Solskjaer Hails Rashford After United Thrash Norwich

Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford (R) scores their second goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match against Norwich City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 11, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

 

Marcus Rashford marked his 200th appearance for Manchester United with two goals in a 4-0 win over Norwich on Saturday, leaving his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer predicting he can get even better.

Anthony Martial and impressive teenager Mason Greenwood were also on the mark as Solskjaer’s team maintained their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League through the league table.

But those prospects may depend on the continued fitness of Rashford, who was substituted after less than an hour and was declared doubtful for Wednesday’s FA third-round replay with Wolves due to injury problems.

Solskjaer admitted he will have to handle Rashford’s fitness carefully and little wonder given that the 22-year-old has now scored 19 times in his past 23 games for United and England.

“What an achievement, to get to 200 games at his age,” said the Norwegian boss. “I don’t know how many goals he has scored but he has 19 (for United) this season and he’s been absolutely top class to work with.

“He’s a great kid, great attitude, he wants to learn, wants to improve but knows he has to keep his feet on the ground but is always available even though today he is carrying quite a few knocks.

“He’s played many, many games, I might have to look at how we manage him but of course he can get so much better. He’s got everything to be a top-class player.”

– Rampant Rashford –

Rashford now has 64 goals in his United career, with the 63rd of those coming in the 27th minute after largely unrelenting home pressure, although the goal owed everything to a fantastic assist from Juan Mata.

The Spanish playmaker received a long pass from Victor Lindelof and, after Todd Cantwell backed off a little too far, had the space to float in a perfect cross which Rashford volleyed in at the far post.

David de Gea was required to make a superb save late in the first half to keep their lead intact, diving well to claw away a curling shot from Cantwell.

But that was a rare lapse from a United side that dominated for the bulk of the game and should have been enjoying a more comfortable cushion by the interval.

That finally came with two goals in quick succession early in the second half, with Rashford heavily involved in the first of those, playing a ball into the area for Brandon Williams to chase.

The young full-back won a penalty after a rash challenge from goalkeeper Tim Krul.

United had missed four of their previous eight penalties this season — two in their win at Norwich before Christmas — but Rashford made no mistake on this occasion with a firm strike into the bottom right-hand corner.

The Reds did not have long to wait for a third as Williams played a quick, short corner to Mata whose cross was headed in brilliantly by Martial, who rose powerfully amid a crowded six-yard area to head firmly past Krul.

It was the second assist of an impressive afternoon for Mata, with Norwich’s outplayed midfield and immobile defence having no answer to his skill-set.

“When you get Juan facing forward he can pick those passes and put crosses in, he was excellent,” said Solskjaer.

Williams himself should have continued the rout moments later, missing an open net from three yards, before substitute Greenwood finally produced that fourth after 75 minutes, driving a left-foot shot past Krul from the edge of the area.

AFP

Norwich Hold Tottenham In Premier League

Norwich City’s Cuban-born German midfielder Onel Hernandez (R) is pressured by Tottenham Hotspur’s Ivorian defender Serge Aurier (L) during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England on December 28, 2019. Lindsey Parnaby / AFP

 

Harry Kane’s penalty eight minutes from time salvaged a point for Tottenham in a 2-2 thriller at Norwich on Saturday that exposed both sides’ inability to defend.

The bottom-of-the-table Canaries twice led through Mario Vrancic and a Serge Aurier own goal as they aimed to breath new life into their hopes of Premier League survival.

Christian Eriksen’s brilliant free-kick and Kane’s spot-kick ensured Spurs did not slump to a third defeat in seven games, but they failed to take the chance to leapfrog Chelsea into the top four.

The area of the field with work to do for Jose Mourinho remains obvious and Spurs have kept just one clean sheet in 10 games since he took over and were guilty of some calamitous defending.

Norwich find themselves marooned at the foot of the table, six points from safety, but have played plenty of good football only to be found wanting in both boxes in their first season back in the top flight.

The Canaries slackness at the back could have cost them early on as Kane teed up Dele Alli to fire wastefully over before Kane was played in by one simple long ball by Toby Alderweireld, but Tim Krul raced from his goal to save.

At the other end, Vrancic could not believe his luck as Alderweireld stood off and allowed him to close in on goal before firing low past Paulo Gazzaniga to open the scoring 18 minutes in.

