What the papers say
- Updates from the 6pm BST kick-off at Old Trafford
- Sir Alex Ferguson: read Donald McRae’s exclusive interview
- Guardian readers: what next for United and their protesting fans?
- And you can contact Barry by email or on Twitter
Those teams: Nineteen year old Swedish winger Anthony Elanga makes his senior debut for Manchester United this evening, while his fellow fresh-faced whelp Amad Diallo makes his Premier League bow as Ole rings the changes.
Comparatively grizzled veterans David de Gea, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic also come into a side featuring a back four of Brandon Williams, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and Alex Telles. With Mason Greenwood the only survivor from Sunday’s win over Aston Villa, even Donny van de Beek gets a rare start.
Manchester United: De Gea, Williams, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Telles, Matic, Mata, Van de Beek, Diallo, Elanga, Greenwood.
Subs: Henderson, Lindelof, Pogba, Cavani, Rashford, Fernandes, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka, McTominay.
An ever-present for United in the Premier League this season, Harry Maguire looks nailed on to miss tonight’s game after limping off against Aston Villa with an ankle injury, while Ole Gunnar Solskjær is likely to rotate his squad due to the quick turnaround of fixtures. Eric Bailly is liekly to come in for Maguire, who joins Dan James and long-term absentees Anthony Martial and Phil Jones in the treatment room.
Greetings one and all. Old Trafford is the venue for this evening’s match between Manchester United and Leicester City, which kicks off a mere 50 hours since the home side wrapped up their Sunday afternoon victory against Aston Villa.
It’s United’s first home match since protesting fans caused the postponement of their game against Liverpool and extra security measures have been put in place around Old Trafford in a bid to prevent a similar scenario doesn’t unfold today.Continue reading...
With Old Trafford hosting two big games this week, we spoke to supporters about the Glazers, the protests and the club’s future
I saw my first match at Old Trafford in November 1953, when United beat Blackpool 4-1 and Tommy Taylor scored a hat-trick. I opposed the Glazer takeover from the early days and joined the Manchester United Supporters Trust and the Green and Gold campaign. Some of my friends gave up their season tickets and started following smaller local clubs, including the breakaway FC United of Manchester.Continue reading...
In an exclusive interview, the legendary manager and son Jason reflect on the brain haemorrhage that nearly killed him and the film they have just made, his upbringing in Scotland, the lows and highs at Manchester United, his admiration for Steven Gerrard … and that Champions League final
“You’re lying on your bed and you are on your own,” Sir Alex Ferguson says as he remembers being in hospital exactly three years ago this week when, after suffering a brain haemorrhage, he came close to death. “It can become lonely and frightening,” the greatest manager in the history of British football continues as he relives that raw memory.
Ferguson and I are just starting an interview which is shaped by so many layered and rollicking recollections. Memories of the ghostly shipyards of Glasgow and his teeming life as a boy in Govan ripple through him. He relives the pain and sectarianism he experienced at Rangers, the fire and transformation he generated at Aberdeen and the early abuse and enduring glory of his 27 years at Manchester United. Memories of his father, with whom he fell out until football reunited them, merge into an evocation of everything his wife Cathy has done for him.
They said: ‘Look, he’s 76 and he’s had a massive bleed on the brain. Just prepare yourself for the worst'
The spirit of that club in my time was through the young players – Beckham, Giggs, Scholes, the Nevilles
I was thinking what I’d say to the players: ‘You had a great season.’ But then we won it.
How we reported that night in BarcelonaContinue reading...
- Uruguay striker rejected move to Boca Juniors
- Cavani has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season
Edinson Cavani has said he believes Manchester United can “achieve special things” after he signed a one-year contract extension.
The Uruguay international, 34, scored his 15th goal for United since joining on a free transfer last summer as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side made sure of a place in next season’s Champions League by beating Aston Villa on Sunday. Cavani, who also found the net four times over two legs in United’s Europa League semi-final win against Roma, had been in negotiations about extending his stay at Old Trafford for some time having initially signed a one-year deal after leaving Paris Saint-Germain last year.Continue reading...
- Shoretire and Diallo could be involved against Leicester
- ‘I have to make changes. It’s not safe to keep playing them’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær insists he will not risk the welfare of his Manchester United players as they prepare for the second of three Premier League fixtures in five days, hinting players such as Shola Shoretire and Amad Diallo could come into the reckoning for Tuesday’s meeting with Leicester.
