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Updated: 2 hours 54 min ago

West Ham v Manchester United: match preview

Sat, 09/18/2021 - 09:00

This match could come down to firepower. While Manchester United can rely on Cristiano Ronaldo for goals, West Ham’s forward options are limited following Michail Antonio’s foolhardy red card against Southampton. Nikola Vlasic could have to play as a false 9 because of Antonio’s absence and West Ham could also be low on energy after their victorious trip to Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League on Thursday. That said it could be a good time to face United, who are under pressure after their defeat at Young Boys in the Champions League. Jacob Steinberg

Sunday 2pm Sky Sports Premier League

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We should relish results that jolt the toxic Ronaldo and Messi fanfare | Barney Ronay

Sat, 09/18/2021 - 08:00

Young Boys and Brugge gave a reminder of football’s sharp edges against stars mangled through a corporate machine

When talking about Young Boys of Berne, who are always funny, and always funny in exactly the same way, it is important to remember that Young Boys are in on the joke. In fact it was their joke in the first place, the club’s name coined in 1898 as a wry dig at Old Boys of Berne, the chief footballing power in the city.

Needless to say the same goes for the other half of everyone’s favourite midweek football gag, the Wankdorf Stadium, home of Young Boys which is itself a nod to Old Boys’ legendary Stadion Masturbatorix in the northern suburb of Frig.

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Manchester United reveal £92.2m net loss from one of ‘most challenging’ years

Fri, 09/17/2021 - 12:34
  • Wage bill up 13.6% to £322.6m but net debt falls to £419.5m
  • Woodward says Covid led to one of club’s hardest 12 months ever

Manchester United suffered a net loss of £92.2m in the 12 months ending 30 June 2021, an increase of nearly £60m on the previous financial year, and the executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, said the pandemic had made the period among the “most challenging” in the club’s history.

The scale of the loss is understood to be largely down to a £66.6m non-cash tax charge, caused by an increase in the UK corporate tax rate, in relation to the US rate. In the year ending June 2020 United’s net loss was £23.2m. The net debt decreased from £471.1m to £419.5m in the most recent financial year and an operating loss of £36.9m was recorded.

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Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 09/17/2021 - 00:01

A crunch Spurs-Chelsea clash, Odsonne Édouard testing Virgil van Dijk and Norwich already on the back foot

It has been a tough opening four games for Newcastle, amassing one point and conceding 12 goals. Three-quarters of those concessions have come in the second half, a sign they cannot maintain their concentration for a full 90 minutes and that perhaps they need to be fitter. It is great to keep things tight in the opening half but it means very little when things fall apart after the break. Steve Bruce’s side need to keep their first-half rigidity for the whole match, whether that means a change of personnel or an improved training regime. Leeds are a team who operate at a relentless pace and their movement in the final third will cause the legs to weaken if they get on top of the opposition, potentially leaving Newcastle in for another very difficult night. WU

Newcastle v Leeds, Friday 8pm (all times BST)

Tottenham v Chelsea, Sunday 4.30pm

Manchester City v Southampton, Saturday 3pm

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Jesse Lingard will be a Manchester United player next season, says Solskjær

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 16:29
  • Aim is for 28-year-old to sign extension, insists manager
  • ‘We see him as a Manchester United player in the future’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said he wants to keep Jesse Lingard at Manchester United, calling him a “red through and through” and hoping that he will stay at the club beyond the end of his contract.

The attacking midfielder has one year left of his current deal and was loaned out to West Ham in 2020-21. On Tuesday night against Young Boys he came on as a substitute but his mistake led to the Swiss side’s late winner.

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The rise of set piece coaches in football

Thu, 09/16/2021 - 13:38

Coaching is increasingly specialised, with teams such as Italy and Brentford reaping the benefits of perfecting their set pieces

By Richard Foster for The Football Mine

Italy’s success at the Euros was underpinned by the innovations and imagination of their set piece routines. The man responsible was Gianni Vio, a former banker from Venice who spent much of his spare time as an assistant coach in the lower leagues of Italian football before being given the opportunity to work in the top flight.

Vio was deployed by Roberto Mancini as Italy’s set piece coach after spending the last 20 years studying the many variations in free-kick routines. He launched a website on the subject, which spawned the book That Extra 30 Per Cent.

