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Updated: 3 min 18 sec ago

Dwight McNeil: ‘It was character-building to be released by United’

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 22:30

The Burnley winger was let go by the club he supported as a boy but he has bounced back to attract United’s interest once again

Dwight McNeil turned 20 only last month, yet he is already an established presence on the left wing at Burnley, with the promise of a long Premier League career ahead and bigger clubs beginning to show interest in his rare ability to beat defenders with the ball at his feet.

To say those feet are firmly planted on the ground might be understating the matter, for McNeil’s is a football success story based on family values and recurring routines. As a child he would watch his father playing for clubs at non-league and lower league level around the north-west. “Stalybridge Celtic spotted him first, and he went to Hyde, Runcorn, Macclesfield and Stockport, with me and my mum following him everywhere every week,” McNeil explains.

Related: Burnley v Newcastle: match preview

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

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Manchester United manager Solskjær expects impact from Duncan Ferguson

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 12:56
• United face Everton looking for a fourth successive win
• Ferguson still in temporary charge at Goodison Park

Manchester United will be looking for a fourth consecutive win when Everton travel to Old Trafford on Sunday, and though the visiting team have just lost a manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær knows better than most how effective an in-house replacement can be.

With Duncan Ferguson following Frank Lampard and Freddie Ljungberg in taking either temporary or permanent control of the club he knows best, it is even possible that United set a pioneering example when turning to Solskjær just under a year ago.

Related: Mason Greenwood double leads Manchester United past AZ Alkmaar

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

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 00:05

Arsenal can exploit Manchester City’s weakness, Pellegrini in peril and Brighton upbeat for Palace derby

Nigel Pearson was introduced to the media at Vicarage Road on Thursday, when he was asked about the reputation he has gained across his career. Towards the end of his time at Leicester one press conference memorably dissolved into an instantly infamous rant – “If you don’t know the answer to that question then I think you are an ostrich” – which sealed his reputation as, frankly, a bit of a grump. “I know I have at times been perceived as difficult to work with, but a lot of that was born out of trying to protect my players,” he said. “I’m a human being, I’m like anybody else. You would prefer to be liked than disliked, wouldn’t you? But I have to accept I have been responsible for creating a persona.” In the other dugout on Saturday will be a manager who has created an entirely contrasting persona, but sadly for Pearson there are likely to be more frowns for him than Jürgen Klopp. In their last three visits, Watford have lost 5-0, 5-0 and 6-1. Since then, they have got worse and Liverpool better. SB

Related: Arsenal flirt with disaster against Standard Liège but hit back to top group

Related: Bournemouth need fresh ideas from Eddie Howe to arrest an alarming slump | Eni Aluko

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Mason Greenwood double leads Manchester United past AZ Alkmaar

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 21:56

Mason Greenwood had a night to remember as Manchester United dismantled AZ Alkmaar’s challenge with a barrage of second-half goals. The 18-year-old striker scored two of them and won a penalty for another as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side cantered to victory in their final Europa League group game.

“The lad’s a natural finisher, he’s always done it,” the United manager said. “He’s good with both feet and always composed. He probably just needs to develop his heading. Seriously, though, to change nine players and still win so comfortably is a great credit to the players.”

Related: Alfredo Morelos takes Rangers through despite late Young Boys equaliser

Cluj booked their place in the knockout stages by defeating a makeshift Celtic side in Romania. Second-half goals from defender Andrei Burca and midfielder Damjan Djokovic inflicted Celtic's first Group E defeat.

Related: Diogo Jota comes off bench to grab rapid hat-trick as Wolves rout Besiktas

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Standard Liège v Arsenal and more: Europa League – live!

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 18:18

6.17pm GMT

Some instructions from Freddie Ljungberg to Lacazette - behind the hand of course as is de rigueur these days. Arsenal then make a mess of trying to play the ball out from the back. Not sure that’s what he was recommending guys ...

6.13pm GMT

Some colour from one of tonight’s other games here. Looks lovely, if a little empty ...

#tsfpAtTheGames @sidlowe is at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez tonight for a big Europa League game.

