Manchester United still barely in the top four, Sadio Mane takes center stage for Liverpool – Hits and misses | Soccer News

Man Utd return to top four in name-only hunt

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester United’s win over Norwich

What a weekend of results for Manchester United. Their two main rivals in the top four lose and they are three points behind Tottenham in fourth.

Numbers don’t tell the whole story. Ralf Rangnick’s side again labored to a 3-2 victory against basement club Norwich, who had scored just 20 goals all season but could have had plenty at Old Trafford.

At the full-time whistle, the celebrations were muted at best and arguably the most passionate reception was reserved for Paul Pogba, who was booed loudly as he descended the tunnel.

All had not been well at United all afternoon, with protests over Glazer’s ownership overshadowing game preparation and large numbers of fans waiting until the 17th minute to sit down to serve the 17 years since the Americans took control of the club.

The performance seemed the perfect reflection of their complaints – labored and disappointing, and all the more frustrating as the players already knew Tottenham had given them an opportunity by losing to Brighton early in the kick-off.

United are back in the hunt but only in name. Scratching wins over a side almost certain to be relegated will get them nowhere, and repeat performances against Liverpool and Arsenal next week will end their top-four charge as quickly as it has been rejuvenated.
Ron Walker

Mane takes center stage from Salah

Sadio Mane scored twice for Liverpool against Manchester City
Sadio Mane scored twice for Liverpool against Manchester City

As the Mohamed Salah contract saga rumbles on, it’s easy to forget there’s another member of the Liverpool attack with just one year remaining on his contract. Sadio Mane surely deserves so much noise.

Saturday’s thrilling FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City was the fifth game in a row in which Salah failed to find the net, but his dip in form matters little when Mane continues to deliver performances as devastating as this. -this.

The Senegalese international, who triumphed over his AFCON team-mate in February before helping his country beat Egypt again for a World Cup place, has notched up crucial goals against Benfica and in the Premier League against City last weekend with a winning double at Wembley.

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Jurgen Klopp believes his side could have decided their FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City sooner, despite leading 3-0 at half-time

His first goal rewarded his relentless work rate as he shut down Zack Steffen and sent the ball into the net, and he then showed sensational technique as he guided a volley into the bottom corner of the pass smoothed by Thiago Alcantara for his second.

City couldn’t live with him, instead resorting to fouling him five times in the 90 minutes – no player won more free-kicks – and he walked off the pitch to rapturous applause from delirious fans at Liverpool inside Wembley when he was taken off in the knockout stages.

In the end, his goals kept Liverpool’s hopes of a hat-trick alive. They were also a reminder that while he didn’t draw as much praise as his attacking teammate, he was no less influential. Solving its future must also be a priority.
Nick Wright

Man City must heed Liverpool warning at Wembley

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Pep Guardiola reflects on his side’s 3-2 loss to Liverpool

Manchester City’s treble hopefuls were stranded at Wembley Stadium on an afternoon when the Premier League leaders were heavily beaten on the pitch and in the stands.

Liverpool’s victory was three-dimensional. A flawless performance on the pitch was inspired by the incredibly passionate and vocal support of their traveling fans.

Manchester City didn’t stand a chance – and did themselves no favours.

Pep Guardiola’s team selection no doubt contributed to Liverpool’s devastating first-half performance, with returnees Nathan Ake faulted for Ibrahima Konate’s opener, and substitute keeper offering Sadio Mane his first and Liverpool’s second.

Guardiola said congestion and match fatigue were the reason for his pre-match changes, but the loss owed as much to City’s ineptness in attack in the first half as it did to errors. The Spaniard’s reluctance to turn to his bench until the 83rd minute for his one – and only – substitution only exacerbated City’s plight.

With the Premier League title run-in yet to be revealed, and with a potential third and final episode in City’s rivalry with Liverpool to come if both sides reach the Champions League final, it was a surprising and sobering reminder of the threat Liverpool pose in one. – out of games, and even out of matches.

