UK Nurse On Trial For Murder Of Newborn Babies

File photo: A nurse prepares to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London, on December 8, 2020. Britain on December 8 hailed a turning point in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, as it begins the biggest vaccination programme in the country’s history with a new Covid-19 jab. Frank Augstein / POOL / AFP

 

A neo-natal nurse went on trial in Britain on Monday, charged with the murder of seven babies in her care and the attempted killing of 10 others.

Lucy Letby, 32, has denied murdering five boys and two girls, and attempting to murder another five boys and five girls between June 2015 and June 2016.

She is alleged to have carried out the killings at the Countess of Chester Hospital, in Chester, northwest England, where she was working.

Opening the prosecution case, lawyer Nick Johnson said that neo-natal mortality at the hospital had been comparable to other units around the country.

But over 18 months from January 2015 it saw a “significant” rise in the number of deaths and serious catastrophic collapses.

Consultants were concerned because babies who were dying deteriorated unexpectedly. Some who collapsed did not respond to appropriate treatment.

Others collapsed then dramatically recovered, defying “the normal experience” of doctors, he told a jury at Manchester Crown Court.

“Having searched for a cause, which they were unable to find, the consultants noticed that the inexplicable collapses and deaths did have one common denominator,” he alleged.

“The presence of one of the neo-natal nurses and that nurse was Lucy Letby.”

Johnson said deaths and collapses happened on night shifts when Letby was on shift, then when she moved to work during the day.

One review suggested that in the 12 months from mid-2015, two children were poisoned with insulin. The “only reasonable conclusion” that can be drawn was that it was done deliberately, he added.

“This was no accident,” he said, describing the collapses and deaths of all 17 children concerned as not “naturally occurring tragedies”.

Some were injected with air in their bloodstream, others were fed with insulin or too much milk, the lawyer said.

“They were all the work, we say, of the woman in the dock, who we say was the constant malevolent presence when things took a turn for the worse of these 17 children,” Johnson alleged.

In all, Letby is facing 22 charges — seven of murder and 15 of attempted murder, as she allegedly tried to kill some children more than once.

The youngest alleged murder victim — a boy who was born prematurely — was just a day old and “well” but died within 90 minutes of Letby coming on duty on June 8, 2015, the court was told.

Medical experts said his death was consistent with a deliberate injection of air or something else into his circulation minutes before his collapse.

Discolouration on the boy’s skin was consistent with some of the other cases in which Letby is alleged to have injected air into a victim’s bloodstream, the jury heard.

Letby then tried to kill the boy’s twin sister just hours later, it was alleged. She was revived and does not appear to have suffered any adverse effects, said Johnson.

AFP

FIRST 11: Recovered United Eye Arsenal’s Winning Run+The Week’s Big Sports Stories

first-eleven-top-sports-stories
The week’s top sports stories. Illustration. Benjamin Kehinde.

 

Transfer deadline deals dominated much of the conversations in the sporting cycle this week. From England to Spain, it was fever-pitch high as clubs battled to shore up their squads for the marathon football season.  

But away from the transfer madness, there was pretty much to talk about in sports this week. Actions have continued in the US Open; the race for elective posts in the Nigeria Football Football Federation (NFF) has also heightened. The home-based Super Eagles team will hope to revert a 2-0 first leg defeat to Ghana in the qualification race for the 2023 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN). 

These and several others are covered in this edition of First 11, the weekly recap of major sports stories around the world. 


Eagles Go For Broke

The Super Eagles Team B now have an uphill task in the second leg next weekend. [email protected]

 

Starting from the home front, the Super Eagles Team B will be doing all to reverse a 2-0 loss to Ghana earlier in the week. Coach Salisu Yusuf’s Eagles had their wings clipped by the Black Galaxies in Ghana during the first leg qualification game for CHAN. And in Abuja, the Nigerians will hope for redemption when the second leg kicks off this weekend. 

Already, Super Eagles Team A coach Jose Peseiro has linked up with the side as Nigeria plot Ghana’s downfall. When the game begins on Saturday, millions of Nigerians will expect the home-based side to revenge the Super Eagles Team A’s World Cup qualification ouster in the hands of their perennial rivals. 


Parker Gets The Boot

In this file photo, former Bournemouth’s English head coach Scott Parker reacts after they concede their ninth goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on August 27, 2022. Liverpool won the game 9-0. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

 

Still on football but this time in the English Premier League where gaffer Scott Parker became the first casualty of the “sack race”. It took just four games into the new campaign for Bournemouth to dismiss Parker who led them back to the top flight.  A string of poor results (three losses and one win) in August including a 9-0 thumping against Liverpool, culminated in his sack. 