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Manchester United’s latest failure looks less a blip than part of a pattern | Jonathan Liew

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 09:59

United have lost seven Champions League games under Solskjær and it is still not entirely clear what his formula is

With about 10 minutes to go at the Wankdorf Stadion, there was sudden uproar on the Manchester United bench. The referee, François Letexier, had failed to spot a foul on Paul Pogba and on the touchline Ole Gunnar Solskjær was joined by Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo, wildly gesticulating with all the righteous indignation of men who had put their 50p on the edge of the pool table and were now watching somebody else rack up the balls.

If ever there were a fitting motif for United’s surprise 2-1 defeat by Young Boys, perhaps this was it: United’s manager and perhaps their two most celebrated players fuming on the sidelines, unable to influence a thing. Instead, it was Jesse Lingard and Jordan Siebatcheu who would make the decisive contributions, the former with his shocking back-pass, the latter with his grateful finish in the fifth minute of injury time.

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'More difficult task': Manchester United defeated by Young Boys in opener – video

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 09:36

Manchester United slumped to an opening defeat in the Champions League to Swiss side Young Boys after Jesse Lingard's wayward backpass gifted them a winning goal in the final minutes. Ole Gunnar Solskjær's side initially took the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo before being reduced to 10 men when Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off.  'That's football for you at the highest level. Lack of concentration – make a mistake and you get punished, you get done,' said the United manager.

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Champions League: Juventus see off Malmö and penalties galore at Sevilla

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 23:14
  • Robin Gosens strikes late to earn Atalanta 2-2 draw at Villarreal
  • Dinamo Kyiv v Benfica and Lille v Wolfsburg end goalless

Juventus laid down a marker for the Champions League this season with a 3-0 win at Malmö. Juve took the lead somewhat against the run of play through Alex Sandro’s 23rd-minute header. Paulo Dybala added another from the penalty spot just before the break, but there was still time for Álvaro Morata to fire in a third. The title holders, Chelsea, opened their Group H campaign with a 1-0 win against Zenit St Petersburg.

In Group F, Villarreal and Atalanta drew 2-2 at El Madrigal. Remo Freuler gave the Italians the lead in the sixth minute, but Manuel Trigueros hauled the Yellow Submarine level shortly before half-time. Villarreal – who beat Manchester United on penalties in last season’s Europa League final – equalised through Arnaut Danjuma in the 73rd minute. Robin Gosens, though, struck late to earn Atalanta a point. In the earlier Group F game, Young Boys pulled off a shock 2-1 home win against 10-man Manchester United

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Lingard gifts Young Boys late winner against 10-man Manchester United

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 20:10

It was 20 minutes after the final whistle, but nobody in yellow and black was going anywhere: not the players, not the staff, and certainly not the 30,000 Young Boys fans, who jumped and stamped and rejoiced in a victory that will go down as one of their greatest ever. Meanwhile in the opposite corner of the stadium, the last small sliver of Manchester United fans was filtering towards the exits, a night of indignities and humiliations finally complete.

A draw would have been fine. Annoying, perhaps: especially after scoring early, but certainly manageable in the long term. And for all their bungling and blundering, a draw was what United had secured as the ball rolled towards Jesse Lingard in the fifth minute of injury time. But inexplicably Lingard decided to play the ball straight into the path of Young Boys substitute Jordan Siebatcheu, and in a twinkling United were defeated. They are now – already – in a scrap for qualification.

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

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 19:43

The players are out and lined up for the Champions League anthem, which is partly obscured by another tune leaking through the PA. The Uefa suits will be livid. Behind the teams, the home fans form a snazzy wall of black and gold.

Here’s Ole Gunnar Solskjær: “We had a good day, a professional day [on Saturday] but this is a new game. Coming from Norway, I’m used to the astroturf – the players have trained on it, I’ve got no complaints.”

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David Squires on … Cristiano Ronaldo’s second Manchester United debut

Tue, 09/14/2021 - 13:37

Our cartoonist looks back on the celebrations as not one, but two Manchester United legends returned to Old Trafford

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Manchester United have no excuses in Champions League, warns Solskjær

Mon, 09/13/2021 - 19:09
  • Champions League campaign begins against Young Boys in Bern
  • Manager says squad is now strong enough to cope with schedule

Ole Gunnar Solskjær admits there can be no excuses if Manchester United fail to perform in the Champions League after a weekend Premier League match and has told his players he has full trust in them.

United start their European campaign with the visit to Young Boys in the Group F opener on Tuesday. The club’s Champions League challenge last season ended at the group stage despite Solskjær’s side winning their first two games. The manager, in a third full season in charge, pointed to the growth of his squad and how the addition of the multiple European Cup winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphaël Varane, plus Jadon Sancho, had elevated its quality.

