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London Assassins Star Mike McShane on ‘Thin Dude’ Aaron Tveit & More

first_img Assassins composer Stephen Sondheim attended an early performance—how nerve-wracking was that? We didn’t know he was going to be there, but just before I went onstage, someone said to me, “make sure you’re careful with your signage; don’t hit anybody with what you’re carrying.” All of a sudden I thought, “something’s going on,” and I got very nervous. View Comments We’re very happy to have you at the Menier in one of the finest musical theatre ensembles I can remember. Thank you! This is one of the best companies I’ve ever been part of in my life. The nature of how it’s performed is that we feed off one another. I’m an improviser as well as an actor, so to be fed by Aaron Tveit or Catherine Tate is to be getting a four-course meal of the highest quality. Jamie Lloyd’s blistering production of the Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman musical Assassins is hurtling into its final month at the Menier Chocolate Factory, and is about to welcome two new cast members: Michael Xavier and Anna Francolini, who succeed Aaron Tveit and Catherine Tate, respectively (though Tate will return for the final two weeks). What better time to chat with company stalwart Mike McShane, whose devastating performance as the deranged Sam Byck is among the show’s highlights? Broadway.com caught the comedy circuit and film regular one recent afternoon and found the irrepressible performer in typically expansive mood. Both of whom are leaving the production, though Catherine is coming back for the final two weeks. Will you miss Aaron? I can hardly wait till he’s gone, I f*cking hate him [laughs]. No, of course, I’m real sad. He’s a brilliant actor and a decent dude who happens to be incredibly talented and good-looking and that’s why I hate him so much! We’re all going to miss him. In the decades since, that improbability has become a horrifying reality. Yes, and when I talk about dropping a plane on the president, you can feel the temperature in the audience shift; you can almost hear the Americans in the house holding their breath since that notion means something different to us now. Was Harvey a real mensch? Oh, he was, while also displaying this sharp critical mind about queer history and theater history, and I would just sit there and pick his brains. My cat died during the show, and the cat was 22-years-old so when it went, that was a big deal for me. I was a mess, actually, but Harvey just sat me down and talked to me. I’m especially fond of that memory. What was Mr. Sondheim’s review? He was so generous and sweet, and so affirming about where Jamie [Lloyd, director] and we were going with it. It was a good boost in the arm to us. He’s been back to see it three times, so we’re chuffed. I count myself a very lucky American on many levels and one of them is that I got to have Shakespeare, as I call our composer, come watch me in his work. You bring Samuel Byck to vivid life—do you envision him as an American misfit version of Sweeney Todd? Both Byck and Sweeney Todd—or Benjamin Barker—have that horrible unrequited anger that they don’t know what to do with, and the thing with Byck is that nobody wants to hear or listen to him which only intensifies his need to be heard, so he goes on the attack. It’s all there in what Mr. Sondheim and Mr. Weidman have written. Sondheim is the master, he really is.center_img I don’t envy the Menier box office having to deal with Aaron fans who discover he’s leaving February 8. There are some gals in the audience who are only there to see Aaron and he could be standing there shaving a cat and wearing a dunce cap and they would pay money to see that. But there are others, as well. There was one girl who came up to me afterwards and said, “Are all musicals like this?” and I said to her, “No they’re not. Make a note of the name Stephen Sondheim and have a look at this guy’s music.” Have you bought him a farewell gift? I have, in fact. It’s a really cool David Bowie t-shirt that he’s just the right sort of thin dude to wear. I certainly couldn’t; it wouldn’t give off the right vibe [laughs]. Do you think there could be a Sweeney Todd in your future? [Laughs.] Aside from whether I’d ever begin to be able to sing it, I don’t think so. I’m more Beadle Bamford territory now. It would be wonderful to see this production in New York. Do you think that could happen? That would be great but can’t you just see the Fox News headline: “American-hating British company comes to do American-hating musical written by American-hating Jew.” We live in difficult times. What amazes me is how quickly the cast emerges into the theater bar after the show given how bruising the material is. The Brits have this amazing sensibility about show business probably because they’ve been doing it since some dude picked up a lyre and said, “Here’s a song about Beowulf,” so there’s very little of that bullsh*t. Jamie Parker [the Balladeer] may feel like he’s ripped his guts out and then he goes downstairs and sees his wife and kid. You play a guy who attempted to crash a plane into the Nixon White House in 1974. Do you remember the real incident? I remember us joking about it then, strangely enough. I was 19 and in the service, so I was aware of it only in passing, but at that point in our history nobody had got a plane up in the air in order to crash it as a weapon. If he had succeeded, God knows what would have happened to our country then. Any memories that come to mind about your time on Broadway? I did a play with Matthew Broderick called Taller than a Dwarf [in 2000] where we had two opposing directors: Alan Arkin who was there to direct it and our writer, Elaine May, who tried to direct it. I did La Cage when Harvey [Fierstein] came in with Jeffrey Tambor, who left for reasons that remain locked forever in a secret vault. But what was great was that I got to meet Chris Sieber, who took over. That was the first time they’d actually had two gay men in those roles.last_img read more

