What the papers say
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77 min: United try to grab back the initiative in short order. First Greenwood and Ighalo nearly open Norwich up down the right; then Rashford bustles to earn a corner out on the left.
The underdogs are level, and this is a screamer! Cantwell is teed up by Hernandez, who had cut in from the left. He unleashes an unstoppable swerver into the bottom right from 25 yards! Romero was unsighted by Maguire and had no chance of getting a hand to it.
73 min: That’s drinks. Time for Norwich to swap Pukki with Drmic, and for the BBC to show a replay of that astonishing Godfrey incident. And good news for the Norwich defender: the ball was going wide, and Tettey, lurking nearby, may well have been flagged offside anyway. So he’s not denied his own team a goal. That’s good to know.
70 min: Greenwood clumsily barges into Lewis out on the left. Free kick. And what follows is truly farcical! The free kick’s whipped into the mixer by Buendia. Fernandes accidentally eyebrows the flying ball towards the bottom right. Romero is beaten all ends up, but the ball’s stopped on the line by Godfrey, who was in the process of falling over. It hit his shoulder; he could do nothing about it.
68 min: Cantwell has a whack from 25 yards, but Fred blocks. Norwich still haven’t forced Romero into serious action. Maguire, yes; the keeper no.
67 min: Rashford should spring the overtaking Shaw into the Norwich box, but his pass down the left channel is too heavy. Goal kick. Shaw, having hared after that at full tank-emptying pelt, won’t be particularly amused by that.
66 min: Cantwell is down, holding his jaw. There was a coming together with McTominay’s shoulder. Cantwell, back up, claims it was deliberate; neither referee nor VAR agree. We play on.
65 min: A free kick for United out on the left, Godfrey having whacked Ighalo upside the head. Fernandes swings the free kick into the mixer, but it’s an uncharacteristically directionless effort and Norwich clear with ease.
64 min: Norwich make a change too, sending on Hernandez in place of Rupp.
63 min: United prepare a triple substitution and take a year and a day to make it. Eventually Dalot, Mata and Lingard make way for Williams, Rashford and Greenwood.
60 min: Lewis skedaddles down the left and finds Pukki in the middle. Pukki over-elaborates and can’t get a shot away. Aarons fires a low ball in from the right, but it’s hoicked clear by Maguire. That’s a little better from Norwich, who are slowly recovering from the blow of conceding.
57 min: Another tricky run by Lingard, this time down the left. He does extremely well to dribble his way into enough space to cross, but there’s nobody in red in the middle. United have been so much better since the restart.
56 min: Lewis attempts a curler from the left-hand edge of the United box, but his shot is blocked by his own man Pukki, wandering around in the confused style.
54 min: Fernandes cuts back to Lingard, sashaying in from the left. Lingard looks to curl one into the top right, but the ball balloons up, allowing Krul to claim under pressure from Ighalo.
53 min: Norwich respond well, McLean driving down the left and earning a corner. Godfrey challenges Maguire but the United defender wins the aerial duel. Pukki tries to keep the pressure on, but his cross from the right is blocked.
United get their act together. Maguire swans forward. He sends Shaw off down the left. Shaw hooks in for Mata, who dinks forward for Ighalo, onside in acres of space. Ighalo swivels and prods the dropping ball past Krul. A classic poacher’s strike.
49 min: Mata nearly finds Fernandes inside the Norwich box with a dainty flick down the right channel. Not quite. Much, much better from United, though. Solskjaer has obviously delivered the classic Get Your Act Together speech.
47 min: Cantwell romps down the left but can’t quite find Pukki in the middle with a fierce cross-cum-shot from a tight angle. Now it’s Norwich’s turn to waste a corner. Both teams have clearly been given the hairdryer treatment at half-time. The pace is notably quicker.
46 min: Nothing comes of the corner. There were no half-time changes, incidentally.
United get the ball rolling for the second half. After a fashion, that is, Bruno Fernandes having taken his own sweet time to return. And they’re quickly on the front foot, Fred floating a delicious pass down the inside-right channel to find Fernandes, whose timing is off again as he attempts a spectacular Mark Hughes style swivel kick. He doesn’t connect properly, and Klose slashes out for a corner.
During two added minutes, Lingard whips a wayward shot over the Norwich bar from distance, and that’s that. Daniel Farke will be happy enough, his team having come closest to scoring. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be pondering some half-time changes, because United need to crank it up a notch. A reminder that this tie will go to extra time and penalties if needs be. Back soon!
45 min: Aarons threatens to scamper clear down the right, but Fred does extremely well to usher him out of play. Norwich have visibly grown in confidence, United having posed very little threat during this first half.
44 min: Cantwell dances his way down the left and pulls the ball back for Rupp, in space just inside the box. Rupp peals a fine shot towards the bottom right. It’s heading in, with Romero rooted to the spot, but United are saved thanks to a superb last-ditch block by Maguire. That was a fine Norwich move and some defending from the top drawer.
42 min: Cantwell’s back up and running. Maguire tries to spread the play with a left-to-right diagonal rake towards Dalot. A fine pass, but Dalot lets the ball roll under his foot and out of play. Another reason for Maguire to frown hard. The captain’s annoyed.
41 min: Cantwell is down, having slipped into Maguire, who was looking the other way and couldn’t avoid contact. A sore one, doubtless, but it looks as though the sting of pain has subsided quickly and he’ll be good to continue.
39 min: There really is nothing going on. This is a non-event right now.
37 min: Maguire tests Romero with a fizzer of a backpass. He’s lucky the keeper has good reactions, and feet to match. Maguire has the good grace to furrow his brow in contemplation.
35 min: United stroke it around to no effect whatsoever. They could really do with Martial or Rashford up front. Norwich are completely comfortable right now. The second half maybe.
