Tag Archives: flank

Wojciech Szczesny plays for Arsenal Under 21s at Anfield

Szczesny starts for Arsenal but can't prevent U21s defeat to Liverpool

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

22:19 GMT, 8 April 2013

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UPDATED:

06:03 GMT, 9 April 2013

Wojciech Szczesny started for Arsenal’s Under 21 side but could not prevent the visitors falling to defeat against an impressive crop of Liverpool youngsters at Anfield.

The Poland international has not been given a senior appearance by Arsene Wenger for over a month, with Lukas Fabianski being preferred over his error-prone countryman.

Szczesny's dad recently launched a furious attack at Wenger, accusing the Frenchman of making his son the scapegoat for the Gunners' poor.

Back in the game: Wojciech Szczesny played for the Arsenal Under 21s at Anfield

Back in the game: Wojciech Szczesny played for the Arsenal Under 21s at Anfield

The 22-year-old defended his manager however, claiming his dad was wrong to criticise his boss.

But Wenger did not even name Szczesny on the bench for Arsenal's 2-1 win at West Brom on Saturday.

'I rotate the goalkeepers on the bench because when they are two games on the bench then they work for two games, because when they sit always on the bench they lose fitness,' he said.

Last night at Anfield, Adam Morgan beat the Pole to draw first blood for Liverpool before Chuba Akpom equalised for the Gunners.

Krisztian Adorjan put the Reds back in the lead after half-time, but Serge Gnabry kept his cool to level things up once again.

Struggles: Szczesny was dropped by Arsene Wenger and has had to make do with a seat on the bench

Struggles: Szczesny was dropped by Arsene Wenger and has had to make do with a seat on the bench

Struggles: Szczesny was dropped by Arsene Wenger and has had to make do with a seat on the bench

There was no response, however, after Morgan snatched his second at the Kop End to clinch victory for the hosts.

England
Under 21 international Jonjo Shelvey also turned out for the Liverpool
side, but it was Adjoran and Morgan who ensured the hosts ran out
winners.

Adorjan burst down the right flank before drilling an accurate cross into the area for Morgan.

The 18-year-old made no mistake, knocking the ball past the stranded Szczesny from inside the six-yard box.

No cigar: Jonjo Shelvey tries an effort with his left foot as Arsenal's defenders can only watch

No cigar: Jonjo Shelvey tries an effort with his left foot as Arsenal's defenders can only watch

Tussle: Gedion Zelalem of Arsenal takes on Stephen Sama (left) of Liverpool

Tussle: Gedion Zelalem of Arsenal takes on Stephen Sama (left) of Liverpool

Spotted: Jose Enrique watches form the stands as Liverpool edged out Arsenal at Anfield

Spotted: Jose Enrique watches form the stands as Liverpool edged out Arsenal at Anfield

Lionel Messi scores two but Radamel Falcao shows Chelsea his class as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid

Messi double takes him up to 90 – that's more than Liverpool in all of 2012 – after Falcao stunner showed Chelsea his class

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UPDATED:

22:44 GMT, 16 December 2012

Lionel Messi scored two goals for the seventh consecutive match he has started to help Barcelona strike a potentially decisive blow in the La Liga title race.

The Catalan giants romped to a 4-1 victory at home to second-placed Atletico Madrid to move nine points clear at the top.

Defending champions Real Madrid are 13 points behind after they were surprisingly held to a 2-2 draw at home by lowly Espanyol.

Magic: Lionel Messi once again left everyone else in the shade as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid

Magic: Lionel Messi once again left everyone else in the shade as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid

Magic: Lionel Messi once again left everyone else in the shade as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid

Tito Vilanova's unbeaten leaders fought back after Radamel Falcao gave Atletico a deserved lead with the cutest of finishes.

It was the least the visitors deserved for an impressive start in which they caused problems on the break, an approach which yielded the opener, the Colombian's 17th of the season.

Five minutes later, Barca were back in the game thanks to a thunderous shot from Adriano, who cut in from the right flank and fired in off the underside of the crossbar.

Atletico were struggling to break out of the area before halftime, and when they failed to clear a corner, Busquets calmly stroked home the second.

Touch of class: Radamel Falcao shoeed Chelsea fans what they could enjoy with a stunning chipped finish

Touch of class: Radamel Falcao shoeed Chelsea fans what they could enjoy with a stunning chipped finish

Touch of class: Radamel Falcao shoeed Chelsea fans what they could enjoy with a stunning chipped finish

After the break, Messi slotted a third into the corner and then pounced on an error at the end for his 25th in La Liga and 90th for club and country in 2012.

Earlier, Espanyol substitute Juan Albin stunned Real with an 88th-minute equaliser as the Barcelona-based side grabbed an unlikely draw at the Bernabeu.

The Uruguayan forward bundled the ball in after Real failed to clear a corner, and whistles rang around the ground as the teams filed off the pitch at the end.

Karim Benzema was left in the stands with an ankle injury, and Cristiano Ronaldo started in the centre-forward position, but for all their possession Real struggled in the first half.

Feeling the heat: Cristiano Ronaldo scored again for Real Madrid, but they let slip late on against Espanyol

Feeling the heat: Cristiano Ronaldo scored again for Real Madrid, but they let slip late on against Espanyol

Visiting striker Sergio Garcia, a Euro 2008 winner with Spain, sprinted clear to net past Iker Casillas in the 31st minute.

Luka Modric crashed a shot against the post, but just as the Bernabeu was getting restless Sami Khedira crossed and Ronaldo stuck out a foot to level in the 45th minute.

Ronaldo's reverse pass picked out Fabio Coentrao's driving run, and the Portugal defender put Real ahead with his first league goal for the club, soon after the re-start.

A fingertip save and the woodwork prevented a quick third for Real, but Espanyol continued to threaten and Albin made them pay for failing to finish off the job.

Newcastle v Wigan live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Newcastle v Wigan – as it happens from St James' Park

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UPDATED:

20:02 GMT, 3 December 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Newcastle host Wigan at St James' Park to conclude the weekend's fixtures. Alan Pardew will hope to arrest a slide which has seen his team slip to four successive defeats, while the Latics will aim for three points to move above the Toon in the table.

Newcastle 0 Wigan 0

Newcastle: Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Gutierrez, Tiote, Anita, Marveaux; Ba, Cisse.

Subs: Harper, Tavernier, Ferguson, Bigirimana, Ranger, Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi.

Wigan: Al Habsi; Boyce, Caldwell, Figueroa; Stam, McCarthy, Gomez, Jones, Beausejour; Di Santo, Kone.

