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Not What We Wanted – Ten Hag

MANCHESTER, England: Manchester United face the risk of failing to qualify for European competition for the second time since the 1989-90 season.

Erik ten Hag’s men are eighth in the Premier League, 32 points behind Arsenal, after a 1-0 defeat to the Gunners at Old Trafford earlier this morning saw their 19th defeat in all competitions this season.

United have at least improved slightly compared to when they were beaten 4-0 at Crystal Palace earlier last week.

Ten Hag once again blamed a long list of injuries for his team’s struggles this season.

Captain Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire are among those not in action for the United squad.

“It’s like trying to swim with your hands tied behind your back,” Ten Hag said.

“If you want to improve as a team, you need agile players. You saw that in the team we played against today.”

United, who have never finished seventh and below in the EPL era, are three points behind Newcastle and Chelsea with two games remaining.

Failure to finish in the top seven or win the FA Cup final against Manchester City will see United miss out on European action.

“It would be terrible (if we didn’t qualify for Europe) but that’s the situation we’re in now,” said Ten Hag.

“If you analyze the performance you can see we are very competitive.

“It’s not the way we want it to be, United have to win, always! But right now as a club and this team, with the injury list we have, we’re not in that position.”

Silva Will Leave Chelsea

LONDON: Brazilian defender Thiago Silva has announced he will leave Chelsea at the end of the season after four years at the English Premier League (EPL) club, but hopes to return in a different role.

The 39-year-old joined Chelsea from Paris St Germain on a free transfer in August 2020 and made 151 appearances as he won the Champions League, Club World Cup and Super Cup.

“Chelsea means a lot to me. I came here with the intention of just one year and it ended up being four years,” said Silva.

“I think, everything I did here for four years, I always gave my best.

“Unfortunately, everything has a beginning, middle and end. It doesn’t mean this is the end. I hope to leave with an open door so that in the future I can return, even in a different role.

“Goodbye is for those who leave and never return. I intend to return one day.”

Liverpool Back On Track After Miserable Week

LONDON: Liverpool got back on track after a miserable week as a 3-1 win at Fulham revived their Premier League title challenge while Nottingham Forest hit out at the officials during a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Everton earlier this morning.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were knocked out in the Europa League quarter-finals by Atalanta early Friday morning after suffering a league defeat at home to Crystal Palace last weekend.

The Reds’ desire to give Klopp a wonderful parting gift was somewhat subtle but they roared back into the championship race with a much-needed first win in three league games.

Liverpool are now second, behind leaders Arsenal on goal difference and one point ahead of third-placed Manchester City, who have played one game less than their two rivals.

Next up for Liverpool is a clash of local rivals at Everton early this Thursday morning, while Arsenal host Chelsea the day before and City travel to Brighton early Friday morning.

“Fulham usually cause us problems so it was a good performance at the right time,” said Klopp.

“We want to stay in contention, that’s clear. Arsenal won yesterday, Manchester City will win the remaining one game, so we have to win games and that’s what we’ll try to do.”

Klopp’s side have struggled in recent weeks and he dropped Mohamed Salah to the bench in one of five changes he made.

Trent Alexander-Arnold put Liverpool ahead in the 32nd minute with a stunning free-kick that curled into the corner of the net.

Fulham defender Timothy Castagne equalized from close range after Liverpool failed to clear the ball from the penalty area in first-half stoppage time.

Ryan Gravenberch restored Liverpool’s lead in the 53rd minute with a powerful shot from the corner of the penalty area for his first league goal.

Diogo Jota completed the win in the 72nd minute, curling a clinical finish into the top corner.

Everton took a big step towards continuing their 70-year run in the English top flight with a controversial win over Forest.

Idrissa Gueye and Dwight McNeil scored to keep The Toffees five points above the relegation zone.

Forest remain just one point above the relegation zone and were disappointed to be denied three powerful penalty appeals.

The club’s official account on media site X questioned the integrity of the Premier League by claiming the VAR official was a fan of the club struggling with relegation Luton.

“We warned PGMOL (the governing body of referees) VAR was a Luton fan before the game but they ignored it,” Forest said in a statement.

“Our patience has been tested several times. The NFFC will consider all available options.”

Aston Villa strengthened their chances of playing in next season’s Champions League after a 3-1 win over Bournemouth.

Unai Emery’s men bounced back through goals from Morgan Rogers, Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey after Dominic Solanke had put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot.

PSG Can Beat Barcelona – Enrique

BARCELONA: Paris Saint-Germain manager Luis Enrique said his players were strong enough to overcome Barcelona in the European Champions League quarter-final rematch.

Spanish champions Barcelona won 3-2 in Paris in the first leg last week, and PSG will need to overcome a deficit at the Olympic Stadium tomorrow to advance to the semi-finals.

“PSG have never bounced back from losing the first game, but tomorrow is the day.

“After losing such an important match, the days after are very difficult.

“It’s very difficult to recover mentally, but the good thing about football is that you have another game against the same opponent.

“We are sure of what we are going to do and I think we are quite prepared,” said Enrique.

