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Solskjaer set for sack after Watford thrashing, Reds smash Arsenal, Gerrard secures win

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21st November, 2021

A 4-1 thrashing at Watford has added to the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, especially as new managers Steven Gerrard and Dean Smith made winning starts.

Aston Villa had a new manager, they won. Norwich had a new manager, they won. Newcastle had a new manager, they drew, but at least provided rare entertainment in a 3-3 draw.

Manchester United, despite much debate, still do not have a new manager.

But they might soon after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team suffered another humiliating defeat in England’s Premier League on Saturday, by 4-1 to Watford, themselves recently under relatively new management.

It was a defeat that underlined the gulf between them and England’s best, notably Chelsea, who won 3-0 at Leicester to cement their Premier League lead, and Liverpool who put Arsenal’s revival in perspective with a 4-0 win.

United’s dishevelment was underlined by Harry Maguire being sent off at 2-1 down, the rarely spotted Donny van de Beek having come off the bench to pull a goal back.

Goalkeeper David De Gea, the only United player to emerge from the debacle with credit, not least by saving a penalty, said: “It was embarrassing to see Man United play like we did today, it is not acceptable. It is a nightmare again.


“What we are doing in games is very low level, very poor. It has been very bad for a long time.”

It was the fourth defeat in five league games for United, who have shipped 15 goals in that period, but Solskjaer, asked if he was the man to take United forward, said: “The results are difficult. But I believe I can turn this around.”

It appears he has run out of time to do so, with the Guardian reporting that Manchester United’s board decided to sack Solskjaer at an emergency meeting after the game and Joel Glazer, the co-chairman who heads the American family’s ownership, has agreed to rubber-stamp the move.

It was reported the plan is for an announcement to avoid describing Solskjaer as sacked and refer to a mutual agreement. Compensation and other final touches were being attended to after the board completed their discussions.

The benefit of a new face was most evident at Carrow Road where Dean Smith, sacked by Aston Villa and immediately installed at Norwich, oversaw a first home league win of the season.

Though Saints Che Adams found the bottom corner after only four minutes, City swiftly levelled when Teemu Pukki headed in Max Aarons’ cross and Grant Hanley headed in a late winner to lift the Canaries off the bottom.

They are replaced there by Newcastle who shared six goals at home to Brentford. New boss Eddie Howe was watching from home following a positive test for COVID-19.

He saw Newcastle take an early lead when Jamaal Lascelles nodded in from Matt Ritchie’s corner but 75 seconds later Ivan Toney took advantage of Karl Darlow’s mistake.


Brentford then led twice but Allan Saint-Maximin rescued a point.

Gerrard’s Villa left it late. Ollie Watkins broke the deadlock with a lovely curling effort after 84 minutes before Tyrone Mings lashed home a second goal two minutes from time.

“It feels really good and it was the result that we dreamt of. It was the perfect start for us but now we’ve got to go and prove that we can back it up,” Gerrard said.

First-half goals from Antonio Rudiger and N’Golo Kante, and a third from Christian Pulisic gave Chelsea a well-deserved win at insipid Leicester.

Liverpool later cut their lead to four points with a comprehensive defeat of Arsenal with goals from Sadio Mane, Diego Jota, Mo Salah and Takumi Minamino.


Third-placed Manchester City play Everton on Sunday.

Maxwel Cornet’s superb volley was the pick of the goals as Burnley and Crystal Palace took a point each from a 3-3 draw, Christian Benteke scoring twice for the visitors.

Raul Jimenez scored the only goal as Wolves ended West Ham’s four-game winning run with a 1-0 victory at Molineux.