Clubs in the European football leagues are catching up with their busy match schedule after the winter FIFA World Cup break, spoiling die-hard football fans with fascinating matches every few days. Certain teams capitalised this window of opportunity to build on a momentum, namely Manchester United, which has put Cristiano Ronaldo’s dramatic exit from the club behind its back, is now enjoying a six-game winning streak in all competitions and made its way to the Top Four position of the Premier League for the first time this season. Their latest win came against fellow league mate A.F.C. Bournemouth and the 3-0 victory gave the Cherries a three straight league defeats, slipping to 15th in the table as a result.
A First Old Trafford Goal for Casemiro
Having won their last five games in all competitions, including three straight triumph in the Premier League, the Red Devils came into the game as the clear favourite at home, and they looked like their usual self right from the start. Mid-way through the first half, a freekick that sent the ball to the feet of Brazil’s midfielder Casemiro’s helped open the scoring for Manchester United. It was the former Real Madrid man’s first goal in his new club at home, justifying the claim that he is indeed the best summer signing the Red Side of Manchester had earlier this season. A.F.C. Bournemouth was able to withstand the pressure given by United until the end of the first 45 minutes.
In the second half, a determined Luke Shaw broke away from his own half and ran into the opposing penalty box after sending the ball to Bruno Fernandes. The latter quickly passed it to the out-wide Alejandro Garnacho, before him feeding Shaw to double United’s lead. It was the English defender’s fourth ever goal in 232 appearances for the Red Devils, since making his debut for the club back in 2014.
Red Hot Marcus Rashford
United continued to push for a third goal, and their leading scorer of this current season campaign was not going to let his teammates stealing the headlines of the match. In the 86th minute of the game, Luke Shaw was once again involved in another United attack, in which an accurate long ball was sent by him for Bruno Fernandes to square it to Rashford to net his 12th goal of the season in all competitions. This came after United had multiples efforts fended off by the Cherries, as well as David de Gea’s heroic saves against its opposition from Dorset, England that gave United an eventual clean sheet. It is worth noting that the Red Devils have not conceded a single goal since coming back from the World Cup break.
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Where Is Sancho?
A notable absentee of the match from the Red Side of Manchester was of course, Jadon Sancho. The England international has not played for United since the end of October last year and his absence raised several questions as he was pictured to have continued to train alone. Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has called for more clarities about Sancho’s situation as a player with his calibre should be given chances to shine, especially when he is still trying to fit in since joining the club with a expensive price tag in 2021.
Level on Points for Third Place, with a Game in Hand
The Red Devils will take on Everton and Charlton in their domestic cup fixtures, before setting up the clash of Manchester at home against their noisy neighbour, Manchester City. Both Manchester clubs are currently placed in the Top Four of the Premier League, with City ranked second and United in fourth, level on points with Newcastle United and has the advantage of one less game played. The last Manchester Derby saw City run riot against United with a 6-3 victory via a double hat-trick from Erling Haaland and Phil Foden, how would the return leg turn out to be?
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