Man Utd Falter At West Brom, Aubameyang Treble Sinks Leeds

Manchester United’s English defender Harry Maguire (L) reacts at the end of the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns stadium in West Bromwich, central England, on February 14, 2021.
Nick Potts / POOL / AFP

 

 

Manchester United’s faltering Premier League title challenge suffered another blow in a 1-1 draw at struggling West Brom, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 4-2 win against Leeds on Sunday.

United have dropped points in five of their last seven league games to allow Manchester City to pull seven points clear, with a game in hand.

A point was enough to nudge Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men back above Leicester into second on goal difference.

But that was of little consolation to United against a West Brom side that had conceded 24 goals in taking just one point from their previous seven home games.

Indeed, it was Sam Allardyce’s men who had the better chances to win the game and give their dwindling hopes of beating the drop a boost.

United made the worst possible start when Conor Gallagher swung in a cross and Mbaye Diagne outmuscled Victor Lindelof to power home a header after just 80 seconds.

“We gave ourselves a tough start,” said Solskjaer, whose side have fallen behind in eight of their 12 away league games this season.

“You’ve got 90 odd minutes to make amends so there is no need to panic but I didn’t feel we built that momentum until too late in the first half.

“Second half there was only one-way traffic but still there were a couple of moments where we could have lost the game.”

United struggled to make the most of their territorial dominance until Bruno Fernandes produced a moment of magic with a dipping volley on his weaker left foot a minute before half-time.

Sam Johnstone denied Mason Greenwood and Scott McTominay had an effort cleared off the line as United pressed for a winner after the break.

But it was Diagne who twice should have won the game late on as he was denied when one-on-one with David de Gea before blazing an enticing low cross over the bar.

Johnstone was required once more deep into stoppage time when he tipped Harry Maguire’s header onto the post.

Aubameyang Propels Arsenal

At the Emirates Stadium, Gabon forward Aubameyang scored his first Arsenal treble since 2019 to get the Gunners back on track after two successive defeats and three games without a win.

Aubameyang has endured a difficult season marred by poor form and his mother’s illness, which prompted him to take a leave of absence recently.

The Arsenal captain struck in the 13th minute when he skipped away from Luke Ayling and fired low past Illan Meslier.

Aubameyang converted a 41st-minute penalty after Meslier lost possession and then fouled Bukayo Saka.

Hector Bellerin made it three on the stroke of half-time when his shot beat the hapless Meslier’s weak attempted save at his near post.

Aubameyang completed his hat-trick in the 47th minute with a diving header from Emile Smith Rowe’s cross for his 11th goal of the season.

Pascal Struijk’s 58th-minute header and Helder Costa’s strike in the 69th minute came too late for Marcelo Bielsa’s men as Arsenal climbed above Leeds into 10th place.

“The hat-trick means a lot. It’s been a tough time for me,” Aubameyang said.

“Everyone was giving a lot of love to me, my mum and my family. I have to say thank you to everyone at the club and the fans.”

Wolves moved 15 points clear of the drop zone after coming from behind for a 2-1 win that extended Southampton’s miserable run.

The Saints had beaten Nuno Espirito Santo’s men to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals in midweek and made a promising start when Danny Ings converted Stuart Armstrong’s cross.

Scoring goals has been a problem for Wolves without the injured Raul Jimenez, but they were gifted an equaliser from the penalty spot when Ryan Bertrand was penalised for handball.

Ruben Neves stroked home the spot-kick before Pedro Neto’s strike just past the hour earned only a second win in 11 league games.

Southampton, who topped the table earlier in the season, have lost six league games in a row to slip to 13th.

Lampard Hails Chelsea’s ‘Character’ After FA Cup Semi-Final Success

Chelsea's English head coach Frank Lampard gestures during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 19, 2020. Andy Rain / POOL / AFP
Chelsea’s English head coach Frank Lampard gestures during the English FA Cup semi-final football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London, on July 19, 2020. Andy Rain / POOL / AFP

 

Frank Lampard saluted Chelsea’s “character and personality” as they powered into the FA Cup final with a 3-1 win over woeful Manchester United on Sunday.

Lampard’s side were gifted their goals by an error-strewn display from United goalkeeper David De Gea, but Chelsea were deserved winners as they dominated the semi-final from start to finish.

Olivier Giroud opened the scoring late in the first half and Mason Mount got the second after the interval at Wembley.

