It is about time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delivered trophies for Manchester United despite the progress he has already made since taking charge of the club.

That is the view of the United manager's former treble-winning team-mate Teddy Sheringham ahead of the Red Devils' key Champions League clash with Villarreal on Wednesday.

Although they have made the latter stages of multiple competitions and finished as high as second in the Premier League, United have not won a trophy for four seasons.

An impressive transfer window that saw the Old Trafford club sign World Cup winner Raphael Varane, long-term target Jadon Sancho and returning hero Cristiano Ronaldo raised expectations for them in 2021-22.

But after a bright start, the past fortnight has seen United lose to Young Boys in their Group F opener, crash out of the EFL Cup at the hands of West Ham and suffer their first league defeat of the season to Aston Villa.

Sheringham believes Solskjaer will deliver much-needed silverware but thinks the Norwegian can have few complaints about the expectations.

Asked if it was time for Solskjaer to step up as a manager, Sheringham told Stats Perform: "Without a doubt. 

"You only have to look at the signings that Manchester United have made this season.

"Looking at Varane, Sancho and then Ronaldo becoming available, and then they got him as well – it was just unbelievable. 

"But that increases the pressure for Ole, and he knows that. He's in charge of the biggest football club in Europe, maybe even the world, and he knows he has to win things. 

"The pressure is there for them to win things, and I'm sure they will this year as it's about time.

"There's been steady progression for the club over the last two or three seasons, but it's about time they won something."

United need a positive result against Villarreal to get their campaign on track in the Champions League. 

The four previous Champions League clashes between United and Villarreal have all finished 0-0, making it the most played fixture in the history of the competition to see no goals scored.

United also suffered a painful Europa League final defeat to the Spanish side on penalties last season.

Despite being one of the biggest clubs who typically qualify for the Champions League, United have not got past the quarter-finals in Europe's elite club competition for a decade.

"It's tough," added Sheringham. "When you look at Sir Alex Ferguson and his record in the Champions League, it didn't happen overnight.

"It was again a steady progression. They got to the quarter-finals, got knocked out, got to the quarter-finals, then they got to the semi-finals, and then they won it. 

"So, if Ole can gain the experience, the players that he's got there, if they gain the experience along the way, then hopefully everybody's ready to win it. 

"Then you need to get a little bit of luck when you need it, and you come out on top."

While he hopes United will get there, Sheringham is more confident that the other English clubs could dominate the competition this season after Manchester City and Chelsea contested in an all-English final last year.

He added: "I think they [English clubs] will [dominate again].

"I expect probably three of those four English teams to get into the semi-finals – that is how dominant English teams are at the moment.

"We were talking about the chances of Manchester United and I don't really think they are one of the best teams in England at the moment. 

"You have to say that Manchester City [have a chance], Chelsea without a doubt, and Liverpool will also feature as well very high." 

Marcus Rashford is "raring to go" as he closes on a return to action with Manchester United, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Rashford had surgery on a long-standing shoulder injury in July and so has not played for club or country since missing a penalty against Italy for England in the Euro 2020 final.

The striker may be back in the fold after the coming international break, though, when United visit Leicester City.

Amad Diallo has also been out with a thigh issue, which put paid to a planned loan move to Feyenoord.

"[Rashford and Amad] are still a few weeks away, so hopefully after the international break they could be available," Solskjaer told United's official website.

United have played eight games without Rashford so far this term ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Villarreal, where Aaron Wan-Bissaka will miss the first of two matches through suspension – his punishment increased due to "rough play" as he was sent off against Young Boys.

Rashford missed just four United games in the whole of last season as he scored 21 goals and assisted a further 12 in 57 appearances in all competitions.

Among outfield players in Europe's top five leagues, the England man's 4,153 minutes ranked 16th in 2020-21. Wan-Bissaka (4,707) led that list.

Going back further, across his five full seasons as a senior United star, Rashford played 253 times, behind only Manchester City's Bernardo Silva (255) in that period.

This sort of lay-off is unfamiliar to the forward, then, and he is not lacking motivation.

Solskjaer continued: "They're working hard, both of them positive, and it's been a long, long time for Marcus, of course – probably the longest he's been out, but he's needed it.

"He looks raring to go, happy, and he knows he's missed out on pre-season, but he's done loads of good conditioning work and should be ready soon."

Manchester United need points to get their Champions League campaign going, and doing so by getting revenge for their Europa League final shoot-out loss to Villarreal would be a moment to enjoy for the Old Trafford fans.

