Nemanja Matic

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Man United trigger Matic contract extension

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Nemanja Matic has been an unsung hero of Man United’s recent revival and he’s been rewarded with an extension as talks over a new contract are also said to be lined up.

Matic, 31, has had a clause in his contract triggered by Man United as his stay at the club will now be extended until the summer of 2021.

The Serbian midfielder joined United from Chelsea in the summer of 2017 as he linked up with his former manager Jose Mourinho.

Matic became somewhat of a scapegoat among United fans during the 2018-19 season but in recent months he has been influential alongside Fred in midfield as he filled in admirably for the injured duo of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay.

Man United are unbeaten in their last 11 games in all competitions and Matic has started nine of their last 10 outings in the Premier League, providing composure and tenacity in midfield as he and Fred have provided a valuable shield to United’s back line amid a string of improved defensive displays.

At 31 years old he provides valuable experience among this very young Man United side and you could certainly understand why Solskjaer wants to keep Matic around for another few seasons, especially because the future of Pogba is uncertain in central midfield.

This turnaround in form from Matic has been quite sensational but there’s no doubting his quality after he starred at Benfica before heading to Chelsea in 2014 and helped them to win two titles in three seasons before heading to Man United.

He’s not a player who will steal the headlines but he’s quietly become a key cog at Man United and they obviously want him to stick around.

Transfer rumor roundup: Man Utd chase Van de Beek, Spurs eye Kondogbia

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The transfer rumor mill is proving rather impervious to coronavirus, even as COVID-19 grinds the world close to a halt.

A report claims that Barcelona is willing to meet Lautaro Martinez’s release clause, and a pair of Premier League sides are linked with big additions.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Marca claims that Manchester United is hoping to hijack Real Madrid’s long-held plans to buy Donny van de Beek from Ajax.

Van de Beek turns 23 next month. He has 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 matches this season after registering 17 and 13 in 57 appearances in 2018/19.

The report says Van de Beek has been waiting on Madrid, who couldn’t free up the money to sign him in the summer and asked him to wait a year.

United would want Van de Beek in a deeper role behind Bruno Fernandes, and his move to Old Trafford would be yet another arrow to the exit door for Paul Pogba.


Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho is hoping that a drop in the pecking order for Geoffrey Kondogbia at Valencia will open the door to a North London move.

Marca again is the source, saying Kondogbia may be available due to the emergence of ex-Arsenal man Frances Coquelin at the Mestalla.

Kondogbia’s now been well above average at Monaco, Inter Milan, and Valencia, having been linked to a number of Premier League clubs over the years.

And Mourinho is still trying to find his Nemanja Matic or Marouane Fellaini at Spurs, though Eric Dier has clearly become a well-liked option in the midfield. Tanguy Ndombele theoretically has all the tools to do the job, but Mourinho is less-than-pleased with the Frenchman.

Kondogbia turns 27 next month and is unlikely to slip. Spurs sure could do worse if Valencia makes him available, though Ndombele remains an intriguing prospect who’s very much in-house and carries transfer record status.

Player ratings: Man United v. Man City

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Manchester is definitely red as Man United beat Man City 2-0 in the Premier League on Sunday to do the double over their crosstown rivals for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

 [ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Anthony Martial‘s first half goal set United on their way in a tight, tense clash as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side defended superbly and kept their top four hopes alive with a gritty victory against Pep Guardiola‘s Man City. Scott McTominay sealed the win with a strike from distance amid the pouring rain in Manchester.

Here’s a look at the marks out of 10 for the players from both teams.


Man United

David De Gea: 6 – Didn’t really have much to do and what he did, he did it well. No errors this week.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 8 – A superb display from AWB who shut down Sterling and was a threat going forward.

Victor Lindelof: 6 – Solid enough and made several blocks when it mattered most.

Harry Maguire: 7 – Came back early from injury and his positioning was spot on. Marshalled the United defense expertly.

Luke Shaw: 7 – Put his body on the line at left center back and left back and will have impressed watching England boss Gareth Southgate. His resurgence continues.

Brandon Williams: 7 – Energetic display from the local lad as Williams got forward a lot more than usual.

Nemanja Matic: 7 – Typically combative display as his sat in front of the back five with Fred. This was his type of game.

Fred: 7 – See above, but with more energy as his consistency in the second half of the season has been sublime.

Bruno Fernandes: 8 – His moment of magic set up Martial for the opener and he was so calm on the ball and made some great runs that his United teammates didn’t see.

Daniel James: 7 – Worked his socks off out wide and had a few good looks on goal but his drought continues. Has to get his head up more in the final third.

Anthony Martial: 8 – A proper No.9’s display as he held the ball up, volleyed home the opener and did his best to be an outlet. He’s really matured this season.

Subs
Scott McTominay: 6 – Scored a lovely goal from distance to seal the win.
Eric Bailly: 6 – A few good clearances and tackles late on.
Odion Ighalo: 6 – Was only on the pitch for a few minutes but got involved.


Man City

Ederson: 4 – At fault for both goals and almost caught in possession. One of his worst displays in a Man City shirt.

Joao Cancelo: 6 – Had quality from right back but chose the wrong option when he got forward.

Fernandinho: 5 – An unusually poor display as Martial turned him inside out on several occasions.

Nicolas Otamendi: 5 – Could have given away a penalty kick and lunged in time and time again.

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 4 – A horrid display at left back. James and AWB ran rings around him. Subbed off.

