Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes success in the Premier League will be the ultimate barometer of whether Manchester United are "back".

The 20-time English champions have not lifted a trophy since Jose Mourinho led them to EFL Cup and Europa League glory in 2016-17.

United are back in Europa League action against Milan at San Siro on Thursday, with a place in the last-16 on the line after a 1-1 draw in last week's home leg.

Solskjaer, who succeeded Mourinho midway through the 2018-19 season, would love to bring silverware back to the club he played for in such decorated fashion.

However, he feels United's position in second place in the Premier League – and as the only team to beat leaders Manchester City in their past 32 matches – stands as the best measure of their progress, irrespective of whether there is an new addition to the Old Trafford trophy room at the end of the campaign.

"I've been here two-and-a-half of those [trophy-less] years now. I felt a big rebuild had to be made," he told a pre-match news conference.

"It's in the league position where you see if there's been any progress. That's the bread and butter of the season. You see how capable you are, coping with ups and downs.

"A cup competition can give you a trophy but sometimes it's more of an ego thing – we've finally won something!

"We need to see progress and if we progress and perform well enough the trophies will end up at the club again.

"But it's not like a trophy will say that we're back. It's about the gradual progression and consistency of being in and around the top of the league.

"Sometimes a cup competition can hide the fact that you're still struggling a little bit."

One United player who is struggling is Anthony Martial, who will be absent as he recovers from the hip injury he suffered during last week's game against Milan.

David de Gea is back in contention following paternity leave, although Dean Henderson has been Solskjaer's first choice for Europa League matches this season.

Edinson Cavani, Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek are all back in contention after returning to training this week, although Solskjaer did not wish to discuss speculation over the future of the latter midfielder after an underwhelming maiden campaign at Old Trafford to date.

"There's always speculation here," he said.

"As we've said they've been involved in the training session, so let's see if there's any reaction or not.

"Donny has been working really hard to get back available for the final stages of the season."

Loanee Diogo Dalot is set to feature once more for Milan against his parent club but Solskjaer insists the Portuguese full-back has a future at United.

"Yeah, the plan was always for Diogo this season to get fit. He never managed to be fit for a long spell when he was here, unfortunately," he explained.

"Now he's kept fit all season. He's playing at a big club with big expectations and a great history. It's been a good year for him.

"He's our player and we're looking forward to getting him back."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back in Milan's squad to face Manchester United but Stefano Pioli is yet to determine his involvement and admitted "he does not have 90 minutes in his legs".

Sweden great Ibrahimovic, who on Tuesday confirmed he is to come out of international retirement, suffered a thigh injury in the 2-1 Serie A win at Roma on February 28 and has not featured since.

It meant Ibrahimovic missed the Rossoneri's Europa League last-16 first-leg tie against his former club at Old Trafford last week, in which Milan secured a useful away goal in a 1-1 draw.

However, Ibrahimovic has trained for an injury-hit Milan this week and is in line to play a part in a crucial second leg at San Siro.

Ismael Bennacer is also back involved but head coach Pioli still has several other issues to contend with.

"Ibra and Bennacer are recovered, they are important for us and they are among the squad," Pioli said.

"For the others, [Davide] Calabria, [Rafael] Leao, [Alessio] Romagnoli and [Ante] Rebic, we have to wait for tomorrow morning. We'll take a few more hours to decide.

"His [Ibrahimovic's] return is important, he will not be able to have 90 minutes in his legs and tomorrow we will see what to do."

Ibrahimovic has 16 goals across all competitions this season and in United faces a team with who he enjoyed EFL Cup and Europa League success under Jose Mourinho – although the latter final he missed out on due to a serious knee injury.

United now have Ibrahimovic's former Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Edinson Cavani among their ranks, a player who claimed the Swede's status as the club's all-time leading scorer.

Asked which striker is better, Pioli diplomatically replied: "Ibra is a champion. I have never coached Cavani, he is a great player, but I hold on to Ibra."

Manchester United fans can dream of once again seeing their team win the Premier League in the near future, according to a study conducted across the top five European leagues.

The CIES Football Observatory looked at teams in the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 and ranked the Red Devils first for "sustainable squad management".

