Andreas Pereira

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Villa comes back to draw Man United

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Manchester United came back from an early deficit to lead against Aston Villa, only to toss away the win in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Aston Villa took a point off United at Old Trafford for the first time since a 1-0 win on Dec. 12, 2009, almost exactly 10 years ago.

Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings scored for Villa, who rise into 15th with 15 points, while United’s 18th point leaves it ninth.

Tom Heaton‘s own goal was United’s first marker, Victor Lindelof its second.


Three things we learned

1. Captain Grealish scores sensational opener: Anwar El Ghazi got off a cross despite his knee buckling, and Grealish collected the ball to the left of the United box. Cutting free of Andreas Pereira to open up space, the Englishman curled an aesthetically-pleasing effort just inside the far post, leaving David De Gea helpless.

The marker is Grealish’s fifth to go with five assists in 14 appearances for Villa this season, and his 20th senior goal for his boyhood club.

2. Corner kick routines lead to United goals: Both of United’s goals were set up by corners played short and then sent into the mix. The first was Andreas Pereira making amends for his role in Villa’s opener by sending a pinpoint cross to the back post for Rashford on what would become a Heaton own goal, while Lindelof was at the back post to nestle a header into the same part of the next as Grealish’s first half sensation.

3. Mings punishes United’s advanced back line: Villa’s equalizer came off a corner kick routine of its own, as the United back line pushed high up into own 18 only to see Mings time his run perfectly for one of those chances where most are imagining the player “must be off.” Instead, the English defender thumped Targett’s cross past De Gea for 2-2.

Man of the Match: There wasn’t a true star in this one, so we’ll credit Grealish for his marvelous goal.


Both sides hit the frame on the day, Rashford and Trezequet the causes.

Villa took its lead through Grealish’s wondrous opener, though El Ghazi had to leave the match with an injury suffered on the cross.

Rashford made it 1-1 before halftime on a corner kick routine swept to the back post by Pereira.

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United called for two penalties in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but both weren’t legit.

Heaton denied a vicious Aaron Wan-Bissaka shot set up by Fred, and United took the lead on the ensuing corner kick when Lindelof scored his second goal in 84 club appearances.

The lead lasted a minute, as Mings rose to finish Matt Targett‘s chopped cross over the United back line.

A chaotic sequence in the 78th saw Martial chip Heaton and the cross bar.

Man United expect more arrivals; Pereira, Tuanzebe sign new deals

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Maybe Manchester United won’t splash a lot of cash this summer after all…

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer locked down two academy products to long-term contracts on Friday, as Andreas Pereira and Axel Tuanzebe committed their futures to the Old Trafford club, but he has also been talking about signing new players.

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And it seems like he isn’t that confident off adding more than one new player this summer…

Speaking to Man United’s website as the squad prepare to head to Australia and the Far East for preseason, Solskjaer said he is delighted to have signed Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James this summer and is hoping to make just a couple of new additions between now and the 2019-20 campaign kicking off.

“Well, it’s a long-term and it’s a short-term project. You cannot just think three years down the line, so we’ve got short-term goals as well, of course,” Solskjaer explained. “I think we’ve been quite calm and good in the market as we’ve got the right people, and we’re still working on a case or two. Of course, we’re always looking to improve the squad and, all over the summer, I’ve been in touch with Joel [Glazer] and Ed [Woodward] and all the recruitment people, and analysis people. I’ve got to say it’s been very good so far. I’ve got the backing and we’ve got the people we wanted, for now, and there will probably be some more business being done.”

With United linked with moves for Harry Maguire (United had a $87 million bid turned down by Leicester earlier this week) and Bruno Fernandes among others, those two deals could cost over $200 million to complete. Maguire in particular would be a huge coup with Manchester City also said to be interested in him, as United’s main aim in the transfer this summer is to get younger across the board and better defensively.

It seems like Solskjaer is keeping his cards close to his chest, and the amount of signings he makes will likely depend on which players he can shift on with no UEFA Champions League action to rely on.

As for the players signing new contracts, Pereira, 23, signed a new three-year deal, while Tuanzebe has agreed a three-year contract. There is an option year for both players to extend the deal, as both look like being a part of United’s squad this season.

Pereira featured 29 times for United last season and the Brazilian scored a screamer in a 3-2 win against Southampton, and with Ander Herrera leaving for PSG and Pogba potentially being sold, Pereira adds extra cover in central midfield and a little extra attacking flair.

Tuanzebe, 21, excelled on loan at Aston Villa last season at center back and it was thought he could return to PL new boys Villa for the upcoming campaign. That may still happen, but he will spend preseason with United and try to beat Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof to one of the starting center back spots.

Pereira and Tuanzebe join Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata in signing new deals at United over the past week and with AWB their new first-choice right back and James set to compete for minutes right away, the squad is starting to look settled and needs to be large to deal with the Thursday-Sunday grind of the UEFA Europa League.

But there is still plenty to sort out.

Both Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku sound like they want to leave this summer and Solskjaer is likely to want that issue resolved as soon as possible so he can bring in replacements.

Solskjaer doesn’t sound certain about other big additions this summer, and that may be worrying for United’s fans who want a huge overhaul between now and Aug. 8 when the window shuts.

Lukaku leads Manchester United in thrilling comeback win

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  • Lukaku scores twice in 2nd half
  • Saints lead twice on two beauties
  • Pereira, Valery score 1st PL goals

An absolute classic at Old Trafford saw Manchester United comeback twice against visiting Southampton, as the sides only scored thrilling goals in a 3-2 match on Saturday.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice including the last of the stunners, taking a Fred flick and ripping past a flying Angus Gunn.

