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Ratings: Ronaldo and Lingard score against the Hammers but De Gea saved the day…

Manchester United beat West Ham United 2-1 in the Premier League at the London Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side once again came from behind to set their unbeaten away run to 29 matches now, two more than Arsenal’s record from 2004. Said Benrahma opened the scoring in the 30th minute for the Hammers but five minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo levelled the match. It looked like a 1-1 draw before Jesse Lingard won the match for United. There was late drama with a penalty awarded for the Hammers but David De Gea made the save from Mark Noble’s effort. What a match, what a moment, what a result!

It was a lacklustre start for United and the Hammers with chances being created by the home side and United seemingly using luck to deny the Hammers from the lead. Harry Maguire seemed to have a mistake in him in this match, which was a worry but the doubts were soon forgotten about as United started to find comfort in the match. There was a hairy moment for Paul Pogba in the opening stages after Kurt Zouma caught his foot and the Frenchman was writhing on the floor in agony – he soon recovered through. The Hammers took the lead in the 30th minute through Said Benrahma, assisted by Jarrod Bowen.

David Moyes seemed ecstatic with the goal as he has not yet beaten United since he was sacked in April 2014 but like Alan Pardue in the Emirates FA Cup final in 2016 – he celebrated too soon. Five minutes later, Cristiano Ronaldo had scored his fourth goal of the season – his 122nd goal for United, levelling the score in this match. United then started to dominate the game for bursts, pressing for a second goal to put them in the lead for the first time in the match – but it was not coming, at this time anyway. The Hammers regained possession and were trying to get ahead again but at the end of the half, if was a fair 1-1 scoreline.

There were no substitutions at the start fo the second half from either team and United were once again seeking to get the better of the Hammers, but were not able to at this stage. The home side were also trying to get back in the match and take the lead – things not working out for them either. It all seemed to be one way traffic around the hour mark in the match, which was probably worrying for the Hammers but United were unable to get anything from their attacks – but that would be tiring out the defence, which is dangerous ground for them. The Hammers then broke forward but the game was stopped due to a foul on Scott McTominay.

The Hammers made their first substitution in the 68th minute of the match with Andriy Yarmolenko replacing Nikola Vlasic. Just after the change, it seemed that United could have given away a penalty after Aaron Wan-Bissaka tackled Tomas Soucek, but the referee gave the free-kick to United. Solskjaer was readying a double substitution with Jadon Sancho and Jesse Lingard replacing Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba. Minutes after the substitution, Ronaldo was seemingly fouled in the box but the referee gave nothing. On replay, it seemed that Ronaldo ran into the player, therefore was not fouled. United were still trying to break the deadlock.

In the last 12 minutes or so of the match, David De Gea gave away a corner after a defensive error in lofting the ball back to him. Luckily nothing came of that set-piece. United made their third substitution in the 88th minute of the match with Nemanja Matic replacing Fred. The Hammers also brought Manuel Lanzini on for Benrahma. It seemed that Lingard won the game for United a minute after coming on, beating the Hammers goalkeeper from range to put United ahead with Matic assisting the goal. The West Ham fans had their heads in their hands as they knew what Lingard could do after his loan spell last season and he righted a wrong from the last game too.

There was some more controversy in this match though with penalties. Ronaldo went down in the box again, and yet again nothing was given with the Portuguese record breaker looking bemused. It seemed to be one of those days. But at the other end of the pitch, as the Hammers were seeking to avoid defeat, Luke Shaw gave something away with an outstretched arm in the box, which clipped the ball. The referee had given a corner but VAR was brought into play for this one and the penalty was awarded. Declan Rice stepped up by Moyes made his third substitution with Mark Noble replacing Bowen to take the penalty, which David De Gea saved.

What a day for De Gea, who was no stranger to penalties but saving them was a different story. United lost the UEFA Europa League final to Villarreal on the 26 May 2021 11-10 on penalties with De Gea not saving a single one, also missing his spot kick. To see him save this and keep the win for United, as opposed to the draw is magnificent. The confidence he will gain from that is immense and it will help him on the road to becoming the goalkeeper he once was for the club. What a match, what a moment and what a result. United will have the Hammers again on Wednesday evening, this time at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup third round.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made a save from a Bowen strike but conceded on the half hour with the Hammers ahead through a deflected Benrahma effort. United levelled through Ronaldo and seemingly won the match through Lingard but De Gea was not done yet. A late penalty given to the Hammers saw De Gea save Noble's spot kick and confirm the victory for United.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Ever present on the right flank. Made four clearances and two tackles with a positive pass success rate too. His crossing lets him down though. In the second half, his attacking was not very present.

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19 Raphael Varane

The deflection off him beat De Gea in the 30th minute. It happens though. He defended well for United as they persevere for the victory - which they got in the end.

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5 Harry Maguire

Seemed to strengthen the Hammers with his lack of decisiveness in defence at times. Carried on doing what he did and played a part in the victory.

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23 Luke Shaw

Attacked constantly on the left, which was lacking against the Young Boys on Tuesday. Hs service was something United failed to capitalise from. Conceded a penalty in added time, which De Gea saved.

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17 Fred

Careless at times with the ball. That is Fred though. Was replaced by Matic in the 88th minute of the match.

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39 Scott McTominay

Glad to see him back. He was right amongst it against the Hammers. Had a shot off target but was present with the defensive duties in midfield.

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11 Mason Greenwood

The Golden Boy contender played well against the Hammers. His pace was a problem, as was his ability but he never got a goal or an assist in the match. He was replaced by Sancho in the 73rd minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Lacked rhythm at the start of the match but soon found it. Played a part in the equaliser scored by Ronaldo. Might find himself rested on Wednesday, but on the bench no doubt.

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6 Paul Pogba

The Frenchman seemed to have been caught by Zouma in the first half and was in agony after the challenge. He soon recovered. He played on the left in the attacking three (behind Ronaldo) and did well at times. United needed a change to break the deadlock in this game and Lingard replaced him in the 73rd minute of the match.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Scored his fourth goal in three matches for United - his 122nd goal for the club. Seemed unlucky with penalties today with nothing given, with one of them seemingly standing though. Great to see him back for United, scoring the goals as he did before he left and did more of after leaving.

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Substitutes

25 Jadon Sancho

Replaced Greenwood 73'. Came on to provide something different for United but seemed to be lacking a lot. It will take time for him to become acclimatised in the Premier League. But some will not be happy to give him a chance to earn his stripes.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Pogba 73'. Came on to create and did just that. Won the game for United in the 89th minute and the Hammers fans knew what it meant to see him score at the London Stadium once more, just in a different shirt this time.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced Fred 88'. Came on at the death and assisted a minute later. Did was was required of him.

