Paul Pogba is to make his first Premier League start since September for Manchester United, lining up alongside Bruno Fernandes in the team to take on Sheffield United.

Fit again following a foot injury, Pogba made an impact off the bench in Friday's 1-1 draw with Tottenham.

The France international won the penalty that Fernandes converted to secure a point in the Red Devils' first outing since the coronavirus-enforced break to the top-flight season.

Now the pair are picked to play together from the start for the first time by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who also selects Mason Greenwood in an attacking XI for the game at Old Trafford.

Pogba's previous league start was in a 1-1 draw against Arsenal on September 30.

"It was always our plan to get Paul to play more and more. To give him more than 45 minutes, you've got to start him," Solskjaer – who also opted for Nemanja Matic in midfield – told Sky Sports. "Let’s see how long he [Pogba] lasts today.

On the Pogba-Fernandes combination, he added: "It's good players playing together, so it's always nice to see them. I know we're going to play against a very tough opponent that is going to make it difficult for them – and that's going to make Paul and Bruno run the other way [in defence] as well."

As for the visitors, Dean Henderson is unable to play against his parent club. Simon Moore starts instead in goal for the Blades, while centre-back Phil Jagielka replaces the suspended John Egan.

Harry Maguire has got his sights set on becoming the first outfield player to complete every minute of a Premier League campaign for Manchester United since the 1994-95 season.

The England defender is aiming to follow in the footsteps of fellow centre-back Gary Pallister, who managed two ever-present seasons with United.

United face Maguire's former club Sheffield United on Wednesday and still have seven top-flight games to play after that.

But even with a packed fixture list, truncated by the coronavirus-enforced shutdown, skipper Maguire is hopeful of being involved throughout as United chase Champions League qualification and he looks to equal a feat achieved by Pallister in 1992-93 and 1994-95.

"Yes, it's going to be hard work with games coming every three days or so," he told the club's matchday programme.

"But, no, I'm in a great position – physically and, mentally, I'm fresh and ready to go. I hope, with every player coming back, we don't want anyone to pick up any injuries due to the amount of games we have coming up.

"Fingers crossed for all players out there – we don't want anybody picking up injuries so there are fully fit squads and everyone going full throttle at it, playing football. It's what we love to do.

"I've seen, on Sky, the fixtures and how many games are being shown every day really, so it's going to be a great time for the fans to sit back and watch.

"They will be disappointed they can't go to stadiums to support the lads, but it's the best we can do at the minute.

"I am sure it will still be a great time for fans and, hopefully, for the players as well."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side marked their return to action with a 1-1 draw at Tottenham and face another potential top-four rival on Wednesday.

Chris Wilder's men have stumbled in their first two games back, drawing with Aston Villa and suffering a 3-0 loss against Newcastle United.

The Red Devils sit fifth, five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and two ahead of the Blades, with whom they drew 3-3 at Bramall Lane.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Dean Henderson is a future Manchester United number one but insists David de Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world.

De Gea's form has come under scrutiny over the past two seasons and he has been culpable for each of the past two Premier League goals the Red Devils have conceded.

The Spain international saw a kick blocked into the net by Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the 1-1 draw with Everton in March and failed to stop a Steven Bergwijn shot last Friday as United were held to the same scoreline away to Tottenham, leading to heavy criticism from former captains Roy Keane and Gary Neville.

By contrast, Henderson has thrived during a loan spell with Sheffield United that is expected to be extended to cover the rest of the delayed 2019-20 season and could be stretched further to include 2020-21. 

Solskjaer has no doubt Henderson has the potential to claim a first-team spot at Old Trafford in future but has no reason to doubt De Gea for now.

"David is the best goalkeeper in the world," the United manager told reporters on Tuesday. "He has conceded two goals in games against City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Everton. We've gone on a run not conceding goals.

"Of course, the Everton one is a freak one. This one [against Spurs], he cannot save it. He makes great saves, he wins games for us, I still think he's the best goalkeeper in the world. He's not making errors you see time and time again. I'm very pleased with his work.

"I speak to David, but he's been at Man United nine years now and he's developed into a mature keeper, for me the best goalkeeper in the world. He's had fantastic seasons and I don't think it's a bad run to concede two goals in seven games against the teams we've played against. He's a mentally very strong keeper."

Solskjaer expects the formalities of Henderson's loan extension to be finalised shortly and is delighted his time with the Blades "has worked out as we wanted".

"It's a different job to be playing for Sheffield United and for Manchester United," Solskjaer said. "He's got different roles and for me, the two years he's had have been fantastic for his development. He's played with and against men, played in the Championship and plays now behind a team that play exciting football.

