BPL G17 : MANCHESTER UNITED 1 BOURNEMOUTH 0

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Manchester United bounced back from the disappointment of the derby as a Romelu Lukaku header secured a 1-0 win over a stubborn Bournemouth at Old Trafford.

United had a 40-match unbeaten home run in all competitions ended by Manchester City on Sunday, but got back to winning ways thanks to a first-half Lukaku bullet header. Substitute Marcus Rashford rattled the crossbar midway through the second period, but the single goal was enough for the vital three points.

Jose Mourinho opted to make four changes from the City defeat with the likes of Phil Jones returning for his first start for over a month, while Luke Shaw returned after impressing against CSKA Moscow and Scott McTominay made his first start since the win over Benfica.

Anthony Martial tried a delicate flicked ball over the top which just evaded Lukaku and Juan Mata, before the Cherries began to get a foothold in the game themselves. First, Charlie Daniels tried his luck from 25 yards which forced David De Gea had to save smartly down to his left, before the Spaniard then had to punch away Dan Gosling’s effort.

However, United took the lead when Mata crossed perfectly for Lukaku, who held off two defenders and steered a header into the top corner. His celebrations were subdued, but deep down, the Belgian would have been delighted to be back among the goals.

Moments later, the impressive Jones swung a wonderful 50-yard cross-field pass to Shaw who pulled the ball back and Simon Francis nearly diverted past his own keeper. At the other end, Junior Stanislas cut in from the right-hand side and fired an effort at goal which De Gea again did well to beat away, before Francis nearly scored at the right end, but he fired over when free in the box following another Bournemouth corner.

De Gea was called into action again seconds before the break as Ryan Fraser’s cross so nearly caught the Spaniard off guard, but he managed to scamper across and palm the ball away to maintain the Reds lead.

It took around 15 minutes of the second half for the first real opportunity and it was a chance to put the game to bed. Nemanja Matic crossed for Lukaku who headed the ball down for Martial to tap home, but he skewed his effort over from five yards.

The Reds were dominating possession with young McTominay impressing in the centre of the park, before substitute Rashford came off the bench and so nearly doubled the lead, but rattled the crossbar from 35 yards with a thunderous effort.

The dangerous Jermain Defoe had a shot comfortably saved by De Gea from the edge of the box before Jones made a crucial headed intervention to deny Benik Afobe. Defoe was then thwarted by the knees of De Gea as Eddie Howe’s men looked to snatch a late draw, but despite late Bournemouth pressure, including Fraser testing De Gea again, the Reds saw the game out.

THE LINE-UPS

United: De Gea; Valencia (c), Jones, Smalling, Shaw (Young 83); Matic, McTominay, Mata, Lingard (Herrera 71), Martial (Rashford 66); Lukaku.

Subs not used: Romero, Blind, Lindelof, Ibrahimovic.

Booked: Lukaku

Bournemouth: Begovic, Smith, Francis (c), Ake, Daniels; Stanislas (Afobe 71), Arter, Gosling (L. Cook 77), Fraser; King, Wilson (Defoe 71).

Subs not used: Boruc, S Cook, Surman Ibe

Booked: Gosling, Arter.

TALKING POINTS

LUKAKU BACK AMONG THE GOALS

United fans would have been delighted to see the big Belgian back on the scoresheet in the Premier League. Lukaku emphasised how deadly he is in the air, holding off two Cherries’ defenders to expertly head past Begovic.

SHAW IMPRESSES AGAIN

Luke Shaw picked up where he left off against CSKA Moscow, impressing with his enthusiastic energy down the flank and he won the ball back on numerous occasions with every tackle cheered by the Old Trafford faithful.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR UNITED?

The Reds travel to Alan Pardew’s West Bromwich Albion on Sunday 17 December, with kick off at 14:15 GMT, with the Baggies buoyed by a goalless draw at Liverpool.

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BPL G16 : MANCHESTER UNITED 1 MANCHESTER CITY 2

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Manchester United slipped 11 points behind Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title after agonisingly losing 2-1 in a fiery derby at Old Trafford.