Freeze damage

first_imgAnnuals and shrubs need some protection against the cold. “Some really sensitive plants like hydrangeas or young fig trees need heavy mulch as a blanket of insulation against cold,” he said. “You can get a wire basket, fill it up with leaves and cover the plant to protect it.”He also recommends making a windscreen from a cardboard box or plastic. But don’t let the plastic touch the plant. It will make the plant colder. If you use plastic, make a tent with it over the plant.For more tips on protecting landscape plants in winter, call your local UGA Extension agent at 1-800-ASK-UGA1 or look online at www.ugaextension.com(Faith Peppers is a news editor for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) By Faith PeppersUniversity of GeorgiaRecent freezing temperatures have taken a toll on some Georgia landscapes. If you were too slow to mulch or to cover tender plants, you may now see wilted, dark leaves dotting your flower beds. A University of Georgia expert has advice on how to handle the damage and to avoid it.“On these first several frosts you are going to see obvious frost damage because many plants haven’t dropped their leaves,” said Bob Westerfield, a UGA Cooperative Extension horticulturist. “The damage will usually appear as brown tips on leaves that will then turn black. Just go a couple of inches below the damage and prune it out.” If you have planted wisely, the damage should only be temporary.“Most plants that are established and have been in the landscape a year or two will survive these cold snaps,” he said. “You might have to prune out the damage, but they will make it through.”If leaf burn is severe and unsightly, go ahead and cut it back. The plants won’t produce more leaves now. But since this is only the first cold snap and not the last, he said, you can wait to prune “because we will get hit again, and you can prune it back harder in December or January.”Feed and waterPlants still need plenty of moisture now, he said. “Plants need that pressure within their stems to withstand the cold. If you don’t have them fully moist they can’t withstand the cold and will get cell damage. Now is the time to wet them down really well before a cold night.”Most winter annuals will survive fine with proper care. “Most annuals like mums and pansies are very tenacious,” he said. “They might look bad right after the cold, but they will come right out of it.”Good nutrition helps, too. “Give them some liquid or light granular fertilizer once a month and water well throughout the season,” he said. “They have limited root systems, so they need plenty of food and water.”Protect plantslast_img read more

