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Player ratings as improved United return to winning ways

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Manchester United registered their first Europa League win this season with a 2-0 victory away to Sheriff Tiraspol.

A cool finish from Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo’s 699th career club goal were enough to see the Red Devils bounce back after losing their opening group stage contest to Real Sociedad last week.

Sheriff had their tails up early on having won their opening game in the competition last week, and knowing they managed to beat Real Madrid in the Champions League last season. But they were unable to prove giant killers again, succumbing to a professional United performance in the two clubs’ first competitive meeting.

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It took some time for United to truly work their way into the game despite spells of possession, with Sheriff not afraid to press high up early on.

Their wingers barely saw the ball as a result in the opening stages, but when Jadon Sancho did get involved for essentially the first time after 17 minutes, he tucked away a brilliant goal following sublime footwork and a smart pass from Christian Eriksen.

Sheriff did cause United problems when they got on the ball with Iyayi Atiemwen impressing, not being afraid to try and test David de Gea where possible. They had a clear plan to stifle United when the visitors tried to attack, though, committing fouls to stop them progressing the ball.

As the half grew on, those fouls became more common as United found a stride when in possession. Antony latched onto a poor pass from the goalkeeper and fed Sancho on the left, who was denied a brace by a brilliant clearance off the line from captain Stjepan Radeljic

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Unfortunately, his brilliant clearance meant little as a minute later, Diogo Dalot was fouled inside the penalty area, allowing Cristiano Ronaldo to make it 2-0 from the spot after 39 minutes. His first goal of the season sent United into half-time in a strong position.

Erik ten Hag’s side remained firmly in the driver’s seat after the break, with Sheriff unable to win the ball back from United and break up their lengthy spells of possession.

Eriksen peeled off to the left flank after 56 minutes and floated a fine, low cross across the box, but more brilliant defending from Radeljic diverted the ball away from Ronaldo and denied him of his 700th career club goal.

Sheriff, while not doing enough to test De Gea, gave a solid account of themselves and did continue to try and burst forward in the latter stages of the game. United were well-drilled, though, and diffused any counter attacks confidently, while looking after possession to see out the result.

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Ronaldo scored his first goal this season / DANIEL MIHAILESCU/GettyImages

GK: David de Gea – 6/10 – Quiet night at the office for the Spaniard, who merely had to stand and look pretty for the most part.

RB: Diogo Dalot – 7/10 – Won the penalty that put United two up with the kind of positive run from deep that really hurts teams. A positive performance that showed again just how much Dalot has come on under Ten Hag.

CB: Raphael Varane – 6/10 – A composed performance from the Frenchman. Didn’t have much to do, but kept things neat and tidy.

CB: Lisandro Martinez – 6/10 – Having a central defender who is not only comfortable bringing the ball forward but is agile and can actively pick out line-splitting passes continues to prove a huge boost for United. Martinez’s work on the ball was the highlight tonight.

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LB: Tyrell Malacia – 6/10 – Grew into the game as United enjoyed more of the ball and looked solid when able to get forward. Not as involved as he perhaps would’ve liked to have been, mind.

CM: Scott McTominay – 6/10 – Another impressive display from the Scotland international who continues to go full ‘McTerminator’ in an attempt to keep his place in the team. Only played the first half, though, so nothing major to report.

CM: Christian Eriksen – 8/10 – He’s good is that Eriksen fella, isn’t he? Like, really good. Always on for the pass, and always capable of picking out the perfect pass. What a lovely footballer.

CM: Bruno Fernandes – 7/10 – Showed off his brilliant passing range and a few sharp touches in tight areas. Not quite as gung-ho as usual; if there was ever a game to try your luck from long range with the space afforded, though, it was this one.

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RW: Antony – 6/10 – Flashes of flair and excellence from the Brazilian, in a much improved display compared to last week’s affair vs Real Sociedad. Not at his scintillating, ankle-breaking best just yet, but the signs are there.

ST: Cristiano Ronaldo – 6/10 – Yes he scored from the spot and no he wasn’t horrific, but Ronaldo’s touch wasn’t sharp, his runs were slow and he looked sluggish. Concerning. Props to him for doing that celebration, though – shameless.

