Month: November 2016

Manchester United 1 West Ham United 1

27/11/2016 18:25, Report by Jamie Allen

Premier League | 27 Nov. 2016 | Old Trafford | Attendance: 75,314 | Scorers: Ibrahimovic 21; Sakho 2

Manchester United were held at home for the fourth consecutive time in the Premier League as visitors West Ham United forced a frustrating 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Diafra Sakho put the Hammers ahead in less than two minutes, meeting Dimitri Payet’s free-kick, but the Reds responded midway through the first half thanks to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic header. Jose Mourinho’s men pushed hard for the winner, but were repeatedly thwarted by the visitors’ goalkeeper Darren Randolph.

Mourinho shuffled his pack following the impressive midweek win over Feyenoord with a total of six changes. The likes of David De Gea and Ander Herrera were restored to the starting XI, but Bastian Schweinsteiger was the surprise name on the United substitutes’ bench. The German had not featured in the Reds’ match squad since coming on in the Manchester derby victory back on 20 March when Rashford grabbed the headlines with the decisive goal.

United knew there was a psychological advantage to be gained against the Hammers with an EFL Cup quarter-final tie to come against the same opposition on Wednesday, but it was a nightmare start for the Reds as the visitors took the lead in just the second minute.

Before today, Payet had created a league-high 43 goalscoring chances in the Premier League with only four of those chances being converted, but it was soon to be five. After Lingard brought down Payet, his wicked in-swinging free kick was met by Sakho, who muscled past Ibrahimovic, to power a header past De Gea.

United were back on level terms with the first clear chance to equalise. Paul Pogba’s delightfully clipped ball over the top found Ibrahimovic who nodded past Randolph with conviction.

Mourinho was then sent to the stands after he reacted furiously to referee Jonathon Moss’ decision to book Pogba for an apparent dive, but that only seemed to lift United who responded and should really have gone into the break ahead.

First an unselfish Ibrahimovic header found the stretching Lingard who volleyed over, before a Phil Jones header ran right through to Rashford, but the youngster, who was one-on-one, couldn’t beat Randolph.

The unmarked Ibrahimovic then had a shot blocked from a promising position and Randolph denied the Reds again, this time saving from Lingard who was played through by Mata.

HALF-TIME STATS
Possession: United 74% West Ham 26%
Shots at goal: United 9 West Ham 2
Shots on target: United 4 West Ham 1
Corners: United 4 West Ham 2

Much like the first half, the Hammers were quick out of the blocks. First Sakho headed a corner narrowly over, before De Gea had to tip Payet’s clever free-kick over the bar after he was taken by surprise by the audacity of the Frenchman, who went for goal from a narrow angle.

Seeing a need to lift the tempo, Mourinho introduced two men who were instrumental in the defeat of Feyenoord, Rooney and Mkhitaryan.

It didn’t take long for the latter to pick up where he left off on Thursday as the ball fell to the Armenian in the box and after his effort had hit the post, Lingard tapped into the open net, only to be ruled offside.

Pogba then tried his luck from 25 yards and the familiar orange-shirted figure of Randolph thwarted the Reds again, down low, before a quick counter attack led to Rooney finding Ibrahimovic at the back post, but he was thwarted again by the Hammers’ shot-stopper.

A weak header from James Collins let Ibrahimovic in, but after rounding Randolph, his effort was blocked by a covering West Ham defender. At the other end United Academy graduate Ashley Fletcher almost stole a victory for the Hammers but De Gea made a crucial block.

The Reds have now frustratingly drawn four Old Trafford league games in a row for the first time since November 1980 but at least there’s a swift second chance to beat the stubborn Hammers when they visit again on Wednesday in the EFL Cup.

FULL-TIME STATS
Possession: United 68% West Ham 32%
Shots at goal: United 17 West Ham 5
Shots on target: United 8 West Ham 2
Corners: United 8 West Ham 4

TEAMS

United: 
De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian; Herrera; Pogba, Mata (Mkhitaryan 65), Rashford (Rooney 65); Lingard (Fellaini 85), Ibrahimovic. Subs not used: Romero, Blind, Schweinsteiger, Young.

