What the papers say
Nathaniel Chalobah had an eventful match for Watford on Saturday. By dummying the ball at the suggestion of Bournemouth’s Harry Arter he inadvertently reminded the world of the subclause to Law 12 which states a player should be cautioned if he “verbally distracts an opponent during play”. The England Under-21 midfielder missed two good chances to score; a header and a one-on-one. He gave the ball away several times. But in only his second Premier League start Chalobah also led the match in both tackles and dribbles. It was his breakaway sprint that proved to be the catalyst for the opening goal. Rumours suggest the former Chelsea youth player might get a call up for the upcoming England squad. Chalobah is still raw, but the potential is apparent. And the next time someone shouts “leave” at him, he will surely think twice. Paul MacInnesContinue reading...
In some ways it is a surprise that Anthony Martial is still at Manchester United. Whenever José Mourinho mentioned the French forward last season, it seemed like it was to offer criticism, either explicitly or in that passive-aggressive manner of his, where you are not sure if he genuinely does not rate a player or is just trying to motivate him with tough love.
In November, Mourinho claimed Martial was struggling to adapt to his style of play. In January, he said the striker had not taken a rare chance given in the first-team and drew comparisons to Memphis Depay, who by that point had been ushered out the door at Old Trafford. By April, we had reached full ‘boot up the behind territory’.Continue reading...
Your weekend roundup of the best photography from England’s top flight
It was the cartoon, published on the Daily Telegraph website a few years ago, that probably demonstrated the perception at the time that the man in charge of Manchester United’s transfer business was straying dangerously close to getting the reputation of being a bit of a pushover.
Entitled “Manchester United and the Transfer Market” and published shortly after the arrival of Ángel Di María and Radamel Falcao, the cartoon showed the club’s executive vice‑chairman, Ed Woodward, walking into a convenience store called Costless and asking to be shown the “very finest” chocolate they had for sale before handing over £80 for a Mars Bar.Continue reading...
• ‘It’s not always motorway. You always find difficult roads’
Manchester United continued their superb start to the season by again scoring four goals – the first time they have done that in their opening two matches since 1907 – but José Mourinho warned his players that “it’s not always motorway” and there will be “roadworks” ahead. The United manager did say, though, that his team are playing with the sort of confidence they lacked last season after three late goals in four minutes against Swansea completed another emphatic 4-0 victory.
Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial all scored for the second game running, with Eric Bailly getting the other goal after Swansea imploded in the final 10 minutes.Continue reading...
José Mourinho has said that his Manchester United team is playing with confidence after their 4-0 win away at Swansea in Saturday’s early kick-off. The Swans manager Paul Clement defended his tactics, making it clear that he’s not interested in damage limitation, and wanted to try to get back into the game rather than sit back and keep the scoreline respectableContinue reading...
Jose Mourinho warned about potential “roadblocks” ahead for Manchester United but his players have navigated their way through the first two games of the season serenely enough, collecting maximum points, scoring freely and looking like a side that has all the credentials to mount a legitimate challenge for the Premier League title.
These are early days, of course, and United will certainly face much tougher examinations than those posed by West Ham United and Swansea City so far. Yet there is something ominous about the fact that they have started by racking up four goals in each of the opening two league games – the first time United have done that since 1907 – and also demonstrated that they have the ability to go through the gears as and when required.Continue reading...
- Premier League updates from the 12.30pm BST kick-off
- Mourinho: Chelsea are title favourites with no excuses
- And feel free to email Simon or tweet @Simon_Burnton
Swansea worked hard, but never appeared to have much ambition beyond keeping the score down and in the end they couldn’t even do that. But for those six second-half minutes when the hosts finally crumbled United never really purred, but they have too much quality for limited sides to live with at the moment. Rashford was their brightest forward, and Martial continued in a similar vein when he came on, but they have any number of matchwinners at the moment.
90+4 mins: Two games, eight goals, none conceded, six points. That’ll do for United.
90+2 mins: Ayew, who has to be fair tried very hard today, wins the ball, keeps it, protects it, loses it, wins it back and then shoots wide from 20 yards.
90+1 mins: There will be at least three minutes of stoppage time.
@Simon_Burnton Seriously, how do Swans expect to score without Sigurdsson?
