Premier League recap: Rashford reigns, Leicester joy & Hammer horror
The Premier League threw up more than its fair share of drama at the weekend, producing key results at both ends in the process.
Manchester United bagged a huge boost in the battle for second spot – and bragging rights – with victory over fierce rivals Liverpool.
Meanwhile, there were notable displays from West Ham United and Leicester City, though for opposing reasons. Here’s our take on all that and more…
Big-game Rash runs riot again
While Liverpool were the form team ahead of their visit to Old Trafford, it was the home fans raising the roof at full-time. While the hosts’ 2-1 victory was thanks in part to a strong defensive display, the biggest headlines and plaudits will rightly go to Marcus Rashford.
While game-time has been intermittent for the 20-year-old this season, he showed once again that he’s a man for the big occasion.
Since breaking into the United side two years ago, he’s become the youngest ever Manchester derby scorer, netted winners against the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, and now grabbed a brace against Liverpool.
The manner of the youngster’s goals on Saturday was also impressive. The first combined a superb backheeled touch with a fine finish, while the second was pure instinct. Could he now play a key part in continuing United’s Champions League tilt?
Can Hapless Hammers stop the slide?
While crowd disturbances will undoubtedly have played a part in unsettling West Ham on Saturday, there’s little doubt they the Irons underperformed on the pitch.
David Moyes’ men have now lost each of the last three games, all of them by a three-goal margin. And the same problems were evident against an admittedly clinical Burnley side, at London Stadium.
The Irons’ front-men wasted a string of first-half chances, before Ashley Barnes gave the Clarets a 66th-minute opener with his thunderous strike. From there, the hosts’ defence was all over the place. Chris Wood tapped home the second in acres of space, before a Joe Hart howler gifted him a third.
As it stands, West Ham are just three points above Stoke City in 19th, having played a game more. As for Burnley, that was their biggest Prem away win since April 2010.
Fantastic Foxes make it count on the road
Leicestrer City have been strong at the King Power Stadium in recent months, with four wins in an unbeaten eight-game sequence in all competitions. But Saturday’s demolition of West Bromwich Albion showed they can also shine on their travels.
The Foxes trailed in the early moments, but dominated from the point of their sensational equaliser. Riyad Mahrez’s inch-perfect ball was volleyed home by Jamie Vardy to make it 1-1, and underlined the way those two can change a game in a split second.
From then on, they looked defensively solid – and lethal at the other end. Mahrez made it 2-1 with a deft finish, before the visitors’ energetic frontline created the openings for Kelechi Iheanacho and Vicente Iborra to add gloss on the scoreline.
While the basement-dwelling Baggies are no great shakes, this is the first time anyone’s scored four or more goals against them in 18 games. An impressive feat.
Arsenal show their ‘cojones’, but consistency needed
After a late victory over the Gunners in October 2017, Watford hitman Troy Deeney derided Arsenal’s lack of ‘cojones’. But Sunday’s meetings saw Arsene Wenger and his under-fire side turn the tables.
The hosts’ 3-0 defeat of the Hornets is unlikely to change the opinions of the #WengerOut brigade. But to their credit, the North London club have now produced two strong displays in under a week.
While possession and chances were more-or-less evenly split in this game, it was Arsenal who proved the more clinical – with Shkrodan Mustafi’s bullet header setting the tone.
As for Deeney, he saw his second-half penalty superbly saved by Petr Cech. A good day at the office for Gooners, and a bit of Schadenfreude to boot.
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