What the papers say
Title contenders meet at Villa Park, Brighton build for the future and Chelsea should stop making excuses
The “spoiled” supporters of Crystal Palace will get another glorious treat this weekend with the early Saturday kick-off against Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. The Eagles’ only win in their previous eight matches came at Turf Moor against Burnley and they have suffered demoralising defeats to Everton, Luton and Bournemouth since. Roy Hodgson took umbrage with the fans booing his side’s dismal efforts against the Cherries on Wednesday. Palace were poor throughout, barely laying a glove on Andoni Iraola’s side, and deserved criticism. Picking a fight with the supporters is rarely a sensible move, regardless of a person’s standing at the club. Hodgson was never favoured at Anfield in his dreary, short-lived spell as manager, and it is unlikely his popularity will drop to those levels in south London. If he wants to get the supporters back on side, though, he will need his team to show more fight, regardless of the result. Will Unwin
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Saturday 12.30pm (all times GMT)
Brighton v Burnley, Saturday 3pm
Manchester United v Bournemouth, Saturday 3pm
Sheffield United v Brentford, Saturday 3pm
Wolves v Nottingham Forest, Saturday 3pm
Aston Villa v Arsenal, Saturday 5.30pmContinue reading...
- Ten Hag: ‘Everyone was telling me, you can’t succeed’
- Coach says he wanted challenge of revitalising ‘great club’
Erik ten Hag has revealed he was warned not to become the Manchester United manager because it was deemed an “impossible” job.
The 53-year-old Dutchman moved to Old Trafford from Ajax in 2022 but has come under pressure during his second season at the club. United sit sixth in the Premier League table after Wednesday 2-1 win over Chelsea, nine points behind the leaders, Arsenal, while they have struggled in Europe.Continue reading...
Coach denies race and religious discrimination charges in episode at Nice that puts focus on judgment of would-be United part-owners
As recently as May this year Christophe Galtier was coaching Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé and celebrating a Ligue 1 title triumph with Paris Saint-Germain. On 15 December he will stand trial in a French court on criminal charges of race and religious discrimination – offences committed, it is alleged, while he was manager of Nice between June 2021 and July 2022, charges Galtier denies.
This is real-world criminal justice, not football’s soft-soap version. If found guilty Galtier could face up to three years in prison. The stakes are vertiginously high in other ways too, at a trial that promises a dark night of the soul for French football and France itself, at a time of deeply fractured domestic politics.Continue reading...
After another week of turmoil off the field, midfielder rose above the noise and executed his manager’s risky plan bravely
Imagine what Manchester United could do if Erik ten Hag hadn’t already lost the dressing room. Yes, it’s been another of those weeks at Old Trafford: rancour, rumour and recrimination, barbs in the press and barbs at the press, defeat at Newcastle followed by this stirring recovery against Chelsea, and the startling realisation that United are now three points behind Manchester City. It’s still only Thursday, by the way.
Perhaps ultimately this win only buys Ten Hag a few days’ grace, a warm flume of goodwill that lasts only as long as it takes for Dominic Solanke to run through on goal for Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon. Back in the grip of crisis, back in the now-familiar lexicon of surly unsourced stories about dressing room discontent. Such is the way of things at football’s most reliable content provider. This beast must always eat.Continue reading...
Scott McTominay’s double let Bruno Fernandes off the hook for his missed penalty as Chelsea were brushed aside
“Juan love,” says the subject line of the next email. “It’s unfortunate,” Peter Oh continues, “that a certain Spanish technician is no longer at United to compete for a place in midfield. I would have loved to make a ‘Mainoo over Mata’ quip.”
An email! “From the glory days of superweight sparring,” says Krish Krishnamoorthy, “this has been reduced to a sideshow. A mid-table skirmish far from the race to the title. I anticipate a terrible game probably ending in a 1-1 draw with a couple of comic goals.”Continue reading...
After defeat at Newcastle on Saturday and, to a lesser extent, the ban of four media organisations from the pre‑game press conference on Tuesday, Manchester United and Erik ten Hag required a win.
In elite sport this is the only way to control the message, no matter the PR strategy, and the mission was accomplished thanks to Scott McTominay, who scored his second Premier League double of the season.Continue reading...
