What the papers say
• Manager said United had been inconsistent over the season
• Solskjær was disappointed at missing out on Champions League
Ole Gunnar Solskjær put a brave face on Manchester United’s latest disappointment, but accepted his side had not been good enough to put away chances against a dispirited and disorganised Huddersfield that would have kept hopes of a Champions League finish alive.Continue reading...
Manchester United’s slender hopes of a top-four finish were ended in shambolic fashion when they surrendered an early lead to relegated Huddersfield, allowing the club marooned at the bottom of the table with 14 points to claim a wholly unexpected 15th that will alter the nature of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s summer.
Not that much has gone for the Terriers in their two-season stay in the Premier League, but at least the side that shares the early relegation record with Derby County can take pride in taking four points off Manchester United in two league meetings at the John Smith’s Stadium. Huddersfield won this fixture last season, and despite a dreadful start to this game they had their chances in the second half to cause a similar shock.Continue reading...
- Live updates from the John Smith’s Stadium, kick-off 2pm (BST)
- I will get realistic chance to revive Manchester United, says Solskjær
- Feel free to tweet Nick or email email@example.com
90+4 min: Pogba shoots, slips and the result is certainly not respectable. Solskjaer sits impassively, then leaps to his feet. Lossl takes an age over the goal kick and is booked. Neville laments, quite rightly, how United simply let this game drift for an hour.
90+3 min: United have five minutes to be in with a shout of keeping their season respectable ...
90+1 min: Huddersfield bring on Diakhaby for the scorer, Mbenza, whose goal was his first of the season. We will see EIGHT added minutes here.
89 min: Chong could win it! He looks well offside as Rashford slides him through – and a replay shows he indeed was – and drives into the box before Lossl tips his angled shot away. Then Pogba clatters one against the bar from 18 yards moments later! It’s the second time he’s hit the frame! And *then* Huddersfield break and De Gea saves again with his legs from Grant. Suddenly it’s all happening at the death!
87 min: Still, United will have some big social media engagement figures after this. And that is what counts!
86 min: This has been so unbelievably – yet so very believably – bad from United since those first 20 minutes. These players just coast, don’t they? Where’s the energy, the fire, the resolve, the determination? These are intangibles but no successful team does without them.
83 min: Dalot replaces Lindelof. The Swede, who has played better than most of his teammates, heads down the tunnel so presumably has a knock. Ashley Young is now playing at centre-back for Manchester United.
82 min: Lossl beats away a cross-shot from Rashford. United need to build a head of steam now-ish.
80 min: But it’s Mbenza streaking away again on the right to win a corner off Jones. Lowe swings it in ... and United just about clear at the second time of asking.
79 min: It has to be a grandstand last 15 minutes or so from United now, and ultimately a win, otherwise their top-four hopes are mathematically done. Will they deign to make it exciting?
77 min: McTominay gets up groggily. It’s one of those where you just have to trust the medics to do the right thing. They’ve deemed he can continue, so he does – and the game does too.
76 min: McTominay is caught by Lossl as the keeper punches away, and seems to have a head injury. The physio comes on ...
74 min: It’s now Chelsea 3-0 Watford. Higuain has got the third.
73 min: Now Mata squares and Rashford, on the stretch, can’t get the ball on target. Have United’s players realised the gravity of the situation at last?
72 min: “Lifelong United fan here, I went to the same school as Geordie Best,” writes Philip Brennan just as Phil Jones misses a *sitter*, jabbing a low Young free kick over when totally unmarked. “I just punched the air and cheered when Huddersfield scored. I’m going back to watching Glentoran.”
I think a few people might sympathise with that. United need to remember they are a football club, double-quick.
70 min: “We’re going down!” chant the home fans. They could yet go down with a win here. United are all over the show; it’s as joyless from them as usual.
69 min: “I’d actually have more of an opinion on Woodward if he backtracked on Solskjaer and said ‘enough is enough’ and broke the bank for a top tier relevant manager. Otherwise is could be another few years and millions being wasted,” writes Paul Fitzgerald.
I just think it’s hard to have a firm view on Solskjaer at the moment. They probably firmed the appointment up too quickly but, as for his own ability to turn things around, we must remember he has inherited an absolute rabble.
66 min: It’s taking two groundstaff to assemble a corner flag at the moment. It’s not going superbly but would you have a steady hand with 24,500 people making merry around you? Now we do restart after a six-minute delay.
65 min: We are still waiting to get underway as a new flagpole is constructed. A farce that matches United’s season well. What do they have left here? They seemed to have improved a little since Herrera and Chong came on, moving the ball more slickly, but you can’t say they have not courted this.
63 min: Lossl gets an assist there, and it’s atonement for that earlier blooper. The game is delayed while we get a new corner flag – I think a jubilant Mbenza smashed it in celebrating! Meanwhile Neville murmurs: “There’s nothing to like about this United team at all. Just awful.”