United’s victory at Aston Villa on Sunday, coupled with West Ham’s defeat to Everton, ensured back-to-back top four finishes for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. The Premier League title race is also still technically alive for United, but with Manchester City needing just one more win to secure the league, plus a Europa League final against Villarreal this month to prepare for, Solskjær admits it is unlikely he will remain consistent with his team selection.Continue reading...
- United’s captain injured his ankle during win at Aston Villa
- Solskjær to make major changes for Leicester game on Tuesday
Ole Gunnar Solskjær says Manchester United could be without Harry Maguire for a “few days or a few weeks”, as they wait to assess the damage to their captain’s ankle and admitted he will be forced to make wholesale changes for the match against Leicester City on Tuesday.Continue reading...
Bertrand Traoré’s opener put Villa ahead but United fought back in trademark fashion to postpone Manchester City’s title party again
Here is Paul Doyle’s report from Villa Park. Thanks for joining me. Bye!
Next up for United: Leicester on Tuesday, and Liverpool on Thursday – both at home. Win those, and City would kick off against Newcastle on Friday with a four-point margin. They still only need one win from their last three games, but they’re taking their time getting it done.
Villa’s only real aim for the rest of the season is to clamber back into the top half; they face Everton on Thursday, then go to Selhurst Park on Sunday afternoon. Strong end-of-season vibes, there.
“In case I’m ever in Birmingham again, I just want to say that I’m not related to Chris Kavanagh,” emails Justin Kavanagh. What about Graham Kavanagh? Or 90s pop pretender Kavana?
West Ham v Everton is coming up next – join John Brewin for that one:
Chelsea are about to win the WSL title – they’re 5-0 up against Reading. Bristol City are heading down and, in amusingly on-brand news, Manchester City have missed two penalties.
“Cavani gives hope to us oldsters that we shouldn’t be put out to pasture just yet,” says Mary Waltz, still covering every blade of MBM grass. “What a lovely, precise header.”
That’s 31 points United have picked up from losing positions this season; without those points, they would be on 39 – level with Newcastle. Avoid defeat at Molineux on the final day, and they will also complete an unbeaten season away from home.
The quintessential United away win, then: they fell behind in the first half, but got level with Bruno Fernandes’ penalty. Mason Greenwood’s finish gave them the lead, and Edinson Cavani finished the job late on.
93 mins: We’re going through the motions here, if I’m honest. United will go 12 points clear of West Ham, so Champions League football next season will be officially sealed unless the Hammers beat Everton.
90 mins: Six minutes of injury time as the game turns spectacularly away from Villa. Henderson pulled his foot away, and Watkins wouldn’t have kept the ball in play, so it wasn’t a penalty for me. It wasn’t a particularly egregious dive either, with replays not clarifying if there was contact – that’s a bold call from the referee.
This is a strange one. Watkins, booked for a foul on Maguire in the first half, runs through on goal and flicks the ball away from Henderson. It looks like Chris Kavanagh has given a penalty – but instead, he hands Watkins a second booking for simulation!
This is so clever from Edinson Cavani, who lingers out wide as Luke Shaw’s shot is charged down. When Fred finds Rashford on the other flank, he makes his move – surging towards the near post and flicking his header past Martinez. Game over!
86 mins: Matic is on for Fernandes, whose penalty got United on level terms before Greenwood’s goal. Cavani’s shot is blocked by Matty Cash, the striker appealing for a handball. Not given, but it won’t matter ...
84 mins: Targett’s shot can’t find a path through a thicket of United defenders. Villa are effectively playing with four forwards, so it’s no surprise to see Nemanja Matic summoned from the United bench.
82 mins: Keinan Davis, operating alongside Wesley up top with Watkins drifting to the left, finds space inside the United area. Rather than go for goal he tries to pick out Watkins, who is closed down.
81 mins: Traoré jinks this way and that before drilling a low cross that Bailly scrambles away. A United counter is snuffed out by John McGinn, putting in a tireless, almost Waltzian shift in midfield.
80 mins: With Davis and Wesley waiting for the cross, John McGinn instead picks out Traoré, whose downward header is never troubling Henderson.
77 mins: Harry Maguire trots back on, but very quickly drops back to the turf, rolling his left sock down and wincing. Eric Bailly comes on in his place. For Villa, Keinan Davis and Wesley are on, replacing El Ghazi and Barkley, who wasn’t at his incisive best today.
