MOVIE TILL 19 FEB 2018

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Emirates FA Cup fifth round : HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0 UNITED 2

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Manchester United avenged the defeat at the John Smith’s Stadium earlier in the season to dump Huddersfield Town out of the Emirates FA Cup and progress to the quarter-final stage thanks to two clinical Romelu Lukaku goals on a night when VAR again took centre stage.

Lukaku put United in front after three minutes and Juan Mata thought he had doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time, but the video assistant referee (VAR) denied him. It was left to United’s no. 9 to put the game to bed 10 minutes into the second half following a blistering Reds counter-attack.

Boss Jose Mourinho made six changes following the defeat to Newcastle. Notably Sergio Romero started in goal and Michael Carrick came in for Paul Pogba who missed out through illness.

United arrived into this, our third meeting with Huddersfield in less than four months and made the perfect start, taking the lead early on through Lukaku. The Belgian picked the ball up 40 yards out, played a one-two with Mata and, after cutting onto his stronger foot, slipped the ball coolly into the near corner to silence the ardent home crowd and claim his 20th goal of the season.

At the other end, Philip Billing found Tom Ince inside the box, but he miscued his shot wide from a narrow angle, before Collin Quaner’s cross was close to looping over Romero. Rajiv Van La Parra headed at Romero, before Florent Hadergjonaj’s low right-wing cross was inches away from being converted by the sliding Ince.

The Terriers were enjoying most of the possession as Billing again tried his luck from distance, before United thought we had grabbed a killer second before the break. A surging run down the right from Ashley Young allowed the flying full-back to find Mata, who neatly rounded the keeper and tucked home. The Reds celebrated, only for referee Kevin Friend to call for a review via VAR, which was being utilised for the first time in United’s history. After a lengthy delay, Neil Swarbrick ruled Mata was in an offside position and the goal was disallowed to the surprise of all the stadium.

Seconds later, United were denied again as Nemanja Matic volleyed home Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick but, this time, the the assistant referee’s flag was raised for offside.

Ince fired in a 20 yard free-kick moments into the second half which lead to Van La Parra having a chance to volley the ball home, but he miskicked his effort before the impressive Chris Smalling made a crucial block on Steve Mounie.

Just as he did in the first half, Lukaku, found the back of the net with United’s first purposeful attack of the second period and it was trademark United. A frightening counter-attack, which was started in his own half by the United frontman, laying the ball off to Alexis Sanchez, was finished in clinical fashion as he latched on to Alexis’ return ball, stroking past Jonas Lossl. A couple of young Reds fans made their way onto the pitch to congratulate Alexis and co.

The Reds now oozed confidence and Mata and Alexis were combining beautifully in the centre of the field as both looked to feed Lukaku for his hat-trick, but couldn’t find that elusive final ball which would have put the icing on the cake. At the other end, Huddersfield bravely plugged away and substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri nearly pulled a goal back, but he headed over as the Reds defence, led by Smalling, stood firm.

This was the first of three matches in three different competitions for United which could ultimately help define our season. Tonight’s win under the lights meant smooth progression into the FA Cup quarter-final for the fourth year in a row and Mourinho’s men can now focus on European adventures in midweek.

THE LINE-UPS

Huddersfield: Lossl, Hadergjonaj (Smith 70) Zanka, Schindler (c), Kongolo (Malone 70); Williams, Billing, Ince; Quaner, Van La Parra (Sabiri 84), Mounie.

Subs not used: Coleman, Whitehead, Hogg, Depoitre.

United: Romero; Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw; Matic, Carrick (c), McTominay; Mata (Lingard 80), Alexis (Martial 75) Lukaku (Bailly 90+3).

Subs not used: Pereira, Darmian, Hamilton, Gomes.

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BPL G27 :NEWCASTLE 1 MANCHESTER UNITED 0

Despite a number of clear-cut opportunities, a second-half Matt Ritchie strike consigned Manchester United to a frustrating 1-0 defeat to Newcastle inside an ardent St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds, who donned black armbands in tribute to the late Liam Miller, should have been out of sight after Alexis Sanchez, Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku all had clear chances, but Ritchie snatched all three points midway through the second half.

