Author: Lyndon Murray

Report: Man Utd 2-1 Lask Linz

Former Europa League winners Manchester United booked a quarterfinal spot in the tournament after their second-string side laboured to a 2-1 home win over LASK Linz on Wednesday to seal a 7-1 aggregate rout of the Austrian side.

United’s reward is a clash with FC Copenhagen in Cologne on Monday after the Danish side beat Istanbul Basaksehir 3-0 at home earlier on Wednesday to wipe out a 1-0 first-leg deficit.

United, who won Europe’s second-tier club competition in 2017, appeared to be going through the motions and fell behind to a spectacular Philipp Wiesinger goal in the 55th minute before Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial replied.

Having been virtually assured of progress after a 5-0 win at LASK in March, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fielded a below-strength side at Old Trafford and they looked completely at sea for an hour.

Solskjaer said the fringe players needed a run out to stay in shape for United’s trip to Germany, where the latter stages of the competiton will be played in a mini-tournament, as his side aim to end the season on a high note.

“We learned that the players need to play to keep that sharpness,” the Norwegian told BT Sport.

“Some of these lads haven’t played for a while and it showed. Some haven’t played since lockdown. For me, it was a good exercise. It’s job done, minutes under the belt and on to [face] Copenhagen.”

Defender Andres Andrade hit the crossbar for the visitors in the 10th minute and Husein Balic fired just wide from the ensuing scramble before striker Marko Raguz twice came close in a one-sided first half.

LASK took a deserved lead when United half cleared a corner and Wiesinger gave home goalkeeper Sergio Romero no chance with a screaming first-time shot from 25 metres into the top corner.

Falling behind finally spurred United into action and Lingard equalised after a defence-splitting pass by Juan Mata left him with time and space to steer his shot past goalkeeper Alexander Schlager.

Late substitute Martial completed United’s comeback on the night in the 88th minute when his close-range shot trickled over the line after squeezing through Schlager’s legs.

Romero spared United more blushes when he kept out a Raguz back-heel from two metres with a superb reflex save deep into stoppage time.

The last eight will be played as a mini-tournament in four German cities, with the final set for Aug. 21 in Cologne.

Credit: espnfc.com

A deal for Jadon Sancho is close

Jadon Sancho’s dream of coming to United is closer to becoming a reality. Image: mirror.co.uk

Jadon Sancho and his agent has agreed to signing a 5-year contract with Manchester United until 2025 and has agreed to personal terms. Both Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United are yet to agree on a price structure for the deal.

There is a possibility that by next Monday everything will be done. Sports journalist Fabrizio Romano said that the contract talks between the two clubs are now at an advanced stage and that United would pay 100 million plus 20 million euros in add-ons.

I am happy to see that talks between the two clubs are progressing well and I think that signing Sancho would be a wonderful signing for the club. United will have the most dangerous foursome in the Premier League and maybe in world football. An attacking foursome of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Mason Greenwood together will be a constant threat to any team that we will face in the world.

Then when you add in the creativity and goalscoring capabilities of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in midfield this team is suddenly looking like a very powerful attacking machine. But I am concerned about the defense. Because Eric Bailly has gotten injured again and we would need a top centre-back to replace him. If the frequency of his long-term injuries continue then United would have to sell him in the near future. Also Harry Maguire hasn’t looked consistent this season at times.

Kalidou Koulibaly has been touted has a great centre-back who could help turn any team’s defensive problems around. But the asking price for the defender would be too high of a sum for United to sign him. I believe that we would opt for a cheaper option that is still of a high quality. But there can be no doubt that signing Sancho is a huge step in the right direction in order to win the Premier League and the Champions League in the future again.

Once we sign Sancho, Do you think that we can challenge for Premier League and Champions League titles again?

Man Utd is monitoring Lille star Gabriel Magalhaes

United is monitoring the Brazilian. Credit: Skysports.com

Manchester United are monitoring Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes, as they look to sign a new centre-back this summer.

