Ashley Young

Rashford ruins Mourinho’s Old Trafford return

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Marcus Rashford scored twice to ruin Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford, as Manchester United topped Spurs 2-1 on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The win propelled United ahead of Spurs and into sixth place, eight points back of the Top Four.

Dele Alli scored a wonderful goal for Tottenham, who drops into eight with 20 points.


Three things we learned

1. Rashford ruins reunion in eye-popping fashion: Put simply, Rashford was everywhere. The English center forward scored twice, the second a conversion of a penalty he won. He also smashed a distance shot that Paulo Gazzaniga saved in outstanding fashion, and completed five dribbles. A forceful day.

2. McTominay all important to banner moment for under-fire Solskjaer: Mourinho brought Scott McTominay into United’s first team, and will rue how influential the Scottish international was in marshaling the hosts’ midfield. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s future has been in question, but his game plan worked despite the absences of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial. It’s a very good moment for the Norwegian’s hopes of extending life at Old Trafford.

3. Maguire, Lindelof put clamps on Kane : Tottenham’s star center forward had an awful day at the office, completing under 60 percent of his passes and managing two shots: one off target and another blocked by United.

Man of the Match: Rashford.


United took the lead when Jesse Lingard back heeled the ball to Rashford, who was wide open thanks to the laissez-faire marking of Serge Aurier. Rashford beat Paulo Gazzaniga to the near post for 1-0 in the sixth minute. The keeper will have wanted to do much better.

Spurs seemed to snap awake after the concession, and the next big moment was a slide from Daniel James that felled Mourinho on the touch line and left the United attacker requiring medical treatment.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Fred won a dangerous free kick in the 17th minute, and Rashford spun it just wide of the upper 90.

Gazzaniga made a fine low save on Mason Greenwood in the 23rd, a slight bit of redemption.

Rashford was feeling it, and tore into a 30-yard shot that Gazzaniga somehow pushed off the cross bar.

Dele continued his resurgence with a gorgeous flick in traffic to fool Fred and Ashley Young before lashing past De Gea for 1-1.

Moussa Sissoko conceded a penalty to give Rashford a chance to put United in front, and the Englishman delivered the goods after a stuttering run-up.

Gazzaniga stopped a James shot in the 69th minute to keep it 2-1. Spurs kept pressing, and De Gea made a fine denial of a Dele shot deep in stoppage time.

Woodward insinuates new contracts at Man United down to transfer struggles

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Ed Woodward rarely speaks publicly as he leads Manchester United through a season of struggles, but his most recent words have given further ammunition to those who criticize the squad talent level.

Speaking after the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa while piled more pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Woodward was asked about the multitude of new contracts given to players at Manchester United rather than attempting to upgrade positions of weakness. His answer seemed to admit transfer window failings and that contract extensions were fallback options.

“It’s hard enough to get three players done in a transfer window,” Woodward said. “To get six or seven done is extremely difficult if you are getting proper talent. If you choose to churn every player because they are not good enough and you’re not extending contracts, you are putting yourself at risk of execution. Sometimes you have to take a broader view.”

Manchester United has signed players like Phil Jones, Andreas Pereira, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, and Ashley Young were all extended in the past calendar year, and all those players have at times heard noise about their Red Devils’ futures. Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo also received new contracts last fall. The club has also given extensions to David De Gea, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, and Victor Lindelof, although those players have been far less criticized for their performances on the pitch.

It doesn’t help that the few players offloaded this summer have performed well overseas, as Romelu Lukaku has built a strong partnership with Lautaro Martinez at Inter Milan while Chris Smalling has helped Roma to one of the best defenses in Serie A.

“It’s a multi-year squad evolution analysis,” Woodward said, seeming to brush squad decisions off as more than just the struggles faced this season.

Manchester United runs past Partizan

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Manchester United outclassed Partizan Belgrade in a 3-0 win on Thursday, cementing its status in the knockout rounds of the Europa League.

Mason Greenwood had a goal and an assist, while Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial also scored at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

United beat Partizan 1-0 in Belgrade, and sits six points clear of them. AZ Alkmaar also won today and has eight points to the Red Devils’ 10.


Three things we learned

1. Red Devils follow plan to a 3: This fixture was always supposed to be straightforward, and United was able to put it on cruise control with goals from Greenwood and Martial before halftime. Rashford blasted an Ashley Young feed home four minutes into the second half to cast out any thoughts of a Partizan comeback. As a bonus, the domination — Shots were 14-2 — allowed 18-year-old James Garner to get a half hour run.

2. Teenage dream: Greenwood turned 18 just five weeks ago, but he finishes like a season veteran. Look how coolly he slots home near post while giving the far post eyes. He’s yet to score in 11 Premier League appearances, but those goals are coming, aren’t they? Now if only the Red Devils supporters and the media can avoid demanding he score 30 a season before he’s ready (looks at Marcus Rashford).

3. In-form Rashford finding his groove: United’s 22-year-old striker got on the score sheet for the fourth time in five matches. He was blanked against Bournemouth at the weekend but now has five goals and an assist in his last quintet of matches. The expectations placed on him so early in his career were stupid, but they’ve created a pretty hardened man. Now if only he can figure out that whole penalty thing.

Man of the Match: Rashford.

Player ratings from Manchester United-Liverpool

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Manchester United’s late letdown denied Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a statement victory against Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool, as both managers had their moments at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Man Utd 1-1 Liverpool ]

The players, too, were a mixed bag, as Liverpool missed Mohamed Salah in a big way in a game that also cried out for Paul Pogba.

