Sunderland 1-2 Cardiff City

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Cardiff finally won in September as they overcame Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

City started brightly, with Craig Bryson opening the scoring in the 7th minute. From a goal-kick, Kenneth Zohore headed it on, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing kicked it over the top, and Bryson volleyed it low past the keeper.

Shortly after the goal, Aron Gunnarsson nearly doubled the lead, but his effort was saved by Robbin Ruiter. Just before half-time, City received a huge let-off when Bryan Oviedo struck the post from 30 yards, with Etheridge beaten.

In the second half, in the 53rd minute, Sunderland did equalise through Lynden Gooch. After Sean Morrison had clumsily hauled Gooch down, he steeped up to slot the ball into the corner.

City nearly went back in front but, Bruno Manga’s effort was saved by the keeper. And Cardiff did go back in front through a penalty from Joe Ralls. After Morrison was hauled to the floor from a corner, Ralls stepped up to coolly slot in and restore Cardiff’s lead.

Cardiff held on to stay joint top of the Championship with Wolves and Leeds, who they play on Tuesday. It was an important win after not winning for three games.

This was the first Championship meeting at the Stadium of Light between the sides since October 2006, which Cardiff also won 2-1 thanks to a brace from Michael Chopra.

Cardiff remain third, level on points with Wolves and Leeds, while Sunderland drop to 22nd in the league. They haven’t won at home in 15 successive matches.

Next up for the Bluebirds is a home game against Leeds next Tuesday, the 26 September. Hopefully we can continue the winning form.

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Manchester United 4-1 Burton Albion

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Man United eased past Burton Albion in the EFL Cup to set up a last-16 tie at Swansea.

The victory was never in doubt, as first-half goals from Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard and a second-half goal from Anthony Martial put United in a commanding lead. But, with the last kick of the game, substitute Joel Pereira dropped the ball, allowing Lloyd Dyer to score.

United opened the scoring inside five minutes through Rashford. Michael Carrick played the ball into Lingard, who flicked it on, and Rashford fired home. A minute later, United nearly scored another. Ander Herrera played the ball through to Lingard, whose shot was blocked.

United doubled the lead in the 17th minute through another goal from Rashford. After picking up the ball from Daley Blind, Rashford took one touch before firing emphatically in off the post.

United continued to threaten, with Juan Mata and Martial coming close. In the 26th minute, Joe Mason had a great chance to score. After a mistake by Victor Lindelof, Luke Varney played Mason in, but his poor effort was saved by Sergio Romero.

Soon after that, Mata came close again, hitting the post. From the follow-up Matteo Darmian crossed in and Martial’s acrobatic effort was blocked.

In the 36th minute, United scored another through Lingard’s deflected effort. Martial’s piece of skill gave the ball to Lingard, whose shot was deflected in off a Burton player.

In the second half, United continued to dominate, with Martial dribbling through, before having his shot saved. But, a couple of minutes later, in the 60th minute, Martial did add a fourth. It was an assist from Rashford, who played Martial in and Martial finished coolly.

Martial came close again, just dragging a shot wide from close range. He also came close from a free-kick, narrowly missing with a good effort.

The only thing which Mourinho will be unimpressed with is that with the last kick of the game, Pereira dropped the ball, which led to Dyer scoring a consolation.

United have very good strength in depth this season. Keeper Sergio Romero made his first start since the Europa League final, while club captain Michael Carrick was making his first appearance of the season.

Even though there were nine changes from the 4-0 victory over Everton last Sunday, the team was still very strong. Rashford and Mata were the only players to keep their places from that game. Rashford and Martial are fighting it out with each other for a place in the starting eleven.

Next up for United in the EFL Cup is a trip to Swansea in the fourth-round on the 24 October. Next up in all competitions they are away at Southampton next Saturday, the 23 September. Hopefully they can keep the winning form going.

Rashford and Juan Mata were the only two players who started the 4-0 win over Everton last Sunday to make the team, but there was still no starting place for Luke Shaw.

Since returning from injury in last season’s Community Shield, the former Southampton defender has started just 17 of 72 games.

Shaw came on at the start of the second half by which time United were 3-0 ahead.

Manchester United 4-0 Everton

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Romelu Lukaku scored against his former club, as Man United scored three late goals to seal a comfortably victory over Everton.

United started very strongly and they opened the scoring in the fourth minute through and absolute belter by Antonio Valencia. Nemanja Matic switched the ball from left to right and Valencia came in and smashed the ball first time into the top corner from 25 yards.

