Can Moyes bring success to United after Fergie time?

Manchester United signs David Moyes to 6-year contract; Praise for the Scot ensues

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After careful planning and some early gaffs, Manchester United confirmed the appointment of David Moyes as new manager of the club following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

The Everton manager penned a six-year contract with United that is set to begin on July 1st meaning his first official game will be the August 11th Community Shield match against either Manchester City or Wigan.

Moyes’ contract at Everton was up for renewal on June 30th and for months the Scot resisted renewing, claiming the delay was due to everything from a desire to manage abroad to wanting to see whether the Toffees could qualify for Europe. All that went out the door on Friday when Moyes signed with United, confirming the 50 year old as the successor to Ferguson’s 27 year reign.

Speaking about his appointment as United’s new manager, Moyes said: “I am delighted that Sir Alex [Ferguson] saw fit to recommend me for the job. I have great respect for everything he has done and for the football club.

“I know how hard it will be to follow the best manager ever, but the opportunity to manage Manchester United isn’t something that comes around very often and I’m really looking forward to taking up the post next season.”

Moyes looked back on his time at Goodison Park fondly, noting his connection to chairman Bill Kenwright, the board, the players and the fans. “I have had a terrific job at Everton, with a tremendous chairman and board of directors and a great set of players,” the Scot said. “Between now and the end of the season, I will do everything in my power to make sure we finish as high as possible in the table.

“Everton’s fantastic fans have played a big part in making my years at Goodison so enjoyable and I thank them wholeheartedly for the support they have given me and the players. Everton will be close to me for the rest of my life.”

Ferguson, who will remain at United in a director and ambassador role, welcomed Moyes to Old Trafford declaring that the Everton manager was the only choice to replace him. “When we discussed the candidates that we felt had the right attributes we unanimously agreed on David Moyes,” said Ferguson.

“David is a man of great integrity with a strong work ethic. I’ve admired his work for a long time and approached him as far back as 1998 to discuss the position of Assistant Manager here. He was a young man then at the start of his career and has since gone on to do a magnificent job at Everton. There is no question he has all the qualities we expect of a manager at this Club.”

With the announcement of Moyes taking over at United, praise was heaped on the Scot from all corners of the Premier League. Here are some notable quotes:

Sir Bobby Charlton:

“I have always said that we wanted the next manager to be a genuine Manchester United man. In David Moyes, we have someone who understands the things that make this such a special club. We have secured a man who is committed to the long-term and will build teams for the future as well as now. Stability breeds success.”

United Chief Executive, Ed Woodward:

“In David Moyes, we have secured the services of an outstanding manager who has all the skills to build on the phenomenal legacy in place today. I have no doubt that he will bring an energy and commitment to deliver winning football that is part of the fabric of this Club.  In this respect, he is cut from the same cloth as the Old Trafford greats who go before him.”

Joel Glazer:

“[Moyes’] hard working style and steely determination are characteristics we value at the Club.  He has impressed as a coach for many years now and we strongly believe he will be able to take up from where Alex is leaving off by continuing this Club’s tradition of flair football played by exciting, world class players.”

Avie Glazer:

“The search for a new manager has been very short.  Alex was very clear with his recommendation and we are delighted that David has agreed to accept the job.   He comes to us with excellent credentials and a strong track record.”

Chelsea interim manager, Rafael Benitez:

“It is not easy to find someone like [Moyes] but he has experience in the Premier League, he knows the players, he knows the club and what it means in the Premier League, time will tell.”

Manchester United midfielder, Michael Carrick:

“I think he [Moyes] has obviously done a terrific job at Everton. . . . All the players who have played for him all enjoy playing with him and say good things about him, obviously enough for him to get the chance to be the manager of this great club.”

Aston Villa manager, Paul Lambert:

“I think if anyone can do it and enjoy it and keep the continuity there I think David Moyes can do it. He’s been sensational at Everton and I think he’ll handle it no problem.”

Former teammate and player for David Moyes, Kevin Kilbane:

“His connection with Sir Alex Ferguson is the key to the appointment. . . . He will fit in to the structure of Manchester United and their long term plan and he will be willing to seek advice and assurances from Sir Alex. . . . He is a wonderful man and a good manager and coach. It’s a worthy appointment.”

Everton chairman, Bill Kenwright:

“We’ve had a really good 11-year adventure with David. It’s my job – and the club’s job – to get a worthy successor. It’s been an extraordinary 24 hours.”

Former Liverpool striker, Robbie Fowler:

“Everton fans: now you know why the contract was run down… Has been a work in progress for a long time.”

Former Manchester United defender, Dennis Irwin:

“I think David Moyes will be very similar to Sir Alex, a tough old Scot from the same mould. . . . Wisely the club have listened to the manager and the heirachy and now we’ve got David Moyes, I’m sure he’ll do a fantastic job.

Everton defender, Phil Jagielka:

“Like the rest of the squad I have nothing but the highest regard for David Moyes. . . . He is a first-class operator on and off the training ground and on behalf of the players I would like to place on record my thanks for the work he has done improving the team.”

With the Manchester United’s confirmation of the hiring, the focus now shifts to Everton where a wide range of candidates are in consideration for the post.

MORE: With David Moyes bound for United, who’s next in line for Everton? 

AEK Athens beats Greek league leader Olympiakos 1-0

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) AEK Athens defeated Greek league leader Olympiakos 1-0 in an ill-tempered game on Sunday that saw 12 yellow cards and two dismissals.

[ MORE: Messi brace rescues Barca, Pescara earns second win of season ]

Astrit Ajdarevic scored the only goal in the 34th minute with a free kick that deflected off Olympiakos defender Manuel da Costa.

Olympiakos’ athletic director Francois Modesto was sent to the stands for protesting about the lead-up to AEK’s goal. His team’s central defender Alberto Botia was dismissed after a second yellow card in the 75th for pulling an advancing AEK forward’s jersey.

Despite the defeat, its second of the season, Olympiakos has a 10-point cushion over second-place Panionios, which beat 10-man Iraklis 1-0.

PAOK, a 4-0 winner over Veria, remains in third place, one point ahead of Panathinaikos, which beat Asteras 5-0 on Saturday. AEK is joint fifth with Xanthi.

PSG drops points against Toulouse days after massive UCL win

PARIS, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 14:  Julian Draxler of Paris Saint-Germain looks on during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona at Parc des Princes on February 14, 2017 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Just days after its massive (and somewhat unexpected) beatdown of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain failed to close the gap on league leaders Monaco.

[ MORE: Messi brace rescues Barca, Pescara earns second win ]

PSG settled for a 0-0 draw on Sunday at the Parc des Princes against eighth-place Toulouse, leaving the Parisian side three points behind Monaco through 26 rounds of action.

[ MORE: Bielsa returns to Ligue 1 with Lille ]

Despite holding the visitors to just three shots (one on target), Toulouse managed to contain a rampant PSG attack, which posted four goals midweek in their rout of the Blaugrana.

PSG’s first strong chance came in the 14th minute when Lucas Moura’s effort was saved in the bottom corner by goalkeeper Alban Lafont.

Meanwhile, Edinson Cavani may have had the game’s best opportunity to break the deadlock when the Uruguayan attacker struck the post from inside the penalty area.

Unai Emery’s group will be back in action on Feb. 26 when PSG travels to Dimitri Payet and Marseille.

Wenger worried over Sutton’s pitch heading Monday’s clash

SUTTON, GREATER LONDON - FEBRUARY 16:  Pundits Paul Merson (4L) and Matt Le Tissier (2L) take part in a training session alongside Paul Doswell manager of Sutton United (L) and players during a Sutton United FA Cup media day on February 16, 2017 at the Borough Sports Ground in Sutton, Greater London. Sutton United are due to face Arsenal in the Emirates FA Cup Fifth round on 20 February.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
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The story of Monday’s encounter between Arsenal and fifth-division Sutton United will be whether the minnows can overcome the mighty Gunners.

[ MORE: Mourinho pleased with United’s “attitude” against Blackburn ]

However, Arsene Wenger already fears a bigger challenge within the game, one that concerns his players’ safety.

Sutton’s 5,000-seat Gander Green Lane features an artificial surface, which is largely uncommon for English and most European venues regardless of club standing.

“First of all the pitch. Secondly their enthusiasm. Thirdly that we are not ready mentally for a big fight and think subconsciously that it doesn’t matter,” Wenger said ahead of Monday’s FA Cup meeting in South London.

In preparation for their meeting with the U’s, Wenger had his side train on their own indoor artificial field on Friday.

“Look, ideally we would like to play on a normal pitch. Competition is as well to deal with what you face, and we’ll face an unusual pitch and we’ll have to deal with it,” he said.

“We practice inside [on Friday] because we have an artificial pitch. It’s not the same as it’s a dry pitch, and at Sutton I’ve heard that’s a wet pitch, they water it before the game. So it will be much quicker than what we have.”

Leipzig beats ‘Gladbach 2-1, cuts Bayern’s Bundesliga lead

Leipzig's scorer Willi Orban, center, and his teammates celebrate their side's 2nd goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between RB Leipzig and Hertha BSC Berlin in Leipzig, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
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BERLIN (AP) Leipzig held on for a 2-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach to cut Bayern Munich’s lead in the Bundesliga to five points on Sunday.

[ MORE: Messi rescues Barca, Pescara wins second Serie A match ]

Emil Forsberg scored one and set up another for the promoted side to end its two-game losing streak and stay on course for Champions League qualification with its 14th win of the season.

[ MORE: Bielsa makes Ligue 1 return, joins Lille as new manager ]

`Gladbach `keeper Yann Sommer pulled off a brilliant fingertip save to deny Marcel Sabitzer early on, but he was powerless to stop Forsberg from breaking the deadlock after half an hour played.

Sabitzer and Timo Werner played their way through the static `Gladbach defense and Werner laid the ball off for the Sweden midfielder to fire inside the bottom left corner.

The home side was given a lifeline when Marvin Compper brought down Lars Stindl and referee Felix Zwayer pointed to the spot, but Peter Gulacsi saved Thorgan Hazard‘s penalty before the break.

More poor defending allowed Werner grab the second 10 minutes after the break, firing inside the far post after Forsberg played him through.

Jannik Vestergaard pulled one back with a powerful header from a corner to set up an exciting finale. However, six minutes of injury time were not enough for an equalizer.

Leipzig had kicked off to a chorus of whistles from the home fans, who then mostly stayed silent till the 19th minute in protest against the visiting side. Huge banners in the north stand said “Traditional club since 1900” – an apparent protest against Leipzig, founded in 2009 when Austrian energy-drink billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz rebranded a fifth-tier team with his company’s livery before financing its steady promotion through the lower leagues.

COLOGNE 1, SCHALKE 1

Cologne stopped Schalke’s progress but the point was enough for the visiting side to overtake `Gladbach on goal difference in 10th.

Alessandro Schoepf got the visitors off to a flying start in the second minute with the help of the left post, and Leon Goretzka hit the post after half an hour with the home side still struggling to get into the game.

But Anthony Modeste equalized before the break with a fine strike inside the far post, and might even have scored again just minutes later, when his hesitation allowed Benedikt Hoewedes get back and clear.

Guido Burgstaller came closest to a winner for Schalke in the second half, his shot just wide of the far post after beating the goalkeeper.