What the papers say

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Updated: 2 hours 15 sec ago

Ole Gunnar Solskjær: ‘We didn’t perform to the required level’

Sun, 05/05/2019 - 17:44

• 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.

Related: Huddersfield’s Isaac Mbenza levels to kill Manchester United’s top-four hopes

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Categories: What the papers say

Huddersfield’s Mbenza levels to kill off Manchester United’s top-four hopes

Sun, 05/05/2019 - 16:11

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.

Related: Huddersfield Town v Manchester United: Premier League – live!

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Categories: What the papers say

Huddersfield Town v Manchester United: Premier League – live!

Sun, 05/05/2019 - 15:52

3.52pm BST

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.

3.50pm BST

90+3 min: United have five minutes to be in with a shout of keeping their season respectable ...

3.48pm BST

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.

3.46pm BST

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!

3.44pm BST

87 min: Still, United will have some big social media engagement figures after this. And that is what counts!

3.43pm BST

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.

3.40pm BST

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.

3.39pm BST

82 min: Lossl beats away a cross-shot from Rashford. United need to build a head of steam now-ish.

3.38pm BST

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.

3.36pm BST

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?

3.34pm BST

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.

3.32pm BST

76 min: McTominay is caught by Lossl as the keeper punches away, and seems to have a head injury. The physio comes on ...

3.31pm BST

74 min: It’s now Chelsea 3-0 Watford. Higuain has got the third.

3.30pm BST

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?

3.29pm BST

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.

3.27pm BST

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.

3.26pm BST

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.

3.23pm BST

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.

3.22pm BST

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.

3.20pm BST

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.”

3.18pm BST

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!

3.17pm BST

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 ...

3.14pm BST

57 min: Then Pogba puts a better effort over from 20 yards. There are goals here if they do want them.

3.13pm BST

56 min: Ander Herrera, who replaced Matic a couple of minutes back, blasts a quite in-keeping shot well off target.

3.12pm BST

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.

3.10pm BST

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.

3.07pm BST

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.

3.06pm BST

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.

3.05pm BST

47 min: Shaw fizzes one well wide after a half-clearance from Hogg. United start on top.

3.03pm BST

United get the half started.

3.02pm BST

A Huddersfield change at the break: Smith replaces the injured Durm.

3.01pm BST

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.

2.57pm BST

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?

2.48pm BST

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.

2.45pm BST

45+1 min: Rashford takes a blow to the head but, after some treatment, is deemed fine to continue.

2.44pm BST

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.

2.43pm BST

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.

2.42pm BST

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.

2.39pm BST

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.

2.36pm BST

37 min: Mata overcooks a through pass for Rashford, who is beaten to the ball by Lossl. United could do with a second goal.

2.35pm BST

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.

2.33pm BST

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.

2.31pm BST

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.

2.29pm BST

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.

2.27pm BST

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?

2.26pm BST

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.

2.25pm BST

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.

2.24pm BST

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.

2.22pm BST

22 min: Huddersfield have their first attack – yes, really – but it comes to very little as Durm’s low cross is easily ushered away.

2.19pm BST

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.

2.18pm BST

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.

2.16pm BST

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.

2.15pm BST

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.

2.12pm BST

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.

2.11pm BST

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.

2.10pm BST

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.

2.09pm BST

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!

2.05pm BST

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.

2.03pm BST

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.

2.02pm BST

2 min: A slow start, but a very noisy stadium that seems intent on giving Huddersfield and Hoyle a lively farewell.

2.00pm BST

Huddersfield, kicking right to left, get us going.

1.57pm BST

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.

1.56pm BST

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!

Related: Championship: Derby, Middlesbrough and Bristol City's play-off battle – live!

1.52pm BST

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 ...

1.45pm BST

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 ...

1.32pm BST

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.

1.29pm BST

“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.

1.18pm BST

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?

1.11pm BST

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.

12.20pm BST

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.

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I will get realistic chance to revive Manchester United, says Solskjær

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 22:30

• 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.

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær confirms David de Gea will keep place against Huddersfield

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Huddersfield Town v Manchester United: match preview

Sat, 05/04/2019 - 09:00

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 League

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær confirms David de Gea will keep place against Huddersfield

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 11:57
• Manchester United manager says Sergio Romero is injured
• 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.

Related: Liverpool's Naby Keïta to miss Africa Cup of Nations with Guinea – live!

