MOVIE TILL 21 SEPT 2017

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Carabao Cup : MANCHESTER UNITED 4 BURTON ALBION 1

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Manchester United began the defence of the League Cup with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Championship strugglers Burton Albion.

Marcus Rashford netted an early double and Jesse Lingard added another put United three goals to the good at the break, before Anthony Martial slotted home on the hour mark to complete the rout, though Lloyd Dyer did hammer in a late consolation strike for the visitors.

The Reds flew out of the blocks and Rashford was on hand to open the scoring after just five minutes. After being found in acres of space following Lingard’s flick-on, the England striker was able to clip past Connor Ripley in the Burton goal.

United broke again just moments after the opener and, had it not been for Ben Turner’s sliding block, Lingard would have doubled his side’s lead.

However, it did not take long for the Reds to extend the advantage as, after a brief period of possession, Rashford picked up Daley Blind’s pass, turned away from his marker and whipped in with only 17 minutes on the clock.

Juan Mata and Martial both missed good opportunities to score, before the Brewers nearly caught United on the break, though, after Luke Varney’s driving run into the box, Joe Mason’s chip was well saved by Sergio Romero.

Nevertheless, the Reds’ pressure was relentless and Mata struck the post after a tangle with Turner, which allowed Matteo Darmian to pick up the rebound and clip in a ball for Martial to attack in acrobatic fashion, but his effort was blocked.

Martial, who proved a major thorn in the Burton side, played his part in United’s third goal of the night. After turning Tom Naylor inside out, he found Lingard in space on the edge of the box and the no.14’s deflected effort left Ripley helpless.

Jose Mourinho’s men immediately took control of possession and territory in the second period, and Burton had barely left their half by the time Martial netted the Reds’ fourth, as he calmly slotted home after latching onto Rashford’s through-ball.

The Frenchman had another golden chance as the game entered its final 10 minutes but, after being slipped in by Lingard, he was unable to find the far corner and his effort zipped inches wide. And in the closing moments, Martial saw a free-kick clip the side-netting, as he attempted to double his personal tally on the night.

Youngsters Scott McTominay and Joel Pereira were both given minutes by Mourinho in the second half, which proved to be a relatively quiet affair; although United’s forwards continually threatened, they were unable to further Burton’s misery.

The visitors did perhaps have the last laugh, though, as Dyer thumped home a consolation goal in injury time after picking up the ball in space, following a scramble in the box.

THE LINE-UPS 

United: Romero (Pereira 78); Darmian, Lindelof, Smalling, Blind; Carrick (c), Herrera; Lingard, Mata (Shaw 45), Martial; Rashford (McTominay 64).

Substitutes not used: Jones, Young, Fellaini, Lukaku.

Booked: None

Burton Albion: Ripley; Naylor, Flanagan, Turner (Warnock 45); Akpan (Akins 77), Allen (Murphy 45), Lund, Palmer, Dyer; Varney (c), Mason.

Substitutes not used: Campbell, McFadzean, Akins, Sordell, Scannell.

Booked: Akpan 42, Warnock 71.

TALKING POINTS

Strength in depth
Despite the fact Mourinho made nine changes to his side to face Burton, the Reds were utterly dominant from the first minute, and players who had not previously seen many minutes made strong claims to start at Southampton on Saturday. Carrick and Herrera were both flawless in the middle of the park, shielding their defence, and starting attacks with consummate ease. Meanwhile, Lindelof and Smalling both put in assured performances in the heart of defence and were rarely troubled by the Brewers’ forward line.

Pace to burn
The attacking trio of Martial, Lingard and Rashford was truly a sight to behold. All three players are blessed with great pace and dribbling ability, and it was on show for all to see on Wednesday night. The crowd rose in anticipation each time one of them was in possession and, of course, their threat was not merely consequential as all three of them found the back of the net.

Shaw’s return
The left-back looked an assured figure in both attack and defence after his entry immediately after the break. Shaw had the ball in the net just minutes after coming on, only for his strike to be ruled out for offside, though he later provided several dangerous balls for his team-mates to attack. And in defence, he made two perfectly timed tackles on the edge of his own box to bring a rare Albion attack to a halt.

What’s next for United?
Saturday’s match sees United travel south to face Southampton, where the Reds will look to continue the unbeaten start to the Premier League, and even put some daylight between themselves at Manchester City at the top of the table.

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BPL G5 : MANCHESTER UNITED 4 EVERTON 0

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Manchester United moved joint-top of the Premier League table with a 4-0 thumping of Everton at Old Trafford on Wayne Rooney’s first return to Old Trafford since leaving in the summer.

Antonio Valencia handed the Reds the perfect start but there were some nervous moments until Henrikh Mkhitaryan added a second goal, shortly after Rooney was withdrawn to a warm ovation. Romelu Lukaku netted against his former club as the floodgates opened and there was still time for Anthony Martial to convert a stoppage-time penalty.

