Man United’s defeat meant much to many clubs, just not Man United

This Man United game was very … The post Man United’s defeat meant much to many clubs, just not Man United appeared first on Football365.

Man United’s defeat meant much to many clubs, just not Man United

A very strange game with one conspicuously strange line-up in appalling weather and ramifications felt way beyond the two teams involved.

Taken in isolation, . Viewed more holistically, all of it did. looked utterly bizarre yet at the same time anything more familiar would have been ridiculous. If anything, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been too reluctant to give his top boys a rest this season, but with second place secure and in the middle of a run of four games in nine days and with a Europa League final to follow, it would have been madness to do any different.

United are back in action here on Thursday against , and it will be a very different looking team that Jurgen Klopp’s men face. There will be much harrumphing from Anfield, while David Moyes has already spoken of the “integrity” of the fixture list in light of United’s run-in.

For sure, it is massively sub-optimal. It is also hard to know precisely what else anyone could have done. The season must finish when it must finish, and the fact United’s two crammed-in games this week happened to be against teams vying for top-four spots is sheer bad luck.

Solskjaer and United have no business worrying about how their actions might impact Liverpool or Leicester or West Ham or anyone else. His team have taken care of business this season in a way that Liverpool have not. There should be few complaints from Liverpool really, and if they do fall short of Champions League football the real reasons will be far closer to home.

But that’s not to say that this evening was without its significance. What a huge stroke of good fortune this was for Leicester, who will themselves quite rightly point out that a) they were probably due a bit of good luck and most pertinently b) they still had to take advantage of it. United still had a starting line-up that cost £24m more than Leicester’s, and they were still able to call on Marcus Rashford, and Edinson Cavani from the bench.

United didn’t give Leicester the three points. Indeed, the slow and confused start made by United’s B team here that ended with Leicester taking the lead was entirely on brand with everything we know of this Manchester United side generally. As too was the comeback with Mason Greenwood finishing swiftly and smartly to reaffirm his most welcome return to form.

Leicester’s opener was even better, Luke Thomas cushioning a pinpoint volley back across goal and into the top corner from an angle that left no margin for error.

The Foxes’ winner came midway through the second half and there was a certain irony to the nature of it given the inevitable chat and grumblings that Solskjaer’s team selection will spark. First, it came just at the moment that he was bringing his big guns from the bench. Second, its source – Caglar Soyuncu powering home a header from a Mark Albrighton corner – making it the precise sort of goal that would normally be prevented by Harry Maguire, the one United regular missing here for reasons other than rest and fixture congestion.

It was not a great game. Leicester were understandably nervous given the opportunity fate had given them and the fear of what failing to take it might do to a side whose fragilities were laid bare by Newcastle of all teams on Friday night. United, even more understandably, lacked for cohesion and understanding in a thrown-together XI.

The swift exchange of high-class early goals proved to be a false dawn in a first half subsequently bereft of quality and entertainment, but Leicester grew stronger in a second half they largely controlled. United rarely looked like getting back on terms even after the firepower kept in reserve was deployed.

Whatever the circumstances, it’s a huge win for Leicester. Not only does the top-four finish now look decidedly less dicey, but with that comes greater freedom to enjoy next weekend’s FA Cup final against Chelsea who themselves still need to take care of league business and .

It was, of course, also a Manchester United result that mattered far more to the blue half of the city than the red, .

This was, in essence, a Manchester United result that meant a great deal to a great many clubs. Leicester, City, Liverpool, West Ham. It just didn’t mean much to Manchester United; they owe nobody any apologies for that.

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Hasenhuttl hoping for ‘promising end’ to tough Saints campaign

“2020 was fantastic and 2021 so … The post Hasenhuttl hoping for ‘promising end’ to tough Saints campaign appeared first on Football365.

Hasenhuttl hoping for ‘promising end’ to tough Saints campaign

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is aiming for a winning end to the Premier League season following a rollercoaster campaign.

The south coast outfit were top of the league in November but swiftly slid down the table after a poor 2021.

on Tuesday night was just their fourth league win since the turn of the year.

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They endured a disastrous start at St Mary’s as Christian Benteke put in front after just two minutes.

Southampton failed to clear, allowing the Belgian striker to find space in the box and fire past keeper Fraser Forster.

Hasenhuttl’s side got level not long afterwards through talisman Danny Ings. After returning from a hamstring injury, he proved his worth to the club once again by pulling off a nice touch and sending a shot past Vicente Guaita.

The Eagles had the chance to regain their lead before half-time as Wilfried Zaha won a penalty. But Forster had done his homework on Luka Milivojevic’s technique and saved well to maintain the Saints’ lead.

In the second half, Che Adams made it 2-1 before Ings got on the scoresheet again, wrapping up the home win.

Speaking after the match, Hasenhuttl said: “It is the worst thing that should happen, they always score very early, it didn’t kill our game plan because we knew we would have a lot of possession and try to create chances.

“We could have scored even more. We tried to move them around and they had big problems with our attacking stuff. We needed Fraser Forster before half-time because the penalty save was important, then the start for a very lively second half, creating some very good chances. A good evening.”

When asked about striker Ings, Hasenhuttl added: “No big gamble because I left him out against Liverpool and he wanted to play, I knew against Palace I needed his quality in the box and this is what we got today. It is good to see and good for the team. This is Danny Ings.”

Speaking about the remainder of the season, the manager said: “To bring as many points in as possible, climb a few positions, we know we have had some issues since Christmas – 2020 was fantastic and 2021 so far not, it is now time to turn it around and have a promising ending.

“We will not forget what problems we have and to try to solve them in the summer – we have a small squad and need more players.”

The Saints’ next match is against relegated Fulham on Saturday.

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