Historical Transfer News and Team Gossip has been archived below:
Sir Alex Ferguson once again look to strengthen is squad for next seasons campaign after a largely disappointing season which saw the side from Old Trafford end the season with no silver wear for the first time in many years. The manager feels his squad over achieved last season due to their huge injury list and did extremely well to only lose out to Manchester City for the title on goal difference.
The managers first signing of the year was former Crewe Alexandra playmaker Nick Powell who is thought to have cost the Red Devils a fee of around six million pounds. Sir Alex has long been an admirer of this young and talented player who is believed to be a long term hot prospect for the side as they once again go on their usual charge for honours and silver wear.
Another signing that has been made which Manchester United fans will be extremely happy about is Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund who has himself been in sensational form for his previous club inspiring them to win the German Bundesliga title last season. The player has been welcomed with open arms at Old Trafford as his capabilities as an attacking midfielder are well known throughout Europe and he is now seen as a long term replacement for the ageing Paul Scholes.
There has also been a link lately to want away Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie with Manchester United as Sir Alex has long been an admirer of the talismatic Dutch striker. Utd will have to beat off opposition from many of Europe`s top clubs for the players signature as Juventus and domestic rivals Manchester City are both extremely interested in obtaining the Dutchman’s signature this summer.
Another player who is thought to be firmly on Sir Alex`s radar is creative midfielder Lucas Moura who currently plies his trade at Sao Paulo as he is now one of the hottest prospects in world football and has received much attention this summer from many of Europe`s top clubs. The player can offer both attacking and defensive play and is seen as the perfect addition to the red Devil`s squad after they lost out on Eden Hazard who has of course signed for Chelsea.
Dimitar Berbatov is one of the most high profile players to leave Old Trafford this summer as he has been told he no longer has a future at the club sparking much interest from around Europe. The player who has been at Manchester United for five years is now thought to be the top target of Ac Milan yet the Italian giants have been very coy on stating this. A fee of around the five million pound mark is thought to be required by Utd for his services and Ac Milan may have to fight off interest from Turkish giants Galatasaray if they wish to gain his signature.
Young left back Fabio has also departed from Old Trafford during the closed season on a year long loan at QPR as Sir Alex believes it will provide him with vital experience for his career amid fears he may find it hard to gain a regular place in the current Utd squad.
By: TopFloorDjs With Sir Alex still working closely with the club i think Ronaldo may still want to come back to Manchester. Wouldnt 80m be better spent on other thriving stars though? (Lewandowski, Thiago for eg)
By: Muhammed Arif I believe that Ronaldo had a good connection with Sir Alex but after his retirement Ronaldo is feeling a bit down and I dont think he'll get on well with new manager David Moyes for he hasn't good enough connection with him and so it will be a lack of money and a wastage of time
Greenwood nets twice as Man Utd beat Bournemouth to go fourth after bonkers encounter Manchester United continued their pursuit of champions league football with a 5-2 win over a relegation-threatened Bournemouth in a bonkers game that truly deserved a crowd to witness it. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side came into the game as overwhelming favourites thanks to their 15 game unbeaten run, though surprisingly fell behind against the run of …
Five of the worst football ads ever: Owen, Rooney and Venkys chicken Every business out there wants to be associated with a successful football club or player to get more attention for their brand, but it doesn’t always work out so well. In some cases, the resultant advertisements and endorsements are just downright awful. Marketing agencies should learn from these lousy examples. Liverpool bring Paisley back from …
Fantasy Premier League GW33+: Three must-buy midfielders for your team this week With the Fantasy Premier League season coming into the final six games, it’s extremely important to get your transfers right ahead of gameweek 33+. Here are the three cheap midfielders we think are must-have in your FPL team: Phil Foden, Man City – £5.3 The moment Philip Walter Foden turned 20, he immediately found his …
Solskjaer insists Manchester United have ‘a point to prove’ despite easy run in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United still have ‘a point to prove’ despite their upturn in form and a seemingly easy run of fixtures as the club look to secure a top four finish and Champions League qualification. Manchester United have restarted the Premier League season in fine form and have stretched their unbeaten run …
