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Read the latest Manchester United news, transfer rumours, match reports, fixtures and live scores from the Guardian
Updated: 2 hours 16 min ago

Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech fritters chance to turn up heat on Manchester United

Sun, 02/28/2021 - 18:44

It is the statistic that undermines the good Manchester United have done in the Premier League this season: they have failed to score a single goal in open play against opponents from the so-called big six.

Their only return in what is now seven attempts came from a Bruno Fernandes penalty in the 6-1 home defeat against Tottenham. This was their fifth 0-0 draw and, although it was more watchable than some of the others, it illustrated why they lag so far behind Manchester City. In the decisive matches they have not only mislaid their creativity and cutting edge, they have seemed risk averse.

Related: Chelsea 0-0 Manchester United: Premier League – live!

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Bruno Fernandes the driving force behind United's road trip brilliance | Barney Ronay

Sat, 02/27/2021 - 20:00

Ole Gunnar Solskjær isn’t just picking a more defensive team away from home – he’s picking a more effective one

On the road with Manchester United: a journey in 19 acts. As with most road stories, the biggest question around United’s record unbeaten away run is whether, for all the fun, the jazz, the poetry, the roman candle pyrotechnics, it’s actually leading them anywhere.

This is a bildungsroman that will head back to its start point once again on Sunday afternoon. It is almost exactly a year since United set off on their magic bus tour with a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge. Those 19 Premier League away matches without defeat have cut across two seasons, the mixed and varied delights of pre- and post-Covid football, plus one disorientating midsummer overspill. From here United face two immediate tests: Chelsea and then Manchester City’s title-bound cavalry charge at the Etihad a week later.

Related: Warmth, coaching, communication: how Tuchel got Chelsea purring again

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Manchester United v Chelsea: match preview

Sat, 02/27/2021 - 09:00

Chelsea disappointed for the first time under Thomas Tuchel in last week’s draw with Southampton so all eyes will be on his side, scrutinising how they respond. Tuchel was particularly upset with Callum Hudson-Odoi, who received the ignominy of being a subbed substitute, so Reece James will be eager to continue impressing on the right flank. James will have to be working hard to help shut down Manchester United’s impressive attacking unit. Bruno Fernandes is easy to single out as key to United’s successes but Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s defence need to continue their improvement, since a shocker against Everton, if they are to best Chelsea. Graham Searles

Sunday 4.30pm Sky Sports Premier League

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Manchester United draw Milan and Europa League date with Ibrahimovic

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 13:03
  • Last-16 draw also pairs Arsenal with Olympiakos
  • Spurs face Dinamo Zagreb, Rangers to play Slavia Prague

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is returning to Old Trafford after Manchester United were drawn against Milan in the last 16 of the Europa League.

The 39-year-old striker established himself as a fan favourite during his almost two-season spell at Old Trafford, scoring in the Community Shield and League Cup triumphs in 2016-17. Ibrahimovic played a key role in that season’s victorious Europa League run, but a serious knee injury in the quarter-final against Anderlecht ruled him out of the remainder of the campaign.

Related: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the lion of Milan: 'He's 90% of that team'

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Leicester out, Manchester United, Arsenal and Rangers through: Europa League clockwatch – as it happened

Thu, 02/25/2021 - 22:12

Arsenal, Manchester United and Rangers progress, while Leicester meekly bow out

10.12pm GMT

Jamie Jackson was at Old Trafford. His report is in, so you know what to do: click and enjoy. That’s it for this Clocko. Thanks for reading! Nighty night.

Related: Manchester United held by Real Sociedad but coast into last 16

10.11pm GMT

So does a much happier Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “You remember defeats more than wins. Especially semi-finals. We’ve had three of them, so this group feels hurt, and wants to go further. We are a group that’s very tight. We’ve had a few setbacks and knocks, but it lifts us, we want to go further. If you fail in three semis, you want to do better and improve. It’s exciting. It’s a group of players that will improve, because we’re still a young team.”

10.08pm GMT

A very gracious Brendan Rodgers speaks to BT Sport. “I felt I picked a team that could win the game. But we didn’t create enough tonight, and didn’t defend with any intensity. So we gave away two disappointing goals. The best team won, the best team got through, and we just have to recover and get ready for the weekend. They play a man-marking style so you have to be patient. We got into some good areas but lacked quality when we got there. We didn’t have enough quality to break them down. I don’t want to give too many excuses, but you can see what we have, injury wise. However, I still expected us to show up more. There will be learning from it. Tonight we weren’t good enough, and when you’re not good enough at this level you’ll get punished. Good luck to Slavia in the next round.”

10.01pm GMT

“I see Leicester brought on a midfielder called Tavares. If their centre-back can’t thread a pass through to him then Evans Must Be Missing An Angle.” Please be upstanding for David Griffiths, everyone. Speaking of Leicester’s meek exit, Paul Doyle witnessed it, and here’s his verdict.

Related: Slavia Prague's Abdullah Sima seals Leicester's Europa League exit

9.56pm GMT

The full-time scores of the 8pm kick-offs.

9.53pm GMT

A bit of a non-event at Old Trafford, but 17-year-old Shola Shoretire, now United’s youngest-ever representative in Europe, will remember it for ever. As may poor Axel Tuanzebe, whose first-ever senior goal was wiped out thanks to the antics of his slapstick partner Victor Lindelof.

9.51pm GMT

Slavia Prague run out worthy winners at the King Power. Leicester offered nothing. Brendan Rodgers is yet to crack the European code.

9.49pm GMT

GOAL! Roma 3-1 Braga (Mayoral 90); agg 5-1. Well that wasn’t much of a consolation, was it.

9.49pm GMT

GOAL! Roma 2-1 Braga (Cristante og 87); agg 4-1. A late consolation for the Portuguese.

9.48pm GMT

GOAL! PSV 2-1 Olympiacos (Kouka 88); agg 4-5. PSV were going through on away goals ... until Ahmed Hassan Kouka had his say.

9.46pm GMT

GOAL! Club Brugge 0-1 Dynamo Kiev (Buyalsky 83); agg 1-2. Have the Ukrainian giants won it at the death?

9.45pm GMT

GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 0-2 Young Boys (Fassnacht 86); agg 3-6. Young Boys never lose it / Young boys always shiii-iii-iiine!

9.43pm GMT

86 min: Slavia have done a proper number on Leicester here. Kolar has been barely troubled in their goal. “I played in a Neil Young covers band (two gigs) called Neil Young Boys,” writes/admits Jon Collin. “We’ll reform if the price is right.” Anyone interested should contact the Guardian in the first instance. We’ll take no more than 15%.

9.40pm GMT

GOAL! Roma 2-0 Braga (Perez 74); agg 4-0. A breeze for the Giallorossi.

9.38pm GMT

It looks like Slavia Prague have made it to the last 16. Abdallah Sima drops a shoulder, nudges the ball to his right, and whistles an unstoppable shot into the bottom right from 25 yards. Such a lovely strike, and Brendan Rodgers’ continental misery looks set to last another year.

9.36pm GMT

77 min: A little bit of history is made at Old Trafford, where Shola Shoretire, 17 years and 23 days old, replaces Mason Greenwood. He becomes the youngest player to represent Manchester United in Europe, beating a long-standing record held since the early 1980s by Norman Whiteside (17 years, 131 days).

9.34pm GMT

75 min: Leicester still haven’t forced Slavia Prague keeper Kolar into action. “Could you help with some academic research via your readers, both of them in fact?” asks Graham Moger, the old charmer. “Am I the only one who uncontrollably blurts out ‘Young Boys!’ in the style of the Village People, every time I see the team name in print? The crux of my research paper will indicate I’m not alone in that habit.” I’m more of a mid-era Duran Duran man myself.

9.30pm GMT

71 min: Marko Gobeljic of Red Star Belgrade has been sent packing after picking up a second yellow in Milan. His team are currently going out on away goals, the tie delicately poised at 3-3 on aggregate. Stating the obvious, but that isn’t going to help, is it.

9.28pm GMT

70 min: Leicester continue to huff and puff. Brendan Rodgers can boast a fine domestic record, with positive contributions made at Swansea, Liverpool, Celtic and now Leicester. But he’s been conspicuously poor in Europe so far. Can his side help him buck a miserable continental trend?

9.26pm GMT

67 min: Martial swans in from the left and sends a pearler towards the top right. Just over. That was such a sweet strike.

9.25pm GMT

It’s a no-brainer of a decision. Poor Tuanzebe has the first senior goal of his career disallowed, thanks to the needlessly aggressive intervention of his defensive partner. Just a booking for Lindelof, which is probably right, it was clumsy rather than anything else, but you could certainly make an argument for his dismissal. Somewhere in the multiverse, Sociedad scored their penalty and United are down to nine men.

9.22pm GMT

64 min: But this might be chalked off, because Lindelof has clumsily leapt into Bautista. Leaping high and out of control, his knee whacks into the poor guy’s startled coupon!

9.21pm GMT

Tuanzebe rises highest at a corner to plant a glorious header into the top left. It’s his first senior goal!

9.20pm GMT

63 min: Barnes has a first gander down the left, but goes nowhere. Slavia remain in total control.

9.19pm GMT

60 min: Leicester get themselves some of that sweet triple-sub action. Albrighton, Amartey and Choudhury are replaced by Barnes, Ricardo and Castagne. Might as well roll the dice, with two goals required in the next half-hour.

9.17pm GMT

59 min: So here comes 18-year-old Amad Diallo, making his first appearance at Old Trafford. James trudges off shaking his head sadly.

9.16pm GMT

58 min: The in-form Dan James is down, clutching his calf. Looks like his evening is about to come to an end. “There’s a lot to be said for placing curses on football clubs,” begins Ian Burch, with reference to the earlier entry regarding Benfica banjaxer Bela Guttmann. “As legend has it, Birmingham City had a curse put on them back in 1906 which they’ve been trying to lift ever since. Former manager Ron Saunders supposedly had crucifixes placed on the floodlights while Barry Fry decided to do his bit to set things right by watering the corner flags in a way which possibly only Barry Fry and Aston Villa fans could think of doing. The curse was supposed to last for 100 years, but it doesn’t look like ending anytime soon.”

9.13pm GMT

55 min: United made a triple change at half-time, by the way, Bruno Fernandes finally getting some well-deserved rest. On come Rashford, Williams and Tuanzebe; Fred and Wan-Bissaka are the other two chaps to give way.

9.12pm GMT

GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Young Boys (Siebatcheu 47); agg 3-5. Just like Leicester, Leverkusen now need two goals to progress.

9.11pm GMT

52 min: United should be down to ten. Williams, having just been booked, sticks his studs onto the top of Merino’s boot. It’s clumsy rather than malicious, but nevertheless the young full-back is fortunate not to be walking.

9.09pm GMT

50 min: Meanwhile at Old Trafford, there’s action at both ends, Rashford inches away from steering a free kick into the bottom right, Sagnan planting a header onto the United crossbar.

9.07pm GMT

Slavia come again down the left. A deep cross by Stanciu. Provod is unmarked at the far post. He meets the dropping ball sweetly, sweeping into the bottom right. That’s a fantastic goal, though Leicester’s central defenders had gone AWOL.

9.05pm GMT

The second halves are underway. Almost immediately at the King Power there’s an almighty scramble in the Leicester box, Slavia Prague coming out of the blocks at pace. The hosts clear. But ...

8.54pm GMT

Half-time entertainment. It’s been a good couple of days for the Light Blues, hasn’t it.

Related: Lennon quits Celtic and Guardiola gets his coat – Football Weekly Extra

8.52pm GMT

GOAL! JUST BEFORE HALF-TIME! PSV 2-0 Olympiacos (Zahavi 44); agg 4-4. Eran Zahavi scores his second of the evening, and it means his team go in ahead on away goals. So the half-times in the 8pm kick-offs look like this:

8.48pm GMT

Someone will need to do something at some point.

8.48pm GMT

La Real have had their chances to reduce the deficit and start dreaming about achieving the seemingly impossible. Most notably captain Mikel Oyarzabal’s absurd penalty. But here we are.

8.46pm GMT

45 min: More Leicester irritation, as Choudhury goes over a non-existent leg and claims a penalty he’s never going to get.

8.44pm GMT

42 min: Choudhury sends Vardy scampering into space down the left flank at the King Power. An opening to shoot doesn’t present itself, though, and Vardy ends up scooping harmlessly into Kolar’s arms from the tightest of angles. He boots the hoardings in frustration, a result of Leicester’s inability to get going this evening.

