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Some potential January moves in this morning’s Rumour Mill ...
I am expecting Aubameyang to play on the left, which is a shame as it’s certainly not his best position but Arteta has obviously decided the way to go is to get all his best players onto the pitch and fit them into a formation.
Bill emails in: “Re the 606 call (18.57), any analysis of Arsenal’s descent will have to include a look at the seemingly entitled, paranoid, delusional, highly critical parts of the fan base, I’d say. I think Arteta seems to have a great plan and be acting intelligently. No wonder he’s had to spend time rallying the fans, but should that be necessary? I can see the point of being vocal where it’s due (Emery was a mistake from the off), but surely support should go the other way, from fan to club”
Welcome to a new year.
No Pogba once again for United, which will fuel a few rumours, I am sure. He didn’t feature at Burnley due to some degree of fatigue. Can he still be tired?
January business for United?
Xhaka and Torreira are paired together as the wall to stop Manchester United and that Arsenal front four looks rather exciting: Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang and Lacazette.
Matic keeps his place in midfield for United, while Shaw will line up against Pepe, which will be an intriguing battle.
Arsenal: Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira, Pepe, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
Subs: Martinez, Ceballos, Holding, Nelson, Willock, Guendouzi, Saka.
An Arsenal ‘fan’ has just phoned up 606 to say they are going down and Aubameyang and Lacazette aren’t good enough. I know things aren’t great the the moment but to say the Gunners will be relegated is bizarre. Odd chap.
Here’s David Hytner on Mikel Arteta’s worries.
Happy New Year!
Hopefully by now your hangover has subsided and you have moved back onto solids. Speaking of hangovers, Arsenal are still trying to get over the one induced by pumping 75% proof Unai Emery into their veins. New boss Mikel Arteta looks to have brought some endeavour and freedom to Arsenal’s attacking players but the same old issues continue in defence and it cost them two late goals and the match against Chelsea. Arteta will be hoping he can secure his first win tonight but that will not be as easy as it seemed a couple of months ago.Continue reading...
Perhaps, in many ways, it is fitting that the 2020s should begin for Manchester United with a trip to Arsenal. The last decade began with United and Arsenal second and third respectively in the Premier League table, but having shared 11 of the first 12 Premier League titles, there were just two between them in the 2010s: the most recent of those going to United in 2013.
These are two sides who find themselves in transitional periods, of that there can be no question. Whether the 2020s can provide happier times remains to be seen, but for Ole Gunnar Solskjær at least, there are grounds for cautious optimism. United finished 2019 with back-to-back victories against Newcastle and Burnley and, unlike Wednesday’s opponents, are firmly in the race for the Champions League places.Continue reading...
- United linked with Saúl Ñíguez and Moussa Dembélé
- Solskjær says club will not buy players ‘for the sake of it’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has reiterated that Manchester United will only spend in the January transfer window if the right player becomes available, insisting that he has the backing from the board to add to his squad over the next month. United have been linked with a host of potential targets across Europe before the window opens on Wednesday, including Atlético Madrid’s Saúl Ñíguez and Lyon striker Moussa Dembélé.Continue reading...
Welcome to the Premier League, then, Tariq Lamptey. And – quite possibly – farewell. For the 19-year-old right-back, the Emirates Stadium was some place to make a professional debut. He rose to the challenge, keeping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang quiet and making one thrilling foray into Arsenal territory before playing in Tammy Abraham. It says plenty about Chelsea’s short-term youth policy that Lampard felt able to throw an untried teenager into a game of this magnitude. It says plenty about Chelsea’s long-term youth policy that they may not be able to keep him. Lamptey’s contract is up at the end of the season, and Paris Saint-Germain are ready to pounce. “Hopefully he feels a bit of love,” Lampard said afterwards. The question, with three right-backs ahead of him and time running out, is whether it will be enough. Jonathan LiewContinue reading...
