What the papers say
The former Manchester United striker on being omitted from the biggest match of his career, practising with basketballs as a kid – and refusing to change his style
Dimitar Berbatov is talking about the most disappointing day in his football career but he is in a conciliatory mood. In May 2011 the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, told him that he would not be in the starting XI for the Champions League final against Barcelona. Even worse, he was not even in the squad.
My Way by Dimitar Berbatov is available here.Continue reading...
Solskjær’s players lacked spark and Lampard’s were cagey – but in a wild season, will such caution become more prevalent?
Ole Gunnar Solskjær can do one big thing well, and that is sit his side deep and attack on the counter. Frank Lampard has one big thing he has struggled to do well, and that is set his side up to defend well against the counter. That’s why when these sides met at Old Trafford last season, Chelsea had 54% possession, won the shot count 18-10 and lost 4-0. Everything Lampard did on Saturday seemed aimed at avoiding a repeat.Continue reading...
The Chelsea manager seemed to be reacting to criticism of his leaky defence as he set his side out to repel Manchester United
Splurge on the attack. Make yourself the envy of the world by signing Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz in one wild summer. Make the journey to Old Trafford, where Manchester United were last seen losing 6-1 to Tottenham, and pick a back-five. Take Werner and Havertz off with 20 minutes left. Give Ziyech 10 minutes at the end. Settle for a second consecutive goalless draw. Flip the narrative on its head.
By the end of a grim match it was clear Frank Lampard had no interest in another defensive aberration from his leaky Chelsea side. He will not apologise for setting out to contain United. Attacking cohesion can wait: for a manager accused of failing to focus on shape and resilience during his time at Chelsea, a shutout inspired by Thiago Silva’s serenity in central defence represented another step forward.Continue reading...
Edinson Cavani had not kicked a ball since 7 March. The Uruguay striker had missed the end of last season at Paris Saint-Germain because of a contract dispute, he tested positive for coronavirus over the summer and he was forced to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival at Manchester United having travelled over from France as a free agent.
Cavani has been dreaming of getting back onto the field for longer than he may care to remember, through an awful lot of strangeness and upheaval and, when it finally happened, his first touch as a United player almost brought a fairytale reward.Continue reading...
- Live updates from Old Trafford, kick-off 5.30pm BST
- Lampard still way off winning formula at Chelsea
- Feel free to email Scott with your thoughts
20 min: From the corner, Pulisic drives at McTominay down the left but the United midfielder stands strong. However United are struggling to get out of their final third. Chelsea continue to press them back.
19 min: Chelsea are beginning to dominate possession. Jorginho sprays a ball wide left for Chilwell, who earns another Chelsea corner off Wan-Bissaka.
17 min: Jorginho and Havertz combine down the right and force Shaw to concede a corner. Chilwell takes. It’s half cleared. It’s slapped back weakly by Pulisic. Neither keeper has needed to get his hands warm yet.
16 min: A pause in play as Rashford goes down, having been accidentally nutted in the back of the head by Zouma, the pair contesting a high ball. He’s up again quickly enough, good to go.
15 min: Kante is close to sliding Havertz clear down the middle, but his precision pass is well read, just in time, by Maguire.
13 min: Jorginho passes long down the right. Werner nearly latches onto the ball, but Maguire gets across in time to head away from danger. Neither team are prepared to risk too much in attack right now, perhaps mindful of their recent defensive travails.
11 min: United stroke it around awhile, not to any great effect. Both teams very much putting the feelers out at the minute.
9 min: It’s all a bit too fast at the minute. Passing sequences are at a premium right now.
7 min: It’s nice and open. Fernandes and Mata nearly open Chelsea up with a crisp one-two down the right, but Zouma gets in the road.
5 min: Pulisic drives at United down the inside-left channel. He’s got the chance to spring Werner clear through the middle, but opts to dribble his way into a shooting position. His notions of scoring are checked by Wan-Bissaka, who aquaplanes across to block.
3 min: Jorginho launches long. Lindelof stands tall against Werner to clear the danger. I hope they’ve fixed that hole in the Old Trafford roof.
2 min: The conditions are horrendous. The rain’s been hosing down for hours, and the pitch is very heavy as a result. Plenty of scope for slapstick shenanigans. Everyone quite literally finding their feet in these opening exchanges. Take care, everyone!
Chelsea get the ball rolling ... but not before everyone takes a knee. Black lives matter. There’s no room for racism. The visitors will be kicking towards the Stretford End in this first half.
