What the papers say
- Manchester United manager will not take any risks
- Dean Henderson ‘not the most patient’, Solskjær says
Paul Pogba will be sidelined for a few weeks with a thigh injury, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said. The Manchester United midfielder was forced off during Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Everton and will miss a series of games, starting with Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at home to West Ham.
“It’s an injury that will take a few weeks to heal,” Solskjær told MUTV. “He’s just started his recovery, working with the medical staff and we’ll get him back as soon and as safely as we can.Continue reading...
Watkins shows Arsenal what they are missing, Loftus-Cheek shows promise at Fulham and Dummett the man for all jobs
Ollie Watkins is in a rich vein of form and improving by the game. His winner against Arsenal was his fourth goal in five, bringing his Premier League tally to 10 in 21 games since arriving at Aston Villa from Brentford. He could have had a couple more on Saturday but perhaps the 25-year-old’s most impressive feature is the way he leads the line. Watkins is a hive of movement, rarely giving defenders a moment’s peace, and looks as comfortable coming deep or working the channels as he does operating off the shoulder. He is exactly the kind of striker Arsenal might fancy if, as many suspect, Alexandre Lacazette moves on in the summer but there is little suggestion they would be able to afford him. “He’s selfless in terms of his workrate,” said Dean Smith, who said the £28m they paid the Championship club for his services bought them the surest thing possible. “He’s such a good footballer but a good teammate as well. The football Brentford played was Premier League ready, so I knew he was ready to come in.” Smith’s confidence is being paid back handsomely. Nick Ames
• Match report: Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal
A topsy-turvy contest ended with spoils shared, Manchester United appearing to have won it before Everton’s dramatic late equaliser. Dominic Calvert-Lewin bundled home to make it 3-3 in injury time, United having been 2-0 up at the interval. It means Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side drop two points and if leaders Manchester City can win at Liverpool on Sunday they will be five ahead with a game in hand.Continue reading...
- Live updates as United seek to keep the pressure on City against Everton
- Solskjær hints at new contract for Pogba
- Ancelotti challenges King to make his mark
- Get in touch! Email John or tweet @JohnBrewin_
Julian Menz has the Swedish angle on Robin Olsen. “Good or bad news? Living in Sweden, I saw quite a few performances for Malmö, and he’s done well enough for the national team. Good news for United’s players maybe, since I can’t recall him doing what has gone down in colloquial history as “A Pickford”.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjær speaks.
You’ve just got to draw on a good memory. We’ve struggled to score goals before at Old Trafford but we just have to remember the habits, don’t try to force things, relax a bit. Football’s a strange game. For us it’s about drawing on the good experiences and keep improving. The football we see now the same as when you have 75,000 people in the stands, you have a psychological edge. They’ve been really good away from home but we have been good at Goodison and hope we can put out a good performance.
Game drawing to a dull conclusion? There’s always Mike Dean.
Zack Lawrence has his doubts about Everton: “Everton have struggled with inconsistent results this season. They need to be picking up more points against the top teams. And they need to stop losing to teams they should be beating. No where near top 4 quality in my opinion.”
Sounds like Ole is bullish ahead of this one.
Solskjaer asked by MUTV how you can follow a 9-0: “Just by trying to do the right things, play as a Man United player, play with no fear, play with courage, like we saw the kids do last night [U-23s beat Blackburn 6-4].". #mufc
United make just one change from the 9-0 win over Southampton. Paul Pogba starts instead of Fred. For Everton, Yerry Mina, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Alex Iwobi are replaced by Michael Keane, Tom Davies and James Rodriguez.Jordan Pickford remains on the sidelines with injury. Robin Olsen, the Norwegian Swede, plays in goals for Everton, as Jordan Pickford is still out. Is that good or bad news?
This day, 6 February, is an important day of remembrance in Manchester United’s history.
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Pogba, Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Cavani.
Subs: Martial, Fred, James, Henderson, Alex Telles, Matic, Williams, van de Beek, Tuanzebe.
Everton: Olsen, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey, Digne, Doucoure, Davies, Andre Gomes, Rodriguez, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.
Subs: Delph, Sigurdsson, King, Mina, Iwobi, Nkounkou, Bernard, Coleman, Virginia.
