Preview: Man City v Man Utd

Anthony Martial should be fit enough to play some part in Saturday’s Manchester derby, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The game will kick-off at 12:30 pm ET in the US.

Martial picked up an injury during last Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa. But Ole said that he could feature at the Etihad stadium, even if it’s initially as a substitute.

“We hope to have Anthony, definitely, for part of the game. I am not sure he is able to start,” said Ole.

Paul Pogba is still injured with an ankle injury, but could be getting closer to a return and may play a part in the upcoming busy festive period.

“Paul probably won’t be available, no,” the Norwegian added.

“We expect him back as soon as possible, as quickly as possible. He’s out on the grass training. I said [he’ll be back] in 2019, so hopefully we’ll see him before the new year, definitely.”

The manager didn’t give an update regarding Nemanja Matic whom he said could return to the line-up in mid-week. Long-term absentees Eric Bailly, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Diogo Dalot are all working hard in training to be fit.

City Team news

Pep Guardiola said that Sergio Aguero will miss the game because of injury. While long-term absentees Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte (both knee) are out of contention until the new year. Left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko has returned to training after surgery on a knee problem, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be fit enough to play.

There is some good news for City, as Ilkay Gundogan can once again be selected after serving a one-match suspension during the win over Burnley in midweek.

The Man United board needs to give Ole more time to improve the squad

In the match against Spurs that was United’s best performance so far this season. Marcus Rashford was the star man with other very good performances by Fred and Scott McTominay. It was great to see a performance like that because we have been inconsistent again this season.

But there are positions in the squad that needs to be upgraded as we all know. The striker’s position, in midfield and defence we are lacking. I believe United should sign Erling Haaland (Red Bull Salzburg) and Mario Mandzukic (Juventus). One of them will be fine if we can’t get both of them.

As for the midfield position we have been linked with Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, but I believe we’ll have to wait until the summer of 2020 for that deal to get done. We certainly need a winger and he’ll be perfect for that position. He has all the attributes for a good winger. He can dribble, has pace, has good on-on-one skills and he has some trickery in his game too.

Then defensively, I believe that Victor Lindelof isn’t really playing up to standard. We need two centre-backs because Eric Bailly has been having long-term injury issues and I think defenders like Jan Vertonghen (Spurs), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), and Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) are worthy candidates for the centre-back position. United will need about 5 or 6 new players next year. Most of them we’ll get in the summer transfer window.

I am not aware of any other high profile players that we can get in January, because very rare you’ll see a club sell their best players in January. Clubs don’t want to sell their prized assets during the January transfer window because they need their best players for the whole season so that they can finish within the top four Champions League places.

They may have goals of finishing in that 5th place where they can play in the Europa League next season. Even if the don’t finish within the top 5 the higher they finish its more money for the club.

Also there are injuries and suspensions that can accumulate especially around the middle of the season, and in that situation you’ll definitely need your best players to help the club finish higher up the table. Then usually with a player under contract especially if he still has a year or a few years left the club wouldn’t allow them to leave in the middle of the season.

But I am not so confident that we get these players, because most players especially the high-profile ones wants to play in CL in Europe. But our inconsistency I think be will be our undoing, and because of that we won’t likely obtain these players.

Players would consider a number of things, and the opportunity to play in the Champions League on a regular basis is one of the key things they will look at. Are they a stable club? What is the structure of the club like? What issues does the club have? and How ambitious are the club’s board?

After the end of the summer transfer window next year we’ll see what changes United has made for ex. the board, player personnel, if we have hired a Director of football, etc. So if they have made some positive changes and hopefully by the end of the season we can finish in the top 4, then I would certainly like our chances of landing a few of the top players that I just mentioned.

Match Report: Man Utd 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Marcus Rashford celebrates one of his goals. Image: The Daily Mail

Manchester United won their Premier League match 2-1 against Spurs on Wednesday after two goals from Marcus Rashford. Jose Mourinho made his first visit back to Old Trafford since he was sacked by Manchester United just under a year ago.