8.41pm GMT

40 min: Nothing to report. Arsenal and Rangers spoiled us earlier.

8.40pm GMT

37 min: Brendan Rodgers begins to chew his gum with Allardycian ferocity, as his Foxes continue to toil. “That penalty, eh!” begins Justin Kavanagh. “Oyarzabal looked like a man swaggering up to the bar to chat up Penelope Cruz … and tripping on his own shoelaces.” It definitely had more than a bit of classic sitcom-style ineptitude about it, like Del Boy falling through the bar, or Mainwaring inadvertently shopping Pike. Perhaps manager Imanol Alguacil should have arrived, stage left, and thrashed him with the branch of a tree.

8.34pm GMT

GOAL! Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 Krasnodar (Orsic 31); agg 4-2. Mislav Orsic gives the Croatians a cushion against the side from southern Russia.

8.30pm GMT

30 min: Leicester need to pick it up a bit. This tie, the first leg of which finished goalless in Prague, already has the gamey whiff of extra-time and penalties.

8.29pm GMT

GOAL! AC Milan 1-1 Red Star Belgrade (Ben 24); agg 3-3
GOAL! PSV 1 -0 Olympiacos (Zahavi 23); agg 3-4
GOAL! Roma 1-0 Braga (Dzeko 23); agg 3-0

A flurry of goals in ties that are in differing states of order and disorder.

8.25pm GMT

24 min: Bruno Fernandes, racing onto a Greenwood pull-back down the right, nearly recreates his astonishing goal against Everton the other week. A power curl towards the top left from 25 yards that pings off the crossbar and away. It’s not difficult to work out why Solskjaer wants to play him all the time; it’s just questionable whether he should, four goals up and all.

8.23pm GMT

Meanwhile, golf and Scottish football’s Ewan Murray rounded off a busy 24 hours with a trip to Ibrox. Here’s his verdict on another rollercoaster ride for the Teddy Bears.

Related: Ryan Kent shines as Rangers hit five past Antwerp and reach last 16

8.22pm GMT

Nick Ames’ report on Arsenal’s last-gasp victory over Benfica has landed. Here ‘tis.

Related: Aubameyang rescues Arsenal with late Europa League winner against Benfica

8.21pm GMT

19 min: Still fairly quiet on the east-midland front. Meanwhile back at Old Trafford, United continue to find themselves pinned back. Sociedad are stroking it around very nicely, the former United starlet Januzaj the latest to cause the hosts’ rickety defence some problems, swanning in from the right flank and nearly finding one of the three team-mates in the box.

8.18pm GMT

15 min: And the thing is, La Real could have scored three already. in the immediate aftermath of his embarrassing penalty miss, Oyarzabal rolls a delicious ball through the six-yard box from the left. Lindelof hooks clear just in time, with players waiting at the far post to tap home. Then Guevara creams a shot inches wide of the top right. It’s a good start from the Basques, with one fairly obvious caveat.

8.15pm GMT

13 min: PREPOSTEROUS PENALTY MISS AT OLD TRAFFORD! James concedes it, clumsily clipping Gorosabel, who was going nowhere. But no matter! Oyarzabal takes a Fernandesesque skip before taking the spot kick, and wedges it disgracefully high and wide left. Bruno makes it look easier than it actually is.

8.13pm GMT

GOAL! AC Milan 1-0 Red Star Belgrade (Kessie pen 9). So having said that, Milan score the first goal of the evening kick-offs. They lead 3-2 on aggregate.

8.11pm GMT

9 min: No early goals anywhere, in fact. Probably just as well, given the breathless end to the Arsenal game. Need some time to recover. Poor old Benfica, though. Yet another year without a European trophy for the two-time European Cup winners. Bela Guttmann will be up there laughing.

Related: Béla Guttmann and the barber’s trip that helped Benfica win the European Cup

8.08pm GMT

7 min: How about those Rangers, though, huh, Peter Oh? “Rangers needed to work 9-5! What a way to make a livin’!” He’s only doing it so you don’t have to.

8.07pm GMT

5 min: Nothing of note has happened at Old Trafford yet. Time to ponder, then, on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s slightly strange decision to select Bruno Fernandes, who has clocked up the miles since joining last January and could surely do with a rest. Ruth Purdue elaborates: “So when Fernandes breaks down due to fatigue later on in the season, again, maybe, just maybe the manager will learn his lesson on managing workloads.”

8.04pm GMT

2 min: Leicester have started quickly at the King Power. A fine run down the right by Under. He tees up Soyuncu who spoons over. Then Vardy embarks on a busy run down the inside-left channel, only for his shot to be blocked.

8.01pm GMT

Yep, Napoli’s goose is indeed cooked. The game ends 2-1, and that means Granada Club de Futbol win 3-2 on aggregate.

7.58pm GMT

Thanks Ben. News of Napoli-Granada when we have it ... but unless something positively psychedelic happens in the eighth minute of injury time, the Italian giants are heading out. Meanwhile the teams are out in Manchester and Leicester. We’ll be off in a minute. A quick reminder of where the 8pm kick-offs stand after the first leg:

7.52pm GMT

Napoli v Granada (2-3 on agg) are into seven minutes of second-half stoppage time. Scott Murray will bring you the full-time result from that one, plus stay tuned for Leicester and Manchester United, of course ...

7.51pm GMT

Arsenal 3-2 Benfica (4-3 on agg)
Hoffenheim 0-2 Molde (3-5)
Ajax 2-1 Lille (4-2)
Napoli 2-1 Granada (1-3)
Rangers 5-2 Antwerp (9-5)
Shakhtar D 1-0 M Tel Aviv (3-0)
Villareal 2-1 Salzburg (4-1)

7.49pm GMT

Another entertaining game for Steven Gerrard and co.

7.48pm GMT

Arsenal advance to the last 16!

7.47pm GMT

7.46pm GMT

Home and dry at Ibrox.

7.45pm GMT

Full-time: Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 M Tel Aviv (3-0 agg)

7.44pm GMT

90 min: ... there will be four added minutes in Athens ...

7.44pm GMT

90 min: Into stoppage time in Arsenal v Benfica ...

7.43pm GMT

The La Liga side inch in front on the night.

7.43pm GMT

89 min: Arsenal send on Calum Chambers and Mohamed Elneny in place of Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka.

7.42pm GMT

David Neres strikes!

7.41pm GMT

88 min: Arsenal, as it stands, are heading through to the last 16 with Rangers, who are cruising against Antwerp in another goal-fest.

7.40pm GMT

What were you all worrying about? Aubameyang heads in Saka’s wonderful cross. Aubameyang cannot miss at the back post. The VAR checks for offside but the goal stands.

7.39pm GMT

86 min: Tierney crosses from the left but Benfica wallop it clear. Benfica break on the counter but back come Arsenal ...

7.38pm GMT

85 min: Benfica bring on Nuno Tavares in place of Grimaldo, who takes an age to trudge off the pitch ...

7.36pm GMT

84 min: ... Arsenal need a goal to save their season ...

7.35pm GMT

82 min: Arsenal need a goal to stay in the competition ...

7.34pm GMT

Looking very good. Rangers lead 8-5 on aggregate.

7.34pm GMT

80 min: Scott Arfield is on for Ianis Hagi at Ibrox. Rangers looking good to advance to the last 16. They lead 7-5 on aggregate ...

7.32pm GMT

Yusuf Yazici hammers in from 12 yards.

7.31pm GMT

77 min: Benfica gift possession to Arsenal, with Helton’s clearance closed down by Aubameyang. The ball runs kindly for Saka but the winger skews an effort wide. Always rising. Lacazette enters in place of Héctor Bellerín as Arsenal chase a late winner.

7.28pm GMT

75 min: Here comes Alexandre Lacazette ... stripped and readied.

7.26pm GMT

72 min: So, Bruno Fernandes starts for Manchester United. That game gets under way at 8pm (GMT) and Scott Murray will guide you through all the key moments. First, a stat via Opta: since the start of last season, only Fernandes (10) has scored more Europa League goals than Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos (nine, excluding qualifiers).

7.23pm GMT

69 min: Willian had a hand in the Arsenal equaliser, teeing up Tierney strike. He came on seconds after Arsenal fell behind, with Mikel Arteta hooking Dani Ceballos, who was at fault for both goals. Thomas Partey has also entered, coming on in place of the quiet Emile Smith Rowe.

7.22pm GMT

Deadlock broken!

7.20pm GMT

Game on! Kieran Tierney sends a left-foot bullet into the bottom corner after Willian, a substitute a moment ago, cut the ball back for the marauding defender. Tierney immediately waves his team-mates back to try and get another one. They need another goal because, as it stands, Benfica would prevail on away goals.

7.19pm GMT

A delightful player, and potentially a big goal.

7.17pm GMT

Manchester United: Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Bailly, Telles, Fred, Matic, James, Fernandes, Greenwood, Martial

Subs: De Gea, Grant, Bishop, Maguire, Rashford, Diallo, Shaw, Williams, Tuanzeba, Galbraith, Shoretire.

7.16pm GMT

63 min: Benfica lead 3-2 on aggregate!

7.15pm GMT

A defensive nightmare for Arsenal. Benfica welly the ball upfield from goal after an Arsenal corner ... Dani Ceballos inadvertently flicks the ball on – it is a dreadful, blind header – allowing the Benfica striker to surge through on goal. Leno rushes out to the D, Rafa Silva skips around him and taps into an empty net. Arsenal will need two goals to go through. Mountain-to-climb territory.

7.12pm GMT

It is raining goals at Ibrox. 7-5 on aggregate!

7.10pm GMT

57 min: Benfica make changes. Gabriel replaces Seferovic and Everton is on for Pizzi, one of their more lively players.

7.09pm GMT

Steven Gerrard promised they would go for the jugular and they now have a 7-4 lead. Ryan Kent, who teed up Morelos for the opener, strikes and surely Rangers are heading into the last 16?

7.08pm GMT

54 min: Patterson was in the doghouse last week but that strike gives Rangers a bit of breathing space on the night. They lead Antwerp 6-4 on aggregate with half-hour or so to play. Patterson, Bongani Zungu, and Calvin Bassey, all of whom started among the substitutes this evening, completed a period of self isolation after attending a party this month. The group were fined by the club, who were also in dialogue with the Scottish FA and government about the incident.

7.04pm GMT

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Amartey, Evans, Soyuncu, Thomas, Tielemans, Ndidi, Albrighton, Choudhury, Under, Vardy

Subs: Ward, Barnes, Ricardo Pereira, Mendy, Castagne, Fuchs, Jakupovic, Leshabela, Tavares, Flynn.

7.03pm GMT

50 min: Aubameyang has the ball in the net ... but the striker strays offside before dinking the ball in. This time it was Odegaard who slipped in the captain but otherwise it was almost a carbon copy of the Arsenal opener. There is a VAR check, but he is ruled offside.

7.00pm GMT

An inspired half-time substitution! Nathan Patterson, who replaced Leon Balogun at the interval, pounces in the box. It is a redemption story of sorts too, given Patterson was one of three Rangers players forced to quarantine after breaking Covid-19 rules.

6.58pm GMT

The second halves are almost upon us. Bjorn Kuipers is ready to get things started in Athens – no changes for Arsenal or Benfica at the break. My colleague, Paul Bellsham points out one oddity ... both teams are carrying the same shirt sponsor: Emirates.

6.44pm GMT

Arsenal 1-1 Benfica (2-2 on agg)
Hoffenheim 0-1 Molde (3-4)
Ajax 1-0 Lille (3-1)
Napoli 1-1 Granada (1-3)
Rangers 1-1 Antwerp (5-4)
Shakhtar D 0-0 M Tel Aviv (2-0)
Villareal 1-1 Salzburg (3-1)

6.41pm GMT

45+1 min: ... Arsenal look rattled by that equaliser.

6.40pm GMT

45 min: Benfica are hunting for a second before the break ...

6.38pm GMT

A belting free-kick! Diogo Goncalves bends a wonderful right-footed strike into the top corner, and postage-stamp territory. Ceballos was penalised for fouling Weigl. Benfica had not penetrated much but a sloppy foul – and an exquisite free-kick – gives them a route back in.

6.37pm GMT

41 min: Saka goes close! Ceballos slips in the winger and he gets a shot away ... but the goalkeeper Helton is alert and makes a fine save. It looked as though it may have been chalked offside anyway.