Getafe and Krasnodar both level on 9 points, battling for second place in the group. It's very wet and very cold... pic.twitter.com/FkeCGHKVG1

6.09pm GMT

A good save from the Standard keeper denies Smith-Rowe at the other end. Better from Arsenal

6.08pm GMT

Almost disastrous for Arsenal but Cancela fails to capitalise on their defensive problems after an initial mistake from David Luiz. Groans all around the Stade Maurice Dufrasne

6.05pm GMT

We have a goal! Vitoria have taken the lead in Germany against Eintracht Frankfurt which means Standard’s dream of qualifying is alive and kicking ...

6.03pm GMT

A decent start for Celtic over in Romania, with debutant Robertson showing some great skill. They also have Karamoko Dembele and the fantastically-named Grant Savoury on the bench. If you can think of any of food-based players in action this evening let me know ...

5.59pm GMT

You’ve got to love David Luiz, who has just attempted a shot from his own halfway line! Not far away either

5.57pm GMT

Peep peep and we’re off in the early kick-offs. Guendouzi goes down after clashing with M’Poku inside the first 30 seconds but seemed to make a lot of that.

5.55pm GMT

Sako and Nelson providing support to Lacazette in attack tonight for the Gunners, who have made nine changes from the win over West Ham. Could be exciting ... Meanwhile Standard’s top scorer Maxime Lestienne is on the bench

5.52pm GMT

A young Arsenal side take to the pitch in Belgium. It looks cold out there.

5.46pm GMT

Almost time for kick-off now, hope you’re all ready. A reminder of the games about to start

Who's going through today?#UEL | @UKEnterprise

5.45pm GMT

The pressure is on Lazio to win against Rennes in Group E otherwise Cluj will be heading through with Celtic. Things are pretty tight in Arsenal’s group after their loss to Eintracht Frankfurt last time but they will be fine unless they lose 5-0, with the Germans just needing a point at home to Vitoria

5.42pm GMT

In Group C, Basel are definitely through whatever happens but Getafe need a point against Krasnodar at home to qualify. Group D is much simpler, with Sporting and Linz battling it out for top spot in Austria.

5.39pm GMT

Several groups still have issues to be resolved, although we already know that Sevilla and Apoel Nicoisa are in the hat from Group A. In Group B, it’s a three way tussle between Dynamo Kiev, FC Copenhagen and Malmo with the Swedish side needing to win in the Danish capital to be sure of fending off the Ukrainians.

5.34pm GMT

It’s time to get serious in the competition that started back in the second week of July for some of the teams in action this evening. After this week’s events in the Champions League, we know that Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, Benfica, Club Bruges, Inter Milan, Olympiakos, Red Bull Salzburg and Shakhtar Donetsk will be the eight teams dropping down into the draw for the last-32, which looks a decent set of potential winners to me.

5.27pm GMT

It’s all change for Celtic as well, with a debut for 18-year-old Scott Robertson in midfield ...

CFR Cluj: Arlauskis, Susic, Burca, Cestor, Camora, Djokovic, Bordeianu, Culio, Deac, Traore, Omrani.

The flying Celts are here and aiming to finish the group on a high! #CLUCEL #UEL pic.twitter.com/Dh0ksUclXw

5.12pm GMT

Hi everyone and welcome to a busy evening in the Europa League! There’s a lot going on in the final round of matches in the group stages with plenty to be resolved in the 24 games that are taking place tonight.

First up among the British sides are Arsenal, who just need to avoid a 5-0 defeat in their trip to face Standard Liege in Belgium to make it through to the last-32. After their morale-boosting win over West Ham on Monday, surely that will be a piece of cake for Freddie Ljungberg’s side?

5.07pm GMT

There’s a recall for Matteo Guendouzi as Freddie Ljungberg names his Arsenal side to face Standard Liege.

Here’s the teams in full:

Here's our team in Belgium tonight...

@DMavropanos handed a start
@MatteoGuendouzi returns to the XI
@ReissNelson9 and @EmileSmithRowe both start
@LacazetteAlex leads the line

#UEL

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United and Juventus refuse to give up on Haaland but German clubs lead race

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 13:32
  • Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig to push for January transfer
  • Playing time key but Norwegian will talk to United and Juve

The Red Bull Salzburg striker Erling Braut Haaland is considering offers from Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig after visiting the two Bundesliga clubs but is expected to hold talks with Manchester United and Juventus before deciding on his future.