That early lead was was rarely threatened by an Everton team who have dropped into the bottom three. But, until the last 10 minutes, they were in the game and could’ve nicked something from the game.

Wayne Rooney, who was playing against the club where he is the top goalscorer of all-time, had Everton’s two best opportunities. One of them was in the first half, which he missed, and the other in the second half, was saved by De Gea.

United had a few half-chances during the first half, but couldn’t break down Everton. Lukaku should’ve scored. Jordan Pickford messed up a clearance, before Marcus Rashford played the ball to Lukaku, and Lukaku put it wide with only the keeper to beat.

United dominated most of the second half, but Gylfi Sigurdsson did have a close-range shot saved by the keeper. With just over an hour played, Juan Mata fired a free-kick which hit the post.

With United continuing to apply the pressure, Jesse Lingard fired over from inside the box after being set-up by Ashley Young. Matic also had a low effort from long-range which went narrowly wide.

In the 82nd minute, Rooney was substituted to a standing ovation from both team’s supporters. He also had a hand shake from Jose Mourinho. It was a standing ovation which he fully deserved. It was a frustrating afternoon for the man who scored 253 goals in 13 years at the club.

United finally doubled their lead a minute after Rooney went off, through Henrick Mkhitaryan. After a mistake from Ashley Williams, Lukaku played in Mkhitaryan, who slotted past Pickford.

In the 89th minute, Lukaku scored. Just before the goal, Lukaku was getting booed by the Everton fans before taking a free-kick but, after the free-kick was blocked, the ball came back into the box and Lingard flicked the ball on, and Lukaku stuck it in the net. He celebrated through cupping his ear to the away fans.

Lukaku has now scored five goals in five league games. Anthony Martial finished off the scoring with a penalty in the second minute of stoppage time. Morgan Schneiderlin handled the ball and Martial coolly slotted home.

Everton have endured a shocking start to the season, with four points from five games. Rooney has scored their only goals of the season, with two. It is now 325 minutes since they scored in the league.

United and Man City have had an identical start to the season – wins, points, goals scored, and goals conceded. City are only top because of alphabetical order.

Next up for United they are at home to Burton Albion in the EFL Cup. Next up in the league is a trip to Southampton next Saturday, the 23 September.

Cardiff City 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday

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Sol Bamba scored with the last kick of the game to salvage a draw for Cardiff against

Sheffield Wednesday.

City started similarly to how they were against Preston mid-week, on the back-foot. They allowed Wednesday to have most of the ball early on, with some of the players looking a bit tired.

Wednesday’s pressure eventually paid off in the 39th minute when Gary Hooper scored. From Adam Reach’s cross on the left, Hooper headed past Neil Etheridge in goal to put Wednesday in front. It was poor marking from the City defence, allowing Hooper a free header.

The only time City really threatened was when Aron Gunnarsson had a volley comfortably caught by Keiren Westwood. Cardiff seemed to benefit from a signature fiery Warnock team talk at half-time, as they came out brighter in the second-half.

But early on in the second half, Lee Peltier, who was very poor during this game, nearly kicked the ball into his own net from a corner.

Cardiff were starting to create more chances, with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing having a well-struck shot deflected over. From the resulting corner, Gunnarsson headed narrowly wide from close range.

City continued to threaten and Junior Hoilett had a header saved from a corner. Steven Fletcher should’ve doubled Wednesday’s lead with about 20 minutes to go, but he skied it with only the keeper to beat.

Kenneth Zohore headed over and Joe Bennett fired over, so it looked like Sheffield Wednesday were going to hold on. But, with the last kick of the game, the Bluebirds equalised

Lee Tomlin’s free-kick was brilliantly saved by Westwood, but Mendez-Laing followed up and hid low cross was poked in by Bamba to spark wild celebrations in the stadium.

After starting the season with 5 wins out of 5, Cardiff have drawn 2 and lost 1 out of the last 3, but it has still been a very good start to the season. Hopefully we can keep it going.

City drop to third but level on points with Leeds and Wolves. Sheffield Wednesday climb to sixth in the table after being unbeaten since the opening day of the season.

Next up for the Bluebirds is a trip to Sunderland next Saturday, the 23 September.

Sol Bamba’s injury-time goal salvaged a draw for Cardiff City as they dramatically denied Sheffield Wednesday a third successive win in the Championship.

Cardiff are level on points with league leaders Leeds, but drop to third.

The Bluebirds had made an electric start to the campaign by winning their opening five Championship fixtures, though that momentum was tempered by a draw at Fulham and a 3-0 defeat at Preston.

