Manchester United drawn to play Chelsea in Carabao Cup and must follow up Liverpool clash with FOUR successive away games

26 Sep

Manchester United face a tough end to October with FOUR away games in a row after being drawn to play Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.

The Red Devils narrowly booked their place in the fourth round of the cup with Wednesday’s penalty shootout defeat of Rochdale, who came so close to recording one of the biggest upsets in English football history at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watched on as his side laboured to a narrow win over Rochdale
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But United survived and were pulled out the hat with Chelsea, who eased their way into the draw by thrashing Grimsby 7-1.

The match will be played at the Blues’ Stamford Bridge home on October 29, which is a worry for United given it means their run of successive away games extends to FOUR.

The run starts on October 24 with a trip to Belgrade to play Partizan in the Europa League, four days after hosting Liverpool in the Premier League.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side then visit Norwich three days later, before the trip to Chelsea another two days after that.

The run ends when United play Bournemouth on November 2 at the Vitality Stadium.

This means the Red Devils must host an incredible Liverpool team, and then play four away matches in just TEN days!

Man United's tricky run of fixtures

The Red Devils face a tough end of October with four successive away matches in just TEN days after hosting Liverpool

  • Man United vs Liverpool (Premier League) – October 20
  • Partizan Belgrade vs Man United (Europa League) – October 24
  • Norwich vs Man United (Premier League) – October 27
  • Chelsea vs Man United (Carabao Cup) – October 29
  • Bournemouth vs Man United (Premier League) – November 2

“That’s how it is,” the manager said about his run. “And we have got to make the best out of it – and I am sure we are because that’s the type of group this is, that’s the type of club we are.

“We are not going to say ‘argh’, we’re going to relish it and look forward to it.”

Despite United’s poor recent form, Solskjaer will likely be delighted to have drawn Chelsea in the Carabao Cup given how his side demolished the Blues earlier this season.

The two English heavyweights met on the opening weekend of the Premier League season and United secured a stunning 4-0 win at Old Trafford to get their campaign under way in brilliant fashion.

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Real Madrid quartet named in Best FIFA Awards Men’s World XI 2019, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi also make the cut

23 Sep

Eden Hazard was one of four Real Madrid players to make it into the Best FIFA Awards Men’s World XI which was announced on Monday night.

The Belgian international played a starring role in former side Chelsea’s Europa League triumph last season, with Sergio Ramos, Marcelo and Luka Modric were also included in the team, with two members of Liverpool’s Champions League squad also making the cut.

Eden Hazard celebrates winning the Europa League with Chelsea in May
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Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk were both crucial to the Reds’ sixth European Cup success in June.

Meanwhile, Barcelona and Juventus – like Liverpool –  have two inclusions from their respective sides.

Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong are Barca’s representatives – though the Dutch midfielder was part of the Ajax time which got to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018/19.

The same goes for Matthijs de Ligt who captained Ajax before switching to Juventus, while Cristiano Ronaldo unsurprisingly also get the nod in this star-studded side.

Joining Messi and Ronaldo in attack is teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, who flies the flag for Paris Saint-Germain.

Best FIFA Awards Men's World XI

Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker

Defenders: Matthijs de Ligt, Virgil van Dijk, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo

Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong, Eden Hazard, Luka Modric

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe

 

 

Who is Mason Greenwood: Manchester United kid earning rave reviews and Robin van Persie comparisons ahead of potential Arsenal start

20 Sep

Mason Greenwood could start for Manchester United against Arsenal tonight but what’s the story behind the young striker?

Greenwood sparred United’s blushes in their opening Europa League tie recently as he scored the winner against Astana.

It was the 17-year-old’s first senior goal for the Red Devils as they won 1-0 at Old Trafford.

Mason Greenwood will be 18 in October
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It was a lacklustre performance by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side as they squandered early chances and were in danger of having to settle for just a draw.

Greenwood showed why he is regarded as one of United’s brightest young talents and he could now take centre-stage against Arsenal this evening.

Here at talkSPORT.com, we have taken a look at everything you need to know about the teenager.

Career so far

Greenwood joined United at the age of six and progressed through their academy ranks.

He was promoted to the Under-18 squad for the 2017/18 season despite still being eligible for their Under-16s. The forward repaid the fait shown and was top scorer of the Under-18 Premier League North with 17 goals in 21 games.

