What the papers say
“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.Continue reading...
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.Continue reading...
- 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.Continue reading...
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 1Continue reading...
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, 3pmContinue reading...
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.Continue reading...
- 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.Continue reading...
- 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.Continue reading...
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.Continue reading...
- Champions League updates from the 5.55pm GMT kick-off
- Live scores: all the goals from the matches around Europe
- And email Gregg here or tweet @GreggBakowski
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.
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.
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.”
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.
And yes, that Demba Ba clear run and finish was reminiscent of a moment made famous in song involving Steven Gerrard.
“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:
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
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
29 min: I’ve been trying not to mention the US election.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1 min: Manchester United get us under way. They’re shooting from left to right on my TV.
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!
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Continue reading...
- 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.Continue reading...
- 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.Continue reading...
- 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.Continue reading...
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.Continue reading...
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second-half penalty gave an aggressive Arsenal a deserved victory at Old Trafford - their first in the league since 2006
Jonathan Wilson on OGS’ issues.
OGS is not happy.
That’s all for today’s blog. I’ll leave you with Jamie Jackson’s match report - goodnight.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
90+3 min A tame long-range shot from Matic is comfortably held by Leno.
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.
90+1 min Four minutes of added time. This would be a huge win for Arsenal.
90 min Rashford is fouled by Maitland-Niles 40 yards from goal. Shaw wafts the free-kick into the area and Mustafi heads clear.
89 min Arsenal have parked the bus now. They’ve earned the right to do so, in fairness.
87 min And now Shkodran Mustafi has come on for Aubameyang, who is booked for taking too long to leave the field.
86 min Ainsley Maitland-Niles comes on for Arsenal to replace Willian.
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.
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.
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.
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.
79 min That Maguire header hit Tierney on the back. Nothing to see here.
79 min Rashford’s long-range shot hits his teammate McTominay and flies over the bar.
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.
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.”
76 min Eddie Nketiah replaces Lacazette, who has worked extremely hard up front.
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.
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.
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.
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.
71 min Greenwood is booked for a lunging tackle on Lacazette. He won the ball but was penalised for his follow through.
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.
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.
Aubameyang scores emphatically! He sent de Gea the wrong way and slapped the ball into the bottom right corner.
68 min: Penalty to Arsenal! A stupid tackle from Pogba on Bellerin has been rightly penalised by Mike Dean.
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.
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.
62 min Nothing much to report in the last few minutes. United are making the first change, with Nemanja Matic replacing Fred in midfield.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
48 min United have switched to a 4-2-3-1: Pogba left, Greenwood right, Fernandes behind Rashford.
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.”
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.”
46 min Peep peep! United begin the second half, with no changes on either side.
“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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
36 min Rashford and Greenwood have swapped again, which is a bit odd as they looked much better the other way.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
24 min Willian’s inswinger is cleared acrobatically at the near post by Pogba. Good defending, that.
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...
22 min Fred is booked for a tactical foul on Willian.
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.
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.
16 min “I’ve got a sudden hankering for raspberry ripple ice cream...” says Matt Dony. “Advertising works!”
15 min Rashford is down again, this time after an accidental elbow to the back of the head from Holding. He’s okay.
14 min Willian plays in the overlapping Bellerin, who slides a fast low cross that just evades the stretching Aubameyang at the far post.
13 min It’s all Arsenal at the moment. The intensity of their play is making it hard for United to get out.
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.
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.
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.
8 min Rashford nutmegs Holding, who sends him flying and is lucky not to be booked.
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.
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 min Arsenal have made a bright start, with plenty of possession in the United half.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.Continue reading...
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.Continue reading...
- 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.Continue reading...
- Club in bottom half of table before Arsenal’s visit
- Manager believes season will be tight and unpredictable
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is philosophical about Manchester United lying in the bottom half of the table as they prepare for Sunday’s visit of Arsenal. His side have played one game fewer than most of their rivals, but the manager already feels this season is going to be markedly different from recent title campaigns.
“It’s going to be tighter and a lot more unpredictable,” he says. “I don’t think you will see anyone running away with it, quite a few teams are going to be in with a chance. It is going to be a long season, with a lot of games, based on a very short rest after the end of last season.
“Every manager is going on about the same thing, the importance of looking after the players. I don’t want to predict how many points will be necessary to win the title this season, but you can see already that records are unlikely to be broken.”
Related: Nobby Stiles obituaryContinue reading...
England's World Cup-winning midfielder Nobby Stiles, whose robust game earned him the nickname the 'Toothless Tiger', has died aged 78 after a long battle with illness, his family said on Friday. The former Manchester United player was an uncompromising competitor who won 28 caps for England, lifting the World Cup in 1966. He provided one of that final's most iconic images as he danced around the Wembley pitch after the hosts beat West Germany with the trophy in one hand and his false teeth in the other
- Nobby Stiles, 1966 World Cup winner with England, dies aged 78
- Nobby Stiles obituary
- Nobby Stiles was an enforcer who pioneered the holding midfield role
Ole Gunnar Solskjær wants Manchester United to be consistent and following the 6-1 humiliation by Tottenham they have been – defeating Newcastle, Paris Saint-Germain, and RB Leipzig, while drawing with Chelsea with an aggregate score of 11-2. For the same period Arsenal’s record shows Sheffield United, Dundalk and Rapid Vienna all beaten with a defeat at Leicester for a 7-4 record overall. Yet on Sunday it will be a month since Arsenal’s last Premier League win so the home side, surely, start as firm favourites. Jamie Jackson
Sunday 4.30pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...