88 mins: The margin of their defeat does Swansea a disservice, as they have defended well. But United do have a lot of good attacking players, and they don’t really have any (though Abraham may become one), and sooner or later that was going to become a problem.
85 mins: Both teams have made their final substitutions. McBurnie replaced Abraham for Swansea between goals three and four, and United bring Herrera on for Mkhitaryan, who was only influential for about 10 minutes, but they were good ones.
Classic Martial. The forward is picked out by Pogba, 40 yards from goal, and carries the ball to the edge of the area, cuts onto his right foot and slots inside the far post!
And another one! Pogba intercepts the ball inside the centre circle and passes right to Mkhitaryan, who runs to the edge of the area and plays a perfect return pass. Pogba lifts the ball over the onrushing Fabianski, and suddenly it looks very comfortable indeed!
And surely that’ll win it! Martial, who has been bright since coming on, runs to the edge of the area and into the path of Mkhitaryan, who unlike the Frenchman can see Lukaku in oceans of space inside the penalty area and picks him out. The finish is straightforward.
78 mins: United stretch and probe the Swansea defence before finally losing the ball, which is promptly thumped straight down the other end for Abraham to chase, in vain.
74 mins: Pogba shoots wide from the free-kick, and United make their substitutions: Mata and Rashford are off, and Fellaini and Martial are on.
73 mins: Blind shoots high from 25 yards and is fouled by Fer mid-follow through. Fer gets booked.
72 mins: The second corner is an excellent one, but somehow bounces through the penalty area without getting a significant touch, both Ayew and Abraham coming close.
71 mins: Swansea are having their best spell of the match, and are preparing to take their second corner in quick succession. United, for the first time, are being forced into some sustained defending.
70 mins: United are readying a double substitution of their own, with Fellaini and Martial preparing to come on.
68 mins: Mkhitaryan, set up by Rashford, has another long-range shot. This one doesn’t need a deflection to go wide.
67 mins: A double substitution for Swansea: Narsingh comes on for Mesa, and Routledge for Bartley.
66 mins: Swansea have had some encouragement this half. Another cross from the left, from Ayew this time, curls low across the area without Abraham anticipating it.
62 mins: Mkhitaryan, who has enjoyed none of the space he needs to thrive today and is earning his first mention since the teams, sends in a shot that deflects wide. The corner is cleared.
61 mins: A chance for Swansea! They work the ball from right to left, where Carroll spears the ball into the box and Abraham heads over!
58 mins: Fer spins into space in midfield and looks up to see what options lie further forward. Abraham and Ayew are pretty much standing on each other’s toes on the edge of the penalty area, neither of them doing much moving. He picks one out, the other gets in the way, and the ball is lost.
56 mins: David de Gea touches the ball, and not from a back-pass either. It’s a cross from the left, and the goalkeeper catches it unchallenged. Still, it’s something.
55 mins: United continue to seek a second: Matic chips the ball into the penalty area, but Fabianski reaches it long before Rashford.
53 mins: Nothing much seems to have changed at the break. United still have very great dominance of possession. Swansea continue to head or boot clear most of the balls that pepper their penalty area.
49 mins: A hopeful ball towards Lukaku turns into a corner after Bartley miscues a header. This time, though, Mata can’t pick out a giant teammate.
47 mins: United play the ball between their defenders for literally two minutes, and then Blind thumps it forward and gives it away.
46 mins: Peeeeeep! It’s happening again.
The home side are back out. More action ahoy!
So Mourinho’s policy of packing his team with giant superbeings bears fruit again. Swansea defended resiliently, and threatened themselves a couple of times, but then started thinking about their half-time sit-down a few moments too soon. “At a time where there are so many Premier League defences that struggle with set pieces, Mourinho has chosen to buy a bunch of tall players and has been drilling his side on how to go about attacking set pieces. I wonder whether he will admit to taking a lesson from Big Sam,” writes Prateek Chadha.
The goal was coming. And then, just in time, it came.
The corner is powerfully headed goalwards by Pogba; Fabianski fingertips it onto the bar and the ball bounces onto – but not over – the line, up again, and as it works out which way it should go next it is gleefully hammered home by Bailly!
