What the papers say
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford celebrated his 100th Premier League appearance with a fine goal to secure a 1-0 win over Leicester City and maintain Ole Gunnar Solskjær's dream start as interim manager.
The victory moved United onto 48 points, two adrift of Chelsea in fourth place. Solskjaer's side have dropped points only once under him - a 2-2 draw with Burnley - and are now firmly aiming for the top-four spot that would give them Champions League football next season.Continue reading...
The Ole Gunnar Solskjær bandwagon rolls on. For the first time since the days when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge – back in the 2012-13 season – Manchester United have racked up five successive away victories, the latest arriving courtesy of a player who has looked reborn ever since the Norwegian took over at Old Trafford.
Marcus Rashford has now scored six times in 10 games under Solskjær and this was a fitting way for the 21-year-old to mark his 100th Premier League appearance. The fact that Ryan Giggs is the only United player to have reached that landmark at a younger age – there are only 20 days in it – says much about Rashford’s impact at the club since he burst onto the scene as a teenager.Continue reading...
- All the latest from the 2.05pm kick-off at the King Power Stadium
- Ole Gunnar Solskjær fires long-lost lust for late drama
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67 min: Now Sanchez takes his leave, after 67 minutes of not a lot, and Martial replaces him. That may help United exploit space in this last quarter.
65 min: It’s been an almost-good game so far. Lots of little flickers but no consistent excitement since that early goal.
63 min: Leicester apply some more pressure, but Ndidi puts that to an end with a wild slash wide from 25+ yards.
62 min: Maddison goes off, and on comes Ghezzal. It’s fair to say the home faithful don’t like that a lot; it’s fair, too, to suggest Maddison doesn’t seem to either.
61 min: Now this could be a chance for Leicester. Matic checks Vardy 25 yards out, and it’s a centrally-situated free-kick. Good position, and Maddison steps up ... it pings up off the wall and Vardy, reacting quickest, snaps an acrobatic volley towards goal. De Gea manages to save it at the second attempt, just grabbing it before it can spin over the line!
59 min: A slick United move involving Sanchez and Shaw ends with Rashford drilling wide. Off the ball, Mendy drags Pogba down as he looks to dart into the box. It’s not spotted by the officials but Mendy, already booked, would surely be off if it was.
57 min: United seem, for now, to have got to grips with Leicester’s earlier fire and brimstone. They are controlling the ball for the moment and there isn’t a whole lot going on.
54 min: Pogba is hurt after a hefty Evans challenge. He’s clasping his lower right leg and waving his arms about. Up he gets, eventually, hobbling a tad.
52 min: You’d fancy United will get space on the counter in this half. I do wonder how much longer Sanchez will last; he’s done very little out there today.
50 min: Barnes, lively since the break, stands a brilliant delivery up from that left byline and Lindelof has to defend well. It leads to Leicester’s latest corner, which comes to nought.
47 min: And then, on the other side, Maddison makes ground into the box and drills into the side netting. Really quick start from Puel’s team!
46 min: They certainly start well, Barnes flashing a cross-shot past goal from a very tight angle on the left.
Can Leicester turn this around?
“I noticed a lot of birds on the pitch today, presumably pigeons pecking around for reseeded grass, or maybe looking for the leftover Walkers crisps of the groundsman’s lunch break?” observes Justin Kavanagh. “Strange they’d risk it given there are 23 men running around the field (11 of them foxes, supposedly, although Mendy has been playing like a scarecrow so far).”
Fair point, particularly on a weekend that has shown us no football pitch is safe from prowling cats.
Woolie Madden writes in:
“In a city with a large South Asian population, it’s heartening to see Hamza Choudhury is part of Leicester’s matchday squad. Considering how popular football is with young British Asians, clubs should be doing so much more both in terms of welcoming more Asian fans as spectators are their ground and also developing players into professionals. The other issue is a general lack of role models, as there are just so few British Asian players in general. Hopefully Choudhury makes a success of it at Leicester so that can change, at least.”
The half finishes with flurries at both ends, but United end it with the lead. It owed to sloppy play by Ricardo and some sublime football from Pogba – the pass – and Rashford – the control and finish – to cap the away side’s early dominance. They haven’t quite built on it, and Leicester have come back into the game without creating a whole lot, so we still have a real game on our hands here. Back in a bit!
45+1 min: As we enter three minutes of added time, Leicester lose the ball in their own half and Rashford tries to punish them for a second time, slashing in a shot that Schmeichel saves low to his right.
45 min: Now Mendy is booked for a slightly naughty one on Herrera. It’s got a bit scrappy, this.
43 min: Maddison’s delivery from that free-kick is poor, but so is the defending and Barnes is allowed to size up a first-time effort from more than 25 yards. It’s no danger to anyone, though.