"And the stats show he's proved worthy of a few points with his saves. He's learning all the time, he's a passionate keeper, he's developing, he's had good coaching there and, for me, one day he'll be England number one and United number one and he needs to keep developing."

Solskjaer's men face Sheffield United at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Steve Bruce expressed delight for Joelinton after the Newcastle United striker ended his Premier League goal drought in a 3-0 win over Sheffield United.

The Magpies resumed Premier League action following the coronavirus-enforced stoppage and took a significant step towards survival against the 10-man Blades.

After John Egan was sent off in the 50th minute, Allan Saint-Maximin and Matt Ritchie put Newcastle in control.

Joelinton rounded off the win with his first league goal since his effort in a 1-0 win at Tottenham on August 25.

The Brazilian striker, a club-record signing in the close-season, had seen his previous 39 league shots fail to result in a goal.

Magpies manager Bruce was thrilled to see the former Hoffenheim man end his wait to find the net, revealing Joelinton had endured a tough time during the lockdown measures enforced by the British government to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're all delighted for him," Bruce said afterwards. "He probably suffered more in the lockdown, he had no family over and he was stuck in an apartment somewhere.

"It's been difficult for him but I'm delighted for him because he's a really good pro and he can only get better."

Miguel Almiron supplied the assist for Joelinton, the South American pair and Saint-Maximin performing excellently as Newcastle's front three.

Newcastle are now 11 points clear of the bottom three with eight games remaining.

"After the restart the one thing you want to do is get off to a good start," added Bruce. 

"We've got our big players playing at the top of the pitch and as we've seen today they can be a threat."

Joelinton scored his first Premier League goal since August as Newcastle United took a big step towards safety with a 3-0 win over Sheffield United at St James' Park. 

Newcastle took control of the game after John Egan was sent off following a second yellow card in the 50th minute. 

Just over four minutes later Allan Saint-Maximin capitalised on Enda Stevens' failure to clear a cross from Matt Ritchie, beating Dean Henderson at the near post. 

Ritchie then lashed home a second from the edge of the area before Joelinton atoned for spurning a gilt-edged chance in the first half by turning home Miguel Almiron's low cross. 

It ended a run of 39 shots without scoring in the league for the club-record signing, with the win sending Newcastle 11 points clear of the bottom three with eight games left.  

The Blades saw their European hopes dented and remain seventh in the table, two points behind fifth-placed Manchester United. 

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire warned his team-mates they must improve when the Red Devils go head-to-head with Sheffield United in a blockbuster Premier League showdown.

United – fifth in the standings – will welcome seventh-placed Sheffield United to Old Trafford on Wednesday, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men two points better off in the race for Champions League qualification.

Maguire and United are two points behind Chelsea, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot after Friday's 1-1 draw at Jose Mourinho's Tottenham.

United have already faced Sheffield United this season, playing out a thrilling 3-3 draw at Bramall Lane in November following Oli McBurnie's 90th-minute equaliser and Maguire has called for an improved performance.

"It was a crazy game," Maguire, who played for boyhood club Sheffield United between 2011 and 2014, told The United Review. "We were really poor in the first half. No doubt about it, it was one of our poorest first halves of the season.

"We managed to find ourselves two goals down but then got in a great position and looked like we were going to win.

"They didn't really create any chances in the last 20 or 30 minutes of the game and then, obviously with the last kick, they found space and it was a good finish from Oli McBurnie.

"In the end, it was a tough result to take but I don't think we deserved any more on the day than a point. We weren't good enough and know we have to perform better in this game."

The Blades' visit to the Theatre of Dreams will be the first at Old Trafford behind closed doors following the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's disappointing not to play in front of your fans but, one day, they'll be back," said England defender Maguire. "And, when they're back, I am sure the atmosphere is going to be even better and louder than it normally is at Old Trafford – if you can beat that.

"We're going to miss the fans. Home and away, they follow in great numbers and the support is incredible. But we know they're going to be in front of their TV screens, watching us, shouting us along, and the main thing is we want to put smiles back on their faces."

United have gone 12 matches undefeated in all competitions since losing to Burnley in January and Maguire added: "Maybe it does take away the home fans making the atmosphere uncomfortable for the away team, but it's still about the 11 players who turn up on the day.

"There is enough talent in our squad to go and beat anyone. We're fully focused on ourselves and are not looking at it being home or away. We're just seeing every game as a chance to try to get the three points and perform at our best."