Only VAR prevented Tottenham falling further behind before the break as Jan Vertonghen allowed Teemu Pukki to control Vrancic’s ball over the top and the Finn finished clinically when one-on-one with Gazzaniga.

However, Pukki’s joy was short-lived as he was harshly adjudged to be offside after a VAR review.

Mourinho showed his displeasure with Spurs’ first 45 minutes by making two half-time substitutions and changing his system as Lucas Moura and Davinson Sanchez replaced Juan Foyth and Vertonghen.

The Portuguese got the upturn in performance he desired as only a brilliant block by Christoph Zimmermann denied Alli an equaliser just two minutes after the restart.

Eight minutes later, the visitors were level as Jamal Lewis handled on the edge of his own area to prevent Kane a clear sight of goal.

Eriksen has been a peripheral figure both under Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino earlier in the season due to his contractual standoff with the club that will most likely see the Dane leave on a free transfer in the summer.

But he produced a timely reminder of his quality by curling the resulting free-kick into the top corner.

Moments later, the ball was in the Norwich net again but this time the offside flag went in the hosts’ favour as Alli’s classy finish was ruled out.

Just as Tottenham seemed to have taken control, the tide turned again in the other direction as Norwich retook the lead in comical fashion.

Aurier turned the ball into his own net after the ball ricocheted into his path from Alderweireld’s tackle on Pukki.

Spurs laid seige towards the Norwich goal in the final quarter and not for the first time this season Daniel Farke’s men were unable to see the game out.

Kane was wiped out by Zimmermann as he cut inside and the England captain picked himself up to dispatch the resulting penalty.

 

Norwich End Leicester’s Nine-Game Winning Streak

Norwich City’s Finnish striker Teemu Pukki (R) celebrates with Norwich City’s English defender Max Aarons after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Norwich City at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on December 14, 2019.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Norwich ended Leicester’s nine-game winning run to claim an unexpected 1-1 draw at the King Power that meant the second-placed Foxes fell 10 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.

Leicester paid a heavy price for a poor start as Teemu Pukki put the Canaries in front before a Tim Krul’s own goal brought Brendan Rodgers’s men level before the break.

However, Leicester lacked their usual zip and Norwich’s excellent defensive display frustrated the hosts to pick up a deserved point.

Second-bottom Norwich move to within three points from safety and Daniel Farke will be frustrated his side have not shown this level of defensive discipline on most of their road trips so far this season.

READ ALSO: Gosling Gives Bournemouth Shock Win Over Chelsea

Other than an early fumble from Krul, when he turned Youri Tielemans’s drive onto the post, the visitors settled well and should have gone ahead when Sam Byram crossed for the unmarked Pukki, but the stretching striker could not turn the ball in.

Moments later, the Finnish international made amends by netting his ninth goal of the season on 26 minutes.

Norwich opened up the Foxes again when Emi Buendia slipped in Pukki to outpace Caglar Soyuncu and beat Kasper Schmeichel with a low finish.

But Farke’s men undid a lot of their good work to allow Leicester level seven minutes before the break.

Jamie Vardy thought he had scored for the ninth straight game when he touched on James Maddison’s corner at the near post.

However, as his header was flashing across goal, Krul’s attempted save turned the ball into the net and the Dutch ‘keeper was credited with the own goal.

Krul was, almost beaten again two minutes into the second half when Vardy latched onto Maddison’s pass, rounded Krul and rolled the ball onto the outside of the post from a tight angle.

Norwich offered little going forward after the break as they focused on keeping Leicester at bay.

Wilfred Ndidi nodded wide after 67 minutes but the hosts lacked inspiration and ideas, even if Krul was forced into another smart low save by Vardy.

AFP

New Manager, Same Old Arsenal Held At Norwich

 

 

Caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg could not end Arsenal’s long wait for a win as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s double only salvaged a 2-2 draw at struggling Norwich on Sunday.

The Canaries twice led through Teemu Pukki and Todd Cantwell only for Aubameyang to level, first from the penalty spot and then with a clinical finish after the break.

But Arsenal also had goalkeeper Bernd Leno to thank for coming away with a point as the German saved brilliantly from Kenny McLean, Pukki and Emiliano Buendia.

