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Man Utd vs. Arsenal: Rashford killed us last season, says Wenger

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes “killer” striker Marcus Rashford will help Manchester United cope without suspended team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic when the Premier League giants meet at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Teenage forward Rashford made a dramatic entrance into senior football in February, scoring twice in United’s 3-2 win over Arsenal just after days after grabbing two goals in his first-team debut against FC Midtjylland.

The 19-year-old, now an England international, started five consecutive Premier League games for United before manager Jose Mourinho made him an unused substitute in the club’s 3-1 win at Swansea last time out.
But with Ibrahimovic banned and captain Wayne Rooney, injured on England duty last week, set to be only fit enough to be on the bench, Rashford could feature from the kick-off against Arsenal.
“Certainly they would prefer to have him (Ibrahimovic),” Wenger said Friday.
“But we have as well players out and let’s not forget, last year (season) the guy who killed us was Rashford. So let’s not speculate on any weakness of Man United,” the veteran French manager added.
Wenger, looking to secure a maiden league win over former Chelsea boss Mourinho in his 12th top-flight contest with his Portuguese rival, said Rashford’s initial form had taken him slightly by surprise.
“Yes of course,” he told a news conference before adding: “Maybe a bit less, because I watched him against a Danish team in midweek and he scored and I could see straight away that this guy could be dangerous.
“On crosses his movement was good, the way he moved in the box was strong. He took everyone by surprise because no one knew him in England.”
– ‘Key game’ –
Arsenal’s 3-2 reverse at Old Trafford in February remains their only away league defeat of 2016.
The Gunners are now fourth in the table, two points behind leaders Liverpool, but will go top — if only for a few hours — should they win Saturday’s early kick-off against United.
By contrast, Mourinho’s men head into this match six points adrift of the top four and the place in the Champions League that comes with it.
Arsenal’s defeat on their last league visit to Old Trafford helped scupper the London club’s hopes of a first Premier League title since 2004 and Wenger — once labelled a “specialist in failure” by Mourinho — is keen to make amends.
“In 2016 we lost one away game in the whole year and that was at Old Trafford,” he said. “So overall, on top of that, I think that is really the key game, it was a key game for us and that is where we did not respond with the quality of performance on the day.
“We did not only lose the game, but that’s maybe one of the few away games in the whole year where the performance was not at the level.
“So we want to focus on that and respond with a strong performance and after we have to accept the result. But what will be very important for me is that we respond with a strong performance on Saturday morning.”
AFP

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Paul Merson predicts Liverpool vs Manchester United clash

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Paul Merson

Paul Merson


Former Arsenal, Aston Villa player, Paul Merson has tipped Liverpool to defeat Manchester United during the Premier League clash on Sunday.

Merson was thoroughly unimpressed with United’s 2-1 defeat to Valencia in the Champions League on Wednesday night and expects them to suffer another defeat at Armfield.

Liverpool went above Manchester City with a win over Bournemouth last weekend with Chelsea defeating Pep Guardiola’s side.

Merson is fully expecting Liverpool to roll United over at home, predicting a 2-0 win, although he thinks the Reds will face a new type of pressure now that they are the frontrunners in the Premier League title race.

He told Sky Sports: “I’d be shocked if Liverpool doesn’t get a result, probably like the rest of the nation! I watched United on Wednesday night, and oh my God.

“They play under pressure week in, week out. You wouldn’t understand the pressure they are playing under as Manchester United players.

“They then go to Valencia, a chance for them to express themselves, with nothing to lose, against nowhere near one of the best Spanish teams in the league.

“Go and express yourselves! And what happened? Oh my God.

“I just cannot see where United win this football match. But that isn’t to say there isn’t huge pressure on Liverpool too, as they have to stay in front. It’s a different pressure now they are top.”

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Pires speaks on Dembele leaving Barcelona for Arsenal

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Arsenal legend, Robert Pires, has said that Barcelona would be wrong to allow Ousmane Dembele leave the club, with the player linked with a move to The Emirates.

Dembele has been a cause for concern at the Nou Camp this season, leading to speculation that the LaLiga champions could let him go and re-sign Neymar.

Neymar departed Camp Nou for a world record £200million fee last summer and Barca spent half of that figure to land Dembele as his replacement.

But Pires believes Ernesto Valverde’s men are better off working with Dembele.

“I love him [Dembele] very much,” he told Mundo Deportivo.

“We always talk about [Lionel] Messi, but this guy is very good.

“He’s young but what he does we all did as kids. What you must do is self-impose discipline in your life, but he is young and with his quality and talent, he can help Barca to win the Champions League and also the league, as we have seen against Tottenham and Espanyol with great goals.

“If I had to choose, I would not change Dembele for Neymar.

“Ousmane is 21, plays with the left and the right [foot] with a lot of quality with the ball.

“He has a lot of potential, more than what we’ve seen so far.”

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Champions League: Why CSK Moscow defeated us 3-0 – Real Madrid coach, Santiago Solari

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Santiago Solari

Santiago Solari


Real Madrid manager, Santiago Solari has explained why his side were defeated 3-0 by CSK Moscow in the Champions League encounter played on Wednesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Three goals from Fyodor Chalov, Georgi Shchennikov and Arnor Sigurdsson ensured the Russian side defeated the Champions League holders.

Solari said Madrid were defeated by Moscow at home because he featured many young players against the visitors.

The 42-year-old made seven changes to his starting XI that defeated Huesca 1-0 in La Liga last weakened.

“I played a team with a lot of young players,” Solari was quoted by First Post as saying at post-match.

“The match was used to give many players time who needed it, some because they started and others because they returned from injury, and to give rest to others to try and stay alive in all competitions.”

“I know it’s not a path of roses, and besides, every rose has its thorns,” Solari added. “We don’t like this result, we wanted to finish with a victory.”

Solari’s men will now tackle Rayo Vallecano on Saturday in their next fixture in the La Liga.

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