Oh my! Lossl grabs that McTominay header and immediately aims a long, flat clearance upfield towards the chasing Mbenza. Shaw is the only United player back and well positioned to clear ... but completely misses the ball! Now Mbenza is through, and slides his finish under De Gea. The stadium goes wild!
60 min: Shaw wins a corner although he could maybe have picked out Chong sooner at the far post. McTominay’s downwards header is saved easily – and then ...
57 min: Then Pogba puts a better effort over from 20 yards. There are goals here if they do want them.
56 min: Ander Herrera, who replaced Matic a couple of minutes back, blasts a quite in-keeping shot well off target.
55 min: Gary Neville is going into one of his quite delicious rants about United’s lack of character, spirit, commitment. Can’t say he is wrong. A bright start here has turned into absolute nothingness, let’s be honest, and we’ve seen this film before. Tahith Chong might fancy this, though, as the youth product replaces a limping Sanchez. Will we see the Chilean in a United shirt again? I doubt it.
52 min: Huddersfield are testing United with balls over the top. They look a bit wobbly and Grant, cutting onto his left foot, curls just over the bar! No intensity from United at all at present.
50 min: David Luiz has very quickly made that 2-0. So Chelsea are heading third, and if it stayed like this United would be two points behind fourth-placed Spurs going into the final day.
49 min: Bad news for United, though, as Ruben Loftus-Cheek has turned the boos into cheers at Stamford Bridge. It’s Chelsea 1-0 Watford.
47 min: Shaw fizzes one well wide after a half-clearance from Hogg. United start on top.
United get the half started.
A Huddersfield change at the break: Smith replaces the injured Durm.
Dean Hoyle has been addressing the Terriers fans at the break. “All I am is custodian of fans’ dreams. I’ve done my bit and now it’s for somebody else to carry the weight of expectation.”
He gets one heck of an ovation, and it’s so well deserved.
Chelsea are drawing 0-0 with Watford. By all accounts they were booed off at the break. United couldn’t be the team that find a semblance of form and snatches fourth ... could they?
Huddersfield can’t make a late corner count, the whistle goes, and there we are. McTominay’s early goal, scored with plenty of help from Lossl, separates these two. United were in total control for around 25 minutes, but Huddersfield came back into it and De Gea had to make an important save from Grant. Pogba has since hit the bar and United will feel they have more goals in them – if they can summon a good, sustained period of high tempo, which hardly seems a done deal.
45+1 min: Rashford takes a blow to the head but, after some treatment, is deemed fine to continue.
44 min: Lindelof heads another Pritchard delivery from the right away. The hosts are getting joy down there ands Lindelof is having a superb half.
43 min: Siewert gets, I’d say, disproportionately unhappy about then non-award of a throw to Huddersfield, stalking outside his technical area and offering some choice words to somebody.
42 min: Pogba hits the bar! Mata loops a fine cross in and Pogba, twisting with the ball just behind him, arcs a superb header against the frame. It dribbles back off a home defender but is grabbed before it can roll across the line.
39 min: Lindelof, again, is in there in the nick of time to stop Mbenza converting a Pritchard centre. Then Jones gives away possession and it’s worked through to Grant, who is denied by a big De Gea save with his feet! United have dozed off here, big time. It happens so often.
37 min: Mata overcooks a through pass for Rashford, who is beaten to the ball by Lossl. United could do with a second goal.
36 min: It’s a good spell for the Terriers, for sure, and Lindelof does well again to stop a neat Pritchard pass sending Bacuna away.
34 min: Jones is rightly booked for taking Hogg out on the right byline. Hogg had, errrm, roasted him. Another chance for some home pressure, but McTominay lumps Mooy’s delivery away.
31 min: Now Huddersfield, who have come into this slightly, win a free-kick 30 yards out and Bacuna’s strike snicks wide off a red shirt. The corner comes to nothing but this resembles a contest now, albeit not an absorbing one.
29 min: Huddersfield put a nice little move together and Grant, in space on the right of the box, sees his cross defended bravely by Lindelof.
28 min: The bulletins from Chelsea, where it is goalless, suggest Watford are well on top and Kante has gone off injured. Hope growing for United?
26 min: Sanchez, who is playing well enough, chips towards an unmarked Pogba at the far post but it’s at an awkward height and the midfielder can do little more than keep the ball alive for a second or two before Lossl pounces.
25 min: At the other end Mata, getting on the end of a lovely United move, measures one towards the far corner but it doesn’t fade enough and a decent chance goes begging.
24 min: And now they have a shot, Mata giving away possession with a loose touch and Bacuna, who has better passing options, shooting a yard wide from 20 yards. De Gea was never too worried.
