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Preview: Man Utd v Club Brugge

United Team News

Manchester United will have an almost fully-fit squad for Thursday’s 2nd European League leg tie against Brugge.

Only two players have been ruled out. Those are Axel Tuanzebe and Tim Fosu-Mensah. The boss had an update on their progress.

“[Axel and Tim] are getting close to a Reserves match or a behind-closed-doors match.” said Solskjaer. “We need them to play in that kind of game before we use them in the first team.”

Fosu-Mensah is yet to feature for the Reds this season after undergoing knee surgery in the summer, while Tuanzebe has been missing since picking up a thigh problem during the Carabao Cup tie against Colchester in December. The other long-term absentees are Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, and Lee Grant.

“We had a couple of knocks in training but hopefully they’ll be okay.” he commented.

“We’ve got a strong and fit 25-man squad and it was a good session. We’re looking stronger.”

Scott McTominay and Mason Greenwood, who both missed the first leg, could be involved, as could youngsters Tahith Chong, James Garner and Angel Gomes, after taking part in today’s training session. Odion Ighalo will also be hoping to make his first start for the Reds, after three cameo appearances off the bench so far.

Luke Shaw may start in his customary left-back position, after being fielded as one of the back three in the first-leg.

“I know [Brugge right-winger] Krepin Diatta from my time in Norway,” Ole added. “He might be a handful for Luke, you never know!

“Luke was out for two months and he’s done really well in a new position. It’s mixing between a left-back and the left side of centre-back. He runs forward more as a left-centre-back than as a full-back. I’ve been very pleased with him there.”

Club Brugge Team News

The Belgian side are without captain Ruud Vormer and forward Emmanuel Dennis, both of whom picked up injuries during Sunday’s league win over Charleroi.

Colombian midfielder Der Balanta, who scored the only goal in that game, is suspended after receiving his third caution of the season in Europe, but first-leg absentee Krep Diatta is among Brugge’s 22-man squad for the encounter at Old Trafford.

The game will be broadcasted live in the UK on BT Sport 2. You can also see all the action on MUTV. In the US you can see the match at 3pm ET on Unimas. The referee for the match is Serdar Gozubuyuk.

Report: Manchester United 3 Watford 0

Bruno Fernandes celebrates his first goal for United. Image: Youtube.com

Manchester United closed the gap on 4th placed Chelsea by 3 points today, after a well-deserved win against Watford in their Premier League game.

Manchester United started off the game slowly and with a lack of energy in the early stages. Troy Deeney had the best chance early on in the game that he failed to capitalize on. New boy Bruno Fernandes opened his account for the club when he coolly converted a penalty after the Portuguese midfielder was fouled in the box by keeper Ben Foster. The goal came three minutes before half-time and United went into the break 1-0.

In the second period, Watford thought they had taken the lead just after half-time when Deeney put the ball into the back of the net. But the goal was ruled invalid because of a handball by Craig Dawson. United grabbed a second on 58 minutes through a wonderful sublime piece of skill from Anthony Martial. It appeared that the Frenchman’s chance was lost when keeper Ben Foster closed him down, but he dragged the ball back and he chipped it past him.

With United in control of the match now there wasn’t any doubt who was going to win. United would get a third 15 minutes from the end of the game when Mason Greenwood smashed the ball home after Fernandes squared the ball to him in the box. So Reds are now in 5th place and three points behind Chelsea.

Now that Fernandes came into the squad you can see the difference that he has made. His creativity and clever passing has helped to create better chances for the team. He was the missing piece that we needed all along and has been influential in his performances ever since he joined the club. Now that he got his first goal for us Bruno can now get more goals and grow from strength to strength. Ighalo I am sure will get his first goal soon.

This was a good win for us after we won 2-0 against Chelsea. I am hopeful that we can push on now and win consistently. If we can push Chelsea all the way we can get that 4th spot and qualify directly for the Champions League whether we win the Europa League or not. Come on United, let’s keep the winning streak going.

What were your thoughts on the game? Tell me your opinions in the comments box.

Preview: Man Utd v Watford

Sunday’s Premier League game will commence at 9 am ET in the US, and 14:00 GMT in the UK. Sunday’s match will not be broadcasted live in the UK. But you can see the match on MUTV. Martin Atkinson will be the referee.

Scott McTominay could play tomorrow according to Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The midfielder had a rest yesterday and the boss said that he’ll see how he is tomorrow. Mason Greenwood is ill and won’t be available. Paul Pogba is still sidelined.

Watford team News

Senegalese winger Ismaila Sarr and Spanish right-back Kiko Femenia are in contention to face the Reds after returning from thigh injuries. Long-term absentee Daryl Janmaat could make his comeback at the end of the month, but this weekend’s game will come too soon for him.