Subs: Pollitt, McManaman, McArthur, Boselli, Fyvie, Lopez, Golobart.

1 min: Close! Tiote unleashes a drive from 25 yards and the ball flies just wide of Al-Habsi's right-hand post with only 20 seconds on the clock.

1 min: We're under way…

7.58pm: The players are out and Wigan are wearing red for the first-time since their promotion season way back in 2004-05…

7.55pm: Not long now until kick-off and I'm looking forward to seeing how these two sides will line up. We'll see a back four from Newcastle and a back three from Wigan but in front of that both managers have room to manouevre… Pardew could opt to play a traditional 4-4-2 or he could operate with Cisse on one flank and Marveaux alongside Anita and Tiote in the middle to try and match up with Wigan's engine room. The Latics will probably have Gomez playing slightly ahead of Jones and McCarthy but Jones can also operate a left wing back, which would free up Beausejour to operate in a more attacking role in support of the big man Di Santo. We shall see…

WEEKEND PREVIEW SPLIT: Newcastle v Wigan

7.45pm: We should be guaranteed a game full of attacking intent tonight. Wigan are never a team to sit back and Newcastle's fans demand will demand they attack at home.

7.35pm: This has to be one of the worst runs Newcastle have been on since Alan Pardew took over. Last season's manager of the year sees his side sitting 12 points off the fifth place that they finished in last season, but they surely couldn't ask for a much kinder fixture to get their season back on track. Wigan have never won at St James' in seven attempts and have lost three of their last four games.

7.25pm: Wigan have injury problems of their own, especially at the back where both Ivan Ramis and Antolin Alcaraz are missing. Midfielders Albert Crusat and Ben Watson are both out too but we can still expect the usual 3-5-2 from Roberto Martinez's side with Stam and Beausejour as the wing backs.

7.20pm: The teams are in and it looks like 4-4-2 for Newcastle, who have Yohan Cabaye, Steven Taylor and Hatem Ben Arfa all missing through injury.

7.15pm: The home side are languishing in the bottom half of the table after a run of five games without a win and will be desperate for a victory to kickstart a stuttering season.

7.10pm: Good evening everyone and welcome to Sportsmail's live coverage of Newcastle v Wigan from St James' Park.

Ecstasy before agony: Newcastle lost at Stoke last Wednesday despite Papiss Cisse handing them the lead

Ecstasy before agony: Newcastle lost at Stoke last Wednesday despite Papiss Cisse handing them the lead

Leighton Baines injury blow as Everton prepare for Manchester City

Baines blow for Everton as defender faces fitness fight ahead of Manchester City clash

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UPDATED:

10:33 GMT, 29 November 2012

David Moyes is sweating over the fitness of Leighton Baines ahead of Everton's trip to face Manchester City on Saturday.

Baines has been the Toffees' stand-out player in the last two seasons and provides a real attacking thrust down the flank.

However, Moyes now faces the prospect of heading to the Etihad Stadium without his most consistent performer after the defender picked up an injury in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal.

Star man: Leighton Baines has been in superb form for Everton

Star man: Leighton Baines has been in superb form for Everton

'Leighton's got a hamstring injury. He felt it in the game and played on in the last 10 or 15 minutes,' said Moyes.

'I felt we put in a lot of energy (in the game) but it might take its toll.

'We've got Gibbo (Darron Gibson) and Hibbo (Tony Hibbert) back and that has eased it a little bit but I am worried about Nikica Jelavic (ill) who has not trained since Saturday and on Tuesday I was not playing him.'

Theo Walcott put Arsenal ahead after just 52 seconds but Marouane Fellaini's seventh Barclays Premier League goal of the season drew them level on the half-hour before former Toffees midfielder Mikel Arteta appeared to bring down Steven Pienaar, only for referee Mike Jones to award a corner.

Blow: Baines will be missed if he is ruled out with a hamstring injury

Blow: Baines will be missed if he is ruled out with a hamstring injury

'It was a penalty. We played Arsenal, who are a really good team, but we also had very few decisions go for us,' Moyes said.

'Sometimes referee's decisions change the games: in some games something might go in your favour but we were never going to get that.

'We got nothing whatsoever and anything we were going to get we had to earn on our own because we were not going to get a jot.

'There was an incident when the ball got chipped into the box later on and he gave a push on Fellaini.

Leveller: Marouane Fellaini was on target for Everton against Arsenal

Leveller: Marouane Fellaini was on target for Everton against Arsenal

'I've had a chance to see it and it was never anything like it. I found that one as mystifying as any really.

'We found it a difficult night from that point if view but the players played really well throughout.'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was pleased to leave Goodison Park with a point despite his side dominating the last 10 league meetings, winning eight and drawing just two.

'It was a game of big physical intensity, we had a good start and after that I felt Everton came back into it and their direct game was always a threat,' he said.

Concern: David Moyes will be keeping his fingers crossed Baines is passed fit

Concern: David Moyes will be keeping his fingers crossed Baines is passed fit

'There are regrets on the goal we conceded but 1-1 is a fair result and it is a good point here.

'We needed to show great spirit to get away with a point and I am pleased with the effort they put into the game.'

Arsenal lost Laurent Koscielny to a groin strain after just four minutes and Wenger said he expected the centre-back to be out for three weeks.

Aston Villa v Arsenal live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Aston Villa v Arsenal – as it happens from Villa Park

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UPDATED:

18:09 GMT, 24 November 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Aston Villa host Arsenal at Villa Park to conclude Saturday's action. The Gunners are riding high on confidence following their qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League and travel to a Villa side involved in a battle against relegation at this stage of the season. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal (5.30pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Weimann, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Benteke.
Subs: Given, Ireland, Albrighton, Holman, Delph, Bowery, Lichaj.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Oxlade Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.
Subs: Mannone, Sagna, Vermaelen, Wilshere, Coquelin, Arshavin, Gervinho.

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Click here for the live Premier League table

All the latest from the Championship

37min: A mistake from Szczesny sees him handle the ball outside the box under pressure from Gabriel Agbonlahor, giving Villa a free-kick on the left flank and the keeper a booking.

36min: Villa are stretched at the back again but the backline keeps its shape as Cazorla's 25-yard shot is blocked.

35min: There are signs that Arsenal are starting to make their class tell as they are now seeing more of the ball and forcing the hosts to drop deep.

When Villa do get possession back, they try to pass the ball around but are quickly forced into a hurried clearance.

32min: After that fine opening Villa have struggled to to test Arsenal in the last 15 minutes but will be happy that they have limited Arsenal going forward. The rain continues to fall in Birmingham.

