What the papers say
• Solskjær wants Manchester United to kill games early, he says
Jesse Lingard believes Ole Gunnar Solskjær has ensured a bright New Year for Manchester United by turning back time and restoring Paul Pogba to the dynamic midfielder for whom the club paid £89m.
“I can definitely, definitely, see the Paul I used to know,” said Lingard as he reflected on United’s three games and three wins – featuring four goals from Pogba – since the Norwegian took temporary charge at Old Trafford in the wake of José Mourinho’s sacking. “I have seen him playing through the ranks and he is back to that player, the player we know.”Continue reading...
Jürgen Locadia proves his worth, Hart loses out to Heaton, Palace need reinforcements and Arsenal need a defence
After Ole Gunnar Solskjær rained praise down on Marcus Rashford, calling him the “catalyst” for Manchester United’s pressing game, Romelu Lukaku might wonder when he will next be given a start. Rashford scored and created Paul Pogba’s opener in the 4-1 win. Asked about Lukaku, who was a late, scoring replacement, Solskjær said: “At times he’s a good target man but if you tell him to be a target man he’ll never face the goal, today he was side on and he’s got the attributes of a top, top striker. We need to work on his fitness but I’m delighted even though he was half a yard offside – it was a good finish.” Next up is Thursday’s trip to Newcastle United as the caretaker manager seeks a fourth consecutive win from his opening four games. So far Rashford has excelled for the Norwegian so why would he drop him now for Lukaku? Jamie JacksonContinue reading...
Towards the end Old Trafford was the loudest in recent memory, Manchester United’s joyous fans singing the “20 times” ditty about their record number of titles.Continue reading...
- Premier League updates from Old Trafford, kick-off 4.30pm GMT
- Kanté tightens Chelsea’s grip on top four with winner at Palace
- And feel free to email Jacob or tweet @JacobSteinberg
Manchester United make four changes to the side that beat Huddersfield on Boxing Day. Ashley Young, Eric Bailly, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial replace Diego Dalot, Phil Jones, Fred and Juan Mata.
Bournemouth start with three at the back after their drubbing against Tottenham. Eddie Howe makes three changes, replacing Simon Francis, Jefferson Lerma and Ryan Fraser with Diego Rico, Jordon Ibe and Josh King.
Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Jones, Darmian, Pereira, Fellaini, Mata, Lukaku.
Bournemouth: Begovic; Cook, Ake, Daniels; Ibe, Stanislas, Brooks, Surman, Rico; King, Wilson. Subs: Boruc, Simpson, Mings, Lerma, Fraser, Mousset, Defoe.
Hello. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sitting in the dugout instead of that moody Portuguese teenager, everything’s awesome again at Old Trafford. Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town have been vanquished, Paul Pogba’s remembered that he’s a world champion and Manchester United are starting to remember that football is supposed to be played with a smile. After the gloom of the Jose Mourinho era, it’s good to see United’s players expressing themselves on the pitch at last.
That said, they haven’t been tested too much under Solskjaer yet. With all the talent available to the Norwegian, we shouldn’t read too much into wins over a couple of struggling sides. Sterner examinations lie in store and United will need to hit a high level to deal with Bournemouth this afternoon. Eddie Howe’s side have been out of sorts recently and were beaten 5-0 by Tottenham on Boxing Day but they have ways of hurting their opponents. United, who start the day 11 points off fourth-placed Chelsea and six points below fifth-placed Arsenal, needed a last-minute winner to win the reverse fixture in November and it could be another tight affair if Bournemouth are at their best.Continue reading...
The stories Gary Neville and Robbie Savage tell of 1990s initiations can be seen as lads being lads but it is time the club admitted that in some case the culture damaged lives
As Gary Neville will be able to testify, making love to Clayton Blackmore in front of the entire Manchester United first team was not the most pleasurable experience of his years as an up-and-coming player in the club’s apprentice ranks.
Not the real Clayton Blackmore, obviously. But the players who set up the game called “Shag Sunbed” – maybe you remember Blackmore’s all-year tan – did their best to make it authentic, sticking a life-size picture of him on the treatment table, slipping on some Barry White and then watching as Neville, or whoever else had been called out, had to dance round the table, seduce his man and, in front of everybody, simulate sex, sound effects and all. “I can’t tell you how excruciating that is for a 16-year-old in front of an audience of his heroes like Mark Hughes and Bryan Robson,” Neville writes in his autobiography.Continue reading...