He was also named as the player of the tournament as the Reds won the ICGT Trophy in the Netherlands despite being the youngest player in the squad.

Jose Mourinho took Greenwood on their pre-season tour at the beginning of last season.

It was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who gave him his first senior appearance when he came on in their 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. Four days later he went on make his Premier League debut and was the club’s youngest league debutant.

Mason Greenwood scored his first senior goal against Astana
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International career

Greenwood has represented England’s Under-15s, Under-17s, Under-18s and Under-21s.

What Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after Astana win

“To get him inside the box, you know something’s going to happen,” the United boss said.

“He can go inside, he can go outside. A great finish through the legs of the keeper. Most of the time that’s quite open.

“For sure it is natural for him to play football, natural for him to score goals, to be in and around the box.

“As I said yesterday he knows how to hit a ball. Maybe he hit too hard in the first half, where he should have curled it a little bit more in the top corner.

“But he showed glimpses today of what he can become.”

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Contract situation

Greenwood signed a profession contract last year but United are keen to tie him down to a new deal.

His performances in pre-season and at the beginning of this campaign could see him rewarded with a lucrative new contract.

Following the win over Astana, Solskjaer said: “We are always in talks with the boys about how we see the future. Mason is one we want to keep with us.”

Who he’s been compared to

In March 2019, former academy coach Mark Senior said: “People say he’s like the new Robin van Persie but I don’t know. I think he’s his own man.

“I’ve not seen another player like him. His style means his pace is deceptive because he is absolutely rapid.”

Former United midfielder Owen Hargreaves did think there were comparisons that could be drawn with Van Persie.

He told BT Sport: “I would say he has a great feel for the game. Every time he touched the ball there was a purpose to it, he didn’t try and force things, he took what was there.

“For a young kid at 17 to have that composure in the box, he had a picture of what he wanted – come in on the left foot, chop, like Van Persie, a good finish. That’s a top player, he’s going to be a top player.”

Who is Bukayo Saka: Arsenal kid could face Manchester United and sensational Europa League show suggested he may outshine Nicolas Pepe

20 Sep

Bukayo Saka could face Manchester United tonight as the Arsenal ace continues to shine.

The youngster announced himself to the world with a spectacular performance as the Gunners beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 in the Europa League recently.

The teenage winger played on the left of a front three alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Emile Smith Rowe.

Bukayo Saka gave Frankfurt problems throughout the game
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He was involved in all three of the Gunners’ goals with two assists and a superb goal from outside the box.

The 18-year-old is now the youngest player to score for Arsenal in the Europa League.

Not only was he the match-winner for Unai Emery’s side but he did it with some style displaying lightning pace and skill.

He is set to feature against United at Old Trafford tonight but many fans may not know much about him.

So here at talkSPORT.com we have taken a look at everything you need to know about the wonderkid.

Career so far

Saka has come through the ranks at Arsenal’s academy where he has starred for their Under-18 and Under-23 sides.

His first appearance for the Under-18s came in December 2017 in a defeat to Fulham but went on to score six and get five assists in 14 games in the rest of the season.

He was moved up to the Premier League 2 squad where he scored five and grabbed eight assists in 20 appearances.

Bukayo Saka made his Arsenal debut when he was 17
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Unai Emery was obviously suitably impressed and was included in the squad for the Gunners’ Europa League clash with Vorskla last November and came on as a sub in the 3-0 win.

He made two more appearances in Europe that season and was also on the bench as they were thrashed by Chelsea in the final.

Saka’s only Premier League appearance came in January when he was a late second half substitute against Fulham.

He was the second youngest player to appear in the Premier League last season at 17 years and four months behind only Harvey Elliott who was 16 and one month.

International career

The winger has represented England at Under-16, Under-17, Under-18 and Under-19 level.

He was included in the Under-17 European Championship squad in the summer of 2018 where England reached the semi-final before being knocked out by the Netherlands.

Why is he so highly rated?

Saka has electric pace and has already proven he has an eye for goal. Across all competitions last season, he scored 14 goals and assisted 12.

He is also versatile and can play anywhere in the front three but his preferred position is on the left.

The 18-year-old has even been used as a wing back in some of the Arsenal youth teams.

What he said after the win

“I’m so happy to score for Arsenal, it’s a dream come true – I have been dreaming of this moment since I was a kid.