When it comes to established elite needing results, United are not alone. Barcelona head to Benfica looking to banish thoughts of that humbling home loss to Bayern Munich on matchday one, while Massimiliano Allegri could use a strong performance against strong opposition when Chelsea visit Juventus.

Bayern themselves host Dynamo Kiev, as Mircea Lucescu looks to fare a little better than the last time he took a team to the Allianz Arena.

Read on for more as Stats Perform looks at the key Opta facts ahead of Wednesday's Champions League action.

 

Benfica v Barcelona: Can Memphis Depay breathe life back into Catalans?

Barcelona's 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich on matchday one was the first time in at least 186 Champions League matches in which they did not attempt a single shot on target.

Memphis Depay did not manage a shot of any kind, something he had never before experienced when starting a game in this competition. However, with two goals in his previous two games against Benfica, he could be the man to get Barca firing in Lisbon.

Benfica have not beaten Barcelona since the European Cup final in 1961, but if they do manage to pile more pressure on Ronald Koeman with a victory, it will mark the first time the Blaugrana have lost their opening two games of the season in Europe since 1972-73, when they lost twice to Porto.

Bayern Munich v Dynamo Kiev: More unhappy memories beckon for Lucescu

The Allianz Arena was the scene of Lucescu's heaviest Champions League defeat: his Shakhtar Donetsk side lost 7-0 to Bayern Munich in March 2015.

Having failed to score in seven of their previous 11 games in this competition, it is hard to expect Dynamo to stop Bayern from claiming what would be a 33rd home win out of their most recent 35 in the group stages.

In fact, across the past three seasons, Bayern have won the most games (20) and scored the most goals (73) of any team in the tournament. In 14 of their 22 games in that time, they have netted at least three goals.

 

Juventus v Chelsea: Bianconeri out to keep up king-slayer tradition

Juventus have won seven matches against the holders in this competition's history, a figure only Real Madrid can beat (11 wins). They also beat Chelsea 3-0 in their previous meeting back in the 2012-13 group stage.

Still, Chelsea have only lost three of their past 32 group games and none of their most recent 12. Thomas Tuchel's 68 per cent win ratio is bettered by only two men among managers to take charge of 20 or more group games: Pep Guardiola (71 per cent) and Jupp Heynckes (73 per cent).

The last time Juve hosted an English team in the Champions League, Jose Mourinho's Manchester United snatched a 2-1 win in November 2018. Massimiliano Allegri's side have never lost consecutive home games to English opponents.

 

Manchester United v Villarreal: Goals at last in Europa League final repeat?

All five previous European meetings between Manchester United and Villarreal have ended in draws. The first four did not even see a goal scored – it's the most played Champions League match never to see a goal – while the Europa League final last season finished 1-1, with the LaLiga side winning 11-10 on penalties.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the only manager to take charge of 10 or more Champions League matches at an English club and lose more than half of them (he's lost seven out of 11). Should they suffer defeat at Old Trafford, it will mark the first time in history they have ever lost their first two European games of a season.

If he plays, Cristiano Ronaldo will break Iker Casillas' record of 177 Champions League appearances. However, he has failed to score in four games against Villarreal in the competition – only against Lille and Benfica has he played as many times without finding the net.

Other fixtures:

Atalanta v Young Boys

30 – Atalanta's 30 Champions League goals have all been scored by non-Italians. They have netted more goals without any coming from a player of the nationality of the club he's representing in Champions League history. Young Boys have scored six times in the competition, but none has come from a Swiss player.

17 – David Wagner's side had 17 more shots than Manchester United in their opening-round win (19 vs 2). The last time a coach saw his team have that many more attempts than their opponents in his first game in charge was when Hansi Flick's Bayern Munich had 27 shots to Olympiacos' three in November 2019.

Zenit v Malmo

1 – Zenit have only taken one point from their previous eight group-stage matches and have lost four of their past seven home games in European competition.

8 – No team faced more shots on target than Malmo on matchday one of this campaign (eight against Juventus), while their xG against total of 3.5 was the most of any team in the opening round.

Salzburg v Lille

40 – This will be Lille's 40th Champions League match. They only won six of their first 39 - only Dinamo Zagreb (five) and FCSB (four) have ever won fewer than eight of their first 40 games in the competition.

35 – Although 10 of Salzburg's starting XI against Sevilla last time out were aged 24 or younger, they also included 35-year-old Andreas Ulmer, who was two years and 158 days older than his coach, Matthias Jaissle. It's the first time a player has been over two years older than their manager in a Champions League match since Naldo for Schalke in December 2018 under Domenico Tedesco (three years and two days older).