75 mins: Maguire, a defensive ever-present in the league this season, is ushered to the touchline and looks a doubt to continue. In the meantime, Barkley hooks his free kick high and wide of goal.
West Ham v Everton is coming up next: John Brewin has events at the London Stadium covered.
72 mins: Some less impressive defensive work from Cavani, losing the ball and tripping El Ghazi, who collided with Maguire as he went over. The United captain will need treatment after taking a hefty blow.
“What’s the most times a team has been 45 minutes away from winning the Premier League?” wonders Phil Grey. It does feel like Groundhog Day for Manchester City after yesterday’s shenanigans.
68 mins: Wan-Bissaka races across to stop the ball going out for a corner, but succeeds only in passing it straight to Matt Targett. His cross is nodded back across goal – but Cavani uses his aerial instincts well, moving to the far post to head it away!
67 mins: Maguire is booked for holding on to Watkins – who was booked in the first half for a clumsy foul on Maguire. The free-kick is swung in, and flicked away by Lindelof ...
66 mins: Jacob Ramsey comes on in place of the hapless Douglas Luiz, whose brain-fade allowed United to start turning the game around.
64 mins: Edinson Cavani is coming on, replacing goalscorer Greenwood. Having seen a replay of the possible handball, Greenwood was spinning on the edge of the area, the ball fired at him by Douglas Luiz. It would have been incredibly harsh to give that.
60 mins: Villa aren’t out of this yet! El Ghazi gets in behind and causes a flurry of panic with his ball back across goal. It’s worked back to Targett, and Maguire throws his head in the way of the cross, but Traoré’s shot still forces a save from Henderson. From the corner, there’s a big Villa shout for handball against Greenwood, but no dice, despite a lengthy VAR check as play continues.
59 mins: Tensions boil over between Konsa and Rashford after a penalty-box battle, the Villa defender having to be hauled away before losing his rag altogether. From the corner, Maguire heads wide.
A rapid turnaround from United, and credit to Mason Greenwood for taking the chance so clinically – but Mings was uncharacteristically weak with his challenge, and Martinez might feel disappointed by getting beaten at his near post.
And now they lead! Wan-Dissaka drifts in from the right and slips a pass to Greenwood, who turns Mings with unacceptable ease before firing a low shot beyond Martinez!
55 mins: Traoré gets into space down the right, but dallies for too long and United get numbers back. United currently on course for another point earned from behind ...
Bruno Fernandes steps up. Panenka, anyone? No, a stutter-step run-up, and a cool finish to Martinez’s left. The City champagne is back on ice!
United counter, and Pogba holds the ball up in the area. Douglas Luiz does well to shepherd him away from goal, then inexplicably lunges in with no chance of getting the ball. That’s a penalty.
49 mins: McGinn plays a through ball to Barkley, who looks a yard offside. He cuts it back to El Ghazi, whose shot tests Henderson at his near post ...
47 mins: Fernandes rolls the ball to Pogba, whose shot from the edge of the area balloons behind off Mings. United corner, punched clear by Martinez before Pogba’s cross is cut out by the rock-solid Ezri Konsa.
46 mins: Shaw looks aggrieved after getting whistled trying to win the ball high up the pitch. Another reminder: United are the league’s leading second-half scorers.
Villa get it started. Reminder: if the hosts hold on and win, Manchester City are champions – and a draw means United’s faint hopes would be purely mathematical. Long way to go, of course.
Here’s our report from Wolves 2-1 Brighton, for your consideration.
“Waltzy’s had a great season,” says Matt Dony, game recognising game. “She’s a top, top contributor. I’m sure she’s saved something in the tank for this brutal run-in.”
“It would be typical of this underwhelming season if United follow City’s defeat yesterday with one of their own, thereby handing City the title in rather downbeat circumstances,” writes Rick Harris.
It’s a fine effort, steered firmly towards the bottom corner, but Henderson gets down well to keep it out. And that’s half time! City are 45 minutes from the title, but you feel Villa may need another to hold off United’s customary fightback.
46 mins: United play it out and Watkins tries to pinch the ball from Maguire, clattering the defender over like an over-excited puppy. He’s booked, but Villa resume their high press and Watkins has a chance to shoot ...