The 22-year-old is on United’s radar as his age, potential and price – in the region of £20m – all fit the bill for a possible move to Old Trafford.

Everton, Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain are embroiled in a race to sign the highly-rated centre-back, with the Serie A side the current front-runners as they remain in talks with Lille after wrapping up the signing of Victor Osimhen for £45m.

Gabriel was given more time to decide his future after Paris Saint-Germain joined the race to sign him and an unnamed Premier League club submitted a late bid thought to be in excess of £22m.

Everton remain in the race to sign Lille’s player of the year after making an official bid in June.

The defender is expected to leave Lille this summer following the curtailment of the 2019/20 campaign in April.

Gabriel starred in a Lille side that finished fourth in Ligue 1, helping them secure a place in next season’s Europa League.

He joined the French club in 2017 after arriving from Brazil and has made 52 appearances since.

Who is Gabriel?

Gabriel started his career at Avai, who currently play in the second tier of Brazilian football. After 21 appearances, he made the move to Europe in January 2017, signing for Lille for £1.5m.

He initially struggled to adapt to senior football at Lille and went out on loan twice – first to Troyes, where he spent the first half of the 2017/18 season, before a temporary move to Dynamo Zagreb in January 2018.

First-team opportunities continued to evade him, moving between the reserve and senior sides before returning to Lille for the start of the 2018/19 season.

Gabriel took his time to cement himself in the side, not starting a Ligue 1 game until February 2019. But he has not looked back since; forging a relatively successful partnership with former Southampton player Jose Fonte at centre-back.

After a seven-year absence, Gabriel helped Lille qualify for the Champions League in 2018/19, finishing second in Ligue 1 to PSG.

Gabriel has continued his ascent this season, with a string of impressive performances both domestically and in the Champions League.

Credit: Skysports.com

Dortmund rejects Man Utd’s first bid for Sancho

Will Jadon Sancho be coming to United ? Credit: Eurosport.com

The Manchester Evening News states that Manchester United’s prime target this summer winger Jadon Sancho had an opening bid of €98 million (£89m) rejected by Borussia Dortmund. Manchester United has been a great admirer of the 20-year-old English star, but the German club wants much more for their most coveted player.

According to M.E.N. Dortmund wants nothing less than €120m (£109.3m) for the England international. The Manchester Evening News understands that the claims are wide of the mark with United yet to make an offer for Sancho.

It’s also reported that Dortmund are preparing for life without Sancho in the expectation that he will complete the switch to Old Trafford, with Jonathan Ikone and Jeremie Boga shortlisted as his potential replacements.

If this story is true, Do you think United should pay €120m (£109.3m) for Jadon Sancho? Tell me what you think in the comments section.

Report: Leicester 0 Man Utd 2

Manchester United ended their season with a 2-0 away win at the King Power stadium on Sunday to finish third in the Premier League and clinched a place at next season’s Champions League. Leicester finished in 5th place and had to settle for qualifying for the Europa league next season.

Bruno Fernandes put United ahead with a penalty in the 71st-minute. While Jesse Lingard scored his first goal of the Premier League season when he came on as a substitute in injury-time to make it 2-0.

Leicester were the better side in the first-half as they had more possession of the ball. Youri Tielemans came close to opening the scoring, but his shot just went wide of the the post. After that Kasper Schmeichel saved a Marcus Rashford volley at the half-time mark.

Jamie Vardy’s header crashed off the woodwork 60 minutes into the match from a free-kick. Although overall the Foxes did play better than United its the goals that wins matches and this is what made the difference in this game.

The first goal that the home side conceded was when Hamza Choudhry lost possession in midfield, and Fernandes took the ball and released Anthony Martial with a great pass into the box and he was tripped by Jonny Evans. There was a VAR check to confirm that it was a penalty, and Fernandes made no mistake with his spot-kick as he sent Schemichel the wrong way.

Ex-United man Evans was then shown a straight red card in stoppage time for a dangerous tackle on substitute Scott McTominay. Schemichel then gifted the Red Devils a second goal when Lingard robbed him of the ball and went around him and slotted the ball into an empty net.