44 mins: Of many defensive headers in this half, we’ve just seen probably the most vital. A ball from the right seemed about to drop onto Lukaku’s head, six yards out, just beyond the far post, but Fernandez stretched his neck and just flicks it clear.
42 mins: Another chance for United! They win a corner, but it’s easily headed clear at the near post. But when the ball is sent back into the area Fabianski comes out and tries and fails to catch, falls and the ball bobbles to Mata, whose first-time left-foot effort goes wide of an empty net.
38 mins: Swansea win a free kick, 40-odd yards from goal, and Mesa lifts a lovely ball into the penalty area. Bartley heads it back across goal, but with a little too much power. Goal kick.
36 mins: Chance for Rashford! Mawson’s miscued header from an aimless upfield hoof gives him a chance to sprint clear, but he’s a little over-confident, tries to chip a goalkeeper who hasn’t yet gone down, and Fabianski catches.
35 mins: The corner reaches Bartley who, with Bailly not so much jumping with him as pushing him a bit, heads wide.
33 mins: Rashford is United’s brightest player on the ball, but he does like falling over. He goes down on the edge of Swansea’s area when nobody is challenging him at all, loses the ball, Swansea spring forward and Ayew’s low centre is cleared just before it reached Abraham.
30 mins: Pogba trips Olsson, and could easily have had a second yellow card! Instead the referee lets him off with a stern talking-to, but he is on a disciplinary tightrope now!
28 mins: Now Valencia hoofs the ball clear, his follow-through taking his foot so high it pokes the nose of Ayew as he closes down. Some elements of frustration perhaps creeping into United’s game as they continue to find Swansea’s back five – plus three defensive midfielder – hard to crack.
26 mins: Pogba swipes Carroll’s legs out from under him with the ball long since departed, and earns the game’s first yellow card.
26 mins: Now Rashford gets a talking-to from the referee, while he performs his best who-me? mime. The Swansea fans don’t like him at all.
24 mins: Martin Olsson tries an overhead kick, which looked very good but was easily dealt with by De Gea.
22 mins: Rashford, near the halfway line, prods the ball 10 yards forward, giving Bartley a five-yard head start in the race to regain it, and loses the sprint by perhaps a foot. Still, potential there.
19 mins: Now Matic is not fouler but foulee, and Leroy Fer gets a ticking off by the referee for his challenge.
18 mins: Another few minutes of resolute defending for Swansea ends with Ayew going down readily under Matic’s challenge, and winning a free kick midway in his own half.
14 mins: After a slightly rocky start, United are dominating proceedings at the moment. Swansea’s possession is entirely in their own half, and they’re not having that much of it.
12 mins: A lovely run from Rashford on the left ends with a smart shimmy that deceived a defender but also sent the ball running a little too far, and out for a goal kick.
9 mins: Now United hit the bar! Mata sends in a cross from the free kick, and Phil Jones heads it – well, shoulders it – into the meat of the woodwork! That was a let-off both for Swansea and for the officials, given that Jones was pretty clearly offside when the free-kick was taken.
9 mins: Rashford wins a free-kick on the right wing, going over after his right boot was brushed by Mawson. The United forward is getting booed here, presumably because of this:
7 mins: After a patient build-up, Rashford turns smartly onto his right foot and mishits a bobbly shot wide from 20 yards.
4 mins: And United scream down the other end, Lukaku runs from the centre circle into the penalty area and, when an attempted pass rebounds back to him, lashes a shot wide!
3 min: And then they nearly score! And hit the bar! Ayew benefits from a fortunate ricochet to run clear down the left, and he waits for Abraham to get into the middle, sees De Gea step away from goal in anticipation of a cross, and shoots towards the near post! There was a massive gap for him to aim for, but his effort is just too high!
3 mins: A bit of gentle sparring to start the game, with Swansea making a couple of early forays forward without threatening to get into United’s penalty area.
1 min: Peeeeeep! We’re off, with the home side getting the action under way.
Before the action gets under way, there is a minute’s applause in memory of Gwilym Joseph, a former Swansea player and honorary president who died this week. More on him here.
Swansea’s three-man backline is probably the most intriguing tactical issue today. Having been trialled for 10 minutes at Southampton last week, it’s getting a full baptism of the fieriest fire today.