Booked: Pogba, Valencia.

West Ham: Randolph, Cresswell, Kouyate, Lanzini (Ayew 74), Obiang, Sakho (Fletcher 65), Noble, Collins, Ogbonna, Payet (Feghouli 90+4), Antonio. Subs not used: Adrian, Nordtveit, Zaza, Fernandes.

Booked: Cresswell.

Manchester United 4 Feyenoord 0

24/11/2016 22:01, Report by Adam Higgins

Europa League | 24 November 2016 | Old Trafford | Attendance: 64,628 | Scorers: Rooney 35’, Mata 69’, Jones 75’ (og), Lingard 90+2’  

Manchester United remained in control of the club’s Europa League destiny with one group game to play as Wayne Rooney made history in a dominant 4-0 win over Feyenoord at Old Trafford.

The captain, returning to the starting line-up, became United’s all-time leading scorer in Europe on 39 goals with a composed finish to give the Reds a deserved 1-0 lead at the break.

In the second half, Juan Mata slid home his fifth goal of the season to double the lead before Zlatan Ibrahimovic laid on the third strike of the night as his cross was diverted into his own net by Feyenoord’s goalkeeper Brad Jones.

Substitute Jesse Lingard capped off a stunning move with a glorious curling shot in stoppage time, as Jose Mourinho’s men ran out comfortable winners following a fine all-round display.

It means the Reds, who can still top the group, will book a place in the last 32 of the competition with a point away to Zorya Luhansk in the final Group A match on 8 December.

Staying true to his pre-match comments, Mourinho named a strong team despite making six changes from Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal as Henrikh Mkhitaryan made only his second United start and Sergio Romero replaced the rested David De Gea in goal.

After Fenerbahce’s 2-0 win over Zorya Luhansk earlier in the evening, United kicked off knowing that a defeat would lead to elimination from this season’s competition while a win would almost be enough to go through.

The Reds made a positive start as Paul Pogba, who was a prominent figure early in the game, made a good run into the box to head an Antonio Valencia cross narrowly over before firing another effort off target in the opening exchanges.

The Frenchman came even closer in the 18th minute with a dipping shot which brought the best out of former Liverpool shot-stopper Brad Jones in the Feyenoord goal, who soon after denied a low effort from Michael Carrick – making a third successive start in the Reds midfield for the first time this season.

The Dutch Eredivisie leaders, content on defending deep and allowing United to have the ball, offered little as an attacking threat but brought a fine double save from Romero just before the half-hour mark.

Former Southampton winger Eljero Elia’s cross found Nicolai Jorgensen, whose shot on the turn was parried by the Argentine keeper, who then brilliantly diverted Feyenoord captain Dirk Kuyt’s follow-up attempt behind for a corner with his feet.

And it proved crucial as the Reds took the lead 10 minutes before half-time when Rooney, level with Miguel Nelom, controlled Ibrahimovic’s pinpoint pass before clipping a cool finish over the advancing Jones to score in back-to-back European matches, after his thunderous strike against Fenerbahce earlier this month.

HALF-TIME STATS
Possession: United 63% Feyenoord 37%
Shots at goal: United 8 Feyenoord 3
Shots on target: United 4 Feyenoord 3
Corners: United 2 Feyenoord 1

With the manager’s half-time thoughts still ringing in their ears, United came out with renewed purpose after the break as first Ibrahimovic and then Mkhitaryan had efforts blocked by the resolute Feyenoord defence.

After Mkhitaryan didn’t get his rewards for a brilliant direct run when brought down by Jens Toornstra, Juan Mata skilfully made room for himself before his intelligent chip from the edge of the box almost caught out Jones, who was able to backpedal in time to tip over.