Referee: Jonathan Moss (County Durham)
Let’s start on a serious note.
The last time Manchester United won 9-0 in the Premier League, 26 years ago next month, they could only win their next match 1-0, and at Wimbledon thanks to Steve Bruce’s late goal. Wimbledon were also down to ten men thanks to the red card issued to Alan Kimble, perhaps the only Premier League player who shares his surname with a Lee Scratch Perry song later covered by The Fall in a Peel Session. To follow on yet more clumsily in using another title from that 1993 session, there are plenty of Words of Expectation around United, even if it does look like City’s title to lose. (It was too difficult to squeeze in Gut of the Quantifier or Spoilt Victorian Child but do let us know if it’s possible.) Everton present tough opposition, even if they have won just twice at Old Trafford since football was invented in 1992, and the first of those was in August 1992, the second coming during David Moyes’ internship. The Ev’s win at Leeds, including a goal from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, was the first in the league since 12 January and Don Carlo’s team have rather dropped from the top-four picture. So, both really could do with something from the game. The question is whether United suffer a comedown from their midweek turkey shoot.
Kick-off is 8pm UK time. Join me.Continue reading...
- City mayors and police forces are co-signatories of statement
- Liverpool play City and United face Everton this weekend
Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton have issued a joint statement to condemn the racism suffered by players, officials and supporters.
The stance has been taken in Greater Manchester hate crime awareness week and comes as United host Everton on Saturday and City are at Liverpool on Sunday. The mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool city region, Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram respectively, are co-signatories of the statement, together with Greater Manchester police and Merseyside police.Continue reading...
- Midfielder has been voted club’s player of the month
- ‘We’ve got a good open dialogue with Paul’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has suggested Paul Pogba could sign a new contract, with the manager revealing Manchester United are in an “open dialogue” with the midfielder.
Pogba is in arguably his best form for United since he returned five years ago, being voted the club’s player of the month for January after impressive displays that included winners at Fulham and Burnley.Continue reading...
With Manchester City at Liverpool on Sunday this is a chance for Manchester United to draw level with City and hope they then slip up at Anfield. In November’s reverse fixture a Bernard goal gave Everton the lead before two from Bruno Fernandes and a Edinson Cavani finish won the matchbut as Carlo Ancelotti’s team remain firmly in the hunt for a Champions League place expect them to put up a stern challenge at Old Trafford. Jamie Jackson
Saturday 8pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
Who hit a hat-trick? Which ground filled up? Who misbehaved?
There will be 25,000 fans at the Super Bowl on Sunday (and 30,000 cardboard cutouts), making it the smallest ever attendance at a Super Bowl. What is the highest ever attendance?
Manchester United beat Southampton 9-0 this week, equalling the record they already share with Leicester City for the biggest win in Premier League history. What is the all-time record for the top flight?
10-0, held by Sunderland
12-0, held jointly by West Brom and Nottingham Forest
15-0, held by Liverpool
18-0, held by Charlton Athletic
Seven United players were on the scoresheet in their 9-0 win over Southampton. For which other club have seven players scored in a single Premier League game?
It has never happened before
Jan Bednarek did not have the greatest of nights in that 9-0 defeat. Which of these things did he not do?
Pick up a yellow card
Get sent off
Give away a penalty
Score an own goal
Scotland are playing England at Twickenham in the Six Nations this weekend. Which music format was introduced in Europe in the month Scotland last beat England at Twickenham?
Why was Corentin Tolisso missing from the Bayern Munich team for their game against Hoffenheim this week?
The game was an early kick-off and he slept in
He went skiing in nearby Liechtenstein and had to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to Germany
He was injured during a snowball fight in training
He posted a photo of his new tattoo on social media and the club dropped him for breaking lockdown restrictions
Manchester City are playing Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday. Which former Liverpool player scored the winning goal the last time City beat Liverpool at Anfield?
Pep Guardiola has never won at Anfield – not even as a player. His only game at Anfield in his playing career, the Uefa Cup semi-final in 2001, ended in a 1-0 defeat for Barcelona. Who scored Liverpool’s winning goal? Clue: it was a penalty and he also scored a penalty in the final.
Live cricket is back on terrestrial TV in the UK for the first time since the Ashes was shown on Channel 4 in 2005. England won that series in the second week of September. What was the most watched TV show on Channel 4 that week?