Solskjaer: The sky is the limit for Mason Greenwood Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says ‘the sky is the limit’ for Mason Greenwood following the teenager’s impressive breakthrough campaign at Manchester United. Greenwood has enjoyed a hugely promising debut season since being handed his first-team opportunity, scoring 13 goals in all competitions including netting his sixth Premier League goal of the campaign against Brighton in mid-week. …
Dortmund win the £20.7m race for Man Utd target Jude Bellingham Borussia Dortmund have seemingly won the race to sign highly-rated teenager Jude Bellingham, with the Bundesliga side closing in on a £20.7m deal for the Birmingham City midfielder. Bellingham made headlines earlier this season when he became the youngest ever player and goalscorer in Birmingham’s history, making his debut aged 16 years and 38 days …
Why Manchester United signing Ferran Torres would be a brilliant move The Daily Mail has reported that Juventus have jumped ahead of Manchester United in the race to sign Valencia starlet Ferran Torres. The player is a product of the Valencia youth set up and has grown to become a star in the first-team. The […] More
Why Manchester United should make a move for Jeremie Boga According to ESPN FC (h/t The Metro), Manchester United have made an approach to sign Sassuolo forward Jeremie Boga in the summer. Boga, 23, is a product of Chelsea’s youth system. Though he was highly rated within the Blues’ youth system, he made just one […] More
Why Benoit Badiashile would be a good fit at Manchester United According to Sport Witness (h/t The Sun), Manchester United are eyeing a move for Monaco wonderkid Benoit Badiashile. Despite being just 19 years old, Badiashile has become a key player for Monaco this season, making 20 appearances in total for the Ligue 1 side. […] More
Predicted Manchester United XI to face Brighton in the Premier League Manchester United travel to AMEX Stadium to face Brighton in the Premier League as the race for European games gets hotter. Ole Gunnar’s Solskjaer will be entering the game on the back of a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Norwich City to progress into the […] More
Why Manchester United should rope in Caglar Soyuncu According to The Times (h/t Daily Mirror), Graeme Souness has identified Caglar Soyuncu as the perfect partner for Harry Maguire at Manchester United. Souness, a Liverpool legend, was of the opinion that Manchester United need to bolster their backline in order to win trophies. Souness also suggested […] More
Why Manchester United should make a move for Nuno Mendes According to Record (h/t Daily Express), Manchester United are keeping close tabs on Sporting Lisbon youngster Nuno Mendes. One of Sporting’s most promising youngsters, Mendes made his senior debut earlier this month, coming on as a substitute in his side’s 1-0 home win against FC […] More
Bournemouth gave Manchester United an early scare but Mason Greenwood was the star act in the home side’s response with two goals, while Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial each scored to reach 20 and become the first pair to achieve this feat for the club in the same season since Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernández in 2011.
Greenwood scored in each half as United scored five in the league at Old Trafford for the first time in nine years. The 18-year-old has 15 for the campaign and is making himself undroppable. His manager was understandably delighted. “He is a fantastic goalscorer,” Ole Gunnar Solskjær said. “The moments he chose the goals, they were very important moments for us. He is a very, very talented boy and we will nurture and manage him as best we can. His general overall play is improving as is his fitness and understanding of his position.”
Peep peep! United move up to fourth, at least for the next few hours, after a thrilling win over Bournemouth. Mason Greenwood scored two sizzling goals, while Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford both grabbed their 20th of the season. After seven years of post-Fergie misery, United might finally be going places. Bournemouth, alas, are going down.
90+5 min Ramsdale makes yet another save, leaping to his left to tip Fred’s shot over the bar.
90+2 min Ramsdale makes another save, falling to his left to push away Fernandes’s long-range shot.
90+2 min Pogba’s curling free-kick is punched away by the flying Ramsdale. Good save.
90+1 min Gosling fouls James 25 yards from goal. Mata, Fernandes and Pogba are over the ball.
90 min Five minutes of added time.
89 min A wildly entertaining match is finally starting to peter out.
84 min And now Ighalo misses an excellent chance, clipping the ball wide of the far post after running onto Fernandes’ through pass. He should have scored.
83 min Ramsdale makes a fine block from Shaw, who poked the ball towards goal after pulling down Pogba’s lovely crossfield pass.
81 min Kelly lunges to make a vital last-ditch tackle on James just outside the area.