This was a match in which records were inevitably set to be broken one way or another. United were looking to set a new club standard of 41 home matches unbeaten in all competitions – a sequence which ironically began after a 2-1 defeat against City in last season’s first derby. The Blues, meanwhile, came into this game unbeaten away from home all season and were looking to break the record for successive Premier League wins in a single season.

David Silva put the visitors ahead shortly before half-time following a corner, before Marcus Rashford levelled matters just four minutes later, capitalising on Fabian Delph’s mistake in first-half injury time. Nicolas Otamendi grabbed the bragging rights for City nine minutes into the second half as he poked home after the ball fell fortunately to him after a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick was only cleared into his path. The heroic Ederson denied Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata with a stunning double save late on as City hung on.

United boss Jose Mourinho made two changes from the previous Premier League game against Arsenal with Ander Herrera and Rashford coming in for Victor Lindelof and the suspended Paul Pogba. However, the attacking looking line-up featured a total of six alterations from the midweek win over CSKA Moscow.

The whole world had their eyes firmly fixed on Old Trafford in what was the biggest, most anticipated match of the season thus far. The crowd recognised that and it was an electric atmosphere inside the Theatre of Dreams. City had the majority of the early play with Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus both having tame efforts at goal which David De Gea twice grasped gratefully.

The visitors continued to dominate the possession stakes, albeit without really troubling the Reds’ rearguard, while United looked for the counter-attacking ball over the top.

Leroy Sane then tested De Gea after bringing Delph’s cross down at the back post, but the Spaniard expertly tipped over from close range. From the resulting corner, Nicolas Otamendi’s downward header was latched upon by Silva and he poked the ball past De Gea from five yards when free inside the box.

That goal seemed to wake Mourinho’s men up and Anthony Martial tested Ederson from 25 yards, before Old Trafford erupted thanks to Rashford’s quick leveller. Marcos Rojo’s crossfield long ball was misjudged by City left-back Delph and United’s 20-year-old Mancunian, who scored the winner on his derby debut two seasons back, calmly tucked the ball past Ederson.

The Reds looked to pick up from the equaliser in the second half as Martial and Rashford combined, but the latter’s cross was diverted away by Otamendi before Jesse Lingard could pounce.

It was another setpiece which ultimately caught the Reds out. From De Bruyne’s free-kick into the box, Lukaku’s clearance rebounded off Chris Smalling’s back and Otamendi had the easiest of tasks to divert the ball past De Gea in similar fashion to Silva’s opener.

The Reds looked to hit back and Lingard played in Lukaku, but the big Belgian blazed over from a narrow angle, and Rashford did likewise with a free-kick.

At the other end, De Bruyne nearly put the game to bed with a low fizzing effort which De Gea did well to turn around his right-hand post.

Rashford again received the ball from a Delph mistake, but this time Ederson denied him, saving down low before the Brazilian somehow denied Lukaku and then substitute Mata from close range in quick succession as the Reds tried desperately to find that elusive leveller. Blues substitute Bernardo Silva nearly wrapped things up late on, but although De Gea saved with his feet, City still took home the derby spoils.

THE LINE-UPS

United: De Gea; Valencia (c), Smalling, Rojo (Lindelof 45), Young; Matic, Herrera (Mata 82); Rashford, Lingard (Ibrahimovic 76), Martial; Lukaku.

Subs not used: Romero, Jones, Shaw, McTominay.

Booked: Rojo, Rashford, Herrera, Young.

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Kompany (c) (Gundogan 45), Otamendi, Delph; Fernandinho, De Bruyne, David Silva; Sterling, Jesus (Mangala 59), Sane (Bernardo Silva 88).

Subs not used: Bravo, Danilo, Zinchenko, Aguero.

Booked: Walker, Silva.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR UNITED?

The Reds will look to bounce back against Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday 13 December, in a midweek Premier League clash kicking off at 20:00 GMT.

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UCL G6 : MANCHESTER UNITED 2 CSKA MOSCOW 1

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Manchester United secured safe passage through to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, with a 2-1 victory over CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford confirming the Reds’ status as Group A winners.

