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    Mikel Arteta vows to bring passion back to Arsenal vs Man Utd after infamous no-holds barred clashes of years gone by

    MIKEL ARTETA wants to bring the passion back into football’s feistiest fixture but admits the modern game simply won’t tolerate history repeating itself.
    Arsenal versus Manchester United was once renowned as the most fiercely contested match in the English calendar.

    Mikel Arteta wants to bring the passion back to Arsenal’s clashes with Man UtdCredit: Reuters

    Mikel Arteta spent five years as an Arsenal player and never featured on the winning side against Man UtdCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd

    From an infamous 21-man Old Trafford brawl to Keane vs Vieira in the old Highbury tunnel, this was a guaranteed clash of the titans with no holds barred.
    But things have calmed down considerably since Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger retired from the managerial ring.
    And now the two teams which once dominated the Premier League are fighting just to remain relevant in the modern era.
    Arteta spent five years as an Arsenal player and never featured on the winning side against United.

    But all the old animosities had gone by then and today’s encounter at an empty Emirates is sure to be played out in relative peace.
    Arteta admits: “It’s not only the Arsenal and Manchester United fixtures which have calmed down.
    “If you look at the way all the derbies used to get played, it’s not the same right now.
    “The game is evolving and we are educating the players in a different way.


    Martin Keown confronts Ruud van Nistelrooy after his famous missed penalty in 2003’s ‘Battle of Old Trafford’Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

    “For sure they are not allowed to get away with some of the things they used to do 20 years ago and with VAR that’s even less.
    “The game is much more controlled and policed these days so you know you can’t get away with certain things.”
    Yet the former midfielder who also competed in the Glasgow and Merseyside derbies believes there is still room in the modern game for a tribal mentality to exist.
    He says: “You need to have a passion to defend your position and show you much you want to succeed.
    “That’s part of a winning mentality, for sure. 
    “In the past this match was about desire because both teams were convinced they were better than the other side and much stronger than all the other teams in the League.

    Things have calmed down since Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger retired Credit: Times Newspapers Ltd
    “They had the depth of squad and quality that meant that the other teams couldn’t get anywhere near them.
    “They knew they were the only two candidates to win the League and that is where the rivalry came from,
    “But that’s not happening now because there are six or seven teams who are capable of winning the title and that’s the difference to ten years ago.”
    It was back in October 1990 that this fixture first exploded when Arsenal were docked two points and United one following the mass-brawl which involved every single player but David Seaman.
    But it was when Wenger arrived to challenge Ferguson’s Premier League dominance that things really got heated.
    Martin Keown, Lauren, Patrick Vieira and Ray Parlour were all banned while Christiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Ashley Cole were fined following an explosive Old Trafford clash in September 2003.
    ⚽ Read our Arsenal live blog for the latest news from The Emirates

    The bitter rivals shared an explosive Old Trafford clash in September 2003Credit: Simon Wilkinson

    Patrick Viera and Roy Keane famously clashed… over and over
    A year later it all kicked off again when United ended Arsenal’s 48-match unbeaten League run in controversial fashion.
    Ferguson was hit by a flying pizza thrown by Cesc Fabregas and Ruud van Nistelrooy was handed a retrospective three-game ban.
    So tempers were already boiling over for the return match at Highbury in February 2005, when rival captains Keane and Vieira infamously clashed in the tunnel before the game had even kicked-off.
    But with Arteta and nice-guy Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now in the dug-outs, today’s meeting will be far more respectful.
    Arsenal will once again be without captain and star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has missed training this week to be with his ill mother.
    But Arteta will otherwise name a full strength team after being condemned for rotating his squad during last week’s FA Cup defeat at Southampton.

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s penalty beat Man Utd earlier in the seasonCredit: AFP or Licensors
    He said: “The criticism came because we lost the game and then people wanted to find a reason for that.
    “We made so many changes when we played at Anfield in the Carabao Cup but we beat Liverpool.
    “We went to Leicester in the next round and made a lot of changes and we beat them as well.
    “And we played in the Europa League and won all six games with a completely different team and suddenly everyone was saying those players needed a chance in the Premier League.
    “So I know I am not going to please everybody. Only if you win. If you don’t, these things are going to come back at you.
    “I don’t know what I would have done last week at Southampton if everyone was fit.
    “But I do know we didn’t make seven changes. Five players could not play that game to start with.”