Former Bournemouth midfielder Gary O’Neil will take charge at the Vitality Stadium on an interim basis, the club said in a statement confirming Parker’s departure. 


EPL Catches Transfer Bug

In this file photo taken on August 12, 2017 The Premier league trophy sits beside the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton. CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / AFP
In this file photo taken on August 12, 2017, the Premier league trophy sits beside the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton. CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / AFP

 

And as the action intensifies across Europe’s top leagues, English Premier League sides have beefed up their squads for the marathon games. The summer football transfer ended Thursday night but Premier League sides achieved a feat in spending. The gross spending by teams in the first division was pegged at £1.9 billion ($2.1 billion).

This eclipsed the 2017 record of £1.43 billion spent in that transfer window. Signings by Chelsea, Newcastle, Manchester United, and Arsenal among others, contributed largely to this. Deloitte’s Sports Business Group estimated the gross spending by the 20 English top-flight clubs during the transfer window that ended on Thursday was the highest in the history of the competition.


Arsenal on Cloud Nine

Arsenal's Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes (2R) celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Fulham at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Arsenal’s Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes (2R) celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Fulham at the Emirates Stadium in London on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

One of the teams responsible for the transfer feat, Arsenal, have also got many people talking. The Gunners are a revitalised side this season, winning their first five league games.

Mikel Arteta’s are on cloud nine, topping the league standings, two points ahead of holders Manchester City, a reality that strikingly contrasts their start to life last term. Arsenal were rooted to the bottom of the league after losing their first three matches last season but bounced back to push for a Champions League spot which they narrowly lost to London rivals Tottenham. 

Against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, Arsenal will have their biggest test so far in the campaign. Their opponents, having recovered from a sloppy start to the season – they lost their first two matches – have a chance to make it four wins out of four. But how they will neutralise the bullets from Arsenal’s blazing cannons is yet to be seen!


Hard to Handle Haaland Scores for Fun!

Haaland is one of the new signings expected to bring fireworks to the EPL. [email protected]

 

Arsenal’s latest win over Fulham at the Emirates Stadium came on the same day Manchester City brushed aside Nottingham Forest in a league game. That day, Norwegian striker Erling Haaland’s first-half hat trick set the tone for a 6-0 thumping of Forest.

He proved unplayable and has silenced critics who called him “white Lukaku” after a poor outing in the Community Shield against Liverpool. The former Borrusia Dortmund forward also scored a treble in City’s 4-2 victory over Crystal Palace. In just five league games, Haaland has scored eight goals and there is no guessing that the striker, who has had rave reviews over his performances, will be a nightmare to defenders in the months to follow. 


France Launches Probe

Mathias Pogba is linked with blackmailing his younger brother , Paul
In this file photo taken on December 29, 2019, the Pogba brothers, Manchester United and France midfielder Paul Pogba (C), Atlanta United defender Florentin Pogba (L), and CD Manchego midfielder Mathias Pogba (R), pose prior to a gala football match between All-Star France and Guinea at the Vallee du Cher Stadium in Tours, central France, as part of the “48h for Guinea” charity event. (Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP) /

 

Meanwhile, France on Friday launched a criminal investigation into claims by World Cup winner Paul Pogba that he is the victim of a multi-million euro blackmail plot by gangsters involving his brother, the Paris prosecutor said.

Two investigating magistrates have been appointed to lead the probe, prosecutor Laure Beccuau said in a statement. Based on the findings of a preliminary investigation launched last month it will examine allegations — for now against persons unknown — including blackmail by an armed gang, kidnapping, and membership of a criminal conspiracy, she said, confirming a weekend statement from a judicial source.


D’Tigers Caged!

File photo of D’Tigers Roster at the 3rd qualification window for the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Kigali.

 

Moving on to basketball! Nigeria’s D’Tigers failed to roar at the African qualification window for the 2023 FIBA World Cup. They were caged by Angola, 70-67, in the last game of the window on Sunday after winning and losing one game. Nigeria had beaten Guinea 89-70 after a first game loss, 78-66, to hosts Ivory Coast at the 3,500-capacity Palais des Sports Treichville. 

The results leave them in a tight corner ahead of the next qualification window. Four tickets are up for grabs for Africa after the Ivorians booked a slot for the basketball showpiece billed to run from August 25 to September 10, 2023, in Japan, Indonesia, and The Philippines.


