What the papers say
- Club’s vice-chairman says existing competitions are the focus
- Woodward denies that Project Big Picture was a ‘power grab’
The Manchester United executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, has signalled the club would not take part in any mooted European breakaway league, saying that competition changes after 2024 must be “complementary to thriving domestic leagues”.Continue reading...
The irresistible bloom of this wonderful, maddening footballer fired PSG towards an emphatic victory at Old Trafford
Oh, Ole. As the second half kicked off at Old Trafford on Wednesday there were three possible outcomes confronting Ole Gunnar Solskjær as he surveyed his midfield. First, Fred would be sent off almost immediately for a second yellow card. Second, Fred would be sent off almost immediately for a straight red card. And third, Fred would be sent off a bit later for any combination of the above.
There was something oddly admirable in Solskjær’s ability to defy this, to stare down the fates. But it didn’t help his team very much, in a game where his abrasive midfield and fast-breaking attack had briefly threatened to overwhelm Paris Saint‑Germain.Continue reading...
- ‘We spoke about staying calm and on your feet,’ manager says
- Thomas Tuchel ‘surprised’ Fred was not sent off for headbutt
Ole Gunnar Solskjær admitted he considered substituting Fred before the Brazilian was sent off in Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat against Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford which leaves their Champions League qualification hopes hanging in the balance.
Before a second yellow card on 70 minutes, the manager stated Fred had been lucky to stay on when, after 24 minutes, he appeared to headbutt Leandro Paredes. On the VAR’s instruction the referee, Daniel Orsato, studied the pitch-side monitor and issued only a first yellow card.Continue reading...
Here is David Hytner’s match report!
Harry Maguire speaks: “A disappointing night, football’s a game of fine margins. We had the better chances, their goals were scrappy goals bu they’ve stuck it in the back of the net. We came away with nothing but I feel like we deserved something. You’ve got to be clinical, take your chances and not give them soft goals but they haven’t opened us up with their talent. We’ve got to pick ourselves up, it’s still in our control to go into the knock-out stages.”
So, for United it comes down to this:
A win or draw at RB Leipzig next week: fine, they go through.
Krai Chatamra writes: “This defeat is all on Ole. Why did Fred stay on beyond half time? Being unaware that two goals differential would mean that PSG would top the group! Very naïve management.”
He probably did know about the goal difference, and I’m not actually sure the group-topping thing matters much, but can’t argue with the sentiment on Fred.
PSG had the first 20 minutes and the last 25, and that’s how they won the game. United were better in that middle phase and played some *lovely* stuff early in the second half. Martial should have scored, Cavani chipped against the bar, and if one of those go in it’s all so different. But PSG have quality everywhere – they made it tell through goals from Marquinhos and then Neymar. Inbetween times, Fred was – slightly harshly on the basis of that one incident, but not before time in reality – sent off for United.
What a game that was – utterly breathless at times. United now need a point in Leipzig.
90+3 min: That means PSG will overtake United on head-to-head and top the group, although United’s battle is with Leipzig now really.
No mistakes this time from the Parisian attack. It’s another counter, fluidly worked to Rafinha, who draw De Gea and rolls it across to Neymar for a cool finish from close in. Neymar had started that move with a brilliant run and pass. He’s come good tonight.
90 min: Gueye does come on for Diallo, and meanwhile Ighalo is on for Wan Bissaka in United’s last throw of the dice. Four added minutes here ...
89 min: It’s well delivered by Telles but PSG deal with it and .... counter like lightning. Mbappe runs 80 whole yards and goes one-on-one with De Gea, he’s surely going to wrap this up. But, incredibly, he slides it wide!
88 min: Angel di Maria was all set to join the gaggle of returning heroes but Tuchel appears to have changed his mind and we may soon see Idrissa Gueye. Meanwhile, corner to United ...
86 min: United are really giving it a go now; they are camped in PSG’s half, the away side perhaps all too aware of how precious this win would be.
84 min: They come close-ish now, Navas clasping a reaction header from Fernandes after Maguire had volleyed across from beyond the back post.