33 min: Cantwell sends Pukki clear down the inside-right channel, United’s defence having gone AWOL. But Pukki has no pace whatsoever, and Shaw is permitted to get back into the race. Pukki holds up, then involves Cantwell and Buendia, but the resulting attempt to keep the attack going is over-elaborate and the ball breaks harmlessly through to Romero. United would have been in serious trouble there if Pukki had the legs.
32 min: McTominay strides into the Norwich box from the right and pearls a shot goalwards. But it’s blocked by Lewis. From the resulting throw, Dalot is fouled by Cantwell. Fernandes swings in the free kick. There’s a mild hubbub, nothing more. Norwich clear.
30 min: Another corner for United, out on the left. Fernandes delivers. Bailly heads harmlessly over. This is all very nearly-not-quite. Norwich will undoubtedly be the happier team, expectation levels and all that.
28 min: Mata is brushed off the ball with absurd ease by Buendia. McLean takes up possession and hares down the middle, before flaying a dismal shot miles over the bar. He had time to line that up properly and work Romero.
27 min: Ighalo tries to turn a Dalot infield pass round the corner in the hope of releasing McTominay down the inside-right channel. A cute idea, but it doesn’t come off.
25 min: All gone! [taps upside-down cup, wipes mouth] The game restarts.
23 min: Aarons blooters wildly into the stand behind the United goal, and that’s drinks!
22 min: United string a very pretty move together. Fernandes pings a pass towards Shaw on the left. Shaw cuts inside and lays off to Fred, who slides a forward pass down the channel for McTominay. He backflicks first time, and very nearly springs Ighalo clear on goal. But Ighalo can’t make the ball behave and Krul gathers.
20 min: Fernandes quarterbacks from deep, floating a diagonal ball towards Dalot, just inside the Norwich area on the right. Dalot can’t get it under control, and a brief window of opportunity to shoot is gone.
18 min: Pukki romps into an absurd amount of space down the right. He’s got options in the middle, but stands one up in exactly the wrong place, and it’s an easy clearance for Dalot. United break up the other end, but Ighalo can’t end a purposeful sortie with any sort of shot.
17 min: United continue to hog possession, but it’s all a bit flat. Shaw and Lingard attempt to combine down the left, but the attack is easily blotted out. Norwich look relatively comfortable at the minute.
15 min: Lewis is getting plenty of space and opportunity down the left. It’s not always clear where Dalot is or what he’s doing. But once again Lewis fails to find a team-mate. United need to address this situation.
13 min: Lingard dribbles, ball glued to his boot, down the middle in intricate style. He nearly breaks through a forest of Norwich defenders, but Rupp is one man too many and he blocks before a shot’s sent goalwards. That was a lovely run, shame it led to nothing.
11 min: United have had 68 percent of possession so far. Lingard and Mata combine down the right and win a corner. Nothing comes from it.
9 min: Lewis finds some space down the left and crosses to the far post. Buendia can’t get a header goalwards, and the danger is gone. After a slow start, some entertainment is threatening to break out.
8 min: The first corner of the day is United’s. It’s swung in from the left. Maguire rises at the far post and loops a header across goal and towards the top left. Krul plucks it from the sky.
7 min: A ridiculous 60 seconds for Bailly. First he executes a preposterous belly flop upon being shoved lightly in the back by McLean. Then he stands on the ball near the left-hand corner flag with Cantwell applying pressure. Cantwell can’t find anyone in yellow in the middle, and Bailly breathes a long sigh of relief.
5 min: Buendia drives down the right, with Rupp by his side. United look a little light at the back, so they’re grateful that Buendia takes his eye off the ball and dribbles straight into Fred.
3 min: Aarons miscontrols a simple pass from Godfrey and it’s a United throw deep in Norwich territory. Fred drives at the Norwich box from the left, and the hosts are relieved when he miscontrols. The ball’s finally cleared.
2 min: United quickly assume control. Dalot and Mata probe down the right. Then McTominay takes his time before floating a diagonal ball towards nobody in particular. Goal kick. A gentle start, in other words.
Norwich get the ball rolling ... but only after all 22 players take a knee. Black lives matter.
Before we kick off, there’s a minute of applause for those working on the frontline during this pandemic. Also a time to remember the souls lost to the virus.
The teams are out! Manchester United emerge from the tight tunnel first, according to distancing protocol. They’re wearing their famous red shirts and black shorts. Norwich soon follow in their trademark yellow and green. We’ll be off soon!
Now it’s the turn of United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and he appears extremely relaxed, laughing off a question about his eight changes. “Ah, it’s only one change from the last round! And Harry Maguire was meant to play that one but he was sick! This is a team that deserved another chance in the FA Cup. They played well against Derby and we decided to give them another go. I feel we’ve got a strong squad, we trust the players to go out there and show what they are capable of. There’s ten full internationals there, so it should be a good team. The FA Cup is a great tournament. To be able to lift it, for a team that is coming together, that would be fantastic. But all eyes on this one. The boys are ready.”
Norwich boss Daniel Farke speaks! “We know we are the underdog. It’s in the DNA of Manchester United, they are always competing for titles and it’s their last chance this season, so they will be highly motivated. And they are 12 games unbeaten, with all their players more or less available. So we are full of respect. We know we need something really special, but we are really motivated.”
Of course, we had been expecting to be waist-deep in the Euros by late June. But here we are, concerned with the FA Cup instead. Strange times, strange times. For those suffering a pang of Euro withdrawal, today marks the four-year anniversary of this ...
Norwich City make three changes to the side defeated at home by Everton three days ago. Onel Hernandez, Ondrej Duda and Josip Drmic are replaced by Emiliano Buendia, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki.
Manchester United make eight changes to the team that brushed Sheffield United aside midweek. Cup goalkeeper Sergio Romero replaces David de Gea. Elsewhere, in come Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, Scott McTominay, Fred, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Odion Ighalo; out go Victor Lindelof, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.
Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Godfrey, Klose, Lewis, Tettey, McLean, Rupp, Buendia, Cantwell, Pukki.