Manchester United

David De Gea — 6 — Not a ton to do, and would’ve had to have been a super hero to deny the goal.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka — 7 — Was very good for most of the match, though either Andreas Pereira or him failed to bother Andy Robertson‘s cross for the equalizer.

Marcos Rojo — 5 — A solid step-in performance right up until he committed to block Robertson’s cross and missed it, allowing Lallana a tap-in.

Victor Lindelof — 6 — Got away with a foul on Origi in the build-up to United’s goal, but otherwise well within himself.

Harry Maguire — 7 — Marshaled a surprising back three very well.

Ashley Young — 6 — All over the place, sometimes in the good way and sometimes in the bad.

Fred — 5 — Like watching a whirlwind, it’s difficult to tell whether his activity is influential in a positive light or just making up for lack of positional awareness.

Scott McTominay — 7 — He’s a big, strong, heady youngster, and did well in a midfield match-up which was considering to be a lopsided disadvantage.

Andreas Pereira (Off 90′) — 5 — Ran his shorts off, but so many needless fancy first half touches. Imagine Pogba in his place executing this game plan, and it may’ve been 3-1 at the break.

Daniel James — 7 — Took a beating and contributed plenty at the back end, and that’s without mentioning his cross for Rashford’s goal.

Marcus Rashford (Off 84′) — 7 — A slow start gave way to a star turn, with his goal the highlight but his industry what made him a MOTM candidate.

Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer — 8 — Would’ve liked to see Martial or Mata for Pereira earlier, but the back three was as gutsy and proper trap for Klopp, one that clearly upset the Liverpool boss. With Mohamed Salah out, the move blossomed further.

Subs:
Anthony Martial (On 84′) — N/A
Brandon Williams (On 90′) — N/A

Liverpool

Alisson Becker — 6 — One save and one clearance in a non-descript match.

Andrew Robertson — 7 — Relentless as usual and got his assist through traffic to keep the undefeated record in play. Caught out of the camera on United’s goal, but that’s a symptom of the system.

Virgil Van Dijk — 6 — Fine. Would’ve liked him to do something instead of playing a mile off of James’ run, but expecting heroism in every game is a lot for a center back.

Joel Matip — 5 — A step back for the newly-resigned center back, as he couldn’t cut out James’ cross on the goal.

Trent Alexander-Arnold — 5 — Ten crosses. One on the mark. A decent-enough day in his own end, but far from his standard without Mohamed Salah.

Fabinho — 6 — Hard-edged when the Reds were sleeping.

Jordan Henderson (Off 71′) — 4 — Sloppy and grew more so after the break, clearly frustrated by the atmosphere. Took a decent chance to trouble De Gea and sliced it into outer space.

Georginio Wijnaldum (Off 82′)  — 7 — A curious sub, as the Dutch international looked one of the few players capable of supplying something special.

Sadio Mane — 6 — Has a goal in a world without silly handball rules. Otherwise not really in the fray.

Divock Origi (Off 60′) — 4 — On his horse early, his influence waned to the point he was a spectator when Jurgen Klopp replaced him.

Roberto Firmino — 5 — A rare off day for one of the best center forwards in the business.

Manager: Jurgen Klopp — 7 — It took him a while to figure out United’s back three, but all three of his subs were influential in the point.

Subs:
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (On 60′) — 8 — The original AOC changed the game.
Adam Lallana (On 71′) — 8 — That’s a great way to end a goal drought
Naby Keita (On 82′) — 7 — Got the defense moving, setting up space for Robertson assist.

WATCH LIVE: Manchester United v. Arsenal

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One of the Premier League’s fiercest rivalries has some extra punch to it as a Monday showdown features two desperate giants looking to prove they can still compete with the league’s best.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

Manchester United sits in 8th in the Premier League table, while Arsenal rests in 11th, both far lower than the clubs expect to be seven matches in. The two teams meet at Old Trafford at 3:00 p.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

In a surprise spell of fitness for Manchester United, Paul Pogba starts despite reports that a midweek recurrence of his ankle injury could keep him out, while Marcus Rashford also makes the starting lineup despite reports of his likely absence, leaving Mason Greenwood to the bench. On the other end of the spectrum, Aaron Wan-Bissaka misses out officially due to illness, although reports state he’s been managing a back problem of late while Luke Shaw also can’t prove his fitness, which means the full-backs are Axel Tuanzebe and Ashley Young. Young Brandon Williams makes the bench as cover for one of the full-backs.

For Arsenal, it was thought that Kieran Tierney would be fit to make his Premier League debut for the club, but despite debuting midweek off the bench, he does not appear in the squad, with Sead Kolasinac remaining the left back of choice. Calum Chambers is chosen over Ainsley Maitland-Niles at right-back after the latter’s sending off last time out, while creative force Dani Ceballos begins on the bench. 18-year-old Bukayo Saka becomes the youngest player ever to start a Premier League match against Manchester United for Arsenal as Unai Emery deploys the youngster on the left wing.

LINEUPS

Man United – De Gea; Tuanzebe, Lindelof, Maguire, Young; McTominay, Pogba; Pereira, Lingard, James; Rashford.
Bench – Romero; Rojo, Williams, Matic, Fred, Mata, Greenwood.

Arsenal – Leno; Kolasinac, Luiz, Sokratis, Chambers; Guendouzi, Torreira, Xhaka; Saka, Aubameyang, Pepe.
Bench – Martinez; Holding, Maitland-Niles, Ceballos, Willock, Martinelli.