Valencia hammered a sublime first-time shot past Jordan Pickford in only the fourth minute, when Nemanja Matic picked him out on the edge of the box with an astute pass from left to right.

The Reds continued to probe for openings and should have doubled the lead when Michael Keane’s stray pass was picked up by Juan Mata, who released Lukaku. Unfortunately, with the goal at his mercy, the former Toffees striker fired the wrong side of the post.

Rooney shot wide from one decent attack by the visitors and they remained very much in the game, with David De Gea saving from Tom Davies’s header when the youngster was offside in any case. After the break, Everton began to get on top with Rooney thwarted by De Gea after tackling Eric Bailly inside the box and the keeper also denied Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Mata almost extended United’s advantage when crashing a free-kick off an upright after he was fouled on the edge of the box by Ashley Williams but any anxiety was eased when Mkhitaryan stroked home an unselfish pass by Lukaku.

Belgium international Lukaku got in on the act himself when steering in soon afterwards. His free-kick may have hit the wall but he remained alive to an opening and tucked past Pickford as Jesse Lingard flicked on a deflected Matic centre.

With time running out, United went for the kill and Martial showed quick feet inside the box, only for ex-Red Morgan Schneiderlin to slide in and handle the ball. The lively substitute took on the responsibility himself and added number four to ensure Jose Mourinho’s men have matched neighbours City’s record in the league this term.

David De Gea preserved another clean sheet, his 100th for the club, when making a brilliant stop to keep out Sandro Ramirez’s long-range effort on another afternoon to remember at Old Trafford.

THE LINE-UPS

United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Young; Matic, Fellaini; Mata (Herrera 77), Mkhitaryan (Martial 88), Rashford (Lingard 61), Lukaku.
Subs not used: Romero, Smalling, Carrick, Darmian.
Yellow card: Bailly.

Everton: Pickford; Martina, Keane, Williams, Jagielka, Baines; Schneiderlin, Davies (Sandro 66), Gueye (Calvert-Lewin 76); Sigurdsson; Rooney (Mirallas 80). Subs not used: Stekelenburg, Holgate, Besic, Klassen.

Yellow card: Williams.

TALKING POINTS

Old friends, new foes

This game saw a number of players going up against their old team-mates, most notably Wayne Rooney facing the club where he was a fan favourite for over a decade. In addition, Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Keane also returned to face their former employers. Likewise, Romelu Lukaku came up against the Toffees for the first time since his departure while Marouane Fellaini also met his old side.

Killer instinct at the death

Despite the game being very close for large periods, the Reds ran riot late on – as we have done on a few occasions already in 2017/18. This is a testament to the ruthlessness of United’s front line who really seem to be answering the fans’ chants of ‘Attack!’ this season.

De Gea’s 100th clean sheet

This is an achievement that reflects the outstanding ability of Spain’s number one. This performance included several highlight-reel saves as De Gea stopped efforts from Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Sandro Ramirez in spectacular fashion.

Lukaku delivers yet again

In a game where Lukaku worked tirelessly for his team and had his mind fixed on finding the net, the outcome was inevitable. Another powerhouse performance from the striker, who put a first-half miss behind him, and showed he’s as good as providing goals as he is scoring them as he assisted Mkhitaryan in a key moment in the game.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE REDS?

United entertain Burton in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, again at Old Trafford, before next Saturday’s Premier League assignment is away to Southampton.

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MOVIE TILL 17 SEPT 2017

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UCL G1 : MANCHESTER UNITED 3 FC BASEL 0

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Manchester United made the perfect start to the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League campaign, beating FC Basel 3-0 on Tuesday evening.

Marouane Fellaini stepped off the bench to head the Reds into a 35th-minute lead, before Romelu Lukaku continued his fine scoring run by netting his first-ever goal in the competition eight minutes after the break. Another United substitute, Marcus Rashford, then rounded off the win six minutes from time by netting on his debut in Europe’s premier competition.

Ahead of the game at Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho made six changes from last weekend’s Premier League draw at Stoke – among those alterations, Ashley Young made his first appearance since May and Victor Lindelof played only his second competitive game for the club.

In the stands, the sound of that famous Champions League anthem brought a real sense that the club was back where it belongs and, on the pitch, the Reds immediately looked to take advantage of the atmosphere, going close through Lukaku before Anthony Martial fired over.

Not to be outdone, the pocket of travelling fans from Switzerland were determined to make themselves heard, but it was United who continued to press, with Juan Mata looking to play between the lines on his return to the starting eleven. And it was the Spaniard who so nearly had an assist to his name on 13 minutes, hooking a cross towards Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but the Armenian could only divert his header over.