Subs: McGovern, Vrancic, Leitner, Hernandez, Stiepermann, Trybull, Drmic, Duda, Idah.
Manchester United: Romero, Dalot, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, Mata, Fernandes, Lingard, Ighalo.
Subs: De Gea, Fosu-Mensah, Williams, Pereira, Matic, Pogba, Greenwood, Martial, Rashford.
Norwich City have a better record against Manchester United in the FA Cup than you might imagine. A far better record. United won the first tie between the two clubs in 1906 easily, 3-0 at their old Bank Street ground; they won the last time the clubs met in the cup in 1994, Eric Cantona and Roy Keane doing the business at Carrow Road. But in between, there were three other meetings ... and Norwich won them all.
January 1959: United, en route to a second-place finish in the league, are stuffed by third-tier Norwich in the third round. Terry Bly is the two-goal hero of a 3-0 shock in the Carrow Road snow. The legendary John Arlott was in the stand, reporting for the Observer. “The East Anglian roar, which had risen through defiance and hope to expectation, ended in a bugle of exultation. It wasn’t merely a famous, but a well-won, victory.” City made it all the way to the semis, before losing narrowly to Luton Town of the First Division.Continue reading...
- Manchester United manager pays tribute to champions
- ‘We’re going to do everything we can to go past them’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes Liverpool will find it difficult to emulate the sustained success of Manchester United’s 13 Premier League titles in 20 years under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Jürgen Klopp’s side clinched a 19th championship when Manchester City lost at Chelsea on Thursday. This ended a 30-year wait and Liverpool’s 23-point lead over City with seven matches left suggests a period of dominance could be established but Solskjær questioned whether United’s fiercest rivals – or any other club – could repeat Ferguson’s achievement.Continue reading...
Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Lars Sivertsen and Marcus Bean look back at the midweek Premier League games as Liverpool now stand on the verge of the Premier League title. The team also discuss Anthony Martial’s hat-trick, Arsenal dishing out contracts like it’s Christmas, the latest action in Europe and they preview the FA Cup quarter finals
We start at Anfield, where Liverpool swept aside in-form Crystal Palace to close in on their long-awaited Premier League title, which could be secured on Thursday evening if Manchesyer City do not beat Chelsea. We ask what they need to do to be considered one of the greatest teams the league has ever seen.
We then move on to the rest of the Premier League action, which saw important wins in the battle for European football by Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Wolves. We also look at the relegation battle as Norwich sunk further, while Villa gained an important point on their rivals.
In the final part, Lars gives us a brief European roundup before we preview the FA Cup quarter-final matches and speak to Marcus about his director of football training, Black Lives Matter and the upcoming League One play-offs.
Anthony Martial scored Manchester United’s first Premier League hat-trick since Robin van Persie for Sir Alex Ferguson’s title-winners in April 2013 as Sheffield United were cuffed aside.
It was also the Frenchman’s inaugural career hat-trick, moving to a best ever tally of 19 in all competitions for United, who stretched their unbeaten run to 13 matches and took their points tally to 49 with seven games left, two behind Chelsea in fourth, who play Manchester City on Thursday. Of Martial, Ole Gunnar Solskjær said: “I’m very happy for Anthony, it’s a shame he couldn’t celebrate with out fans.”Continue reading...
- Live updates from Old Trafford, kick-off 6pm (BST)
- Follow Wolves v Bournemouth and Newcastle v Villa
- Norwich v Everton | Email Barry or tweet @bglendenning
59 min: Martial plays the ball wide to Rashford, whose attempted cross from the left is put out for a corner. Again, nothing comes of the set piece. On the touchline, Chris Wilder is losing his mind, effing and jeffing like a sailor at the top of his voice.
56 min: Mason Greenwood tries another shot from distance after receiving a pass from Paul Pogba. His low drive takes a deflection of Phil Jagielka and goes out for a corner. Nothing comes of the set piece. This is mind-numbingly tedious fare, which will suit Manchester United just fine. They’re controlling possession and letting Sheffield United’s players run their legs into stumps trying to get the ball back from them.
54 min: Relentless pressure from Manchester United against a Sheffield United side who seem to know their goose is cooked and are focussing on containment. Another Manchester United goal would finish this match as a contest and a spectacle altogether.
53 min: Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Anthony Martial combine down the right, the former winning a throw-in deep in Sheffield United territory when his attempted cross is blocked and put out of play.
51 min: Manchester United corner. With what looks suspiciously like a mis-kick, Bruno Fernandes pulls the ball to the edge of the penalty area, where Victor Lindelof is caught by surprise.
49 min: Chris Basham sends in a delightful cross from the right flank. It’s on a plate for Oli McBurnie at the near post, but he fails to make any contact with the ball as he leaps to head it home. That’s poor.
46 min: John Fleck tries to play David McGoldrick in behind but short changes him with his pass. The man they call “Dizzy” has to stretch to control the ball and loses possession to Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
46 min: Play resumes with Sheffield United having made two changes at the interval. Lys Mousset and Oliver Norwood are both off injured and have been replaced by Oli McBurnie and Sander Berge.
A brace from Anthony Martial separates the sides as they go in for the break, the Frenchman scoring at the beginning and end of a half in which Manchester United had it very easy. The hosts also had a goal disallowed, while Marcus Rashford missed a sitter - all available evidence suggests Chris Wilder’s men have a mountain to climb in the second half.
45+2 min: Manchester United have been making hay down the right flank and they try to do so again. Martial tees up Greenwood, whose scuffed shot from distance doesn’t trouble Moore in the Sheffield United goal.
45+1 min: That’s a real kick in the swingers for Sheffield United, who had got themselves back into the game after a very poor opening 25 minutes. You can’t see them coming back from that particular hammer-blow and it’s no surprise to see that on their bench, Chris Wilder has his head in his hands.