Before the game, Jose Mourinho revealed how much he admired Newcastle’s stadium and the atmosphere on Tyneside and the home crowd were nearly on their feet inside five minutes. Dwight Gayle’s free-kick was blocked by the Reds wall before Jonjo Shelvey fired the rebound towards goal which brought a superb right-handed save from David De Gea to keep the scores level.

Ayoze Perez then snatched the ball off Nemanja Matic on the edge of the United box, but he fired wide from 25 yards, before Lukaku played in Alexis out wide at the other end and the Chilean returned the ball to his partner, but the Belgian could not connect sufficiently.

The Magpies came into this one with a winless record at home in the league since 21 October, keeping just two clean sheets in their last 17 matches and the home crowd were slowly sensing a tough afternoon as the Reds began to take a foothold of the game.

Great hold-up play by Lukaku found Alexis again and this time he found the arriving Jesse Lingard who fired low at Dubravka via a deflection. The Reds had a great opportunity to take the lead on 35 minutes through Martial, but he was denied by the debutant Dubravka’s legs when clean through after an inch-perfect ball from Matic.

Martial again had a chance with a header from a Lukaku cross, before the hosts had a shout for a penalty waved away by referee Craig Pawson after Chris Smalling collided with Gayle just inside the box.

Lukaku boasts a formidable record against Newcastle, scoring six goals and registering four assists in nine previous Premier League appearances against the Magpies in his career, and you would have backed him to put United ahead with the Reds second clear-cut chance on the stroke of half-time. Pogba found Alexis, who headed the ball into the path of the Belgian, but our no.9’s effort was deflected over the crossbar.

Lukaku thought he had added to his record against the Magpies seven minutes into the second half when he headed home from Smalling’s assist, but the referee deemed he had pushed Florian Lejeune.

The Belgian striker was in the thick of it again moments later as he played in Alexis who took the ball around Dubravka, but Lejeune came to the home side’s rescue blocking the ball, before United’s no.7 could slide it into the empty net.

The sucker punch came against the run of play as a Jon-Jo Shelvey’s free-kick was nodded on by Lejeune and Ritchie arrived to slide the ball home from 15 yards.

United looked to hit straight back as Young cut in from the left and fired a wicked effort at goal which Dubravka palmed away, before Martial was somehow denied twice by the Newcastle defence from five yards following a corner.

The Reds battled on and so nearly grabbed a last-gasp leveller after a goalmouth scramble, but it wasn’t to be for Mourinho’s men this time.

THE LINE-UPS

Newcastle: Dúbravka, Yedlin, Lascelles (c), Lejeune, Dummett, Diame, Shelvey, Ritchie, Perez (Hayden 90+4), Kenedy (Atsu 84), Gayle (Joselu 79).

Subs not used: Darlow, Merino, Manquillo, Murphy.

United: De Gea; Valencia (c), Smalling, Jones, Young; Matic (McTominay 77), Pogba (Carrick 66); Alexis, Lingard (Mata 66), Martial; Lukaku.

Subs not used: Romero, Lindelof, Rojo, Shaw.

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BPL G26 : MANCHESTER UNITED 2 HUDDERSFIELD 0

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United returned to winning ways with a much improved performance, after their midweek dip against Tottenham Hotspur, and it could easily have been a broader margin than the 2-0 result achieved with goals from Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, the Chilean’s first for the club. 

The 60th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster was commemorated with a perfectly observed minute’s silence before the start of the game. Remarkably, with more than 70,000 inside the ground, there wasn’t a sound.

This was the first League meeting at Old Trafford between United and the West Yorkshire side since Saturday 11 March 1972 but, of course, the corresponding fixture at the John Smith’s Stadium ended in a shock 2-1 defeat.

Showing several changes, most notably Scott McTominay in for Paul Pogba, from Wednesday, United started the game at a brisk pace, while Huddersfield were clearly in a mood to take no prisoners.

