Solskjaer

  • Another win for Solskjaer as 2 EPL teams ousted from FA Cup

    Alexis Sanchez was resting up in the Manchester United dugout moments after getting substituted when he got a tap on the arm.

    It was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, telling him to get out of the manager’s seat and find another.
    There’s no doubt who’s the boss inside Old Trafford these days.

    On a day when English Premier League strugglers Huddersfield and Cardiff lost to lower-league opponents in the FA Cup third round, there were no problems for Solskjaer’s United as the interim coach collected a record-tying fifth straight win to start his tenure when his team beat second-tier Reading 2-0. The other four victories came in the league.

    Juan Mata — from the penalty spot — and Romelu Lukaku scored the first-half goals for United, allowing Solskjaer to join the great Matt Busby (in 1946) as the only United managers to win their first five games. The Norwegian is in charge until the end of the season after coming in as the replacement for the fired Jose Mourinho last month, but has stated he wants the job on a full-time basis.

    This was hardly a convincing win by United — Reading wasted a slew of chances at Old Trafford — and Solskjaer put the underwhelming performance down to selecting a makeshift lineup, albeit one filled with international players.

    “It was always going be difficult with my team selection,” Solskjaer said. “I made it hard for the players to be fair on them because it’s a team that’s never played together.”

    Titleholders Chelsea and record 13-time winners Arsenal were among the other Premier League teams to progress to the last 32.

    FABREGAS’ FAREWELL

    Cesc Fabregas waved to all corners of Stamford Bridge, patted the badge on his Chelsea jersey, and was hugged by teammates David Luiz and Eden Hazard as he walked off the field near the end of the 2-0 win over second-tier Nottingham Forest. He was back on the playing surface after the final whistle and this time he sobbed in front of Chelsea’s applauding fans.

    It was an emotional afternoon for Fabregas, who likely played his last game for Chelsea — and in English football — ahead of a reported move to French team Monaco. He couldn’t mark the occasion with a goal: He had a penalty saved in the 30th minute after a stuttered run-up.

    It was left to fellow Spaniard Alvaro Morata to score the goals in the 49th and 59th, with the striker set up both times by crosses from 20-year-old winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.

    WORTH THE WAIT

    For a brief time, there was a danger Arsenal’s match at third-tier Blackpool might be delayed, even postponed, because the team bus was unable to set off from the hotel. A Blackpool fan climbed onto the roof and sat down in protest at the conduct of his club’s owners, but was persuaded to come down after a lengthy stand-off.

    Joe Willock will be glad the game went ahead.

    The 19-year-old Arsenal forward netted twice at Bloomfield Road, becoming in the process the club’s youngest FA Cup scorer in nearly a decade. His only other goal for Arsenal came in the Europa League.

    Alex Iwobi scored Arsenal’s other goal.

    CUP UPSETS

    At least Huddersfield and Cardiff can now concentrate on staying in the top flight.

    In the two surprises of the third round so far, Huddersfield — the Premier League’s last-place team — lost 1-0 at second-tier Bristol City, last season’s English League Cup semifinalists, while Cardiff were beaten by third-tier Gillingham 1-0.

    The result won’t have helped the mood of Cardiff manager Neil Warnock, who was unhappy at missing out on the signing of Nathaniel Clyne after the right back sealed a move to Bournemouth from Liverpool on Friday.

    “They’ve promised me he’s my player this week,” Warnock said of Liverpool and Clyne. “For me, it’s a disgrace. It’s just a lack of class.”

    Clyne made his debut for Bournemouth in the all-Premier League matchup against Brighton but was on the losing side, 3-1.

    OTHER RESULTS

    A total of eight Premier League teams advanced on Saturday from the third round, the stage where sides from England’s top two divisions enter the world’s oldest club knockout competition.

    Everton won at home to fourth-tier Lincoln 2-1 thanks to goals by Ademola Lookman and Bernard. Marko Arnautovic and his first-half replacement, Andy Carroll, scored for West Ham in a win over second-tier Birmingham 2-0, and Burnley needed a stoppage-time penalty by Chris Wood to beat third-tier Barnsley 1-0.

    Crystal Palace beat fourth-tier Grimsby 1-0 through Jordan Ayew’s 86th-minute goal.