80 min United make their final changes: Mata and Ighalo replace Rashford and Martial.
80 min A lovely deep cross from James is muffed by Rashford beyond the far post. I think Martial got in his way.
79 min Martial wriggles away from Kelly, who recovers excellently to block Martial’s shot at the expense of a corner. It’s cleared by Rico.
78 min Rashford’s low cross flashes across the area, just in front of Martial (who was offside) and James (who wasn’t). In the other Premier League game, Jamie Vardy has scored his 100th Premier League goal to put Leicester 2-0 up against Crystal Palace.
77 min Jack Stacey comes on for Bournemouth, replacing Adam Smith.
75 min Another change: Dan James replaces the remarkable Mason Greenwood.
74 min The corner is sliced towards his own goal by King, and Ramsdale dances across his line to make a comfortable save.
73 min After some lovely, quick build-up play, Martial’s shot deflects wide off Ake.
70 min A replay of the Fernandes goal suggests that Matic’s heel was offside, and he was close to Ramsdale’s eyeline so I’m surprised it wasn’t disallowed. I don’t really understand the laws of football any more.
69 min The last time United scored six in a league game was the 8-2 win over Arsenal in August 2011.
68 min “Somewhat ironically, I was just mumbling to myself the other day that the only goals that won’t be VAR-checked (and enjoyed with full elan) will be from free kicks,” says Matthew Richman. “How I do appreciate being corrected.”
66 min Three changes for Bournemouth. Harry Wilson, Dan Gosling and Philip Billing replace Stanislas, Solanke and Lewis Cook. And Manchester United have brought Fred on for Nemanja Matic.
66 min: Rashford has a goal disallowed for offside. It’ll be checked. It was a great move from United, which ended with Rashford sliding in Wan-Bissaka’s cross. It’s extremely close, but his knee was just offside.
61 min Ramsdale probably shouldn’t have been beaten on that side. In his defence, Fernandes absolutely smashed it.
GOAL GIVEN! Bournemouth thought Matic was offside when Fernandes took the free-kick. VAR decided not.
Another brilliant goal! Fernandes whipped the free-kick over the wall and into the far corner, but it’s being checked by VAR.
58 min Kelly fouls Martial just outside the area. Pogba and Fernandes are over the ball.
58 min A vicious long-range shot from Pogba is blocked by Ake.
55 min VAR checked for offside against Rashford in the build-up. It was very tight but the goal stands.
This kid is a star. That’s his 15th goal of the season, and it was unstoppable. Matic found him with his back to goal on the edge of the D. He turned and veered to the right, away from Rico, before blistering a rising drive back across goal. It went through the fingers of the leaping Ramsdale and into the top corner. Greenwood has beaten Ramsdale for pace on both his goals, once with his left foot and once with the right.
What a goal!
51 min: Danjuma has a goal disallowed for offside! Bournemouth are all over United at the moment. They broke three on three, with Danjuma beating de Gea with a nonchalant toepoke. But he was offside when King put him through on goal.
50 min That was a shambolic start to the second half by United. Maguire’s sloppy pass eventually led to Danjuma hitting the post; then Matic played an equally loose pass towards Bailly that he had to control with his shoulder/arm.
Joshua King scores emphatically, sidefooting the penalty into the corner at pace. de Gea went the right way but couldn’t get there.
49 min: Penalty given! That’s the right decision.
What a start to the second half. This is all a bit of a mess, and VAR are checking whether a) it came off Bailly’s shoulder or the arm and b) whether it was inside the area. Both are very close. I’m not sure there’s enough evidence to overturn the original decision, so I think the penalty decision will stand.
47 min: Danjuma hits the post! And now Bournemouth have a penalty for handball by Bailly!
46 min Peep peep! United begin the second half in driving rain. Eric Bailly has replaced Victor Lindelof at half-time, while Arnaut Danjuma is on for the injured David Brooks for Bournemouth.
Peep peep! Manchester United started sluggishly and went behind to a fine goal from Junior Stanislas, but their response was emphatic. Mason Greenwood added another ruthless finish to his portfolio, Marcus Rashford scored from the penalty spot and Anthony Martial wafted a beauty into the top corner.