The visitors used every tool in the box to try to prevent the ball from finding the net and were extremely fortunate not to concede a penalty when McTominay was flattened by Terence Kongolo’s wild challenge inside the box. There was also a shout for a spot-kick when Alexis was felled on his home debut but, again, referee Stuart Attwell was unconvinced.

The Reds had certainly had their chances during the opening half, Jesse Lingard and Chris Smalling going close, but as half-time was reached, the scoresheet remained blank. United continued to have the lion’s share of possession and territorial advantage as the second half unfolded and it did feel like a goal was inevitable.

Chances came and went but, in the 55th minute, Huddersfield’s defence was finally breached. Juan Mata’s educated left foot provided the cross from the left wing, after more dogged work by Alexis, and Lukaku made no mistake in sweeping home a clinical left-footed finish.

It was no more than United deserved for all our dominance and, 13 minutes later, the lead was doubled when referee Attwell did point to the spot. Alexis was tripped by Town’s Michael Hefele and the Stretford End roared its approval when the new boy picked the ball up and took on the responsibility. The no.7’s penalty was parried by keeper Jonas Lossi, but the Chilean followed up to claim his first goal in a United shirt.

This was a much better performance from Jose Mourinho’s lads but there were no further goals, despite several breaks involving substitutes Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, and it was certainly given the seal of approval by the majority of the 74,742 crowd inside Old Trafford.

THE TEAMS

United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw; McTominay, Matic; Mata (Rashford 71), Lingard (Pogba 65), Sanchez; Lukaku (Martial 76).

Substitutes not used: Romero, Lindelof, Young, Carrick.

Booked: Mata, Alexis

Huddersfield: Lossl; Smith, Zanka, Schindler (Hefele 59), Kongolo; Hogg, Quaner, Hadergjonaj, Billing (Mooy 33), Van La Parra (Ince 69); Depoitre.

Substitutes not used: Coleman, Malone, Pritchard, Mounie.

Booked: Billing, Smith, Hefele, Hogg.

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BPL G25 : TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 MANCHESTER UNITED 0

Manchester United’s run of eight games without defeat came to an end at Wembley Stadium in front of a record crowd for a Premier League game.

The Reds’ impressive defensive record, which had the opposition shut out in six straight matches in all competitions, was ended by a Christian Eriksen strike and Phil Jones’s own goal.

Spurs were ahead after just 11 seconds. A long ball forward found Deli Alli and as the England international tried to turn in the United area, the ball ricocheted off Chris Smalling and fell fortuitously into the path of Eriksen. The Dane made no mistake from close range to score the second fastest goal in Premier League history.

In a bid to restore parity, Alexis Sanchez carried the ball forward before picking out Paul Pogba. Being the Reds’ most creative player in the Premier League this season, it was little surprise that Pogba was able to beat the Spurs defence with a neat through ball but it wouldn’t fall kindly enough for Jesse Lingard, therefore denying United an immediate equaliser.

Anthony Martial then looked to create a chance and after taking on Davidson Sanchez out wide, he was able to cut inside from the right to unleash a shot, but his effort lacked accuracy and sailed off target.

As they did from the kick-off, Spurs continued to look a threat on the attack. First, Harry Kane took aim for the first time in the match, although David De Gea got behind it to make a comfortable save. Heung-Min Son then looked ready to be played clean through on goal, but Smalling retreated well to intercept.

Tottenham’s pressure in United’s final third soon yielded a second goal. Eriksen produced a dangerous cross from the right flank and, in trying to steer it behind for a corner, Phil Jones could only direct the ball past a helpless De Gea.

Approaching the break, the Reds found it challenging to mount an attack as Spurs, high on confidence, pressed high up the field and restricted most of United’s possession to the visitors’ own half.

The Reds had a fair shout for a penalty nine minutes into the second period when Alexis’s header hit the arm of Son, but referee Andre Marriner was unmoved.

Eriksen had his eye on a brace just after the hour mark and saw a dangerous strike from outside the box drop just wide of De Gea’s right-hand post.

