Manchester United fallout: Running, strained relations and Ten Hag changing mind on Ronaldo


“On Wednesday morning, Manchester United’s players reported for training and began work on a tactical plan devised by manager Erik ten Hag for the weekend trip to Brentford. Ten Hag’s first fixture in charge, a 2-1 home defeat by Brighton the previous Sunday, had constituted a major setback and he informed his players of two substantial tweaks to his line-up. The first was to restore ageing superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to the starting line-up after only being on the bench against Brighton, which in turn facilitated the second alteration, which would see new signing Christian Eriksen end his brief, befuddling spell as a false nine and instead operate far deeper as a defensive midfielder. As such, two positions were tweaked but only one player dropped out of the side beaten at Old Trafford — midfielder Scott McTominay. …”
The Athletic (Video)

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The Evolution of Goalkeeper Passing in 30 Years of the Premier League

“The Premier League kicked off 30 years ago today and Manchester United’s only goal in their infamous 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United was assisted by goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. The iconic Dane would end that season having created as many goals as Ian Rush and Paul Ince, and in the first top-flight season to contain the new back-pass rule, nearly every goalkeeper concentrated his efforts on getting rid of the ball as hard and fast as possible; the nation echoed to the sound of pumped and thumped Mitre Deltas. 30 years on and David De Gea’s ongoing issues with playing short passes to his defenders was one of the main factors behind Manchester United suffering a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Brentford on Saturday. No position has evolved more than the goalkeeper in these transformative three decades and here are some illustrations to show how. …”
The Analyst

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

“… 3) Hammers looking to find rhythm. David Moyes was in no mood to deliberate after West Ham slipped to a second successive defeat, though it was not for the want of trying at Nottingham Forest; they had a goal disallowed, twice hit the underside of the crossbar and Declan Rice saw a penalty saved. Moyes said he hopes their Europa Conference League playoff first leg at home to Viborg on Thursday will help them establish some rhythm after a disappointing start. …”
Guardian

Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham: Spurs’ problem zone, James’ key role, and a controversial arm wrestle

Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur shared the points in the first meeting of two of the Premier League’s Big Six this season. A spectacular first-half volley from summer-signing centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly gave Thomas Tuchel’s side the lead on 19 minutes, as Chelsea completely dominated the first half at a sun-soaked Stamford Bridge. Tottenham fought their way back into the match in the second half, equalising through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, only for Reece James to put Chelsea back in front with 13 minutes of normal time left. Just when it looked like Chelsea had held on for the win, Harry Kane flicked home a corner deep in added time to secure a point for the visitors. …”
The Athletic (Video)