42 min: Ricardo tears barnstormingly into the United half and Matic takes a yellow, throwing an arm across him. Leicester definitely don’t look out of this.
40 min: Young makes a threatening burst towards the box but overcooks his final pass for Lingard in a great position.
38 min: And another left-sided corner for Leicester ... it swings in and this time the challenge is won by Evans ahead of Bailly. He heads wide and, having made contact, might have done better.
37 min: United seem fairly content to allow Leicester possession now, if anything. Probably the best ploy: Leicester have struggled under Puel when offered a lot of the ball. They do get a corner though, from which Maguire wins a header but is penalised for a foul on Matic.
34 min: Leicester press well and hound United out of possession in their own half. It’s been sporadic from them though, pressing like that. I can’t totally work out how they are approaching this.
32 min: Late challenge – very much a “striker’s challenge” – from Vardy out on the left touchline near halfway, scything Lindelof down. It’s a clear booking, one he takes with little argument.
31 min: United put together their first move for a little while, Pogba dictating it, and it ends with a deflected Lingard shot looping through to Schmeichel.
28 min: Then Gray cuts in from the left and fires one towards goal. De Gea dives but Bailly gets there first, and bravely, taking quite a whack to the head in repelling the ball. He will continue but still looks dazed, and this is the kind of situation that needs taking care with.
26 min: Maddison gets a shot away 25 yards out but it’s straight at De Gea. Leicester win possession back from the goal kick and Ricardo aims a cross just over Vardy’s head. Bailly defends it just in case. Better from the home side.
25 min: A lull, at present. United aren’t quite fizzing around Leicester as they were earlier on. But they do still have the lead.
22 min: Maguire tries to get Leicester going with an uncharacteristic burst down the left, cut off by Lingard. Leicester are showing a few signs of life, their full-backs both firing crosses into the box in the moments after.
20 min: Lingard is deservedly shown a yellow card by Mike Dean for ankle-tapping Maddison as he attempts to counter.
19 min: Abhijato Sensarma writes – “If this United side pulls off the miracle of having a top four finish, do you think it will be logical to proceed with Solskjaer for the next season at the very least? I mean he’s not a superstar, but he’s brought back the attacking flair in the team, and may be the man in the shadows whom Manchester United has searched for ever since Sir Alex’s retirement.”
I think it would be logical. If it’s working, why rip it up?
17 min: Rashford needs a bit of treatment but looks OK. Which is good for United as he has been a real livewire so far and took that goal superbly, forgetting about his earlier miss.
15 min: Maddison has a sight of goal after a fortunate ricochet, but Shaw is back superbly to send his shot spinning behind for a corner. Excellent defending. Vardy wins the header at the near post as the set piece comes in, but it’s high and wide.
12 min: United come again and Maguire blocks Lingard’s attempt to crown a tricky run with a shot on goal. They look full of confidence.
This time he doesn’t miss. Ricardo concedes possession to Pogba with an absolutely terrible attempt to play from the back, but there’s still a lot to do. The weighting of Pogba’s pass over the top for Rashford is absolutely sublime and now, clean through and with time to give Schmeichel the eyes, he makes no mistake. He drills into the corner emphatically and it had been coming.
7 min: Maguire gives away a silly free-kick in a good right-sided position, needlessly clattering into Rashford, who was going nowhere. Chilwell heads clear but United keep the pressure on and Lindelof, driving the ball back across, wins a corner. That’s drilled in low and Schmeichel has to save sharply at his near post from Rashford. It’s a brisk start from United.
4 min: Big chance for Rashford! Shaw sizes up an absolutely delicious cross to the far post and Rashford, running off Maguire and completely alone, somehow directs his header over. That should be 1-0 to United, no question.
3 min: Bailly, recalled to the side today, hoiks an *awful* attempt at a backpass out of play for a corner. Ndidi heads the delivery well wide; De Gea was stranded so, had it been on target, there’d have been big trouble.
1 min: Sanchez, playing on the left of the attack, has an early go at Ricardo but there’s nothing doing.
United, kicking right to left and clothed traditionally, kick us off.
The teams are emerging at the King Power. We’ll kick off in a few minutes. On paper, these two XIs should give us a very decent game ...
That start for Alexis Sanchez is his first in the league under Solskjaer. It means Romelu Lukaku drops to the bench. Can Solskjaer recapture Sanchez’s old zip? My suspicion is nobody can: he is 30, has played at a ferocious tempo for years, often year-round too, and simply can’t keep it going at that pace anymore. It is no slight on him.
Harry Maguire is talking on Sky and is asked about United’s summer interest in him. He flat-bats it adroitly and answers a different question. Decent finish by him at Anfield, by the way, wasn’t it? Kyle Walker, for one, approved.
