring in an Amazon Prime documentary about the club’s season.
Mourinho was at it again on Tuesday morning, as he previewed Wednesday night’s visit to his former club Manchester United, which, incidentally, will be carried live by Amazon Prime. Turning his head down and towards the inside of his collar and the ever-present mic, he mentioned the US company and had a bit of fun speaking directly to them.Continue reading...
• Paul Pogba ‘still a bit away’ from return, manager says
Solskjær has won only four of 14 league matches this season in United’s worse start since 1988-89. The Norwegian was asked whether, given the removal of Emery by Arsenal, Flores by Watford and Pochettino by Tottenham, he was concerned he could follow.Continue reading...
Chelsea toothless without Tammy Abraham, Everton better than results suggest and clever Jonjo Shelvey helps Liverpool
After a medley of mid-table finishes, could this be the season Crystal Palace return to the top half? They finished 10th four years ago under Alan Pardew and after victory at Burnley are part of a chasing pack on the tails of fifth-placed Tottenham. The win stopped a worrying rot of five games without victory and, with Wilfried Zaha having come to the fore in recent outings, there is plenty for a painfully inconsistent Palace to build on. December looks kind, too, with Bournemouth the visitors to Selhurst Park on Tuesday before matches against Watford, Brighton, Newcastle, West Ham and Southampton. After a quiet start Zaha, who has scored in successive games, is beginning to take centre stage, which is right where Palace need him. “He has been very good in recent games,” Roy Hodgson said. “We are grateful for the three points but now we need to use this feeling going forwards.” Ben FisherContinue reading...
• ‘We need to string good performances together’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær said Manchester United’s league position was not important at the time being after Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa at Old Trafford left his team ninth with 18 points. “I wouldn’t have sat here and talked about us being fifth if we had got that one goal extra, so the league table at this point is not the biggest concern because it is so tight,” he said.
“I just need to make sure we get performances and get three or four performances after each other. What I can say is we have had the lead in so many games and we haven’t been able to win; six or seven times we’ve been 1-0 up, or 2-1 or 3-2. We should be better at seeing those games into wins.”Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær feels Manchester United are at their most dangerous when Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James are all fit enough to play in the same forward line and he might be right, though at the moment it is the back-line that holding his side back.
United spent more than £100m on two members of their present back four in the summer, yet you would never have guessed from their uncertain start.Continue reading...
Clean sheets and winking managers in this week’s roundup of the best top-flight pictures
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