Backed to the bitter end and capable of blasting any team in world football, this Liverpool performance should serve as a warning to City that while they may well overcome their opponents in a Premier League season, discover the sprint or the coup de grace. may be needed to prevent Liverpool from getting their hands on the prize money they crave.
Jack Wilkinson

Tottenham’s long-term lesson after Brighton defeat

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brighton’s win over Tottenham

Maybe at the end of the season we will look back on that weekend when Tottenham let Manchester United back into the top four. Immediately after their home defeat to Brighton, the focus was on the prospect of Arsenal drawing if they could win at Southampton. A poor finish from Mikel Arteta’s side spared Spurs but United are now back in the competition.

Whether that round turns out to be a retirement or a costly mistake, Antonio Conte was keen for his Tottenham players to learn their lesson.

“Once you reach a good position in the chart, you have to try to maintain that position,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to deal with the pressure. When you’re [in a team that’s] winning the league, you have to deal with the pressure of other results and it’s a good opportunity for these players, who needed these kinds of exams to improve.”

For Conte, it’s about building the blocks of experience for this Tottenham team to achieve greater things in the future. After all, he is a manager who is more used to fighting for titles than fighting for fourth place.

The mistake they made on Saturday, he said, was being too eager to push for victory in the final stages – and leaving space for Leandro Trossard to nab a late winner at the other end. Playing during the lunchtime kick-off, Spurs players felt the pressure to lay down a marker before their rivals kicked off.

“A lesson we can learn today is that there are games that if you can’t win, you mustn’t lose,” Conte said. “It was very clear that today was not our day. I understand that we wanted to try to get three points ahead of our other rivals for the Champions League race, but sometimes we need to feel.”

There are still plenty of twists and turns in this upcoming top four race and every point will count.
Peter Smith

Brighton back to their best

Brighton players celebrate Leandro Trossard's 90th-minute winner
Brighton players celebrate Leandro Trossard’s 90th minute winner

“Forty points with six games to go. Not bad considering it was Armageddon three games ago!” Graham Potter took pleasure in Brighton’s return to form during his press conference after the win over Tottenham. There has been a dig at critics who also point to their struggles to score goals.

After a long, bizarre and perhaps difficult to understand streak of a win in 13 games (in 90 minutes), Brighton have two from two by scoring a brace in north London against Arsenal and Spurs. Watching them closely in both matches, it’s hard to believe such a well-organized side could have had such a terrible streak.

At the back, they prevented a Spurs side, who had scored at least twice in each of their last seven, from having a single shot on target. Lewis Dunk did a great job limiting Harry Kane’s involvement. In front of him in midfield, Yves Bissouma was superb, with and without the ball.

It was in the final third that Brighton struggled the most this season – as Potter mentions – but with a slight shoulder drop and a push into the bottom corner, Leandro Trossard found the quality moment to deliver a first win at Spurs since 1981.

A historic goal and perhaps a historic achievement. Long-time Brighton watchers later told the press room it was perhaps their best performance since joining the Premier League. Potter’s view was that it was certainly a step up from their display at Arsenal.

Whichever way you want to put it, Brighton have come through the tough times this season and come out the other side with two important wins. They are back to their best and a solid end to the season is in store.
Peter Smith

Struggling Arsenal fail to seize opportunity for fourth place

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Southampton’s win over Arsenal

When questions were asked about Antonio Conte’s position at Tottenham after a 1-0 loss to relegation-threatened Burnley in February, very few would have predicted the standings would now favor Spurs in the race for fourth place. .

With six games to play – seven for Arsenal – Spurs hold fourth and last place in the Champions League, but only because the teams around them have crumbled as they hit renewed form.

Arsenal lost chances against Crystal Palace, Brighton and now Southampton to fight the ascendancy in the battle for a top four finish – it’s as if they don’t want it anymore.

Mikel Arteta has conceded his side’s form is a ‘worry’ going into the backend of a pivotal campaign for the Gunners – this is their third three-game losing streak under the Spaniard.

The worst thing is that they have now opened the door to Manchester United. What was a two-horse race is now a three-horse race.

A season that held so much promise is unfolding quickly for Arsenal, who now need a result from Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to restore some belief in their Champions League bid.

Arteta’s praise for Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster was deserved – he kept Saints in the game – but Arsenal did not do enough to dissolve the stopper goal.

Undoubtedly, there will be more surprises in the race for fourth place, but what is certain is that if Arsenal don’t improve quickly, they won’t be the ones playing League football. champions in 2022/23.
Laura Hunter

Sky Sports

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