Falcons Face US Test

Nigeria’s players pose for a group picture during the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations semi-final football match between Morocco and Nigeria at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat on July 18, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

 

In football, the Super Falcons are up against the US in two international friendly games. They arrived in the US city of Kansas earlier in the week for matches which are part of preparations for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. 

Coach Randy Waldrum invited four of the ladies that reached the quarter-finals of the just-concluded FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup to face the heavyweights. The first game of the two-match series is billed for Saturday at the Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. On Tuesday, the second tie of the clash with the World Cup champions holds at the Audi Field in Washington. 


Peterside, Akinwunmi, Others Join NFF Race

Giwa Takes Control Of NFF As Dalung Asks Pinnick To Obey Court Order
A logo of the NFF.

 

As the Falcons battle the US, political activities are intensifying on the home front for elective posts in the NFF. President of the body Amaju Pinnick won’t be seeking re-election after two terms but the NFF first vice president Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi is among others contesting to replace him. 

Aside from Akinwunmi, a former international Peterside Idah has also joined the race alongside the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Head of Safety and Security Christian Emeruwa. A former NFF first vice president Amanze Uchegbulam has equally declared for the position. 

The presidential seat and other positions are up for grabs when the NFF congress holds later in the month in Benin City, Edo State.


Guinea Ready To Host Africa?

AFCON trophy.

 

On the continental scene, Guinea’s ruling junta has told a Confederation of African Football mission that it will meet the timetable for staging the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).

CAF has sent a team to the poor and volatile West African state to assess its progress in hosting the tournament. Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who appointed himself president after taking power in a coup in September 2021, met with the visiting experts on Wednesday.


No Farewell For Williams Sisters?

SA’s Serena Williams (R) and Venus Williams confer as they play against Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova during their 2022 US Open Tennis tournament women’s doubles first-round match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 1, 2022. (Photo by COREY SIPKIN / AFP)

 

Heading to the court, Serena and Venus Williams’ glittering Grand Slam doubles career ended abruptly at the US Open as the reunited sisters crashed out in the first round against Czech duo Lucie Hradecka and Linda Noskova.

The Americans in what is almost certainly their final outing together as a Grand Slam doubles duo — slumped to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 loss at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday. The Williams sisters – winners of 14 Grand Slam crowns and three Olympic gold medals — had not played together in a doubles tournament since 2018.


FIRST 11 is a weekly recap of some of the big sports stories told in a condensed form.


 

Ronaldo Scores As Man United Record Morale-Boosting Win Against Brentford

Ronaldo: Source: [email protected] Utd

 

Manchester United took the sting out of their fans’ latest protest against the Glazer family as they eased to a 3-0 win against Brentford on Monday.

Ahead of a summer of change for troubled United, Ralf Rangnick’s side won for just the second time in seven games to keep the atmosphere from turning toxic at Old Trafford.

Bruno Fernandes struck early in the first half and Cristiano Ronaldo converted a second half penalty before France defender Raphael Varane bagged his first goal for United.

Despite winning their last home game of the season, United remain in sixth place in the Premier League with two games left.

They sit five points adrift of the top four with no realistic hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Fittingly, it was under grey, rain-filled skies that fans protested against despised owners the Glazers for a third successive home match.

Outside the stadium before kick-off, a group of supporters held up anti-Glazer banners, set off red smoke bombs and made offensive chants about the club’s owners.

United fans had been urged by the protesters to leave the stadium with 17 minutes left in the match — one minute for every year the United States-based Glazers have owned the club.

But that idea proved a damp squib as only a handful left their seats.

There were more empty seats by the time United embarked on a post-match lap of appreciation, but no overt signs of dissent towards their underachieving stars.

“In possession that was one of our best performances this year. It was the type of performance we wanted to show to our supporters,” Rangnick said.

Regardless, there is no doubting the overall level of frustration at another trophyless season for United, who haven’t won the Premier League since 2013 and last lifted a major trophy five years ago.

 ‘Lacked Consistency’ 

Aside from a few scathing comments about the club’s direction, Rangnick has done little to jolt United out of their malaise since replacing the sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in November.

“In the end I’m not happy with the results, especially in the last four or five weeks. In general we have lacked consistency,” Rangnick said.

“It’s obvious quite a few players will leave and there is a need for top quality players.