Related: Erling Braut Haaland, the Norwegian ‘beast’ ripping up the record books | Marcus Christenson

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Solskjær claims ‘recharge’ responsible for Manchester United upsurge

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 13:58
• Manager says resting players for long Astana trip was key
• Solskjær expects Paul Pogba to return before end of year

Ole Gunnar Solskjær claims his decision to rest senior squad members for the arduous trip to Kazakhstan last month is behind Manchester United’s impressive performances in the last two weeks, with the club moving up to fifth in the table after beating José Mourinho’s Tottenham and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

With qualification to the Europa knockout stage assured an extremely callow United side lost in Astana, though they will finish top of their group as long as they avoid defeat by AZ Alkmaar at Old Trafford in the final group game on Thursday. Solskjær confirmed he would again be considering reserves and academy products, while sending out a selection capable of winning.

Related: Tired, worn Old Trafford a symbol of Manchester United's faded grandeur

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Tired, worn Old Trafford a symbol of Manchester United's faded grandeur

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 13:13

Stadium was once a jewel but now it needs an urgent upgrade as Tottenham and others lead the way

Old Trafford is one of football’s most vibrant amphitheatres. During the 109-year history of Manchester United’s home, Billy Meredith, George Best, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo are a few of the greats to grace the stage of England’s record title winners.

Yet the venue has become tired and worn. When the Manchester rain poured hard last season the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand leaked. The seating is crammed and wifi patchy. The directors’ box has an antiquated feel and the bars and suites a faded glamour. A venue that hosted 1966 World Cup and Euro 96 matches has not staged a showpiece game since the 2003 European Cup final.

The new cantilever stand under construction in August 1965. Photograph: Terry Mealy/Mirrorpix via Getty Images

Related: Debt £511m but dividends galore: the Glazers’ legacy at Manchester United | David Conn

Fans outside Old Trafford by the souvenir shop in 1972 and the Manchester United megastore in 1996. Photographs: Colorsport/Shutterstock; Empics Sport

The first game at Old Trafford in February 1910, bomb damage in September 1945; Looking down, in August 1949, on the new uncovered stand which temporarily replaced the covered stand destroyed during the blitz, Chelsea goalkeeper Petar Borota lines up his defensive wall at Old Trafford in May 1979 and a view of the Stretford End in April 2014. Photographs: Manchester United via Getty Images; Daily Herald/Mirrorpix via Getty Images; Mirrorpix/Action Images; Chelsea FC via Getty Images; Offside/Getty Images

The Spurs fans display a mosaic ahead at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in April 2019. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Aerial views of Old Trafford in the 1930s, 1966 and 2017. Photographs: Bob Thomas/Popperfoto via Getty Images; PA Archive; Emre Zengin/Alamy

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Marcus Rashford can be as good as Cristiano Ronaldo, says Solskjær

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 22:30

• Rashford having his most prolific season at Manchester United
• Solskjær: ‘It’s very easy to compare the two of them’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has encouraged comparisons between Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo and admitted the England forward has the ability to emulate his predecessor at Manchester United.

Rashford’s penalty in the victory over Manchester City in Saturday’s derby took him to double figures in the Premier League for only the second time in his career despite more than half of the season remaining. With 16 goals for club and country so far the 22-year-old is enjoying by far his most prolific campaign since breaking into the United first team under Louis van Gaal in 2016, having been utilised mainly off the left flank by Solskjær and the England manager, Gareth Southgate.

Related: Rashford and Martial give Manchester United derby honours against City

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

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 08:23

Aston Villa need more firepower, Tottenham’s front four are flying again and Manchester City have fallen behind

The difference between finishing 17th and 18th in the Premier League is often a striker who can score 10 goals a season. Aston Villa’s line is being led by Wesley, a £22m summer signing from Club Brugge. Thus far he has scored four goals in 16 Premier League appearances, the last coming more than two months ago. There is no doubting the Brazilian is short of confidence, not troubling Kasper Schmeichel on Sunday, but his hold-up play and lack of physicality must be a concern for Dean Smith whose reserve, Jonathan Kodjia, was deemed not worthy of replacing Wesley in Villa’s thrashing. Admittedly, Leicester’s defence is the best in the league but Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu barely broke sweat. January is fast approaching and Smith will have to do some business to avoid the drop. Do nothing and Villa’s fate could be sealed quickly. Will Unwin

Related: Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 top scorers 2019-20

Related: Pep Guardiola and Manchester City should shift their focus to Europe

Related: Where is your club's next manager? Coaching the youth team

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Solskjær demands Manchester United retain big-game mentality

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 22:29
• ‘You have got to earn the right to win,’ says Solskjær
• Jesse Lingard praised after recent return to form

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is determined that Manchester United remain just as focused on winning when they play against so-called lesser teams as they were in the victory against Manchester City on Saturday.