    Martin Odegaard enjoys first training session with Arsenal More

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    Man Utd star Axel Tuanzebe’s amazing journey, from arriving from Congo aged 4 to captaining Red Devils at every level

    THE story of how Manchester United star Axel Tuanzebe achieved his dream to play for the Premier League giants is truly inspiring.
    When he was just four, his parents left Congo for the UK in search of a better life for their family.

    Axel Tuanzebe’s remarkable rise is a story of courage and determinationCredit: Rex Features

    They settled in Rochdale, where a young Axel was unable to speak a word of English.
    However, the ambitious youngster was determined to make something of his life and support his family.
    He pushed himself through school, but his dream was to become a professional footballer – ever since he joined United’s Academy at the tender age of eight.
    Last October against PSG in the Champions League, Tuanzebe, now 23, produced a coming-of-age performance and kept Kylian Mbappe at bay.

    He is a man on a mission to succeed at Old Trafford.
    Tuanzebe was born in Bunia in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but moved to England when his parents emigrated to the north.
    Football became his passion. Soon he was scouted by Manchester United and joined their youth set-up – just four years after arriving on our shores.
    Despite rising through the ranks at youth level, education was still very important to Tuanzebe, who understood he couldn’t just rely on his football.

    He attended St Cuthbert’s RC High School, where he captained the Year 7 football team to the final of the English National Schools Cup at Stamford Bridge in 2009

    Tuanzebe joined the Manchester United academy aged 8 after arriving from Congo four years earlierCredit: Instagram

    That achievement earned the boy acknowledgement from the Mayor of Rochdale, who honoured him with a Sports Boy of the Year award.
    Tuanzebe was reportedly a model student and when it came to his exams, he passed his GCSE’s with flying colours with A grades.
    But his academic pursuits would take a back seat as his football took centre stage.
    In 2019, Tuanzebe achieved a remarkable feat.
    When he stepped out for United against Rochdale in a League Cup victory over Rochdale, he was wearing the captain’s armband – ahead of more experienced stars including Paul Pogba, Sergio Romero, Phil Jones and Jesse Lingard.
    Not only did he become the youngest player to captain the side since Norman Whiteside in 1985, aged 21.
    He also capped off a wonderful run of captaining Manchester United at EVERY single age level he’s played at.

    In 2019 Tuanzebe led his Manchester United team mates out as captain in a League Cup tie against RochdaleCredit: Getty – Contributor

    Incredibly, Tuanzebe has captained Man Utd at every level he has played atCredit: AFP or licensors
    “Axel is a captain in the making, he’s a leader – why not give to young kids,” boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer later revealed to TalkSport after the game.
    “We know we can give it to Sergio and we can give it to Paul, that’s no problem and they’ve been captains before.
    “But it was Axel today and how does he handle it? He was absolutely fine, he enjoyed it.
    “It’s just a way of telling him that we trust him.”
    After breaking into the United first team, making his debut against Wigan in a 4-0 FA Cup victory in 2017, he started his first senior match in a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal four months later.
    But with chances limited, Tuanzebe was sent on loan to Aston Villa, where he became a promotion hero in 2019.
    He returned to Old Trafford – expected to push for a first team spot. A series of niggling injuries put pay to a limited run in the team, and he played just ten times in all competitions in 2019-20.

    Tuanzebe was a promotion hero for Dean Smiths Aston VillaCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

    Tuanzebe enjoyed a coming of age performance against PSG and didn’t give Kylian Mbappe an inchCredit: AFP or licensors
    However, it was on the biggest stage where he proved his undeniable quality.
    Faced with superstars Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, Tuanzebe put on his best display in a Manchester United shirt – as the Red Devils shocked PSG to win 2-1 in a Champions League game.
    After the match, Solskjaer said: “We know that when you go away against a team like this, against players like Neymar and Mbappe, top, top players in the world, we know we have to defend well.
    “We know David De Gea will have to make a few saves. Sometimes you’ll get in a foot race with Mbappe and you’ll have to run with him and we know Axel’s qualities – he’s a top defender.
    “First game in, I don’t know, 10 months or something, which is just testament to the quality he has.”
    Being a gifted footballer isn’t Tuanzebe’s only claim to fame. After all, he features in the Guinness Book of World Records.
    In 2018 he joined his Manchester United team-mates on a pre-season tour in Los Angeles.
    There he was asked to take part in a game of Hungry Hippos for fun.