The Guardian and Observer sport photographer picks his favourite images from the thousands he shot during the past 10 years
This is a collection of images I have shot during the last decade. I wasn’t selecting them because they were necessarily the biggest moments or the greatest stars – it was purely because I liked them as pictures and some had nice stories attached. What jumped out at me when choosing them is there should be far more sportswomen featured. The amount of women’s sport I cover has gradually increased but if I get to do a decade round-up in 2029, I want there to be a far more even balance between the sexes.Continue reading...
Our picture editors select their favourite images from the weekend’s actionContinue reading...
Nights like this, in the depths of December at a sub-zero Turf Moor, are not the ones that will stick in the memory for Manchester United supporters come May, but they could turn out to be decisive in their attempt to return to the Champions League. In the end, it was one moment of ill-judgment from Charlie Taylor, coupled with a clinical finish from Anthony Martial and a late breakaway strike from Marcus Rashford, that decided this encounter, which had all the festive fizz of a bottle of champagne left open since Christmas Day.
But that will matter little to United, who are now only a point shy of fourth-placed Chelsea after back-to-back victories. This was far from perfect from United, but a first away clean sheet in the league since February secured with a makeshift midfield of Fred, Nemanja Matic and Andreas Pereira, who impressed throughout, represents a solid night’s work for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side as they prepare for Arsenal on New Year’s Day.Continue reading...
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- Solskjær backs youthful United to recover quickly
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42 mins: Hart has gone to sit back down. In other goalkeeping news: De Gea whacks the ball straight out of play. The resulting long throw ends up with Barnes in the area but he smashes his shot high and wide.
40 mins: Hart is readying himself to come on. Pope is up once more and looks like he will try to carry on. Poor Joe Hart.
38 mins: Fred is dictating things in the middle of the park, his latest work puts in Williams on the left, his cross flashes along the six-yard line but Mee does well to put Martial off and it goes away. Pope rolls his ankle repositioning himself for the cross and his game could be over. Hart on?
36 mins: Sean King is thinking of January: “Lots of talk of talk of Maddison, Sancho and Haland to Utd, but stick Grealish and Adama Traore in this side and United would be immense going forward.”
Who will United get?
34 mins: HOW HAS THAT NOT GONE IN?! Williams arrives on the overlap and lifts a cross over everyone to James at the back post, his original shot bounces out to Martial six yards from goal and he smashes it at goal, only to have it cleared off the line from Bardsley. Incredible stuff from the Burnley full-back.
32 mins: Burnley finally create an attack which looks like it is going somewhere until Bardsley completely fails to find Westwood five yards away from him. United then break and it ends up with Rashford on the right who drives a cross from the byline straight at Mee who finds himself in the perfect position to stop the cross.
30 mins: Rashford thwacks another free-kick form 35 yards, which clips off the top of the wall and heads over the bar. The corner is headed clear by Bardsley, who then checks to make sure his hair is still in place.
28 mins: Mee catches Martial on the heel, probably just remind him that he’s there. Maguire and Mee have a long argument about it, which results in a smirk from the Burnley skipper and telling the United man to get back in his box.
26 mins: Wood kicks Maguire in the face, as you do. There is no malice from Wood, just an honest attempt to get the ball.
Burnley are keeping it tight here and just waiting for a set-piece to put United under pressure.
24 mins: Williams is fouled once more, this time by former United full-back Bardsley who catches him quite late while trying to get into the box. Pereira whips the free-kick in from the left but it is headed clear with minimal fuss.
Justin Kavanagh says: “As it’s Christmas, I’ve a fiver bet on Burnley keeping this game scoreless, based on the faithful’s belief (though not mine) that the Pope is infallible. Judging by his first few touches, I haven’t a prayer!”
22 mins: Burnley earn a corner off Fred which never was and the Brazilian gets very angry with the referee. United will not want face many corners tonight, especially ones that are not merited. Luckily for all involved it comes to nothing.