The champions were beaten 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium, with United as impressive as they were in the midweek win against Tottenham. Yet despite Chelsea also previously being beaten and the leaders Liverpool held to a draw, Solskjær’s side have lost against Crystal Palace, West Ham, Newcastle and Bournemouth.

Related: Man arrested over alleged racist abuse in Manchester derby

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The Dozen: the weekend’s best Premier League photos

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 18:11

Ball-boy affection and Norfolk rainbows in this week’s roundup of the best top-flight pictures.

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Football faces calls for action on racism in wake of Manchester derby

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 17:30

Man reportedly named as Anthony Burke arrested over alleged racist abuse of Manchester United player

The arrest of a man on Sunday in connection with alleged racist abuse directed towards Manchester United players in a televised derby has led to renewed soul searching about the extent of the problem in the game.

In the immediate aftermath of the match at the Etihad, in which Manchester United beat rivals City 2-1, former player turned pundit Gary Neville blamed politicians including Boris Johnson for creating a climate where racism was more acceptable.

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Man arrested over alleged racist abuse in Manchester derby

Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:46
• FA also announces investigation into incident at Etihad Stadium
• 41-year-old arrested on suspicion of ‘racially aggravated’ offence

A man has been arrested in connection with the allegations of racist abuse by a supporter during Saturday’s Manchester derby.

The news comes after a video circulating on social media appeared to show a Manchester City fan making monkey chants towards Manchester United players during the second half of the match. Greater Manchester police announced on Sunday morning that a 41-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence and remains in custody for questioning.

Related: Irresistible Rashford delivers on the biggest of stages for United | Barney Ronay

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‘Maybe next season will be better’: Guardiola reacts to Manchester derby defeat - video

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 20:47

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was left to lament his side's defensive failings after they were 2-1 at home by rivals Manchester United.

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial put United 2-0 up in the first half and although Nicolás Otamendi pulled a goal back for the champions and set up a nerve-wracking finish, the visitors held firm.

Manchester City's return of 32 points after 16 games is the worst start to a season for Pep Guardiola in his managerial career. 

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Manchester City investigate alleged racist abuse aimed at Jesse Lingard

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 20:17

• Video clip circulating online shows fan making gesture
• City: ‘Officials from the club are working with police’

Manchester City are investigating after a video clip from the derby defeat by United appeared to show a home supporter aiming racist abuse at Jesse Lingard.

Related: Rashford and Martial give Manchester United derby honours against City

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Irresistible Rashford delivers on the biggest of stages for United | Barney Ronay

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 19:50
Is there a better attacking player in England at present than Marcus Rashford, key to Manchester United’s derby win at City?

Is there a better attacking player in the country right now than Marcus Rashford? There’s a sentence you wouldn’t have expected to read eight weeks ago.

The answer, to be fair, is probably maybe; or may I introduce you to Sadio Mané, Son Heung-min and Jamie Vardy; or better still – never mind that, just enjoy the show.

Related: Rashford and Martial give Manchester United derby honours against City

Related: Manchester City investigate alleged racist abuse aimed at Jesse Lingard

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Rashford and Martial give Manchester United derby honours against City

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 19:31

Manchester City’s hopes of winning the Premier League title for a record-equalling third time in succession had felt slim at kick-off time but does anybody truly think they can overhaul Liverpool after this?

It was hard enough for the City support to see their team dismantled by their crosstown rivals, Manchester United, during what amounted to a first-half counter-attacking masterclass – led by Marcus Rashford, who was close to unplayable. But a glance at the table at the end of it all showed that City now lagged 14 points behind Liverpool.

Related: Irresistible Rashford delivers on the biggest of stages for United | Barney Ronay

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

Related: Manchester City investigate alleged racist abuse aimed at Jesse Lingard

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Manchester City v Manchester United: Premier League – live!

