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Feyenoord down Manchester United in Europa League opener



Anthony Martial

Manchester United suffered defeat in the hands of Feyenoord as the host ran out deserved 1-0 winners on Thursday in the Europa League opener.


Their much-changed line-up boasted quality but looked unconvincing in Rotterdam as United failed to create much, as the dutch team stifled Jose Mourinho’s men providing numerous chances.

Jose rang the changes introducing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ashley Young and Memphis Depay but all proved to be aabortive as the men in blue failed to dominate the game.

Looked like it was going to end in a stalemate, but Feyenoord found the back of the net thanks to Tonny Vilhena after he had  teed up by Jorgensen.

It wasn’t the kind of performance Mourinho expected after Saturday’s derby defeat at the hands of arc rivals Manchester City.

Anthony Martial’s strike which went off the mark was the best United could conjure in a poor first half performance that showed no sign of improvement and urgency after the break.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Memphis Depay and Ashley Young were introduced as Mourinho attempted to rally his side, but their introduction could not prevent United’s winless run extending to a sixth European trip.

They left Holland pointless as the Eredivisie leaders struck a decisive blow as offside calls against Nicolai Jorgensen ignored and his cross was turned home impressively by Vilhena.

It was a disappointing night at the ground where United won the Winners’ Cup against Barcelona in 1991, with parts of De Kuip closed this time as Feyenoord attempted to avoid triggering suspended punishments handed down by UEFA for crowd trouble.

Istanbul-based Fenerbahce and Ukraine’s Zorya Luhansk lie in wait over the coming months, which is part of the reason why Mourinho chose such a strong side for the trip to Rotterdam.

It was an impressive show of strength but the eight changes from the derby loss struggled, rarely clicking into gear.

David de Gea saved a fine effort from Steven Berghuis and  a strike during the opening stages, which saw Paul Pogba’s free-kick dealt with brilliantly by Brad Jones.

The former Liverpool goalkeeper had precious little to do in the first half but will have breathed a sigh of relief in the 24th minute when Martial fizzed wide after a Matteo Darmian cross.

It was United’s only moment of inspiration in a tepid half that ended with Juan Mata just failing to reach a Marcus Rashford header, having seen Jens Toornstra flash over minutes earlier at the end of a quality Feyenoord move.

Unlike Saturday’s Manchester derby the United boss refrained from any changes at the break, which Mourinho emerged from around a minute before his players and staff.

Pogba fired wide soon after play resumed, with former Aston Villa midfielder Karim El Ahmadi doing better when coming close with his own long-range effort.

Despite the decision to change attack the Dutch side were looking most likely score, with Jorgensen blocked before Bilal Basacikoglu tried his luck.

Feyenoord fans cheered when Depay missed with a wild attempt, before the noise ratcheted up several notches. Jorgensen appeared offside when put through down the flank, making the most of defensive disarray and cutting the ball back to the edge of the box for Vilhena to turn home.

Ibrahimovic slammed a half-volley into Jan-Arie van der Heijden’s shin. Bailly headed just wide at the death.

This was United’s fourth consecutive away defeat in Europe after losses to Liverpool, Midtjylland and Wolfsburg and Mourinho really does need to return to winning ways at Watford on Sunday. “We go back to a normal team, obviously without so many changes,” Mourinho said.

Feyenoord (4-4-3): Jones; Karsdorp (Nieuwkoopat 91’), Botteghin, Van Der Heijden, Kongolo; El Ahmadi, Kuyt, Trindade; Berghuis (Basacikoglu 67’), Toornstra, Jorgensen.

Subs: Hansson, Woudenberg, Vejinovic, Tapia, Framer.

Manchester United (4-3-3): De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Bailly, Rojo; Schneiderlin, Pogba, Herrera; Mata (Young 63’), Martial (Memphis 63’), Rashford (Ibrahimovic 63’).

Subs: Romero, Carrick, Fosu-Mensah, Fellaini.

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EFL Cup: Can Arsenal record another famous victory over Tottenham?



arsenal fans

Arsenal are set to tackle their local rivals Tottenham in Wednesday’s EFL fixture. 16 days ago, the Gunners recorded a massive 4-2 victory over the Lilywhites and they will be hoping to do the same when both sides meet again on Wednesday.

Match preview

Arsenal failed to protect their 22-match unbeaten as they were defeated 3-2 by Southampton at the St Mary’s stadium last Sunday. They will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways against Mauricio Pochetino’s men in the quarter-finals of the EFL competition.

Irrespective of their great goalscoring prowess so far this season, Unai Emery’s men are far becoming a team with a slow start.

In 17 Premier League games, they have failed to lead any of their opponents before the half-time break.

Apart from their slow and uninspiring start to games, the Gunners have a very fragile defence concedes goals too easily.

23 goals in 17 Premier League games is a testament the Emirates outfits need an upgrade at the back of the pitch.

However, the frontline is a total contrast to the defence unit. The strikers have looked sharp and deadly under Unai Emery and they will certainly cause Tottenham lot of problems.

The Gunners couldn’t lift any EFL trophy throughout Arsene Wenger’s reign at Emirates Stadium. However, Emery is more than willing to do everything to win the trophy this season.

