Paul Pogba

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Man United’s Pogba, Lindelof train in Matuidi, Ekdal jerseys

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Players around the Premier League have been told to train individually or in small groups to avoid spreading or contracting the COVID-19 virus, but that hasn’t stopped them from keeping their skills in top shape.

Many have taken to social media to post videos of their continued work even as the league shuts down, as did Manchester United duo Paul Pogba and Victor Lindelof. French midfielder Pogba put up a video of him training on and off the ball, and teammate Lindelof can be seen in the background in attendance. Lindelof also posted a similar video on his own social media account.

Most notable is Pogba’s outfit, a Juventus kit which at first glance could cause a turning of heads given the Italian side is his former team, but a closer look notices the jersey is sporting Blaise Matuidi’s name and number, while Lindelof’s video shows him wearing an Albin Ekdal jersey. Both players have contracted the coronavirus while playing in Serie A. The caption of Pogba’s video confirms that the two wore the jerseys to support their compatriots.

He wrote in parenthesis at the bottom, “I know the cheeky ones will talk about the Juventus jersey 😏 I’m just supporting my friends … that’s all, nothing more 😁.” Lindelof wrote, “Get well soon @albinekdal.”

Manchester United fans will be happy to see Pogba training, as the midfielder has missed most of the season with an ankle injury. He’s made just seven Premier League appearances, including only two since September. Manchester United has been hit with a litany of injuries, and the Premier League shutdown may benefit the Red Devils in a health regard.

More coronavirus connections to soccer:

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.

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 29

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Roy Hodgson‘s got the Eagles flying up our PL power rankings.

Crystal Palace keeps finding ways to win, and Hodgson’s men are rising up the list as notable sides Spurs and Everton falter at the start of the stretch run.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]


20. Norwich City — A Saints visit presents a rare opening for the Canaries.
Last week: 20
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Southampton

19. Aston Villa — Take away Tyrone Mings, and Villa’s defense reminds me of McBain’s goggles.
Last week: 19
Season high: 6
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 4-0 at Leicester City
Up next: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Chelsea

18. Bournemouth — Gotta build off the performance at Liverpool, but Palace has looked good lately.
Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Liverpool
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Palace

17. Watford — Can Nigel Pearson take advantage of his former side?
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Leicester City

16. West Ham United — Home field is about all the Irons have going for them versus Wolves (aside from Wolves’ penchant to sleep a bit versus lower-half sides).
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Arsenal
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

15. Brighton and Hove Albion — Running out of time and opportunity.
Last week: 15
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Wolves
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Arsenal

14. Southampton — Still almost got a point despite an early red card versus Newcastle.
Last week: 12
Season high: 7
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Newcastle
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Norwich City

13. Newcastle United — The Magpies faithful deserves a player like Allan Saint-Maximin.
Last week: 16
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 at Southampton
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United

12. Everton — What was that, Carlo? Suddenly a head-scratching winless in three.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 4-0 at Chelsea
Up next: 4 p.m. ET Monday v. Liverpool

11. Tottenham Hotspur — Pretty sure everyone near Spurs wants this season to be over already.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday v. Man Utd

10. Sheffield United — Chris Wilder‘s men will want a measure of revenge from Saturday’s trip to the Northeast. Play to the whistle, Blades.
Last week: 11
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle

9. Burnley — Steadily hanging around the UEL race.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Spurs
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City

8. Crystal Palace — Three-straight 1-0 wins and the fixtures will get dicey after Saturday’s trip to the Vitality Stadium.
Last week: 13
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Watford
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Bournemouth

7. Arsenal — Don’t sleep on the Gunners and the top four.
Last week: 9
Season high: 4
Season low: 13
Last match: Won 1-0 v. West Ham
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton

6. Leicester City — Grateful for their fixture list. Harvey Barnes has pure star quality.
Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 4-0 v. Aston Villa
Up next: 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Watford

5. Wolves — May look at the Brighton draw as the result that kept them out of the UCL.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Brighton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday at West Ham

4. Chelsea — A really nice win over Everton after an FA Cup ouster of Liverpool. Has Frank Lampard refound his footing?
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 4-0 v. Everton
Up next: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Aston Villa

3. Manchester United — Unbeaten in 10 and Paul Pogba‘s gonna be back soon enough. Can hardly wait to see if he works well with Bruno Fernandes.
Last week: 7
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Man City
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday at Spurs

2. Manchester City — Can Pep Guardiola‘s men reclaim form ahead of second leg versus Real Madrid?
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 6
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Man Utd
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Burnley

1. Liverpool — Title incoming.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 4 p.m. ET Monday at Everton

Pogba set to return to Man Utd training; Martial misses LASK trip

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Paul Pogba may be granted a birthday wish to return to Manchester United training.

Pogba turns 27 on Sunday, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the United star will rejoin the team in training next week.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

So we’re getting closer to seeing a Manchester United attack with both Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, which is nice considering the Red Devils are unbeaten in 10 matches after a win in the Manchester Derby.

The Frenchman hasn’t played since Boxing Day, and has just four appearances since the calendar flipped to September.

It’s been an extremely challenging season for Pogba, who has constantly been mentioned in the rumor mill.

Every decision in his rehabilitation has been met with second-guessing amongst media and fans, and his agent sure hasn’t helped things.

In other United injury news, Anthony Martial is set to miss out on Thursday’s Europa League first leg at LASK due to fallout from a derby collision with a goal post.

Martial may return when the Red Devils visit Spurs on Sunday before a second leg versus LASK at Old Trafford.

Then there’s an FA Cup match with Norwich City on March 22 before a league match April 4 at Brighton and Hove Albion.