What the papers say

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

What the papers say - Mon, 11/09/2020 - 08:00

Man City and Arsenal need fresh blood in midfield, Ademola Lookman faces a test and Hakim Ziyech is fulfilling his promise

As Liverpool’s front four overran Manchester City’s defence in the opening stages, Pep Guardiola was forced to accept the lack of mobility in key central midfield positions was putting his side at risk. Rodri and Ilkay Gündogan are devoid of pace, something which makes City more vulnerable to the counterattack than most. Additionally, they lack the impetus to instigate attacks from deep positions, leaving transitions to be slower than is required for a team who want to challenge for all major trophies. Guardiola dropped Gündogan alongside Rodri but this failed to quell the wave of Liverpool attacks being thrown at a City defence that is still building an understanding. Guardiola’s centre back pairing might finally be sorted but his next big acquisition needs to be in front of them if he is to ensure City are capable of beating Liverpool in the future. Will Unwin

Match report: Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool

Match report: Arsenal 0-3 Aston Villa

Match report: Everton 1-3 Manchester United

Match report: Leicester 1-0 Wolves

Match report: Chelsea 4-1 Sheffield United

Match report: West Brom 0-1 Tottenham

Match report: Southampton 2-0 Newcastle

Match report: Crystal Palace 4-1 Leeds United

Match report: West Ham 1-0 Fulham

Match report: Brighton 0-0 Burnley

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Categories: What the papers say

Solskjær blames 'absolute joke' schedule for Manchester United injuries

What the papers say - Sat, 11/07/2020 - 15:58
  • Norwegian angry at quick turnaround after midweek loss
  • Shaw, Lindelof and Rashford injured in 3-1 win at Everton

Ole Gunnar Solskjær claimed Manchester United were “set up to fail” against Everton in a furious outburst at the Premier League’s refusal to reschedule the early kick‑off at Goodison Park.

United eased the pressure on their manager with a club record equalling seventh successive Premier League away win, but Solskjær was in no mood to rejoice afterwards. He remained incandescent at the decision to kick‑off at 12.30pm on a Saturday following the Champions League trip to Istanbul on Wednesday, and the refusal of United’s request to switch the game to Sunday before an international break.

Related: Manchester United edge Everton after Fernandes goals lift Solskjær pressure

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Categories: What the papers say

Everton 1-3 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

What the papers say - Sat, 11/07/2020 - 14:55

Bruno Fernandes scored two and set up another as United came from behind to take the pressure off Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

2.55pm GMT

Andy Hunter was at Goodison Park. His verdict is in. Thanks for reading this MBM!

Related: Manchester United edge Everton after Fernandes double and Cavani's clincher

2.53pm GMT

Carlo Ancelotti’s verdict. “After we scored, we were not able to defend well. They scored two goals easily, took advantage and then the game was more difficult. If we could play the first half like we did the second we could have had a different result, but that was not the case. We have to defend better. We were slow at the back. We have to improve. I hope after the international break we will be back in a different shape. I know how to manage the difficulties. This season is not finished yet. This moment is bad, so we have to be focused.”

2.45pm GMT

Since the start of February (when Bruno Fernandes signed) only Liverpool have taken more Premier League points than United. A vindicated Solskjaer speaks to BT Sport ... and he’s fuming. “We were set up to fail. They set up the boys to fail. We been to Turkey Wednesday night, we’re playing Saturday lunchtime kick-off, it’s an absolute shambles. And I cannot praise the boys enough for the character they have shown. Them boys deserve better than being thrown out here to fail today. Authorities set us up to fail. You’ve got Liverpool and City, play on Tuesday, they play Sunday. Who’s responsible? I’ve had enough. We’ve lost Luke Shaw [hamstring] because of that. So set us up on a Sunday, then. It’s a joke. We were brilliant. They deserve all the praise. Well done.”

2.37pm GMT

The man-of-the-match Bruno Fernandes speaks to BT Sport, and is asked who scored United’s second goal. “I don’t care. If Marcus touched it a little bit it can be his goal, it was no problem for me. Most importantly for me as a number 10 is serving my team-mates, as I did in the end for Cavani, I had the chance to shoot and look for the hat-trick but I see him alone. And if Marcus can take the second goal, it is not a problem for me. Everyone needs to be a leader. One who doesn’t talk too much but does the right things. Others need to speak a little bit more, to feel more part of the game. The three points is for everyone, not just one player.”

2.34pm GMT

You’d have been forgiven for fearing the worst for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when Bernard gave Everton the lead. But United’s players came to the rescue of their under-fire manager. Bruno Fernandes orchestrated a fine comeback, and the richly deserved win buys Solskjaer some precious time. It also moves United up to 13th, on ten points, suddenly only six off Southampton’s lead but with a game in hand. Everton meanwhile stay fifth, but they’ve been stuck on 13 points for a while now.

2.29pm GMT

It’s seven Premier League away wins in a row for United, thanks to two goals and an assist from the wonderful Bruno Fernandes. Everton have lost three on the spin, the first time that fate’s befallen Carlo Ancelotti since he was at AC Milan in 2006.

2.27pm GMT

It’s four on two. Fernandes down the middle. He draws Holgate infield, then plays a cute flick towards Cavani on his left. Cavani nearly runs offside, but he’s OK, and slams into the bottom left!

2.26pm GMT

90 min +4: Keane creams long towards Iwobi, just to the right of goal. Iwobi pulls back for Doucoure ... who takes a fresh-air swipe! United break, and ...

2.24pm GMT

90 min +3: Digne clumsily bowls Rashford to the ground. Rashford takes his sweet time to get up.

2.23pm GMT

90 min +2: United head up the other end and go about their business carefully and slowly. The clock ticks on.

2.22pm GMT

90 min +1: Coleman spins Fred gorgeously down the right. He cuts back for Doucoure, who leans back and hoicks high into the stand. He has the good grace to look sheepish.

2.21pm GMT

90 min: There will be four extra minutes.

2.21pm GMT

89 min: Fernandes tries to beat Pickford with the free kick from 35 yards. It’s always heading over ... but it’s always worth testing the erratic Pickford.

2.19pm GMT

88 min: Doucoure is booked for a high-speed whack into McTominay. There’s been a bit of an edge to this match, you know. Slightly surprising it hasn’t spilled over at any point.

2.18pm GMT

87 min: A free kick for United deep in Everton territory. Fernandes tries to surprise everyone with a quick flick, but only slaps the ball straight to Tosun.

2.17pm GMT

85 min: Tosun is booked for a cynical tug on McTominay. The foul allows VAR to take a look at an earlier coming together between Keane and Cavani just inside the Everton box. Turns out everything’s fine. We play on.

2.15pm GMT

84 min: Digne curls to the far post. Maguire rises to bash a header clear. The ball’s returned. Fernandes and Doucoure scrap and tug away at each other, but it’s a fair 50-50 tussle and Everton don’t get the penalty they ambitiously claim for.

2.14pm GMT

83 min: Coleman goes on another blistering run, this time down the right, and is taken out by a combination of Fred and McTominay. Fred goes in the book. Free kick, just to the right of the United box.

2.12pm GMT

82 min: United make a double change. On come Pogba and Cavani, in place of Mata and Martial.

2.11pm GMT

80 min: Everton ping it around, pushing United back. No way through, though. Rodriguez earns another corner down the left. It’s his last act of the afternoon; he’s replaced by Tosun. Nothing comes of his corner.

2.09pm GMT

78 min: Calvert-Lewin breezes down the left. He’s got no support, so does extremely well to win a corner on his own off Maguire. Nothing comes of the set piece, though. Everton need something.

2.07pm GMT

76 min: Iwobi earns a corner off Tuanzebe down the right. Rodriguez takes one, then another. Bernard has a whack from distance. Nope. De Gea still hasn’t had any serious work to do in this second half.

2.06pm GMT

74 min: Mata tries to thread a shot into the bottom right from 25 yards. Ambitious. Everton go up the other end, Iwobi crossing from the right. Maguire heads clear under pressure from Calvert-Lewin. That’s superb defending.

2.04pm GMT

72 min: He’s also a superb footballer, and gently wedges a ball down the middle that nearly releases Rashford. Pickford comes out to smother, then berates his team-mates for their poor decision-making, an admirable display of chutzpah.

2.03pm GMT

71 min: Fernandes slides in on Allan, catching both ball and foot. The referee’s not interested this time, but Fernandes is pressure-testing his luck. He’s fired up.

2.00pm GMT

69 min: It’s all gone a bit scrappy in the wake of the substitutions.

1.58pm GMT

67 min: A disappointed Shaw makes way for Tuanzebe.

1.57pm GMT

66 min: Sigurdsson, who has been very poor today, is replaced by Iwobi.

1.56pm GMT

65 min: Corner for United down the left. Coleman clears Fernandes’s cross before it reaches Pickford, who was preparing to squirt it with his funny flower.