Wolfsburg v Sevilla

3.7 – Wolfsburg's previous six games against Spanish opponents in European competition have seen a total of 22 goals scored (11 for, 11 against), at an average of 3.7 per game.

7 – Sevilla are unbeaten in their past seven away games in this competition (W3 D4), their longest ever unbeaten run away from home in the European Cup/Champions League. They last suffered defeat on the road in October 2017, losing 5-1 away to Spartak Moscow.

Raphael Varane is convinced Manchester United have a squad that is set up for success despite some alarming recent results. 

The last fortnight has seen United lose their Champions League opener to Young Boys and crash out of the EFL Cup against West Ham prior to Saturday's shock Premier League defeat at home to Aston Villa. 

Expectations are high for United in 2021-22 after World Cup winner Varane joined from Real Madrid, while long-term target Jadon Sancho came in from Borussia Dortmund and Cristiano Ronaldo made his sensational return from Juventus. 

The pressure is back on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer going into Wednesday's match with Villarreal, but Varane is not overly worried as he sees the ingredients required for success within the club. 

"What I've been able to see is, with my team-mates, there's a lot of quality in our squad," Varane said as he sat alongside Solskjaer at the pre-match news conference. 

"We've got huge potential, I'm convinced of it. 

"We're working really hard, we're working well in training and improving all the time. Since the start of the season I think we're on a positive, upward curve. 

"There is talent, there's experience there as well. We've got everything you need to have that belief that you can do well. 

"I think that's a really key issue - we've got to believe in ourselves, be convinced that we can do it. We have got to be ambitious, believe in our own potential and then I think you can achieve things when you do that. 

"Everything is there in the right place. Each time we go into a game, we go on that track and keep on that road of positivity, think on how we can improve in little details. 

"We are on the right road." 

Varane may have to hold a weakened United defence together when they face Villarreal at Old Trafford. 

Fellow centre-back Harry Maguire is out for a few weeks with a calf injury, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka is suspended and Luke Shaw will be a late fitness check. 

United face a tough test, having failed to win in their five previous meetings with Villarreal, scoring just once in those contests. 

Villarreal are also unbeaten in their last 16 major European games (W12 D4) across the Europa League and Champions League, the longest current run of any side.  

Ahead of the key Group F clash, Varane agreed the pressure of playing for United can be compared with what he experienced during his time at Madrid. 

"Big clubs are always wanting a lot of their players, they expect a lot from the players," he said. 

"There are a lot of demands. It is always hard to make comparisons but I believe that it's fairly similar in terms of the hopes and demands and expectations at big clubs. 

"After a defeat or a draw, you know what it's like, it's always very negative when that happens.  

"The key is to keep up good runs of results and be positive. That pressure you kind of live with it at big clubs - there is always a lot of expectation, for sure." 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Cristiano Ronaldo almost guarantees goals as Manchester United prepare to face Villarreal in the Champions League. 

United have drawn their last five meetings with Villarreal, including the 2021 Europa League final which they went on to lose on penalties, while managing to score just once. 

Therefore, the Premier League club will be hoping the 36-year-old, who is the Champions League's all-time leading scorer, can help them halt that barren run. 

Ronaldo has never netted against Villarreal in four previous appearances against them for United in the competition, only facing Lille and Benfica as often without finding the net. 

However, he scored 13 times against the Spanish side during his time with Real Madrid, a factor Solskjaer hopes will work in United's favour. 

Ronaldo has four goals in as many games for United, though he failed to strike for the first time since re-joining the club in the Premier League defeat to Aston Villa last time out. 

"Of course Cristiano, you can almost say when he starts it is one guaranteed goal," Solskjaer said at his pre-match news conference when asked if Ronaldo could be the difference. 

"He has that record and he will score goals.  

"It is not going to be easy for us, but it is not going to be easy [for Villarreal] to play against Cristiano.  

"He has 13 goals in 15 against Villarreal [for Madrid] which means he enjoys playing against them.  

"He knows Raul Albiol, Pau Torres, top defenders. He is determined to score every time he is on the pitch. We have to play well to create chances." 

Ronaldo will break former Madrid team-mate Iker Casillas’ record for Champions League appearances if he plays, setting a new record of 178 games.  

It will be the Portugal international's first Champions League game at Old Trafford for United since April 2009 against Arsenal. He was directly involved in 12 goals in his final 15 home games in his first spell for the Red Devils in the competition, netting seven and providing five assists. 

With Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka out, and Luke Shaw's status uncertain, United are poised for a defensive reshuffle, so Solskjaer will hope Ronaldo and the attack can carry the load with his team under pressure after losing the Group F opener to Young Boys. 

The United manager added: "It is a group stage, there are only six games and you need 10 or maybe 12 points to go through. 

"We lost three points last time. If you end up with zero or one point after two games you need to win the last four games probably, so not a must-win game but it is a very important one." 

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been ruled out for Wednesday's Champions League match against Villarreal and could miss "a few weeks" of action with a calf injury.

Maguire and fellow defender Luke Shaw both suffered injuries in the disappointing 1-0 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa last time out.

And manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed the centre-back is set for a spell on the sidelines.

But he had more positive news on Shaw, who is in contention to face the Spanish side and does not look poised for a long spell out regardless of whether he is able to start the match at Old Trafford.

"Luke has been in on Tuesday, so I will give him a chance to be involved," Solskjaer said at his pre-match news conference.

"He did not train with the team [but] hopefully Luke can be involved.

"Harry is more or less definitely out, it doesn't look good. It is his calf, that might take a few weeks.

"Let's see how quickly he recovers. He wanted to play against Villarreal, he missed the last game [against them in the Europa League final]." 

With Aaron Wan-Bissaka already suspended after a red card in the opening Group F defeat against Young Boys, United could be forced to change three members of their regular back four alongside Raphael Varane.

Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles are among the candidates to come into the starting XI.

Solskjaer added: "We will have to make a few changes. You always look at the opposition and sometimes you need to make adjustments.

"But we look at ourselves mostly. The more injuries you get, you might need to do tactical changes. I have got Eric, Rapha, Victor. Alex and Diogo 100 per cent fit." 

The last five meetings in European competition between United and Villarreal have all ended in draws.

Four of those encounters were goalless, the exception being the 2021 Europa League final, which Villarreal won 11-10 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

"You expect what you have learned in the last few seasons," added Solskjaer. "We have played each other five times, every time has been a draw. 

"They are very well organised, technically very good. They can play from the back. It is hard to press against them, which I thought we did well in the final.

"Difficult to create chances against and we have to be better to create chances. It was an even final."

United go into the key game looking to end an unwelcome trend.

They are winless in their last seven matches against Spanish teams in the Champions League (D3 L4), with their last such victory coming against Real Sociedad back in October 2013 (1-0).

Bruno Fernandes expressed his delight in working with a proven winner in Raphael Varane as Manchester United look to challenge for trophies this term.

Varane completed a move to United in a deal worth a reported £42.7million (€50m) in August, following a decade at Real Madrid.

The France international boasts a World Cup medal from 2018, along with three LaLiga titles and four Champions League triumphs to his name from his time in the Spanish capital.

Since his debut against Wolves at the end of August, no player has played more Premier League minutes for the Red Devils than Varane (360) and Fernandes hailed the impact the centre-back could have on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

"Of course, he’s a winner," Fernandes told United Review. "Everyone knows that. He’s a nice guy and works really hard and is always pushing everyone to do better.

"I think he has a great mentality but, at the same time, we cannot forget the other players. Rapha [Varane] has been brilliant, but Victor [Lindelof] has had an amazing, brilliant beginning to the season.

"Eric [Bailly] comes later because of the Olympic Games, but he’s a player we trust a lot. 'H' [Harry Maguire] we already know is doing really well."

 

Indeed, Varane led from the front for Madrid last term as well in the absence of Sergio Ramos.

United's new acquisition ranked second for Los Blancos among defenders for duels won (110) and interceptions (36) in LaLiga, while recording 73 aerial successes – more than double the tally of any of his defensive colleagues.

And Fernandes is looking forward for the leadership aspects Varane will bring to United, who currently sit fourth in the top flight after losing to Aston Villa last Saturday.

"Rapha is really important for us, and has been really important for us," he continued. "But the main point is everyone being okay to do the best that they can.

"In football, we all have different qualities, and Rapha has different qualities to Victor, H, Eric and Phil [Jones], but they can all add different things.

"Still he [Varane] is a little bit shy in some ways, because it’s the beginning for him at United, but I think he’s a leader. I think he can help in that part of the game."

Manchester United are in the market for a midfielder. 

With a long-rumoured target looking unlikely, United are shifting their gaze from one England midfielder to another. 

Could they prise another up-and-coming star from Leeds United? 