Channel 4 News
Location, Location, Location
What unlikely double did the Bristol City women’s team pull off this week?
They bought a player on deadline day and sold her for two hours later for double the price
They took a gambling company's logo off their shirt and started advertising a gambling charity instead
They reached a cup final and won their first league game all season
They won a home game 8-0 and lost an away game 8-0
3 and above.
Not bad. Have a good weekend
4 and above.
A decent score. Have a great weekend
5 and above.
A decent score. Have a great weekend
6 and above.
A fine score. Have a great weekend
7 and above.
A fine score. Have a great weekend
8 and above.
A fantastic score. Have a great weekend
9 and above.
A fantastic score. Have a great weekend
10 and above.
A perfect 10. Fantastic. Have a great weekend
2 and above.
Not to worry. Have a good weekend
0 and above.
Not to worry. Have a good weekend
1 and above.
Not to worry. Have a good weekendContinue reading...
Jesse Lingard can improve West Ham, Ralph Hasenhüttl must regroup again, and Pep Guardiola should resist overthinking
Pep Guardiola may be a tactical genius, but as Spinal Tap’s guitarist once said: “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.” The Manchester City manager has proven as much with his tendency to overcomplicate things in big matches. Few know this better than Jürgen Klopp, whose Liverpool team have more than once been grateful beneficiaries of Guardiola’s needlessly intricate one-off gameplans. There is no call for such complexity on Sunday. City head to Anfield having won 13 games in a row in all competitions, while their opponents have won three of their past 10, lost two on the bounce at home and kept one clean sheet this year. The Anfield crowd, which has in recent years fuelled early blitzkriegs against City, will be absent. Guardiola’s main task may be psychological rather than tactical: to ensure his players take to the pitch with the same freedom of the past two months. Or to put it in plain terms, to avoid messing with a winning formula. AH
Liverpool v Manchester City, Sunday 4.30pm (all times GMT)
Tottenham v West Brom, Sunday 12pm
Fulham v West Ham, Saturday 5.30pm
Wolves v Leicester, Sunday 2pm
Sheffield United v Chelsea, Sunday 7.15pm
Aston Villa v Arsenal, Saturday 12.30pm
Leeds United v Crystal Palace, Monday 8pm
Newcastle v Southampton, Saturday 3pm
Manchester United v Everton, Saturday 8pm
Burnley v Brighton, Saturday 3pmContinue reading...
Ralph Hasenhüttl has admitted he is hurt after his Southampton side suffered a 9-0 defeat to Manchester United. ‘We lost in a horrible way,’ said the manager. In a nightmare evening at Old Trafford, the Saints were reduced to nine men after Alexandre Jankewitz’s sending off inside two minutes was compounded by Jan Bednarek’s second red card towards the closeContinue reading...
- Southampton manager laments 9-0 defeat at Manchester United
- Saints were beaten by same result against Leicester in 2019
The Southampton manager, Ralph Hasenhüttl, described his second 9-0 defeat as “hurting more, not less” than the previous one by Leicester in 2019.Continue reading...
This was a message written in rampant style that Manchester United intend to remain serious title contenders. Southampton may have been injury-depleted and down to 10 men inside two minutes, but Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side exhibited a killer edge that shows they mean business by equalling the biggest Premier League victory.Continue reading...
- Premier League updates from the 8.15pm GMT kick-off
- The Fiver on a relentless schedule, AVB and Mussolini
- Get in touch! Email Barry here or tweet @bglendenning
Ole Gunnar Solskjær makes just one change to the side that drew against Arsenal over the weekend, but it’s quite a significant one. Paul Pogba is droppede to the bench, with Mason Greenwood taking his place.
Southampton make four changes to the side that lost against Aston Villa. Kayne Ramsey and Alex Jankewitz make their first Premier League starts, while Moussa Djenepo and Che Adams also come into the side. Nathan Redmond starts on the bench tonight, while Theo Walcott, Oriel Romeu and Ibrahim Diallo are all injured.