82 min: United attack again but Van de Beek, perhaps not up to the pace yet, fouls Herrera. Even with 10, I would not discount United yet.
80 min: Wow, what an effort from Pogba! Maguire heads a free-kick across and Pogba, watching it all the way, spears a vicious volley towards goal from 25 yards. It is inches over; Navas was grasping at air.
79 min: Herrera strikes one from 20 yards but it’s high. PSG now introduce Kehrer for Florenzi and Rafinha for Verratti. Here, too, are Van de Beek and Greenwood for Martial and Cavani – who was so close to that fairytale reunion.
76 min: This has been just as eventful, edgy and entertaining a game as the neutral could have hoped for.
74 min: It gets worse. Now Rashford walks straight down the tunnel, I think with a recurrence of his shoulder issue. Pogba is on to replace him. They need a goal or it’s a sticky night in Leipzig.
73 min: That’s all ... errrm ... unravelled a bit for United. They’d had such a good first 20 minutes of the half and should have been ahead. But Tuchel changed PSG’s formation, they got themselves in with a sniff or two ... and now it has all gone wrong for the home side.
The Marquinhos goal was, incidentally, checked at length by VAR but it correctly ruled Cavani – I think – had played him on.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Ole, why did you keep him on? Fred gets a second yellow immediately, for clipping Herrera. His first touch gets away from him and, although he does eventually get a toe on the ball, he’s adjudged to have got too much of the man. That’s harsh really, I’m not sure what he did wrong – but he didn’t really have a lot of margin for error after that first half, we have to say.
The resulting corner is cleared to the edge of the box, Herrera drills it back in, Diallo sticks out a foot and dabs it across ... and Marquinhos squeezes it past De Gea from two yards!
68 min: Fine save from De Gea! The substitute Bakker finds space on the left of the box, found after good play by Neymar, and he goes for the slide-rule finish ... but De Gea gets a fingertip on it and sends it wide! And then ...
67 min: Rashford beats Navas to a through ball but is going well away from goal and the situation ends with a ballooned Fernandes cross.
66 min: A double PSG change just now – Bakker and the returning United old boy Herrera on for the heavily-involved Paredes and the quiet Kean. They move to a back three, presumably to quell some of the danger from those counters.
64 min: United are managing to roast PSG on the break *while* controlling the game. Never saw this coming in those early minutes. It’s a PSG corner now though, and although United half-clear the danger stays alive. Florenzi chips across from the left byline and Marquinhos, close in but leaning backwards, loops a header behind off the top of the bar!
62 min: Paredes intervenes with a well-timed and very necessary challenge on Rashford, who had weaved deep into the PSG box. There is a real edge and urgency to this game.
60 min: PSG are again unhappy as Martial caught Marquinhos, who needs some treatment, with an arm. It was clearly unintentional though.
59 min: Verratti is booked for fouling Martial. This is so much better from United. Much more ambition and intent, and some genuinely dazzling football on the break.
57 min: Cavani hits the bar! Another sensational United counter, begun by a quite startlingly astute dummy from Fernandes deep in his own half. Cavani is sent clear and chips Navas delicately from 20 yards ... but it rebounds off the woodwork! The rebound finds its way to Martial, but his drive is blocked. That was quite exquisite stuff, all bar the finer details of the finish!
56 min: PSG haven’t really offered much in this half. United have had the better moments so far, and the bigger miss.
@NickAmes82 Do United need to win tonight to get the job done? A draw would mean better head to head against PSG. Guaranteed to finish above them.
Just to reiterate for anyone coming in late, a draw *is* all United need.
54 min: Fred lets fly from range and it’s deflected wide. This game is looking very open and PSG are leaving gaps. They don’t leak anything from Telles’s corner, though.
51 min: That, though, was what United will hope for plenty of in this half. The chance came from Neymar’s side, the United right and PSG’s left, and he is showing his usual levels of interest in covering back.
49 min: Huge miss from Martial! United break beautifully, Cavani slipping Rashford in. Rashford then lays it across and it’s on a plate for Martial 10 yards out ... but, perhaps put off by the run from a covering defender if we are being really generous, he skies an absolute sitter!