Fancy a rollicking pre-match read? Here is Daniel Taylor’s weekly column, this time about Leeds:
“Can United go fourth if they win today?” asks Matthew Bullock.
Afraid not, Matthew – they’d be two points shy of incumbents Chelsea but would leapfrog fifth-placed Arsenal, at least until their game with Man City later.
I’m a big fan of Harvey Barnes, and it was great to see him score at Wolves a couple of weeks ago. His form on loan at West Brom meant it was something of a no-brainer to bring him back for the rest of the season but it does go to show that expensive, chancy signings from elsewhere aren’t always as good an answer as developing your own.
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell, Ndidi, Mendy, Gray, Maddison, Barnes, Vardy. Subs: Ward, Fuchs, Morgan, Choudhury, Ghezzal, Okazaki, Iheanacho.
Manchester United: De Gea, Young, Lindelof, Bailly, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Rashford, Sanchez. Subs: Romero, Dalot, Jones, Fred, Mata, Martial, Lukaku.
Manchester United’s charge for the top four continues, then, and the fact that it sounds a remotely exciting prospect to their supporters says plenty about the situation Ole Gunnar Solskjaer inherited and the work he has done since. He oversaw his first minor wobble in midweek, really, with that draw against Burnley – but even then United came from two down at the death so there is enough happening to suggest the spirit of the old days is osmosising (is “osmosising” a word? from dugout through to pitch.
How easy will Leicester make it for them today? It’s exceptionally hard to tell because Leicester appear to fold limply one week and then pull out all the stops the next. Claude Puel remains under intense scrutiny but this is the kind of fixture they’ve tended to pull out a result in – see Manchester City (h) on Boxing Day and Liverpool (a) a mere four days ago. Their inconsistency is typical of the Premier League’s wider mid-table morass although Leicester do, at their best, have more about them than most of the division’s ballast. Will they show it today?Continue reading...
A win at Leicester would help United’s claim to a top-four place and they are rediscovering old habits under the Norwegian
Manchester United’s impressive run of victories may have come to an end, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjær merely a very successful caretaker manager rather than a record‑breaking one, though the Premier League table as well as the last result suggests the club are back in the late drama business.
The season has been rescued and, with a couple more wins likely to take United back into top-four contention, supporters are looking forward to seeing how the rest of the campaign pans out, which was emphatically not the case before the change of manager.Continue reading...
The headline nobody expected at the start of this or any other transfer window finally wrote itself as January ended with a cold snap: Newcastle spend big on a player. In a Premier League window otherwise dominated by an eerie spending freeze, Mike Ashley appeared to blink first in his icy stand-off with Rafael Benítez and sanction that club-record £21m outlay for the MLS midfielder Miguel Almirón.
While Benítez has been far from shy in expressing his frustrations with the tightness of the purse strings at St James’ Park, Ashley’s motivations are more baffling to decipher, an exercise in Kremlinology or Sports Direct-ology.Continue reading...
This is the sort of game Leicester will probably relish. They have beaten Chelsea and Manchester City at home and drawn away at Liverpool in the last six weeks. United, who have fitness concerns in relation to Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, hope to win five successive away games in all competitions for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge. Youri Tielemans, who has joined on loan from Monaco, could make his Leicester debut. Marcus Rashford is set to make his 100th Premier League appearance. Stuart James
Sunday 2.05pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
Gonzalo Higuaín and Miguel Almirón among main signings as clubs tinkered with squads rather than overhauling them
“We need wingers. Wingers,” Unai Emery said on Tuesday night, and it was interesting to note the plural. The Arsenal manager added Denis Suárez, who he says can be one solution – even if he is not perhaps an out-and-out winger – but he saw moves fail for Ivan Perisic, Yannick Carrasco and Christopher Nkunku. David HytnerContinue reading...
• Solskjær points to development Ronaldo made at club
Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes Anthony Martial can follow Cristiano Ronaldo’s example and elevate himself to become one of the world’s best players.
Martial signed a fresh five-year deal with Manchester United on Thursday and the caretaker manager is confident that the forward can join the elite if he wishes.Continue reading...
• Martial thanks Solskjær and says: ‘I’m loving my time at club’
Anthony Martial has signed a new contract at Manchester United, which will keep him at the club until 2024.
The 23-year-old forward had appeared close to leaving Old Trafford under José Mourinho, with the player linked to a move last summer, and the club’s former manager said last November that Martial was among several youngsters at the club who had great potential but “lacked maturity”.Continue reading...
• Brazilian will miss both legs against Manchester United
• Club backs player to overcome injury with ‘courage’
Paris Saint-Germain have said that Neymar will be out for about 10 weeks with the metatarsal injury he suffered against Racing Strasbourg on 23 January.Continue reading...
