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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s shake-up has revived Manchester United after the heavy loss to Tottenham

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ole gunnar solskjaers shake up has revived manchester united after the heavy loss to tottenham

In the aftermath of his team’s capitulation to Tottenham earlier this month, it was hardly surprising that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decided changes were needed at Manchester United.

There was no shouting or screaming at the end of his worst day in football, a record-equalling 6-1 Premier League defeat at Old Trafford. Just a quiet realisation that there had to be a shake-up of formations and personnel.

Change was being forced on the United manager anyway. The unique demands of the 2020-21 season mean that Solskjaer could no longer lean so heavily on the same players and systems when the games come thick and fast.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's shake-up has helped Manchester United revive their ailing season

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's shake-up has helped Manchester United revive their ailing season

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s shake-up has helped Manchester United revive their ailing season

But he also realised it was time to be more flexible with his favoured formation and established first XI.

Aside from Eric Bailly, filling in for Victor Lindelof, the team thrashed by Spurs was the same go-to line-up that Solskjaer started in five of the nine league games after restart. In the other four fixtures, changes were kept to a minimum.

Paul Scholes said this week that the Tottenham game would have frightened the life out of his old teammate and he was probably right.

United suffered a heavy home defeat to Tottenham but have since pieced together a good run

United suffered a heavy home defeat to Tottenham but have since pieced together a good run

United suffered a heavy home defeat to Tottenham but have since pieced together a good run

‘I think any result as brutal as a 6-1 would have to get a response,’ Solskjaer acknowledged on Friday.

‘Of course, it has been dealt with internally. We’ve tweaked a couple of things, we’ve got players fit and I think the manner of that defeat wasn’t something we should ever have to be confronted with again.

‘Things happen in football these days but the response has been fantastic. That’s what I’m concerned about, because we wanted to finish that off as soon as we could and just move forward.’

That response has brought wins over Newcastle, Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig – scoring 11 goals in the process – as well as last weekend’s stalemate with Chelsea.

The response from the team has brought recent wins over Newcastle, PSG and now RB Leipzig

The response from the team has brought recent wins over Newcastle, PSG and now RB Leipzig

The response from the team has brought recent wins over Newcastle, PSG and now RB Leipzig

From going into the international break after the Tottenham debacle looking rather vulnerable, Solskjaer has come through a tough run of games in much better health ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Arsenal at Old Trafford.

There is still some way to go. United occupy 15th place in the early-season standings having failed to win any of their opening three league games at home for the first time in 38 years.

But it feels as though Solskjaer has significantly more strings to his bow as he marks his 100th game in charge. 

More often than not, you used to be able to predict the formation and line-up. Now it’s much harder to say which United will show up.

Solskjaer will mark his 100th game in charge at Old Trafford and has more strings to his bow

Solskjaer will mark his 100th game in charge at Old Trafford and has more strings to his bow

Solskjaer will mark his 100th game in charge at Old Trafford and has more strings to his bow

On Wednesday night, Donny van de Beek impressed at the top of a midfield diamond against Leipzig with Paul Pogba more comfortable pushing forward on the left. A week earlier, Solskjaer dropped Axel Tuanzebe into a back-three and gave Alex Telles his debut as a left wing-back in Paris.

He stuck to his favourite 4-2-3-1 against Newcastle and Chelsea, but there are no guarantees he will do so again on Sunday. There are multiple options in defence and midfield, and Edinson Cavani now offers a different kind of threat in attack.

‘At the moment, we are looking like a Man United squad,’ said Solskjaer. ‘I’ve got opportunities and competition for places. Any successful team in the modern era have had that option to rest players, to rotate, and that is probably the only way you can last in the most intense league in the world.’

United versus Arsenal has always been intense but Solskjaer accepts it will feel different this weekend, the more so at an empty Old Trafford.

The days epitomised by Sir Alex Ferguson’s feud with Arsene Wenger, Roy Keane’s running battles with Patrick Vieira and flying pizza are sadly no more. ‘When I played, it was between us and Arsenal to win the league so that was a very fierce rivalry,’ added Solskjaer.

The United boss accepts the clash with Arsenal will take on a strange feel at an empty ground

The United boss accepts the clash with Arsenal will take on a strange feel at an empty ground

The United boss accepts the clash with Arsenal will take on a strange feel at an empty ground

‘There are all sorts of stories about what happened. That’s the passion, the excitement, the importance of those games.

‘We knew if we took six points off them that would be us winning the league, more or less, and vice versa.

‘Arsenal is always going to be difficult because they are a very good team with a very good manager who has got some great ideas on how football should be played.

‘I’m surprised it’s 100 games. Let’s hope I can celebrate with a good performance and result.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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DAVE BASSETT: Sheffield United sacking Chris Wilder would be suicide

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dave bassett sheffield united sacking chris wilder would be suicide

Chris Wilder knows exactly how to get Sheffield United out of this predicament because we did it before, and he was there. It was 1990-91 and we were much deeper in trouble than the Blades are now.

