ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Manchester United to cruise to comfortable win

 

Ole Gunnr Solskjaer has led Manchester United on an 11-game unbeaten Premier League run since taking over the manager’s position in mid-December. The Red Devils’ form has improved drastically under the former striker.

They are just one point off the top four heading into the weekend, and if Manchester United continue playing well while Tottenham do not, they could reach as high as a third-place finish.

Southampton have everything to gain with a solid performance at Old Trafford. Ralph Hasenhuttl has won five of 13 matches since joining Southampton in December.Southampton have secured 18 of 39 points under the Austrian manager’s leadership. If he can steer Southampton away from relegation and gain survival, there are high expectations that Hasenhuttl could greatly improve the Saints next term.

But first, Southampton must survival their current relegation fight. They are out of the relegation zone currently thanks to their 2-0 win over rivals Fulham in midweek. Now, two points safe, Southampton need to continue their upward trajectory.

The Saints are undefeated in six of their last eight league matches. They have scored nine times and conceded seven goals during that run. Scoring has been a problem for Southampton all season with just 30 goals being scored. It is the sixth worst goals scored record in the Premier League. Meanwhile, they have allowed the sixth most goals with 46 conceded.

Under Solskjaer, Manchester United are attacking first and defending second. It has led to some big scorelines. The Red Devils are +19 in goal difference having tallied 55 strikes; the league’s fourth best total.

Manchester United drew 2-2 with Southampton in their previous meeting. That fixture came just weeks before former manager Jose Mourinho was sacked. Southampton last won at Old Trafford in the league in 2016. Since then, Manchester United have won three and drawn three games against Southampton in six fixtures in all competitions.

In just two of those last six meetings, there were over 2.5 goals. With the poor goal scoring record Southampton currently have, it is unlikely that this fixture will see more than 2.5 goals scored.

Solkjaer has had plenty of injuries to worry about in the last week. Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, and Marcus Rashford were in training on Thursday, however. Lingard may not be risked as he came on as a substitute last Sunday against Liverpool only to last 19 minutes before injury forced him off.

Manchester United were able to get a win over Crystal Palace even without their preferred players. Saturday will see the Red Devils post another victory, but this time, Solskjaer will have some of his top performers back in the side. Manchester United will win at home with fewer than 2.5 goals scored.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Southampton vs Manchester United – Match Preview

 

These two teams may well have a considerable distance between them in the Premier League table going into this game, at the same time though it is fair to say that this is a must win fixture for the managers of both Southampton and Manchester United. 

For Mark Hughes who leads the Saints into battle this Saturday, it is looking like that he is on borrowed time when it comes to staying in the St Mary’s hotseat. A situation that has only worsened after losing to Fulham last weekend, a tie that many were already deeming a ‘six pointer’ in terms of trying to stave off the threat of relegation.

While could the same be said about Jose Mourinho, even though Manchester United find themselves in the relative safety of seventh in the table going into this fixture. A position that many would be happy to settle for, unfortunately that is not the case for the Red Devils.

For a club of United’s stature lying in seventh is simply not good enough and with every negative result that current manager Jose Mourinho resides over, then the target on his back only seems to get bigger.

Last weekend they were held to another frustrating draw in front of their own fans.This time it was Crystal Palace who managed to turn the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ into something of a nightmare as they held their hosts to a 0-0 draw.

Strangely enough that point actually moved United up the table, but at the same time these draws are almost of the same value as defeats when you consider what their crosstown rivals are doing in the blue half of Manchester.

United now find themselves a staggering 14 points behind the league leaders with only one third of the season in the history books and although there is still a lot of football still to be played there is little to suggest that their performances will improve anytime soon.

To be fair to their opponents Southampton, they did look better even though they lost away to Fulham last Saturday and the fact that they only lost by a solitary goal, may well have just bought their manager Mark Hughes a little more time in charge.

At least as far as this weekend anyway, had they been heavily beaten in West London then that may well have been the impetus for the Southampton owners to roll the dice and look for a new man to take the helm.

As it stands that is all nothing more than conjecture with Hughes’ men starting the weekend in the bottom three. However, with two points separating the bottom six sides at present, then a win will change their outlook completely.

They will take inspiration form the likes of Huddersfield and Newcastle who have finally got their seasons underway after a decent run of form and they know that sooner rather than later they will have to get their own campaign underway.

Neither manager can afford to lose this one as should they do so, it could very well be their last game in charge. The form guide suggests there won’t be many goals, but United might just nick this one and heap more misery on Southampton.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Team sports Top news

In-form Bournemouth Face United Test

The Premier League action gets underway early this weekend and we have a tremendous game to look forward to on the south coast as Bournemouth host Manchester United.

