What the papers say
- United travel to Camp Nou for first leg on 16 February
- Winner secures place in Europa League last-16
Manchester United have been drawn against Barcelona in the Europa League knockout play-off round.
Barcelona have dropped down into the competition after failing to get out of their Champions League group but now provide a stern test for Erik ten Hag’s side, who finished second in their Europa League group.Continue reading...
If this was Aston Villa after three training sessions with Unai Emery, then supporters could be forgiven for departing with a giddy excitement about what the next few years might bring.
Emery has talked about his desire to win a trophy and restore Villa to European competition and this illuminating evisceration of Manchester United capped a sensational start to life for the Spaniard at Villa Park. Goals by the excellent Leon Bailey, Lucas Digne and Jacob Ramsey propelled Villa to victory over United, who succumbed to only their second league defeat since August.Continue reading...
Alejandro Garnacho’s first goal for United wasn’t enough to send his team straight into the last 16, and now some big names lie in wait
7 min: Marin wriggles away from a couple of Manchester United challenges in the centre circle. His attempt to release Sorloth down the right is unceremoniously nixed by Shaw’s no-nonsense intervention, but the home fans enjoyed that little burst of skill.
5 min: Merino slips a pass down the inside-left channel to release Carlos Fernandez into the United box. Fernandez lashes high and hard into the side netting, and the flag goes up correctly for offside anyway.Continue reading...
Squali faliti Jose Mourinho called them, and they await Manchester United. A first goal for 18-year-old Alejandro Garnacho was enough to defeat Real Sociedad but was not enough to progress as winners of the group, so Erik ten Hag’s team will be thrown into a playoff against one of those “failed sharks” from the Champions League: of one Ajax, Barcelona, Juventus, Leverkusen, Salzburg, Sevilla, Shakhtar or Sporting CP will have to be overcome to continue in this competition.
That may not be too terrifying but it wasn’t the way United wanted it. Two more games in the spring aren’t what they wanted either. Garnacho’s superb strike after quarter of an hour of his second start had briefly given them hope of avoiding that, but United needed another goal.Continue reading...
The right-back was offered to Milan last year. Now he is a key player in one of the tightest defences in the Premier League
Manchester United are far from the finished article but, after a rocky start to the season in which they lost to Brighton and Brentford, conceding six goals in the process, the signs are positive for Erik ten Hag. The Dutchman must have been worried about his team after the first two weeks of the campaign, but they have recovered well and sit just a point below the Champions League places with a game in hand on fourth-placed Newcastle.
After a barren run – they have not won a trophy since José Mourinho guided them to success in the Europa League more than five years ago – Ten Hag seems to be getting United back on track. Fans now go to Old Trafford confident that the team will pick up all the spoils, as they have done in four of their last five games, with Newcastle the only side to leave Manchester with a result in that run.Continue reading...
- Manager says 100-goal striker heading for greatness
- Relief at victory after second-half ‘tennis match’
Erik ten Hag lauded “elite” Marcus Rashford after the forward’s 100th Manchester United goal – but the manager warned that his side’s lack of control in the second half made the victory “a tennis match”.
Rashford’s 38th-minute winner was his seventh of the season, and Ten Hag was asked if he can become an elite forward.Continue reading...
Defender was said to be too short to ever be world-class but showed against West Ham he has the quality to succeed
First Gianluca Scamacca shot from 10 yards and Lisandro Martínez’s body was in the way, then the two darted for the looping ball, the Italian striker with a raised right boot and the centre-back head first. Martínez won the race to end the attack. His reward was a boot in the face, not that he cared, having completed his job of stopping a goal. A clean sheet is the most important thing, regardless of personal cost.
The final moments of Manchester United’s 1-0 win against West Ham were a scrap, a concept in which the hosts have not always been willing participants. Martínez was at the heart of it, his teammates following the demanding standards set by the Argentinian. Limbs and torsos were put in the ball’s path to ensure Marcus Rashford’s first‑half header was the difference.Continue reading...
Marcus Rashford’s 100th Manchester United goal was a majestic header that propelled them to the points and came before a watching Gareth Southgate. If the England manager can be grateful to Erik ten Hag for revitalising the forward before the World Cup, the main story here concerned how the Dutchman continues to elevate United.