Unai Emery was sacked as Arsenal manager after seven games without a win in all competitions that had seen the Gunners fall well off the pace in the race for a top-four finish.

Ljungberg remains a fans’ favourite from his title-winning days as an Arsenal player, but he suffered the same problems as his predecessor as the visitors’ firepower up front was needed to cover up their defensive problems.

Granit Xhaka returned to the Arsenal side for the first time in the Premier League since an explosive clash with the club’s fans as he was substituted against Crystal Palace last month that cost him the captaincy among four changes from Emery’s last starting line-up in the league.

Shkodran Mustafi was surprisingly recalled for his first outing in the Premier League this season, but it did not take Ljungberg long to realise the German is not his answer to Arsenal’s problems a centre-back.

Ljungberg’s side had made a bright start but fell behind to Norwich’s first dangerous attack when McLean’s pass played in Pukki, who twisted and turned David Luiz before seeing his shot deflect in off Mustafi for his first goal in nine games.

However, Norwich have also made a habit of giving themselves a mountain to climb this season with defensive errors and gifted Arsenal a route back into the game when captain Cristoph Zimmerman handled a free-kick inside his own box.

Aubameyang saw his first spot-kick saved by Tim Krul, but was given a second chance after a VAR review for encroaching by the Norwich players and fired home the retaken penalty.

Just as Arsenal were beginning to get on top, they were again cut open with ease as Onel Hernandez’s cut-back was passed into the far corner by Cantwell to give Norwich a half-time lead.

Aubameyang has now scored half of his side’s 20 Premier League goals this season as the Gunners’ new captain led by example to smash home at the back post from a corner just before the hour mark.

But it was Norwich who will feel they should have taken all three points as three big chances went begging for just their fourth win of the season.

McLean’s shot was turned onto the post by Leno, Cantwell’s strike from the edge of the area flew just wide and Pukki was denied by a fine Leno save in quick succession.

Leno had one more big stop to make from Buendia in stoppage time, but a point still leaves Arsenal seven points adrift of the top four in the eighth.

Norwich remains in the bottom three, but inch to within three points of safety.

Arsenal Interim Boss Ljungberg Unsure About Managing Full-Time

Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) and teammates react after Frankfurt’s Japanese midfielder Daichi Kamada scores his team’s second goal during their UEFA Europa league Group F football match between Arsenal and Eintracht Frankfurt at the Emirates stadium in London on November 28, 2019.
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Freddie Ljungberg will take charge of Arsenal for the first time as interim manager on Sunday against Norwich but said on Saturday he is unsure whether full-time management appeals to him.

The 42-year-old Swede — who was a member of the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ side under Arsene Wenger in the 2003/04 season — has been put in charge after Unai Emery’s undistinguished 18-month reign came to an end on Friday.

However, Ljungberg — who was an assistant to Emery — told Sky Sports it was too early to say whether being a manager on a permanent basis would be to his liking.

“We’ll see in the future,” said Ljungberg.

“At the moment I’m learning the trade.

“This is a big responsibility and the moment I’m just taking it game by game.”

Ljungberg’s first task will be to arrest the slump that has seen the Gunners fail to win in seven matches — their worst run since 1992 when George Graham’s side failed to win in eight.

READ ALSO: Newcastle Hold Man City In Thrilling Draw

Arsenal are presently eighth in the Premier League table, eight points off the fourth and final Champions League spot with a third of the league campaign gone.

Ljungberg — who played over 200 games for Arsenal in his nine years at the club and won the FA Cup on three occasions — has revealed no timescale has been set for his spell as Emery’s temporary replacement.

“No, no indication of how long or how short. They just said concentrate on your next game do as well as you can,” he said.

Ljungberg, who away from the pitch was a successful underwear model, said he was honoured to have been entrusted with the job of at least for the moment reviving Arsenal’s fortunes.

“It’s a great, great honour,” said Ljungberg.

“That’s how I feel. I feel this energy inside of me. It’s special.

“Of course there’s sadness because of what’s happened to the club and where we are, but also excitement for what we can do for the future and also for tomorrow.

“Its a great honour and that’s what I said to the players — ‘you guys do the job and I’ll try to help and support you’.

“If you play good football and get results then there’s nothing better than that to raise spirits.”

AFP

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.