LW: Jadon Sancho – 8/10 – Took his goal brilliantly with his first proper touches of the game. Individual brilliance denied him of a brace. When he gets the ball inside, Sancho is endlessly composed. Brilliant footwork again.

SUB: Casemiro (45′ for McTominay) – 6/10 –
Continued more of the solid work McTominay did at the base of midfield and broke up any rare counter attacks well.

SUB: Luke Shaw (70′ for Malacia) – N/A

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SUB: Anthony Elanga (80′ for Ronaldo) – N/A

SUB: Harry Maguire (90′ for Martinez) – N/A

SUB: Alejandro Garnacho (90′ for Antony) – N/A

Manager: Erik ten Hag – 8/10 – Away victory, good performance and a clean sheet. The Dutchman clearly prepared the team well. Would’ve been nice to see United open the floodgates, but we can’t be too harsh. Job done.

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Player of the Match: Christian Eriksen



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EPL

Player ratings as Fabio Vieira inspires routine victory

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Arsenal made it two wins from two in the Europa League this season as they secured a convincing 3-0 victory over Bodo/Glimt at the Emirates.

Eddie Nketiah and Rob Holding both found the back of the net midway through the first half, before Fabio Vieira killed things off five minutes from time to seal all three points for Mikel Arteta’s men.

Predictably, Arsenal were on top in the opening stages and Nketiah came close to bending in a nice opener inside the first five minutes, instead watching as his strike whistled wide of the far post.

Some nice play handed Vieira a chance shortly after, but the youngster couldn’t get over his half-volley and sent the ball blazing over the bar when he really should have been testing the goalkeeper.

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The breakthrough finally came 23 minutes in courtesy of Nketiah, who tapped home into an empty net after Kieran Tierney’s glorious strike thundered back off the post and landed right at the feet of the Arsenal striker.

And the second came just moments later. Vieira’s glorious cross was steered home by the head of Holding, putting this game to bed before the half-hour mark.

A free-kick from Granit Xhaka then stung the gloves of Bodo/Glimt goalkeeper Nikita Haikin, before Vieira failed to make the most of an opportunity to add a third as he pulled his own effort wide of the post.

Xhaka drew another save from Haikin just seconds after the half-time break but Arsenal appeared to take a foot off the gas as Bodo/Glimt grew into the game.

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The away side had some excellent spells in control of the ball but lacked any sort of quality in the final third, with Arsenal regularly keeping them at arm’s length with relative ease.

Bodo/Glimt had Arsenal pinned back at times but the Gunners almost had a third when Nketiah found himself through on goal with around ten minutes left, but he sent his effort ballooning over the bar.

Then, with five minutes to go, the third did come. Gabriel Jesus embarked on a ridiculous solo run which saw him skin two defenders and lay the ball back to Vieira, who powered the ball into the back of the net.

Arsenal preserved their clean sheet in stoppage time as Matt Turner’s save threatened to cross the line before being hooked away by Holding, who had to stretch to karate-kick the ball out of the air.

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GK: Matt Turner – 7/10 – Took a while to realise this wasn’t Aaron Ramsdale. Rarely involved in the first half and comfortable under more pressure after the break. Needed to make a few nice saves.

CB: Takehiro Tomiyasu – 8/10 – Staked his claim to return to the starting lineup with an excellent showing. Dominant in the air and comfortable with the ball at his feet. Even did a job on the left after Tierney went off.

CB: Rob Holding – 7/10 – Hardly tested at the back but made an impact in attack, heading home Vieira’s cross.

CB: Gabriel – 6/10 – Did his job without really getting out of second gear.

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RM: Marquinhos – 5/10 – A few bright spells but usually had you wanting more. Feels like he’s inching closer to a loan move.

CM: Albert Sambi Lokonga – 5/10 – Probably a bit too cautious in possession in the first half and started to look out of his depth in the second half when the pressure stepped up.

CM: Granit Xhaka – 7/10 – Put himself about with real energy and quality. Clearly keen to get an early lead and seal himself a well-deserved rest.

LM: Kieran Tierney – 7/10 – Looked really sharp on his return to the team. Unfortunate not to get a glorious goal but at least facilitated Nketiah’s tap-in.