We had only four points from our first 16 games back in the old Division One. We went seven games without scoring. After 22 games we were still bottom. Absolutely nobody was saying we could stay up but we got out of trouble. We finished 13th.

The players, fans and board stuck together. That was the key. Everyone trusted what we were doing and no one went looking for a scapegoat. We trained hard and kept working. We stayed with our beliefs and our formation. 

Sheffield United shouldn't sack Chris Wilder, he should stay in charge for as long as possible

Sheffield United shouldn't sack Chris Wilder, he should stay in charge for as long as possible

Sheffield United shouldn’t sack Chris Wilder, he should stay in charge for as long as possible

I couldn’t tell them we’d definitely stay up. But we could either give up and call it a day or keep fighting until our luck turned. And it did. We signed Glyn Hodges from Crystal Palace, he scored against Derby and we won seven in a row. 

Chris played in a lot of those games. I’m confident he can do it again. I can see his players are trying. They were bombing on in the 90th minute at West Brom creating chances, trying to get an equaliser. 

They’ve missed their fans more than any other Premier League team. Bramall Lane can be a ferocious atmosphere, one of those grounds opponents don’t enjoy. It was the same in my time and in Neil Warnock’s. 

It’s been a tougher start in terms of fixtures and they’ve not been so lucky with injuries as last season. Jack O’Connell is a big miss. Enda Stevens and John Fleck have been out, and they’re important. The strikers are not firing. 

It has been a very difficult start to the campaign but Wilder's side can turn things around

It has been a very difficult start to the campaign but Wilder's side can turn things around

It has been a very difficult start to the campaign but Wilder’s side can turn things around

They just need a win to ignite something. There will be a game, and it could be Leicester on Sunday, when they’ll get battered and win 1-0.

A couple of wins and they’re back in the pack. I can’t believe anybody thinks firing Wilder is a good idea.

The biggest factor in our escape 30 years ago was the support from Derek Dooley and the rest of the board. Leading into Christmas, we’d still not won and Derek said, “We’re fully behind you”.

He always had the raging hump about being sacked on Christmas Eve by Sheffield Wednesday. He said they’d never dream of doing that.

I never felt any pressure, nor did I expect any after what I’d done. They were going nowhere when I arrived in 1988, going down into the third division with a poor team and deep in debt. 

Wilder is the best man to keep United up - he helped them to avoid relegation as a player

Wilder is the best man to keep United up - he helped them to avoid relegation as a player

Wilder is the best man to keep United up – he helped them to avoid relegation as a player

Two years later, we were back in the top league and we didn’t do it by spending big, like Leeds. We started the season against Liverpool, the champions. They had Ian Rush and John Barnes and we finished with John Pemberton in goal because Simon Tracey broke his cheekbone.

Sheffield United spent six seasons in League One before Chris won promotion. That’s a disgrace for a club of their size. He turned them around and brought them success after some miserable times.

It’s true some clubs might have sacked him by now. Watford and Nottingham Forest might have sacked him but Norwich could have got rid of Daniel Farke when they were struggling last season. They didn’t, nobody undermined him and now they’re top of the Championship, and they look like a sensible club who know what’s required to succeed within their limitations.

Sheffield United have a good manager. He’s the best man to keep them up. Tell me someone with better credentials. I hope they’re trying to look after him and support him. They should be trying to keep him for as long as he wants to stay. That’s what I’d be doing. If they sack Wilder, then cheerio. Suicide. Back to the Championship. 

Dave Bassett was talking to Matt Barlow

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Leeds United’s Jack Harrison scores with stunning girlfriend Fiorella Arbenz

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leeds uniteds jack harrison scores with stunning girlfriend fiorella arbenz scaled

MODEL Fiorella Arbenz has stuck it away in the back of the net so her footballer boyfriend should be taking notes.

The Costa Rican beauty, 24, is dating Leeds United star Jack Harrison, also 24.

Jack Harrison has been on a winning streak since dating stunning Fiorella Arbenz

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Jack Harrison has been on a winning streak since dating stunning Fiorella ArbenzCredit: Chris Ramirez/Triangle News
The Leeds winger landed his model girlfriend and realised his dream of playing in the Premier League

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The Leeds winger landed his model girlfriend and realised his dream of playing in the Premier LeagueCredit: Jack Harrison Instagram

The winger is currently realising his dream of playing in the Premier League, having previously played for Manchester City.

Speaking in October Jack said: “There were a lot of times I was doubting myself and how I could still achieve my dream of playing in the Premier League.

“But I look back on this crazy journey and realise the path I chose prepared me for this moment.”

Meanwhile Fiorella works as a model and was 4th runner-up for Miss Asia Pacific International.

