In Depth

Today’s back pages: will it be Ole ‘Goner’ Solskjaer as Man Utd crash and Burn?

A round up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 23 January

Theatre of Bad Dreams

One story dominates the back pages this morning and that is the latest horror show to unfold at Old Trafford. 

Once known as the Theatre of Dreams, the Manchester United stadium has become the Theatre of Nightmares for the fans, and Burnley’s 2-0 victory last night was the most gruesome spectacle yet

It was the Clarets’s first win at Old Trafford in the Premier League and the sight of United fans leaving their stadium in droves long before the final whistle was an extraordinary sight.

“United crash and burn” is the headline in the Daily Express, while The Times goes with “United fans direct fury at Glazers”. 

The Times reports: “The American owners the Glazers and the executive vice-chairman [Ed] Woodward were the focus of the most vitriolic reaction from the crowd. Chants of ‘we want the Glazers out’ resounded from the stands.”

The Sun and the Daily Mirror pin the finger of blame on the manager more than the owners with the former emblazoning its back page with “it’s all going horrib-Ole wrong”. The Mirror selects a slicker headline, “Ole Goner Solskjaer”. 

Different headlines, same view, however, and it seems it’s now only a matter of time before Solskjaer is sacked.

“Torn apart” is the headline in the Daily Star, below a photo of Harry Maguire’s ripped shirt, and the paper says that the latest United defeat almost certainly spells the end of their Champions League aspirations for next season. 

That may be a premature claim, however, given the inconsistency of their rivals, and the fact remains that United are fifth in the Premier League table, six points behind Chelsea.

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Saracens sabbatical

The Guardian and The Times both find space on their back pages for a story about the ongoing saga at Saracens, recently relegated to the English rugby Championship for breaching the salary cap. 

Apparently the club’s numerous England stars will stay loyal next season and treat what should be just one season in the second tier as a “sabbatical”.

It is a relatively calm year on the international schedule in 2020, sandwiched between the 2019 World Cup and the 2021 Lions tour to South Africa. 

The Times says that the likes of Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Jamie George and the Vunipola brothers “have been assured by Warren Gatland, the Lions head coach, that playing in the second tier would not put their places on the tour to South Africa next summer in doubt”.

Today’s newspaper back pages

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