6.35pm GMT

The La Liga side open up a 3-1 lead on aggregate.

6.34pm GMT

38 min: Saka is looking really bright for Arsenal. He jinks away from one Benfica shirt and then debates taking on another but plays in Smith Rowe. Saka then spurts off, making a clever run into the box, but Smith Rowe doesn’t spot him and the chance evaporates.

6.30pm GMT

33 min: Jan Vertonghen raises the Arsenal alarm, heading over after beating David Luiz to a free-kick from the right. It loops harmlessly over in the end but Arsenal looked panicked for a moment.

6.28pm GMT

Ah. Rangers’ lead is not quite so insurmountable now. They are up 5-4 on aggregate with an hour to play at Ibrox. Jordan Lukaku picks out Lior Refaelov with smart pass, and he latches on to it inside the box and beats the goalkeeper.

6.26pm GMT

30 min: Arsenal win a free-kick just inside their own half. So far, so good. Since the start of last season, Bukayo Saka has provided more assists in all competitions than any other Arsenal player (17).

6.22pm GMT

The La Liga side level things up.

6.20pm GMT

24 min: Dani Ceballos takes aim from 25-30 yards but gets it all wrong and it screws wide. Arsenal lead 2-1 on aggregate!

6.15pm GMT

Who else? Aubameyang clips the ball over Hélton and it is a delightful finish – but it is all about the vision of the brilliant Bukayo Saka. The youngster spies Aubameyang’s run and slips a ball into the Arsenal captain, who dinks the ball over the Benfica goalkeeper. There was a VAR check for offside – and it was tight – but the goal is given. It was an incisive attack, all very Arsenal. That should settle any nerves. They’re in the box seat now.

6.15pm GMT

Molde lead!

6.13pm GMT

Mergim Berisha strikes! But they still trail 2-1 on aggregate.

6.11pm GMT

Davy Klaassen gives Ajax the lead, the former Everton midfielder heading in from Dusan Tadic’s cross.

6.10pm GMT

15 min: Benfica work the ball down the left flank and into Seferovic, who is in space and able to get a shot away ... but he scuffs his effort and it drags across the box. There was no one in support but the striker should have at least tested Leno there.

6.08pm GMT

12 min: Benfica break through Goncalves down the right flank after Taarabt sprays a pass wide. Arsenal cut the ball out near the penalty spot. They have seen plenty of the ball but Benfica have been compact and fairly mean opponents.

6.05pm GMT

That’s a big goal for Rangers. They now lead 5-3 on aggregate. Ryan Kent, leading the charge, wins the ball back in the Antwerp box before cutting back for Morelos to do the rest. Dream start at Ibrox.

6.03pm GMT

7 min: The more you see that Taarabt crunch on Gabriel, the worse it looks. It was a crude challenge and perhaps the Moroccan was fortunate to escape with just a booking, let off the hook given it was in the opening blows.

6.01pm GMT

The Serie A side lead. Game on!

6.00pm GMT

4 min: Taarabt gives Gabriel a bump and the Arsenal defender is not best pleased. The former Spurs midfielder is booked for a poor challenge, with his left boot planting on top of the Brazilian’s ankle.

5.58pm GMT

3 min: Bernd Leno makes his 100th appearance for Arsenal this evening becoming the fifth German player to reach the milestone for the club. The others? Jens Lehmann (200), Per Mertesacker (221) Mesut Ozil (254) and Shkodran Mustafi (151). Leno has had nothing to do so far this evening. Arsenal, dominating possession, have made an encouraging start.

5.57pm GMT

1 min: A bit of Arsenal-related news as Mikel Arteta’s side stride through midfield early on in Athens through Ceballos.

Related: Thierry Henry steps down as Montréal coach due to separation from children

5.56pm GMT

We’re under way in Athens, at Ibrox, and beyond!

5.54pm GMT

A gentle reminder that Arsenal, despite flying four hours east to Athens, are at ‘home’ this evening. Away goals still count.

5.50pm GMT

Arsenal team news: Kieran Tierney is in at left-back to replace Cedric Soares but the midfielder Thomas Partey is back on the bench after recovering from a hamstring problem. The 18-year-old Karl Jakob Hein is among two goalkeepers on the Arsenal bench. The former Spurs midfielder Adel Taarabt starts for Benfica.

5.48pm GMT

Rangers team news: Nathan Patterson, Calvin Bassey and Bongani Zungu have rejoined Steven Gerrard’s squad after being forced to quarantine having breached Covid-19 rules. Captain – and talisman – James Tavernier and striker Kemar Roofe remain out injured.

5.26pm GMT

Essential pre-match reading:

Related: The Fiver | The world's greatest second-rate pan-European football competition

5.17pm GMT

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Leno; Bellerin, David Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Ceballos, Xhaka; Ødegaard, Smith Rowe, Saka; Aubameyang

4.24pm GMT

It never stops, does it? After Manchester City made winning in Europe look worryingly look easy, no doubt Arsenal and Rangers will do their best to make a pig’s ear of the respective tasks facing them. Later tonight, Scott Murray will guide you through the going-ons at Old Trafford, the King Power Stadium and beyond.

Not one to up the ante or to indulge in hyperbole, Mikel Arteta has only gone and described their ‘home’ match against Benfica akin to a final. They drew the first leg in Rome and will now do battle in Athens, hoping to secure a spot in the last 16. Winning the Europa League is Arsenal’s best hope of qualifying for the Champions League after a run of two wins in six Premier League games has left them languishing in mid-table, 11 points off the top four.

Rangers, by comparison, are laughing. And not only because Neil Lennon has walked, with Steven Gerrard’s side on the brink of the Scottish title and unbeaten in 30 league games. Their first leg against Antwerp was a belter – a 4-3 win after they trailed with 10 minutes to go – but Gerrard just wants them to get the job done, whether it is another thriller or not. “We’re at home, we’re not going to sit and wait and protect,” he said. “This is our home and we want to show everyone how difficult it is to play against us.”

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Categories: What the papers say

Manchester United held by Real Sociedad but coast into last 16

Thu, 02/25/2021 - 22:03

Manchester United were in control of this tie as soon as last week’s opening leg finished 4-0 in their favour. To Real Sociedad’s credit, they came to play and Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side did an efficient job of containing the Spaniards and thus can be happy with a clean sheet and the knowledge they are safely into Friday’s last-16 draw.

Whoever United are paired with will hardly relish facing them as they seek to go further than the semi-final, one of three reverses at that stage last season.

Related: Slavia Prague's Abdullah Sima seals Leicester's Europa League exit

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Categories: What the papers say

'I speak to him': Ole Gunnar Solskjær remains in touch with Erling Haaland

Wed, 02/24/2021 - 16:36
  • Manchester United were close to buying Norwegian last year
  • ‘I know him ... Erling is a top player,’ says Solskjær

Ole Gunnar Solskjær remains in contact with Erling Haaland but Manchester United’s manager is non-committal regarding whether the Borussia Dortmund forward may be the target of a future bid from Old Trafford.

In January 2019 United were close to a deal for the Norwegian, whom Solskjær managed at Molde. Yet the transfer from Red Bull Salzburg collapsed because the club balked at financial demands which included a high payment to the player’s representative, Mino Raiola.

Related: Timid Atlético Madrid pay price against Chelsea for going back in time | Sid Lowe

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Categories: What the papers say

Former Scotland defender Gordon McQueen diagnosed with dementia

Tue, 02/23/2021 - 13:35
  • McQueen played for Manchester United and Leeds
  • Family say he wonders whether heading has been a factor

Gordon McQueen, who was revered for his bravery in the air in a career during which he played for Leeds and Manchester United and earned 30 caps for Scotland, has warned modern-day footballers of the risks of heading balls after he was diagnosed with vascular dementia.

His family said that although the 68-year-old was still fully aware of his friends and relatives, his cognitive functions were no longer the same. They said he feared that heading a ball repeatedly may have been a factor.

Related: Families of Jack Charlton and Nobby Stiles back new concussion campaign

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Categories: What the papers say

Daniel James shines in Manchester United's win over struggling Newcastle

Sun, 02/21/2021 - 21:33

Daniel James can be maligned but his strike here was precious. It lifted a stuttering Manchester United who went on to kill off Newcastle courtesy of Bruno Fernandes’s 22nd goal of the season. It means Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side remain 10 points behind leaders Manchester City and can retain some hope of catching them.

Related: Raheem Sterling's header at Arsenal extends Manchester City hot streak

Related: European roundup: Barcelona held at home by Cádiz, Leipzig cut Bayern's lead

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Categories: What the papers say

Manchester United v Newcastle: Premier League – live!

Sun, 02/21/2021 - 20:18

8.18pm GMT

59 min: “Someone needs the explain to Martial that the term ‘false 9’ is not a reference to standing up top doing absolutely nothing,” miaows David Flynn. And with that, Martial wakes up and fires a shot that Darlow has to make a fine save to stop.

8.16pm GMT

58 min: That goal, like Manchester United’s opener, was against the balance of play.

8.15pm GMT

Oh Newcastle. Oh no. Matic’s feint past Willock and a pass across the box and James gobbles up the chance with a smashing finish. The ball took a slight, inadvertent touch off Fernandes.

8.13pm GMT

55 min: Newcastle change, on comes Ryan Fraser, with Brad Willis highlights, to replace Joelinton. Does that mean Steve Bruce has gone ‘false nine’?

8.11pm GMT

53 min: Manchester United’s attacking is sluggish, sloth-like. They are missing the dynamism of Cavani and McTominay.

8.09pm GMT

51 min: Manchester United have been poor again. A comparison of their play to Manchester City is just not fair, is it? Bruno Fernandes has been anonymous.

8.08pm GMT

50 min: Saint-Maximin - again - from a half-cleared free-kick, gets a shot it. De Gea dpes well to save it with everything behind the ball. Good play from all concerned.

8.07pm GMT

49 min: Shelvey has a dig from distance. It’s not a good effort, to be quite honest. Those go in once a season. Newcastle are still at it, and Saint-Maximin’s piece of skill sends Dan James to Rawtenstall and back before the more considered Wan-Bissaka gets it clear.

8.05pm GMT

47 min: No changes by the way, with Joelinton OK to carry on. He’s the target for a free-kick that Harry Maguire heads away when Ciaran Clark was lurking with intent.

8.03pm GMT

46 min: Back away we go. Can Newcastle keep up all that energy from the first half?

7.52pm GMT

Tom Hall gets in touch: “Man Utd fan here. Whenever I see Daniel James play, I am reminded of a documentary I watched once about the Tiger beetle which can run so fast that it goes blind. It might just be me, but this may explain why he looks a bit startled when he approaches the box.”

7.48pm GMT

Steve Bruce has only ever picked up one point before at Old Trafford and he’s on course for it, with his team the better side. Marcus Rashford’s goal owed much to Karl Darlow’s mistake while Allan Saint-Maximin’s goal was a corker.

7.46pm GMT

45 min: Two minutes to be added on. Ole Gunnar Solksjær looks miserable as sin on the bench.

7.45pm GMT

44 min: Joelinton is down, and in some distress. Looks like a problem with his back. That’s a decision to make at half-time.

7.43pm GMT

43 min: Steve Bruce urging on his men, making sure they don’t put all their good work to waste. Almiron sets off on another solo run, and again is suffering from a lack of support.

7.40pm GMT

41 min: Martial holds the ball up, and then plays in Fred for a shot from distance. Fred would not be the man you’d back to score from there and he doesn’t.

7.39pm GMT

40 min: Newcastle continue to be the better team here. Joelinton is booked for kicking the ball away and there has been an edge of aggression to their play.

7.38pm GMT

38 min: A contretemps between Bruno Fernandes and Isaac Hayden results in a yellow card for both of them.

7.37pm GMT

37 min: Newcastle deserved that, and that came because they put men forward.

7.37pm GMT

Saint-Maximin forces a corner with a fizzing shot and from that Maguire heads the ball weakly away and Saint-Maximin once more fizzes it and it’s an equaliser.

7.34pm GMT

34 min: Manchester United have got a happy knack of scoring goals when not playing well. Unfortunately for their hopes of the title, they don’t play well enough, either.

7.33pm GMT

33 min: Newcastle had been good, too, if rather unlikely to score. Their chances have suffered from a lack of conviction, not enough bodies piling forward.

