What the papers say

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Updated: 15 hours 19 min ago

Manchester United's Edinson Cavani gets three-game ban over Instagram post

Thu, 12/31/2020 - 15:09
  • Striker misses league game against Aston Villa and two cup ties
  • United say Cavani had no racist intent in using word ‘negrito’

The Football Association has suspended Edinson Cavani for three games and fined Manchester United’s Uruguay striker £100,000 for his use of the word “negrito in a social media post.

Cavani, who must also complete a two-hour face-to-face online education course, maintained his message lacked racist intent but had pleaded guilty to an FA charge of using insulting and/or improper words. According to United he decided not to contest the case “out of respect for the FA and the fight against racism in football”.

Related: Solskjær puts Manchester United's resurgence down to change in mentality

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Solskjær puts Manchester United's resurgence down to change in mentality

Thu, 12/31/2020 - 13:30
  • United three points behind Liverpool with game in hand
  • Solskjær says competition for places is healthy

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has insisted no Manchester United player can “fake” their way in his team because of the transformation in mentality since he took over two years ago.

United will begin 2021 in second place, three points behind Liverpool and with a game in hand on the leaders, after the late victory against Wolves at Old Trafford on Tuesday. Solskjær’s side were below par yet still claimed all three points with Marcus Rashford’s stoppage-time strike.

Related: David de Gea hails Manchester United's form but calls for calm amid title talk

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David de Gea hails Manchester United's form but calls for calm amid title talk

Wed, 12/30/2020 - 16:14
  • ‘We now have a winning mentality,’ says De Gea after Wolves win
  • Goalkeeper also happy with improvement in own performances

David de Gea is excited about Manchester United’s progress and feels confident about his place in the team as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side head into 2021 in the Premier League title race.

A topsy-turvy year that started with poor results and fan discontent ended with an improving United bringing the curtain down on 2020 with a late win against Wolves in front of empty stands. Marcus Rashford’s deflected stoppage-time strike secured the 1-0 victory at Old Trafford on Tuesday, propelling them up to second spot and within two points – temporarily at least – of the leaders, Liverpool.

Related: Manchester United go second after late Marcus Rashford winner sinks Wolves

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Manchester United go second after late Marcus Rashford winner sinks Wolves

Tue, 12/29/2020 - 22:23

Marcus Rashford’s deflected stoppage-time shot gave Manchester United an edgy victory over Wolves and ensured Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side start 2021 second in the Premier League.

The encounter was the sides’ fourth meeting of 2020 and appeared destined to end in a third goalless draw. But United showed a spirit that is beginning to characterise Solskjær’s team, Rashford capping a memorable personal year by sealing the win after the indefatigable Bruno Fernandes played him in with a sublime pass.

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

RASHFORD IN INJURY TIME!@ManUtd have surely won it with a late strike from their superstar #PLonPrime #MUNWOL pic.twitter.com/ow3US3QCLh

Related: Ben Mee rounds off Burnley's good day by piling pain on Sheffield United

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

Tue, 12/29/2020 - 21:58

Marcus Rashford’s deflected injury-time goal gave United a flattering victory over a Wolves side who defended brilliantly at Old Trafford

10.37pm GMT

Related: Manchester United go second after lucky Rashford winner sinks Wolves

9.57pm GMT

Ugly 1-0 wins are a mark of potential champions, so United will take great pleasure from that - especially as they have struggled to win games likes these in the last few years. Marcus Rashford’s deflected injury-time goal puts them second in the table, two points behind Liverpool. You have to feel for Wolves, whose youngsters defended almost flawlessly and deserved a 0-0 draw. Thanks for your company, goodnight!

9.55pm GMT

Manchester United move up to second with the ugliest of victories.

9.53pm GMT

90+5 min Scott McTominay replaces Bruno Fernandes.

9.53pm GMT

That is so harsh on Wolves. Fernandes started the move with a booming crossfield pass to find Rashford on the right of the area. He faced up Ait-Nouri, twisting this way and that before hitting a left-footed shot that deflected off the chest of Saiss and wrongfooted Rui Patricio. It’s Rashford’s goal I think.

9.52pm GMT

Manchester United have nicked it!


9.51pm GMT

90+3 min Martial was touched very slightly by Neves during that run. It wasn’t a foul, but had he gone down, in the current climate, it would probably have been given.

9.50pm GMT

90+2 min Martial does brilliantly to wriggle away from two defenders just inside the area, but Saiss comes across to make his umpteeth interception of the night.

9.49pm GMT

90+1 min Five minutes of added time. Steve Bruce is getting ready to come on.

