Superstars Edinson Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Bruno Fernandes didn’t quite save Solskjaer his job. But following the 5-0 hammering at home to Liverpool last weekend, this felt like a huge moment for Solskjaer.
The way he punched the air after every goal and looked in the eyes of the supporters, you got the sense that Solskjaer tried to keep his cool as much as possible.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Solskjaer thanked the supporters and hit back at local journalists who he said had painted a picture of discontent around his reign.
“The most important thing is that the fans, the players and me, that we connect together,” Solskjaer said. “It is hard to be sitting as your local journalist then to write about your own fans singing for your manager… That is just a dig at someone who has been wanting to portray a different story. But these fans are brilliant.”
From Bruno Fernandes’ silky assists for Cristiano Ronaldo’s sublime volley for the opener, and Bruno, Ronaldo and Cavani combining to set up the latter for a second, this was a day where United’s class shone through to move them up to fifth in the table.
Especially from their strike force which had a combined age of 70.
Cavani, Ronaldo ‘two peas in a pod’
It was the forward duo of Ronaldo, 36, and Cavani, 34, who truly stepped up. Their goals, hunger and killer instinct was the difference. Solskjaer has certainly stumbled upon a fine plan to help get Manchester United moving in the right direction again.
“They are fit lads. Their experience came through today. I thought both of them have led the line really well this week. All week. From training Tuesday morning until tonight. It is something we might do later. We might do next game. It is something that worked tonight, that’s for sure,” Solskjaer said.
“Tuesday morning’s training session by Edinson Cavani, it is probably the best I’ve seen by an individual since I’ve come here. He led the line and was a good example for everyone on how to go about changing the mood, changing the performance. The two of them were told early on they were going to play up front as a two and they’ve been like two peas in a pod. They’ve been really close and it worked today. Two excellent goals from the two of them.”
True, they were playing a Tottenham side which is in a rut and were under extreme pressure after plenty of recent defeats, but the way United won was impressive.
From Raphael Varane’s masterful display keeping Harry Kane quiet and marshalling a back three to Scott McTominay and Fred dominating midfield, there was plenty to please Solskjaer.
But, in the end, it was United’s ability to sign genuine superstar talents which dug Solskjaer out of a significant hole. Once again.
Back to basics
Nobody was really surprised when Solskjaer when to a back three and set up United to be tough to break down and dangerous on the counter.
Manchester United looked solid and comfortable, aside from the occasional Heung-min Son run, and this formation suits them. Especially with Cavani and Ronaldo up top.
“There were many things behind the tactics that we used today but one of course is solidity,” Solskjaer said. “We managed to get Raphael [Varane] put him smack bang in the middle of that back four. We needed a clean sheet. We needed to control the game with the ball. We got Edinson and Ronaldo to play together as a front two. We got the width as a the wing backs. Today we felt that worked and it was going to work. Of course, you can change to a back three and you don’t get the result and you get scrutinized. We felt it worked. The coaches have done a very, very good job to put that in place.”
Solskjaer looks ahead
With so many reports about his future, other managers coming in and unrest at the club, even among his playing squad, this has been the toughest week since Solskjaer took charge of Manchester United almost three years ago.
Asked about that, the United legend preached togetherness and staying away from the noise.
“It’s been a difficult week for the players, the club, the fans, for me,” Solskjaer said. “I’ve stayed away from most of the noise but you know what’s happening out there and you need to put a performance in. Every time you lose it’s the worst feeling in the world as a coach, manager or player. You just want the next game to come. We needed this week. We needed a whole week to work on this performance. It was probably the last time for a while we have one week to work. It was an important one to work on fitness, mentality and we changed the tactics so it’s always nice to have four days to do that.”
With a huge UEFA Champions League game at Atalanta in midweek and then the small matter of a Manchester derby against Manchester City at Old Trafford next weekend, the big games keep coming for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Let’s see if his superstars can deliver. And, most importantly, keep fighting for him.
Tied at 0-0 from the first leg of the final in San Nicolas on Thursday, the advantage is with red-hot Chivas as their stunning recent form saw them win their final four games of the Clausura regular season to finish third in the table before beating Atlas and Club America in the playoffs.