7.32pm GMT

31 min: Karl Darlow looks very annoyed with himself. As well he might. Rashford took on the shot, and got his prize. Manchester United now the highest scorers in the Premier League on 51.

7.31pm GMT

The knight in waiting cuts in from the left, steps inside, Krafth allows him the space to shoot and Darlow is beaten far too easily at his near post.

7.29pm GMT

29 min: United switch the play from right to left, then back again in search of an opening. Wan-Bissaka shoots with his left and that will not trouble Darlow.

7.27pm GMT

27 min: Almiron shoots from distance; he’s had a fine game so far though that was nevr likely to trouble David de Gea.

7.26pm GMT

26 min: “I think Shona Shoretire might be a winger?” says Josh Holtby, from his very posh seat of learning. “But I’ve never seen him either, so who knows?”

7.25pm GMT

25 min: Joelinton gets back up. Perhaps he got tired chasing Almiron.

7.24pm GMT

23 min: United are very left-sided but James is speeding down the right for them. He has a habit of just smashing the ball. This time it leads to Almiron burning past everyone including his own colleagues until he is outnumbered. Joelinton didn’t chase hard but we see why now. He appears to have a muscle problem.

7.21pm GMT

21 min: Newcastle back in numbers as Rashford and Shaw have to slow down play. Then Martial’s hold-up play fails as he pokes the ball out of play rather than releasing a teammate.

7.19pm GMT

20 min: A flash of something from Manchester United. Not much, but something, as James’ fizzing cross is saved by Darlow.

7.18pm GMT

19 min: Alun Pugh emails in: “Newcastle fan here. Wondering whether to spend this evening watching the game or hacking off my genitalia with a rusty knife I found in the hospital sharps bin.”

Wor lads are playing well, bonny lad.

7.18pm GMT

18 min: Manchester United try to put together some passing but they are being swarmed on by neon-shirted dervishes.

7.16pm GMT

16 min: Almiron makes another escape and his cross has to be claimed by De Gea. Joelinton seemed a tad slow to chase his chance for a header.

7.14pm GMT

14 min: Newcastle the better team here. Manchester United have been very slow out of the blocks.

7.12pm GMT

12 min: Fernandes is felled, and United of Manchester have a free-kick. Fernandes scoops that to the back post where Darlow gets the ball ahead of Maguire.

7.10pm GMT

10 min: Almiron is OK and he presses the ball so well that Shelvey has a chance to shoot from the edge of the box. Steve Bruce curses as it flies over the bar.

7.09pm GMT

9 min: Almiron goes down, holding the back of his leg after an altercation with Maguire. There was no contact.

7.08pm GMT

8 min: Dan James sets off on a surge. And is hacked down. Newcastle are engaging the press heavily and Rashford and Martial are crowded out on the left-hand side. Newcastle attack at speed again and Maguire has to cut off a pass from Almiron to Joelinton.

7.06pm GMT

6 min: Newcastle have started well, playing far adventurously than might be expected. The influence of Graeme Jones? Though Steve Bruce may not like that reference to his assistant, who it was speculated was brought in to replace him.

7.04pm GMT

4 min: Newcastle corner, and they take their time. The ball eventually comes back out to Joelinton, and he turns a pings a deflected shot that De Gea saves well.

7.03pm GMT

3 min: Rashford scampers down the left but is then ushered off the edge of the field by Lascelles. Newcastle go swiftly up the other end, and then Joelinton similarly falls over untouched in the box.

7.01pm GMT

1 min: And away we go. Both teams need a win here. Harry Maguire begins with some risky business and is a tad lucky not to be robbed in midfield of the ball.

6.58pm GMT

The teams take to the field at Old Trafford. With Nicky Butt and Mark Dempsey accompanying Ole, as the rest of his staff is in isolation.

6.50pm GMT

Ole Gunnar Solskjær speaks.

As a precaution we have isolated some of the coaching staff. So Nicky [Butt] and Mark [Dempsey] are in with me. Hopefully Thursday, maybe Sunday for Cavani. Danny [James] played really well against Sociedad. Dan has worked very hard. Scott [McTominay] as well is injured. He hurt his ankle. Nemanja [Matic] has played many games. We’ve cut the squad a little bit and the kids get a chance and we hope we can give them some experience. I really locale like them since Graeme [Jones] came in. They will come to give us a good game.

6.43pm GMT

PA Media’s take on that team news.

Manchester United have made five changes from Real Sociedad. David de Gea, Victor Lindelöf, Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic and Anthony Martial came into the starting line-up, while Newcastle-born 17-year-old Shola Shoretire joined fellow teenager Amad Diallo on the bench. Scott McTominay, Donny Van De Beek and Edinson Cavani missed out through injury against the Magpies, who brought Joelinton in for Dwight Gayle.

6.32pm GMT

Key stat of the night, though I’ve heard two different stories.

Shola Shoretire is the first player who was born after Bob Monkhouse died to be on the bench for Manchester United in a Premier League game.

6.21pm GMT

Been a big day for Manchester United alumni.

Related: 'Second to nobody': Mourinho defends coaching methods after Spurs defeat

Related: Inter take control of title race as Romelu Lukaku's stunner caps Milan derby win

Related: West Ham move into top four as Jesse Lingard earns win over Tottenham

6.10pm GMT

One change for Newcastle from Monday’s defeat at Chelsea as Joelinton replaces Dwight Gayle.

6.06pm GMT

Two Manchester United changes to the side that drew 1-1 with West Brom. Nemanja Matic and Dan James replace Scott McTominay and Edinson Cavani, neither of whom make the bench, on which January signing Amad Diallo is named.

6.02pm GMT

Manchester United: de Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Fred, Matic, James, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Martial.
Subs: Bailly, Mata, Greenwood, Diallo, Henderson, Alex Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe, Shoretire.

Newcastle: Darlow, Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis, Willock, Hayden, Shelvey, Almiron, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin.
Subs: Dubravka, Dummett, Carroll, Ritchie, Gayle, Hendrick, Fraser, Murphy, Sean Longstaff.

Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)

5.18pm GMT

Steve Bruce loved his time at Manchester United, and the fans loved him. He scored 51 goals for the club as a hulking central defender. He’s also been an opponent his old club have long enjoyed facing. Last season saw him break his duck, when Matty Longstaff’s goal for Newcastle was a first win over his old club in 25 attempts, but that was followed up by two 4-1 defeats. That Bruce is still in charge of Newcastle rankles with plenty of the club’s followers, with just two wins picked up in 2021, and the rest defeats. But without those two wins from the last four, defeats of Everton and Southampton, they would be in the drop zone. And Fulham’s defeat of Sheffield United last night meant there are just three points separating Newcastle from the bottom three. Manchester United start the match in third, having slipped somewhat in recent weeks, with draws against Everton and West Brom both poor performances. Perhaps Thursday’s destruction of Real Sociedad might have lifted spirits though it might also tire them out. Time then for Brucey to be brave at his old stamping ground, where the fake crowd are bound to receive him warmly.

Kick-off at 7pm UK time. Join me.

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Categories: What the papers say

Manchester United v Newcastle: match preview

Sat, 02/20/2021 - 09:00

When Manchester United fire they can blow opponents away, as Real Sociedad found out, so Newcastle will hardly relish this visit to Old Trafford after Thursday’s 4-0 demolition of the Spanish club. United are 10 points behind Manchester City so if Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side are to retain any hope of a title challenge they have to start a long winning run. Jamie Jackson

Sunday 7pm BT Sport 1

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Categories: What the papers say

Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Fri, 02/19/2021 - 00:01

Liverpool and Everton have defensive issues, Leicester must be more ruthless and West Ham can deepen José Mourinho’s woes

Without a win at Anfield in 22 years, an Everton side blowing hot more often than cold will fancy their chances of chalking one up against a Liverpool side who had lost three consecutive league matches before sparking back into life in the Champions League against RB Leipzig. While Dominic Calvert-Lewin is struggling to be fit, Yerry Mina will definitely miss out after hobbling off against Manchester City in midweek. Ben Godfrey or Mason Holgate could fill in at centre-back, but Liverpool’s shortcomings in that particular area have long been a source of greater concern. Should Fabinho win his battle to be fit, one suspects Ozan Kabak has already done enough in his first two games to merit a start alongside the Brazilian. That would allow Jordan Henderson to move back into his rightful place in midfield, where he has been sorely missed by the champions. BG

Liverpool v Everton, Saturday 5.30pm (all times GMT)

Wolves v Leeds United, Friday 8pm

Manchester City v Arsenal, Sunday 4.30pm

Southampton v Chelsea, Saturday 12.30pm

Manchester United v Newcastle, Sunday 7pm

Burnley v West Brom, Saturday 3pm

West Ham v Tottenham, Sunday 12pm

Aston Villa v Leicester, Sunday 2pm

Fulham v Sheffield United, Saturday 8pm

Brighton v Crystal Palace, Monday 8pm

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Categories: What the papers say

Benfica v Arsenal, Antwerp v Rangers and more: Europa League – live!

Thu, 02/18/2021 - 21:43

9.40pm GMT

Antwerp 3-2 Rangers The Antwerp keeper Alireza Beiranvand has gone off injured, with Ortwin De Wolf replacing him.

9.35pm GMT

The latest scores

9.34pm GMT

GOAL! Molde 3-3 Hoffenheim (Fofana 74) Molde have come from 2-0 and 3-1 down to equalise!

9.34pm GMT

Benfica 1-1 Arsenal Another good chance for Arsenal. Gabriel’s ball over the top finds Aubameyang, who controls it majestically on the run to move through on goal. But then, instead of shooting, he tries to cut back inside Verissimo and is tackled.

9.32pm GMT

Benfica 1-1 Arsenal Adel Taarabt surges through midfield and finds Everton on the left. He runs at David Luiz, cuts inside and whips a curling shot just wide of the far post.

9.31pm GMT

GOAL! Molde 2-3 Hoffenheim (Ulland Andersen 70)

9.31pm GMT

For the love of Scottish football. Antwerp have taken the lead again! Martin Hongla is given too much time on the edge of the D and whips an excellent shot across McGregor into the far corner.

9.29pm GMT

GOALS PLURAL! Lille 1-0 Ajax (Weah 72), Salzburg 0-2 Villarreal (Nino 71)

9.29pm GMT

Benfica 1-1 Arsenal It’s been a more even game in the second half, with Benfica carrying more of a threat. I suspect Arsenal would be happy with this result, although we said that in 1991.

9.28pm GMT

Antwerp 2-2 Rangers Arfield’s low cross shot is saved by Beiranvand. Rangers are much the better team at the moment.

9.25pm GMT

“On looking at said Portuguese table from 1990/91,” begins Jimmy Maloney, “I was amazed to see only 3 points separating a relegation place from a European place. Squeaky-bum times all round.”

That’s an excellent spot, although I’ve seen worse.

9.23pm GMT

With James Tavernier off injured, Borna Barisic steps forward and smacks the penalty through the hands of the diving Alireza Beiranvand. Rangers are level!

9.22pm GMT

PENALTY TO RANGERS! This time VAR does intervene, with Ritchie de Laet penalised for pulling the shirt of Alfredo Morelos.

9.21pm GMT

Benfica 1-1 Arsenal Benfica almost take the lead again. The substitute Rafa Silva beats Gabriel with ease, moves into the D and flicks a nonchalant shot with the outside of the boot. Leno springs to his right to push it away.

9.19pm GMT

The latest scores

9.19pm GMT

Antwerp 2-1 Rangers Joe Aribo almost equalises on the break, but Maxime Le Marchand boots his low shot away inside the six-yard box. Actually, replays suggest the shot might have been going wide anyway, though Le Marchand didn’t know that.

9.17pm GMT

Yes, it stands. It was beautifully worked: Odegaard slipped a lovely pass through to Cedric on the left of the area, and his precise cross was turned in from close range by Saka.

9.16pm GMT

NO GOAL! Molde 1-3 Hoffenheim Dabbur is denied a hat-trick by VAR.

9.15pm GMT

An excellent equaliser from Arsenal - but it’s being checked by VAR.

9.15pm GMT

GOAL! Molde 1-4 Hoffenheim (Dabbur 55) Munas Dabbur completes a hat-trick in Norway, and all but puts Hoffenheim into the last 16.

9.14pm GMT

Benfica 1-0 Arsenal It’s quite hard to see what happened with that penalty award. I’m pretty sure it hit Smith-Rowe’s hand, but it may have deflected off his body first.