29min: And this is a full chance. The Gunners break down the right and after the ball finds Ramsey inside the area, his shot through a crowd of Villa bodies and across goal is well blocked by Guzan.

27min: Half-chance for Arsenal as the ball bounces loose for Lukas Podolski inside the box, but Brad Guzan is quickly off his line to claim before the German can shoot.

25min: From InfostradaLive:

Arsenal have scored at least twice in four of their last five PL visits to Villa Park.

22min: But we are soon back at the other end where Villa think they have won a free-kick on the right side of the box.

As it turns out, Karim El Ahmadi is booked for diving after Santi Cazorla makes no contact with his attempted tackle. A great call by Lee Mason and his officials.

20min: A minute of appreciation from the Villa fans who applaud in support of their captain, Stiliyan Petrov who is battling illness.

During it, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fires wide at the near post for Arsenal.

19min: From there Westwood crosses for Benteke who climbs above Laurent Koscielny to head wide back across goal.

18min: Another Villa corner as Bannan's chip into the box is headed behind by Kieran Gibbs. It was crucial too as had he missed it, Benteke would have been one-on-one with Szczesny.

16min: The home fans are really starting to get behind their side as they force the Gunners into a number of errors.

Christian Benteke scuffs a shot from a poor Carl Jenkinson header inside the box as Villa continue to chase every ball.

14min: Excellent passing from Villa. A neat passing move precedes Westwood picking out Andreas Weimann on the left side of the box with a lofted ball, and his cross is pushed behind by Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny. The corner though comes to nothing.

11min: Barry Bannan's inswinging delivery from it is decent and powerful but no one can make contact as it flies wide at the far post.

10min: And his side win a free-kick to the right deep in Arsenal's half after Aaron Ramsey's sloppy lunge on Ashley Westwood.

9min: Aston Villa boss, Paul Lambert is serving a touchline ban today and judging by the weather it's a good match to observe it.

The Scot is watching from the stands but will be impressed how his side has stifled Arsenal so far.

6min: The away side continue to probe for an opening as Kieran Gibbs plays a hopeful low cross into the box but Villa comfortably clear.

5min: Olivier Giroud's cross from left is headed behind by Ron Vlaar for a corner, but the set-piece into the box evades everyone.

3min: Arsenal are trying to settle into their passing game but plenty of appetite from Villa so far who are pressing all over the park. No chances.

Tough in the tackle: Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (right) attempts to tackle Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar

Tough in the tackle: Arsenal's Olivier Giroud (right) attempts to tackle Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar

Kick-off: Arsenal, in yellow, get us going with Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla.

17.25: It's a chilly evening in the West Midlands and the rain is falling to accompany it as the players make their way out.

17.20: From InfostradaLive:

The starting lines up for both teams have a combined average age of 24 years and 252 days old – the youngest of any PL fixture this season and youngest since Manchester United’s 8-2 home win against Arsenal in August 2011 (23-314).

17.15: Arsene Wenger has said pre-match he expects a direct approach from Aston Villa and that he is prepared for it.

That's providing Paul Lambert's side can get the ball of course. The hosts could spend much of this game chasing shadows.

Back in the team: Aaron Ramsey replaces the rested Jack Wilshere for Arsenal

Back in the team: Aaron Ramsey replaces the rested Jack Wilshere for Arsenal

17.10: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert recalls midfielder Karim El Ahmadi in place of Stephen Ireland for the home Barclays Premier League clash with Arsenal – but there is no place amongst the substitutes for fit-again striker Darren Bent.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger makes three changes from the line-up which qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League via the midweek win over Montpellier.

Full-backs Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs replace Bacary Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen while midfielder Aaron Ramsey comes in for the rested Jack Wilshere.

17.05: The full line-ups from Villa Park:

Aston Villa v Arsenal
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Weimann, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Benteke. Subs: Given, Ireland, Albrighton, Holman, Delph, Bowery, Lichaj.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud. Subs: Mannone, Sagna, Vermaelen, Wilshere, Coquelin, Arshavin, Gervinho.

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

17.00: On paper this isn't really a contest. Aston Villa looking well short of confidence and stuck inside the bottom three go up against an Arsenal side starting to go up through the gears again.

An away victory is surely on the cards but i think I may have said something like that when the Gunners visited Norwich recently…team news up next.

Gunning for success: Arsenal will hope to pile more misery on Aston Villa at Villa Park

Gunning for success: Arsenal will hope to pile more misery on Aston Villa at Villa Park

Thomas Waldrom, Tom Johnson and Charlie Sharples dropped from England side

Ruthless Lancaster axes Waldrom, Johnson and Sharples ahead of Springboks clash

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UPDATED:

00:35 GMT, 21 November 2012

Stuart Lancaster set about a radical overhaul of his England side in response to the defeat to Australia, by dropping three starting players from that game right out of his match-day squad for the showdown with South Africa on Saturday.

In an attempt to ‘freshen up’ the national team, the head coach has instigated a brutal shake-up which could ultimately lead to one-third of the first-choice line-up being changed for the visit of the Springboks.

Thomas Waldrom, Tom Johnson and Charlie Sharples, who all began the game against the Wallabies, have been released back to their clubs to lick their wounds, as Lancaster and his assistants strive to revive their pack in particular.

No place: England wing Charlie Sharples has been sent back to Gloucester

No place: England wing Charlie Sharples has been sent back to Gloucester

ENGLAND (probable):

A Goode; C Ashton, M Tuilagi, B Barritt, M Brown; T Flood, D Care; A Corbisiero, T Youngs, D Cole; G Parling or T Palmer, J Launchbury; T Wood, B Morgan, C Robshaw (capt).

Gloucester No 8 Ben Morgan will replace Waldrom at the base of the scrum, following a hat-trick of tries for his club last weekend, while Harlequins full back Mike Brown is poised to slot in on the left flank, in place of Sharples. The return of Tom Wood at blindside flanker, taking over from Johnson, had already been widely anticipated.

Elsewhere up front, Alex Corbisiero will – as expected – replace the injured Joe Marler at loosehead prop, while the retention of four locks suggests that one of Geoff Parling and Tom Palmer is struggling to shake off a knock. Wasps rookie Joe Launchbury is on stand-by to start while Mouritz Botha may be handed a replacement role. James Haskell will provide back-row cover on the bench.

Dropped: Thomas Waldrom has gone back to Leicester and won't play against South Africa

Dropped: Thomas Waldrom has gone back to Leicester and won't play against South Africa

There will be markedly less modification to the back line. With Brown destined to start, Jonathan Joseph of London Irish is back in the match-day ranks as a replacement able to cover centre or wing.