9.48pm GMT

90 min Pogba plays a one-two-three with Martial and tries to move away from Hoever, who wins the ball immaculately and is then fouled by Pogba. He’s been so good.

9.47pm GMT

89 min They could play until 2021 and it would probably still be goalless.

9.45pm GMT

87 min This has been a near perfect defensive away performance from Wolves.

9.44pm GMT

85 min Shaw fires a sharp pass into Fernandes, unmarked 25 yards out. His first touch is perfect, teeing himself up for a vicious shot that is superbly blocked by Coady. Fernandes appealed for a penalty but there was nothing wrong with it.

9.42pm GMT

84 min David de Gea is rolling round in pain. He threw the ball out and then accidentally ran straight into Adama Traore, which is one of the less rewarding things you can do on a football field. After a bit of treatment, de Gea is okay to continue.

9.41pm GMT

82 min Wolves’ young defenders - Hoever, Kilman and especially Ait-Nouri - have been brilliant.

9.40pm GMT

81 min Moutinho flips a delicious outside-of-the-foot pass over the defence for Ait-Nouri, who surges into the area and drives a cross shot from a very tight angle that is pushed away by de Gea. Happily for him it goes straight to Maguire rather than Fabio Silva.

9.38pm GMT

79 min Saiss makes a great block from Rashford, though again the flag went up once the attack was completed.

9.36pm GMT

77 min Fernandes and Pogba combine nicely to find Martial unmarked on the edge of the D. He hammers a first-time shot over the bar. United have been better in the last 10 minutes though, with Pogba and Fernandes much more influential.

9.34pm GMT

76 min Both teams have one substitution remaining, though there’s no sign yet of Donny van de Beek, or Axel Tuanzebe for that matter.

9.33pm GMT

75 min Pogba, found by Fernandes, hits a blistering long-range shot that is well held to his left by Rui Patricio.

9.33pm GMT

74 min “Fabio Silva,” says Gary Naylor, “looks like an extra in a Derek Jarman movie.”

9.31pm GMT

73 min Rui Patricio is booked for timewasting.

9.31pm GMT

73 min “Hi Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “If Matt’s needing a bit of a pick me up, and let’s be honest, why wouldn’t he after the year Liverpool have had, he can have a #hoorayfordony from me for nothing.”

9.30pm GMT

72 min de Gea makes another good reaction save from Saiss, who was up for a corner. The flag went up subsequently so it wouldn’t have counted.

9.29pm GMT

No penalty! That would have been given earlier in the season but not now, and thank goodness for that.

9.28pm GMT

69 min: Cavani has a goal disallowed for offside! United are appealing for handball just before that. Bailly’s header hit the hand of Coady, and then Cavani - who was offside from the header - swept it past Rui Patricio. Coady’s hand was slightly away from his body, but I think it would be very harsh to give this.

9.27pm GMT

69 min Pogba crosses low towards Cavani, who is just beaten to the ball by Saiss. Corner to United...

9.26pm GMT

68 min Wolves make another change: Fabio Silva on, Pedro Neto off.

9.23pm GMT

65 min Ait-Nouri is also down receiving treatment on his left arm.

9.23pm GMT

64 min Anthony Martial does indeed replace Mason Greenwood. He goes left, Rashford moves right.

9.22pm GMT

64 min Fernandes’s cross is headed over by Rashford, under a lot of pressure from Coady. It wasn’t much of a chance. Podence was down at the time, so Wolves wouldn’t have been thrilled had that gone in.

9.21pm GMT

63 min Wolves have been the better team in the second half. Traore plays in the overlapping Hoever, whose chipped cross is headed away by Bailly. The 18-year-old Hoever has been ever so impressive at right wing-back.

9.21pm GMT

62 min Anthony Martial is about to come on, probably for the disappointing Mason Greenwood.

9.19pm GMT

61 min “Just catching up with events so far, scrolled back through the coverage and saw Neil Carter’s questions about van de Beek,” says Matt Dony. “In my haste, I mis-read his hashtag, and thought it was some long-overdue positivity aimed at me. Ah well. Maybe next year will be my year. Matt Dony (with just the one N).”

9.18pm GMT

60 min Bruno Fernandes plays a good pass to Greenwood on the right edge of the area. He tries to beat Ait-Nouri with a stepover but Kilman comes across to calmly lift the ball over Greenwood and clear the danger.

9.18pm GMT

59 min “Sweepstake for the minute Donny will get on the pitch?” says Neil Carter. “I’ll go for 75th.”

I’ll go next year.

9.16pm GMT

57 min Rashford, by far United’s liveliest attacker, plays the ball infield to Pogba and keeps running. Pogba tries to find him with a return pass over the top, but Rui Patricio gets there first.