The study, which is based "on the criteria of age, length of stay and remaining contract duration", places Spanish sides Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao second and third, with Tottenham and Manchester City also in the top five.

CIES concluded that, based on the findings, United fans "can be relatively confident in the ability of their team to qualify without too much difficulty for the group stage of the Champions League over the next seasons, and eventually lift again the Premier League trophy".

The study itself admits "football is not an exact science", but just how have United compared in some key metrics in the top five European leagues this season?

Well, their 89 goals across all competitions is a firm fifth, though some way short of the 109 registered by Champions League holders Bayern Munich. Tottenham (103), Manchester City (101) and Barcelona (94) are all above Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men.

United are fifth for shots in total (630) but third for shots on target (263) behind only Barca (296) and City (273).

In what is perhaps a sign of their counter-attacking strength, United have scored 10 goals from fast breaks this season – a joint-high with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

However, their 58 team assists is only the eighth best, while 11 teams have more Opta-defined 'big chances' created than United's 82 .

It appears United, who are still in the hunt for FA Cup and Europa League glory this term, certainly have cause for optimism in the coming years as they aim to win a first Premier League title since 2013.

Manchester United will go all guns blazing into a pivotal week in their season as they pursue silverware, says Nemanja Matic.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side head to Milan for the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday, with an FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City at the weekend.

With the Premier League title surely heading across Manchester to City's Etihad Stadium, United's hopes of success hinge on how they fare over these two crunch clashes.

A 1-1 draw at Old Trafford left their European fate hanging in the balance, but Matic insists they will look to get on the front foot at San Siro.

"We are coming to the end of the season so the quarter-finals and semi-finals are waiting for us," Matic told United's official website.

"We have to show our character, our quality, and we have to show that we are ready to win some titles.

"We will play our football because we are not a team that only defends. We always want to score more goals. I think we will play our football the same way we are always trying. 

"We train every day and we will see. We are ready to compete and we have 90 minutes to show our quality."

Speaking about the challenge facing them against Stefano Pioli's side, Matic underlined his respect for the Serie A high-flyers and revealed he was looking forward to playing at San Siro.

"Now we know more about them. We know the way they play. We have to be wary that they are a top team," he said.

"They play good football, they have a good coach and it's going to be an interesting game. It's going to be hard for us again, but we are confident and we will try to win the game.

"I never had the opportunity to play at the San Siro, this is my first time, so I am looking forward to that. 

"It's an iconic stadium as everyone knows and we are happy that we can go there and compete with them again."

Cristiano Ronaldo is more likely to return to Manchester United than Real Madrid, while Chelsea are desperate to land Erling Haaland.

Ronaldo, 36, is out of contract at Juventus in 2022 and his future has again become a talking point.

Two of his former clubs, United and Madrid, have been linked with the Portugal star.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD RETURN MORE LIKELY THAN MADRID FOR RONALDO

A return to Manchester United is more likely than Real Madrid for Juventus star Ronaldo, according to Tuttosport.

The report says Madrid president Florentino Perez has not opened the door for a Ronaldo return, due to the club's interest in Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.

Ronaldo starred at United between 2003 and 2009 before shining in Madrid for nine seasons.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea look desperate to land Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. The Daily Star reports Chelsea are prepared to again do business with Haaland's agent, Mino Raiola, in a bid to sign the forward. Chelsea fell out with Raiola after Romelu Lukaku joined Manchester United over them in 2017.

- Could Paulo Dybala and Antoine Griezmann be set to swap places? CalcioMercato reports there is an idea for Dybala to leave Juventus and join Barcelona, with Griezmann heading to Turin.

- Liverpool seem set to strengthen ahead of next season. Eurosport reports the Premier League champions are thinking about a move for Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge.

- Manchester United have reportedly received a transfer boost. The Sun reports Sevilla have lowered their asking price for defender Jules Kounde to around £50million (€58.4m).

Manchester United have secured highly-rated youngster Anthony Elanga on a new "long-term" contract.

The 18-year-old, who has spent six years at the club, was named their youth team player of the year for last season, an award previously won by Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.

The winger has spent 2020-21 with Neil Wood's under-23s side and continued to impress, with eight goals and three assists in 16 appearances.

