Player ratings: Man United vs. Arsenal – Which players shone?

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MANCHESTER — Manchester United beat Arsenal 3-2 in a pulsating clash at Old Trafford on Sunday as Louis Van Gaal‘s injury-hit outfit battled hard and the title-chasing Gunners collapsed.

[ MORE: 3 things learned ]

Marcus Rashford stole the show with two goals and an assist, while Van Gaal’s antics on the sidelines deserve a 10 out of 10 (especially that dive, it wouldn’t look out of place in an Olympic diving competition) with the Dutchman celebrating a big win in their race for a top four place.

Here’s marks out of 10 on every player.

Manchester United

David De Gea – 7 – Two vital stops and always a calming influence as Arsenal pushed for an equalizer late on.

Guillermo Varela – 8 – Superb positional play and won everything in the air. Youngster also impressed going forward. Growing with each game.

Michael Carrick – 7 – Solid from the skipper who tried his best to hold a makeshift defense together.

Daley Blind – 7 – Few giveaways but some good interceptions. Really hard to criticize any of United’s defenders.

Marcos Rojo – 6 – Put in a decent shift until he went off. Arsenal did have some joy down his flank in first half.

Morgan Schneiderlin – 7 – Sat deep and provided the defense with a good shield.

Ander Herrera – 7 – Scored a goal and battled away at the heart of United’s midfield. Didn’t give Ramsey or Coquelin time to breath.

Juan Mata – 6 – Kept things ticking over nicely but didn’t really get a chance to express himself in attack.

Memphis – 8 – Much more like it. Ran at Bellerin all day long and combined well with Rashford. Has he turned the corner?

Jesse Lingard – 7 – Good looping cross for Rashford’s second and always available even if all his tricks didn’t come off.

STAR MAN – Marcus Rashford – 9 – So close to a 10 out of 10 as he scored twice in the first half and set up the third. Sensational from the 18-year-old on his Premier League debut. Four goals in his first two games for United. Wow.

Subs: Tim Fosu-Mensah (on for Rojo, 55′) – 6 – Debutant all over the place defensively. Never looked like he’d played left back before and probably hasn’t but still, full of fight. Adnan Januzaj (on for Rashford, 80′) – 6 – Full of running when he came on. James Weir (on for Herrera, 90′) – 5 – Yet another debutant, the fifth for United in the last week, didn’t have any time to make an impact.


Petr Cech – 6 – Couldn’t do much on the goals and other than that, did his job.

Hector Bellerin – 5 – Didn’t offer an offensive threat and Memphis worked him hard all day long.

Gabriel – 4 – Lost Rashford on both goals. Slow to react and lucky not to have given a PK away in first half.

Laurent Koscielny – 5 – Again, lost track of Rashford on second goal and looked shaky under pressure.

Nacho Monreal – 5 – Should have put Arsenal 1-0 up early on after Ozil’s sublime flick. Will rue that missed chance.

Francis Coquelin – 4 – Poor outing from the usually reliable Frenchman. Lost midfield battle and awful positioning to allow Herrera so much time for United’s third goal.

Aaron Ramsey – 5 – Like Coquelin, was outbattled in midfield and reacted poorly as he pushed over Herrera. Frustrating afternoon.

Alexis Sanchez – 5 – Non-existent. Is he really fully fit? On this showing no. Varela didn’t have too many troubles with him.

Mesut Ozil – 7 – Scored and grabbed an assist. He continues to deliver but couldn’t take over the game when it mattered most. Shackled.

Theo Walcott – 5 – Another who just failed to get going. Got in out wide early on but Arsenal couldn’t find him often. Better as an impact player these days.

Danny Welbeck – 7 – Scored a header and was Arsenal’s biggest attacking threat. Still looks a yard of full fitness but getting there.

