Posted by News Express | 28 February 2016 | 3,204 times
Marcus Rashford’s dream start to life in the Manchester United first team continued as he scored twice in the 3-2 Barclays Premier League victory over Arsenal, capping a remarkable four days for him.
The 18-year-old forward was thrust into the United starting XI for Thursday’s UEFA Europa League last-32 second-leg match with Midtjylland after an injury in the warm-up to Anthony Martial and two goals in that 5-1 win helped United into the next round. Rashford showed no signs of slowing down against the title-chasing Arsenal.
He scored twice in the space of three first-half minutes, netting his first Barclays Premier League brace at exactly the same age as club captain Wayne Rooney when he registered his (18 years, 120 days) for Everton.
Danny Welbeck pulled one back for Arsenal against his former side before the interval but Ander Herrera made it three in the 65th minute, with Rashford providing the assist.
Mesut Ozil again reduced the deficit four minutes later, but Arsenal left empty-handed and sit five points behind leaders Leicester City, while United climb back to fifth.
Welbeck came into the Arsenal starting line-up, while Louis van Gaal, was again forced to deploy Rashford.
The first chance of the match came courtesy of an unlikely source, Nacho Monreal firing straight at the returning David de Gea after being played in by Ozil.
Rashford tested the Arsenal defence with an early surge into the box, drawing the foul, and a free-kick on the edge of the area, from Gabriel, but Memphis Depay could only fire the set-piece straight at goalkeeper Petr Cech.
United had conceded three goals by the 19th minute in the reverse fixture but Arsenal, who positioned Welbeck out wide with Theo Walcott down the middle, did little to suggest they could carve open the home defence with the same lethal touch this time around.
Rashford's dream week continued when Arsenal failed to clear a Guillermo Varela cross from the right, with the young striker placing a shot beyond Cech from the centre of the box.
Three minutes later, Rashford headed in a second from a Jesse Lingard delivery, a goal with roots firmly in the United academy.
Rashford is a graduate of Fletcher Moss Rangers, for whom Arsenal's Welbeck also played. The Manchester community football club celebrated a treble when the latter headed beyond De Gea from an Ozil free-kick to make it 2-1 at the break.
United continued to impress after half-time and, after blocked shots from Morgan Schneiderlin and Depay, Rashford teed up Herrera to score from 20 yards, although the effort owed more than a little to a huge deflection off Laurent Koscielny.
Ozil’s volley brought Arsenal back to 3-2 when the ball bounced kindly for him 12 yards out in the 69th minute.
Van Gaal showed his displeasure at a decision by referee Craig Pawson by dramatically throwing himself to the ground on the touchline late on, but it is Arsenal who must now pick themselves up after a string of disappointing results in the FA Cup, UEFA Champions League and the Barclays Premier League.
•Text courtesy of premierleague.com. Photo of Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata celebrating one of Man Utd's goals courtesy of BBC.
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