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Goals: Said Benrahma 30′; Cristiano Ronaldo 35′, Jesse Lingard 89′

Assists: Jarrod Bowen 30′; Nemanja Matic 89′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Fred (Matic 88′), McTominay; Greenwood (Sancho 73′), Fernandes, Pogba (Lingard 73′); Ronaldo

Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Bailly, Dalot; Mata, Van de Beek; Martial

Bookings: N/A

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Ronaldo leads the attack against the Hammers; McTominay starts too

Manchester United return to Premier League action this afternoon when they travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham United, which is the first of two matches against the London club in the next five or six days with United welcoming the club to the Theatre of Dreams in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be looking to bounce back from the defeat to BSC Young Boys in the opening UEFA Champions League group stage match on Tuesday evening, which saw Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent off for a challenge, Cristiano Ronaldo score his third goal this season and United fail to keep their 1-0 lead.

It is one of those things in football – it happens. It just annoys me that some supporters seem to put the victories down to ‘individual brilliance’ but always seem to blame Solskjaer for the defeats or the draws. Some of these people on social media seem to be very quiet when United win, seemingly only tweeting when United lose or draw, which seems very strange to me. That said, you are not allowed to criticise these people as they are always right, even when they are wrong. They seem to want the club to never achieve anything, always changing the manager, then moaning about the lack of stability brought by their demands.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, McTominay;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Pogba;

Ronaldo

Substitutes:

Heaton; Bailly, Dalot; Mata, Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek; Martial, Sancho

West Ham United:

Fabianski;

Coufal, Zouma, Ogbonna, Cresswell;

Soucek, Rice;

Vlasic, Benrahma, Fornals;

Bowen

Substitutes:

Areola; Dawson, Diop, Fredericks, Masuaku; Lanzini, Noble, Kral; Yarmolenko

United and West Ham have played a total of 50 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won 30 times, drawing 13 times with the Hammers winning the remaining seven matches. United have scored a total of 99 goals against the Hammers, winning five penalties and scoring four of them. West Ham have scored 45 goals, winning three penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Hammer keeping just seven. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown a total of 62 yellow cards and four red cards with the Hammers’ players being shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

There is a lot of history between United and the Hammers. David Moyes, the Hammers’ manager was the former manager of United during the ill-fated 2013/14 season and he was sacked before the season even finished. There have been many players to have played for both clubs, the most receipt being Jesse Lingard, who spent the second half of last season at the club. The likes of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Teddy Sheringham, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Tevez, Roy Carroll, David Bellion, Jonathan Spector and Ravel Morrison have all played for both clubs and probably more in the not too distant past.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: Ronaldo to continue scoring goals for United? Sancho, Greenwood and McTominay to start against Hammers?

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Sunday when they travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham United, which is the first of two matches against the London club in the next five or six days with United welcoming the club to the Theatre of Dreams in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be looking to bounce back from the defeat to BSC Young Boys in the opening UEFA Champions League group stage match on Tuesday evening, which saw Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent off for a challenge, Cristiano Ronaldo score his third goal this season and United fail to keep their 1-0 lead.

It is one of those things in football – it happens. It just annoys me that some supporters seem to put the victories down to ‘individual brilliance’ but always seem to blame Solskjaer for the defeats or the draws. Some of these people on social media seem to be very quiet when United win, seemingly only tweeting when United lose or draw, which seems very strange to me. That said, you are not allowed to criticise these people as they are always right, even when they are wrong. They seem to want the club to never achieve anything, always changing the manager, then moaning about the lack of stability brought by their demands.

Previous meetings with West Ham and their connections with Manchester United.

United and West Ham have played a total of 50 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won 30 times, drawing 13 times with the Hammers winning the remaining seven matches. United have scored a total of 99 goals against the Hammers, winning five penalties and scoring four of them. West Ham have scored 45 goals, winning three penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Hammer keeping just seven. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown a total of 62 yellow cards and four red cards with the Hammers’ players being shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

There is a lot of history between United and the Hammers. David Moyes, the Hammers’ manager was the former manager of United during the ill-fated 2013/14 season and he was sacked before the season even finished. There have been many players to have played for both clubs, the most receipt being Jesse Lingard, who spent the second half of last season at the club. The likes of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Teddy Sheringham, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Tevez, Roy Carroll, David Bellion, Jonathan Spector and Ravel Morrison have all played for both clubs and probably more in the not too distant past.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face West Ham United in the Premier League at the London Stadium on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea will be seeking to keep his place in goal ahead of the clash with West Ham on Sunday afternoon. The Spanish goalkeeper has played all five matches that United have played this season, conceding five goals and keeping one clean sheet. It was an unfortunate defeat against the Young Boys in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, which is something that the club must bounce back form this weekend, keeping their place at the summit of the Premier League, which would seem a likely outcome. If they were not the top team in the league, they would be close to it. United need to continue the momentum they have set this season.

The supporters of the club could do with getting behind the manager and the players, rather than wishing defeats come and the manager is sacked, as that has happened before and each time it seems to set United back even further. Things are done without their acceptance because they have no control of any outcome at the club, so the sooner they realise they are nothing but critics who people don’t listen to, the better. De Gea has started this season in fine form, turning back the years and proving himself ahead of the challenges that will come – Dean Henderson seeking to become number one and Tom Heaton also challenging for matches.

Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence suffered a setback in the opening Champions League match of the season, falling to a 2-1 defeat to the Young Boys. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off for a bad foul which left United with ten men and having to sacrifice an attacking player for Diogo Dalot, then resort to a five at the back formation, under attack, which was unable to keep a 1-0 lead from Cristiano Ronaldo’s opening goal. Against the Hammers, Solskjaer will need to find a way for his side to bounce back and grind out another win in the Premier League this season, also seeking to extend their 28-match unbeaten record on the road in the Premier League.

Diogo Dalot could be given a rare Premier League start with Wan-Bissaka being dropped to the bench for this match, giving him a rest ahead of the suspension he will receive in the Champions League in just over a week and a half, which could be good for United and keeping key players fresh for other matches. Luke Shaw should keep his place in the left-back position, doing well against the Young Boys, despite doing more defending than attacking, which was rare after his start to the season. Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane should start in the centre of defence, which could keep United ticking over – although Victor Lindelof will be seeking a start too.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba

The midfield is not ideal for United at this time as there is a lack of balance. Nemanja Matic is the only experienced defensive midfielder with Fred making more mistakes that settling in at the club after a number of years. Donny van de Beek seems to be getting few chances with Scott McTominay sitting out a period of time following the groin injury he sustained against Southampton earlier in the season. With the Scotland international back in training and likely to be involved against the Hammers, either this weekend or in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, things could start to improve a little for United.

With McTominay picked to start in this match, providing that he has gone through all the fitness tests and he is ready to start playing again, it could come at the right time for Solskjaer, whose options in this area seem limited with players selected being limited in terms of their ability. Paul Pogba could feature in the pivot once again, as he played an advanced role on the left-wing against the Young Boys, which did not seem to work for United, especially after the sending off of Aaron Wan-Bissaka. This could work though with McTominay mopping up the defensive duties and Pogba linking the defence with the attack.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho

United have many great options in these positions ahead of the clash with the Hammers. I think Solskjaer will go back to basics with Mason Greenwood, who scored in the first three Premier League matches of the season, playing on the right-wing, which is a position that he has excelled in at times, also running into the box and picking off the goalkeeper, or even assisting for the striker or another attacking player, which was shown a few times last season. Bruno Fernandes will play through the middle but we could Donny van de Beek come on in the second half to give the Portuguese magnifico a bit of rest ahead of the challenge later in the week.