    There will be at least two replays, after Newcastle drew with second-tier Blackburn 1-1, and Southampton were held at second-tier Derby 2-2.

  • Solskjaer starts Man U with win; Man City and Chelsea lose

    Manchester United were stunning and Manchester City were stunned.

    United responded to a change in coach by producing a rampant display to thrash lowly Cardiff 5-1 hours after defending English Premier League champions City slumped to a first defeat at home, to struggling Crystal Palace 3-2 on Saturday.

    Former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, back at United as manager in midweek after Jose Mourinho was sacked, appeared to give the team a new lease of life as the reds turned on the style in the Welsh capital.

    The last time United scored five goals was in Alex Ferguson’s last match in charge in May 2013, a 5-5 draw with West Bromwich Albion.

    Meanwhile, City’s loss brought to an end their 100 percent home record in the league, and left leaders Liverpool four points clear at the top after 18 rounds.

    In another upset, former England striker Jamie Vardy scored to guide Leicester to a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge and inflict on fourth-placed Chelsea a first loss at home, also.

    Arsenal drew level on points with Chelsea after easing past Burnley 3-1.

    Southampton won for the second successive match under new coach Ralph Hasenhuttl when they defeated Huddersfield 3-1, while Watford ended West Ham’s run of four consecutive victories by winning at London Stadium 2-0.

    Bournemouth beat Brighton 2-0, and Newcastle’s home game with Fulham ended 0-0.

    UNITED BACK ON SONG

    Manchester United’s often ponderous style was one of the reasons Mourinho was fired. Solskjaer promised more attacking intent upon his appointment and the former Norway forward was as good as his word as his new team romped to victory at Cardiff.

    Former captain Wayne Rooney summed up the drastic change of mood at United when he said, “The players obviously looked a bit restricted (before). The players have ability and today we’ve seen that. A lot of things were happening around the team and around the manager, which isn’t good.

    “Ole’s given them that freedom,” he told BT Sport. “It’s a fantastic day for the club.”

    Jesse Lingard struck two goals, one a penalty, while Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, and Anthony Martial were also on target for the visitors.

    Victor Camarasa replied with a penalty for Cardiff.

    United are still in sixth place but Chelsea’s defeat means the Old Trafford club are only eight points off the Champions League qualifying positions.

    TOWNSEND SCORCHER

    Palace forward Andros Townsend scored one of the goals of the season as Palace won at Manchester City for the first time in 28 years.

    Ilkay Gundogan headed the home team in front before Jeffrey Schlupp equalized.

    Townsend then turned the match on its head in spectacular fashion when the ball dropped invitingly toward the former England international 30 yards out, and he met it with a ferocious volley that flew into the roof of the net.

    Luka Milivojevic made it 3-1 for Palace with a 51st-minute penalty.

    Kevin De Bruyne pulled one back late on but it proved too little, too late for City.

    “Palace had three shots on target and scored three goals,” City coach Pep Guardiola said. “Football is like this.”

    Roy Hodgson’s mood was rather different after his Palace side climbed to 14th place.

    “You don’t produce that sort of performance by waving a magic wand or having a five-minute team talk, there’s a lot of work that goes into that structure and we were excellent,” Hodgson said.

    “We are playing against a team with enormous skill levels and their focus, their ability to sustain attacks, is an example to us all.”

    BRIDGE OF SIGHS

    Leicester won at Chelsea for the first time in 18 years thanks to Vardy’s sixth goal of the season.

    A run of two victories in 12 games led to media speculation that Claude Puel’s job as Leicester manager was in jeopardy.

    Vardy said on Friday that Puel’s patient playing style did not suit him but his goal showed the value of having a top striker in the team. The Stamford Bridge crowd was left stunned in the 51st minute when Ricardo Pereira made a strong run down the right before finding James Maddison and he set up Vardy.

    OTHER RESULTS

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice and Alex Iwobi also struck in Arsenal’s win over Burnley.

    Troy Deeney’s penalty and a goal from Gerard Deulofeu steered Watford past West Ham.

    Nathan Redmond, Danny Ings, and Michael Obafemi netted in Southampton’s win at Huddersfield.

    Wales international David Brooks scored twice in Bournemouth’s win against Brighton, for which captain Lewis Dunk was sent off in the 73rd minute for two yellow cards.

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