48 min: PSG spend the early minutes of the half pushing, without stringing anything of real note together.
47 min: Interesting from Robert Lin, who says – “The referee also made a technical mistake in the Fred incident. Once he checks the VAR, he has to make a decision either red card or nothing, there is no middle ground in the rulebook, he is not allowed to just give yellow. Fred is a very lucky man.”
I promised you a second half, and a second half we now have.
Just seen that package of Fred's first half @NickAmes82 - looks like Manchester United have found a successor to Paul Scholes at last.
He’s still out there for the second half.
We have a second half coming your way very soon – and it should be a belter. United will be very, very keen to get this done tonight. Needing a result in Leipzig wouldn’t be the best.
“Zinedine Zidane should see if VAR can get his red rescinded from the World Cup final,” suggests Niall Mullen.
Haha, indeed. For those not watching: it was not in that league, but the decision only to wield a yellow was pretty inexplicable.
“Solskjaer needs to take off Fred, who is only a mild provocation away from a red card now,” writes Justin Kavanagh, and I’d probably agree. Matic or, if he’s feeling bold, Van de Beek are both on the bench. Fred and Paredes have been needling ever since the incident and both are on tightropes.
An eventful half. PSG scored early through Neymar and looked in the mood to run away with it. Then Fred was, rather incredibly, only booked after a VAR monitor check for a headbutt on Paredes, and that seemed to perk United up. Rashford was behind an own goal from Danilo, and both sides have had moments since. PSG, and Neymar, complain vociferously as they go in, but level it is.
45 min: Fernandes is played in from deep behind the PSG defence and you’d beg him to smash it first-time ... but he tries to delicately lay it forward to Cavani and gets it all wrong.
44 min: Neymar is rolling around in apparent agony after McTominay, who’d tackled him fairly, accidentally trod on his ankle as he recovered balance. He’ll be fine.
43 min: Fred springs Rashford away down the right and the forward seeks out Cavani, but his cross is stopped at source.
41 min: Another searching Florenzi cross is too far in front of Mbappe. Will PSG go all-out in the second half?
40 min: Neymar plays a free-kick to Mbappe, but he can’t skin Wan Bissaka and fires a speculative low cross that De Gea holds.
38 min: Fred and Paredes, those two old buddies, contest a shuddering challenge in midfield. Paredes goes down and Orsato has a card out ... but the PSG man is booked. He was probably the later into that one but Fred is walking a tightrope now. He shouldn’t be on the pitch as it is.
35 min: PSG respond with a couple of corners. Their level had dropped for 10 minutes and they were punished. More of what they began with and they’d probably still back themselves, but United currently have the point they need.
But they do score! Martial makes a purposeful run and shoots low from inside the ‘D’, Navas parrying away to his left. But it’s worked back to Rashford, who cross-shoots from 20 yards at an angle on the right. Danilo sticks out a foot and inadvertently jabs it inside Navas’s near post!
31 min: PSG’s early vim and fluidity has certainly died down a little. United are getting among them much more quickly, without really looking like scoring themselves.
29 min: United have had the wind in their sails since Fred’s non-dismissal, but Florenzi blocks a Telles cross. Fernandes is starting to get on the ball a little.
27 min: Paredes made a meal of the earlier incident, no doubt. But look, Fred has to go I’m afraid.
26 min: United win a corner. Fred going to lash one top bins here? No, McTominay does get on the end of it but nods straight at Navas.
24 min: Well! Replays showed Fred clearly pushed his head into Paredes, and if you remember Nicolas Pepe’s red card for Arsenal at Leeds it was a clearer red card than that one. But the referee, Daniele Orsato, runs back from looking at the monitor and only books him! That is bizarre, I must say. United and Fred have got away with one there, a red card seemed inevitable as soon as Orsato went over to check and as soon as we saw replays.
22 min: Some handbags! Or worse? Paredes has gone down in a heap after what may have been a head movement from Fred, and neither set of players looks happy at all. We have a VAR check ...
19 min: United are at least seeing more of the ball now, at least until Telles needlessly fouls the backtracking Mbappe when chasing a deep cross from their right.