This is a massive game for both teams at the Vitality Stadium.  A win for Bournemouth would see them cement their place in the top six and move 6 points clear of Manchester United.  A win for the Red Devils would move them level with Bournemouth and a chance of closing in on the top four.

Bournemouth come into this match having defeated Norwich 2-1 in the League Cup on Tuesday night. While the League Cup will not be a major priority for Eddie Howe, keeping momentum going ahead of this game was important and the Cherries did just that by winning the match.

The victory means Bournemouth have won five and drawn one of their last six games in all competitions.  Adding to the victory over Norwich in the League Cup was a win over Blackburn Rovers.  Bournemouth have also defeated Crystal Palace at home in the Premier League plus Watford and Fulham away.

The only dropped points in their last four Premier League matches has come at home against Southampton in the local derby and the game ended 0-0.

Trends show Bournemouth have lost just one of their last twelve matches at home in all competitions and have remained undefeated in each of their last nine at the Vitality Stadium.

Manchester United got back to winning ways last weekend as they defeated Everton 2-1 at Old Trafford. The pressure was back on Jose Mourinho following the disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Juventus in the Champions League and his players responded with a win.

The shock of conceding that last minute goal to Chelsea appears to be out of their system and the performance at Stamford Bridge will give the fans some hope they can take maximum points from this game.

Trends show, despite not being great form, Manchester United have lost just one of their last seven Premier League games.  However, they have failed to win their last two away from home, losing 3-1 at West Ham United and drawing 2-2 at Chelsea.

Both teams have scored in each of Manchester United’s last six Premier League games and clean sheet seems to be a long way off for the Red Devils.

Looking ahead to the team news and Bournemouth could still be without former Manchester United striker Joshua King who has missed the last two games with injury.  Every other player is fit and available for Eddie Howe.

Manchester United travel south without the injured duo of Marouane Fellaini and Diogo Dalot.  However, Marcos Rojo and Alexis Sanchez are available and should be part of the squad.  Romelu Lukaku will be hoping to start having been on the bench last week.

Bournemouth are in great form and the home fans will be looking forward to seeing their team test themselves against Manchester United.  However, Mourinho’s men remain tough to beat and could come away with a point from a draw with both teams scoring.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Last Chance Saloon for Mourinho

The FA Cup quarter-finals take place this weekend and while many onlookers believe the competition has lost some of its sparkle in recent years, both Manchester United and Brighton have this tournament as their only chance of silverware this season.

For Manchester United, it will come as a disappointment that in March they only have the FA Cup left to win. The exit from the Champions League to Sevilla in mid-week was a very poor result and Jose Mourinho and his players need to bounce back with a win in this match.

Brighton’s main goal this season is to stay in the Premier League and they look on course to complete their aim. However, to reach Wembley would add the cherry on the cake for Chris Hughton and they will be keen to cause an upset.

Having defeated Liverpool 2-1 at home in the Premier League last weekend, Manchester United entered their Champions league match with Sevilla at Old Trafford full of confidence. However, a lacklustre display saw them defeated by the Spanish outfit and a huge backlash for their style of play under Mourinho.

However, trends show Manchester United have been extremely tough to beat on home soil this season and they have lost only one domestic match, which was to current Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Manchester United have won each of their three FA Cup games by 2 goals or more this season and have yet to concede a goal in the competition.

Brighton make the trip north to Manchester having gone down 2-0 at Everton in the Premier League last weekend. That was Brighton’s first defeat in eight games and their run of good form has seen them move clear of the bottom three in the Premier League.

Away from home, wins have been difficult to obtain and Brighton have won one of their last ten matches in all competitions, including a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United in the Premier League. Brighton have kept just two clean sheets in their last ten away games.

In the FA Cup, trends show Brighton have won all three of their ties inside regulation time this season. There have been wins over Crystal Palace and Coventry City at home plus a good 1-0 away win in a tricky tie at Middlesbrough.

Team news and Manchester United will be without Ander Herrera, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, and Phil Jones who are all injured. It will be interesting to see if Alexis Sanchez keeps his place in the team and Juan Mata will be hoping to get a start.

Brighton have Steve Sidwell and Jiri Skalak on the treatment table plus have doubts over Dale Stephens and Gaetan Bong. Anthony Knockaert will miss the game through suspension.

The atmosphere at Old Trafford could be subdued for this game following the loss to Sevilla and the Manchester United players need to put in a good performance. However, it is simply not the Mourinho way to come out all guns blazing and although Manchester United should win the game, it could be by the narrowest margin.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Red Devils to give Chelsea the Blues

On Sunday afternoon, two teams fighting for the Champions League spots in the Premier League, Manchester United and Chelsea clash at Old Trafford.