The teams are out! United are in their famous red, Chelsea their storied blue. The weather in Manchester is, well, positively Mancunian ... the rain is sheeting down. We’ll be off in a minute or two. “In a season where making predictions is turning out to be a fool’s errand, there is one result that can already be called - the Guardian footballer of the Year,” writes Vibhanshu Bisht. “Unless Alisson emerges from his injury break with a Covid vaccine that he tested on himself and then gives it away for free.” There’s a lot of love around for Marcus Rashford all right, and every last bit of it richly deserved. What a seriously impressive young man. (And while we’re on the subject, here’s a quick reminder about the donation page for Gorse Hill packed lunches, as explained in this MBM’s preamble.)
Frank Lampard talks his Chelsea team up ... with caveats. “We’re doing OK. We can do better, without a doubt. We’re seeing across the league that teams are trying to find form, and we’re one of those, but our result in midweek was good because you saw a team that was solid. That’s what we’ve been striving for. But we can do better. Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem, but we’re coming to a very good team so we have to get both sides of our game right. We’re making relationships through the team so I expect progression with that. We must play with a real organisation and be confident. We know we can give Manchester United - any team - a problem.”
Should Manchester United be defeated today, they’ll equal an unwanted club record by losing their first three home games of the season. That was their fate in 1930-31, when they lost their first 12 matches straight. Their first three defeats at Old Trafford that season saw Aston Villa win 4-3, Huddersfield Town 6-0 and Newcastle United 7-4. And you thought the Spurs debacle was bad. United were unsurprisingly relegated at the end of the campaign, and manager Herbert Bamlett was sent on his way. This fiasco seems to be Bamlett’s legacy, which is slightly unfair seeing he took unfashionable Oldham Athletic to the brink of the title in 1915, but this is where we all are.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has kept his team together since Paris, staying in a hotel last night. “It was something that we wanted to do this time, keep everyone together. The atmosphere has been good, so we want to keep it going. Sometimes you have to reward players who play well, and there are a few players who deserve to be in the team. This set-up was the best we felt. You go through different scenarios, and the team that played in Paris also deserved to play again. But of course Anthony is suspended so we had to change a little bit. Every substitute is match-dependant. I hope to get Cavani on in a comfortable position, but if it is a precarious situation he’ll be a threat because he has looked really good in training.”
Pre-match reading. These two have a habit of racking up the goals. Here are a few blasts from the past as we while away the time before kick-off.
Harry Maguire is back, baby. He’s one of three changes to Manchester United from the XI named against PSG midweek. Juan Mata and Dan James also return. Making way: Alex Telles, Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe. The latter has our permission to feel a little miffed at being stood down after his excellent performance up against Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. Alongside him on the bench: Edinson Cavani, who could make his United debut this afternoon.
There’s just one change to the Chelsea side from the team picked for the goalless draw with Sevilla. The captain Cesar Azpilicueta returns; Mason Mount drops to the bench.
Manchester United: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, Mata, Bruno Fernandes, James, Rashford.
Subs: Pogba, Cavani, Greenwood, Henderson, Matic, van de Beek, Tuanzebe.
Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Zouma, James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell, Havertz, Pulisic, Werner.
Subs: Rudiger, Abraham, Caballero, Kovacic, Giroud, Mount, Ziyech.
Welcome to our live coverage of Marcus Rashford v The Man. “Gorsehill is in spitting distance of Old Trafford,” begins Judith Mellor. “The Primary School is down the road from the ground. It is a rainbow nation of a school. My daughter (who is a teacher) will be volunteering for ‘Gorsehill Mums with Limited Funds’, which will be organising packed lunches for local schoolkids next week during half term. These are mums with limited funds helping those with no funds. There is a GoFundMe page.”
We’ll also be keeping tabs on Manchester United v Chelsea, one of the blue-riband fixtures of English football. United did the double over Chelsea last season, winning 4-0 at Old Trafford and 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, but the Blues got some revenge in the semi-final of the FA Cup with a comprehensive 3-1 victory. There are often goals when these two meet, and hopefully that’ll be the case today, with plenty of attacking talent on show and neither defence exactly on top of their game.Continue reading...
- Liverpool ‘show solidarity’ with Manchester United player
- ‘It is a bit of a shame he has to do it but it is wonderful as well’
Jürgen Klopp has praised Marcus Rashford for showing the kind of leadership the UK government is failing to provide with his “absolutely incredible” campaign for free school meals. The Liverpool manager joked it was “tricky” to speak so highly of the 22-year-old England striker because he plays for arch-rivals Manchester United.Continue reading...
- Intense scrutiny comes with playing for United, says Solskjær
- Manager hopes forward will be well enough to face Chelsea
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is not concerned that Mason Greenwood is “making a target” of himself, the manager stating that this comes with the territory of playing for Manchester United. The manager revealed the 19-year-old has been ill, though he is hopeful Greenwood can be available for Chelsea’s visit on Saturday.Continue reading...