Barcelona, ​​under Enrique, thrashed PSG 6-1 in 2017 to overturn a 4-0 deficit in the first leg of the last 16.

PSG will return to strengthen Achraf Hakimi after the Moroccan player was unable to play in the first match due to suspension.

Spurs Brightened Their Chances Of Qualifying For Champions League

LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur brightened their chances of qualifying for the Champions League after winning 3-1 at home earlier this morning over Nottingham Forest who are trying to avoid relegation while climbing to fourth place in the Premier League.

Second-half goals from Micky van de Ven and Pedro Porro, after Forest striker Chris Wood had saved Murillo’s own goal in the first half, saw Spurs seize the opportunity after their challengers Aston Villa and Manchester United suffered losses this weekend.

Tottenham’s win kept them tied with Villa on 60 points but played one match less and left United behind on 49 points after they drew 2-2 with Liverpool.

Spurs coach Ange Postecoglou however told reporters it was “not so much about fighting for the top four places, what I care about is how this team develops.”

Tottenham took the lead after 15 minutes when Brazil’s Murillo, who a few minutes earlier had almost scored a stunning goal from inside his own area, dabbled in Timo Werner’s cross into his own goal.

Spurs were free and a second goal seemed inevitable until Forest equalized against the grain in the 27th minute with Wood’s fourth goal in four games.

Forest felt Spurs should have gone down to 10 men just before the break if James Maddison appeared to have tackled Ryan Yates during an off-the-ball incident but VAR was reluctant to intervene.

“It doesn’t look like he’s pounding it, he’s pounding it,” Forest manager Nuno Espirito Santo told reporters.

“I’m surprised VAR didn’t tell (referee) Simon (Hooper) to check it again because to be honest, Maddison lost his mind and he had a blow to the stomach.”

The defeat left Forest in 17th with 25 points from 32 games, ahead of third-placed Luton Town only on points difference.

Fans Unhappy With Taylor Referee-ing Man Utd vs Liverpool

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool fans criticized the Premier League’s decision to appoint Anthony Taylor as referee for the match against Manchester United.

Three weeks after losing 4-3 in extra time in the FA Cup, the league leaders will travel to Old Trafford once again looking to strengthen their bid for a first Premier League title in four years.

Liverpool have been in hot form all season and currently lead the league with a 19-point lead over United, who were lucky to draw at Brentford on Saturday.

With United desperate to try to prevent Liverpool from winning their 21st and record-high league title, the visit to Old Trafford is the toughest remaining fixture for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

United won 2-1 at Old Trafford last season and tied Liverpool at Anfield in December.

Some Liverpool supporters believe Taylor’s appointment will make their job even more difficult, considering the 45-year-old referee is from Greater Manchester.

Taylor was born in Wythenshawe, south of Manchester, which also gave birth to Marcus Rashford, Cole Palmer and Tyson Fury.

However, the last time Taylor refereed a match between United and Liverpool, Klopp’s men crushed their rivals 5-0 at Old Trafford in October 2021.

This season Taylor refereed Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the 2-2 draw at Brighton in October when he awarded the Reds a penalty.

Taylor also awarded Liverpool two penalties in their 4-2 win over Newcastle at Anfield on New Year’s Day, but sent off a red card to the Reds in their 3-1 defeat to Arsenal in February.

He took part in refereeing United’s 3-1 defeat at the Emirates in September and their 2-0 win at Wigan in the FA Cup in January.

Taylor refereed Manchester City and Arsenal’s match at the Etihad which ended 0-0 and was the official of the fourth match when Newcastle hosted visiting Everton last night.

Bellingham Saved England Against Belgium

LONDON: Jude Bellingham struck in stoppage time to help England draw 2-2 with Belgium at Wembley after Youri Tielemans’ brace threatened them in an exciting international friendly earlier this morning.

Tielemans put the visitors in front after 11 minutes with Ivan Toney equalizing from the penalty spot soon after, before Tielemans’ header saw Belgium lead 2-1 at the break.

It looked a bit cruel for England, who did not look the same as the side that bowed out at the hands of Brazil last Saturday and they deserved to grab a late equalizer.

“I realize the curse we’re going to have if we lose two games in a row,” Bellingham said.

“We should have won with all the chances we created but these two games taught us a lot. I know many will criticize but we have to take the positives.

“I’m sure the manager will be happy with the way we played. You won’t be happy with a loss or a draw but we have to be happy with the way we performed.”

The clash between third-ranked England and fourth-ranked opponents was markedly different from last Saturday’s action, where England rarely attempted against Brazil and a chance was created after 20 seconds when Toney fired over the bar from Jarrod Bowen’s cross.

Belgium, wearing a strange light blue and brown kit, took the lead when Jordan Pickford failed to clear the ball from the danger area and it landed at the feet of Amadou Onana before Tielemans fired into the gaping goal.

England equalized from the penalty spot six minutes later when Jan Vertonghen brought down Toney and the Brentford forward marked his first start with his debut goal.

With his challenger as back-up to the injured Harry Kane failing to shine, it’s a big moment for Toney and his dream of knocking on the door in the Euro squad.

