What the papers say
Unai Emery’s selections have been almost impossible to second guess but if there is one outfield player who is guaranteed to start – when fit – it is Koscielny. Arsenal have often looked shaky at the back away from home and the captain stands to be a galvanising figure in the run-in, particularly as five of the club’s eight games are on the road. David HytnerContinue reading...
With Ole Gunnar Solskjær finally officially announced as Manchester United’s new manager, the club will presumably set about trying to acquire the summer transfer targets he has identified. The Manchester Evening News say the club’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, is ready to abandon the Mourinho-esque policy of signing big-name players with plenty of experience and then leaving them on the bench or in the stands, in favour of a more long-term approach involving the recruitment of signing younger big-name players that have forged their reputations at other clubs.
In the market for a central defender, full-back, a central midfielder and a forward, the names of West Ham’s Declan Rice, Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka are the latest to be – preposterously in at least two cases – bandied about in various media outlets.Continue reading...
• Norwegian signs three-year contract after reviving United
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has been confirmed as the permanent manager of Manchester United on a three-year contract after a successful period in interim charge.
Solskjær was due to continue in a caretaker capacity until the end of the season but has revived the team so impressively since taking over from José Mourinho in December that his appointment on a longer-term basis has been announced by the club.Continue reading...
Fans rate the season so far, and predict what lies ahead
• Part 1: Arsenal to Huddersfield
The mood has really lifted around here in the few weeks since Brendan Rodgers arrived. After months of grim, sluggish football, the Foxes are starting to rediscover their swagger again. It might all be too little too late for this season but the longer-term future is looking bright again.
The Spurs ballboy wasting time at the end. pic.twitter.com/V38FDYCLwCContinue reading...
• Neymar could be suspended for three matches
Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has been charged for “insulting and/or molesting” the referee following his post-game rant after the French side were knocked out of the Champions League last 16 by Manchester United, Uefa said on Friday.
Neymar, who was sidelined by injury, was investigated for lashing out and labelling the video assistant referee (VAR) system a “disgrace” after United won a controversial penalty in the dying stages to advance on away goals.Continue reading...
• ‘Our supporters are again being subjected to excessive prices’
Manchester United are to subsidise the £102 cost for a ticket at Barcelona for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final and have taken a “difficult decision” to charge the same price for Barcelona supporters at Old Trafford.Continue reading...
• Ibrahimovic said Giggs and others fuelled criticism of Pogba
• ‘Football is about having different opinions’ says Giggs
Ryan Giggs has responded to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s criticism of the Class of 92 by insisting players with “over 2,000 games between us” are entitled to have an opinion about Manchester United.
Ibrahimovic claimed in a newspaper interview that the loyalty of Giggs and other pundits like Gary Neville and Paul Scholes to Sir Alex Ferguson has fuelled criticism of Paul Pogba.
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It is hard to place the exact moment when “bottle” became such an overused part of football’s lingua franca but nowadays it is hard to get through a weekend without several cases. You do not have to delve deep to find someone suggesting Chelsea bottled it at Goodison Park or Liverpool had the bottle to push themselves to a handy three points at Fulham.
The four-way sprint for the third and fourth Champions League placesContinue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Manchester United return has prompted debate about the qualities of former players as managers – and German academics may have an answer
Just how exceptional a manager is Ole Gunnar Solskjær? For all the praise lavished on the likeable Norwegian, I remain glued to the fence. Don’t get me wrong. He’s clearly doing well. It’s just that it is fiendishly tricky to separate the upturn in Manchester United’s mood and form since he took over – as reflected by that spectacular feat of alchemy in Paris – with the obvious fact that any club with that much money and world-class players should be winning most of their matches.Continue reading...
Ross Barkley’s difficult return, VAR inconsistency in the FA Cup, Nuno Espírito Santo impresses and James Maddison’s class
Ross Barkley would have known what kind of reception awaited him at Goodison Park: the type rained down on previous Everton escapees such as Wayne Rooney and Joleon Lescott. Goodison might not be much longer for this world, with the latest suggestion being a new stadium for 2023, but for now it retains old‑fashioned menace to those who have transgressed the Evertonian code. Barkley’s crime among the faithful is to have left Goodison on a cut-price transfer to Chelsea in the January transfer window of last year after running down his contract. As he left the field after being substituted in the 65th minute, he responded to the hail of jeers by applauding all sides of the stadium. To Barkley’s credit, he has made himself a regular under Maurizio Sarri but like so many other Chelsea players at Goodison – and this season – he is wasted by the Neapolitan’s rigid thinking. John Brewin
Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sportContinue reading...
Wolves, elegant and fierce, advanced to the FA Cup semi-final for the first time in 21 years and Manchester United could do nothing to stop them. First Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men were frustrated by their hosts, then they were taken apart. Goals from Raúl Jiménez and Diogo Jota confirmed Wolves’ superiority over their illustrious visitors.