9.13pm GMT

Pizzi scores with a swagger, stopping in his run up and then sliding the ball into the bottom-right corner. Leno went the right way but couldn’t get there.

9.12pm GMT

PENALTY TO BENFICA! Grimaldo’s cross hits Smith-Rowe, who is penalised for handball. His arm was up, though it may have hit his chest first and then deflected onto his arm. After a brief VAR check, the penalty is given!

9.11pm GMT

Benfica 0-0 Arsenal An excellent chance for Arsenal. Bukayo Saka surges thrillingly into the area, only to drag a tame shot wide of the near post.

9.08pm GMT

“There seems to be no VAR debates when the midweek Euro games are on,” says Ian Copestake. “Is that a) because they are not using it, b) they are but the refereeing is far better or c) because of Brexit?”

Obviously you’re not a golfer you haven’t been following the Rangers game. I suspect Steven Gerrard will have plenty to say about the penalty not being overturned.

9.07pm GMT

Benfica 0-0 Arsenal Benfica have made a lively start to the second half, with the captain Pizzi forcing an admittedly comfortable save from Bernd Leno.

9.07pm GMT

“Not really relevant to the football, but that was a wonderful song you linked to earlier,” says Matt Dony. “I’ve never heard of Lael Neale, but the Sub Pop logo was more than enough to tempt me. Until I was about 13, I desperately wanted to be Liverpool’s striker. Then I discovered music, and all I could dream of was signing a contract with Sub Pop. I have thus far conspicuously failed to realise either dream. Ah well. Still time, I guess.”

Especially with the way Firmino’s playing roflcopter.

9.04pm GMT

Peep peep! The second halves are under way. Most of them, anyway: Rangers are a bit behind due to the four hours of added time in the first half.

8.56pm GMT

Right, these are the half-time scores. Study them, digest them, embrace them while I get a drink.

8.54pm GMT

Half time: Antwerp 2-1 Rangers How did that happen? Rangers were good for most of the first half yet they find themselves 2-1 down. Their frustration will be compounded by the fact the penalty was such a soft one, with Davis barely touching Refaelov.

Rangers have also lost two players to injury: James Tavernier early on and now Kemar Roofe, who was replaced by Ryan Kent just before the penalty.

8.53pm GMT

Refaelov curls he penalty over McGregor, who went the right way but couldn’t reach it.

8.52pm GMT

PENALTY TO ANTWERP! Steven Davis has been penalised - harshly, I think - for a challenge on Refaelov. We’re in the seventh of four added minutes.

8.50pm GMT

GOAL! Molde 1-3 Hoffenheim (Baumgartner 45+3)

8.47pm GMT

Half time: Benfica 0-0 Arsenal A low-key first half in Rome. Arsenal were the dominant side, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed an absolute sitter, but the pace of play has been very slow.

8.46pm GMT

Antwerp have equalised out of nothing! A free-kick on the right was curled towards the edge of the Rangers area, where Felipe Avenatti strained his neck muscles to loop a superb header over McGregor and into the corner. That’s a brilliant finish.

8.43pm GMT

“‘Kenedy, on loan from Chelsea’,” says Ed Rostron of the Granada goalscorer. “Do you think it’ll say that on his gravestone?”

8.42pm GMT

GOAL! Salzburg 0-1 Villarreal (Alcacer 41) Paco Alcacer has put Villarreal in front in Austria.

8.41pm GMT

GOAL! Molde 1-2 Hoffenheim (Ellingsen 41) Martin Ellingsen gets one back for Molde.

8.40pm GMT

Rangers take the lead! The keeper Alireza Beiranvand came a long way off his line to dive at the feet of Roofe, but the ball slithered out of his grasp towards Morelos. He laid it back to Joe Aribo, who curled the ball calmly into the empty net from 25 yards. After a slow start, Rangers have been the better team and deserve to be in front.

8.38pm GMT

“Naples calling,” says Colum Fordham. “A bit of a nightmare start for Napoli with manager Rino Gattuso under pressure. Napoli just edged The Arch Enemy Juventus on Saturday 1-0 but this doesn’t bode well for their Europa League hopes. Hope local heartthrob Insigne comes up with a bit of magic.”

Imagine telling Rino Gattuso he’s fired. I’d probably do it via WhatsApp and then change the locks.

8.33pm GMT

GOAL! Maccabi Tel-Aviv 0-1 Shakhtar Donetsk (Patrick 31) And it’s in there from Alan Patrick!

8.32pm GMT

Benfica 0-0 Arsenal A good Benfica attack ends with a low shot from Darwin Nunez that is saved at the second attempt by Leno.

8.31pm GMT

Benfica 0-0 Arsenal On that Benfica team of 1991, look what they had to do just to qualify for the European Cup. FC Porto finished second with the equivalent of 98 points (it was two for a win in those days).

8.30pm GMT

Antwerp 0-0 Rangers An excellent chance for Morelos, who goes through one on one but hammers his shot straight at Alireza Beiranvand.

8.28pm GMT

GOAL! Molde 0-2 Hoffenheim (Dabbur 28) A second goal for Munas Dabbur.

8.26pm GMT

Wolfsberger 1-4 Spurs

Related: Gareth Bale back on the scoresheet as Spurs brush aside Wolfsberger

8.26pm GMT

Benfica 0-0 Arsenal Every time I look at this game, Arsenal have the ball. Charles Antaki will be thrilled to hear that Benfica don’t look up to much.

8.24pm GMT

Antwerp 0-0 Rangers Tavernier is replaced by Leon Balogun.

8.23pm GMT

GOAL! Granada 2-0 Napoli (Kenedy 21) Two in three minutes for Granada! Kenedy, on loan from Chelsea, has got the second.

8.22pm GMT

Antwerp 0-0 Rangers The Rangers captain Jame Tavernier is struggling after injuring his knee during a block tackle on the edge of the Antwerp area. I don’t think he’ll be able to continue.

8.21pm GMT

GOAL! Granada 1-0 Napoli (Herrera 19) Yangel Herrera has put Granada ahead in - where’s this being played - Granada.

8.19pm GMT

Benfica 0-0 Arsenal Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has missed a rare old sitter, sliding Bellerin’s low cross past the post from eight yards. That was a shocking miss for a player of his class.

8.18pm GMT

There isn’t a huge amount going on. These are the latest scores:

8.18pm GMT

“Lovely Arsenal v Benfica video you shared, and super nice to see Yuran and Kulkov combining to score,” says Philip Bickerstaffe. “Not something we saw much of five years later when they both came to the Den to join Millwall.”

That’s the year you were relegated after being top early in the season, isn’t it? Or was that 1989-90?

8.15pm GMT

Benfica 0-0 Arsenal Sterile domination so far from Arsenal, though I suppose that’s better than being 4-0 down. They have looked confident in possession, if slightly one-paced.

8.14pm GMT

“Evening Rob,” says Tom Hopkins. “As a lad, this was routinely presented to me as the peak of sporting achievement, so any game involving Benfica still has a certain frisson. I assume Eusebio is not playing tonight though?”

It would be quite the story if he was.

8.11pm GMT

The first goal of the 8pm games has been scored: Munas Dabbur has put Hoffenheim ahead away to Molde.

8.10pm GMT

Antwerp 0-0 Rangers Not much going on in Antwerp, though Premier League alumnus Ritchie De Laet has just driven wide from long range.

8.09pm GMT

Slavia Prague 0-0 Leicester

Related: Leicester struggle to impose themselves in draw at Slavia Prague

8.09pm GMT

Real Sociedad 0-4 Manchester United

Related: Bruno Fernandes at the double as Manchester United rout Real Sociedad

8.07pm GMT

Benfica 0-0 Arsenal Bellerin wins a corner for Arsenal, who have made an assured start in Rome. Nothing comes of it but Mikel Arteta will be pleased with how his team have started.

8.06pm GMT

“Hi Rob,” says Charles Antaki. “I remember Benfica is being absolutely wonderful in the, when was it, 80s? 90s? I haven’t looked it up to see how good they are at the moment. I could do; but it would only worry me. Could you say a word or two about them being absolutely dreadful, just to give a bit of comfort to Arsenal fans as we start?”

Actually, they’re not having a great season – they’re fourth in the league, miles behind the runaway leaders Sporting Lisbon.

8.04pm GMT

“Saka, Smith-Rowe, Odegaard and Auba starting today after starting vs Leeds,” says Emmanuel Dairo. “Does it mean Arteta has written off the City game on Sunday as a loss?”

Either that or he wants to win this game.

8.03pm GMT

Tonight’s match in Rome is the first time Arsenal have met Benfica since that traumatic night at Highbury in 1991. You’re welcome.

8.00pm GMT

Peep peep! The 8pm games are under way.

7.58pm GMT

Arsenal have named an unchanged side for the first time since September 2018, it says here. Crikey.

7.57pm GMT

Cheers Scott, hello everyone. There’s an 82-second break, give or take, between matches. Why not fill it with a bit of fragile beauty?

7.53pm GMT

So that’s all the 5.55pm kick-offs done and dusted, but there are a load of 8pm kick-offs still to come. Time to hand over to your friend and mine, Mr Rob Smyth, who’ll take you by the hand and treat you real nice.

7.52pm GMT

Here are the full-times in the other matches, then.

7.50pm GMT

Young Boys reclaim the lead against Bayer Leverkusen at the death! Theoson Siebatcheu snatches an 89th-minute winner to secure a remarkable 4-3 win. Leverkusen will be sickened after coming back from three down, though those away goals will stand them in good stead come the second leg. Meanwhile a late equaliser for ten-man Red Star Belgrade against Milan, the appropriately named Milan Pavkov with that one.

7.48pm GMT

Real Sociedad 0-4 Manchester United
Slavia Prague 0-0 Leicester City
Wolfsberger AC 1-4 Tottenham Hotspur

7.45pm GMT

Vinicius with the reflex, poking home from close range. Wolfsberger are on a ride and they want to get off.

7.42pm GMT

James zips down the right flank, cuts inside, and nutmegs the keeper at the near post. Easy as that. United have been rampant; La Real a rabble.

7.40pm GMT

Spurs and United continue to run down the clock, while Leicester search in desperate fashion for that crucial away goal. “Interesting that Spurs are playing their Austrian opponents in Budapest, in the same stadium where Liverpool took on Germany’s RB Leipzig. With apologies to Duran Duran, this is certainly no Ordinary World we find ourselves in at the moment. The ‘home’ team look so starved for chances, you might say they’re Hungary Like the Wolfsberg.” New romantic satirist Peter Oh, ladies and gentlemen. He’s here all week. Try the industrial quantities of cocaine.

7.37pm GMT

Iyayi Atiemwen restores Dinamo Zagreb’s lead in short order. They’re 3-2 up at Krasnodar. Otherwise, a lull descends across Europe.

7.34pm GMT

Now Greenwood drags a shot wide left from 12 yards. As fine as United have been tonight, Real Sociedad are a shambles. Meanwhile Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes Ruth Purdue’s hint and takes off Fernandes, albeit on 83 minutes with his side long home and hosed. He’s replaced by Mata.

7.32pm GMT

Fernandes remains on the pitch, and here he is rampaging down the middle of the park, releasing James into acres down the right. James enters the box and slaps his shot straight at the keeper. United could quite easily have run up a cricket score this evening.

7.29pm GMT

Krasnodar’s Viktor Claesson has made it 2-2 against Dinamo Zagreb. Elsewhere, Manchester United and Tottenham are coasting home. “Fernandes needs to come off now,” argues Ruth Purdue. “That’s now, not in minutes 80. He burnt out last season due to not being rested. Sir Alex understood when to take/rest his best players when there was a large lead.”

7.25pm GMT

Never say Neverkusen! The comeback is complete! Moussa Diaby’s 68th-minute goal has drawn Bayer Leverkusen, three down at the break, level at Young Boys! Meanwhile a Theo Hernandez penalty has given Milan a 2-1 lead at Red Star.

7.23pm GMT

Still goalless between Slavia Prague and Leicester, though that’s not to say there’s nothing of interest to report. “I am watching Europa League match Slavia Prague against Leicester City,” begins Giorgio. “I am pretty used to empty stadium sound ambience, so I was pretty distracted when I heard jeering and whistling against Leicester during the match. I was wondering who possibly could do these sounds in the empty stadium. Luckily a photographer form Deník Sport newspaper made a picture. Apart from usual suspects from our political scene you can see our former Minister of Health Roman Prymula who just today called for complete lockdown (and who had to step down in October after he himself violated covid 19 restrictions imposed by himself). I can’t watch the game anymore.”

