Category Archives: English Premier League

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Jose Mourinho says Marcus Rashford is progressing despite bench role

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says that forward Marcus Rashford progress this season is pleasing even in the face of what the Portuguese has described as unrealistic expectations.

Rashford, 20, has scored 11 times in 40 appearances.

This meant that the forward has already equalled his tally of goals for the last term, which came in 52 games, and seems certain to continue to improve his season-by-season tally after eight in 18 appearances in his debut campaign of 2015-16.

Mourinho had previously stated that this season would feature a step-change in performance from Rashford following what can often be a challenging second season in the first team.

“At his age, what he’s doing is more than enough and the experience he’s getting at every level is more than enough for us to be happy with what we think is going to be his future. It’s as simple as that.”

“But because he had such an impact at the beginning, probably people expect him to play even more than he does, and score even more than he does and perform even more than what he does but it is not so simple. What I see makes me really happy, to see the same boy.”

Mourinho also claimed that he believes Rashford’s prospects of selection by England for Russia 2018 will be unaffected by not being a regular, although he also would not offer the youngster any assurances regarding his status.

“It’s up to Gareth Southgate,” the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager added. “If he trusts him, he selects him. It doesn’t matter if he plays or if he doesn’t play for Manchester United.”

“No, I don’t reassure anyone. The main reassurance is that he is always selected. There is not one single match when Marcus is not selected to start or to be on the bench.”

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic expected to leave United in the summer, Rashford may be offered more game time as a stand-in to Romelu Lukaku at centre-forward.

Man City dazzles again with second beatdown of Arsenal in a week

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Manchester City produced another brilliant performance to beat Arsenal by 3-0 for the second time in five days and extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to 16 points.

City, who won their first title under Pep Guardiola by dominating Arsenal in the League Cup final last Sunday met a more challenging Gunners team as Aaron Ramsey cut back a cross that hit Vincent Kompany and forced Ederson into a smart save while Henrikh Mkhitaryan also worked the City goalkeeper.

However, Arsenal’s confidence in the game was short lift as Leroy Sane sped past three Arsenal players before finding Bernardo Silva on the right, who finished with a beautiful curling effort into the far corner.

Sane then contributed again for City in the buildup of the Blues’ second as he ran down the left before squaring to Sergio Aguero, who touched through for David Silva to fire high inside Petr Cech’s near post.

The German international then got his goal, which came at the end of a flowing move with Kyle Walker squaring to him from in behind the left side of Arsenal’s defence.

With a 16 point-gap against closest challengers Manchester United, City now need just five wins from ten 10 games to secure a third Premier League title in seven years, and their first title under Guardiola.

“Mentally we were strong. We were clinical. We scored three outstanding goals,” the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach said. “It is never easy if you are not focused against teams like Arsenal. We were (focused) and so far we make an amazing Premier League season.”

“We are out of the FA Cup and we have won the League Cup. Now it’s just two competitions, and you fight for one of them for 10 months. These are the last steps to be champions; you keep going until the end. We have to win five games. We don’t think too much — now we play Chelsea.”

“Hopefully we have the desire to win, to be the best team in England.”

City could win the title in a little over a month when they face their city rivals on 7 April, and if they were to win the title that weekend it would be the earliest the Premier League title has ever been won.

Lingard header seals victory for United over Chelsea at Old Trafford

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Manchester United sealed a vital 2-1 victory to move back into second place in the Premier League after substitute Jesse Lingard headed in his team’s winner against top-four rivals Chelsea at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils had fell behind after Willian started and finished a flowing move to give the visitors the lead in the first half, but United pulled level before the break, with striker Romelu Lukaku getting in front of Marcos Alonso to score against his former club for the first time.

Lukaku, facing the club he played for between 2011 and 2014, also had a flying volley superbly saved by Thibaut Courtois, but he registered himself in the game once more as he sets up Lingard to head home with 15 minutes left, after which Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata had a goal incorrectly disallowed for offside.

The Blues had also went close to taking the lead at Old Trafford after just four minutes, when Morata ran on to Alonso’s brilliant volleyed cross, but his shot hit the bar.

The defeat left the Blues in fifth place after Tottenham beat Crystal Palace 1-0 earlier on Sunday. Their run of just one win in their past four league matches, coupled with Spurs’ 10-game unbeaten streak, means they are out of the Champions League places with 10 games remaining.

Another match focus had been the coaches of both sides: Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte. Both entered the match after having fallen out because of a war of words earlier in the season, but they were seen shaking hands before and after and shared a smile during the game.

However, Conte, the Chelsea manager admitted that the defending Premier League champions might again finish outside the top four following defeat at Manchester United on Sunday.

“This could be our position, for sure,” he said. “In this league to find a place in Champions League is not simple. This is the risk – we must be ready to fight and be ready to understand this, to be concentrated and to understand that this target is an important target for us but it won’t be easy.”

On the other hand, Mourinho celebrated what he described as a crucial victory for his side.

“We start the game with three points difference with Chelsea and we could finish with the same points or six points difference and it was important for us to open that gap a little bit,” he said.

“I’m really happy, we had a great attitude too. We have four fantastic matches at home, Chelsea, Liverpool, Sevilla and Brighton knockout, and it’s a good way to start this run with a crucial victory, it gives us a little more confidence.”

West Brom chairman and chief executive sacked for poor run of results

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West Brom has sacked their chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman and placed them on gardening leave after a miserable sequence of one Premier League win in 25 matches.

The club lost 3-0 at Chelsea on Monday, and remain rock-bottom of the Premier League table.

Their only league win since they started the season with successive victories came against Brighton on 13 January, and they are five points adrift at the foot of the table.

“These changes follow Albion’s poor results this season which currently sees the club at the bottom of the Premier League,” a club statement said. “We would like to thank John and Martin for all their efforts since their appointments and wish them well for the future.”

West Brom had seen a change in managerial personnel in November, where the club appointed Alan Pardew in place of Tony Pulis; defeat by Chelsea on the reverse fixture led to Pulis’s dismissal then, and this latest move follows the defeat at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

Mark Jenkins is returning to be the club’s CEO, a role he previously held for 14 years. “There is much to do but for now the focus must solely be on the remaining games of this season,” Jenkins said.

The owner, Guochuan Lai, bought West Brom from Jeremy Peace in 2016 and appointed Williams, a former Blackburn chairman. Albion were last relegated in 2009.

In 2014 Williams was named chairman of the referees’ body, the Professional Game Match Officials, before taking over at West Brom at the recommendation of outgoing owner Jeremy Peace.