Fernandes has scored four goals for United this season, also getting one assist but he is being challenged by Cristiano Ronaldo, who has three goals in his first two appearances for the club this season. Jadon Sancho could start on the left-wing once again, which is a position he can play in – although he may be more comfortable on the right. He was taken off before half time against Young Boys on Tuesday as United were down to ten men – which was through no fault of his own. United attacking players have lots of excitement in them with Ronaldo, Fernandes and Greenwood al scoring so far this season and Sancho seeking to score.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo

Since re-signing for United this summer, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored three goals in two appearances, making it 121 goals for the club, matching Andy Cole. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in his sights, scoring 126 goals for the club during his time as a player. Wayne Rooney’s record is a long way off and might not be achievable for the 36-year-old but you never know in this game. Ronaldo was determined to get a good result for United in the Champions League this week, but a 2-1 defeat – the first of the season will have hit the team hard but given them determination against the Hammers to get back to winning ways.

There seems to be a lot of criticism of United and Ronaldo in the media and amongst fans of other clubs but that just shows you that Manchester United are coming back and people are threatened as to what the club could achieve. Manchester City lost their opening match this season, losing to Tottenham Hotspur but little was said about that but when United lose – hold the front page and the following seven pages as every man and his dog wants to say something about that. United are back, they are still a work in progress but to be able to grind out the results they already have grinder out this season shows that something is being created at the club.

Substitutes: Tom Heaton; Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka; Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek; Anthony Martial, Anthony Elanga

Solskjaer made many changes in the defeat to Young Boys in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, but the gamble did not pay off for him as United capitulated and conceded two second half goals to earn their first defeat of the 2021/22 season – it was going to come at some point. Back in the Premier League, United will be able to name nine substitutes, using just three of them. I think Tom Heaton will remain on the bench for United as I don’t think Dean Henderson will be over his fatigue from his battle with coronavirus and his match fitness will not be where it needs to be to play his first match in the top flight this season.

Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be the substitutes in the defensive positions, although Alex Telles is now back in training from his ankle injury but it may be a week or so before he is considered for a place on the bench, let alone a starting place for United. In the midfield, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek could all be available against the Hammers – which will be another challenge for United – one that they will need to get the better of this weekend, if they want to challenge for the Premier League title this season. In attack, Anthony Martial and Anthony Elanga could both be available – it would be great to see the latter.

Written by John Walker

Preview: United to bounce back against the Hammers; Moyes still seeking a victory over United since being sacked in 2014

West Ham United -v- Manchester United

Premier League

London Stadium, London

Sunday 19 September 2021, KO 14:00 BST

Referee: Martin Atkinson Assistants: Lee Betts, Richard West

Fourth Official: David Coote

VAR: Darren England Assistant VAR: Dan Robathan

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Sunday when they travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham United, which is the first of two matches against the London club in the next five or six days with United welcoming the club to the Theatre of Dreams in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be looking to bounce back from the defeat to BSC Young Boys in the opening UEFA Champions League group stage match on Tuesday evening, which saw Aaron Wan-Bissaka sent off for a challenge, Cristiano Ronaldo score his third goal this season and United fail to keep their 1-0 lead.

It is one of those things in football – it happens. It just annoys me that some supporters seem to put the victories down to ‘individual brilliance’ but always seem to blame Solskjaer for the defeats or the draws. Some of these people on social media seem to be very quiet when United win, seemingly only tweeting when United lose or draw, which seems very strange to me. That said, you are not allowed to criticise these people as they are always right, even when they are wrong. They seem to want the club to never achieve anything, always changing the manager, then moaning about the lack of stability brought by their demands.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LWWDWW

BSC Young Boys 2-1 L, Newcastle United 4-1 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Leeds United 5-1 W, Everton 4-0 W

Goals: 4 – Bruno Fernandes, 3 – Mason Greenwood, Cristiano Ronaldo, 1 – Fred, Jesse Lingard

Assists: 7 – Paul Pogba, 1 – Bruno Fernandes, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane

West Ham United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WDDWWW

Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 W, Southampton 0-0 D, Crystal Palace 2-2 D, Leicester City 4-1 W, Newcastle United 4-2 W, Atalanta 2-0 W

Goals: 5 – Michail Antonio, 2 – Said Benrahma, Pablo Fornals, 1 – Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek

Assists: 3 – Michail Antonio, 2 – Said Benrahma, 1 – Vladimir Coufal, Pablo Fornals, Declan Rice

Previous meetings with West Ham and their connections with Manchester United.

United and West Ham have played a total of 50 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won 30 times, drawing 13 times with the Hammers winning the remaining seven matches. United have scored a total of 99 goals against the Hammers, winning five penalties and scoring four of them. West Ham have scored 45 goals, winning three penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Hammer keeping just seven. In terms of discipline, United players have been shown a total of 62 yellow cards and four red cards with the Hammers’ players being shown 72 yellow cards and two red cards.

There is a lot of history between United and the Hammers. David Moyes, the Hammers’ manager was the former manager of United during the ill-fated 2013/14 season and he was sacked before the season even finished. There have been many players to have played for both clubs, the most receipt being Jesse Lingard, who spent the second half of last season at the club. The likes of Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Teddy Sheringham, Javier Hernandez, Carlos Tevez, Roy Carroll, David Bellion, Jonathan Spector and Ravel Morrison have all played for both clubs and probably more in the not too distant past.

Team News: Five United players could be out of the clash with the Hammers this weekend with two missing for the home side; Ronaldo and Greenwood to be involved in the goals once again?

Marcus Rashford (Shoulder) and Amad Diallo (Thigh) have been ruled out of the clash with the Hammers this weekend. Alex Telles (Ankle), Phil Jones (Match Fitness) and Edinson Cavani (Other) seem to be doubtful for this match with the Uruguayan likely to feature in the Carabao Cup next week. Scott McTominay, who had to undergo groin surgery earlier in the summer, could be back in action after training for the last week or so, which is good news for United after the problems with the midfield recently with only one player, Nemanja Matic, able to play in the defensive midfield area. United will get there in the end.

Winston Reid (Knee) is the only West Ham player to be injured for the clash against United at the London Stadium on Sunday. This seasons top scorer (so far) Michail Antonio is suspended for this match after his sending off against Southampton last week, but he will be back in contention to face United at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. David Moyes will have something up his sleeve to get the better of United this weekend with the Hammers sitting in eighth place at the time of writing and United sitting top of the league, which will change with the seven matches being played before this one kicks off.

Predicted Starting XI: Ronaldo, Sancho, Fernandes and Greenwood to lead United’s attack against the Hammers; Pogba and McTominay in midfield; Dalot given rare Premier League start?

Solskjaer will be seeking to get back to winning ways after a defeat in the Champions League to Young Boys on Tuesday evening. David Moyes has never beaten United in seven Premier League matches since being sacked by United in April 2014 – he has lost five times, drawing twice. In his last four appearances against the Hammers, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored six goals against the Hammers and will be seeking to continue his goalscoring run against the club. The Hammers are unbeaten in seven Premier League matches, which is a record for them. Either that will continue or be ended on Sunday.