Norwich Stun Manchester City 3-2 In Premier League Clash

 

Newly-promoted Norwich stunned Manchester City with a 3-2 win at Carrow Road on Saturday to inflict a first Premier League defeat on the English champions since January.

READ ALSO: Rashford Penalty Gives United Edge Over Leicester

Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and the prolific Teemu Pukki took advantage of a ragged City defence without the injured Aymeric Laporte for a remarkable upset.

Abraham’s Double Fire Chelsea To First Win Under Lampard

Chelsea’s English striker Tammy Abraham (R) shoots to score his second goal, Chelsea’s third during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Chelsea at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England on August 24, 2019. Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Tammy Abraham fired Chelsea to their first win of the Frank Lampard era as the young striker’s double clinched a 3-2 victory against Norwich on Saturday.

Lampard had gone three games without a win in all competitions since he took over as Chelsea manager, but the Blues legend finally got off the mark thanks to his faith in Abraham.

Abraham had failed to score in his three previous appearances this term, but the 21-year-old striker bagged his first goal for the club to put Chelsea ahead in the sunshine at Carrow Road.

READ ALSO: Zidane Asks Bale To Show Why He Is One Of World Best Players

A pulsating encounter saw Todd Cantwell equalise for Norwich before Mason Mount restored Chelsea’s advantage.

Teemu Pukki’s fifth goal in three games this season brought Norwich back on level terms before half-time, only for Abraham to give Chelsea the points with his predatory second half finish.

After a thrashing at Manchester United and a draw with Leicester in Chelsea’s first two Premier League matches, Lampard will have been encouraged by the displays of Abraham and Mount.

He has pinned his hopes on the youngsters to lead Chelsea through a potentially difficult season that sees the club under a transfer ban and without their best player following Eden Hazard’s move to Real Madrid.

While Chelsea have now conceded nine goals in four games in all competitions under Lampard, the former England midfielder will hope his team’s attacking potential keeps them afloat.

When Pedro suffered a hamstring injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Ross Barkley, it left Lampard to send out the youngest start league line-up for Chelsea in 25 years at an average age of 24 years and 208 days.

Abraham was one of the youngsters Lampard had backed to shine as he replaced Olivier Giroud after being benched against Leicester last weekend.

Subjected to racist abuse on social media after missing the penalty which saw Chelsea lose the European Super Cup penalty shoot-out against Liverpool recently, Abraham took just three minutes to reward Lampard for his decision.

Cesar Azpilicueta whipped over a precise cross and Abraham alertly drifted away from the Norwich defence to drill a fine first-time strike past Tim Krul from 10 yards.

 Touchline celebrations 

Abraham, who flourished on loan at second tier Aston Villa last season, celebrated by sprinting to the touchline to hug Lampard as the pair were mobbed by their team-mates.

Three minutes later, Chelsea’s creaky defence was exposed by Emiliano Buendia’s burst into the penalty area.

Buendia found Pukki, fresh from last weekend’s hat-trick against Newcastle, and this time the prolific Finland striker was the provider with a low cross that Cantwell turned in from close-range.

Lampard’s team responded in the 17th minute when Norwich were caught in possession outside their own area and Christian Pulisic fed Mount, the 20-year-old midfielder cutting inside and firing home for his second goal of the season.

Andreas Christensen’s point-blank header was superbly pushed over by Krul and Norwich were back on level terms in the 31st minute.

Buendia played a pass to Pukki and, with Chelsea’s defenders slow to react, the former Celtic forward demonstrated why he has taken the Premier League by storm with an angled shot that evaded Kepa Arrizabalaga’s limp attempt to save.

Mount and Pulisic were both narrowly off target, while Azpilicueta sliced over and Emerson shot straight at Krul as Chelsea pressed hard after the interval.

Azpilicueta appealed in vain for a penalty after a challenge from Marco Stiepermann, but Chelsea’s pressure was rewarded in the 68th minute.

Picked out by Mateo Kovacic, Abraham left Grant Hanley and Jamal Lewis in his wake as he jinked past the Norwich defenders before slamming a fierce strike past Krul’s mistimed dive.

Norwich’s Ben Godfrey headed against the bar moments later, while Chelsea were denied a fourth goal when Kurt Zouma’s effort was disallowed by VAR for Giroud’s foul on Krul.