Frank Lampard has sympathised with referee Michael Oliver over Hawk-Eye's failure to award Sheffield United a goal in Wednesday's 0-0 draw with Aston Villa.

But having gone through similar agony with England at the 2010 World Cup, Chelsea manager Lampard also understands United boss Chris Wilder's frustrations.

In the first half of the Premier League match at Villa Park, home goalkeeper Orjan Nyland carried Oliver Norwood's free-kick over the line, but the Goal Decision System (GDS) did not detect it.

As a result, no signal was sent to Oliver's watch, while there was also no intervention from the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Hawk-Eye officials apologised for missing the incident, but Wilder was flabbergasted by what he felt was the "biggest VAR decision in the history of the Premier League".

Lampard went through similar with England at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, in the days before referees had the advantage of goalline technology, when a shot of his crossed the line against Germany but the officials failed to spot it. The Three Lions went on to lose 4-1.

Many feel that was a goal that instigated the introduction of the technology, and while Lampard says he is over the disappointment now, he appreciates what both Oliver and Wilder went through.

"Well, I've pretty much got over 10 years ago, a long time's gone, but certainly I remember the feeling at the time," Lampard told reporters in a video news conference on Friday.

"It was a difficult moment in the game and that's why I probably had a little sympathy with Michael Oliver and the referees the other day, because it is an easy thing to happen very quickly.

"We've been blessed with the technology since it came in because it's seemed so matter of fact, and I think we've all appreciated that and it's worked.

"It was the first time it didn't work. I don't want to talk casually about it because Chris Wilder will feel very strongly about it, but I think it's been very good, and that moment has to serve to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"And with the VAR technology I think we are generally trying to improve it all the time.  We may never get perfection in a sport like football, but technology is a good thing if used in the right way.

"I felt for Sheffield United and Chris Wilder, emotions would've been running high because of what's at stake in these moments.

"It was a difficult situation and in future we have to make sure VAR is across it to make doubly sure, it's one of the reasons VAR is there, to back up decisions.

"We thought this is clear-cut and now we realise it isn't. So, I really feel sorry for Sheffield United."

The beneficiaries of that mix-up, Villa, will be Chelsea's hosts in the Blues' first match back after the coronavirus-enforced pause on Sunday.

Lampard is expecting to have practically his entire first-team squad available, with just defender Fikayo Tomori set to miss out.

"We have a couple of issues – Fikayo Tomori has a muscle injury, probably from stresses of trying to get fit quickly," Lampard said.

"He has an injury that will probably keep him out for 10 days or so, and Callum Hudson-Odoi had a small injury earlier on in the training process, and although he's not match fit, he is physically fit now."

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder felt it was unacceptable for goal-line technology to fail after a faulty decision cost his team a Premier League victory.

The Hawk-Eye system did not detect Aston Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland carrying Oliver Norwood's first-half free-kick over the line during Wednesday's match.

As a result, no signal was sent to referee Michael Oliver's watch and, to further compound matters, there was no intervention from the video assistant referee (VAR).

It finished goalless at Villa Park in the first Premier League game for three months after the coronavirus-enforced suspension of football in England.

Three points for the visitors would have moved them above Manchester United into fifth place.

Wilder suggested it might have been the VAR system's biggest mishap yet, joking that Nyland was eight rows back in the Holte End stand when he grabbed the ball.

"I said it before that I wouldn't be surprised if we're one of the first teams to suffer from a VAR decision – and we've possibly suffered from the biggest VAR decision in the history of the Premier League," Wilder said.

Hawk-Eye apologised "unreservedly" to the Premier League and Sheffield United for the error, saying all seven of its cameras around the goal were obstructed by players and a goalpost.

But the failure of VAR to intervene was particularly galling for Wilder, who said: "Why are we not having somebody at Stockley Park looking at that?

"Holding and pausing and getting the right decision. For seven cameras to not work, that's incredible."

Wilder quipped that "somebody at Stockley Park might have gone for a cup of tea", adding: "I think he was about eight rows in when he caught it and dragged it in."

The Blades manager will "take it on the chin" but said that both sets of players and coaching staff, and the scattering of people allowed into Villa Park, "had the feeling that that was a goal".

Norwood, whose delivery into the box was intended as a cross, added on SUTV: "When you look at back at it, you think, 'What's VAR for?', because surely they can say that's a goal if Hawk-Eye isn't working.

"It's like somebody's scared to make a decision either way. It's frustrating, but what can you do?”

Hawk-Eye said in its statement: "The match officials did not receive a signal to the watch nor earpiece as per the goal decision system (GDS) protocol.