45 mins: One added minute, and Villa pour forward, Matty Cash injecting some urgency. Traoré’s cross doesn’t connect, drifting behind for a goal kick.
44 mins: Konsa is playing on after getting some physio treatment and emptying an entire bottle of water over his head. It does look a little warm at Villa Park, to be fair.
42 mins: The impressive Konsa nods Wan-Bissaka’s cross away with Fernandes lurking – if a little mismatched, height-wise. Konsa lands awkwardly and stays down holding his knee, which is a concern.
41 mins: United come again, Fernandes looking for options on the right-hand corner of the Villa area, then driving to the byline and crossing at pace. Martinez parries it out, and Konsa has to move smartly to make a two-touch clearance a yard from his own goal.
39 mins: Fernandes tees up Rashford, whose shot from 20 yards is well-struck, but straightforward enough for Martínez.
37 mins: Having been rocked back by the opening goal, United are building some momentum again. They’ve won 28 points from losing positions this season, which is frankly a bit ridiculous.
“I would love to think that I have something to save for my beloved Everton,” says Mary Waltz (see 14.10).” I fear that that much like the Toffees’ season, I may be running out of bullets. I will attempt to rise above mid table mediocrity, I hope my boys do the same.”
34 mins: Shaw gets upfield and sweeps a low cross across goal, but nobody is there to get on the end of it. Moments later, Fernandes tries to lob Martínez from 40 yards out, and is not particularly close.
33 mins: Villa free kick, which Targett slips wide to El Ghazi. His low cross is cut out by Fernandes, back helping out in defence. The hosts certainly have a spring in their step now.
30 mins: El Ghazi looks for Watkins at the far post, but a be-capped Dean Henderson collects. That chance came from more excellent work from McGinn. Villa fans may know better, but he rarely seems to have an off-day in that midfield engine room.
26 mins: Almost an immediate-ish response from the visitors, as Rashford’s low cross is cleared away by Tyrone Mings.
It had been an even first 25 minutes, but United appeared to have several more gears to click through. Traoré’s superb opener came against the run of the play, and it means Manchester City will win the title unless United fight back. They’ve done so about 1,500 times already this season, so don’t rule it out.
McGinn nicks the ball from McTominay and Douglas Luiz finds Traoré on the edge of the box. The winger tries what looks an ill-advised back flick, but Lindelof doesn’t deal with it and offers Traoré a chance from a tricky angle. He takes it, firing past Henderson and into the top corner!
22 mins: With the United front four pressing high up the field, Villa are going long – and McGinn’s through ball almost connects with El Ghazi. McGinn, tenacious as ever, wins the ball back in midfield ...
19 mins: United are operating in a fluid shape, with Pogba drifting in from the left, and Greenwood swapping positions with Rashford. Greenwood’s low shot almost falls at Rashford’s feet, but Matt Targett does just enough to squirrel the ball away.
16 mins: After a spell of midfield strolling, Villa get another corner which Lindelof flicks away. By the way, here’s the last time the title was decided by events at Villa Park.
12 mins: Another Villa corner, as Bertrand Traoré’s snap shot is deflected over the bar. Maguire directs the Slab onto it, and the danger is cleared.
10 mins: They do so effectively, and Matt Targett wins a corner. It’s worked backwards to the left-back, whose cross drifts out of play.
9 mins: Fred sends a low shot straight at Martínez, before Villa try to get a little time on the ball.
“Do you reckon those Zebra shirts have been washed from Thursday night or just pulled back out of the laundry basket?” asks Rick Harris. A quick spritz with Febreze would probably do the trick.
6 mins: It’s been a strong start from the visitors. Luke Shaw cuts in from the left and stings Martínez’s palms, before Pogba’s cross is fielded by the busy Villa keeper. At the other end, El Ghazi sends a speculator low and wide.
4 mins: Rashford’s shot loops up off Ezri Konza, presenting a half-chance to Greenwood whose shot from a tight angle is repelled by Emi Martínez.
“I’d welcome opinions from your esteemed MBM contributors (both of them if they have time and inclination) on whether Mary Waltz will be rotating her MBM input today, perhaps saving her strongest contribution for West Ham v Everton later?” asks Graham Moger.
It’s been a long season, and we’ve got to keep everyone fresh – especially with the Euros looming.
Both teams take a collective knee, before Manchester United get the ball rolling.
