What the papers say

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Updated: 4 hours 19 min ago

‘We got lucky’: Solskjær grateful to Ronaldo for Manchester United’s winner

Wed, 09/29/2021 - 23:52
  • Victory over Villarreal halts mini-crisis at Old Trafford
  • Ronaldo decisive on day he broke Champions League record

Ole Gunnar Solskjær hailed a “massive moment” for Manchester United after Cristiano Ronaldo’s 95th-minute strike snatched a win against Villarreal and eased the pressure on the manager following a run of three defeats in four matches.

The victory was United’s first in Group F and places them third, a point behind Atalanta, but had seemed unlikely due to a slipshod performance in which Unai Emery’s side took the lead through Paco Alcácer’s second-half goal. Alex Telles equalised soon after and Ronaldo pounced in the dying moments to delight the packed home support and arrest United’s mini-slump.

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Ronaldo’s winner fuels Solskjær myth but success seems as far away as ever | Jonathan Wilson

Wed, 09/29/2021 - 23:04

Manchester United’s Champions League win against Villarreal was ill-deserved – the team are too open and will be punished for it

How much time does love buy you? That Manchester United fans want Ole Gunnar Solskjær to succeed is understandable. It’s not just that he scored vital goals, it’s that he embodied a golden age. Who would not want a returning hero to restore the club to glory? But wishful thinking will not organise a midfield.

The win will part the clouds a little. Solskjær has survived another mini-crisis, but each one leaves him slightly weaker. And this one comes with Cristiano Ronaldo. It may not be fair, given Ronaldo is 36 and, for all his goalscoring ability, increasingly an anachronism, but his signing has increased the pressure on the manager.

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Manchester United 2-1 Villarreal: Champions League – as it happened

Wed, 09/29/2021 - 22:27

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a 95th-minute winner to complete Manchester United’s comeback at Old Trafford

4 min: Villarreal have hardly touched the ball yet. The Old Trafford faithful are giving it plenty. Some pantomime catcalls for Alberto Moreno, formerly of Liverpool. Great atmosphere.

2 min: Telles has a little look down the left. He can’t find anyone in the middle with his cross. Then Lindelof tries to release Sancho with a long pass, but the ball squirts through to Rulli in the Villarreal goal. Finally Ronaldo considers shooting, but shifts the ball left to Fernandes instead. Fernandes - United’s captain for the night in Harry Maguire’s absence - hoicks over from the edge of the box.

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Cristiano Ronaldo rescues Manchester United late on to see off Villarreal

Wed, 09/29/2021 - 22:08

What a finish, and guess who: Cristiano Ronaldo bundled home a breathless 95th-minute winner and maybe jump-started Manchester United’s season. With Atalanta beating Young Boys to lead Group F, Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team are now up and running with three points.

Ronaldo’s box-office intervention should not fool anyone, though, as United were again what they currently are: dazed in defence and dizzy in attack, lacking composure where it matters. This should be of deep concern to Solskjær. His side resemble a kick-and-chase schoolboy proposition which can be found out at any moment.

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Gerónimo Rulli: ‘I never thought about United, De Gea – I hit it with all my soul’

Wed, 09/29/2021 - 08:00

Villarreal’s penalty shootout hero is thrilled to face Ronaldo tonight on his first trip to Manchester despite a spell with City

“‘Gero, don’t screw it up. Just stick it in.’” Gerónimo Rulli puts himself back on the spot and smiles. “And that’s what happened,” he says. All that and it came to this, to him. One shot that would be for ever. Well, two: the penalty he would take and the penalty he would face. It was 10-10 in an extraordinary shootout at the end of the Europa League meeting with Manchester United in May, the first final Villarreal had played, this team from the town of just 50,577, and history was calling him. So was the referee.

“I was walking away when he said: ‘Goalie, your turn,’” Rulli recalls. “‘Me? Are you sure?’ I’d lost count. ‘Are you sure there’s no one left?’ From the moment I took the ball, the key was not to think. In a shootout for a goalkeeper there’s a lot of time alone to think, for pressure to build. Your teammates are scoring all of their penalties, the responsibility grows, and then they depend solely on you. And that’s lovely.”

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Solskjær responds to Neville: ‘pressure is a privilege’ at Manchester United

Tue, 09/28/2021 - 16:30
  • Gary Neville’s comments after poor results prompts response
  • ‘I am here to win – don’t think twice about that,’ says Solskjær

Ole Gunnar Solskjær accepts managing Manchester United is a “results business” and is confident of arresting a run of three defeats in four games, though he will have to do so without Harry Maguire, who will be out for up to a month with a calf problem.