Sat, 12/07/2019 - 18:34

6.34pm GMT

City get the ball rolling for the second half. There have been no half-time changes. There doesn’t appear to be any change in Guardiola’s mood, either, as he’s still bending the fourth official’s ear. A very animated discussion. Let’s hope they can iron out their differences.

6.20pm GMT

Half-time reading. Just to put City’s current plight into proper context.

Related: Liverpool go 11 points clear as Mohamed Salah seals win over Bournemouth

6.19pm GMT

For the first half hour, that was the best display of counter-attacking by Manchester United since the days of Andrei Kanchelskis. The last 15 minutes or so were all City’s, though, and that’ll give United pause. This is far from over.

6.18pm GMT

45 min +2: Walker cuts one back from the touchline, to the right of goal. Fred slides in and blocks out for a corner. City want a penalty, but Fred’s arm wasn’t in an unnatural position, and neither referee nor VAR is interested. Pep is once again livid.

6.16pm GMT

45 min: De Bruyne crosses from the right. David Silva nearly bundles in at the far post, but can’t hook the ball goalwards, and De Gea was on point anyway.

6.15pm GMT

44 min: City are completely on top. United can’t get out, and after 30 minutes of freewheeling around like they own the place, will now be desperate to hear the half-time whistle. Strange old game.

6.13pm GMT

43 min: David Silva wafts a dismal effort towards the top right. It’s weak, and easy pickings for De Gea.

6.12pm GMT

42 min: City are beginning to ask some questions. They’ve spent 50 percent of the last ten minutes in United’s final third. Lingard knocks Rodri to the ground, and it’s another free kick in a dangerous position.

6.10pm GMT

40 min: Sterling glides in from the left and is clumsily brought down by Wan-Bissaka, just outside the box. De Bruyne takes the free kick, and lofts it uncharacteristically over the bar, never troubling De Gea.

6.08pm GMT

38 min: City carve out their first gilt-edged chance of the match. De Bruyne, just to the right of the D, pitching wedges a delightful cross towards Jesus, who dives to meet it with his head on the penalty spot. He should at least get his header on target, but it sails harmlessly wide left. What a ball by De Bruyne, though, and a reminder that, for all their early sass, United haven’t got the win locked down yet.

6.06pm GMT

36 min: James rolls a cross along the corridor of uncertainty from the right. Had Martial really stretched for that, he’d have poked home. But as it is, the ball sails off out of play on the left. Another huge chance for United, who are ripping City’s back line apart with ease. Will they live to rue all these missed opportunities?

6.05pm GMT

35 min: De Bruyne finds Walker with a lovely sliderule pass down the right wing. Walker fizzes a low cross into the box but there’s nobody in blue taking a chance, and it’s an easy claim for De Gea.

6.04pm GMT

34 min: A bit of space for David Silva, 30 yards from goal. He’s inexplicably allowed to make it to the edge of the box, where he lashes a shot goalwards. Fortunately for United, it’s straight at De Gea.

6.03pm GMT

33 min: Bernardo Silva cuts in from the right and has a dig from the edge of the box. His effort slaps McTominay in the chest. United clear. Sterling comes back at the visitors down the left, but he can’t get past Wan-Bissaka. Frowns on City faces right now.

6.02pm GMT

31 min: On the touchline, Pep Guardiola looks utterly stunned. And no wonder, his team are being ripped to shreds here. United could easily be five or six up! Higher up in the stand, a certain knight of the realm allows a warm smile of satisfaction to play across his face. And the United fans are extremely vocal in their support of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

6.00pm GMT

James and Martial combine at speed down the right. Martial spins on the edge of the area, just to the right of the D, and threads a shot into the bottom right, past the outstretched fingers of Ederson. To repeat: this is no more than United deserve. City need to wake up and quick.

5.58pm GMT

28 min: This is a quite sensational United performance. They look dangerous every time they cross the halfway line. City are a ragged rabble!

5.57pm GMT

27 min: United should be three or four goals up here. James makes good down the right and cuts back for Rashford, who tries to guide a curler into the top right. The ball clips the top of the bar with Ederson beaten all ends up.

5.56pm GMT

25 min: Martial is sent wheeching down the right. He knocks the ball towards Rashford, just inside the box, coming in from the left. Rashford has time to take a touch, but with Ederson off his line, attempts a first-touch curler around the keeper and into the bottom right. His effort is well wide.