The Manchester United and England footballer says he has been ‘blown away’ by local businesses offering support for his free school meals campaign after MPs voted against extending the provision into the half-term and Christmas holidays.
Marcus Rashford visited the food bank charity FareShare in Greater Manchester, where a new warehouse has been named after his mother, Melanie.
Earlier this month Rashford was awarded an MBE for his work in combating child food poverty during the Covid pandemicContinue reading...
When Manchester United were hammered 6-1 by Tottenham this game was one of a subsequent run of fixtures that made grim reading for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side. Yet after convincing victories over Newcastle and Paris Saint-Germain United have shrugged the pressure off as Chelsea arrive at Old Trafford after enduring their own wobble. They have won one of their past four league games. Jamie Jackson
Saturday 5.30pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
Axel Tuanzebe should start, Everton’s and Aston Villa’s credentials will be tested and Rhian Brewster returns to Anfield
Following their last-ditch heroics against Tottenham, West Ham host Manchester City and in this white-knuckle rollercoaster ride of a season not even the combined forces of Mystic Meg, Nostradamus and Sally Morgan could boldly predict what might happen. City came from behind to beat Porto in the Champions League on Wednesday but their win was far from convincing. The Portuguese side carved open the City defence on several occasions, while Ederson was lucky to survive an uncharacteristic howler. Already without Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus, City were dealt a further blow with the news Fernandinho will be sidelined for four to six weeks. While undeniably valuable to their cause, the Brazilian may not be quite the loss Guardiola fears – the season before last, City averaged 2.7 points per top flight game in which he played, compared with 2.0 in those in which he didn’t. Last season, with Fernandinhooften covering in City’s now-replenished central defence, they earned more points in the eight games without him (2.4 per game) than in matches he played in (2.13). BG
Southampton v Everton – Sunday 2pm GMT
Aston Villa v Leeds United – Friday, 8pm BST
Wolves v Newcastle United – Sunday, 4.30pm GMTContinue reading...
Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo says he is ashamed of the Nigerian government after reports that soldiers opened fire on those protesting against police brutality in the country's largest city, Lagos.
Nigerians have been demonstrating nationwide every day in recent weeks against a now disbanded police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars), which has been accused of extrajudicial killings and abuse.
Ighalo said in a video message on Twitter that while he rarely talks about politics he could not stay silent about events back home. He was joined by several other athletes, including boxer Anthony Joshua, basketballer Chiney Ogwumike and footballer Victor Osimhen, in condemning the violenceContinue reading...
- Forward’s late timekeeping a particular issue
- Greenwood has not played in past two matches
Manchester United have warned Mason Greenwood regarding his discipline, with the 19-year-old’s poor timekeeping a particular issue.
The forward has failed to report promptly on a number of occasions recently and so has been reminded of his responsibilities.Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær proved he might actually know what he’s doing as Marcus Rashford scored a late winner against PSG. Chelsea were less exciting against Sevilla but perhaps that’s what they need at the moment.Continue reading...
- United estimate £70m of revenue lost because of Covid
- Ed Woodward says United want to help ‘football pyramid’
Manchester United suffered a £118.1m loss in revenues, down to £509m from £627.1m, for the financial year ending in June 2019, with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic a major factor.
The loss is an 18.8% downturn for the 12 months, with the last financial quarter showing a 38% reduction – £131.4m to £81.5m. The club estimates that £70m of revenue lost across the year can be attributed to Covid. “We expect the impact to remain visible for quite some time to come,” Ed Woodward, the executive vice-chairman, said.Continue reading...
We are raiding the Audio Long Reads archives and bringing you some classic pieces from years past, with new introductions from the authors.
This week, from 2015: Luzira was once the most notorious prison in Uganda. Now it’s home to what is surely the world’s most elaborate prison football league – and a model for the transformative power of the beautiful game. By David Goldblatt
• Read the text version hereContinue reading...
United’s captain enjoyed a far happier game, while PSG’s star was booked for dissent on a dim night for the home side
How Manchester United must wish they could play Paris Saint-Germain every week. Of course, given the current mood within the game, one imagines the Glazers are probably sitting down with the relevant European stakeholders to make that prospect an imminent reality. Yet at a deserted Parc des Princes, United conjured up a triumph that in many ways more impressive than their great heist of 2019.
Nineteen months have passed since the remarkable 3-1 comeback victory that put United into the last eight and sealed Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s ascent to the permanent job. Nineteen months in which a good deal of water has passed under the bridges of the Seine. And yet, until Bruno Fernandes’s first-half penalty the last goal PSG had conceded at home in the Champions League was scored by United themselves. That was a measure of their achievement.Continue reading...
