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Author Archive for Barney Ronay at Wembley

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Marcus Rashford’s toils show up José Mourinho as a man without a plan | Barney Ronay

Isolated outing for forward in the cup final was dismaying proof that skilful attackers are being left to regress at Old TraffordOn a sweaty, heavy, oddly gruelling Wembley day Manchester United’s sweaty, heavy, oddly gruelling season was finally eutha…

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Paul Pogba surges to centre stage at Wembley with display of art and graft | Barney Ronay

Midfielder recovered from a shaky start against Spurs to showcase his silky creative gifts in the game’s pivotal momentsIt seems safe to say Paul Pogba won’t ever please everyone. Not least when so many of those watching seem so eager to be displeased:…

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David Silva still the conductor even if his tempo may be on the wane | Barney Ronay

The Premier League may never have had a greater friend of the football than David Silva, but time wears down even the most boyishly irrepressible of footballersAnd breathe again. On a misty night at Wembley Manchester City squared their shoulders, slap…

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Magic and workrate of Dybala and Chiellini edge Juve past Spurs | Barney Ronay

Spurs looked like they would reach the last eight before the playmaker sprang to life and Chiellini defended for his lifeFor an hour at Wembley, with the quarter-finals of the Champions League beckoning and the scalp of Juventus already partially hacke…

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Vincent Kompany leads the way for Manchester City’s old boys in victory | Barney Ronay

Kompany at his best as he and his fellow longstanding team-mates Sergio Agüero and David Silva ease past ArsenalOn an icy, full-throated afternoon at Wembley Manchester City produced a kind of medley-triumph, a run-through of the greatest hits of the n…

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Mousa Dembélé is fast becoming the ultimate midfield controller | Barney Ronay

Harry Kane will grab the headlines for his winning goal, but the Spurs midfielder controlled the north London derbyShortly after the only goal of this bruising north London derby Arsène Wenger could be seen standing on the touchline, swirling the skirt…

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Phil Jones the fall guy in Manchester United’s backline of pumpkins | Barney Ronay

The defender’s torrid first half against Tottenham will be the focus of attention but Manchester United’s unbalanced midfield was as much part of their problemFor Manchester United this was a bruising 2-0 defeat by better-balanced opponents and an occa…

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Harry Kane leads way as Tottenham dismiss AFC Wimbledon in second half

AFC Wimbledon held out for an hour at Wembley, hit the bar in the first half, but were eventually picked off by Harry Kane. By the end the 3-0 scoreline was a fair reflection of Tottenham Hotspur’s dominance in this FA Cup third round tie against oppon…

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Southgate says England will take huge belief from Brail and Germany draws

• Manager senses his team are repairing bond with England fans• Joe Gomez, John Stones and Harry Maguire praised in new systemGareth Southgate believes England’s hard-won goalless draws against Brazil and Germany have helped repair the bond between the…

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Neymar shows usual signs of magic but is unable to dominate for Brazil

The world’s most expensive footballer lit up Wembley at times until England’s dogged resistance meant his influence faded as the game went onWith 23 minutes gone on a room-temperature night at Wembley Neymar did something beautiful, delicate and almost…

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Shy Ruben Loftus-Cheek proves fascinating presence against Germany | Barney Ronay

Gareth Southgate’s young England side gave the world champions plenty to think about and with more experience the boys have potential to go on to better thingsThe kids are – sort of – all right. At times, perhaps even a little better than all right. Ga…

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Tottenham’s English core put Real Madrid stars in the shade | Barney Ronay

Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Kieran Trippier showed no respect for reputations by forcing Toni Kroos into errors and putting Casemiro and co on their backsidesShortly before half-time on a thrilling, boisterous European night, there was a moment of rare …

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Slaven Bilic says West Ham win over Spurs ‘should be the standard from here’

• Under-pressure West Ham manager basks in ‘great night for the club’• Mauricio Pochettino admits team rotation may have hindered TottenhamSlaven Bilic promised to take the ignition provided by Carabao Cup heroics into a potentially decisive weekend fo…

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André Ayew kickstarts West Ham revival to dump Tottenham out of Carabao Cup

West Ham United produced a sensational comeback at Wembley Stadium, scoring three times in 15 second-half minutes to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 victory that propelled Slaven Bilic’s team into the quarter finals of the Carabao Cup.For Bilic, struggli…