The teams are heading out onto the pitch. United are in their zebra kit, which actually looks pretty fresh with plain black shorts. Here we go!
And Ole Gunnar Solskjær:
"We'll deal with Tuesday and Thursday later on."
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaks to Sky Sports ahead of today's game against Aston Villa.
Watch live on Sky Sports PL pic.twitter.com/xlyAUj5dsc
Some pre-match chat from Dean Smith:
Dean Smith speaks to Sky Sports ahead of Aston Villa's game against Manchester United.
Watch live on Sky Sports PL pic.twitter.com/mB2UTvyU5z
Wolves win! A great moment for Morgan Gibbs-White, who fires home a last-minute winner, five minutes after skying his shot with the goal gaping. It’s what we like to see, and it’s earned Wolves their first ever top-flight win over Brighton! After the final whistle, Neal Maupay was sent off for a tirade aimed at referee Jon Moss.
“I imagine the Tuesday fixture with Leicester will be when Ole’s B-squad will be deployed,” says Mary Waltz. It certainly looks that way; I’m not sure that will really help Leicester, who seem to raise their game against stronger opposition.
The Women’s Super League title is up for grabs today, with Chelsea aiming to hold off Manchester City. Manchester United host Everton, while Villa visit Arsenal and may need a favour from Brighton to stop Bristol City climbing above them in the race to beat the drop. Follow along with John Ashdown:
Here’s Jonathan Wilson on last Sunday’s protests at Old Trafford and where we go from here in the post-Super League era.
Wolves are level! It’s Adama Traoré with the equaliser at home to Brighton, finishing sweetly after an intricate one-two with Fabio Silva. Elsewhere it’s the final day of League One, where all that’s still up for grabs is the final play-off spot. Portsmouth started the day in sixth but are losing at home to Accrington; as it stands, Oxford will join Blackpool, Sunderland and Lincoln in the play-offs.
Some quotes from Solskjær, care of the Manchester United website: “We’ve been handed a very bad hand ... the intensity of the Premier League is so, so high and the quality is so high. We’ve just got to make sure we tick one off [game] at a time. But the players are ready for it, I’m ready for it.
“It’s a challenge we’ll take head on. It’s not like we’ll just throw the toys out of the pram and feel sorry for ourselves. That’s not the way we are. But I had to express how unhappy I am with how they can risk injuries for the players. I’ve got to look after them.”
In Sunday’s early kick-off, Lewis Dunk has put Brighton 1-0 up at Molineux before getting sent off for a professional foul. Half an hour or so to go there, and it’s live on BBC One. As Paul Doyle mentioned here, Brighton are a curious bogey team for Wolves, who have never beaten them in a top-flight game.
In the end, there’s no drastic reshuffle from Solskjær with four changes from Thursday’s game in Rome. Dean Henderson replaces David de Gea in goal, Victor Lindelöf comes back into the defence, while Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford replace Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani.
Villa go with the same XI that won at Goodison, despite a looming fixture pile-up of their own. Dean Smith’s side end the season with four games in 10 days, starting on Thursday with the return meeting with Everton.
Aston Villa (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Douglas Luiz, McGinn; Traoré, Barkley, El Ghazi; Watkins.
Subs: Heaton, Wesley, Nakamba, Elmohamady, Hause, Davis, Ramsey, Philogene-Bidace, Chukwuemeka.
Man Utd (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Pogba; Rashford.
Subs: De Gea, Bailly, Cavani, Mata, Alex Telles, Matic, Williams, van de Beek, Tuanzebe.
Manchester United like playing at Villa Park. The last game they lost at Aston Villa was in the 1999 Worthington Cup, when Ole Gunnar Solskjær was in the United team. You have to travel back another four years for their last league defeat here, an opening-day embarrassment that led Alan Hansen to opine “you can’t win anything with kids”.
Solskjær might be tempted to test that theory today as United begin a run of three league games in five days. The manager is expected to at least rotate his team with home games against Leicester and Liverpool looming. Villa’s win at Goodison Park has arrested their end-of-season drift, and the hosts might fancy their chances of ending what is now a historic top-flight drought in a single fixture.
Defeat for United this afternoon would secure the title for Manchester City, while even a draw will leave the Reds needing snookers. In reality, United’s primary concerns are securing second place and keeping assorted hamstrings operational with a European final on the horizon. Another victory here would open a 12-point gap on fifth place, and make Champions League qualification a formality.