5.55pm GMT

24 min: Guardiola has a full and frank exchange of views with the fourth official. Meanwhile, Bernardo Silva tries to repair the damage by dribbling down the right and entering the box. His shot is deflected out for a corner, from which nothing occurs.

5.53pm GMT

Rashford stutters, sends Ederson one way, then passes the ball into the bottom right. This goal had been coming. United deserve their lead.

5.52pm GMT

22 min: Bernardo Silva is also livid at the decision, and talks his way into the book.

5.51pm GMT

21 min: VAR intervenes, and it’s a penalty to United! Pep Guardiola is furious, but that was as clear a penalty as you’ll get. I have no idea why the referee said no in the first place.

5.51pm GMT

20 min: Rashford squeezes between Bernardo Silva and Stones, into the box down the inside left. He goes over. It looks like a penalty, Silva coming across Rashford, sticking out a leg, clipping his knee. But the referee’s not interested!

5.49pm GMT

18 min: Sterling wins a corner for City down the left. Nothing much happens, the ball sent sailing over everyone in the box. I suppose that qualifies as a lull, in the context of what’s gone before. This is non-stop fun.

5.47pm GMT

16 min: City are shipping a large number of good chances. James is sent scampering down the right by Rashford, and pulls back for Martial, who shoots towards the bottom right. Ederson saves well. He’s earned his money today already.

5.46pm GMT

14 min: United spring upfield from the Lindelof incident and nearly break clear. Fernandinho does well to intercept just as it looks like Martial will zip free down the right.

5.45pm GMT

13 min: Bernardo Silva is sprung down the inside right channel and cuts the ball back. There’s a scramble on the spot, Jesus sliding in, and the ball hits Lindelof’s arm. But the referee says it’s accidental, and VAR agrees. It looks like the correct decision, there was little Lindelof could do, the ball kicked up to his arm from close range as he challenged.

5.42pm GMT

11 min: “They will have to break out the oxygen tanks if this pace keeps up,” suggests Mary Waltz. “Electric.” It’s that, all right. City attempt to calm things down a little bit by passing and probing, probing and passing. They shift the ball this way and that, but United hold their shape and stay patient. Eventually the move peters out.

5.40pm GMT

9 min: This match is absurdly entertaining. Rashford slips a ball down the inside left for Lingard, who shoots at Ederson from a tight angle. Ederson kicks away brilliantly in the style popularised by the man between the sticks up the other end.

5.38pm GMT

8 min: Shaw swings a dangerous ball in from the left. Martial manages to handle with both hands in his attempt to chest down and turn on the penalty spot.

5.37pm GMT

7 min: More space for James down the right. His cutback flies behind Rashford and Martial. City counter, Sterling dribbling at great speed down the left and cutting back for David Silva, who squirts a low shot across the face of goal and wide right.

5.36pm GMT

6 min: Space for James out on the right. He chips a fine pass over the City back line in the hope of sending Martial clean through. Walker does exceptionally well to turn on the jets himself and get his body in between Martial and the ball. Danger over.

5.35pm GMT

4 min: David Silva nearly releases Sterling down the inside left. McTominay intercepts sensationally, springing up after sliding to trap, then hooking clear. City want a penalty but the ball hit the midfielder’s chest as he slid.

5.33pm GMT

3 min: City go straight up the other end and nearly score themselves, David Silva shooting from a tight angle on the left. His effort is blocked. This is very open. It certainly doesn’t look like a 0-0 in the making.

5.33pm GMT

2 min: But it’s United who have the first chance of the game, and they probably should have scored. Martial romps into City territory and then Fred slips James free on the right. James is in an absurd amount of space, but shoots straight at Ederson.

5.32pm GMT

1 min: A first touch for Harry Maguire, who having chosen red over blue this summer, gets pantomime pelters. And United struggle to get out of their final third in the opening exchanges, City stringing plenty of passes together as they briskly probe this way and that.

5.30pm GMT

A quick blast of Blue Moon ... and then we’re off! United get the ball rolling. “Call this a sheer gut shot, but I really like United’s chances in this match,” opines Hubert O’Hearn. “From a distance, I admire what Ole’s doing in building a squad with youth and I just think they’ll have a willingness to bleed on the pitch more than City who probably are more focused on Big Cup. I’m calling it 4-2 United. Onwards!”