Two goals in two second-half minutes from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford were enough to seal the three points for United, overturning Alan Dzagoev’s opener on the stroke of half-time for the visitors.

United started the game strongly and were on the front foot from the off, with Rashford latching onto a  Lukaku ball and racing clear of the CSKA defence after just four minutes, only to see his low effort cannon back off the post.

The Reds’ best chance of the opening half came after 20 minutes, with Luke Shaw’s low volley stinging the palms of Russia international goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, and an outstretching Lukaku unable to get enough on the rebound to convert from close range.

It was CSKA, however, who took the lead late on in the first half with a goal against the run of play. A low Mario Fernandes cross from the right-hand side was met by Vitinho, whose shot deflected into Sergio Romero’s goal off the back of Dzagoev to put the visitors ahead at the interval.

Jose Mourinho’s men responded well after the break, with Rashford forcing a smart save from Akinfeev after a surging run into the box, before Chris Smalling headed wide from close range after getting on the end of a dangerous Juan Mata cross.

United continued to threaten and got the reward in the 64th minute. Lukaku latched onto a floated through-ball from Paul Pogba, with the Belgian striker volleying home from close range to score his 13th goal of the season.

Just two minutes later, the turnaround was complete. Mata’s neat knock forward found Rashford in space inside the box and the England forward fired a low finish past Akinfeev to put United in control.

The visitors had a chance to level things up late on, but Dzagoev’s effort was well saved by the feet of Romero.

Elsewhere, a 2-0 win for FC Basel away at Benfica means it’s the Swiss side who will be joining United in the knockout phases, with the draw to be made on Monday.

TEAM LINE-UPS

United: Romero; Valencia (c) (Tuanzebe 72), Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw; Herrera (McTominay 67), Blind; Mata, Pogba, Rashford; Lukaku (Martial 74).

Booked: McTominay

Subs not used: Pereira, Darmian, Young, Lingard.

CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev; V. Berezutski, Vasin, Ignashevich; Fernandes, Golovin, Kuchaev, Nababkin; Vitinho (Zhamaletdinov 82), Chalov (Gordyushenko 64), Dzagoev.

Booked: Berezutski

Subs not used: Pomazun, Makarov, Khosonov, Olanare.

TALKING POINTS

Shaw’s 50th appearance
He’s been absent from the first-team squad of late, but Luke Shaw will have been delighted to make his 50th appearance for the club under the lights at Old Trafford. The left-back impressed on his return to senior duties and was a constant attacking threat in wide positions, causing the CSKA defence problems with a number of intelligent forward runs and efforts on goal.

United equal club record
The victory made it 40 games unbeaten in all competitions for United at Old Trafford, with our impressive run stretching back to last season’s game against Manchester City. This equals a club record and means we would make history with a positive result in this weekend’s Manchester derby.

What’s next for United?
It’s a big one – attention now turns to Sunday, where we’ll host City at Old Trafford in the Premier League. With United’s neighbours currently eight points ahead of us in the table, Mourinho’s men will be aiming to close the gap and give the red half of Manchester bragging rights with a victory in one of the season’s showpiece fixtures.

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BPL G15:ARSENAL 1 MANCHESTER UNITED 3

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Manchester United claimed a first Premier League win for three years over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday tea-time in an enthralling encounter which featured great goals, a red card and a David De Gea masterclass.

Goals from Antonio Valencia and a double from the in-form Jesse Lingard were enough to see off an Arsenal side who had not lost at home since January. But the Reds’ superb victory was down in no small part to De Gea, who was in scintillating form. The only negative of the afternoon was the red card for Paul Pogba, who will miss the next three matches including next Sunday’s huge derby clash.

Both sides were unchanged from their midweek victories, with Nemanja Matic deemed fit enough to start after going off injured at Watford and Alexandre Lacazette also selected despite being initially being ruled out of the game with a groin injury.

The Gunners were on a 12-game winning run on their own patch, but the hosts were the architects of their own downfall early on with the Reds ahead inside four minutes. Laurent Koscielny’s pass to Sead Kolasinac was easily intercepted by Valencia who played a one-two with Pogba before slotting home brilliantly through the legs of Petr Cech.