The Reds continued to carve out scoring opportunities as Mkhitaryan cut inside and his low deflected shot was turned home by Mata but celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag before Rooney’s cross was guided over by Ibrahimovic, who was also flagged for offside.

Mkhitaryan almost marked a lively return to the team with his first Reds goal on the hour mark, when bursting into the box from another incisive Ibrahimovic pass but his rasping left-foot shot rippled the side netting.

It was another scintillating move which brought about the second goal to clinch the points midway through the half as Rooney’s clever cutback rolled across the face of goal to allow Mata to slide in from close range.

Despite scoring for the second successive game, it proved to be the Spaniard’s final contribution as Marcus Rashford entered the fray.

Minutes later, the young striker played his part in United’s third goal by releasing Ibrahimovic, whose low cross was fortuitously diverted in off unfortunate keeper Jones for an own goal.

In the closing stages, Mkhitaryan received a standing ovation from the home crowd as he and Rooney were replaced by Lingard and Memphis.

After being denied by a fine save from Jones earlier, Lingard added the gloss to a breathtaking sequence of passes with a delightful finish to wrap up a crucial win which keeps the Reds’ European hopes alive and kicking.

Before the trip to Ukraine in a fortnight’s time, United switch focus to completing a run of four successive home games with a double header against West Ham – in the Premier League on Sunday and the EFL Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.

FULL-TIME STATS
Possession: United 60% Feyenoord 40%
Shots at goal: United 22 Feyenoord 5
Shots on target: United 12 Feyenoord 3
Corners: United 6 Feyenoord 1

THE TEAMS:

United: Romero; Valencia, Jones, Blind, Shaw; Carrick, Pogba; Mata (Rashford 69’), Rooney (c) (Depay 82’), Mkhitaryan (Lingard 82’); Ibrahimovic.

Subs not used: De Gea, Rojo, Fellaini, Herrera.

Feyenoord: Jones; Karsdorp, Tapia, Nelom, van der Heijden; Kuyt (c) (Berghuis 60’), Toornstra Basacikoglu 78’); Dammers, Vilhena, Elia; Jorgensen (Kramer 73’).

Subs not used: Hansson (GK), Vejinovic, Woudenberg, Nieuwkoop.

You can see full highlights of the game on MUTV from midnight. 

Manchester United 1 Arsenal 1

19/11/2016 14:30, Report by Jamie Allen

Premier League | 19 November 2016 | Old Trafford | Attendance: 75,264 | Scorers: Mata 69; Giroud 89

Manchester United were denied a deserved win after Olivier Giroud’s late header handed Arsenal a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

Juan Mata had given the Reds the lead midway through the second half, arriving at the perfect time to convert Ander Herrera’s clever cut-back, but Giroud’s 89th-minute goal salvaged a draw for the Gunners.

It was a result that flattered the visitors after they were pegged back for large periods by a lively United side, who have now been held to frustrating draws in three consecutive home league games.

Jose Mourinho made four changes to the side that beat Swansea City before the international break. Anthony Martial, Herrera, Antonio Valencia and Marcus Rashford all came in for Ashley Young, Marouane Fellaini, Wayne Rooney and the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Before the match, Mourinho insisted narrowing the gap between United and Arsenal to three points would be “perfect” as the season edges towards its half-way stage and the Reds started with that positive intention.

Mata was inches away from giving United an early lead, curling a free-kick just wide of Petr Cech’s far post after Herrera was tripped, 25 yards out. At the other end, Alexis Sanchez, who was looking his ever-dangerous self, headed wide of David De Gea’s far post when he should really have done better.

The game was beginning to look more like a typical United v Arsenal encounter, with both sides having spells of attacking threats and the odd challenge a tasty-looking one.

Then came the big talking point of the first half as Valencia, who was making his first appearance since breaking his arm in the EFL Cup win over Manchester City, seemed to be pulled down by Nacho Monreal in the penalty area, but referee Andre Marriner waved his arms in disapproval of United’s claims.