The drubbing at Deepdale cost Warnock’s team their place at the top of the table and, by contrast, they faced a Sheffield Wednesday side on the rise, climbing up to sixth spot having been unbeaten in the league since the opening day of the season.

Manchester United 3-0 Basel

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Man United beat Basel comfortably at home, as they made a winning return to the Champions League.

United were always going to dominate possession, but it was all about turning that possession into goals. Henrick Mkhitaryan came close early on with a header which went over.

Soon after that, Paul Pogba went down with a hamstring injury, with Marouane Fellaini coming on for him. Pogba’s injury will be a blow to United, as he could be out for more than a month.

Mkhitaryan missed another great chance to put United in front. After Romelu Lukaku had gone past his man, he squared it to Mkhitaryan, whose first shot was saved onto the post by the keeper, and his follow-up was blocked.

Basel hardly threatened all match, but they nearly took the lead, with Luca Zuffi firing wide from an unmarked position in the box.

In the 35th minute, United took the lead through Fellaini. From Ashley Young’s cross on the right, Fellaini jumped highest to head home. He showed that United won’t have to miss Pogba too much.

Mourinho had said earlier in the weak that he feels “weaker” without Fellaini and his performance in this game would’ve supported Mourinho’s claim.

In the second half, United continued to dominate and Anthony Martial forced the keeper into a save, with a deflected shot which bounced up. From the resulting corner, United doubled their lead.

Daley Blind played a one-two from a corner, before crossing into the box. Lukaku rose highest to head home. It was Lukaku’s Champions League debut.

Basel came very close to scoring after that goal. Mohamed Elyounoussi turned Victor Lindelof, before firing towards the roof of the net but, David de Gea pulled off a fantastic save to thwart him.

Marcus Rashford finished off the scoring in the 84th minute. From Fellaini’s pull-back, Rashford fired home. He has now scored on his first appearance in the Champions League, Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup, League Cup and for England.

The scoreline could have been even greater for Jose Mourinho’s dominant side, but they will be satisfied that they managed to get the 3 points on their first appearance in the Champions League since 2015.

Even though Fellaini has been very poor in the past, I have to admit that United won’t be that much worse with him in the team instead of Pogba.

In the other game in Group A, CSKA Moscow beat Benfica 2-1 in Portugal. Next up for United in the Champions League is a trip to CSKA Moscow on Wednesday, the 27 September.

Next up for United domestically is a home game against Everton, where Wayne Rooney will return to the club where he is the club’s all-time top goalscorer. Hopefully we can carry on our good form with 3 points.

Preston 3-0 Cardiff City

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Preston outplayed Cardiff at Deepdale, as the Bluebirds lost their unbeaten record this season and their place at the top of the table.

Preston started brightly, with Sean Maguire testing Neil Etheridge. Next to test Etheridge in goal was Jordan Hugill, with Maguire’s rebound being blocked by Joe Bennett’s well-timed challenge.

From the resulting corner, Ben Davies headed narrowly wide. The only time City came anywhere near scoring was when it was 0-0, with Joe Ralls’ shot deflected just wide of the post.

In the 38th minute, Preston took the lead through Josh Harrop. They were awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal and Harris stepped up, curling low into the bottom right corner. It was his first goal since his summer move from Manchester United.

Maguire could’ve doubled the lead before half-time, but his header was straight at Etheridge. Preston could’ve scored early on in he second half, with Darnell Fisher forcing Etheridge into a save.

With City struggling, Neil Warnock made a double substitution, bringing on Lee Tomlin and Liam Feeney for Loic Damour and Junior Hoilett.

But, Preston doubled their lead in the 70th minute through Maguire. Tom Barkhuizen played in Maguire, who finished from a tight angle.

Cardiff huffed and puffed but couldn’t find a way past a defence which has only conceded two this campaign. In the 78th minute, Alan Browne finished it off, as he lobbed Etheridge, who was off his line. But, Etheridge got a touch on the ball and should’ve stopped it.

The scoreline was the same scoreline as last season, when they suffered the same fate under Paul Trollope.

With Leeds winning against Birmingham, they replace Cardiff at the top of the table, while Preston rise to fifth.

Next up for the Bluebirds is a home game against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, the 16 September. Hopefully we can get back to winning ways.

Stoke City 2-2 Manchester United

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A brace from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting earned Stoke a point against Man United, which ended their 100% start to the season.

For most of the first half, there weren’t many clear chances, with Marcus Rashford coming close, having a couple of efforts saved by Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland.

