Manchester Derby

Manchester United Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
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Solskjaer, Rashford excited for Manchester Derby in League Cup semis

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is excited to match up twice more with his longtime neighbors.

The former Manchester United striker and current manager saw his side drawn against Man City for the League Cup semifinals after beating Colchester United on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

His side is feeling good after defeating the two-time reigning champion Citizens on Dec. 7. United lost 2-0 to City at Old Trafford in April last season, Solskjaer’s only other matching of wits with Pep Guardiola.

From The Manchester Evening News:

“We take what comes our way we have a good memory from last time we met them,” Solskjaer said.  We played well against them but there’s things we need to improve on. It will be two fantastic nights in Manchester.”

Marcus Rashford is delivering on his potential, and dominated against Colchester United on Wednesday.

Solskjaer said he had to take the in-form striker off the training pitch on Tuesday.

“There’s hunger there, we do extras with the strikers all the time,” he said, via The Manchester Evening News. “I was trying to hold Marcus back yesterday, because he wanted to do extra, it was two days after a game, and a day before a game but he was still on the training ground practicing, and we’ll get better and better.”

Rashford reacted to the draw by a posting a cheeky caption above a photo with Mason Greenwood (See bottom of post). It’s safe to say he’s proud of the holding derby momentum.

There’s not a lot of reason to focus on the derby given a legitimate shot of perfect point collection from the four festive fixtures beginning Sunday at Vicarage Road.

United’s festive fixtures All 39 PL matches ]
Dec. 22 – Watford v. Manchester United
Dec. 26 – Manchester United v. Newcastle
Dec. 28 – Burnley v. Manchester United
Jan. 1 – Arsenal v. Manchester United

League Cup semifinal draw: Manchester Derby, Leicester-Villa

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England doubled its Manchester Derby count on Wednesday when Manchester City was drawn against Manchester United in the League Cup semifinals.

That means Leicester City with tangle with Aston Villa over two legs for the other spot in a Wembley Stadium final on March 1.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The first legs will be played the week of January 6, with the second legs on tap for the week of Jan. 27.

Man City is bidding to become the first three-peat winner of the League Cup since Liverpool between 1981-84.

City’s six wins are two behind Liverpool for the most all-time, while Villa and United have five and are tied for third-most.

Leicester has won thrice, the last one in 2000.

Kyle Walker: City catching up to Liverpool ‘difficult’ after derby loss to United

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After a crushing 2-1 loss to archrival Manchester United at home, 14 is the new magic number for Pep Guardiola and company.

14 is the number of points that Manchester City trail league leaders Liverpool by, an uphill battle that is influencing many people on the outside looking in to think that City’s chances of lifting the league’s silverware for a third straight season are officially done and dusted.

That’s not the narrative that is occupying Kyle Walker‘s train of thought, however. Speaking on behalf of his City teammates and himself, the defender is keen on fighting until they’re mathematically out of contention for the title, regardless if the standings show that Liverpool have yet to suffer a defeat this season after 16 matches.

“Can’t fault the manager,” Walker told Sky Sports following City’s second Premier League loss in five games. “He has won numerous trophies. I can’t put my finger on it. It is going to be difficult, Liverpool are on fire. They [Liverpool] are getting wins and we are not. It is a big gap but we will fight until the end.”

A consolation goal from Nicolas Otamendi in the 85th minutes wasn’t enough for the Cityzens, who endured a fourth league loss this season, matching last season’s number of losses throughout 38 games.

After the dispiriting derby day performance from City, the defending champions stand at 32 points after 16 bouts, the lowest point haul for Guardiola in his 11-year top-flight management career.

No team in league history has overcome a 14-point deficit. Since late October, City are yet to record a clean sheet, an apparent issue that Walker believes he and the rest of the team’s defenders need to address in order to return to old ways.

“Us as defenders need to hold our hands up,” he said. “We need to keep clean sheets and strikers maybe need to put more away. They had a game plan and it worked. They have quick players in quick areas and they are going to hurt you on the counter. Credit where credit is due, they stepped up today. Fair play.”

Solskjaer reacts to big Manchester Derby win, racial abuse of players

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A Manchester City appeared to make appeared to make racial gestures and yell “monkey” at black players on Manchester United during Saturday’s derby at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked about it after the game, as was Pep Guardiola who said he supports Man City’s strong statement against the incident.