17 min: Mbappe just overcooks a lay-off that would have put Kean through on goal, after a rapier break led by him and Neymar. Then De Gea grabs onto an acrobatic Neymar volley from the edge of the box. PSG look so threatening.
16 min: Just before the goal, Patrick Treacy wrote in. “I see a tough result here for United. Martial won’t offer much protection down his side – puts a lot on Fred and McTominay who’ll have a lot of precise work to get through.”
Meanwhile United get their first real look at goal, Navas gathering a pea roller from Rashford.
14 min: A teasing Florenzi delivery from the right only narrowly evades a stretching Neymar.
13 min: At the moment the best policy for United is probably the one they set out with – to counter at speed when they win the ball. No point leaving more gaps at this stage of the game, and the difference between a 1-0 and 2-0 defeat is actually *huge* here given head-to-head rules.
11 min: They almost do get another, Florenzi hammering an effort across from angle after Fred concedes possession. A diving De Gea paws it away. PSG are in total control so far.
9 min: As things stand, United lead the group from both PSG and Leipzig on head to head (they won 2-1 in Paris so scored an extra away goal; they hammered Leipzig at home), but it’s mightily tight and PSG will sense there are more goals in this for them.
It’s not overly surprising given the flow of the first six minutes. Moments after Rashford squanders a decent position on the break, the ball is worked to Mbappe and he lets fly from 20 yards. It deflects off a defender and spins to the right of the six-yard box, and a razor-sharp Neymar has anticipated it perfectly. He’s first to it and arrows a finish across De Gea.
5 min: PSG with most of the early possession here and a fair dollop of intent, too. The counter will be key for United here, I sense. The visitors win the game’s first corner, swung in by a healthier-seeming Neymar from the left, but McTominay heads away. There are appeals from PSG for some sort of handball, but they aren’t getting anything.
3 min: Neymar has had a couple of early runs and seems to have taken a clattering of his own. He’s hobbling and wincing after appearing to take a knock on the knee – but he continues.
1 min: Verratti takes an early knock from a full-blooded challenge by Fred. He’s up though. Shaping up for a feisty contest.
PSG, in white shirts with a nifty red stripe, kick off and shoot from right to left.
And now the teams are out on the pitch – kick-off is imminent!
PSG are top of Ligue 1 by a couple of points but were held 2-2 at home by Bordeaux at the weekend – Moise Kean, who didn’t have much fun at Old Trafford last season but starts tonight – scored in that game.
Focusing purely on Old Trafford in a moment but in perfect fodder for multi-taskers, Scott Murray is bringing you Sevilla v Chelsea.
Incredible – RB Leipzig have won that game 4-3 deep into added time, through Alexander Sorloth. This group remains on a knife-edge!
Wow, it is now Basaksehir 3-3 Leipzig – you look away for one moment and the Turkish side score *twice*. Kahveci has scored a hat-trick for them – and Leipzig will kick themselves as they were 2-0 and 3-1 up. This would be a boost to both United and, especially, PSG.
I have a treat for you. Guardian *legends* Daniel Harris and Rob Smyth have started a weekly Manchester United podcast, “United Rewind”, looking back at classic United matches. They’ve kicked it off with the Norwich game from the 1992/93 title chase – all information here. Needless to say, it will be top-notch.
RB Leipzig are winning 3-1 at Basaksehir so, if PSG do slip up tonight, they’ll be at severe risk of Europa League football after Christmas. Big showdown against Real Madrid? That top three will look very tight indeed, though, if that result holds and PSG win tonight – they’d all be on nine points.
Neil Carter emails on United: “Feeling relatively relaxed about tonight, we have performed well against them recently and have nothing to fear here tonight if we perform. I understand why Ole would want to start with two defensive midfielders but would have preferred to have seen Donny start instead of McTominay. Fingers crossed!”
Yes, Nemanja Matic drops out and – as Neil says – is replaced by the returning Scott McTominay. Anthony Martial is in with Cavani, while Van de Beek and Mason Greenwood are back on the bench.
