Andreas Pereira

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Man United cruise to 5-0 lead in Europa League last-16 (video)

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Manchester United all but sealed their place in the Europa League quarterfinals — should the competition continue over the coming days and weeks — with a 5-0 demolition of LASK in the two sides’ round-of-16 first-leg clash in Linz, Austria, on Thursday.

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The game was played in an empty stadium due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Five different Red Devils scored on the day, including a pair of forwards in January signing Odion Ighalo and 18-year-old Mason Greenwood.

Ighalo tallied his fourth goal (all competitions) since joining Man United on transfer deadline day, with his second in the Europa League. While he is still awaiting his first Premier League goal for the club, he appeared to be in fine form with his left-footed strike to open scoring in the 28th minute.

Daniel James and Juan Mata made it 2-0 and 3-0, respectively, before Greenwood pinged the ball off both posts before sneaking over the goal line in the 91st minute. Andreas Pereira added a fifth for good measure just seconds after the restart.

United are tentatively scheduled to host LASK for the second leg at Old Trafford next Thursday.

More coronavirus connections to soccer:

How will Man City, Man Utd line up in Sunday’s derby?

Manchester derby
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The Manchester derby will be missing some key pieces when City visits United on Sunday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Harry Maguire is doubtful for the Red Devils, likely to join Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford as key pieces unable to tangle with the “noisy neighbors.”

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City’s banged up, too, as Kevin De Bruyne is in doubt to play while Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane remain absent.

It will likely be City’s first look at Bruno Fernandes, who has three goals and two assists in seven appearances for the Red Devils.

Both teams played at midweek against Championship competition, City outlasting Sheffield Wednesday and United taking care of Derby County.

How the managers respond to derby stakes but fixture congestion is interesting, especially for City; The two-time reigning league champions have a rescheduled match with Arsenal on Wednesday.

Manchester United projected XI

De Gea

 Wan-Bissaka — Lindelof — Bailly — Williams

McTominay — Matic —  Fred

Fernandes

Martial — Greenwood

Why: Solskjaer will bring his hard men to the midfield and hope Fernandes, Martial, Greenwood, and his fullbacks can carve up City on the counter. He’ll save Juan Mata and Andreas Pereira to come off the bench.

Manchester City projected XI

Ederson

Walker — Otamendi — Fernandinho — Mendy

Rodri — Gundogan

Mahrez — Foden — Sterling

Aguero

This could see Bernardo Silva played centrally for Foden and Jesus over Aguero, but we have Guardiola rewarding Foden for his sensational League Cup Final.

Man United held at Club Brugge (video)

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Man United were held to a 1-1 draw away at Club Brugge in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 tie as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side battled back from a sloppy start to stretch their unbeaten run to five games in all competitions.

Emmanuel Bonaventure (commonly known as Dennis) scored a beautiful opener to put Brugge ahead but United equalized through Anthony Martial and he also hit the post as the Red Devils looked more dangerous as both teams had chances in a tight, tense encounter.

The two teams met for the second leg at Old Trafford next Thursday, Feb. 27.

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Brugge almost scored with their first attack as Dennis caused havoc behind Luke Shaw and a combination of Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic cleared the ball from danger from close range.

Andreas Pereira fired in a low shot which Simon Mignolet saved well but moments later Brugge were ahead.

Nemanja Matic thought he had won a corner kick but a goal kick was given and former Liverpool goalkeeper Mignolet caught out the entire Man United defense with a long ball over the top to find Dennis who lobbed the ball over a stranded Sergio Romero and in.

Hans Vanaken, Mats Rits and Dennis then all went close to doubling Brugge’s lead as United’s defense was all over the place.

United did draw level before half time as a loose throw-in from Brugge caused their own problems and Martial powered towards goal and calmly slotted home to make it 1-1.

Brandon Williams missed a good chance and Mignolet then pushed Martial’s shot onto the post as United came alive after their opening goal.

In the second half Man United continued to improve as Diogo Dalot‘s cross found Jesse Lingard who flicked wide, while Martial and Juan Mata then combined but Brugge managed to block the danger at the last moment.

At the other end Dennis was denied as Romero saved well down low at the near post and late on Dennis bamboozled Harry Maguire before crossing for Odilon Kossounou who somehow scuffed his shot wide.

Man United finished with a flourish as new signings Odion Ighalo and Bruno Fernandes came on off the bench to try and help the Red Devils grab a winner and although they both looked lively, United couldn’t find a late goal.

Player ratings from Chelsea 0-2 Manchester United

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Manchester United defeated Chelsea 2-0 on Monday at Stamford Bridge, moving the Red Devils to within three points of their fourth-place hosts.

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Who were the stars and the duds? Read on…

Chelsea

Willy Caballero — 6 — Just one save on the day.

Reece James — 5 — A miserable in 50/50s for a promising player.

Antonio Rudiger — 6 — Lost Maguire on United’s second goal but was otherwise strong

Andreas Christensen — 6.5 — Strong and fought through a bloodied nose before succumbing to the injury at halftime, but couldn’t stop Martial from making it 1-0.