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Fernandes, Rashford, Greenwood, Cavani
Subs: Henderson, Bailly, Pogba, Martial, James, Telles, Matic, Williams, Van de Beek
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistants: Ian Hussin and Darren Cann
Fourth official: Lee Mason
VAR: Graham Scott
Assistant VAR: Stephen Child
Scott McTominay is available for selection for Manchester United despite being forced off the field during their draw against Arsenal following a 37-minute long interstinal roller-coaster ride that must have seemed like an eternity for the poor sod. With just three days between matches, Ole Gunnar SOlskjær may freshen up his side. Eric Bailly, Anthony Martial and Nemanja Matic may be in line for recalls.
By comparison, Southampton are decimated by injuries, with Michael Obafemi, William Smallbone, Nathan Tella and Mohammed Salisu all sidelined, while Jannik Westergaard, Theo Walcott, Ibrahima Diallo and Kyle Walker-Peters are also major doubts. Oriel Romeu is likely to be available for selection after recovering from the knock he picked up against Villa. A late Deadline Day arrival on loan from Liverpool, Takumi Minamino is unavailable for selection tonight.
Old Trafford is the venue for tonight’s set-to between Manchester United and Southampton. Second in the table, four points behind leaders Manchester City and with one game more under their belt, United could certainly do with a win after dropping five of the last six points available.
On a run of three consecutive defeats, Southampton also need to steady the ship, but showed signs of a return to form against Aston Villa over the weekend in a game they were desperately unlucky to lose. Kick off at Old Trafford is at the ungodly hour of 8.15pm (GMT), but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.Continue reading...
- Incidents could have reversed Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat
- Manager says: ‘There won’t be anyone coming in, don’t stay up’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has complained of an unfair “momentum shift” in Manchester United’s season after the officiating report regarding last Wednesday’s loss to Sheffield United admitted two wrong decisions that would have reversed the 2-1 scoreline into victory for his team.
The first of these concerned Billy Sharp appearing to impede David de Gea, Manchester United’s goalkeeper, before Kean Bryan’s 23rd-minute opener for the visitors at Old Trafford. The second came later when Anthony Martial’s finish was chalked off, with the referee Peter Bankes ruling that Harry Maguire had fouled Sheffield United’s goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.Continue reading...
Thomas Tuchel is thinking smart to get the best out Timo Werner, Eberechi Eze could have international future and Newcastle’s team spirit
It looked like a classic case of softening up, of the game’s darker arts. Leading with his arm in a 13th-minute aerial challenge, the Arsenal full-back Cédric Soares clouted Bruno Fernandes about the head and then reinforced the impression by going after his fellow Portuguese to hiss a few words in his ear. Soares was booked. Granit Xhaka could also be seen in conversation with Fernandes. The upshot? The Manchester United midfielder was incensed and, moments later, he left his boot in on a challenge with Xhaka, raking the achilles of his opponent. It was a mystery how Fernandes, who did not have his most effective game, avoided censure but it was a rush of blood that could have led to problems. It would also have been noted by other wind-up merchants. Fernandes is driven by passion but he can be provoked. Cedric’s move will not be the last of its kind. David HytnerContinue reading...
Marcus Rashford describes racist abuse as ‘humanity and social media at its worst’
Ministers have vowed to crack down on online racism levelled at footballers as Manchester police confirmed they were launching an investigation into the racial abuse a number of black players received during the last week.
The Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford has described the racist abuse he received on Saturday night after United’s draw at Arsenal as “humanity and social media at its worst”. This came as the Chelsea defender Reece James, West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers and the Manchester United duo Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial were also all targeted this week.Continue reading...
- Marcus Rashford among high-profile players to speak out
- ‘We will be investigating these crimes thoroughly,’ say police
Greater Manchester police have confirmed they are investigating racist comments sent to a number of Manchester United players over social media.
The intervention comes as a number of prominent Premier League players have revealed they have received racist abuse in the past seven days. United’s Marcus Rashford, Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial have all been targeted, alongside Romaine Sawyers of West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea’s Reece James.Continue reading...
- FA will work with government and social media platforms
- Rashford: abuse is ‘humanity and social media at its worst’
The Football Association has vowed to work with the government and social media platforms to eradicate racist abuse after a succession of incidents. The Chelsea defender Reece James, West Brom’s Romaine Sawyers and the Manchester United duo Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial were all targeted this week and on Saturday night Marcus Rashford said he had received offensive messages after United’s draw at Arsenal.