1.55pm GMT

63 min: Now Everton want a penalty as Maguire scythes through Digne. But the flag had gone up for an offside earlier in the move, and Maguire got a toe to the ball before cleaning out his man. No penalty. A few rash decisions being made at the moment, in more ways than one.

1.54pm GMT

61 min: No penalty! That is preposterous. Maguire was clattered by two separate challenges. Everton ... specifically Pickford ... gets away with a couple of outrageous plays. Penny for the thoughts of Virgil van Dijk.

1.52pm GMT

60 min: Fernandes loops the free kick to the left-hand post. Pickford reprises his cock-up that set up Divock Origi in the Merseyside derby a couple of seasons ago. He drops the high ball, teeing up Maguire, who can only knee over the bar from a tight angle. But Maguire is then kicked by both Keane and Pickford. VAR to check.

1.50pm GMT

59 min: Fernandes threatens to spin away from Sigurdsson so is shoved to the ground by the Everton man. A free kick just right of centre, 35 yards out. Fernandes’s eyes light up.

1.49pm GMT

57 min: Coleman bustles with purpose down the middle of the park, the sort of dribble Rodriguez would be proud of. He enters the box, space opening up for a shot, but he can’t sort his feet out, hesitates, and eventually falls over. For a second, a wonder strike from a very unexpected source was on the cards. Shame.

1.46pm GMT

55 min: Everton have seen much more of the ball since the restart. They’ve yet to seriously warm De Gea’s hands, however.

1.44pm GMT

53 min: Calvert-Lewin clips a cross in from the left. Rodriguez attempts a bicycle kick, but his scheme is scuppered by Maguire, who has read the danger well and comes in to clear.

1.43pm GMT

51 min: Fernandes is booked for a late clip on Sigurdsson. He effs, jeffs and gesticulates, and really needs to watch himself. It’s not the first time this afternoon he’s nearly talked himself into bother.

1.41pm GMT

49 min: Sigurdsson’s set-piece delivery, not for the first time today, is appalling. United clear easily. In the dugout, Duncan Ferguson fumes in a manner that should worry the Icelandic midfielder.

1.39pm GMT

48 min: A long Everton hoof. Calvert-Lewin is the only man up, and he does sensationally well to win an aerial duel with Lindelof, spin him, then run down the left and draw a foul from Wan-Bissaka. Free kick to the left of the box.

1.38pm GMT

47 min: Everton appear to have upped the intensity. All players with hair freshly blow-dried by Carlo Ancelotti.

1.37pm GMT

46 min: Within 15 seconds of the restart, Sigurdsson rolls a ball across the face of the United box for Doucoure. Shaw very bravely blocks the shot.

1.36pm GMT

Everton get the second half underway. No changes.

1.29pm GMT

United’s second goal, then. It’s been awarded to Bruno Fernandes. Rashford didn’t get a touch on it.

1.22pm GMT

United responded wonderfully to falling behind. If you’ve heard people questioning whether the players are four-square behind their manager, well, there’s your answer. Everton by contrast played a half of two halves: very good, then very poor. A puzzle for Ancelotti to solve during the break.

1.20pm GMT

45 min +4: Allan is booked for a petulant lunge into the back of Fred.

1.20pm GMT

45 min +3: Digne might not be the only Evertonian culpable for the turnaround. Paul Fitzgerald has been looking back at the second goal: “It shows Allan completely unconcerned about Rashford strolling into the box ahead of him.”

1.18pm GMT

45 min +2: Shaw flicks purposefully clear. The ball’s returned by Digne but Rodriguez is caught offside. Everton have done absolutely nothing since Digne opted to shoot instead of setting up Calvert-Lewin at 1-0.

1.17pm GMT

45 min +1: Fred slides into Calvert-Lewin, out on the right. A free kick and a chance for Everton to line up on the edge of the United box.

1.16pm GMT

45 min: Martial is back up. There will be four added minutes.

1.15pm GMT

44 min: Fernandes is back up and about ... but now Martial is down, Keane’s knee accidentally catching him under the chin as the pair flailed around in the air.

1.14pm GMT

43 min: To be fair, though, Fernandes took a whack in the first challenge with Coleman, and he’s down getting treatment.

1.13pm GMT

41 min: Fernandes is bundled to the ground by Coleman. A minute later, he repays with interest. He should probably go into the book for a late tackle ... or for then demanding the referee book Coleman. But it’s just a stern talking-to.

1.10pm GMT

39 min: Everton have completely misplaced their mojo. #MEGA

1.08pm GMT

37 min: Martial is flagged an inch or two offside as he races down the middle. The correct decision but Everton were playing with fire there. United look dangerous every time they go forward.

1.07pm GMT

36 min: What a response by United to falling behind, though. Everton by contrast are losing their cool, Allan clattering into Martial and risking the ire of the referee.

1.06pm GMT

34 min: Holgate is booked for an agricultural lunge on Martial. Meanwhile, replays of the second goal aren’t conclusive, but ... it could be Fernandes’s goal, you know. Rashford certainly strained to head the cross, but did he make contact? If he did, it was the lightest of touches. Neither player seemed 100 percent sure as they celebrated ... but they celebrated as if it didn’t matter either way.

1.04pm GMT

Another lovely United goal. Fred finds Rashford in the middle with a lovely right-to-left diagonal pass. Rashford slips wide left to Fernandes, who chips delicately back into the centre. Rashford eyebrows it towards the bottom right, off the post, and in!

1.02pm GMT

31 min: Fernandes is brought down by Keane, 35 yards out. United load the box. Everton sit deep. Fernandes opts to blooter straight through the thicket of players. Any slight touch and it’s deceiving Pickford, but somehow the ball gets through without deviation, and it’s an easy gather for the keeper.

1.01pm GMT

29 min: Bernard skips past Wan-Bissaka, who has been uncharacteristically lax so far this afternoon. He reaches the edge of the box, where his shot is blocked. It’s good end-to-end fun, this.

1.00pm GMT

28 min: Bernard’s cute reverse pass down the left releases Digne. He enters the box, with Calvert-Lewin in the middle, waiting for the invitation to tap home from six yards. But Digne decides to take the shot on himself, going for the top-left corner. He gives it a good thump, but the ball bangs the left-hand post and out for a goal kick. Calvert-Lewin is furious. Digne pretends not to see him.

12.58pm GMT

27 min: It’s easily cleared, and suddenly United are flooding forward on the counter en masse! Mata scampers down the left, with time to weigh up his cross. But he sends it straight into the arms of Pickford, with Martial and Fred waiting in acres of space.

12.57pm GMT

26 min: Everton respond through Coleman, skittering down the right. He’s upended by Shaw. Free kick. This is basically a corner.

12.56pm GMT

This is a brilliant goal. United move up a gear and pick up the pace. Some nice triangles down the inside-left channel. Suddenly Mata slips the ball wide for Shaw, who sends in a stunning cross. He finds Fernandes, ten yards out. Fernandes plants a glorious header into the top right, giving Pickford absolutely no chance!

12.54pm GMT

24 min: Rashford drives in from the left and reaches the edge of the box, before opening his body and attempting a curler into the bottom right. It’s always sailing wide, but it was a nice purposeful run.

12.53pm GMT

22 min: WORLD KNOWS UNITED WINNING. #MAGA

12.52pm GMT

21 min: In the stand, Ed Woodward frowns, a dark cartoon scribble forming above his head. Not happy.

12.51pm GMT

Solskjaer isn’t smiling now. Pickford hits long. Calvert-Lewin flicks on, beating Lindelof in the air with ease. Bernard picks up possession, cuts inside past Wan-Bissaka, and threads a shot into the bottom left. Too easy. Lindelof, Wan-Bissaka and De Gea should all have done better.

12.49pm GMT

18 min: Lindelof plays a suicidal backpass that nearly lets Doucoure in. De Gea is off his line quicksmart to blooter clear. Lindelof makes a theatrical show of apologising to his keeper once the danger has passed. De Gea doesn’t seem too pleased.

12.48pm GMT

17 min: Buoyed by that chance, United come again, Fernandes seeing another shot blocked. The rebound falls to Rashford, who slices over the bar.

12.47pm GMT

16 min: United should be leading. Rashford’s corner from the left is half-cleared by Holgate. Fred returns it down the inside-left channel ... and Martial is free! He fires a low shot across Pickford and inches wide of the right-hand post. Everyone was expecting the net to billow.

12.46pm GMT

15 min: Fernandes shoots from distance. The ball twangs off Sigurdsson’s back, and this will be United’s first corner of the match.

12.45pm GMT

14 min: United move it around the middle of the park, but at glacial pace. Everton are once more quite content to sit back and wait.