Rashford is the epitome of a footballer reborn, the lost boy of last season replaced by a super-confident forward whose seventh goal of this campaign is an apt emblem of the team’s upward trajectory. As a product of the renowned United academy, on the 85th anniversary of it supplying a player to every matchday squad – 4,163 since 1937 – the boy from Wythenshawe’s strike was perfect, too.Continue reading...
- Live updates from the 4.30pm GMT kick-off
- Sunday scoreboard: all the goals as they go in
- Why not email Niall or tweet @niallmcveigh
A fine day at the office for Arsenal, although Bukayo Saka going off injured will be a concern for Mikel Arteta. His replacement, Reiss Nelson, scored twice with Gabriel Martinelli, Thomas Partey and Martin Ødegaard also on target. Arsenal are back on top, Forest stay bottom.
A strange quirk in our automated stats feed – Fred’s full name is Frederico Rodrigues de Paula Santos, but it’s fair to say he’s never been known as Frederico Fred. Except for today, in this blog, from this moment forward.Continue reading...
Manchester United striker’s self-assurance has returned and West Ham’s defence will be fearful of facing him on Sunday
When Marcus Rashford made his Manchester United debut under Louis van Gaal in 2016 he was seen as a striking stopgap, thrust into the limelight due to a lack of options. He quickly solved the problem. The England international is back in the No 9 position as a short-term fix for another Dutchman, as United and Rashford look to reap the rewards of a carefree footballer.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s penchant for melodrama has helped take the focus away from the man impressing in the position the Portuguese thinks he is entitled to. Rashford’s self-assurance has returned: he looks like a man confident in his own ability once again and West Ham’s defence will be fearful of facing him on Sunday.Continue reading...
- Manchester United manager insists veteran is in his plans
- Ten Hag believes Van de Beek also has important part to play
Erik ten Hag believes Cristiano Ronaldo can again manage 20-plus goals for Manchester United this season.
Ronaldo scored his third of the season in Thursday’s 3-0 Europa League victory over Sheriff at Old Trafford on his return from a one-game club suspension, imposed by the manager after his early disappearance down the tunnel against Spurs this month. Last season he scored 24 times, 17 in the Premier League. Ten Hag was asked whether he believed Ronaldo could reach that milestone again.Continue reading...
The Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said he doesn't have a problem with forward Antony's showboating 'as long as it's functional' but promised to correct him if he feels the Brazilian 's tricks are unnecessary.
"A trick like that, it's nice, as long as functional," said Ten Hag. "If you're not losing the ball as you're attracting plays, then it's okay. But it's a trick. Because of a trick. Yeah. Then I will correct them."Continue reading...
Graham Potter returns to Brighton, crunch time again for a Leeds manager at Anfield and Forest eyeing another shock
Brendan Rodgers revived? Five matches in October have brought three wins, just one defeat, and four clean sheets. Picking off fellow strugglers Leeds and then Wolves in a resounding 4-0 win lifted Leicester out of the bottom three but there is plenty of work to be done. Rodgers’ immediate target is to reach the World Cup break clear of the relegation zone, though facing Manchester City is likely to be unhelpful. Leicester’s newfound defensive strength has been widely attributed to the form of Wout Faes but the aggressive, tousle-haired Belgian might be saved the ultimate test against Erling Haaland given that he’s a doubt with the foot injury that prevented him playing the second half at Borussia Dortmund. Leicester have occasionally been a troubling opponent for Pep Guardiola. His first visit to the King Power in October 2016 ended in a Jamie Vardy-inspired 4-2 loss and the moment he was famously moved to ask: “What’s tackles?” John Brewin
Leicester v Manchester City, Saturday 12.30pm BST
Newcastle v Aston Villa, Saturday 3pm BST
Brighton v Chelsea, Saturday 3pm BST
Liverpool v Leeds, Saturday 7.45pm BSTContinue reading...
Cristiano Ronaldo’s return after a one-game hiatus had the grandstand finish he loves to produce: an 81st-minute strike that confirmed Manchester United’s qualification for the Europa League knockout round playoffs, at least.
For Erik ten Hag’s team to directly reach the last 16 they must beat Real Sociedad in the final group game by two clear goals. If this is a possibility more than a probability, surer is how the timeless Ronaldo, still believing after a slew of missed chances, was quick to hammer home after Maksym Koval saved his header. The finish was a sweet riposte to his exclusion for the draw at Chelsea after refusing to enter from the bench against Tottenham and leaving before the end.Continue reading...