Martial scores his second - stabbing the ball home from eight yards out after getting on the end of a low Aaron Wan-Bissaka cross from the right.
43 min: Paul Pogba clips a deft little pass over the top towards Rashford on the edge of the six-yard box. It’s headed clear by a defender.
41 min: In tonight’s three other 6pm Premier League kick-offs it’s scoreless across the board. Of course it is. Lifting the nation’s morale, see.
40 min: On the touchline, McBurnie is made to wait as Mousset decides to see if he can make it to half-time.
39 min: Lys Mousset goes to ground and kicks off his boot. It looks like his race is run, but he’s getting treatment from a physio who’s wearing a facemask and what look like scuba diving goggles. On the touchline, Oli McBurnie prepares for action.
37 min: Enda Stevens and John Fleck combine down the left flank and win another corner for Sheffield United, who have looked much improved since the drinks break. Lys Mousset is visibly struggling for them, limping badly. For the second time in quick succession, the ball drifts out of play from the corner. What a waste ...
36 min: Worrying times for Manchester United fans as Bruno Fernandes adjourns to the side of the pitch to receive treatment for a knee injury. There’s no break in play and after about a minute he sprints back into action.
33 min: Sheffield United win a corner from which nothing comes after Victor Lindelof puts the ball out of play.
32 min: Bruno Fernandes tries to pick out Marcus Rashford with a reverse pass in behind but the pair get their wires crossed and Sheffield United are able to clear. Marcus Rashford looks to be lacking a tiny bit of sharpness since returning from his busy lockdown - he had a quiet game against Tottenham and despite teeing up Martial for Manchester United’s opener tonight, has since missed an open goal. He’ll come good soon enough - there’s no denying his talent.
30 min: Sheffield United enjoy a rare period of sustained possession on the edge of the final third but are unable to unpick the lock and Manchester United’s defence holds firm. John Lundstram eventually tries a shot from distance but his effort sails wide.
28 min: George Baldock plays a cross-field pass from right to left to Enda Stevens, but the Irishman is robbed of possession by Mason Greenwood.
26 min: “Sheffield United need to work out a way of winning the ball higher up the pitch,” says Gary Neville on Sky Sports. “They’re just going deeper and deeper.”
Water break: What are the chances, do you think, of these water breaks becoming permanent fixtures and football matches being turned into games of four quarters rather than two halves? Before too long, don’t be surprised if TV networks start sneaking in a couple of adverts. Or maybe I’m just too cynical.
23 min: It’ll be time for the water break any second now and I suspect it can’t come quickly enough for Chris Wilder, who will doubtless have some instructions for his players after their diabolical start to this game.
21 min: Another corner for the hosts. Fernandes plays the ball to the far post, where Harry Maguire heads home. Anthony Taylor blows his whistle for a two-handed Maguire shove on Jagielka as he rose to head the ball and the goal is disallowed. A quick check by Stuart Attwell at VAR HQ later and play resumes.
19 min: More Manchester United pressure. Bruno Fernandes tries his luck from distance but Phil Jagielka blocks his effort. Fernandes looks a great signing for United.
18 min: Bruno Fernandes tries to whip the ball into the top left-hand corner but Simon Moore tips the ball out for a corner. From the set piece, the referee spots an infringement as the ball comes into the penalty area and awards Sheffield United a free-kick.
17 min: Rashford plays the ball forward to Luke Shaw in the inside left channel and he’s pulled to the ground by George Baldock. Free-kick for Manchester United, between the left side of the |Sheffield United penalty area and the touchline.
15 min: A reminder that it’s the hottest day of the year in Manchester, if not the entire UK. Early indications suggest it could be a very long evening for Sheffield United.
13 min: With Manchester United attacking on the break and Simon Moore committed, Martial turns provider and plays the ball a couple of yards to his right into the path of Marcus Rashford. The striker somehow contrives to side-foot the ball wide with an empty goal gaping in front of him. That was a lightning fast counter-attack, but Jack Robinson got back and did just enough to put Rashford off. That’s a shocking miss.
12 min: Sheffield United seem a bit shell-shocked after going behind so early. George Baldock advances into the Manchester United penalty area and gets a sight of goal, but his shot is blocked.
8 min: Martial really needed his wits about him there, doing well to convert a screamer of a delivery from Marcus Rashford. The patron saint of hungry British school children got in around Phil Jagielka at the byline and pulled the ball towards the edge of the six-yard box with phenomenal speed, but Martial was alert enough to get in front of his man at the near post and poke home from three yards.
Manchester United lead as Anthony Martial converts a bullet-like low pull-back from Marcus Rashford at the near post.
5 min: Manchester United go on the counter-attack and win their first corner when Anthony Martial tries and fails to take the ball past Chris Basham. Bruno Fernandes swings the ball into the Manchester United penalty area, where it’s only half cleared. A subsequent Nemanja Matic pass towards Mason Greenwood from the edge of the penalty area is cleared by Enda Stevens.
4 min: Simon Moore gets his first touch of the game in the Sheffield United goal, fielding a back pass and sending the ball forward.
2 min: Sheffield United begin on the front foot and Victor Lindelof is forced into action to deal with an Oliver Norwood cross aimed towards George Baldock.
1 min: Following a minute’s silence for former Manchester United full-back Tony Dunne, who died two weeks ago, the players take a knee and play begins. A Dubliner, Dunne played left-back in the Manchester United side that won the European Cup in 1968.
Not long now: The teams are out on the pitch, the Stone Roses soundtracking their arrival in the empty Old Trafford with This Is The One. The stands are empty, but there are 40,000 digital images of fans from around the world in assorted stands. It looks quite good, to be fair.
On Sky Sports: Graeme Souness is in as a pundit alongside Jamie Redknapp and is defending himself against the relentless criticism he gets for his relentless criticism of Paul Pogba.