12.44pm GMT

12 min: After a reasonable start, United are struggling to retain possession. Solskjaer nevertheless seems to be enjoying himself on the touchline. A broad smile as he laughs and jokes with his staff. Perhaps he’s just spotted that toolkit with his aeroplane.

12.41pm GMT

10 min: Everton are starting to stroke it around nicely. Rodriguez splits the United back line in half with a cute backheel down the right. Coleman dinks it into the middle but there’s nobody there. That was a very pretty move, shame about its end.

12.39pm GMT

9 min: Sigurdsson’s delivery is dismal, failing to beat the first man. Penny for Calvert-Lewin’s thoughts.

12.39pm GMT

8 min: Digne drops a shoulder down the left and wins the first corner of the match off Wan-Bissaka.

12.38pm GMT

6 min: Rodriguez sends Bernard scampering down the left. Bernard cuts inside and curls towards Calvert-Lewin, who flicks a header towards the top right. It’s just over the bar. De Gea was momentarily worried that the ball was looping into the corner, but he breathes again.

12.36pm GMT

5 min: Shaw crosses from the left. The ball pings off Rashford’s back and out for a throw. Everton seem perfectly happy to sit back and let United come onto them, having spotted how things have been panning out at Old Trafford this season.

12.35pm GMT

4 min: And now some careful probing by United, though they don’t really get anywhere. Everyone easing themselves into this match.

12.32pm GMT

2 min: Both sides take a turn to ping the ball around in fast and confident fashion. Early statements of intent.

12.31pm GMT

And we’re off! United get the ball rolling ... but only after the players take a knee of solidarity, love and equality. Black lives matter. There’s no room for racism.

12.30pm GMT

The teams are out! Everton in blue, Manchester United in red, Ed Woodward in the stand with that usual glazed look. A moment to remember the fallen. The Last Post. The referee pierces the silence with his whistle. We’ll be off in a minute, and the excitement is palpable, as amply illustrated by Neil Carter: “It’s Saturday and my beloved Manchester United are playing. Hello darkness my old friend. Sigh.”

12.26pm GMT

As one of Liverpool’s most famous sons once sang ... ♫ ♬ ♩ ♪ Above us only sky ♫ ♬ ♩ ♪ Imagine a world in which that really was the case. Because just look at the swivel-eyed tin-foil-hattery floating through the air over Goodison Park earlier this afternoon! Imagine using your own money to pay for this.

12.16pm GMT

Carlo Ancelotti’s turn. “It was a good week because we recovered a lot of players from injury. I think we have a better team today. It is a difficult game but also a great opportunity to come back to win as we did during the first period of the season. We have to defend better against United, they are a strong team with a lot of quality up front.”

12.07pm GMT

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks to BT Sport. “Every day when you’re at Manchester United you need to deliver, because you’re in the best position, you’ve got the best possible shirt over your head, and you must go out and enjoy it. That’s how I felt when I played, that’s how I feel now when I lead them out, so I just want them to express their talents. I want a confident team working together. Our diamond worked quite well against Leipzig, didn’t it, so you don’t have to delve too far back to find good results. Every game lives its own life, and the first goal is massive, so hopefully today we can start bright. That first goal against Istanbul is ... [laughs sheepishly] ... I don’t know what to say about that one because it’s one of the worst goals I’ve conceded as a manager, and when you make personal mistakes, it just costs you.”

11.57am GMT

Carlo Ancelotti has a lovely word or two for Marcus Rashford in his programme notes. Rashford was welcomed with a message on the big screen from the Everton Fans’ Forum which read: “Thank you for sticking up for our kids who needed a voice, here on Merseyside and across the country.” That’s been echoed by the manager, who writes ...

I heard our supporters are saying thank you to Marcus Rashford for his incredible effort to ensure no child in this country is hungry. I say congratulations too. In football we have a privileged position where people hear our voices. Marcus is using his platform to make a meaningful and lasting change and doing his work with maturity and dignity.

11.37am GMT

Carlo Ancelotti has made six changes to the Everton side beaten at Newcastle. Jordan Pickford, Seamus Coleman, Lucas Digne, Mason Holgate, Bernard and James Rodriguez replace Robin Olsen, Niels Nkounkou, Yerry Mina, Jonjoe Kenny, Fabian Delph and Andre Gomes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer make just one change from the Manchester United side that lost to Arsenal last Sunday. Paul Pogba drops to the bench, Juan Mata taking his place.

11.32am GMT

Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Holgate, Keane, Digne, Doucoure, Allan, Sigurdsson, Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Bernard.
Subs: Mina, Tosun, Iwobi, Andre Gomes, Godfrey, Davies, Olsen.

Manchester United: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, Mata, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Pogba, Cavani, James, Henderson, Matic, van de Beek, Tuanzebe.

3.36pm GMT

Everton’s fast start to the season seems a distant memory already. They won their first seven games in all competitions, and in some style too, but since then it’s been slim pickings: just one point from the last nine available. They could do with some good news as they look to snap that run, and here’s some: James Rodriguez should be back from injury.

Here’s some more: they face Manchester United this lunchtime. United aren’t in a good place right now. They were eased aside by Arsenal last weekend, conceded one of the daftest goals in the entire history of association football in Istanbul on Wednesday, and are stuck at the wrong end of the Premier League table. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under serious pressure; another bad performance today would plunge him into all sorts of bother.

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Manchester United edge Everton after Fernandes goals lift Solskjær pressure

What the papers say - Sat, 11/07/2020 - 14:48

“Our boys were set up to fail.” An invaluable victory could not dilute Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s anger over the early kick-off time that followed Manchester United’s midweek trip to Istanbul but the defiance on display at Everton should placate him. His boys could not and, did not, fail him here.

There was undoubted pressure on the United manager following defeats against Arsenal and Basaksehir but neither renewed scrutiny, an intensive workload nor the blow of falling behind derailed his team against Carlo Ancelotti’s faltering side.

Related: Everton 1-3 Manchester United: Premier League – live!

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Manchester food banks urge Premier League clubs to pay staff real living wage

What the papers say - Sat, 11/07/2020 - 10:47

Cleaners and caterers at City and United are ‘struggling to put food on the table’

Cleaners and caterers at Manchester’s Premier League football clubs are “struggling to put food on the table”, the city’s food banks have warned.

Manchester food banks have written to executives at City and United urging them to pay their staff the real living wage of £9.30 an hour.

Related: Burberry partners with Marcus Rashford to fund youth centres

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær says Manchester United will not fold 'like house of cards'

What the papers say - Fri, 11/06/2020 - 16:08
  • Manager under scrutiny after Arsenal and Basaksehir reverses
  • ‘I became a man here and learned to deal with good and bad’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has struck a defiant note by insisting he will stay mentally strong and not collapse “like a house of cards” following Manchester United’s defeats to Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir.

The manager’s position is under scrutiny following the defeats with Wednesday’s 2-1 reverse to the Turkish champions of particular concern given the slipshod defending that preceded both goals.

Related: Manchester United risk more drift if they stick with Ole Gunnar Solskjær | Jonathan Liew

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Everton v Manchester United: match preview

What the papers say - Fri, 11/06/2020 - 14:58

Nineteen months on from what was, at that point, the nadir of his Old Trafford reign Ole Gunnar Solskjær returns to Goodison Park still under pressure and with questions surrounding the commitment of the same core of players who folded in that 4-0 defeat to Marco Silva’s Everton. So much for change or improvement. Two poor away defeats in succession – both without Richarlison, who remains suspended – demonstrated that Everton, like United, flatter to deceive. Both managers require a reaction urgently. Andy Hunter

Saturday 12.30pm BT Sport 1

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

What the papers say - Fri, 11/06/2020 - 00:01

Keane is setting an example for Maguire, Liverpool can expose Manchester City’s vulnerability and will Southampton go top?

The knives are out again for Ole Gunnar Solskjær following Manchester United’s slapdash defeats to Arsenal and Basaksehir. Beating Everton is the only acceptable way to fight back. Solskjær is likely to go with a counterattacking formula that has generally worked well for him, although his job stability could still hinge on Harry Maguire’s ability to subdue Dominic Calvert-Lewin. As Maguire struggles to play his way out of a prolonged wobble, he might do well to seek inspiration from Michael Keane who, Everton’s two recent defeats notwithstanding, has improved hugely this year. One aspect of Keane’s play that has become especially noticeable in silent stadiums is how well he communicates with and guides his teammates. PD

Everton v Manchester United – Saturday, 12.30pm (all times GMT)

Manchester City v Liverpool – Sunday, 4pm

Arsenal v Aston Villa – Sunday, 7.15pm

Chelsea v Sheffield United – Saturday 5.30pm

Southampton v Newcastle – Friday, 8pm

Leicester v Wolves – Sunday, 2pm

West Brom v Tottenham – Sunday, 12pm

West Ham v Fulham – Saturday, 8pm

Brighton v Burnley – Friday, 5.30pm

Crystal Palace v Leeds – Saturday, 3pm

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Manchester United risk more drift if they stick with Ole Gunnar Solskjær | Jonathan Liew

What the papers say - Thu, 11/05/2020 - 21:03

At a club only ever two matches from a crisis, there is a decision to be made over the manager’s future after the latest debacle

For Ole Gunnar Solskjær, perhaps space will be the final frontier. Specifically, the 70 yards of clear space Manchester United left behind them as they trotted forward for a corner in Istanbul that would in vanishingly swift order end up in their own net.