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SHIFT SIGHTS TO PHILLIPS

Kalvin Phillips is Manchester United's latest target in an effort to shore up the midfield, the Daily Star reports. 

The Leeds star has gained favour at Old Trafford as United have given up hopes of adding West Ham's Declan Rice thanks to his reported £90million price tag.

Phillips, 25, is under contract at Elland Road through 2024 and reportedly is valued at £60m. 

 

ROUND-UP

– Barcelona are still in pursuit of Matthijs de Ligt and are prepared to offer Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Memphis Depay to Juventus in a deal for the Netherlands defender, who is valued at €75m, according to Calciomercato.

– Franck Kessie has turned down Milan's latest contract offer and is eyeing a move to the Premier League, 90min reports, with United and Liverpool said to be interested. 

– Juan Mata is considering a move away from Old Trafford in January due to a lack of playing time this season, the Manchester Evening News reports. 

– Everton are considering loan deals with Real Madrid for Isco and Luka Jovic, claims Defensa Central.

– West Brom teen Reyes Cleary is drawing attention from Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim, says the Daily Mail. 

– Steven Nzonzi is nearing a move from Roma to Al Rayyan, Calciomercato reports. 

Manchester City made something of a statement in their 1-0 win over potential title challengers Chelsea on Saturday, whereas Manchester United seemed to take another step back as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign stuttered again.

But Solskjaer is certainly not the only top-flight manager feeling the heat – Nuno Espirito Santo's honeymoon period as Tottenham boss is well and truly over, with the Portuguese now among the favourites to be the first Premier League boss sacked this season following a 3-1 defeat in the north London derby.

Without any further ado, here are some of the more curious facts and stats from across the Premier League this past weekend…

City defence putting the 'guard' in Guardiola

It may not have been the thrill ride neutrals were likely hoping for, but City's 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge was another impressive indicator of just how good Pep Guardiola's team is as a unit.

Of course, they won the Premier League only a few months ago, so saying City are "good" probably won't cut it for analysis – but what is really making people sit up and take note at the moment is how their unity and cohesion is translating into defensive solidity.

City have conceded just one goal in their six Premier League games this term, the fewest they've ever shipped at this stage of any league campaign.

Let's not forget that Chelsea had been widely praised for their own start to 2021-22, yet on Saturday they were prevented from having a single shot on target in a home league game since November 2012, which coincidentally was also against City.

But even more impressive from City's perspective was the fact Chelsea's expected goals (xG) value was just 0.2, the worst they've recorded in a home Premier League game since Opta records began in 2008-09.

While Chelsea fans will understandably be frustrated, it would seem their struggles on Saturday were more down to City being in a groove defensively.

They've only faced six shots on target this season, a record no Premier League has bettered over the first six matches in a campaign since at least 2003-04. If they keep this up, the title will surely be staying at the Etihad Stadium.

Fernandes' penalty miss not Man Utd's big issue

It was another day to forget for United on Saturday as they lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa.

They were presented with a great opportunity to equalise in second-half stoppage time, but Bruno Fernandes sent his penalty over the crossbar.

Much of the focus afterwards was on Fernandes and his miss, though it would be unfair to pin the blame on him – after all, of the 23 spot-kicks he has taken since his United debut, he's only failed to convert two.

In the same time period, Cristiano Ronaldo – seemingly Fernandes' main penalty rival now – has taken 22 and missed four. This is not a problem that United need to dwell on much.

Instead, they'd be wise to look into their glaring tactical inefficiencies, with Solskjaer's team sorely lacking identity, cohesion and a defined playing style. Too often they are bailed out by moments of individual brilliance, which is an unsustainable approach to solely rely on in a title challenge.

Against Villa, those instances of individual excellence never arrived, despite United mustering 28 shots. That was the most efforts attempted by United without scoring in a home league game since October 2016 (38 shots in 0-0 draw with Burnley).

They have now conceded in each of their past eight league games at Old Trafford, their worst such run in 49 years, and lost three successive home matches (all competitions) for the first time since 1962.

Norwich set new benchmark for worst start

With every match that passes, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to become ever dimmer for Norwich City.

A 2-0 defeat at Everton on Saturday leaves Norwich pointless and with a -14 goal difference after six matches – that makes their start to the season the worst after six matches in Premier League history.

Only twice before had a Premier League side begun a campaign without a single point from six games, the last of which was Frank de Boer's infamous Crystal Palace team in 2017-18 – the Dutchman was sacked after the fourth match in that sequence.

