Manchester United Plotting £50m Bid for Wolves Star Diogo Jota

​Manchester United are set to make a huge £50m bid for Wolves’ in-form forward Diogo Jota.

The Red Devils sent representatives to watch the Portuguese play in the Europa League on Thursday evening – where he bagged a hat trick against Spanish side Espanyol. 

The 23-year-old became the first player in eight years to score back-to-back hat-tricks in the Europa League since Klass-Jan Huntelaar did so with Schalke.

Diogo Jota

A target for ​Tottenham last season, Jota has been frequently watched by United scouts for the last two seasons, according to the ​Daily Express. 

However, ​Wolves will be very keen to keep the young attacker at the club, and he’s under contract for another three seasons.

​Manchester United are currently battling several teams for a ​Champions League spot, including Chelsea, Spurs and Wolves themselves, and if they get a spot then that will only help increase their chances of landing Jota.

The club need more quality up front to help out ​Marcus Rashford and ​Anthony Martial, with Odion Ighalo only on loan until the end of the season and Mason Greenwood still finding his feet as a professional.

Nine of Jota’s 14 goals this season have come in Europe and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to find a solution for United to become a better goal-scoring outfit. 

Marcus Rashford,Anthony Martial

The argument against a move, however, would be that Jota is a left-sided attacker and United currently have several options there. That is Rashford’s best and preferred position, while Martial can also fill in. Adding Jota to their ranks would surely see an excess of key players occupying that space whether they’re starting there or not.

In attack, what United should be targeting is a natural right-winger. Jadon Sancho is a popular name, and ​a source has told 90min that the Red Devils are confident of signing him in the summer.

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4 Key Stats From Manchester United’s Win Over Watford as Bruno Fernandes Gets Off the Mark

There isn’t much straightforward about this Manchester United team, but their 3-0 victory over Watford on Sunday was as routine as it gets. 

It would be a stretch to say it was a vintage display that rolled back the years, but just days after a frustrating European adventure, United were efficient and took care of business against a Watford side who, it has to be said, didn’t put up too much of a fight. 

Bruno Fernandes netted his first United goal from the spot followed up by Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood in the second half, and you can relive all the action ​right here if that’s your thing. Here, though, we’re taking a deep dive into the stats (courtesy, as ever, of ​Opta) to see what we learned from a promising afternoon for ​United, and another dismal one for the Hornets. 


Handling the Pressure

Bruno Fernandes

So much was made of Bruno Fernandes after his £50m transfer that it would have been easy for the expectation to have crippled him. But while he hasn’t quite exploded onto the scene, he has quickly gained a steady footing, and bedded himself in further with his first United goal. 

He dispatched his spot-kick past Ben Foster, and in doing so became the first Manchester United player whose maiden Premier League goal for the club was a penalty.

It’s something we can expect to see more of too. It was his first in his new colours, but he is relentless from 12 yards, having now scored each of the last 13 penalties he has taken in top-flight football since missing for Udinese in April 2016.


Paying the Penalty

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-WATFORD

Sticking with penalties, Fernandes’ successful effort marked the 10th time United have been awarded a spot-kick this season. That might not seem remarkable in itself, but it’s the second straight season they have been awarded 10 or more – something which doesn’t happen often.

It really doesn’t happen often, in fact. It’s only happened once in the history of the Premier League, ​Crystal Palace (2017/18 & 2018/19) the other side.


Unhappy Hunting Ground

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-WATFORD

Old Trafford isn’t quite the fortress it once was, with the likes of ​Burnley and Crystal Palace able to record victories at one of English football’s most famous stadiums this season. It still holds its weight, however, and no-one knows that as much as ​Watford. 

Remarkably, they have never won an away league match at Old Trafford in 13 attempts (D2 L11), losing each of the last nine in a row since avoiding defeat in November 1985 in a 1-1 draw.

United have won all seven of their ​Premier League games against Watford at Old Trafford, scoring 17 goals and conceding just two.


The Grass is Always Greener

Mason Greenwood

Mason Greenwood is quite the talent, isn’t he? He’s the latest source of excitement to emerge from the esteemed Old Trafford academy, and has been one of the primary beneficiaries of the injury crisis that has ravaged his side’s season. 

He’s been little short of a revelation, and has now netted 11 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions this season. That’s more than any other teenager in the Premier League at this stage.

Not too bad, really. 


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Bruno Fernandes Has Solved a Piece of the Puzzle – But United Still Have Questions to Answer

​Seeing Bruno Fernandes get off the mark in Manchester United colours was the perfect way to round off the weekend at Old Trafford.

The Portugal international didn’t just score the winning goal of the game – via a penalty which he won himself too – but Fernandes was United’s standout player against Watford by a country mile, popping up across the pitch to drag the hosts across the line.