I think David De Gea will keep his place in goal this weekend. In defence, Diogo Dalot could be trusted ahead of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who was sent off against Young Boys. Luke Shaw will keep his left-back position. Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane will partner each other in the centre of defence. In midfield, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba could play in the pivot with Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho playing in the attacking midfield positions behind the striker. Cristiano Ronaldo will keep his place leading the like for United after scoring three goals in his first two starts after returning to United.

Match Prediction: United to get back to winning ways against the Hammers, using last seasons double over the club and David Moyes not beating United after being sacked by them in 2014.

United will need to bounce back against the Hammers this weekend. Solskjaer’s side have done well this season and at the time of writing, sit top of the Premier League. That will change before a ball has been kicked at the London Stadium with Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton, Manchester City, Brighton and Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur all seeking to make their way to the top of the league, however, Spurs and Chelsea will face each other in the late Sunday afternoon kick off after the Hammers v United match. The Red Devils will need to rediscover their good form to take all three points in this match.

Last season, United won 3-1 in this fixture with Tomas Soucek opening the scoring for the home side and Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford getting the better of the Hammers at home, taking all three points back to Manchester. At Old Trafford, it was a 1-0 victory for United with a Craig Dawson own goal settling the tie between the clubs as United did the double over the Hammers. Solskjaer will be hoping to do the same this season but first must find the route to victory in this match, coming from a defeat in the opening Champions League group stage clash against the Young Boys earlier in the week.

West Ham United 1-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Ronaldo returns with a brace in Magpies victory; Fernandes and Lingard also score, Pogba gets two assists, Shaw gets one – top of the league

Manchester United beat Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in added time at the end of the first half, scoring his 119th goal for United. The Magpies equalised through Javier Manquillo in the 56th minute of the match before Ronaldo sealed his brace six minutes later. Bruno Fernandes scored a stunner in the 80th minute with Jesse Lingard getting on the scoresheet in added time at the end of the match. Paul Pogba got two assist with Luke Shaw getting the other. United will face Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. Top of the league.

The match started well for United, who immediately got on the attack with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line for his club, seeking to build on the 118 goals he has already scored for United between 2003 and 2009 before leaving for Real Madrid. United had the majority of possession but did little with it against this Newcastle side who were defending well. United have 15 shots in the first half, just three shots on target with 434 touched of the ball. The Magpies seemed to be tough to break down, despite the time spent on the ball by United. It is matches like this that will be problematic for United, despite the quality on the pitch.

The opening goal of the match came in added time at the end of the first half. Mason Greenwood had the ball when running into the box from the right. His shot on goal bounced off Freddie Woodman and Ronaldo was lying in wait just a yard out to send the ball into the back of the net. It was his 119th goal for United, 4,507 days since his last which was the opening goal against Manchester City, a 2-0 victory on the 10 May 2009. It may not have been a spectacular goal for Ronaldo’s second debut, but it put United ahead against the Magpies, which is a great start – but United needed to be more penetrative in the second half of the match.

United started to attack the Magpies from that start of the second half, but never got there with another goal before the equaliser was scored in the 56th minute of the match after Javier Manquillo beat David De Gea with an Allan Saint-Maximin assist, which took away the celebration, for a short period of time at least. Ronaldo then scored his second goal of the day in the 62nd minute, running from outside of the box to beat Woodman for the second time in this match, Luke Shaw with the assist. 120 goals for Ronaldo at United now, just with more than four and a half thousand days between goals. What a second debut for United.

In the 66th minute of the match, Solskjaer made his first substitution with Jesse Lingard replacing Jadon Sancho, who had been playing a good game in his second start for the club as he is adapting to the Premier League. The Magpies were seemingly looking dejected that they had been battled out of the match once again with Ronaldo restoring United’s lead. There were a few opportunities though, but nothing to really write home about. United extended their lead once again in the 80th minute with Greenwood on the attack, but being crowded out in the box, passing to Bruno Fernandes on the edge, who scored spectacularly from range.

It was Fernandes’ fourth goal of the season, assisted by Pogba, his sixth assist of the season – both feats achieved in just four Premier League matches so far this season. It could be a very good season for United if things continue like this. With five minutes of the match remaining, Solskjaer made a double substitution with Donny van de Beek replacing Fernandes and Anthony Martial replacing Greenwood. It was not over for United though as Lingard opened up his account this season, scoring in the second minute of added time, assisted by Pogba, his seventh assist of the season. It was a good win for United, who sit top of the league.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Looked confident. Conceded one goal in the second half, made two saves - one from inside the box. His distribution was great with 100% of his balls finding a teammate. To have a confident De Gea is going to inspire the players ahead of him this season.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Seemed sloppy at times. Made one clearance, blocked one shot, made two interceptions and four tackles. Also won four of five ground duels, winning none of two aerial duels. Lost the ball nine times, made one key pass, failed with two crosses and was 50% successful with his long balls. I'd like to see more attacking play from him which would benefit this team.

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19 Raphael Varane

Cracking signing. The second appearance for United and another great performance. Made three clearances, one interception and three tackles. Was not dribbled past. Won all of his ground (three) and aerial (five) duels but lost the ball six times. 91.1% passing success, had two shots off target, missing one big chance. A great partner for Maguire.

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5 Harry Maguire

Perhaps left United open for the equaliser. Made four clearances, blocked one shot, made two tackles and won 50% of his ground duels. Lost the ball twice and committed one foul. Successful with all three long balls and had one shot on target. No longer the defender carrying this defence.

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23 Luke Shaw

Got his first assist of the season. Blocked one shot, made two tackles and committed one error which led to a shot. Won all three ground duels, played four key passes, had 92.1% pass success, connected with three from 11 crosses, which needs improvement, creating two big chances. He was also successful with one dribble. He's starting another good season, which could be a great one for him.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Disciplined but needed help at times. Successful with four of five long balls, made two key passes, was an everlasting presence in the midfield. Had one shot off target and another blocked. Lost the ball 11 times, committed one foul and was fouled once. Made three tackles and was dribbled past once. It's a shame United only have him experienced in the defensive midfield position.

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6 Paul Pogba

Quietly did what he needed to do. Claimed two more assists. 92% pass success, three key passes, successful with nine of 12 long balls, breaded one big chance. Committed four fouls - booked for one of them. Made two tackles and was dribbled past twice. Great that he can perform in a midfield two.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Got his foot in the match eventually. Helped to create Ronaldo's first goal, with Woodman spilling his shot before the Portuguese tapped it in. One successful cross (of three), successful with three long balls, two shots on target, made one tackle but lost the ball 13 times. He's learning his place at the club, which is positive with him.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Scored his fourth goal of the season. 82.1% pass success, two key passes, one of two long balls successful, one big chance created. Cracking ability to be on the edge of the box at the right time, beating Woodman from range. One shot on target, three off and one blocked. Committed one foul ad was fouled once. The Portuguese magnifico now has another in the team.