9.16pm GMT

56 min It’s been a textbook away performance from Wolves. United never have an easy game against them and, even allowing for the form of both sides, it was naive to expect anything different tonight.

9.13pm GMT

55 min “How on earth was a shoulder charge a booking????” asks Martin Lancon.

When did that happen? Have I missed something?

9.13pm GMT

54 min Wolves make their first change: the excellent Daniel Podence replaces Vitinha, who made a promising full debut.

9.10pm GMT

52 min Can you wake me up when something happens?

9.10pm GMT

51 min Pogba, who is having a stinker, again plays a long pass straight to Rui Patricio.

9.08pm GMT

50 min Rashford is booked for a retaliatory foul on Hoever, who had (fairly) taken man and ball a few seconds earlier.

9.08pm GMT

49 min The second half has started pretty sluggishly. I don’t know what else to say.

9.05pm GMT

46 min Shaw wins a free-kick on the left wing straight away. Bruno Fernandes’s inswinger is headed away by Ruben Neves.

9.03pm GMT

46 min Peep peep! United begin the second half. Luke Shaw has replaced Alex Telles, who is presumably injured.

8.57pm GMT

Half-time reading

Related: Thrilling Leeds put West Brom to the sword after Sawyers' slapstick own goal

8.50pm GMT

Half-time duty

Subscribe to this, make an old hack happy.

Episode 4 of United Rewind is OUT NOW!@DanielHarris and Rob Smyth revisit a brilliant performance from the 1995/96 double-winners as they out-play and out-muscle title rivals Newcastle in December 1995.

(Includes in-depth haircut chat)

Subscribe nowhttps://t.co/d2WJnEDGjI pic.twitter.com/g1pi3cvHco

8.49pm GMT

Peep peep! In recent years, Manchester United plus Wolves has equalled binary, and that was a typical half of football between them. Wolves defended excellently to frustrate United, while looking dangerous enough on the break to keep Nuno happy. Bruno Fernandes missed the best chance - but that was United’s only shot on target. They might need a plan B in the second half, or even a plan DvdB.

8.47pm GMT

45+1 min Another dangerous attack from Wolves. Neto wriggles into the area from the right and tries to cut back inside Maguire, who makes an excellent, probably goal-saving challenge. At the other end, Rashford miscontrols when through on goal. The flag went up after that so I don’t think it would have counted, but it was a poor touch.

8.46pm GMT

45 min Wolves break dangerously again, and Neto has the chance to put Traore through with an angled pass from right to left. But it’s slightly underhit, which allows Bailly to make a vital interception on the edge of the area.

8.45pm GMT

44 min Rashford waits for the overlapping Bruno Fernandes and plays him on the left side of the area. Fernandes hammers a cross that flashes past everyone in the six-yard box. It wasn’t a great ball actually, with only Cavani in the area.

8.44pm GMT

42 min There’s a break in play while Ait-Nouri receives treatment, having fallen awkwardly after an aerial challenge with Rashford. It allows the TV director to focus on Sir Alex Ferguson, sitting in the stands wearing a jaunty tweed cap. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the great man in a flat cap before.

8.42pm GMT

40 min “Team with loads of dosh and poor coach being outplayed by the opposite,” says Tim Stappard.

Yes, an abysmal coach. I hear he can’t even spell his own name.

8.40pm GMT

39 min: Good save from de Gea! Neto hammers the free-kick towards the near post, where Saiss gets in front of Rashford and flicks the ball towards goal. David de Gea reacts smartly to punch it behind for a corner.

8.39pm GMT

38 min Rashford goes over in the area after a challenge from Moutinho. It wasn’t a foul: Rashford jumped to avoid a collision with Moutinho and fell over. Wolves break and Neto is fouled just outside the penalty area on the right by Maguire.

8.38pm GMT

37 min Hoever is bit lucky not to be booked for a late tackle on Telles.

8.37pm GMT

35 min “Quicker! Quicker!” screams somebody on the United bench.

8.36pm GMT

34 min: Good save from Rui Patricio! Bruno Fernandes has missed a good chance to put United ahead. Greenwood cut inside from the right and curled a fine cross to the far post, where Fernandes got on the wrong side of Hoever and twisted in mid-air to flick a volley towards goal from six yards. It was straight at Rui Patricio who pushed it away, and Cavani, facing away from goal, couldn’t put the rebound away on the stretch. Fernandes’s was the bigger chance.

8.34pm GMT

33 min Rashford appeals for a penalty after being manhandled by Coady in the area. The ball had gone out of play just beforehand, and it wasn’t a foul anyway.