“Other clubs only needed two or three transfer windows to challenge. I strongly believe that if everyone works together we can bring Man Utd back to where we need to be.”

Rangnick was in charge of his last home game as United interim manager before the recently-hired Erik ten Hag arrives from Ajax to start his rebuilding job next season.

After such a wretched run, United needed a fast start to lift the gloom a little and they took just nine minutes to go in front.

Anthony Elanga beat Brentford’s offside trap as he raced onto Diogo Dalot’s pass.

He reached the ball just before it went out for a goal-kick and whipped a superb cross towards Fernandes, who volleyed home from six yards for his first league goal since February.

After several listless displays, this was a more energetic effort from United and Juan Mata fired narrowly wide from Ronaldo’s flamboyant pass.

Ronaldo won a penalty in the 60th minute as he powered past Rico Henry and was crudely barged to the turf by the Brentford defender.

Picking himself up, Ronaldo sent David Raya the wrong way from the spot.

The Portugal striker has scored nine of United’s last 11 league goals, taking his tally for the season to 24 in all competitions.

With the United fans’ much-hyped walk-out just seconds away, Varane volleyed the third goal from a corner in the 72nd minute.

That appeared to take the sting out of the revolt, with Mata and Nemanja Matic — both likely to leave in the close-season — departing to standing ovations when they were substituted.

It was a rare feelgood moment in a season of strife at Old Trafford.

AFP

‘Jinxed:’ Four Times Man United Lost Semi-Final Games Under Solskjaer

In this file photo taken on October 16, 2021, ex-Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the end of the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Manchester United at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Manchester United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the club’s manager on Sunday, ending a three-year trophyless stint which saw the Norwegian losing four semi-finals and a final.  

A 1-4 humiliating defeat against relegation-threatened Watford at the Vicarage Road on Saturday, the latest in a string of losses, was the final straw.

The loss left the Old Trafford side seventh on the league log, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea. They are also facing a threat of non-qualification for the Champions League next season.

Before Sunday’s sack, United under Solskjaer had failed to win a trophy, their last being the Europa League they clinched during Jose Mourinho’s reign.

But the former Molde manager did get some near misses during his time with the 1999 European champions.

READ ALSO: Five Potential Candidates To Replace Solskjaer

Here are four times Manchester United lost semi-final encounters under Solskjaer:

2020/21: Man Utd 0-2 Man City (Carabao Cup)

File photo: Former Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the final whistle during the English League Cup semi-final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on January 6, 2021. PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

With the COVID-19 pandemic halting sports globally, the Carabao Cup semi-final was a single-legged affair.

But Manchester United, in their fourth semi-final encounter under the Norwegian coach, crumbled 0-2 in the hands of neighbours Manchester City.

Brazil’s Fernandinho was on song during the game, wrapping up a match that also saw  John Stones getting on the scorer’s sheet.

2019/20: Sevilla 2-1 Man Utd  (Europa League)

Players including Manchester United’s Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea reacts after the UEFA Europa League semi-final football match Sevilla v Manchester United on August 16, 2020, in Cologne, western Germany. Ina Fassbender / POOL / AFP

 

After taking a first-half advantage via a Bruno Fernandes goal. However, they were pegged back just before the break. United missed several chances before Luuk De Jong punished them with a winner with 12 minutes to go. It’s the team’s third semi-final defeat under Solskjaer.

2019/20: Chelsea 3-1 Man Utd (FA Cup)

Chelsea players celebrating after Giroud scored the opener in the FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester United on Sunday, July 19th, 2020. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

The second semi-final defeat for United since the arrival of the club legend ended their 19-match unbeaten streak. It was also the third time in four terms that Chelsea had eliminated the Red Devils from the competition.

 2019/20: Man Utd 1-3 Man City; Man City 0-1 Man Utd (agg 2-3) – Carabao Cup

United’s Brandon Williams leaps high in the air to try to win the ball against Mahrez during the clash. Photo: Manchester United.

 

In a classic display for Pep Guardiola’s men, Manchester United blew away Solskjaer’s boys, taking a massive 3-0 lead under 30 minutes.

English striker Marcus Rashford got a consolation goal for United in the second half in the first leg encounter.

In the second leg encounter, Manchester United won 3-2 but that was inadequate to see them through to the final.

Tottenham Hit 10-Man Man Utd For Six On Mourinho’s Return

 

 

Tottenham cashed in on Anthony Martial’s first-half red card to thrash Manchester United 6-1 as Jose Mourinho enjoyed a dream return to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Son Heung-min and Harry Kane scored twice as Spurs opened up a disorganised United defence at will even before Martial was harshly punished for an off-the-ball clash with Erik Lamela.