20 mins: United break on Burnley at pace, culminating in Rashford getting the ball on the edge of the box and whacking a shot against the foot of the post and wide.
18 mins: Needless to say, United look more creative as Burnley just aim it up to the two big men. Williams does well to get away from Wood, who earns his revenge by somehow removing the defender’s boot.
Burnley hit a long free-kick into the box which Tarkowski knocks down for someone to attack but it ends up with De Gea.
16 mins: A one-two between James and Rashford releases the former to get away from Taylor, who brings him down just before he reaches the area. It is a cynical challenge but he does not get a booking. Fred whacks the free-kick well over.
14 mins: Tarkowski pulls down Fred around 35 yards from goal. Rashford lines it up and hits it wonderfully with power and precision, forcing Pope to dive to his left to palm away the swerving ball at around hip height.
12 mins: Barnes has spent half the game in the air trying to flick the ball on to someone or other and the rest moaning to the referee about getting pushed in the back while jumping. Mike Dean, naturally, is having none of it. Probably because both sides played two days ago, the pace of the match can only be described as slow.
10 mins: Rashford shouts in pain after being caught by Westwood. It does not look too bad but Rashford does take a kick on the top of his foot. The forward has looked United’s main threat thus far, so they will want him at 100 per cent.
8 mins: Great work by Taylor on the left wing sees the full-back beat two men and chip a cross to the back post but his opposite number, Williams, is there to flick it clear before a claret shirt can get their head on it.
6 mins: Pope runs 20 yards out of his goal, takes a poor touch and is almost closed down by Martial but just about gets his clearance away. Young is on the deck after getting a little push in the back from Barnes. The United full-back hits the ground hard and looks in pain. After treatment he seems fine to continue.
4 mins: Rashford lifts a ball over the top for Pereira to chase but he is beaten to it by Pope, who decides to push it onto the midfielder, who knocks it out for a goal kick, rather than catch it. Whatever his intention, it worked.
2 mins: Burnley are looking to put the balls into the channels and Barnes has already earned a free-kick from Maguire. A positive start from the hosts.
Peep! Peep! Peep! Here we go!
The players are out on the pitch and Turf Moor is looking packed. Hopefully the teams will put on a show.
I have a feeling it is not warm in Burnley. But the Burnley team are all in short sleeves apart from Hendrick.
No shortage of things going on here ...
Matic, Pereira and Fred is possibly the least terrifying midfield three United have put out in the Premier League.
On BT Sport Marcus Rashford is taking Robin van Persie around Manchester and has been explaining the homeless issue there. As someone from the city, he is absolutely right to raise awareness of how bad the situation has become. He’s a good egg.
I always get a little tinge of sadness when I see Joe Hart on a bench; he was so good for Man City for so long and since then has, metaphorically, fallen off a cliff.
9 - Since winning their first ever Premier League meeting with Man Utd in August 2009, Burnley are winless in their subsequent nine against them in the competition (D4 L5). Tricky. pic.twitter.com/m75QNE3P8Y
A busy time for the Pope.
Nice to see Pope lining up just 3 days after Christmas
Continuing the trend of Wolves and Norwich , Burnley could make it a holy trinity weekend
Burnley is known for causing difficulties to Man U
Have United recovered?
Anyway ... when will we stop talking about the actual football and turn our thoughts to VAR? I will go for the 17th minute
No surprises in the Burnley team. They will be even more excited looking at the United side. I suspect McNeil will be happier to face Young than Wan Bissaka.
January transfer plans ...
No Pogba, so they have dusted off Matic for the game. His last league appearance came in September.
Burnley: Pope, Bardsley, Taylor, Tarkowski, Mee, Cork, Hendrick, Westwood, McNeil, Barnes, Wood
Subs: Hart, Lowton, Gudmundsson, Drinkwater, Brady, Rodriguez, Long
Sean Dyche’s Burnley sit happily in mid-table and are not even looking over their shoulder, so will be very content with life. The squad and style are pretty much set and they will certainly make life difficult for a Manchester United team on a high after thrashing Newcastle.Continue reading...