In a series of tweets, Rashford said he chose not to share screenshots of the messages he had been sent as “it would be irresponsible to do so … I have beautiful children of all colours following me and they don’t need to read it.”
Humanity and social media at its worst. Yes I’m a black man and I live every day proud that I am. No one, or no one comment, is going to make me feel any different. So sorry if you were looking for a strong reaction, you’re just simply not going to get it hereContinue reading...
United’s goalless draw at Arsenal followed identical scorelines and similarly quiet displays against Chelsea, Liverpool and City
Another week of lockdown football. Another mannered, quietly deathly game between two of the Premier League’s heavier hitters.
For all the talk of zaniness, of a season up for grabs, the lack of crowds has clearly taken something from these clashes between the Bigger Teams. Often you need a little noise and a little heat to take a chance or two when your opponent might just punish you in return.Continue reading...
Alexandre Lacazette and Edinson Cavani both went close, but nobody could find a winner at the Emirates
No word from Mikel Arteta, with attention switching to the Saints-Villa 8pm kick-off. You can follow that here with Simon Burnton. But you can also read David Hytner’s verdict on the big game at the Emirates, which has landed for you to peruse at your leisure and pleasure. Thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night!
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks to Sky. “I felt we had the bigger chances to win the game. Decent performances, good defensively, two massive chances in the second half. We had a good performance. You come away with a share of possession, the bigger chances. There was a spell when we dropped off and were a little bit passive, but otherwise I’m pleased with the boys. Wednesday night was a disappointing one, but today was a good performance. We take this point and move on, it’s Southampton again.”
David Luiz, Sky’s man of the match, speaks: “It was a great game. Both teams tried to win. Both had opportunities. It was a proper match. It’s frustrating because we love to win, but we tried our best. We have to try to improve every single day. You have to be humble. The boss is doing a great job. The young boys have progressed a lot and are fantastic. The team has a great atmosphere. We are far from first. But the ambition has to be there, for the first position. When it is mathematically possible, you have to try.”
That’s a new club record set by Manchester United: 18 undefeated away matches in the league. Not that they’ll be particularly pleased with their performance this evening. Alexandre Lacazette came closest to scoring, belting a free kick off the underside of the bar, though Edinson Cavani missed two chances from a combined distance of roughly eight yards, so both teams will go away thinking they might on another day have nicked it. But as goalless draws go, it was more than entertaining.
Both teams had their chances, but this is probably a fair result on balance. Arsenal leapfrog Chelsea into eighth place, while United remain in second, three behind leaders Manchester City having played a game more.
90 min +5: Fred has a lash from 25 yards. Nope.
90 min +4: Nketiah comes on for Lacazette.
90 min +3: Lacazette is groggy, but thankfully there seems to be no need for stretcher and neck brace. He’s gently lifted to his feet.
90 min +2: Lacazette has come off worst. Maguire is up and about again, while the Arsenal striker has yet to get up.
90 min +1: The first of three added minutes is spent seeing to Maguire and Lacazette, the former having executed that aforementioned Harry Kane trick. Suffice to say there will now be more than three added minutes.
90 min: But the short end is, Cavani has now missed two extremely presentable chances in the six-yard box. That won’t have happened too many times in his career.
89 min: Wan-Bissaka curls in from the right. Cavani connects, six yards out, with a low bicycle kick. It’s a wonderful effort, but whistles inches wide right. Martial was standing behind him, and probably better placed, but you can understand Cavani going for it himself.
87 min: Cedric takes, aiming for the top left, but it’s no good.
86 min: Arsenal probe. A few nice first touches for Odegaard. Then Wan-Bissaka kicks Willian up the jacksie and it’s a needless free kick to concede. It’s just outside the United box to the left.
84 min: Bruno slides Greenwood into space down the right. Greenwood pulls back for Martial, who fails to react. Bellerin blooters clear.
83 min: Smith-Rowe, who has been excellent, is replaced by the new boy Odegaard.
81 min: Space for Pepe down the right. He strolls into the box and tries to steer a low diagonal shot across De Gea and into the bottom left. Not far away at all, but wide.