“I get hammered for this,” he says. “The midfield is the only position on the pitch where you’re trying to do the exact same thing ss the person you’re marking,” he adds, explaining that just for once he’d like to see Pogba go out and say he’s going to work harder than the guy he’s marking, rather than try to outdo him in the fancy tricks and flicks department.
For Manchester United, Ollie Gunnar Solskjær makes three changes from the side that started against Tottenham Hotspur. Paul Pogba gets his first start since September, while Nemanja Matic also starts in midfield with a beefed up Mason Greenwood playing in a front three. Fred, Scott McTominay and Dan James make way for the trio of newcomers.
Five of the personnel who started Sheffield United’s defeat at the hands of Newcastle United are out today, with two of the changes enforced. Simon Moore starts in goal instead of Dean Henderson, who isn’t allowed to play against his parent club, while Phil Jagielka is in for the suspended John Egan. Further up the field, Lys Mousset, David McGoldrick and John Lundstram start, while Sander Berge, Billy Sharp and Oli McBurnie drop to the bench.
Manchester United: De Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, Matic, Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Bailly, Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, James, Romero, Ighalo, McTominay, Williams.
The view inside Old Trafford pic.twitter.com/1dhUr1ecA4
Manchester United came from 2-0 down to take the lead but Oli McBurnie’s 90th-minute equaliser survived a VAR check for a 3-3 draw between the sides at Bramall Lane in November. Louise Taylor was there for the Guardian ...
Referee: Anthony Taylor
A paucity of fit centre-backs means Sheffield United’s manager could be forced to change his formation for the first time this season tonight, switching from three to four at the back. “There’s a thought process of letting them go again and just replacing like for like, Simon [Moore] or Michael [Verrips] coming in [as goalkeeper] and most probably Jags coming in as the middle centre half,” he told BBC Radio Sheffield. “There’s also a situation where I might change the shape.”
“We’ve developed over the season and I think now we had a spell of 11 unbeaten,” said Manchester United’s in the build-up to today’s game, when asked if he was planning a summer transfer splurge. “But then you add Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford to that and you’re thinking ‘Yeah, we’re not too far away and I’m very happy with the squad.
Paul Pogba could make his first start for Manchester United since 30 September after impressing off the bench against Tottenham. Despite limping off against Tottenham, Victor Lindelof is available for selection, while Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe – unlikely starters at the best of times – remain sidelined with injuries.
An eerily empty and echoey Old Trafford is the setting for today’s match between Manchester United and Sheffield United, two teams harbouring notions of playing in next season’s Champions League.
Five points behind Chelsea and just ahead of Wolves on goal difference, the hosts are fifth in the table but, with the outcome of Manchester City’s appeal against their Champions League ban still to be announced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, have no idea if that will be good enough to earn them a return to European football’s top table. They must aim to reel in Chelsea and finish fourth.Continue reading...
- Manchester United manager defends his goalkeeper
- Henderson will play for England and United, he says
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has described David de Gea as the world’s best goalkeeper while stating Dean Henderson can one day be the Manchester United and England No 1.
De Gea’s position is again under scrutiny after the error that allowed Steven Bergwijn’s shot to squirm in during United’s 1-1 draw at Tottenham on Friday. In the latter part of last season the Spaniard made a series of mistakes that cost goals and points.Continue reading...
- McTominay extends contract until 2025
- Solskjær praises ‘vital part of our midfield’
Scott McTominay has signed a new contract at Manchester United to 2025 with the option of a further year.
The 23-year-old has established himself in midfield, having made his debut under Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s predecessor, José Mourinho, as a late substitute in a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal in May 2017.Continue reading...
Johnny Gorman made his international debut at 17. A decade on he now hopes to help other young players as a psychologist
Johnny Gorman was still at school when he won his first Northern Ireland cap against Turkey in May 2010. He made his next appearance for the national team away in Italy in a Euro 2012 qualifier, playing against Andrea Pirlo and Daniele de Rossi in midfield. At the end of the game, De Rossi sought out the teenager to give him his jersey. By the time Pirlo and De Rossi were playing for Italy in the Euro 2012 final the following summer, Gorman’s time at the top was all but over.
Today, at 27, Gorman is in his second year at Bath University studying for a degree in psychology. He plays for the university XI but his days as a professional are long gone. Preparing for Pirlo has been swapped for psychology tutorials and pints in the university bar. “I wasn’t really a typical footballer,” he says. “Although I really liked the game, it was never the be-all and end-all for me. I just had so many other interests growing up.”Continue reading...
Ole Gunnar Solskjær said his team had improved since before lockdown started after Manchester United came from behind to draw 1-1 with Tottenham on Friday and said he was 'happy' Paul Pogba was back after injury.
The draw leaves United in fifth place, two adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, with Tottenham in eighth and six points adrift of Frank Lampard's side
- Tottenham manager diving Bruno Fernandes ‘exposed’
- Mourinho also suggests five subs rule favours ‘powerful squads’
José Mourinho said he was “really upset” at how Tottenham were pegged back late on for a 1-1 draw by Manchester United, complaining at the nature of the equalising penalty and an even later incident that VAR ruled on, before making a point about how the new five substitutes rule favours clubs with greater resources.
Paul Pogba, on as a second-half substitute for United, won the penalty that Bruno Fernandes converted, getting in front of Eric Dier with a piece of skill and then going to ground. United almost had another spot-kick when Fernandes went down under another Dier challenge only for VAR replays to show that he had dived and make the over-rule.Continue reading...
When Paul Pogba came on against Tottenham, United had their two biggest talents on the pitch together for the first time and this could prove decisive in the run-in
It was, you suspect, a move that Paul Pogba had been practising barefoot in his Cheshire front room for the last three months: tweaking, fine‑tuning, waiting impatiently for the moment when he could unleash it on some poor unwitting mug of an opponent. And here, 10 minutes from the end of a taut and enthralling game, it was Eric Dier who found himself desperately lunging at thin air, giving away the penalty from which Bruno Fernandes earned Manchester United a deserved share of the points.
