What the papers say
It was far removed from the stereotypical stalemate and, at the end of it all, Manchester United had a new club record for away league games without defeat but not the victory they wanted to stay within touching distance of the leaders, Manchester City.
The sequence now stands at 18 matches, one better than the treble-winning class of 1999, and 14 of them have been wins. This felt like the one that got away.Continue reading...
- Midfielder moved to Old Trafford a year ago
- ‘The team suits him and he suits the team’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has denied Manchester United are over-reliant on Bruno Fernandes, with the manager stating the midfielder is as dependent on teammates as they are on him.
Since the 26-year-old signed a year ago on Friday his impact has included 28 goals in all competitions and helping United to win the most points of any Premier League side. Yet Solskjær brushed aside the idea that if the Portuguese is below his best United struggle.Continue reading...
Manchester United midfielder’s game relies on a functioning collective, and he is shining with fewer touches and shots
When Paul Pogba was about nine or 10, a man called Sambou Tati – his youth coach at US Roissy – decided to convert him from a striker into a midfielder. At the time, Pogba was a brilliant footballer with one glaring weakness: he loved the ball so much he would simply dribble and dribble with it for as long as he could. By moving further back, Tati reasoned, Pogba might have less time on the ball, but would offer greater influence on the team as a whole.
Although he probably didn’t know it, in so doing Tati had established an entirely new field of footballing study, one that continues to absorb and confound the game’s greatest minds to this day: How To Get The Best Out Of Paul Pogba.Continue reading...
Manchester United may have stumbled against Sheffield United but, nevertheless, this is a meeting of two faded powers whose prospects are brightening. Arsenal have five wins in six and a new-found glut of creative options now that Martin Ødegaard has arrived on loan. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s participation is in doubt so Nicolas Pépé, who scored when Arsenal won this fixture last season and again in Tuesday’s win at Southampton, may get another chance to show he is an able deputy. Nick Ames
Saturday 5.30pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
- Players targeted on social media after Sheffield United defeat
- Club condemns ‘mindless idiots’ and teammates post support
Manchester United have condemned the “mindless idiots” who racially abused Axel Tuanzebe and Anthony Martial on social media and have called for stronger measures “to prevent this kind of behaviour”.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team fell to a shock 2-1 home defeat by the Premier League’s bottom side, Sheffield United, on Wednesday. That sparked a torrent of online abuse aimed at United’s players, including racist abuse towards defender Tuanzebe, who inadvertently turned home Oliver Burke’s winner, and the forward Martial.Continue reading...
- Manchester United and West Ham must agree loan fee
- Benrahma had been due to complete deal in summer
West Ham remain in talks with Manchester United over a deal for Jesse Lingard after freeing up a loan spot for the midfielder by bringing forward the permanent transfer of Saïd Benrahma.
Lingard has fallen out of favour at Old Trafford and West Ham are keen to sign the 28-year-old until the end of the season. The transfer is likely to hinge on whether they can agree a loan fee, with the clubs still apart in their valuation.Continue reading...
- Manager laments conceding ‘two bad goals’ in home loss
- Sheffield United secure only their second win of season
Manchester United suffered a shock defeat against Sheffield United, the bottom-placed team claiming only a second win of the season and first at Old Trafford since 1973, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær criticising his side’s conceding of “two bad goals”.
While victory still leaves Sheffield United 10 points from safety, this was United’s first defeat in 13 league matches though they remain in second place.Continue reading...
Manchester United were insipid, Sheffield United impressive in a display that doubled the bottom-placed team’s victory tally: the substitute Oliver Burke’s 74th-minute winner summing up why the home side deserved to lose.
David de Gea failed to clear and instead handed John Lundstram possession near goal. The visitors were allowed too much time, even after Burke’s initial shot, and Lundstram found the player again inside the home side’s area with zero pressure – Paul Pogba the nearest offender – and the No 14 hit a first Premier League goal in off Axel Tuanzebe.Continue reading...