22 min: Huddersfield have their first attack – yes, really – but it comes to very little as Durm’s low cross is easily ushered away.
20 min: United, who are dominant to a ludicrous degree, win consecutive corners but Young swings the second one out of play. They’ve been wasteful with set pieces so far, although I can’t imagine they’ll be short of further opportunities to threaten.
18 min: Hogg, who likes a challenge, is punished for a heavy one on Pogba, before Kongolo slides in at the other end to prevent a United opening.
17 min: Corner to United. They could and should win this by a hatful, I think we can say that already. But not with crosses like the one Mata just provided.
15 min: Lee Mason, yer ref, awards United a free-kick much closer in now after Rashford is hauled over. Now this could be a chance for Mata. It is he who has a go, but the ball ends up floated into the wall.
12 min: Young aims a deep corner and Lindelof, about 14 yards out, looks absolutely stunned to be allowed to control it on his chest with nobody near him. Huddersfield end up winning a free-kick but their defending so far has been rank bad.
11 min: A half-chance for number two, Sanchez showing some of his old tenacity to win possession on the left byline and centre for Rashford at the near post, but Kongolo is in very smartly to stop him converting.
10 min: That was McTominay’s second goal for United. They may as well try for a few more now if they’re going to come as cheaply as that one.
That’s the start they wanted, although it’s with a lot of help from Lossl. McTominay wins a free-kick just inside his own half and it’s worked short. Eventually he receives the ball himself, via a lucky break off a defender, and takes it into the box. His low, left-footed shot is OK-ish, but Lossl really should save. But it squirts through his legs and flies in!
6 min: Sanchez is clipped by Schindler and it’s a United free-kick, a little further out than ideal shooting range although Huddersfield form a three-man wall. Rashford has a pop but it bounces harmlessly through to Lossl.
4 min: There’ll be an eye or two on Chelsea’s fortunes against Watford. I’ll try and keep you informed. Nothing at all has happened here yet.
2 min: A slow start, but a very noisy stadium that seems intent on giving Huddersfield and Hoyle a lively farewell.
Huddersfield, kicking right to left, get us going.
And the teams are out on the pitch here! It seems a bright, perky atmosphere, all things considered – so let’s hope that points to a fun afternoon in general.
Don’t forget you can keep on top of the Championship’s last knockings here with Daniel Harris. The play-off and title races are going to the wire!
They’ll be trotting out in a few minutes. United’s season – what’s left of it anyway – is right on the line here. Remember, realistically they have to win and preferably score a few, too ...
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Alexis Sanchez to Sky Sports: “He's been waiting for an opportunity. He's been injured for a while & working hard to get back, so hopefully we can see a sharp Alexis with the attitude and hunger to get goals because we need goals to win the game" #MUFC
There you go ...
Huddersfield benefit from the return of Aaron Mooy, who missed the defeat at Liverpool. That was their 21st loss in 23 league games, a staggeringly bad record. It just hasn’t worked yet under Jan Siewert although he didn’t inherit a straightforward situation.
“Is it also possible the start for Alexis is one of those ‘put him in the showroom so that we can get a decent bit for him in the summer’ things?” ponders Thomas Krantz.
Possibly a bit of that too, yes. Although who’d take him currently? I’d add that the wider surprise over Sanchez’s drop-off ... errrr ... surprises me. It always looked a weird investment, I thought. His game was based so much on incredible reserve of energy, industry and dynamism. He’d also played a tremendous amount of football, year-round, for club and country. When you get to 30, it starts to tell – it’s not rocket science! I think we’re just seeing a player who is burnt out.
That start for Alexis Sanchez is his first for two months – the home win over Southampton was his last. A chance to salvage his United career from the dead? Or more of a sign that the likes of Lukaku and Martial are not much longer for Old Trafford?
Huddersfield: Lossl, Lowe, Kongolo, Schindler, Durm; Hogg, Bacuna, Mooy; Grant, Mbenza, Pritchard. Subs: Coleman, Smith, Kachunga, Diakhaby, Mounie, Stankovic, Daly.
Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Lindelof, Jones, Shaw; Matić, McTominay, Pogba; Mata, Sánchez, Rashford. Subs: Grant, Dalot, Smalling, Fred, Herrera, Pereira, Chong.
Almost there! That’ll surely be the feeling for both sets of fans here, who can’t have enjoyed this season one little bit. It has, for different reasons, become a fairly agonising slog for both – although there is just enough to keep everyone involved interested in what we have ahead ...
For Manchester United there is, quite incredibly given their recent form, still hope of a top-four spot. They are three points and a fair few goals shy of fourth-place incumbents Chelsea, who face a tougher assignment against Watford at the game time as this match, and two behind fifth-placed Arsenal with the Gunners hosting Brighton later. So it is an ask but, as we know, absolutely none of the contenders seem willing to grab this one by the horns – and it might just be that whoever can churn out two wins at this point will stumble over the line. Do United deserve that? No, not really. But then nobody really does. So they need to do the business here and see whether that keeps them in with a chance.Continue reading...