Moments later, Mata was again inches away from giving United what would have been a deserved lead, but his low shot was tipped around the post by Cech, before the Arsenal stopper came to the visitors’ rescue again, saving twice from Martial in quick succession.

HALF-TIME STATS
Possession: United 42% Arsenal 58%
Shots at goal: United 6 Arsenal 4
Shots on target: United 3 Arsenal 0
Corners: United 5 Arsenal 1

Similarly to the first half, the Reds started the second on the front foot, with Rashford, who scored twice on his league debut in a 3-2 win over Arsenal last season, looking to stretch the Gunners’ back line at every opportunity.

The Reds continued to press, earning a succession of corners, without troubling Cech until the deserved breakthrough came on 69 minutes.

Paul Pogba played in Herrera down the right and he pulled the ball back perfectly for the late-arriving Mata, who fired low past Cech.

Marcos Rojo nearly doubled United’s lead 10 minutes later, but he headed narrowly wide from substitute Daley Blind’s expert cross.

Then the sucker-punch. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who skipped past Rashford down the right side, crossed for fellow substitute Giroud to power a back-post header beyond De Gea with Arsenal’s only attempt on target.

It was harsh on United, who had dominated the game, but Mourinho, who remains unbeaten in his 14 league and cup matches against Arsene Wenger, can take some positives from an encouraging display.

FULL-TIME STATS
Possession: United 45% Arsenal 55%
Shots at goal: United 12 Arsenal 5
Shots on target: United 5 Arsenal 1
Corners: United 10 Arsenal 4

THE TEAMS 

United: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian (Blind 64), Carrick, Herrera, Mata (Schneiderlin 85), Pogba, Martial (Rooney 63), Rashford.

Subs not used: Romero, Lingard, Young, Memphis.

Booked: Darmian, Mata, Rooney.

Arsenal: Cech, Jenkinson (Oxlade-Chamberlain 83), Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin (Xhaka 79), Elneny (Giroud 73), Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott, Sanchez.

Subs not used: Ospina, Gibbs, Gabriel, Iwobi.

Booked: Sanchez, Ramsey, Xhaka.

Swansea 1 United 3

06/11/2016 16:50, Report by Ryan Grant

Premier League | Liberty Stadium | Attendance: 20,938 | Scorers: Pogba 15, Ibrahimovic 21, 33; van der Hoorn 69

Manchester United bounced back to form in style with a clinical 3-1 victory over Swansea City on Sunday afternoon.

A magnificent volley from Paul Pogba set the tone for the win early on, before two Zlatan Ibrahimovic strikes put the Reds firmly in control going into the break. Mike van der Hoorn’s header with 20 minutes remaining was no more than a consolation for the Swans, who did little to trouble David De Gea all afternoon.

Ahead of the game, Jose Mourinho – watching from the stands at the Liberty Stadium – made six changes from the midweek defeat to Fenerbahce, with Ashley Young, Phil Jones and Michael Carrick named among the starters in South Wales.

Amid chilly conditions and following an impeccably-observed minute’s silence, United started the game brightly and might have opened the scoring after just two minutes. Wayne Rooney, who scored with a stunning strike in Istanbul on Thursday, jinked past two defenders but curled a shot wide of goal.

The travelling supporters were in typically good voice, and had another screamer to celebrate with 15 minutes gone, as Rooney’s flick was headed away as far as Pogba, who hit a stunning volley into the corner from 25 yards.

It was a goal of true quality, one which even had home supporters applauding in the stands, and one Mourinho’s men almost added to shortly after. With Swansea still reeling, Matteo Darmian went on a run down the left and picked out Marouane Fellaini in acres of space, but the latter’s sidefooted shot bounced narrowly wide.

The Reds made no mistake with the next attempt on 21 minutes, however, as Rooney found Ibrahimovic in space on the edge of the box and, after taking one touch to get the ball out of his feet, the Swede fired a low shot beyond Lukasz Fabianski.