Anthony Martial gets his 20th goal of the season, and it’s a beauty. United moved the ball patiently from side to side, looking for an opening. Eventually Fernandes found Martial on the left, just outside the area. Shaw made a good overlapping run to distract the defence, which allowed Martial to zip infield and curl a quite glorious shot into the far top corner. Brilliant.
Pick that out!
45 min Three minutes of added time.
42 min The corner is headed way by Rashford.
41 min King teases Lindelof and wins a corner for Bournemouth.
40 min Bournemouth have been bright on the break, so they aren’t out of this game yet.
38 min “Bloody Adam Smith,” says Ian Copestake. “He should stick to a being a Scottish economist, philosopher, and author as well as a moral philosopher, a pioneer of political economy, and a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment, known as ‘The Father of Economics’’ or ‘’The Father of Capitalism.’ The [redacted].”
36 min: Brooks has a goal disallowed! It came after a couple of dodgy passes, first by de Gea and then Maguire, but Solanke was offside in the build-up.
It’s Rashford, not Fernandes, who takes the penalty - and he scores, sliding it into the bottom-right corner. Ramsdale went the right way but couldn’t quite get there.
PENALTY TO UNITED! The corner leads to a scramble in the Bournemouth area and a clear handball from Adam Smith.
32 min Rashford’s fierce long-range shot hits Ake and deflects wide.
31 min Lerma is booked for a foul on Martial.
Rashford, on the right, cut the ball back to Fernandeson the edge of the area. He played a fine square pass that took four defenders out of the game and found Greenwood. His first touch was immaculate, pushing the ball into space so that he could lash it through Ramsdale with his second. That’s Greenwood’s 14th goal of the season, and he’s still only 18. He is quite something, probably the best young English finisher we’ve seen since Robbie Fowler.
Mason Greenwood rifles Manchester United level!
28 min Bournemouth look dangerous going forward, Stanislas in particular. It’s a really intriguing game.
26 min After a fine move from United, Wan-Bissaka’s low cross is cleared by Kelly inside the six-yard box.
26 min Lots of United pressure, though Bournemouth are defending really well at the moment.
23 min Stanislas wallops a bouncing ball over the bar from long range. He’s made a very confident start.
21 min Fernandes’s corner clears everyone and comes to Shaw on the edge of the area. His shot is blocked by Brooks. Moments later, Pogba drives an angled pass to Rashford, who heads the ball back across the area towards Greenwood. Ramsdale flies from his line to dive at Greenwood’s feet and knock the ball off him for a goalkick. Good goalkeeping.
20 min “A penny,” says Ian Copestake, “for Roy Keane’s thoughts.”
19 min: Good save from Ramsdale! Rashford curled the free-kick over the wall towards the far corner, and Ramsdale dived to his right to palm it behind.
18 min Pogba is fouled by King 25 yards from goal, slightly to the right of centre. Fernandes is over it.
That was a lovely bit of skill from Junior Stanislas. His first shot was blocked by Maguire, with the ball rebounding towards the byline. Stanislas drew Maguire in, nutmegged him impudently and whipped a shot past de Gea from a very tight angle. He probably shouldn’t have beaten de Gea at the near post but the nutmeg was brilliant.
Oh I say!
13 min This is a good spell for United, with Bournemouth struggling to get out.
10 min: Fernandes misses an excellent chance! United should be ahead. Rashford, just inside his own half, curled a superb pass over the Bournemouth defence to release Fernandes, who took the shot first time from the edge of the area. He lobbed it over the outrushing Ramsdale, but his touch was a bit heavy and it also cleared the crossbar.
8 min “You all make too much of people making perch references (is there no free play of signifiers anymore?),” says Ian Copestake. “For instance, some Liverpool fans enjoy the fact that when Fergie spluttered it out he nevertheless did so by referring to ‘their’ perch.”
7 min Matic turns into trouble just outside the United area. Solanke nicks the ball off him and moves into the area, but Matic recovers to make a good tackle.
6 min Bournemouth haven’t just come for a 0-0; they are pushing plenty of players forward when they break.
4 min Nothing to report as yet. United have made a dominant start.
1 min Peep peep! Bournemouth, in their sky blue change strip, kick off from right to left.