[ MORE: Recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

He said he’s reviewed the incident and was enraged seeing Jesse Lingard and Fred abused.

“I’ve seen it on the video. It’s Jesse and the Fred, and the fella must be ashamed of himself. It’s unacceptable and I hope he won’t be watching any football any more.”

Solskjaer was also asked about the win, which will be a memorable one for good reasons, too, after beating Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the week.

“We’ll remember this,” Solskjaer said on NBCSN after the game. “We looked so dangerous when we get the ball and go forward. Of course we’re playing against the best team in arguably the world. Just the preparation for this game, the way they can change things tactically. It’s not easy to analyze them, but they are unbelievable. To get a result and defend like we did and create as many chances as we did, we should’ve been three or four up.”

Manchester United claims derby honors at Man City

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s incredible week continued with Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat of Manchester City on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.

The Red Devils beat Tottenham and their derby rivals City in a span of four days, and now sit fifth in the table on 24 points. That’s five points back of fourth place Chelsea, and eight back of City.

[ MORE: JPW’s 3 things learned at the Etihad ]

City is a stunning 14 points back of leaders Liverpool.


Man City worries

1. Etihad embarrassment from fans: Manchester United led 2-0 in the 66th minute when they couldn’t manage to take a corner kick due to lighters and other objects being thrown at Fred, one hitting him in the head. A remonstrations from referee Anthony Taylor stopped the object tossing, but it’s a certain black eye for the home fans.

UPDATE: Video appears to show Jesse Lingard and Fred being racially abused by a fan making monkey gestures during the incident. Man City has released an incident on the matter. Read more here.

2. City has lost its nerve: Yes, these are the two-time defending champions of England, but the amount of complaints coming from the home side was stunning. The reactions during times of trouble have not been that of a typical Pep Guardiola side, assured of its eventual perch at the end of a match. Being second (or third) is not suiting City.

3. Another CB lost? With Aymeric Laporte still out for another couple months, City saw John Stones forced off in the 59th minute with injury. That brought Nicolas Otamendi into the fray alongside Fernandinho.

Man Utd marvels

1. Rashford: He’s totally tapping into his potential, and working so much better out wide than up the middle.

2. McTominay: He’s come from nowhere to become a vital part of everything they do. Won 12 of 15 duels, drew five fouls, and made three interceptions to go with three tackles.

3. Solskjaer: Again missing Pogba, the only foot Solskjaer put wrong at the home of a major rival was starting Jesse Lingard. Organized and patient in another banner day for the Norwegian.

Man of the Match: McTominay


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Daniel James forced a fine save out of Ederson in the first minute, while Kyle Walker stymied a would-be Anthony Martial breakaway with pace and a tackle.

Jesse Lingard was the next to trouble Ederson, United clearly up to the challenge of an away derby in the first 10 minutes.

Ederson saved from Martial in the 16th minute as the Red Devils continued to fly on the counter attack. City had all of the ball, but not much of the threat.

Referee Anthony Taylor waved away penalty claims when Bernardo Silva chopped down Rashford, but VAR did its job in properly awarding the attempt. Rashford converted it for his 10th goal in 11 matches.

Rashford flubbed a chance to make it 2-0n in the 25th, City wide open at the back.

That’s when Martial made it 2-0, cranking a shot off the near post and past Ederson.

Man City finally started to look dangerous after the half-hour mark, with David Silva pumping a shot into the gut of David De Gea.

Kyle Walker’s stoppage time cross was blocked by the arm of a sliding Fred, but only a corner kick arrived after VAR had a look.

City was better in the second half, with Kevin De Bruyne seeing a shot deflect out for a corner in the 55th.

Raheem Sterling picked the pocket of Victor Lindelof, and was traced through the 18 by Aaron Wan-Bissaka en route to a corner kick.

De Gea flew through the air to deny Rodri a goal in the 64th, and Wan-Bissaka blocked an Angelino shot 11 minutes later.

Otamendi powered a header home off a corner kick when Maguire was slow to react.

That really opened things up, and De Gea stopped Mahrez on a shot through traffic.