Subs: Olivier Giroud (on for Walcott, 63′) – 6 – Had one header goalwards but struggled for service. Mohamed Elneny (on for Coquelin, 70′) – 5 – Hacked down Memphis and that was about it. Alex Iwobi (on for Welbeck, 83′) – 5 – Didn’t get going, not enough time to impact game.

Pogba, De Gea miss Man United training

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It doesn’t seem like either David De Gea or Paul Pogba will play in the UEFA Europa League for Manchester United on Thursday.

Neither stars were training with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side on Wednesday, ahead of the Red Devils playing at Partizan Belgrade.

It is likely both will be saved for their Premier League clash at Norwich City on Sunday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET online via, with Pogba in a race against time to be ready.

Pogba has missed United’s last three games after a reoccurrence of foot and ankle issues, as he travelled to Dubai over the international break to try and get himself fit as soon as possible.

De Gea wasn’t expected to play against Liverpool on Sunday after suffering a thigh injury playing for Spain, but the goalkeeper rushed back and will likely be rested with Sergio Romero set to start on Thursday.

Solskjaer’s injury woes are easing a little with Jesse Lingard returning, while Anthony Martial and Aaron Wan-Bissaka played against Liverpool to give the Red Devils a boost.

Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic are closing in on a return from injury, while Diogo Dalot, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Eric Bailly and now Axel Tuanzebe are out.

With four-straight away games coming up in all competitions, United have reached a pivotal stage of their season after their worst PL start for 30 years.

They play Partizan (Europa League), Norwich, Chelsea (League Cup) and Bournemouth in the next 10 days, and after a morale-boosting performance and draw against Liverpool, Solskjaer is hoping the treatment room continues to empty and confidence continues to build.

Women soccer players to go on strike in Spain

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MADRID (AP) Women soccer players in Spain plan to go on strike after failing to reach a deal with clubs over working hours and minimum wages.

About 200 players met in Madrid late Tuesday and voted in favor of the strike, which is expected to begin in November after legal requirements are met.

More than 90% of voting players favored the strike.

The players’ and clubs’ associations have been in negotiations for a collective agreement over the last year.

They disagree over issues including the clubs’ decision to limit working hours to 20 per week. Players want at least 30 hours to be guaranteed.

More AP soccer: and

Benfica loanee Parks readies for playoffs with NYCFC

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Keaton Parks plays the kind of hard-to-quantify midfield role that sends both stat nerds and eye test takers to a very good place.

Barely 22, the New York City FC midfielder doesn’t stand out in any one particular area. Since arriving on loan from Benfica, the American shuttler (of sorts) ranks near the top of the club rankings in pass percentage and aerials won while chipping in tackles and successful dribbles.

[ MORE: PST talks public pitches, youth development with NYCFC director Reyna ]

He’s averaging near one key pass per game but has just a goal and an assist, due more to his responsibility in Dome Torrent’s system than a particular skill set (He has eight goals and seven assists across two-plus seasons between Varzim and Benfica B).

“In the midfield it really helps to play both sides of the ball,” Parks told ProSoccerTalk. “I take pride in doing that, and I love to make a tackle as much as getting in the attack and assisting or scoring goals. It doesn’t bother me that I’m not scoring or making all of the assists. I like to be the solid player who keeps the balance on the team.”

(Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

Parks has been an enigma to American soccer fans for some time in that he’s been in a celebrated club in Benfica but playing in a developmental role that’s near impossible to track without single-minded dedication to Portuguese football (Dramatic? Sure, but you try to catch every Liga Pro game).

But in moving to New York City FC to play under Dome Torrent, he’s had an easier transition than most due to his upbringing with Benfica, which annually ranks amongst the top possession teams in Portugal. Torrent, of course, left his last managerial gig at Girona in Spain to spent a decade-plus on Pep Guardiola‘s staff at Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester City.

“Dome likes to play a possession style, a confident style,” Parks said. “I still have to fight for my spot on the team but the playing style I was used to right away.