Victor Guzman and Alexis Vega are Chivas’ main attacking threats as they will keep it tight defensively and the energy of the home crowd at Akron Stadium should be a huge help as Chivas aim to win their first Clausura title since 2017, when they also beat Tigres in the final.
Tigres finished seventh in the Clausura standings and beat Toluca and Monterrey to reach the final. The duo of Sebastian Cordova and Andre-Pierre Gignac are their main hope of winning on the road in Guadalajara and lifting the trophy.
Below is everything you need for Chivas vs Tigres, one of whom will be crowned as the Clausura champions on Sunday.
Borussia Dortmund gave the Bundesliga title to heated rivals Bayern Munich on a shocking final day in the Bundesliga, a stunning collapse that left a ready-to-party Westfalenstadion in mourners’ status.
Bayern took an early lead through Kingsley Coman at Koln and Dortmund went down 2-0 in the first half versus Mainz, missing a penalty that would’ve tied the score at 1.
Dortmund entered the day with the table lead and dominated Mainz to the tune of 26-7 in shots and 3.64-0.62 in expected goals, but Andreas Hanche-Olsen and Karim Onisiwo’s goals were enough as only Giovanni Reyna’s set-up of Raphael Guerreiro got Dortmund on the board in a 2-1 loss.
Koln briefly gave hope with a penalty equalizer in the 80th minute versus Bayern, but Jamal Musiala’s 89th-minute goal put the defending champions back in front.
Dortmund would’ve won the league by matching or bettering Bayern’s result and but Instead hand an 11th-straight Meisterschale to the Bavarians. No one has won more German top-flight titles than Bayern’s 33.
BVB remains on eight Bundesliga titles and remains one behind Nurnberg, which has not won since 1968.
MAINZ TAKE LEAD AT DORTMUND 🇩🇪 If results hold, Bayern win 11th straight German title. Bundesliga scriptwriters trying to one-up Premier League counterparts.pic.twitter.com/dXn5Ruk5If
Luton Town overcame a blown lead in regulation to earn a place in the Premier League by outlasting Coventry City in penalties during Saturday’s playoff final at Wembley Stadium.
USMNT goalkeeper Ethan Horvath watched as Fankaty Dabo’s penalty sailed over the goal to give the Hatters a 6-5 win after 120 minutes ended 1-1 and neither team missed on 11-straight attempts from the spot.
In 2018 Luton and Coventry were both in the fourth-tier of English football. Now Luton is joining Sheffield United and Burnley in the top flight.
Jordan Clark scored Luton Town’s goal, while Gustavo Hamer leveled the line for Coventry City.
Coventry City vs Luton Town as it happened:
GOAL! Luton’s taken the first five shots of the match and now one’s found the back of the goal. It’s Jordan Clark who belts home in the 23rd minute to put the Hatters on top! Luton Town, 1-0
CHANCE! It’s Elijah Adebayo, who assisted the opener, who can’t quite get a very decent chance right, as Luton is looking to put an early vice grip on the final. Still 1-0, 30′.
Shots are up to 9-0 in favor of the Hatters but the total xG is still below 1.00. Coventry has to wake up, but maybe they’d take getting to halftime down one at this point.
The 11th shot of the game is Coventry’s, and it’s a high volley that slashed over the goal. Off-balance and improbable, but Coventry will be hopeful it’s a sign that they’re coming into the affair; Soon after, a rush is bungled but into the Luton third.
HALFTIME: Luton Town 1, Coventry City 0 — (Clark 23′)
SECOND HALF: Coventry has more of the ball and is building off its late first half, but Luton looks well-drilled into its system despite the concession of some set pieces.
Good news on a scary-looking injury for Luton star Tom Lockyer:
We are able to report that after collapsing on the pitch, Tom Lockyer has been taken to hospital for further tests.
He is responsive and talking to his family, who are with him.