8.33pm GMT

31 min Neto goes down holding his face after a block from Matic, who led with his forearm. VAR has a look and decides there’s nothing in it, rightly so in my eternally humble opinion. He should have been booked but VAR can only intervene if it’s a red-card offence.

8.31pm GMT

30 min Shots on target so far: Man Utd 0-3 Wolves.

8.30pm GMT

29 min Fernandes frees Wan-Bissaka on the right. His cross is poor, straight at Moutinho. Wan-Bissaka’s attacking play is a big problem for United at home, especially as they have no right-footed right-wingers.

8.29pm GMT

28 min Neto’s driven cross is half cleared by Bailly. Ait-Nouri picks up the loose ball on the edge of the area but drives it miles wide with his right foot. But Wolves look good going forward.

8.28pm GMT

26 min Rashford runs Hoever in the area, turns neatly back onto his right foot and tries to pick out Fernandes near the penalty spot. The ball is poked clear but Telles returns it to Matic, whose cross skims the head of the stretching Cavani and drifts wide. It wouldn’t have counted anyway; replays show he was just offside.

8.25pm GMT

24 min The tempo of United’s attacking play has been too slow. This often happens at the start of games, especially at home. Sometimes they look like a team waiting to go 1-0 down.

8.24pm GMT

23 min: Wolves hit the bar! Moutinho’s free-kick is met by Saiss, whose looping header hits the top of the bar. I think de Gea had it covered, but it was pretty close.

8.22pm GMT

21 min Wolves continue to keep United at arm’s length without too much difficulty. Ait-Nouri breaks into space down the left and puts in a cross that is cleared by Maguire. Wolves have got into some good positions on the counter-attack.

8.19pm GMT

18 min Telles’s cross is cleared as far as Fernandes, 25 yards from goal. He runs round the ball and rakes a shot that is blocked.

8.18pm GMT

17 min Bruno Fernandes is coming into the game a bit more, which will encourage United. He barely touched the ball in the first 10 minutes.

8.16pm GMT

14 min Fernandes plays a one-two with Greenwood and slides a little pass towards Cavani in the area. He flicks it behind his standing leg to nobody when he might have been better off going for goal. At the moment United are struggling to find an eye in the Wolves needle.

8.14pm GMT

13 min A long-range stinger from Ruben Neves is punched away by de Gea; then Neto has a shot blocked by Wolves. This is good stuff from Wolves, who have been the better side so far.

8.13pm GMT

12 min Pogba looks up and swishes a beautiful 80-yard pass straight into the arms of Rui Patricio.

8.12pm GMT

11 min Vitinha finds a bit of space between the lines and hits a good 20-yard shot that is pushed away by the sprawling de Gea. Wolves look perky in possession.

8.11pm GMT

10 min Possession so far: Man Utd 60-40 Wolves. But Wolves will be pleased with their start, which has been pretty comfortable.

8.10pm GMT

9 min Rashford’s speculative long-range shot wobbles a few yards wide. It almost turned into a decent cross for Cavani.

8.10pm GMT

8 min Traore beats three players and finds Neto on the edge of the box. He whips a right-footed shot that is comfortably saved by de Gea. That’s the first shot on target at either end.

8.09pm GMT

8 min Wolves’ defence is very narrow, inviting United to go down the side. That’s why Telles has been on the ball so much in the first few minutes because there’s very little space in central areas.

8.07pm GMT

7 min There’s plenty of space for Wolves to play when they do get on the ball. Moutinho tries to put Traore through on goal but he can’t find the right angle for the pass and the ball runs through to de Gea.

8.07pm GMT

6 min “Hiya Rob,” says Paul Howarth. “I remember as a United fan in the 70s, walking to Molineux singing ‘We’ll be top, We’ll be top by Five O’clock’. Anyway, we lost, so we weren’t.”

Were you there for the FA Cup game in 1976? That sounds like a helluva night.

Related: When Manchester United were a nation’s darlings – and Wolves found out why

8.05pm GMT

4 min Lots of early United possession, with Telles involved in most things on the left.

8.04pm GMT

3 min Telles and Rashford try to work a short corner, and make a Horlicks of it.

8.04pm GMT

3 min Telles breaks down the left and curls in a good cross that is put behind for the first corner by Saiss.

8.02pm GMT

2 min “Leeds though, eh, Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “The thinking man’s Man United?”

Simon McMahon’s email address is available for a small fee, and his postal address for a slightly larger one.

8.01pm GMT

1 min Peep peep! Wolves, in the old gold, kick off from right to left. Manchester United are in red.