“I just want to keep working hard to make sure I can feel this feeling again.”

What others have said

Martin Keown told BT Sport: “They toiled away trying to get young players in and they have found one in Saka.

“You think of the way Pepe is playing at the moment and they paid £72million for him, and this kid looks better than him tonight.”

After his debut for Arsenal’s Under-23s, coach Freddie Ljungberg said: “Bukayo is a great talent. We’ve given him 15 minutes here and 20 minutes there to help him get used to the tempo, the speed and strength of opponents, and he’s taken it in his stride.”

Team-mate Joe Willock, meanwhile, branded him a ‘special player’ after the 3-0 win over Frankfurt.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer heaps praise on Mason Greenwood as Manchester United youngster bags first senior goal in Europa League win

20 Sep

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expressed his delight at Mason Greenwood bagging his first senior Red Devils goal.

The 17-year-old’s 73rd-minute strike saw United labour to a 1-0 victory over minnows Astana at Old Trafford in their Europa League opener.

Greenwood’s goal gave United the three points against Kazakh side Astana
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There are high hopes for Greenwood, who has made some appearances as a substitute this season.

And he repaid the faith showed in him by the boss when he conjured up a good piece of skill before firing the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs to give United the three points in what was an uncomfortable game for them.

On Greenwood, Solskjaer said: “We always know that in and around the box that he’s one of the best finishers we’ve got and I’m happy he got his goal.

“I’m sure he’ll go home tonight and he’ll be happy with that one.

Greenwood’s display got the seal of approval from Solskjaer
Getty Images - Getty

“It’s not an easy place to make your debut in a game like this when you don’t get a goal but Mason won us the game so we’re very pleased for him.”

Other United youngsters also started the game, with Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, both 19, and Axel Tuanzebe, 21, given a chance to shine.

And Solskjaer admitted United were not at their best but claimed this was because the team he put out were lacking in match practice.

He added: “We made it hard for ourselves because in games like these you can make sure that you win the game in the first 20 minutes if you take one or two of the chances and then you can enjoy it.

“You could see that some of our lads needed games but it’s pleasing that we got the three points.

“We think tonight was a great opportunity for them [the young players]. We wouldn’t throw them in if we didn’t feel they were ready but you can still see they need game time.

“You get your rhythm when you play every week so some of them won’t play against West Ham but will play against Rochdale [in the Carabao Cup] next week.

“If you want to make it as a Man United player, you have to handle the fans that’s for sure.

“I thought Angel [Gomes] did well, also Chongy [Tahith Chong] showed glimpses so they’ll be better for it.”

Arsenal hero Bukayo Saka labels Europa League goal ‘a dream come true’ as youngster runs Eintracht Frankfurt ragged

19 Sep

Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka has described his first Gunners goal as a ‘dream come true’ as he inspired them to a brilliant Europa League victory at Eintracht Frankfurt.

The game finished 3-0 with goals from Joe Willock, Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sinking the German side.

Saka gave Frankfurt problems throughout the game
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Saka stole the show though as he provided the assists for Willock and Aubameyang’s goals, while also bending the ball beautifully past Kevin Trapp on 85 minutes to make it 2-0.

The 18-year-old is the youngest player to score for Arsenal in the Europa League but this was not the only impressive Saka stat to come from the victory in Frankfurt.

According to Squawka, Saka created five chances which was more than any other Gunners star in the game.

He also had eight touches in the opposition box and three take-ons completed.

And after the match, Saka expressed his delight at bagging his first goal for Arsenal.

He said: “I’m so happy to score for Arsenal, it’s a dream come true.

“I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I was a kid and I’m just so happy that it’s finally happened.

“I just need to keep working hard to make sure I have this feeling again.”

Saka earned plaudits on Twitter from Arsenal players past and present.

Aubamyang tweeted a picture of the pair celebrating in the match with the caption: “Let’s say this young gunner (sic) is fire. Well done boys.”

Meanwhile, former Gooner Martin Keown suggested Saka looks a better player than forward Nicolas Pepe, who Arsenal forked out £72million for in the summer.

Keown said: “You think of the way Pepe’s playing at the moment, they paid £72m for him, and this kid looks better than him tonight.

“By the way Willock as well, gets the reward, I talked about it being a breakthrough moment for him.