United took the lead through Rashford in the 6th minute when his powerful drive went past Spurs goalie Paul Gazzaniga at the near post. The England international had another chance to double the lead, but his curling free-kick that went just wide. He had a cracking effort that crashed against the bar and also forced Gazzaniga into a diving save.

Mason Greenwood also had superb effort that was saved. Dele Alli would equalize after getting past his markers and clinically scoring. Then Rashford got the winner when he went past Serge Aurier, and then Moussa Sissoko fouled him in the box. The striker confidently smashed the ball into the back of the net with his penalty.

Spurs seemed to be making a comeback as they looked more dangerous as the second-half progressed. But United made sure to hold on for an important morale-boosting win.

Preview: Man Utd v Spurs

Credit: Teamtalk.com

Manchester United manager revealed that Paul Pogba won’t be fit in time to play tomorrow against Tottenham Hotspur in their Premier league game at Old Trafford.

The Frenchman has been unavailable to play for the Reds since this September with an ankle injury. The midfielder is still working towards his recovery.

“No Paul’s not ready, no,” Solskjaer told reporters in his pre-match conference on Tuesday morning. “So, he’s still a bit away, but he’s working hard, so let’s see.”

“He’s out [training] on the grass, so let’s see how long it will take.”

The team’s midfield problems could be improved with the return of Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic. The Scotsman McTominay has missed our last three matches since the international break after he sustained an injury against Brighton Hove & Albion. As for Matic he hasn’t played since early October in a goalless draw with AZ Alkmaar.

“You know I don’t want to talk about these injuries we’ve had, but of course when you get Scott back, when you get Paul back… we have been light in midfield because we had Scott and Nemanja and Paul out for such a long time and that’s affected us.

“[Scott and Nemanja] are touch-and-go, so let’s get this [today’s] training session out the way. We’ve got more games than this one, so I can’t just look at one game. We’ve got to look at the long-term.”

The players will have a light-training session this morning.

“We will give the players a training session today and see how they are, everyone,”said Ole, in his exclusive interview with MUTV.

“Of course, Sunday is also still in the people’s heads so it is not going to be a hard session, but we will have a good team out [on Wednesday”].

“We have the facilities and people behind the scenes working really hard to get players fit.”

Source: Manutd.com

Match Report: Man Utd 2 Aston Villa 2

Victor Lindelof celebrates his goal against Aston Villa. Image: Getty Images.

Manchester United failed to win again as they dropped more points against Aston Villa at Old Trafford. They instead had to settle for a 2-2 draw. This is the third consecutive game that they failed to win.

In the opening 10 minutes, Fred had an opportunity to open the scoring when he took a right-footed shot that flew over the bar. Then a minute later it was Wesley on the other end of the field that had a good attempt outside the box, but it was saved by David De Gea.

Unfortunately for United Jack Grealish struck for Villa seconds later. He curled the ball into the top right hand corner after an assist by Anwar El Ghazi’s cross. United were playing decent football up to that point, but now suddenly had to find an equalizer. Anthony Martial almost scored when his shot was saved by keeper Tom Heaton eleven minutes later.

Marcus Rashford also had a chance to get the tying goal, but his left-footed shot in box went barely wide. United continued to attack the visitors, but couldn’t find the breakthrough until three minutes from half-time. Andreas Pereira’s cross following a corner found Rashford in the box and he headed the ball towards the goal. The ball bounced off the inside of the post and then it came off Heaton’s shoulder and it went into the net.

Replays showed it was an own goal by the keeper Heaton and the referee ruled that the goal was valid. Trezeguet then hit the bar for Villa with decent effort some time later.

In the second period, Fred missed a shot that sailed high and wide of the goal. Daniel James also had his shot blocked from outside the box. Just before half-time it was Martial whose left-footed shot was saved by the keeper. United were pushing for the second goal, but Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s drive in the box was saved by Heaton.