- Premier League updates from the 8.15pm GMT kick-off
- Live scores: all the goals from the UK and Europe
- Get in touch! Email Michael or tweet @michaelbutler18
45 min: Three minutes added on for injury-time, mainly for Martial’s knock in the second minute. It’s been a near-perfect half for Sheffield United.
43 min: Pogba, so often the best player on the park in recent weeks, has been awful tonight. C’est la vie.
41 min: A half-chance! Telles picks out Fernandes with a lofted diagonal. Fernandes volleys a cross back across goal and Martial stretches to try and head it goalwards, but Jagielka and Basham do enough to put the Frenchman off.
40 min: Yellow card for Lundstram, who cynically pulls back Rashford who was bursting through the middle of midfield.
39 min: In tonight’s other 8.15pm kick-off, Everton have taken a 1-0 lead at home to Leicester.
“Watching Everton while MBM tracking United,” emails Mary Waltz. “James just scored a beauty. More actual scoring chances by both sides then in the entirety of the Chelsea- Wolves fixture.”
37 min: Fernandes takes a pot-shot from long range, but Basham steps across to block. Manchester United lacking invention.
35 min: Sheffield United doing an excellent job of stifling things here. Jagielka has been immense so far. Thirty-eight years old!
32 min: Would not be surprised to see Cavani on at half-time, if things stay like this. Martial has not played awfully, but with the Blades defending deep and inviting crosses, the Uruguayan would seem like the better option for the second half.
30 min: From a Manchester United corner, the ball balloons off Maguire’s bonce straight up in the air. Ramsdale comes to claim, but makes a complete mess of it, dropping the ball at the feet of Martial, who taps it into the empty net. But referee Peter Bankes penalises Maguire, who jumped with Ramsdale for the second ball. Ooooo, that’s soft. Manchester United will feel aggrieved, especially with that Sharp nudge on De Gea for the Blades goal.
27 min: McGoldrick so nearly gets in to score a second for Sheffield United! Just what is going on?! He breaks the offside trap and looks to be in on goal, but stumbles at the crucial moment, just as he is bursting past Wan-Bissaka, and can’t reach the ball before De Gea. Would have been very interesting if McGoldrick had gone down. Wan-Bissaka was last man.
25 min: Some quite abysmal goalkeeping, there. De Gea had to come for the corner, and he did get the slightest of nudges off Sharp and the cross came in, but completely mis-read the flight of the ball. Bryan got up well, but basically nodded it in unchallenged. 1-0!
24 min: Manchester United concede the first goal, yet again. Well I never.
The Blades have the lead! A superb inswinger is sent into Manchester United’s six-yard box, De Gea misses his punch, and Bryan glances a header off the far post and in!
22 min: Manchester United are playing quite badly. Pogba zips a pass straight to Norwood. Sheffield United now have a corner. Here come the cavalry from the back.
20 min: A nice turn from Fleck sees Sheffield United break down the left. Bryan swings in a cross towards McGoldrick, but Telles covers and makes an excellent headed clearance.
17 min: Almost immediately, Fernandes sends Greenwood clean through at the other end! Greenwood takes a good initial touch and tries to go around Ramsdale, but goes too wide, and Sheffield United’s defenders are able to come back and block Greenwood’s effort on goal.
16 min: And just as I write that, Billy Sharp goes clean through on goal! Some absolutely awful defending from the home side, but Sharp sees his shot saved by De Gea, who used his feet. Telles got back to put pressure on Sharp, but that was a golden chance for the Blades!
14 min: Sharp and McGoldrick just can’t make it stick up up top for Sheffield United. They don’t have the pace the worry Manchester United in behind, and are losing the physical battle thus far to Maguire and co. For all their absences, the Blades do have a few attacking options on the bench. Mousset, Burke, Brewster and Bogle are all quick. Wilder’s selection looking a bit odd at this point.
11 min: Our first real chance of the game, but Rashford screws a first-time shot wide! Excellent build-up play, with Greenwood tucking inside and Wan-Bissaka overlapping. The right back’s low cross was squared across the top of the box and Rashford came onto it at pace, but sidefooted two yards wide from the edge of the penalty area.