Time to panic yet? Fans weigh up whom their clubs need to sign in the transfer window, which opens on Tuesday
It’s hard to judge the Emery project until we’ve seen what he can do in a transfer window or two – and there’s an obvious area for him to address. The wing/full-back role has become such a demanding one these days that top sides need to be able to rotate a minimum of four quality options. With ours dropping like flies, we badly need some new blood in that position. Unfortunately, though, any plans to address it this winter might be derailed by the need to provide cover for the injured Welbeck and Holding. The other factor to watch is whether or not the futures of Özil and Ramsey become any clearer. Bernard Azulay, GoonersDiary.co.uk @GoonerN5Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s has had the dream start at Manchester United, so the trick is to earn a third win and against a Bournemouth side who were beaten 2-1 in November’s reverse fixture. While Eddie Howe usually poses problems for any side, United, with Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial and Alexis Sánchez all potentially available again, surely have the tools to win. Jamie Jackson
Sunday 4.30pm Sky Sports Premier LeagueContinue reading...
• Solskjær says this should be ‘best time’ of players’ lives
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said it is down to Alexis Sánchez and Romelu Lukaku to be self-motivated and follow Paul Pogba’s example by proving their worth again at Manchester United – because this should be the “best time of their life”.
The interim manager has selected Pogba for his opening two games and been rewarded with impressive displays from the midfielder. Sánchez and Lukaku have been out of form this season but Solskjær is adamant it is not down to him to improve them.Continue reading...
Things could get worse for Manchester City before they get better and Kyle Walker-Peters poses a few questions for Mauricio PochettinoContinue reading...
• ‘He can make the difference for Manchester United’
• Bournemouth next as Solskjær looks for third win in a row
Nemanja Matic has urged his team-mate Paul Pogba to keep improving while playing for Ole Gunnar Solskjær, saying that the Frenchman is capable of “doing even more”.
Pogba has been reinstated to the Manchester United team after the dismissal of José Mourinho, starting both games since the Portuguese manager departed, supplying two assists in the 5-1 victory at Cardiff City and scoring two in the 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town.Continue reading...
In Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s opening two matches the feel-good factor has been mainlined back into Manchester United.
Following the dark José Mourinho days this was a prime demand when appointed caretaker manager last week. The second was to win and do so in fine style: again, this has been achieved. Saturday’s 5-0 victory at Cardiff City was followed by Boxing Day’s 3-1 defeat of Huddersfield.Continue reading...
Our roundup of the best photography from the festive top-flight matchesContinue reading...
Old Trafford, once again, felt like a contented place. Ole Gunnar Solskjær was wearing a sunrise of a smile. There was even an embrace from Fred the Red, Manchester United’s devil-horned mascot, before the team continued their immaculate start on Solskjær’s watch, and it is probably for the better that the current manager is nothing like as boastful as the previous one. If Solksjær were a different personality he might have pointed out he had taken as many points in five days as José Mourinho managed during his last 45 in the job.
Solskjær is certainly entitled to feel pleased with himself after two second-half goals from a renascent Paul Pogba, to add to the one scored by Nemanja Matic in the opening period, gave United’s supporters the chance to go through their old songbook to pay homage to the man who has taken on the caretaker manager’s role for the rest of the season.Continue reading...
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- Read our Premier League fans’ half-term verdicts: parts one and two
Pogback. The Frenchman nonchalantly fires home his second – and Manchester United’s third – from 25 yards. Ole’s making this management lark look easy.
If it was not already, it is a Spurs rout at Wembley.
Lucas Digne has his second of the afternoon. Sean Dyche bounced his way down the tunnel at half-time, and his side are in real trouble at Turf Moor.
More than 46,000 fans are watching Sunderland take on Bradford – in League One! That’s the biggest third-tier crowd since 1979. That’s more than the number of supporters at Wembley, where Tottenham are breezing beyond Bournemouth. In the Championship, Notts Forest have doubled their lead to 2-0 at Norwich, while Jay Rodriguez has hammered his second goal past Wigan. And, thanks to Birbkamp for this dispatch. “Good news from south London, Dulwich Hamlet 1-0 up at Eastbourne Borough in their first game back at Champion Hill after an eight-month lockout by property developers. Ash Carew the scorer.”
Aston Villa lead at Swansea, courtesy of Conor Hourihane’s header, while Bolton have retaken the lead against Rotherham. In Italy:
Harry Kane strikes, and surely Spurs are home and dry.
Seconds after a big save by De Gea, United double their lead. Depoitre must have thought he scored, only for the Spaniard to claw his volley away with his right glove. And then Pogba goes up the other end and fires home his first goal in nine games.
