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Alan Shearer says Ibrahimovic needs a strike partner at Manchester United

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Legendary Newcastle striker Alan Shearer believes he can solve Manchester United’s misfires up front.

The Red Devils have not won a Premier League match since late September, and they have gone three straight matches without scoring a goal, a run of 290 minutes. Star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has gone a whopping six league matches without scoring, the first time in his career since his time at Inter in 2007.

According to Shearer, Ibrahimovic needs a partner with speed up front to open things up for the Swedish superstar, relating to the twilight of his own career.

“[Ibrahimovic] looked better when [Marcus] Rashford went up front with him in the second-half. It added more pace to the game,” Shearer said on BBC’s Match of the Day, referring to Saturday’s match against Burnley. “Ibrahimovic has never been blessed with great pace, but when you get to your thirties, you lose a yard of pace. Craig Bellamy came to help me at Newcastle with his pace.

“I feel as though that’s what Manchester United need, to have him up front along with Rashford to ask more questions going in behind rather than facing up all the time.”

Manchester United pumped 37 shots towards the Burnley net, but failed to produce anything tangible as Clarets goalkeeper Tom Heaton 11 saves in a fabulous effort. Rashford started the match and played 82 minutes before being replaced by Memphis Depay.

Ibrahimovic played alongside Edison Cavani for most of his time at Paris Saint-Germain, with the Uruguayan providing both pace and width up front which opened things up Zlatan to make his mark in the penalty area. Rashford would offer a similar skill set to Cavnai, and while Jose Mourinho could deploy a two-striker formation, he hasn’t been known to do so in the past, often playing with a single striker up top in both his spells at Chelesa. However, at Manchester United, Shearer believes Mourinho is still working on how to get the best out of his players on the pitch.

“He doesn’t know his best XI yet,” Shearer said. “He’s playing around with the team and the formation as well. He’s still trying to work it all out.”

If history tells us anything, it’s that Zlatan will break out of his slump in a big way. During that 2007 slump with Inter Milan, Ibrahimovic failed to score for the entirety of October and November before finally kicked his streak by scoring six goals in his next five league matches, including back-to-back braces.

Rapids name Robin Fraser as head coach

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) The Colorado Rapids have named former Major League Soccer player and longtime assistant Robin Fraser as their head coach.

Fraser steps in for Conor Casey, who’s been the interim coach since the team fired Anthony Hudson in May. Colorado is 7-14-6 and at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Fraser’s first match in charge will be Saturday at the New York Red Bulls.

The 52-year-old Fraser has served as an assistant coach at Toronto FC since 2015.

Fraser was the fourth overall pick in the 1996 MLS player draft by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Over his career, Fraser suited up for the Galaxy, the Rapids and the Columbus Crew. He said in a statement Sunday he considers Colorado home because he’s so familiar with the soccer community.

Rapids general manager Padraig Smith said Fraser has a “deep knowledge of what it takes to be successful in MLS.”

Pochettino upset with attacking stars, speaks on Eriksen status

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Mauricio Pochettino might’ve understood Tottenham Hotspur dropping points last week at Man City, but he didn’t plan on not taking anything from Newcastle United on Sunday at home.

“You need the capacity to step up in this type of situation but we didn’t show that quality today,” Pochettino said. “When the ball arrives in the last third you need something from the talent and quality we have there and today we didn’t have that.”

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle | Bruce reacts ]

So that’s pretty straight forward, but Pochettino was less happy to answer the question of why he didn’t start Christian Eriksen. Some (read: this writer) have questioned the philosophy of putting a man you may sell for $50 million on the bench. Either put him in the Starting XI and risk him, or leave him off the 18.

“When you lose, the players who don’t play are the best. With Christian we win and we lose a lot of games. I accept that situation is like this. If we won 3-0 today no one talks about different names.

“I cannot find excuses about the transfer window being open to justify that performance or the result. We cannot find the way to be solid and to have consistency for different reasons. I am going to be happy in 10 days after we play Arsenal when the transfer window closes in Europe and to have the player involved until the transfer window again in January.”

We’re not gonna read too much into it, but it does sound a bit like Pochettino is daring teams to bid for Eriksen. Would it make sense for him to hold onto Eriksen until January before cashing in?

Newcastle’s Bruce heard criticism, happy to beat Spurs

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Steve Bruce heard a lot of the criticism from fans upon his hiring at Newcastle United, and it rang out louder after the Magpies started 0-2 including a loss at newly-promoted Norwich City.

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle ]

He may well hear plenty more down the road, but the childhood Newcastle supporter was feeling relieved and maybe redeemed after a fortunate and wonderful 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. From the BBC:

“We came to this fantastic stadium, this fantastic club and we performed. I mean, to say I ‘cannot even do a warm up’ is mad. I have managed 900-odd games and over the years you would think there would be some sort of respect but I go back to the fact that whoever took over from Rafa Benitez was going to get the abuse.”

Newcastle faces struggling Watford at St. James’ Park next week, and another result will ease a lot of nerves (though certainly not all of them.

Wolves snatch late point versus Burnley

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Raul Jimenez’s penalty seven minutes into stoppage time gave Wolves a point with a 1-1 draw against Burnley on Sunday at the Molineux Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Wolves now have three draws in three matches, while Burnley has four points.


Three things

  1. We’re paying rent in Ashley Barnes‘ world — Known most for his combustible, some-would-say dirty nature, the Burnley striker now has four goals this early season and more than one, including Sunday’s opener, have been bangers.
  2. Nuno’s men could use a break — Wolves fought well, but you can tell the Europa League schedule has heavily taxed their spirit. How tired are they? Here are the thoughts of an exhausted Raul Jimenez, and you can read the “Thank you, God” inside them –> “I think [the penalty] is the right decision. When I get in possession he tried to kick the ball, then he kicked me. It came at a good moment for us.”
  3. Don’t ever bet against Sean Dyche — We’ve written it 100 times. The big man can get a result from anywhere, at any time.

Burnley was easily the better unit over the first 45 minutes, and was rewarded with a goal even after VAR ruled one out.

Barnes chested a neatly-headed flick into shooting position and unleashed a missile that zipped past Rui Patricio for a 1-0 lead.

Both sides began the second half brightly, with Morgan Gibbs-White lashed a shot offf the outside of the netting and Barnes unable to get purchase on a ball over the top of the Wolves back line.

But Erik Pieters cut down Jimenez in the box late to set the Mexican international up for a win.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]