Meet-Up, Hike Out

first_imgIt was almost 10 o’clock on Saturday morning. The sky was a deep turquoise-blue, practically cloudless, and the golden-red leaves on the trees rustled in the gentle autumn wind.I’d just pulled into Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort for their Freefall Festival, a three-day event celebrating mountain biking, craft beer, and good music. In addition to representing the magazine at the festival, I would also be joining forces with Snowshoe employee Melissa Dobbins to host a 5-mile hike for one of the Live Outside and Play meet-ups.For those of you that were unaware, I have been hosting a meet-up at least once a month since I hit the road in May. These meet-ups are designed to be free and open to the public with the aim of introducing new people to the magazine, the project, our sponsors, and the local businesses I work with to host the event.In the past five months my meet-ups have included an 8-mile trail run in Damascus, Va., a 5-mile sunset/night hike outside of Brevard, N.C., a SUP float in Folly Beach, S.C., a yoga session in Fayetteville, W.Va., a SylvanSport Go demo in Floyd, Va., an ENO slackline competition in Ocoee, Tenn., and most recently this 5-mile hike up to Snowshoe’s Cheat Ridge fire tower.I’m always a little nervous before these meet-ups, mainly because I fear the worst: no one shows.IMG_9879Per one of last week‘s blogs, you’re well aware that my time on the road has been speckled with flaky friends. That’s totally fine – occasionally, I’m the flaky friend. But the point of these meet-ups is to meet new faces. I can’t do that if no one shows. Granted, this is the first year the magazine has started hosting events like this, so I haven’t been expecting large turnouts. In my eyes, a successful meet-up can be as few as two people.Which, is precisely the number of folks that showed up on Saturday morning.On the lift down to the lake depot though, I couldn’t care less who or how many people showed up. The fall foliage was in full-swing and the day was proving to be a perfect combination of cool and sunny. It’d be a perfect morning for a fire tower hike, even if it was just Melissa and I.A friendly couple who owns a vacation house over the valley were the only folks who came at first. While I was relieved that they had heard about the hike via social media and had actually followed through with it, a part of me was still bummed. Really? Only two people out of the 155,000+ online fans we had between Snowshoe and Blue Ridge Outdoors? What gives?As I was walking down to the beach though, a man in a bucket hat came up to me asking where the geocaching trail was. I quickly steered him away from partaking in the short trail, telling him that he should join us, instead, for a 3-hour hike up the ridge. He and his wife agreed and before long, the 7 of us began our trek up the mountain.It was awesome to simply go for a walk in the woods. Sometimes (maybe due to my total dislike of hiking) I get caught up in adrenaline sports like kayaking and mountain biking and climbing. I live for that rush, for feeling borderline entirely out of control. But hiking is very methodical, very grounding. I should do more of it. Still, there were times during our hike when I looked on in envy as riders came flying down the trails we were slowly trudging up. By the time I was standing atop the fire tower, soaking in the 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains, it didn’t matter how I got there. All I cared about was that I was there.IMG_9864IMG_9866IMG_9868Waves of red, gold, and green greeted our eyes. We could see the runs of Snowshoe, the lake, a puff of gray smoke in the distance from the Cass Scenic Railroad. It finally felt like fall, and I was glad that I could share that beautiful day with people who were as amped to go outside and play as I was.IMG_9871IMG_9875IMG_9885IMG_9890IMG_9896IMG_9899IMG_9874IMG_9901IMG_9941IMG_9952###To cap off the day, we headed back down the mountain to watch an awesome live performance by G. Love and Special Sauce and Slightly Stoopid. Thanks to Melissa and the folks over at Snowshoe for hosting us this weekend and to all of the other locals and businesses that have helped me to put on these meet-ups in the past!If you haven’t already, stay connected with the project by following the Live Outside and Play Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds. That way, you’ll know when and where the next meet-up is happening.IMG_9959IMG_9974IMG_9986IMG_0007IMG_0009last_img read more