- Europa League updates from the 8pm BST kick-off
- Live scoreboard | And mail Scott with any match thoughts
5 min: A slip in the Sheriff defensive block by Kyabou, and for a second there’s a bit of space for Casemiro. Old Trafford wants him to shoot from distance, but he’s closed down too quickly to bother.
3 min: Garnacho’s run down the opposite flank is equally unsuccessful, though for a split second, before Borges gets in the road, it looked as though he’d break into the box. An exciting run, with an appreciate soundtrack to match.Continue reading...
- Varane out until World Cup but could be available for Qatar
- Ten Hag confirms Ronaldo back in Manchester United squad
Harry Maguire is back in contention for Manchester United after injury and may get the game time to be match fit for the World Cup because of Raphaël Varane’s hamstring problem.
Varane will be out until the mid-November start of the tournament at least, leaving Maguire to compete with Victor Lindelöf for a place alongside Lisandro Martínez in central defence. Maguire has not played since sustaining a thigh injury in England’s draw with Germany in September and had previously lost his United place, with Erik ten Hag preferring to pair Varane with Martínez.Continue reading...
- Forward in contention to face Sheriff on Thursday
- He was disciplined for behaviour at Spurs match
Cristiano Ronaldo returned to training with Manchester United’s first team on Tuesday and is in contention to feature in Thursday’s Europa League match at home to Sheriff Tiraspol.
The forward had been banished from first-team training by Erik ten Hag and excluded from Saturday’s draw at Chelsea as punishment for refusing to come on against Tottenham and walking down the tunnel before the end of the match.Continue reading...
Nearly four years on from his last England appearance, the 26-year-old showed why he could yet make the World Cup squad
A quick quiz question: can you name each of the six players who played in midfield for England at the 2018 World Cup? Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard, with their goals, perhaps spring most immediately to mind. Then there was the penalty that Eric Dier converted in the shootout against Colombia and the one that Jordan Henderson did not. That’s the easy(ish) four, but a special bonus prize to anybody who recalled Fabian Delph’s two starts against Belgium or the fact that when Alli was injured against Tunisia he was replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who retained his place for the group games against Panama and Belgium and then started the third-place play-off as well.
It has been Loftus-Cheek’s fate to exist on the periphery of English football’s consciousness. His talent was obvious, a brooding grace encapsulated in a muscular 6ft3in frame but denied pitch-time by the superclubs’ habit of stockpiling players. It’s not insignificant that when he made his England debut, only eight months before the last World Cup, it was having impressed during a loan spell at Crystal Palace.Continue reading...
- Manchester United manager happy with point at Chelsea
- Game marred by homophobic chants from United fans
Erik ten Hag saluted his Manchester United players for channelling the spirit of Fergie Time to end a turbulent few days on a high. The manager watched Casemiro head a stoppage-time equaliser at Chelsea before once again addressing the issue of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was not at Stamford Bridge but remained in the thoughts of everybody.
Ten Hag suspended Ronaldo after the striker refused to enter as a late substitute in Wednesday’s 2-0 home win over Tottenham and stormed off down the touchline. Ten Hag wants to hear contrition from Ronaldo before he invites him back into first-team training on Monday.Continue reading...
Against Chelsea, the Brazilian, Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen looked like a slick, modern and fully functional unit
And you can sit there all night, playing with your silly machines. By the end of this taut and thrilling match, the iPads and the tactics boards had been stashed away. Graham Potter and Erik ten Hag stood on the touchline, contemplating this 1-1 draw, looking drained and perhaps even a little concussed by the experience. It had been a game of stratagems and counter-stratagems, plans made and then remade, two coaches trying to control the space on the pitch with the space in their heads. But ultimately this is also a contact sport, a thing of guts and loins, of inches and millimetres, of who can win the grapple and who can summon the courage to leap highest when everything is on the line.
There have been more consequential games between Chelsea and Manchester United over the years. Louder games. Better and more exciting games. But perhaps never a game that has felt like more of an intellectual exercise, that has been so unashamed of its own erudition. As Potter and Ten Hag traded blows on the touchline, the evening began to splinter a little, not so much a single game of football as several distinct campaigns, a ceaseless and gripping battle for supremacy in which both teams probably got what they deserved.Continue reading...