• Manager claims it will take two or three years to catch rivals
• Norwegian insists the club can still attract elite players
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is confident Manchester United will grant him the “two or three years” he believes is needed to establish a style of play that will realistically challenge Manchester City and Liverpool.
Last season José Mourinho’s side finished second but 19 points behind City, while United were 27 points behind the champions and 26 from Liverpool at the start of this weekend. Sixth-placed United are also unlikely to claim a Champions League berth as they are three points behind Chelsea, who are fourth, and one from fifth-place Arsenal. United have failed to win a league game since 13 April and are on a run of two victories in 10 matches in all competitions.Continue reading...
The 2-1 win home win over Manchester United in October 2017 has been the highlight of Huddersfield’s two-season stint in the Premier League. They are a different team now but will try to attack United in an attempt to get a victory in their last match at the John Smith’s Stadium before their return to the Championship. But for that, they would probably need an unwitting contribution from Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team, who should be at their best as they pursue a top-four finish. Paul Doyle
Sunday 2pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
• Solskjær says club can attract players without top-four finish
The Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said David de Gea will not be dropped at Huddersfield despite his poor recent form – although he added that his deputy, Sergio Romero, is injured.
The 28-year-old has made a serious of high-profile blunders as talk about his future continues, with last weekend’s gaffe allowing Chelsea an equaliser in a 1-1 draw that was a blow to United’s top-four hopes.Continue reading...
Leicester can test City but Liverpool face a challenge of their own, it’s all or nothing for Cardiff and Watford need to regroup
Following the disappointment of their reasonably heroic Champions League defeat at Barcelona, Liverpool must rouse themselves for what could be an extremely tricky Saturday evening appointment at Newcastle in which they simply cannot afford to slip up. With only two matches of the Premier League campaign remaining, anything less than a win for Liverpool would leave the door open for Manchester City to all but wrap up the title on Monday. One suspects this is a far tougher assignment than Jürgen Klopp would like so soon after a gruelling and dispiriting game at the Camp Nou and the portents are not great. Last September, a BBC study on the form of Premier League teams following midweek fixtures in Europe showed that Liverpool had won half a point less per game on on average following European fixtures over the previous five years, the worst record among their top-flight rivals. Last season alone, coming out of European games, they dropped points against Burnley, Stoke, Everton and their opponents on Saturday, Newcastle. BGContinue reading...
Blending refined aesthetics with startling self-revelation – and a fair few lies – the Irish author’s essays offer readers a compelling puzzle
Kevin Breathnach would like to clear something up: he’s never been a professional skateboarder. Good, you might say, I never said he was. But Breathnach’s debut essay collection Tunnel Vision reveals a relationship with the truth that is dizzyingly fluid, where the problem is not only the repeated telling of lies, but also of undoing them.
“This is my opportunity – I never got to address this lie in the book,” he says; understandably, he seems to have lost track of the untruths. “I told everyone at college that I had once been a sponsored skateboarder. Ten years on, people who know me still believe it. It just travelled too fast.” Does he know why he told that lie in the first place, I ask, and he shrugs as if to say, ‘Well, why wouldn’t I?’Continue reading...
David Luiz is king of the through ball; Phil Jones keeps the ball; and Aleksandar Mitrovic keeps missing
With two weekends remaining in the Premier League, Manchester City are top of the table and Mohamed Salah is leading the scoring charts. It might feel familiar but this campaign has been nothing like last season in reality. As well as offering a two-horse title race in which both sides keep refusing to blink, it has thrown up plenty of statistical surprises. Here are a handful that sounded very unlikely before the season began, starting between the sticks.Continue reading...
Today’s whispers are dozing off
Signing the next big thing from Portugal can be a tricky business. You might end up with Cristiano Ronaldo, you’ll probably end up with either another Renato Sanches or Hélder Postiga. Still though, sometimes it’s worth rolling the dice, and when you’re Ed ‘Snake Eyes’ Woodward, there’s no messing about. Bruno Fernandes, who spent years in Italy at Udinese and Sampdoria doing nothing more than OK, has been doing rather better recently at Sporting Lisbon, leading some media outlets to report that United will drop a combined £150m for the 24-year-old as well as Benfica’s young scamp, João Félix.
Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sportContinue reading...
• Ferdinand, 40, was a teammate of Ole Gunnar Solskjær
Rio Ferdinand is among the candidates being considered for a senior football role at Manchester United.
Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, is seeking to appoint a technical director whose job will include long-term strategy of United’s first team.Continue reading...
• Striker has struggled to start under Ole Gunnar Solskjær
• Champions League qualification key to decision
Romelu Lukaku has admitted he does not know whether he will still be at Manchester United next season.