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25 Jadon Sancho

The England winger played well against the Magpies. His pass success rate was 88.9%, he made two key passes, had one shot off target and one blocked, missing one big chance. He lost the ball 12 times and was dribbled past twice. He is still finding his feet in the Premier League and will settle in time.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

MOTM on his Old Trafford return. Two goals scored, one a simple tap-in, the other a glimpse of the past. Two shots on target, two off target and two blocked. 86.7% pass success. One key pass created. Lost the ball 11 times, but led from the front and was there for United to take the lead and regain it after the equaliser. Cracking second debut.

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Substitutes

14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Sancho 66'. Got his first goal of the season. Lost the ball three times. Played his part in the match before his goal. Good to see him score for United again.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Fernandes 85'. Had a five-minute cameo in his first appearances this season. Had two touches of the ball, losing possession once. Needs more time on the pitch to find his feet. Brought on to provide energy to keep the Magpies beaten.

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9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Greenwood 85'. Same as Van de Beek with a five-minute cameo. Made four touches, losing possession twice. Helped press the Magpies though.

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Goals: Cristiano Ronaldo 45+2′, 62′, Bruno Fernandes 80′, Jesse Lingard 90+2′; Javier Manquillo 56′

Assists: Luke Shaw 62′, Paul Pogba 80′, 90+2′; Allan Saint-Maximin 56′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Matic, Pogba; Greenwood (Martial 85′), Fernandes (Van de Beek 85′), Sancho (Lingard 66′); Ronaldo

Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Lindelof, Bailly, Dalot; Mata, Fred

Bookings: Paul Pogba 60′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Cristiano Ronaldo starts for Manchester United; Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho on the flanks

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action when they welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford in a traditional 3pm kick-off this afternoon. It was something that was lacking last season for United with few traditional Saturday afternoon matches because of a mixture of playing in the UEFA Europa League and matches being selected for television in the United Kingdom. This match has not been selected for TV in the UK, which is a shame as it will mark the return to the Theatre of Dreams of Cristiano Ronaldo, who re-signed for the Old Trafford club during the summer.

The first international break of the new season has just finished, which is always a daunting though so early into the new season with only three Premier League matches played before a break in the season, which then results in the return of the UEFA Champions League and the Carabao Cup in the coming weeks with United returning to the elite European competition on Tuesday evening, then starting their pursuit of the League Cup the following Wednesday. This is the crucial point of the season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeking to ensure he has enough players in rotation for the upcoming matches.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw;

Matic, Pogba;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Sancho;

Ronaldo

Substitutes:

Heaton; Lindelof, Bailly, Dalot; Mata, Lingard, Fred, Van de Beek; Martial

Newcastle United:

Woodman;

Hayden, Clark, Lascelles, Manquillo;

Willock, S. Longstaff, Almiron, Ritchie;

Saint-Maximin, Joelinton

Substitutes:

Darlow, Schar, Lewis, Hendrick, Krafth, Fernandez, Murphy, Gayle, White

United and Newcastle have met a total of 52 times in the Premier League. United have won a total of 31 matches, drawing 14 with the Magpies winning seven times. United have scored 108 goals, winning three penalties and scoring two of them. The Magpies have scored 53 goals, winning three penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Magpies keeping 11. A total of 171 yellow cards have bene shown in matches between United and Newcastle with the Red Devils shown 86 and the Magpies shown 85. There have been six red cards – three for each team.

Last season, United beat Newcastle 3-1 at Old Trafford and 4-1 at St Jame’s Park. In recent history, there have been 11 players to play for both United and Newcastle – Peter Beardsley, Keith Gillespie, Andy Cole, Ronny Johnsen, Nicky Butt, Guiseppe Rossi, Danny Simpson, Alan Smith, Louis Saha, Gabriel Obertan and Michael Owen. Of these players, Andy Cole is perhaps the best performing player and most effective signing – the only one coming from Newcastle for a fee (£6 million and Gillespie back in 1995. Michael Owen, who has since turned him back on United, despite winning his only ever Premier League title at the club, was another.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: Cristiano Ronaldo to excite the Old Trafford crowd on his return; Jadon Sancho on the bench?

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action when they welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford in a traditional 3pm kick-off on Saturday afternoon. It was something that was lacking last season for United with few traditional Saturday afternoon matches because of a mixture of playing in the UEFA Europa League and matches being selected for television in the United Kingdom. This match has not been selected for TV in the UK, which is a shame as it will mark the return to the Theatre of Dreams of Cristiano Ronaldo, who re-signed for the Old Trafford club during the summer.

The first international break of the new season has just finished, which is always a daunting though so early into the new season with only three Premier League matches played before a break in the season, which then results in the return of the UEFA Champions League and the Carabao Cup in the coming weeks with United returning to the elite European competition on Tuesday evening, then starting their pursuit of the League Cup the following Wednesday. This is the crucial point of the season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeking to ensure he has enough players in rotation for the upcoming matches.

Previous meetings with Newcastle United and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Newcastle have met a total of 52 times in the Premier League. United have won a total of 31 matches, drawing 14 with the Magpies winning seven times. United have scored 108 goals, winning three penalties and scoring two of them. The Magpies have scored 53 goals, winning three penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Magpies keeping 11. A total of 171 yellow cards have bene shown in matches between United and Newcastle with the Red Devils shown 86 and the Magpies shown 85. There have been six red cards – three for each team.

Last season, United beat Newcastle 3-1 at Old Trafford and 4-1 at St Jame’s Park. In recent history, there have been 11 players to play for both United and Newcastle – Peter Beardsley, Keith Gillespie, Andy Cole, Ronny Johnsen, Nicky Butt, Guiseppe Rossi, Danny Simpson, Alan Smith, Louis Saha, Gabriel Obertan and Michael Owen. Of these players, Andy Cole is perhaps the best performing player and most effective signing – the only one coming from Newcastle for a fee (£6 million and Gillespie back in 1995. Michael Owen, who has since turned him back on United, despite winning his only ever Premier League title at the club, was another.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Newcastle United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has started all three matches in the Premier League this season, conceding two goals, keeping one clean sheet and performing a number of good saves to deny United’s opposition from scoring, which is what he is expected to do for the Old Trafford club. United need to make a statement regarding their home form this season as all six defeats in the Premier League last season were at the Theatre of Dreams with United performing so much better away from home, breaking Arsenal’s 27-match unbeaten away record in their 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers before the international break.

The Spaniard is in good form at this stage of the season and will probably be tested by both Tom Heaton and Dean Henderson at stages the season, at least when the latter is fit after his coronavirus struggle with saw him suffer from fatigue and not actually featuring for the club during the pre-season campaign this summer. De Gea will be happy to have started the season and will be seeking to secure his number one shirt at the club with his performances. That said, there will most likely be some form of rotation during the UEFA Champions League and the Carabao Cup this month, not to mention the Premier League with United playing six times this month.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

The defence is much stronger this season than it was last season. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should retain their places in the fullback roles in this back four as what they add, both defensively and offensively is a benefit for the team, despite Wan-Bissaka not getting any plaudits for his attacking style in the team. United tend to attack on the left with Shaw providing the width in that area. It might be predictable at times and there is hope that Wan-Bissaka can learn at attack on his flank, which would be good for the player in the right-wing role too. Going forward, these roles are set in stone with backup from Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles.