Meanwhile, Eben Etzebeth is free to play against England on Saturday after being cleared of eye-gouging at a disciplinary hearing tonight, the South African Rugby Union have announced.

The Springbok lock was cited for allegedly making contact with the 'eye or eye area' of Scotland fly-half Greig Laidlaw in the second half of Saturday's 21-10 victory at Murrayfield.

The South African Rugby Union announced the verdict on their official Twitter page, saying: 'Good news on Eben Etzebeth – he's not guilty and free to play against England on Saturday.'

Manchester City v Aston Villa, West Brom v Chelsea plus four more live Premier League games

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Follow the action from around the grounds as it happens

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UPDATED:

16:19 GMT, 17 November 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Manchester City host Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium in one of six 3pm kick-offs. Elsewhere it is Liverpool v Wigan, Newcastle v Swansea, QPR v Southampton, Reading v Everton and West Brom v Chelsea. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Live scores

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham FT

Liverpool 1-0 Wigan

Manchester City 2-0 Aston Villa

Newcastle 0-1 Swansea

QPR 1-2 Southampton

Reading 1-1 Everton

West Brom 2-1 Chelsea

Click here for the live Premier League table

All the latest from the Championship

All the latest from League One

All the latest from League Two

All the latest from the SPL

16.15: GOAL! Newcastle 0-1 SWANSEA

A poor clearance from Krul leads to Pablo Hernandez crossing from the flank into the penalty area where Michu powers home with a header.

16.12: GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 2-0 Aston Villa

Absolutely bizarre scenes at the Etihad Stadium. The host win a penalty in the softest of circumstances after Silva's corner takes the slightest of brushes off Andreas Weimann's arm.

There is no sympathy from Sergio Aguero though who buries home 12 yards.

16.11: PENALTY (Manchester City)

16.10: GOAL! LIVERPOOL 1-0 Wigan

Finally some action! Raheem Sterling wins the ball before crossing from the byline for Luis Suarez to fire home.

16.09: GOAL! READING 1-1 Everton

The Royals have improved on a poor first half showing and equalise as Nicky Shorey's free-kick is converted from close range by Adam Le Fondre.

16.09: GOAL! WEST BROM 2-1 Chelsea

Now this is against the run of play following Chelsea's quick start to this half as Long's cross is bundled in by Peter Odemwingie.

16.08: GOAL! QPR 1-2 Southampton

Mark Hughes' half-time team-talk looks to have had some impact as Taarabt's cross is headed home by Junior Hoilett.

16.06: Chelsea start much better at West Brom as Boaz Myhill reacts well to block a snap shot from Sturridge.

16.04: One change for QPR as Jamie Mackie has replaced Alejandro Faurlin.

16.03: Away we go again for the second halves of the Premier League.

16.00: From InfostradaLive:

David Silva scored his first PL goal since April 11. The club have won each of the last eight PL matches in which he has found the net.

15.57: Not too many goals in that first half, but it can't just be me that notices the goals tend to rifle in after the break.

Will there be any for QPR though If the Hoops can't score past this leaky Southampton defence then it's crisis o'clock at Loftus Road.

15.54: It sounds like Sportsmail's Dominic King is enjoying himself at Anfield:

Half-time 0-0. Can't provide anything witty or insightful other than saying it is a pretty humdrum game with some odd refereeing decisions.

First to the ball: David Silva pounced before half-time to put Manchester City in front against Aston Villa

First to the ball: David Silva pounced before half-time to put Manchester City in front against Aston Villa

15.51: And now it's finally half-time at Anfield.

15.48: It's half-time everywhere but Liverpool…which I promise has actually kicked off.

15.47: GOAL! QPR 0-2 SOUTHAMPTON

What a disaster for QPR. Southampton have been much the better side so far and take a deserved two-goal lead after Jason Puncheon beats Julio Cesar at his near post with a curling effort.

15.45: GOAL! MANCHESTER CITY 1-0 Aston Villa

The champions finally make a breakthrough as David Silva shows he is the most alert player on the pitch after bundling home a loose ball from inside the box.

15.43: GOAL! West Brom 1-1 CHELSEA

It's against the run of play but Cesar Azpilicueta's cross is converted by Eden Hazard inside the box, taking a touch of Billy Jones along the way.

15.41: More goalkeeping masterclass at Reading now, as Federici rushes off his line to prevent Leon Osman from doubling Everton's lead after a through ball from Naismith. Alex McCarthy might not get his place back in the Royals goal at this rate.

15.38: Williamson nearly goes from hero to zero at Newcastle. The defender hesitates on the ball, allowing Swansea's Itay Shechter to get a shot in on goal, only to be denied by the onrushing Krul.

15.35: Don't worry folks I haven't forgot the action at Anfield – it's just there isn't much to report so far. We've had just one shot from Liverpool against Wigan and it wasn't on target from the hosts.

Red alert: Rickie Lambert heads Southampton ahead at QPR despite the best efforts of Samba Diakite

Red alert: Rickie Lambert heads Southampton ahead at QPR despite the best efforts of Samba Diakite

15.32: Despite that Benteke chance, it's backs to the wall for Aston Villa who are frustrating Manchester City with men behind the ball.

Yaya Toure sums up the frustration of the home side with a long distance strike that flies well over.

15.29: Newcastle go close to opening the scoring against Swansea as Demba Ba heads Hatem Ben Arfa's cross off target.

15.26: From InfostradaLive:

QPR conceded the opening goal for the ninth time this season – they have drawn two and lost six of the previous eight.

15.24: GOAL! QPR 0-1 SOUTHAMPTON

Scrappy as anything I have ever seen but this goal is huge. Following a scramble inside the box, Puncheon is denied on the line by Armand Traore before Rickie Lambert eventually smashes home.

15.21: But this is an even better save from Joe Hart. Christian Benteke out jumps Matija Nastasic to head into the turf, but the Manchester City keeper leaps to tip away the ball and deny Aston Villa the lead. Almost Gordan Banks-esque.

Heads I win: Shane Long nodded West Brom in front after peeling off Chelsea's David Luiz

Heads I win: Shane Long nodded West Brom in front after peeling off Chelsea's David Luiz

15.19: Still Swansea attack at Newcastle and this time the visitors get past the defence but not Tim Krul, as the Toon keeper parries away Michu's shot.

15.16: Jason Puncheon has hit the post for Southampton at QPR, but the hosts respond as Adel Taarabt dancing past three defenders before forcing a smart stop from Paulo Gazzaniga.

15.13: GOAL! WEST BROM 1-0 Chelsea

The Blues started well but they have fallen behind after Shane Long lost David Luiz at the back post to head home. The striker then revealed a shirt reading 'RIP Nan.'

