Solskjaer to allow Lingard to leave Man Utd on loan – Paper Round

Lingard to leave Man Utd on loan?

Jesse Lingard is looking to leave Manchester United this month after requesting a transfer in the winter window, but the Telegraph report that the final decision will come down the club’s board. Red Devils’ manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to keep the 28-year-old at Old Trafford as the club are in the hunt for silverware this season, however he “reluctantly agreed” the transfer request from Lingard. Newcastle United, Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United are all interested in taking the Manchester United midfielder on loan for the remainder of the season, while there is also interest from abroad.

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Paper Round’s view: It will be a shame to see Lingard leave his boyhood club but it’s definitely time for him to go. The English midfielder has struggled to rediscover his form of the 2017-18, which saw him become a vital part of the Three Lions squad that reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia. A move away from Old Trafford would represent a much-needed fresh start for Lingard, who just needs to get back to playing football once again. West Ham would be an interesting move. The Hammers are having a great season under former-Manchester United boss David Moyes and it would allow Lingard to express himself creatively without being drawn into a relegation battle.

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Big Sam is desperate for a striker

West Bromwich Albion boss Sam Allardyce is desperate to bring some attacking reinforcements in the winter transfer window as the Baggies battle to avoid relegation from the English top-flight. West Brom have scored just 15 goals in 19 league matches so far this season and sit in 19th place in the Premier League table. The Telegraph report that former Leicester City forward Ahmed Musa will join up with Allardyce’s side this week on trial, with the Baggies boss debating whether to hand the unattached 28-year-old a short-term deal at the club. West Brom are also interested in Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke and Newcastle’s Andy Carroll as they look to increase attacking options at the Hawthorns.

Paper Round’s view: Desperate times calls for desperate measures. Musa, Benteke, Carroll… Big Sam’s shortlist of strikers is bereft of inspiration. The West Brom manager is probably just looking for a relatively-cheap option, who has Premier League experience… but still. Signing one of those strikers wouldn’t really fill fans with confidence that their will be able to survive a Premier League relegation battle. However, it’s better than nothing. Musa has offered glimpses of quality in his past – albeit a long time ago – and he would arrive without a transfer fee and the short-term deal would mean there is no real commitment to him. It could be worth the risk for Allardyce.

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Palace pursue Gray in January move

Crystal Palace have launched a bid to bring Leicester City winger Demarai Gray to south London this month, according to the Athletic. The 24-year-old has just six months remaining on his current contract at the King Power stadium, so would be able to leave Leicester for a cut-price fee in the winter transfer window. Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen had a €2 million accepted for Gray, but the former England under-21 international is expected to stay in the Premier League. Everton, Newcastle United, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion are all interested in rivalling Palace for the signing of Gray.

Paper Round’s view: It’s no surprise that there are clubs queuing up to sign Gray. The 24-year-old’s appearances over the past year may have been limited, but he’s clearly a talented player who still has time to reach his potential. The fact that he is home-grown makes him more of an attractive acquisition too. Home-grown players with Premier League experience are never usually this cheap. It’s a shame that Gray wasn’t interested in exploring a potential move to Bayer Leverkusen. We’re seeing more young English stars taking a chance on moving abroad and Bayer Leverkusen are playing an attractive brand of football while sitting in third place in the Bundesliga table.

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Get ready for Benitez v Gerrard

Rafa Benitez is set to return to Europe after a spell in China, with the Mirror revealing that the Spaniard will replace Neil Lennon as the new manager of Celtic. The 60-year-old quit Chinese Super League club Dalian Pro last week, citing the coronavirus pandemic as the reason behind his decision. Benitez is in line to replace Lennon at Parkhead as the Bhoys’ bitter rivals Rangers look likely to end Celtic’s run of dominance in Scotland. The Glasgow club were battling to win their tenth consecutive league title this season, but Benitez’s former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has led Rangers to a 23-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table.

Paper Round’s view: Benitez v Gerrard is a battle that everybody will want to watch. Celtic v Rangers is already a huge rivalry but when you add in a former Liverpool manager against his captain, it makes the competition so much more intense. Will Benitez definitely be interested in going to the Glasgow club? It’s tough. Celtic are obviously a huge club, but Benitez could get a job in a more competitive league. Surely there are Premier League, La Liga and Serie A sides that would jump at the opportunity to take the Spaniard on. However, he might relish the opportunity to bring the league title back to Celtic and get the club to a more competitive level in Europe.

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Momentum wins trophies – and Man Utd, not Liverpool, have it in abundance

It’s taken five attempts, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done it.

In his short reign as Manchester United manager he has planned and executed victories over managerial peers such as Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Brendan Rodgers, Mauricio Pochettino, Thomas Tuchel and Carlo Ancelotti. On Sunday, he added the one glaring omission from his CV; Jurgen Klopp’s name can now go on there, after United prevailed 3-2 over Liverpool.