Kromě tradičních celebrit typu Mynáře nebo Vondry dorazil na fotbal Slavia - Leicester i Roman Prymula (dolní řada, druhý zleva). Někdo má holt kliku.
Foto: Pavel Mazáč (@DenikSport) pic.twitter.com/9YkkRU64LE

7.19pm GMT

United find the net again, Greenwood roaring down the left wing and slipping the ball across for James, who sidefoots off the base of the right-hand post and into the net. But this one’s offside, Greenwood having gone a wee bit too early. There wasn’t much in it, though, and United look in the mood to finish this tie off tonight, if they haven’t done that already.

7.17pm GMT

This is too easy ... or are Manchester United simply making it look too easy? Fred strokes a perfectly weighted pass down the inside-left channel to release Rashford, who enters the box, opens his body, and sidefoots across Remiro and into the bottom right. You could argue that United should have scored six tonight. They may yet manage it!

7.14pm GMT

Mind you, great as that United move was, they were helped by some more thoroughly confused Sociedad defending. James and Fernandes were given free rein to run all sorts of baroque patterns without challenge. “Is it fair to say that Real Sociedad are a tribute act to the Manchester United defence of that comical night against Istanbul Basaksehir last November?” wonders Justin Kavanagh. Meanwhile elsewhere, a Guelor Kanga penalty has levelled things up for Red Star against AC Milan, while Bruno Petkovic makes it 2-1 for Dinamo Zagreb at Krasnodar.

7.12pm GMT

A lovely goal, this. Rashford breezes down the left and passes infield for Fernandes. But Fernandes leaves it for James, just behind him. James flicks it instantly back into Fernandes’s path. Fernandes does what Fernandes does, steering the ball delightfully into the bottom right. There’s an interminable wait for VAR to check things, because the flag’s gone up for offside ... but the goal’s given. That was some mighty fine football.

7.09pm GMT

The Wolfsberg captain Liendl steps up and rolls the penalty into the bottom left.

7.07pm GMT

Penalty for Wolfsberger AC! Sissoko dozes, allowing himself to be robbed in the box by Wemitznig. Sissoko sticks out a leg and brings his opponent down. What a brain fade. Out of nothing!

7.04pm GMT

Well, well, well. Another goal for Patrik Schick, three minutes after his first, and suddenly it’s Young Boys 3-2 Bayer Leverkusen. The extremely unlikely suddenly looks more than possible.

7.01pm GMT

Is the big Bayer Leverkusen comeback on? Well, probably not, but Patrik Schick has pulled a goal back on 49 minutes against the Young Boys. It’s 3-1.

7.00pm GMT

Spurs meanwhile have sent on Carlos Vinicius against Wolfsberger AC. Son has contributed more than enough already and is rewarded with the chance to fling his boots up onto the desk. Other big challenges lie ahead.

6.58pm GMT

The second halves are underway. Real Sociedad are on the front foot immediately, Le Normand channelling his inner Beckenbauer by striding forward and creaming a long-range shot towards the top right. Henderson is always going to claim it easily, but it was a sweet strike nonetheless.

6.56pm GMT

Benfica (3-5-1-1) Leite; Verissimo, Otamendi, Vertonghen; Diogo Goncalves, Taarabt, Weigl, Pizzi, Grimaldo; Isaias Waldschmidt; Nunez
Substitutes: Svilar, Vlachodimos, Gilberto, Everton, Gabriel, Cervi, Seferovic, Chiquinho, Rafa Silva, Pedrinho, Nuno Tavares, Joao Ferreira.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Leno; Bellerin, David Luiz, Gabriel, Cedric; Ceballos, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard, Smith-Rowe; Aubameyang.
Substitutes: Ryan, Hein, Tierney, Lacazette, Willian, Holding, Pepe, Chambers, Pablo Mari, Elneny, Nketiah, Martinelli.

6.56pm GMT

Antwerp (3-4-2-1) Beiranvand; Seck, Le Marchand, De Laet; Buta, Boya, Hongla, J Lukaku; Refaelov, Gerkins; Avenatti.
Substitutes: Chevaughn, De Wolf, Verstraete, Miyoshi, Nsimba, Ampomah, Gelin, Pavlic, Van Den Bosch.

Rangers (4-3-3) McGregor; Barisic, Helander, Goldson, Tavernier; Arfield, S Davis, Kamara; Roofe, Morelos, Aribo.
Substitutes: McLaughlin, Hagi, Jack, Itten, Kent, Wright, Stewart, Balogun, Simpson.

6.47pm GMT

A flurry of activity just before half-time. Meschack Elia makes it 3-0 for Young Boys against Bayer Leverkusen, while Youssef El Arabi restores Olympiacos’s lead over PSV Eindhoven. It’s 3-2, and that looks like a cracker. So here are the other half-times in the 5.55pm kick-offs...

6.44pm GMT

6.41pm GMT

Theo Hernandez thought he’d given AC Milan the lead at Red Star Belgrade on 12 minutes. That was chalked off by VAR, but the Italians are ahead now, Radovan Pankov putting through his own goal.

6.39pm GMT

In the blink of an eye, the 1-1 scoreline between Olympiacos and PSV has turned into 2-2. Yann M’Vila put the hosts ahead on 37 minutes, only for Eran Zahavi to score his second for the Dutch side two minutes later.

6.36pm GMT

Real Sociedad are beginning to ask a few questions of United. Greenwood, of all people, is forced to slice over his own bar under severe pressure; Bailly hacks a header off the line. A couple of textbook examples of last-ditch defending. Grant Tennille is watching this game in the US, and reports: “Watching the Spanish channel feed of the United game, and you’ll not be surprised to learn the commentators were just name-checking Larry, Curly, and Moe.”

6.33pm GMT

“How did Januzaj react to the United goal?” wonders Robin Hazlehurst. “Please tell us he was in mid mid-air-fist-pump when he remembered where he was.” I can report that he’s not looking particularly happy right now, having just clanked a witless cross out of play when in a load of space just inside the United box on the left. Meanwhile Marcus Berg has equalised for Krasnodar against Dinamo Zagreb: it’s 1-1.

6.31pm GMT

Spurs have one foot in the last 16 already. Moura shimmies his way past two defenders down the inside-left channel, gives the keeper the eyes, and passes the ball into the bottom left. That’s another sensational effort. All three of Tottenham’s goals have been a delight.

6.28pm GMT

Wolfsberger AC nearly haul themselves back into contention immediately. Vizinger sends a close-range header towards the top left, but Lloris fingertips it onto the bar and Spurs clear their lines.

6.26pm GMT

This is lovely! Bale scampers down the right, after Doherty’s through ball. He’s level with the six-yard box, and stops dead, pulling the ball back and sending Scherzer aquaplaning off the pitch. He then opens his body and curls powerfully into the top left. Gorgeous goal! He’s still got it, you know.

6.23pm GMT

It’s fair to say this had been coming. A simple ball shovelled down the inside-left channel. Remiro comes off his line and clatters into both Zubeldia and Le Normand. The three Sociedad players crumble in a heap as Fernandes swans past and walks the ball into the unguarded net. What a slapstick farce!

6.19pm GMT

PSV have equalised at Olympiacos. Eran Zahavi on 14 minutes. Young Boys are now 2-0 up against Bayer Leverkusen, Theoson Siebatcheu after 19 minutes. And Bruno Petkovic has put Dinamo Zagreb ahead at Krasnodar after 15.

6.16pm GMT

Leicester have been knocking at the door in Prague. They should be a goal up, the ball dropping to Barnes, in space in an otherwise crowded area, on the left-hand edge of the six-yard box. He pulls his shot into the side netting. What a chance!

6.15pm GMT

And another! The Sociedad back line is a sick joke. Telles sends Fernandes bombing down the left, in acres of space. Rashford is free in the middle. Fernandes sets one up on a plate. Rashford, on the penalty spot, meets the ball first time and aims for the bottom left. The keeper blocks again. This is absurd, and great fun.

6.13pm GMT

Another huge chance in Turin! McTominay bursts into the Sociedad box down the right, and is one on one with Remiro. He fires towards the near post, and the keeper hacks clear. A fine save, though he shouldn’t have been allowed to make it. Somewhere in the multiverse, this game is 2-2. It should be 2-2. Both defences are in full Slapstick Mode.

6.11pm GMT

Spurs take the lead against their Austrian opponents! Doherty worms his way down the right and feeds Bale, who clips back from the byline towards Son. The striker crouches and steers a delightful header across the keeper and into the bottom right. Kind of a mirror image of one of Ian Rush’s goals in the 1989 FA Cup final. Sort of. If you remember that.

6.09pm GMT

A fine burst down the United left by Rashford, who feeds Telles on the overlap. The resulting cross is dangerous, but headed powerfully clear by Monreal. Meanwhile Andreas Bouchalakis gives Olympiacos the lead against PSV on nine minutes.

6.05pm GMT

Wan-Bissaka goes into the book for a crude lunge on Nacho Monreal from behind. Meanwhile here’s a reassuring word from Alex Brown: “Folk don’t unsubscribe from The Fiver in disgust. Just a vague sense of disappointment.”

6.03pm GMT

Five minutes into the game between Wolfsberger AC and Spurs, and Son cuts in from the right and nearly curls delightfully into the bottom left. It’s lively elsewhere, too, Eden Dzeko giving Roma an early lead away to Braga, Young Boys going one up at home to Bayer Leverkusen, Christian Fassnacht opening the scoring on three minutes.

6.00pm GMT

It’s an absurd start to the game in Turin. Seconds after Januzaj’s attempt on goal, Rashford is sent clean through down the other end! He’s denied by Remiro in the Sociedad goal. And then Alexander Isak goes racing towards the United goal, firing towards the bottom right, forcing Henderson into a save. Just over two minutes gone, and the score could be - should be - Real Sociedad 2-1 Manchester United. As it stands, it’s still 0-0.

5.58pm GMT

Nearly the perfect start for former Manchester United starlet Adnan Januzaj! Space down the right. He opens his body, and nearly Ooh-Wakka-Doo-Wakka-Days one into the top left! Inches wide and high. Henderson was beaten all ends up.

5.56pm GMT

There’s already been one match played in the Round of 32 tonight. Dynamo Kyiv have drawn 1-1 against Club Brugge.

5.54pm GMT

The teams are out! Of the three English clubs kicking off in a minute, only Leicester are wearing their first-choice clobber. Manchester United have chosen to play in black, despite their red kit not clashing with La Real’s blue and white, while Spurs are forced into third-choice tangerine by the famous Pellets of Wolfsberger AC. Off in a minute!

5.47pm GMT

Today’s Fiver concerns the Real Sociedad v Manchester United tie. Subscribe now for your daily fix o’ football fun! You can always unsubscribe in disgust later.

Related: The Fiver | The San Sebastián branch of the Manchester United supporters' club

5.25pm GMT

A reminder that Covid concerns have taken their toll on these fixtures. Manchester United are denied a visit to lovely San Sebastian; they’ll take on Real Sociedad in Juventus’s stadium in Turin ...

5.06pm GMT

Slavia Prague: Kolar, Bah, Kudela, Zima, Boril, Sima, Stanciu, Holes, Provod, Olayinka, Kuchta.
Subs: Deli, Stejskal, Dorley, Hromada, Traore, Masopust, Kovar, Lingr.

Leicester City: Schmeichel, Amartey, Evans, Soyuncu, Thomas, Ndidi, Tielemans, Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes, Vardy.
Subs: Ward, Iheanacho, Under, Choudhury, Mendy, Fuchs, Jakupovic, Leshabela, Tavares, Flynn.

5.02pm GMT

Wolfsberger AC: Kofler, Novak, Baumgartner, Lochoshvili, Scherzer, Sprangler, Taferner, Liendl, Wernitznig, Joveljic, Vizinger.
Subs: Giorbelidze, Henriksson, Peric, Pavelic, Dieng, Rnic, Leitgeb, Stratznig, Rocher, Skubl, Schofl, Kuttin.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Doherty, Dier, Alderweireld, Davies, Sissoko, Winks, Bale, Alli, Lucas Moura, Son.
Subs: Hojbjerg, Sanchez, Lamela, Hart, Bergwijn, Tanganga, Ndombele, Whiteman, Vinicius, Scarlett, Bowden, Lavinier.