Marco Verratti to Manchester United? Adama Traoré to Spurs? Supporters set out their hopes for next month
Forgive the cynicism, but it’s hard not to think Arsenal’s suits went for Mikel Arteta because, unlike some of the more experienced options, he was happy to take the job without demanding a massive war chest up front. So, while the squad is gossamer thin and injury-struck, it won’t be a surprise if not much is spent next month. Especially since Emery seemingly wasted £72m on Pépé – that experience suggests the board are unlikely to risk £80m on another show pony in Palace’s Wilfried Zaha. Mikel might well be forced to rely on kids instead, hoping Saka, Maitland-Niles, Smith-Rowe, Nelson and Willock will flourish.Continue reading...
Manchester United have won two of nine away league games this season – and one of those came at Manchester City. The short trip to Burnley offers a chance for United to get over their travel sickness; they have lost only once at Turf Moor in 13 visits, a run that dates back to 1968. Paul Pogba looks set to start for the first time since September owing to Scott McTominay injuring his knee against Newcastle. Niall McVeigh
Saturday 7.45pm BT Sport 1Continue reading...
• United travel to Turf Moor 48 hours after beating Newcastle
• Solskjær says cluttered festive calendar should be changed
Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes Manchester United’s youthfulness gives them a better chance of recovery than Burnley when the teams meet just 48 hours after playing on Boxing Day.Continue reading...
Manchester United again illustrated their ambiguous character by rebounding from Sunday’s dismal defeat at Watford with this smooth-geared, canter of a victory.
They even gave Newcastle the advantage of a goal start during a dire few first‑half minutes before upping quality and control to pull away and display a ruthlessness they can sometimes lack.Continue reading...
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80 mins: Chance for Pogba! Mata plays a lovely pass infield from the left wing, and Pogba attempts a difficult first-time left-foot finish as the ball bounces across him and gets nothing on it at all.
79 mins: Save! After all that pointless passing Maguire gets the ball, bursts forward, and has a 30-yard shot that Dubravka tips wide!
78 mins: Man Utd pass the ball about. Newcastle don’t do much to stop them, and the home side don’t seem that bothered about moving it into dangerous areas.
75 mins: Newcastle do a thing! Sean Longstaff nutmegs Fred and then blasts a 35-yarder over the bar.
72 mins: They’re showing off now. Pereira does a spinning backheel flick to Mata, who crosses to Greenwood, who can’t finish.
69 mins: Lingard chips a pass into the area for Mata to run on to. Dubravka reaches it first but forgets how to catch, and for a moment it looks like Mata will get an easy goal before the goalkeeper finally claims it.
68 mins: Martial is off, and Mata is on. Greenwood, presumably, will move infield from the right.
65 mins: Man Utd are in full and complete control of this game, with what suspense their remains surrounding quite how big the scoreline is going to get.
63 mins: Further substitutional news: DeAndre Yedlin replaces Almiron for Newcastle, and Jesse Lingard replaces Rashford for Man Utd.
61 mins: Martial tries to beat Dubravka at his near post again, with a low 20-yarder. This time the post itself gets in the way!
60 mins: Gayle goes off having missed his only decent chance, and Atsu comes on.
59 mins: Rashford is played through. The linesman raises his flag but the referee allows the move to progress. Rashford teases Dubravka for a while, takes his time, waits until the goal is genuinely gaping and then misses it completely. Replays confirm it was indeed offside.
57 mins: Pogba resists the temptation to shoot from long-range, carries the ball forward for 10 yards or so and then caves in to the temptation to shoot. Dubravka makes an easy save, and Martial is a bit annoyed that his run into the area wasn’t rewarded.
57 mins: Schar is back on, and celebrates by thumping a shot well over the goal from way out.
55 mins: It looks like Martial accidentally trod on Schar’s hand as he tried to get to the ball there. The Newcastle defender is bleeding, and in some discomfort. He gets some treatment on the pitch, and then leaves it for a bit more.