- Brazilian says former United players have criticised him unfairly
- ‘I’ve never seen them give constructive criticism,’ Antony says
Antony has upbraided former Manchester United players for their “malicious” criticism of him, stating that they offer nothing constructive and their views are magnified by a “digital court” that can ruin lives.
Since arriving at Old Trafford in the summer of 2022 for £85m the Brazilian has struggled for consistent form. The winger’s first season featured eight goals and three assists in 44 United appearances, and this term he is yet to score or make an assist in 15.Continue reading...
A brave transfer strategy is in play at Stamford Bridge and clubs such as Manchester United should take note
It remains to be seen whether Chelsea’s decision to prioritise potential over proven talent in the transfer market is a recipe for success, but one element of their recruitment strategy under the ownership of Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital deserves more praise.
Manchester United could learn from the ruthlessness. Erik ten Hag has said repeatedly that he wanted to improve the culture of the club when he took over at Old Trafford but that sounds similar to what Frank Lampard was saying after being appointed as Chelsea’s interim manager last April. Lampard, renowned for his dedication during his playing career, could not believe how far standards had dipped in training. Chelsea, whose oversized squad contained far too many disgruntled players, had to act.Continue reading...
Erik ten Hag dismissed the idea of disorder at Manchester United amid reports of dressing room unrest that led to the banning of several media outlets. United received severe criticism for an insipid display in the 1-0 loss at St James’ Park. Stories then emerged of the manager having lost the confidence of several players. When pressed, Ten Hag said: 'we are together. You can’t play such great football as we did lately if there is no unity.'Continue reading...
- Only ‘one or two’ players have questioned him, says manager
- Under-fire Dutchman insists: ‘‘We are in the right direction’
Erik ten Hag has admitted “one or two” players have questioned his mode of play but said there was no disorder at Manchester United after Saturday’s defeat at Newcastle and reports of dressing room unrest that led to the banning of several media outlets.
United received severe criticism for an insipid display in the 1-0 loss at St James’ Park. Stories then emerged of the manager having lost the confidence of several players.Continue reading...
From Marcus Rashford moping to the Fighting Sean Dyches, we hand out honors (and dishonors) from the Premier League weekend
No round of the Premier League is complete without drama. And thankfully (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), this weekend was filled with questions, controversies and an avalanche of goals.Continue reading...
Oleksandr Zinchenko struggles to strike right balance, Vincent Kompany gets a break and Chelsea still too naive
Oleksandr Zinchenko’s mixed bag of a performance showed the full-back’s qualities in attack but once more highlighted his defensive deficiencies. While Zinchenko was instrumental in the brilliant team goal scored by Martin Ødegaard that gave Arsenal a 2-0 lead over Wolves, a series of errors culminated with him giving the ball away cheaply to allow Matheus Cunha’s late strike that threatened what could have been a comfortable victory for the league leaders. While Mikel Arteta brushed aside concerns about the 26-year-old, he did admit that “in those areas it’s a big no to play, especially after certain things in the previous phase”. With Kieran Tierney reportedly to be sold in January, Zinchenko appears to be vying with the versatile Takehiro Tomiyasu to start at left-back. Arsenal fans will hope his mistakes do not end up costing them dear. Ed Aarons
Match report: Arsenal 2-1 Wolves
Match report: Newcastle 1-0 Manchester United
Match report: Nottingham Forest 0-1 Everton
Match report: Burnley 5-0 Sheffield UnitedContinue reading...
- Manchester United beaten but Pope suffers apparent dislocation
- Eddie Howe tips goalscorer Anthony Gordon for England call-up
Eddie Howe fears Newcastle United’s goalkeeper Nick Pope may need shoulder surgery after suffering what appeared a complicated dislocation while diving in the closing stages of his side’s 1-0 home win against Manchester United.
“It will be a massive blow if Nick is ruled out for any length of time,” said Newcastle’s manager, whose already injury-ravaged side rose to fifth place courtesy of Anthony Gordon’s 55th-minute winner against Erik ten Hag’s out-of-sorts team. “It looked innocuous and he’s made those dives thousands of times but those are normally the serious injuries. Nick was in distress. He was in pain. We’ll get a specialist opinion but it doesn’t look good.”Continue reading...