The striker has struggled to be a first choice under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, though he did start Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Old Trafford.Continue reading...
Chris Hughton’s position looks uncertain after five successful years, Youri Tielemans catches the eye but Leicester will face a battle to keep him and Wolves show the way forward
When was the last time Manchester City finished a Premier League match with four centre-halves on the pitch? Pep Guardiola, who admitted he had been “trembling”, said he would have brought on another one if he had not already used all his substitutes and Sean Dyche said, with some pride, that he could tell the City manager was anxious. “I saw Pep Guardiola with my own eyes – and I heard it too – screaming, ‘Get it in the corner.’ That’s some compliment.” It was certainly not a stress-free afternoon at Turf Moor for the league leaders and reigning champions but 12 league wins in a row suggest City can handle the pressure. If they can make it 14, it will guarantee the championship trophy staying in Manchester and there are no signs that they will not be able to cope now the heat of the battle is close to intolerable. Daniel TaylorContinue reading...
Your weekend roundup of the best photography from England’s top flight
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A promising first-half performance against Chelsea from Solskjær’s team was undone by another self-inflicted mistake
This was not the result Ole Gunnar Solskjær was looking for. The Manchester United manager admitted beforehand that only a win would be good enough, though with Chelsea doing most of the attacking at the end he must have been pleased to avoid a third defeat in eight days.Continue reading...
• ‘David has been unbelievable. We support each other’
• Chelsea injury worries over Willian and Antonio Rüdiger
Ole Gunnar Solskjær refused to say he should have dropped David de Gea after the goalkeeper’s latest blunder allowed Chelsea to draw 1-1 at Old Trafford and damaged Manchester United’s hopes of Champions League qualification.
“No,” said Solskjær when asked if De Gea should have been left out. “David has been a fantastic keeper at this club, his reaction after Manchester City was good and I was confident in him. He knows he could do better with their goal but it’s one of those things again.”Continue reading...
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has joined Ole Gunnar Solskjær in defending Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea after his mistake let in Marcos Alonso to earn the Blues a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
Alonso's goal before the break cancelled out Juan Mata's early strike for United and saw Chelsea move to a two-point cushion in fourth place, occupying the last Champions League qualifying spot.Continue reading...
This draw frustrates Manchester United and cheers Chelsea who, after Arsenal’s capitulation at Leicester City earlier on Sunday, now have a Champions League berth in their control.Continue reading...
Another hideous mistake from David de Gea gave Chelsea a point at Old Trafford and surely ended Manchester United’s hopes of finishing in the top four
“I feel quite privileged to have watched the two laziest centre forwards in world football on the pitch at the same time,” says Stephen Carr. “It feels as momentous as the Pacino-De Niro scene in ‘Heat’.”
That’s an excellent result for Chelsea, who look likely to play Champions League football next season. Manchester United will almost certainly be playing in the Europa League. They started the match superbly and deserved to lead through Juan Mata’s goal. But another bad mistake from David de Gea, which allowed Marcos Alonso to equalise just before half-time, changed the mood of the match and Chelsea were comfortable for almost all of a bitty second half.
90+7 min De Gea makes a vital save from Higuain, although he didn’t know much about it.
90+6 min There’s a manic desperation to United’s attacking, but not so much in the way of quality.
90+3 min: Pedro clears off the line! Young’s deep, inswinging corner from the left was headed firmly towards goal by Rojo, and Pedro danced across the line to head clear. Chelsea would have been fuming had Rojo scored.
90+3 min McTominay wins a corner after a good header down from Sanchez, who is actually playing really well.
90+2 min Lukaku, who had been flagged offside, is denied anyway by an excellent save by Kepa.
90+1 min There are seven added minutes, mainly because of the injuries to Rudiger and Bailly.
90 min Hazard’s stinging shot from the edge of the area is blocked by McTominay, who had both arms held tight behind back in the VAR position.
89 min Young is booked for dissent. United can’t put Chelsea under any sustained pressure. Lukaku was brilliant in the first half hour but it looks like he shot his bolt.
88 min Pedro crashes over the bar from the right side of the box. Chelsea, for all their good play, have hardly bothered David de Gea in the second half.
86 min McTominay bullies Kante off the ball and finds Pogba, whose angled through pass to Lukaku is crucially intercepted on the edge of the area by Alonso.
85 min Can Manchester United score? They occasionally score.
84 min Willian, who is still feeling the impact of Rojo’s studs, limps off to be replaced by Pedro.
83 min Chelsea don’t need a winner, but it’s there for them if they want it enough. They are much the better side now.
81 min United started so well but they have lost their way in the second half, exemplified by Matic spraying a crossfield pass straight out of play. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer makes his final change, with Scott McTominay replacing Juan Mata.
80 min Willian is going to try to carry on, although he’s limping heavily.