Manchester United’s priority this season in the Premier League is now to secure a top-four finish with neighbours Manchester City now 16 points clear at the top of the table.

The Red Devils recent form in the top-flight has not been great, as Jose Mourinho’s men have suffered defeats in two of their last three league outings, including a 1-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Newcastle in their last Premier League game.

United’s recent games in the English top-flight have been low scoring, with under 2.5 goals scored in six of their last seven league outings, including their last four league games.

The Red Devils are hard to beat at Old Trafford, though, as they have lost just once in 30 games on home soil in the Premier League. United are just three points clear of the visitors in the table and four points clear of fifth-place Spurs, so cannot afford to lose this game.

Chelsea’s recent Premier League form has been highly inconsistent, winning two and losing two of their last four league games. Antonio Conte’s side recorded a 3-0 win over struggling West Brom in their last top-flight outing.

Their recent Premier League games have been high scoring, as their last four games in the top-flight have seen over 2.5 goals scored.

The Blues recent away record in the top-flight has been inconsistent, but the visitors have won just two of their last seven outings in the top-flight on their travels. Their recent away games have been high scoring, with over 2.5 goals scored in four of their last five games.

Forebet predicts that Manchester United will record a victory in a high scoring game at Old Trafford.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Sevilla 0 Manchester United 0: De Gea ensures Mourinho´s men stay level

Manchester United survived plenty of pressure to claim a 0-0 draw at Sevilla in the first leg of their Champions league last-16 clash, owing particular thanks to an immense David de Gea save at the end of the first half.

Sevilla controlled proceedings for much of the game and, although they generally struggled to craft clear-cut chances, Luis Muriel saw their best denied in stunning fashion by De Gea as United battled to return home with honours even.

The pre-match debate surrounding Jose Mourinho’s decision to drop Paul Pogba took on a new dimension after just 17 minutes when the Frenchman replaced the injured Ander Herrera, though he was unable to flourish as Sevilla dominated.

United had to rely on the heroics of De Gea to keep them on level terms at the break, with the Spain international denying both Gabriel Mercado and Muriel late on – the Colombian drawing a remarkable save from the former Atletico Madrid star.

The second half was similarly frustrating for the home side and United began to see more of the ball after the hour as the contest opened up.

But ultimately neither team could find a way through, with Pablo Sarabia wasting a good chance for Sevilla late on, giving Vincenzo Montella’s men work to do in the return leg at Old Trafford on March 13.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Sevilla set to see off Manchester United

On Wednesday night, Spanish side Sevilla host Premier League Manchester United at the Sanchez Pizjuan in the Champions League last 16 first leg.

Sevilla have hit form of late, recording three consecutive victories in all competitions. In fact, the Andalucian’s have now won six of their last nine competitive games after an inconsistent run of form towards the end of 2017.

The home side have been slightly inconsistent in the Champions League of late. However, the Spanish side have lost just one of their last eight games in Europe’s elite competition. Their recent games in the Champions league have also been goal-filled, with over 2.5 goals scored in seven of their last eight games in the competition.

Sevilla have a very respectable home record in the Champions League, losing just one of their last nine games at the Sanchez Pizjuan, and recording six wins in the process. There have also been over 2.5 goals scored in the last seven games held at the Sanchez Pizjuan in this competition.

Manchester United have endured mixed fortunes of late. However, the Red Devils dominated their Champions League group, winning five of their games in the process. Their only blip came in a 1-0 defeat at Swiss side Basel.

The Red Devils recent Champions League games have been low scoring, with under 2.5 goals scored in three of their last four games in Europe’s elite competition.

The visitor’s away record in the Champions League is poor of late, as they have won just three of their last nine games on the road in Europe’s elite competition. United have also kept just one clean sheet in their last eight away games in the Champions League, which does bode well for a trip Seville.

Forebet predicts that Sevilla will record a narrow victory in a high scoring game. The Andalucian’s will need a lead to defend at Old Trafford in the second leg.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

West Brom 1 Manchester United 2: Lukaku on target against old club

Romelu Lukaku scored his third goal in four appearances as Manchester United moved back to 11 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with Sunday’s 2-1 win at West Brom.

Second-placed United have now won six of their last seven Premier League games, but last weekend’s 2-1 derby defeat at home to rivals City – who thrashed Spurs on Saturday to make it 16 successive league victories – means their title hopes remain remote.

The desired new manager bounce has failed to materialise at The Hawthorns, despite a late consolation, with Alan Pardew’s men set to go bottom if struggling Swansea City win at Everton on Monday.