Marcus Rashford’s strike in stoppage time changed nothing other than inconsequential statistics, halving Wolves’ margin of victory and doubling United’s tally of shots on target from a match in which they had a lot of the ball but were never in control. Wolves created the clearest opportunities and might have inflicted a truly embarrassing scoreline if not for some terrific saves by United’s goalkeeper Sergio Romero.Continue reading...
- FA Cup quarter-final updates from the 7.55pm (GMT) kick-off
- When United were darlings – and Wolves found out why
- And you can email Gregg here. Tweet him @GreggBakowski
46 min: Rashford stretches his legs on the right and flashes a shot wide of the near post under intense pressure from Coady. Rashford’s sure first touch and electric pace was a sign they may step it up here.
45 min: It’s the second half! Let’s hope it’s better than the first.
Francis Mead writes: “The ‘problem’ is that VAR can’t clear up ALL decisions - but it can clearly help in a lot of other cases - so surely better over all to have it.” I agree but some handball decisions are just as tricky to deal with whether you have a replay or not.
United are missing Lukaku’s presence here. Coady, Saiss and Boly are keeping their front three very quiet.
Here’s Gary Naylor:
Speaking to a Wolves season ticket holder a fortnight ago, he reckoned Doherty's big improvement this year was due to adopting a vegan diet @GreggBakowski. I've no corroboration, but it makes sense to me.
They’ve shown another replay of Otto’s “handball” after Dalot’s shot. The VAR, presumably, has looked at it and decided it is not handball because it has come at Otto so fast. But Otto had his back half turned and his arms were kind of hanging out somewhat. In my opinion, it probably would have been given by some VARs, though. And therein lies the problem with VAR and handball decisions. They are open to interpretation and video replays probably don’t help.
Wolves have frustrated United with a perfect gameplan. They look razor sharp on the counter-attack too. United need a rethink. Oh, more housekeeping: Matic was booked for a foul on Jimenez just before half-time.
45 min: Jota has a swipe from outside the area but it’s deflected out for a corner. It’s not a good corner, though. And that’s the end of a disappointing first half.
44 min: A bit of housekeeping. Neves is booked for a foul on Pogba.
42 min: Smalling fails to clear properly near the halfway line, Jimenez finds Neves who pings a perfect pass through to Jota, free on the left. He takes a decent touch to the edge of the area but Romero is out to the edge of his area like a flash and saves to his left as Jimenez runs out of room to curl it around him with his right foot. Great goalkeeping that. He’s not a bad reserve is he?
40 min: Moutinho’s delivery is another corker aimed at Boly’s head. Bodies collide and tumble like dominoes in the United box. On this occasion there are no appeals for a penalty, though. United break and Pogba is cynically brought down by Boly. It’s as clear a booking as you’ll ever see.
38 min: The pace quickens at last! Dalot slams a shot into Otto’s elbow and appeals for a penalty are rightly ignored by Atkinson. It was similar to the penalty United got in Paris but Otto’s arm was at his side and not out to one side. United waste the corner and Wolves break and win one of their own. Moutinho to take it …
36 min: An inswinger is whipped towards Boly on the penalty spot but goes over him and is cleared by Pogba. There’s a shout for a penalty as Boly collapses to the turf with Smalling for company. Replays show that the United defender was giving his a loving hug. Seen them given but the referee and VAR are not interested.
34 min: Corner for Wolves after Jimenez wriggles away from his marker and wins a corner off Pogba. Will they play it short? If so, it’s a clue as to how windy it is.
31 min: United win a corner. Shaw ambles over to take it. And again it’s taken short and worked back to Rashford, who spanks a shot towards Walsall.
30 min: Doherty cross first time from the right and Jota meets the cross on the volley but Dalot is in his way and seems to affect how much biff the Wolves forward puts on his hot. The upshot is a weak shot that dribbles through to Romero. Wolves are edging this I’d say, not that there’s much to edge.
29 min: Moutinho pulls a short corner back to Neves on the edge of the area. His Portuguese teammate drills a low shot at goal but Romero is safely behind it.
28 min: Coady steps into midfield and wins back possession with precise timing. The Wolves captain curves a lovely little right footed pass out to Jota on the left. He cuts inside and tries a dink to the back post that is cleared for a corner.
26 min: And what a corner this is. It’s played short and and then worked through to Rashford after a series of lovely passing triangles on the right. The youngster fizzes a cross in towards Martial but Saiss clears.
25 min: Rashford tries to whip a cross in to Martial but Coady gets a big instep to it and clears for a corner.