Manchester United’s winning run under Ole Gunnar Solskjær ended after nine matches but Victor Lindelöf’s late equaliser keeps them unbeaten under the caretaker manager and was the kind of comeback made famous by the 20-times champions.
Chris Wood’s 81st-minute header looked to have proved the winner despite Paul Pogba’s late penalty but after bombarding Burnley’s goal up stepped Lindelöf to smash home in added time to send the home support delirious.Continue reading...
• Belgian agreed a contract extension last summer
• Midfielder is out with a calf injury at the moment
Manchester United are in discussions with an unnamed Chinese club over the potential sale of Marouane Fellaini.Continue reading...
• AFC Wimbledon will host Millwall in London derby
Manchester United have been handed the chance to exact FA Cup revenge when they travel to face the holders next month. United, who have won eight consecutive games since the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjær last month, will face a trip to Stamford Bridge in a tie which was the undoubted highlight of the fifth-round draw.
Chelsea beat José Mourinho’s United 1-0 in last year’s somewhat forgettable final thanks to Eden Hazard’s penalty. Middlesbrough or Newport will host Manchester City while League One Doncaster will welcome Crystal Palace to the Keepmoat Stadium. AFC Wimbledon’s reward for beating West Ham is a home tie with Millwall, who knocked out Everton on Saturday evening.Continue reading...
• Coach not expecting any exits before transfer deadline
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is preparing Manchester United for next season “with or without” the interim manager still being in charge.
The Norwegian has won his opening eight games as caretaker, with United having never fallen behind under him yet his status remains as the temporary No 1. Solskjær, though, is still considering the long-term development of the side.
(All times GMT)Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is proving his tactical ability every week but Accrington’s manager could not see the magic of his Cup tie
It was a pity John Coleman saw fit to savage Jon Moss, stealing the headlines when his players’ tremendous performance against Derby deserved more attention. The referee did not get everything right but the Accrington manager was wrong to describe his decisions as horrendous, particularly as his supposedly worst call only led to the corner that resulted in the goal. Frank Lampard was on safer ground talking of the magic of the FA Cup. “We had 2,500 fans here and I thought it was great, it felt like a proper game,” the Derby manager said. “I’ve played in Cup ties like that for Chelsea, we won 1-0 at Scarborough a few years back and by no means were we the much better team. This was difficult, it was real football, and I’m glad my players experienced it. That’s the beauty of the FA Cup, it’s not just about winning the final, it’s about adapting to new challenges and different conditions. I enjoyed being a part of it.” Paul WilsonContinue reading...
Your weekend round-up of the best photography from the FA Cup fourth round
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• Chilean scored in FA Cup win over his former club Arsenal
• ‘He has been fantastic, he is determined to prove his worth’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is backing Alexis Sánchez to seize the moment to prove his worth to Manchester United. The Chilean forward, who signed a year ago from Arsenal, scored with a flash of his dynamic best in the FA Cup win at the Emirates on Friday. Solskjær described that as “a big, big step forward” for Sánchez.
Communication has not been easy but they are getting there. “Well, in my broken English and with his broken English,” Solskjær said, smiling. “You try to sit him down and speak to him but he’s a really hard-working, proud man, and he is really determined to prove his worth. He has been fantastic since I came. His workrate in training has been brilliant.”Continue reading...
Playing Romelu Lukaku on the right wing meant Ole Gunnar Solskjær created the space to get the most out of Alexis Sánchez in the win over Arsenal
Easy game, this management lark. So easy, you wonder what on earth Ole Gunnar Solskjær was doing during his first stint in the Premier League: it didn’t seem this straightforward with Cardiff City. These days, though, it seems he can do no wrong. Not only did he allow Alexis Sánchez to invoke the immutable law of the ex by scoring against Arsenal but, far less expectedly, he deployed Romelu Lukaku to dismantle Arsenal from a position on the right wing.Continue reading...
• Fellow centre-half Sokratis also went off with leg injury
• Defenders Hector Bellerín and Rob Holding out for season
Unai Emery lamented Arsenal’s worsening defensive injury crisis as Laurent Koscielny suffered a suspected broken jaw during their 3-1 defeat at the hands of a vibrant Manchester United.
“Koscielny is going to hospital for analysis, maybe a break,” Emery said with an expression that suggested he feared the worst. This comes a week after Héctor Bellerín joined Rob Holding in being out for the season and beyond after suffering a cruciate ligament injury. Arsenal lost both centre-halves during the game as Sokratis Papastathopoulos jarred his leg, but Emery sounded more optimistic that the problem is not long-term.Continue reading...