A Sweden youth international, he is the son of Joseph Elanga, the former Malmo and Cameroon defender who played at the 1998 World Cup.

Former United captain Gary Neville described the young Elanga as "a nightmare to play against" after he impressed in a 6-1 thrashing of Salford City in the EFL Trophy last September.

Exact details of his new contract were not specified in the announcement from United.

The news of Elanga's deal came a day after United also announced a new contract for promising young midfielder Hannibal Mejbri.

Where will Erling Haaland be playing in 2021-22?

That is the question everyone is asking as clubs queue up to sign the Borussia Dortmund goalscoring machine.

Manchester United are reportedly determined to prise the Norway international to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET SIGHTS ON HAALAND

Manchester United have settled on Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland as their centre forward priority in the transfer market, according to Manchester Evening News.

United tried to sign Haaland before he joined Dortmund from Austrian champions Salzburg last year.

Eyeing a long-term replacement for Romelu Lukaku, with United veteran Edinson Cavani linked to Boca Juniors after signing a one-year deal at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and football director John Murtough have agreed to target Haaland.

Haaland has also been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, LiverpoolManchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

It comes after United reportedly received little encouragement of the possibility of signing Tottenham star Harry Kane.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has an agreement in place to sign a new one-year deal with the LaLiga champions.

- Arsenal are keen to keep Martin Odegaard – on loan from Madrid – beyond the 2020-21 season, reports the Daily Mail.

- The Daily star says Donny van de Beek wants to quit United. Van de Beek only joined from Ajax at the start of the season but he has been unable to cement a spot in the starting XI.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel wants to keep Antonio Rudiger as the Blues seek to avoid losing him on a free transfer in 2022 by offering a new contract, reports the Daily Mail.

Manchester United have secured talented youngster Hannibal Mejbri to a new long-term contract.

The 18-year-old France youth international joined in a reported £9million deal from Monaco in 2019 and has quickly established himself at the club.

Mejbri has already been deemed to have outgrown the Under-18s and is a regular for the club's Under-23s, scoring four goals and registering seven assists this term.

In February, Mejbri and Under-23s team-mate Shole Shoretire were promoted to the senior squad for the rest of the season, only for the former to sustain an injury soon after.

Therefore, Mejbri is likely to return to action first with the second team before making his debut for the senior side once he has recovered.

But having signed a new deal and seen Shoretire – who also recently agreed fresh terms – make his first-team bow, Mejbri's introduction to top-flight football cannot be far off.

United have not confirmed the length of Mejbri's contract, but he was already signed until 2024.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to win a trophy this season to demonstrate how Manchester United have made real progress, according to Gary Neville. 

United further enhanced their chances of a top-four finish in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over fifth-placed West Ham on Sunday, courtesy of an own goal from Craig Dawson in the second half. 

The victory, following on from their derby triumph over runaway leaders Manchester City a week earlier, sees Solskjaer's squad sit second in the table. 

However, former Red Devils defender Neville feels finishing as the closest team to Pep Guardiola's title winners is not enough, citing the importance of securing silverware ahead of a potentially pivotal transfer window. 

United have an FA Cup quarter-final at Leicester City coming up, though before then they face Milan in the second leg of a delicately balanced Europa League tie, the teams having drawn 1-1 at Old Trafford last Thursday following a dramatic late equaliser from the Italian side. 

"The FA Cup has become critical to this football club this season. The League Cup and FA Cup has been the starting point for Manchester United teams over the last 15 to 20 years," Neville said on his podcast for Sky Sports. 

"If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going to be successful at this club, he not only needs to finish second in the Premier League, but he has to win a trophy. That would be seen as real progress. Then you're attracting players next season to try and catch Manchester City. 

"I think it's a brilliant week. Beating Manchester City the way they did, and winning on Sunday.

"If you'd have said to Solskjaer at the start of the week you'll beat Manchester City, beat West Ham and draw 1-1 with Milan, he'd have snapped your hand off. Going into that Manchester derby, they were under real pressure."

As for the fight to finish in the top four in the league, Neville feels the current situation – with Leicester and Chelsea sitting behind the two Manchester clubs – will be the same at the end of the campaign. 

West Ham only sit three points behind Chelsea with a game in hand over their London rivals, while those below them – Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool – have failed to show signs they can put a run of results together to mount a genuine challenge. 