Bournemouth have a goal ruled out for offside! Junior Stanislas puts the ball in the back of the net from Diego Rico’s cross, but the flag is up on the far side. At Old Trafford, a phenomenal save by David de Gea, to somehow deny Depoitre.
“Your previous emailer asked if Rafa Benítez gets an easy ride,” says Shaun Wilkinson. “As a Newcastle fan, let me just say this: this week, Benítez said about his own team who are in 14th – fourteenth – position at Christmas that it would be a miracle if they didn’t get relegated. I have not seen a single word of criticism about this. No defence of Mike Ashley of course, I want rid of him as much as everyone else does, but any other manager than Rafa would have been called out by fans and press alike for his incessant whining months ago.”
A sluggish start to the second half by Manchester United. Huddersfield have caught United napping a little, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side all over the place. The Norwegian has seen enough, with Ander Herrera and Ashley Young coming on for Fred and Diego Dalot just minutes after the restart.
Mohamed Salah slots home from the spot, after Paul Dummett’s clumsy challenge on the Egyptian. A nightmarish start to the second half for Rafael Benítez. For a player who was supposed to be having an average season, that’s Salah’s 15th goal of the season. Not bad, eh? Might, just might Liverpool be heading six points clear at the top? And there has been an early second-half penalty in the Championship too, with Charlie Mulgrew pulling Blackburn level from 12 yards after Luke Ayling handled the ball in the box.
We’re back under way around the grounds, and, to kick things off, Liverpool have a penalty at Anfield ...
Arsenal take on Brighton this evening, though Unai Emery is happy to risk Lucas Torreira, despite the Uruguayan treading a disciplinary tightrope:
We are going to play the next match in Brighton and we are going to play full – not with considered options or playing with more caution. The same three points are in Brighton that are in Liverpool and we are going to play first in Brighton. It’s a tough match and we will need every player with 100% focus to do everything on the pitch to win. I don’t know whether Torreira would even be able to play cautiously but I don’t want him to think about the possibility of a suspension for one yellow card.”
Burnley 1-3 Everton
Crystal Palace 0-0 Cardiff
Leicester 1-1 Man City
Liverpool 1-0 Newcastle
Man Utd 1-0 Huddersfield
Tottenham 3-0 Bournemouth
“The Spurs v Bournemouth game is clearly not over,” emails John Tumbridge. “Because, one: it’s a Boxing Day match and all sort of silly scores are almost guaranteed. Two: it is Spurs and all sorts of silly scores are possible if they go all Spursy. And, three: assuming Man City draw today, Spurs only need to accrue 14 more goals difference to climb into second place.”
And now Leicester have Manchester City on the ropes! Ederson is forced to pull off a string of stops, denying Jamie Vardy and then Hamza Choudhury in the next breath, before twice preventing James Maddison from striking. In the second-tier, Birmingham deservedly lead at home to Stoke through Jacques Maghoma. And a thriller north of the border, with Celtic now 4-3 up at Aberdeen, where they are into three minutes of second-half stoppage-time.
Two big chances go begging for the Manchester clubs! De Bruyne finds Leroy Sane down the left, and he picks out Sergio Aguero but the Argentine struck over the bar from point-blank range for City. At Old Trafford, Diego Dalot should have doubled United’s lead but after a neat nutmeg and cross by Marcus Rashford.
Ben Gibson wheels away after prodding home his first goal for the club. Westwood whipped the ball in and, via Ashley Barnes and then Gibson, Burnley have a lifeline.
Lucas Moura adds a third at Wembley. Kyle Walker-Peters, in for Kieran Trippier this afternoon, was involved once more, completing his hat-trick of assists after laying the ball on for the Brazilian once more. Is that game over?
Leeds lead! Blackburn defender Derrick Williams has put the ball past his own goalkeeper at Elland Road. Staying in the Championship, Joel Lynch has doubled QPR’s advantage over bottom club Ipswich, while Bolton have poked themselves in front against Rotherham. In League One, Sunderland have gone ahead in front of 40,000+ against Bradford, thanks to Aiden McGeady.
“Does Benítez get too much of an easy ride at Newcastle?” asks David Wall, via email. “There’s no question he’s not well supported by Ashley but his squad this season is better than last, adding a striker better suited to the style he wants to play, and certainly better than at least three other teams in the division. It’s not Ashley’s fault that Benítez hasn’t been able to get forward players who performed well last season, like Kenedy, to do similar so far this year.” Thoughts? Away from Anfield, where Liverpool lead, a couple of goals in the Championship to get stuck into: Hull lead at Preston and QPR are 1-0 up at home to Ipswich. North of the border, Celtic have retaken the lead against Aberdeen, with Scott Sinclair scoring his second of the afternoon.