Not content with netting the 25,000th goal of the Premier League era, Ibrahimovic had another target in his sights, and found the net again just over 10 minutes later. This time, after more good link-up play with Rooney in the Swans’ half, the striker bundled his way into the area and finished powerfully to claim his 400th club career goal.

For all of Swansea’s struggles during the opening 45 minutes, it was a half that belonged to United, who went into the break having completely dominated the play.

HALF-TIME STATS

Possession: Swansea 34% United 66%
Shots: Swansea 1 United 8
Shots on target: Swansea 0 United 3
Corners: Swansea 0 United 0

With the damage all but done, the Reds continued to dictate the tempo after the interval, particularly through Carrick, who was an important influence on his return to the side. There was a half-chance for Fellaini on 52 minutes after some neat build-up in midfield, but the Belgian was twice denied a chance to shoot inside the box.

By contrast, the hosts were finding it difficult to create anything of note, but had a rare shot through Gylfi Sigurdsson with 25 minutes remaining, an effort which the Icelandic midfielder dragged well wide of De Gea’s goal. They did, however, pull a goal back four minutes later. Sigurdsson delivered a free-kick into the area, and van der Hoorn rose highest to head the ball home from 10 yards.

With the clock ticking down, Juan Mata nearly added his name to the scoresheet following Rooney’s strong surge into the Swansea box, but the Spaniard’s low effort curled agonisingly past the post. A goal from substitute Modou Barrow might have made things interesting at the other end, but De Gea got down to block the winger’s scuffed effort.

Instead, United saw out the final minutes, with Rooney unfortunate to see a goal wrongly disallowed for offside, to claim a resounding and well-deserved win on the road, one which will come as a welcome boost following recent results ahead of the international break.

FULL-TIME STATS

Possession: Swansea 37% United 63%
Shots: Swansea 6 United 9
Shots on target: Swansea 1 United 3
Corners: Swansea 2 United 0

Teams

Swansea: Fabianski, Rangel, van der Hoorn, Mawson, Kingsley, Routledge (Barrow 45), Ki, Britton (Fer 70), Sigurdsson, Borja, Llorente (Montero 45).

Subs not used: Nordfeldt, Naughton, Amat, Cork.

United: De Gea, Young, Jones, Rojo, Darmian, Carrick, Fellaini, Mata (Lingard 81), Pogba (Fosu-Mensah 90+3), Rooney (Schneiderlin 89), Ibrahimovic

Subs not used: Romero, Blind, Martial, Rashford.

Booked: Ibrahimovic, Mata.

Fenerbahce 2 Manchester United 1

03/11/2016 19:50, Report by Gemma Thompson in Istanbul

Europa League, Group A | 3 November | Sukru Saracoglu Stadium | Attendance: TBC | Scorers: Sow 2, Lens 59; Rooney 89

Fenerbahce ensured it was seven European away games without a win for Manchester United as the Turkish side leapfrogged both the Reds and Feyenoord to go top of Group A with a 2-1 triumph in Istanbul.

It was two quite brilliant goals that won it for the hosts, an incredible second-minute overhead kick from Moussa Sow and a sweetly struck free-kick from Jeremain Lens after the break. Wayne Rooney, back in the team up front, fired a similarly stunning goal as the game drew to a close, but it was too late to prevent United slipping to third place in the Europa League table.

Mourinho made three changes to the side that clocked up a record number of shots against Burnley at the weekend, with Rooney, the fit-again Anthony Martial and Morgan Schneiderlin replacing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata, who were named on the bench, and Jesse Lingard. Also amongst the substitutes was Phil Jones, yet to feature since January, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who was hoping to make his first appearance for nearly two months.

Former Reds striker Robin van Persie began the night on the bench for Fenerbahce despite scoring at Old Trafford two weeks ago and netting twice at the weekend in the Turkish league.