Harry Maguire’s own goal killed off United before Bruno Fernandes’ late penalty.

After some shaky performances in recent weeks, including a 3-0 hammering at Sheffield United, Lampard was impressed with the spirited way his players out-classed in-form United at Wembley.

“I can’t ask for any more from my players than that. The work ethic and the level of performance. We were on top and when they changed their system we were even better,” Lampard told the BBC.

“Where we are at, it is going to happen that we have some bad displays like against Sheffield United. But to do that against Manchester United, I’m delighted and very proud.

“There was a lot of work done in the last two days to change the system, and you’re only as good as your players in that situation. They deserve a huge amount of credit.

“They should take confidence from that display. We have leaders, you can’t compare across eras but we have leaders in the team. It was a performance full of character and personality.”

Chelsea’s victory moved Lampard a step closer to silverware in his first season in charge of the club where he earned legendary status as a player.

Before their FA Cup final date with London rivals Arsenal on August 1, Chelsea have to focus on qualifying for the Champions League via a top four finish in the Premier League.

They sit third — one point above Leicester and United — with games against Liverpool and Wolves to finish the league season.

“We have finals ahead. Two in the league and then Arsenal,” Lampard said.

“We want to win things, and at the start of the season we wanted to be up there challenging for the top four.

“A lot of people were tipping against us, but quietly I was always hoping.

“I don’t want to put everything on these three games defining everything we’ve done and the progress we’ve made, but of course we want top four, we want trophies and we’re at the business end, so let’s see.”

Angel Gomes Set To Leave Man Utd As Contract Runs Out

Manchester United midfielder Angel Gomes appears to be on his way out of the club. Oli SCARFF / AFP.

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is bracing himself for the loss of teenage midfielder Angel Gomes, whose Manchester United contract expires on Tuesday.

The highly rated 19-year-old came through the academy at Old Trafford and made his debut aged 16 in May 2017, becoming the youngest player since Duncan Edwards in the 1950s to feature for the first team.

But Gomes has only made 10 first-team appearances and contract talks hit a roadblock, with Solskjaer now expecting the United midfielder to leave when his contract runs out.

READ ALSO: EU Trade Chief Hogan Drops Out Of WTO Race

Asked at a press conference on Monday if Gomes would be staying at the club, the United boss said: “I’ve got no news, nothing, so it doesn’t look like it.”

Gomes was part of England’s Under-17 World Cup triumph in 2017 and earlier this month Solskjaer said he was hoping that the teenager would sign a new deal.

Pushed to clarify if Gomes was leaving, Solskjaer added: “To be honest, I’ve not heard from them last night or this morning, so it seems like that they haven’t managed to agree (a deal), so the answer is probably short and ‘yes’ then.”

AFP

Man Utd Beat Wolves To Reach FA Cup Fourth Round

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Mexican striker Raul Jimenez (L) headers the ball but fails to score during the English FA Cup third round-replay football match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on January 15, 2020. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Man Utd Beat Wolves To Reach FA Cup Fourth Round.

Man Utd Cruise Past Norwich Despite Missing Two Penalties

 

Manchester United finally ended their dismal Premier League away record with an emphatic 3-1 win at Norwich despite missing two penalties on Sunday.

Scott McTominay fired United into a first-half lead before Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial each netted –- and then both missed VAR-awarded penalties.

United not only halted an eight-month wait for an away league win, they did it with the style and panache that their travelling fans had been craving.

It was not quite a throwback to the glory days, especially against an out-of-sorts Norwich side so lacking in confidence, but the performance was a step forward for under-fire United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Injury-plagued striker Martial had been urged by Solskjaer to fill the void left by Romelu Lukaku, and the Frenchman put in a hugely impressive performance.

The win lifts United up to seventh in the Premier League, seven points off the top four, while Norwich remain 19th.

Before kick-off, sombre Norwich fans had paid tribute to club legend Duncan Forbes, who passed away last week follow a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Yet the atmosphere was soon heated in an incredible first half which saw two well-taken goals and two missed penalties.

Things may have been different if Todd Cantwell had not blazed a fifth minute sitter over David De Gea’s bar following Max Aarons’ marauding burst.

Yet the visitors soon settled into their stride and a clever exchange of passes between Martial and Rashford forced the first of a series of stunning saves from Norwich keeper Tim Krul.

