EPL

De Gea starts for Man Utd again as Solskjaer backs 'top keeper'

By Sports Desk July 22, 2020

David de Gea retains his place in goal as Manchester United aim to move into the top four when they host West Ham on Wednesday. 

The Red Devils sit fifth ahead of their penultimate fixture but can leapfrog into the Champions League places if they avoid defeat against the Hammers at Old Trafford. 

De Gea's place in the team came under scrutiny following the 3-1 defeat to Chelsea in last Sunday's FA Cup final.

There were question marks over the Spaniard for Olivier Giroud's opener at Wembley and the own goal scored by Harry Maguire, and he also let a rather tame strike from Mason Mount slip through his grasp.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has repeatedly defended De Gea against criticism following similar mistakes against Watford, Everton and Tottenham this season.

While he refused to guarantee the keeper would keep his place for the visit of West Ham , Solskjaer has indeed selected De Gea ahead of Sergio Romero for the final home game of the 2019-20 campaign. 

"David has proven it over the years. Form might be temporary, but class is permanent. He's an absolutely top keeper," the United boss told Sky Sports.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah makes just his second league start of the campaign and Paul Pogba is also in an XI that includes forward trio Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. 

West Ham, meanwhile, are unchanged from the line-up that started the 3-1 triumph over Watford, a crucial result in the battle to avoid relegation. 

Related items

  • Ziyech ready to adapt to fit in at Chelsea after delayed start Ziyech ready to adapt to fit in at Chelsea after delayed start

    Hakim Ziyech is willing to play wherever Chelsea boss Frank Lampard needs him after enduring a frustrating start to his career at Stamford Bridge.

    The Moroccan playmaker has yet to start a game for the Blues since arriving from Ajax, though he has only just recovered from a knee injury suffered during a pre-season friendly.

    With his move announced in February, the 27-year-old was the first signing of a busy transfer window for Lampard, who also added Timo Werner and Kai Havertz to bolster his attacking options.

    Ziyech knows the competition for places will be fierce having been impressed by his fellow new additions, as well as "crazy" winger Christian Pulisic.

    "I have two different options [over where to play], or maybe three. It depends on where the coach needs me," said Ziyech.

    "For me, it doesn't matter where I'm playing. It's just the way that I love to play the game, it doesn't matter where I'm playing.

    "Kai and Timo, they are two big talents and they already proved it in the past, what they did for their club before. Christian is also one of the biggest talents. They have enough quality.

    "For Christian, he's already been here longer than us. If you see what he is capable of doing on the pitch, he's just a crazy winger.

    "For me, it's really exciting to work with them. I can't wait to be on the pitch, fully fit, and just doing our things."

    Ziyech has not started a game since March 7, with his Ajax career cut short when the the Eredivisie season was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    However, he made his Chelsea debut off the bench in the 3-3 Premier League draw with Southampton last Saturday, followed by a cameo appearance in the Champions League clash with Sevilla in midweek.

    "The season stopped last year for me a bit early, so I didn't play for a while," Ziyech said ahead of Sunday's trip to Manchester United, which could see him up against former Ajax team-mate Donny van de Beek.

    "Like I have said before, the injury came at an unlucky time. For me, it's just important to get the rhythm back and to build up everything again.

    "I know it will take some time but, for me, it couldn't be sooner. As soon as possible, but it is what is it is right now.

    "It's most important to build again and come in with 100 per cent fitness, and that's what we're working on right now."

  • He'll bring quality for sure – Ziyech urges patience with Van de Beek at Man Utd He'll bring quality for sure – Ziyech urges patience with Van de Beek at Man Utd

    Donny van de Beek will bring quality to Manchester United if they give him enough time to settle, former Ajax team-mate Hakim Ziyech says.

    The Red Devils signed the midfielder for an initial £34.7million (€39m) in September, but the 23-year-old has found playing time hard to come by at the start of his career in England.

    His two starts have come in the EFL Cup against Luton Town and Brighton and Hove Albion, and he has managed only 60 minutes in total off the bench in the Premier League.