Andreas Pereira also scored for United, while James Ward-Prowse and Yan Valery are on the score sheet for Southampton.

Four of the five goals were Goal of the Week contenders, with Lukaku’s first quite lovely but not in that category. Gunn stopped Pogba’s penalty late, as Lukaku did not get a chance at his hat trick.

United moves fourth, three points behind Tottenham, while Saints remain 17th with 27 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Brilliant goals were the name of the game, the first being Valery’s absolute terror from better than 20 yards away from goal.

The Southampton youngster laced a right-footed shot which beat David De Gea to the near post; The gorgeous would’ve been stopped by De Gea at his best.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Saints continued to work for a surprise three points at Old Trafford, but that notion was spoiled by Pereira and Lukaku.

Pereira’s goal, like Valery’s his first in the Premier League, was sensational. The Brazilian cut in from the left and took a step before curling a pearler around Angus Gunn and into the goal.

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Gunn had been sensational himself over the course of the match, making numerous first half stops for Saints.

He wasn’t able to get to Lukaku’s 10-yards low drive inside the far post, as United took the lead with about a half-hour remaining in the game.

Ward-Prowse got his free kick in the 75th minute, and boy did he get full body on his strike. De Gea was left flying through the air as the ball tore into the upper 90. 2-2.

Lukaku then took Fred’s feed to score a stunner of a winner, and Stuart Armstrong fouled Marcus Rashford to allow Pogba his chance to score from the spot. The French star was saved by Gunn.

Solskjaer calls Man United defender McTominay a ‘Darren Fletcher’

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was over the moon with how his players performed in difficult circumstances against league-leading Liverpool in their 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, which was marred by a slew of first-half injuries.

Solskjaer, a former Manchester United striker and current interim manager, has made a name for himself in recalling old names and moments in Red Devils history during his two-plus months in charge. He did so again while pointing out players he was particularly pleased with on Sunday.

“I learned a lot about the players today,” Solskjaer told the Manchester Evening News after the match. “I learnt a lot about Scott McTominay, who I’ve been waiting to give a chance in a more attacking role, he can run into the box, is dangerous, he was a Darren Fletcher today for us. Absolutely fantastic, he’s not played since Reading, that’s six weeks ago, January 5.”

[ MORE: 3 things we learned from Man United v Liverpool ]

That is incredibly high praise from the United boss. Darren Fletcher is a Manchester United folk hero, having made over 300 career appearances for the club over a 12-year span. He was a do-it-all midfielder who was loved by fans for his bold attitude and fearless nature in the middle of the pitch.

McTominay, a 22-year-old Manchester United youth product and natural center-back, was put under pressure when Ander Herrera and Juan Mata both went off injured. McTominay was deployed as a defensive midfielder just in front of the back line that featured Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling, but had to adapt on the introductions of Andreas Pereira, Jesse Lingard, and Alexis Sanchez. The young Scottish international made seven ball recoveries to lead Manchester United in the match, and had two blocks, three clearances, and two interceptions.

Solskjaer was also pleased with Pereira, who had played just 220 minutes this Premier League season before Sunday. Like McTominay, Pereira is a Manchester United youth product who has been given only a bit-part role in his time since joining the first-team squad. “Andreas, with the criticism he’s had to come on and did fantastic,” Solskjaer said. “So I learnt a lot about the character of the team.”

Stars and duds from Manchester United 0-0 Liverpool

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Manchester United and Liverpool played an engaging if sloppy draw at Old Trafford on Sunday.

[ MORE: Match recap | JPW’s 3 Things from OT ]

The point may well give the Reds its Premier League title when all is said and done, but Liverpool was poor in attack against a United side which used all three of its subs inside of 42 minutes.

Luckily, it’s goalkeeper was wonderful. And United showed supreme composure in the face of much consternation.

Stars (Ratings in parentheses)

Alisson Becker (8) — Made a couple of fine interventions, but his best moment came when the otherwise strong Virgil Van Dijk was fooled by a Romelu Lukaku pass. Alisson slid toward Jesse Lingard, patient with his arms to control the Englishman’s bid to dribble around him.

Luke Shaw (10) — Pretty much perfect at left back, putting Mohamed Salah in his proverbial pocket. Also delivered a number of fine crosses and set piece bids.

Romelu Lukaku (8) — United’s big striker needed to play right wing with Marcus Rashford limited and wobbling around up top. He made some big tackles and sent a terrific cross into the mix that could’ve prodded a surprise winner on the edge of stoppage time.

Virgil van Dijk (7) — Even though he was fooled by Lukaku’s pass to Lingard, VVD was quite good in the face of a strong first half from United’s injured attack.

Andreas Pereira (8) — We could put Scott McTominay here, too, but the midfielder got away with at least one likely penalty. Pereira came into the game cold against a brilliant attack and had no problems adjusting to a crucial match against a heated rival.

Paul Pogba (5) — Had enough defensive moments to prod him further up the ratings scale, but days like today are made for extraordinary players to do legendary things with the ball. The Frenchman didn’t have one.

Duds

Mohamed Salah (4) — The Egyptian has been poor against top teams this season, and was nearly invisible for large stretches of the match. Take away a 1-goal, 1-assist match against Arsenal, and he has not been on the scoresheet against a Top Six side this season.

Sadio Mane (3) — The first time I noticed Mane was in a 50-50 with Romelu Lukaku deep in Liverpool’s end. It was the 77th minute.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (5) and Jurgen Klopp (5) — Solskjaer whiffed when he brought an unfit Jesse Lingard into the match and had to bring him off before halftime. And Klopp’s decision to put Daniel Sturridge in for Roberto Firmino instead of moving Mohamed Salah up top against United’s center backs was baffling and did nothing.