McTominay swept in the opening goal after Norwich failed to clear Andreas Pereira’s 21st-minute corner.

It was United’s 2,000th Premier League goal, making them the first side to reach that milestone.

Penalty drama

The real controversy started four minutes later when Ben Godfrey eased Daniel James away from Martial’s clever through ball.

The United winger seemed to lean into Godfrey and referee Stuart Attwell waved away muted penalty appeals, only for the VAR referee to scrutinise replays of the incident.

Attwell’s decision was controversially overturned, but then Krul saw justice served by saving Rashford’s weak spot kick.

Yet, on the half hour mark, the England striker notched his 50th goal for United with a slick finish from James’ cross from the right.

Attwell had another decision overturned by VAR on 41 minutes, after he initially awarding a corner when Cantwell blocked Fred’s strike on goal.

This time the replays ensured the right call was made as the Norwich midfielder clearly raised his arm to an unnatural position to deflect Fred’s shot to safety.

Martial took responsibility from 12 yards this time, only for Krul to dive to his left and save again.

Canaries boss Daniel Farke made a double change at half time, introducing Onel Hernandez and Marco Stiepermann for Cantwell and Moritz Leitner.

Yet Martial sealed United’s long-awaited win on the road with a wonderful finish from a sumptuous return pass from Rashford on 73 minutes.

There was no way through the United rearguard, which was superbly held together by Harry Maguire, until a late slip-up by McTominay allowed Hernandez to drill in an 88th-minute consolation goal.

West Ham Extend Away-Day Blues For Pitiful Man Utd

West Ham United’s Ukrainian striker Andriy Yarmolenko celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United at The London Stadium, in east London on September 22, 2019.
Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

West Ham inflicted more away-day pain on a poor Manchester United side on Sunday, lifting themselves to fourth in the Premier League with a comfortable 2-0 win at the London Stadium.

Andriy Yarmolenko’s goal shortly before half-time and a wonderful late Aaron Cresswell free-kick extended United’s barren run on the road.

United, who started the season by thumping Chelsea 4-0, have lost twice already in their opening six league games and lie seventh, without an away win in any competition since March.

Injury-hit United were without midfielder Paul Pogba and forward Anthony Martial and huffed and puffed but failed to break down their dogged opponents.

West Ham are riding high under Manuel Pellegrini, unbeaten since a 5-0 drubbing in the first match of the season and this victory followed a home win last season against United at the London Stadium.

But it was a chastening day for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men, just a day after champions Manchester City came close to matching United’s Premier League record for margin of victory — 9-0 against Ipswich in 1995.

Solskjaer played the same side that triumphed against Leicester last week while Pablo Fornals came in for the injured Manuel Lanzini for the home side.

Both sides were cagey at the start of the match, with neither side able to create clear-cut chances.

West Ham looked the more inventive team when they broke forward while United looked ponderous in attack and lacking in ideas, with Marcus Rashford isolated up front.

The match was drifting towards the interval before Felipe Anderson and Yarmolenko combined to sap United’s confidence with a goal in the 44th minute.

United went close to an equaliser early in the second half as the rain came down in London, with Juan Mata missing from close range after an Andreas Pereira cross.

Already short of options up front and missing creators in midfield, they lost Rashford just before the hour mark, replaced by the out-of-form Jesse Lingard.

West Ham went close to doubling their lead shortly afterwards but David de Gea got down low to keep out an Anderson shot from a tight angle.

United upped the pressure and West Ham had goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to thank for keeping out a Harry Maguire strike from close range.

But West Ham continued to look more dangerous on the break and made United pay when Ashley Young brought down Mark Noble on the edge of the penalty area.

De Gea was a bystander as Cresswell curled a free-kick into the top right-hand corner to add to United’s pain.

Pogba Included In Man Utd Squad For Pre-Season Tour Amid Transfer Talk

 

Paul Pogba has been included in Manchester United’s squad for their pre-season tour despite the France star’s apparent desire to leave the Premier League club.

It had been claimed Pogba might refuse to make the trip amid reports the midfielder is keen to force a move away from Old Trafford.

Real Madrid and Pogba’s former club Juventus are both said to be interested in signing him and in June he said: “now could be a good time to find a new challenge”.

Pogba had missed United’s training sessions this week with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s permission.