United Academy graduates Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley will hope to be involved at Old Trafford despite a lack of first-team action this season; the latter is lacking match fitness, having not played since October.

Source: manutd.com

This is a match that we should win, although we lost to Watford earlier this season. United lost 2-0 to the Hornets at Vicarage Road back in December 22, 2019. So this is an encounter that we can’t afford to lose because Chelsea who are in 4th place won at home 2-1 today against Spurs. United are chasing that 4th spot and Chelsea has a 6-point advantage over us. We need to close the gap to 3 points and continue placing pressure on the Blues.

Obviously Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu are their most dangerous players to watch out for. But Abdoulaye Doucoure can’t be underestimated although he hasn’t had the same kind of season this year that has had in the past two years.

But I’ve seen him score some wonderful strikes outside the box. In their last 9 Premier League games Watford has produced 4 wins and 3 draws under new manager Nigel Pearson. So we obviously must take them very seriously and we must take our chances and defend well. I hope that Solskjaer gets his tactics right, because we’ll need him to get them right for this game.

Report: Brugge 1 Man Utd 1

Martial scored the equalizer for United. Image: Getty Images

Anthony Martial equalized for Manchester United and earned us a 1-1 draw after Club Brugge opened the scoring in the 15th minute through Emmanuel Dennis in the round of 32.

Martial scored the goal against the run of play. Club Brugge had an opportunity to score earlier on when Dennis beat Harry Maguire and then Romero to the ball on the right side of the United box before squaring it. But Lindelof was able to intercept the cross to prevent Maxim De Cuyper from scoring. It was Victor Lindelof’s 100th game for Manchester United. There was a potential penalty for Romero’s attempt to challenge Dennis, but VAR decided that there was no penalty.

Andreas Pereira had seen his low shot saved by keeper Simon Mignolet. Dennis who was lively and showed his pace grabbed the opening goal after Mignolet’s long ball caught Diogo Dalot and Brandon Williams off-guard. The Nigerian then used his speed to lob Romero to make it 1-0. The Belgian side now became more confident and had United under pressure.

We had a difficult time with Brugge’s pacy young strikers, and Romero came up with a fine save for diverting Dennis’s shot wide with his body. However, we were able to get back into the game when Martial took advantage of a mistake from Brugge in the 36th minute.

De Cuyper’s throw-in had too much pace on it for Mechele, and the Frenchman outmuscled him and he side-footed the ball past Mignolet into low right-hand corner of the net. It was his 14th goal of the season in all competitions for the Reds. Brandon Williams missed a golden chance to score when he skied his effort. Martial also came close to a second when his low drive smashed off the post. The first-half ended with us on a high with a 1-1 scoreline.

After the break, Romero was called into action again as he engineered an excellent save from Dennis. Odion Ighalo would come on for Martial. Dennis continued to cause problems for us when he squared the ball for Odilon Kossonou, who missed a sitter with the a wide open goal 12 minutes before the end. Bruno Fernandes replaced Diogo Dalot and Fred came on for Andreas Pereira.

United was looking for the winner and Fernandes was the architect in creating a few chances for the Reds. Mata saw his shot saved by Mignolet, although it was in an offside position. United tried to get the winner with Ighalo trying a wonderful overhead kick that didn’t pay off. Then Lingard wasn’t able to score from distance, because his shot lacked the power. Jesse Lingard made his 200th appearance for the Reds today. So both sides finished the match 1-1.

Team News for Club Brugge v Man Utd

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed that Victor Lindelof could return to the team for Thursday’s Europa League game against Club Brugge, but United will be without Mason Greenwood.

The game will kick-off at 1:55 pm ET in the US and at 17:55 GMT. The referee will be Aleksei Kulbakov. you watch all the action on BT Sport 2 in the UK. You can also watch it on MUTV.

Lindelof missed United’s 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Monday evening, but travelled with the squad to Belgium ahead of the first leg of our last 32 tie against Brugge.

But, the boss won’t be able to call upon Mason Greenwood and Scott McTominay, who both will stay in Manchester. Solskjaer hinted that he plans to rotate his team somewhat for the game, in which Odion Ighalo could make his first start for the club.

“I’m not going to tell the team today.” said Solskjaer . But we’re going to have to rotate with all the games we’ve got coming up and yeah, he’s one of them that could start. We’ve not 100 percent decided as yet.”

Scott McTominay returned to full training in the final session before the squad left for Belgium. This is welcome boost for the team, but this game against the Belgian side has come to early for the midfielder. The boss also confirmed that Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford remains unavailable for the forseeable future.

“I would hope that Marcus is playing this season,” he added. “It’ll just be touch-and-go towards the end. So hopefully we can go through and get through this tournament and prolong the season.”

“It takes time. I’ not a doctor, but obviously I was hoping that he would recover quicker than it actually looks like he is going to be out for. So another few months definitely.”