"Leicester are the one team you'd be most nervous about, because they did blow up last season. But I think there's just enough this year," the ex-England international said. 

"I don't see West Ham catching Leicester, and the teams below them are so inconsistent and seem to be all over the place. I'm not sure which one of them is going to put a run together.” 

Cristiano Ronaldo's future is dominating headlines.

After Juventus crashed out of the Champions League last 16, Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Turin.

Could a return to the Spanish capital be on the cards?

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO ON MADRID'S RADAR

Real Madrid are interested in bringing Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club, according to the frontpage of Monday's Diario AS.

Ronaldo – Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer – left Los Blancos for Juventus in 2018 but his future with the Serie A champions is far from certain following their Champions League elimination.

Diario AS says Ronaldo represents an easier and quicker target than Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

Marca, though, insists Ronaldo's possible return does not alter Madrid's objectives as they weigh up either Haaland – heavily linked to Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, Juve, PSG and Liverpool – or Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- TodoFichajes reports United will turn their attention to Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres if they miss out on star Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, whose contract expires at season's end.

Chelsea and United want to sign Rennes star Eduardo Camavinga, claims Diario AS. Camavinga has been tipped to join Madrid, while PSG have also emerged as a possible destination.

Bayern Munich are in danger of losing head coach Hansi Flick, claims Bild. Flick has been named as a possible replacement for Germany boss Joachim Low. It comes as Bild says Flick's relationship with Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic is worse than previously known, while RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann has reportedly been sounded out.

- Football Insider reports Barca's move for Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is "95 per cent done". The Dutchman is set to become a free agent.

City are set to make an approach for Sporting CP left-back and Madrid target Nuno Mendes, says Diario AS.

- ESPN claims Barca are tracking Rapid Vienna sensation Yusuf Demir. The 17-year-old is also reportedly wanted by City, United, Dortmund and Bayern.

- Ligue 1 side Monaco are interested in a two-year loan deal for Bayern goalkeeper Alexander Nubel, according to Kicker. Monaco are led by former Bayern head coach Niko Kovac.

All eyes were on the Emirates Stadium on Sunday for the north London derby and there was a lot of comforting familiarity on display.

A red card, Erik Lamela attempting a rabona (and scoring it!) instead of using his right foot, and, of course, Spurs throwing away a lead.

Elsewhere, Manchester United remained on course to finish second as they ensured David Moyes' continues to dread returning to his former employers, while Sheffield United's first game since Chris Wilder's exit arguably proved just how good the Yorkshireman was as manager.

There was also a potentially vital win near the bottom of the table for Brighton and Hove Albion, and we have taken a look at all the best Opta facts from those games.

Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham: Spurs surrender once again in a north London derby

Lamela's opening goal will be shown in north London derby highlight reels for years – his rabona finish was so good, so audacious.

But even with that being the opening goal, it never really looked like being decisive, so underwhelming were Spurs otherwise from an attacking perspective – the fact they went on to lose meant they have now dropped 45 points from winning positions against Arsenal in the Premier League, the most of any team against a specific opponent in the competition.

After Martin Odegaard levelled, becoming just the fourth Gunners player to score in his first top-flight north London derby, Alexandre Lacazette's second-half penalty secured Arsenal the points.

It was Spurs' ninth league defeat of the season, the joint-most Jose Mourinho has ever suffered in a single season, and Lamela's sending off certainly did not help their situation.

In collecting two bookings, he became only the fifth substitute in Premier League history to score and be sent off in the same game.

His goal will be the enduring moment from the match, but in the grand scheme it was meaningless for a Spurs side in increasing danger of missing out on the top four.

Manchester United 1-0 West Ham: Moyes' Old Trafford misery continues

It was not an occasion for the neutral at Old Trafford as Man United scraped an unconvincing win thanks to an own goal by Craig Dawson.

The defeat means only Harry Redknapp (15) has managed more Premier League games away to United without winning than former Red Devils boss Moyes (14 – four draws, 10 losses).

The Hammers' difficulties in front of goal were partly to blame as none of their seven attempts were on target, the highest number of shots they have had in a league game without a single accurate once since August 2013 (nine shots).

