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Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gives update on Bruno Fernandes injury ahead of Liverpool clash

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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken out ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool.

The Red Devils go into the match on a high after a pulsating victory over Atalanta. And the Norwegian has now delivered his thoughts ahead of another exciting match.

United beat Atalanta with Bruno Fernandes playing a starring role, with the Portugal international leading from the front.

But Solskjaer has delivered some worrying news by claiming he could miss Sunday’s showdown with Liverpool, saying: “It might be that I can pick from a fully fit squad, it might be that I’m without two or three.

“And yes, Bruno might be one that might be a doubt, but he’s doing everything he can to be ready.

“It was a great effort and great atmosphere towards the end, another of the great Champions League nights at Old Trafford, a great comeback, which will bring some knocks and bruises, which normally you will expect.

“It’s Friday, the game’s on Sunday. We’ll give everyone time. We might have the whole squad back fit, we might be two or three players down. Today we didn’t have everyone but let’s see Sunday.”

Unlike Fernandes, one United player who has come in for criticism this season is Fred.

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But Solskjaer has defended the Brazil international, insisting he’s good asset for the club and a team player.

“Fred is a very good player, he’s a regular for Brazil, which in itself is a mark of quality, he’s got an exceptional personality and attitude to football, such a big smile, and at present, I can’t say if he’s gonna be fit or not but he’ll give everything he can to be there for us,” he said. 

“He’s sharp, he’s nimble, he gets to players, he’s never afraid.

“The development he’s made in the last two and a half years I’ve been here has been great to watch.

“It showed when he got injured last season, six to eight-week injury and he was back the day before the Europa League final, joined the training session, strapped him up for the game.

“If I’d known before maybe I’d have played him but he would put his hand up and sacrifice himself for the team, that’s for sure.”

The United manager also called on his team to be at their rip-roaring best against Liverpool, saying: “A performance needs to consist of 90-plus minutes of attacking and defending and definitely when you play against a team at the level of Liverpool, they’re on a great run of form, some individual skills that you cannot almost defend against but as a team, we have to be compact, aggressive and give every single drop of nous, knowledge, strong mindset, physical energy.

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“It’s going to take everything to get results against the best teams in the world and Europe, and Liverpool are one of them.

“They’re one of the teams we’re chasing.

“What they’ve done the last four years is what we’re striving towards and go past them.

“We ended up above them last season, they had a bad spell with injuries last year but are now back to their best.”

And, on United’s habit of coming back in matches, he continued: “It’s something that we have done plenty of times here at the club, it’s in our DNA, it’s never give in.

“Sir Alex’s documentary, that’s what our fans expect from us, to give everything you have, give your best all of the time and when you do that with the quality of the players you have here you can win and lose games, but come out of it having given everything and know that’s a team out there.

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“I saw a team in the first half giving everything, we needed half time against Atalanta to push that belief a little bit more and keep believing what we’re doing and hopefully, it’s the end of a bad period for us.

“Teams always go through bad spells.

“Good teams come together and if that was the start of something big, that’s what we hope and the focus and determination of the lads have been really good since a bad performance against Leicester.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, meanwhile, has set the record straight regarding penalties.

Earlier in the season, Solskjaer hinted the German was behind the reason for the club not getting enough spot-kicks.

Klopp had previously expressed a belief that United were getting special treatment, which enraged Solskjaer.

And the Liverpool boss, speaking earlier on Friday, said: “We cannot influence refs with things like that.

“They are good, they go in the box, have these situations, but so do we and didn’t have even a similar number [of pens].”

Chelsea

Tuchel hands 22-year-old his first Chelsea start – predicted starting XI against Leeds this weekend

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Chelsea will look to get back to winning ways in Sunday’s game against Leeds United at Elland Road.

The Blues dominated proceedings in the London derby against Spurs last week, however only came out of things with a point following Harry Kane’s late equaliser.

Thomas Tuchel operated a fluid and unique system at Stamford Bridge, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount especially thriving in the new look system.

However, the Blues could turn back to the recognised back three this weekend, with our predicted lineup for the game against Leeds.

GK and Defence

Edouard Mendy made a brilliant save just before Spurs’ late equaliser at the end, and his position in the squad is more than secure for this one.

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With there still being no breakthrough on the Wesley Fofana front, Cesar Azpilicueta will return to the starting lineup as captain at Elland Road.

Fixtures are yet to pick up in the early stages of the season, so Thiago Silva should still be fresh and okay to participate again.