80 min: Some space for Rashford down the right. He enters the box and lashes violently into the side netting. That’s his last contribution tonight: he’s replaced by Greenwood.
78 min: Rashford crosses from the right. Holding clears. Lacazette pulls the Harry Kane aerial trick on Pogba, backing in. Pogba lands awkwardly, but thankfully he’s up and about again quickly.
77 min: Bellerin has a bash from the corner but his shot is easily blocked.
76 min: Luiz takes, the free kick pinging off the wall and out for a corner on the left.
75 min: Arsenal are dominating possession again. Lacazette tries to spin clear down the inside-left channel, between Maguire and Lindelof, and the former decides to take him down. A free kick and a booking for Maguire.
73 min: Willian drifts in from the left and is unceremoniously upended by Pogba, who goes in the book for his cynicism.
71 min: Fred has a whack from distance. It’s deflected into the path of Martial, who prepares to shoot from an angle on the left, only for the offside flag to go up.
70 min: United have steadied the ship after that brief storm. Plenty of probing, albeit to little effect in the final third.
68 min: And so following that, United nearly take the lead against the run of play, Cavani and Martial thinking about shooting from the edge of the box, Shaw firing low into the mixer from the left. Luiz hacks out for a corner, from which Pogba wafts a weak effort straight at Leno from distance.
66 min: And now Smith-Rowe forces De Gea into action, skelping a shot towards the bottom right from 12 yards. Great save this time. Arsenal have come mighty close to scoring on four separate occasions since the restart.
65 min: Lacazette takes. A gorgeous fierce shot, with little backlift. It’s aimed towards the top right, but twangs off the underside of the bar and out! So unlucky!
64 min: A long ball down the right nearly releases Lacazette. Maguire ties himself in knots and is forced to drag his man down, just to the right of the D. Big free kick coming up.
62 min: Luiz advances on the United box and considers a shot. He tries to release Pepe instead. Pepe can’t sort his feet out, so gives it back. Luiz has a crack now. It’s well over.
61 min: Replays show Cavani shot wide. How on earth did he miss from there? Absurd. No clip from Cedric, though the ball may have shaved Leno’s leg, hence the corner. That doesn’t explain the miss, though.
59 min: That’s as close as United have come. Both teams will wonder how they’ve yet to find the net.
58 min: Shaw and Martial one-two their way into the Arsenal box from the left. Shaw fizzes low and hard into the centre. Cavani must surely slam home from close range ... but he’s put off by Cedric, who nicks the shot out for a corner. That was inches wide of the left-hand post. Nothing comes of the resulting set piece.
57 min: Willian gingerly leaves the pitch, but soon perks up and comes back on.
56 min: Willian is down. He looks to have a problem with his left knee. The physio comes on and has a long look.
54 min: Martial and Cavani one-two briskly down the middle. They would have opened Arsenal up were it not for Luiz’s last-gasp interception. Superb football all round.
53 min: The corner’s no good either. United clear easily. But this has been a decent start to the second half by Arsenal. They’ve had 83 percent possession since the restart! Will they come to rue the failure to convert one of those two fine chances?
52 min: Wan-Bissaka is booked for sliding in clumsily on Cedric. This is effectively a corner out on the left. Pepe fizzes it in. Wan-Bissaka clears out for an actual corner this time.
50 min: Nothing comes of the corner. Arsenal come again, Willian reaching the byline on the left and cutting back for Pepe, who creams a first-time effort towards the bottom left. It looks to have the beating of De Gea, but Maguire stands firm to block bravely. Wonderful defending.
48 min: Bellerin crosses from the right. It’s a poor ball, but somehow finds its way to Willian, on the left-hand corner of the six-yard box. He should score, with only De Gea to beat, but stabs at the ball with great uncertainty. A weak effort is blocked out for a corner.
47 min: A really scrappy start to the half. Neither team put anything resembling a passing sequence together.
United get the second half underway. They’ve made no changes, but Arsenal have replaced Martinelli with Willian.
Half-time entertainment. In lieu of goals at the Emirates ...
Nothing comes of the corner, and the whistle goes at a good time for Arsenal, with United beginning to ask some serious questions.
45 min: Bruno looks for the top right. Luiz flicks over the bar. That’s fine defending, because it didn’t look like Leno would get to an on-target effort.