On the flipside, Man United kept a fourth straight Premier League clean sheet for the first time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the club last achieving that feat in January 2018 under Mourinho.

They have also lost just one of their previous 23 league outings having suffered three losses in their opening six games this term.

Leicester City 5-0 Sheffield United: Blades suffer bruising defeat as they venture into the Wilder-less wilderness

Less than 24 hours on from confirmation of Wilder's "mutual" departure as Blades manager, many were likely left wondering why the club did not fight harder to keep him.

While seemingly doomed for relegation anyway, Wilder retained significant respect for the job he presided over at Bramall Lane, and Sunday's result showed why.

With interim boss Paul Heckingbottom taking over for the first time, he has already shipped five goals in a single game as many times as Wilder did in 227 matches (a 5-4 defeat to Fulham in 2017). Their former manager was never beaten by more than a three-goal margin.

Heckingbottom also became only the third manager in Premier League history to lose by five or more goals in his first game, but this should not take credit away from Brendan Rodgers' ferocious Foxes.

Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first hat-trick and also netted in three successive top-flight games for the first time. Jamie Vardy set up two of those goals and in doing so became only the sixth player to register 100 or more goal involvements in the Premier League after turning 30.

Those to achieve this before him were Teddy Sheringham, Frank Lampard, Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and Gianfranco Zola – esteemed company indeed.

Southampton 1-2 Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls remember their shooting boots as Saints sink

Much has been said and written about Brighton's woes in front of goal this term, but they got the job done here.

Their 2-1 win at St Mary's is only the second time in 2021 that they have scored twice or more in a single Premier League game – the other instance was their 3-3 draw with Wolves in their first match of the year.

This was their 11th outing since.

The win took Graham Potter's men three points clear of the relegation zone and just four behind Saints, who are in a difficult spot.

It is 10 defeats in the past 12 Premier League games now for Southampton, with Ralph Hasenhuttl coming under increasing pressure – their previous 10 losses came across a 38-match spell.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes to have four or five players back from injury when Manchester United face Milan in the Europa League last-16 second leg on Thursday.

United manager Solskjaer expects forwards Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial to be fit, the former having missed seven of United's last eight matches and the latter having limped out of the 1-1 first-leg draw against Milan with a hip problem.

Donny van de Beek, who has been sidelined since February 22, may also be ready to return, while Paul Pogba – who last played in the 3-3 Premier League draw with Everton on February 6 – could also be back in the squad.

With Marcus Rashford having returned from ankle trouble in the 1-0 Premier League win over West Ham on Sunday and David de Gea now free to return after self-isolating, United could look in much better shape for the return fixture at San Siro, where the tie is poised at 1-1.

"Injury-wise, I hope that we have four or five players back for that game," Solskjaer said after the win over West Ham. "We hope, or it's very likely that Edinson and Anthony are fit. Donny, hopefully as well. Paul even might make the trip. David is back from isolation.

"That's more numbers. Today, we even had two goalkeepers on the bench, so we need them back."

United's hard-fought win over the Hammers, earned through a second-half own goal from Craig Dawson, lifted the Red Devils back into second in the Premier League table.

While they are 14 points behind leaders Manchester City with a game in hand, they now have a nine-point cushion to West Ham in fifth, putting them in a strong position at least for a top-four finish.

Solskjaer was delighted with the attitude his players displayed three days on from conceding an injury-time equaliser to Milan, even if the performance was not quite up to scratch in attack.

"It's been a big week for us. We're starting to build some momentum in the league. We've opened the gap further to West Ham, which was important to us," he said.

"We want to improve on last season. We want to get to a final, we want to move up the table. This week was always going to be massive. The reaction after the late equaliser that Milan scored was really good because you never know how that can affect you.

"It looked like everyone wanted to show what they could do, the first 15, 20 minutes, maybe a little bit too eager, lacked a bit of composure. The attitude was spot on, When we got the composure, we built more and more pressure and momentum.

"We had to readjust a little bit. After 15, 20 minutes, there was a break in play and we just had to get to grips with our composure. We kept firing passes into each other and couldn't find a red shirt whatsoever.