Give Ole the job now! Nemanja Matic taps home a corner from all of a yard out. “Ole, Ole, Ole,” rings around Old Trafford.
Son Heung-min steers a clever strike beyond Begovic. Kyle Walker-Peters tees up Son, who finds the net from the edge of the box. Spurs are looking good, though have not been at their purring best. But they have been clinical: two shots on target, two goals.
Gylfi Sigurdsson hammers home from 12 yards after Ben Mee was pulled up for a silly handball at Turf Moor. Marco Silva’s side are – already – in cruise control.
A brilliant cross by Vardy, and a superb header across goal by Marc Albrighton, who scored a stunner against City in the Carabao Cup this month. Food for thought for Pep Guardiola and co.
Spurs are not going anywhere. Three goals in three league games for the Dane. This one is a little fortuitous, as Eriksen’s shot from range takes a big deflection off Jefferson Lerma but, nevertheless, the hosts have the lead at Wembley, where Bournemouth had gone close through Fraser. So, the Premier League’s top three all lead.
A sensational finish from Bernardo Silva. After a shock defeat against Crystal Palace, has normal service resumed? Aguero pokes through and Silva finishes one-on-one against Schmeichel, with Chilwell playing him onside.
Lucas Digne with another brilliant free-kick from 25 yards. Joe Hart gets a hand to it, but the Burnley goalkeeper cannot keep it out.
Liverpool lead at Anfield. Robertson whips the ball in from the left, and Lovren wellies the ball into the roof of the net. Down in the Championship, a bad start for José Gomes, the new Reading manager. Millwall lead 1-0 at the Den, thanks to Jed Wallace. And things went from bad to worse moments later, with Tyler Blackett sent off for a crude challenge a minute or so later.
Everton take the lead at Turf Moor. Bernard whips in a cross from the left and the Colombia defender is unmarked in the box to nod home. A thumping header gets things truly up-and-running.
The 3pm kick-offs are under way around the grounds, though not at Colchester, where there is a 15-minute delay after Stevenage’s team bus broke down on the way to the ground.
It was Herbie Kane, and Trent Alexander-Arnold, whom Steven Gerrard mentioned in his autobiography, tipping them for the top after the pair impressed while he was working in the academy. For Kane, who played with Alexander-Arnold through the age groups for club and country, the young full-back’s upward trajectory acts as inspiration. “Trent and myself are the same age , and we are quite close. He has shown that when you get a chance you have to take it with both hands. He is doing unbelievably well.”
Rafael Benítez is back at Anfield this afternoon, though how much longer will he be at Newcastle? Effectively at war with Mike Ashley, his contract runs out in May. “My focus now is trying to find the right team to play Liverpool,” was the Spaniard’s reply when asked whether he intends to stick around for the rest of the season:
A quick word on Sunderland. After a 650-mile round trip to Portsmouth the weekend before Christmas, Sunderland supporters will today make up the lion’s share of the biggest third-tier crowd since 1979. More than 41,000 tickets have been sold for Sunderland’s home match with Bradford, and the club have sold out their 7,759-ticket allocation at Blackpool on New Year’s Day, aptly in the same month Netflix released the documentary series Sunderland ‘Til I Die. The record crowd for a third-tier game was 49,309 at the Sheffield derby, 39 years ago.
No one is safe from the hi-vis brigade at Old Trafford – not even Wayne Rooney. He will doubtless be the only former Manchester United player in position to witness Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s home bow as manager. But the Norwegian is nonplussed by the noise around his squad, courtesy of former players. “Don’t worry, Gary [Neville] will be really hard on me,” the caretaker manager said. “I sat next to him in the dressing room for 11 years. You know Gary. He’s paid now to give his opinion and of course he should do. I’m no different to anyone else. I’m no different to any other manager when you lead that team out on to the pitch. It comes with a responsibility but my job is to get the players enjoying themselves.”
Jürgen Klopp has said Liverpool should enjoy pursuing the title:
I’ve heard how many times in the last 10 years that when you’re first at Christmas you win the title but only Liverpool don’t. It’s all bullshit. What is it? What does it mean? It’s a different team, a different time, everything was different. It’s not interesting. If it wasn’t the case and Liverpool [always] went on to become champions, would I think now halfway through the season that the job is done? Of course not. Nothing has happened so far; we don’t have to think about May. We have to think about 26 December against Newcastle. Let’s try everything we have to win that game. After that, Arsenal is coming.”