4.59pm GMT

Real Sociedad: Remiro, Zaldua, Elustondo, Zubeldia, Monreal, Silva, Illarramendi, Merino, Januzaj, Isak, Oyarzabal.
Subs: Portu, Munoz, Guridi, Sagnan, Guevara, Merquelanz, Gorosabel, Barrenetxea, Le Normand, Bautista, Marrero, Zubimendi.

Manchester United: Henderson, Wan Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Alex Telles, McTominay, Fred, Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, James, Rashford.
Subs: de Gea, Lindelof, Mata, Martial, Grant, Diallo, Shaw, Matic, Williams, Tuanzebe, Shoretire.

2.08pm GMT

Welcome to EuroClocko™! Some big ties in the Europa League round of 32 this evening. It’s Benfica versus Arsenal and Antwerp versus Rangers later, but first off there are a tranche of kick-offs at 5.55pm GMT, and here are the three we’ll be concentrating on:

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Categories: What the papers say

Bruno Fernandes at the double as Manchester United rout Real Sociedad

Thu, 02/18/2021 - 20:08

Manchester United dazzled in the second half to surely kill this last-32 tie off. Real Sociedad simply had no answer for the pace and ruthlessness embodied by the irrepressible Bruno Fernandes, who scored twice – once in each half – as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side made a fine return to winning ways after three consecutive draws.

The Spaniards are at Old Trafford on Thursday for the return leg but there is almost certainly no way back for them. United will hope this win can reignite a season that had stuttered, and will now host Newcastle on Sunday with their confidence sky-high.

Related: Benfica v Arsenal, Antwerp v Rangers and more: Europa League – live!

Related: Leicester struggle to impose themselves in draw at Slavia Prague

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Categories: What the papers say

Solskjær admits Manchester United need more goals from their forwards

Wed, 02/17/2021 - 16:16
  • Four strikers have 19 league goals between them
  • United take on Real Sociedad in Europa League

Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes the 19 Premier League goals scored by his forwards Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood is too low but that Manchester United will have an extra edge for the closing phase of the season if this can be improved.

The midfielder Bruno Fernandes is the side’s highest scorer in the league, with 14, followed by Rashford’s eight. Yet the manager was optimistic as he noted that United’s 50 goals led the division by four before Manchester City’s game in hand at Everton on Wednesday.

Related: Premier League confirms it will televise all games until fans return

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Categories: What the papers say

Bruno Fernandes saves point for listless Manchester United at West Brom

Sun, 02/14/2021 - 16:14

A month ago Manchester United went top of the table, since when they have looked anything but possible champions. Two wins in seven games means the gap to Manchester City is seven points – with United having played a game more – but this is about more than just numbers: United simply don’t look like a team with the fluency to put together the sort of run that could apply pressure.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær insisted that United have not given up on the title, but he did not sound especially convincing. “No one will give it away this early,” he said. “No one knows this season – it’s so unpredictable, life is unpredictable, anything could happen. We’re not going to settle for second.”

Related: Arsenal v Leeds United: Premier League - live!

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Categories: What the papers say

West Brom 1-1 Manchester United: Premier League - as it happened

Sun, 02/14/2021 - 16:05

Sam Johnstone made a spectacular injury-time save to earn West Brom a deserved point and extend Manchester United’s poor run of form

4.20pm GMT

Related: Bruno Fernandes saves point for listless Manchester United at West Brom

4.05pm GMT

Here’s Harry Maguire

“We created enough to win the game. For me their goal was a foul. We huffed and puffed and it was a great save from Sam at the end. We felt we deserved more than a point; we can do more, for sure, but it’s disappointing. It was a tough start, and we made it hard for ourselves by conceding early. Sometimes we played a little bit too slowly, but in the second half we played with a great tempo.

4.02pm GMT

More more more

Related: Arsenal v Leeds United: Premier League - live!

3.58pm GMT

That was a spectacular save from Sam Johnstone, who has become a seriously good goalkeeper. What a lovely moment, especially against his old club. As for the result, it isn’t much good for either side, though West Brom will be proud of their resilient performance. United were poor and didn’t really deserve anything more.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have now taken six points from their last five league games - although, contrary lot that they are, that poor run of form includes a 9-0 win. They have improved since last season but - as most people suspected, even during their giddy January - they are not yet good enough to challenge for the title.

3.53pm GMT

Peeep peeeeep!

3.53pm GMT

90+5 min: Johnstone makes a glorious save! Shaw swings in a deep cross from the left, which Maguire meets with an immense looping header from 12 yaqrds. It is about to drop into the net when Johnstone leaps to his left to fingertip it onto the post!

3.52pm GMT

90+5 min Into the last minute, and not much is happening.

3.50pm GMT

90+3 min Fernandes has a pop from 25 yards, but it’s an easy save for Johnstone.

3.50pm GMT

90+3 min Shaw’s deep corner is headed down by McTominay and hits a West Brom defender.

3.50pm GMT

90+2 min A nice flick from van de Beek finds Wan-Bissaka, who wins a corner. Shaw goes over to take it...

3.49pm GMT

90+2 min West Brom deserve at least a draw; they’ve had the better chances.

3.48pm GMT

90 min Five minutes of added time.

3.47pm GMT

90 min Greenwood charges into the area and flashes the ball across the face of goal. There was nobody in the six-yard box.

3.46pm GMT

89 min Diagne is booked for plunging his studs into Rashford’s achilles. That was a poor tackle.

3.46pm GMT

88 min: Diagne misses a sitter! West Brom should have won the game there. Gallagher played the ball out to Furlong, who curled a sensational low cross around Maguire and Lindelof. It reached Diagne at the far post, but he lifted a first-time shot over the bar from eight yards.

3.44pm GMT

87 min West Brom’s final change: Robert Snodgrass, who looks shattered, is replaced by Matt Phillips.

3.44pm GMT

86 min Fernandes floats the free-kick to the far post, where Furlong does superbly to head clear under pressure from Maguire. In fact, the referee has penalised Maguire.

3.43pm GMT

86 min Fernandes scored from a not dissimilar position against Liverpool last month, though this is slightly further to the left...

3.42pm GMT

85 min Rashford is hacked down just outside the area by Snodgrass, who is booked. The free-kick is a fair way to the left of centre, so it might be too wide for a shot.

3.39pm GMT

82 min For all Man Utd’s dominance, the West Brom keeper Sam Johnstone hasn’t had much to do in this match.

3.38pm GMT

81 min “With so much of discussion about the quality of Chelsea’s youngsters, how would you rate Conor Gallagher?” asks Kishalay Banerjee. “He seems to be having a decent season, with Bilic singing his praises near the start, but is he good enough to break into Chelsea’s first team?”

No. But he’s an impressive, busy player, and he’s only 21.

3.37pm GMT

80 min Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Donny. He has come on in place of Fred.

3.36pm GMT

79 min Maitland-Niles is booked for pulling back Greenwood.

3.36pm GMT

78 min: Vital double save from de Gea! Diagne muscles Maguire off the ball on the edge of the area to move through on goal. De Gea blocks the shot with his legs and then, as the ball loops up towards Diagne, reacts really smartly to claw it away. Diagne was strangely indecisive on the second chance, though, waiting for it to drop onto his head rather than leaping to meet it halfway.

3.34pm GMT

76 min Donny van de Beek is getting ready to come on.

3.32pm GMT

75 min West Brom break and Lindelof makes a vital lunging tackle on Diagne, who would have been through on goal had he got to the ball first.

3.32pm GMT

74 min Maguire rumbles forward and finds Shaw in the area, but his cutback is cleared at the near post. West Brom are starting to look really tired.

3.30pm GMT

72 min: Chance for West Brom! Snodgrass plays a fine pass out to Maitland-Niles on the left, and suddenly West Brom are two against one with only Maguire back. Maitland-Niles tries to stab the ball across to Diagne with the outside of his foot, but he gets too much on it and the ball runs through to de Gea.

3.28pm GMT

71 min Gallagher shoots over the bar from 25 yards.

3.27pm GMT

69 min: Furlong clears off the line! Wan-Bissaka’s fast low cross is put behind at the near post by Barkley. After a decent five-minute spell before the non-penalty, West Brom are back in defensive mode. Shaw’s corner is headed down by Maguire to Greenwood, whose low shot is kicked away by Johnstone. It rebounds to McTominay, whose follow up is cleared off the line by Furlong.

3.26pm GMT

69 min A draw would move United back to second, above Leicester on goal difference, though it would still be a pretty wretched result.

3.25pm GMT

68 min Rashford, on the left now, zips infield and is well challenged in the D by Gallagher.

3.24pm GMT

67 min And now a change for West Brom: Jake Livermore comes on for the quietly impressive Okay Yokuslu.

3.23pm GMT

66 min A change for Manchester United: Mason Greenwood replaces the sadly ineffective Anthony Martial.

3.22pm GMT

65 min “This game has strange echoes of United’s filleting by the Blades,” says Rick Harris. “The first goal in each match should have been ruled out for fouls, and although under the cosh for most of the game the Baggies could still nick the points with a deflected shot from one of their occasional excursions up the pitch.”

3.22pm GMT

64 min Apparently they didn’t check the offside, not that it matters now.

3.21pm GMT

NO PENALTY! Craig Pawson has changed his mind.

3.21pm GMT

Craig Pawson is going to the monitor. That suggests it wasn’t offside. Ajayi did put his hand on Maguire’s shoulder, and there might have been a tangle of legs. I don’t think it was a penalty - the hand on the shoulder wasn’t particularly strong - but I’m not sure it was a clear and obvious error either.

3.19pm GMT

I think Maguire was offside, so this will probably be reversed. I’m not sure it was a foul anyway. Maguire went down very easily.

3.19pm GMT

PENALTY TO MAN UTD! Ajayi has been judged to have tripped Maguire in the area. Craig Pawson took an age to give it.

3.18pm GMT

61 min Bartley is booked for a foul on McTominay.

3.18pm GMT

61 min It’s still pelting down at the Hawthorns, since you asked.

3.17pm GMT

60 min Martial, who is having a bit of a stinker, is penalised for a challenge on Snodgrass.

3.17pm GMT

59 min “Van de Beek please for a holding midfielder,” says Ruth Purdue. “He is a better passer than both of them combined.”

3.16pm GMT

58 min At the other end, Fernandes’ 20-yard shot takes a big deflection and is held to his left by Johnstone.

3.15pm GMT

57 min West Brom are having more of the ball now. Furlong beats Martial with ease and puts in a good deep cross that is headed away by Wan-Bissaka.

3.12pm GMT

54 min Now West Brom do cross the halfway line, and create a half chance in the process. Maitland-Niles, with too much time on the ball, threads a nice pass through to Pereira on the left side of the area. He gets the ball out of his feet and drags a low shot wide of the far post.

3.11pm GMT

53 min Furlong gets a vital headed touch to steer a cross away from the prowling Cavani. West Brom have barely crossed the halfway line since the interval.

3.08pm GMT

50 min “Well Rob, you are correct about the lack of consensus on what a foul is,” says Mary Waltz. “It’s good that we have VAR to solve that problem, right?”

3.07pm GMT

49 min McTominay takes Wan-Bissaka’s pass beautifully in his stride and hits a stinging shot that is blocked by Bartley. Moments later, Rashford whips a terrific ball that flashes right across the face of goal.

3.06pm GMT

49 min United have made a very fast start to the second half, playing with much greater urgency than they did before the break.

3.05pm GMT

48 min ... and it’s headed away by Yokuslu.

3.05pm GMT

47 min Fernandes’s cross is chested behind by Bartley. That moves started with a spectacular crossfield pass from Maguire to Rashford. Shaw will take the corner...

3.03pm GMT

46 min Peep peep! Man Utd begin the second half. West Brom have made a half-time change, with Darnell Furlong replacing the injured Lee Peltier.

3.03pm GMT

“I have no wish to go back to the days where players slashed and hacked each other, often to slop more skilled players,” says Mary Waltz. “But it is still a contact sport and Lindelof was simply outworked on that first goal.”

I’ve been watching football for over 30 years and I can’t remember a time when there was less consensus over refereeing decisions (or, for that matter, just about anything).

2.55pm GMT

Replays show that Diagne had his hand in Lindelof’s face just before he scored the goal, so it probably was a foul. But was it a clear and obvious error? I haven’t a clue anymore.