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Fred, McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, Martial; Cavani. Subs: Henderson, Bailly, Fosu-Mensah, Williams, James, Lingard, Mata, Matic, Pogba, van de Beek, Greenwood, Ighalo.
PSG: Navas; Florenzi, Kimpembe, Marquinhos, Diallo; Verratti, Danilo, Paredes; Kean, Neymar, Mbappe. Subs: Rico, Letellier, Kehrer, Di Maria, Rafinha, Kurzawa, Herrera, Bakker, Gueye, Dagba, Pembele, Fadiga.
Manchester United are, you could say, on the early stages of a roll. They’ve won four in a row and it’s their best run since the eight-game streak in December 2019/January 2019 that directly coincided with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s arrival at the helm. Ole’s at the wheel and, while there’ve still been a few notable bumps in the road, United feel fairly upwardly-mobile now.
Could Paris Saint-Germain stick a spanner in the works? Well, of course they could, because they’re PSG and if everyone’s at it they can rip you apart. When they’re not, they might as well be a team of strangers. But this looks like being a tough, tense contest: PSG sit three points behind United, who won 2-1 at Parc des Princes in October, and level with RB Leipzig. The German side are facing Istanbul Basaksehir, themselves not out of it, as we speak. United will go through if they get a draw in either of the next two games, but wouldn’t really want to travel to Leipzig next week in need of it.Continue reading...
It was a Champions League thriller that had it all. Drama, red card controversy, chances at both ends, stunning individual interventions. But when the pulse rates had settled, Manchester United were left to consider a defeat that sets up a make-or-break final group tie at RB Leipzig next Tuesday. Paris Saint-Germain, the beaten finalists last season, remain alive and, even better for them, they are in control of their destiny.
It was a game that the French champions ought to have won several times before they did, when Marquinhos finished scruffily from close range for 2-1. Neymar, with his second goal of the tie, would gild the scoreline at the very end.Continue reading...
Among all the memories of Nobby Stiles in the World Cup, European Cup and the old First Division, I recall a match in which Manchester United were playing poorly against Fulham at Craven Cottage in March 1967 and drifting towards defeat, just when they needed at least a point in the League title race.
Nobby was nominally playing alongside Bill Foulkes as a central defender when he decided to sort things out. First he moved into midfield, waking them up, then he moved up front where, in the dying seconds he launched himself at the ball like a heat-seeking missile to somehow bundle it into the back of the Fulham net, to make it an honourable 2-2 draw. After that crucial, morale-boosting point, United went on a relentless run to become League champions.Continue reading...
- ‘Players coming from different cultures should be educated’
- Manager to decide if Cavani is ready to face his former club PSG
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has stated players “from different cultures” should receive education regarding racial issues after the Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani wrote “gracias negrito” on Instagram following Sunday’s win at Southampton.
The manager confirmed the Football Association had written to the Uruguayan for his observations regarding an incident for which Cavani apologised on Monday. The previous day he deleted the post, which was a response to a follower’s congratulations for scoring twice in the 3-2 victory.Continue reading...
- Striker insists he meant no offence and is backed by club
- Cavani could still be hit with FA ban despite deleting post
Edinson Cavani has “sincerely apologised” for using the word “negrito” in a social media post following Manchester United’s 3-2 win at Southampton on Sunday, stating it was an affectionate greeting to a friend. The club have also moved to support the 33-year-old Uruguayan.
Cavani may face a three-match ban if the Football Association deems the word to be discriminatory or racist, with the governing body scrutinising the incident.Continue reading...
Mikel Arteta does not seem to have a plan of attack, Everton’s defence must improve and Jürgen Klopp should pick his battles
Mikel Arteta has been the Arsenal manager for just under a year, and though some things have improved under him – attitude, intensity, FA Cup tally – it’s still not clear what the plan is, especially going forward. And while it’s important to emphasise how much Thomas Partey is being missed, the feeling persists that it really doesn’t have to be like this. When Arteta was appointed, he was gifted half a season of minimal expectations, meaning he could experiment in order to find the personnel and formation best able to execute his ideals. But though he did brilliantly to win a trophy, he settled on very little, so his current position is not dissimilar to the one in which he began – except now, he’s under pressure. Maybe it is time to give Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock extended runs because really, how much worse – and more tedious – could things get? Daniel HarrisContinue reading...