79 min Rojo is booked for planting his studs into Willian’s ankle. It was an appalling, reckless challenge and he should have been sent off.
79 min United miss Marouane Fellaini. They do.
78 min Herrera sweeps a good pass out to Young, who then plays a dreadful pass towards Sanchez. He does well to win the ball off David Luiz near the byline, only to rake a miserable cross straight out of play.
77 min “Sanchez is improving,” says Matthew Stephens. “He’s touched the ball twice already.”
76 min Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaces Kovacic, who is brought off for his own protection.
75 min “Saying ‘David Luiz could’ve done X without faking an injury’ is tantamount to saying ‘Romario could’ve just put it in the net without humiliating the keeper so thoroughly’,” says Phil Podolsky. “Some things are signature elements of one’s art.”
74 min Willian wins a corner for Chelsea, who look the likelier scores. It’s been a stop-start half, which probably hasn’t helped United, although the bigger problem is their porcelain confidence.
73 min “I’d love to know what percentage of dedicated season-ticket football fans who cheer on all their foreign players every week voted for Brexit?” says Nigel Moore. “More than the national average, I bet.”
And the best thing is that, if you do want to place a bet, football can direct you about 500 different companies who will happily take your money. Thank you, football!
72 min Willian curls a free-kick over the bar from 25 yards.
71 min A stretcher is brought on for Bailly, but he’s able to limp slowly off the field with support from the medical staff. Marcos Rojo replaces him.
68 min Now Bailly is down injured after a challenge with Kovacic on the edge of the area. This looks really bad. It’s his right knee, and he’s in agony.
67 min Blimey. Bailly flattens Alonso just outside the area with what looked like a two-footed tackle. He got the ball but that doesn’t really matter.
66 min David Luiz is fine. I think he faked that injury to justify kicking the ball out of play so that Christensen could come on. Bit weird, as he could have just kicked it out anyway.
65 min Christensen comes on for Rudiger, but now David Luiz has gone down holding his groin. Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez has replaced Marcus Rashford. That looks like an injury as well.
65 min “Thoroughly enjoying the fifty-fifty challenge between Eden Hazard and Juan Mata,” says Joe Mann. “The footballing equivalent of war between Luxembourg and Andorra...”
64 min Antonio Rudiger is limping off with what looks like a recurrence of his knee injury. Andreas Christensen will replace him.
61 min “Further to the debate about De Gea,” says Robert Darby. “It is all well and good playing him against Cardiff and Huddersfield, but putting on his kit and jumping up and down between the posts before the kick-off is likely to be the sum total of all the action he will see.”
60 min Kovacic, who has already been booked, leaves one on Herrera. It wasn’t enough for a second yellow card, but his next tackle might be.
59 min A draw is of little use to United, unless they want to play on Thursday nights next season. It would be a decent result for Chelsea, though.
58 min Chelsea are looking threatening at the moment. It’s been a very enjoyable game, full of subtle momentum shifts.
56 min Hazard tries to test de Gea with a long-range shot that spins behind off Young. Willian’s corner is headed away by Bailly.
56 min “Couldn’t disagree more about de Gea,” says Reg Gorczynski. “He’s shown little loyalty to the club… missed a transfer last time only because of delayed fax…clearly holding out as (like Sanchez) he sees the club as a cash cow. I’d move him, and several other like-minded players, out NOW!”
55 min A United free-kick falls nicely for Bailly, who drags an apologetic left-footed shot straight at Arrizabalaga from 12 yards.
53 min Kovacic is booked for kicking the ball away.
52 min Willian is booked for a foul on Mata. He walks away in disgust, motioning extravagantly that he got the ball. Replays show he was right.
50 min Rashford’s free-kick kicks up awkwardly in front of Arrizabalaga, who does well to hold on with United players sniffing around for a fumble.
50 min Kante shoves Bailly over 30 yards from goal. Hazard was fouled just before that by Matic, so Chelsea will have a bit of a humour on if this leads to a goal.
48 min The manner of that equaliser has deflated United and invigorated Chelsea, who have started the second half confidently.
46 min Peep peep! Chelsea begin the second half, probably with instructions to shoot on sight.
“The knives will really be out for David de Gea but we must not forget that he is our best player since Sir Alex’s days and thus persist with his slump even if it is a gamble with the Champions league qualification,” says Adarsh Ashokan. “We as a club must show faith in him in such testing times which would show him that we value him very highly as a club and would like to resign a new contract.”
For what it’s worth - nowt - I agree. If they were about to play Liverpool in a Champions League semi-final, I think there would be a big decision to make, but I’d play him against Huddersfield and Cardiff. He’s an all-time great who’s having a bad spell; happens to them all.