7.59pm GMT

You can never have too many podcasts in your life

Episode 4 of United Rewind is OUT NOW!@DanielHarris and Rob Smyth revisit a brilliant performance from the 1995/96 double-winners as they out-play and out-muscle title rivals Newcastle in December 1995.

(Includes in-depth haircut chat)

Subscribe nowhttps://t.co/d2WJnEDGjI pic.twitter.com/g1pi3cvHco

7.58pm GMT

“Tough job for Hoever against that United front three - guess he’ll just have to suck it up,” says Felix Wood. “I’m not sorry.”

7.56pm GMT

“If Wolves do score tonight,” says Kevin Porter, “it will be from outside the box, because nobody in the starting XI is going to venture there. Feeling very pessimistic as befits 2020 and indeed 2021 for whom someone will hold its beer.”

Adama Traore is due. Just putting that out there for consideration.

7.54pm GMT

Big Sam 0-5 Bielsa, and other stories

Related: Brighton v Arsenal, Southampton v West Ham and more – live!

7.53pm GMT

Pre-match reading

Related: Solskjær: Edinson Cavani is definitely a starter for Manchester United

Related: Reliance on Bruno Fernandes causes problems for Manchester United | Jonathan Wilson

7.52pm GMT

“Hey Rob,” says Neil Carter. “Answer me this, has Donny done something wrong? Is he a bad person? WHAT IS WRONG WITH DONNY? #Pray for Donny.”

It’s hard to know for sure, because Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t reply to my 2am WhatsApps, but my instinct is that he’s the equivalent of buying an expensive pair of jeans one size too small and privately vowing you’ll fit into them, only to find that life gets in the way. But the good news is it’s never too late to change your waistline/association football tactics!

7.03pm GMT

Man Utd make six changes from the team that draw at Leicester, with Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba among those coming into the side. Victor Lindelof is injured, so Eric Bailly continues at centre-back.

Ki-Jana Hoever, the teenage defender signed from Liverpool, and Vitinha make their full Premier League debut for Wolves. Hoever replaces Nelson Semedo in one of four changes from the 1-1 draw with Spurs on whatever day of the week the 27th was. It looks like Wolves have returned to a back three.

6.55pm GMT

There are four Premier League games occuring as we speak, and Leeds have already scored four at the Hawthorns. Scott Murray has more news.

Related: Brighton v Arsenal, Southampton v West Ham and more – live!

5.30pm GMT

Hello. For Manchester United, Wolves at home is an appropriate way to end 2020. It’s where the year started – not on the first of January but on the first of February, when their new £47m signing Bruno Fernandes came straight off a plane to partially enliven a tedious 0-0 draw against Wolves. Fernandes quickly became United’s greatest catalyst since Eric Cantona; since he signed, only Liverpool (61) have taken more Premier League points than United’s 59. And United have played a game fewer.

It’s one thing to keep pace with Liverpool across two halves of different seasons, quite another to do it for a full season. If United win tonight they will go second, two points behind Liverpool in the real quiz, and expectation of an unlikely title challenge will grow a little more. With that comes hope, excitement – and pressure.

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Letter: Albert Quixall obituary

Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:19

Albert Quixall brought the vital quality of glamour to Manchester United in the aftermath of the Munich air crash in 1958 that few others could have matched. He had star power and an aura of modernity that helped dispel perceptions of United as an object of pity.

I loved watching him, with his brilliant blond hair, always up for a spot of trickery. His ball control was effortlessly magnetic, his passing velvety and accurate, his penalty kicks nerveless and he was often at the heart of the best team moves. Genuinely progressive in his approach to the game, he took ballet lessons with his wife to improve his balance and posture.

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Solskjær: Edinson Cavani is definitely a starter for Manchester United

Mon, 12/28/2020 - 13:30
  • ‘You don’t classify a player of that quality as anything else’
  • Uruguyan striker asked to wear No 7 shirt

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said Edinson Cavani can expect to exert more influence at Manchester United and “probably start more matches than he does not start”, hailing the 33-year-old as “one of the fittest players we have”. The manager even hinted at the possibility of Cavani staying at the club beyond the term of his current contract.

Cavani has made 13 appearances for United – four as a starter – since joining on October’s transfer deadline day. His contribution goes far beyond the four goals he has struck in that time, with the latest demonstration of his class coming at Leicester on Boxing Day when he replaced Anthony Martial with 15 minutes to go and set up a goal for Bruno Fernandes.

Related: Reliance on Bruno Fernandes causes problems for Manchester United | Jonathan Wilson

Related: Manchester United's Solskjær says his players must learn how to handle praise

Related: The alternative 2020 sports awards: quotes, storms and animal cameos

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