Then the moment that United craved came in the 64th minute when Victor Lindelof scored from a corner in the six-yard box to give United the lead. But it would be a short-lived one. Villa responded just two minutes later with a fine goal of their own when Matt Target passed to Tyrone Mings who put the ball past De Gea with ease. The United players protested and thought that Mings was offside, but a VAR check concluded that the goal was valid.

The Red Devils should of taken the lead again after Andreas Pereira put his shot high and wide after an assist by Wan-Bissaka. Later on in the game Martial would have a shot blocked and one missed by shooting it over the bar. Fred came close to scoring after his header was saved by Heaton. Jesse Lingard four minutes from time was also thwarted by the keeper after the striker took a shot from a difficult angle.

Henri Lansbury could of won it for Villa, but he put his effort over the bar after a corner and an assist by John McGinn. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men couldn’t find the winner themselves and so the match ended 2-2.

Preview: Man Utd v Aston Villa

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has provided an update on the fitness of two key players prior to Sunday’s Premier League match against Aston Villa at Old Trafford. The game will kick-off at 11:30 am in the US.

Scott McTominay could be involved when the West Midlands club comes to Manchester this weekend.

The Scotland international has been missing since picking up a problem during the 3-1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on 10 November.

“We hope Scotty will be back as soon as possible, but he’s also been back home and I’ve not seen him,” said the boss in his pre-match press conference, which was held in Kazakhstan.

“Maybe [he will be fit to face] Spurs but hopefully for Sunday.”

Paul Pogba is unlikely to return for the Reds this weekend, however, as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury which has kept him sidelined since the end of September.

“Paul is stepping up his recovery and let’s see how soon he’ll be match fit and available,” Ole added.

“Of course, he’ll be like a new signing for us. He’s not really been able to play for us and, when we get him back, it’ll be like a new world-class signing and world-class midfielder.

“We want him back as soon as possible. Sunday? No. I can’t say now as I’ve not been home and seen him. Let’s see where he’s at when he comes back and he starts training with us.”

Ole added that, although he had been impressed with the efforts of McTominay and Fred in stepping up to the plate in Pogba’s absence, the Frenchman’s return would provide a huge lift ahead of a congested December fixture schedule.

“Every player is allowed to be injured when he’s injured and Paul is working hard to get back.

“Nobody can doubt his professionalism, his willingness or desire to play football. He’s a footballer and one of the best midfielders in the world. It will be like a new signing of a player before the window opens.

“Of course, we have missed him when he’s been away but some of the players, Scotty and Fred, have taken up that challenge and done well. Of course, it’s a boost for us when he comes back though.”

Axel Tuanzebe completed the full 90 minutes in the 2-1 defeat to Astana after a month out with a hip problem, while Luke Shaw also made it from start to finish in his first appearance since August.

The return of the two defenders further boosts Ole’s options for a seven-day period when we will also face Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in the Premier League.

Source: Manutd.com

Match Report: Astana 2 Man Utd 1

Jesse Lingard celebrates his goal against Astana. Image: Getty Images

Manchester United started off the game brightly with good confidence in the opening minutes of the match. Our young team kept probing with the ball and dominated possession. Mason Greenwood almost got the breakthrough in the 5th minute when his left-footed shot was saved by goalie Nenad Eric.

We had 72% of the possession and our passing and movement was very fluid. However, United’s domination paid off after some neat build-up play around Astana’s penalty box. Luke Shaw passed the ball to Jesse Lingard who slammed a low shot into the left-hand corner of the net. The goal came in the 10th minute of the game and Lingard many minutes later could have had another, but his shot went wide.

Lingard seconds later had another chance at goal after an assist by Greenwood, but that went wide too. Then Dorin Rotariu had an opportunity to equalize, but his left-footed shot went wide from a difficult angle. There was another attempt at goal by Yuri Logvinenko but his shot was too high. Dorin Rotariu several minutes later also missed his attempt as it went wide of the near post.