United host Villarreal in Wednesday’s second Champions League group match, after losing the opener at Young Boys. Solskjær’s side followed this by beating West Ham in the Premier League, before reverses to the same team in the Carabao Cup and Aston Villa in the league.

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Arsenal’s derby delight and Guardiola outsmarts Tuchel – Football Weekly

Mon, 09/27/2021 - 15:09

Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Jacob Steinberg and Jordan Jarrett-Bryan react to Arsenal’s convincing win in the north London derby and the rest of the Premier League action

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We start with the north London derby, as Arsenal’s incredible first-half display sank a woeful Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates. Were we too quick to judge Mikel Arteta’s team? Or can they not be properly assessed against such a lacklustre Spurs side?

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Solskjær says Manchester United ready to bounce back from defeats

Sun, 09/26/2021 - 22:30
  • United manager: ‘We will be on front foot against Villarreal’
  • Club have lost past two games and also at Young Boys

After eight games of the season Manchester United are already in desperate-for-a-win territory as they prepare for the visit of Villarreal to Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær remains positive despite the club’s troubling start. “We have a Champions League game and we are looking forward to that,” the United manager said. “We didn’t start well [in the competition] but we will be fired up, the fans and the players, for that one. We will be on the front foot looking to win.”

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Aston Villa’s Kortney Hause wins it as Manchester United blow penalty

Sat, 09/25/2021 - 14:40

Breathless and riveting: Manchester United and Aston Villa put on a show that was half-football, half-basketball and which ended with the surreal sight of Bruno Fernandes hacking over an added-time penalty that would have shared the points.

After Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s moan that spot-kicks had dried up for United since Jürgen Klopp complained in January that they were being awarded a surfeit, Fernandes’s miss offered a comical and cruel irony to close the contest.

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'I've noticed a big difference': Solskjær blames Klopp for penalty count – video

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 17:14

The Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, has claimed that Jürgen Klopp’s comments earlier this year about how many penalties his side receive made a 'big, big difference' to the number his team are awarded.

Klopp said in early January that Manchester United had won more penalties in 'two years' than his Liverpool side had during his five-and-a-half seasons in charge.

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Solskjær blames Klopp comments for Manchester United not getting penalties

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 15:12
  • Liverpool manager spoke about penalty count in January
  • United manager believes that made a ‘big difference’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has claimed that Jürgen Klopp’s intervention regarding how many penalties Manchester United receive made a “big difference” to the number his team are awarded.

Liverpool’s manager said in early January that United in “two years” had won more penalties than his side had during his five and a half seasons in charge.

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Manchester United v Aston Villa: match preview

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 14:52

After losses to Young Boys in the Champions League and West Ham in the Carabao Cup and, considering Manchester United’s star-laden squad, Ole Gunnar Solskjær could use a win. Aston Villa, who handed Everton a 3-0 defeat in their last league outing, should arrive confident, though the last time they won at Old Trafford was December 2009. Jamie Jackson

Saturday 12.30pm

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 09/24/2021 - 00:01

A finely poised North London derby, a meeting of midfield maestros and Mike Dean refereeing Cristiano Ronaldo

Thomas Tuchel has masterminded three wins out of three against Pep Guardiola since his arrival in England. Another at Stamford Bridge on Saturday will give Chelsea a six-point cushion over the reigning champions after as many Premier League games. Guardiola was roundly criticised following City’s Champions League final defeat for not picking a holding midfielder, despite having lost the FA Cup semi-final between the two sides with both Rodri and Fernandinho in his starting lineup, then a subsequent Premier League match with just the Spaniard shielding his defence. In a fixture where it seems Guardiola can’t seem to do right for doing wrong in terms of team selection, we can only ponder if and how he might “overthink” his tactics for this crunch game. BG

Chelsea v Manchester City, Saturday 12.30pm (all times BST)

Brentford v Liverpool, Saturday 5.30pm

Manchester United v Aston Villa, Saturday 12.30pm

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West Ham’s Lanzini strikes to knock Manchester United out of Carabao Cup

Wed, 09/22/2021 - 22:10

West Ham gained revenge for defeat three days ago, eliminating at the first hurdle a Manchester United who have twice been semi-finalists under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. For the closing minutes the manager called on Bruno Fernandes: the move said that the second string he sent out had failed and that the hope now was on his talisman saving the side yet again.

It was not to be. For David Moyes, a former United manager, this was a special win – a first in nine attempts since being sacked by the club – as he saw his men score early, then rely on guts, luck and their wits. Despite Fernandes offering a late show of energy, the visitors motored back to east London with a hard-earned victory and will take on Manchester City in the fourth round.