8 min: It’s been a scrappy opening. Bruno Fernandes did look for a minute like he might burst clear of the Sheffield United defence at one point, but failed to bring down a swirling high pass with the requisite guile.
6 min: Big night for Oli Norwood, in the engine room for Sheffield United. Norwood came through the academy here in Manchester, although he never made a first-team appearance for Sir Alex Ferguson, who told him straight up that he wasn’t good enough for Manchester United, but would be good enough to play in the Premier League. Norwood cried all the way home after that news, but Fergie has been proved right.
3 min: Ah, he’s fine. On we/he go/goes.
2 min: Jagielka makes a strong, clean tackle on Martial, who falls awkwardly in a heap, clutching his shoulder. The Frenchman looks in genuine pain as the physios come on. He trudges off gingerly, not convinced Martial is going to be able to continue here!
1 min: Manchester United try to play their way out of trouble, with Maguire giving a nasty lofted pass inside his own box to Tuanzebe, who deals with it superbly. That will settle the nerves.
And we’re off.
The players take the knee. Black Lives Matter.
The teams are out, Sheffield United are in their changed pink strip (which is v nice IMO), while Manchester United are in their red and white.
Fernandes is having quite an animated conversation with Alex Telles.
To illustrate just how depleted Sheffield United are at the moment, there are three spaces on their bench that are empty tonight.
I’m sure Roman Abramovich will be over the moon.
820 - Chelsea completed 820 passes and recorded 78.9% possession against Wolves – since the start of 2003-04, these are both the highest totals by a team in their manager’s first Premier League game in charge. Stamp. #CHEWOL pic.twitter.com/oTLXi1071o
On Eric Bailly: “He’s had a bang. He’s a bit sore. He was down to play but hasn’t made it.”
On Sheffield United: “They tend to lose by the odd goal, there are tight games. We’ve got to be confident.”
Full-time scores in the early kick-offs:
Thomas Tuchel 0-0 Wolves
Burnley 3-2 Aston Villa
Some pre-match reading.
Find it very weird why Greenwood has to put up with any criticism at all, from journalists, and Solskjær’s take here – seemingly putting more pressure on Greenwood – is an odd take too.
Despite being battered for much of the match, Burnley have scored twice in three minutes and are now 3-2 up against the Villa! After the daylight robbery at Anfield, Sean Dyche looks like he’s going to mastermind another narrow win.
There are three games currently going on elsewhere. Chelsea are looking thoroughly uninspired at home to Wolves – 0-0 there, which you can follow here – while Aston Villa have just retaken a second-half lead at Burnley, with Jack Grealish making it 2-1 at Turf Moor.
Meanwhile, Brighton v Fulham has just kicked off.
The Bailly absence is an interesting one. He has been arguably the pick of Manchester United’s centre backs in recent weeks, and was left out of the game against Liverpool owing to an ‘little’ injury concern. Solskjær had said he would be fit for tonight, but he’s not even in the squad.
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Alex Telles, Pogba, Matic, Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Martial, Rashford.
Subs: Lindelof, Cavani, Mata, Fred, James, Shaw, Henderson, Van de Beek, McTominay.
Sheff Utd: Ramsdale, Basham, Bryan, Jagielka, Baldock, Lundstram, Ampadu, Norwood, Fleck, McGoldrick, Sharp.
Subs: Mousset, Lowe, Burke, Foderingham, Bogle, Brewster.
On paper, Manchester United couldn’t ask for an easier league fixture if they tried. The Blades are rock bottom of the league, 12 point adrift of safety, and just about limped past League One Plymouth in the FA Cup on Saturday. At home. An away trip to Old Trafford is a little more daunting.
What sort of a team talk will Ole opt for tonight? Lads, it’s Sheffield United? Or perhaps he will hit the ‘warn against complacency’ button, a la Football Manager. United have made a habit of conceding first this season (and have done just that in two of the last three matches against Sheffield United) so perhaps it will be the latter.Continue reading...