Tanguy Ndombele and Serge Aurier were also on target for Tottenham, who showed no ill-effects of a draining week in their fourth match in eight days.

United’s worst home defeat since 2011 will turn the spotlight onto them ahead of the transfer deadline on Monday.

Uruguayan striker Edison Cavani is reportedly set to join the Red Devils, but it is at the other end of the field Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are in desperate need of reinforcements.

Mourinho, who was sacked as United boss in December 2018, has claimed his old club are too often the beneficiaries of dubious penalty decisions. But he could have no complaints when Davinson Sanchez upended Martial inside the area in the first minute.

Bruno Fernandes coolly slotted home the spot-kick to seemingly give the home side the perfect start.

However, within four minutes it was 1-1 as calamitous defending from Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw presented Ndombele with the chance to sweep home an equaliser from close range.

Kane was the provider for all four of Son’s goals in a 5-2 win at Southampton two weeks ago and the two combined to perfection once more as Spurs took the lead three minutes later.

Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were caught ball watching as Kane’s quickly taken free-kick was perfect for the South-Korean to race through and dink the ball over the advancing David De Gea.

The visitors could have had plenty more as a poor touch from Son denied him another one-on-one with De Gea before the Spaniard saved from Aurier.

Any chance of a United revival went with Martial as he was shown a straight red card for raising his hands to Lamela’s face in retaliation to an elbow from the Argentine, which went unpunished from VAR.

Even that decision, though, could not mask a disastrous performance from United, who gifted another goal away within two minutes of losing a man.

Kane intercepted Bailly’s attempt to play out from inside his own box and when the ball broke to Son, he unselfishly squared for Kane to slot into an unguarded net.

Son had been a major injury doubt after suffering a hamstring problem in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle, but he was full of energy as he burst into the box to flick his seventh goal of the season between De Gea’s legs.

Solskjaer introduced holding midfielders Scott McTominay and Fred at half-time in a bid to stem the tide, but United were cut open again when Paul Pogba failed to track Aurier’s run and he fired into the far corner from Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg’s perfect pass.

Pogba was at fault again for the sixth as he dived in on Ben Davies and Kane converted emphatically from the penalty spot.

A second straight home defeat to start the season drops United to just above the relegation zone in 16th, while Tottenham move up to fifth.

Man City Pounce On Varane Mistakes To Dump Out Real Madrid

 

Manchester City took advantage of two shocking mistakes by Raphael Varane to beat Real Madrid 2-1 in their Champions League last 16-second leg on Friday and advance to the quarter-finals as Pep Guardiola came out on top in his duel with Zinedine Zidane.

The Frenchman had never been knocked out of Europe’s elite club competition as Real coach, leading them to three consecutive victories between 2016 and 2018 in his first spell before returning to the job last year.

But Madrid had been left with a mountain to climb in this tie after throwing away the lead to lose 2-1 in the first leg in Spain in February, before the coronavirus forced the competition into hibernation.

An identical defeat at an empty Etihad Stadium means it is City who advance 4-2 on aggregate.

READ ALSO: Lyon Hold Off Juventus To Reach Champions League Quarter-Finals

Without Sergio Ramos due to suspension, Real were undone by mistakes by their other first-choice centre-back.

Varane was dispossessed inside the box in the ninth minute allowing Raheem Sterling to put City ahead, and his poor headed backpass attempt gifted Gabriel Jesus another goal midway through the second half.

Before that second goal the tie had been in the balance with the in-form Karim Benzema having scored for the visitors just before the half-hour mark.

The circumstances may be highly unusual, but this is still City’s finest Champions League result, their most significant victory in a knock-out tie.

Their best performance in the competition remains a run to the semi-finals in 2016, when they went out rather limply to Real.

Now they should very possibly be considered the favourites to win the competition in Lisbon on August 23.

If they do so, the victory would taste all the sweeter coming so soon after their successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport against a two-year ban from Europe handed down by UEFA for breaches of their Financial Fair Play rules.

They have already qualified for next season’s tournament after coming second in the Premier League but now they can look forward to facing Lyon in the quarter-finals next Saturday at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Real, meanwhile, will get over this.

They have dined out on success in the Champions League in recent years but their main objective after the coronavirus shutdown was to win La Liga and they did that.