24 min: Shaw gets the ball in space on the left but looks up and finds every avenue closed off. The result is a quick game of rondo on the left in which Wolves players harry United and win a throw-in. As my colleague Will Unwin has just said: “Maybe we’ve had our fill of excitement in sport today.”
21 min: Wolves have a promising break on but Otto rushes his pass to Jota, who can’t twist his body to collect the pass and the ball dribbles out of play.
19 min: Matic and Lingard try to inject a bit of pace … sorry, I’ll try again … Lingard tries to inject a bit of pace into the game, trying a zippy one-two with Matic before Saiss steps in and hoofs clear. Then Martial and Shaw combine on the left, Shaw tries to play in a precise low cross, but it’s easily read and even more easily cleared.
17 min: Wolves win a corner on the right. Moutinho plays it short and then it’s clipped in to the back post. United make a hash of clearing it, with Pogba of all people, slicing it out of play. I think the wind may be playing its part here.
15 min: It’s not gone off at the kind of pace I expected. Wolves are playing a very patient game, letting United have the ball and when they do get it, making sure they keep hold of it for an extended period of time.
13 min: Rashford wallops a dipping effort at goal from 30 yards. It’s safely held by Ruddy. The fact Rashford took it on is testament to Wolves’s solid defending so far. The wing backs have dropped deep and made it more of a five at the back.
11 min: United break and Pogba has a cheeky clipped effort that drifts a yard wide.
10 min: Smalling gives Jimenez a warning that he’ll be taking no nonsense off him tonight, getting tight and then kneeing both player and ball away from danger. And then Wolves enjoy a good spell of possession themselves, Moutinho and Neves orchestrating a patient probing move forwards that ends as Matic steps in to win possession back off Jota, as he tried to dribble into the area.
6 min: United are starting to dominate possession. Pogba tries to get his toes twinkling but Dendoncker sticks to his task and forces the United captain away from the edge of the Wolves area. Shaw has a scurry up the left flank and pulls back a low cross but Saiss gets a foot to it and then clears.
5 min: Wolves won’t want a repeat of the last meeting at Molineux between the two sides. United won that one 5-0 in the Premier League in 2012.
3 min: Both sides are just feeling each other out at the moment, perhaps just trying to get to grips with the differing formations. United have four at the back, Wolves are playing with three central defenders and wing backs.
2 min: Wolves knock it around at the back patiently before Coady is put under pressure and tries a long, raking, pass out to Doherty on the right flank. It’s just a little too long for him, though, and United win a throw – and possession.
1 min: We’re under way at Molineux. United kick off through Lingard, who is back from injury. They’re shooting from left to right on my TV screen. United in their famous red, Wolves in their grand old gold. We’re in for a treat ( I hope).
The teams emerge from the tunnel into a raucous atmosphere at this famous old stadium. Flames leap up from the side of the pitch as both sets of fans give it plenty. The home fans have been given gold and silver flags which are giving Molineux an added sheen. It’s almost time for kick-off folks!
Justin Kavanagh writes: “Hearing Solskjæar speak after a couple of years of Mourinho is like having Abba show up to unexpectedly headline a blues festival. I can’t imagine the po-face Portugeezer say that anything is magical any more, let alone the FA Cup.” Mourinho had a magical way of blaming things other than his own tactics Justin.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær speaks:
Big games are coming up. Today, it’s the quarter-final in the FA Cup. When you lose a game you want to win the next one. Of course the boys felt hurt when they lost against Arsenal. They’ve had a good week.
Coady was unfortunate not to get a call from Gareth Southgate wasn’t he? He’s a lesson in perseverance, having not made it at Liverpool and then taken his time to find a club where he fits – and then steadily improve there. He doesn’t just defend, either. His distribution is very good. He came through at Liverpool as a central midfielder.
Wolves have conceded four goals fewer than Manchester United in the Premier League. Their three at the back, marshalled by Conor Coady, can be very hard to get through. It will be interesting to see how United handle facing wing backs today. Another intriguing battle will be in midfield, where Neves, Moutinho and Dendoncker are a match for anyone. United look very solid in that department, with Herrera and Matic holding fort and giving Pogba the freedom to play.
Ole Gunnar Solskjæar can sense magic in the air. I hope he’s right.
It is an exciting night. The FA Cup is absolutely magical. I won it a couple of times as a player, and we’d love to go to a semi-final. We have got a chance, if we perform well.
Wolves are four-time winners of this grand old trophy and the club’s manager, Nuno Espírito Santo, says he’s aware of what it means to the club and how important the game is to the fans now they are only two games away from the final.
It is the biggest game for the club for some time, we are aware of that … we want to make it happen again. But there is a lot of hard work ahead to repeat what happened in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. It was easier back then.
Manchester City have joined Watford in the semi-finals. Will it be Wolves or Manchester United who join them? We’ll soon see.
