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Man United, Chelsea in drab goalless draw

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Manchester United and Chelsea ground out a drab goalless draw in the Old Trafford rain that will convince no-one either side will be challenging for the Premier League this season.

Chelsea will probably be happier with a point and might have had more if United skipper Harry Maguire had been punished for wrapping his arm around the throat of Cesar Azpilicueta as he defended a first-half corner.

Although they remain stuck in the bottom half of the table, United were at least able to avoid losing a third straight home league game at the start of the season for the first time since 1930.

In addition, they can also point to three good saves from Edouard Mendy, two to deny Marcus Rashford, including one in the final minute, and one where Bruno Fernandes was thwarted.

However, Chelsea’s biggest scare was Mendy passing the ball across his goal and out for a corner in the first half when trying to pass to Thiago Silva.

 

Neither Edinson Cavani, on his debut, nor Paul Pogba could change things in the home side’s favour after they were introduced as substitutes. Mason Greenwood was given the final eight minutes to make an impression – but did not.

Chelsea gain in defence, lose in attack

After conceding three times in two of their previous three league games, today’s clean sheet, after denying Sevilla in similar fashion on Wednesday, does provide Chelsea with the kind of platform they have been lacking so far this season.

The return of Thiago Silva to anchor a three-man defence provided solidity. Yet it also seemed to cost Chelsea their edge in attack.

Too often Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic were left trying to take United’s defence on alone and rarely did the visitors mount concerted pressure around the United box, even though they dominated possession for long periods.

England defender Reece James looked their most inventive attacking threat with his forceful bursts down the right flank. However, his final ball was poor and United keeper David de Gea did not have to make a meaningful save.

Sixth place may look presentable for Frank Lampard’s men at the moment but they could slide down the league over the weekend and evidently, a large summer outlay is yet to pay dividends.

Rashford repelled by Mendy

It has been another amazing week for Marcus Rashford.

After getting the Government to overturn its own policy on providing free school meals to children forced to stay home during the spring lockdown, the England striker responded to a lacklustre response to his request for half-term meals by summoning support from everywhere apart from Downing Street.

Even Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp publicly backed Rashford, which considering the antipathy between their respective clubs is some going.

What Rashford does on the pitch is also important and this was a frustrating experience.

He was caught up in the general non-event of the first 25 minutes. On one United counter, he was screaming for a pass over the top from Juan Mata that he could chase beyond the Chelsea defence. Instead, the ball went sideways to Luke Shaw and was lost.

Mata did send Rashford through after Fernandes won possession inside the visitors’ half but Mendy denied him with a feet-first stop. By half-time, Rashford still looked in discomfort after he had gone down in pain after a tangle of legs with N’Golo Kante.

He recovered and after being moved to the left following the introduction of Cavani, remained a threat, with Azpilicueta blocking his low shot before Mendy kept out his final effort.

It was largely an evening of frustration, summed up as he smashed the ball away in irritation as the final whistle sounded.

Rare away clean sheet for Chelsea – the best of the stats

Manchester United have failed to win any of their first three home games to a league campaign for the first time since the 1972-73 season.

Chelsea have kept their first Premier League clean sheet outside of London since a goalless draw at Leicester on the final day of the 2018-19 season under Maurizio Sarri.

Manchester United are without a home league win in five games (D3 L2), their longest run without victory at Old Trafford since February 1990 (6 games).

Edouard Mendy became the first Chelsea goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in both of his first two Premier League games for the club since Petr Cech in August 2004.

Mendy became the first Chelsea goalkeeper to keep a Premier League clean sheet at Old Trafford since Thibaut Courtois in December 2015, while he was the first to do so in his first such game at the ground for the Blues since Kevin Hitchcock in December 1994.

Despite playing just half of Chelsea’s six Premier League games this season, Ben Chilwell has created more chances than any other player for the Blues in the league this season (9).