Pogba and Fernandes. Fernandes and Pogba. And Scott McTominay, of course, although you suspect he’ll struggle to share top billing. If not quite the most ambitious crossover event in history, then the entrance of Pogba as a substitute in the 63rd minute – joining the Portuguese international on the pitch in a competitive fixture for the first time – marked the point at which United fans got their first look at their new £136m midfield axis. The early auguries, it has to be said, were good.Continue reading...
The reaction of Eric Dier, the Tottenham defender, said it all. He had just conceded one penalty, which allowed Bruno Fernandes to equalise for Manchester United, and now it appeared that he had conceded another at the very end.
Dier knew that he had not touched Fernandes before the United man went to ground but the referee, Jon Moss, had bought it and pointed to the spot. Dier was flabbergasted. Enter VAR. When the first replay was shown, it was plain that Fernandes had, at best, initiated the contact and, at worst, dived. Dier was reprieved. No penalty. Spurs breathed in collective relief.Continue reading...
- Premier League updates from the 8.15pm BST kick-off
- Restart preview: Tottenham | Restart preview: Man Utd
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57 min: This match is beginning to open up, as players get tired during the first game back. This may well benefit United more than Spurs, but we’ll see.
55 min: Martial runs at the Spurs defence, then lays off to Fernandes on the right. Fernandes has a whack first time. His low diagonal fizzer whistles past the left-hand post, an inch or so away. So close. Lloris makes out like he had it covered, but I’m not so sure. Had that been on target, tucked tight in the corner, it’d have been in.
53 min: McTominay takes a speculative shot from distance. It slaps Fernandes in the back. United can’t get going up front at all. “Entertaining as Keane’s tirade was, I can’t help thinking he was performing for the cameras,” argues Thomas Atkins. “It was just some sub-optimal defending followed by a goalkeeping error, but Keane went off like they were losing 8-0. It’s the Michael Bolton problem. If you turn everything up to 11 in the first verse, where do you go from there?”
51 min: A free kick for United out on the right. Fernandes curls it in. It’s easily headed clear by Dier. Spurs stream up the other end, Lamela attempting to slip Son clear down the inside-left channel. But once again his final ball is appalling. He’s been better breaking things down than building them up today.
49 min: Martial has only had nine touches so far tonight, Kane ten. Fair enough, it happens to strikers sometimes. But Sissoko’s only touched the ball ten times, too. He’s playing in the centre of midfield! God help him when Jose discovers that stat.
47 min: James has a wee probe down the left and nearly works his way into the box, but he’s got no options inside and is eventually forced to turn tail.
The actual football can’t live up to that majestic Roy Keane broadside, in that sense we’re done here for the evening. But here we go again. Spurs get the ball rolling for the second half.
On Sky Sports, Roy Keane is fuming at footage of the Spurs goal. The teeth are bared, the brow is furrowed, and there’s quite a lot of steam coming out of his lugs. “I’m shocked at that goal ... I’m fuming here, watching that game of football ... I can’t believe [spits] Shaw, heading the ball up in the air and then running forward ... I am staggered at Maguire, [with great emphasis] staggered at an international player getting done like this ... and I am sick to death of this goalkeeper. I would be fighting him at half time, there is no getting away from that. I would be swinging punches at that guy. This is a standard save for an established international goalkeeper. I am flabbergasted. Maguire! And De Gea ... I wouldn’t even let him on the bus after the match. Get a taxi back to Manchester. Shocking, I am disgusted. De Gea?! Maguire? Letting people run past you while playing for Manchester United? That De Gea is the most overrated goalkeeper I’ve seen in a long time.” He then suggests he would have saved the Son header De Gea tipped over too. In fact De Gea should have caught it. Patrice Evra and Kelly Cates allow themselves a smile and a guffaw, but as Cates cuts to commercials, Keane sits quietly fuming. Magnificent television. Swinging punches, a taxi home ... what a glorious tirade!
Half-time entertainment. Give our new Forgotten Stories podcast a whirl, you won’t regret it. The latest edition tells the wonderful story of Fred Spiksley, the outside-left who dabbled in film and became embroiled in a wartime escape mission.
And that’s the end of the first half. United were beginning to get on top when Spurs broke and scored, a combination of Bergwijn’s brilliance and De Gea’s weak wrists. Since then, the hosts have been the better side. Some thinking to do for Ole at half-time. Will we see Pogba?
45 min +3: Fernandes jinks his way past Winks and lashes a swerver towards goal. Lloris is right behind it.
45 min +2: Wan-Bissaka and James combine down the right and earn a corner off Son. Fernandes takes. Maguire attacks it with a view of winning a header, but Dier gets in the way.
45 min +1: Aurier has a crack from the right-hand edge of the United D. The ball curls harmlessly wide left, never troubling the goal.
45 min: United could do with the half-time whistle. They’ll hear it in three minutes’ time.
43 min: ... Winks blazes over the bar from distance. The shot deflected off Fernandes’ toe, but Spurs aren’t getting the second corner they’re owed.
42 min: Lamela and Aurier work the ball wide right for Son, who has a belt from the edge of the box. The shot is deflected out for a corner, from which ...
41 min: Lamela taps Rashford on the ankle. He’s surely tested the referee’s patience once too often ... but no, still no booking. Then Dier barges into James. No foul, though it should be. James, a ball of frustration, hacks back at Dier, and into the book he goes.
40 min: A game of head tennis breaks out.
38 min: Something of a lull as the game gets scrappy, in the early/pre-season style.
36 min: Spurs are getting plenty of joy down the right. Sissoko, Aurier and Bergwijn ping a couple of triangles and nearly open United up. Not quite. Shaw has clearly been identified as a weak link by Mourinho. Like that’s breaking news.