This is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first real significant achievement by leading the team into the Champions League next season. I have to give credit to him and his staff for making the team so successful in the second part of the season. Their long unbeaten run since post-covid-19 has been a wonderful testament of the great work that Solskjaer and his staff has done at the club.

I believe that because we qualified for the Champions League this will now help us to attract top players who never thought of coming to Manchester United before. I would like us now to go on and win the Europa League. We’re supposed to be the favourites and it would be the icing on the cake and a first title for Solskjaer if he wins it.

I give a lot of credit to the players who looked tired in the last three games of this season that they featured in. The Chelsea performance in the FA Cup was very poor and shocking and we didn’t play at our best in this game against Leicester today. But we grinded out the result which is one of the hallmarks of a team that is a true champion in football when things aren’t going well for a team.

Who was your Man of the Match today? Do you think we can win the Europa League title? Tell me what you think in the comments section.

Preview: Leicester City v Man Utd

Defenders Luke Shaw, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones are all injured. But Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will give these players every chance to feature against the Foxes in their league match at Leicester. Shaw has been sidelined since hurting his ankle against his former club Southampton. Bailly missed the 1-1 draw with West Ham after picking up a head injury in the Emirates semi-final cup loss to Chelsea.

“We’re going to give them as much time as possible,” the boss told MUTV’s Stewart Gardner, when asked for the latest on Shaw and Bailly. “I’m not ruling anything out.”

Aaron Wan-Bissaka was on the bench for the Hammers clash but came on at half-time for Tim Fosu-Mensah in his usual right-back role.

It remains to be seen whether there are any tweaks to the line-up or formation for the huge encounter as Solskjaer considers his selection for what has been described as a ‘final’ for the club.

“You’d expect players to feel it towards the end of the season anyway,” Ole added. “This season has been a strange one as everyone knows. We’ve had five weeks playing now and all teams have got issues whether it be mental or physical injury-wise.”

“We’re in a very good position going into the last game even though I’m not sure some of the players are feeling it, but now is not the time to look for pains and aches. Now is the time to get 90 minutes in.”

LEICESTER NEWS

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers looks set to be without suspended defender Caglar Soyuncu and a number of injured players – Ben Chilwell, Ricardo Pereira, Christian Fuchs, Daniel Amartey and James Maddison.

There are hopes Marc Albrighton can be fit in time, while the league’s leading scorer, Jamie Vardy, will lead the line.

The referee will be Martin Atkinson. Sunday’s game will be broadcast live in the UK, on Sky Sports Main Event, and will kick-off for 16:00 BST. MUTV subscribers can watch exclusive build-up in the Match Day Live Show from 14:55 BST followed by live commentary of the game itself. In the US the game can be seen live at 11 am ET on NBC.

Credit: manutd.com

Report: Man Utd 1 West Ham 1

Manchester United secured a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Wednesday against West Ham. United gave an uninspired performance and they lacked energy and urgency in their game. They just looked tired and it showed for the entire match.

Manchester United sat back in a particular shape and we allowed the Hammers the time and space to pass the ball forward and attack us and this wasn’t the type of football we were playing before the FA Cup loss to Chelsea.

West Ham sat deep, and were organized and compact. They also packed the center of the field with more players and United didn’t show any creativity and wasn’t able to create opportunities from the wide areas.

The home side fell behind when the visitors scored from a penalty at half-time mark. West Ham had won a free-kick outside the box and Paul Pogba had put both hands up and he made contact with the ball from the free-kick. The referee made the decision that it was a penalty and Michail Antonio converted the spot-kick to make it 1-0 to the Hammers.

However United struck back through Mason Greenwood, who has been in outstanding form this season for United. Greenwood combined well with Anthony Martial and he slammed the ball past Lukasz Fabianski in goal. The 18-year-old has now tied Wayne Rooney, George Best and Brian Kidd for the most goals scored as a teenager for the club.