    Van de Beek was also only a late substitute in Tuesday's 2-1 Champions League win at Paris Saint-Germain, with Fred and Scott McTominay preferred in central midfield behind Bruno Fernandes.

    The Netherlands international, who recorded 40 goals and 29 assists in 133 games over his final three seasons at Ajax, has managed just one shot, one chance created and two passes into the attacking third in his short Premier League career.

     Ziyech, who has also struggled for game time – mostly due to fitness – since joining Chelsea from Ajax this year, says Van de Beek must "stay calm" and wait for his chance.

    Speaking ahead of Chelsea's trip to United on Saturday, Ziyech said: "We spoke at the beginning when he moved to Manchester, and in the last [few] weeks, we didn't speak a lot. And I didn't speak with him about his situation.

    "I think he will need time as well. You come from a different country, a different style of play. And I know for sure, it will take some time for him as well to get used to everything, and then I know for sure he will bring quality to the squad over there. For him, the most important [thing] right now is to stay calm."

    Ziyech, who made his long-awaited Chelsea debut in the 3-3 draw with Southampton last week, also faces a battle to get a starting spot.

    Chelsea spent in the region of £222m in the transfer window and Ziyech is now competing with Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount for a spot in Frank Lampard's attacking midfield positions.

    "For us, it's everything new and we're excited to work with each other and the rest of the team, and bring each other competition," he said.

    "I think it's good for everybody to make each other better, helping each other. I think that's the most important and for us now, when we arrived, it's time to improve and to perform for the things we came for."

  • Pickford 'really sad' over Van Dijk injury but did not mean to hurt him, insists Ancelotti Pickford 'really sad' over Van Dijk injury but did not mean to hurt him, insists Ancelotti

    Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti insists Jordan Pickford had no intention of hurting Virgil van Dijk, with the goalkeeper "really sad" over the injury suffered by the Liverpool defender.

    The reigning Premier League champions face the prospect of being without the centre-back for the majority of the season after he damaged knee ligaments during the Merseyside derby.

    Van Dijk was caught by a heavy challenge from Pickford in the early stages of the game at Goodison Park, though the England international received no punishment from the officials - both those on duty at the game and also the video assistant referee watching on from afar - following the incident.

    Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum branded the tackle as "completely stupid" before the Champions League game with Ajax in midweek, but Ancelotti has defended his player.

    Speaking ahead of Everton's game at Southampton, the Italian wished Van Dijk well in his recovery from surgery but made clear any suggestions of premeditation on Pickford's part are wide of the mark.

    "To be clear, we are really sorry for the injury of Virgil van Dijk," Ancelotti told EvertonTV. "Every one of us hopes he can recover soon and well.

    "There was this contact with Jordan Pickford: it was mistimed contact. But the fact the Premier League is so fast, it is not so difficult to arrive a little bit later.

    "Jordan arrived a little bit later but his intention was to try to reach the ball. It was not to hurt Virgil van Dijk.

    "To say it was premeditated, and this and that, in my opinion, is too much. Virgil van Dijk knows this.

    "Jordan is really sad, really disappointed [that Van Dijk is injured]. It was a strong contact, maybe mistimed, but sometimes in football it can happen."

    Ancelotti also revealed that James Rodriguez is set to miss the game against the Saints with an injury suffered in a challenge with Van Dijk before the Dutchman was substituted.

    Both James and captain Seamus Coleman - who came off during the 2-2 draw with the Reds - are likely to sit out Sunday's trip to the south coast, though Jonjoe Kenny is available again.

     "Unfortunately, James had a problem during the game [against Liverpool]," Ancelotti said.

    "He had a mistimed tackle with Virgil van Dijk at the beginning of the game and I think he will not be available for the game against Southampton."

    James has been outstanding since moving to the Premier League from Real Madrid, scoring three goals and providing a trio of assists for his new employers.

    The Colombian playmaker has created 15 chances in total for his team-mates, while also completed 87.55 per cent of his attempted passes.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.