J Stand chanting De Gea's name. Stretford End will doubtless warmly applaud him when he re-emerges. Deserves to be cut some slack but his form rivals his first six months at the club. #mufc
“A friend of mine once went on a double date in Chelsea, only to find out her half of the date was Juan Mata,” says Norrie Hernon. “‘Quite shy and very polite,’ apparently. No, she didn’t give any further details, despite my whinnying. Which is exactly how I imagined him.”
“I’m suggesting that after all that fawning, Neville is not the most partial of judges,” says Paul Fitzgerald.
Hmm, I’m not sure what your point is. We know Neville’s allegiance, and his friendship with Solskjaer, but whenever I’ve seen him on Sky Sports he has been as near to objective as dammit. When the time comes that Solskjaer is fighting for his job, I think he’ll be as considered and fair as he was with Mourinho, van Gaal and Moyes. I would agree there is a developing problem with grating bias, but there are other pundits who come to mind before Neville. Each to their own, I guess.
Peep peep! Juan Mata gave United an early lead before another sad error from David de Gea led to Marcos Alonso’s equaliser. The scoreline flatters Chelsea a touch, though they’ll not give a solitary one about that.
45+1 min Another opening for United. Rashford bursts into the box on the right and lofts a cross towards Mata beyond the far post. He cushions it back into the middle and Chelsea scramble it behind for a corner.
That was another surreal error. Rudiger moved forward and smashed a hopeful shot from 30 yards. It was well struck but straight at de Gea, who fumbled it to his right. Alonso, who was the only one to follow the ball in, bounced a clever shot across de Gea and in off the far post.
David de Gea has made another mistake!
43 min Herrera is booked for a foul on Alonso.
41 min A double stepover from Pogba is too much for Azpilicueta, who boots him and is lucky not to be booked. Pogba has been excellent in the first half.
40 min Mata’s lovely, dipping cross from the left is headed behind by the stopping Alonso. Nothing comes of the corner.
38 min “A lot of things are ridiculous,” says Paul Fitzgerald. “Such as Neville asking Ole where he wants his statue after the PSG game.”
Are you suggesting that was a serious question?
37 min I think Matic was trying to hold Azpilicueta off, but ultimately he elbowed him in the face and should at least have been booked.
36 min Azpilicueta is down holding his face after being hit by a flailing arm from Matic. Martin Atkinson waves play on, and United eventually kick the ball out.
35 min Matic slides a penetrative pass down the inside-left channel for Rashford, who runs at Rudiger in the area but gets the ball stuck under his feet.
34 min Lukaku, who is really up for this game, shoulder barges Azpilicueta into the advertising boards as they challenge for a ball on the left. Great stuff.
33 min Mata, played in on the right of the area by Herrera, crosses too close to Arrizabalaga. This is a fun, open game.
32 min “If Mata writes an autobiography,” says Kevin Wilson, “I want to read more about his love of Chinese art.”
I’d like to hear his thoughts on why so few footballers have bothered to pledge 1 per cent of their income to Common Goal.
30 min Bailly almost makes it 2-0. Young swung a corner from the left towards the six-yard line, where Bailly got between Alonso and Rudiger to plant a downward header just wide of the far post.
29 min “There are many factors, of course,” says Colum Farrelly, “but to what extent has the absence of Ander Herrera contributed to Utd’s recent poor form?”
A bit, yeah, although he did play in the FA Cup game at Wolves that really started the slump. He’s limited but I like him a lot and they’ll miss him.
28 min The resulting corner is headed by Rudiger onto the back of Alonso’s head, and luckily for Chelsea the ball ricochets to safety.
28 min Lukaku plays another nice through pass, this time to Rashford. Azpilicueta tracks him all the way to concede a corner. Excellent defending.
26 min Chelsea have been much the better side in the last 10 minutes, although they haven’t really worked David de Gea.
24 min “Mata’s only 31?” sniffs Hubert O’Hearn. “Seems like he’s been around since Stanley Matthews. One thing – when he retires, if he wants to do it, Juan Mata will have one fascinating autobiography to read. The scenes he’s seen in and out of clubhouses at Chelsea and United, my my.”
He’s not really the whistle-blowing type, is he.
23 min Willian and Jorginho try the Beckham/Scholes corner. Goal kick to Manchester United.
22 min This is a good spell for Chelsea. A poor header from Shaw goes straight to Higuain, but he redeems himself by blocking the subsequent shot.
20 min A couple of corners for Chelsea, the second of which is half cleared to Jorginho 25 yards out. Goal kick to Manchester United.
19 min There was a lovely line from Rob Hughes about Romario - “darting between defenders like a lizard between rocks” - which comes to mind even time Hazard slips past people. He is despicably good.
18 min Alonso cracks the free-kick over the bar.
16 min Hazard slips gloriously past Herrera, who trips him 25 yards from goal. He’s fortunate not to get booked for that.