53 mins: Pereira tries to play in Martial, rather than the unmarked Greenwood to his right, and Schar covers the Frenchman’s run and cuts out the ball. Newcastle are in danger of letting this get embarrassing.
Another Christmas present from Newcastle! Sean Longstaff spins on the ball, just inside his own half, and plays a delightful if unintentional pass to Martial, who runs clear, looks to have given Dubravka a chance with a poor touch but catches up with the ball in time to dink it over the keeper!
50 mins: Ooof! The ball rolls to Pogba, 30 yards from goal, and he hits a first-time shot that sets off in the right direction but then curls away.
49 mins: Manchester United appear in full control now. They continue to massively dominate possession, though with this team that isn’t necessarily a positive, while Newcastle struggle to string two passes together.
46 mins: Peeeeep! The second half is happening.
The players come back out, and Pogba will indeed replace McTominay.
Paul Pogba is warming up and presumably coming on at the break. You’d expect McTominay to be the one to make way, given that he was booked after 20 seconds and has repeatedly flirted with disciplinary disaster.
45+3 mins: Peeeeep! A game that appeared to be following Newcastle’s script for the first half-a-half turned rapidly in the other direction in the second half-a-half. Martial’s shot shouldn’t really have gone in, but Greenwood’s was irresistible if deflection-assisted, the third was all about Wan-Bissaka’s excellent delivery, and the home side are now in control.
45+2 mins: Joelinton has a shot from wide on the left, which De Gea saves easily.
45+1 mins: Into the first of two additional minutes, and another excellent Wan-Bissaka cross is headed away.
44 mins: Martial spins on the halfway line. To his right two red shirts are moving, and for a while unmarked. But instead of passing to either of them, he runs forward, gets into the penalty area and falls over. The referee is unimpressed.
42 mins: The goal stands! McTominay’s hand had brushed Matty Longstaff’s face, but it certainly wasn’t a foul and you couldn’t possibly classify the result as a head injury.
And another! Wan-Bissaka’s right-wing cross is headed in by Rashford at the far post! Newcastle aren’t happy, because they had a player down and apparently injured as the move progressed...
40 mins: Now Greenwood crosses low from the right, but Martial can’t turn it in. These last few minutes have been full of aggression and attacking intent from the home side.
39 mins: Now United cross from the left, and Lindelof, beyond the far post, hits a wild left-foot volley way high of goal.
38 mins: Rashford is taken out on the left wing, and from the free-kick Pereira curls the ball towards the near post, and Dubravka makes the save!
Oh, hello! Shar foolishly gives the ball to Greenwood, 35 yards from goal, who carries it towards the edge of the box and then hits a ferocious shot, which clips off Fernandez on its way into the roof of the net!
34 mins: This is a bit of a strange game, full of lulls and longeurs. Pereira gets himself booked for an untidy challenge.
30 mins: Another shot from distance by Manchester United, Pereira this time sending the ball skimming wide.
27 mins: McTominay has his latest attempt at getting a second yellow card, pulling back Almiron, but having been so very keen on booking him the first time, Kevin Friend is really not at all interested in doing it again.
26 mins: Now Man Utd are stretching the visitors on both flanks and looking more dangerous, though their delivery from wide isn’t reliably good.
United equalise with their first decent shot! They work the ball down the left and pull back to Pereira, who taps it straight to Martial, whose shots towards the near post is well struck but should have forced Dubravka into a regulation save - instead he gets two hands on it and lets it slip through them.
21 mins: What a strangely fallible side this Manchester United team is. They win a fourth corner, from which Greenwood eventually does that Greenwood thing of jinking onto his left foot and shooting. It looks like it would have nestled inside the far post had a defender not been in the way.
18 mins: There’s a delay while VAR checks to see if the bouncing ball hit Joelinton’s arm in the build-up, but they decide it didn’t.