“Fergie said that perch thing off-handedly in the early noughties,” says Digvijay Yadav. “That a lot of Liverpool people have brought it up straight away tells you how much it irked them and how long they have been holding it inside them. Like an English cricket fan waiting to snipe at the Aussies during the 90s.”
The interesting thing is that Fergie didn’t really knock them off their perch at all; George Graham and Arsenal did, with a bit of help from Steve Coppell and perhaps Graeme Souness. But he did clamber atop the vacant perch and do a silly little jig for the next two decades.
“Hey Rob,” says J.R. in Illinois. “So are you excited for Superspeader Saturday or what? Will you be done working in time to go out for a couple yards later? Or maybe you were able to get to the pub when it opened at 6am to suck down a few pints before work? Well, over here in the U.S. of ‘Murica every day is Superspreader Day and yesterday our genius president got the holiday weekend off to a flying start with a lovely get together in the hopes of further dividing the country with the added bonus of likely increasing the spread of a deadly pandemic.”
This year has been a particularly absurd series of the Truman Show.
“From back atop our perch I feel generous enough to give Man Utd fans a tip,” says Ian Copestake. “With Bruno Fernandes in your team you have a great opportunity to do a chant to the tune of “Danny Nedelko” by Idles.”
How many times: LIVERPOOL ARE NOT BACK ON THEIR PERCH!!!!! (Yet.)
Bournemouth have never won at Old Trafford, not even back in the days when they were Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic. That isn’t a completely bad thing, though. An unlikely and historic win today would be a fine way to start a great escape.
The story about Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes being doubtful after a collision in training was a hoax; both start in an unchanged United side. Bournemouth bring in Diego Rico, Lewis Cook and Junior Stanislas for Steve Cook, Philip Billing and Arnaut Danjuma.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1) de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial. Substitutes: Romero, Bailly, Williams, Mata, Pereira, Fred, James, McTominay, Ighalo.
On 22 January, Manchester United lost 2-0 at home to Burnley. It was their fourth defeat in seven leagues games, and there was a P45 with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s name on it. Since then, their record is all competitions is outstanding: P15 W11 D4 L0 F38 A4. It’s their longest unbeaten run in three and a half years, and the mood around the club is as positive as it has been since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
There’s one big reason for that. Bruno Fernandes has had the most profound impact of any United signing since Eric Cantona in 1992. It’s not just his goals and assists, either: with his infectious standards, he has dragged all the other players closer to his level. He may also drag them into the Champions League. A win over Bournemouth today would move United above Chelsea, who play Watford tonight, and keep them within range of third-placed Leicester.
United’s manager has been brave in cutting the squad and after going 15 games unbeaten the sense is of a more stable outfit
As a snapshot of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s evolving Manchester United, rewind to Bruno Fernandes’s second goal in the 3-0 win at Brighton on Tuesday. On 50 minutes, a commanding Harry Maguire header initiated a wow moment. Wow because of what it suggested of Nemanja Matic, whose best days are supposedly gone. And wow because it confirmed how the Serb’s rejuvenation is part of the larger team renaissance that Solskjær is overseeing.
Matic took the ball on his chest, pivoted and found Mason Greenwood with a second sight-like vision that had the 18-year-old surging along the left, before a cross found the relentless Fernandes who volleyed home at the far post.
Midfielder confident they can secure Champions League spot
‘The team is improving,’ says Solskjær after 3-0 win at Brighton
Bruno Fernandes believes Manchester United can achieve Champions League football this season after his two goals at Brighton helped his side stretch their unbeaten run to 15 games. United moved up to fifth in the Premier League, ahead of Wolves on goal difference, and Fernandes said their much-improved defensive performance was key to their confidence.
I think we played against a really good side tonight, to be honest. Congratulations to Manchester United they were the better team, I thought they showed some real quality. Credit to the team, we stuck at it, I thought our response second half especially was really good. I’m really proud of the response of the players, how they stuck at it, and we’ll take the positives from the game. We started the second half really well and then got hit on the counter-attack for the killer goal.