There was a worrying moment for Mourinho’s men five minutes later, however, when stand-in captain Paul Pogba was forced off and went straight down the tunnel for treatment. With Fellaini on in the Frenchman’s place, it wasn’t long before the Reds were creating chances once again, but this time the upright came to the visitors’ aid.

It was Mkhitaryan again who almost added to his impressive European goal tally from last season, stabbing the ball against the post from Lukaku’s cross before Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik recovered.

Meanwhile, United’s Swiss opponents were made to wait for a sight of goal but, when it arrived, they might have taken the lead against the run of play. After some good build-up play down the left, the ball found its way to Luca Zuffi, but the midfielder pulled his strike wide of goal.

It was a missed chance Basel would come to regret as, on 35 minutes, Young made half a yard of room on the right and delivered an inviting cross for Fellaini to power a header home, giving United a deserved half-time lead.

After the break, it was six minutes until either side fashioned a goalscoring opportunity of note, with Martial cutting in from the right-hand side and forcing a low save from Vaclik. From the resulting corner, Daley Blind floated a cross towards the far post, and Lukaku did the rest by heading powerfully into the net.

United’s no.9 might have had a second goal for himself just after the hour mark, but this time Vaclik got a glove to the striker’s header following Mkhitaryan’s diagonal ball. Moments later, at the other end, David De Gea stayed alert to expertly tip Mohamed Elyounoussi’s rising effort over the bar.

Mourinho’s men then had two chances in quick succession, with Martial almost converting Fellaini’s deflected cross from close range before Young’s 25-yard drive was palmed around the post.

As the game entered its final stages, Jesse Lingard and Rashford joined the action from the bench, replacing Martial and Mata respectively. Rashford was immediately involved, running at the Basel defence and winning a free-kick 30 yards from goal, which he fired over.

At the next opportunity, though, the striker got his goal. This time, Fellaini found space on the right and, after Mkhitaryan miscued his effort, Rashford pounced to put the result beyond doubt. Ultimately, it capped a professional display from United, who sit top of Group A after matchday one.

THE LINE-UPS

United: De Gea, Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Blind, Matic, Pogba (Fellaini 18), Mata (Rashford 77), Mkhitaryan, Martial (Lingard 69), Lukaku.
Subs not used: Romero, Darmian, Valencia, Carrick.
Booked: Blind, Young

FC Basel: Vaclik, Akanji, Suchy (c), Balanta, Lang, Xhaka, Zuffi, Riveros (Oberlin 77), Steffen, van Wolfswinkel (Bua 66), Elyounoussi.
Subs not used: Salvi, Gaber, Fransson, Schmid, Calla.
Booked: Balanta, Lang, Xhaka

MATCH STATISTICS
Possession: 
United 60% Basel 40%
Total shots: United 18 Basel 8
Shots on target: United 8 Basel 2
Corners: United 7 Basel 3

FIVE TALKING POINTS

1: United are back
That’s right! On Tuesday, the Reds were back dining at Europe’s top table for the first time since December 2015. ManUtd.com’s reporters spoke to fans outside Old Trafford before the game, and it was clear that there was excitement in the air. A rainy evening at the Theatre of Dreams failed to dampen the supporters’ spirits, with more important games to come.

2: Belgian influence
Each of United’s first two goals on the night were created by full-backs and scored by Belgians. It was Young who crossed for Fellaini to head home the opener, before Blind set up Lukaku for the Reds’ second. That was Romelu’s sixth strike in as many matches for the club this season. What a record!

3: Injury for Pogba
Paul looks set for a spell on the sidelines after being substituted with a suspected hamstring injury – ruining his first outing as captain. Mourinho later told MUTV: “I just know from experience it’s a muscular injury. In my experience, muscular injury stops you from playing for a few weeks, I think.”

4: The Felli factor
Mourinho had stressed Marouane’s importance to the United side and the Belgian justified his manager’s praise with a Man of the Match performance. While his introduction came in unfortunate circumstances after an injury to Pogba, Felli made his mark after coming on. He’s making a habit of scoring as a substitute, having already done so against Leicester City in the Premier League.

5: Another debut goal for Rashford
If the story of Marcus Rashford’s rise to prominence wasn’t impressive enough, the youngster has now scored on as many as six debuts in various competitions, including: Premier League, League Cup, England Under-21, England senior team, Europa League and now Champions League. What a record!

WHAT’S NEXT FOR UNITED?

Next up, the Reds face Everton in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday (17 September). Our next Champions League match is against CSKA Moscow in Russia on Wednesday 27 September.

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BPL G4 : STOKE CITY 2 MANCHESTER UNITED 2

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Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford continued their good scoring run, but Manchester United were ultimately left frustrated after being held to a 2-2 draw against Stoke City.