Newcastle outran and outclassed Erik ten Hag’s feeble side to leapfrog them in the table and move up to fifth
An email! “G’Day Tim,” says Chris Paraskevas, “Is Eric Ten Hag doing a warped / really ironic Don Revie Tribute Act by taking the bus and forcing his players to walk the last leg to the stadium?” Ha.
“At least they didn’t take the train, which I remember being packed with (increasingly) drunk, loud and entertaining tourists heading up to Tyneside for a weekend of Geordie culture.Continue reading...
Manchester United’s submissive stance at St James’ Park highlights the differing directions the teams are heading in
As the players finished their handshakes and retreated to their halves ahead of kick-off the familiar strains of Local Hero tumbling from the public address briefly faltered, before starting again from the beginning. A rewind was exactly what was coming next, with Newcastle and Manchester United reminding us exactly what they are about.
Towards the end of normal time in an utterly one-sided match substitute Antony’s shot deflecting in off Harry Maguire (who mercifully for the home side was offside) briefly threatened to taunt the Geordies over a lack of ability to kill an occasion game – the same trait that had improbably robbed them of three points against an ailing, 10-man Liverpool back in late August. Yet anything other than a home win would have been moonlight robbery.Continue reading...
The snow and ice blanketing Tyneside never melted all day while the evening temperature dipped well below freezing point but Newcastle remained far too hot for Manchester United to handle.
Although ultimately only Anthony Gordon’s second half goal separated the pair, the narrow scoreline fails to reflect either the superiority of Eddie Howe’s players or the indifference of their often directionless guests.Continue reading...
- Manchester United manager will not drop beleaguered keeper
- ‘He is second-best keeper in Premier League based on stats’
Erik ten Hag has said André Onana will not be dropped for Manchester United’s crucial final Champions League group game against Bayern Munich and claimed his beleaguered goalkeeper is the Premier League’s second best, citing “expected prevented goals”.
Onana again made crucial errors in Wednesday’s 3-3 draw at Galatasaray in the penultimate group match, being at fault for two of the goals. This followed mistakes that cost goals against Bayern Munich and Copenhagen in the competition.Continue reading...
Stockport-born 18-year-old has broken through into first team and could be solution to Erik ten Hag’s midfield conundrum
Amid all the joylessness that can come with being a modern football fan, concerned by takeovers, the cost of attending matches and the inevitability that your club is not as successful as you desire, there is one thing that will always bring cheer: a local academy graduate making an impression in the first team.
The latest such Manchester United prodigy is the Stockport-born 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo, who at Newcastle on Saturday night will be aiming to make his second Premier League start. Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood have made an impression over the past decade, helping maintain the club’s record of a youth-team graduate in every first-team squad since 1937, but it is rare that a local player progresses through the system there, with the majority coming from further afield. Many have enjoyed fleeting appearances but it is difficult to become a regular at the elite level at which United are trying to operate.Continue reading...
- Release clause means striker available for cut-price €17.5m
- Guirassy has 15 Bundesliga goals this season, second to Kane
Manchester United are interested in signing Serhou Guirassy from Stuttgart in January as Erik ten Hag attempts to provide competition for the £72m Rasmus Højlund in attack.
The Guinea striker has been in scintillating form this season since making a permanent move to Stuttgart in the summer and has 15 Bundesliga goals in 10 appearances. The 27-year-old is behind only Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane in the top scorers’ charts having broken Robert Lewandowski’s record by managing 11 goals in his first seven matches.Continue reading...
- Goalkeeper is likely to feature in Cameroon’s squad
- Absence would give chances to Altay Bayindir and Tom Heaton
André Onana is concerned that if he plays at the Africa Cup of Nations he could lose his place as Manchester United’s first-choice goalkeeper.
The Cameroonian is likely to be called up for the competition that runs from 13 January to 11 February in Ivory Coast and could miss four Premier League matches. Onana quit international football after a disagreement with the Cameroon head coach, Rigobert Song, during the 2022 World Cup but has since made himself available.Continue reading...