Contrasting fortunes for Manchester United, Arsenal make for crucial top four Premier League clash

Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku and Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette will play a big role in the crucial clash at the Emirates Stadium. (AFP)
Updated 09 March 2019
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Contrasting fortunes for Manchester United, Arsenal make for crucial top four Premier League clash

  • Solskjaer is positive Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford can strike up a fruitful partnership
  • Momentum is on United’s side, but they face a far tougher run-in than the Gunners

LONDON: After the miracle of Paris, Manchester United have no time for a hangover when they travel to Arsenal on Sunday if their chances of even qualifying for next season’s Champions League are not to suffer significant damage.
Should United repeat their 3-1 success at the Emirates in the FA Cup six weeks ago, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will rack up a perfect 10 away wins since taking caretaker charge to make a seemingly irrefutable case to be handed the job on a permanent basis.
The highlight was beating free-spending Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 in dramatic circumstances on Wednesday to progress to the quarterfinals of the Champions League on away goals and erase the consequences of Solskjaer’s only defeat in 17 games in charge.
United have made up an 11-point gap to the Premier League top four under the Norwegian, but their Champions League status for next season is still far from assured.
The Red Devils lead Arsenal by just a solitary point and a two-point advantage over sixth-placed Chelsea could be wiped out by the Blues’ game in hand at home to Brighton.
Momentum is on United’s side, but they face a far tougher run-in than the Gunners with title chasing Manchester City and Chelsea still to visit Old Trafford.
Solskjaer is positive Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford can strike up a fruitful partnership after both scored in the French capital in midweek.
Rashford started Solskjaer’s reign as the preferred option up front, but Lukaku has forced his way back into the side, scoring twice in each of his last three matches.
“Of course we played with two up front, with him (Lukaku) and Rashy against PSG,” said Solskjaer.
“They might form a very nice partnership together, because I wouldn’t like to be a defender having them two running at me,” he joked.
Solskjaer also has more options on Sunday after 10 first-team players missed Wednesday. Paul Pogba is back from suspension, while Anthony Martial, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera could be fit to return from injury.
By contrast, the visit of Solskjaer’s men to the Emirates is Arsenal’s last against top six opposition.
“I don’t think it is definitive, but we need to show and push on Sunday to take more possibility to finish in the top four,” said Arsenal boss Unai Emery.
The Spaniard also has reason to be positive. Arsenal have not been beaten at the Emirates in the Premier League since City’s visit on the opening day of the season and have won their last eight home league games.
“We played against a big team and at some moments showed we can fight and battle with them, but we lost and that is the reality,” added Emery on the FA Cup tie between the pair.
“We need fresh players, players with energy, we need quality, we need good combinations, and we need the players who start on the bench after they can help us on the pitch and deliver a big performance as well.”
That suggests Emery could make major changes from the side that lost 3-1 to Rennes in the Europa League on Thursday.
Alexandre Lacazette looks set to return up front after he was suspended for the trip to France in midweek, meaning Arsenal’s top-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang faces being benched once more.
Aubameyang missed a late penalty that would have brought victory over Tottenham in the north London derby last weekend after coming on as a substitute and Emery has defended his tendency to start just one of his two star strikers.
“They need to accept the decision. I am finding the best decisions for the team,” said the former PSG coach.
“Sometimes I am not happy with them both when their performances are not good when they’re both playing, but I am very consistent in our work to take the best decision and to give them the best performance for us, whether they’re playing together or alone.”


Sixth season of ​​Formula E to start in Saudi Arabia’s Ad Diriyah in November

Updated 16 June 2019
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Sixth season of ​​Formula E to start in Saudi Arabia’s Ad Diriyah in November

  • The electric cars competition will witness two rounds as part of the sixth ABB FIA Formula E event
  • Fourteen such events are scheduled in 12 cities on four different continents

RIYADH: FIA World Motor Sport Council revealed on Saturday that the 2019 Saudia Ad Diriyah E Prix will kick off the new season on Nov. 22 and 23, 2019, on the outskirts of Riyadh.

The electric cars competition, organized by the FIA and the Saudi Arabia General Sport Authority (GSA), will witness two rounds as part of the sixth ABB FIA Formula E competition, out of 14 organized in 12 cities on four different continents including, Santiago, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Rome, Paris, Berlin, New York, and London and Seoul, which were recently added.

Alberto Longo, vice CEO of Formula E, said that the upcoming season will be one of the most exciting in the short history of the competition.

He also welcomed Mercedes Benz and Porsche to the list of competitors, and Seoul and London to the competition’s venues.

He said that the present season is about to end with three more rounds to go, and that there is a fierce competition for the title.

CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAM

● Nov. 22: Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia

● Nov. 23: Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia

● Dec. 14: TBA

● Jan. 18, 2020: Santiago, Chile

● Feb. 15, 2020: Mexico City, Mexico

● March 1, 2020: Hong Kong, China

● March 21, 2020: TBA — China

● April 4, 2020: Rome, Italy

● 9 April 18, 2020: Paris, France

● 10 May 3, 2020: Seoul, S. Korea

● 11 May 30, 2020: Berlin, Germany

● 12 June 20, 2020: New York, US

● 13 July 25, 2020: London, UK

● 14 July 26, 2020: London, UK