The Red Devils just need a point or a win at Leicester City in order to secure a Champions League spot for next season. It won’t be easy, but I expect us to play with more energy, urgency and pace. We can’t afford to lose this game because that means that Leicester would clinch a spot.

Chelsea has a home game and will play on Sunday like us against Wolves and that would be a tough one for Chelsea, but if they win and we lost to the Foxes then we could finish in 5th place just outside of the Champions League places.

Here are highlights of the game below:

Man Utd v West Ham

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has provided an update on the injury situation ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League match against West Ham (18:00 BST kick-off).

The Reds’ final home league game of the campaign, and the penultimate outing at Old Trafford in 2019/20 ahead of the Europa League tie with LASK, provides a great opportunity for Ole’s men to bounce back from Sunday’s disappointing Emirates FA Cup exit to Chelsea and move into the top four.

A point will be enough to take United ahead of Leicester City, our opponents in Sunday’s finale at the King Power Stadium.

The team’s taxing schedule has led to much talk of fatigue, with two trips to the capital and the Monday night draw with Southampton squeezed into last week’s itinerary. United are used to our opponents having more rest time ahead of games this term, largely due to our progress in the cup competitions and involvement in the Europa League, and it will be no different against either the Hammers (who last played Friday) and Leicester (who will have had a full week to prepare for Sunday).

However, the boss won’t be making any excuses, telling us in his exclusive pre-match interview: “Apart from being disappointed and having bruised pride after losing the game, we’re ready to go again. We know now we’ve got two cup finals to play.”

Centre-backs Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire clashed heads during the 3-1 reverse to Chelsea at Wembley, with the Ivorian taken off on a stretcher while the skipper played on, initially with a headband.

Centre-backs Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire clashed heads during the 3-1 reverse to Chelsea at Wembley, with the Ivorian taken off on a stretcher while the skipper played on, initially with a headband.

It was the second successive match where Maguire needed treatment after an aerial challenge but Ole said: “He was in yesterday [Monday] and should be fine.”

Bailly is still being assessed after returning to the side in a back-three on Sunday. Fellow defenders Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones have been on the sidelines.

“Of course, he was shaken up a bit,” explained the manager. “He had a big blow to his head. We’re still monitoring him.

“He stayed down in London after the game. I’ve not seen him this morning yet because these interviews are before the boys meet up. 

“I’ll see him soon and, hopefully, he’ll be alright.”

Later, during his press conference, Ole intimated that Bailly is unlikely to be ready for Wednesday night’s contest.

WEST HAM TEAM NEWS

The visitors could be without Robert Snodgrass but Felipe Anderson is fit again after injury. Youngsters Ben Johnson and Conor Coventry have come into Moyes’s plans, while Ryan Fredericks has been struggling with a calf problem.

Michail Antonio is the leading scorer in the division since lockdown and he is expected to lead the line for the Londoners.

Credit: manutd.com

FA Cup Report: Man Utd 1 Chelsea 3

Early in the match Chelsea dominated the proceedings in the FA Cup semi-final with their possession, and by constantly placing pressure on the ball and closing the United players down when the Blues didn’t have the ball. In the 10th minute, Reece James for Chelsea had a stinging shot on goal that was easily saved by David De Gea.

Chelsea had continued to put pressure on us and five minutes later Marcos Alonso’s header went over the bar after a fine cross by Cesar Azpilicueta. It wasn’t until two minutes after the half-an-hour mark that United had a shot on goal.

Fred was able to win a free-kick after being fouled outside the box. Bruno Fernandes then stepped up and took the free-kick that forced a save from Wilfredo Caballero in goal. Later in the half Kurt Zouma for Chelsea had a header that went over the bar.

Then Eric Bailly and Harry Maguire collided in the air after challenging for a ball. After being down for several minutes, Maguire was able to continue, but Bailly had sustained an injury with cut on his head that he received treatment for. The defender had to be placed on a stretcher off the field on the sidelines and had to be taken away by the medical team for more treatment. Bailly was replaced by Martial as United tried to get themselves back into the game.