International Congress of Gastronomy and Catering “Chefs’ Stage” in Šibenik

first_imgChefs’ Stage’s vision is to become a gastronomic stage whose main theme is regional gastronomy, and the main goal is to show that it is worthy of world attention and the establishment of the ‘Be Foodie’ foundation which will educate young talents in gastronomy and hospitality and direct them to education.Also, the goal is to bring together all participants of the regional hospitality scene: chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers, industry professionals, manufacturers, suppliers, guests, journalists, opinon makers, as well as create a friendly atmosphere that will encourage joint creativity and research, encourage culinary curiosity and exchange knowledge and experience, systematically increase the network “small producer – restaurant”, connect the regional gastronomic community and consciously jointly plan future directions of regional gastronomy, identify trends and find ways to successfully implement them in local cuisines, nurture culinary talent and point out the beauty of working with people in the hospitality industry, define local gastronomic heritage as a starting point for upgrading local cuisine, articulate current problems of the profession and propose solutions, constructively criticize the legal framework to create a competitive tourism product and emphasize the importance of sustainable development of hospitality andtourism.More information about the program and the entire congress of gastronomy and catering “Chefs’ Stage” see here Organized by the Pelegrini restaurant and its owner Rudi Štefan, recently marked with a Michelin star, and with the support of the City of Šibenik, an international congress of gastronomy and catering “Chefs’ Stage” will be held in Šibenik on March 19 and 20 to bring together regional leaders in gastronomy and catering. which will encourage joint creativity, research and exchange of knowledge and experiences in a friendly atmosphere.The mission of the organizers is to connect the participants of the gastronomic and catering scene and create a platform that connects regional leaders and encourage the exchange of experiences and knowledge and support the sustainable development of catering and tourism by defining local gastronomic heritage. That is why a lot of effort has been invested in bringing in top international chefs and world opinion makers and journalists who write about gastronomy.During the two congress days “Chefs’ Stage“, The program includes a series of masterclasses, which will be held by about 20 international guest chefs and a panel discussion with topics:SWOT ANALYSIS OF REGIONAL GASTRONOMYSERVICECROATIAN FOOD / INGREDIENTSCREATING A TOURIST DESTINATIONLOCATION ZERO CUISINEEDUCATION – creating a career path in hospitalitySMALL PRODUCERSLAWS & REGULATIONSCREATING LUXURYlast_img read more

The Times: Croatia’s third destination in the world

first_imgPhoto: Croatian National Tourist Board Let’s remind, The Times & The Sunday Times on their websites made possible voting, among other things, for the best tourist destination in the world, and Croatia was shortlisted. Best Country award 2020 the award was given for the eighth time, and the voting lasted until the end of October. The final winner was decided by the readers. By voting, they also participated in a prize draw for exclusive prizes, such as a stay in Barbados and the Dominican Republic. Except in the best country category, was voted in 12 other categories such as the best city, airline and tour operator. The Times & The Sunday Times is among the most influential newspapers in the UK. This year, they reached a record number of 16 million readers per month through print and online editions.center_img Croatia is included in the top three best destinations in the world in the Best Country award 2020 category by a popular British newspaper The Times & The Sunday Times awarded for the best countries in the world. Given the current epidemiological situation, the award ceremony was held virtually. It was declared the best country in the world in this category Italija, while second place went to New Zealand, and third Croatia. The shortlist also includes some of the world’s best destinations such as France, Turkey, the USA, Dubai, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Thailand.last_img read more