As Jose Mourinho’s side searched for a way back into the match, both Juan Matta and Ander Herrera were introduced to bolster the attack, but Tottenham were content with their lead and began to sit in, making them increasingly difficult to break down.

Overall it was a frustrating evening for the Reds who now turn attentions to hosting Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford on Saturday.

THE LINE-UPS

Tottenham: Lloris (c); Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele (Wanyama 92); Eriksen, Alli (Sissoko 87), Son (Lamela 81); Kane.

Subs not used: Vorm, Rose, Walker-Peters, Llorente.

Booked: Dembele, Ali.

United: De Gea; Valencia (c), Smalling, Jones, Young; Matic, Pogba (Mata 63); Alexis, Lingard (Fellaini 63 (Herrera 70)), Martial; Lukaku.

Subs not used: Romero, Rojo, Shaw, Rashford.

Booked: Jones, Young.

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MOVIE TILL 29 JAN 2018

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Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round : YEOVIL 0 MANCHESTER UNITED 4

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Manchester United continued our perfect start to 2018 by progressing to the Emirates FA Cup fifth round with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Yeovil Town.

Goals from Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku saw Jose Mourinho celebrate both his birthday and 100th game at the club with a win, as the Reds recorded a fifth successive triumph without conceding a goal.

Prior to kick-off, Huish Park was united in a minute of applause in memory of former England defender Jimmy Armfield, who passed away this week. Once the game got under way, it was the hosts who were first to try a shot on goal, Jordan Green firing at Sergio Romero who saved his effort.

Debutant Alexis Sanchez played in Scott McTominay, who saw his shot low strike turned behind by Glovers keeper Arthur Krysiak. Alexis, who had been putting up with jeers from the home supporters every time he touched the ball, then had to weather a strong challenge from Nathan Smith. The defender received a booking for going through the back of the Chilean. From the resulting free-kick, Alexis eyed up the bottom right corner, although not with enough power to beat Krysiak.

Four minutes before half time, however, the deadlock was broken. The Yeovil defenders failed to clear the ball and allowed Rashford the opportunity to wriggle through and place a simple finish into the net, making him the fourth United player this season to have netted double figures (after Lukaku, Lingard and Martial). Sanchez had played the through ball to the young forward.

Jose’s side started the second period as strong, if not stronger, than they ended the first and Rashford was targeting his second of the evening, but failed to find the target with his shot which ended wide of the left-hand post.

Just after the hour mark, Alexis produced a neat assist, breaking to find Herrera, who expertly hammered home a low left-footed shot, doubling the Reds’ lead. Herrera’s 16th goal in a United shirt providing him with the perfect souvenir from his 150th appearance for the club at a ground where he scored in the past.

Moments later, the travelling supporters were celebrating again as Juan Mata turned in an effort from close range, however the Spaniard’s strike was ruled out for offside.

United continued to control the match as it neared its conclusion and as the clock ticked down there was still time for second-half substitutes Lingard and Lukaku to plunder more goals. Lingard smashed home in style after a penetrative run before Lukaku pounced in injury time from a Marcos Rojo cross, with impressive substitute Angel Gomes, who almost scored with his first involvement, featuring in the build-up.

As well as an effective attacking display, the Reds will no doubt be proud of keeping a sixth consecutive clean sheet in all competitions and can now look forward to Monday’s draw.

THE LINE-UPS

Yeovil Town: Krysiak; N.Smith, Bird (Browne 56), Wing (C. Smith 83), Gray, Dickson, Zoko (c), Surridge, Green (Fisher 69), Sowunmi, James.

Subs not used: Maddison, Whelan, Gobern, Santos.

Booked: Zoko, N.Smith, Sowunmi.

United: Romero; Darmian, Lindelof, Rojo, Shaw; Carrick, Herrera; Mata (Lukaku 64), McTominay, Alexis (Lingard 72); Rashford (Gomes 88).

Subs not used: Pereira, Smalling, Young, Matic.

Booked: McTominay.

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