Now they do take the lead! Almiron finds Longstaff with a fine infield pass and he chips the ball through to Joelinton, who holds off Maguire, turns and lays back to Longstaff, who controls and then passes into the corner of the net!
16 mins: What a chance for Newcastle, and what a miss from Gayle! Joelinton plays him through, and as United hesitate in search of an offside flag Gayle homes in on goal but with De Gea exposed blasts his shot over the bar!
14 mins: Newcastle break; Willems’ pass is cut out but the visitors win it straight back and move it to Almiron, on the left-hand corner of the area, whose shot flies wide of the near post.
12 mins: Manchester United win a free-kick, 10 yards or so outside the area and left of central. Rashford takes it, and his shot flicks off the wall on its way behind.
10 mins: And McTominay continues to hog my updates by having the game’s first shot. It was from quite a distance, and was pretty useless.
7 mins: McTominay appears to have recovered from whatever was making him limp earlier, and is thus free to throw himself into more challenges. United are dominating these early exchanges, without really worrying the Newcastle defence.
4 mins: Now McTominay is hobbling, after chucking himself into another couple of clumsy challenges, neither of which seemed particularly wise in the circumstances.
1 min: Scott McTominay gets booked innside 20 seconds, for fouling Sean Longstaff. It’s extremely harsh in my opinion: there was very little contact, and you never get booked for that kind of challenge in the opening minute of a game. Well, not never, obviously, but close enough.
1 min: Peeeeeep! The home side get the game started.
And out they come! The players are busily handshaking as I type, kick-off just moments away.
The players are in the tunnel! Seven Boxing Day Premier League games down, two to go, and the next a couple of minutes away.
Steve Bruce has a chat:
To ask Big Andy to play three games in six days, we erred on caution then, and the same goes for Jonjo. It was a case of maybe having to patch up, but we’re quietly confident that we can make a good account of ourselves. They [the Longstaffs] will come in and throw lots of effort and endeavour, two brothers coming to take on Man Utd at Old Trafford, how fantastic for them. We’ve done OK of late. It’s important that we don’t get away. We’ve shown a bit of consistency, been difficult to beat, and we’re going to have to show those traits today.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a chat:
It’s still early days for Paul and we still feel he needs to be drip-fed into this, and play more and more and gradually. Andreas and Mason will freshen us up. Scott McTominay has been fantastic all season, he’s been one of the big, big pluses all season. He’s a leader, he knows what it means, and for us it’s about a good reaction now. We need a reaction after last week, and I hope we win. I’ve said to the boys, you’ve got to go out and prove to everyone what we’re about. Life’s not in one straight line. It’s ups and downs, you win some and you lose some, and you’ve just got to deal with it.
So Paul Pogba remains on the Manchester United bench, while Solskjaer brings in Andreas Pereira and Mason Greenwood. The Longstaff brothers come back in for Newcastle having both starred against the same opponents earlier this season, while Dwight Gayle starts for the first time in a long time.
Youll be wondering who’s going to be playing in this game, no doubt. Well, here’s your answer:
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Greenwood, Rashford, Martial. Subs: Jones, Pogba, Mata, Lingard, Young, James, Romero.
Newcastle: Dubravka, Schar, Fernandez, Lejeune, Manquillo, Sean Longstaff, Matthew Longstaff, Almiron, Willems, Gayle, Joelinton. Subs: Carroll, Shelvey, Hayden, Krafth, Yedlin, Darlow, Atsu.
Referee: Kevin Friend.
“Given that both teams have the same number of points why does one count as having been surprisingly good and the other as surprisingly bad?” wonders David Wall. “Shouldn’t they both be considered equally so-so, or sometimes good, sometimes bad (which is actually what they have been, both pretty inconsistent). Describing them otherwise is really measuring them against expectations that might not be based on how each clubs actually stands (in all respects) right now.” There’s no room for that kind of logic here.