Small businesses cry for lifeline as government aid underway

first_imgSome 37,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have reported difficulties to the government, crying for help as government aid has yet to reach their bleeding operations, with some forced to close shop amid the pandemic.According to the Cooperatives and SME Ministry, most of the reports came from micro businesses, related to declining sales, funding, goods distribution and access to raw materials. The government is reviewing these reports to better target incentives as it is preparing economic stimuli for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).The stimuli would include tax waivers for six months and loan relaxation even for borrowings of less than Rp 10 million (US$645), said Cooperatives and SMEs Minister Teten Masduki on Wednesday. They would also cover cash transfers for micro-scale businesses and easing MSMEs access to new loans for survival. Not all would be supported, however, as the Cooperatives and SMEs Ministry is reviewing eligibility of the micro and small businesses to receive aid, said the ministry’s special staffer on creative economy empowerment, Fiki Satari. The ministry will be coordinating with the Finance Ministry, the Coordinating Economic Ministry and the Financial Services Authority (OJK) to finalize the stimuli.Indonesia SME Association chairman Ikhsan Ingratubun said he appreciated the government’s plan to support SMEs; however, most small and medium businesses had already temporarily closed or seen a steep decline in revenues. Such a condition had limited their daily cash flow which they relied upon heavily to finance their daily operations and pay for their liabilities.“The government must relieve us from paying taxes, because where are we supposed to get the cash from in times when our daily operation is limited?” he told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.Ikhsan still deemed the stimulus insufficient to keep small and medium businesses from succumbing to the COVID-19 crisis and called for broader incentives for electricity that still burdens them.Read also: Jokowi announces free electricity, discounts for households hardest hit by COVID-19 impactsThe government announced free electricity for three months starting April for 24 million households in the 450-volt ampere (VA) category, the lowest of six categories listed under existing regulations. It will also provide a 50 percent discount for 7 million households in the 900 VA category, the second-lowest category, for the same three months.“The government should broaden the incentives to other categories as well, because bigger businesses are in a cash crunch,” said Ikhsan.  The Cooperatives and SMEs Ministry suggested that SMEs convert their businesses to meet current demand, such as making masks and coveralls, as the government’s large-scale social distancing (PSBB) policy had forced business owners to close shops and as demand weakens with people staying at home.“This effort could help fulfill the domestic demand for personal protective equipment [PPE] and masks, as well as help them fulfill their daily needs during this pandemic,” said Victoria Simanungkalit, the ministry’s undersecretary for production and marketing.The ministry is also working with industrial goods supplier PT Daruma Adira Pratama to help SMEs produce appropriate PPE that correspond to the Health Ministry’s medical equipment standards.Currently, around 330 SMEs from 16 provinces have joined the program and around 80 have been included in the ministry’s catalog, Victoria said.The SMEs have also received a total of Rp 127.8 million (US$8,145) worth of orders from potential buyers consisting of 10,276 masks, 962 hazmat suits and 25 pairs of shoe covers, she added.Topics : “The president requested for this loan relaxation to be applied as wide as possible, especially for micro businesses,” Teten said after a virtual meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. “We have also agreed to integrate the cash transfer program and the food card program with micro businesses like warung [traditional eateries], so they can still survive and have an income.”SMEs contribute more than 60 percent to Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP), ranging from small shops and warung to distributors of consumer products, batik workshops and craft makers. There are 70 million SMEs with outstanding loans to financial institutions.Read also: 37,000 SMEs hit by COVID-19 crisis as government prepares aidJokowi said he wanted the loan relaxation for all SMEs as soon as possible. “Don’t wait until the businesses are closed. Don’t wait until it’s too late and create disruption among the public,” he said.last_img read more

S. Korea says Bolton’s memoir on Trump-Kim summit is distorted

first_imgAccounts by former US National Security Adviser John Bolton of discussions between leaders of the United States and the two Koreas in his upcoming book are inaccurate and distorted, South Korea said on Monday.Bolton gives details in the book of conversations before and after three meetings between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, including how their second summit in Vietnam fell apart.The book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir”, is scheduled for publication on Tuesday but media outlets have released excerpts. Trump and Kim met for the first time in Singapore in June 2018, raising hope for efforts to press North Korea to give up its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.But their second summit, in Vietnam in early 2019, collapsed when Trump rejected an offer by Kim to give up North Korea’s main nuclear facility in return for lifting some sanctions.Bolton reportedly cites Chung as relaying Moon’s response to the breakdown as, on the one hand, Trump was right to reject Kim’s proposal but on the other, Kim’s willingness to dismantle the Yongbyon facility was a “very meaningful first step” toward “irreversible” denuclearization.Bolton refers to Moon’s position as “schizophrenic”.Asked about that reference by Bolton, a top official in Moon’s office told reporters: “Perhaps he is in that condition.”  Topics :center_img Reports have cited Bolton as writing that Moon, who is keen to improve relations with North Korea, had raised unrealistic expectations with both Kim and Trump for his own “unification” agenda.”It does not reflect accurate facts and substantially distorts facts,” South Korea’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, said in a statement referring to Bolton’s description of top-level consultations.Chung did not elaborate on specific areas South Korea saw as inaccurate but said the publication set a “dangerous precedent”.”Unilaterally publishing consultations made based on mutual trust violates the basic principles of diplomacy and could severely damage future negotiations,” he said.last_img read more

