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Dwight McNeil: ‘It was character-building to be released by United’

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 22:30

The Burnley winger was let go by the club he supported as a boy but he has bounced back to attract United’s interest once again

Dwight McNeil turned 20 only last month, yet he is already an established presence on the left wing at Burnley, with the promise of a long Premier League career ahead and bigger clubs beginning to show interest in his rare ability to beat defenders with the ball at his feet.

To say those feet are firmly planted on the ground might be understating the matter, for McNeil’s is a football success story based on family values and recurring routines. As a child he would watch his father playing for clubs at non-league and lower league level around the north-west. “Stalybridge Celtic spotted him first, and he went to Hyde, Runcorn, Macclesfield and Stockport, with me and my mum following him everywhere every week,” McNeil explains.

Related: Burnley v Newcastle: match preview

Related: Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

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Manchester United manager Solskjær expects impact from Duncan Ferguson

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 12:56
• United face Everton looking for a fourth successive win
• Ferguson still in temporary charge at Goodison Park

Manchester United will be looking for a fourth consecutive win when Everton travel to Old Trafford on Sunday, and though the visiting team have just lost a manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær knows better than most how effective an in-house replacement can be.

With Duncan Ferguson following Frank Lampard and Freddie Ljungberg in taking either temporary or permanent control of the club he knows best, it is even possible that United set a pioneering example when turning to Solskjær just under a year ago.

Related: Mason Greenwood double leads Manchester United past AZ Alkmaar

Related: Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 00:05

Arsenal can exploit Manchester City’s weakness, Pellegrini in peril and Brighton upbeat for Palace derby

Nigel Pearson was introduced to the media at Vicarage Road on Thursday, when he was asked about the reputation he has gained across his career. Towards the end of his time at Leicester one press conference memorably dissolved into an instantly infamous rant – “If you don’t know the answer to that question then I think you are an ostrich” – which sealed his reputation as, frankly, a bit of a grump. “I know I have at times been perceived as difficult to work with, but a lot of that was born out of trying to protect my players,” he said. “I’m a human being, I’m like anybody else. You would prefer to be liked than disliked, wouldn’t you? But I have to accept I have been responsible for creating a persona.” In the other dugout on Saturday will be a manager who has created an entirely contrasting persona, but sadly for Pearson there are likely to be more frowns for him than Jürgen Klopp. In their last three visits, Watford have lost 5-0, 5-0 and 6-1. Since then, they have got worse and Liverpool better. SB

Related: Arsenal flirt with disaster against Standard Liège but hit back to top group

Related: Bournemouth need fresh ideas from Eddie Howe to arrest an alarming slump | Eni Aluko

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Mason Greenwood double leads Manchester United past AZ Alkmaar

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 21:56

Mason Greenwood had a night to remember as Manchester United dismantled AZ Alkmaar’s challenge with a barrage of second-half goals. The 18-year-old striker scored two of them and won a penalty for another as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side cantered to victory in their final Europa League group game.

“The lad’s a natural finisher, he’s always done it,” the United manager said. “He’s good with both feet and always composed. He probably just needs to develop his heading. Seriously, though, to change nine players and still win so comfortably is a great credit to the players.”

Related: Alfredo Morelos takes Rangers through despite late Young Boys equaliser

Cluj booked their place in the knockout stages by defeating a makeshift Celtic side in Romania. Second-half goals from defender Andrei Burca and midfielder Damjan Djokovic inflicted Celtic's first Group E defeat.

Related: Diogo Jota comes off bench to grab rapid hat-trick as Wolves rout Besiktas

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Standard Liège v Arsenal and more: Europa League – live!

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 18:18

6.17pm GMT

Some instructions from Freddie Ljungberg to Lacazette - behind the hand of course as is de rigueur these days. Arsenal then make a mess of trying to play the ball out from the back. Not sure that’s what he was recommending guys ...

6.13pm GMT

Some colour from one of tonight’s other games here. Looks lovely, if a little empty ...