43 min: Shaw curls dangerously from the left. Wan-Bissaka takes a fresh-air swipe. Xhaka tries to clear but is dispossessed. The ball lands at the feet of Rashford, one on one with Leno on the edge of the six-yard box. Leno does extremely well to close him right down, forcing Rashford to attempt a dragback before shooting. Blocked. The ball breaks to Bruno, who is upended on the edge of the D. Great chance for United here.
41 min: Corner for United out on the left. Maguire meets it with a header, but it’s tame and straight at Leno. The keepers haven’t had too much to do.
40 min: It’s very scrappy now. Both teams could do with some tactical tweaks. Fortunately opportunity for a pow-wow is coming up soon.
38 min: United stroke it about, though they don’t really go anywhere. The game almost grinds to a complete halt.
36 min: McTominay is really struggling. Down he goes. He looks green. He’s really not enjoying himself. Down the tunnel he goes, hopefully to find some sweet relief. Martial comes on in his place.
34 min: A couple of half-chances for United, as Wan-Bissaka flashes a header wide right, then Bruno curls one wide right from a deep position on the left, using Luiz as a shield.
33 min: Not sure that pill has helped McTominay too much. He’s grimacing and not moving freely. Or maybe moving freely is the exact problem. Poor fellow.
32 min: Rashford tries a Le Tissieresque juggle and volley from 25 yards. It flies wide left by some distance.
30 min: Bruno crosses from the right. Luiz clears. Smith-Rowe swans past Fred and romps into space down the middle. He slips Pepe into space down the right. Pepe reaches the box, throws a couple of dummies, and attempts a curler into the bottom left. It’s inches wide. That would have been a fine goal.
29 min: Pogba, to the left of the D, chips a cute diagonal pass towards Rashford, preparing to volley home from the right-hand corner of the six-yard box. Martinelli comes to Arsenal’s rescue, reading the danger and racing back in time to head out for a corner, just before Rashford can connect. Nothing comes of the set piece.
27 min: Martinelli storms in from the left and curls towards Lacazette at the far post. The inswinger takes Maguire out of the game, but there’s a little too much on it, and the ball evades the striker, just, flying out for a goal kick.
26 min: Pepe glides in from the right flank and swans past Shaw, who is forced to stick out an arm and drag him back. A free kick 25 yards out. Xhaka curls it to the far post, where Luiz loses Wan-Bissaka and heads across the face of goal. Nobody in red reacts. That was well-worked.
25 min: Bellerin has a whack from distance. His shot is deflected out for a corner on the right. Pepe takes, and Xhaka aims a header towards the top right. It’s easy for De Gea.
23 min: Cavani drives down the right and forces Holding to toe-poke out for a corner. Before it can be taken, McTominay trots to the touchline, clutching his stomach. He’s given a pill to settle things down. The corner comes to nothing.
21 min: A little bit of space for Pepe down the right. He enters the box and has options in the middle, but whistles a wild drive into the side netting.
20 min: Shaw’s corner is half cleared. The ball drops to Fred, who attempts to gently shovel a shot into the top right. It’s heading in, but Leno extends a finger to tip away sensationally. Arsenal deal with the second corner much more easily.
19 min: Wan-Bissaka curls in from the right. Luiz hysterically slices out for the first corner of the game.
18 min: Rashford and Bruno attack down the United right. They’re two on one with Luiz. Rashford enters the box and attempts a one-two with Bruno, to his right. The move breaks down. Cavani, in acres at the far post, seethes with some justification.
16 min: Lacazette strides towards the United box and sends a rising rasper towards goal. It’s hit with venom but straight at De Gea and an easy claim.
15 min: Bruno plants his studs on Xhaka’s heel. Was that a deliberate rake? You’ve seen players penalised for less, but both referee and VAR give him the benefit of the doubt. He’ll need to calm down, something he’s signally failed to do since the incident with Cedric.
13 min: Arsenal and United love a good bench-emptying brawl, and one nearly kicks off here. Cedric sticks an arm in Bruno’s face as the pair contest a high ball. It’s a foul and a booking for the Arsenal man. Bruno explodes in rage, with Cedric up in his grille. He considers throwing hands before deciding against it. Other players rush in, but only to calm things down.