A few minutes after the half-hour mark James Garner’s header in the box missed the target. Astana were gaining more confidence and obtained more possession and they started to create more spaces throughout the field as they placed more pressure on us. We had to do more defending than usual, but our players were well-organized and compact and we dealt with Astana’s attacks. So United went into half-time with a 1-0 goal lead.

In the second-half, the hosts continued where they left off from the first period, and attacked us from the start. But our young players weathered the storm well. Evgeny Postnikov attempt missed a header from the center the box. Then Ivan Maevski from a resulting free-kick took a shot in the box and the ball went low and wide of the post.

But Astana would get the equalizer they so craved. Tahith Chong missed an open goal when he blazed it over the bar from a cross by Shaw. Then Astana went down the field through a counter-attack, and Roman Murtazayev fed the ball to Dmitriy Shomko who ran into the box and scored. It was 1-1 now and the Astana fans were really into the game.

Astana wasn’t finished yet and the Kazakhstan side continued to attack and then an Astana player ran down the right side and put a cross into the box and shot deflected of D’Shon Bernard and into the net at the near post. It was an unfortunate goal to concede, but the hosts deserved it. Astana almost scored again through Runar Mar Sigurjonsson, but he wasted his chance.

Angel Gomes’s free-kick was a beauty that almost flew into the top right-hand corner, but the keeper was equal to it. Then Mason Greenwood was denied a few minutes later when he re-directed a cross into the box and Eric reacted brilliantly to save it. United were having more of the ball and continued to put pressure on the homeside. Tahith Chong came off for D’Mani Bughail-Mellor and Largie Ramazani came on for James Garner.

United would make another late substitution in the 89th minute as Angel Gomes made way for Ethan Galbraith. United tried their best to get that equalizing goal but Astana held on to get a famous victory.

Preview: Astana v Man Utd

For the trip to Astana in Kazakhstan on Thursday, Manchester United will have a squad with more youngsters than usual. There will be many debutants in the line-up that will feature U-23 players that will get valuable experience. The match will start at 10:50 am ET in the US.

Goalie Lee Grant will make his debut for the club at 36, the one that he supported as a boy. While D’Shon Bernard, Ethan Laird and Dylan Levitt will make their debuts also.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke about why he picked this squad. He named an 18-man squad for the game and Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw are also back in the squad.

“It’s common sense,” said Ole. “We’ve done great to qualify after four games and it gives us an opportunity to give game time to experienced lads who need it. Axel [Tuanzebe], Luke and Jesse have not really had too many games and are coming back from injuries.

“It’s a great chance for me to give Lee his first start for the club. It’s hard with young kids to give them enough games against men, professional games. We’ve got the EFL trophy but, for me this is a great chance to see them together.”

Full squad: Lee Grant, Matej Kovar; D’Shon Bernard, Ethan Laird, Teden Mengi, Luke Shaw, Max Taylor, Axel Tuanzebe; Ethan Galbraith, James Garner, Angel Gomes, Dylan Levitt, Jesse Lingard, Arnau Puigmal; Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood, D’Mani Mellor, Largie Ramazani.

Woodward is considering revamping Old Trafford’s infrastructure

Ed Woodward says he’s considering the club’s infrastructure. Image: The Busby Babe

The Mirror reports that Manchester United is considering a review of the Old Trafford’s infrastructure that’s according to Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

Although there are presently no plans to increase the capacity at the stadium. That may change because the Glazer family who are the owners of the club has neglected the calls of the fans to modernize the stadium. Other stadiums has modernized and expanded their own grounds.

The 74,879-seat stadium hasn’t undergone any renovations since 2006. Arsenal and Tottenham has moved into new modern state-of-the-art venues recently. Also Liverpool has invested in the redevelopment of the main stand at Anfield. There has been concerns over the maintenance of the venue, with a leak found in the stadium roof last season.

Woodward says that it isn’t true that the club isn’t willing or reluctant to spend the money to upgrade Old Trafford.

Although he said that United have invested over £100 million in the stadium and other infrastructure over the last 10 years, including £20 million during the current year, the executive vice-chairman admitted that “we need to do more.”