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Solskjaer to allow Lingard to leave Man Utd on loan – Paper Round

AN HOUR AGO

This raucous FA Cup tie was virtually the antithesis of the cautious shadow boxing between these two sides at Anfield a week ago. Bruno Fernandes settled this gloves off, square-go in the car park with a brilliant free kick twelve minutes from time. Beating rivals is never anything less than satisfying, but there was a different residual glow after this one. The hidden agenda to this game was always Solskjaer’s United landing one on Liverpool, irrespective of the competition. Thus achieved, it marks another important point in the development of his team.

Solskjaer lauds Fernandes after win over Liverpool

That road has seen United travel from sixth to third and now top of the Premier League. Whether it’s acknowledged or not, Solskjaer’s influence on that transformation is right there in plain sight and was evident again today. His subtle yet decisive reshaping of the misfiring squad he inherited two years ago allowed him to rotate his personnel today and still grab the landmark victory he was looking for. Also obvious was the way Solskjaer targeted the left wing and inside left channel to pick Liverpool open at their weakest point, while deploying Edinson Cavani as a high-octane pest as Liverpool tried to play out from the back.

Key in the victory was Marcus Rashford, who under Solskjaer is now harnessing the devastating potential he first showed the world in 2016. Paul Pogba is starting to become the dominant Premier League midfielder he should be, Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have been installed into a back four looking increasingly comfortable in possession and the careers of Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Fred and Scott McTominay to name just four have been reenergised. Quite simply, there are too many things going right at Old Trafford at the moment for it to be put down to a random collision of circumstances with no guiding hand from the manager.

Ambitious talk of the Premier League title is still just that; the 2020/21 season is only at the halfway stage and the difficulties all teams are facing is clear in the bunched nature of the table at this point. This United team have seen alarming slumps of their own under Solskjaer, whose reign at Old Trafford has at times felt like the opposite of the curate’s egg – very good, but certain parts have been eye-wateringly bad. The last troubling stretch was at the beginning of the season, where United struggled after their delayed start only to pull through it decisively in November.

‘Don’t worry about us’ – Klopp after Liverpool lose again

Either side of that, and since the signing of Fernandes – a player identified, purchased and deployed by Solskjaer to release the full potential of his side – United’s form has been mightily impressive. If they are in a similar league position three-quarters of the way through this campaign as they are now then Manchester City, Liverpool, Leicester City and whoever else might be hovering around first place at that point have got a problem.

So many tilts at the league title are underpinned by momentum. As a player, Solskjaer was integral in generating that when he scored an injury-time FA Cup winner against these same opponents – twenty-two years ago to this very day – to spark a run of iron-willed form that culminated in the Treble in 1999. This United team are not that one, or anywhere close, but that’s irrelevant to how close they can go to the title this season. Momentum is a powerful force in any hands; where Liverpool’s seems to have disappeared for now, United’s is only gathering pace.

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Klopp: We weren't good enough

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp thought his side left themselves too exposed in their 3-2 loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday evening.

The Premier League champions continued their poor domestic form as a thrilling contest was settled by a Bruno Fernandes free kick.

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After seeing his team concede three goals, Klopp acknowledged some defensive weaknesses.

“There were a lot of good things and some mistakes around the goals. If you want to win here you have to be absolutely top and we were not,” the German admitted.

“For the first goal we had no protection, we wanted it too much. Things like this should not happen but they can happen. We had too many players in a receiving position.

“We can take things out of this game, we try to learn from every game. It’s good for Mo Salah, good for confidence. It was a tough game. We wanted it hard but tonight it was not enough.

“If you win a game there are negatives, if you lose a game too but I saw the boys really, really wanted it. We had problems on the counter-attack, it was intense, but there were positives.”

Manchester United will face West Ham United at Old Trafford in the fifth round.

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Solskjaer: Fernandes practised free-kicks for 45 minutes on Saturday

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised his side’s resilience as they edged rivals Liverpool 3-2 in the FA Cup fourth round – and reserved special adulation for match-winner Bruno Fernandes.

Fernandes came off the bench to win the game with an expertly placed free-kick after the sides had traded the lead.

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Speaking to BBC Sport, Solskjaer said: “Brilliant – you know when you go a goal down, the reaction of everyone was really good.

“We played some really good stuff, good goals, we have to defend well against them and we managed to react well and of course towards the end there were some moments but we kept them away.”

The Norwegian praised Fernandes’ dedication on the training ground for the goal that proved the winner.

“Great goal, good free kick,” he said.

“When you leave him out like I did today, he stayed about 45 minutes after training yesterday shooting free kicks so I was pretty confident he could score one if he got the chance.

“He’s never happy with me when I tell him to go inside after training when he’s playing the next day so he got some practice yesterday.

“Marcus [Rashford] has played up front, down the right and left and we felt if we could switch the ball early today we could attack them because Liverpool defend on the front foot so we have to be quick on the ball, we did that well.”

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Fernandes was pleased to mark a year at the club with yet another goal, in what has been a brilliant time at Old Trafford.

“We played well, we created a lot of chances, pressed them more than the game in the league,” Fernandes told BBC Sport.

“A lot, it is a dream come true to pay for this club in the Premier League.