The players are in the tunnel! We’re about to savour a serving of Saturday soccer.
And José Mourinho also does some pre-match talking, in which he brings up the concept of happy football. He doesn’t look tremendously happy while talking about it, but his players, he says, have happy feet.
It was difficult to leave anyone out. I think the players understood that. I had a conversation with them, I trust everybody, and I have great players on the bench who have the ambition to start, and I left some at home that don’t deserve to stay at home. But we played quite well and we have at this moment only one match a week, so we keep the team.
Of course we can improve. But every match is a different match and you are never in control of matches for 90 minutes, so I can expect that even if we are a team playing with tactical discipline, there will be for sure moments in this match when we are not going to have that control, but we need to keep that stability. The team are playing happy football, because the players are very comfortable on the pitch. We need to have a good performance, because only with a good performance can we win.
Swansea have won four of their last six games against Manchester United, which is a pretty handy recent record. Paul Clement talks to Sky about their prospects and, first, their formation:
I always thought that when Bartley came back to the club there was a possibility to play three central defenders. I feel the shape today will give us the best chance of getting a positive result. It will give us first of all defensive solidity, but with two strikers up there we can trigger some good attacks as well.
There’s always challenges at this level, first of all to try and stop the ball going into your net, which is going to be a big challenge against a very strong and powerful Manchester United side. But scoring goals is a challenge too ... all aspects of the game are a challenge at this level.
It is, we’re told, the first time Manchester United have selected the same starting XI in consecutive games since last August.
So José Mourinho selects the same team that crushed West Ham last week; Swansea make two changes, with Mesa and Bartley in and Britton and Routledge out.
We already have the teams! And these are those teams!
Simon will be here shortly. In the meantime, here are the thoughts of our reporter Stuart James before kick-off:
Everything fell into place for Manchester United against West Ham last Sunday and it will be a surprise if José Mourinho’s team fail to pick up another three points . Mourinho’s only real selection dilemma revolves around whether he should set up a bit more conservatively away from home and recall Ander Herrera. As for Swansea, they are still without Fernando Llorente, who is building up his fitness after breaking an arm. Roque Mesa could make his debut in place of Leon Britton, who is struggling with a back problem.Continue reading...
In the 1940 edition of Wisden, RC Robertson-Glasgow wrote that looking back at the last pre-war summer of 1939 was “like peeping through the wrong end of a telescope at a very small but happy world”. The cricket season had ended with handshakes and a round of draws on the first of September, the day Germany invaded Poland. It would be seven years before Wisden was published again, cricket having resumed in earnest with the “Brylcreem summer” of 1946, when Dennis Compton batted like a lord at a picnic and spectator sport helped the nation forget what a parched, ramshackle, soot-stained state it was in behind the sheen of pageantry.
On the face of it there isn’t a great deal of shared ground between Robertson-Glasgow’s beautiful, war-shadowed image of a more vital sporting world, and the unusually strident overreaction last weekend to Manchester United’s impressive performance against West Ham on the opening day of the Premier League season. On the face of it, anyway.Continue reading...
Everything fell into place for Manchester United against West Ham last Sunday and it will be a surprise if José Mourinho’s team fail to pick up another three points . Mourinho’s only real selection dilemma revolves around whether he should set up a bit more conservatively away from home and recall Ander Herrera. As for Swansea, they are still without Fernando Llorente, who is building up his fitness after breaking an arm. Roque Mesa could make his debut in place of Leon Britton, who is struggling with a back problem. Stuart James
Kick-off Saturday 12.30pmContinue reading...
• Portuguese repeats wish for transfer deadline to be mid-August
José Mourinho has denied Manchester United are now a “dream team” following Sunday’s 4-0 win over West Ham United at Old Trafford.
The victory was arguably the best display of the Portuguese’s 12-month tenure as a Romelu Lukaku double plus strikes from Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba made United the early Premier League leaders on goal difference.Continue reading...
Following Eric Bailly’s impressive opening season at Manchester United his ambition to be a warrior centre-back for José Mourinho and emulate Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand as club legends is firmly on track.
