What the papers say
Manchester City need a victory to ensure Liverpool’s lead is kept to a minimum of 11 points. For Manchester United it is about winning a consecutive league game for the first time since March. Both, of course, want the three points because this is the 179th Manchester derby. Jamie Jackson
Saturday 5.30pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
Liverpool’s stellar form, a weakness in central defence and a group of players who before Tuesday’s 4-1 rout of Burnley lacked an edge are key factors for Manchester City being 11 points behind the Merseyside club. Pep Guardiola rates the midfielder Fernandinho over John Stones or Nicolás Otamendi as first-choice cover for the injured centre-back Aymeric Laporte, illuminating how the failure to acquire an A-list replacement for Vincent Kompany was a serious error. The win at Turf Moor was a reminder of how energy and effervescence from the manager’s pass-and-move play had dipped: given the deficit this has to remain until May.Continue reading...
• Solskjær says Martial should be available but rules out Pogba
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has aimed a dig at Manchester City before Saturday’s derby by stating that at least it now occurs every season, unlike when he was a player.
Solskjær signed as a striker for Manchester United in summer 1996 with City outside of the top flight. They would not gain promotion to it until the 1999-2000 season.Continue reading...
Fred is finding his feet under Solskjær, Maddison and Grealish jostle for England attention and do Everton have a new plan?
Fred has described Fernandinho has his role model in the past but, until recently, it seemed like the only thing the pair had in common was that they both moved from Brazil to Shakhtar Donetsk before arriving in Manchester. Over the last month, however, Fred has finally started showing the quality that persuaded United to spend £52m on him last year. He and Scott McTominay form a midfield partnership of formerly maligned players who have become more than useful. They, along with Marcus Rashford’s refulgent form and the fact that United now relish being underdogs, are reasons why City might not annihilate Saturday’s visitors to the Etihad. Paul Doyle
Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sportContinue reading...
It is the counterintuitive detail that strikes at the heart of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Manchester United rebuild; firing optimism one week, stasis and frustration the next. How can Solskjær’s team play with a freedom of expression against the Premier League’s best, en route to getting encouraging results, but so frequently run into walls against less-fancied opponents?
The manager had a stab at answering the question on Wednesday night, after the stirring 2-1 Old Trafford victory over Tottenham, and it was one of those moments when he caught himself a couple of times before he said too much.Continue reading...
Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjær has praised Marcus Rashford for his performance in the team's win over Tottenham at Old Trafford on Wednesday. United revelled in their 2-1 victory with José Mourinho admitting that the opposition 'were much better than us'Continue reading...
• Ole Gunnar Solskjær praises Rashford’s ‘best performance’
José Mourinho admitted he tried to avoid the “arrogant” Tottenham attitude Dele Alli blamed for their 2-1 defeat at Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Spurs’ first loss under their new head coach came against his former club, with two Marcus Rashford goals securing victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side after Alli’s equaliser.
Afterwards, the England midfielder stated “arrogance” and “overconfidence” cost his team and Mourinho agreed.Continue reading...
This was billed as the Return of José Mourinho but was undoubtedly the Marcus Rashford Show. Here was his finest display for Manchester United, the 22-year-old a blur of menace and inventiveness and registering both goals.
On arrival Mourinho had shaken hands with a security guard and club photographer then hugged a media officer with a warmth missing from the end of his United tenure. Back then he was a sulky figure, sacked last December following a demise signposted by the 3-0 loss to Tottenham on the day of his infamous “respect, respect, respect” tirade.Continue reading...
The sight of Marcus Rashford in smooth and pacy flow – the components of his thrilling technique in sync from first to last – would once have delighted José Mourinho. Not here. Mourinho had wanted to mark his return to Manchester United with a fourth win on the spin with Tottenham; to make his biggest statement yet with his new club.
Instead, Rashford comprehensively upstaged him, scoring both of the goals in a United victory that ought to have been more emphatic, such was their first-half domination, to provide his current manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, with a sorely needed tonic.Continue reading...
José Mourinho may have mentioned this once or twice. Actually, there has not been a press briefing during his short time at Tottenham when he has failed to do so. Yes, the manager is starring in an Amazon Prime documentary about the club’s season.