14 min “Seems like Man U’s problem is pretty simply a lack of a technical director with clear authority over transfers,” says Joe Harvey. “An additional problem seems to be an organizational chart where no one knows who’s precisely responsible for what. For my taste, the TD has sole say and is higher up the chart than the manager, but that’s just me.”
Yes, agreed. When you see clubs like City (Manchester and Norwich), you realise how important it is to have a clear identity and purpose. I mean, there are lots of other problems at United but this is probably the biggest one.
12 min This is the same United system - and the same personnel, bar Bailly and De Gea - that Solskjaer used when they put Chelsea out of the FA Cup in February.
The goal was made by Lukaku, who chipped a beautiful pass over the defence into the path of Luke Shaw. Kepa came out to block the shot, so Shaw touched the ball across the area for Mata to score his right foot. There were a few defenders on the line but Mata stayed cool and passed it into the net.
It’s been coming, and that’s a really nice goal from Juan Mata.
10 min Lukaku plays an excellent pass to Shaw, whose low cross is kicked away by Azpilicueta. United are playing some good one-touch football.
9 min The first goal is even more important than usual, given the fragile confidence of both sides, United in particular.
8 min It’s been a breezy, open start to the game, with United in particular showing a zest and intent that hasn’t been evident of late.
7 min Rashford beats Alonso with a lovely turn on the right. He looks really sharp.
5 min “How can Neville be seen as an impartial judge when he obviously has an ever-ready excuse available for his friend Ole,” says Paul Fitzgerald. “Man Utd’s biggest problem is not just Ole’s lack of nous but former Utd players’ omnipresence and their sense of entitlement over the Utd debate.”
I think that’s harsh, verging on ridiculous, but that’s just my opinion.
4 min: Big save from Kepa! That was a great chance for Lukaku, who made a good run onto a long ball forward from Shaw and was through on goal. He spent too long trying to move the ball onto his left foot, which allowed Rudiger to get round, but Lukaku still managed to hit a low shot that was smothered by the outrushing Kepa.
4 min “Right now the Premier League table looks ridiculous,” says Phil Podolsky, “but overall the hierarchy at the very top seems to be less rigid than in all the other top leagues. You can see Chelsea buying, I dunno, Griezmann, Coutinho and Alaba and challenging for the title, with Liverpool weakened after losing Mane and Salah to the Spanish big two, City facing uncertainty after Pep walks out at the end of next season etc. (I know Chelsea have the transfer ban which they’re appealing, but in the realm of the hypothetical etc.)”
Yep, agreed. The top six has been set in stone for years, the Leicester miracle notwithstanding, but there’s been a lot of change within that sextet. It’s a different kind of predictable to Spain, Italy and Germany. I still prefer the Championship, though.
3 min A good attack from Chelsea. Hazard hammers a dangerous low cross that Kante flicks towards goal on the six-yard line, and Shaw comes round to make a fine block.
2 min “True about Azpilicueta,” says Nelson Kalberer, “but doesn’t he always look like he wants to kill someone?”
1 min Peep peep! United kick off from right to left.
The players are in the tunnel. Cesar Azpilicueta looks like he wants to kill someone. Eden Hazard is laughing and joking.
Manchester City have beaten Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor, which leaves them two wins away from retaining the title.
There are just over 15 minutes remaining in the vital match between Burnley and Manchester City. You will not believe the score!
Ander Herrera, so impressive in the last two months, returns to the side in what looks like a diamond midfield. Juan Mata and Eric Bailly have also been taken out of cold storage.
Manchester United (4-D-2) de Gea; Young, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic; Herrera, Pogba; Mata; Rashford, Lukaku.
Substitutes: Romero, Rojo, McTominay, Darmian, Pereira, Sanchez, Martial.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Manchester United v Chelsea from Old Trafford, the latest instalment in the strangely compelling stumble for Champions League places.
Actually, to call it a stumble might be bit generous. Spurs have lost six of their last league 10 games; Arsenal have lost four of the last five and were plugged 3-0 by Leicester earlier today. Manchester United have lost four of their last six league games – and seven out of nine in all competitions – while Chelsea, who are in reasonable form compared to the others, have still lost five of their last seven away games in the Premier League.Continue reading...
The Manchester United manager insists he can halt an alarming slump in form and stave off talks of crisis with a top-four finish
The Ole Gunnar in jokes have suddenly stopped raising a smile. Ole at the wheel was fun while it lasted, but the mood has switched in a matter of weeks to the driver being thrown under the bus.
“It was Roy Keane who said that, wasn’t it?” the Manchester United manager asked on Friday in perhaps the nearest he will ever get to an “Et tu, Brute?” utterance. Solskjær is loyal to his friends, of whom he counts Keane as one of the oldest, though he seems to be in denial about what has gone awry since his job at the club was made permanent.Continue reading...