- Manager confident striker will produce for Manchester United
- Marcus Rashford available to face Sheffield United
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has admitted it is a challenge to ensure Mason Greenwood does not endure “second-season syndrome” after the Manchester United forward’s standout contribution last season.
Greenwood’s 17 goals in 2019‑20 placed him alongside George Best, Brian Kidd and Wayne Rooney as the club’s most prolific teenager in a season. Yet his finish in the 3-2 FA Cup win against Liverpool on Sunday was only a fourth of the campaign and the first for two months.Continue reading...
- David Moyes interested in Manchester United midfielder
- Bringing forward Benrahma deal would clear loan space
West Ham plan to bring forward the permanent transfer of Saïd Benrahma if they press ahead with a loan move for Jesse Lingard.
Manchester United have decided to allow Lingard to go on loan this month, sparking interest from David Moyes as he seeks to add depth to his squad. However Premier League clubs are allowed only two domestic loan players in their squad and West Ham, who are also keen to sign a striker, have borrowed Craig Dawson from Watford and Benrahma from Brentford.Continue reading...
Max Rushden is joined by Jacob Steinberg, Flo Lloyd-Hughes and Rory Smith as news of the sacking of Chelsea manager Frank Lampard breaks. Thomas Tuchel is the man in the frame to replace him, but where did it go wrong for Lampard?Continue reading...
- Portuguese is now the club’s leading scorer with 16 goals
- Fernandes is confident United can win a trophy this season
Bruno Fernandes has revealed the mentality that has helped to make him so successful for Manchester United by saying that losing is “not normal for me”.
The Portuguese’s late free-kick against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday knocked the champions out of the FA Cup fourth round. This was Fernandes’s 16th goal of the season to make him United’s leading scorer, and his 28th in total since signing almost a year ago. He also won four Premier League Player of the Month awards in 2020, a record for a calendar year.Continue reading...
A superb Bruno Fernandes free-kick was the difference in Manchester United's scintillating 3-2 FA Cup victory over Liverpool. The hosts came from behind after an opener from Mo Salah, before goals from Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford put them ahead. 'We feel for us it's a good feeling to play on our terms,' said manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær, 'that's the confidence boost that we can match the best with our style of football'.Continue reading...
Luke Shaw is proving José Mourinho wrong, while West Ham could have European football on their minds next season
“He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him. He has to change his football brain,” José Mourinho said of Luke Shaw after a game in 2017. “We need his fantastic physical and technical qualities, but he cannot continue to play with my brain.” Few could have imagined four years later that the former Southampton defender could be first choice left-back at Old Trafford and eyeing up a return to the England squad. There is no arguing that Shaw looks far fitter now than four years ago but he has heeded Mourinho’s advice to “change his football brain”. Against Liverpool, Shaw was superb in defence and attack; going forward he made key overlapping runs, aiding Marcus Rashford to ensure United dominated that flank in a battle that was crucial to the victory. The arrival of Alex Telles seems to have spurred Shaw on to build on last season’s form. Gareth Southgate will have taken notice. Will Unwin
Burnley v Bournemouth or Crawley
Manchester United v West Ham
Sheffield United v Bristol City
Wolves v Southampton
Barnsley v Chelsea
Everton v Wycombe or Tottenham
Swansea v Manchester City
Leicester v Brighton
Rhys Williams had a difficult game against Manchester United but the fact he played at all implies a flaw in the Anfield system
Three minutes into the second half at Old Trafford something happened that was simultaneously startling, avoidable, unfortunate, and also crushingly inevitable. Manchester United’s second goal in this fun, highly watchable 3-2 FA Cup fourth-round win will be cast as a the fruit of a Rhys Williams mistake.
Correctly so: it was a horrible mistake. Rumbling back to cut out a diagonal pass from Mason Greenwood, Liverpool’s centre‑back scuffed a miskicked clearance that ran straight into Marcus Rashford’s path, leaving him a clear run on goal.Continue reading...