Zidane’s team overhauled Barcelona thanks to 10 successive victories after La Liga returned in June but they were not especially prolific in front of goal during that run, despite Benzema’s fine form.

Uphill struggle

It was already going to be an uphill struggle for them in the absence of Ramos, sent off late in the first leg, and their task became even harder after they conceded an early opener.

City’s high pressing paid off as Varane was barged off the ball in his own area by Jesus, who squared for Sterling to roll in.

There was a response from the 13-time European champions, though, with Benzema and Eden Hazard both forcing saves from Ederson before their equaliser on the night arrived in the 28th minute.

A fine move ended with Benzema feeding Rodrygo and the young Brazilian clipping in a cross from the right for the Frenchman, who rose above Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho to head in from the edge of the six-yard box.

It was his 65th goal in the Champions League, putting him one clear of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski on the overall list and behind only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Raul.

Unfortunately for Real, Benzema was not able to add to that tally and this tie was effectively ended by another Varane blooper.

The Frenchman struggled with an awkward high ball downfield and his header back towards Thibaut Courtois was short, allowing Jesus to prod it beyond the goalkeeper and into the net.

Real will not return to Lisbon, where they won the Champions League in 2014, but the dream remains alive for Guardiola and City.

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.

Martial Brace Fires Man Utd In Newcastle Defeat

 

Anthony Martial’s double and a Mason Greenwood rocket fired Manchester United to a 4-1 win against Newcastle that lifted the mood at Old Trafford after their recent struggles.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side slumped to an embarrassing 2-0 defeat at lowly Watford last weekend to raise fresh questions about the United manager’s ability to inspire his players.

When Matty Longstaff put Newcastle ahead in the first half on Thursday, Solskjaer’s critics were sharpening their knives again.

But Martial rode to Solskjaer’s rescue with the equaliser and Greenwood’s thunderbolt put United ahead before Marcus Rashford rounded off a first half blitz.

Martial netted again after the interval as United ended a two-match winless run in the Premier League and moved into seventh place, just four points behind fourth placed Chelsea in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

United’s failure to match the levels they showed in their recent win at champions Manchester City during lacklustre efforts against Watford and Everton had put Solskjaer’s future in the spotlight again.

The Norwegian insisted he retains the support of United owners the Glazer family, but he could hardly afford another setback against mid-table opponents like Newcastle.

Scott McTominay tried too hard to set the tone for United when he crunched into a studs-high tackle on Sean Longstaff that earned him the fastest Premier League booking of the season after just 40 seconds.

That was part of a spluttering start from United and Dwight Gayle should have put Newcastle ahead from Joelinton’s pass, but the striker blazed high into the Stretford End.

It was a warning that Solskjaer’s men failed to heed as Newcastle took the lead in the 17th minute.

Matty Longstaff had scored the winner against United on his Premier League debut in October.

The 19-year-old midfielder was making just his third appearance since that dream debut at St James’ Park and this was his first goal since.

Greenwood sparkles

Stepping past Luke Shaw, he produced a fine low finish after Joelinton showed impressive composure to tee up Longstaff inside the penalty area.

Now without a clean-sheet in 14 league games, United needed a quick response to lift the gloom and Martial got a helping hand as he delivered the equaliser in the 24th minute.

Andreas Pereira’s neat lay-off from Shaw’s pass gave Martial a sight of goal and French striker’s low shot squirmed under a weak attempted save from Martin Dubravka at his near post.

Newcastle had contributed to their own downfall on that occasion and Greenwood punished more sloppy defending to put United in front in the 36th minute.

Greenwood, making just his third Premier League start, has been one of the few bright spots in a frustrating season.

The 18-year-old showcased his vast potential when he seized on Fabian Schar’s wayward pass and crashed a sublime strike past Dubravka from 20 yards for his eighth goal of the season.

United had all the momentum and increased their lead in the 41st minute, with Rashford climbing highest to power a header into the roof of the net from Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s pin-point cross despite Newcastle appeals for a foul in the build-up.

Following Rashford’s 15th club goal this season, Solskjaer sent on Pogba at half-time for his second appearance since returning from a lengthy ankle injury.

It was Pogba’s compatriot Martial who put the result beyond doubt in the 51st minute.

Sean Longstaff’s woeful attempted back-pass from near the halfway line was intercepted by Martial and he raced into the area before clipping his shot over Dubravka.

Martial was inches away from a hat-trick when his long-range blast hit the post.