GOAL! And the Sky Blues are level! It’s Brazilian-born Dutch youth international Gustavo Hamer who has it so with a solid finish, though the playmaking’s come from star performer Viktor Gyokeres. It’s all on now at Wembley! 1-1, 66′
A dangerous free kick in stoppage time for Luton after a very questionable foul, but fate makes sure this one doesn’t end with ignominy. Are we headed for penalties? Extra time is almost certain deep in stoppage.
xG is basically even after 90 minutes, as are shot attempts, and anything can happen when it comes to the 20th berth in the 2023-24 Premier League season.
END OF 90: Coventry City 1, Luton Town 1 — (Clark 23′, Hamer 66′)
INJURY! USMNT keeper Ethan Horvath is down for treatment 11 minutes into the first frame of extra time, which has otherwise been a scrappy period. Looks like he’s going to try to continue despite dropping to the pitch after a long goal kick.
END OF FIRST ET PERIOD: Coventry City 1, Luton Town 1 — (Clark 23′, Hamer 66′)
Not much happened there. Nerves? Can someone seize history in the next 15 or will we go to pens?
NO GOAL! Joe Taylor has it in the goal for Luton off a bad giveaway but VAR, not used in the regular season, spots a handball and the Hatters won’t win it here. We’re going to penalties.
END OF SECOND ET PERIOD: Coventry City 1, Luton Town 1 — (Clark 23′, Hamer 66′)
Horvath was a penalty hero for the USMNT in the CONCACAF Nations League against Mexico, while well-traveled Ben Wilson is between the sticks for Coventry. Here we go…
X Carlton Morris goal for Luton 1-0
X Matty Godden goal for Coventry 1-1
X Taylor goal for Luton 2-1
X Viktor Gyokeres goal for Coventry 2-2
X Marvelous Nakamba goal for Luton 3-2
X Ben Sheaf goal for Coventry 3-3
X Jordan Clark goal for Luton 4-3
X Josh Eccles goal for Coventry 4-4
X Luke Berry goal for Luton 5-4
X Liam Kelly goal for Coventry 5-5
X Daniel Potts goal for Luton 6-5
X Fankaty Dabo miss for Coventry 6-5
Coventry City vs Luton Town player ratings: Stars of the Show
The managers and star players
Luton Town boss Rob Edwards left rival club Watford in November and the risky maneuver has paid off for the coach and club. Viktor Gyokeres is the club’s 21-goal scoring hero and he’s chipped in 11 assists as well, and Gustavo Hamer has been sensational as well.
Coventry City manager Mark Robins has been with the club since 2017 and it’s been up-up-up. Carlton Morris leads the way with 20 goals, while Alfie Doughty and Tom Lockyer have been key players, too, with Lockyer scoring in three of the Hatters’ last four matches.
Championship playoff schedule, how to watch, updates
Dates: Final – Saturday, May 27 at 11:45am ET Updates: Via scoreboard on NBCSports.com How to watch: ESPN+
Can Manchester United’s new-look side keep its place in the top four? What about Newcastle? Is Tottenham going to turn things around to claim a place or will another new name, Brighton or Aston Villa, make their claim? Liverpool’s not out of this, either…
How will the new boys get on? Who will be the surprise package? Can Chelsea salvage any pride from the season? Who will stay up in the congested scrap against relegation?
Those questions will be answered from August 2022 to May 2023, with the full list of Premier League fixtures.
While below are the answers to all of the questions you have around the Premier League fixtures and everything else you need to know for the upcoming season, with full details on the Premier League TV schedule across the NBC family of channels and more.
The Premier League fixtures for the 2022-23 season were announced on Thursday June 16, 2022 at 4am ET. Below is the full schedule, as you can watch all 380 games across our NBC platforms.
The Premier League fixture computer decides who plays who and when, as teams located close to one another are usually playing at home on opposite weekends to help with policing, crowd control and transport congestion in those areas.
When did the Premier League take a break for the 2022 World Cup?
When will the 2022-23 Premier League season finish?
The final day of the season will be on Sunday, May 28, 2023.
Which teams will compete in the 2022-23 Premier League?
These are the 20 teams which will compete in the Premier League for the upcoming season:
Arsenal, Aston Villa, Bournemouth, Brentford, Brighton and Hove Albion, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham, Leeds United, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest, Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Wolverhampton Wanderers