- Marcus Rashford strikes again at Parc des Princes
- Manager praises character of stand-in captain Fernandes
Ole Gunnar Solskjær was delighted after Manchester United beat a “fantastic” Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in their opening Champions League group game, with Marcus Rashford again scoring a late winner against the French champions.
The manager praised an all‑round team performance in which Scott McTominay played much of the first half without one of his contact lenses, Axel Tuanzebe defended admirably after 10 months out, and Bruno Fernandes scored when retaking a penalty, after his first attempt was saved.Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær had been clear. The Miracle of Paris from two seasons ago, when his Manchester United team drove to a famous Champions League last-16 win at this stadium, was nothing more than history. Yes, it was glorious and had helped him to get the manager’s job on a permanent basis but he wanted a fresh statement against Paris Saint-Germain, a performance to inspire renewed hope.
How his players delivered and, once again, it was Marcus Rashford who produced the decisive moment with time ebbing away. In March 2019 it was his 94th-minute penalty that edged United to an away-goals triumph and, in the driving rain at an empty Parc des Princes, it was his precision late drive that served to ignite his team’s group phase campaign.Continue reading...
- Champions League Group H updates from the 8pm BST kick-off
- Follow Chelsea v Sevilla: Champions League – live!
- Live scores: all the goals as they go in around Europe
- And send your thoughts to Scott by email here
A relaxed looking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stands in the Parisian drizzle and talks to BT Sport. “Of course it’s great to be back in the Champions League, especially against one of the best teams in Europe. They’ve got some of the best players in the world. This is what our players dream about, it’s what they’ve been working for, and now we’re here. It’s a good chance to get some points in the first game. Every game is a chance to show what you are about, and this is a test of character. We have put a team together that we feel is the best we can start with. We’ve had a few injuries. We need to do everything right, we can’t have a moment when we blink, we must have concentration from the first to last minute. They are quick in transition, but that is also one of our strengths.”
Manchester United will be wearing that new distressed-zebra third kit for the first time tonight. Cobble together your own press release from the following phrases: “fresh update to tradition”, “re-drawn, hacked and re-imagined”, “iconic”, “an original story”, “relationship with stripes”, “vibrant new print”, “surprising and unexpected result”, “club DNA”, “disruptive jersey graphics”, “visual revolution”, “push the boundaries of shirt design”, “push our luck”, “not a patch on the stuff Admiral did back in the 70s”. PSG will play in their usual blue, white and red.
As for the hosts ... PSG make five changes from the XI sent out to beat Nimes 4-0 last weekend. The most notable incomers: Neymar and the United old boys Ander Herrera and Angel di Maria. Stepping down to the bench: Everton loanee Moise Kean.
Alex Telles makes his Manchester United debut. The 27-year-old Brazilian, a £15m deadline-day signing from Porto, starts at left wing-back, with Luke Shaw operating as part of a back three. Axel Tuanzebe makes his first appearance since a League Cup win over Colchester United last December. Bruno Fernandes captains United for the first time, while Paul Pogba remains benched.
PSG: Navas, Florenzi, Diallo, Kimpembe, Kurzawa, Herrera, Danilo Pereira, Gueye, Di Maria, Mbappe, Neymar.
Subs: Rafinha, Marquinhos, Sergio Rico, Kean, Sarabia, Draxler, Bakker, Letellier, Dagba, Pembele, Fadiga, Ruiz-Atil.
Manchester United: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Lindelof, Shaw, Telles, Fred, McTominay, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Pogba, Mata, James, Fosu-Mensah, Ighalo, Henderson, Pellistri, Matic, Williams, van de Beek.
“We don’t have good memories.” Thomas Tuchel, there, trying his damnedest not to reminisce about the time his PSG side welcomed Manchester United to the Parc des Princes in March 2019. You’ll recall it, though, as United became the first side ever in the Champions League era to recover from a two-goal home first-leg deficit: two-goal Romelu Lukaku, Presnel Kimpembe’s arm, Marcus Rashford’s steely nerve, all that.
That historic comeback earned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his permanent gig at Old Trafford, and remains the high-water mark of his reign so far. United could do with a similar morale boost tonight, building on an impressive 4-1 win at Newcastle last weekend that went at least a little way to forgetting about that defeat by Spurs. A fast start to Group H would further steady the ship as Solskjaer looks to buy a little more time and space in which to work.
'I was not expecting this': Bruno Fernandes surprised with captaincy during press conference – video
Bruno Fernandes will captain Manchester United in their Champions League opening game with PSG on Tuesday after Harry Maguire was ruled out through injury. The Portuguese midfielder was surprised with the news during a press conference with his manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær. 'The captain sits next to me, Bruno will captain the team,' said Solskjær. 'I know the same time as you,' a smiling Fernandes told reporters via ZoomContinue reading...