First blood: Steven Naismith handed Everton the lead at Reading

First blood: Steven Naismith handed Everton the lead at Reading

15.11: GOAL! Reading 0-1 EVERTON

And now for something completely different. Reading make an absolute hash of clearing the ball from their box and after some deft touches from Marouane Fellaini and Jelavic, Steven Naismith rifles home.

15.09: And even more great defending – this time from West Brom! Victor Moses cuts the ball back from the byline after being set clear by Daniel Sturridge, before Ryan Bertrand's shot is cleared off the line by Liam Ridgewell.

15.06: Top defending from Mike Williamson. Nathan Dyer looks to be through on goal for Swansea but the Newcastle defender gets across to make a great tackle.

15.03: Fast start from Everton and they nearly take the lead. Adam Federici makes a top save from Phil Jagielka before Nikica Jelavic volleys into the ground and over.

Denied: Everton's Phil Jagielka sees his shot saved by Reading keeper Adam Federici

Denied: Everton's Phil Jagielka sees his shot saved by Reading keeper Adam Federici

15.00: Away we go then folks.

14.57: The teams are out across the country – let's hope they can follow the lunchtime kick-off where Arsenal recorded a 5-2 victory over Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium.

14.54: So as kick-off approaches why not check out Martin Keown's boot room where he previews all of this weekend's Premier League action.

14.51: Last but not least from the Madejski Stadium where Reading are searching for a first win and Everton will want to continue their challenge for a Champions League spot:

Reading v Everton
Reading: Federici, Gunter, Morrison, Gorkss, Shorey, Robson-Kanu, Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff, Roberts, Le Fondre. Subs: Stuart Taylor, Mariappa, Pogrebnyak, Hunt, McCleary, Harte, Cummings.

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines, Naismith, Osman, Fellaini, Hitzlsperger, Pienaar, Jelavic. Subs: Mucha, Oviedo, Distin, Vellios, Junior, Kennedy, Duffy.

Referee: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)

14.48: It seems like madness but a win for Wigan today and they would go above Liverpool in the table, full team news from Anfield:

Liverpool v Wigan
Liverpool: Reina, Wisdom, Agger, Skrtel, Jose Enrique, Johnson, Gerrard, Allen, Sterling, Suarez, Fernandez Saez. Subs: Jones, Sahin, Cole, Henderson, Coates, Carragher, Shelvey.

Wigan: Al Habsi, Ramis, Caldwell, Figueroa, Boyce, Watson, McCarthy, Beausejour, Maloney, Di Santo, Kone. Subs: Pollitt, Jones, Gomez, McManaman, Boselli, Stam, Miyaichi.

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

14.45: Interesting game at West Brom as Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo returns to the club that sacked him only last year…how times change:

West Brom v Chelsea
West Brom: Myhill, Jones, Olsson, Tamas, Ridgewell, Morrison, Yacob, Mulumbu, Gera, Long, Odemwingie. Subs: Luke Daniels, Reid, Popov, Rosenberg, Brunt, Dorrans, Fortune.

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand, Romeu, Mikel, Hazard, Sturridge, Torres, Moses. Subs: Turnbull, Ivanovic, Cole, Ramires, Mata, Oscar, Marin.

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

Forced to sit out: Senegal have evoked a clause preventing Papiss Cisse's (left) from playing for Newcastle

Forced to sit out: Senegal have evoked a clause preventing Papiss Cisse's (left) from playing for Newcastle

14.42: Two mid-table sides at St James' Park who will fancy their chances of three points and a push for a European spot. Full news:

Newcastle v Swansea
Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Williamson, Santon, Ben Arfa, Anita, Tiote, Ferguson, Sammy Ameobi, Ba. Subs: Elliot, Amalfitano, Bigirimana, Marveaux, Shola Ameobi, Tavernier, Abeid.

Swansea: Tremmel, Rangel, Williams, Monk, Davies, Britton, De Guzman, Dyer, Michu, Hernandez, Shechter. Subs: Cornell, Chico, Graham, Routledge, Moore, Tiendalli, Agustien.

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

14.39: Mario Balotelli is again left out of the Manchester City squad as the Barclays Premier League champions take on Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium.

The controversial striker, who played in Italy's friendly against France on Wednesday, does not even make the bench for his club side for a second successive week.

Maicon and Samir Nasri come into the City line-up for Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov while Villa are unchanged from the side beaten by Manchester United last week.

14.36: Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo makes five changes for the Barclays Premier League clash with his former club West Brom at the Hawthorns.

Strikers Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge, midfielder Oriol Romeu and centre-backs Gary Cahill and David Luiz replace Juan Mata, Oscar, Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and the injured John Terry respectively.

Gabriel Tamas replaces injured Albion centre-back Gareth McAuley (hamstring) while midfielder Zoltan Gera and striker Peter Odemwingie come in for Chris Brunt and ineligible on-loan Chelsea player Romelu Lukaku.

Incoming: Victor Moses (centre) and Gary Cahill (right) feature for Chelsea but Juan Mata makes way

Incoming: Victor Moses (centre) and Gary Cahill (right) feature for Chelsea but Juan Mata makes way

14.33: QPR and Southampton both name unchanged starting line-ups for today's vital encounter between the Premier League's two bottom sides.

The hosts name Fabio on the bench after a two-month absence with a hamstring problem, while Bobby Zamora misses out on the squad with a hip injury.

Southampton name the same side that drew 1-1 with Swansea last weekend, with 17-year-old Luke Shaw again preferred at left-back.

14.30: Reading boss Brian McDermott makes two changes for the visit of Everton as he goes in search of the Royals' first Barclays Premier League win of the season.

Hal Robson-Kanu and Adam Le Fondre are introduced by McDermott with Garath McCleary and Noel Hunt both dropping to the bench.

David Moyes hands midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger his first Everton start in place of captain Phil Neville with Steven Naismith replacing Kevin Mirallas who misses out with a hamstring injury.

14.27: The big one. QPR boss Mark Hughes has already led a rally cry before the Premier League's bottom two in the table battle it out. Here are the full line-ups from Loftus Road:

QPR v Southampton
QPR: Julio Cesar, Bosingwa, Ferdinand, Nelsen, Traore, Diakite, Faurlin, Granero, Taarabt, Hoilett, Cisse. Subs: Green, Derry, Wright-Phillips, Mackie, Dyer, Da Silva, Ehmer.

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Cork, Puncheon, Ramirez, Lallana, Lambert. Subs: Kelvin Davis, Hooiveld, Steven Davis, Rodriguez, Fox, Ward-Prowse, Mayuka.