Man City’s Title Defence Rocked By Defeat Against Wolves

 

Manchester City’s bid to win a third successive Premier League title suffered a huge setback as the champions crashed to a shock 2-0 defeat against Wolves on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s side are trailing leaders Liverpool by eight points following Adama Traore’s two late goals at the Etihad Stadium.

READ ALSO: Abraham, Mount Fire Chelsea To Victory At Southampton

It was second-placed City’s second league defeat this term after their surprise loss at Norwich in September.

Liverpool — pipped to the title by one point last term — have won all eight of their league games as they bid to win the English crown for the first time since 1990.

Aubameyang Denies Man Utd Morale-Boosting Win Over Arsenal

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their first goal, decision of off-side overturned by VAR (Video Assistant referee) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on September 30, 2019. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second-half strike, awarded by VAR, denied Manchester United a much-needed win to kickstart their season as Arsenal emerged from Old Trafford with a 1-1 draw on Monday.

Scott McTominay’s stunning strike to give United the lead was a rare moment of quality in a poor first-half.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men could not hold out for all three points as Aubameyang’s goal just before the hour mark was allowed to stand despite the Gabon international being initially flagged offside.

United have now won just two of their last 12 Premier League games dating back to last season and sit 12 points adrift of leaders Liverpool just seven games into the campaign.

A point is enough to edge Arsenal back into the top four on goal difference and maintain their three-point advantage over United, who move up to 10th.

For many years the clashes between these sides were the Premier League’s marquee fixtures. United and Arsenal were the champions of England for nine consecutive seasons between 1996 and 2004.

However, the fact the were facing off a Monday night because neither are in Champions League action later this week was reflected in a first 45 minutes devoid of quality.

It took 28 minutes for either goalkeeper to be tested as Arsenal’s Bernd Leno saved well low to his left to deny Andreas Pereira after a solo run.

United have not scored more than one goal in any match since the opening day of the season and, even against an Arsenal defence that had conceded nine goals in their last four league games, looked toothless when not afforded space to counter-attack into.

Arsenal, though, played right into the hosts hands in the final five minutes of the first-half.

Firstly, Marcus Rashford wasted a huge chance when played in behind by Paul Pogba’s through ball with the Gunners furiously protesting for a free-kick against the Frenchman as he dispossessed Matteo Guendouzi.

Arsenal then had the chance to strike on the counter-attack themselves as from a United corner the visitors burst forward through Bukayo Saka and after his effort was palmed away by David de Gea, the Spaniard got back in position to block Guendouzi’s follow-up effort.

But from the resulting corner, it was United who took the lead.

Daniel James led the counter from one end of the field to the other and after his cross just evaded Rashford, the England international cut the ball back to the edge of the box where McTominay smashed into the top corner.

That was the first goal United had scored a goal from open play at home in the first-half this season.

But they soon needed a second as Arsenal struck back after the break thanks to VAR.

Saka pounced on a loose pass deep inside the United half and fed Aubameyang, who had been flagged offside, before dinking the ball past De Gea.

However, replays showed he was clearly played onside by Harry Maguire and his eighth goal of the season was allowed to stand.

Seconds later, Unai Emery’s men were unlucky not to be in front when Saka’s shot from Callum Chambers’s cross was deflected just over by Victor Lindelof.

Attack looked like the best form of defence for Arsenal as their backline never looked comfortable at holding out for a point.

Pogba fired inches wide from the edge of the area before McTominay somehow didn’t score his second of the night with a free header six yards out from a corner.

Leno produced a fine save to turn a piledriver from Maguire over as the world’s most expensive defender tried to atone for his earlier error.

But the German goalkeeper’s best save of the evening came at the death as he flew to his left to turn Rashford’s powerful free-kick to safety.

 

Guardiola Impressed By Mahrez Revival

 

Pep Guardiola has backed Riyad Mahrez to be a key man for Manchester City after the Algeria winger’s vibrant start to the season.

With Leroy Sane out for at least five months as he recovers from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, Mahrez will have plenty of chances to make his mark this season.

He did that on Wednesday in the Champions League, scoring one and creating another as City strolled to a 3-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Algerian struggled at City last season following his £60 million move from Leicester.

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But now Guardiola believes the 28-year-old can become a major part of his plans as he adapts to City’s unique style.

“Riyad played well last season apart from the first few games,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.

“He took a bit of time to adapt as it was different from Leicester where he was used to playing on the counter attack, but that is normal.

“But he loves to play football and he loves training. He just wants to be in the contact with the ball. I like that.

