Man United leave Lampard’s Chelsea singing the blues with 4-0 rout

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, center, is fouled by Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma, right, to concede a penalty leading to the opening goal. (AFP)
Updated 12 August 2019

Man United leave Lampard’s Chelsea singing the blues with 4-0 rout

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fires Arsenal to 1-0 win at Newcastle

MANCHESTER: Marcus Rashford scored twice as Manchester United made the perfect start to their Premier League season by inflicting a 4-0 defeat on Frank Lampard in his first match in charge of Chelsea on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were in need of a fast start to the campaign to erase memories of a terrible end to last season and got it, as Rashford’s early penalty and three goals in 16 second-half minutes from Anthony Martial, Rashford and debutant Daniel James had Old Trafford in raptures.

Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka also impressed at the back on their debuts after United spent £130 million ($156 million) on the pair over the summer to shore up a defense that conceded 54 Premier League goals last season.

However, questions will be asked of Chelsea’s decision to let experienced defender David Luiz leave to join Arsenal earlier this week as the Blues struggled to contain the United counterattacks despite dominating long spells.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired Arsenal to a 1-0 win at Newcastle in their Premier League opener on Sunday, providing hope of an improved run this season for Unai Emery’s side.

The Gunners finished last season in turmoil after blowing their bid for a top-four place with a disastrous spell in the final weeks.

Adding to Emery’s woes, Arsenal were crushed by Chelsea in the Europa League final to shatter their dreams of Champions League qualification.

But Arsenal have enjoyed a profitable close season, with a host of new signings raising morale around Emirates Stadium.

And Aubameyang gave Arsenal fans renewed belief they can get back in the top four this term with a typically predatory second half finish to give the north Londoners a winning start.

Lampard’s first team selection was a bold one as he put his faith in youth with Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount handed starts, while £60 million signing Christian Pulisic was made to wait for his Premier League debut on the bench.

And Chelsea started the better as Abraham smashed a shot from the edge of the box off the post.

However, the heart of the Chelsea defense always looked fragile.

Kurt Zouma had already gotten away with gifting possession to Martial on the edge of his own box as the Frenchman shot weakly into the arms of Kepa Arrizabalaga before he was turned easily by Rashford and hauled the England striker to the ground.

Rashford dusted himself off to blast the penalty high past Kepa to open the scoring and United fed off the momentum of the goal for a spell. Yet, Chelsea steadied themselves as the first half wore on and should have at least been level by the break.

David de Gea was forced into a fine save with his feet to deny Ross Barkley before left-back Emerson Palmieri also blasted off the inside of the post.

De Gea was at fault with a series of high-profile errors toward the end of last season, but the Spaniard — handed the captain’s armband in the absence of Ashley Young — looked back to his old self as he beat away another two powerful drives from Emerson after the break.

And at the other end, Rashford and Martial provided the clinical touch to kill the game off in the space of 60 seconds that Chelsea lacked.

Maguire showed his presence to outmuscle Abraham on the edge of the United box and set off a flowing counter-attack that ended with Martial bundling the ball home at the far post from Andreas Pereira’s cross.

Paul Pogba then played provider with a brilliant ball over the top for Rashford to burst in behind before coolly slotting past Kepa.

Pogba was the creator again for the fourth as the Frenchman played a 1-2 with Rashford and powered through the Chelsea defense before laying off to James, who got the benefit of a big deflection to find the bottom corner.


Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

Updated 17 November 2019

Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

  • World Cup semifinalists ‘still have room for improvement as they chase first major title since 1966’

PRISTINA:  Gareth Southgate is set to bring Raheem Sterling back from his brief England exile in Sunday’s qualifier against Kosovo as he seeks to end the controversy over the Manchester City star’s row with Joe Gomez.

Sterling was dropped for Thursday’s 7-0 rout of Montenegro after clashing with England team-mate Gomez in the Three Lions’ training base canteen.

It is believed Sterling was unhappy with Gomez following an altercation with the Liverpool defender during City’s Premier League defeat at Anfield last weekend.

Although Sterling was left out of the Montenegro game as punishment for his attack on Gomez, Southgate has confirmed the winger will return for England’s final Group A fixture.

Sterling and Gomez, left with a scratch under his eye after the incident, are said to have patched up their relationship, but the center-back was jeered by England fans at Wembley when he came on as a substitute against Montenegro.

Both Southgate and Sterling expressed their support for Gomez and criticized the booing supporters, with the England manager reportedly comforting the shocked 22-year-old and his family after the match.

Now Southgate could include Gomez against Kosovo in a show of support for the Liverpool player.

With England already guaranteed to qualify for Euro 2020 in first place in their group, Southgate already planned to make changes, although he is keen to ensure England finish with a win as they eye a top-six seeding in next year’s tournament.

“We will make some changes, for sure, but the seeding in the group could be critical and we know it’s a big night for the Kosovans,” Southgate said.

“It’s a shame for them that they’re now out of this part of the qualification, although they’ve still got the playoffs in which I think they’ll be a huge threat in that format. “So, it will be a good test for us because it will still be a lively environment.

“The enthusiasm for the game is high and we want to finish the group with as many points as we can.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson could return following a one-match ban, while Southgate has to decide whether to keep faith with Ben Chilwell ahead of Danny Rose at left-back.

Harry Kane may have scored a hat-trick against Montenegro but it was Leicester’s Chilwell who was named England’s man of the match following a fine display in which he provided three assists in the opening 24 minutes.

“Ben, I liked the hunger in his game, the enthusiasm to get forward,” Southgate said.

“The whole team pressed well but he also pressed well from that full-back position, got into overlaps, his quality of delivery was excellent.”

Although England have cruised through their qualifying group, Southgate believes the 2018 World Cup semifinalists still have room for improvement as they chase a first major title since 1966.

“There were a couple of chances we conceded that just shouldn’t happen, so that’s still part of our game that we’ve got to improve upon,” he said.

“If we are to be a team that are going to challenge seriously, although we’re young, we’ve got to manage games well.

“We’ve got to make sure that, although we’re such a fantastic attacking threat, the rest of the team is right as well. There are things we’ve got to be better at.”