At 33 years and 253 days, Edinson Cavani became Manchester United’s oldest Premier League debutant since Zlatan Ibrahimovic in August 2016 (34y 316d).

‘It’s about kicking on after a poor start’ – what they said

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on BBC Match of the Day: “It was an even game. After a slow start, we grew into the game and played some decent stuff.

 

“We missed the crowd behind the goal there to suck the ball into the goal, which happens so many times at this place.

“There were good players at the other end of the pitch. Their keeper made some fantastic saves.

“The quality in the defending was very good. I’ve said all the time we have a squad full of good players and good characters but now it’s about kicking on after a poor start.”

On debutant Edinson Cavani: “He gives us something different to what we have of course. We now have a centre-forward who is different to the ones we already had.”

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard on BBC Match of the Day: “It’s a tight start to the season and I think this is just a continuation of that. It was in the final third where we lacked today but the clean sheet was a big plus for us.

“Sometimes we want to be flexible. We looked at Manchester United and we had games last season where we were the better team but lost to them on the counter-attack.”

On whether Cesar Azpilicueta should have been awarded a penalty, “Yeah, holding is allowed, but headlocks don’t go on. I don’t know why VAR didn’t take long and there’s also a monitor to look at. I think if the referee goes to the monitor he gives a penalty.”

What’s next?

Manchester United are next in action on Wednesday, 28 October, when they entertain RB Leipzig in the Champions League (20:00 GMT) and then host Arsenal in the Premier League on 1 November (16:30).

Chelsea travel to Russia to play FK Krasnodar in the Champions League on Wednesday (17:55). They visit Burnley in the Premier League on 31 October (15:00).

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Haaland, Foden’s hat-tricks sink United in Manchester Derby

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Erling Haaland and Phil Foden scored hat-tricks as Manchester City thrashed Manchester United 6-3 to move to within a point of Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday.

Haaland has scored hat-tricks in each of his last three Premier League home games to take his tally as a City player to 17 in 10 competitive games for the English champions.

“You can see the passes we give each other. We always want to go forward and to attack,” Haaland told Sky Sports.

“It’s what I love about the team. In the end, it’s amazing. There is nothing more to say.”

Antony’s strike and Anthony Martial’s late double ensured United avoided a record defeat in the Manchester derby as they remain in sixth, nine points off the top.

Since also conceding four times inside the first 45 minutes at Brentford in August, United had bounced back with four consecutive Premier League wins to offer hope they are heading in the right direction under Erik ten Hag.

But the Red Devils were given a rude awakening of the gulf that still exists between the Manchester giants.

City could have scored many more than the four they managed in a blistering first half performance that swept away any doubts caused by an inconsistent start to the season from Pep Guardiola’s men.

Within four minutes it took two goal-line clearances and a fine save from David de Gea to deny Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, and Bernardo Silva the opening goal.

Four minutes later, City did open the floodgates when Foden swept home Silva’s cross for the Manchester native’s first derby goal.

Ilkay Gundogan’s free-kick hit the post and Foden blasted another big chance wide before Haaland inevitably made his mark on 34 minutes.

Haaland’s Hat-trick Haul

United were left to bemoan the absence of Raphael Varane to defend a De Bruyne corner as he received treatment on an ankle injury that forced him off at half-time.

Without the Frenchman, there was no match for Haaland’s presence in the penalty box as his header crossed the line before Tyrell Malacia’s attempted clearance.

Moments later, City showcased their ability to counter-attack as Jack Grealish fed De Bruyne, who perfectly picked out Haaland to convert on the stretch at the back post.

Haaland then turned provider with a low cross that Foden converted to leave United trailing 4-0 at half-time for the third time in a year.

Unlike, in a 5-0 defeat at Old Trafford to Liverpool last season and at Brentford last month, there was some semblance of a United response after the break.

Antony smashed home his second goal in as many Premier League appearances since a £82 million ($92 million) move from Ajax.