Of course, had you told Fergie back in 1995 that one day, almost 26 years in the future, United would field even a slightly weakened team at the risk of letting City win the title, he’d have fired up the hairdryer quicker than you can say European Super League. Modern football, bloody hell. Kick-off: 2.05pm, BST.Continue reading...
For a moment Manchester City must have thought their title triumph would be confirmed. Their neighbours appeared to be wilting under the strain of a hectic schedule and inhospitable hosts. But for the ninth time in this season’s Premier League, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side staged a second-half turnaround.
City will have to wait; and so will Aston Villa, who still have not beaten United in the league at home since 1995.Continue reading...
The bid by top clubs to break away was globalisation at its worst – and emblematic of the UK’s problems beyond sport
Four weeks on from what is turning out to be one of the biggest self-inflicted errors by any members of the business elite, the owners of the supposedly top six English football clubs must be wondering how on earth they got themselves into this mess. They are also probably, wishfully, thinking: “Head down, this will all blow over.”
Among the numerous fascinating aspects of the European Super League debacle, designed to ram through non-competitive staged events for Europe’s top teams, is that it arrived in the UK – England, specifically – at a time when the government is trying to resurrect its domestic mantra of “levelling up” after 14 months of challenges over Covid-19.
The enforcement of proper boards with true independent directors would be an extremely easy step, and a beginningContinue reading...
- Club reviewing staying at Lowry hotel before games
- ‘We’ll keep it as normal as possible,’ Ole Gunnar Solskjær says
Manchester United are reviewing their use of the Lowry hotel before home games and their other security arrangements after last Sunday’s protests caused the postponement of their match against Liverpool.
United stay at the Lowry, in the city centre and a 20-minute drive from Old Trafford. While it is understood that the club has been contacted by other hotels in the area to offer their services, United are taking advice from Greater Manchester police and their own security staff.Continue reading...
- The Hut Group pulls out of contract starting in July, sources say
- Fans are campaigning for boycott of club’s commercial partners
Manchester United have missed out on a proposed new training kit deal worth £200m over 10 years after the Manchester-based company The Hut Group had concerns about the supporters’ campaign to boycott the club’s commercial partners in protest at the Glazers’ ownership, the Observer understands.
Richard Arnold, United’s group managing director, was told on Friday that THG had pulled out of a contract which was due to start on 1 July.Continue reading...
Fans are right to protest but unless the game’s riches are better redistributed the super-rich benefactors are here to stay
Whether you see in the demonstrations at Old Trafford last week an outrageous affront to law and decency or a legitimate mode of dissent, a public expression at last of long-held grievances, it is clear, perhaps for the first time in English football, that there is a real sense of militancy among fans. With the super-clubs in retreat, the possibility of change appears real – or at least more real than it has been for years. In which case fans should probably work out what they want.
Already it is notable that the serious protests have been focused at the two super-clubs who have most reason to be frustrated with their owners. The mutinous mood of the past few weeks feels multi-layered. Manchester United and Arsenal fans both have specific issues with their American billionaire owners that go far beyond a lack of success on the pitch, feeding into a broader sense that football is being taken away from its roots and the people to whom it used to “belong”. This is happening in a country beginning to emerge from lockdown into intense financial uncertainty; there is a lot of pent-up energy which may dissipate as life returns to something like normal – or it may not, particularly if the economic situation worsens.Continue reading...
Manchester United’s place in the Champions League next season is virtually guaranteed but a win against Aston Villa would still be another step to confirming their place. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side will be in high spirits after cruising into the Europa League final but the manager will implore his side to maintain their momentum as he eyes a first trophy since taking charge at Old Trafford. Dean Smith will want the exact the same after a great win against Everton while Villa’s Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa and Ollie Watkins will be eager to keep impressing Gareth Southgate to make England’s squad for the European Championship this summer. Graham Searles
Sunday 2.05pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
The game is an echo box for wider anxieties, because it is the place people gather, because it gives a hook to our feelings
There was something touching on Thursday evening about the sight of Martin Keown standing on a windswept dais in front of an empty super-stadium trying to rationalise the dissolution, by various structural forces, of the entity previously known as “Arsenal Football Club”.