In the central defensive positions, Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire should retain their places. Varane, who signed for the club from Real Madrid in the summer, had a pretty flawless debut against Wolves before the international break. He still needs to find his feet in the Premier League as he has not really been tested yet, but the early signs are good. Maguire has done well for United since signing from Leicester City in the summer of 2019, starting his third season at the club. The partnership of Varane and Maguire should be a good one for United, with backup from Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Teden Mengi this season.

Midfield: Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek

There are a few problems with the midfield this season. One is that there is one defensive midfielder in Nemanja Matic with no real experienced cover in that position – other than Scott McTominay, who has recently returned to training after groin surgery. Fred is suspended because of FIFA regulations due to the international break when he did not head to Brazil, who have requested the minimum five day rule to be enacted, meaning he will not be eligible to face Newcastle or Young Boys. This will leave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Donny van de Beek and Matic, plus Paul Pogba, who has played better on the left so far this season.

Against the Magpies, having Matic and Van de Beek in the midfield in the 4-2-3-1 formation would be beneficial as the Serbian could do his defensive role well with the Dutchman connecting the defence to the attack, also running into space in the box, which could find space for at attacker. I believe the Dutchman has all the attributes to find his form at United this season, after a tough 2020/21 season at the club. Pogba should play an attacking role, as he has five assists this season, which has shown the best of his abilities. It may not be the best midfield but it will have to do this season, at least until January if business can be done.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba

The attacking players behind the striker are important this season as they were last. At this stage of the season (after three matches) there are six goals and five assists in these places, which shows the quality in the squad. Mason Greenwood has scored in each of the three matches he has played, scoring one goal against Leeds United, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Granted, Greenwood seems to be set to become a striker for the club in the future, but playing out of that position is only going to better his game for the rest of his career. He has some great players to learn from at this time, so that looks good for him too.

Bruno Fernandes scored a hat-trick against Leeds but has not scored or assisted in the last two matches. This match is important that he rediscovers his form and I think all the ingredients and the excitement will be there for the players, the coaches, the manager and the supporters of the club. Paul Pogba should also feature in this area of the pitch as he has five assists so far this season and seems to be better playing further forward, as has been the case since he returned to the club. United have strength in depth in these positions is changes need to happen during the match, providing the correct changes are identified as the players put in the effort.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo

The return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United, even at the age of 36, is an exciting prospect. His career has gone from strength to strength and he has the eyes of the world on him once again as he bids to make his return to the Theatre of Dreams, this time playing in the famous red shirt bearing the prestigious number seven once again. In 292 appearances for United, from 2003 until 2009, Ronaldo scored 118 goals and 69 assists for United. He now has the chance to better those numbers and help achieve the greatest accolades with United once again – the team that the big time started for him.

In total, he has played 897 matches at club level, scoring 674 goals and 229 assists, with a further 111 goals for Portugal, in which he recently became the top goalscorer at international level. It just shows that age is just a number for the player that is Ronaldo. There are high expectations for him on his return to United and he is still determined to achieve things, suggesting that he is not returning to the club for anything other than winning. There will be many who play down Ronaldo’s talent and they will be quick to write him off because of his age but just like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani, he can prove them wrong.

Substitutes: Tom Heaton; Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Diogo Dalot; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard; Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga

Solskjaer will have a bench full of talented players, at least in their own roles. There will be many different options to change the course of the match, if need be. Tom Heaton will remain on the bench with De Gea starting his fourth match in the Premier League this season. Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly will both remain on the bench with Varane and Maguire starting in the central defensive positions. Lindelof could also offer some experience in the defensive midfield position at this time with few options in this position. Diogo Dalot will offer something on either flank in the fullback position, if a change is required in that area.

In the midfield places, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard will be on the bench, but none of them can play in the midfield positions, both offer an attacking style, either on the flanks or in the central ahead behind the striker. United seem to be stacked in that area this season, which gives many attacking options but few midfielders in the squad to offer an impact, at least with Fred and McTominay out of action at this time. In the forward roles, Anthony Martial, who has been terrible recently, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga will be able to be called upon against the Magpies, which is an exciting prospect for United, at least with Sancho and Elanga.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Ronaldo return to boost United against the Magpies; Van de Beek to start too?

Manchester United -v- Newcastle United

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 11 September 2021, KO 15:00 BST

Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn

Fourth Official: John Brooks

VAR: Craig Pawson Assistant VAR: Scott Ledger

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action when they welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford in a traditional 3pm kick-off on Saturday afternoon. It was something that was lacking last season for United with few traditional Saturday afternoon matches because of a mixture of playing in the UEFA Europa League and matches being selected for television in the United Kingdom. This match has not been selected for TV in the UK, which is a shame as it will mark the return to the Theatre of Dreams of Cristiano Ronaldo, who re-signed for the Old Trafford club during the summer.

The first international break of the new season has just finished, which is always a daunting though so early into the new season with only three Premier League matches played before a break in the season, which then results in the return of the UEFA Champions League and the Carabao Cup in the coming weeks with United returning to the elite European competition on Tuesday evening, then starting their pursuit of the League Cup the following Wednesday. This is the crucial point of the season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeking to ensure he has enough players in rotation for the upcoming matches.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WDWWDL

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Leeds United 5-1 W, Everton 4-0 W, Brentford 2-2 D, Queens Park Rangers 4-2 L

Goals: 3 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 1 – Fred

Assists: 5 – Paul Pogba, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Raphael Varane

Newcastle United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: DLLLWW

Southampton 2-2 D, Burnley 0-0 (4-3 pens) L, Aston Villa 2-0 L, West Ham United 4-2 L, Norwich City 3-0 W, Burton Albion 2-0 W

Goals: 2 – Callum Wilson, 1 – Jacob Murphy, Allan Saint-Maximin

Assists: 1 – Jacob Murphy, Matt Ritchie, Allan Saint-Maximin

Previous meetings with Newcastle United and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Newcastle have met a total of 52 times in the Premier League. United have won a total of 31 matches, drawing 14 with the Magpies winning seven times. United have scored 108 goals, winning three penalties and scoring two of them. The Magpies have scored 53 goals, winning three penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Magpies keeping 11. A total of 171 yellow cards have bene shown in matches between United and Newcastle with the Red Devils shown 86 and the Magpies shown 85. There have been six red cards – three for each team.

Last season, United beat Newcastle 3-1 at Old Trafford and 4-1 at St Jame’s Park. In recent history, there have been 11 players to play for both United and Newcastle – Peter Beardsley, Keith Gillespie, Andy Cole, Ronny Johnsen, Nicky Butt, Guiseppe Rossi, Danny Simpson, Alan Smith, Louis Saha, Gabriel Obertan and Michael Owen. Of these players, Andy Cole is perhaps the best performing player and most effective signing – the only one coming from Newcastle for a fee (£6 million and Gillespie back in 1995. Michael Owen, who has since turned him back on United, despite winning his only ever Premier League title at the club, was another.