#tsfpAtTheGames @sidlowe is at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez tonight for a big Europa League game.

Getafe and Krasnodar both level on 9 points, battling for second place in the group. It's very wet and very cold... pic.twitter.com/FkeCGHKVG1

6.09pm GMT

A good save from the Standard keeper denies Smith-Rowe at the other end. Better from Arsenal

6.08pm GMT

Almost disastrous for Arsenal but Cancela fails to capitalise on their defensive problems after an initial mistake from David Luiz. Groans all around the Stade Maurice Dufrasne

6.05pm GMT

We have a goal! Vitoria have taken the lead in Germany against Eintracht Frankfurt which means Standard’s dream of qualifying is alive and kicking ...

6.03pm GMT

A decent start for Celtic over in Romania, with debutant Robertson showing some great skill. They also have Karamoko Dembele and the fantastically-named Grant Savoury on the bench. If you can think of any of food-based players in action this evening let me know ...

5.59pm GMT

You’ve got to love David Luiz, who has just attempted a shot from his own halfway line! Not far away either

5.57pm GMT

Peep peep and we’re off in the early kick-offs. Guendouzi goes down after clashing with M’Poku inside the first 30 seconds but seemed to make a lot of that.

5.55pm GMT

Sako and Nelson providing support to Lacazette in attack tonight for the Gunners, who have made nine changes from the win over West Ham. Could be exciting ... Meanwhile Standard’s top scorer Maxime Lestienne is on the bench

5.52pm GMT

A young Arsenal side take to the pitch in Belgium. It looks cold out there.

5.46pm GMT

Almost time for kick-off now, hope you’re all ready. A reminder of the games about to start

Who's going through today?#UEL | @UKEnterprise

5.45pm GMT

The pressure is on Lazio to win against Rennes in Group E otherwise Cluj will be heading through with Celtic. Things are pretty tight in Arsenal’s group after their loss to Eintracht Frankfurt last time but they will be fine unless they lose 5-0, with the Germans just needing a point at home to Vitoria

5.42pm GMT

In Group C, Basel are definitely through whatever happens but Getafe need a point against Krasnodar at home to qualify. Group D is much simpler, with Sporting and Linz battling it out for top spot in Austria.

5.39pm GMT

Several groups still have issues to be resolved, although we already know that Sevilla and Apoel Nicoisa are in the hat from Group A. In Group B, it’s a three way tussle between Dynamo Kiev, FC Copenhagen and Malmo with the Swedish side needing to win in the Danish capital to be sure of fending off the Ukrainians.

5.34pm GMT

It’s time to get serious in the competition that started back in the second week of July for some of the teams in action this evening. After this week’s events in the Champions League, we know that Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, Benfica, Club Bruges, Inter Milan, Olympiakos, Red Bull Salzburg and Shakhtar Donetsk will be the eight teams dropping down into the draw for the last-32, which looks a decent set of potential winners to me.

5.27pm GMT

It’s all change for Celtic as well, with a debut for 18-year-old Scott Robertson in midfield ...

CFR Cluj: Arlauskis, Susic, Burca, Cestor, Camora, Djokovic, Bordeianu, Culio, Deac, Traore, Omrani.

The flying Celts are here and aiming to finish the group on a high! #CLUCEL #UEL pic.twitter.com/Dh0ksUclXw

5.12pm GMT

Hi everyone and welcome to a busy evening in the Europa League! There’s a lot going on in the final round of matches in the group stages with plenty to be resolved in the 24 games that are taking place tonight.

First up among the British sides are Arsenal, who just need to avoid a 5-0 defeat in their trip to face Standard Liege in Belgium to make it through to the last-32. After their morale-boosting win over West Ham on Monday, surely that will be a piece of cake for Freddie Ljungberg’s side?

5.07pm GMT

There’s a recall for Matteo Guendouzi as Freddie Ljungberg names his Arsenal side to face Standard Liege.

Here’s the teams in full:

Here's our team in Belgium tonight...