- FA to look into Instagram story post which uses ‘negrito’ term
- Cavani will face minimum three-game ban if found guilty
Edinson Cavani, the Manchester United striker, could face a three-game ban if the Football Association deems that he used discriminatory or racist language in an Instagram story shared from his account on Sunday evening.
The FA has confirmed it is investigating the post, which was published shortly after United’s 3-2 win over Southampton, in which Cavani scored two goals after coming on as a half-time substitute.Continue reading...
- Manager praises Uruguayan after winner at Southampton
- ‘Cavani is very hard to defend against,’ says Hassenhüttl
Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes Edinson Cavani is giving Manchester United’s attack a dimension they have lacked since the departure of Romelu Lukaku in 2019. Cavani came on at half-time against Southampton with United 2-0 down and inspired them to a 3-2 victory with two goals and an assist. And afterwards Solskjær hailed the impact and professionalism of the 33-year-old Uruguayan signed on deadline day from Paris Saint-Germain.
“He’s got all the attributes of a top-class footballer and a human being,” said Solskjær. “He’s had a great career and scored goals wherever he’s been. He’s so meticulous with his preparation, with his recovery. And to have that focal point in the box: we haven’t really had that since Romelu left.”Continue reading...
Eyebrows were raised when the 33-year-old striker joined Manchester United but he turned the game at Southampton
Manchester United continue to divide opinion, not least between the two managers prowling the technical areas at St Mary’s. Ole Gunnar Solskjær had rather optimistically posited before the game that his side were becoming more consistent. Ralph Hasenhüttl, speaking from a position higher in the table than his opponents, offered the view that with United at the moment you simply don’t know what you are going to get.Continue reading...
The early signs, it has to be said, were not auspicious. As the whistle blew at the start of the second half, Manchester United’s substitute was still at the side of the pitch, fiddling with his bootlaces. On the game went, with Edinson Cavani still on his haunches adjusting his footwear. And with United 2-0 down against a bold and well-organised Southampton side, this little vignette felt like a microcosm of United’s afternoon: a ragged, expensive shambles.
A little over 45 minutes later, Cavani was back on the edge of the pitch, only this time with his fists clenched in celebration and mobbed by jubilant teammates. United were 3-2 up in injury time, and Cavani’s two goals and an assist had turned the game, sending United back into the top half of the table. So what happened? How did United manage to pull yet another crucial away win out of the fire?Continue reading...
- Minute-by-minute updates from St Mary’s, kick-off 2pm GMT
- Bruno Fernandes mentality powering United’s rise, says Solskjær
- Feel free to email Rob with your thoughts
36 min “Are we absolutely sure the kit isn’t grey?” says Richard Hirst.
Ha. They actually started really well, though they’ve been a mess since going behind.
35 min That was a mistake from de Gea, a woolly save from Djenepo’s long-range shot that almost gave Armstrong a tap-in. Armstrong tried to control it on the chest but the ball ran out of play. In fairness to de Gea, he’s struggling with his left leg and may have to come off. His knee thumped into the post when he tried to save Ward-Prowse’s free-kick.
It was an excellent free-kick from Ward-Prowse, clipped over the wall towards the near post. David de Gea flew to his right and got a good hand on the ball, but he couldn’t keep it out. At first I thought it might be a mistake from de Gea; on reflection I don’t think so. Ward-Prowse put it right in the corner, and if anything de Gea did well to get a touch on it.
He’s done it again!
32 min Djenepo is fouled this far outside the area by Fred. It’s a fair way to the left of centre, but still within shooting range for Ward-Prowse.
30 min: McCarthy makes a great save from Fernandes! How did that stay out? It started when McCarthy played a dreadful pass, straight to Greenwood 30 yards from goal. He ran into the D and blasted a low shot that McCarthy could only push away as far as Fernandes. He seemed certain to score, but McCarthy plunged to his right to make a brilliant save at full stretch.