5.28pm GMT

The teams are out! The greatest thing about derbies? Both sets of teams get to wear the colours that made them famous. You don’t need me to tell you, but just for the sake of completion: City are in sky blue, United in red. In the tunnel beforehand, David de Gea and David Silva enjoyed a nice friendly catch-up. All smiles. So much for the two teams being sworn enemies. A pow-wow that won’t shift the dial on the Roy Keane-o-meter very far. Anyway, there’s a derby-day atmosphere inside the Etihad, and it’ll only get louder when we kick off in a minute.

5.17pm GMT

Pep talks. “They have pace up front. So fast. They have a lot of quality, one against one. We know what they are going to try to do, so we have to try to control it. We will try to be clinical. It is special for our fans, but we have to be focused on what we are trying to do, we cannot be emotional. The battle will be with the players on the pitch, but of course our supporters will make it extra.”

5.08pm GMT

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks to Sky. “You want as many good players on the pitch as possible, especially when you play a fantastic team like Man City. We know we will have to play our best to have the chance of a result. Luke Shaw is ready. He’s trained really well, and hopefully we will see the best of him. We would like to keep the ball. If you let City have it too much, they can out-football any team, they can football you to death. We will have to be good in our pressing and our defensive shape, but we want to keep the ball as well. We want to attack quickly. We must be confident but also humble. We are playing a fantastic side on their own ground.”

4.55pm GMT

If the Manchester derby wasn’t big enough anyway, on its own merits, Liverpool have just won 3-0 at Bournemouth. The result puts them on 46 points, 11 clear of second-placed Leicester City, who go to midlands rivals Aston Villa tomorrow ... and 14 clear of defending champions Manchester City in third place. City need a result tonight. But then United have their own agenda, and three points would take them into fifth spot, a little closer to the Champions League places after Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat at Everton. Plenty up for grabs.

4.45pm GMT

A festive feel at the Etihad.
Blue Christmas, that’s the way you see it when you’re feeling blue
Blue Xmas, when you’re blue at Christmastime you see right through
All the waste, all the sham, all the haste
And plain old bad taste

4.34pm GMT

City make one change to the team that ran out easy winners at Burnley on Tuesday night. John Stones takes the place of Nicolas Otamendi.

United make two changes to the side who saw off Tottenham Hotspur and Jose Mourinho on Wednesday. Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw replace Mason Greenwood and Ashley Young.

4.32pm GMT

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Jose Angelino, De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Sterling.
Subs: Bravo, Gundogan, Mendy, Mahrez, Joao Cancelo, Otamendi, Foden.

Manchester United: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, James, Lingard, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Mata, Andreas Pereira, Young, Romero, Greenwood, Tuanzebe, Williams.

12.51pm GMT

City have had the upper hand in the Manchester derby in recent years, there’s no denying it. They did the double over United in last year’s treble season. They’re on a current streak of three wins in a row at Old Trafford. They’ve recently dished out some memorable pastings: a 3-0, a 4-1, that 6-1. Tough times for United, traditionally the bosses of this rivalry, with 73 wins on the tally to City’s 53.

You’d expect title-chasing City to prevail again this evening. Especially as they’re coming off the back of that fine confidence-restoring performance at Burnley. United by comparison have only won nine of 22 matches in all competitions, and are still struggling for an identity under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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Marcus Rashford can take cue from Raheem Sterling’s development at City | Jonathan Liew

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 20:30
Manchester United striker has just turned 22 and, like Sterling before him, needs to add ugly goals to his repertoire

For a moment all is stillness. Marcus Rashford grinds to a halt. Old Trafford pauses with him. Rashford waits. There’s a wiggle of the toes. And then the explosion.

Rashford’s second goal against Tottenham on Wednesday night was, in many ways, a distillation of everything he does best. As Serge Aurier closed him down on the left flank, Rashford paused for an instant, waiting for his opponent to commit. A twitch of the boot was enough to convince Aurier that Rashford was planning to cut inside. And in that moment, with a conjuror’s cunning, Rashford was away: knocking the ball through Aurier’s legs, sprinting past him, burning around the outside of Moussa Sissoko – himself an exceptionally quick player – and eventually drawing the foul from which he would convert United’s winning penalty.

Related: Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic gives Marcus Rashford a tutorial | Nick Ames

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