    Tuanzebe is not just a upcoming footballing star, but also holds a Guinness World Record in Hungry Hippos gameCredit: Instagram @roshaunwilliams

    The Hungry Hippos game is a favourite pastime for many young children, where players have to swallow as many marbles as possible using their hippoCredit: Amazon
    He finished it in just 17.37 seconds – managing to record a world record at the same time.
    For those who missed out on the famous game as a child, it features four hippos in a circle with a handful of balls in the middle.
    Players each choose a hippo and need to use it to collect as many marbles as possible before they are all taken.
    Although Tuanzebe is still eligible to play for Congo, it appears likely that he will choose to represent England.
    He began his international career in 2017, starring for the Three Lions U17 side against Mexico.
    That same year, Tuanzebe was a part of the U20 side that won all three matches at the Four Nations tournament.

    Tuanzebe is an England youth international, but could still turn out for the country of his birth, DR CongoCredit: Rex Features

    Now 23, Tuanzebe is ready to push for a place in United’s first teamCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    In 2017, his rapid ascension at international level continued when he was capped by the U21 side against Ukraine.
    Gareth Southgate has been monitoring Tuanzebe closely, and should he get a sustained run in the United side he might just partner his United team mate Harry Maguire at the heart of England’s defence.
    That would be the icing on the cake for his astonishing rise.

    Cavani is deep in conversation with Tuanzebe before Man Utd’s win over PSG as fans joke he leaked inside information More

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    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer blames ‘two mistakes by the referee’ for Man Utd slumping to defeat against Sheffield United

    OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER blamed ‘two mistakes by the referee’ for Manchester United’s defeat against Sheffield United. The Blades dealt Solskjaer’s side a major blow in their pursuit of the Premier League title. A deflected winner from Oliver Burke 15 minutes from time saw Chris Wilder’s men leave Old Trafford with an unlikely three points. But […] More

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    Watch Man Utd’s atrocious defending that left legend Rio Ferdinand fuming at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side

    RIO FERDINAND fumed at Manchester United for their defending that led to Sheffield United’s winning goal. United were dealt a major blow in their pursuit for the Premier League title, losing 2-1 at home to relegation-battling Blades. Oliver Burke scored the winner 15 minutes from time – with the help of some lackadaisical defending. And […] More

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    Man Utd ratings: Mason Greenwood deservedly hauled off as Bruno Fernandes tries in vain to spark comeback

    SHEFFIELD UNITED dealt Manchester United a massive blow in the Premier League title race. The Blades took a first half lead through Kean Bryan before Harry Maguire equalised against his old club. But, just as it seemed the inevitable Red Devils comeback was on, Olivier Burke’s strike deflected in to earn Chris Wilder’s strugglers a […] More

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    Bruno Fernandes says ‘if I was Van de Beek I would not be happy at all’ after keeping Man Utd new boy out of team

    BRUNO FERNANDES admitted if he was Donny van de Beek he ‘would not be happy at all’.
    It comes after Dutchman Van de Beek was handed a rare start, lining up in Manchester United’s midfield in the FA Cup.

    Bruno Fernandes and Donny van de Beek Credit: PA:Press Association

    Fernandes was rested from the off but came on in the second half, eventually scoring the winner as United won 3-2.
    The Portugal international praised Van de Beek for his role and highlighted the competition for places within the side.
    Fernandes told MUTV: “Donny had a great game.
    “Playing in the position I play, watching him he moves really good and played really well. It’s important for us.

    ⚽ Read our Man United live blog for the latest news from Old Trafford
    “If I was in the position of Donny I would not be happy at all but the most important is doing what he does today, coming in and helping the team.
    “We have a really good squad and we have options. If you look at the bench and the first XI today and the ones at home we have a really good squad.
    “It will not be a problem if we change the team or someone is tired because we have really good players.”

    Van de Beek arrived at Old Trafford last sumer for £39million, joining from Ajax.