Team News: Cristiano Ronaldo seeking to start on Old Trafford return. Four players ruled out for United through injury, one banned by FIFA, another still recovering and one to face a late fitness test.

Dean Henderson (Fitness), Alex Telles (Ankle/Foot), Amad Diallo (Thigh) and Marcus Rashford (Shoulder) have all been ruled out of the clash against Newcastle at Old Trafford. Fred (FIFA Regulations: Five-day rule) sees the Brazilian ineligible for face both Newcastle and Young Boys with Phil Jones (Knee) likely to miss another match this season following the recovery of a knee injury which kept him out last season. Scott McTominay (Groin/Hip/Pelvic) will be subject to a late fitness test ahead of the match after returning to training earlier in the week. Jadon Sancho, who withdrew from England duty this week, is available again.

Elliott Anderson (Groin/Hip/Pelvic), Callum Wilson (Thigh), Jonjo Shelvey (Calf/Shin/Heel) and Martin Dubravka (Ankle/Foot) have all been ruled out of the trip to Old Trafford to take on United. Ryan Fraser (Ankle/Foot) is a major doubt for the match, whereas Karl Darlow (other) will undergo a late fitness test and both Paul Dummett (Calf/Shin/Heel) and Isaac Hayden (Knee) are likely to be back in contention for this match. Newcastle have a poor record in the Premier League this season, sitting 17th at the time of writing with one point from three matches. A good result in this match could get them off the mark.

Predicted Starting XI: Cristiano Ronaldo to lead the line against the Magpies, supported by Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood. Donny van de Beek to start in midfield?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be excited ahead of the return to Old Trafford after two away matches which ended August with the club earning seven points out of nine and breaking the unbeaten on the road record, stretching it to 28 matches, breaking Arsenal’s 27-match record set in 2004. United need to have the same mindset at the Theatre of Dreams, which was where all six defeats in the Premier League happened last season. So far, after just one match at home, United are undefeated but including this one, there are 18 left to play in the league. Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford will lift the supporters and his teammates as United strive to win.

David De Gea will remain in goal for United – he has done well so far this season, despite conceding two goals so far. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw will complete the defence. A midfield duo of Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek could do well, considering the suspension Fred and the expected absence of Scott McTominay. Paul Pogba should revert back to the left with Bruno Fernandes in the middle and Mason Greenwood on the right. Ronaldo could lead the line on his Theatre of Dreams return to United, with the likes of Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho possibly Edinson Cavani on the bench.

Match Prediction: United have the players to keep their unbeaten run going against Newcastle, winning the last three matches since that dreadful performance in October 2019.

United have started the 2021/22 season in fine form, playing three matches, winning twice and drawing once. It was a better start than the 2020/21 season which saw United defeated in the first match of the season, which was the first of six defeats that season, all of which were at Old Trafford. This is the second home match of the season and United will need to press on and send the Magpies packing. The return of Ronaldo will be a big boost, similarly to that of Raphael Varane, when he was announced as a United player ahead of the opening Premier League match of the season, the 5-1 victory over Leeds United, kicking off.

This could well be a positive season for United with the signings made and the hunger and determination on show, not to mention the fact that so many players want to achieve something under the management of Solskjaer. This will be a good season for United and hopefully it will end with at least one trophy, which will probably not be good enough for the people who always seem to edit what they said in the past, making it much harder to actually please them. What a world we live in today where people would rather be disappointed but proved correct, despite changing their stance many times, rather than supporting the manager and players.

Manchester United 3-1 Newcastle United

Written by John Walker

Ratings: De Gea MOTM after some great saves; Varane and Greenwood also in contention in Wolves victory

Manchester United beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 at the Molineux Stadium on Sunday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave Raphael Varane his debut, also starting Jadon Sancho for the first time. It looked ropey from the start as Wolves seemed to control the game in the early stages with Fred looking the weak link in the centre of the midfield. It was a pretty lacklustre encounter until the 80th minute when Mason Greenwood scored his third goal of the season on the opening three matches. Varane assisted in the goal and also helped to keep a clean sheet but it was David De Gea’s heroics that saved the day for United with his two quick-fire saves showing the best of his ability once again. This could be the start of something good for United and De Gea this season. The international break comes now with a rest for some.

Wolves started the match at a canter pushing forward from the very first minute of the match. How they did not score was only down to their poor finishing. United just did not have the presence in midfield to control the game and Fred started with another stinker, although he did get better as theme grew on but he’s still not the answer to the midfield problems. I don’t think Fred should be playing as he lets the team down with poor passing and bad decision-making, although he has been largely positive since the mistake he made that could have cost United. Something needs to give as this midfield will end up letting United down this season and it will not matter what forwards are playing, the lack of control in the midfield is problematic and should be a lot better than this. United were lucky to end the first half not conceding a single goal.

There were no changes by either team at the start of the second half, although that should have happened for United with Fred having such a bad match and Daniel James not all that far behind him. Raphael Varane shows his defensive ability in the 52nd minute to make an important block to stop a goal scoring chance from being created by Wolves, which shows why Solskjaer has brought him to United. Cracking show of hunger and desire to stop United from going one down. United made their first substitution in the 54th minute of the match with Edinson Cavani making his first appearances this season, replacing Daniel James, who had been more of a hindrance than a help in this match. A loan spell away from the club, unless he was to be sold, might benefit him moving forward but he’s below the level he should be in the Premier League at this time.

Wolves were still banging on the door in the 68th minute of the match, winning a corner and pressing for he opening goal. David De Gea made two quick fire saves to deny them from taking the lead, which could signal the rise of his form once again, which is a positive from the match at this stage. United need to find something otherwise it could be another embarrassing match again which will just signal to the muppets that want Solskjaer to be sacked to continue their monotonous moronic tone just so they can say they were right. Solskjaer made his second substitution of the match with Anthony Martial replacing Jadon Sancho, who had an energetic match but was unable to help United break the deadlock. Hopefully, the Frenchman will raise his form and help United into a winning position, rather than this stagnant draw at this stage of the match.

United opened the scoring in the 80th minute through none other than Mason Greenwood who has scored his third goal in three matches so far this season. The assist came from Raphael Varane on his debut. There was a slight delay to the celebration as Ruben Neves seemed to be hurt following a clash with Paul Pogba but on review, the goal was allowed as the Portuguese midfielder seemed to be initially alright, taking a few steps before feigning injury. He was booked a minute later with Romain Saiss and Fred also being booked. United has their goal and probably needed more to avert the three of Wolves, despite them being poor in this match. Solskjaer made his final change in the 89th minute of the match with Diogo Dalot replacing Greenwood with United looking to defend their lead in what could be their 28th match unbeaten on the road in the league.