"We've had four clean sheets now [in a row] and that's always the foundation. We want to score goals, we're creating big chances. I feel we're getting back to what we can. It's only a week ago we beat City 2-0, so I don't want to be greedy. Nobody can score four or five goals in every game in the Premier League. You've got to earn it. We always back our players to score enough goals."

Mason Greenwood performed well as the central striker but was unable to end his goal drought, with Lukasz Fabianski making a fine save to deny him in the first half before he smashed a shot off the post in the second.

The 19-year-old has only scored once in 23 league games this season, having managed 10 in just 12 starts in 2019-20, but Solskjaer is not concerned.

"His performance was really good, he deserved a goal," said the United boss. "He's played really well lately. He linked the play well for us, he held it up for us, and he had our two best chances, a great save by Fabianski and unfortunately, he hit the post on the second one.

"He kept creating chances for others as well. I'm very pleased with Mason at the moment."

United have kept four straight clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time under Solskjaer, last doing so in January 2018 when Jose Mourinho was at the helm.

Solskjaer's United have only lost one of their last 23 Premier League games (W14 D8), this after suffering three defeats in their opening six games of the season.

Manchester United battled to a 1-0 win over West Ham on Sunday to move back into second place in the Premier League.

A second-half own goal from Craig Dawson proved to be the difference as Old Trafford as David Moyes suffered a third defeat in three meetings with his old club this season.

They were three hard-won points for the Red Devils, who now have a more comfortable cushion to the Hammers in fifth, as they completed a league double over West Ham for the first time since Moyes' days in charge in 2013-14.

Marcus Rashford, a surprising starter after recovering from an ankle problem, should have scored 25 minutes in but failed to make clean contact with a header from Mason Greenwood's cross.

It was 37 minutes in until the first effort on target, Greenwood curling a strike towards the bottom-left corner that was expertly tipped away by Lukasz Fabianski, with the Hammers becoming the first team since Swansea City in March 2018 to fail to attempt a shot in the first half of a league game against the Red Devils.

The breakthrough came eight minutes into the second half, the ball flying past Fabianski off the head of Dawson after Scott McTominay had flicked on Bruno Fernandes' corner.

Fabianski made another fine one-handed stop to keep out a Fernandes strike from the edge of the box, and Greenwood blasted a shot off the base of the post after a fast break when the goalkeeper was beaten.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men conceded a 92nd-minute equaliser to Milan in their last game, but this time they held firm in the closing stages.

 

What does it mean? United edge back into second

The win moved United back above Leicester City, who had earlier thrashed Sheffield United 5-0, and also means they are nine points clear of West Ham.

With nine games to go, the 14-point gap to leaders Manchester City appears too great, but Solskjaer's men are in a good position for what is proving a fiercely contested battle for the top four.

Maguire stands tall

When West Ham at last made some concerted attacking moves in the second half, United captain Harry Maguire was resolute against Michail Antonio and Tomas Soucek.

He made a team-high seven clearances, won back the ball eight times and made a fine block to deny a fierce Jarrod Bowen strike.

Red Devils still too timid in attack

This was the fifth time in the past six games in all competitions that United failed to score in the first half, the exception being that early Fernandes penalty in the derby win at City.

Breaking down defences is something of a recurring problem for Solskjaer and it could be a concern when they head to Milan on Thursday needing to score a goal to prevent a European exit.

What's next?

United's final two games before the international break are a Europa League trip to Milan on Thursday and an FA Cup quarter-final at Leicester City next Sunday. West Ham have a week to prepare for the league visit of Arsenal.

Paris Saint-Germain is homing in on Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba.

Pogba has been linked with a move away from United since his agent Mino Raiola said he had no future at the club in December.

The 27-year-old has been at United since 2016 but struggled for impact over the past two seasons.

 

TOP STORY - POGBA'S PARISIAN PLAY

PSG have made contact with Pogba's agent and placed him on their list of transfer targets, according to Foot Mercato.

The report claims PSG sporting director Leonardo has recently been in touch with Raiola.

The 27-year-old World Cup winner has never played in Ligue 1 in his native France.

ROUND-UP

Manchester United goalkeeper uncertainty persists with the Daily Star claiming the Premier League giants have added Burnley's Nick Pope to their transfer list, although Tottenham are interested too.

- The Sunday Mirror is reporting United are set to offer manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a new deal.