Rodri: 7 – Did his best to keep City ticking over and, as always, tidy in possession.

Ilkay Gundogan: 5 – The game passed him by in midfield. Not his type of game at all.

Phil Foden: 7 – Kept trying to make things happen but maybe this underlined how much City rely on Kevin De Bruyne.

Bernardo Silva: 6 – Quiet game by his standards but some quality deliveries as per usual.

Sergio Aguero: 5 – Scored a goal which was disallowed via VAR and he looked totally off the pace of the game.

Raheem Sterling: 4 – See above. Missed a great chance in the second half and was just off, as he has been a lot recently.

Subs
Riyad Mahrez: 7 – Made a big difference off the bench down the right hand side. So much creativity.
Gabriel Jesus: 6 – Came close to scoring and so dangerous. Should have started.
Benjamin Mendy: 5 – A slight upgrade on Zinchenko at left back, but that’s not saying much.

Report: Nemanja Matic to sign new Manchester United deal

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According to a report by Manchester Evening News reporter Tyrone Marshall, Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic is set to sign a new contract at the club that will keep him at Old Trafford for the forseable future.

While Matic’s current contract expires this summer, Manchester United has the option to extend the deal for an additional season, but instead it appears they will reward the 31-year-old with a contract that extends beyond next summer.

The Serbian international has been a constant figure in the Red Devils midfield since joining from Chelsea in 2017, following Jose Mourinho from Stamford Bridge to Old Trafford. While it appeared at the beginning of this season that he would be reduced to a substitute role, injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay have seen Matic return to the starting lineup after recovering from a groin injury of his own.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby, “We have agreed with him so he will stay, 100 per cent.”

The news presents a quick turnaround from the situation in January, which per Matic’s own comments seemed like talks had not yet begun. “We will see,” Matic said back in late January. “I’m at Carrington every day open to talk if they think I can help. If not, life will go on.”

Wild VAR ending leaves Everton, Man Utd level

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Bruno Fernandes traded first-half goals in a 1-1 draw between Everton and Manchester United on Sunday at Goodison Park.

Carlo Ancelotti was shown a red card after the final whistle for protesting a disallowed stoppage-time own goal from Harry Maguire.

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Jordan Pickford‘s late double save kept the point with the Goodison Park side.

United remains fifth with 42 points, three back of Chelsea and eight behind Leicester City.

Everton’s 37 points are good for 11th, behind Arsenal on goal differential.


Three things we learned

1. VAR rules out Maguire own goal: Brutal stuff from Harry Maguire here — what are you trying to do, guy? — but VAR had the final word. There is plenty of room for debate as to whether there is a clear and obvious error in the call on the field of a goal.

David De Gea made a great initial save on what was always going to be an embarrassing day for him after a third-minute error. Calvert-Lewin’s tame shot was turned inside the near post by Maguire, and a prone and offside Gylfi Sigurdsson withdrew his feet to allow the ball inside the post.

There are three big questions here: Did Sigurdsson interfere with the play? Was De Gea going to be able to get to the ball? And why is Sigurdsson just sitting on the pitch with the match in the balance?

2. Pickford’s incredible save saves point: Pickford disappointed on Fernandes’ opener, but he stopped the show when he blocked the Portuguese’s 90th-minute shot to Odion Ighalo at the back post. Ighalo helped by pushing the shot toward the center of the goal, where Pickford reacted brilliantly to keep the score line 1-1.

3. Classic tale of two halves: United’s first-half response to De Gea’s mistake was masterful. The Red Devils had almost everything to say about the half, and did almost nothing but defend in the second.

Look at the graph of “attack momentum” from Sofascore. The Toffees had nothing going for the vast majority of the first half, and flipped a switch just before halftime.

Man of the Match: Calvert-Lewin and Fernandes were the difference makers, and we’ll give the nod to DCL for his hard-luck ending. Sorry, Bruno. Great goal, though.


David De Gea and Dominic Calvert-Lewin featured twice in the first five minutes.

The Manchester United took way too much time on the ball and hoofed his clearance into the leaping Calvert-Lewin, whose block bounded into the Red Devils goal for 1-0.

And a Michael Keane long ball met Calvert-Lewin in stride, but De Gea got a piece of the striker’s outside-of-the-boot bid to double the lead.

Nemanja Matic struck a loose ball off the Everton crossbar soon after as the match started with vigor.

The momentum and flow was on United’s side when Fernandes lashed a pretty swerving shot that fooled Jordan Pickford. Hashtag HeWillWantThatBack.

The half became more notable for fouls than chances, though Richarlison missed a bid to head a Leighton Baines cross home in the stoppage time.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Gylfi Sigurdsson spun a free kick off the near post as Everton sought a go-ahead goal.

The Toffees had the better of the first 20 minutes in the second half, and Richarlison earned a corner off De Gea in the 65th.

De Gea denied Calvert-Lewin four minutes later, the striker sufficiently closed down by Maguire.

United finally got a breath on a 77th-minute charge that Leighton Baines put out for a corner.

Fernandes forced a low save out of Pickford as Everton spent a few minutes down a man due to an injury to Djibril Sidibe.

Pickford’s double save in stoppage time set up Calvert-Lewin for an apparent winner when Maguire deflected a shot past his own keeper, but VAR ruled that a prone and offside Gylfi Sigurdsson interfered with play.

Carlo Ancelotti was displeased, and will not be on the sideline for a while.