There was a flurry of bookings in added time with Morgan Gibbs-White, Diogo Dalot and Paul Pogba all being shown a yellow card for various things. United were still defending their lead and Wolves were still poor and deserving of the result in this match. Having more attempts but being poor at it does not mean that you deserve anything special from the match It is the goals that count and United scored one of those with their one Star Boy finding the back of the net in each of the first three Premier League matches this season. United ground out the win, an important three points which sees them rise to third in the league this season. Arsenal, Norwich City and Wolves sit at the bottom with nil points. Newcastle United are on the cards for United on the 11 September which could also be the second debut of one Cristiano Ronaldo.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Not really tested on goal in the first half despite Wolves having the majority of the shots. Made a few good saves, including a quick-fire double save in the second half, which kept United in the match. Man of the Match for me today. Glad to see the real De Gea back.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Blocked what could have been a goal, which was good to see. Should be putting more of a shirt further forward, but he's a defensive fullback, which is his strong point. United's attack was not the best today.

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19 Raphael Varane

Made his presence known in the first half and seemed assured defensively. Clean sheet, assist and a contender for Man of the Match but De Gea took it for me. Great debut and can't wait to see more of him this season.

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5 Harry Maguire

Dominant in defence, both aerially and on the ground. Has found a new partner which should be great for United. Wolves were the better side for much of the match but United got a smash and grab and got the three points, which is the important part.

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23 Luke Shaw

Not his best day on the left but he played his part. Took one for the team early on - straight in the family jewels. Did more defending than attacking today, which will inevitably be needed throughout the season, at stages.

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17 Fred

Lost possession five times in the first half alone, won one of six ground duels and was dribbled past four times. Midfield enforcer is not what Fred is. Terrible performance and the only light is that both De Gea and Wan-Bissaka saved his skin.

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6 Paul Pogba

Played a deeper role and his output suffered because of it. Not the formation for him, but things could change after the international break. He was better in the second half as he played further forward. He's had an impressive start to the season though.

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25 Jadon Sancho

His first start may not be memorable with him scoring or assisting a goal but he played his part with 87.5% pass success, but that was his main positive. He made an error which led to a shot and was not successful with his dribble attempt or hie duels. It is early days for him but that won't stop the negative fans from writing him off already. It takes time to find perfection. Replaced by Martial in the 72nd minute.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Not having the best match for United. Booked for dissent and seem annoyed about that at the break. Found the back of the net but was ruled offside. A frustrating day for the Portuguese magnifico.

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Ratings: De Gea MOTM after some great saves; Varane and Greenwood also in contention in Wolves victory

The Welsh winger did not have the best performance against Wolves. He lost the ball ten times, committed one foul, had one shot off target and crossed the ball twice - facing to find a teammate twice. He had one key pass which came to nothing and showed a weakness at this level. Perhaps a loan spell away from United might benefit him? He was replaced by Cavani in the 54th minute.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Had the chance to score at the end of the first half and although he beat his man, his shot was low and wide, which was a shame. Got his goal ten minutes from time, scoring his third goal in three matches. What a season he is going to have if it continues like this. Another Man of the Match contender, but De Gea gets iit ahead of him.

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Substitutes

21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced James 54'. Covered a lot of the pitch but in terms of playing with the ball, he did not see much of it. He's rusty and will take time for him to be fully match fit.

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9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Sancho 72'. Another worrying sign with the Frenchman having no impact in this match. One of these days he will be surplus to requirements, if not already. His form is worrying, he does not seem to want to put it right - at least that is how it feels.

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20 Diogo Dalot

Replaced Greenwood 90'. Came on at the death of the match and played added time to add more defensive surety to the team. Booked for a challenge but that does not matter. United got the result they needed.

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Goals: Mason Greenwood 80′

Assists: Raphael Varane 80′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Pogba; Sancho (Martial 72′), Fernandes, James (Cavani 54′); Greenwood (Dalot 90′)

Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Lindelof; Mata, Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek

Bookings: Ruben Neves 81′, Romain Says 84′, Morgan Gibbs-White 90+2′; Bruno Fernandes 44′, Fred 84′, Diogo Dalot 90+3′, Paul Pogba 90+3′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Greenwood, Sancho and Varane start; Cavani and Van de Beek on the bench against Wolves

Manchester United are once again on the road in the Premier League this afternoon as they travel to face Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux Stadium. Last weekend, a 1-1 draw with Southampton at St Mary’s saw United equal Arsenal’s 27-match away unbeaten record in the league, meaning that if they avoid defeat against Wolves, the record will be theirs. This will be a good weekend for United, who are fresh from the announcement that Cristiano Ronaldo will be returning to the Theatre of Dreams this summer after leaving Juventus and being linked with Manchester City, which seemed likely to happen then on Friday morning, rumours were rife and by the afternoon, United made the announcement that Ronaldo is coming home. What a day. United need a midfielder this summer, but might not end up with one – which is a shame.

At the time of writing, United sit tenth in the Premier League table with four points from a possible six. A victory over Wolves with give them seven points and keep them up their in the top quarter of the table, which is what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking ahead of the first International break of the season. The summer transfer window will close on Tuesday evening here in the UK so there is time for something to happen, but whether it does will be reliant on whether United can offload players who do not really have much of a future at the club. It has not happened so far this summer, so seems unlikely but after what happened on Friday, never say never. United’s start to the season has been better than last season, but there is still a long way to go. Solskjaer’s side got positive news of their UEFA Champions League group too, so onwards and upwards.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, Pogba;

Sancho, Fernandes, James;

Greenwood

Substitutes:

Heaton; Lindelof, Dalot; Mata, Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani, Martial

Wolverhampton Wanderers:

Sa;

Kilman, Coady, Saiss;

Semedo, Neves, Moutinho, Marcal;

Trincao, Jimenez, Traore

Substitutes:

Ruddy, Hoever, Ait-Nouri, Podence, Boly, Silva, Gibba-White, Dendoncker, Cundle

United and Wolves have met a total of 14 times in the Premier League. United have won a total of eight matches, drawing three with Wolves winning three times. United have scored 23 goals, winning three penalties and scoring two of them. Wolves has scored ten goals and are yet to win a penalty against United. The Red Devils have kept a total of six clean sheets with Wolves keeping two. Despite so few matches being played in the Premier League, the discipline issues between the two clubs is high with United players being shown 19 yellow cards and one red card and Wolves players being show 20 yellow cards and one red card. This match will be a tricky one for United, as all matches against Wolves are. United won 2-1 in this fixture last season, winning 1-0 at Old Trafford. It is set to be another close encounter against a team that can be difficult.

In recent history, there have been a few players to have played for both United and Wolves. In the 1973/74 season, Jim McCalliog was sold to United for just £60,000, making 38 appearances and scoring seven goals for the club. Scott McGarvey was loaned to Wolves in the 1984/85 season with Darren Ferguson, the son of Sir Alex Ferguson, being sold to the club in he 1993/94 season. Paul Ince, who had previously played for United, signed for Wolves as a free agent in the 2002/03 season, the same season that Denis Irwin left United after making 529 appearances, scoring 33 goals in an almost 12 year stay at United. More recently, Darron Gibson was loaned to Wolves in the 2007/08 season with Cameron Borthwick-Jackson the last player to be loaned to the club during the 2016/17 season. There will be more history between the club, if you do a deeper dive.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW