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Could PSG, Manchester United solve each other’s problems?

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It’s late on a Wednesday night without the UEFA Champions League, so let’s dance on a theoretical floor, shall we?

One of the more widely-praised transfers of the year came when Manchester United and Arsenal decided to swap problematic players with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alexis Sanchez.

While neither has been perfect in their new homes, both have had starring performances and could (should?) fit in neatly come a full offseason worth of preparation.

More swaps like these should happen more often given the glut of managerial changes across major European leagues, with square pegs sometimes finding round holes when the boss arrives in town.

And have we got a sensational swap lined up for you. And no, it’s not Jose Mourinho for Unai Emery (though should it be? Nah, forget it).

If Paul Pogba is to leave Old Trafford this summer, there are scant few teams who could afford his transfer fee. Likewise, Paris Saint-Germain has Financial Fair Play all over its case and cannot simply make moves to better build its team for the Champions League by splashing cash all over the place.

PSG bought the two most expensive players of all-time last summer in Neymar ($281m) and Kylian Mbappe ($181m). The latter is going nowhere unless FIFA intervenes, 19 years old and becoming a more complete playmaker since heading to PSG from Monaco.

The former, well, that’s a bit trickier.

Neymar has been hurt, and while there’s no doubt his absence is the primary reason PSG was eliminated by Real Madrid, his time at the Parc Des Princes has hit more than a few speed bumps, with the Edinson Cavani PK drama and more.

So if Neymar is “worth” $281 million, could he head to United in exchange for a pair of Frenchmen in Pogba and Anthony Martial?

Areola

Alves — Silva– Marquinhos — Berchiche

Verratti — Rabiot

Pogba

Mbappe — Cavani — Martial

It’s imperfect given Alexis Sanchez’s preference to also play left wing, but going to a 4-3-3 like this for Jose Mourinho would allow a certain amount of freelancing for his trident.

De Gea

Valencia — Smalling — Bailly — Young/new LB

Matic — Herrera — McTominay

Sanchez — Lukaku — Neymar

Mixing in Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata off the bench and for Cup games is not a bad luxury, plus we know United is going to splash a lot more cash to improve the center midfield and fullback depth.

There could also be a 3-4-3 of excellent repute here:

De Gea

Smalling — Jones — Bailly

Valencia — Herrera — Matic — Lingard

Alexis — Lukaku — Neymar

FULL MATCH REPLAY: The Manchester Derby

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Manchester City could’ve won the Premier League with a win over visiting derby rivals Manchester United on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.

WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY, ONLINE, HERE

Instead, a 2-0 halftime lead turned into a loss at the hands of Jose Mourinho and the Red Devils.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Ederson, Danilo, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Bernardo, David Silva, Sane, Sterling, Subs. Bravo, Walker, Agüero, Laporte, De Bruyne, Jesus, Yaya Touré

Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Young, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Lukaku, Alexis. Subs: Pereira, Lindelof, Rojo, McTominay, Mata, Martial, Rashford.

Mourinho on UCL exit: “Nothing new for this football club”

AP Photo/Dave Thompson
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Looking for answers to what cost Manchester United their campaign in the UEFA Champions League?

We wouldn’t advise turning to manager Jose Mourinho’s post-match comments. He was able to proffer very little after Wissam Ben Yedder’s brace off the bench propelled Sevilla to a 2-1 win at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

“We tried to be aggressive and intense from the first minute,” Mourinho said. “We didn’t score and Sevilla progressively kept the ball, and they controlled the game well.”

So you didn’t score, and they had the ball. Hmm. Tell us more, Mou.

“We had good chances to score, but they scored one goal and from that moment everything became much more emotional. The second goal made it impossible.

“We had good periods, we didn’t have great control over the game, but I can’t say there was anything wrong with my players and their intention to play.

“That’s football, we lost, but tomorrow is another day and Saturday is another match. I’m pleased the players aren’t hiding their sadness, but we have no time for drama.”

That’s not the match we watched, Mr. Mourinho. United ended up with 51 percent of the ball, but four fewer shots than the visitors’ 21.

United started with Marouane Fellaini in a bid to win a lot of aerial balls, and super sub turned starter Jesse Lingard was active but unable to find the back of the net.

Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, and Juan Mata came off the bench, but United’s only goal came off a corner kick to industrious striker Romelu Lukaku.

EDIT: Apparently Mourinho doesn’t care whether his fans turn on him, given this ammo:

“Flames” or “hot take” — Choose your own descriptive adventure, but Mourinho is going to lose friends and alienate people here.

To bring up that United has lost in the Champions League before, and then point out that you’re the one who did it? That is brassy brassy stuff. Time and victories heal all wounds, but bookmark that quote as one that may stick with him all the way out the door (one day).

Ben Yedder brace sends Man Utd packing

AP Photo/Dave Thompson
3 Comments
  • Sevilla out-attempts Man Utd 20-15
  • First leg finished 0-0
  • Ben Yedder with two off the bench
  • Lukaku scores late consolation

Wissam Ben Yedder scored two goals in four second half minutes to knock Manchester United out of the UEFA Champions League as Sevilla posted a 2-1 win at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Romelu Lukaku scored off a corner kick in the 84th minute, but United found no more as Jose Mourinho’s decision to deploy Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, and Anthony Martial as subs could not save the day.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Lukaku started an exchange with Lingard but side-footed the business end high and wide of the goal.

Sergio Rico was on hand to make his first save on Sevilla, and David De Gea was denied a chance to do the same with Luis Muriel skied over the goal.

Fellaini, a target for several crosses and knockdowns, then worked a 1-2 with Alexis Sanchez which concluded with a Rico save.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Sevilla entered the second half knowing a single goal would do the trick at either 1-0 or 1-1.

Eric Bailly made an outstanding sliding tackle in the box on Joaquin Correa in the 48th minute.

At the other end, Rico got low to get a hand on a Lingard attempt. Sanchez had an attempt blocked, and Fellaini sailed one away from the goal.

Paul Pogba was introduced after the hour mark.

Rashford won a free kick from 19 yards in the 67th minute, but mailed it over the goal.

But it was Sevilla who’d score via a counter attack, with Ben Yedder freezing Bailly with a feint before beating De Gea to the near post.

That moved Juan Mata and Anthony Martial into the fray for Jesse Lingard and Antonio Valencia.

It had the opposite effect in an immediate way, with the fourth official signaling that Ben Yedder’s header was pushed off his own post and into the goal by De Gea.

Chris Smalling missed a back post tap-in moments later for Manchester United. Lukaku couldn’t convert in-tight off a Mata feed in the 82nd.

Lukaku did finish a chance off a corner kick in the 84th minute, rewarded for a physical night’s work but leaving United with six minutes plus stoppage time to score two more goals.

United was denied shouts for an indirect kick inside the six when a blocked Martial shot was seemingly passed back to Rico to collect with his hands. Rashford headed just wide in the 87th minute.

De Gea denied Ben Yedder his hat trick in stoppage time.

Didn’t like Man Utd’s style? Mourinho doesn’t care

AP Photo/Rui Vieira
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Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho knows his rivals Liverpool had the better second half, but his men won 2-1 and he doesn’t care what anyone says about the performance.

  1. He probably does care
  2. He doth protest too much
  3. It doesn’t matter; He outfoxed a fellow master

[ RECAP: Man Utd 2-1 Liverpool ]

There was a bit of Jedi master vs. Jedi master (Galactic Empire vs. Galactic Empire?) here, but Mourinho’s men went ahead on a pair of David De Gea long balls won (eventually) to Marcus Rashford by Romelu Lukaku (The second took a pitstop with Juan Mata).

Parentheses.

But the Red Devils were indeed in control of the match until the final few minutes of desperate defending. Even an Eric Bailly own goal didn’t change much but the score line at Old Trafford.

Here’s Mou:

“Against Liverpool if you play bad when you have the ball you can be in trouble. In the second half it was not our intention – I cannot say this was the plan. Liverpool pushed us into defensive situation but we kept control. It was a complete performance by us with two different halves.

“If people don’t think we deserved it, I don’t care. I am a bit tired, we have a match on Tuesday. I don’t care what people say. The boys are happy, I’m happy.”

He cares (of course he does). It really doesn’t matter. Mourinho got his tactics right against one of the two most dangerous teams in the Premier League, and his men fought hard for the game plan. That’s what matters to the PL Top Four race, one which Unite