“We’re doing a big review in terms of where we are and what we need to do,” Woodward told the United We Stand fanzine (via The Telegraph ).

“We’re also looking at the training ground, The Cliff, Old Trafford and Littleton Road.”

Despite confirming those plans, Woodward admitted that the club are not currently looking at increasing the capacity of the ground.

However, he did not rule out such an expansion in the future, but noted that he was wary about changing the essence of Old Trafford.

He added: “Our objectives for the stadium are for it to be safe, full and noisy.

“Adding more seats can influence the third one, but has to be done in the right way.

“There are no plans currently to increase capacity, but I’m not saying it can’t happen in the long-term.”

“If you totally change it then you can change the feel of it.”

Match Report: Sheffield United 3 Man Utd 3

Marcus Rashford celebrates his goal against the Blades. Image: The Irish Mirror.

Manchester United could only muster a 3-3 draw against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday. Oliver McBurnie scored a stoppage time equalizer to deny United a win in the last minute of the match.

Manchester United were 2 goals down when John Fleck and Lys Mousset scored for the Blades before the Reds fought back in the second-half to score three goals. Brandon Williams, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford were the architects of an incredible comeback.

The hosts started the game with confidence and created chances early in the match. John Lundstrom volleyed John Fleck’s cross and forced David De Gea into a full stretch save. The Blades were able to latch on to the loose ball first and crossed it back into the box where David McGoldrick headed it towards the goal, but De Gea would deny him too.

Then the homeside took the lead when Lundstrom who was in the box fired a shot at goal and the ball then rebounded to Fleck in the center who fired past De Gea after it struck the Scotsman leg. The hosts continued to press for a second goal and came close when Fleck’s free-kick went wide of the far post, and McGoldrick’s effort was easily saved by De Gea.

The Red Devils tried to respond when Anthony Martial ran down the left-flank and took a shot from a tight angle. But it was saved comfortably by Sheffield’s keeper Simon Moore. United had a few chances in the first-half, and that prompted Ole to make a tactical switch at half-time from a 3-4-3 to a 4-2-3-1 formation.

In the second-half the change improved our offense we looked more dangerous. Rashford within the opening minutes got a corner through a run that threatened the Blades. He then took a powerful strike that came close to scoring. But Sheffield would double the scoreline with a swift counter-attack.

Mason Greenwood scored against the Blades. Image: Getty Images

Fleck passed the ball to Mousset, who produced a curling effort from around 25 yards from goal. The ball swerved past De Gea and nestled in the back of the net. Later on Martial came close with a strike that just went wide. However, we would get our reward when Daniel James’s cross from the right-wing found its way to Brandon Williams.

The 19-year-old who was just making his second Premier League start, took the ball on the half-volley and it flew past Moore and into the bottom corner. The goal came in the 70th minute, and that gave the Reds some belief that we could get the equalizer. Ole would then bring on Mason Greenwood who came on for Andreas Pereira.

Rashford played in a great ball to Greenwood who was between two defenders and he placed his shot past the keeper to tie the game. Our confidence was growing and we took control of the match, and soon we were ahead. Daniel James was the provider again. He dribbled past a player and with a one-two passing move picked out Rashford in the middle of the box. He then placed it past Moore to give United the lead. We continued to dominate the game and Jesse Lingard came close to getting a fourth with a long-distance effort.

However, the hosts got the equalizer in the last minute of regulation time when Enda Stevens put in a wonderful cross that we couldn’t clear after a goalmouth scramble. The ball then fell to McBurnie, and he lashed the ball into the net. There was a VAR check to see if the Scotsman brought the ball down with his arm before scoring the goal. But VAR confirmed that he didn’t and so the goal was valid.

We took too long to take control of the game, and we missed a few other chances too. But it was an entertaining match especially in the last 20 minutes. We didn’t mount a comeback until we scored in the 72nd minute. I believe that if we started our comeback late in the first-half with a goal or early in the second-half with a goal we might have gone on to win this match.