Mourinho was at it again on Tuesday morning, as he previewed Wednesday night’s visit to his former club Manchester United, which, incidentally, will be carried live by Amazon Prime. Turning his head down and towards the inside of his collar and the ever-present mic, he mentioned the US company and had a bit of fun speaking directly to them.Continue reading...
• Paul Pogba ‘still a bit away’ from return, manager says
Solskjær has won only four of 14 league matches this season in United’s worse start since 1988-89. The Norwegian was asked whether, given the removal of Emery by Arsenal, Flores by Watford and Pochettino by Tottenham, he was concerned he could follow.Continue reading...
Chelsea toothless without Tammy Abraham, Everton better than results suggest and clever Jonjo Shelvey helps Liverpool
After a medley of mid-table finishes, could this be the season Crystal Palace return to the top half? They finished 10th four years ago under Alan Pardew and after victory at Burnley are part of a chasing pack on the tails of fifth-placed Tottenham. The win stopped a worrying rot of five games without victory and, with Wilfried Zaha having come to the fore in recent outings, there is plenty for a painfully inconsistent Palace to build on. December looks kind, too, with Bournemouth the visitors to Selhurst Park on Tuesday before matches against Watford, Brighton, Newcastle, West Ham and Southampton. After a quiet start Zaha, who has scored in successive games, is beginning to take centre stage, which is right where Palace need him. “He has been very good in recent games,” Roy Hodgson said. “We are grateful for the three points but now we need to use this feeling going forwards.” Ben FisherContinue reading...
• ‘We need to string good performances together’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær said Manchester United’s league position was not important at the time being after Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa at Old Trafford left his team ninth with 18 points. “I wouldn’t have sat here and talked about us being fifth if we had got that one goal extra, so the league table at this point is not the biggest concern because it is so tight,” he said.
“I just need to make sure we get performances and get three or four performances after each other. What I can say is we have had the lead in so many games and we haven’t been able to win; six or seven times we’ve been 1-0 up, or 2-1 or 3-2. We should be better at seeing those games into wins.”Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær feels Manchester United are at their most dangerous when Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James are all fit enough to play in the same forward line and he might be right, though at the moment it is the back-line that holding his side back.
United spent more than £100m on two members of their present back four in the summer, yet you would never have guessed from their uncertain start.Continue reading...
Clean sheets and winking managers in this week’s roundup of the best top-flight pictures
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Manchester United would have closed to six points behind Chelsea in fourth if Aston Villa had been beaten. Instead, after a sluggish opening-half display, they and their visitors engaged in a kind of high-speed ping-pong following which a draw felt the right outcome.
The breathless fare made a fine spectacle but for Ole Gunnar Solskjær the bottom line is that United have won only four of 14 league games this season. So unless Spurs, on Wednesday, Manchester City (Saturday) and Everton (Sunday-week) are beaten then Solskjær will not better the 24 points from 17 matches José Mourinho had accrued before being sacked on 18 December last year.Continue reading...
Manchester United are stuttering again and while the Europa League defeat at Astana on Thursday was with a youthful side, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team have to regain momentum. They will hope to do so against a Villa side with the worst away record in the division and who have won at Old Trafford once in 35 years. Jamie Jackson
Sunday 4.30pmContinue reading...
Flawed City defence meets hapless Newcastle attack, Leicester can end Silva’s service and only a miracle can save Emery
Steve Bruce said Newcastle were too passive during Monday’s sorry defeat at Aston Villa. One thing he can actively do about that is drop Jonjo Shelvey, who was irrelevant in midfield at Villa Park. With Sean Longstaff available again after suspension, and Matty Longstaff in line for a return to the starting lineup, Shelvey should be parked on the bench. Bruce probably wishes he could also make changes up front to try to exploit City’s defensive flakiness. There is not often a good case for starting Andy Carroll but this time there are two: City’s fragility and Joelinton’s haplessness. At least Allan Saint-Maximin shows signs of menace, even if his finishing so far has been down there with that of the bewildering Miguel Almirón. Mind you, Gabriel Jesus has not been looking sharp recently for City. So even though injury deprives both clubs of their best centre-backs (Jamaal Lascelles and Aymeric Laporte respectively), this match has the potential to end in a ridiculous 0-0 if midfielders do not step up to score. PDContinue reading...