“We forget about the man up top,” Solskjær said by way of explaining how Demba Ba was left with half a football pitch all to himself. When put like that it sounds like a fairly innocuous mistake and maybe in the grand scheme of things it was. Yet the manner of United’s 2-1 defeat by Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday felt emblematic of something deeper: a team desperately out of balance, walking the tightrope between heroism and comedy, often in the same week, occasionally even in the same game.

Related: 'You don't see those goals at this level': Solskjær reflects on defensive disaster

Related: Demba Ba sets up Istanbul Basaksehir's victory in comedy of errors from United

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FA chairman Greg Clarke 'supported push by big clubs' to control TV deals

What the papers say - Thu, 11/05/2020 - 19:32
  • Clarke met them on day he publicly criticised Project Big Picture
  • Premier League chairman told clubs he understood their stance

The Football Association chairman, Greg Clarke, told senior representatives of the Premier League and its big six clubs that he supported the clubs’ efforts to secure greater voting power for TV deals, club sources have told the Guardian.

Clarke is said to have made his supportive remark in the meeting called by the league’s chairman, Gary Hoffman, with Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal on Tuesday 13 October, two days after the leaked “Project Big Picture” plans were published in the Telegraph. The Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Masters, also attended.

Related: Revealed: Greg Clarke's real role in controversial Project Big Picture talks

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Categories: What the papers say

'That's my responsibility': Solskjær shares blame for Basaksehir defeat

What the papers say - Wed, 11/04/2020 - 21:32
  • Manchester United manager rues defensive lapses in Istanbul
  • Solskjær not drawn on suggestions defeats put job at risk

Ole Gunnar Solskjær refused to be drawn on whether his players could cause him to be sacked after Manchester United’s dismal 2-1 defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday night.

While United have six points after three Group H matches, Roy Keane stated following Sunday’s 1-0 defeat by Arsenal in the Premier League that Solskjær’s players may cost the manager his job. This view was put to Solskjær after both Basaksehir goals – from Demba Ba and Edin Visca, in the first half – were the result of slipshod organisation and defending.

Related: Chelsea v Rennes: Champions League – live!

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Categories: What the papers say

Demba Ba sets up Istanbul Basaksehir's victory in comedy of errors from United

What the papers say - Wed, 11/04/2020 - 20:17

Manchester United resembled a rabble for much of a dire display that poses serious questions about where their season is heading. Istanbul Basaksehir are debutants in the Champions League and had not scored or gained a point before taking on Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side.

Yet by the interval two barely credible errors had given Basaksehir the goals that consigned United to their first group defeat. The first was due to sub-schoolboy defending as Demba Ba was left unmarked to run through and score. The second featured Juan Mata being pickpocketed and Edin Visca eventually making the Spaniard pay.

Related: Chelsea v Rennes: Champions League – live!

Related: Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 Manchester United: Champions League – live reaction!

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Categories: What the papers say

Istanbul Basaksehir v Manchester United: Champions League – live!

What the papers say - Wed, 11/04/2020 - 19:06

7.06pm GMT

50 min: Mata plays a clever pass inside to Fernandes on the right. The playmaker steams up the right and cuts a ball back towards the penalty area, but it’s a low one and easily cleared. Given the fine headed goal Martial scored, they could do worse than try to hand a few balls up in the air. I’m sure slightly smaller, younger legs could outjump longer, older ones if you give them the chance.

7.03pm GMT

49 min: Shaw fires a low ball up to Martial, who tries to hold the ball up but loses concentration and watches it squirt through his legs and back to Gunok in the Basaksehir goal. It’s not happening for United. They are at least winning possession back quicker now, with McTominay snapping into tackles like a faithful dog hungry to find his favourite ball.

7.01pm GMT

47 min: Van De Beek swivels in possession and looks up. Nothing on. He knocks it back to Maguire, who wallops it out of play. Oh dear! “Hopefully a mention of the great George Best will change United’s luck,” writes John Hubbard. “My wife and I were on our way through Gatwick on our way out to Ibiza in the early 80s, and saw George Best, thick beard days, sitting alone in the departure lounge, nursing an orange juice (it was morning). Being an even bigger fan of George than me (or I bottled it), my wife approached him and asked for his autograph. Best was happy to oblige, but the only paper she had on her was her holiday novel, The Magus by John Fowler. He signed and was absolutely charming.”

6.59pm GMT

45 min: Peep! Axel Tuanzebe, one of the Manchester United centre-backs who was awol for much of the first half, has been replaced by Scott McTominay. Matic appears to have gone back into central defence.

6.57pm GMT

And yes, that Demba Ba clear run and finish was reminiscent of a moment made famous in song involving Steven Gerrard.

6.55pm GMT

“A picture of Tuanzebe on a milk carton would be appropriate, he’s a totally lost boy out there,” writes Peter Littley. “Would have thought Maguire could do more to support but maybe he’s already child minding for Shaw and Matic. What a sorry performance, this surely can’t be what OGS drew up?” I suspect he will end up using more substitutes than he would have liked with a trip to Goodison just over 60 hours away. I have this in my head now. It’ll do as a half-time musical interlude:

6.51pm GMT

I’ve just seen a replay of the first goal that United conceded. It really is ridiculous. It came after United played a short corner and kept every player in the Basaksehir half, even when they were just keeping possession on the edge of their opponents’ area. They could sell this as a Christmas comedy DVD:

35-year-old Demba Ba scores against Manchester United on a one-man counter-attack...

Yes, this really happened pic.twitter.com/YCDqlFqbyj

6.48pm GMT

A few more for the collection of players spotted while travelling:

@GreggBakowski I was on the same plane to London as Michael Carrick and Vincent Kompany the Monday morning after the Aguerooooo title winner. Kompany was jubilant, signing autographs and posing for photos, Carrick unsurprisingly less so - somewhat grumpily keeping his head down!

After Everton won the FA Cup semi-final at Leeds in 1995, I got a lift back to Lime Street @GreggBakowski. Liverpool had lost at home and McManaman, Fowler and Redknapp were on our train to Euston. I showed Steve my match ticket (£40!) He agreed that it couldn't go on - it did..

6.44pm GMT

Manchester United have not found Europe to be a comfort zone away from their domestic travails. They’ve defended atrociously. That Martial goal will just have lifted the mood a little at half-time, mind. Solskjær still has some tinkering to do, though. Back in a bit.

6.42pm GMT

44 min: I think a more direct approach may suit United. Every time they go forwards in numbers they seem to forget that they have to leave some players back to defend.

6.41pm GMT

Well, this has gotten lively! Shaw cuts inside Rafael and floats a lovely cross right on to Martial’s head. The striker guides his header into the far corner with nonchalant ease. They made scoring look easy, then.

6.39pm GMT

Fernandes does invent something … for Basaksehir. He miscontrols in midfield and the ball pops backwards to Mata, who is on the back foot and is outmuscled by Kahveci. He races up the left wing and pulls a low ball back for Ba, who cleverly steps over the ball and allows Visca to fire home powerfully from the edge of the area. A fine finish.

6.37pm GMT

38 min: Fernandes is at the heart of everything inventive that United are doing. He looks up and wants Martial and Rashford to show for him. With nothing on he throws Bolingli a dummy before crossing to the near post. Martial and Rashford just don’t seem to be anywhere, though.

6.35pm GMT

37 min: Fernandes picks out Mata in the box with a clever dink forwards. The Spaniard lays the ball off to Wan Bissaka, who knocks teh ball out of his feet before dinking a ball nto the box to … nobody. Basaksehir break and United are slow in the defensive transition again. Kahveci shuffles up the left and cuts inside. He’s at the edge of the box and should shoot … but instead plays a weak ball inside and United clear.

6.33pm GMT

35 min: Which is why United will be grateful that Aleksic overhits the cross in, which is deemed to have gone out of play behind the goal before Visca could head it back across goal.

6.31pm GMT

33 min: Visca heads straight at Henderson from 10 yards out after a delicious cross from the left from Bolingoli. Safe hands from Henderson but Wan Bissaka is struggling a little over on the right. Moments later Matic fouls Turuc on the edge of the box when he really didn’t need to. This is a dangerous position for a free-kick.