Fulham were denied a third league win, but a point is enough to move Claudio Ranieri’s men off the bottom – for now at least:
Team news news: three changes for Manchester United, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær bringing Fred, Juan Mata and Diego Dalot in from the cold, while Ashley Young and Ander Herrera drop to the bench but Anthony Martial misses out altogether. Pep Guardiola also makes three changes, with Danilo, Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero in for Kyle Walker, Nicolas Otamendi and Gabriel Jesus. At Wembley, Dele Alli is absent for Spurs after being withdrawn at Everton with a hamstring injury. Leicester – unusually – are unchanged, while Cardiff manager Neil Warnock has made five changes to the team that was hammered by United. Elsewhere, Richarlison has been dropped for the first time under Marco Silva.
Burnley: Hart, Lowton, Taylor, Tarkowski, Mee, Westwood, Cork, Gibson, Barnes, Vokes, Hendrick
Sit back, relax and grab another mince pie – and a dollop of brandy butter – for this glorious feast of Boxing Day fare. What better way to shake off that sluggish post-belly buster feeling than with a hearty tonic of Premier League action, with all of the big guns are in action. By big guns, we mean title contenders and by title contenders we are talking Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham. Then there is the Ole Gunnar Solskjær factor, in play at Old Trafford for the first time since 13 May 2007, the Norwegian’s last game for Manchester United (a 1-0 defeat to West Ham). And on a day on which many spend time with their elders, there is a 141-year-old battle taking place at Selhurst Park – sort of – as Roy Hodgson takes on Neil Warnock, who is eight months younger than his opposite number. As well as top-flight action, we will keep an eye on events across the country, with a whopping lineup of fixtures across the Championship, and beyond.Continue reading...
• ‘Don’t worry, Gary Neville will be hard on me,’ says manager
• Solskjær faces Huddersfield in first home game
Ole Gunnar Solskjær knows he will not be immune to criticism from the wide range of former Manchester United players in the media, even after beating Cardiff 5-1 in his first game since succeeding José Mourinho.
Solskjær’s predecessors have frequently been unhappy with pundits such as Gary Neville picking apart United’s performances and offering strident opinions on their play. Some may think they will not be quite so harsh on Solskjær, as a former teammate, but he recognised in the afterglow of his debut victory that will not be the case.Continue reading...
Maurizio Sarri wants a psychologist for Chelsea, Rafael Benítez is unhappy and Ben Foster could push Watford to Europe
Jürgen Klopp is not keen on talking about individuals, at least not publicly, but the Liverpool manager was willing to make an exception in the wake of Friday night’s impressive victory at Wolves. In some ways he had no choice. The questions about Virgil van Dijk kept coming after another outstanding performance and eventually Klopp admitted: “I love the boy.” By that stage debate was burning on social media and beyond as to whether Van Dijk is now the best, as well as the most expensive, defender in the world. What is indisputable is that Liverpool are a different proposition with the 27-year-old at the heart of their defence. Physically imposing, deceptively quick – Adama Traoré tried and failed to beat him for pace – and a brilliant reader of the game, Van Dijk is every bit as influential in this Liverpool team as Mohamed Salah. Stuart JamesContinue reading...
Saturday evening in Cardiff did not really feel like work for Ole Gunnar Solskjær. The man who sealed Manchester United’s treble in 1999 has been adored from afar since retiring in 2007 and leaving the club four years later, but his first game in his dream job was less a Premier League fixture, more an occasion for that adoration to be displayed. Which looked like good fun.
If most managerial appointments are a reaction to their predecessor, this is surely the ultimate example. United have brought in someone for the rest of the season who is truly happy to be there, who will revere the club and submit to its needs rather than use it as a platform from which to air personal grievances. That might make the place a little more dignified, but will this short-term boost translate into what United need?Continue reading...
Our picture editors round up their favourite images from this weekend’s top flight action including desperation during Man City’s surprise defeatContinue reading...
Jesse Lingard scored twice in Manchester United's 5-1 win over Cardiff, the team's first match under new coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Solskjaer took over this week after José Mourinho was fired for the club's poor results.
- Solskjær brings back Manchester United’s swagger – and Paul Pogba
- Jesse Lingard double seals Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s dream United debut
• Schmeichel says he will apply if he feels he has right qualities
Peter Schmeichel has called on Manchester United to appoint a director of football and would consider applying for the role if it was advertised.
José Mourinho was sacked as United manager earlier this week and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was named as caretaker manager until the end of the season.Continue reading...