AFP

Norwich Promoted To Premier League After Three-Year Absence

Photos: twitter.com/NorwichCityFC/media

 

Norwich City secured promotion to the English Premier League after a three-year absence with a 2-1 win at home to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

The victory left Championship leaders Norwich nine points clear of third-placed Leeds with just six left to play for in the final two regular-season games and only the top two assured of a place in English football’s lucrative top-flight.

The Canaries kicked-off at Carrow Road knowing just a point would be enough to secure promotion.

Norwich went ahead in the 13th minute through Marco Stiepermann thanks to the German midfielder’s low shot from 20 yards.

The East Anglian club moved closer to a place among the elite through an even more spectacular goal, Mario Vranic’s strike from 25 yards flying into the top corner in the 21st minute.

But two minutes later Blackburn threatened to spoil the party thanks to Lewis Travis’s goal.

That, however, was as good as it got for the visitors with Norwich seeing out the game to return to the Premier League for the first time since they were relegated in 2016.

Earlier, second-placed Sheffield United all but assured themselves of promotion with a 2-0 win over basement club Ipswich — Norwich’s local rivals.

The Blades took the lead after 24 minutes through Scott Hogan and they doubled their lead against already-relegated Ipswich after 70 minutes via Jack O’Connell’s header from a corner.

Sheffield United are now six points clear of Leeds, who play Aston Villa on Sunday.

With the Blades boasting a far superior goal difference to Yorkshire rivals Leeds, only a freak combination of results can now deny them automatic promotion.

Fallen English giants Leeds now appear destined for the post-season play-offs, with the teams finishing third to sixth battling it out for the final promotion place.

AFP

Brighton Gain Promotion To EPL

Courtesy: Pinterest.com

Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. have gained promotion to the English Premier League (EPL) after Huddersfield Town were held to a 1-1 draw by Derby County in the English Championship.

Brighton beat Wigan Athletic 2-1 to move seven points clear at the top of the table.

The South-Coast club can now start preparing for life in the top division again, following their relegation in 1982-1983 and subsequent journey down and back up the leagues.

They need three more points to clinch the Championship title and will be crowned champions if they win at Norwich on Friday.

Aguero Treble Sinks Chelsea, Puts Pressure On Arsenal

AgueroSergio Aguero continued his good scoring form with a hat-trick as Manchester City beat 10-man Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The striker has 13 goals in his last 12 top-flight appearances and his display helped Man City move up to third position ahead of Arsenal, who play Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Kevin De Bruyne was a constant menace for City on his first return to the club who sold him in 2014, playing a key role in Aguero’s first two goals, which both came from swift counter-attacks.

Thibaut Courtois was shown a red card for fouling Fernandinho inside the box, and Aguero was afforded the chance to complete his hat-trick. He made no mistake.

Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri returned to the starting line-up but David Silva was rested with an ongoing ankle injury.

Chelsea also welcomed Courtois, Gary Cahill and Willian back into the team but their return could not save the defending champions.

With this loss, Guus Hiddink’s men have won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions.

Meanwhile, in other matches played on Saturday, Aston Villa were relegated to English football’s second tier for the first time since 1987 after defeat at Manchester United.

Newcastle claimed a first win under Rafael Benitez as they overcame Swansea to bolster their chances of survival.

Sunderland also climbed to within a point of safety by beating relegation rivals Norwich 3-0 at Carrow road.

Southampton’s hopes of a European spot suffered a setback as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Everton.

Saido Berahino missed two second-half penalties as Watford hung on for a narrow win against West Brom.

EPL: Chelsea Set For Norwich, Leicester Loses Kante

EPLChelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, has confirmed Brazilian Alexandre Pato could make his debut soon for his side but that there is competition among the strikers.

The English Premier League champions signed Pato from Corinthians in January on loan until the end of the season but the 26-year-old has lacked match fitness.

Chelsea will face Norwich City in Tuesday night’s EPL clash and Hiddink says he is pleased with the progress of his squad since he took over in December.

Leicester City manager, Claudio Ranieri, says midfielder, N’golo Kante, will miss the night’s English Premier League clash against West Bromwich Albion with a hamstring injury.

Coach Ranieri said that the defensive midfielder would also miss the trip to Watford on Saturday.

Leicester lead second-placed Tottenham Hotspur by two points with 11 games left and Coach Ranieri admits his side still has a lot to play for.