Liverpool-Man City Draw, Arsenal Remain At The Top

LIVERPOOL: Pep Guardiola says Manchester City survived Liverpool’s second-half ‘tsunami’ to draw 1-1 in Premier League action at Anfield.

The result leaves the top three teams just one point apart, with Arsenal ahead of Liverpool on points difference at the top of the league and City in third – one point behind.

Guardiola has been chasing victory in the fanfare at Anfield since 2003, with the last time winning in 2021 without spectators.

However, the visitors could breathe a sigh of relief to take home a point after Alexis Mac Allister’s penalty offset John Stones’ goal in the first half.

The last English Premier League clash between Jurgen Klopp and Guardiola did not disappoint when Liverpool recovered in the second half even though their squad was hit by injuries.

Klopp’s men missed several golden chances to seal the three points and return to the top of the league, including being denied a second penalty during injury time.

“I think it’s a match that defines these two clubs for a few years now. Gradually in this stadium it’s like a tsunami!” Guardiola said.

The draw at Anfield kept Arsenal top of the league after an eighth successive win, but they need to travel to the Etihad Stadium to meet City on March 31.

Klopp believes his team will be more eager to win the league title in his final season at Anfield based on their second-half performance against City.

“Today I saw the best 53 minutes against Manchester City. The way we played was extraordinary. There were some of the best moments in my coaching career if we could do that against them.

“The only thing I hope for now is that we are in contention. Based on today’s performance, I see the team is on the right footing – now we’ll see what we can do,” said Klopp.

Mohamed Salah started on the Liverpool bench alongside Andy Robertson, while Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate and Diogo Jota are still on the injury list.

The clash between the two best clubs in the world saw both goals scored due to defensive errors.

Liverpool looked unprepared for Kevin De Bruyne’s corner in the 23rd minute and Stones easily beat Caoimhin Kelleher for the opening goal.

Early in the second half, Darwin Nunez intercepted Nathan Ake’s back pass before being brought down by City goalkeeper Ederson.

Mac Allister calmly beat Ederson despite being forced to wait a long time for the goalkeeper to receive treatment, who was then replaced by Stefan Ortega.

Foden Helps City Beat United

MANCHESTER, England: Phil Foden maintained Manchester City’s challenge in the race for the English Premier League (EPL) championship with two second-half goals to snatch a 3-1 win over Manchester United at home last night.

Marcus Rashford’s solid strike in the eighth minute allowed United to take the lead despite going against the flow of the opposition and it looked like the visitors might be able to fulfill City’s dream of recording a fourth successive league title.

However, Pep Guardiola’s men remained patient, controlled the ball and finally produced results with Foden proving how valuable he is now for City.

Foden drove powerfully into the corner of the goal in the 56th minute and the England striker once again produced a clinical finish with 10 minutes remaining.

Erling Haaland, who missed a golden opportunity in the first half, saved the points with a goal following a mistake from United’s defense.

Defending champions City, who have not lost 19 games in all competitions, have 62 points, one point behind leaders Liverpool who visit them this weekend.

United, who suffered their 11th league defeat of the season, remained sixth on 44 points.

Rashford’s solid strike may have sunk the bottom team but Erik ten Hag’s United could do nothing about City turning the game around – winning their EPL neighbors for the first time after coming back from behind.

City controlled the ball 74 percent of the time and produced 27 attempts compared to United’s only three, but despite the appearance of a global talent, local boy Foden found a devastating touch.

The 23-year-old received the crowd’s respect when he came off after being knocked out due to injury – City fans were delighted with their ability to suppress Liverpool and Arsenal.

“That’s my aim, to do well in big games,” said Foden, who has now equaled his personal record of 11 league goals in a season.

“This season I proved it.”

Everton Were Deducted Just Six Points

LONDON: Everton’s penalty for breaking English Premier League (EPL) financial rules was reduced to 10 points for six subsequent appeals, giving them hope in their bid to avoid relegation to the lower leagues.

The club was handed the heavy penalty last November after the commission found they had incurred losses justified under the league’s profits and performance regulations by a difference of £19.5 million over the assessment period at the end of the 2021-22 season.

The club can lose a maximum of £105 million within three years or face penalties.

The previous result – the biggest points deduction in EPL history – saw one of England’s historic clubs drop to 19th in the league charts and struggling to avoid relegation.

But free agency reduced the penalty by four points, moving Sean Dyche’s men up to 15th in the league – five points above the knockout zone with 12 games remaining.

“Everton FC requested the punishment imposed against it on nine grounds, each of which relates to the penalty and not the fact of the offence, which the club admitted,” the EPL said in a statement late last night.

“Two of the nine reasons were retained by the seduction board, which replaced the original point deduction of 10 for six.”

The appeals agency concluded the commission had made a “statutory error” for two reasons.

He found the commission cleared of wrongdoing when it found Everton had been “less than forthright” regarding what they had told the EPL about debts linked to their new stadium and found that in doing so the club had breached league rules requiring an obligation to act in good faith.

Nine-time English champions Everton have played in the top flight since 1954 and have never dropped out of the EPL.