“Paul has not been a part of the team training yet, so it’ll depend on how he feels or when he feels ready to do that, so he’s not anywhere near that yet.”

Credit: manutd.com

Manchester United got an important win against Chelsea

Manchester United didn’t produce the best of performances yesterday against Chelsea. However, with the win we have now closed the gap on the Blues to 3 points. We also did the double against them this season and our other fierce rival Manchester City too. The first-half we looked shaky with a back three of Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly. Chelsea placed pressure on us in the first-half, especially in the first 15 minutes before United began to settle down.

We hung on without conceding when the Blues had a few chances to score, and we got into the rhythm of the game. Then Anthony Martial came up with a well-taken goal. His header was well-placed with power. The cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka was fantastic and Martial just had to redirect it. It came just before half-time, and that gave us that boost in confidence to go on and win the match.

In the second-half, we played much better and we kept the ball more. Our passing and movement was quicker and we looked more stable defensively. I thought that we should of given Bruno Fernandes the ball faster whenever he was in open positions to receive the ball we should have passed it to him immediately. But we missed out on those opportunities for him to work his magic with the ball.

I thought that Eric Bailly was outstanding especially in the second-half when he made a few last-ditch tackles in the box that were clean and he never fouled the opposing player that he tackled. After being out for several months he played really well. I hope that he can remain healthy for the rest of this season and the next one, because he is a real class player when he’s healthy and is in good form.

His athleticism and speed and are key attributes that he has in abundance that the other defenders don’t have. Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams are the only defenders that comes somewhat close to him in that respect. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was excellent and consistent.

I am glad for Harry Maguire getting his first Premier League goal. It was a good solid header. It was typical textbook header that had power on it. But we have to give great credit to Fernandes for a brilliant assist. His corner had pace and swerve on it. The ball landed straight on Maguire’s head he just had to redirect it downwards. Brandon Williams did a fine job in midfield, which shows his versatility as a player.

I was mostly pleased with United’s performance and we need to be consistent like that for the rest of the season. I also hope that Odion Ighalo can bang some goals in for us as well.

What did you think of United’s performance against Chelsea? Please comment on what you thought of the match.

Chelsea 0 Man Utd 2

Image: twitter

In the opening minutes of the game both teams started off the match at a decent pace. Then Reece James for Chelsea in the 6th minute created a good opportunity to score, but his shot just went agonisingly wide of the right post. Two minutes later Chelsea almost scored again when Willian’s curling shot went inches wide of the goal.

However after that United made a few attacking forays into Chelsea’s final third, but with no end product. The Reds were slowly finding their rhythm. Michy Batshuayi had the easiest chance of the match so far when Mason Mount’s cross from the left flank found the striker, but his low drive missed the target.

United didn’t look so confident with a back three of Maguire, Bailly and Shaw. The Blues looked dangerous and created more chances than the men in red. United were slow to move the ball up the field, and Chelsea took advantage of it. The home side used a high press against us and whenever we lost possession we struggled to get back defensively and get organized quickly sometimes.

Anthony Martial had an opportunity eight minutes before half-time to open the scoring, but after his quick one-two with Bruno Fernandes, his shot went wide of the goal. But then in the 45th minute Aaron Wan-Bissaka whipped in a wonderful cross from the right flank, and the Frenchman headed past keeper Wilfredo Caballero.

Batshuayi had another golden chance to make amends for his miss earlier, but still managed to drag his shot wide of the post after a good pass by Pedro. With just three minutes of injury time left, the Reds went into half-time 1-0 up.

After the break, United were sloppy in conceding possession. But we were just happy to sit back and stay organized and compact and wait for the counter-attack. Kurt Zouma thought that he had equalized for Chelsea, but the goal was ruled invalid because of a foul in the box, so United still lead 1-0.

Then Harry Maguire doubled United’s advantage when his headed goal went past Caballero after a great corner from Fernandes. The goal came six minutes after the hour, and the visitors looked in control. Olivier Giroud believed that he had scored when several minutes later he scored at the near post. But unfortunately, VAR overturned the goal and ruled it as offside.

Chelsea were resilient though despite their two goals being overturned. They continued to attack to get themselves back into the match. We defended well and we just kept possession and took the sting out of the game. Then Odion Ighalo came on for Martial in injury time and Fernandes replaced Diogo Dalot. Ighalo almost got his debut goal, but his drive was saved by the keeper. There was no way back for the Blues, and United left Stamford Bridge as 2-0 winners.

United Team News

Odion Ighalo could make his debut at Chelsea. Image: strettynews.com

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hinted that he may start Odion Ighalo at Stamford Bridge on Monday at Chelsea. The loan signing could make his debut since his arrival from China.