Seven minutes later, Arsenal lost possession again and United took full advantage. Lingard flicked the ball off Shkodran Mustafi’s toe and found Romelu Lukaku who slipped a pass into Anthony Martial and the Frenchman’s sublime lay-off allowed Lingard to instantly sweep the ball in off the post.

The Reds looked almost unstoppable in attack, but Mourinho’s men were thankful for a combination of vital De Gea saves and some last-ditch defending which ensured United ended the half well in control. De Gea knew little about his first brilliant stop as Lacazette’s shot deflected off the keeper on the ground and up onto the bar, before Granit Xhaka fired just wide.

The Spaniard held on to a well-struck Mesut Ozil volley, before pulling off a superb double save, diving to palm away Hector Bellerin’s drive and then claiming Kolasinac’s bobbling effort.

The best save of the lot though came on the stroke of half-time, and from his own player. An Alexis Sanchez free-kick was swung in and the ball ricocheted off Lukaku forcing De Gea to claw the ball away from almost inside his own net.

Four minutes after half-time, De Gea could do nothing to prevent the Gunners grabbing one back as Sanchez’s cross found Ramsey, who had burst through the defence which stood still expecting offside and could only watch on as Lacazette fired the ball home.

United responded almost immediately as Lingard found himself through at the other end and, after Cech had deflected his attempted chip onto the post, Martial’s follow-up from a matter of three yards rebounded back off Nacho Monreal and away from danger.

It was time for more De Gea heroics on 55 minutes when the stopper saved one-handed from Lacazette, before reacting immediately to block Sanchez’s effort from point-blank range with his foot.

There was to be no let-up in the action as United reclaimed the two-goal advantage quite brilliantly just after the hour-mark. Lukaku set Lingard clear who found Pogba down the right and the marauding midfielder held off the attentions of Koscielny to cross for Lingard to tap into an empty net.

You hoped that would be enough for United to see out the game but things were made more difficult when Pogba was shown a red card by referee Andre Marriner for a foul on Bellerin on 74 minutes. A three-match ban is expected to follow, with the Frenchman set to be a massive miss in next weekend’s Manchester derby.

More De Gea saves and a couple of penalty claims by Arsenal followed but United held out for a vital victory in one of the most absorbing encouters of the season. Now for the derby.

TEAM LINE-UPS

Arsenal: Cech; Koscielny (c), Mustafi (Iwobi 15), Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka (Welbeck 70), Kolasinac (Giroud 77); Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.

Booked: Bellerein, Koscielny, Sanchez.

Subs not used: Ospina (GK), Mertesacker, Coquelin, Wilshere.

United: De Gea; Valencia (c), Lindelof, Smalling, Rojo, Young (Rashford 90); Matic, Pogba; Lingard (Darmian 76), Martial (Herrera 67); Lukaku.

Booked: Rojo, Herrera.

Sent off: Pogba.

Subs not used: Romero, Blind, McTominay, Mata.

TALKING POINTS:

LINGARD AT THE DOUBLE
Fresh from his superb solo effort in midweek, Lingard kept up his scoring antics with a fantastic double at the Emirates – the first time he has scored two goals in a single Premier League game. Both goals were team works of beauty and Jesse’s finish for the first was particularly impressive. His constant pressuring of the Arsenal defence throughout the evening played a big part in United’s victory and it was he who snatched possession in the lead-up to his first strike.

DAVE SAVES
You could have been forgiven for losing count of the amount of not just saves David De Gea made during a fraught 90 minutes, but quite incredible saves. Opta stats confirmed after the game that he made 14 in all, the joint-most by a goalkeeper in a single Premier League match. The United stopper could do nothing about Arsenal’s goal, but the Gunners will wonder how they did not find another way past the Spaniard. His best save of the lot arguably came from his own player when he somehow kept out Lukaku’s deflected effort.