6.29pm GMT

30 min: Wan Bissaka skidaddles up the right wing and cuts a cross back towards Martial at the back edge of the box. The striker takes a touch and unleashes a fierce shot that Rafael dives into like he’s trying to stop a grenade going off. That’s a brave block and the kind of thing a ninja turtle would do.

6.27pm GMT

29 min: I’ve been trying not to mention the US election.

These matches without the added crowd noise are no fun to watch @GreggBakowski If I wanted to listen to some awful shouting I'd be watching Fox News Election 2020 coverage instead of this. #UCL

6.26pm GMT

27 min: Shaw zooms up the left but fails to back himself when confronted with a defender and loses possession. A moment later Fernandes’s feet sparkle as he spins away from Ozcan on the edge of the box before prodding a ball through towards Rashford that is deflected, allowing Skrtel to clear. This is more promising from United, though.

6.22pm GMT

24 min: The handful of Basaksehir ultras (perhaps hired in?) have quietened down now. It’s understandable why. It’s turning into a scrappy game. Skrtel fouls Martial as he tries to hold the ball up so some midfielders can get up in support. United waste the resulting free-kick.

6.21pm GMT

22 min: Skrtel crunches into a tackle with Shaw. United win a throw-in and immediately give the ball away again. Basaksehir look content to sit back on this lead which is giving Rashford and Martial no room in behind to run into. “At the tail end of 2006 I was queuing to go through passport control in Amsterdam airport when I noticed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer directly behind me with his wife and young kids,” writes Thomas Nolan. “Being a United fan I was really buzzed and I knew I just had to say something - I could see his wife had noticed me looking around and I’m sure she was thinking ‘Oh God not another one - when will we ever be free of these guys?’ At that point Ole had just returned from a terrible run of injuries and had recently scored in a match versus Charlton. I picked my moment and turned around and said ‘It’s great to see you back doing what you do best’. He said Thank you and I left them. For that flight home and for the rest of the weekend I just couldn’t stop smiling and I felt like the happiest kid in the whole wide world - I was 36 at the time.”

6.18pm GMT

20 min: Tuanzebe is booked for pulling back Demba Ba midway in the United half. He’s the last man though Demba Ba was some way from goal and the pass through was on an angle so the booking is understandable. The free-kick is hammered into the United wall.

6.16pm GMT

18 min: Rafael then causes some concern in the United defence with a hoof forwards that Ba gets his head to again. Ozcan and Visca combine on the edge of the box and the ball is worked to Bolingoli, who overhits a cross from the left that Rashford clears after calmly bringing down under pressure in the United box.

6.14pm GMT

16 min: That’s the first goal Basaksehir have scored in the Champions League this season. They will never score an easier one. Ba flicks the ball on towards Turuc but Wan-Bissaka does well to sniff out the danger and clear.

6.13pm GMT

14 min: I’m still trying to get my head around what happened there. Matic was the deepest United player I could see, a good 10 yards inside the Basaksehir half. There may have been another player deeper out of view, but it was a comically high line.

6.11pm GMT

Well, this is ridiculous. United are on the attack, when the ball is plucked off them near the Basaksehir area. A clearance upfield finds Ba, in his own half, ahead of every single Manchester United player. He runs alone to the edge of the box and slips the ball past Henderson. That is defending of which an under-sevens side would be embarrassed.

6.09pm GMT

11 min: A warning for United as Visca hammers a shot just over from 25 yards. United’s defence – and midfield – were just standing off.

6.08pm GMT

10 min: Shaw drags a left-footed daisycutter from the edge of the area a yard wide after some fine triangular passing in midfield that began with Van De Beek spinning away from his marker in a deep position. He looks lively, as he did last week against Leipzig.

6.06pm GMT

8 min: “I was sat in a semi-unconscious state at Charles de Gaulle airport a few years ago, due to massive sleep deprivation (and obviously alcohol), waiting for a connection,” begins Adam Keeling. “I woke from my stupor at one point to see Christian Karembeu walk past me. He first smiled and then laughed before giving me a thumbs-up as he walked off towards baggage claim. I did a doubletake and then passed out again.” Basaksehir have been very wasteful in possession thus far. they’re known for trying to play out from the back but most of the balls forwards so far have been high and ugly.

6.04pm GMT

7 min: Maguire floats in a lovely ball to the backpost, where Fernandes pulls off Bolingoli before trying to Van Basten a volley into the far corner. He doesn’t succeed. The ball flies across goal where no teammate is in support. United are starting to dominate possession now, though, popping the ball around midfield authoritatively.

6.03pm GMT

5 min: Bolingoli does that rarest of things and actually dribbles past Wan Bissaka but he cuts the ball back for Ba when he has a better chance to fire in a low cross himself. Ba’s cross is overhit and drifts out for a goal-kick.

6.01pm GMT

4 min: Basaksehir have a nice spell of possession, patiently playing the ball out from the back. Eventually, Aleksic whips in a cross from the left that United clear comfortably. Fernandes immediately tries to spring a counter-attack with a long ball over the top for Rashford that Epureanu is alert to.

5.58pm GMT

2 min: Matic prods the ball down the inside-left channel, where he tries to skip past Skrtel but the veteran defender gets a toe to the ball and concedes a throw-in.

5.57pm GMT

1 min: Manchester United get us under way. They’re shooting from left to right on my TV.

5.56pm GMT

Right, it’s almost time for kick-off at the Fatih Terim Stadium, where there will be a handful of fans in executive boxes apparently. Some singing is audible. I’m assuming they have the windows open in those boxes. The officials trot out, followed by the two teams. Manchester United are wearing that weird zebra away kit. It might be offensive to the eye but it must be a great help when picking out a teammate. Basaksehir are wearing orange, or maybe it’s vermilion. It’s raining in Instanbul. The ball will fair zip about. Let’s go!

5.51pm GMT

Peter Oh has gotten close to a giant among men: “I was in the Boston, Massachusetts area to see a USA-Netherlands friendly on the eve of the 2002 World Cup. After the game the Netherlands team bus drove by where I stood outside the ground. I waved and I got a wave back from Feyenoord ace Pierre van Hooijdonk.”

Matthew Charlesworth can raise us a former Everton and Wigan striker, though: “I once stood next to Kevin Campbell at a baggage carousel at Manchester Airport (as reported in a minute-by-minute report during the 2002 World Cup).” We weren’t big on pictures 18 years ago.

5.44pm GMT

Ole Gunnar Solskjær speaks: “For some reason we have really performed well in away games and had some good performances at home that haven’t given us a result. [Pogba is on the bench] for game management reasons,” he says. As for why he has started with Henderson, he says it’s because he is a good goalkeeper and he also has an eye on the Everton game on Saturday. “Dean has been great in the games he’s played and Dean deserves his start. If we can win tonight that is a good response from the result at the weekend. We just focus on this performance and if we get three points that’s great. We need to focus because sometimes teams that people don’t know about can be a surprise but not of us because we have analysed these opponents.”

5.42pm GMT

John Barnes is everywhere! “I was checking in at Heathrow one time and noticed John Barnes and his family at another check in desk,” begins Dan Hare. “He was wearing what I can only describe as a horrific reverse pin-stripe white flannel suit, so at least footballers have always had terrible taste. Very sad to see as a Watford boy.”

@GreggBakowski I once saw Paul Ince coming down an escalator at Manchester Airport as I was going up. I immediately took the pose of Pacino in Carlito’s Way. Lucky escape Incey as my fingers weren’t loaded

5.34pm GMT

Basaksehir’s Martin Skrtel speaks: “We try to get as many points as we can. Now is the time to get some points. This is my fifth season (in Turkey) and if we continue to improve we will see more Turkish sides in Europe.” I never said he would have something interesting to say. His centre-back partner tonight is Alexandru Epureanu, 34. They have a combined age of 69. They will have to use all their experience to keep Rashford and Martial at bay.

5.27pm GMT

Here’s a tweet that helps redress the balance:

@GreggBakowski Footballers and transport... crossing Princess Road in Manchester the first car at the red traffic light was a Range Rover driven by Roy Keane. He looked at the lights like they were a traffic version of Andy D'Urso.

@GreggBakowski I saw Philippe Senderos on a flight from Zurich to London City in 2016. It wasn't very exciting, for either of us.

5.24pm GMT

Paul Scholes is critiquing Manchester United’s season so far and has been less than impressed with United’s midfield creativity. “They need to offer more,” he says, seeming particularly unimpressed with the service dished up for Rashford and Martial in recent league games. Owen Hargreaves believes the lineup tonight – in which Matic is the only sitting midfielder – is more suited to unpicking the Basaksehir defence. Van De Beek is a clever player. I think he may stake a claim for a regular starting place this evening.