But Haaland quickly reclaimed centre stage with a thumping finish to meet Sergio Gomez’s cross.

Michael Owen’s record of three hat-tricks in his first 48 appearances had stood as a Premier League record for over two decades, but Haaland has needed just eight.

City were on course to match the record margin of victory in a Manchester derby when Haaland set up Foden to smash home and complete his hat-trick.

That was Foden’s final involvement as he was withdrawn in a quadruple change as Guardiola could afford to also hand a rest to De Bruyne, Gundogan and Grealish.

United took advantage of City taking their foot off the accelerator in the final 10 minutes as substitute Martial scored twice to cut the arrears.

Ten Hag left Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for the full match and his decision to instead give Martial a chance to impress on his return from injury proved correct.

The Frenchman headed in the rebound after Ederson parried Fred’s shot and then emphatically fired home from the penalty spot. (AFP)

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Djokovic wins 89th career title with Tel Aviv final

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Novak Djokovic won his 89th career title on Sunday with an impressive straight-set victory over Marin Cilic in the Tel Aviv final.

It was also the third title of the 35-year-old Serbian tennis star in 2022.
Djokovic triumphed 6-3, 6-4 to add the Israeli trophy to victories in Rome and Wimbledon this season.
It was Djokovic’s 19th win over Cilic in 21 meetings in a rivalry stretching back to 2008.
Djokovic was playing his first singles tournament since wrapping up a seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st Grand Slam title in July.
He was banned from the US Open and the entire North American hard court swing over his refusal to be vaccinated before returning for Roger Federer’s farewell in the Laver Cup team event in London last month.
On Sunday, Djokovic broke Cilic in the second game of the final and pocketed the first set with a fourth ace after 47 minutes on court.
Former US Open winner Cilic, chasing a 21st career title but the first of 2022, was broken in the first game of the second set and the 34-year-old never recovered.

The Serb only faced one break point in the final which was clinched in 94 minutes.
Djokovic, who didn’t drop a set all week, now heads to the Astana ATP tournament where world number one Carlos Alcaraz takes the top seeding

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Over 120 fans die in Indonesia football stampede

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At least 129 people have died in a stampede at an Indonesian football match, officials say, in one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.

The stampede happened after police tear-gassed rioting supporters.

About 180 were injured in the crush after Arema FC lost to bitter rivals Persebaya Surabaya in East Java.

The country’s chief security minister said that the number of spectators exceeded the stadium’s capacity by around 4,000 people.

President Joko Widodo has ordered that all matches in Indonesia’s top league must be stopped until an investigation has been concluded.

Videos show fans running on to the pitch after the final whistle.

Police then fired tear gas, leading to a crowd stampede and cases of suffocation, said Nico Afinta, police chief in East Java.

“It had gotten anarchic. They started attacking officers, they damaged cars,” he said, adding that two police officers were among the dead.

“We would like to convey that… not all of them were anarchic. Only about 3,000 who entered the pitch,” he said.

Fleeing fans “went out to one point at the exit. Then there was a build-up, in the process of accumulation there was shortness of breath, lack of oxygen”, he added.

Videos on social media show fans clambering over fences to escape. Separate videos appear to show lifeless bodies on the floor.

FIFA, the world’s governing football body, states that no “crowd control gas” should be carried or used by stewards or police at matches.

The Indonesian football association (PSSI) said it had launched an investigation, adding that the incident had “tarnished the face of Indonesian football”.

Violence at football matches is not new in Indonesia, and Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya are long-time rivals.

Persebaya Surabaya fans were banned from buying tickets for the game because of fears of clashes.

But Chief Security Minister Mahfud MD posted on Instagram that 42,000 tickets had been sold for the match at the Kanjuruhan stadium, which has a capacity of 38,000.
President Widodo called for this to be the “last soccer tragedy in the nation” after ordering that all Liga 1 games should be paused pending an investigation.

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