Tottenham are lining up Southampton's Jannik Vestergaard, according to the Sunday Mirror too.

- Football Insider claims that a deal for Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum to go to Barcelona this close season is "95 per cent done".

- Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer is hot property right now and Algerian publication Competition claims Paris Saint-Germain are leading the race for his signature, ahead of Manchester City.

- TeamTalk has reported Arsenal and Everton are interested in Fulham centre-back Ibane Bowat.

Arsenal and Tottenham are both keen on Sheffield United's Sander Berge, according to Jeunes Footeux.

All eyes will be on Emirates Stadium on Sunday when Tottenham chase a first league double over Arsenal in the north London derby since 1992-93.

Premier League leaders Manchester City are also in the capital, giving struggling Fulham a tough task at Craven Cottage in Saturday's late kick-off.

The most intriguing tactical battle of the weekend could come at Elland Road, where Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United host Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea, while West Ham are likely to face a thorough examination of their top-four ambitions at Manchester United.

Here, we give a few pointers on which players could come up trumps in fantasy football terms.

DEAN HENDERSON

England goalkeeper Henderson has not played too frequently since opting to make a go of things with parent club Manchester United.

But when he has featured for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, the 24-year-old has generally impressed, even if his midweek outing against Milan in the Europa League contained an unwanted sting in the tail.

If David de Gea is absent once more against West Ham, Henderson's 19 saves from 22 shots faced in the Premier League this season suggests the United goal is in safe hands. His save percentage of 86.4 is the best of any goalkeeper to have played more than one game this season.

AARON CRESSWELL

Given the dearth of natural left-back options available to England manager Gareth Southgate, a strong season at West Ham for Cresswell could turn out to have been perfectly timed.

The full-back is also a threat in opposition territory, with his seven assists more than any other defender in the division. It is a left-back dominated list, with Lucas Digne up next on six from Andy Robertson, Luke Shaw (both five) and Southgate's first choice Ben Chilwell (four).

Seven assists also matches the most productive season of Cresswell's career in that regard, having provided the same number in 2017-18.

CESAR AZPILICUETA

Tuchel has overseen a defensive transformation since taking over from Frank Lampard, tightening up an unhelpfully leaky backline.

Club captain Azpilicueta has been a pillar of this turnaround. His eight clean sheets are the most for any Premier League defender in 2021.

Azpilicueta is one ahead of rejuvenated club-mate Antonio Rudiger, while Manchester City centre-backs John Stones and Ruben Dias and Manchester United duo Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka similarly have seven apiece.

WILFRIED ZAHA

Relegation-haunted West Brom would be forgiven for dreading the sight of Crystal Palace winger Zaha.

In his past four outings against the Baggies, the Ivory Coast international has scored four times.

That run includes a second-half brace from when Palace hammered the Baggies 5-1 at The Hawthorns in December – a result that would prove influential in Slaven Bilic's sacking later that month.

RAHEEM STERLING

England forward Sterling sat out City's 5-2 win over Southampton in midweek after his latest disappointment in the derby against United.

His native London is a far happier hunting ground, with the 26-year-old amassing 16 goal involvements (10 goals and six assists) in his previous 16 Premier League starts in the English capital.

Sterling continued that streak last time out at Emirates Stadium, heading the only goal early on in a 1-0 win over Arsenal.

GARETH BALE

This weekend, another wide forward on a hot streak will be foremost in Arsenal's thoughts.

A revitalised Bale scored twice in a 4-1 win over Palace last weekend, meaning he has had a hand in six goals in his past four top-flight appearances (four goals and two assists).

And, if you believe the form book stays on this side of the window on derby day, the Wales star has five Premier League goals against Arsenal – more than against any other side in his career.

DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN

As the battle for a top-four finish hots up, sides in the chasing pack will need players to weigh in with 'heavy' goals.

Thankfully for Everton, no player's goals in the Premier League this season have been worth more in terms of points gained than Calvert-Lewin's.

The centre-forward, who was rewarded with an England breakthrough following a sensational start to the campaign, has netted 13 times in the league this season – strikes that have won a total of 14 points.

Burnley, this weekend's visitors to Goodison Park, could be the next team to add to his tally.

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