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Manchester United overcome Wigan to lift the Community Shield

In the usual curtain-raiser for the season ahead, Premier League winners Manchester United took on Wigan Athletic at Wembley. Two goals from Robin van Persie in either half handed the Red’s the win.

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In the usual curtain-raiser for the season ahead, Premier League winners Manchester United took on Wigan Athletic at Wembley. Two goals from Robin van Persie in either half handed the Red’s the win.

United lined-up with last season’s top scorer Robin van Persie leading the line, with the service being provided by Danny Welbeck and new signing Wilfried Zaha. Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley completed the midfield trio.

As for Fa Cup winners Wigan, they had a side largely made up of new signings, with Scott Carson, Stephen Crainey, James Perch, Grant Holt and James McClean all amongst the new additions to begin the game from the off.

It seemed a somewhat uneventful start to the game, but that all changed in the 6th minute, as Robin van Persie rose above his marker to head home the opening goal, after a gently flighted cross from Patrice Evra. It was a goal out of nowhere, but it was superbly guided into the bottom corner by the Dutchman.

United were forced into an early change in the 15th minute, as Rafael hobbled off and was replaced by defender Chris Smalling. It meant that Phil Jones reverted to right-back and Smalling took up his place alongside Vidic at the heart of the defence.

After that early goal, you would have thought it would have sparked the game into life, but it didn’t exactly pan out that way and most of the first half consisted of keeping possession, which United were significantly better at.

Wigan had their moment in the 34th minute, James McClean got in behind after Chris Smalling misjudged the bounce of the ball, the new signing then flashed a cross-cum-shot across the face of goal. A let-off for Chris Smalling and United. Shortly after, United created a really good chance to double their lead, Cleverley fed Welbeck just inside the area, who swivelled and fired a shot goalwards, which was beaten away by Carson.

Owen Coyle’s men had an excellent opportunity to level the score on the stroke of half-time, Emmerson Boyce headed a free-kick back across goal and Leon Barnett just couldn’t manage to guide the ball goalwards, much to United’s relief.

Half-time came and United maintained their lead through that early goal from van Persie. The Red’s had been pretty comfortable throughout the first period, but Wigan were still very much in the game at 1-0.

HT Manchester United 1-0 Wigan Athletic.

Wigan started the second half relatively positively and began to disrupt United’s rhythm in midfield. They also began to use the ball more effectively and began to get in behind the United back-line.

Just as Wigan were beginning to have a bit of joy in the game, United doubled their lead. A good passage involving Evra, Cleverley and Welbeck resulted in van Persie finding space outside the box, he hit a shot towards goal which took a deflection of James Perch and ended up going in at the near post.

Both sides then rang the changes as. Wigan substitutes Fortune, McCann and McManaman came on for McClean, Holt and McCarthur. United brought on Antonio Valencia to replace Wilfried Zaha, who appeared to have suffered an injury. Ryan Giggs then made way for Anderson. Maloney and Watson were substituted for Espinoza and Jordi Gomez, as the game looked to have died down a bit.

For the remaining stages of the game, you really couldn’t see another goal coming, but if there was to be, United were the more likely to score the final goal of the contest. Kagawa and Januzaj were both brought on for United at the expense of Welbeck and van Persie, who was denied a hat-trick. United were now keeping the ball pretty well, but at 2-0 up they were rather content with knocking the ball around patiently, as opposed to desperately looking for that third goal.

The game finished 2-0 and United deservedly claimed the Community Shield.

FT Manchester United 2-0 Wigan Athletic.

Man of the match: Tom Cleverley – An assured display in midfield.

Lineups:

United – De Gea; Rafael (Smalling), Vidic, Jones, Evra; Zaha (Valencia), Carrick, Cleverley, Giggs (Anderson); Van Persie (Januzaj), Welbeck (Kagawa).

Wigan – Carson, Boyce, Barnett, Perch, Crainey, Watson (Jordi Gomez), McArthur (Espinoza), McCarthy (Dicko), McClean (McManaman), Holt (Fortune), Maloney.

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West Ham United

Marlon Santos joining West Ham would be ideal solution to defensive woes

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Photo: Getty Images.

There will be a summer of change at West Ham United this summer and with James Collins leaving the club there will be a spot opening up in defence. Reports from Spain indicate that the man to fill it could be Barcelona youngster Marlon Santos.