Maxim Choupo-Moting opened the scoring for the hosts on 43 minutes, before Rashford inadvertently brought United level from Paul Pogba’s header shortly after.

The in-form Lukaku put the visitors back in front in the second half with his fifth goal in as many games on 57 minutes, but the Reds were forced to settle for a point after Choupo-Moting scored his and Stoke’s second.

Ahead of the game at the bet365 stadium, Jose Mourinho opted to make three changes from the win over Leicester a fortnight ago, with Matteo Darmian, Ander Herrera and Rashford all named in the starting line-up. Amid a typically noisy atmosphere, it was the hosts who started the brighter of the two sides, winning a corner and having a shot narrowly off-target through loanee Jese inside the opening four minutes.

Lukaku was almost afforded a goalscoring opportunity early on, and the Reds established a foothold in the game thereafter. The visitors’ first attempt on goal didn’t arrive until the 18th minute, however, with Pogba’s clever effort being deflected away for a corner.

Five minutes later, Mourinho’s men went even closer, forcing Jack Butland into action for the first time. Eric Bailly’s pin-point pass set Rashford racing into the Potters’ area, but the youngster saw his low drive well blocked.

It was a chance which sparked the home side into life, as two long-range strikes from Xherdan Shaqiri drew a pair of smart saves from David De Gea. Rashford again went in search of the opener, though, only for his goal-bound effort to be tipped away by the fingertips of Butland.

At the end of a half where chances had been few and far between, there was still time for two more, and both of which proved decisive. With 43 minutes on the clock, Choupo-Moting slid in to convert a cross from the right and give the hosts the lead against the run of play.

And while it wasn’t the prettiest of goals, it took just three minutes for United to find a response. Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s corner was flicked on by Nemanja Matic, allowing Pogba to head the ball in via Rashford, and haul the Reds deservedly level going into half-time.

The tempo of the game quickened after the interval, with both sides visibly buoyed having found the net just before the break. Although Stoke threatened to regain the lead, United soon went in front through Lukaku, who latched onto Mkhitaryan’s superb pass to score at the second attempt.

As was the case with Stoke’s lead, though, United’s advantage was quickly chalked out, despite De Gea’s best efforts. The Spaniard produced a stunning stop from Jese’s close-range effort but, from the resulting corner, Choupo-Moting ghosted in at the far post to head in his second.

With the clock ticking down, and following a mazy run and shot from Antonio Valencia, Mourinho rolled the dice and brought on Juan Mata and Anthony Martial for the remaining 18 minutes. It was a change which almost paid off in the late stages of the game too, as Martial’s wicked delivery was almost turned in by Lukaku, but the Belgian’s effort was too high.

United so nearly stole all three points in added time, with Butland forced to produce a fine save from his team-mate Kurt Zouma. It proved to be the last real opportunity for either side at the end of an entertaining contest, which ultimately saw the Reds do enough to return to the top of the table.

THE LINE-UPS

Stoke City: Butland; Cameron (Martins Indi 45), Zouma, Wimmer; Diouf, Fletcher (c), Allen, Pieters; Shaqiri, Jese (Berahino 75); Choupo-Moting.

Subs not used: Grant; Tymon, Adam, Crouch, Ramadan.

United: De Gea; Valencia (c), Bailly, Jones, Darmian; Matic, Pogba, Herrera (Martial 72); Mkhitaryan (Lingard 84), Lukaku, Rashford (Mata 72).

Subs not used: Romero, Smalling, Blind, Carrick.

TALKING POINTS

Reliable Rashford

Despite his age, Marcus Rashford is continuing to prove himself to be a vital component of this Manchester United side. His second goal in as many games followed his first ever strike at Wembley during the international break and, though he may not have known much about it, every top striker will tell you there’s a knack to being in the right place at the right time. Only Wayne Rooney has scored more goals as a teenager for the club.

Familiar faces

In Mark Hughes and Darren Fletcher, the Reds came up against a pair of former greats on Saturday evening. Describing the match as “one of the most highly-anticipated games of the season” in his programme notes, Sparky will have relished facing United, as will Fletcher, who was popular among the fans during his time at Old Trafford.

Micki Magic

Another week, another assist for Henrikh Mkhitaryan. That’s six in the league alone so far for our midfield Armenian, who is going from strength to strength in the United midfield. His performance at the bet365 Stadium certainly didn’t go unnoticed by the travelling fans, who regularly sang his name throughout the match.

Another goal for big Rom

As mentioned above, Romelu Lukaku has made a fantastic start to life at United, and his strike against Stoke was his fifth in as many games for the Reds this season. The addition of the Belgian this summer looks an excellent piece of business from Jose Mourinho, and the striker will undoubtedly be keen to score his first Champions League goal for United when Basel travel to Manchester on Tuesday.

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MOVIE TILL 3 SEPT 2017

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