34 min: Lindelof tries to shepherd a long Spurs punt out for a goal kick. Kane gives him a cheeky little shove in the back, and the ball deflects off him and out for a corner. Lindelof looks aggrieved, but that was careless. Nothing comes of the resulting corner, which is just as well for the Swede.
32 min: De Gea makes up for his mistake with a wonderful save! Bergwijn springs a rickety offside trap and romps down the right. He crosses deep for Son, who guides a header back across goal towards the top right. It’s heading in, but De Gea tips over the bar for a corner, from which nothing comes.
30 min: ... nothing much happens. United were very close to getting back on terms in short order, there.
29 min: A free kick for United out on the right. Fred curls it in. Rashford gets in ahead of Sanchez, but can’t get a clean header on target from six yards. The ball’s bundled out for a corner, from which ...
United were in the process of gaining the upper hand, but they’ve gone behind! Bergwijn picks up a Sissoko header, just inside the United half. He drives down the right, steps inside, leaving Maguire for dust, and batters a shot through De Gea and into the right-hand side of the net! It’s a hell of a run, and some finish, though the keeper might have done better.
26 min: Fernandes is beginning to call the shots. He slithers in from the left and rasps a fierce low shot straight at Lloris, who handles a fizzing ball extremely well. Seconds earlier, James skittered down the right but couldn’t find Rashford or Martial with a poor cross. United are on top here.
24 min: Drinks break! As the players imbibe, the virtual fans yammer on. “Football’s new normal, as everything is now tediously called, reminds me of the early years of soccerball in America where the visiting Alex Ferguson was amused by ‘the crowd cheering at all the wrong times’,” writes Justin Kavanagh. “I’m watching on NBC who give viewers the option of added crowd noise or not. How Lord Ferg would have liked that in the era of the noisy neighbours.”
22 min: Fernandes whips a ball in from the right. Sanchez’s clearing header is hopeless, and falls at the feet of Rashford, ten yards out just to the left of goal. His low drive, angled towards the bottom right, is kicked away adroitly by Lloris. United quickly come again, Fred having a batter from distance. Lloris deals with that one easily.
21 min: Fred drives down the middle of the park and is clumsily brought to ground by Davies. Yet another challenge that could easily have ended in a yellow card, but the ref’s in a good mood tonight.
19 min: Rashford swings one in from the left. Davies is forced to head out for a corner. Fernandes has two goes, and neither of them are particularly good. Spurs clear their lines.
17 min: Lamela wildly shoves McTominay from behind. He should go in the book but the referee opts to give Spurs a free one as well.
16 min: Then suddenly Spurs spring, latching onto a loose ball and pouring forward. Again Lamela has the opportunity to send a team-mate clear; again he hesitates and the chance to release Kane down the inside-left channel is gone.
15 min: United stroke it around the back awhile. They go nowhere, and Spurs are quite happy to sit back.
13 min: Son sashays in from the left, drops a shoulder, and makes space to shoot. He dribbles a miserable long-range effort towards the bottom left. It’s no problem for De Gea.
11 min: United stroke it around the back awhile. Then Wan-Bissaka suddenly rakes one down the right, nearly releasing Bruno Fernandes. Davies steps in to put a stop to Fernandes’ gallop, and Lamela bustles up the other end. He’s hauled back by McTominay, who is told by the referee in no uncertain terms to get his house in order. But there’s no yellow card. Next time he’ll probably not be so fortunate.
9 min: Lamela picks up the ball in the centre circle and should send Son clear down the middle. United’s defence is all over the shop! But Lamela dillies and dallies, making what looks like a simple pass extremely hard. When he eventually tries an elaborate chip, Son has wandered offside and the pass is wayward anyway. Son should have been bearing down on goal, one on one.
7 min: Shaw flicks a pass down the left for Rashford, who looks as though he’s got the beating of Johnson Sanchez. The pair come together, and it looks like a free kick to United, but the ref’s not interested and it’s just a goal kick.
6 min: A cute flick from Son on the left, inside to Lamela, who shuttles the ball on to Bergwijn. He lays off to Kane, who sprays a pass down the right for Aurier, in acres. Where’s Shaw?! Aurier tries a low diagonal shot that’s not great, although it deflects out for a corner. Nothing comes off the set piece. Both sides look in the mood to go for this.
4 min: McTominay is upended out on the left wing, punishment from winning the ball well off Bergwijn. The free kick’s hoicked into the mixer, and Rashford wins a header, the ball deflecting off Dier and out for a goal kick. But the flag goes up for offside, correctly so.
2 min: United, having got the ball rolling, are on the front foot quickly. A long ball pumped down the middle forces Dier to hack out under pressure from Martial. United commit plenty of men forwards, but lose possession from the throw and Bergwijn threatens to break clear. He can’t launch an attack but at least Spurs have cleared the danger.
The referee blows the whistle to get the game underway ... and all players take a knee. Black lives matter.
Before kick-off, there’s a minute of solemn reflection and polite applause, in memory of those who have lost their lives to the coronavirus. We’ll be off in a minute.
It’s a miserable evening in north London. Rain falling steadily at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Such a beautiful arena; so odd to see the stands completely empty. But here we are ... and here come the teams. Spurs are in their famous lilywhite, while Manchester United wear their equally storied red.
Ole speaks. “When you are happy outside football, you can be happy on the pitch as well. And Marcus Rashford is a fine human being, a fine young man, and he’s been looking really good in training. I think we’ll see the best of him. We’re excited to get back in the swing of things. Then again, the empty stadium and lack of emotion is going to be a new experience for the boys.”
Jose speaks. “We have options [at centre-half]. We try to analyse the moment, and that depends on the players’ bodies, how they react to this long period. United is a powerful team in counter-attack and we choose the two that can cope better with it. We want to play. We want the game to start, focus on the game, and forget the stadium is empty. When we start the game it cannot be strange, we have to focus.”
Black lives matter. Both teams warm up. Both teams send a loud and clear message to racists: do one.