Lukaku broke the deadlock after 26 minutes – against the club where he scored his first Premier League goals – the Belgium international getting between two defenders to plant home a fine header from a precise left-wing Marcus Rashford cross.

The second United goal came eight minutes later and ultimately proved decisive, Ahmed Hegazi trying to block a Jesse Lingard drive from the edge of the box but only succeeding in deflecting the ball past Ben Foster.

Rashford went close to extending the lead but United’s failure to kill the match with a third goal almost proved costly when Gareth Barry scrambled home from a 77th-minute Chris Brunt corner, although Jose Mourinho’s men held on.

A blocked Rashford effort was the closest either side came to scoring in a very flat start to the match.

When a shot on target finally came it was the opening goal, as Lukaku scored for the 10th time in the Premier League this season.

United’s first incisive attack created space on the left wing for Rashford, who floated in the ideal centre for Lukaku to flick in an unstoppable header, the former Baggies striker opting not to celebrate against his old club.

At the other end a driving run from Oliver Burke on his first Premier League start was stopped by a tremendous Chris Smalling tackle before Salomon Rondon saw a near-post effort well blocked.

And with their second shot on target of the game, United seemingly put the game beyond West Brom.

Juan Mata teed up Lingard on the edge of the box, with the England midfielder’s strike giving former United goalkeeper Foster no chance after taking a massive deflection off Hegazi.

Jake Livermore forced David de Gea’s first action after 43 minutes, but the Spaniard’s save was comfortable, and after the interval an excellent Antonio Valencia clearance prevented Rondon from turning in Burke’s cross.

Rashford drilled a decent chance narrowly wide of the far post after 57 minutes when Lingard touched Valencia’s centre on to his England colleague, and the Ecuadorian then limped off, allowing Marcos Rojo to make his 100th United appearance.

United seemed to be cruising to a ninth win in 12 trips to West Brom, but the hosts scored their first goal in four matches under Pardew’s leadership from a set piece with 13 minutes to go.

Former United defender Jonny Evans won the first ball from a Brunt corner and Barry was on hand to slot home his first goal for West Brom from close range to set up an exciting finale.

Substitute Jay Rodriguez headed another dangerous Brunt corner wide with six minutes to go and United suddenly looked nervous, but Mourinho’s men clung on despite a late aerial barrage.

Key Opta Stats:

– Manchester United have won their last three away Premier League games, one more than they managed in their previous 10 on the road (2).
– West Brom are now winless in 16 consecutive league games – the longest run in their entire league history (D8 L8).
– Romelu Lukaku has been involved in eight goals in his last eight Premier League games against former club West Brom (five goals, three assists).
– Lukaku has scored 10 goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances at the Hawthorns, a run which spans games with West Brom, Everton and Man Utd.
– Gareth Barry’s goal was his first as a substitute in the Premier League since April 1999 (for Aston Villa against Nottingham Forest), a gap of 6,812 days.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Arsenal 1 Manchester United 3: De Gea stars as United survive Pogba dismissal

Manchester United survived the second-half dismissal of Paul Pogba to end Arsenal’s 12-game winning run at home in the Premier League with a 3-1 victory at Emirates Stadium – but only thanks to the brilliance of David de Gea.

The Premier League heavyweights took part in a slugfest in the English capital, with Jose Mourinho’s side somehow surviving some seriously heavy punishment to run out victors and close the gap on leaders Manchester City to five points.

United capitalised on some poor defending to race out to a 2-0 lead, Antonio Valencia and Jesse Lingard punishing early Arsenal mistakes, before Alexandre Lacazette – a surprise selection after Arsene Wenger had said he would be sidelined for the fixture – halved the deficit early in the second half.

However, Arsenal’s bid for a third straight home win over their rivals ran aground against the rock-like De Gea, who produced a string of outstanding saves either side of the break to keep his team in front.

Lingard’s second of the game in the 63rd minute restored a two-goal cushion and, while Pogba saw red for a stamp on Hector Bellerin that will rule him out of next weekend’s Manchester derby, United held firm to triumph on their travels.

Arsenal will wonder quite how they ended up with nothing from a pulsating encounter, albeit their problems were all of their own making when a side who had previously only conceded four league goals at home in the season gifted their opponents a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes.

Laurent Koscielny’s careless cross-field pass inadvertently set up Valencia’s opener before Shkodran Mustafi’s carelessness in possession led to Lingard scoring, the England international not even having to break stride to convert Anthony Martial’s exquisite reverse pass in behind.

Yet despite the disastrous start, plus the loss of the injured Mustafi that forced a change in formation and a switch to a flat-back four, the hosts peppered United’s goal for the remainder of the half.