Keown might not always pronounce players’ names correctly, but he is a good pundit and a man of substance. He did his best to offer Arsenal fans comfort after the 0-0 draw with Villarreal, another game marked by protest outside the Emirates at the club’s distant ownership. Keown pointed out that change can come from inside. He remembered that Arsenal were also badly run in the 1980s – and that they fixed themselves then, when all this really involved was getting a couple of capable people in the boardroom and maybe doing up the training ground.Continue reading...
- Club’s co-chairman ready to talk to supporters
- ‘I want to acknowledge the need for change,’ he tells them
Joel Glazer has promised to “accelerate” discussions regarding fans owning shares in Manchester United and acknowledged the need for change called for by supporters disgruntled with his family’s ownership.
The co-chairman made the comments in an open letter to United’s fans forum, which has 11 representatives of match-going supporters. It is understood the Glazers hope for a period of calm to allow for consultation after Sunday’s protests at Old Trafford became violent.Continue reading...
Jurgen Klopp said on Friday he believes Manchester United fans were within their rights to protest last Sunday at Old Trafford against the Glazers' ownership, which subsequently resulted in the game between the teams being postponed. However, the Liverpool manager added that he couldn't condone the behaviour of supporters given the protests weren't 'completely peaceful' as fans broke into stadium with police officers sustaining injuries.Continue reading...
- Manager may play entirely different XIs across next week
- United face Leicester on Tuesday and Liverpool on Thursday
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said Manchester United could skew the race for the top four because he cannot pick his strongest team at home to Leicester on Tuesday and Liverpool on Thursday. United’s manager acknowledged he could anger those clubs and others battling for Champions League places by naming entirely different XIs amid a fixture pileup.
“One of them might not be happy because I play a full team maybe in one and the next 11 in the other,” Solskjær said. “I’ve got to look after the players. That might be someone not happy with my team selection for one game or two games. That might affect whoever gets into fourth position or the Champions League. That’s not my problem.Continue reading...
The United owners are not as reviled in Florida as they are in Manchester. But US fans rarely erupt into mass protest - especially if the team is successful
Not that this will make Manchester United fans feel any better, but the Glazers are barely visible in the Tampa Bay too, even though the family has owned the local NFL team since 1995 and won the Super Bowl three months ago (thanks mostly to Tom Brady and a turbocharged defense).
The family front man, if he can be called that, is Joel Glazer, one of six children of the late Malcolm Glazer. Joel Glazer typically makes himself available to Tampa media just once a year, and although he has a pleasant demeanor, he is hardly expansive on his family’s dealings with the club.Continue reading...
The Champions League finalists meet, Manchester United begin a daunting run and Wolves face their bogey team
A fixture that could see Manchester City seal the Premier League title and is vital to Chelsea’s pushfor the top four has taken on the status of dress rehearsal. Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel both devour great long dossiers on what their opponent might be doing, so there could yet be some subterfuge in advance of the Champions League final. With City having plenty in hand at the top and Chelsea three points ahead of West Ham in fifth, there would seem little point inrisking an entire tactical hand. Of the Premier League’s “big six”, these two have never quite hit on a white-hot rivalry to compete with City’s recent power struggle with Liverpool, or Chelsea’s collisions with Manchester United in the 2000s. But it is also worth considering how different English football might have been had Roman Abramovich landed the signature of Guardiola, as was once his desire. JB
Manchester City v Chelsea, Saturday 5.30pm, all times BST
Leicester v Newcastle, Friday 8pm
Liverpool v Southampton, Saturday 8.15pm
Aston Villa v Manchester United, Sunday 2.05pm
West Ham v Everton, Sunday 4.30pm
Leeds United v Tottenham, Saturday 12.30pm
Arsenal v West Brom, Sunday 7pm
Wolves v Brighton, Sunday 12pm
Sheffield United v Crystal Palace, Saturday 3pm
Fulham v Burnley, Monday 8pmContinue reading...
- Club scheduled to play four games in eight days
- ‘It’s made by people who’ve never played at this level’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær criticised “people who’ve never played football at this level” for crafting Manchester United’s congested schedule after his side added another date to the diary by securing their spot in the Europa League final against Villarreal, despite falling to defeat against Roma in the semi-final second leg.
United overcame the Serie A side 8-5 on aggregate, with the in-form Edinson Cavani scoring twice in a 3-2 loss on Thursday, the first of four matches in eight days. United return to Premier League action at Aston Villa on Sunday before home matches against Leicester City and Liverpool on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.Continue reading...