Half the season played, and the Uniteds of Newcastle and Manchester are level-pegging with 25 points apiece, thanks in part to the riproaring Newcastle win at St James’ Park in October, when Matty Longstaff scored the only goal of the game on his debut.
Steve Bruce says nobody should get carried away by how good Newcastle have been. “We haven’t done anything yet,” he insists. “We’ve given ourselves a nice platform, but we’re only halfway there, so we’ve got to show the same resilience and spirit that we’ve shown over the last few months and see where it takes us.”Continue reading...
Our writers name the outstanding performer during the past 10 years for each of the current 20 top-flight sides
It took the midfielder over a year to recover from the injury he suffered in a tackle from Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross in February 2010 but Arsène Wenger’s patience with the Welshman was ultimately rewarded with more than 350 games and 65 goals, two of which were winners in FA Cup finals – against Hull in 2014 and Chelsea in 2017. The way Ramsey was allowed to leave last summer rankles among Arsenal fans but he eclipses Laurent Koscielny as the club’s best performer of the decade. Paul ChronnellContinue reading...
Forward’s explosive emergence has shown all the hallmarks of a superstar in the making – and brought the supporters rare joy
Watching a teenager make their name is a moving, affirming experience, equal parts empathy and envy: if you’re young you want to be young and good, and if you’re old … you still want to be to be young and good. In a wild world, there’s no feeling like watching talent explode, all wide-eyed, grateful and disbelieving.
Mason Greenwood is none of these things, a child who scores goals like a man. Often young players snatch at chances, lost in the supermarket trying six different finishes at once. But Greenwood handles things differently, blessed with a clear mind and the resting heart rate of a table.Continue reading...
• ‘Hopefully we can speed up the process,’ says Solskjær
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has admitted Manchester United are behind in their development under his management but believes the team will improve and become more consistent the longer he is in charge.
Solskjær’s one-year anniversary as United manager was marked by the 2-0 defeat at Watford on Sunday, a result that leaves them on 25 points and in eighth place after 18 games. At the same stage last season United had 29 points and were sixth. They had also won more games – eight compared with six – somewhat undermining the view that they have become a more attacking side since Solskjær replaced Mourinho at Old Trafford.Continue reading...
Leicester’s title hopes are fading, Danny Ings makes his England case and John McGinn’s absence is a huge blow for Villa
At this rate there is every chance two of the Premier League’s deadliest English strikers will not be part of Gareth Southgate’s squad at Euro 2020. Jamie Vardy is unlikely to be tempted out of international retirement and then there is Danny Ings, the Southampton striker who took his tally to 13 goals for the season with a double. Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Tammy Abraham and Callum Wilson may be ahead of Ings in the pecking order but seven goals from his past seven games means it is impossible to ignore the 27-year-old’s credentials for a recall. Ings’s only cap came against Lithuania four years ago under Roy Hodgson, when the striker was at Liverpool. “He is a typical No 9 in the box,” said the Saints manager, Ralph Hasenhüttl. “With his technique, there are not a lot of strikers who are better than him.” Ben FisherContinue reading...
Our picture editors choose their favourite images from the weekend’s actionContinue reading...
• Nigel Pearson hails ‘important result’ for league’s bottom side
Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes a lack of urgency lay behind Manchester United’s shock defeat against Watford, going as far as to accuse his players of performing at testimonial pace in the first half.
Goals from Ismaïla Sarr and Troy Deeney inside five second-half minutes helped Watford secure only their second victory of the season and first at home. They remain bottom but are now level on points with 19th-placed Norwich ahead of the Boxing Day visit to Sheffield United.Continue reading...
The odds remain stacked against Watford, relegation a cloud that continues to hang over them, but heading into Christmas all involved with the club will no doubt be filled with festive cheer and a renewed sense of hope following this most stirring of victories. Manchester United came and Manchester United were ultimately conquered by a team that, having looked listless throughout the season, finally appear to have the heart and resilience required in a dogfight.Continue reading...