Lacazette was twice denied by De Gea, who relied on his reactions to keep out a close-range toe poke before needing assistance from the crossbar to keep out another on-target attempt from the Frenchman.

The visiting goalkeeper was so good he even denied Romelu Lukaku from scoring for the first time in open play at the Emirates, diving to his left to make sure his team-mate’s inadvertent touch on a dangerous free-kick did not nestle in his own net.

While Lacazette did finally beat De Gea when Aaron Ramsey’s poor touch from Alexis Sanchez’s cross dropped perfectly into his path, the Spaniard continued to defy a home team smelling blood.

United’s last line of defence not only kept out Lacazette’s low drive at his near post but also prevented Sanchez from tapping home the rebound, stretching out his right leg to make a crucial block.

The double save proved a turning point as United landed the sucker punch on the break, Lingard, who had already hit the post after the break, tapping home from close range.

After providing the assist, Pogba left his side to finish the game a man light when he lunged in and caught Bellerin. The red card did not prove costly in terms of the outcome, but the Frenchman will now miss his team’s next three domestic games, including next weekend’s huge derby against City.

Key Opta stats:

– Arsenal suffered their first home league defeat in 15 games, since losing 2-1 to Watford in January.
– Manchester United have won more Premier League away games at Arsenal than any other side (eight).
– David de Gea made 14 saves in the game, the joint-most in a Premier League game since 2003-04, when Opta started collecting this data (also 14 for Mannone for Sunderland v Chelsea in April 2014 and Tim Krul for Newcastle v Tottenham in November 2013).
– Jose Mourinho won away to one of the ‘big six’ in the Premier League for the first time in 12 attempts (D5 L6).
– Paul Pogba has scored four goals and assisted six more in his last nine Premier League appearances.
– Alexandre Lacazette has scored more home goals in the Premier League this season than any other player (six).
– Aaron Ramsey has had a hand in seven goals in his last seven PL games (two goals, five assists) after contributing just two in his first seven apps of the season (one goal, one assist).
– Jesse Lingard has scored three goals in his last two Premier League games, as many as in the previous 51 combined.
– Paul Pogba received his first red card in league competition since May 2013 for Juventus vs Palermo.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Manchester United 1 Brighton and Hove Albion 0: Unfortunate Dunk own goal sinks Seagulls

Lewis Dunk’s desperately unlucky own goal gave Manchester United a laborious 1-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.

The defeat was harsh on an assured and enterprising Brighton side, but that will be of little consequence to Jose Mourinho as United recorded an 11th straight home win across all competitions.

After wasting numerous first-half chances in Wednesday’s 1-0 Champions League loss at Basel, United could not even be accused of profligacy on this occasion as the likes of Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford largely struggled to carve out opportunities for Romelu Lukaku.

Mat Ryan produced an excellent double save to thwart Lukaku and Pogba on the stroke of half-time but the goalkeeper could do nothing to keep out the winner midway through the second half as Ashley Young’s shot from 20 yards looped up wickedly off Dunk and dipped just below the crossbar into the top-right corner.

The much-needed victory means second-placed United close to within five points of leaders and rivals Manchester City, who travel to Huddersfield Town on Sunday.

Defeat ended Brighton’s five-match unbeaten run but Chris Hughton’s side can at least console themselves with a performance that showed ample promise as they sit safely ensconced in mid-table after 13 matches of their debut Premier League campaign.

The tone for an even encounter was set inside the first five minutes as both sides created openings.

Lukaku blazed over having exchanged passes with Martial before Anthony Knockaert got in behind the United defence only to fizz a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal.

David de Gea comfortably held Pascal Gross’ effort from the edge of the box as the Seagulls continued to play with plenty of poise while United were restricted to half chances, Lukaku stretching to nod Antonio Valencia’s cross wide 10 minutes before the break.

Brighton had Ryan to thank for going into half-time level, however, the goalkeeper saving superbly from Lukaku’s back-post header before denying Pogba’s rebound from point-blank range.

United dominated possession after the interval without threatening Ryan’s goal, Mourinho introducing Zlatan Ibrahimovic just after the hour and in the 66th minute the deadlock was broken thanks to Young’s sizeable slice of fortune.

Knockaert continued to pose a threat, whipping a low ball across the face for a second time in the match and Gross was close to getting a telling touch on Bruno’s devilish delivery from the right.

Shane Duffy headed wide with four minutes remaining and the centre half was perhaps fortunate to only see yellow for a scything challenge on Ibrahimovic as United – who are unbeaten in 39 home matches in all competitions – held on to remain in touch with City at the top.