2.53pm GMT

Half-time reading

Related: Pedro Neto's stunner earns Wolves narrow win at Southampton

2.51pm GMT

That was a half of few chances, yet it was still pretty compelling. Mbaye Diagne bullied Victor Lindelof to give West Brom a very early lead, and United were still struggling to get going when Bruno Fernandes volleyed them level just before the break.

2.49pm GMT

Peep peep!

2.48pm GMT

45+2 min West Brom win three corners in quick succession. The last one is headed away by McTominay and United set off on a very dangerous counter-attack, four on three... until the referee blows the half-time whistle. United are fuming, though the added time has been played.

2.46pm GMT

45 min Two minutes of added time. Bruno Fernandes, eh.

2.46pm GMT

Maguire again gave United a bit of impetus with a surge through the inside-left channel. He slightly overhit his pass to Shaw, who thus had no option but to stand up a first-time cross. Fernandes, unmarked near the penalty spot, hooked an acrobatic left-footed volley into the top of the net and roared with a kind of angry delight. He may have shinned it, on reflection, but either way it flew past Johnstone.

2.44pm GMT

Bruno Fernandes has been rubbish all half - and now he’s scored a beauty!

2.43pm GMT

43 min Maguire bursts into the area again and plays a nice little pass to Martial, whose short cross is poked away at the near post. Fernandes was running with Yokuslu when he went over, though there didn’t seem to be much in it.

2.42pm GMT

42 min Shaw crosses into the area, where Fernandes goes down off the ball. Nothing is given on the field, or in Stockley Park. We haven’t seen a replay so I’m not sure what happened.

2.41pm GMT

41 min Bruno Fernandes has the face on. You know the one.

2.39pm GMT

38 min Rashford quickens things up with a run and pass to Cavani on the right. His very deep cross almost falls for Martial, but Snodgrass pushes the ball behind for a corner. Bartley was lucky not to be booked for an off-the-ball foul on Rashford after he played the ball to Cavani.

2.37pm GMT

37 min Gallagher is booked for a late tackle on Fred.

2.36pm GMT

36 min Cavani, on the left wing, spots McTominay in loads of space on the far side of the penalty area - but then he overhits a fairly routine cross. That was a chance.

2.33pm GMT

33 min Maguire surges 40 yards into the West Brom area, where the diligent Diagne slides in to concede a corner. Shaw’s outswinger is cleared.

2.31pm GMT

31 min West Brom are working so hard defensively, and Sam Allardyce will be thrilled with how the match has gone so far. There have been a few signs of United stirring in the last 5-10 minutes, but West Brom deserve to be ahead.

2.28pm GMT

27 min: Good save from de Gea! Maitland-Niles moseys down the left, turns and plays thbe ball back to Townsend. He swings a cross into the middle, where Snodgrass gets in front of Shaw near the penalty spot and loops a header towards goal. The leaping De Gea arches his back to tip it over the bar.

2.26pm GMT

26 min United are starting to wake up. Rashford’s twinkle toes take him past a couple of defenders on the right side of the box, but then he plays a poor pass to the heavily marked Fernandes.

2.25pm GMT

24 min Lindelof fouls Diagne on the left wing, which gives West Brom another chance to dump a free-kick into the area. Pereira’s delivery is decent, curling towards the penalty spot, and Diagne steers a header well wide.

2.23pm GMT

23 min A fine deep cross from Rashford on the right is thighed just past the post by Peltier, under pressure from Martial. The referee gives a goalkick.

2.21pm GMT

21 min West Brom have been very comfortable defensively. There’s a break in play while Peltier receives treatment to his left ankle.

2.20pm GMT

19 min A couple of you have suggested Lindelof was fouled for the goal. I only really had eyes for Diagne, and it looked like a classic case of a striker outmuscling a defender, but I’ll keep an eye out for any more replays.

2.17pm GMT

17 min West Brom are picking their moments to go forward. When they do commit they are very aggressive, trying to bully United physically. It worked perfectly for the goal.

2.15pm GMT

15 min Fred plays a long pass straight out of play. United are not yet at the races.

2.14pm GMT

14 min “The lack of crowds must be having a big effect on goalkeepers,” says Luke Jones. “They spend a large amount of time standing still with nothing to do, and then have to make quick decisions and movements. It must be hard to keep the level of focus and intensity high when it’s so quiet.”

Interesting point; I’d not thought of that.

2.13pm GMT

13 min Yokuslu is fouled just past the halfway line, which allows West Brom to send the big men forward. Pereira’s free-kick is a poor one that goes straight out for a throw-in.

2.12pm GMT

11 min United are having loads of the ball, which I suspect would have been the case even without an early goal for West Brom, but they haven’t yet found their passing rhythm.

2.10pm GMT

9 min United have won seven games away from home this season after going behind. It’s not, however, the brightest strategy for winning football matches.

2.08pm GMT

7 min Shaw plays a one-two with Martial and fires a low cross that is missed by Cavani at the near post. Then Fred hits a half-volley from 20 yards that is comfortably saved to his left by Johnstone.

2.06pm GMT

6 min Fernandes’ clever flick releases Rashford, though everybody knows he’s offside and they all go through the motions until the attack breaks down and the flag goes up.

2.05pm GMT

5 min “Was thinking apropos of Alisson that it’s becoming increasingly difficult (between the playing schedules and the insanity of being constantly plugged into social media) for top keepers to maintain that which gives them the edge: focus, calm, stability, all the mental stuff without which even the most gifted ones amount to no more than a Víctor Valdés,” says Phil Podolsky. “Haven’t seen enough of DGG to form an opinion, but a keeper declining at 27 is pretty strange, even taking into account how precociously early he peaked.”

2.04pm GMT

4 min Gary Neville is fuming on Sky Sports, pointing out that Lindelof and Maguire were far too slow to get out when the ball was played back for Gallagher to cross first time. It meant that Diagne was only six yards out when he beasted Lindelof and headed towards goal.

2.03pm GMT

That was such a simple goal. Gallagher, in the inside-right channel, curled a terrific dipping cross towards the far post, where Diagne muscled Lindelof aside and steered a diving header past de Gea from six yards. That’s an excellent goal from West Brom’s point of view, though Lindelof and maybe de Gea could have been done better.

2.02pm GMT

Well I never!

2.00pm GMT

1 min Peep peep! West Brom kick off from right to left.

1.59pm GMT

The players emerge on a grim afternoon at the Hawthorns. It’s wet and windy, perfect weather for Robert Snodgrass to swing a few corners under the crossbar.

1.56pm GMT

Full time: Southampton 1-2 Wolves That’s a big win for Wolves, though Southampton will feel they were robbed by VAR.

1.53pm GMT

“Maguire and Lindelof have been really solid and get a ridiculous amount of over-the-top criticism,” says Francis Mead. “Maguire has generally been superb recently.”

I agree that Maguire has been very good for the last 2-3 months, and that Lindelof has an unfair reputation (though he doesn’t help himself at times). I’m still not sure they’re a title-winning partnership, mind, and United are still prone to conceding Andrex-soft goals.

1.40pm GMT

“While I agree that de Gea was a much better keeper previously than he appears to be now,” says Patrick Cullen, “I always felt that the things he was good at were a way of making up for the things he was so bad at - that the need to make those unbelievable reflex saves came about from a basic inability to command his area and impose himself on the opposition’s attackers, and just as importantly, his own defenders. Yes, without doubt, United could improve on their central defensive partnership, but without a dominant goalkeeper behind them to organise things, there’s a limit to what even the best defenders in the world can achieve.”

That’s fair, though I do think he has become even less dominant in the last few years. I don’t think hed have conceded that Calvert-Lewin goal, for example, in 2017.

1.34pm GMT

“It is all good saying DDG has declined (and he surely has),” says Kelechi Dennar. “However, we also need to ask whether he has declined to a level where Henderson is now better? He is nowhere near that 2018 level but I think he is still at a high level. I suspect this will be DDG’s last season at United but I am not sure Henderson has proven to be a better option by his fee performances so far. Next season, all bets are off.”

Agreed. I’m not sure about Henderson yet, though he is more dominant and he wouldn’t have conceded that Everton equaliser last week. He is also on the way up. If United do try to sign a new keeper in the summer, I’d go for Martinez. Villa won’t want to sell but anything’s possible in modern football.

1.27pm GMT

Pedro Neto has given Wolves the lead at St Mary’s!

1.22pm GMT

A debatable Ruben Neves penalty has brought Wolves level at Southampton. It’s 1-1 with half an hour remaining.

1.16pm GMT

“Good afternoon Rob,” says Jon Collins. “Looking at that Manchester United teamsheet, the weakest point is now surely David de Gea. It’s sad to see a player who single-handedly made them competitive for years become a liability, but how much longer do you think Solskjaer will stick with him?”

I think it’s already been too long, and he certainly hasn’t consulted his What Would Fergie Do book. One of the saddest things about all this is that a lot of people have forgotten how astoundingly good de Gea was from 2012-18. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a keeper make so many miraculous reflex saves. But he’s been struggling for nearly three years now, so it’s quite a leap of faith to think it’s ever coming back.

1.11pm GMT

It’s already been a bad-news day for United, who will now be stuck with the Maguire/Lindelof partnership until the end of days.

Related: Bayern Munich beat Chelsea and Liverpool to sign Dayot Upamecano

1.09pm GMT

Southampton 1-0 Wolves is the half-time score in the midday game. You get precisely no points for guessing the scorer.

1.05pm GMT

West Brom (4-1-4-1) Johnstone; Peltier, Ajayi, Bartley, Townsend; Yokuslu; Snodgrass, Gallagher, Maitland-Niles, Pereira; Diagne.
Substitutes: Button, Furlong, O’Shea, Livermore, Phillips, Sawyers, Robson-Kanu, Robinson, Grant.

Manchester United (4-2-3-1) de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Rashford, Fernandes, Martial; Cavani.
Substitutes: Henderson, Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe, James, Matic, van de Beek, Greenwood.

10.37am GMT

Hello. The predictability of modern football means that, in most Premier League seasons, the expectations and ambition of a particular team stay roughly the same from autumn to spring: win the title, finish top four, avoid relegation, etc etc. But in 2020-21, most clubs have had to regularly revise their hopes and dreams.

Take Manchester United. In September, their realistic ambition was to finish third for the second season in a row, while getting closer to the points tally of Liverpool and Manchester City. After a desperate start to the season, a top-four place became a reasonable aim. Then, for a few giddy weeks after Christmas, they were outsiders for the title. Now, with Manchester City suddenly omnipotent, United’s sights are fixed on finishing second and continuing a year-on-year improvement under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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Categories: What the papers say

Bayern Munich beat Chelsea and Liverpool to sign Dayot Upamecano

Sun, 02/14/2021 - 11:43
  • RB Leipzig centre-half signs five-year contract
  • Defender had been tracked by Premier League clubs

Bayern Munich have signed the defender Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig with the French centre-back set to join the European champions in July before the 2021-22 season, the Bundesliga club said on Sunday.

Upamecano, 22, agreed to sign a five-year contract that will keep him at Bayern until 2026. Financial details of the transfer were not provided but German media reported Bayern had triggered his release clause which is worth around €42.5m.

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Categories: What the papers say

West Brom v Manchester United: match preview

Sat, 02/13/2021 - 09:00

Manchester United threw away the chance of three points against Everton last week but should find the going much smoother with a trip to the Hawthorns. West Brom look likely to finish bottom on current form and with United’s quality they will pick apart a defence that has conceded 19 in their past four home games with ease. Nothing has worked for Sam Allardyce so far but the introduction of Okay Yokuslu to midfield is worth a shot. Graham Searles

Sunday 2pm Sky Sports Premier League

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Categories: What the papers say

Scott McTominay sinks West Ham to put Manchester United in quarter-final

Tue, 02/09/2021 - 23:38

This was an FA Cup tie of tepid entertainment and so there was scant surprise extra-time was required. At the end of 90 minutes Craig Dawson missed a header from a corner that would have sent West Ham through against a disappointing Manchester United. But, then, Scott McTominay, one of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s five substitutions, took responsibility, hitting home Marcus Rashford’s lay-off for a 97th-minute winner.

Related: Manchester United v West Ham: FA Cup fifth round – live!

Related: Sam Surridge and Junior Stanislas on target in Bournemouth win at Burnley

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Categories: What the papers say

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