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McTominay scores double against Chelsea to reduce pressure on Ten Hag

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McTominay scores double against Chelsea to reduce pressure on Ten Hag

Scott McTominay relieved some of the pressure surrounding Erik Ten Hag as his double earned an improved Manchester United a much-needed 2-1 win over Chelsea.

Ten Hag’s gamble in dropping both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial amid reports of dressing-room disharmony had the desired effect for the under-fire manager, with the hosts’ quality with and without the ball a world away from Saturday’s dismal defeat at Newcastle.

McTominay opened the scoring on the rebound from Harry Maguire’s effort (19), but Unitwd would have already been ahead had Bruno Fernandes not seen an eighth-minute penalty saved.

United dominated the opening period without adding to their lead, and were made to pay on the stroke of half-time when Cole Palmer fired home a well-placed strike from just inside the area.

The home side were less effective following the interval but McTominay (69) restored their advantage with a close-range header from Alejandro Garnacho’s cross, before the Argentine wasted a glorious opportunity to wrap up victory on the break.

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It mattered little in the end, as United’s performance cut through the noise surrounding the club to finally earn a first point – and win – of the season against an opponent in the top half of the Premier League, and lifted them just three points off the top four.

However, Leon Bailey’s deflected strike earned Aston Villa a deserved 1-0 win over Manchester City at Villa Park that lifted them above the reigning champions into third.

The goal came late in the game to maintain the perfect home record of Unai Emery’s side and reflected their superior endeavour throughout the contest against an unusually passive City. It is now four Premier League games without a win for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Erling Haaland did have two chances in the first half but City never looked comfortable, missing the suspended Rodri badly. They drop to fourth in the table and are now six points adrift of Arsenal. On this evidence, they may need to worry about Villa too.

McTominay scores double against Chelsea to reduce pressure on Ten Hag

(SkySport)

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UCL: Osimhen helps Napoli snatch late draw against Barca as FC Porto defeat Arsenal

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Victor Osimhen

UCL: Osimhen helps Napoli snatch late draw against Barca as FC Porto defeat Arsenal

Victor Osimhen scored as Napoli drew 1-1 with Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League (UCL) second-round match.

The 25-year-old equalized for the Serie A champions in the 75th minute, after Robert Lewandowski put Barcelona ahead at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Wednesday.

Osimhen spun away from Inigo Martinez inside the box after Zambo Anguissa’s pass reached him. The Lagos-born striker rolled the ball past Ter Stegen, who went the wrong way, and into the goal.

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The match marked Osimhen’s first start for Napoli since December 23, 2023, when he was sent off in a 2-0 loss to Roma.

He played an important role in the Super Eagles of Nigeria’s silver-winning effort at the just ended Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d’Ivoire.

In the other game of the night, Galeno’s late goal helped FC Porto defeat Arsenal 1-0 at the Estadio do Dragao.

Galeno picked up the ball 35 yards outside Arsenal’s goal area deep into stoppage time, proving that the best play was saved for last. The Brazilian carried the ball forward before finding his place and bending a shot past Raya’s stretched limbs into the net.

UCL: Osimhen helps Napoli snatch late draw against Barca as FC Porto defeat Arsenal

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Guardiola apologises to Phillips for comments about weight

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Pep Guardiola

Guardiola apologises to Phillips for comments about weight

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has apologised to Kalvin Phillips for saying the midfielder was overweight when he returned from the 2022 World Cup.

Guardiola had told reporters that Phillips was not in the right condition to go through training sessions after returning from Qatar, where he was used for only 40 minutes in two substitute appearances in England’s campaign.

Phillips endured a wretched time at City after signing from Leeds United in 2022, making only six starts in 18 months, and the 28-year-old joined West Ham United on loan last month.

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After making the switch to West Ham, the midfielder said his confidence had taken a “big knock” from Guardiola’s comments.

“Yeah, I’m sorry,” Guardiola told reporters on Monday.

“I apologise to him. I spoke to him before making the comment. I never, ever don’t speak to the team before I say something here, or the player in that case.”

City, who are third in the Premier League, can close the gap to leaders Liverpool by one point if they beat Brentford at home later on Tuesday.

Guardiola apologises to Phillips for comments about weight

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Osimhen gets new coach as Napoli hire Calzona to replace sacked Mazzarri

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Francesco Calzona

Osimhen gets new coach as Napoli hire Calzona to replace sacked Mazzarri

Struggling Napoli sacked Walter Mazzarri on Monday and brought in Slovakia coach Francesco Calzona just two days before hosting Barcelona in the Champions League.

The 62-year-old Mazzarri became the second man to be sent packing this season by the ailing Italian champions.

Mazzarri took charge in November after Rudi Garcia was dismissed but Napoli then fell to ninth in Serie A ahead of Wednesday’s last 16, first leg with barca at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

“I thank Walter Mazzarri, a friend of the De Laurentiis family and Napoli, for having helped the team in a tricky period,” said Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis on X, formerly Twitter.

De Laurentiis confirmed that Calzona has been hired, reportedly until the end of the season, and will be in charge on Wednesday night.

“It’s always painful to sack a friend,” said De Laurentiis in a short interview with Sky Sport.

“But we need to consider that in Naples you have to give Napoli fans something extra. Now we’re going to try to do that with Francesco Calzona.”

Calzona guided Slovakia to Euro 2024 but has a huge job on his hands as he returns to Napoli, where he was an assistant under Maurizio Sarri and during Luciano Spalletti’s trophy-less first season with the club.

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The 55-year-old will reportedly keep his job with Slovakia while also trying to drag Napoli back up the table after the disappointing end to Mazzarri’s brief second spell in charge of southern Italy’s biggest club.

Mazzarri helped return Napoli to the upper echelons of Italian football between 2009 and 2013.

He guided Napoli to the 2012 Italian Cup, beating undefeated league champions Juventus in the final to win the club’s first trophy in over two decades.

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