Overall we had some good opportunities, some good play, against Manchester United you’re always going to be stretched. It’s a tough evening for us but one we’ll take a lot from and we’ll be stronger for it. They’re as good as anybody we’ve played against this year from our perspective. They’ve got good width, good movement in the middle, the build-up was good. So hard to contain, but we didn’t go under, we carried on, and second half especially was positive for us.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is full of smiles:
I think we’re full of confidence and of course full of quality as well. I think the boys played some exceptional stuff. We pressed well, and I think we started really well. It was just waiting for the moment to get a goal and Mason’s first was brilliant. He played fantastically. he’s a young kid and a special kid. We know when he gets face up and looking forward he’s dangerous, but then I thought his hold-up play and his link-up play today was great. He can go inside, he can go outside, he’s just as good with his right foot as his left foot, and he’s developing into a fine player.
Bruno Fernandes, man of the match and one-man revolution, talks down the impact of his relationship with Paul Pogba in midfield. “It’s not fair to talk about me and Paul. We are a team,” he says. “We train together. They push me to play better. I think in the end it’s teamwork.”
David Hytner’s match report has landed:
With Bruno Fernandes providing an irresistible spark, the sense of possibility felt tantalising for Manchester United. Brighton are not a team that have been rolled over too many times this season, despite their lowly position, but the ease and panache with which United recorded their latest positive result represented a statement of intent.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær had said on Monday that his team could go undefeated for the remainder of the season. Play like this and they will. The run-in is relatively kind for them and this was a 15th game in all competitions without a loss – the best sequence under Solskjær.
90+4 mins: An extremely competent away performance, and an emphatically outclassed home side.
90+3 mins: Ighalo has only touched the ball three times. Martial only had 23 touches, half as many as any other outfield starter. Sure, Martial’s runs helped create space for his teammates, but United’s centre-forwards have been almost entirely peripheral.
90+1 mins: There’ll be three minutes of stoppage time, give or take.
89 mins: Gary Neville follows through on his promise to name Bruno Fernandes his man of the match. The game has been markedly less fun since he left the field.
87 mins: Solly March replaces Connolly, Brighton’s final change of the evening.
86 mins: James threatens to get clear, doesn’t quite manage to do so, has a shot anyway and Ryan saves. Then about 45 seconds later he gets the ball on the left, comes infield, doesn’t have much on, has a shot anyway and Ryan saves.
84 mins: Save! James crosses towards Ighalo; Bernardo gets in the way but only turns the ball towards McTominay, and his low shot takes a slight deflection on its way goalwards, but Ryan deals with it.
81 mins: Further substitutional news, as Brighton bring on Mooy and Bernardo, and take off Dunk and Mac Allister.
80 mins: Wan-Bissaka hits a cross straight into a fragile part of Bissouma, who spends a minute or two writhing about in agony and then has to get up and defend a corner.
78 mins: United bring on Ighalo and James, and take off Rashford and Martial.
76 mins: Another De Gea save! Maupay tries to play in Trossard but Maguire gets in the way. The ball rebounds back to him, and his shot takes a deflection, but De Gea has enough time to react and push it away.
74 mins: The game appears to have entered the period when one team no longer believes they can achieve anything and the other no longer believes they need to.
71 mins: Trossard has another pop, this time from 20-odd yards, but the ball spins wide of the left-hand post. He has had as many shots as every other Brighton player put together, and he only came on at half-time.
69 mins: Brighton have a shot on target! It’s a really good one too, Connolly taking Trossard’s pass, enjoying a bit too much space, and curling a shot towards the top corner. De Gea throws out a hand and turns it behind.
67 mins: The game’s second drinks break, and TV viewers get treated to a few more replays of United’s third goal, their best of the night, and really lovely in every way.
66 mins: Chance! Wan-Bissaka gets to the byline and dinks in a cross, and Williams heads it powerfully, but straight into Duffy.
64 mins: United take Bruno Fernandes off, to be wrapped in proverbial cotton wool. “Unless something miraculous happens in this last half an hour he will be the man of the match,” says Gary Neville. Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw also come off, with McTominay, Pereira and Williams coming on.
62 mins: Now Mac Allister lifts the ball into the area from the right, and Trossard slams a volley high. They have had as many shots in the last 150 seconds as in the preceding hour.