It’s the first time that Manchester United have picked up back to back wins in the Premier League this year, something which alone offers quite a bit of insight into just how much Fernandes has made an impact in the north-west.

Bruno Fernandes

But Sunday’s 3-0 win still wasn’t as straight forward as it could have been. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side picked up all three points, but United looked lost at sea both in attack and defence.

Going forward the Reds resorted to their long-ball tactic to try to find a way through Watford’s defences, something that was unsurprisingly was dealt with by Nigel Pearson’s side.

Fernandes was able to find the breakthrough and things started to fall into place as the game went on, but it was at the other end of the pitch where some serious questions are still hanging over Manchester United’s squad.

Nemanja Matić and Fred were looking to match Watford’s pressing game and left too many gaps ahead of the back four, which in the first half specifically saw the visitors enjoy too much space in between the lines.


At times, Watford were even able to attack with more numbers than Manchester United had in defence, although Nigel Pearson’s side couldn’t make their chances count going forward.

It wasn’t just defensively where there will still be questions about personnel – and, more pressingly, tactics – as Manchester United still relied on individual quality going forward.

Although Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood were able to get on the scoresheet, both players appeared to be playing in the wrong roles on Sunday.

Martial started the match as United’s main striker, but the Frenchman drifted out wide far too often and left few options for Fernandes to pick out through the middle of the pitch, being forced to try and find Daniel James with looped balls in behind on the left-wing.

Greenwood, who started on the right, did his best to fill in through the middle whenever Martial went wandering off out wide, but that in turn left Aaron Wan-Bissaka far too isolated in defence – prompting situations where Watford had more bodies in attack than United had in defence.

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All the focus from Sunday’s win will be centred around Fernandes’ impact at Manchester United in such a short space of time, but Solskjaer’s side still look a shadow of their former selves and still need some major investment on the pitch, as well as in the dugout, if they want to climb back up the Premier League’s hierarchy.


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!

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Man Utd 3-0 Watford: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Bruno Fernandes Gets Off the Mark in Win

​Manchester United picked up back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the first time this year, after goals from Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood secured a 3-0 win against Watford.

United were given the chance to take the lead when Fernandes was brought down inside the penalty area just before half time, with the Portugal international stepping up to score his first goal since moving to Old Trafford.

Troy Deeney appeared to level the scoreline just a few minutes after half time, but the Video Assistant Referee ruled the goal out after a handball in the build-up to the goal – a harsh but ultimately correct decision.

Troy Deeney

Things went from bad to worse for Watford when Martial doubled Manchester United’s lead with an audacious chip past Ben Foster, while Mason Greenwood fired a third into the back of the net via the underside of the bar.


Manchester United

Key Talking Point

Things should be sorted in the attacking third of the pitch following the arrival of Bruno Fernandes in January, but United have to take a long, hard look at their defence and midfield if they want any chance of finding their former glory.

It didn’t matter if United were defending or building attacks from the back, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side didn’t look like a unit – with their defensive midfielders sometimes pressing, while the two centre-backs would drop deeper.

Troy Deeney

Individual mistakes on the ball didn’t help things either as Watford were pressing on the front foot, and although Fernandes (as well as VAR) helped to give United a vital win, there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: De Gea (6); Wan-Bissaka (7), Lindelof (6), Maguire (7), Shaw (7); Fred (5), Matic (5), Fernandes (8*); Greenwood (7), James (6), Martial (7).

Substitutes: Chong (6), Ighalo (7), McTominay (6).


Bruno Fernandes

There’s not too much to shout about if you’re a Manchester United fan right now, but Bruno Fernandes is certainly one thing to crow about.

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He’s still getting used to things since his big-money move from Sporting CP, but the Portugal international is already starting to control games for Manchester United, dropping deep or out wide to get things going.

Fernandes also won and scored a late first-half penalty to put Manchester United into the lead, but it was the 25-year-old’s performance throughout the match which was the driving force behind Sunday’s win.


Watford

Key Talking Point

There’s a lot of positives to take for Watford despite the result and Abdoulaye Doucouré’s role under Nigel Pearson has really helped to transform them this season.

Playing as an attacking midfielder, Doucouré was vital for the visitors as they pressed Manchester United’s defenders whenever they were in possession, forcing them into silly mistakes and creating chances as a result.

Abdoulaye Doucoure,Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Two pieces from brilliance from Fernandes and Martial put the game beyond doubt, but Watford put in another good account of themselves, although without a win in their last five games, they desperately need to start getting points on board.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Foster (5); Dawson (7), Kabasele (7), Cathcart (6), Masina (6); Capoue (6), Hughes (6), Doucoure (8); Pereyra (6), Deulofeu (6), Deeney (7).

Substitutes: Sarr (6), Welbeck (6), Cleverley (6).