But he was back at the training ground on Sunday and a squad announcement on United’s website confirmed he will travel with the rest of Solskjaer’s team as they head to Australia.

READ ALSO: Messi Blasts Copa America ‘Corruption’ After Red Card

Pogba has struggled since returning to Old Trafford from Juventus in a club-record deal in 2016.

He was included in the PFA Team of the Year last season but his often-lethargic performances split opinion among supporters, while he reportedly had a major falling-out with former United boss Jose Mourinho.

Talking to The Times last week, Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola said he had made the club aware he was looking to move the player on and offered no assurances that the 26-year-old would travel for the tour.

“Everyone knows the willingness of Paul to move on. We are in the process of that. Everyone knows what the feelings of Paul are,” Raiola said.

Romelu Lukaku, another United player linked with a summer departure to Inter Milan, is included among the 28-man party, as are new signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.

Solskjaer’s side will take on Perth Glory and Leeds in Australia before continuing on for pre-season games in Singapore and China.

Alexis Sanchez, who limped out of Chile’s Copa America third-place play-off defeat by Argentina on Saturday, is missing but would not have been included at this stage due to his international exertions.

Pogba Looking For New Challenge Away From Man Utd

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba reacts after losing the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Manchester United and Barcelona/ AFP

 

Paul Pogba has given a strong indication that he wants to leave Manchester United this summer to seek a “new challenge”.

The French World Cup winner rejoined United from Juventus for a then world record 89 million ($112 million) fee three years ago but has largely failed to live up to expectations.

Pogba has been strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid or even a return to Juventus with United having failed to qualify for the Champions League next season.

“For me I have been for three years in Manchester and have been doing great; some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody. Like everywhere else,” Pogba was quoted as telling reporters in Tokyo by The Guardian on Sunday.

“I think for me it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else. I am thinking of this: to have a new challenge somewhere else.”

Despite scoring 16 goals this season, half of which came from the penalty spot, Pogba was often criticised for his contribution under both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as United limped to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League.

Should Pogba move on, United are likely to seek a higher fee than they spent on the 26-year-old in 2016.

The summer overhaul in the transfer market at Old Trafford has already begun with the signing of Welsh winger Daniel James from Swansea for an initial 15 million ($19 million) fee this week.

The Red Devils have also been linked with bids for defenders Harry Maguire and Issa Diop and Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff.

Man Utd Agree Deal ‘In Principle’ To Sign Daniel James

Manchester United announced on Friday they had agreed a deal ‘in principle’ to buy Swansea winger Daniel James, who is set to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first signing at the club.

“Manchester United is delighted to announce that it has agreed, in principle, terms with both Swansea and Daniel James for his transfer to the club,” said a statement on the Premier League side’s official website.

“Daniel has successfully completed a medical at the Aon Training Complex. Further details will be communicated once the international transfer window opens next week.”

United will reportedly pay Swansea 18 million ($23 million), including add-ons, for the 21-year-old Wales international.

The Championship club said the transfer was expected to be formally completed on Tuesday.

Man Utd’s Champions League Hopes Ended By Huddersfield Draw

 

 

Manchester United’s hopes of Champions League football next season were ended after an embarrassing 1-1 draw at already-relegated Huddersfield on Sunday.

United have now won just two of their last 11 games in all competitions as Huddersfield ended a run of eight straight defeats.

English Premier League table after Sunday’s early matches showed Chelsea moved into third place in the Premier League as a quick-fire blitz from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and David Luiz inspired a vital 3-0 win over Watford.

READ ALSO: Chelsea Up To Third As Jeers Turn To Cheers

The table below is drawn from results of the early games, it shows games  (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points):

Liverpool       37 29  7  1 87 22 94

Man City        36 30  2  4 90 22 92

Chelsea         37 21  8  8 63 39 71

Tottenham       37 23  1 13 65 37 70

AFP

Ex-Man Utd Youth Coach Eric Harrison Dies At 81

 

Eric Harrison, the former youth team coach of Manchester United’s ‘Class of 92’, which included David Beckham and Ryan Giggs, has died aged 81, the club announced on Thursday.

Harrison, who helped forge the fledgeling careers of Beckham, Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Gary and Phil Neville, was diagnosed with dementia four years ago.

Appointed by the United manager Ron Atkinson in 1981, Harrison mentored a number of other high-profile youngsters, including Mark Hughes and Norman Whiteside.