The centre-backs will be completed by Kalidou Koulibaly, who showed his quality again in an emphatic display against Spurs.

Midfield

Reece James scored almost instantly after being moved back to wing-back on Sunday, and the Blues will look to get the attacking best out of him on Sunday.

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Jorginho may have been at fault for the first conceded goal last week, although his great performance will still see him start again against Leeds.

Injuries have ruled N’golo Kante and likely Mateo Kovacic out of the game, there is a big choice to be made to partner the Italy internatonal. While Ruben Loftus-Cheek starred against Spurs, Conor Gallagher will be chosen to partner in midfield, being handed his first start for the club.

Marc Cucurella will look to build on his impressive performance last week with another start against Leeds, with Ben Chilwell still not quite at match fitness.

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Attack

The Chelsea attack will have a familiar look to the last two weeks, with Mason Mount occupying the free-roaming role in the attack against an opponent he has had a lot of success against before.

Raheem Sterling will try again in his quest to open his Chelsea league account, with him missing a glorious chance last week.

Kai Havertz is another man who missed a great opportunity to win the game for the Blues at the weekend, although his work in the front three was enough to see him start again.

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Atletico Madrid do not want to pay €40 million for Barcelona attacker

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Atletico Madrid are in a precarious situation in regards to their ownership of Antoine Griezmann.

The Spanish giants had signed the Barcelona forward on a two-year loan deal last summer. The contract included a mandatory purchase option worth €40 million if the player features in 50% of the matches with a minimum of 45 minutes between the games across two seasons.

Last season, Griezmann featured in 82.5% of the matches, meaning Atletico Madrid may have to virtually leave him out on the bench throughout the 2022/23 campaign if they are to avoid paying the fee for the Frenchman in 2023.

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However, with Luis Suarez leaving the club, Atletico Madrid consider Griezmann a viable part of the club’s attacking unit and Los Colchoneros must get the best out of him, if they are to regain their lost status in the title race in this new season.

At the same time, the club are not too keen on meeting the mandatory €40 million purchase clause set on Griezmann’s contract. This has been reported by Mundo Deportivo which suggests the club are looking to reduce the overall valuation of the clause.

While Barcelona are yet to respond to Atletico’s overtures, there is a clear indication that the capital club have no intention to pay anywhere near the €40 million for the services of Griezmann, who was barely even a starter for Diego Simeone’s men last season

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The Frenchman was even left out on the bench in Atletico’s opening game against Getafe. However, coming on as a substitute in the final half an hour, the attacker was able to break his scoring duck by netting the third goal in a 3-0 victory.

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It will be interesting to see whether the little cameo compels Simeone to start him in future matches, although his performances should not deter Atletico Madrid from their attempts to lower the price tag of the star striker.

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Chelsea

Barcelona star’s move to Chelsea is now ‘heating up’ – report

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be close to securing a move to Chelsea from FC Barcelona, with the move now heating up, reports Victor Navarro on COPE.

Aubameyang joined Barça only eight months ago, arriving as a free agent from Arsenal in January. He helped the Catalans finish second in La Liga last season and finished the campaign as the club’s joint top scorer in all competitions along with Memphis Depay

And, Barcelona could now lose both their top scorers this summer. Depay is closing in on a move to Juventus, having reportedly agreed a two-year contract with the Italian giants.

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And now Aubameyang could be on his way to Chelsea imminently, with the move ‘heating up’ recently. The Blues have made the 33-year-old Gabonese striker their top target after losing both Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel enjoyed a successful relationship with Aubameyang during their time at Borussia Dortmund and is now pushing for a reunion.

Reports earlier on Thursday indicated that Chelsea were planning to submit a formal offer for the former Arsenal captain imminently.

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Now, Victor Navarro is claiming that the two clubs are negotiating over the transfer of the 33-year-old, with all parties intent on getting the move over the line.

Barcelona need to get rid of players so that they can register Jules Kounde and make more additions, with a new right-back and left-back on the club’s agenda.

The departure of Depay alone will not be enough to register Kounde. And with Frenkie de Jong unwilling to leave and no offers arriving for Sergino Dest yet, Aubameyang’s exit seems the best option for Barça.

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The ex-Arsenal superstar has fallen down the pecking order at Camp Nou this season following the arrival of Robert Lewandowski. A move to Stamford Bridge could see him become the first-choice striker and enjoy regular game-time.

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