Arsene Wenger questions Arsenal board over recent signings and sends warning to Mikel Arteta

first_imgAdvertisement Arsene Wenger questions Arsenal board over recent signings and sends warning to Mikel Arteta Arsenal fans have been far from happy with performances on and off the pitch (Picture: Getty)‘I believe that it’s not a question of time. The change can be very efficient very quickly, it’s just about the right decision-making and that’s all that it’s about in football, it’s about good players.‘We speak about the success of Liverpool, of course they have a great manager, but you have to say as well that in the last three or four years, they bought the right players.’MORE: The three main priorities on Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal to-do listMORE: Man City legend Yaya Toure sends warning to Mikel Arteta ahead of Arsenal moveMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 18 Dec 2019 11:31 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link7kShares Commentcenter_img Advertisement The Frenchman feels Arsenal are now a very different club from the one he left behind (Picture: Getty)Arsene Wenger has suggested that Arsenal have moved away from the ‘special values’ he installed at the club and has criticised recent signings, warning Mikel Arteta that he must correct those two key areas when he takes over.The Spanish coach, who is primed to leave Manchester City for the Emirates, walks into a club in chaos, with the Gunners having won just once in their last 14 outings in all competitions and sitting as close to the relegation zone as the top four.While Wenger is supportive of the looming decision to bring in Arteta, he believes the inexperienced coach will need to be backed up by people who understand the club and has urged the board to improve their recruitment. Wenger is attending the Club World Cup as part of his new role with FIFA (Picture: Getty)Speaking in Qatar, he told reporters: ‘He will have to get surrounded well, have a good environment at the club. I think the most important [thing], every club, and Arsenal especially, is built on special values and inside the club people have to take care of that. That is most important.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘What makes the culture of a club great, is first the values of the club and you have to be faithful to that and continue to develop that. And he will have to be surrounded, if he comes in, to respect that.‘The club just needs to make the right decisions. You have to understand first that a football club is built on values and on good players. And that’s what the club will have to do, is get these two together.’Asked if he is saddened by the club’s current malaise, he continued: ‘Of course. I have given a big part of my life, 22 years in the career of a manager is not nothing you know – it’s 200 years in normal life.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal‘I think when I left this club I wanted the club to have stability and let’s not forget we were 20 consecutive years in the top four. People speak a lot, but in 2016 – we are in 2019 now – we finished second.‘When I left the club was in a very strong financial position and they bought many players in-between – they have not all worked out.last_img read more

Coretrax Adds Churchill Drilling Tools

first_imgAberdeen-based well construction and intervention specialist Coretrax has acquired Churchill Drilling Tools.The acquisition is for an undisclosed sum and will integrate Churchill’s extensive downhole product portfolio into a new group, with Churchill’s employees joining the Coretrax team.Kenny Murray, CEO of Coretrax, said: “Churchill’s first-class technology, talented team and reputation for quality were a compelling draw for Coretrax as we push ahead with plans to widen our well construction and intervention offering and enter new global markets.“We continue to grow organically with sizeable contract awards and renewals and are pursuing a robust strategy that will push us into new markets more aggressively including the US and Asia Pacific. Our Middle East operations are going from strength-to-strength and leveraging Churchill’s product range, footprint and team will further augment our presence in the region. All contracts and projects will continue as normal, but with the added benefit of access to additional products, services and expertise.”Andy Churchill, founder of Churchill, said: “We have always been proud to supply our technology to Coretrax and its clients and the association has always been a very strong one. The Coretrax reputation for innovation, quality and customer service is second to none and this development will bring huge opportunities.”Coretrax secured a significant investment from private equity firm Buckthorn Partners last year to prepare for growth. Now employing 200 people, the company continues to invest in developing technology and expanding its service and engineering capabilities.A group structure will be formed, which will include Coretrax, Churchill and expandable tubular well solutions specialist Mohawk Energy, following its acquisition by Buckthorn Partners earlier this year.Kenny Murray added: “We are developing a well construction and intervention group that offers a much broader integrity and production offering that will deliver tangible benefits to our global client base.”last_img read more