28 min Djenepo dances past Fernandes and then Telles in the area before cutting the ball back towards the six-yard line. A United defender boots it behind for another corner. Ward-Prowse swings it in and Fernandes clears.
27 min: Walker-Peters hits the post! It’s all happening now. Adams plays a good square pass to find Walker-Peters in space, 25 yards out. He moves into the area and drives a low shot that takes a deflection off Telles and spins onto the outside of the post.
25 min United have conceded the first goal in all their away league games this season. They won the first three; now they need to go to the well again.
24 min Southampton’s injury-time equaliser at Old Trafford in July also came from a wicked Ward-Prowse corner.
Ward-Prowse’s corner was a beauty, curled at pace towards the near post. Bednarek got between Rashford and Telles in the six-yard box and flicked a simple header past de Gea.
And it leads to a goal!
23 min Ward-Prowse’s excellent free-kick is headed behind by Lindelof. Ward-Prowse jogs across to take the corner...
21 min “Hiya Rob,” says Adam Kline-Schoder. “I was lucky enough to see Ajax live pre-exodus a couple years back. De Jong and de Ligt were immense, but Van de Beek was quietly brilliant. He was a true box-to-box midfielder; I remember him both dropping back to receive the ball from Onana inside his own box alongside de Jong, and also making the late run into the opposition box to score. I’m not seeing that same level of dynamism from him at United, which (as a Southampton fan) for today is great, but in the long run is something by which I’m disappointed because he was sublime a few years ago. Do you think that’s a ‘lack of game time and will improve if he’s allowed to settle’ type of thing, or a ‘United’s midfield is a bit suspect so he needs to be more positionally disciplined’ type of thing?”
It’s hard to know at this stage, especially as he has started so few games. It’s probably a bit of both.
19 min Southampton are struggling to get out of their half. It’s been a surprisingly one-sided game so far.
18 min “On the picture at the top of the blog, the Utd strip could almost look grey,” says Richard Hirst. “Or am I just being hopeful?”
I thought that as well, but apparently it’s legacy green and black.
17 min Ward-Prowse has been booked for a foul on van de Beek.
16 min: Fernandes hits the post! This has been a really good start from United. Rashford plays a square pass to find Fernandes, 25 yards from goal. He has a quick touch and then hammers a shot that takes a slight deflection and hits the outside of the post. McCarthy was well beaten.
14 min Fernandes is crumped by Romeu, who is a bit fortunate not to get booked.
12 min United continue to dominate possession. Southampton haven’t really pressed them, which is a little surprising.
10 min “After the non-stop rush of Everton v Leeds,” begins Mary Walsh, “this fixture seems more like checkers at the retirement home.”
9 min I’m glad a penalty wasn’t given for such an innocuous tackle, but I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between that and Andy Robertson’s challenge yesterday.
8 min: VAR check for a Man Utd penalty. It would be soft but it might be given, certainly in view of some recent precedents. Ward-Prowse tried to kick the ball, missed and made slight contact with Rashford, who then went down. Martin Atkinson, the man in charge of VAR, decides it wasn’t a clear and obvious error. No penalty.
7 min: Greenwood misses a great chance! United should be ahead. Telles stabbed a hopeful pass towards the edge of the area, where Vestergaard and McCarthy left the ball for each other. The alert Greenwood nipped in and went smoothly round McCarthy, only to slide the ball into the side netting from a tight angle. By his standards that was a bad miss.
6 min United have had plenty of the ball in the early minutes, though most of it has been in the middle third of the pitch.
5 min See 3 min.
3 min A slow start, nothing to report.
1 min United are playing a midfield diamond, with van de Beek to the left and Fred to the right.
1 min Peep peep! Southampton kick off from left to right.
The players are ready for business. Southampton are in their Peru-style home kit; United are wearing their legacy green (sic) and black away strip.
“Big worry today is conceding free kicks in the Ward-Prowse range,” says Duncan Edwards. “Yes I’m looking at you, Fred.”