Knowing quite well that this competition offers him the best opportunity to win his first trophy as Arsenal boss, Emery will approach Tottenham’s game with total concentration and winning mentality.

Team News

The Gunners will be without left-back Hector Bellerin due to injury. The Spaniard picked up a calf injury in their defeat to the Saints on Sunday and he’s expected to be out of action for two weeks at least.

Konstantinos Mavropanos and Rob Holding are long-term absentees, while, Shkodran Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac are uncertain to make Emery’s match-day squad list.

Having missed Sunday’s defeat to Southampton due suspension, Sokratis Papastathopoulos is back in contention for a place in the team.

Predicted starting lineup

With experienced Sokratis’ return from suspension, Emery has no reason to continue with his unproductive three-man defence. Therefore, he’s expected to deploy a four-man defence formation.

Fit-again Laurent Kolscieny, Lichtsteiner, Maitland-Nile are equally expected to be in the starting lineup.

Petr Cech would be given the nod to start ahead of Bernd Leno who wasn’t convincing against Southampton.

Ozil, Ramsey, Xhaka, Lacazette, Sunday’s two-goal hero Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Guendouzi are all tipped to be in the starting XI.

See the Gunners possible lineup below :

Cech; Lichtsteiner, Sokratis, Koscielny, Maitland-Niles; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Ramsey; Lacazette

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What £50-rated star discussed with Mourinho before sack



memphis depay

It has been revealed that Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho had a discussion with Ligue 1 outfit Lyon winter Memphis Depay before his eventual switch to France.

Memphis Depay parted ways with the Old Trafford in 2017 with a fee of £16 million after failing to impress at the club and immediately returned to his best at the start of his life with the Ligue 1 side.

Therefore it was revealed that before his departure, he held talks with the Portuguese international and told him he was leaving. But most importantly, he told Mourinho that he was going to become one of the best players in the world when he leaves.

The prediction of the star player seems to be coming real knowing that he has risen from the level he used to be which has even attracted him to a number of big clubs including Liverpool.

So far this season, Memphis Depay has got 23 games under his belt and he has delivered goals in 8 occasions and handing a total of 11 assists across all competitions.

However, the former Man United star has got a contract with the French Ligue 1 side until 2021 as his release clause increasing to £50 million which means any suitor must meet that before having his signature.

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West Ham to seal deal for £15m-rated Red Devils player



West Ham United are looking forward to wrapping a deal for Manchester United star Andreas Pereira ahead of the winter transfer window which reopens in coming weeks.

Arsenal and Chelsea are also reported to be in the race for Andreas Pereira but are yet to show any seriousness in their bid which leaves West Ham with the clearance to have his signature.

The London side have lost former Arsenal player Jack Wilshere to injury and they seek to replace him the Red Devils player who is out of favour at the Old Trafford.

Andreas Pereira is also keen to leave the club as he is hungry for a regular playing time which will help his development and progress as a footballer.

The United youth player has only had three games under his belt this season across all competitions which is not enough to prove his quality.

He has got the ability to deliver good performance for the West Ham side and will definitely fancy a move to the London side as he might not be able to secure a starting role at the West London side Chelsea and also The North London side arsenal.

Meanwhile, West Ham United will have to pay about £10 million before they can secure Andreas Pereira’s signature.

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Manager fuels Arsenal rumours for South American forward



Ivan Leko

Club Brugge manager Ivan Leko has fuelled the speculations linking Brazilian Wesley to the North London side after his recent claim.

The Gunners have been linked with the star player a couple of weeks and it was reported that they could strike a deal in the winter transfer window which reopens in the coming weeks.

Wesley’s boss Ivan Leko who gave his reaction to the speculation stated that his player has been left surprised by the speculations and will wish to have it happen.

He made it clear that Wesley has got all it takes to play for Arsenal at the top level because he has displayed quality in his last six months and also working hard.

Ivan Leko, therefore, hinted that the North London side could strike a deal in January transfer window when he expressed worries for his side for the remaining six months of the season, knowing that a bulk of his players are interested in a move away to other top sides.

However, Wesley could emerge as a direct replacement for England international forward Danny Welbeck who is injured and might not return to the club as a player as he would be allowed to leave as a free player at the end of the season.

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United target now knows he will get double weekly wage at Old Trafford



Kalidou Koulibaly

English Premier League side Manchester United have lured top target and Napoli star defender Kalidou Koulibaly with a luring offer as they prepare a bid for him ahead of the winter transfer window which reopens in coming weeks.

United have been linked with the Napoli star for a couple of weeks and a deal could finally fall through with the Old Trafford side ready to hand him double of the £80,000-weekly wage he earns at Naples.

The English Premier League side are desperate having had a very poor start of the season with bad results and conceding 29 goals in just 17 Premier League games.

However, reports claim that Manchester United will go ahead with defensive signings in the winter transfer market having failed to secure his wish in the past.

The Sun reports that United are convinced about the player after sending scouts to watch him in the Champions League tie between Liverpool and Napoli at the Anfield last week.

However, Napoli will do all it takes to convince Kalidou Koulibaly into staying back but there are no assurance they will succeed with the player already keen to play in the English Premier League.

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