Keown believes Saka looks a better player than Ivorian Pepe
GETTY

“Yes they rode their luck, there was 24 chances for Frankfurt tonight, but they kept going.

“When he gets this ball here, the young boy Saka, this, look at this for composure.

“He’s passing that into the goal, it’s a beautiful finish. I think he’s 18 years of age. Unbelievable from him.”

Loris Karius: Liverpool goalkeeper makes mistake leading to goal in Besiktas Europa League match

19 Sep

Loris Karius is making the headlines on the pitch for all the wrong reasons again.

The goalkeeper, who’s currently playing for Besiktas on loan from Premier League club Liverpool, made a terrible error which put the Turkish side behind in their Europa League opener.

Karius joined Turkish club Besiktas on loan in an attempt to re-build his career
getty

He completely misjudged the flight of a long ball in Besiktas’ Group K match at Slovakian side Slova Bratislava and striker Andraz Sporar pounced on the error before putting the ball in an empty net.

This is not the first time Karius has made a mistake for Besiktas in the Europa League, having done so during a defeat to Malmo last season.

The mistake didn’t appear to affect Besiktas too much as they went into half-time 2-1 up, however, a second-half collapse saw them lose the game 4-2.

It will do no good for Karius’ confidence levels as he looks to re-build his career following his disastrous performance in the 2018 Champions League final.

Karius made two huge errors in the showpiece match which saw Liverpool go down to a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in Kiev.

Loris Karius had a night to forget in Kiev
getty

He then joined Besiktas on loan that summer in an attempt to get his confidence back.

Meanwhile, Liverpool invested heavily and bought Brazilian stopper Alisson from Roma for £67million – a world-record fee for a keeper at the time.

Alisson has been a revelation and has been given the no.1 jersey at Anfield which was previously worn by Karius.

And judging by this latest mistake, any chance of a Karius comeback at Liverpool is increasingly ebbing away.

Manchester United fan song for Old Trafford, including lyrics for Take Me Home, Country Roads-inspired chant

19 Sep

Listen to any Manchester United game when the club are at Old Trafford and you’ll notice one thing about the fans – they are loud.

The club have taken steps to ensure the atmosphere is decent at the so-called Theatre of Dreams.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his own song at Old Trafford
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Ahead of the current season they announced around 1,200 seats will be available in the Family Stand area, having managed to relocate the Family Stand without any adverse effects.

A statement from the Premier League side in May read: “Following recent feedback regarding enhancing the stadium atmosphere, Manchester United has accommodated a number of fan-led ‘atmosphere trials’ this season which have been extremely successful.

“The results captured so far this season indicate that, despite only trialling the area with around 600 supporters, those who sit there are actively participating and making a difference to the stadium atmosphere.”

One song you may often hear is ‘Take me home, United Road’, which has been sung proudly for years.

The place where they belong

To the tune of John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads...

“Take me home, United road,

To a place that I belong,

To Old Trafford, to see United,

Take me home, United road…”

It is one of many sung loudly by United’s fans and even manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his own, which is sung to the tune of Johnny Cash’s ‘You are My Sunshine’

Manchester United vs Astana teams: Greenwood and Chong start as Solskjaer names Red Devils’ youngest European starting XI since 2012

19 Sep

As expected, Manchester United are not playing their strongest team for their Europa League opener tonight.

The Red Devils face Kazakh side Astana at Old Trafford and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given a number of their young players a chance to shine.

Solskjaer is showing faith in United’s young players against Astana
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Mason Greenwood, Axel Tuanzebe, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes have been given the nod and this has led to United’s line-up becoming somewhat historic.

According to Opta, the average age of United’s starting XI is 24 years and 145 days, which is their youngest line-up in a Europa League/Champions League game since December 2012.

That was a Champions League group stage match against CFR Cluj, where the United XI’s average age was 24 years and 54 days.

Manchester United XI: Romero, Dalot, Jones, Tuanzebe, Rojo, Matic, Fred, Chong, Gomes, Greenwood, Rashford

There’s particular excitement about forward Greenwood, 17, who put in some impressive performances during pre-season.

And Solskjaer urged Greenwood to go out and enjoy himself.

The Norwegian said before the game: “He is still very young, Mason, but he’s maturing. He’s developed so much in the last six months since I came in.