"The seven cameras located in the stands around the goal area were significantly occluded by the goalkeeper, defender and goalpost.

"This level of occlusion has never been seen before in over 9,000 matches that the Hawk-Eye goal-line technology system has been in operation."

Hawk-Eye has "unreservedly" apologised to Sheffield United after they were robbed of victory at Aston Villa by goal-line technology on Wednesday.

United should have been in front late in the first half when Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland carried the ball over his the line after colliding with team-mate Keinan Davis.

Yet no signal was sent to referee Michael Oliver's watch, so what would have been the only goal of the first game since the Premier League was shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic was not awarded.

Hawk-Eye, the operators of the technology, confirmed after the game that the goal should have been awarded, but cameras were "significantly occluded" by Nyland, a defender and post at Villa Park.

"During the first half of Aston Villa v Sheffield United match at Villa Park, there was a goal-line incident where the ball was carried over the line by Aston Villa goalkeeper, No. 25 Nyland," a Hawk-Eye statement read.

"The match officials did not receive a signal to the watch nor earpiece as per the Goal Decision system (GDS) protocol. The seven cameras located in the stands around the goal area were significantly occluded by the goalkeeper, defender and goalpost.

"This level of occlusion has never been seen before in over 9,000 matches that the Hawk-Eye Goal-Line Technology system has been in operation.

"The system was tested and proved functional prior to the start of the match in accordance with the IFAB Laws of The Game and confirmed as working by the match officials.

"The system has remained functional throughout. Hawk-Eye unreservedly apologises to the Premier League, Sheffield United, and everyone affected by the incident."

The Blades would have moved above Manchester United into fifth place with a victory, while second-bottom Villa are now just a point behind Bournemouth, Watford and West Ham.


Aston Villa goalkeeper Orland Nyland was spared by malfunctioning goalline technology as Dean Smith's side played out a 0-0 draw with Sheffield United at Villa Park.

Three minutes before half-time in the Premier League's first game back from the coronavirus shutdown, Nyland collided with team-mate Keinan Davis after catching Oliver Norwood's free-kick and tumbled inside the side-netting – appearing to carry the ball over the line.

But referee Michael Oliver was not given the signal on his watch to award the goal.

That apparent mishap could prove crucial for second-bottom Villa, who are a point behind Bournemouth, Watford and West Ham immediately above them with nine matches remaining in the 2019-20 campaign.

Villa were largely the better side, although not to the extent that they merited such a stroke of fortune, with Nyland's opposite number Dean Henderson making fine saves from Conor Hourihane, Davis and the returning John McGinn in a contrastingly accomplished showing.

United's John Lundstram had a shot blocked by Douglas Luiz with 20 minutes to play but Chris Wilder's side were unable to secure a win that would have overhauled Manchester United in fifth place.

Players from both teams took a knee for the first 10 seconds of the match in a show of support to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Aston Villa and Sheffield United players all took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement during the first 10 seconds of the Premier League restart.

Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling are among the numerous Premier League players to have expressed their support for the movement in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody last month.

All teams playing in the first 12 fixtures England's top flight return are wearing shirts with the message "BLACK LIVES MATTER" above their shirt numbers, where their names would normally be printed.

At Villa Park on Wednesday, after the players observed a minute's silence to pay tribute to the victims of the coronavirus pandemic, all 22 players and referee Michael Oliver went down on one knee when the official sounded his whistle – the pose used to show solidarity with the victims of police brutality that NFL star Colin Kaepernick brought to mass attention in 2016.

A statement published simultaneously on both Villa and United's websites read: "Aston Villa and Sheffield United were proud to stand in solidarity with the actions of the players and coaching staff of both football clubs during the first ten seconds of tonight's Premier League fixture, expressing our collective support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

"In the first Premier League fixture of Project Restart both clubs hope that the act of 'taking a knee' will send a strong message of unity and amplify the many messages of support from Premier League players and the wider football family. 

"The directors of both clubs, Dean Smith, Chris Wilder, Jack Grealish and Billy Sharp and the players of United and Villa are in full support of this action.

"We believe that 'taking a knee' at the start of the fixture and after the pre-match minute's silence, allowed both clubs to pay their respects to COVID-19 victims and to show the deep gratitude we all feel for our brave and selfless front-line workers."

Speaking before the match, Micah Richards urged people from all backgrounds to work to eradicate racism from football and society.

Working as a pundit for Sky Sports alongside fellow ex-England defenders Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, Richards outlined his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

"It's great to see now, I see a lot of people – not just black people, but white people – standing on the front line," he said.