Abdoulaye Doucouré

Points need to start getting on the board of Watford want to avoid relegation this season, but Nigel Pearson’s side should keep their head above water if Abdoulaye Doucouré keeps up his run of form as an attacking midfielder.



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As well as bringing threat in attack, Doucouré’s ability to help Watford defend from the front saw them cause United all sorts of problems throughout the game at Old Trafford.


Looking Ahead

Manchester United will host Club Brugge in the second leg of their Europa League knockout stage tie in midweek before travelling to Everton next weekend.

For Watford, it’s Premier League champions-elect Liverpool who are next up at Vicarage Road.


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Ranking the Biggest VAR F**k Ups of the Season So Far

VAR: ​Can’t live with it, want to live without it. 

If you listen to the science boffins and technology experts, they’ll tell you that on the whole, VAR is doing a pretty good job. 

And it might be doing an accurate job, too. However, a lot of supporters up and down the country have quickly come to realise, precision might not be all it’s cracked up to be. 

And if VAR receives endless criticism for being used correctly, picture the pelters it gets when they actually get something wrong. 

But which are the biggest fudge-ups of this season? 90min investigates. 


Jorginho Foul vs Watford

Jorginho,Gerard Deulofeu

What happened? – ​Watford winger Gerard Deulofeu robbed Chelsea midfielder Jorginho in his own penalty, who then stuck out a lazy leg to stop the Spanish star. It was a clumsy challenge, and there may have been the slightest contact between the two players, but Deulofeu produced a very delayed dive to try and earn a penalty.

The referee was having none of it. VAR however, was. They overturned the no-penalty decision, and the Hornets pulled one back. Fortunately, it had little effect on the eventual outcome of the match. Soft.

Calamity level: 5/10


Tielemans Challenge vs Bournemouth 

Dominic Solanke,Youri Tielemans

What happened? – ​Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans steps over the ball, and plants his right foot into the ankle of the onrushing Callum Wilson. 

Whilst some may argue he was protecting the ball and not actually looking at the player when making the tackle, it was an ugly challenge and worthy of a red card. Yuck. 

Calamity level: 6/10


Schar Goal vs Watford 

Fabian Schar,Jamaal Lascelles,Jetro Willems

What happened? – ​Newcastle bagged a crucial equaliser against fellow strugglers Watford back in August, but Fabian Schar’s goal should have been chalked off for a handball in the buildup by Isaac Hayden. 

Replays showed that Hayden clearly changed the trajectory of the ball with his arm after the cross reached the penalty area, but VAR failed to detect the offence, and the Hornets were forced to settle for a point. 

A decision which ultimately cost Javi Gracia his job. 

Calamity level: 6.5/10 


Chambers Foul vs Crystal Palace

Calum Chambers,Wilfried Zaha


What happened? – Having squandered a two-goal lead against Crystal Palace, ​Arsenal thought they’d pinched it at the death with a Sokratis Papastathopoulos strike. But VAR intervened, and deemed that Calum Chambers had committed a foul on Luka Milivojevic in the buildup, ruling out the goal.

Frankly, it was an absurd decision, as there seemed to be hardly any contact between the two players, and it was an incident that would have gone unnoticed without the beady eye of our video assistant referee. A sign of things to come….

Calamity level: 7/10


Keane Foul vs Brighton

Aaron Connolly,Michael Keane,Jordan Pickford

What happened? – In a pulsating fixture between Brighton and ​Everton in October, the Seagulls were left chasing the game when Aaron Connolly collapsed in the penalty area with very little reason as to why.

However, VAR determined that Connolly had been fouled by Michael Keane, despite the fact that contact was minimal – at most – and Brighton dispatched the spot-kick, turning the game around to win 3-2.

An outrageous call, this one.

Calamity level: 8/10


Maguire Kick vs Chelsea 

Harry Maguire,Michy Batshuayi

What happened? – ​Harry Maguire and Michy Batshuayi were chasing a ball down the line, and the pair collided off the field. Maguire, while lying on the floor, kicked the Belgian striker in the goolies. Ouch. 

VAR took no action against the big centre-back however, and he went on to score the winning goal. You couldn’t write it. 

Calamity level: 9/10


Lo Celso Stamp vs Chelsea 

Cesar Azpilicueta,Giovani Lo Celso

What happened? – Giovanni Lo Celso produced a horrific stamp on Azpilicueta in the second half between Spurs and Chelsea, and the referee Michael Oliver did not brandish the red card. 

VAR checked the incident, and despite the obvious and gruesome evidence shown in the replays, it was adjudged to have been the correct decision. 

The officials at Stockley Park initially explained that they felt the Argentine had no other option than to plant his studs into Azpilicueta’s flesh, but they have since admitted to making an error on this call. 

We have a winner, folks. 

Calamity level: 10/10

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