Stoke City 2-0 Manchester United: Van Gaal on the brink

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  • United without a win in 7 games
  • Stoke now 3 points behind United
  • 3-straight PL defeats for United

Stoke City beat Manchester United 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday as Louis Van Gaal‘s Boxing Day was a miserable one.

First half goals from Bojan Krkic and Marko Arnautovic did the damage as Stoke have now beaten Chelsea, Manchester City and now United at home this season.

Mark Hughes‘ side move on to 26 points with the win, while United remain on 29 points and are in a monumental rut having now lost four games in a row in all competitions for the first time in a season since 1961.

Van Gaal is in real danger of losing his job with United’s directors reportedly telling him to win at least two of their three festive fixtures to survive being sacked. Well, United and LVG have lost the opening two.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Stoke looked composed and dangerous on the break early on with Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri making plenty of runs in-behind United’s defense at a blustery Britannia Stadium. The away side had a few chances but it was Stoke who raced into an early 2-0 lead to pile the pressure on Van Gaal.

First a lovely dinked ball from U.S. international Geoff Cameron found Glen Johnson in-behind Memphis and as the United attacker tried to head back to David De Gea he got it all wrong to let in Johnson who squared the ball to Bojan to make it 1-0.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Inside 25 minutes it was 2-0 as a foul on the edge of the box saw Bojan line up a free kick. His effort smashed into the wall but the rebound fell to Arnautovic 25-yards out and the Austrian sent a missile into the net as the Britannia went wild. 2-0 to Stoke as Van Gaal and his coaching staff sunk into their seats.

A free kick from Memphis was parried out to the crowd of players in the box and Fellaini’s follow-up went straight at Jack Butland with the goal gaping. Arnautovic was clean though in the 35th minute after a great ball from Bojan but he smashed his effort just wide as Stoke threatened to run away with things in the first half.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Wayne Rooney came on at half time to try and rescue the situation and United improved with Ashley Young whipping in a great cross that just missed everyone.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Butland drilled a long punt forward which set Arnautovic free but the Austrian fell over the ball when bearing down one-on-one with United’s last man and they were almost made to pay for that miss.

After that Rooney turned inside the box and sent a superb cut-back to Fellaini six-yards out but Butland made a terrific reaction stop from the Belgian’s effort and Stoke remained 2-0 up and threatened on the counter in the closing stages.

Butland agains saved well from Anthony Martial and Juan Mata late on but Stoke easily held on for yet another impressive home victory to hammer another nail in LVG’s managerial coffin.

Champions League wrap: PSV strikes late to win thriller (video)

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Five first legs of the UEFA Champions League’s second qualifying round are in the books, including a thrilling back-and-forth with a show-stopping stoppage time winner.

[ MORE: Rodgers talks down Maguire sale ]

PSV Eindhoven 3-2 FC Basel

Bruma scored a debut opener for the Dutch hosts, who fell behind 2-1 in the 79th minute before Sam Lammers and Donyell Malen struck in the 89th minute and second minute of stoppage, respectively, to put PSV ahead.

Basel will be okay taken two away goals home via Albian Aljeti and Omar Alderete.

Lammers came in for Mexican star Hirving Lozano in the 79th minute to score the leveler within 10 minutes before Malen, who went the full 90, kept his focus to deliver this clever winner.

The New Saints 0-2 Copenhagen

Pieros Sotiriou and Robert Skov scored on either side of halftime to give the Danish powers a healthy advantage heading into the second leg.

FK Sutjeska 0-1 APOEL Nicosia
Saburtalo 0-2 Dinamo Zagreb
Viktoria Plzen 0-0 Olympiacos

BATE Borisov v. Rosenborg — 1 p.m. ET
Ferencvaros v. Valletta — 2 p.m. ET
CFR Cluj v. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2 p.m. ET
Maribor v. AIK — 2:15 p.m. ET
Red Star Belgrade v. HJK Helsinki — 2:45 p.m. ET
Dundalk v. Qarabag — 2:45 p.m. ET
Celtic v. Nomme Kalju — 2:45 p.m. ET

Rodgers says no close bids for Maguire

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Those tired of seeing Harry Maguire‘s name in the headlines, hoping his transfer saga had concluded with weekend reports that Manchester United agreed to a fee with Leicester City, well, they are going to be sorely disappointed.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers credited Maguire for his professionalism — the center back scored in a friendly win on Tuesday — and said that the club’s vice chairman Aiyawatt “Top” Srivaddhanaprabha has not received a fitting bid for the 26 year old’s services.

From The Leicester Mercury:

“There’s no big pressure to sell any player. If a player does leave Leicester City, then the player would need to be met because we have a top-level player, coveted by top-level clubs and I respect that,” Rodgers said. “Harry is on a long contract here and there’s been no valuation or near to that which would make Top have a look.”


Look, we’ve still got a few weeks until the close of the window, and every supporter has a target they want their club to acquire and some have some assets they hope stay in the same shirt at the deadline.

The Maguire story is getting a bit tedious now. He wants to go to Manchester United, but Rodgers is happy to keep him at Leicester. Maguire’s not the player who will quit on the club if he’s not sold, and Leicester’s hope of landing a replacement will dip as the deadline draws nearer and clubs like Burnley (James Tarkowski) realize their replacements options have been lessened by the wait.

Janssen leaves Spurs for Liga MX in $8M deal

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Vincent Janssen‘s less-than-ideal tenure with Tottenham Hotspur has come to its end, and he’s moving his way to this side of the Atlantic.

Liga MX side Monterrey has agreed to buy Janssen, Spurs announced Tuesday. The deal is for a reported $8 million.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

The Dutchman turned 25 this summer. He played just 42 times for Spurs after arriving from AZ Alkmaar for around $25 million in 2016, scoring six times, but did manage five goals and four assists in a half-year loan to Fenerbahce in 2017-18.

Janssen saw his time with the Netherlands national team peter out during his tenure at Spurs. After a red-hot start, he has not been capped since 2017. Janssen has seven goals in 17 caps.

His time at Spurs cannot be labeled as anything but a gigantic bust, but Janssen is still pretty young and has a chance to recapture his career momentum.

And he looks pretty happy about it.

Transfer gossip: Newcastle eyes 2nd Brazilian, USMNT’s Arriola on move

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Two players from the Western hemisphere may be heading across the Atlantic, one of whom is very familiar to American eyes.

[ MORE: Rich new deal for Hudson-Odoi ]

DC United winger Paul Arriola could be leaving Major League Soccer in a return to Liga MX or a move abroad to Europe.

CBS’ Roger Gonzalez says some of the big boys in Mexico are after the former LA Galaxy youth product who got his start at Club Tijuana.

Arriola, 24, has 28 caps with five goals and five assists for the USMNT, blooded by Jurgen Klinsmann in 2016. He has 12 goals and 10 assists in 57 matches for DC United since arriving from Tijuana.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

Next up: Newcastle United may be in for another Brazilian attacker.

Marrony is the name, and Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol says the Magpies were alerted to his potential by the same source who claimed they were after Joelinton (who signed today after a $50 million deal).

The 20-year-old has a reported $37 million release clause, a left winger has a goal and an assist in two seasons with Vasco da Gama in Brazil. He also scored five times in 15 appearances for the club in the state league.

It feels a bit like a red herring or straight-up agent speak, but the Joelinton deal seemed unusual as well (albeit in a different way).