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

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 05/03/2019 - 00:01

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. BG

Related: Ajax, Messi, Bolton and a weekend preview – Football Weekly Extra

Related: Title race, top four, promotion and relegation – what's still at stake?

Related: The unexpected statistics of the season in the Premier League

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Kevin Breathnach: 'I was interested in figuring out why I was so pretentious'

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 14:45

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?’

Related: Tunnel Vision by Kevin Breathnach review – self-lacerating honesty and lies

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The unexpected statistics of the season in the Premier League

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 12:30

David Luiz is king of the through ball; Phil Jones keeps the ball; and Aleksandar Mitrovic keeps missing

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored

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.

Related: The (young) Premier League young players of the year

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Football transfer rumours: Portugal pair to Manchester United for £150m?

Thu, 05/02/2019 - 09:35

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.

Related: Mesut Özil says he will definitely not be leaving Arsenal this summer

Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sport

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Manchester United considering Rio Ferdinand for technical director role

Tue, 04/30/2019 - 14:16
• Former United captain has met with Ed Woodward
• 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.

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær faces thankless task to revive Manchester United | Paul Wilson

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Romelu Lukaku admits he may leave Manchester United before next season

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 12:00

• 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.

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær faces thankless task to revive Manchester United | Paul Wilson

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Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Mon, 04/29/2019 - 08:22

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 Taylor

Related: Ashley Barnes fails to provide twist that Jürgen Klopp wished for | Nick Ames

Related: Patience, scouting and the system: the story behind Norwich’s promotion

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The Dozen: the weekend’s best Premier League photos

Sun, 04/28/2019 - 20:34

Your weekend roundup of the best photography from England’s top flight

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær faces thankless task to revive Manchester United | Paul Wilson

Sun, 04/28/2019 - 20:32

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.

Related: David de Gea’s blunder hands Chelsea a point at Manchester United

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær faces thankless task to revive Manchester United| Paul Wilson

Related: Sergio Agüero steers Manchester City towards title with win over Burnley

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Categories: What the papers say

Ole Gunnar Solskjær backs De Gea despite goalkeeper’s latest error

Sun, 04/28/2019 - 20:30

• ‘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.”

Related: David de Gea’s blunder hands Chelsea a point at Manchester United

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær faces thankless task to revive Manchester United| Paul Wilson

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Categories: What the papers say

Sarri and Solskjær defend de Gea after his error gifts Chelsea draw at Manchester United – video

Sun, 04/28/2019 - 20:29

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.

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David de Gea’s blunder hands Chelsea a point at Manchester United

Sun, 04/28/2019 - 18:36

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.

Related: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea: Premier League – live reaction

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær backs De Gea despite goalkeeper’s latest error

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Categories: What the papers say

Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea: Premier League – live reaction

Sun, 04/28/2019 - 18:29

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

6.29pm BST

“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’.”

6.26pm BST

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.

6.25pm BST

Peep peep!

6.25pm BST

90+7 min De Gea makes a vital save from Higuain, although he didn’t know much about it.

6.23pm BST

90+6 min There’s a manic desperation to United’s attacking, but not so much in the way of quality.

6.20pm BST

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.

6.19pm BST

90+3 min McTominay wins a corner after a good header down from Sanchez, who is actually playing really well.

6.18pm BST

90+2 min Lukaku, who had been flagged offside, is denied anyway by an excellent save by Kepa.

6.18pm BST

90+1 min There are seven added minutes, mainly because of the injuries to Rudiger and Bailly.

6.17pm BST

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.

6.16pm BST

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.

6.15pm BST

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.

6.12pm BST

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.

6.12pm BST

85 min Can Manchester United score? They occasionally score.

6.11pm BST

84 min Willian, who is still feeling the impact of Rojo’s studs, limps off to be replaced by Pedro.

6.10pm BST

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.

6.08pm BST

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.

6.07pm BST

80 min Willian is going to try to carry on, although he’s limping heavily.

6.07pm BST

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.

6.05pm BST

79 min United miss Marouane Fellaini. They do.

6.05pm BST

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.

6.03pm BST

77 min “Sanchez is improving,” says Matthew Stephens. “He’s touched the ball twice already.”

6.02pm BST

76 min Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaces Kovacic, who is brought off for his own protection.

6.02pm BST

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.”

6.01pm BST

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.

5.59pm BST

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!

5.59pm BST

72 min Willian curls a free-kick over the bar from 25 yards.

5.58pm BST

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.

5.55pm BST

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.

5.54pm BST

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.