His greatest success came under Alex Ferguson with the ‘Class of 92’ players forming the backbone of United’s treble-winning side of 1999.

His decline was such he was too ill to travel to London last year to receive an award from the queen.

“Manchester United is extremely saddened to report our former youth coach Eric Harrison passed away on Wednesday. He was 81,” the club said in a statement.

“We’ve lost our mentor, our coach and the man who made us,” Gary Neville tweeted.

“He taught us how to play, how to never give up, how important it was to win your individual battles and what we needed to do to play for Manchester United Football Club. Eric we owe you everything.”

Beckham paid tribute.

“He was always watching and always with us every time we played. I can still hear him telling me NO MORE HOLLYWOOD PASSES,” he wrote on Instagram.

“I can still see him as we played on The Cliff training ground looking down on us either with a proud smile or a loud bang of his fist on the window knowing any minute he would be on his way down to probably advise me in the most polite way to stop playing those passes.

“More importantly he made us understand how to work hard and respect each other and not just on the pitch. We won’t forget the life lessons he gave us.

“Eric we love you and owe you everything. Gary, Phil, Ryan, Paul, Nicky and David.”

Ferguson, who decided to retain Harrison’s services when he replaced Atkinson in 1986, said Harrison was one of the “greatest coaches of our time” who had “built character and determination”.

“On a personal level Eric had a wicked, dry sense of humour and was straight-talking and I admired that in him,” said Ferguson.

Mourinho Faces Watford Test As He Searches For Man Utd Mojo

CARSON, CA – JULY 25: Manager Jose Mourinho of Manchester United instructs his players from the touchline during the International Champions Cup 2018 match against AC Milan at StubHub Center on July 25, 2018 in Carson, California. Manchester United defeated AC Milan 9-8 on penalties after playing to a 1-1 regulation draw. Victor Decolongon/Getty Images/AFP Victor Decolongon / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho takes his Manchester United side to high-flying Watford on Saturday knowing they cannot afford another slip-up if they are to stay on the coattails of the Premier League pacesetters.

A 2-0 victory against struggling Burnley followed by an international break has taken the heat off the Portuguese manager as he tries to inject momentum into a stuttering start to the season.

Defeat at Watford — who have won all four of their games – would leave United nine points off the lead and their title ambitions in tatters midway through September.

Former United and England defender Gary Neville hopes his old club can still mount a challenge to Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool despite two defeats in four matches.

“If they can stay in it until January and maybe get one or two defenders in, they may have a chance, but I doubt it,” he told the Times newspaper. “I think United will be third or fourth.”

Neville insisted it is far too early to write Mourinho off despite his early-season struggles, which have given rise to the suspicion he is yesterday’s man.

“I think Jose is a brilliant manager, and, in a 25-year career, young managers will emerge, people will ask questions if you aren’t successful,” he added.

“He’s having a more difficult time, but finished? I genuinely think that’s a nonsense.”

Pogba rift

Mourinho’s tasks in solving a rift with World Cup-winning midfielder Paul Pogba and his side’s defensive frailties have not gone away in the international break, even if some of his stars showed the richness of the resources at his disposal with their countries.

Romelu Lukaku continued a fine start to his season by netting three times for Belgium and Marcus Rashford scored twice for England, against Spain and Switzerland.

Rashford has struggled for time on the pitch at United this season with Mourinho able to pick from a clutch of attacking options including Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata.

But the United boss will be spared the difficult decision of whether to play Rashford over the next few weeks, with the 20-year-old starting a three-game ban against Watford following a red card in the Burnley match.

Mourinho could also be without defender Luke Shaw, who suffered a nasty head injury in England’s match against Spain on his return to the national side.

Watford brushed aside Brighton, Burnley and Crystal Palace as they made a perfect start to the season.

But their real statement of intent came in their come-from-behind win against Tottenham that enabled them to keep pace with Liverpool and Chelsea.

Watford boss Javi Gracia, though, warned his side of under-estimating United.

“Nowadays we talk about the coaches a lot more, but they have a great squad, many internationals, recently crowned champions of the world,” said the Spaniard.

“We’ve seen them in all the big international games and we know it is going to be a very difficult game. But we will try to compete in the same way we have done things in the last couple of games.

“I think that as soon as we begin to think the next game is going to be easier for some reason, we are dead… we will pay heavily for any sense of over-confidence against a team like United.”