11 min: Luiz strides forward and suffers a huge rush of blood. Attempting a shot from the best part of 35 yards, he nearly manages to hit the corner flag on the right. As ever, full marks for ambition for the ever-entertaining Luiz, if not for execution.
10 min: United press high and hard. Arsenal, with Partey, Cedric and Xhaka in the thick of it, escape well by executing a couple of crisp triangles. A good contest already, this.
8 min: Now Bruno wants a penalty, as he’s nudged by Cedric, the pair contesting Shaw’s deep cross from the left. There’s not much in it, and he’s not getting one.
7 min: Xhaka hangs out an arm, giving Rashford a slap in the face as the pair tussle down the United right. Accidental, according to the referee. We play on.
6 min: Smith-Rowe and Pepe combine really well down the right. The ball’s slipped inside for Lacazette, who twists and turns but can’t work space for a shot. A couple of promising signs for Arsenal down the flanks.
5 min: Arsenal launch their first attack of the evening, Martinelli slipping a pass down the left for Cedric, whose deep cross skims off the top of Lacazette’s head.
3 min: United continue to stroke it around. Arsenal don’t seem minded to pile forward and leave a load of space for the visitors to romp into.
1 min: United are out of the blocks quickly, Shaw racing down the left and reaching the byline after 30 seconds or so. But there’s nobody in the middle yet, so he’s forced to turn tail and the move fizzles out. A very early statement of intent by United, though.
Arsenal get the first half underway ... but only after everyone takes a knee of solidarity, respect, equality and love. There’s no room for racism. Kick it out.
The teams are out! Arsenal wear their famous red shirts with white sleeves, while Manchester United sport third-choice black. A world of fun is only a couple of heartbeats away. “I have a partly repressed joy watching Ole resurrect United,” writes Bill Hargreaves. “He has an expression like the lost dog in the park that only wants a good home, only to turn into your best buddy and a stalwart advisor.”
Mikel Arteta welcomes Martin Odegaard. “He is starting on the bench. He’s only done one and a half sessions with us, so he’s not familiar with the way we do it. But we brought him in because we know he can make a difference for us.”
Meanwhile Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also been talking to Sky: “We have loads of games in a short space of time. [The changes are] not a reaction [to defeat]. There should be fresh legs there today. It’s Arsenal, that should be motivation enough. We haven’t done well here lately but traditionally we have had some good results here. When you lose you want to play again, it’s just the way it is.”
Arsenal will move into seventh if they win tonight. United will remain in second, whatever happens: Manchester City have just seen out a 1-0 victory against Sheffield United, Gabriel Jesus making the difference in the ninth minute, and extend their lead over United at the top to four points.
Arsenal make one change to the team that won at Southampton during the week. Gabriel Martinelli comes in for Bukayo Saka, left out altogether as a precautionary measure with a sore hip. Kieran Tierney and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are both still out, but new loan signing Martin Odegaard might get on a bit later: he’s on the bench.
Manchester United replace nearly half of their starting XI after losing so dismally at home to Sheffield United. Anthony Martial, Axel Tuanzebe, Alex Telles, Nemanja Matic and Mason Greenwood make way for Edinson Cavani, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay and Fred.
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Cedric, Partey, Xhaka, Martinelli, Smith-Rowe, Pepe, Lacazette.
Subs: Gabriel, Odegaard, Willian, Runarsson, Maitland-Niles, Chambers, Elneny, Willock, Nketiah.
Manchester United: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Pogba, Cavani.
Subs: Bailly, Martial, Greenwood, James, Henderson, Alex Telles, Matic, van de Beek, Tuanzebe.
Manchester United haven’t beaten Arsenal in the league since April 2018, when Marouane Fellaini scored a last-minute winner at Old Trafford. They’ve lost 2-0 on their last two visits to the Emirates, and lost this season’s corresponding home fixture 1-0 back in November. Arsenal have picked up 16 points from the last 18 on offer, while United went down flaccidly against bottom side Sheffield United the other day. Form slightly favours the Gunners, then, but when was form a factor in an epic rivalry that has delivered brilliance, bench-emptying brawls, and everything in between? Let the duel commence, this could be a whole lot of fun.
Kick off is at 5.30pm GMT. It’s on!Continue reading...