Cesar Azpilicueta — 6 — Okay day, but rightly or wrongly his shove cost Chelsea a goal (Probably wrongly).

Mateo Kovacic — 8 — He was everywhere. According to Sofascore, Kovacic had over 100 touches, 87 percent passing, two key passes, four of five dribbles and 8-of-14 in duels to go with an interception, three clearances, and three tackles.

Jorginho — 8 — Exceptional. Nailed eight of his nine long balls and passed at 94 percent. A maestro.

N’Golo Kante — N/A — Only a dozen minutes before his injury-riddled season met February head-on.

Willian — 7 — Couldn’t get Chelsea on the board, so we shouldn’t praise him too much, but the Brazilian doesn’t get enough love for his willingness and adeptness in tackling.

Pedro — 7 — Three key passes highlight an active day.

Michy Batshuayi — 5 — Couldn’t finish some prime chances, and caught an unpunished boot to the groin. Insult meet injury. Zero shots on target.

Subs

Mason Mount — 6 — Nearly had an assist if not for Olivier Giroud‘s offside toes.

Kurt Zouma — 7 — Came off the bench to score, though it was pulled off the board by VAR. Won six of seven duels, and was steady at the back.

Olivier Giroud — 6 — Nearly had a goal if not for his toes and the timing of a freeze frame.


Manchester United

David De Gea — 6 — Hardly-tested, but did have one fine save.

Luke Shaw — 6 — Not bad.

Harry Maguire — 8 — How do you rate a man who should’ve been sent off but was otherwise a beast and scored a terrific insurance goal? I guess we’re saying you rate him as if he wasn’t sent off, which he wasn’t.

Eric Bailly — 7 — One really poor moment early, but rebounded and showed terrific skill in recovery, tackling, and even moving the ball forward via dribble.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka — 8 — He may end up being the best signing of the summer (Sorry Harry). Terrific assist, four clearances, three blocked shots, two interceptions, and a tackle.

Brandon Williams — 7 — Steadier than his 19 years would have you imagine.

Nemanja Matic — 7 — Busy in the middle, albeit quieter than usual.

Fred — 7 — Got away with one thanks to VAR.

Bruno Fernandes — 7 — Continued to flash his supreme talent, though the end product eluded him.

Daniel James — 5 — Looked busy, but not productive.

Anthony Martial — 7 — Terrific header on the goal, and was industrious in trying to produce. more.

Subs

Andreas Pereira — N/A

Odion Ighalo — N/A

Diogo Dalot — N/A

Man Utd, Wolves split spoils at Old Trafford

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There was nothing to separate Manchester United and Wolves in a scoreless draw at Old Trafford on Saturday.

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It was a terrific advertisement for Portugal, with Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves, and Bruno Fernandes all putting together performances on the day.

The points earned move both to 35 points, one behind fifth-place Sheffield United.


Three things we learned

1. Fernandes the real deal: Bruno Fernandes didn’t get on the score sheet on debut, but the big money January signing showed United fans what they already knew they were missing. The Portuguese had over 100 touches, three shots on target, and a penchant for finding dangerous spaces. As much as any player can be worth the big prices thrown around these days, Fernandes showed signs of being worth his.

2. Wolves run the midfield, still: While Fernandes was pretty good and plenty promising, Wolves’ midfield duo of Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho were the momentum merchants over 90 minutes. United had most of the ball, but Neves and Moutinho were sure to make sure the spaces to make plays were mostly well outside the danger areas.

3. Red Devils defend well: The Wolves back line wasn’t your proverbial chopped liver, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s men had a day. Even in moments when they were skinned, like Diogo Jota dicing up Victor Lindelof, the others were there to deal with the danger. Both Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka had key moments out wide, and Maguire was strong in the middle.

Man of the Match: Moutinho posted 89 percent passes and connected on five of six long passes while winning seven of 10 duels, making six tackles and three interceptions.


Both clubs had chances early, the best an Andreas Pereira arrow well wide of the goal.

Wolves star Raul Jimenez was his influential self, and United needed Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire interventions in the first 23 minutes.

Adama Traore rocketed a 35th minute shot just over the goal.

Juan Mata laid off for Bruno Fernandes to rifle at Rui Patricio in the 40th, and Fernandes mishit another bid within 45 seconds.

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Diogo Jota cooked Victor Lindelof in one of two early second half moments of promise without end product for Wolves.

Fred had a penalty call go unheard when his shot struck Joao Moutinho’s arm, and Fernandes hit a hopeful ball to Patricio as the match neared its final 20 minutes.

Substitute Mason Greenwood smashed a shot that took two turns before Patricio collected it in the 79th.

Maguire was denied off a set piece when Patricio raced off his line to close down the big back.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent in a beautiful cross in the fourth minute of stoppage time, but Diogo Dalot‘s stooping header bounded wide of the frame.