"It's not whites versus blacks; it's everyone versus racists. That's what people need to get in their head.

"Black Lives Matter is not about, 'Well, all lives matter'. Of course all lives matter.

"That's not the point we're trying to make. It's just, at the moment, blacks are having an injustice.

"It's time, not just for black people to speak about it, but yourself – Gary speaks well about it, Carra speaks well about it.

"We need to all work together to make real change."

In a recent interview with BBC Newsnight, Manchester City and England winger Sterling highlighted the lack of black and ethnic minority representation at both at board level in English football and in senior coaching positions.

"I was brought up with the mentality that you have to be twice as good or three times as good [as a black person]," Richards added.

"I used to think that was a stupid mentality. I was like, 'What are you on about? The best person for the job always gets it.

"We've seen with managers, we've seen with coaches in higher roles that they're not getting the same opportunities."

Sheffield United and Manchester United are in talks over extending Dean Henderson's loan deal to cover next season.

The goalkeeper has excelled for Chris Wilder's side, both in the Championship last season and in the Premier League in 2019-20.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sees Henderson as his side's future number one, but it appears David de Gea will remain first choice at Old Trafford for now.

Wilder confirmed on Monday that talks are underway and he hopes to have the 23-year-old at Bramall Lane for another year.

"I spoke to Ole yesterday [Sunday] morning and I thanked him for his cooperation with Dean," Wilder said. "We're in the process, in the next couple of days, of finalising Dean staying with us until the end of the season.

"I've got to say, the manager [Solskjaer] was brilliant and has been always with me and our football club. He was very pro Dean staying and delighted in terms of what Dean has produced for us and what we've done for Dean."

Wilder admits he would jump at the chance to sign Henderson on a permanent deal should the Red Devils become open to a permanent transfer.

"We've had initial conversations. We would be open to Dean coming back but I've got huge respect for Manchester United and he's their player and they'll make that decision, in conjunction with Dean," he said.

"From our point of view, obviously if there is an opportunity, we'd love to take that up."

The Blades resume their Premier League campaign away to Aston Villa on Wednesday.

Liverpool look set to clinch the Premier League title at a neutral venue as part of a request from police.

The 2019-20 top-flight season is set to return on June 17 following a lengthy delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, with all fixtures to be staged behind closed doors.

Most will take place at the scheduled venues, though local police have asked for six – including the game in which Jurgen Klopp's side could wrap up the league – to be moved.

The Reds sit 25 points clear at the top of the table and require just two more victories to be crowned champions for the first time in 30 years.

The Merseyside derby is among the list revealed by police, as well as Liverpool's trips to reigning champions Manchester City and Newcastle United.

City's clash with Newcastle is also included, plus Manchester United against Sheffield United.

Deputy chief constable Mark Roberts – the national football policing lead – said in a statement: "Our discussions with the Premier League throughout this process have been positive, with a shared focus on the priority of public health.

"As such we have reached a consensus that balances the needs of football, while also minimising the demand on policing. The majority of remaining matches will be played at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues, which, contrary to some reports, have yet to be agreed.

"The views and agreement of forces which host Premier League clubs have been sought and where there were concerns, the Premier League has been supportive in providing flexibility in arranging alternative venues where requested.

"This plan will be kept continually under review to ensure public health and safety and a key part of this is for supporters to continue to respect the social distancing guidelines, and not to attend or gather outside the stadiums."

The FA Cup quarter-finals have been provisionally rescheduled for June 27 and June 28, with the final set to be staged on August 1.

Friday's announcement by the Football Association (FA) came a day after it was revealed the Premier League season is due to restart on June 17.

There has been no football in England since the campaign was halted due to the coronavirus crisis in March.

Norwich City are due to face Manchester United, with Sheffield United taking on Arsenal, Manchester City up against Newcastle United and Leicester City meeting Chelsea in the last eight of the FA Cup.

The weekend of July 11-12 is when the semi-finals are provisionally set to take place, with further information on venues and timings to be announced in due course.

FA chief executive officer Mark Bullingham said: "We are pleased to agree the provisional restart date for the 2019-20 Emirates FA Cup.

"The competition has been an integral part of the English football calendar for nearly 150 years, and we'd like to thank the Premier League executive and clubs for their support in scheduling the remaining matches during this unprecedented time.

"This has been a difficult period for many people and, while this is a positive step, the restart date is dependent on all safety measures being met. The health and wellbeing of players, staff and supporters remains our priority."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.