When Bailly arrived last summer from Villarreal the manager viewed him as having potential but requiring time to adjust to English football. Yet after starting the opening victory at Bournemouth the 23-year-old impressed and became an instant first choice. Despite the disruption of October’s knee injury that ruled him out for six weeks, Bailly closed the campaign with 38 appearances in all competitions, a League Cup winners’ medal, and he would have started May’s Europa League final triumph if not suspended.
I always looked up to Sergio Ramos as an example and watched him a lot
Now it’s time to give Manchester United its value. That comes with our hard workContinue reading...
• Bolt had been due to play in match v Barcelona on 2 September
Usain Bolt will be prevented from achieving his lifelong dream of playing for Manchester United by the hamstring injury sustained in his farewell race.
United Legends take on their Barcelona counterparts at Old Trafford on 2 September in a charity match, raising money for the Manchester United Foundation and its work in the local community.Continue reading...
Opinion has been divided on the wisdom of Chelsea selling Nemanja Matic to Manchester United for £40m. There are those who say top teams, especially defending champions, should never sell to direct rivals, and those who believe the money was too good to refuse down for a player who has just turned 29.
It is being argued that Chelsea have just signed an upgrade in Tiémoué Bakayoko for the same price, at least a player Antonio Conte regarded as an upgrade in the same position, and at just 22 the promising France midfielder offers many more years of service than Matic, whose sale effectively means the former Monaco player has joined for free.Continue reading...
Liverpool’s defensive frailties, Wayne Rooney’s nous in both boxes, an unwanted headache for Paul Clement and Manchester United’s unsung heroes
The excellence of Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic will attract most attention, but equally crucial was went on around them. Because José Mourinho omitted Ander Herrera – completely unnecessary against opposition likely to sit deep – he could pick an extra attacker, and whether that was Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Marcus Rashford, the trident roaming behind Lukaku offered craft, pace, movement and numbers. Last season, though United’s finishing was useless, they also failed to create enough chances, get enough men into dangerous areas, and exploit the qualities of their most talented players. Yesterday, though, they looked menacing throughout and eventually swamped an admittedly poor West Ham; the question now is whether Mourinho will let his team go against better opposition. Daniel HarrisContinue reading...
This was a Romelu Lukaku-Marcus Rashford show that José Mourinho and Manchester United will hope can run and run. The Belgian’s double put United in pole position – before late strikes from Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba – and Rashford again proved he can be the X-factor the manager desperately requires if he is to lead United to a 21st championship. By the hour here Mourinho’s side were stroking the ball around and through West Ham in an impressive fashion witnessed only sporadically last season.
Rashford played a key part in one sequence that closed with an offside Henrikh Mkhitaryan finish, while Lukaku ran across the line and into deep positions to pose the Hammers awkward questions.Continue reading...
• Lukaku marked Premier League debut with two goals against West Ham
Romelu Lukaku responded to José Mourinho’s demand he should be a Manchester United “leader” by scoring twice on his Premier League debut as West Ham United were beaten 4-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Lukaku broke the deadlock on 33 minutes before doubling United’s advantage eight minutes into the second half. Further goals from Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba on 87 and 90 minutes put Mourinho’s team top of the Premier League on goal difference.Continue reading...
With the new 2017-18 season in full swing, we have selected 12 of our favourite images from the opening weekend in England’s top flightContinue reading...
José Mourinho praised Romelu Lukaku after the striker scored twice on his Manchester United debut to help his side to a 4-0 win over West Ham on Sunday. The £75m signing netted either side of half-time in the club's first fixture of the new Premier League season. Goals from Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba sealed an impressive victoryContinue reading...
For Manchester United, it is difficult to see how their first game of the new season could have gone much better other than perhaps another goal or two to polish up their superiority. As it was, they shouldn’t be too greedy. Romelu Lukaku has wasted little time demonstrating why he became the club’s most expensive summer recruit and, on this evidence, it is shaping up to be a season of rich promise for José≈ Mourinho’s team.
Lukaku should certainly have dispelled any lingering self-doubt with the two goals that laid the foundations for the most emphatic league win of the Mourinho era. Not that the £75m signing displayed even a flicker of stage fright with the left-foot finish and close-range header with which he introduced himself to the Old Trafford crowd.Continue reading...