    But his role in the team has been limited, due to the importance of Fernandes and resurgence from record signing Paul Pogba.
    Van de Beek, 23, has started in just ten of his 22 appearances this season, scoring just once, on his debut against Crystal Palace.
    United sit top of the Premier League, and progressed into the next round of the FA Cup, where they will play West Ham.
    Having been knocked out of the Champions League, they will instead challenge for the secondary Europa trophy.
    And Fernandes is hungry to win them all.
    He said: “They’re all important competitions for us.
    “We have to go in the same way whatever the competition. We play in them all to win.
    “Everyone knows winning the league is more special but for us players, it’s about winning trophies regardless and this is a trophy we want to win.”

    Watch Jurgen Klopp in heated conversation with referee in tunnel at half-time of Liverpool’s FA Cup loss to Man Utd More

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    Man Utd star Bruno Fernandes defends Liverpool and claims rivals are not ‘playing poorly’ after winless run

    BRUNO FERNANDES defended Liverpool and insisted the Premier League champions are not ‘playing poorly’ despite their winless run.
    United’s bitter rivals have failed to win in their last five games and surrendered their four-year unbeaten home record.

    Bruno Fernandes battling against Fabinho Credit: Getty Images – Getty

    Despite Burnley’s shock 1-0 win at Anfield, Fernandes has shown his support to Liverpool.
    It comes as United prepare to host Jurgen Klopp’s side in the FA Cup on Sunday.
    And midfielder Fernandes, 26, appears to have started the kidology, as he leaped to the defence of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.

    He told United’s website: “I think teams have moments. I don’t think Liverpool are playing poorly. I think they don’t win and this is the point.
    ⚽ Read our Man United live blog for the latest news from Old Trafford
    “When teams don’t win, everyone talks about that. When players don’t score, everyone talks about that.
    “I feel that on me because I know the standard is high, because I arrived and I scored a lot of goals and make a lot of assists, and everyone is wanting goals and assists from me. 

    “It is the same – everyone expects goals from Salah, from Firmino and from Mane.
    “They are not scoring in the last games and it starts feeling like ‘oh, they are not playing well’.”
    Despite Liverpool’s declining league form, which leaves them fourth, Fernandes admitted it would be foolish to underestimate the champions.

    He said: “Every team goes there to play maybe without the pressure of the fans.
    “Teams play a little bit more comfortably and, as I say, I think it is a moment. 
    “They create, they play, but the other teams are playing better and, as I said before, they have more qualities to play.
    “We don’t have to look at that moment because big teams and big players can show in every moment.”

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    Raphael Varane ‘wants to QUIT Real Madrid’ as contract runs down in 2022 putting Man Utd on transfer alert

    RAPHAEL VARANE wants to quit Real Madrid with his contract expiring in 2022, reports say.
    The Frenchman has been at the club since 2011, joining aged 17, and has since won 18 trophies in the Spanish capital.

    Raphael Varane is reportedly considering his Real Madrid future Credit: Represented by ZUMA Press, Inc.

    But according to SPORT, Varane feels his time with Madrid is drawing to a close, leaving him considering a new challenge.
    His contract expires next summer, meaning he is allowed to talk to clubs over a free transfer in 12 months time.
    To avoid losing the 27-year-old for nothing, Madrid need either cash in and sell him or convince the defender to stay and extend his deal.
    But, it is understood Varane, who has been linked with Manchester United in the past, will not sign a new contract.

    That is despite having a strong relationship with manager Zinedine Zidane, both World Cup winners for France.
    Zidane also faces losing club captain and Varane’s defensive partner Sergio Ramos.
    Ramos’ contract runs out in just six months time and the player is yet to commit his future to the club.
    Contract talks with Bernabeu bosses have reportedly dragged on due to disputes over the length and financial terms.


    Sergio Ramos pictured with defensive partner Raphael VaraneCredit: Represented by ZUMA Press, Inc.

    They have a policy of only offering one-year contracts to players over the age of 30 but Ramos, 34, wants a two-season guarantee.
    It leaves the LaLiga champions fearing he could make a similar exit as Cristiano Ronaldo, who made the shock move to Juventus in 2018.
    Zidane said this month: “Are we going to have a Cristiano case? I don’t know what will happen with Ramos.
    “He is here with us at the moment.”

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