“Everyone knows and I know now the fans are happy and will have a good week.”

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Lyon thump Saint-Etienne to close gap at top

An inexperienced Saint-Etienne team depleted by injuries and Covid-19 cases fell to a 5-0 loss against Lyon in the Rhone derby on Sunday night.

Starting four players born in 2000 or later was always going to be a daunting prospect versus a Lyon front three who had scored 27 Ligue 1 goals this season prior to the match.

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Much optimism was crushed early on though when a corner fell to Tino Kadewere and he slotted home in the 16th minute to open the scoring.

Rudi Garcia’s men extended their lead in the 36th minute when Marcelo powered a header home from Leo Dubois’ free-kick.

Dubois enjoyed a fruitful night down the right, with the full-back rarely being required to defend, and lightning struck twice when Marcelo headed another one of his free-kicks from a near-identical position to make it 3-0 not too long after half-time.

Zimbabwe international Kadewere also bagged a brace, doubling his tally in the 68th minute by cutting inside to score on his left foot after an unselfish piece of play from Memphis Depay.

Depay was unfortunate not to have a goal of his own when Lyon made it 5-0 late on, with his curled free-kick being ruled a Denis Bouanga own-goal after the ball scraped the back of the Saint-Etienne winger’s head.

More to follow.

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Saint-Etienne v Lyon – Ligue 1 LIVE

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Who will come out on top in the battle of the managers: Claude Puel or Rudi Garcia? Find out by following our live matchcast.

Catch the latest AS Saint-Etienne and Olympique Lyonnais news and find up to date Football standings, results, top scorers and previous winners.
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Immobile strikes again as high-flying Lazio down Sassuolo

Ciro Immobile scored his 13th league goal of the season to seal a 2-1 comeback win for Lazio against Sassuolo on Sunday and clinch a fourth consecutive Serie A win for the Roman club.

Francesco Caputo fired the visitors ahead after just six minutes, but Lazio responded strongly and a powerful header from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic drew them level midway through the first half.

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Simone Inzaghi’s side completed their comeback in the 71st minute when Adam Marusic picked out Immobile in the box to find the corner with a calm finish.

The Italy international, who won the European Golden Boot last season, is now second only to Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 15 goals, in the Serie A scoring charts.

Lazio remain in seventh place, but drew level with Napoli on 34 points and are three points behind third-placed AS Roma in a tight-knit group.

Sassuolo drop to ninth place on 30 points and have one win in their last five league games.

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David on the spot as Lille move level on points with PSG

Jonathan David scored the only goal of the game as Lille beat Stade Rennais away on Sunday evening.

Striker David found the back of the net on 16 minutes to put Lille, who have won their last three games, on 45 points from 21 matches, behind PSG on goal difference.

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The result left Rennes on 36 points from 21 games.

Third-placed Olympique Lyonnais will move two points from PSG and Lille if they beat arch-rivals St Etienne away later on Sunday.

At the Roazhon Park, Lille were the first in action as David scored from close range after goalkeeper Romain Salin had tipped a corner into the Canadian’s path.

The visitors had a penalty ruled out by the VAR as David was offside when he was fouled by Rennes defender Nayef Aguerd in the 24th minute.

Rennes did not take risks for fear of Lille’s counter attacks and Christophe Galtier’s side comfortably held off the hosts in the second half.

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Calvert-Lewin on target as Everton ease into fifth round

Everton booked a place in the FA Cup fifth round for the first time in five years courtesy of a routine 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday at Goodison Park.

Carlo Ancelotti once again demonstrated how seriously he is taking the competition with a strong line-up that ultimately had far too much for the Championship strugglers.

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin got the ball rolling when he marked his return from a hamstring problem with a first goal in seven outings on the half hour. The England forward slid home Andre Gomes’ lovely cross to notch his 15th of the season for the Blues and his first since December 5.

The Blues upped the ante following the restart and took firm control of the tie with a quickfire double. Both goals came from James Rodriguez corners as Richarlison and then Yerry Mina made the most of perfect deliveries and some static defending.

Wednesday had made a fist of it in the first period but never truly looked like causing an upset as caretaker boss, Neil Thompson saw their three-match winning run in all competitions come to an end.

Everton will now host Wycombe or Tottenham in round five.

More to follow.

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Everton v Sheffield Wednesday – Follow LIVE

Follow the The Emirates FA Cup live Football match between Everton and Sheffield Wednesday with Eurosport. The match starts at 21:00 on 24 January 2021.
Who will come out on top in the battle of the managers: Carlo Ancelotti or Neil Thompson? Find out by following our live matchcast.

Catch the latest Everton and Sheffield Wednesday news and find up to date Football standings, results, top scorers and previous winners.
Football fans can find the latest Football news, interviews, expert commentary and watch free replays. See detailed profiles for Everton and Sheffield Wednesday. Catch all the upcoming competitions. Make Eurosport your go-to source for sports online from Football to cycling, F1, winter sports and more. Enjoy live streaming of this season’s top sports competitions.