“You can see the experience Dome has, and he mirrors a little bit of what Pep does, so it’s been amazing to be able to learn from him and see the experiences of the players he’s been able to coach in his career.”

NYCFC begins its playoff run on Wednesday against Toronto FC at Citi Field in Queens, and Parks says he’s feeling better after missing three matches with injury.

And while he’s focused on the playoffs — “We want to win the Cup and be at the top” — there is a question of what’s next for him, still on the books at a perennial UEFA Champions League club but very important with a CONCACAF Champions League club.

[ MORE: MLS Playoffs preview/predictions ]

“I’m just going to be looking forward to whatever club I’m at next, whether here or back at Benfica or wherever I am and also with the U-23s going into Tokyo next summer.”

He’ll, in theory, be an imperative part to Jason Kreis, ironically a former NYCFC man himself, and the Yanks bid for a first Olympic run in three cycles. The team should be powerful, and Parks is happy.

“I’m definitely excited,” he said. “We have so much talent on the team with guys playing first division all over the world. I believe we can make a run all the way to these Olympics.”
NYCFC and Toronto FC kick off 7 p.m. ET Wednesday at Citi Field.

MLS conference semifinal preview and predictions

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We’re not sure we should be allowed to make Major League Soccer playoff predictions after getting two upset bids wrong in the first round, but we go again anyway.

No, DC United did not outlast Toronto FC at BMO Field nor were the Portland Timbers able to get a win over Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto but… we got the other four right?

[ MORE: Dest choosing side this week ]

It gets trickier at midweek for the conference semifinals, as two of those six victors from the weekend face well-rested one seeds (We suppose they could be rusty, not just well-rested).

NYCFC v. Toronto FC — 7 p.m. ET Wednesday

Regular season:
TFC 4-0 NYCFC (April 29)
NYCFC 1-1 TFC (Sept. 11)

Toronto hasn’t lost since Aug. 3 (5W-6D) and is well-equipped to deal NYCFC’s possession system on a postage stamp pitch. NYC’s only loss in its last 11 was a throwaway loss to a desperate Revolution side in New England. TFC has a lot of experience in spots like this, but Dome Torrent’s done an incredible job with City. It’s a coin toss, but ultimately it feels like that coin lands TFC side up. 2-1 aet.

Seattle v. Real Salt Lake  — 10 p.m. ET Wednesday

Regular season:
Seattle 1-0 RSL (April 6)
RSL 3-0 Seattle (Aug. 14)

This one’s also close, as RSL has a number of players who won’t be bothered by the pressure but man is this home field advantage a real one. The Sounders only lost two home matches this season, and haven’t lost a home playoff match under Brian Schmetzer. Call it 2-0 for Seattle.

Atlanta United v. Philadelphia Union — 8 p.m. ET Thursday

Regular season:
ATL 1-1 Philly (March 17)
Philly 3-1 ATL (Aug. 31)

The Union are resilient, and Jim Curtin seeing success is an absolute joy. So deserved, but Frank De Boer is showing his mettle in making the tough decisions and Ezequiel Barco looks a terror. A side that is able to bring Tito Villalba and Pity Martinez off the bench is unfair. Atlanta, 3-1.

LAFC v. LA Galaxy — 10:30 p.m. ET Thursday

Regular season:
Galaxy 3-2 LAFC (July 19)
LAFC 3-3 Galaxy (Aug. 25)

Can hardly wait for this one. Bob Bradley and Carlos Vela look to send Zlatan Ibrahimovic packing after a riotous summer competition. LAFC is so, so good, and the lack of rest for the Galaxy is a problem. Still, betting against Zlatan seems borderline insane, and Jonathan dos Santos has big game mettle of his own. We’ll call it 2-2 and a place in penalty kicks, where David Bingham’s the difference for the Galaxy in a history-writing upset that takes El Trafico to the next level. Yes, we are predicting for storylines now.