MATIC GIVES EVERYTHING
Jose said before kick-off that Nemanja Matic “wants to play,” despite the manager’s feeling that he was not completely fit, but you’d never have known after that performance. The midfielder was as brave as ever as he made some vital blocks, including one from Lacazette in the first half and, after Pogba’s dismissal, he was a real calming influence in front of United’s dogged backline.

MANCHESTER DERBY AWAITS
United’s next game in the Premier League is, quite simply, the biggest of the season. Today’s result means the Reds have cut Manchester City’s lead to five points, but the Blues can extend it to eight again with victory over struggling West Ham on Sunday. Then all eyes will be on Old Trafford next Sunday afternoon, with United knowing victory is a must.

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BPL G14 : WATFORD 2 MANCHESTER UNITED 4

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Manchester United netted four goals on the road – including two in six minutes from Ashley Young – to see off Watford and keep the pressure on rivals Manchester City.

Anthony Martial’s fine first-half finish made it 3-0 for half-time and Jessie Lingard’s stunning second-half solo goal ensured the Reds shrugged off an attempted comeback from the Hornets.

This victory, United’s third successive win in the Premier League, reduced the gap at the top to five points, ahead of City’s game against Southampton on Wednesday night.

Jose Mourinho’s men went ahead with the first shot of the match. Having seen his deflected strike go down as an own goal against Brighton at the weekend, there was no doubt that it was Young’s goal this time. Jessie Lingard picked out fellow England international Young on the edge of the area, who sweetly hit a right-footed half volley beyond Heurelho Gomes.

A little over five minutes later, Young grabbed his and United’s second goal, a direct free-kick curled beautifully into the top left-hand corner. The chance came after Abdoulaye Doucoure brought down Paul Pogba with a combination of a shirt pull and a poorly timed tackle. Up stepped Young to punish the foul and leave the home crowd stunned.

The travelling fans had only just settled down when Gomes was once again picking the ball out of the net. Romelu Lukaku was the provider, knocking the ball down to Martial for the Frenchman to strike home with his eighth goal of the season in all competitions – equalling his entire tally for 2016/17.

Young was no doubt picturing a first-half hat-trick when Adrian Mariappa fouled Martial in almost an identical position to his earlier free-kick, but this time he was unable to clear the Watford wall.

Mourinho’s side would have gone in four up at the break if not for a fine double save by Gomes. Having been afforded both time and space, Lukaku drove an effort on goal and the resulting save looked to be falling kindly to Lingard, but by the time it had reached him, Gomes was back on his feet and impressively turned it over the crossbar.

The last action of an incident-packed first half was to fall to the hosts in the second minute of added time, Kiko Femina crossing to Richarlison, who headed onto and over the bar.

Both sides battled hard to begin the second period, but it took a while for the game to open up again as it had done in the first forty-five.

Watford substitute Troy Deeney pulled one back for Marco Silva’s side when referee Jon Moss adjudged Marcus Rojo to have brought down Roberto Pereyra in the penalty area. Deeney confidently finished from twelve yards as he sent David De Gea the wrong way.

Watford were back within a goal of United after Doucoure finished from inside the area, but any hopes of a comeback were short-lived when, two minutes later, Lingard dribbled forward from inside his own half and secured the points with a composed finish.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic came on for Lingard in the closing stages to make his 50th appearance for the Reds but a goal from the Swede was not required to seal the richly-deserved triumph.

THE LINE-UPS

Watford: Gomes (c); Mariappa, Prodl (Carrillo 58), Kabasele; Femenia, Cleverly, Doucoure, Hughes, Zeegelaar; Huges (Pereyra 58), Richarlison; Gray (Deeney 72).

Subs not used: Karnezis, Wague, Janmaat, Capoue.

Booked: Doucoure, Mariappa.

United: De Gea; Valencia (c), Lindelof, Smalling, Rojo, Young; Matic (Herrera 54), Pogba; Lingard (Ibrahimovic 88), Lukaku, Martial (Rashford 65).

Subs not used: Romero, Darmian, McTominay, Mata.

Booked: Rojo.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR UNITED?

The Reds have another away trip this week in the Premier League and will hope to extend the winning run, at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday (2 December) against Arsenal in the evening kick-off (17:30 GMT).

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