Norwich have at least been a little more patient than Palace, with Daniel Farke's record of overseeing two promotions seemingly ensuring he retains some good will at the club, even if he now has the highest loss percentage (75 per cent, 33/44) of any manager to take charge of at least 20 games in the Premier League.

Most would already consider Norwich to be doomed for relegation, though perhaps there is some reason for optimism.

There have only been nine teams to start a top-flight season (prior to 2021-22) with six or more successive losses, but four of them – including Palace – have avoided relegation.

Vardy joins exclusive club

Jamie Vardy ended up having a peculiar day when Leicester City drew 2-2 with Burnley on Saturday, the former England striker scoring three of the four goals.

It was his own goal that gave Burnley an early lead, while he also got both Leicester equalisers, including one late in the day.

That was his first own goal ever in 360 appearances for Leicester, while he became the first player to net at both ends for the club in a single Premier League game.

It's happened to some of the best, though. He joins an illustrious list containing 11 others who have scored at least 100 goals but also put past their own goalkeeper, with Harry Kane, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney among them.

On top of that, Vardy is now only one of five players in Premier League history to score at least twice at the right end and an own goal in the same game after John Barnes (Liverpool v Spurs 1995), Niall Quinn (Sunderland v Charlton Athletic 2001), Rooney (Man Utd v Stoke City 2012) and Tammy Abraham (Chelsea v Wolves 2019).

But he is still doing more than his fair share at the other end, his brace in this game taking him to eight goal involvements in his past seven league games, which is 89 per cent (8/9) of Leicester's goals in that time.

Bad omens stacking up for Nuno

After three wins from his first three Premier League games in charge, everything was looking rather rosy for Tottenham boss Nuno.

Three matches and three defeats later, some will doubt whether he'll still be in charge this time next month, let alone this time next season.

Sunday's north London derby was his 10th in charge of Spurs and the 3-1 loss made him the first manager to lose as many as four of his first 10 matches at the helm of the club since Glenn Hoddle in 2001.

Hoddle was also the last Spurs boss to conceded at least three goals in three consecutive league games in September 2003, and he was sacked after that run.

Nuno will probably make it to the next match but the last team to begin a season with three wins and then lost the next three (Everton, 1993-94) finish as low down as 17th.

His future arguably rests on getting something out of Kane, who's failed to score in five straight league games for the first time since August 2016, but things aren't looking great given Spurs' 35 open-play shots is the second fewest in the division and their expected goals (xG) total is just 3.2, only higher than three teams.

While a lack of quality chances might usually be masked by Kane's excellence, he's not bailing them out any longer – if that continues, it's difficult to see Nuno keeping his job for the long term.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford hopes to be cleared to resume light contact training as he steps up his recovery from shoulder surgery.

The England international has not played for the Red Devils this season after undergoing an operation on a long-standing shoulder issue in July.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stated that he does not expect Rashford to be back in contention until after the international break next month.

Rashford provided an update with a Twitter post on Monday.

He posted: "Happy Monday. I see the doctor on Friday for a consultation. All being well, I will get the green to join in with contact training again."

Rashford then added: "*light* I suppose I was so happy to tell everybody I missed a word."

United suffered their first Premier League defeat of the season on Saturday, Bruno Fernandes blazing a late penalty over the crossbar in a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer's side face Villarreal in the Champions League on Wednesday before a home clash with Everton next weekend, then travel to Leicester City on October 16 following the international break.

Is the end nigh for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Old Trafford?
 
Wan-Bisakka joined Manchester United in a big-money deal in 2019 but the Red Devils are reportedly ready to replace the Englishman.
 
A talented RB Leipzig defender could be the team's next right-back.

 

TOP STORY – NEW RIGHT-BACK SET FOR OLD TRAFFORD?

Manchester United are eyeing RB Leipzig right-back Nordi Mukiele, according Fichajes.net.

United are reportedly keen to sign a replacement after losing patience with Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is believed to be interested in Leipzig's 23-year-old star Mukiele.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Milan and Juventus are interested in United States and Dallas sensation Ricardo Pepi. The 18-year-old has also been linked with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

- Inter are willing to let Alexis Sanchez leave the Serie A champions, reports Calciomercato. Marseille, Real Betis and Sevilla are among the possible options for the 32-year-old Chilean.

Tottenham are weighing up a move for Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins, per Fichajes. It comes amid continued uncertainty over Spurs star Harry Kane, who has been linked with Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus as well as United.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo is showing no signs of slowing down, despite his advancing years.

But the evergreen 36-year-old is still planning for life once he decides to call it quits.