There was eleven plus minutes of injury-time added on and Chelsea got the breakthrough goal when Azpilicueta got the ball, and he ran down the right flank and crossed in an excellent ball that found Olivier Giroud in the box and he was able to make contact to put the ball past De Gea. It was 1-0 to Chelsea and United was in trouble.

It was a poor technique by the Spanish keeper and he should of saved that one. Victor Lindelof didn’t get his positioning right either. It was subpar defending by the Swedish defender. Then shortly after that the referee blew the whistle for half-time.

In the second period, it was all Chelsea as they continued to play with the same tactics that they used in the first-half. Chelsea struck again in the first minute of second period when on a breakaway with Mason Mount leading the charge the midfielder rifled a low shot into the right-bottom corner.

This was another attempt that De Gea should of saved and he just didn’t get down behind the ball enough with a strong hand to save it. The shot didn’t have much placement on it either and the Spanish keeper really let himself and the team down.

Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire all had chances to score but missed them. Then things went from bad to worse and Chelsea added a third when the ball was crossed into the box and Maguire got a touch and the ball was deflected past the United keeper.

However in the 85th minute, United would get a goal back when Callum Hudson-Odoi fouled Anthony Martial in the box. Bruno Fernandes would then convert the penalty easily to make it 3-1. United looked tired, out of rhythm, and lacked urgency and energy. Ole shouldn’t of changed his formation and line-up before the game with no Martial, Greenwood and Pogba to the start the match.

We looked lost out there without these three players starting and we lost our rhythm because I believe that great chemistry with those three players in the starting line-up, I am sure would have made a difference. Solskjaer has played basically the same line-up that taken us on our long unbeaten run.

He also changed the tactics in playing the ball out of the defence. He didn’t start Romero in goal which he had started all along in this competition and look at how De Gea performed. Ole destroyed the team’s chemistry and rhythm by the surprising changes that he made and that caused us to lose the game in my opinion.

What did you think of this match? Was Ole wrong in changing the formation, tactics and line-up of the team?

Here are the highlights and goals of the game:

FA Cup Preview: Man Utd v Chelsea

Sunday’s semi-final game will be broadcasted live in the UK, on BBC One, with a kick-off set for 18:00 BST. MUTV subscribers can watch exclusive build-up in the Match Day Live show from 16:55 BST, followed by commentary of the game itself. In the US fans can see the game on Fox Sports at 1 pm ET.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said that defender Luke Shaw will miss Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final clash with Chelsea. Shaw was injured against his former club Southampton on Monday. He and his replacement Brandon Williams were subsequently ruled out of the win at Crystal Palace on Thursday. The referee will be Mike Dean.

The boss hopes that Williams will recover from his facial injury that he sustained against the Saints in time to be considered for this weekend. Tim Fosu-Mensah did a good job of filling in at Selhurst Park and already has the experience of playing in the last-four tie of the competition, against Everton in 2016.

“Luke will be out,” the boss told us. “I can’t see him recovering. Brandon will hopefully be okay, he’ll try to join training today with his eye. We’ll see if he can see the ball when he comes in! He should be fine.”

Sergio Romero has been preferred for the FA Cup games this season, while Odion Ighalo has shown his worth in attack in previous rounds. Solskjaer suggested he had it in mind to select a similar team to the one on duty at Derby County in early March, perhaps hinting at a trend with his selection for this competition.

Jesse Lingard came off the bench at Palace and, particularly considering his record at Wembley, he could come into the frame for a starting spot.

“The team is not selected yet and that goes for Jesse and Sergio,” insisted the manager later in his press conference. “They’ve got a good chance of being involved, so we’ll make a decision on that later on.”

CHELSEA INJURY NEWS

Blues Boss Frank Lampard has ruled N’Golo Kante out of the Wembley encounter, with youngster Billy Gilmour also still missing. Like Ole, Lampard has some key decisions to make over his selection with a crucial Premier League fixture taking place at Anfield on Wednesday, when Liverpool will receive the trophy.

Credit: manutd.com