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EPL 2021, news, scores, results, Manchester United vs Watford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sacking, video, highlights, Premier League

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is clinging to his job as Manchester United manager after a 4-1 thrashing at Watford on Saturday as Chelsea cruised to victory at Leicester to stretch their Premier League lead to four points.

Liverpool moved up to second by ending Arsenal’s 10-match unbeaten run with ease, winning 4-0 at Anfield, while former Reds captain Steven Gerrard got off to a winning start as Aston Villa boss thanks to two late goals to beat Brighton 2-0.

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Gerrard claims first win as Villa coach | 01:23

Solskjaer has clung onto his job despite a run of just one win in seven Premier League games to slip to seventh, 12 points adrift of the leaders.

United’s hierarchy has remained loyal to Solskjaer despite intense pressure in recent weeks to make a change.

But their resolve looks to have been ended by another miserable performance with reports that a board meeting on Saturday evening will bring Solskjaer’s three-year reign to an end.

Watford could even afford to miss an early penalty twice as David de Gea saved from Ismaila Sarr and Kiko Femenia’s follow-up from the first spot-kick was ruled out for encroaching.

Joshua King and Sarr struck before halftime to give the Hornets a deserved 2-0 lead.

Solskjaer responded by introducing Donny Van de Beek at halftime and his refusal to give the Dutchman more opportunities will be questioned after he made an instant impact to turn home Cristiano Ronaldo’s header across goal.

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However, just as the visitors were building momentum, captain Harry Maguire’s miserable season suffered another setback when he was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis rubbed more salt into United’s wounds in stoppage time.

“Sometimes you’ve got to say ‘Sorry’,” said Solskjaer, who held his hands up in apology to the travelling fans at full-time. “I feel for the fans and I feel the same as them.”

Liverpool swat Arsenal aside with ease | 00:46

– Chelsea, Liverpool show their class –

The gulf between United and the title contenders was exposed by brilliant performances from Chelsea and Liverpool.

Chelsea toyed with Leicester as Antonio Rudiger’s header opened the scoring at the King Power before N’Golo Kante came back to haunt his old side with a brilliant run and strike from the edge of the box.

Substitute Christian Pulisic put the seal on a brilliant all-round performance and 3-0 win for the European champions, who also had two goals ruled out for off-side.

“It’s a good away game, an excellent result,” said Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel. “We knew we needed to be strong from first to last minute. This is what we did.”

Wolves end West Ham’s winning streak | 01:24

Arsenal travelled to Anfield full of confidence having not tasted defeat since August.

But the Gunners were blown away after Sadio Mane’s header opened the floodgates six minutes before halftime.

Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah and Takumi Minamino all struck in the second half as Liverpool bounced back from their first defeat in 26 games before the international break at West Ham.

“We were all over them — they were just seeing red blurs all over the place,” said Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold. “That second half was outstanding.”

Gerrard got off to a dream start at Villa Park as his new side moved four points clear of the relegation zone.

England internationals Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings produced stunning finishes in the final six minutes to edge a nervy contest against Brighton.

Newcastle slipped to the bottom of the table in the absence of their new boss Eddie Howe, who tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, as the Magpies were held 3-3 at home by Brentford.

Canaries soar high over Southampton | 01:28

Norwich also got a bounce from a new manager as they moved off the foot of the table in Dean Smith’s first match in charge thanks to a 2-1 win over Southampton.

Che Adams put the Saints in front, but Teemu Pukki and Grant Hanley lifted the Canaries to within three points of safety.

Burnley remain rooted in the bottom three after another six-goal thriller at Turf Moor ended 3-3 with Crystal Palace.

West Ham missed the chance to move into second as Raul Jimenez scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for Wolves at Molineux.

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Antonio Conte backed to replicate Romelu Lukaku feat with Harry Kane at Tottenham

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Harry Kane has struggled in the Premier League this season, but Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has been tipped to get the best out of the England captain.

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Manchester United sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, reaction, next manager, latest, UK view, results

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Manchester United have finally sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager of the club, following a brand new low, when one thought it couldn’t get any worse.