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Donny van de Beek starts a Premier League game for the first time, though it’s not entirely clear where he’ll play - United’s formation could be 4-2-3-1 or a diamond. I suspect the latter. Either way Marcus Rashford will be up front in the absence of Anthony Martial, who became ill overnight.
Southampton are unchanged from the team that drew at Wolves on Monday.
Hello. Even when Manchester United were the best team in England, Southampton were awkward opponents. They knocked United out of the FA Cup in 1992 and beat them at the Dell in three consecutive seasons from 1995-98. In the post-Ferguson era, they’ve been even trickier. United have won only six out of 15 games against Southampton in that time, and three of those victories were an affront to the run of play.
This should be a really interesting match. Styles make fights, and Southampton’s high-energy, high-pressing game has given United plenty of problems since Ralph Hasenhuttl took over as manager. But they are without their best player, Danny Ings, so it isn’t the worst time to play Southampton. And it’s at St Mary’s, which suits Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side: they’ve won their last seven away games in the Premier League.Continue reading...
- Manchester United manager: ‘We can all learn from his mindset’
- Solskjær says team are getting their consistency back
Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes Manchester United are getting their consistency back, pointing to their away form and their last three wins, and presumably not dwelling for too long on the horrendous showing in Istanbul earlier this month.
Most supporters still do not know quite what to expect each time United run out, though their record against Sunday’s opponents, Southampton, is quite impressive and a win at St Mary’s would take them to within a point of Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side with a game in hand.Continue reading...
Manchester United face a serious test of their return to form before a key Champions League group match against PSG. Southampton will hope Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side lose focus and allow their seven match unbeaten run to continue. United’s form on the road has been impressive though with three wins from three. Saints may miss Danny Ings’s lethal finishing with Bruno Fernandes in red-hot form. Graham Searles
Sunday 2pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
- Former Manchester United manager pledges up to £2million
- ‘You have to be shocked at the number of people in need of food’
Sir Alex Ferguson has praised the efforts of Marcus Rashford as he teamed up with the Manchester United forward to tackle child food poverty.
Rashford was awarded an MBE for his recent campaigning – which also saw the government twice make a U-turn on providing free school meals during holidays. Now the 23-year-old has said the former United manager Ferguson is set to pledge up to £2million towards the FareShare charity for which Rashford is an ambassador.Continue reading...
- ‘He has that influence and impact on his teammates’
- Manchester United manager hails midfielder’s energy
Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes Bruno Fernandes’s impact on Manchester United is as great as Cristiano Ronaldo’s was during his six years at the club.
Fernandes’s two goals in Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Istanbul Basaksehir took him to nine in 13 games for United this season. Since joining in January Fernandes has been involved in 34 goals in 35 games – scoring 21 of these and making 13 assists - 16 more than any teammate.Continue reading...
- Cyber security agency assisting club after hacking
- United say they are not aware of fan data being affected
The UK’s cybersecurity agency is assisting Manchester United over a cyber attack earlier this month which has left the football club unable to yet fully restore their computer systems. The Premier League club confirmed the hacking on 20 November and said they were not “aware of any breach of personal data associated with our fans and customers”.
As of Thursday night, club staff still did not have access to email, and some other functions were also unavailable. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is now assisting them.Continue reading...
Fernandes and Van de Beek can click, Chelsea v Spurs is a test of title credentials and West Brom upbeat for basement battle
Crystal Palace have never won a match in the top flight when they have played on a Friday but have a great opportunity to bring an end to that statistic at the 13th attempt against struggling Newcastle. The insipid performance against Chelsea last week in which Steve Bruce’s side mustered only one shot on target in a 2-0 home defeat did not go down well with supporters and they will be interested to see how Allan Saint-Maximin responds to criticism from Alan Shearer, who said the Frenchman “hasn’t broken a sweat” since signing his new six-year contract last month. Newcastle haven’t won at Selhurst Park since December 2013, when goals from Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa helped Alan Pardew’s side record a sixth victory in eight games and move up to sixth. In the week that Pardew – whose eight-year deal at Newcastle would have expired in June had he not left suddenly to join Palace in December 2015 – began his new role as technical director at CSKA Sofia, can Bruce end that barren run in south London? EAContinue reading...