EPL: Arsenal claim draw against Man U

first_imgRelatedPosts Ighalo: My best moment as ‘Red Devil’ EPL: Crystal Palace stun sloppy Man U EPL: Red Devils attack Palace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had an equaliser awarded by VAR as Manchester United and Arsenal played out a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. While close decisions have dominated the conversation around the technology, the type of blatant mistake that saw Aubameyang flagged offside in the 58th minute is what the system was introduced to eliminate. United had taken the lead just before half-time through Scott McTominay’s first goal at Old Trafford, a fine strike from outside the box, and the game did improve after a distinctly drab start. But the lack of quality was all too evident and a point for United leaves them 10th with nine points – the first time they have failed to reach double figures after seven games in 30 years – while Arsenal nudged back into the top four. Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford were surprise inclusions in the United starting XI having been expected to miss out through injury but Aaron Wan-Bissaka was ill and Axel Tuanzebe started his first Premier League game since May 2017 at left-back. The 21-year-old’s performance was the bright spot of an opening half an hour that showcased everything lacking in both teams. Driving rain admittedly made conditions difficult but passes were misplaced, crosses over-hit and free-kicks lofted straight out of play. Daniel James used his pace to cause a couple of moments of danger, and a pull back on the young winger earned Calum Chambers a booking inside 10 minutes. It took 29 minutes for the first shot and the first really incisive bit of play, with the ball breaking in midfield for Andreas Pereira, who drove at the Arsenal defence and broke into the area before seeing his shot saved by Bernd Leno. That sparked a bright spell for Arsenal, with Nicolas Pepe shooting over before the Gunners had a good chance to threaten when Pereira picked up a caution for a foul on Matteo Guendouzi only for Granit Xhaka to produce a baffling free-kick that Chambers put behind. David de Gea made his first save from Pepe at the back post, while Pogba finally found Rashford with a fine through ball only for a combination of a slip from the striker and good tracking from Sokratis to thwart the danger. Water was bouncing off the sodden turf and a slip from Pereira in the 44th minute let in young Bukayo Saka down the left. His shot across goal was parried by De Gea, who got up well to block the follow-up from Guendouzi. That became even more important moments later as United broke away down the other end. The chance looked to have gone when James over-hit his cross for Rashford but the striker picked out McTominay 22 yards out and he found the top of the net via the slightest deflection off Sokratis. After being jeered by his own fans last week, Xhaka’s duck of the head as the shot flew towards him will have done nothing to endear the captain to the Gunners faithful. United wanted a penalty early in the second half for a handball by Sead Kolasinac, but referee Kevin Friend turned down the appeals and it was not deemed enough of a mistake for the decision to be overturned. However, one replay was all it took to show that assistant Scott Ledger had erroneously raised his flag against Aubameyang after Tuanzebe’s awful pass had allowed Saka to play in the striker, who neatly chipped De Gea. The visitors nearly had a second immediately but the impressive Saka, 18, was denied by a goal-saving block by Victor Lindelof. United sought a response and Pogba curled a shot just wide before McTominay planted a free header over the bar when he should have scored. Leno was then called upon to push a strong shot from Maguire over, and the keeper saved his best for last with a diving stop to keep out Rashford’s late free-kick.Tags: Arsenal FCManchester UnitedPierre Emerick AubameyangScott McTominaylast_img read more