Astana fought back to beat a youthful Manchester United side 2-1 at home on Thursday, earning their first points in the Europa League’s Group L this season.
The Manchester United captain, Jesse Lingard, fired them ahead in the 10th minute with a fizzing low shot from 20 metres before Dmitri Shomko and a Di’Shon Bernard own goal turned the match on its head shortly after half-time.Continue reading...
- Europa League updates from the 3.50pm GMT kick-off
- Solskjær hands debuts to trio of teenagers
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6 min: Nothing much comes of that, Eric smothering the ball with Greenwood in reasonably close attendance.
5 min: United continue to knock it around. Suddenly they pick up the pace, Lingard sliding a pass down the inside-left channel for Greenwood, who shoots violently towards the goal from a not particularly promising angle. But he gets his effort on target, forcing Eric to parry. Corner coming up.
4 min: A bright end-to-end start as Chong tears off down the right. He doesn’t have a whole load of support, though, and is forced to check back. But United keep hold of possession and ping it around confidently in a very pretty style.
2 min: A long pass down the Astana left. Murtazayev chases and wins a corner off Tuanzebe. United deal with the set piece with ease.
Here we go, then! United’s youthful team kick off. A feel of the ball for everyone at the back. Solskjaer shouts his encouragement from the bench. A few footballing journeys begin right here.
The teams are out! It’s a comparatively balmy eight degrees centigrade in the Astana Arena. The roof’s closed, you see. It’s minus 13 outside. A lovely scene in the tunnel beforehand, as Jesse Lingard made a concerted effort to say hello and talk to all of the mascots, making the young ones feel at ease. A lot of extremely wide smiles as they look up to the Manchester United captain with saucer eyes. Sweet. We’ll be off in a minute.
Ole! “It’s a great chance for the young players. A chance to show what they can do. It’s the start of something special I’m sure. One or two of these, we’ll definitely see a lot more of them. It’s exciting for us as coaches to see where we are at. Of course we want to win the game, but being away from home, and with such a long way to travel, this was the sensible decision. We’ve got a game on Sunday again. And we give the youth a chance to play in front of 30,000 people, to play men’s football, to get experience. Max Taylor has been an inspiration for all of us, we are so happy he is here. It’s great for the other boys to see that setbacks are sometimes part of life and you can fight back from it.”
United’s inner sanctum. Here’s their kit laid out in the changing room ahead of the match. Confirmation that they’ll be playing in their world-famous red shirts. Astana will be in their first-choice yellow.
As expected, teenagers Ethan Laird, Di’Shon Bernard and Dylan Levitt make their Manchester United debuts.
The veteran goalkeeper Lee Grant also makes his first United start. Laird (18) is a right-back who likes to bomb forward in the modern style; Bernard (19) plays in the centre of defence; and Levitt (19) is a central midfielder who can pick a pass. The 19-year-old defender Max Taylor, thankfully fit and healthy now after his cancer treatment, is on the bench.
Astana: Eric, Rukavina, Postnikov, Logvinenko, Shomko, Beysebekov, Maewski, Sigurjonsson, Rotariu, Sergei Khizhnichenko, Murtazaev.
Subs: Muzhikov, Pertsukh, Zhakipbayev, Janga, Mokin, Zhalmukan, Prokopenko.
Manchester United: Grant, Laird, Tuanzebe, Bernard, Shaw, Garner, Levitt, Chong, Lingard, Gomes, Greenwood.
Subs: Puigmal, Bughail-Mellor, Kovar, Taylor, Galbraith, Ramazani, Mengi.
Welcome to our coverage of Manchester United’s experimental seminar in Kazakhstan. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side are already through to the knockout stage of the Europa League, so this fixture against Astana presents a chance to field some debutants.
Teenagers Ethan Laird, Di’Shon Bernard and Dylan Levitt, and 36-year-old goalkeeper Lee Grant, are expected to make their debuts at some point. There’s also a feelgood story in 19-year-old defender Max Taylor’s inclusion, promoted to the senior squad for the first time since cancer treatment.Continue reading...