Talk about the glammed united.

Jack previously played for Man City

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Jack previously played for Man CityCredit: Jack Harrison Instagram
Fiorella works as a model and was 4th runner-up for Miss Asia Pacific International

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Fiorella works as a model and was 4th runner-up for Miss Asia Pacific InternationalCredit: Jack Harrison Instagram
How Leeds could line up next season, with Ibrahimovic and Cavani in attack plus Quarta and Bravo in defence

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL exclusive@the-sun.co.uk

This post first appeared on thesun.co.uk

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AHEAD OF THE GAME: Manchester United keen to re-visit plans to hire a director of football

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ahead of the game manchester united keen to re visit plans to hire a director of football

The BBC are eager to commission a follow-up documentary with Anton Ferdinand after the success of the programme broadcast earlier this week — Football, Racism and Me.

In a compelling piece of television, the former Queens Park Rangers defender spoke in detail for the first time about the notorious incident at Loftus Road in 2011 when he was racially abused by John Terry. It led to the Chelsea defender being banned by the FA and losing the England captaincy after he had been cleared in court.

Ferdinand revealed he had been subjected to death threats after the event and spoke of his guilt at not speaking out about racism earlier. Initial talks have taken place at the corporation about making a second documentary, which would have a broader focus on the issue of racism in football and wider society. 

BBC are keen to produce a follow-up to the success of documentary 'Football, Racism and Me'

BBC are keen to produce a follow-up to the success of documentary 'Football, Racism and Me'

BBC are keen to produce a follow-up to the success of documentary ‘Football, Racism and Me’

Ferdinand spoke in detail about the incident involving John Terry at Loftus Road back in 2011. Terry was later cleared in court after a member of the public raised the issue with the police

Ferdinand spoke in detail about the incident involving John Terry at Loftus Road back in 2011. Terry was later cleared in court after a member of the public raised the issue with the police

Ferdinand spoke in detail about the incident involving John Terry at Loftus Road back in 2011. Terry was later cleared in court after a member of the public raised the issue with the police

Joel Glazer wants director of football at Old Trafford 

Manchester United are revisiting long-standing plans to appoint a director of football on the orders of owner Joel Glazer.

United have run numerous recruitment processes to bring in a transfer guru over the last few years and held several interviews without identifying the right candidate to work with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and the club’s main negotiator Matt Judge. 

Glazer, is demanding an overhaul of recruitment, with United having little recent silverware to show for a net transfer spend of £1billion over the last decade, and wants a new structure in place by the end of the season.

Joel Glazer is demanding an overhaul of recruitment due to little success in recent seasons

Joel Glazer is demanding an overhaul of recruitment due to little success in recent seasons

Joel Glazer is demanding an overhaul of recruitment due to little success in recent seasons

Lionesses to get new assistant to help Phil Neville

Phil Neville will be given a new assistant coach on a full-time contract to work with England Lionesses next year, even though he has no matches to prepare for.

The Lionesses have not played since March after recent friendlies against Germany and Norway were cancelled due to positive Covid-19 tests, but the FA are pushing ahead with their recruitment plans despite making major cuts elsewhere at St George’s Park.

The new coach will be in place for just seven months because Neville is being replaced by Holland manager Sarina Wiegman next summer, with the Dutchwoman expected to bring in her own staff.

Derby stay could be quick for Steve McClaren 

Steve McClaren’s fifth spell at Derby County may be short-lived, as the former England manager is working without a permanent contract at Pride Park.

The club’s former manager returned to Derby last week as a consultant to the board of directors, with a decision on whether he is retained in the more formal role of technical director left to new owners Derventio Holdings, whose takeover is expected to go through imminently.

Wayne Rooney’s future as manager is also uncertain, because the interim boss continues to rely heavily on coaching staff Leroy Rosenior, Justin Walker and Shay Given for Derby’s tactical preparation despite taking sole charge last week.

Steve McLaren's consultant role could be the shortest of his five stints spent at Derby County

Steve McLaren's consultant role could be the shortest of his five stints spent at Derby County

Steve McLaren’s consultant role could be the shortest of his five stints spent at Derby County

Shamed FA man to keep perks 

The FA have been forced to grant ‘fellowship rights’ to Brian Jones, the former FA Council member who resigned last year after posting an Islamophobic message on social media. It follows a decision taken by the National Game Board, who represent the grassroots game on the governing body. 

The FA Board and chief executive Mark Bullingham opposed restoring Jones’s privileges after he was found guilty of ‘aggravated improper conduct’ by an independent commission and made to leave the Council, and a bitter row last week led to the sudden resignation of FA Board member Stacey Cartwright, as revealed by Sportsmail.

The National Game Board refused to back down following the dispute, however, and Jones will get his fellowship rights, which amount to two tickets for every England game and occasional invitations to the Royal Box at Wembley.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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