As they conceded their 11th goal in four Premier League game to condemn them to a fifth Premier League defeat in seven, the writing was on the wall so clearly that even Manchester United’s executives couldn’t ignore it any longer.

Writing in The Independent, Miguel Delaney commented that Solskjaer’s tenure had become unsustainable, and ultimately paid the price for being unable to perform anything greater than level par.

He wrote: “Solskjaer finishes his time in charge with no trophies, no title challenge and a best points return of 74 points – usually enough to get fourth. That’s the logical conclusion of persisting with a coach who is some way off the top level. He’ll just perform to par, at best.

“Solskjaer obviously had some qualities that served the club’s constant appeals to their heritage, but not enough for the realities of modern football. That lack of greater football intelligence off the pitch reflected – and resulted in – a lack of greater football intelligence on the pitch.

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(Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)
(Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)Source: AFP

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“That is why this has happened. What Solskjaer was doing was unsustainable at the top level.

“After the 1-1 draw at home to Everton in early October, one other influential player went straight into the dressing room and just shouted ‘the same problems every week’. Solskjaer just had no idea how to fix them. That’s why it unravelled so quickly.”

Rather than using the two weeks of the international break to plan and find an interim manager, Manchester United waited until after the first game back – an insipid 4-1 defeat to one of the worst teams in the league – and just 48 hours before a crucial Champions League tie away to Villarreal.

Michael Carrick was installed to take over the managerial duties until another interim manager could be found, before a permanent manager can be found.

The Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel wrote: “From this we can conclude one thing: Manchester United are not run even half as well as Norwich, or Aston Villa.

“Both of those clubs saw the international break as an opportunity to affect their recent narrative. They were both rewarded with victories on Saturday and a renewed sense of optimism. Manchester United, meanwhile, sink ever deeper into the void of confusion.

“Worse, they have bungled his succession, so that Michael Carrick is in charge while the club seeks to appoint – wait for it – an interim. So Carrick is the interim’s interim.

“We all know who should go at United and departures should not stop at the manager’s office. There is barely one strand of the executive – bar the commercial department – that looks up to the job.

“The club plugged away with a manager who was plainly drowning, with players who were deteriorating under his stewardship, with signings who did not fit in, until on Saturday when Solskjaer’s position became untenable.

Heat on Solskjaer as Watford pump United | 01:35

“And now they look naïve and ridiculous because they have no plan. Whoever follows Solskjaer will bring another new era, another roll of the dice.”

The Guardian’s Jonathan Liew was equally as disparaging about the decision makers at the club, comparing Solskjaer to fictional manager Ted Lasso, so unbelievable the punchline of the joke had become.

He wrote: “One actually felt for him. It’s hardly Solskjær’s fault he was handed a job for which he was so patently ill-equipped, and with this in mind it’s probably fair to say he exceeded expectations.

“It is often said that managers can weather defeats but not being turned into a punchline. Solskjær, by contrast, was appointed as a punchline, the Norwegian Ted Lasso, a fun sketch taken just a little too far. And so when things started going wrong the only real option was to double down on the joke, spin it out, suspend our disbelief even longer.

“As for the football itself, United were dysfunctional before Solskjaer arrived and will probably continue to be dysfunctional after he has gone.

“In retrospect, the decision to go all-in on Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer rather than strengthening in midfield or at full-back may go down as one of those crossroads moments in the club’s modern history: the point at which they were on the verge of building a new house, but instead decided to blow it up for the YouTube numbers.”

City and Spurs claim victories | 01:55

His colleague at The Guardian, Barney Ronay, commented that the Manchester United manager’s job had become a “weekly humiliation”.

He wrote: “Solskjær to Manchester United was a weird, doomed appointment from the start, one that bled into a weird, doomed, half-life as United’s sixth-longest-serving post-war manager. It will surely be a relief for all concerned that it is now concluded, not least for Solskjær, who seemed increasingly diminished by his appearances on the touchline – the sadness, the boggling eyes – an ancient mariner tied to the bridge of this zombified ship.

“Those weekly thrashings were unsustainable. Football management takes pieces out of you even at the best of times. Solskjær was being bullied by opposition fans, falling apart a little in his TV appearances. The job had become a paid weekly humiliation.”

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