5.53pm BST

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.

5.52pm BST

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.

5.51pm BST

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...”

5.51pm BST

64 min Antonio Rudiger is limping off with what looks like a recurrence of his knee injury. Andreas Christensen will replace him.

5.48pm BST

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.”


5.47pm BST

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.

5.46pm BST

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.

5.45pm BST

58 min Chelsea are looking threatening at the moment. It’s been a very enjoyable game, full of subtle momentum shifts.

5.43pm BST

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.

5.42pm BST

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!”


5.42pm BST

55 min A United free-kick falls nicely for Bailly, who drags an apologetic left-footed shot straight at Arrizabalaga from 12 yards.

5.40pm BST

53 min Kovacic is booked for kicking the ball away.

5.40pm BST

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.

5.38pm BST

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.

5.36pm BST

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.

5.34pm BST

48 min The manner of that equaliser has deflated United and invigorated Chelsea, who have started the second half confidently.

5.32pm BST

46 min Peep peep! Chelsea begin the second half, probably with instructions to shoot on sight.

5.32pm BST

“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.

5.30pm BST

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

5.23pm BST

“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.”

5.21pm BST

“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.

5.18pm BST

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.

5.16pm BST

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.

5.14pm BST

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.

5.13pm BST

David de Gea has made another mistake!

5.12pm BST

43 min Herrera is booked for a foul on Alonso.

5.11pm BST

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.

5.10pm BST

40 min Mata’s lovely, dipping cross from the left is headed behind by the stopping Alonso. Nothing comes of the corner.

5.08pm BST

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?

5.07pm BST

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.

5.06pm BST

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.

5.05pm BST

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.

5.04pm BST

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.

5.03pm BST

33 min Mata, played in on the right of the area by Herrera, crosses too close to Arrizabalaga. This is a fun, open game.

5.02pm BST

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.

4.59pm BST

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.

4.58pm BST

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.

4.58pm BST

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.

4.57pm BST

28 min Lukaku plays another nice through pass, this time to Rashford. Azpilicueta tracks him all the way to concede a corner. Excellent defending.

4.56pm BST

26 min Chelsea have been much the better side in the last 10 minutes, although they haven’t really worked David de Gea.

4.55pm BST

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.

4.53pm BST

23 min Willian and Jorginho try the Beckham/Scholes corner. Goal kick to Manchester United.

4.52pm BST

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.

4.49pm BST

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.

4.48pm BST

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.

4.47pm BST

18 min Alonso cracks the free-kick over the bar.

4.47pm BST

16 min Hazard slips gloriously past Herrera, who trips him 25 yards from goal. He’s fortunate not to get booked for that.

4.46pm BST

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.

4.42pm BST

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.

4.42pm BST

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.

4.41pm BST

It’s been coming, and that’s a really nice goal from Juan Mata.

4.40pm BST

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.

4.38pm BST

9 min The first goal is even more important than usual, given the fragile confidence of both sides, United in particular.

4.37pm BST

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.

4.36pm BST

7 min Rashford beats Alonso with a lovely turn on the right. He looks really sharp.

4.36pm BST

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.

4.34pm BST

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.

4.33pm BST

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.

4.32pm BST

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.

4.31pm BST

2 min “True about Azpilicueta,” says Nelson Kalberer, “but doesn’t he always look like he wants to kill someone?”

Yes. Here’s a picture of him in the tunnel, in fact.

4.30pm BST

1 min Peep peep! United kick off from right to left.

4.24pm BST

The players are in the tunnel. Cesar Azpilicueta looks like he wants to kill someone. Eden Hazard is laughing and joking.

4.09pm BST

Manchester City have beaten Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor, which leaves them two wins away from retaining the title.

Related: Burnley 0-1 Manchester City: Premier League – live!

3.37pm BST

There are just over 15 minutes remaining in the vital match between Burnley and Manchester City. You will not believe the score!

Related: Burnley v Manchester City: Premier League – live!

3.36pm BST

Pre-match reading

Related: Ole Gunnar Solskjær keen to have the last laugh ahead of Chelsea showdown

Related: Maurizio Sarri: I need two more years to make Chelsea title contenders

3.35pm BST

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.

2.35pm BST

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.

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Categories: What the papers say

Ole Gunnar Solskjær keen to have the last laugh ahead of Chelsea showdown

Sat, 04/27/2019 - 22:30

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.

Related: Premier League top four: who will stumble into the Champions League?

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Categories: What the papers say