In the 43rd minute Stoke took the lead through Choupo-Moting. It was poor defending from United, as Mame Biram Diouf was given too much space on the right to cross in for Choupo-Moting, who Eric Bailly lost. It was a good finish from Choupo-Moting.

That was the first goal United had conceded in the league in 535 minutes. But, United conceded less than three minutes later through Marcus Rashford. From a corner, Nemanja Matic headed the ball on and Paul Pogba’s header went on off the back of Rashford.

In the second half, in the 57th minute, United took the lead through Romelu Lukaku. From Henrick Mkhitaryan’s through ball, Lukaku had a shot saved, before firing in the rebound with Jack Butland on the floor.

But, like Stoke didn’t hold on for long in the first half, United didn’t hold on for long in the second half. In the 62nd minute, David de Gea pulled off a magnificent save to deny Jesé from close range. From the resulting corner, Phil Jones lost Choupo-Moting allowing him to head in and draw Stoke level.

In the 81st minute, Lukaku had an excellent chance to put United in front but he fired over from close range from Antonio Valencia’s cross.

Then in stoppage time, Jack Butland, who was brilliant, prevented an own goal by Kurt Zouma. He dropped low to his right to palm the ball away.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, United have not won on this ground. They had kept a clean sheet in every game this season but, defensive mistakes cost them the victory in this game which will frustrate Jose Mourinho.

During the second half, there was a heated moment between Mourinho and Stoke manager Mark Hughes. Hughes had told Mourinho to get out of his technical box and after the game, Mourinho didn’t want to shake Hughes’ hand.

When asked about the incident after the game Hughes refused to speak about it and said that it was a bad question.

United remain in top spot by goal difference and Stoke are in 10th spot. Next up for United is a home game against Basel in the Champions League. Hopefully we can start the Champions League campaign with 3 points.

Their next game in the league is a home game against Everton. Hopefully we can get back to winning ways in the Premier League.

Fulham 1-1 Cardiff City

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Cardiff lost their 100% record but, they stayed unbeaten thanks to a late header from Danny Ward to remain top of the Championship.

During a first half which Fulham shaded, Ryan Sessegnon came close to scoring with two left-footed shots which went wide. On his debut for Fulham, Yohan Mollo fired a free-kick just wide. Neil Etheridge had to be alert, first to deny Stefan Johanssen, and then to deny Floyd Ayite on the follow-up.

Cardiff came close through a Sean Morrison header which was saved in the bottom corner. It was always going to be tough to carry on the 100% record against a good Fulham side but, City did show very good organisation to defend against Fulham’s dangerous attack.

In the second half, Ayite came very close to opening scoring with a shot which hit the post. Etheridge nearly gifted Fulham a goal, after a sliced clearance fell to Johanssen, whose effort was blocked by Joe Bennett.

In the 75th minute, Sessegnon gave Fulham the lead. After Bennett blocked Ayite’s effort, Sessegnon cane in to slot the ball past Etheridge from close range.

It looked like that goal had ended City’s 100% record. But, in the 83rd minute, substitute Liam Feeney, crossed into the box and Ward headed past Fulham goalkeeper David Button to equalise for Cardiff. It was his first competitive goal since joining in the summer.

Neil Warnock has never won at Fulham and this game extended that run. But, Warnock seemed satisfied with this point. For large parts of this game it was attack v defence and the Bluebirds were very organised.

City remain top of the table with 16 points, whilst Fulham are 13th with 7 points. They have only won 1 in 11.

Next up for the Bluebirds is a trip to Preston on Tuesday, the 12 September. Hopefully we can keep up our great start with 3 points.

Wales 1-0 Austria

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Substitute Ben Woodburn scored a fantastic goal on his debut to revive Wales’ hopes of qualifying for the World Cup 2018.

The first half was scrappy with Austria playing the better and coming the closest to opening the scoring. Marko Arnautovic skied the ball, when he was in a very good position. Marcel Sabitzer also gave Wayne Hennessey an easy save when in a very good position.

Wales did have a few efforts on goal, with Aaron Ramsey firing narrowly over. Wales were overrun in midfield, as Austria had an extra man in their midfield.

At half time, Chris Coleman made a change from 5-4-1 to 4-2-3-1 through bringing on Andy King for Jazz Richards. Wales needed something as this was a must-win game if I wanted to still have a chance of qualification for the World Cup.

Wales came out with more fight and motivation in the second half and looked like they wanted to win. Ramsey came close to scoring, having a shot blocked from close range. Gareth Bale, who had missed the last game in Serbia through suspension had a long-shot saved.