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Dejan Lovren and Liverpool introduce us to the art of un-defending | Barney Ronay

Liverpool’s Croatian centre-back produced the worst half-hour on the pitch in recent memory, during which he appeared to have completely forgotten he was actually playing in a football match, in the 4-1 hammering by TottenhamThe humane thing to do, loo…

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Gareth Southgate must give freedom a chance after numbing England spectacle | Barney Ronay

The England manager has eight months to get his team to express themselves at the World Cup by using the flair of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Marcus Rashford

Put out more flags. Dust down the red and white jester’s hat. Root out the gumshield, the crumpled Yekaterinburg metro map. And prepare to head once more into that strangely gruelling territory between bruised and fearful cynicism and the eternal quiver of tournament hope.

England have booked their place at the World Cup in Russia after surely the most meandering, flaccid qualification victory yet devised by any England team. Slovenia were beaten by Harry Kane’s goal but make no mistake – this was both a dreadful game of football and a numbing spectacle for those loyal supporters still willing to drag themselves out on a Thursday night to enter the vast money-rinsing concrete cauldron of the Wembley entertainment complex.

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Fortune favours the brave as Harry Kane drags Spurs to a hard-fought victory

The striker’s masterclass of craft and malevolent energy picked off a dominant Borussia Dortmund side and finally ended Tottenham’s Wembley woes

It is a theme of Harry Kane’s insurgent, late-breaking career. Never mind the evidence of the last three years, the goals scored, the matches won. For Kane there just always seems to be something to prove, a need even now to show that this isn’t all a fluke, an unsustainable plateau, an act of Premier League smoke and mirrors.

Kane himself has no doubts about his qualities. Quite the opposite: he keeps saying he wants to win the Ballon D’Or. Some have scoffed at this. But then the alternative is to believe what the stats and the goal charts suggest, that a serial Football League loanee, a striker without any obvious, flashy gifts really has managed to gatecrash the elite, and to transform himself under Mauricio Pochettino into a genuine top-level centre-forward.

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Wembley’s sullen mood dispelled by a touch of class from Marcus Rashford | Barney Ronay

Striker’s wonderful goal finally won over a crowd reduced to silence by the painful memories of Malta and England’s poor start against Slovakia

When it comes to England it is not the spells of ineptitude that kill you – those periods, as in the opening half‑hour at Wembley, where the ball appears to be square, the players only dimly acquainted. It is of course the hope. As Marcus Rashford turned and spanked a low shot into the corner to put England 2-1 up, the Wembley crowd leapt and roared and basked in a moment of class from a wonderful attacking talent who had struggled initially here but improved significantly with a switch up front.

Related: Marcus Rashford bounces back against Slovakia and England grab the win

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Arsène Wenger and Arsenal have answers but questions remain | Barney Ronay

Uncertainty over the future of Arsène Wenger persists but Arsenal put those troubles behind them as they beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final

At the final whistle on a hot, fun, slightly wild afternoon at Wembley, Arsène Wenger crouched on the touchline and roared, not quite with abandon, but with a genuine sense of release, and even of anger. Cuffs still crisply buttoned, wasp-waisted in black slacks, Wenger eventually sank into a familiar double fist-pump, knees bent, like a man at a wedding performing a slow, heartfelt air-maracas solo.

Twenty minutes later he was there again climbing the Wembley steps with his players to face the royal party and the coyly gleaming trophy. Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat of Chelsea means Wenger now has seven FA Cup winners’ medals, more than any other manager, and as many as Chelsea and Liverpool in their entire respective histories. His first Cup as a coach was the Coupe De France 27 years ago. For all the vicissitudes of the job, the draining obsession, it seems pretty clear the sweetness is still there to be sucked from moments like these.

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Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic proves the ace to trump Southampton | Barney Ronay

The Swedish striker spares the blushes of José Mourinho’s side while Paul Pogba is clangingly inept during their 3-2 EFL Cup final victory at Wembley

It is tempting to say Zlatan Ibrahimovic stole this EFL Cup final from Southampton but only if having the craft, skill and bloody-mindedness to drag Manchester United’s misfiring collection of high spec parts across the line really counts as anything other than an act of champion will.

What is certain is that United won the first honour of the José Mourinho reboot in the most uneven way, producing a performance at Wembley that clanked and juddered and tripped over its own feet but was still enough to overcome a more fluent Southampton team by virtue of the cold clear attacking edge of their star centre-forward.

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