A coaching career in Manchester is believed to be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO DOESN'T WANT TO LEAVE OLD TRAFFORD

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to stay at Manchester United beyond his retirement, according to The Sun.

Ronaldo is back at United for a second spell after re-joining from Juventus before the transfer window closed, having left Old Trafford in 2009.

The 36-year-old, however, is already planning for life after football as he eyes a coaching role with United's youth team in order to work with his son Cristiano Jr.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Chelsea, Liverpool and Bayern Munich are interested in Juventus star Federico Chiesa, who has also been linked with Borussia Dortmund.

- Chelsea are preparing to make a big-money move for Juve centre-back Matthijs de Ligt after missing out on Sevilla star Jules Kounde, reports Diario AS.

- The Daily Mail says Arsenal and Tottenham are eyeing a January loan move for Barcelona misfit Philippe Coutinho.

- Staying in London and the Mirror claims Tottenham are considering an approach for Juve's Dejan Kulusevski.

Atletico Madrid are hoping to sign Fabian Ruiz from Napoli, according to Calciomercato. Determined to prise the Spain international, LaLiga champions Atletico could use Marcos Llorente as part of the deal. Fabian has also been linked with Real Madrid and Barca.

- Per Corriere della Serra, United, Chelsea and Juve are among the heavyweight clubs plotting a move for disgruntled Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who has found himself on the bench since joining on a free transfer.

 

Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes issued an apology following his injury-time penalty miss in the shock Premier League defeat to Aston Villa, promising to bounce back amid the club's poor run of form.

United were upstaged 1-0 by visiting Villa at Old Trafford on Saturday after Fernandes blazed a last-gasp spot-kick over the crossbar.

Villa's Kortney Hause looked to have gone from hero to zero when he followed an 88th-minute headed goal at one end with a handball at the other five minutes later.

However, Fernandes – taking the penalty ahead of superstar team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo – fired over the crossbar as United suffered their first Premier League defeat of the season and third loss in four games across all competitions.

Fernandes missed from the penalty spot for only the second time in his 23 attempts for United in all competitions and for the first time since October 2020 against Newcastle United in the Premier League.

"Nobody is more frustrated and disappointed than me for missing the penalty and the consequent defeat," Fernandes wrote via social media.

"I've always assumed my responsibilities and I've always embraced them under pressure in moments like this. Today, I failed. But I took a step forward and faced the challenge with the same ambition and responsibility as when, on the many other occasions, the ball ended up in the net.

"Criticism and contrasting opinions are a big part of football. I've learned to live with it, even using them to drive me on, and I consider it all a very important part of my commitment to never stop trying to improve and to become the best player I can possibly be, for me and the team.

"Today I once again took the responsibility given to me almost since I joined United and I will take it again without any fear or dread whenever called upon.

"The most important thing for me is to win together and I'll always do everything I can to help my team-mates and the club to be the best we can be.

"I'm a player who leaves everything on the pitch, with great desire and commitment. And that's what I'll continue to do.

"Thank you for all your support after the final whistle! Hearing you chanting my name in the stadium was very emotional… I will come back stronger for me, because these are the standards I hold myself to, but most of all for my team-mates and our fans who have always supported us."

United are fourth in the Premier League – a point behind leaders Liverpool through six matches.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United have conceded in each of their last eight league games at Old Trafford, their longest top-flight run without a clean sheet on home soil since February 1972 (also eight games).

United mustered a total of 28 shots without scoring, last attempting more in a home Premier League fixture without finding the back of the net in October 2016 against Burnley (38 shots in a goalless draw).

Manchester City showed exactly why they are the reigning champions as they overcame previously unbeaten Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.  

As for neighbours Manchester United, they suffered a damaging 1-0 home defeat to Aston Villa, who were good value for the victory, while Liverpool were held to a 3-3 draw by Brentford, despite another record-breaking goal from Mohamed Salah. 

Elsewhere, Michail Antonio's fine start to the season continued as his late goal helped West Ham overcome Leeds United. 

Using Opta data, Stats Perform looks at the key statistics from Saturday's most notable fixtures. 

Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City: Jesus seals record-breaking victory for Guardiola

City bounced back from last weekend's surprise 0-0 draw with Southampton by ending Chelsea's unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign. 

Gabriel Jesus scored the only goal of the game, the Brazilian becoming the fifth player to score 20 or more match-winning goals for the club in the Premier League, after Sergio Aguero (48), Raheem Sterling (23), Yaya Toure (22) and David Silva (20). 