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AM: Fabio Vieira – 8/10 – Growing in confidence with each passing performance. Pulled the strings from start to finish and just seemed to constantly find himself on the ball.

ST: Gabriel Martinelli – 6/10 – Had the odd bright spell but this was undoubtedly an off night for Martinelli.

ST: Eddie Nketiah – 7/10 – A lot of hard work to get himself involved and flashed his natural goalscoring instincts as he tapped home Tierney’s rebound.

SUB: Martin Odegaard (58′ for Xhaka) – 6/10 – One or two nice passes but couldn’t really get on the ball as Bodo/Glimt stepped up their pressure.

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SUB: Bukayo Saka (58′ for Marquinhos) – 6/10 – Surprisingly came on when it wasn’t really necessary. Did well but had fans wincing every time he was tackled.

SUB: Gabriel Jesus (58′ for Martinelli) – 7/10 – Provided some energy to the attacking line and bagged a glorious assist.

SUB: Ben White (70′ for Tierney) – 6/10 – Happy to fly down the right during his cameo.

SUB: Reiss Nelson (82′ for Nketiah) – N/A

Manager: Mikel Arteta – 6/10 – Made some good changes to temporarily break Bodo/Glimt’s rhythm. Surprisingly brought Saka and Jesus off the bench when it wasn’t necessary to risk them.

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Player of the Match – Fabio Vieira

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Chelsea drops Fofana update after initial tests on knee injury

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Chelsea drops Fofana update after initial tests on knee injury

Wesley Fofana’s knee injury is better than initially feared after the first set of tests returned positive results.

The defender suffered a knee injury in a collision with Rafael Leao in the 38th minute of Chelsea’s 3-0 home win against AC Milan, as his night ended in frustrating fashion having scored his first goal for the club earlier in the match.

There is hope that Fofana could return before the World Cup, with Chelsea’s final match before the tournament taking place away to Newcastle on November 12.

The centre-back is likely to miss this weekend’s clash against Wolves and the away match at San Siro against Milan next week.

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Fofana was seen leaving Stamford Bridge on crutches on Wednesday night, with his right knee in a brace as there were worries he may have suffered a serious injury.

Speaking in his post-match press conference after Chelsea’s victory over Milan, Blues boss Graham Potter admitted he was unsure how bad it would prove to be for Fofana.

‘We’ll have to scan it tomorrow and see how he is but there’s nothing to report at the moment,” Potter said.

“That’s the one disappointing thing about the evening so we have our fingers crossed. We’re concerned but I don’t want to speculate on it now.

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“These things happen. He’s a young guy and a strong guy but we’ll support him.”

Source: EveningStandard
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EPL

Erik ten Hag explains decision to substitute Jadon Sancho in Omonia victory

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has confessed that he was unimpressed with the left side of his team in the first half of Thursday’s 3-2 victory over Omonia Nicosia, leading to him substituting both Jadon Sancho and Tyrell Malacia at half-time.

United were woeful in the first half and trailed at the break after Sancho and Malacia conspired to give away the ball for the cheapest of counter-attack goals, and both were hooked at the interval.

Sancho was replaced by Marcus Rashford, who went on to bag a goal and an assist, while fellow substitute Anthony Martial also scored just moments after being introduced on the hour mark.

Asked to explain his logic behind removing Sancho while his team were losing, Ten Hag said: “It [the goal] was not what I wasn’t happy with, it was the movement with our ball.

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“The width on the left side, for me, was no good first-half – the movement from behind the defending line.

“So I hoped with Luke [Shaw] and Marcus we get more effect from that and so in my opinion that happens.”

Asked what he told Rashford and the rest of the team at the break to inspire a comeback, Ten Hag told BT Sport: “More runs, we are too static, we have to make the opposition move to get behind – that is why we made two subs.

“The subs really had an impact today.”

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The boss added: “I would call it stay composed. It can always happen, football is a game of mistakes. I agree with you, first 30 or 35 minutes, we played quite well, the only thing we didn’t do was score a goal.

“When you score a goal you make your life easy, we didn’t. Then we concede a goal and it was the worst 10 minutes from the game from us. After half-time, we dealt well with the setback.”



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