5.17pm GMT

I will bring you some buildup when coverage properly gets under way but in the meantime your encounters with footballers on transport continues with another former Liverpool player. “I once bumped into Graeme Souness in the departure lounge at Heathrow,” begins Kieran McHugh. “Anyway as I was a bit of a fan - not massive, but I do feel he is seriously underrated as a player – I asked him if I could buy him a drink. He had a sparkling water with a chunk of lime. Myself and my mate had a pint each. There was minimal chat. Two days later we were dipping our toes in the warm waters off Kuta beach, Bali to find out he’d had a triple bypass. I couldn’t help wondering if he might as well of had that pint.”

5.09pm GMT

It would appear only former Liverpool players are spotted in airports: “Evening, Gregg,” writes Ian Copestake. “A few years ago I emerged from the innards of Manchester Airport to find myself walking alongside John Barnes. I didn’t ask for a selfie, or an autograph, or say anything because walking alongside him made me feel like we were teammates.”

Excellent, Ian. Though I can’t help but feel that you missed a trick by not shouting: “Come on lads. Let’s get into these!” while doing so.

5.07pm GMT

Footballers spotted on transport. This is a good one:

@GreggBakowski I sat behind Bruce Grobbelaar on the first ever transatlantic flight from Leeds Bradford Airport into NY, circa 2008.

5.00pm GMT

Istanbul Basaksehir: Gunok, Da Silva, Skrtel, Epureanu, Bolingoli Mbombo, Aleksic, Kahveci, Visca, Ozcan, Turuc, Ba. Subs: Babacan, Topal, Kivanc, Giuliano, Gulbrandsen, Ponck, Kaplan, Karakus.

Man Utd: Henderson, Wan Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Van de Beek, Bruno Fernandes, Mata, Martial, Rashford. Subs: De Gea, Lindelof, Pogba, Cavani, Greenwood, Fred, James, Fosu-Mensah, Ighalo, Williams, McTominay, Mengi.

4.48pm GMT

If you want a bit more background information about Manchester United’s opponents this evening, who were only founded in 1990 (yes, Rafael is the same age as the club he plays for!) and don’t have many fans (not that that matters much at the moment), then this piece written by Nick Ames in 2018 is a good starting point.

Related: Few fans and little history but Basaksehir are challenging Turkey’s big three | Nick Ames

4.38pm GMT

That picture of Mason Greenwood getting comfortable on the flight to Istanbul has got me thinking of which footballers you have seen while travelling somewhere? I once said hello to Thierry Henry on a train to Liverpool before a match at Anfield and this Knowledge says he once used the train to travel to the stadium for his New York Red Bulls debut. I imagine he has a Hornby train set at home somewhere. Edgar Davids being spotted buying a train ticket for Scunthorpe away when he was at Crystal Palace is a fine example too.

1.41pm GMT

Hello! Manchester United’s form in the Premier League might well be ropey but in the Champions League they have been picture perfect, taking away a 2-1 win from last season’s runners-up, PSG, and then thumping Leipzig 5-0 at Old Trafford. Good in Europe but inconsistent domestically? They’re turning into Rafa Benítez’s Liverpool! Put down your phone. Don’t send that angry tweet. I’m only kidding. They face the bottom-placed side in Group H this evening. Turkish champions Istanbul Basaksehir have lost to both Leipzig and PSG in their opening games and they too have struggled domestically – they’re currently seventh after seven games.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær will likely rotate with a huge match against Everton – who have no such European distraction – kicking off just 64 hours after this one ends. Debate always tends to rage around Paul Pogba and whether he will ever find consistency, but he probably won’t start this evening, with Donny van de Beek likely to get the nod in a changed midfield from the one that created so little in the 1-0 defeat by Arsenal.

Related: Greenwood expected to return to England squad after Ings ruled out

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Categories: What the papers say

Greenwood expected to return to England squad after Ings ruled out

What the papers say - Wed, 11/04/2020 - 15:00
  • Greenwood and Foden in line for recalls from Southgate
  • Ings faces four to six weeks out with knee injury

Mason Greenwood is expected to return to the England squad on Thursday after Gareth Southgate faced up to the loss of Danny Ings, who has been ruled out for four to six weeks with a knee injury.

Greenwood and Phil Foden were left out of last month’s internationals after they invited two women into England’s hotel in Iceland in September and were sent home. Foden’s selection for a triple-header against the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland that starts on 12 November had been anticipated and Greenwood’s involvement looks more likely in the absence of Ings.

Related: Manchester United's Emily Ramsey: 'We’re all about hunger and talent'

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Categories: What the papers say

Harry Maguire says social media criticism of performances has no effect

What the papers say - Tue, 11/03/2020 - 16:19
  • Manchester United captain says he does not ‘go on or read it’
  • Maguire’s performances have come under scrutiny this season

Harry Maguire has claimed he is oblivious to criticism on social media, with Manchester United’s captain stating he does not “go on it or read it”.

Scrutiny of Maguire’s performances has increased this season after he was found guilty in a Greek court of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and attempted bribery, charges he denies. The 27-year-old, who is appealing against his conviction, has been part of a backline that has struggled, particularly at Old Trafford.

Related: David Squires on … Trump and the USA's relationship with English football

Related: Ryan Giggs stands aside as Wales manager for three games after arrest

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Solskjær unhappy with performance after Arsenal's Old Trafford win

What the papers say - Sun, 11/01/2020 - 20:30
  • Manchester United manager denies team have a home problem
  • Paul Pogba acknowledges poor challenge that led to penalty

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has denied Manchester United’s terrible home form is due to a mental barrier after Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford made it three defeats and one draw from their four Premier League games there this season.

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær fails to solve Manchester United's prickly problem

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

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Categories: What the papers say

Ole Gunnar Solskjær fails to solve Manchester United's prickly problem | Jonathan Wilson

What the papers say - Sun, 11/01/2020 - 19:37

Defeat by Arsenal offers further evidence United excel only when playing on the break under one-dimensional Solskjær

Last time Manchester United started a league season this badly at home, they finished 18th. Football has changed a lot since 1973 and nobody is suggesting they might face a relegation scrap this season but even as the warm glow of Wednesday’s 5-0 win over RB Leipzig lingers, domestic expectations are perhaps being recalibrated. United are already nine points off the top.

The obvious question, perhaps, is how United could have been so good on Wednesday and yet so poor both against Chelsea last weekend and against Arsenal here. The answer perhaps lies in Isaiah Berlin’s division of the world into the foxes who know many things and the hedgehogs who know one thing. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s United, clearly, are hedgehogs. There is one thing at which they excel: sitting deep, letting teams come at them, and hitting them on the break.

Related: Aubameyang on the spot to give Arsenal elusive victory at Manchester United

Related: Solskjær unhappy with performance after Arsenal's Old Trafford win

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Categories: What the papers say

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

What the papers say - Sun, 11/01/2020 - 18:44

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second-half penalty gave an aggressive Arsenal a deserved victory at Old Trafford - their first in the league since 2006

9.36pm GMT

Jonathan Wilson on OGS’ issues.

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær fails to solve Manchester United's prickly problem

9.35pm GMT

OGS is not happy.

Related: Solskjær unhappy with performance after Arsenal's Old Trafford win

6.44pm GMT

That’s all for today’s blog. I’ll leave you with Jamie Jackson’s match report - goodnight.

Related: Aubameyang on the spot to give Arsenal elusive victory at Manchester United

6.38pm GMT

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang speaks “It’s a very big win. It’s been a very tough night but I’m really happy because the team did very well. It’s been a long time since we won here so it’s a great night. [Did you feel like you were in control of the game?] Yes, definitely. We spoke about it at half-time – we knew we had to score and we did. Mikel is bringing something very nice and everyone wants to follow his way. It was good to win tonight.”

6.29pm GMT

“Putting Pogba in this team is like playing cards and swapping a Jack or a Queen card for a 4 or a 5,” says Stuart Lambert. “Why play a worse hand? He gives away the ball more than any midfielder. He gives away penalties because he’s bad at tackling. He doesn’t track back. He barely gets forward. I have never understood and will never understand the ludicrous hype. He is an average player that we.are playing ahead of VDB.”

I’d argue there is hardly anyone in the world with the same combination of strength and skill, but he doesn’t have the necessary bronca or concentration to be a top player - never mind a top, top one. He’s 27 now and it’s clearly not going to happen. The problem is that nobody will buy him, and there is this peculiar received wisdom that he has to be a regular starter. He should be a squad player, not least because he responds far better to the stick than the carrot. Although he was decent against Leipzig, I can’t really fathom why he is playing against of van de Beek.

6.26pm GMT

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second-half penalty settled the match. It was a nightmare for the hapless Paul Pogba, who needlessly fouled Hector Bellerin. United were poor - Arsenal’s hyper-aggressive start caught them on the hop, and they never really recovered. But Arsenal were terrific, especially their new signings Thomas Partey and Gabriel.

Let’s not get carried away about Partey. After all, he’s got only three strengths: winning the ball, carrying it and passing it. I’m not sure there’s a better midfielder of his type in the world.

6.23pm GMT

Peep peep! For the first time in 5,159 days, Arsenal win a Premier League match at Old Trafford! It’s a famous scoreline for them on this ground. And while this won’t be quite as famous as the wins of 1990, 1998 and 2002, it’s a big landmark for an emerging team. Not least because the victory was thoroughly deserved.

6.21pm GMT

90+3 min A tame long-range shot from Matic is comfortably held by Leno.

6.20pm GMT

90+1 min Rashford runs at Gabriel and wins a corner. He takes it himself but it’s a poor one; Nketiah heads clear at the near post.

6.19pm GMT

90+1 min Four minutes of added time. This would be a huge win for Arsenal.

6.18pm GMT

90 min Rashford is fouled by Maitland-Niles 40 yards from goal. Shaw wafts the free-kick into the area and Mustafi heads clear.

6.17pm GMT

89 min Arsenal have parked the bus now. They’ve earned the right to do so, in fairness.

6.15pm GMT

87 min And now Shkodran Mustafi has come on for Aubameyang, who is booked for taking too long to leave the field.

6.15pm GMT

86 min Ainsley Maitland-Niles comes on for Arsenal to replace Willian.

6.14pm GMT

85 min: Elneny hits his own post! He didn’t know much about it. The influential van de Beek got round the back on the right and hammered a first-time cross towards the near post, where Elneny stuck out a leg and deflected the ball onto the near post. In fact replays show the ball hit Elneny and then Leno on the side of the head before deflecting onto the post.

6.13pm GMT

84 min Matic plays a neat one-two with van de Beek in the area, and Gabriel comes across to make a vital last-ditch challenge.

6.11pm GMT

82 min Arsenal are sitting deeper now but they still look very comfortable defensively. They’ve been excellent today, with and especially without the ball.

6.10pm GMT

81 min “By my maths 75% of all penalties against United have been conceded by Pogba,” says Rajiv. “Regardless of attacking intent even defensively swapping van de Beek for Pogba was a safer option.”

I think Pogba is the single biggest problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer; I don’t understand what he is supposed to bring to the team. But blaming him for 75 per cent of the penalties conceded throughout Manchester United’s history is a bit much.

6.08pm GMT

79 min That Maguire header hit Tierney on the back. Nothing to see here.

6.07pm GMT

79 min Rashford’s long-range shot hits his teammate McTominay and flies over the bar.

6.07pm GMT

78 min Maguire appeals unsuccessfully for a penalty when his header hits an Arsenal player. It looked like there might be have been an upstretched arm, though we haven’t seen a replay yet.

6.06pm GMT

77 min “As a neutral observer of this fixture,” begins Matt Dony, “I never imagined I’d be longing for the halcyon days of John O’Shea.”

6.05pm GMT

76 min Eddie Nketiah replaces Lacazette, who has worked extremely hard up front.

6.04pm GMT

75 min “I’m sure this point has been made previously but unless you build the team, tactics and personnel around Paul Pogba, there’s very little point in selecting him,” says Stephen Carr.

6.03pm GMT

75 min A double change for United: Edinson Cavani and Donny van de Beek replaces Mason Greenwood and... Bruno Fernandes. That’s more than a little surprising, especially as Pogba is still on the pitch.

6.03pm GMT

74 min Gabriel, who has already been booked, fouls Greenwood near the byline. That could easily have been a second yellow card, probably should have been.

6.00pm GMT

72 min Arsenal’s last league victory at Old Trafford was in September 2006, though they did win here in that FA Cup quarter-final in 2015.

6.00pm GMT

71 min Greenwood is booked for a lunging tackle on Lacazette. He won the ball but was penalised for his follow through.

5.59pm GMT

71 min “United look like they’re feeling a bit sorry for themselves, for all that we’ve lifted it a bit this half,” says Christopher Faherty. “Can’t score the kind of goal we want to score, ie. a break into space against an undermanned defence. This isn’t a problem we’re going to stop facing anytime soon.”

Having van de Beek and Fernandes on the pitch at the same time might help.

5.58pm GMT

70 min It was such a needless penalty to give away. Bellerin came on the blindside of Pogba, who kicked his foot and knocked him over.

5.57pm GMT

Aubameyang scores emphatically! He sent de Gea the wrong way and slapped the ball into the bottom right corner.

5.56pm GMT

68 min: Penalty to Arsenal! A stupid tackle from Pogba on Bellerin has been rightly penalised by Mike Dean.

5.55pm GMT

67 min “Lacazette’s USP - if not goals - is receiving the ball, holding it, turning, laying it off and running into the danger area,” says Charles Antaki. “In this game he’s not really managing the first, so the others are moot. Time for a change?”

Quite possibly. I’m sure Nketiah will come on if it stays like this.

5.54pm GMT

65 min A fine challenge from Gabriel on Pogba sets Arsenal on the counter-attack. Eventually Tierney hammers a cross that is punched away by de Gea. It reaches Elneny, who slaps a shot over the from 22 yards.

5.50pm GMT

62 min Nothing much to report in the last few minutes. United are making the first change, with Nemanja Matic replacing Fred in midfield.

5.47pm GMT

58 min A fierce long-range drive from Partey is well held above his head by de Gea. That’s Arsenal’s first shot on target I think.

5.44pm GMT

55 min Bellerin shoves over Pogba, who has been more influential since half-time. The free-kick is 25 yards out on the left wing. Shaw swings it deep towards Maguire, who plants a header back across goal and just wide. I’m not sure whether he was going for goal or trying to put it back into a dangerous area.

5.42pm GMT

53 min Pogba beats Partey with a nice piece of skill on the left and hammers a cross that is headed away by Holding at the near post.

5.41pm GMT

52 min: Chance for Arsenal! Fred dithers in midfield, which allows Lacazette to pick up a loose ball and run at a backpedalling defence. He plays a short pass into the D for Aubameyang, who opens his body and sweeps a trademark shot just wide of the far post.

5.38pm GMT

50 min “If I have a complaint against Ole it’s that he waits too long to make a change,” says Ben Walls. “When you wrote he’d make a change at half time I bet money he wouldn’t.”

He has at least made a tactical change, and United have been much better at the start of the second half. But I agree with you that substitutions aren’t his strong point.

5.37pm GMT

48 min Tierney misjudges a crossfield pass, which allows Greenwood to collect and move into the area from the right. He can’t find an angle for the shot and eventually tees up Wan-Bissaka, whose cross-shot deflects over the bar.

5.36pm GMT

48 min United have switched to a 4-2-3-1: Pogba left, Greenwood right, Fernandes behind Rashford.

5.35pm GMT

47 min “Deaths where dementia was a factor rose by 175% in women over 85 between 2002 and 2015, and 250% for men,” adds Jake Noble. “It’s partly due to the increase in diagnosis rates for dementia, and partly due to the increased numbers of people reaching old age.”

5.35pm GMT

47 min “I’m no expert, but I read somewhere that as the old killers are becoming less prevalent (from mining or from asbestos working for example) and therapies work better on diabetes, cancer and stroke, people live long enough for diseases like dementia to get a grip,” says Gary Naylor. “Public health stats are always rather tricky to interpret, I understand, from people much cleverer than me.”

5.34pm GMT

46 min Peep peep! United begin the second half, with no changes on either side.

5.30pm GMT

“Are you watching the same match as the Sky commentators?” says Martin Lancon. “At least Utd had a shot on target.”

They did, it’s true, but there’s another stat that tells a better story of the half in my exceptionally humble opinion. At one stage Arsenal had played 31 passes in the final third to United’s three.

5.20pm GMT

Half-time reading

Related: Marco van Basten: ‘It was a very big fall and a really dark time’

5.19pm GMT

Peep peep! Mike Dean plays precisely no seconds of added time before blowing for half-time. An aggressive Arsenal were much the better team and should really be ahead. Willian hit the bar and Bukayo Saka missed an excellent headed chance just before the interval. A jittery United need to change the formation, the players or both. Arsenal just need to score a goal.

5.18pm GMT

45 min Readers may be interested in this link,” says Gary Naylor. “Things don’t look too good I’m afraid.”

Was dementia as big a problem for players of previous generations? Or was there something different about football/footballs in the 1960s?

5.17pm GMT

44 min Saka misses an excellent chance, heading tamely over the bar from eight yards after a cross from Bellerin. It was a free header, with Lindelof and Wan-Bissaka leaving him to each other.

5.16pm GMT

42 min Fred dumps a long pass into the area. Holding heads it straight up in the air towards Rashford, who miscontrols it onto his bicep and his penalised for handball. He was facing away from goal anyway, so it wasn’t exactly a clear chance.

