It was Marcus Rashford’s night on the eve of his 22nd birthday as he led Manchester United to an impeccable 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge. The English forward opened the scoring in the first-half through a penalty, being entrusted with the duty despite missing one against Norwich City on the weekend.
Chelsea weren’t quiet spectators for the game, netting an equalizer via Michy Batshuayi in the 61st minute. However, it was Marcus Rashford yet again who stood in front of a free-kick in the 73rd minute and slotted it into the top left-hand corner ‘Cristiano Ronaldo-style’ to win the game for the Red Devils.
1. Solskjaer 2-0 Lampard
Much has been said about the Norwegian’s managerial style over the past two months. This game proved that ahead of tactics, it is also the belief he instills into his players that is vital.
Many expected him to start Mason Greenwood of Anthony Martial ahead of Rashford for this game and in fact, there were quite a few who reflected the same upon the release of the first-team list.
However, giving Rashford the start and keeping him as the penalty taker proved effective in the end. Similarly, sticking with an unconventional back-three and an altered attacking tactic did wonders in the end despite the goals not coming through open play.
He has now done incredibly well against another former player-turned manager Frank Lampard for two games in a row. Is a pattern emerging?
2. Scott McTominay Was Everywhere
McTominay just keeps getting better and better with each game that passes. His stats against Chelsea tell the whole story with a masterful 81% of the passing accuracy as well as making 5 interceptions and winning 5 crucial tackles.
His long balls were also received well and the sheer amount of times he was fouled, go on to show just how much of a dynamic presence he aids to the team.
Further, the fact that he achieved this against a midfield composing of the likes of Kovacic and Jorginho is even more impressive.
Once Paul Pogba is back to match fitness, their midfield pairing will be a remarkable one and Old Trafford will certainly be proud to see two home-grown players forming the heart of their team.
3. 3 Back to Back Away Wins
Manchester United have gone from being sordid losers away from home to securing three back-to-back wins in three different competitions on the road.
This is the precise kind of confidence that Solskjaer’s side needs to overcome the poor start to the season. Chelsea was undoubtedly the toughest away trip amongst the lot and their performance carries a lot of positives in it now.
Now they’ll be hoping to secure a win in the Premier League away to Bournemouth on Saturday as well.
Needless to say, the Red Devils will be fancying their chances in the Cup now with Solskjaer bound to be eyeing every piece of silverware he can realistically attain.
4. Marcus Rashford’s Free Kick
All this brilliance and the lad has just turned 22. Rashford has been the subject of much-deserved criticism this season. His lack of a clinical ability up-front cannot be denied nor can the poor form he displays as a sole striker.
However, with the apt options to support him, the youngster has proven time and time again that he is a threat and this game was another example of the same.
United fans will now be desperately hoping that this free-kick taking swagger is here to stay.
5. Billy Gilmour And Brandon Williams
This was an apt opportunity for Solskjaer and Lampard to incorporate more academy graduates into the lineup and they did just that with Brandon Williams and Billy Gilmour respectively.
Solskjaer’s trust in Williams was based off of his impressive showing in recent games and the fans fell in love with him yet again during this fixture, further asserting that he is a left-back for many years to come for United.
Likewise, Gilmour was also a trusty presence on the pitch, and showed signs of incredible promise during his 70 minutes. The future of these two English giants certainly looks bright.