The referee was having a fairly poor game and after Ramsey had a shot saved, he gave a goal-kick, much to the despair of the Welsh players and fans. Nothing seemed to happen for the Welsh.

In the 69th minute, Coleman made another change, bringing on Woodburn and Hal Robson-Kanu for Tom Lawrence, whose first competitive start it was and Sam Vokes respectively. Both had worked extremely hard but nothing seemed to happen for them.

The moment of brilliance, which Wales so desperately needed, came in the 74th minute. Woodburn brought down a ball in the air with a brilliant touch, took another touch, before curling a delightful strike away from the keeper to spark the Welsh fans into madness in celebration.

A few minutes after the goal, Austria came really close to equalising, with Ashley Williams, who was immense in this game, blocking Arnautovic’s shot off the line.

Wales did hang on for the remainder of the game but, they could’ve extended their lead. Robson-Kanu fired over when he could’ve passed to Bale, who would’ve been one-on-one with the keeper. Bale had a over-head kick saved by the keeper. Robson-Kanu hit the post with a low shot.

Before this game, their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup next year in Russia were hanging on a thread after five draws in a row. But, after this win, coupled with Ireland drawing 1-1 at Georgia, means their hopes have been lifted.

With only the group winners getting automatic qualification, play-offs could be the main hope, with Wales four points off leaders Serbia and two points off second-placed Ireland.

Next up for Wales is a trip to Moldova on Tuesday, the 5 September. Ireland are playing Serbia, so at least one of those teams will drop points. We can still qualify.

Needing victory to maintain a realistic prospect of qualifying automatically, Wales were overrun by Austria in a goalless first half

With Serbia’s victory over Moldova strengthening their position at the top of Group D, Wales remain four points behind the leaders with three games left.

However, Chris Coleman’s side have narrowed the gap on the second-placed Republic of Ireland to two points following a draw for Martin O’Neill’s men in Georgia.

They travel to face the Moldovans on Tuesday – while Ireland host the Serbs – before a trip to Georgia and a potential decider with the Irish in Cardiff next month.

Only the nine group winners in Europe’s qualifying procedure automatically earn a place in next year’s tournament in Russia, while the eight best runners-up enter the play-offs.

And although Wales’ hopes of qualifying automatically remain out of their hands, the fact they still have any chance at all – and the manner in which Woodburn ensured that was the case – made for a delirious atmosphere in Cardiff.

Even before they appeared to be heading for a stalemate against Austria, Wales’ chances of qualifying were already hanging by a thread having drawn their five previous games.

Coleman had said they needed to win their remaining four fixtures to be in contention for automatic qualification and, knowing even a draw could be terminal

Whether Wales reach the finals in Russia or not, Coleman has said this World Cup campaign will be his last in charge of his country, though he claimed thoughts of his future had not entered his mind in the build-up to this vital fixture.

Wolves 1-2 Cardiff City

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Cardiff continued their perfect start to the Championship, whilst ending Wolves’s.

City came closest in the first half, with Junior Hoilett having a low shot from outside the box saved. From the resulting corner, Sol Bamba hit the bar from a couple of yards out with a header.

Wolves also came close in the first half, with Bright Enobakhare shooting just wide. This game was always going to be a tough game for the Bluebirds, as Wolves spent so much money in the summer.

Both benches were involved in an angry exchange in the first half, after Loic Damour’s foul on Romain Saiss – for which the Cardiff midfielder was booked.

City opened the scoring in the 54th minute through Joe Ralls. Hoilett beat his man on the left before squaring it for Ralls, who slotted it into the corner.

Kenneth Zohore was denied a fine solo goal by the Wolves keeper. It kept his team in the game and that proved decisive, as Wolves drew level in the 67th minute.

After City keeper Neil Etheridge could only push out a shot from Ivan Cavaleiro, Diogo Jota crossed it in and Barry Douglas’ shot across goal was tapped in by Léo Bonatini.

But they only held on for ten minutes before Nathaniel Mendez-Laing scored his fourth Championship goal in four games to put City back in front. Zohore, who had a class game played it to Mendez-Laing, who drove it home past John Ruddy.

This victory set a new record for City. Before this season we had never won our opening three games of the season and we’ve now won four.

Cardiff proved last week that they could hold their own with the teams who have spent heavily over the summer and this is another example. They also beat Aaron Villa, who have spent a lot, last weekend.

Next up for the Bluebirds is a home game against QPR. Hopefully we can continue our perfect start to the season and get another win.