Marcus Rashford in form of life

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford (No. 10) celebrating scoring his goal with Luke Shaw and other teammates yesterday as the Red Devils beat Leicester 1-0 to keep their hopes of a top-four finish alive. Below: The striker opened the scoring in
Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford (No. 10) celebrating scoring his goal with Luke Shaw and other teammates yesterday as the Red Devils beat Leicester 1-0 to keep their hopes of a top-four finish alive.PHOTO: REUTERS
Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford (No. 10) celebrating scoring his goal with Luke Shaw and other teammates yesterday as the Red Devils beat Leicester 1-0 to keep their hopes of a top-four finish alive. Below: The striker opened the scoring in
The striker opened the scoring in the ninth minute, taking a lofted ball from Paul Pogba into his stride before finishing cleanly into the back of the net. United are two points behind Chelsea in fourth.PHOTO: REUTERS

He scores sixth goal in Solskjaer's 10 games in charge as United close in on top-four finish

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Leicester 0

Manchester United 1


LONDON • The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bandwagon rolls on.

For the first time since the days when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge, back in the 2012-13 season, Manchester United have racked up five successive away victories.

The latest came courtesy of another goal from Marcus Rashford, who marked his 100th Premier League appearance in style with his sixth goal in Solskjaer's 10 games in charge.

From Leicester's perspective, it was an awful goal to concede.

Ricardo Pereira, picking up the ball deep inside the Leicester half, played a loose and careless pass that was intended for Nampalys Mendy.

Paul Pogba easily cut the ball out and flighted a perfectly weighted pass in behind Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell. Rashford cushioned the ball beautifully with his first touch and thrashed it home powerfully and unerringly with his second, giving Kasper Schmeichel no chance with nine minutes gone.

BATTLING WIN

That pass by Paul Pogba is great and the control by Marcus better. Football is a game of mistakes. Our lads, when we make mistakes, they were fighting for the ball and giving their all.

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER, Manchester United interim manager, in awe over his side's goal and display against Leicester.

At that stage, United were in total control, playing with freedom and confidence and it was easy to fear for Leicester.

Yet slowly but surely, Claude Puel's side managed to eke their way back into the game and cause United a few problems at the other end.

Leicester looked particularly dangerous from corners, where James Maddison's excellent delivery was causing consternation in the United area. Jonny Evans, the former United defender, was unlucky to see a glancing header drift wide.

It was Maddison who had Leicester's best chance during that period. The ball broke kindly to the midfielder after ricocheting between a couple of United players, and everything pointed to an equaliser when he prepared to shoot from little more than 12 yards out, only for Luke Shaw to get across and make a superb block.

United seemed to be playing within themselves a little, almost as if they felt they could coast and only occasionally go through the gears.

Rashford, set free by Ander Herrera, had a chance on the stroke of half-time when his low shot from the edge of the area was saved by Schmeichel, but that was the first time that United had seriously threatened since early on.

Leicester continued to press for an equaliser after the interval and Jamie Vardy came close to providing it with an acrobatic effort from 12 yards. Maddison's free kick struck the wall, looped up and dropped invitingly for the striker, who swivelled before hitting a powerful shot that de Gea gathered at the second attempt.

That turned out to be Maddison's last act, with Puel's decision to withdraw Leicester's most creative player with just under half an hour remaining an unpopular one with the home supporters.

Rachid Ghezzal came on for Maddison and Demarai Gray moved into the No. 10 role. Curiously, though, Gray lasted only 12 minutes before he was substituted.

Ghezzal did force de Gea into a spectacular save with a 30-yard free kick that the Spaniard clawed away from his top corner.

Set pieces continued to offer Leicester's best hope of a goal. Another Ghezzal free kick, this time crossed into the area from out wide, was headed back across goal by Maguire only for Evans to completely miss his kick.

Then came late chances for Vardy and Maguire, after Schmeichel had denied substitutes Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial.

Both could have given the visitors some breathing space by adding a second but, in the end, it mattered little, as United defended resolutely to hold on for a victory that continues their charge for a Champions League berth.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2019, with the headline 'Rashford in form of life'. Print Edition | Subscribe