A cacophony of noise engulfed the players at kick-off and just over 60 seconds later, the sound was almost deafening as Sow scored one of the best goals many fans in the ground will ever have witnessed. An excellent cross from left-back Hasan Ali Kaldirim found Sow just inside the box and he adjusted his body to fire a quite stunning overhead kick into the roof of the net.

Bedlam in the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium ensued as United looked to regain composure after being left shell-shocked by that opening strike. Some good spells of possession and neat play followed, as did a shot from Marcus Rashford which he dragged wide. Anthony Martial played a lovely disguised pass to Rooney to put him through on goal on 21 minutes but a heavy touch allowed Fenerbahce to clear.

Soon after this, the lively Lens, who had earlier been brought down very close to the box by Schneiderlin, sent a header wide for the hosts who looked dangerous on the break.

United lost Paul Pogba to injury on the half-hour mark, but continued to dominate and his replacement Zlatan Ibrahimovic would have had the simple job of side-footing home Rashford’s cross minutes after coming on but for a brave intervention by Fenerbahce goalkeeper Volkan Demirel.

An already hostile atmosphere turned even more intense a few minutes before the break when Ibrahimovic and Simon Kjaer clashed on the touchline and Rooney was left rightly irked by a horrible dive from Souza which sparked more anarchy on and off the pitch.

There was still time for Sow to head a great chance over the bar just before a very hectic and unbelievably loud half came to a close.

HALF-TIME STATS
Possession: Fenerbahce 30% United 70%
Shots: Fenerbahce 5 United 2
Shots on target: Fenerbahce 1 United 1
Corners: Fenerbahce 0 United 5

United’s Player of the Month for October, Juan Mata, entered the fray at the restart, in place of Schneiderlin, as the Reds continued the fight in trying to restore parity. Chances came for Rooney who flicked a header wide and then Mata who dragged an effort past the same post, but unfortunately it was Fenerbahce who were next to find the net, with another superb goal on 59 minutes.

Ibrahimovic’s foul on Mehmet Topal 25 yards out was punished by Lens, on loan from Sunderland, who curled home an unstoppable free-kick.

Mkhitaryan replaced Rashford immediately but it was Fenerbahce who continued to threaten. Indeed the decibel level almost went off the scale 10 minutes later when, a minute after coming on, substitute Emmanuel Emenike saw a shot blocked at point-blank range by David De Gea after Daley Blind’s challenge had managed to put him off balance.

De Gea was forced into another save from the same player six minutes later and the Spaniard breathed a sigh of relief when Emenike just failed to connect with a low cross which looked set to give the home side a third goal.

Rooney handed the Reds a lifeline one minute from time with a beautiful 25-yard shot into the top corner to become United’s joint highest scorer in European competition, alongside Ruud van Nistelrooy with 38 goals. The captain almost made it to 39 in stoppage-time, but his header from Mata’s corner was cleared off the line.

The Reds are still alive in Group A, but know positive results in the final two matches, at home to Feyenoord and away to Zorya Luhansk, will be vital.

FULL-TIME STATS
Possession: Fenerbahce 30% United 70%
Shots: Fenerbahce 8 United 9
Shots on target: Fenerbahce 4 United 3
Corners: Fenerbahce 0 United 9

TEAMS

Fenerbahce: Demirel; Ozbayrakli, Skrtel, Kjaer, Ali Kaldirim; Souza, Potuk (Neustadter 83), Topal; Lens, Sow (Koybasi 87), Sen (Emenike 68). Subs not used: Fabiano, Ucan, Stoch, van Persie.

Booked: Demirel, Potuk, Ozbayrakli, Souza

United: De Gea; Darmian, Blind, Rojo, Shaw; Schneiderlin (Mata 46), Herrera; Rashford (Mkhitaryan 60), Pogba (Ibrahimovic 30), Martial; Rooney. Subs not used: Romero, Jones, Fellaini, Young.

Booked: Schneiderlin, Herrera, Mata