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

14.24: Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is dealt a blow as he is unable to name striker Papiss Cisse in his side for this afternoon's Barclays Premier League clash with Swansea.

The 27-year-old is conspicuous by his absence amid a row with the Senegal Football Federation following his failure to report for international duty because of a back injury.

He and the injured Yohan Cabaye and Jonas Gutierrez are replaced by Sammy Ameobi, Cheick Tiote and Vurnon Anita.

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup makes two changes to the side which drew 1-1 at Southampton last weekend, meaning there is no place for Wayne Routledge on his return to St James' Park with the winger and Ki Sung-yueng being replaced by Nathan Dyer and Itay Shechter.

Back up to speed: Maicon (left) impressed after coming off the bench for Manchester City last weekend

Back up to speed: Maicon (left) impressed after coming off the bench for Manchester City last weekend

14.21: Three points for Manchester City and they will go top until at least tea-time, here is the team news from the Etihad Stadium:

Man City v Aston Villa
Man City: Hart, Maicon, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy, Toure, Barry, Silva, Tevez, Nasri, Aguero. Subs: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Lescott, Dzeko, Sinclair, Kolarov, Javi Garcia.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Stevens, Vlaar, Clark, Lowton, Bannan, Westwood, Agbonlahor, Ireland, Weimann, Benteke. Subs: Given, El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Holman, Delph, Bowery, Baker.

Referee: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire)

14.18: Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina is named in the starting line-up for the first time since October 7 for the visit of Wigan.

The Spain international missed four Barclays Premier League matches with a hamstring injury and his return is one of three changes from the draw at Chelsea with Martin Skrtel and Suso also restored.

Wigan, unbeaten in five matches against the Reds, name the same side which lost to West Brom.

14.15: But if it's goals you want first folks (and red cards) then may I point you towards our live coverage of the north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium. Click here to follow a game which has already had five goals with Rik Sharma.

14.10: No propeller kicks today folks, (it seems you have to go to Serie A to have a chance of seeing that sort of action.)

But from the 3pm games this afternoon I can bring you matches involving the Premier League champions and the European champions – that has to top Zlatan Ibrahimovic's acrobatics surely Team news coming up.

Six of the best: Liverpool, Manchester City, Everton and Chelsea feature in six 3pm Premier League fixtures

Six of the best: Liverpool, Manchester City, Everton and Chelsea feature in six 3pm Premier League fixtures

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott set to start for England v San Marino

Wing wizards Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott set to start in pacy England attack

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UPDATED:

09:39 GMT, 12 October 2012

Follow the big game live…

Click HERE for minute-by-minute coverage of England v San Marino from 7pm

Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are set to start either side of Wayne Rooney behind Danny Welbeck in a new-look England attack on Friday night.

Boss Roy Hodgson is set to play the Arsenal pair together in a pacy attack as they go for goals against minnows San Marino.

Hodgson was considering starting Tottenham's Jermain Defoe on his own up front but it appears Manchester United's Danny Welbeck has got the nod.

Wing kings: Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are set to start

Wing kings: Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are set to start

Walcott is likely to be selected ahead of Adam Johnson on the right wing, with Oxlade-Chamberlain rampaging down the opposite flank.

Hodgson is ready to select Chelsea's Gary Cahill alongside Phil Jagielka in what should be a quiet night for the defence.

Rooney, meanwhile, has promised the England boss he won’t let him or the country down after being named as captain.

Armband: Wayne Rooney (front right) has been given the captaincy

Armband: Wayne Rooney (front right) has been given the captaincy

At the end of a week when the standards
of England footballers have been under scrutiny, Rooney was given the
nod as skipper for the World Cup qualifier against San Marino after
Frank Lampard pulled out injured.

It is 12 months since Rooney was sent off in Montenegro for kicking an opponent and banned from the first two games of Euro 2012. But he insisted he has changed.

‘That was a stupid thing to do,’ said Rooney. ‘I regretted it as soon as I’d done it. I apologised and paid the price. It won’t be happening again, I can promise.

Storm: Ashley Cole has been involved in Twitter controversy recently

Storm: Ashley Cole has been involved in Twitter controversy recently

‘After that, at club level, you saw a different person. I cut out a lot of the silly tackles and mistakes I made as a young lad. I’m a different person and a different player. I’ve matured as a player and a person.’

Rooney, 26, captained England once before, in a friendly against Brazil in Qatar three years ago, and has skippered Manchester United.

With Steven Gerrard banned and Lampard injured he will lead his country for the first time in a competitive game.

Matured: Rooney says he has improved since his Montenegro red card

Matured: Rooney says he has improved since his Montenegro red card

Cluj v Manchester United and Nordsjaelland v Chelsea live

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LIVE: Cluj v Manchester United and Nordsjaelland v Chelsea – as it happens

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UPDATED:

19:08 GMT, 2 October 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Champions League as Chelsea and Manchester United go on the road in search of three points on match day two. The reigning champions threw away a two-goal lead to draw with Juventus in their first match and travel to Nordsjaelland, while United will hope to record successive European wins when they visit Cluj. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Champions League (7.45pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Cluj 1-0 Manchester United

Nordsjaelland 0-0 Chelsea

Click here for all the latest scores from around the Champions League

All the latest from the Championship

All the latest from League One

All the latest from League Two

20.07: United are getting closer. Anderson fires wide again before Tom Cleverley's knock on is volleyed just off target by Van Persie.

20.05: As you were in Romania before the goal. United continue to press but look susceptible on the counter attack still. Nonetheless, Wayne Rooney forces a smart save from Mario Felgueiras.

20.02: After showing some early nerves, Nordsjaelland are starting to show some promise at Parken.

Morten Nordstrand's shot is well blocked by David Luiz to concede a corner that Petr Cech eventually claims.

19.59: GOAL! CLUJ 1-0 Manchester United

Fergie will be fuming. Modou Sougou counters down the right flank, before delivering a low cross for Pantelis Kapetanos to fire past a helpless David de Gea. Jonny Evans let the striker get away far too easily inside the box.

19.58: Thirteen minutes have passed in the 'Can Stadium' where it's pretty much been all Manchester United. The only opening they have had is Anderson's strike wide with his weaker foot. Time to up your game, United.

19.56: Sloppy by Frank Lampard's high standards. Juan Mata does well to canter down the right before squaring a low ball for the England midfielder. Lampard though hits his first time strike from 18 yards well over the bar – he will be disappointed with that.

19.55: Another small opening for Chelsea. A clearance from the home side cannons off Moses into the path of Fernando Torres, who after making space for a shot is quickly closed down on the edge of the box.