60 mins: Brighton nearly score! Well, they nearly have a shot on target, at least. Mac Allister takes a free-kick from deep, and disguises his pass to Trossard, who with every red shirt convinced the ball is going to he lofted into the middle of the box suddenly has the entire left third of the penalty area to himself and the ball at his feet. He shoots low and hard across goal, but wide of the far post.
57 mins: Duffy nips in front of Martial to take the ball off his toes, and the Frenchman’s head goes back in a display of frustration. His movement has been good tonight, but he hasn’t actually seen very much of the ball.
54 mins: Burn’s excellent low cross from the left just evades Connolly. Brighton still haven’t had a shot on target, and Ryan still hasn’t made a save.
50 mins: Maguire heads the ball out from his area to Matic, who chests down and volleys a pass to Greenwood, bursting down the left. He sprints to the edge of the area, Rashford and Martial make runs in the middle to occupy the defence, and Greenwood lifts the ball beyond them to the unmarked Fernandes, who volleys in. That was clinical, and excellent at every stage: header, control, pass, run, cross, finish.
That’s a lovely break, and it’s game over!
48 mins: Brighton already seem to have significantly improved in their new-look 4-2-2-2 formation. Shaw brings down Bissouma, and gets booked.
46 mins: Peeeeep! They’re off! I have a couple of half-time substitutions to report: Brighton have brought off Tariq Lamptey and Davy Propper and brought on Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay.
This game has been slightly tediously one-sided. This, though, is the kind of tedium that Manchester United fans have been desperate for for several years now. They look a team capable not just of qualifying for Europe but achieving something once they get there. Brighton have Liverpool and Manchester City still to come to the AmEx over the next couple of weeks, and could probably do with banking three points at Norwich this weekend before their confidence gets too badly nobbled.
45+3 mins: Manchester United go into the interval with the double advantage of two goals and complete superiority.
45+2 mins: United ping the ball about on the left for an age, and eventually Montoya’s had enough and throws himself at Rashford. Free kick.
45+1 mins: There will be about two minutes of first-half stoppages.
44 mins: Brighton actually threaten! Propper’s cross from the right is pretty handy, and there are six home players in the penalty area, but the ball just evades them all, with Burn coming closest.
44 mins: United get numbers forward, Brighton get numbers back, and a very promising attack ends with Dunk intercepting Pogba’s underhit pass infield.
41 mins: There have only been two shots on target in this game.
39 mins: Dunk has the ball inside his own penalty area and Martial and Fernandes combine to gang up on him, eventually forcing him to hit out of play for a throw-in. Nothing comes of it but still, good work.
37 mins: United play the ball across their backline almost comically slowly, waiting on each occasion to be closed down before laying it off. Eventually it reaches Bruno Fernandes on the left, who smashes it high into the air. Given what came before, it seems almost an act of protest. Dunk wins the header.
33 mins: Brighton have an attack, and win a free-kick out on the right touchline. United eventually win it back, and play the ball out of defence in a manner which is can only be described as extremely competent.
32 mins: Brighton have a shot! Mac Allister is the man responsible, blasting the ball into Maguire’s ankles from inside United’s penalty area.
Another one! Rashford plays Shaw in on the left, who gets to the byline but can’t pick out Martial with his pull-back. It runs to Pogba outside the penalty area, who touches inside to Fernandes, whose first-time shot hits Mac Allister and spins past Ryan and inside the post!
28 mins: Lindelof goes on an endearingly optimistic run down the right, which ends after about 40 yards as he tries to trick his way into the penalty area without actually doing any tricks, and is consequently dispossessed.
26 mins: Play resumes, and United take control of the ball once more. Eventually Wan-Bissaka miscontrols and it rolls out for a throw-in.
23 mins: United win a corner, take it long to Maguire beyond the far post, and he beats Dunk to the header but sends it across goal and wide. The drinks break follows.
22 mins: Fernandes shoots, and gets the ball to dip savagely, but it never threatens to dip enough to get under the bar.
21 mins: Now they have a free-kick in a very handy position, as Pogba is fouled just outside the area.
20 mins: This is all looking excellent for the visitors. They are attacking at pace, in numbers, with width on both flanks, and Brighton can’t plug every gap.