The Brazilian joined the Spanish giants permanently last summer after impressing for their B team and earning a first team debut in 2016/17 and spent pre-season with Ernesto Valverde’s first team before being sent out on loan.

Now, reliable Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo say that West Ham are interested in taking the defender on loan next season after he has impressed in France, playing for OGC Nice, making 27 appearances during his loan spell.

(Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old has also been linked with Leicester but with West Ham believed to be leading the chase, it would be a wise move from Manuel Pellegrini to seal a deal as soon as possible.

Strong in the tackle, Santos would also bring some much needed pace to the West Ham defence. Replacing the likes of Collins and Jose Fonte who departed in January, the arrival of a fleet-footed defender would be a welcome turnaround at the London Stadium.

It may also suggest a change in style, with the former Fluminense youth product known for his ability on the ball, often looking to dribble out from the back to get his team transitioning from defence to attack.

Pellegrini is clearly putting the building blocks in place to build a side in his own image, and bringing in Marlon Santos would be a cheap and sensible addition to fix a major problem area.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Malcom would add another dimension to Tottenham’s attack

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Photo: Getty Images.

After an impressive 2017/18 campaign, Tottenham are already beginning to plan for 2018/19 and are keen to make a statement in their first season in a new look White Hart Lane. One way they may do so is with the addition of Girondins Bordeaux forward Malcom.

Sky Bet currently list Tottenham at 7/2 to sign the Brazilian, just behind favourites Manchester United in the running at 3/1, and such an acquisition would bring an exciting new element to Mauricio Pochettino‘s attacking set-up.

Predominantly playing on the right wing, Malcom may offer more width than many of the options within the Tottenham squad, but much like Heung-Min Son and Erik Lamela, he likes to dribble on the ball and cut inside, offering a direct threat rather than looking to cross into others.

The 21-year-old scored 12 goals in 35 Ligue Un games for Bordeaux this season and whilst not exactly prolific, would help to add goals to the Lilywhites’ midfield and reduce the reliance on Harry Kane.

(Photo credit should read NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images)

He also has some similarities to the likes of Christian Eriksen as a superb set piece taker who likes to shoot from distance, helping to add another dimension as Tottenham look to break down more defensive sides who sit deep in hope of frustrating them.

With huge potential to develop even further, Malcom may not come cheaply but would represent an interesting project for Pochettino to get even more out of him. Whilst he bares many similarities to Erik Lamela when he arrived in north London, if he can avoid injury he could go on to become the player Spurs had hoped to see Lamela become.

His pace and threat would add a much needed option into the Spurs attack, complimenting the playmakers like Eriksen, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura and supporting the goalgetter Harry Kane. Strength in depth is key in Tottenham’s quest for silverware and Malcom would be a step in the right direction to achieving it.

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Newcastle United

Fulham promotion opens up £15m exit for Aleksandar Mitrovic

The Newcastle United star is likely to move away from the club this summer.

Mathew Coull

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Fulham won promotion to the Premier League yesterday with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final. The Cottagers scored in the first-half through Tom Cairney to rightfully take their place back in the top-flight of English football.

It was a tremendous performance and in the summer Fulham will be looking to bring in some new faces to help them stay in the top-flight. One of those faces, will not be necessarily new. Aleksandar Mitrovic has been brilliant for Fulham since joining on loan in January.

The Serbian striker has scored 12 goals since his arrival at Craven Cottage and will no doubt be wanted permanently at the club.

Is this good news for Newcastle United?

There has been plenty of talk regarding the Serbian’s exit from St James’ Park in the winter. Many fans on Tyneside are wondering whether the club should have kept him at Newcastle, considering his goal record in London.

(during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Watford at St. James Park on November 25, 2017 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

However, it is clear that Rafa Benitez is not a fan of the player and the Spaniard certainly made things work without him.

The best thing for Newcastle right now is to sell him and ensure they bring in enough money to cover the cost of his original signing.

Fulham represent their best option to do so. Newcastle want about £15 million for the player, according to the London Evening Standard, which is the fee they paid for the Serbian in 2015.

Fulham will no doubt want to bring him to the club this summer, but would not have been able to bring him to the club had they failed to secure promotion to the Premier League.

The Cottagers can now afford the player and Mitrovic’s price-tag is unlikely to be a problem with the bonus they will receive for heading into the top-flight. Newcastle must be pleased that Fulham earned promotion, as it will allow them the best opportunity to move Mitrovic on without a major loss.

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