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Ronaldo’s dream second debut for Manchester United – Football Weekly

Mon, 09/13/2021 - 15:11

Max Rushden is joined by John Brewin, Jamie Jackson and Troy Townsend to review Cristiano Ronaldo’s dazzling Manchester United return, Romelu Lukaku’s triumphant homecoming at Chelsea and the rest of the action from the weekend’s Premier League games

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

We begin by looking back at Cristiano Ronaldo’s second debut for Manchester United, as he twice in a comfortable 4-1 win over Newcastle. Do the doubters need to eat humble pie? Or should they maybe wait before taking that mouthful?

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The weekend’s best photos: 9/11 remembrance, Ronaldo and Raducanu

Sun, 09/12/2021 - 13:41

The Guardian’s picture editors select photo highlights from around the world

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Tale of two Traffords: cricket arena runs aground as fans flock next door

Sun, 09/12/2021 - 13:28

Lancashire and Manchester United enjoy fond ties but this was a week of diverging fortunes for the sporting neighbours

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was a two-goal debut, it was a cancelled Test match, it was a £400 ticket off the black market, it was an automatic refund from the ECB, it was the summer of Ronaldo, it was the autumn of the IPL, it was football, it was cricket.

As the river of fans for Manchester United’s Premier League game against Newcastle poured off the tram at the Old Trafford stop, a few took the opportunity to nip off to the left and through the gates of the cricket ground to the open bar behind B Stand. There they could have a pint, go to the toilet and contemplate a huge stadium filled with nothing but soured hopes and dashed dreams.

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Cristiano Ronaldo hero worship does not mask Manchester United’s flaws | Jonathan Wilson

Sat, 09/11/2021 - 23:39

Returning star gave fans their money’s worth in 4-1 win over Newcastle but club would have been wiser investing in midfield

They had come to celebrate Cristiano Ronaldo and they got what they had come for: not one, but two opportunities to shout “Si!” as he celebrated goals with that characteristic spread of the arms and thrust of the groin, a sort of macho version of Lionel Blair indicating he’s miming the title of a song. Everything else, for the moment, could take a back seat: the king has returned.

The announcement of Ronaldo’s name when the teams were read out at around 2.25pm was greeted by a great roar. When he jogged out to warm up, cleverly maximising his exposure by positioning himself behind Donny van de Beek, a player of translucent appearance and reputation, there was another visceral cheer. He responded with practised casualness, acknowledging the two long sides of the ground with applause and a raised thumb. Before kick-off, Ronaldo was last out of the tunnel, so the roar had grown and grown before he emerged behind Paul Pogba.

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Solskjær hails matchwinning Ronaldo: ‘There was expectation, he delivered’

Sat, 09/11/2021 - 19:21
  • ‘He lifts everyone,’ says Manchester United manager
  • Forward scores twice on second debut for club

Ole Gunnar Solskjær said Cristiano Ronaldo had reintroduced himself to his Manchester United teammates at a meeting on Friday night – and then watched him do likewise to the Old Trafford crowd as he inspired a 4-1 victory over Newcastle.

Ronaldo’s first debut for the club was as an 18-year-old in 2003 and he would make 292 appearances for the club in his first spell, scoring 118 goals. The second coming started with two more which were rapturously received by a giddy home support.

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'He senses the big moments': Ole Gunnar Solskjær praises Cristiano Ronaldo's Man Utd impact – video

Sat, 09/11/2021 - 19:04

Following Cristiano Ronaldo's second debut for Manchester United, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær said he has become a better player over the years. 'He's a different type of player, but he's still a ruthless and clinical goalscorer,' Solskjær said after the 4-1 win over Newcastle. Jesse Lingard and Bruno Fernandes were also on the score sheet as United won 4-1 at Old Trafford.

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Returning Cristiano Ronaldo hits two as Manchester United beat Newcastle 4-1

Sat, 09/11/2021 - 17:22

It was the hottest ticket in town for some time and Cristiano Ronaldo was never going to disappoint. It is rare that one individual transcends a match but that is how it was at Old Trafford from the moment Manchester United’s returning icon first stepped out to warm up, sparking roars that could be heard half a mile from the ground.

Back to where he belongs to reprise a never-ending love story (Ronaldo’s words); back in the “magic” No 7 shirt (his again), the Portuguese had delighted the capacity crowd with a poacher’s finish on the stroke of half-time.

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