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Manchester United v West Ham, Chelsea v Aston Villa, and more: Carabao Cup – live!

Wed, 09/22/2021 - 21:03

Millwall: Long, Hutchinson, Murray Wallace, Cooper, Leonard, Pearce, Thompson, Mahoney, Mitchell, Evans, Bradshaw.

Subs: Smith, Malone, Saville, Bodvarsson, Afobe, Ballard, Bialkowski.

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Noble and Moyes share the blame after West Ham throw point away | Jonathan Liew

Sun, 09/19/2021 - 18:41

Hammers went toe to toe with Manchester United and shouldn’t have been relying on a late penalty to earn a draw

Something about it just felt wrong. Brave and heroic and wrong. Suspenseful and theatrical and wrong. This isn’t simply hindsight talking: the introduction of Mark Noble deep into injury time at the London Stadium, for the sole purpose of taking a crucial penalty with West Ham 2-1 down to Manchester United, was greeted by the home fans with the sort of qualified exultation that you might expect at a party when one of the guests turns up with a live goat. Obviously, you know, this is a very cool surprise. Well done on making the effort. We can’t wait to see what happens next. But, um – are you sure you’ve thought this through?

You don’t hear a lot these days about Calum Giles, the former stalwart Great Britain hockey player, and probably not without good reason. But back in the 1990s, Giles was a master of the drag flick who in the wake of the sport’s new rolling substitution rules carved himself out a hugely profitable niche as a specialist penalty-corner taker.

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Lingard fires Manchester United to win as West Ham sub Noble’s penalty saved

Sun, 09/19/2021 - 16:14

Mark Noble was offered one shot and it was of the kind that, throughout his career, he has dispatched with chilling reliability. A handball from Luke Shaw had offered West Ham the chance to salvage a draw during an extraordinary finale and, in fairness to David Moyes, he thought he was on to a sure thing. Noble had taken 42 penalties since turning professional and missed just four; in fact he had not fluffed his lines since 2016. So Moyes turned to his one-man cavalry and, barely breaking stride, Noble jogged from the substitutes’ bench to the spot.

By coincidence, David de Gea had not repelled a penalty for nearly five and a half years. But perhaps this pile‑up of encouraging statistics, coupled with the self-consciously dramatic act of loading the fate of an entire afternoon on a player’s only kick of the game, tilted the odds another way.

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West Ham v Manchester United: Premier League – live!

Sun, 09/19/2021 - 13:08

The purest finisher England has ever produced, Greaves functioned with deadly economy... It was his habit to score his goals in a way that almost took the drama out of the event.

Kurt Zouma and Nikola Vlasic make their full Premier League debuts for West Ham. Vlasic or Jarrod Bowen will play up front instead of the suspended Michail Antonio, a like-for-like replacement either way.

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Jadon Sancho’s station uncertain in shadow of Ronaldo’s shining start

Sat, 09/18/2021 - 22:30

The signing from Dortmund feels like Manchester United’s forgotten big buy but Ole Gunnar Solskjær preaches patience

One of Borussia Dortmund’s English prodigies scored in the Champions League this week. It wasn’t Jadon Sancho. One of Manchester United’s summer signings struck on his first appearances in the Premier League and in Europe. It wasn’t Jadon Sancho.

While Jude Bellingham has assumed the winger’s old status as the prospect who should produce Dortmund a windfall if he returns to his homeland, Sancho has really been upstaged by Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Declan Rice faces suitors Manchester United in search of next level

Sat, 09/18/2021 - 12:00

The West Ham midfielder is getting better all the time and on Sunday he could punish a club who covet him

For a fleeting moment it seemed that Declan Rice had to release the ball. The angle looked tight as West Ham’s captain continued his run into Dinamo Zagreb territory and the sensible move appeared to be finding a way to pick out Michail Antonio, who would have relished the opportunity to score his second goal of the evening.

Yet, as David Moyes pointed out after West Ham got their Europa League campaign off to a flyer at the Maksimir Stadium, there was never any real sense that a cutback was coming. Perhaps it would have arrived in previous seasons, but not this time. Rice knew what he had to do after intercepting a loose pass and powering away from Bruno Petkovic. The midfielder kept going, charging through Dinamo’s faltering defence, using Antonio as a decoy, and he did not hesitate when his run reached its climax, driving a low shot through Dominik Livakovic’s legs to give West Ham an unassailable 2-0 lead over their main rivals in Group H.

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