“I never said he was going to be ready to play on Monday,” Ole told reporters at his pre-match press conference.

“He’ll be involved with us and he’ll travel down with us and, obviously, now he’s out of that two-week period of precaution and it’s a precaution we’ve made.”

“He’ll travel with us and let’s see if he’s involved or not.”

“He’s done his [training programme] and it was always going to be a case of him to integrate into the group anyway after having been out in China. He needs to get used to the players and the team and up to speed as quick as he can.”

Scott McTominay and Axel Tuanzebe will be unavailable the match against Blues. They’re still working on their fitness.

Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford will also be on the sidelines. While Tim Fosu-Mensah – who is yet to make an appearance this campaign, but was also in Spain – suffered a minor injury setback, yet hopes to be involved before the end of the month.

“I don’t think we’ll get anyone back for the Chelsea game,” Because Scotty, Axel, Tim, they didn’t join too much so they’re not ready to play that game. And Paul is not ready, of course.”

“How do we go about playing without Marcus, Paul, Scott? You deal with it.”

“We’ve got players who are going to get a chance. They’ve now had a rest, a great rest.”

CHELSEA TEAM NEWS

Frank Lampard confirmed in his Friday press conference that Monday’s match will come too early for Christian Pulisic. The American winger is still building up his fitness after a month on the sidelines. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is also inching closer to selection after a ruptured Achilles, but won’t be making his first appearance of the season against United.

Manager Frank Lampard hopes that Tammy Abraham will be involved. The 22-year-old picked up an injury against Arsenal at the end of January, although he was involved in the Blue’s last fixture, at the King Power stadium two weeks ago.

The match can be seen live in the UK on Monday on Sky Sports Main event, Premier League and Ultra HD. In the US you can watch it at 3pm ET on NBCSN. The referee will be Anthony Taylor.

Credit: manutd.com

Pogba is interested in returning to Juventus after Euros

Could Pogba be on his way out of United? Image: Getty Images

ESPN reports that Paul Pogba would be interested in a move back to Juventus in Italy according to his agent Mino Raiola. Pogba has had long-term injuries this season and hasn’t played since Boxing day due to an ankle injury. The French midfielder has been linked with a move away to Old Trafford for a long time.

Pogba spent four years in Turin after leaving Old Trafford in 2012, where he won four successive Serie A titles. Raiola believes that his future could lie away from Manchester United in the near term.

“Italy is like home for Paul,” he told reporters. “He would not mind going back to Juve but we will see what happen after the Euros.”

“Paul wants to play at his best level but he can’t escape by Manchester United if they are in a difficult situation.”

I don’t mind Paul Pogba leaving Manchester United because when he isn’t injured and is fit he still doesn’t show his world class pedigree. His form has never been consistent, no matter who he plays for. Under Jose Mourinho his form was topsy-turvy and you never saw his potential. Although Mourinho was at fault for not playing him in an advanced role where he’s most dangerous.

But even when he did play in an advanced role he would be dominant in maybe the first 15 to 20 minutes of the half and would disappear. Even in the second-half of some games he was a none-factor. This was always frustrating for managers and fans alike who watched him play. Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer it has been the same thing. However his long-term injury issues has kept him out of the team for most of this season so far.

Everytime he gets injured its for an extended period of time, and when he’s fit to play he doesn’t show his greatness on the field in a consistent fashion. We have Bruno Fernandes who is very creative and scores a lot more goals than Pogba does. He is very consistent week in and week out.

Whenever Pogba was out of the squad everyone would ask, Where will the creativity and goals in midfield come from? Well now we have the answer in Bruno Fernandes. So we don’t really need Pogba do we? Fernandes performs the same role and has the same attributes like Pogba, and he consistently plays at much higher level than the Frenchman.

I would love to see Pogba stay, but if his career doesn’t seem like it will work out at Old Trafford then he should go back to Juventus in Italy or somewhere else.

Tell me what you think about Raiola’s comments? Do you think Pogba should leave Old Trafford?

Manchester United told Odion Ighalo to stay away from Carrington over the coronavirus fears

metro.co.uk

According to Sources close to ESPN, Manchester United has told new signing Odion Ighalo that he must refrain from going to the Carrington training base because of the coronavirus.

Odion has been training at the National Taekwondo Center, next door to Manchester City’s Etihad stadium since arriving from Shanghai Shenhua as a precaution. After arriving from China on Feb. 1 he will remain in the mandated 14-day incubation period until Friday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his squad will return from their warm weather training camp in Marbella, Spain on Friday morning. Ighalo will then train with his teammates at Carrington for the first time over the weekend before the trip to Chelsea on Monday.

He hasn’t featured in a competitive game since Dec. 6, and has been working to a personalized training programme designed by the United staff in a bid to ensure that he’s ready for the Chelsea game.