“He doesn’t feel too much pressure and he has a lot of confidence in himself.

“If he has a bad action, he wants the ball back to try again. That is the best detail for players in big clubs.

“He is quality, but the only thing is he just needs to be more relaxed when he does not play.”

While Mahrez was impressing in Kharkiv, Gabriel Jesus also caught the eye with a goal in just his second start of the season.

The Brazilian striker has had to play second fiddle to Sergio Aguero since he came to England in January 2017, but Guardiola says he is the perfect understudy to the Argentine.

– Incredible future –
“It’s difficult to find a striker like Gabriel in Europe or the world. He is a top player and his behaviour in training sessions is outstanding,” Guardiola said.

“He has to handle being behind Aguero, a legend in this club and one of the best strikers I have ever worked with, so my praise for Gabriel is over the moon.

“He needs to be patient but when he plays, he does absolutely everything in the way he fights and the way he tries. He is a young forward and his future is incredible.”

Fernandinho appears certain to retain his place for the Premier League game at home to Watford on Saturday as an emergency centre-half, having stepped in alongside Nicolas Otamendi to replace the injured John Stones in Ukraine on Wednesday.

Stones faces another month out and Aymeric Laporte is sidelined until the new year, so Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho will be needed in defence for the foreseeable future.

With Vincent Kompany joining Anderlecht in the close-season, it leaves teenagers Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis as the only other alternatives to Fernandinho as a centre-half.

However, Guardiola is trying to turn the difficult situation into a positive.

“We don’t have many options. But I don’t see it as a problem, it’s a challenge,” he said.

“We have to accept it and handle it. You have to be positive. If we do that, we’ll be happy.”

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Rashford Penalty Gives United Edge Over Leicester

 

Marcus Rashford put the disappointment of a previous penalty miss behind him by scoring from the spot to give Manchester United a much-needed 1-0 win over Leicester at Old Trafford on Saturday.

But manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left with more unanswered questions about his team’s prospects as Rashford’s first-half penalty secured just his team’s second win of the campaign.

Beaten on their last Old Trafford outing by Crystal Palace, there was little margin for error for United, or £80 million ($100million) defender Harry Maguire who was facing his former club for the first time since his summer move.

Magure was booed and subjected to insulting chants from his former club’s supporters throughout the 90 minutes.

READ ALSO: Son At The Double As Spurs Thump Crystal Palace

There were still long, perplexing periods where United were distinctly second best and outplayed by a Leicester side who started the day in third place.

At least the United manager did not face a further inquisition over penalties after the chaotic start his team has made in that department.

Penalties have dominated much of the news agenda around United in the early stages of the campaign, with Paul Pogba and Rashford both guilty of costly misses that cost their team points against Wolves and Palace.

So when the Reds won their fourth spot kick in five games this season following a push by Caglar Soyuncu on Rashford after six minutes, all eyes were on the taker’s identity.

Pogba, however, was not a candidate for penalty responsibilities, having missed the game with an ankle injury, paving the way for Rashford, who failed from the spot in United’s last home fixture against Palace, with the duty.

The England forward showed admirable poise and composure by placing a right-footed kick into the bottom corner of the Leicester goal and sending Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way.

It was an ideal start for Solskjaer’s side, having endured an uncomfortable international break in which much had been made of their underwhelming start to the campaign.

That pressure had increased, with French pair Pogba and Anthony Martial unavailable for the visit of Brendan Rodgers’ side due to injury.

United went close to breaking the deadlock within two minutes.

They were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Leicester area, which Andreas Pereira sent flying towards the top corner, forcing Schmeichel into an important and athletic stop.

But there was an almost immediate reminder of how vulnerable United’s defence has looked.

A long clearance from Schmeichel was allowed to bounce twice before James Maddison out-muscled Victor Lindelof and produced a shot which David de Gea did well to block.

The United goalkeeper was equally alert just before the half-hour when he tipped over a brilliant left-footed 25-yard volley from England defender Ben Chilwell following a half-cleared corner.

But either side of half-time saw Leicester start to take control of the game, with Youri Tielemans dominating midfield and Maddison becoming more influential.

The England squad man almost equalised, after 55 minutes, with a right-foot free-kick which sailed just wide of the home goal as United became increasingly bogged down.

There were chances on the counter-attack for Solskjaer’s side — Daniel James shooting over from 20 yards and Juan Mata being denied by Schmeichel — while Rashford’s 83rd minute free-kick struck the City bar.