Greenwood has made some appearances as a substitute this season
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“I remember the kid who just wanted to play with mates in the Under-18s. And now he’s knocking on a door, he’s ready to play these games.

“For me, he has been in the Under-21s with England, he’s tasting it more and more. And his appetite for football must be growing.

“I just don’t want to put too much pressure on him, apart from, ‘go out there and enjoy yourself’.

“Work hard, close down, because when the ball lands in your feet I know you’re going to score anyway.

“I know you’ll make the right finish. The keeper might make a fantastic save but he’s one of the best finishers I’ve seen.

“It’s just that enjoyment, express yourself, go out at Old Trafford because there will be 11 Astana players living the dream tomorrow.

“It must be one of the biggest games of their careers for some of these players, but I want it to be a memorable one for our players as well and Mason is one of them.”

Europa League results: Saka stars as Arsenal thrash Eintracht Frankfurt, Greenwood goal helps Man United beat Astana, plus more

19 Sep

It was a busy evening of Europa League action where five British teams were involved.

Arsenal kicked off their Europa League campaign in style with a 3-0 win over last season’s semi-finalists, Eintracht Frankfurt.

In beating the Bundesliga side, the Gunners did what no club have managed since the 2006/07 season, as the hosts had not lost their previous 16 home games in European competition (W12 D4), since a 1-2 loss to Palermo in the UEFA Cup.

Getty - Contributor
Joe Willock celebrates his goal against Frankfurt in Arsenal’s 2-0 away win[/caption]

Joe Willock’s first half goal put the visitors ahead in front of a vocal home support, while Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the others after Dominik Kohr was sent off for the hosts in the final 10 minutes.

It ended a three-game winless for Arsenal, whose goalkeeper, Emiliano Martinez, was another star performer, denying last season’s semi-finalists.

 

Manchester United also got off to a winning start but were made to work hard for their win against Kazakh side Astana at Old Trafford.

Mason Greenwood, 17, bagged his first senior goal for the Red Devils in a game which saw a number of youngsters given the nod by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Greenwood got the winner on 73 minutes
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There was no such success for Wolves, however, as they were beaten 1-0 at home to Portguese side Sporting Braga.

Ricardo Horta scored the only goal of the game.

As for the Scottish teams, Rangers earned three points at Ibrox, beating Dutch side Feyenoord 1-0.

It looked like it was going to be a frustrating night for Steven Gerrard’s men when James Tavernier missed a penalty on ten minutes.

However, a Sheyi Ojo pile-driver midway through the first-half was enough to give Rangers the victory – a fitting performance in honour of former player Fernando Ricksen, who passed away on Wednesday following his brave battle with Motor Neurones Disease.

Ojo celebrates what turned out to be the winner for Rangers
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Celtic, meanwhile, fought back from a losing position to earn a 1-1 draw at Rennes, with Ryan Christie cancelling out Mbaye Niang’s earlier spot kick.

In what was a tense finish in France, substitute Vakoun Bayo was sent off in stoppage time for a second bookable offence.

Bayo had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes, having replaced Odsonne Edouard, but Celtic still came closest to winning the game when Christie’s shot was deflected wide in the dying moments.

Christie earned Celtic a point and was unfortunate not to get a stoppage time winner
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Europa League results:

Apoel Nicosia 3-4 Dudelange

Qarabag 0-3 Sevilla

Borussia Monchengladbach 0-4 RZ Pellets WAC

Roma 4-0 Istanbul Basaksehir

Slovan Bratislava 4-2 Besiktas

Wolves 0-1 Braga

Manchester United 1-0 Astana

Partizan Belgrade 2-2 AZ Alkmaar

Dynamo Kiev 1-0 Malmo
Copenhagen 1-0 Lugano

Basel 5-0 Krasnodar
Getafe 1-0 Trabzonspor

LASK 1-0 Rosenborg
PSV 3-2 Sporting Lisbon

Rennes 1-1 Celtic

Cluj 2-1 Lazio

Frankfurt 0-3 Arsenal

Standard Liege 2-0 Vitoria Guimaraes

Rangers 1-0 Feyenoord
Rennes 1-1 Celtic
Espanyol 1-1 Ferencvarosi TC
Ludogorets 5-1 CSKA Moscow

Gent 3-2 Saint-Etienne

Wolfsburg 3-1 Oleksandria