Manchester United traveled to Wembley Stadium this Sunday to face an in-form Tottenham Hotspur. The New Year has kicked off in the best way possible for United fans, with Solskjær succeeding yet again, as United win the crucial 3 points possible to collect from this fixture. The final scoreline read 0-1 to the away side courtesy to the brilliant effort made by Marcus Rashford.
With this, the interim manager has secured a record 6th consecutive victory under his tenure, as the Reds go marching on and on. Solskjaer overtook Sir Matt Busby’s record with the win against the Spurs.
The game started at a very high pace, with both the teams showing their attacking intentions. United’s game plan was clear right from the kick off.
But who’s the man behind the 3 points? None other than academy graduate Marcus Rashford. Just before the end of the first half, the youngster broke the deadlock after receiving an inch perfect delivery from midfielder Paul Pogba, who noticed Rashford’s run.
It was Jesse Lingard who started the counter attack, after intercepting a stray pass in Tottenham’s midfield. Pogba passed the ball to the #10. With the ball at his feet, Marcus Rashford defeated Tottenham’s #5 Jan Vertoghen in terms of pace, before ending the ball at the bottom corner of the net, defeating Hugo Lloris.
FT: Tottenham 0-1 Man Utd
— betway (@betway) January 13, 2019
With this goal, United perfectly ended the first half with a one goal lead, adding the pressure on Pochettino’s Spurs.
As referee Mike Dean blew the whistle to kick-off the second half, Tottenham added pressure on United to equalize and break their deadlock. But it was United’s man in gloves, their #1 David de Gea, who dismissed all chances for the North London team.
The Spaniard rose high yet again, making 11 saves against Tottenham, ensuring a clean sheet against a team loaded with top guns like WC Golden Boot winner Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Dele Alli and Lucas Moura.
The solitary goal by Marcus Rashford stood enough to separate the 2 teams, as the referee blew the final whistle, concluding victory for Solskjær’s United. With this, United rose to the 6th position in the PL table, with 41 points alongside with Arsenal (who lead due to Goal Difference). The Spanish GK was awarded Man of the Match, for his match winning performance and clean sheet.
The Winning Goal From Marcus Rashford: A Coincidence Or Result Of Rigorous Training
In the post match interview with MUTV, Marcus Rashford opened up on the winning goal he scored at Wembley, ensuring a first success away at Spurs since March 2012. The in-form striker shared how the decisive move and finish were no coincidence, with the goal being his 4th one in 5 games. Rashford said:
“We’ve done a lot of work in training on switching the play and little things like that,”
“We’ve had a long week in training and it’s been tough in training, but that’s the type of thing we’ve been working on. So for it to come out in a game is good for us as players and good for the staff as well.”
Marcus Rashford also revealed the thoughts he had, before scoring the winner. He said:
“At first I wanted to try and take it across the defender, but I think if I had done that there was a chance of him getting a toe on it. So the first touch was a little bit too wide, but from there I knew what I wanted to do. It made it a bit more difficult, but it doesn’t matter now because it went in!”
Meanwhile, this winning goal from Marcus Rashford against Tottenham Hotspur is a good example to showcase the change in style, the transition from defensee into attack. The game shows how Solskjær and his coaching staff have been working upon, along with finishing of team’s young forwards.
The interim manager spoke to MUTV as well, after the match. He shared the moment with the interviewer, saying:
“When he came through I was thinking about the near post: hard, high, near post!”
“But it was a fantastically-taken shot, that. It is a difficult skill. If it bounces for you then you can hit it on the outside, so you can curl it the other way, but this was as straight as a dye. It is a fantastic finish that just shows practice makes perfect, because he has been practicing lately in that position.”“When you are 21, playing for Man United, scoring the goals he does, of course you are going to be confident. He has all the right to be confident because he is playing at the top of his game at the moment.”
The baby faced assassin himself scored 126 goals during his time as a player at Old Trafford. The victory at Wembley is a good sign for Solskjær, who finally answered his critics questioning his ability to lead a team for big games like these, which can affect the standings of the PL table significantly.
Not just that, after Solskjær’s appointment, Manchester United remain to be the only team yet to conceive a defeat during the second stage of the league. The Red Devils have made a positive start to what seems to be an upcoming rocky campaign, marked by Cup games, the Champions League and significant PL games.
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United will definitely try to win all the possible +3 points, putting a pressure on top seeded teams and will try to cut short the goal difference and uplift their standings in the Premier League table.
On Saturday, United host Brighton and Hove Albion F.C., where Solskjær and his lads will aim for the 3 points up for grabs. It will be interesting to see how United line-up themselves, and prepare themselves for big games ahead(namely the 4th round of FA Cup against Arsenal, and UCL R16 against Paris Saint Germain).