@DMavropanos handed a start
@MatteoGuendouzi returns to the XI
@ReissNelson9 and @EmileSmithRowe both start
@LacazetteAlex leads the line

#UEL

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United and Juventus refuse to give up on Haaland but German clubs lead race

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 13:32
  • Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig to push for January transfer
  • Playing time key but Norwegian will talk to United and Juve

The Red Bull Salzburg striker Erling Braut Haaland is considering offers from Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig after visiting the two Bundesliga clubs but is expected to hold talks with Manchester United and Juventus before deciding on his future.

Related: Erling Braut Haaland, the Norwegian ‘beast’ ripping up the record books | Marcus Christenson

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Solskjær claims ‘recharge’ responsible for Manchester United upsurge

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 13:58
• Manager says resting players for long Astana trip was key
• Solskjær expects Paul Pogba to return before end of year

Ole Gunnar Solskjær claims his decision to rest senior squad members for the arduous trip to Kazakhstan last month is behind Manchester United’s impressive performances in the last two weeks, with the club moving up to fifth in the table after beating José Mourinho’s Tottenham and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

With qualification to the Europa knockout stage assured an extremely callow United side lost in Astana, though they will finish top of their group as long as they avoid defeat by AZ Alkmaar at Old Trafford in the final group game on Thursday. Solskjær confirmed he would again be considering reserves and academy products, while sending out a selection capable of winning.

Related: Tired, worn Old Trafford a symbol of Manchester United's faded grandeur

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Tired, worn Old Trafford a symbol of Manchester United's faded grandeur

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 13:13

Stadium was once a jewel but now it needs an urgent upgrade as Tottenham and others lead the way

Old Trafford is one of football’s most vibrant amphitheatres. During the 109-year history of Manchester United’s home, Billy Meredith, George Best, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo are a few of the greats to grace the stage of England’s record title winners.

Yet the venue has become tired and worn. When the Manchester rain poured hard last season the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand leaked. The seating is crammed and wifi patchy. The directors’ box has an antiquated feel and the bars and suites a faded glamour. A venue that hosted 1966 World Cup and Euro 96 matches has not staged a showpiece game since the 2003 European Cup final.

The new cantilever stand under construction in August 1965. Photograph: Terry Mealy/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Related: Debt £511m but dividends galore: the Glazers’ legacy at Manchester United | David Conn

Fans outside Old Trafford by the souvenir shop in 1972 and the Manchester United megastore in 1996. Photographs: Colorsport/Shutterstock; Empics Sport

The first game at Old Trafford in February 1910, bomb damage in September 1945; Looking down, in August 1949, on the new uncovered stand which temporarily replaced the covered stand destroyed during the blitz, Chelsea goalkeeper Petar Borota lines up his defensive wall at Old Trafford in May 1979 and a view of the Stretford End in April 2014. Photographs: Manchester United via Getty Images; Daily Herald/Mirrorpix via Getty Images; Mirrorpix/Action Images; Chelsea FC via Getty Images; Offside/Getty Images

The Spurs fans display a mosaic ahead at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in April 2019. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Aerial views of Old Trafford in the 1930s, 1966 and 2017. Photographs: Bob Thomas/Popperfoto via Getty Images; PA Archive; Emre Zengin/Alamy

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Marcus Rashford can be as good as Cristiano Ronaldo, says Solskjær

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 22:30

• Rashford having his most prolific season at Manchester United
• Solskjær: ‘It’s very easy to compare the two of them’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has encouraged comparisons between Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo and admitted the England forward has the ability to emulate his predecessor at Manchester United.

Rashford’s penalty in the victory over Manchester City in Saturday’s derby took him to double figures in the Premier League for only the second time in his career despite more than half of the season remaining. With 16 goals for club and country so far the 22-year-old is enjoying by far his most prolific campaign since breaking into the United first team under Louis van Gaal in 2016, having been utilised mainly off the left flank by Solskjær and the England manager, Gareth Southgate.

Related: Rashford and Martial give Manchester United derby honours against City

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