19.54: Positive start for Manchester United too, which makes a pleasant change. No clear cut chances for the triple threat in attack yet though as the visitors boss possession.

19.51: And Chelsea's deadly duo team up again. This time it's Oscar that sets up Moses with a cross to the back post, but with the former Wigan forward poised to head home, Jores Okore manages to bravely head away the danger.

It's come at a price though, as the defender has to get treatment on his head off the pitch following a collision with Moses.

19.49: Half-chance for Chelsea as the Danish side allow the reigning champions the ball early on. Victor Moses' flick puts Oscar in space on the edge of the box, but the midfielder drags his shot wide.

19.46: Away we go in both fixtures.

19.43: And as the teams in Romania and Denmark make their way out, let me give you some final pre-match reading courtesy of Sportsmail's Martin Keown, who claims Rio Ferdinand needs to adjust his game to prolong his career.

19.38: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson spoke to ITV before the game:

'Wayne [Rooney] will operate behind the attack with Robin van Persie partnering Javier Hernandez.

'Cluj are a good side, they have beaten Roma and Basle here while holding Chelsea to a draw – they will aim to counter us.'

19.35: Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo spoke to Sky Sports before the game:

'The pitch looks good, it rained this morning and it seems heavy but I hope it will hold.

'We've got Gary [Cahill] back and Moses gives us something different.

'Lampard has experience and we will need to be focused to win this evening.'

Local support: Danish Chelsea fans show their support for the west London side in the Parken Stadium

Local support: Danish Chelsea fans show their support for the west London side in the Parken Stadium

19.32: Cluj meanwhile opened with a surprise 2-0 win at Braga…although the Portuguese side somehow failed to score despite having 35 shots over the game.

I can't imagine Rooney and Van Persie needing more than that to find the back of the net this evening.

19.29: Nordsjaelland of course got off to a losing start a couple of weeks ago, going down 2-0 at Shakhtar Donetsk.

To be fair to the Danish minnows there isn't many teams that go to Ukraine's finest and take a decent result.

19.26: From InfostradaLive:

Chelsea are unbeaten in all six matches vs Danish opposition, winning their their away matches.

But it's worth noting Chelsea won none of their away group games last season, bit harsh to blame that on Andre Villas-Boas by the way.

19.23: I've just been informed the ground is also known as the Conserva Stadium which translates as can stadium…that's rubbish to be honest.

19.21: Full line-ups from Stadionul Dr. Constantin Radulescu (that needs a nickname):

CFR Cluj-Napoca v Man Utd
CFR Cluj-Napoca: Mario Felgueiras, Sepsi, Cadu, Rada, Ivo Pinto, Sougou, Aguirregaray, Muresan, Camora, Bastos, Kapetanos. Subs: Stancioiu, Diogo Valente, Nicoara, Maftei, Piccolo, Bjelanovic, Luis Alberto.

Man Utd: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Cleverley, Anderson, Fletcher, Rooney, Hernandez, van Persie. Subs: Lindegaard, Nani, Welbeck, Powell, Kagawa, Buttner, Wootton.

Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain)

19.18: In fact, Nordsjaelland didn't even exist 21 years ago. It's been quite an incredible journey up the Danish league system.

Their title win last season was on par with Swansea winning the Premier League according to former Denmark goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel – so Jacks fans, you know where to send your complaints on that comparison.

One player to keep an eye out for Andreas Laudrup who is the son of Swansea boss, Michael. Although he dos start on the bench this evening.

We've been here before: Two goals from Nicolas Anelka (left) saw Chelsea defeat FC Copenhagen 2-0 in a last 16 Champions League match at the Parken Stadium last year

We've been here before: Two goals from Nicolas Anelka (left) saw Chelsea defeat FC Copenhagen 2-0 in a last 16 Champions League match at the Parken Stadium last year

19.15: No typo in there folks, Nordsjaelland are using the famous Parken stadium for their Champions League games as it will hand them a predicted 15,000 extra fans on top of the 10,000 they get at their much smaller stadium.

Arsenal fans may remember this as the venue where they lost the UEFA Cup final to Galatasaray in 2000.

19.12: Full line-ups from the Parken Stadium:

FC Nordsjaelland v Chelsea
FC Nordsjaelland: Hansen, Parkhurst, Okore, Runje, Mtiliga, Adu, Stokholm, Lorentzen, Nordstrand, John, Beckmann. Subs: Villadsen, Christiansen, Christensen, Gundelach, Laudrup, Ticinovic, Petry Andersen.

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Moses, Oscar, Mata, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Mikel, Hazard, Terry, Azpilicueta, Bertrand. Referee: Marijo Strahonja (Croatia)

19.07: Frank Lampard returns to captain Chelsea as John Terry is rested for tonight's Champions League clash against Nordsjaelland in Denmark.

Lampard makes his first start since the Group E draw against Juventus, with Gary Cahill replacing Terry and Victor Moses coming in for Eden Hazard.

Danish champions Nordsjaelland's only change for arguably the biggest match in their history sees fit-again forward Mikkel Beckmann recalled.

19.02: Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie start their first Manchester United game together as the Red Devils look to continue their winning start in Europe by beating Romanian champions Cluj.

Rooney's introduction at half-time against Tottenham on Saturday sparked United into life, although it was not enough to stave off an unexpected defeat.

Sir Alex Ferguson sticks with the same underperforming defence, although he does recall David de Gea in goal and names Anderson, Darren Fletcher – recalled to the Scotland squad – and Tom Cleverley in a three-man midfield to face a Cluj side who won their opening game in Braga a fortnight ago thanks to two-goal Rafael Bastos.

All smiles: Wayne Rooney (centre) starts for Manchester United alongside Robin van Persie

All smiles: Wayne Rooney (centre) starts for Manchester United alongside Robin van Persie

18.57: It's all over in Russia where Celtic have made history to win their first ever Champions League group stage game away from home after defeating Spartak Moscow 3-2. Make no mistake folks that is a stunning result.

For Spartak, they will reflect on losing by the odd goal in five for the second game running, having also led Barcelona 2-1 at the Nou Camp.

Six points were well within their grasp but now they have none – these are the margins folks.

18.54: The action has already started by the way, and it's nearly finished at the Luzhniki Stadium where Spartak Moscow are hosting Celtic.

After going 2-1 down in the second half, Celtic have fought back against the 10 men of Moscow, with Giorgos Samaras scoring in the final minute – we are in five minutes of injury time now.

18.51: Chelsea starting XI:

Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, David Luiz, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Moses, Oscar, Mata, Torres.

18.48: Manchester United starting XI:

De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Anderson, Fletcher, Cleverley, Rooney, Hernandez, Van Persie.