5.12pm GMT

40 min I’m sure Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will make a change at half-time. Donny van de Beek for the anonymous Pogba is one option, although he might bring on Cavani and go to a front three.

5.12pm GMT

39 min: Willian hits the bar! Lindelof was at fault this time, losing the ball to Lacazette just outside the area on the United left. Lacazette gave the ball to Willian, who played a slick one-two with Aubameyang and cracked a rising left-footed drive that hit the top of the bar.

5.11pm GMT

37 min Lindelof gets another very important touch, diverting Aubameyang’s low cross away from Lacazette, who was already in the act of shooting. The chance came when Wan-Bissaka missed an attempted header from Bellerin’s cross, which allowed it to reach Aubameyang.

5.09pm GMT

36 min Rashford and Greenwood have swapped again, which is a bit odd as they looked much better the other way.

5.08pm GMT

35 min Willian floats an interesting cross towards Aubameyang beyond the far post. The stretching Lindelof gets a slight but important touch on the ball and Aubameyang pokes it well wide on the stretch.

5.07pm GMT

34 min The game is more even now. The yellow cards for Gabriel and Holding means they can’t be quite as aggressive with United’s forwards.

5.06pm GMT

33 min “Is there another referee who more predictably lets one team tactically foul as much as they want before pulling out the cards as soon as the opposing team finally joins in on the act?” asks Jonathan. “Once Mike Dean let Holding and Willian off, I would have laid any money I have on him booking the first United player to commit a foul.”

A lot of them do that. It’s either human nature or blatantly anti-United bias.

5.05pm GMT

31 min Thomas Partey has dominated the midfield in the first half hour. There aren’t many moments to mention, just sustained excellence in winning, carrying and passing the football. He is the opposite of a highlights player - a details player, and the best Arsenal have had in that position for 15 years.

5.01pm GMT

28 min “Everyone says five members of the 1966 England team have been diagnosed with dementia, which is true, but Peter Bonetti also had dementia and died,” says Claire McConnell. “He did not play in the final but he was in the squad so I think his name should be included and the total raised to six.”

Fair point - I was only referring to the first XI, for no particular reason, but you’re right to mention him.

4.59pm GMT

27 min Gabriel is booked for pulling back Rashford, who turned him neatly on the halfway line. United have looked much more dangerous since Rashford moved to the right and Greenwood to the left.

4.57pm GMT

25 min Holding, who should have been booked earlier, is booked now for a foul on Pogba. In other news, it’s pelting down at Old Trafford.

4.57pm GMT

24 min Willian’s inswinger is cleared acrobatically at the near post by Pogba. Good defending, that.

4.56pm GMT

23 min Wan-Bissaka gives the ball to Saka and then fouls him. Arsenal have a free-kick just outside the area on the left wing...

4.54pm GMT

22 min Fred is booked for a tactical foul on Willian.

4.54pm GMT

21 min: Good save from Leno! United create the first half-chance. Rashford, in the inside-right channel, curls an ingenious low pass around Holding to find Greenwood on the left side of the area. He takes the shot first-time from a tight angle and Leno kicks it behind for a corner.

4.53pm GMT

19 min United are being bullied by Arsenal, which may impact Roy Keane’s blood pressure levels when he discusses the game at half-time. They haven’t created anything of note but they’ve been much the better team.

4.49pm GMT

16 min “I’ve got a sudden hankering for raspberry ripple ice cream...” says Matt Dony. “Advertising works!

4.48pm GMT

15 min Rashford is down again, this time after an accidental elbow to the back of the head from Holding. He’s okay.

4.47pm GMT

14 min Willian plays in the overlapping Bellerin, who slides a fast low cross that just evades the stretching Aubameyang at the far post.

4.45pm GMT

13 min It’s all Arsenal at the moment. The intensity of their play is making it hard for United to get out.

4.44pm GMT

11 min Arsenal win another corner, their third of the match. Maguire does well to head it away and then Saka’s long-range shot is blocked by the referee Mike Dean.

4.43pm GMT

11 min Partey intercepts a poor pass from Fred, then nutmegs Fred and sets off on the break. Eventually Saka’s low cross is blocked after a good pass through to him from ... Partey. He is such an impressive player; I’m amazed more clubs weren’t in for him.

4.42pm GMT

9 min United are starting to ease their way into the game, having been a bit surprised by the aggression of Arsenal’s early pressing.

4.40pm GMT

8 min Rashford nutmegs Holding, who sends him flying and is lucky not to be booked.

4.39pm GMT

7 min Arsenal, who have made a really fast start, win the first corner on the left. It’s a poor one from Willian and Fernandes heads clear.

4.38pm GMT

6 min Rashford is holding his back after a robust tackle from Gabriel. He took the ball and then followed through into Rashford’s rump.

4.37pm GMT

4 min Arsenal have made a bright start, with plenty of possession in the United half.

4.35pm GMT

2 min United have started with Greenwood on the right and Rashford left, which is a surprise in this system. Fred is the deepest midfielder with McTominay to the right.

4.32pm GMT

1 min Peep peep! Arsenal kick off from right to left. United are wearing their usual red strip; Arsenal are in their bloody away kit.

4.29pm GMT

The players emerge on a windy afternoon at Old Trafford. There will be a minute’s silence before the game, both for Remembrance Day and the magnificent Norbert Peter Stiles.

4.25pm GMT

“Apologies to Tony Soprano,” says Niall Mullen, “but remember when these two teams got involved in a 21-man donnybrook and both were docked points? That was almost exactly 30 years ago this week. Shouldn’t there be some sort of commemoration today? Maybe Anders Limpar and Dennis Irwin kicking each other ceremoniously in the shins?”

My favourite quote about that ding-dong was from Nigel Winterburn. It was along the lines of, “I was on the floor, they were kicking me in the back and fair play because it was competitive.”

3.51pm GMT

It’s been a poignant few days at Old Trafford, with the death of Nobby Stiles and now confirmation that Sir Bobby Charlton has been diagnosed with dementia. He’s the fifth member of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning side to suffer with dementia, which is pretty troubling.

Related: Sir Bobby Charlton diagnosed with dementia, wife Lady Norma confirms

Related: Mark Lawrenson on Nobby Stiles: I owe my career to his coaching

3.33pm GMT

Pre-match reading

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær unconcerned at Manchester United's league position

Related: Mikel Arteta's Arsenal may need more madness in their method | Nick Ames

3.33pm GMT

There are no surprises in either team, with various star players returning after being rested in the week. I won’t list them all; you’re a resourceful lot.

It looks like a diamond midfield for United and the usual 3-4-3 for Arsenal. The contest between Saka and Wan-Bissaka should be fun.

3.21pm GMT

Hello and welcome to Manchester United v Arsenal, a fixture that lives unashamedly in the there and then. Whenever these teams meet, we get a new montage or a feature on the good old days of Keane and Vieira; when men were men and threw pizzas at each other. It’s becoming a bit embarrassing. Not because that rivalry is overhyped – it was the greatest in English football history – but because it was so long ago. It’s like putting a picture from 2005 on your dating profile.

The problem is that this grand old fixture has let itself go a bit. Most of the games in the last decade have been forgettable. There was the 8-2 in 2011, a decent FA Cup quarter-final in 2015, Marcus Rashford’s famous league debut in 2016 and a pulsating game at the Emirates a year later, but not much else. And none of the matches were a means of determining the best team in England.

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Categories: What the papers say

Aubameyang on the spot to give Arsenal elusive victory at Manchester United

What the papers say - Sun, 11/01/2020 - 18:44

Arsenal were deserving winners for their brighter play though this was not a contest that teemed with quality. The culprit for Manchester United was Paul Pogba for a baffling lunge in the area on Hector Bellerín when the Spaniard was moving away from goal. That led to a penalty which Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang smashed home with just over 20 minutes remaining and United were left scrabbling for an equaliser they never secured.

It gave the Gunners a first Premier League victory at Old Trafford since 2006 and meant Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s 100th match in charge ended with a 24th reverse and lingering questions: this was Arsenal’s first three points for a month to move them on to 12 and ninth place but United have only seven from six outings and are in 15th.

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær fails to solve Manchester United's prickly problem

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Categories: What the papers say

England legend Sir Bobby Charlton is diagnosed with dementia

What the papers say - Sun, 11/01/2020 - 14:58
  • Manchester United great, 83, has disease
  • Charlton lost brother and fellow World Cup winner Jack in July

Sir Bobby Charlton, widely considered to be England’s greatest ever footballer, has been diagnosed with dementia.

The 83-year-old, who was England and Manchester United’s record goalscorer until recently, has the disease, the Telegraph said, with his wife, Lady Norma Charlton, content for his condition to be made public in order to help others with dementia.

Related: Mick McCarthy on Jack Charlton: 'He illuminated Ireland and changed lives'

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Categories: What the papers say

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