The chance comes, the shot follows, and United lead! Greenwood pretty much makes it for himself, running infield from the right, leaving Stephens in his wake, bursting into the box, squaring up Dunk, jinking this way and that, and then shooting low and hard inside the near post!
15 mins: United are running at about 74% possession, and looking menacing with it, but so far no clear chances, or shots of any note from inside the area.
12 mins: Bruno Fernandes hits the post! Maguire’s long ball from left to right starts the move, Pogba’s pass infield finds the Portuguese, and his early, low shot from just outside the area thumps the near post.
11 mins: A few seconds later Mac Allister tries it again, and this time Connolly is on the move, but he uses an arm to control and that’s the end of that.
11 mins: Mac Allister picks the ball up in midfield and plays it through for Connolly, who hadn’t got the memo and was entirely flat-footed.
8 mins: United are hogging the ball, but not doing so much attacking. Bruno Fernandes nearly unlocked the home defence a couple of minutes back, but his Ryan ran out to booter his through-ball into touch as Rashford raced towards it.
5 mins: A breather for Brighton, as Maguire chests a long pass towards Lindelof, and Connolly nips in and goes down, winning a bonus cheap free kick.
3 mins: United have already put together two decent attacks down the left, but on both occasions the attack was snuffled out after they got into the box.
2 mins: Kick-off is preceded by a noisy countdown, on the stadium’s big screens and loud speakers. 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... it goes. 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... it continues. 2 ... 1, it concludes. And then, 10 further seconds of awkward silence while the referee completes his last-minute whatevers, noisy countdown completely ignored. The players take the knee for a few seconds after kick-off.
1 min: Peeeeeep! United get the game started.
The players are out, and the coin has just been tossed. Action imminent.
The players are making their way into the tunnel, with kick-off just a few minutes away.
“While I’m cheered that the fans are practising some social distancing by sitting one seat apart, I’m appalled they’re not wearing masks,” complains Eric Schwab of Brighton’s Thank You NHS Stand (photo below). “This seems like a very narrow, two-dimensional approach.”
Graham Potter submits himself to the Sky-flavoured inquisition:
I think we’ve had a positive couple of games, but we have to start again. We play against a really good side, a side in good form, so all that we’ve done is gone and we have to start again tonight and do our best. It’s a chance to win three points, that’s how we look at it. They’re a good team, and they’re fighting for the Champions League, but ti’s a chance to win three points and that’s what we have to focus on. I’ve reminded them that they’re good players, they need to work hard to get a result. History’s fine but it doesn’t count for anything tonight. We need a bit of luck against this quality of opposition, but we need to make sure we do our best.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a chat with Sky:
This is the same team as played less than a week ago against Sheffield United and played really well, so hopefully we can see that again. Everything has to be right. We’ve been here the last two years, we haven’t got any points. We know it’s going to be hard, we know we have to focus on one game at a time.
Brighton make three changes to the team that drew 0-0 at Leicester last Tuesday, bringing in Shane Duffy, Davy Propper and Martin Montoya. Manchester United make either no changes or eight of them, depending on whether you count the FA Cup game against Norwich or the last league game, against Sheffield United last Wednesday.
The team sheets are in, and these are the names upon them:
Brighton: Ryan, Duffy, Dunk, Burn, Lamptey, Propper, Stephens, Bissouma, Montoya, Mac Allister, Connolly. Subs: Maupay, Trossard, Gross, Murray, Mooy, March, Schelotto, Button, Bernardo. Man Utd: De Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, Matic, Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Martial. Subs: Bailly, Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, James, Romero, Ighalo, McTominay, Williams. Referee: Andre Marriner.
The team news is in!
Here’s how we take to the field to face @ManUtd tonight!
Before the restart I thought Brighton, winless in 2020 and with a pretty nasty fixture list, might end up in a hideous battle against relegation. Two games, two decent performances and four points later and given the miserable form of Bournemouth, West Ham, Aston Villa and Watford below them I make them a win away from safety. They are more likely to get that victory at Norwich on Saturday than against Manchester United tonight, with the visitors another side that has had a decent restart and motivated by the vicious scrap for European qualification in which they find themselves, but I wouldn’t put it past them. They are, after all, unbeaten at home against Manchester United since April 1982 (with four wins and a draw since then).
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