- Manager’s first win over Liverpool shows ‘we can match the best’
- Jürgen Klopp says of poor run: ‘We have to solve it together’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær hailed a “statement win” for Manchester United after Liverpool were beaten 3-2 in the FA Cup fourth round at Old Trafford.
An entertaining cup tie was decided by a late Bruno Fernandes free-kick as United progressed to meet West Ham in the next round at home. Solskjær admitted was particularly pleased with the manner of victory – his first against major rivals Liverpool at the fifth attempt.Continue reading...
This was a thriller of a Cup tie, Manchester United emerging on the right end of a 3-2 scoreline courtesy of Bruno Fernandes’s late winner. It means Liverpool have only one win from their last seven outings – and this against Aston Villa’s kids in the previous round – and United roll on in the competition to face West Ham here next month.Continue reading...
- Live FA Cup updates as rivals meet at Old Trafford
- From the Doc to Kuyt: six great FA Cup clashes
- Get in touch! Email John or tweet him
A reminder that Jürgen Klopp has never been past the fifth round in this competition. He’s preferred to focus on other stuff but this time, his reserves are players he has already made much use of. Let’s face it, Minamino is yet to be a success and Divock Origi wasn’t too good against Burnley.
That’s quite a lot of heading and chasing.
Today is Harry Maguire's 93rd start for club or country since the start of last season. A monstrous workload.
Manchester United: Henderson, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, McTominay, Greenwood, van de Beek, Rashford, Cavani.
Subs: de Gea, Mata, Martial, Fred, Bruno Fernandes, James,
Alex Telles, Matic, Tuanzebe.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Rhys Williams, Fabinho, Robertson, Milner, Thiago, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Jones.
Subs: Mane, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Tsimikas, Shaqiri,
Origi, Phillips, Kelleher, Neco Williams.
Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)
Donny Van de Beek, Scott McTominay come in for Bruno Fernandes and Fred and Marcus Rashford come into the starting line-up, as do Dean Henderson for David de Gea and Victor Lindelof for Eric Bailly.
For Liverpool, Rhys Williams, James Milner, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Curtis Jones are brought in for Joel Matip, Sadio Mané, Divock Origi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri.
One of the reasons why Klopp may have opted for that strong forward line.
Remember when an FA Cup fixture between these clubs would be the biggest match around?
That looks a stronger Liverpool team than United team. Perhaps Ole is concentrating on the league after all, and Jürgen Klopp sees the FA Cup as some kind of salvation. Ole may also wish to avoid semi-finals too, but United look there for the taking, and yes, that’s probably because there is no Bruno.
Here are the teams.
Manchester United have regrets from last week’s 0-0 draw at Anfield. Post-match, Paul Pogba, annoyed with himself, admitted to his colleagues that he should have scored late on, and Liverpool really did look there for the taking, as Burnley would prove on Thursday. Would an FA Cup win serve as consolation? Not quite, the competition no longer holds the high yield it did when Ole Gunnar Solskjær was scoring his 1999 fourth-round winner - Jürgen Klopp has not shown much desire to win the competition - but it could add to Liverpool’s sense of crisis. Conversely, a Liverpool win would remind United of which team is the daddy now. All eyes should be on the team sheets; Liverpool’s resting much of their forward line against Burnley either suggested a newfound desire to win the FA Cup or that Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are knackered. Does Ole play Bruno Fernandes? Would Bruno Fernandes complain if he was rested? The evidence of last week’s muttering to himself at Anfield suggests so. Still, this is undoubtedly the tie of the round and can’t possibly be a worse game than last week. Can it?
Kick-off is 5pm UK time. Join me.Continue reading...
- Manchester United manager praises attitude of midfielder
- Pogba in excellent form since agent cast his future into doubt
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has pointed to his strong relationship with Paul Pogba in the wake of the midfielder’s recent impressive form.
Pogba capped an eye-catching display with a memorable late winner in Manchester United’s 2-1 victory at Fulham on Wednesday having done the same against Burnley the previous week.Continue reading...