It was Jesus' 52nd Premier League goal, with City never losing a game in the competition in which he has scored in (P44 W42 D2) – extending the record for most games scored in without ever losing for a single side. 

The victory also allowed Pep Guardiola to set a new club record for most wins by a manager, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss moving past Les McDowall with a 221st victory. 

Chelsea, meanwhile, have lost their last two home Premier League games against the defending champions (also 0-2 vs Liverpool last season), after going unbeaten in each of the previous 13 such matches (W7 D6). 

Manchester United 0-1 Aston Villa: Hause secures memorable win at Old Trafford

Manchester United suffered their first defeat of the Premier League season as Aston Villa sealed a first top-flight win over the Red Devils since December 2009. 

Kortney Hause grabbed the decisive goal in the 88th minute, the latest winner scored by an away team at Old Trafford in the Premier League since Patrick van Aanholt secured victory for Crystal Palace in the 93rd minute in August 2019. 

That goal meant United have now conceded in each of their past eight league games at Old Trafford, their longest top-flight run without a clean sheet on home soil since February 1972 (also eight games). 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side did have the chance to seal a point in stoppage time, but Bruno Fernandes blazed his spot-kick over the crossbar. That was only the Portugal international's second penalty miss in his 23 attempts for the club, the other coming against Newcastle United in the Premier League in October 2020. 

Brentford 3-3 Liverpool: Reds held by brilliant Bees

Premier League newcomers Brentford secured a memorable point against Jurgen Klopp's men in a pulsating match. 

The result marked the first time Liverpool had conceded three goals in a top-flight away game against a newly promoted side since January 2016 against Norwich City (a 5-4 win), while Brentford scored three goals in a top-flight game for the first time since January 1947 (4-1 against Wolves). 

Salah scored his 100th Premier League goal for the Reds, reaching that figure in 151 games – fewer than any other player in Liverpool's history. 

Indeed, only Alan Shearer for Blackburn (124 games), Harry Kane for Tottenham (138) and Sergio Aguero for Man City (147) have reached a century of Premier League goals for a single club in fewer appearances than Salah. 

Brentford have enjoyed an impressive start in the top tier, though. Their eight Premier League goals have been scored by seven different players – excluding own goals, only Chelsea (10) and Manchester City (nine) have had more different scorers in the competition this term. 

Leeds United 1-2 West Ham: Hosts suffer late Antonio hammer blow

David Moyes' side left it late to wrap up back-to-back wins at Elland Road for the first time in their history. 

Raphinha had put the hosts ahead early on with his fifth Premier League goal from outside the penalty area, the joint-most of any player since he made his debut in the competition in October 2020, tied with Son Heung-min. 

A Junior Firpo own goal pulled the Hammers level, before Antonio sealed all three points in the 90th minute. 

That goal meant Antonio became just the third player to score a 90th-minute winner against Leeds at Elland Road in the Premier League, after Nolberto Solano for Newcastle in December 2001 and Scott Parker for Charlton in December 2002. 

David de Gea says Manchester United can have no excuses for their surprise defeat to Aston Villa, despite boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arguing the visitors' winning goal should have been ruled out.

Kortney Hause scored an 88th-minute goal at Old Trafford to inflict a second successive 1-0 home defeat on United, who missed a glorious chance to at least rescue a point when Bruno Fernandes missed a stoppage-time penalty.

The 28 shots United attempted was their most in a league game without scoring for five years, but Solskjaer felt his side were hard done by as an offside Ollie Watkins was standing close to David de Gea when Hause headed in.

Rather than blame the officials and VAR, though, De Gea accepted that United should have done more to pick up the three points that would have seen them end Saturday top of the Premier League.

"It's a very disappointing day for us," De Gea told MUTV. "But I think there are no excuses today. 

"We were playing at home with confidence and if we want to win big trophies like the Premier League, we need to win these types of games."

United have now conceded in each of their last eight league games at Old Trafford, their longest such run in the top flight since February 1972 (also eight games).

While Solskjaer was upset Hause's winner was allowed to stand, De Gea was less incensed.

"We conceded from a set-piece and I saw the replay and probably it's offside. [Watkins] was very close to me. Again that happens," he said.

"It's a hard one to take. Now we have to be ready for the next one."

Villa's victory was their first at Old Trafford since December 2009 and boss Dean Smith insisted his side were good value for the three points.

"We have suffered a lot as Villa fans in this stadium and have been very closely linked over the past few years," he said. 

"People will look at it and say it's a big win, but for me it's more of a big accomplishment. I thought we deserved the win. We stood determined."

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