Retro reports. Here’s what happened when Tottenham hosted Manchester United last season ...
Harry Kane is back, fit for the first time since New Year’s Day. Meanwhile Eric Dier gets the nod ahead of Toby Alderweireld in the Spurs defence; Erik Lamela is preferred to Giovani Lo Celso up the other end; Tanguy Ndombele still hasn’t completely won Jose over and is on the bench; and Dele Alli is suspended for a social-media transgression. It gets everyone in the end, you’d all be well advised to turn it in.
Paul Pogba is fit again, but he only makes the Manchester United bench. Scott McTominay gets the midfield anchor role ahead of Nemanja Matic. And like Kane, Marcus Rashford plays for the first time since January.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Aurier, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Sissoko, Winks, Son, Lamela, Bergwijn, Kane.
Subs: Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Lo Celso, Sessegnon, Gazzaniga, Ndombele, Skipp, Fernandes, White.
Manchester United: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, James, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Bailly, Pogba, Mata, Lingard, Romero, Ighalo, Greenwood, Matic, Williams.
The lockdown came at exactly the wrong time for Manchester United. Here’s what they did in their last 11 matches before the Premier League was suspended in March: Win! Win! Draw! Win! Draw! Win! Win! Draw! Win! Win! Win! The last six matches in that sequence saw them rattle up an aggregate score of 19-1. Their chops were up all right after that tricky start to the season.
Tottenham Hotspur were far happier to press pause. Here’s what they did in their last six matches before the lockdown: Lose! Lose! Ship a half-time lead to lose! Lose a penalty shoot-out before exchanging views with members of the crowd! Draw! Get thumped by Leipzig! The following three barren months have provided a welcome opportunity to take stock.Continue reading...
Tottenham manager José Mourinho spoke as his side prepare to face his former club Manchester United in their Premier League return on Friday.
'How the boys are going to react, how they are going to control their feelings, their emotions, or lack of it – playing in an empty stadium, it's the unknown for all of us,' he said.
Mourinho confirmed that the previously injured Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Moussa Sissoko will all start, but Dele Alli misses out through suspension
- Manchester United manager backs Rashford to captain England
- ‘He’s changed the lives of so many kids this summer’
Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes Marcus Rashford is a potential future England captain and says it is an honour to manage the Manchester United striker, whose campaign over free meals for schoolchildren forced a government U-turn.
On Tuesday Boris Johnson reversed a decision not to give vouchers for use in the summer holidays, with the prime minister praising Rashford and his determination on the issue. Rashford has also donated time and money to the FareShare charity, which has raised £20m to help feed vulnerable children.Continue reading...
By persuading the government to extend the free meal voucher scheme, the Manchester United footballer has taught the prime minister a lesson on solidarity
This Friday, Marcus Rashford will hope to play a starring role for Manchester United, as his team resumes its interrupted Premier League campaign. Even if the 22-year-old striker scores a match-winning hat-trick, it will still not come close to being his best performance of the week.
On Monday, Mr Rashford published an open letter to MPs. In it he called for an extension, through the summer holidays, of the voucher scheme that has provided children from poorer families with free meals during lockdown. With cool condescension, Downing Street initially let it be known that, though the footballer had used his fame to “highlight some very important issues”, Boris Johnson would not be taking up his idea. The scheme, it was needlessly pointed out, ordinarily operated only during term time.Continue reading...
Manchester United striker’s campaign to extend free school meals programme, initially rejected by Boris Johnson, has struck a chord with the wider public
A young man renowned for hitting the target on and off the pitch. The Manchester United and England striker has a social conscience as vast as his footballing talent and has rarely put a foot wrong since bursting on to the scene as an unheralded 18-year-old in 2016. Rashford became an instant hero after hitting four goals in his first two games for United, underlined his potential by scoring three minutes into his England debut and has performed wonders for the community during the coronavirus pandemic, culminating in him forcing the government to row back on its decision not to extend its free school meals voucher system for low-income families in England over the summer holidays. Boris Johnson initially stood firm but the prime minister quickly discovered that Rashford was not going to budge. The 22-year-old kept urging Johnson to relent and he duly did so on Tuesday, announcing a new £120m voucher scheme. “I don’t even know what to say,” Rashford tweeted. “Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020.”Continue reading...
After a three-month hiatus, some players are in desperate need of a successful end to the season
Even before a lockdown during which he received a stern talking to from Arsenal for standing too close to his valet and then appearing to inhale nitrous oxide from a balloon, this has been a challenging campaign for Lacazette. After entering it as Arsenal’s player of the season, an early ankle injury stripped his confidence bare. His struggles in front of goal led to a nine-game drought until February, made worse by the fact that his presence shifted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the flank. This seems like an important opportunity for him to return with a clean slate and provide Mikel Arteta with some enthusiasm for his future at the club. Otherwise there will be many questions.Continue reading...
Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford has stepped up his campaign for the government to fund free meals for struggling children through the summer, a measure he says he had to rely on as a boy.
The 22-year-old has helped to raise million of pounds with charity FareShare UK to supply meals to families who are ‘existing on a knife’s edge’ and written an open letter to MPs to reconsider the decision to cancel the government’s food voucher scheme over the summer holidays.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Monday, Rashford said: ‘What families are going through now, I’ve once had to go through that and it’s very difficult to find a way out. It’s very important for me to help people who are struggling’Continue reading...
- Manchester United striker wrote open letter requesting u-turn
- Downing Street said prime minister would respond to Rashford
Boris Johnson has rejected a plea from Marcus Rashford to reconsider the government’s decision not to extend its free school meals voucher system for low-income families over the summer holiday period.
The Manchester United and England striker has urged politicians to perform a u-turn and ensure that vulnerable pupils can continue to access the national voucher scheme, which was introduced in March to help poorer families feed their children when schools were closed under lockdown measures.Continue reading...