18.45: You have to feel slightly sorry for Cluj this evening. Manchester United haven't filled me with confidence playing in the Champions League inside the last year, but boy do they have a point to prove this evening.

After losing against Tottenham at the weekend you can bet Sir Alex Ferguson's side will be fired up for a response – but will the Romanian side be prepared for it Tonight's team news is on the way.

Back in the swing of things: Robin van Persie will hope to fire Manchester United to successive European wins

Back in the swing of things: Robin van Persie will hope to fire Manchester United to successive European wins

Republic of Ireland 4 Oman 1: Easy win for Giovanni Trapattoni

Republic of Ireland 4 Oman 1: Easy for Trap as experimental side coast to victory

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UPDATED:

22:35 GMT, 11 September 2012

James McClean received the biggest cheer of the night at Craven Cottage, but it was debutant Robbie Brady who stole the show as he scored one and set up two more as the Republic of Ireland comfortably beat Oman.

Brady is yet to play a match for his club Manchester United, but he lit up a quiet atmosphere at Tuesday's friendly in London by crossing for Kevin Doyle's opener.

The winger smacked home a volley to make it 2-0 and he set up Shane Long for the Republic's third while Alex Pearce added a fourth after Eid Al-Farsi had scored a consolation goal for Paul Le Guen's side.

Easy: Kevin Doyle heads in Ireland's third goal

Easy: Kevin Doyle heads in Ireland's third goal

MATCH FACTS

Rep of Ireland: Forde (Randolph 46), Kelly, St. Ledger, Meyler, Wilson (Pearce 46), Coleman, Keogh, McCarthy (Cox 65), Brady(McGeady 70), Doyle (McClean 61), Long (O'Brien 73).

Subs Not Used: Ward, Henderson.

Goals: Long 7, Brady 23, Doyle 36, Pearce 85.

Oman: Al Habsi, Al Musalami, Muhaiyri (Al Jabri 77), Ghailani,Saad Al Mukhaini, Al Balushi (Abdul Salam Al Mukhaini 78), Ibrahim (Al Hadhri 69), Al Farsi, Al Mashri, Maqbali (Basheer 69), Al Hosni.

Subs Not Used: Al Rusheid, Al Awaisi, Habi, Al Ajmi, Al Saadi, Al Rujaibi, Nazmuddin.

Goal: Al Farsi 72.

Att: 6,420

Ref: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

McClean was also highly impressive
during his 30 minutes on the pitch. The Sunderland winger vented his
fury at Giovanni Trapattoni after he was left on the bench during
Friday's drab 2-1 win, and he showed the Italian just how devastating he
can be during his cameo from the bench.

The 23-year-old looked lively on the
left flank so often occupied by Fulham and Republic man Damien Duff over
the years, and had it not been for Ali Al-Habsi in the Oman goal, the
winger would have notched his first international goal and could have
even had a second when he fired a sweet volley just over.

Even though Oman are ranked 53rd in the world, Tuesday's result and performance will do the world of good for Trapattoni.

The normally conservative 73-year-old
urged his team forward throughout, and there were lively performances
from Shane Long, Doyle, Seamus Coleman and Brady.

The win will give the former Juventus
manager more confidence that he has the strength in depth to make the
country's World Cup qualifying campaign a successful one.

Like in Astana on Friday, the Republic
started brightly. Doyle peeled down the left and his cross flew towards
goal off the knee of Mohammed Al-Balushi but Al-Habsi showed great
reflexes to prevent an own goal.

A moment of hesitation from David
Forde in the Republic goal almost cost Trapattoni's team, but the
defence cleared their lines and the men in green found themselves in
front after six minutes.

Well done: Doyle is congratulated by his team-mates

Well done: Doyle is congratulated by his team-mates

Cheer: James McClean's introduction pleased the fans

Cheer: James McClean's introduction pleased the fans

Brady pumped a 40-yard free-kick
towards the back post and Sean St Ledger nodded back across goal for the
West Brom man to head home.

Oman looked confident going forwards,
and almost tested Forde twice through Ahmed Al Muhaiyri and Amad Al
Hosni, who both shot just over.

The Republic were 2-0 up after 22
minutes, however, when Seamus Coleman's cross was cleared into the path
of Brady, who lashed home a low volley that beat Al-Habsi as he
scrambled across his line.

Wrap-up: Alex Pearce finished the rout

Wrap-up: Alex Pearce finished the rout

Abdullaziz Al-Muqabli thought he
should have had a penalty just before the half hour after going down
under pressure from St Ledger but Andre Marriner waved play on.

Brady's incredible debut continued 12
minutes before the break when the 20-year-old sent over a peach of a
flat cross which Doyle headed in from six yards.

Trapattoni brought on Reading defender
Pearce and Motherwell goalkeeper Darren Randolph at the break and the
Republic remained in control.

Andy Keogh picked up Doyle's pass on
the right wing and cut inside before firing a wicked curling shot that
Al-Habsi athletically tipped wide.

Familiar face: Ali Al-Habsi made some good saves

Familiar face: Ali Al-Habsi made some good saves

Oman still looked confident going
forward, however, and Randolph had to pull off a terrific diving save to
deny Eid Al Farsi from 25 yards.

The loudest cheer of the night came when McClean came on for Doyle.

The Sunderland winger, his every touch
greeted by a cheer, looked keen to make an immediate impression,
beating Al-Muhaiyri to the byline, but his cross was hooked clear.

McClean almost scored his first
international goal soon after when he fired a wicked free-kick over the
wall that Al-Habsi saved brilliantly to his right.

McClean came within inches of making
it 4-0 in the 69th minute when he smacked a peach of a volley just over
Al-Habsi's goal after a pin-point pass from his Sunderland colleague
Meyler.

Oman pulled one back after 71 minutes
when Al-Farsi lost his marker and found some space in the box before
shooting beyond Randolph.

Ready to go: The Ireland team line up at Craven Cottage

Ready to go: The Ireland team line up at Craven Cottage

Amad Al-Hosni almost scored another for the Gulf state when he beat Stephen Kelly but rippled the side-netting.

David Meyler, like Brady, wanted a
debut goal and he almost got it seven minutes from the end when he
smacked a fierce shot that Al-Habsi parried.

Two minutes later and it was 4-1. Substitute Aiden McGeady swung in a deep cross and Pearce leapt to head home from 10 yards.

In a worrying development for
Nottingham Forest, Simon Cox hobbled off in injury time after suffering
an ankle in injury from a heavy tackle, but otherwise it was smiles all
around as the team left the pitch to chants of 'You'll never beat the
Irish'.