If this match is half as good as Swansea v Manchester City, we’re in for a treat. Manchester City have battled their way back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 after Swansea threatened an almighty shock early on. Scott Murray is watching the final minutes of that one:
Manchester United: Romero, Dalot, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw, Herrera, Matic, Pogba (c), Lingard, Rashford, Martial. Subs: De Gea, Jones, Rojo, Pereira, Fred, McTominay, Mata.
Wolves: Ruddy, Boly, Coady, Saiss, Otto, Doherty, Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho, Raul, Jota. Subs: Norris, Bennett, Cavaleiro, Costa, Gibbs-White, Vinagre, Traore.
Evening. It’s Saturday night under the floodlights at Molineux as two sides meet with fierce ambitions to win the FA Cup. It’s set up to be a cracker! Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few months you’ll know that United are rejuvenated, adventurous and hungry again under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. You’ll also be aware that Wolves are seventh in the Premier League, playing some fine counterattacking football under Nuno Espírito Santo, and knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup in the third round. So, I’d rate this tie as 50/50. Wolves and Manchester United both have the look of cup teams about them.
United will have been stung by the league defeat at Arsenal last time out, so Wolves’s defence will have to be on point, as they were at Chelsea, when they went this close to taking three points before Eden Hazard popped up in the dying embers of the game. Wolves and United have met once this season, at Old Trafford in the league. The score was 1-1. I can see another draw tonight, which would mean extra-time … and possibly penalties. Ah come on, we all love penalties.Continue reading...
Anyone who has seen Matt Doherty play in recent months will wonder why he was so worried. Wolves are seventh in the Premier League and on Saturday night at Molineux they play Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a fair chance of reaching the last four for the first time since 1998.
Doherty will almost certainly start at wing-back against Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team, having zoomed up and down Wolves’ right flank throughout this season. Yet the way the Irishman tells it, after a few games of this campaign he feared he was out of his depth.
Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sportContinue reading...
A great opportunity for Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo to take a step closer to the only title that really matters to the club now that they have won seven straight scudetti and are on their way to an eighth.Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is right to be wary of Wolves as they sit pretty in seventh on their return to the Premier League. After Sunday’s reverse at Arsenal, Manchester United will want to bounce back instantaneously but Wolves knocked Liverpool out at the Molineux in the third round so a home win would be no great shock as each team battles for the prize of a Wembley semi-final. Jamie Jackson
Saturday 7.55pm BBC OneContinue reading...
• United and Liverpool could meet in last four
Tottenham and Manchester City will face each other in an all-English quarter-final of the Champions League next month.
Last year’s beaten finalists Liverpool received arguably the most favourable draw after being paired with Porto, while Manchester United face a daunting tie against Barcelona.Continue reading...
• Solskjaer encouraged by display in defeat at Arsenal
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has offered Paul Scholes an invitation to Manchester United after his former teammate resigned as Oldham Athletic manager after only 31 days.
Scholes left the job on Thursday, citing disillusionment with his working conditions. “He’s invited here if he wants to come and have a little chat about it,” Solskjær said. “We’ve texted. It didn’t work out – that’s just management.”Continue reading...
Let’s call it the Smash Hits double. In that beloved pop magazine’s annual poll it was not unusual for artists to be voted the best and worst in the same category. It happened three times in 1989 alone: Bros (best/worst group), Kylie Minogue (female solo singer) and Jason Donovan (male solo singer).
For the past few decades, Manchester United have had a similar relationship with popularity – the best-supported club in England but also the most hated. Yet there was a time in the mid-1970s when their young team were the darlings of the nation.Continue reading...
Unfurl the bunting, roll out the barrel, clear the streets for a party: there are four Premier League teams in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. With Chelsea all but through to the last eight of the Europa League and Arsenal in with a chance, these are heady days for the coefficient (even if La Liga has, so far, picked up more points this season). To which the first response should probably be less self-congratulation than,“What took so long?”
It’s 10 years since the Premier League last made up half the quarter-finalists. In 2009, three of them got to the semi-final but it was Barcelona who went on to win the competition in what was the first of Pep Guardiola’s four seasons at the club. Given the previous year there had been an all-Premier League final, Manchester United beating Chelsea in Moscow, and that English clubs had got to the final in each of the three seasons before that, this felt normal.
Premier League clubs in Champions League quarter-finalsContinue reading...
Today’s fluff is lukewarm
It may be too late to appease José Mourinho but Manchester United believe they can get their hands on one of his former transfer targets this summer. United rejected Mourinho’s wish to sign Toby Alderweireld but have since warmed to the idea of landing the Tottenham defender for a cut-price £25m, owing to a release clause triggered by Spurs in December. But Mauricio Pochettino will be powerless to retain the 30-year-old providing United stump up the required cash when the summer window reopens.Continue reading...