UK PM Vows Action Over Free School Meals After Rashford Intervention

In this file photo taken on December 01, 2019 Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 1, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 01, 2019 Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 1, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday school meal parcels shown to be poor-quality and low-value were “an insult”, after Manchester United star Marcus Rashford highlighted another embarrassing scandal.

Johnson vowed the government “will do everything (it) can to ensure that no child goes hungry” during the coronavirus lockdown, following criticism that it was failing on the provision of the free food packages.

Rashford, who has been campaigning relentlessly on the issue since last year, again played a key role in pressuring ministers by this week sharing unhappy parents’ images of the meagre food supplies on social media.

The England striker’s calls for action prompted a discussion in parliament.

“I don’t think anybody in this House (of Commons) is happy with the disgraceful images that we’ve seen of the food parcels that have been offered,” Johnson told lawmakers in response.

“They are appalling. They’re an insult to the families that have received them.”

With schools shuttered again this month as part of the national stay-at-home orders, families whose children qualify for free school meals are receiving them in delivered boxes instead.

However, the Department of Education appeared to be failing to meet its own guidance after a mother on Monday shared an image of her meagre parcel, noting its contents contained around just £5 ($7, 5.5 euros) of food.

The boxes, subsidised by the government and issued instead of £30 food vouchers, are supposed to help parents prepare “simple and healthy lunches” for their kids at home across the whole working week.

– ‘Children deserve better’ –
Rashford, whose high-profile lobbying last year forced Johnson into a U-turn to provide the free meals to the poorest children during school holidays, said “children deserve better than this”.

“Something is going wrong and we need to fix it, quickly!” he wrote on Twitter, posting accompanying pictures of the meagre boxes.

The footballer said Wednesday he had had “a good conversation” with the prime minister.

“He has assured me that he is committed to correcting the issue with the food hampers and that a full review of the supply chain is taking place,” he added on Twitter.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson earlier told a committee of lawmakers that companies supplying inadequate free school meal parcels will be named and shamed.

It had been made clear to the entire education food sector that such behaviour “will not be tolerated”, he added.

“There are clear standards that are set there that they need to deliver against and if they do not deliver against them, action will have to be taken,” Williamson said.

Chartwells, the company responsible for the parcel which provoked the criticism, has apologised for not meeting its “high standards” and offered schools refunds for any such cases.

The firm met with Department of Education officials on Tuesday to discuss the situation.

It said in a statement Wednesday it would ensure all parcels met the stipulated requirements from next week.

Man Utd Put On Second-Half Show For Fans’ Return

Manchester United’s Brazilian defender Alex Telles (L) and Manchester United’s English defender Harry Maguire (R) challenge West Ham United’s Algerian midfielder Said Benrahma during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United at The London Stadium, in east London on December 5, 2020. (Photo by Julian Finney / POOL / AFP) 

 

Manchester United gave the West Ham support the second-half show they did not want to see as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men won 3-1 in the first Premier League match with fans inside the stadium since March.

A crowd of 2,000 Hammers fans saw their side take a deserved first-half lead through Tomas Soucek at the London Stadium.

But United kicked off a huge week with a much-needed win as three goals in 13 minutes from Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford moved the Red Devils up to fourth and within two points of the Premier League leaders.

“It’s something everyone knows the game has missed,” said Rashford on the return of fans. “It’s just a great feeling to have some fans back, 2,000 is much better than nothing.”

United have now come from behind to win in all five away league games this season.

“We need to stop doing that. If we keep more clean sheets we will definitely win more games. It is good that we showed spirit, but ideally we don’t want to be conceding,” added Rashford, who was summoned from the bench at half-time, along with Bruno Fernandes to turn the game in United’s favour.

Solskjaer’s side need a point when they travel to RB Leipzig on Tuesday to secure a place in the Champions League last 16 before hosting Manchester City next weekend.

However, the manager’s plan to give Fernandes and Rashford a rest before the trip to Germany backfired as United were lucky to stay in the game before the break.

 

West Ham United’s Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (L) clears the ball from Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United at The London Stadium, in east London on December 5, 2020. (Photo by Justin Setterfield / POOL / AFP) 

 

“Football is ups and downs,” said Solskjaer. “Poor first half. In the second half of course the goal changes the mood, the first one. Great goal by Paul, then Mason’s goal is special.

“I am very, very pleased with the performance. Last week we were 2-0 down at Southampton so this was a step forward, we were only one down!”

Haller slip costly

Jarrod Bowen had a goal ruled out for offside before he teed up Pablo Fornals to head a great chance into the side-netting.

Fornals came even closer moments later when the Spaniard stabbed a shot off the post.

But the goal West Ham deserved came seven minutes before the break when Soucek turned home Declan Rice’s flick-on from a corner at the back post.

Sebastien Haller should have doubled the lead for David Moyes’s men, but the Ivorian slipped with the goal at his mercy after rounding Dean Henderson, who was deputising for the injured David de Gea.

Fernandes and Rashford were summoned at the break and United were a different side in the second half.

Pogba produced the flash of brilliance he is capable of but has so rarely shown in a United shirt to kickstart the comeback as he curled home a long-range shot from Fernandes’s pass.

West Ham boss David Moyes was furious on the touchline as he believed the ball had gone out of play from Henderson’s punt into Fernandes’s path, but VAR could find no conclusive proof to disallow the goal.

Three minutes later, the visitors led as Alex Telles’s cross was brilliantly controlled and thrashed into the net by Greenwood for his first Premier League goal of the season.

United was now in full flow as they could counter-attack into acres of space behind the Hammers’ defence.

 

Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford (2R) celebrates scoring his team’s third goal with Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester United at The London Stadium, in east London on December 5, 2020. (Photo by Adam Davy / POOL / AFP)

 

Rashford had a sighter as he struck the post from a brilliant Fernandes through ball.

But the England international was clinical with a second chance as this time Mata unlocked the West Ham defence and Rashford coolly lifted the ball over the advancing Lukasz Fabianski 12 minutes from time.

Rashford’s Second- Half Hat-Trick Towers United Past Leipzig

Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford leaves the pitch with the match ball after winning the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Manchester United and RB Leipzig at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, northwest England, on October 28, 2020. Manchester United won the match 5-0.
Anthony Devlin / AFP

 

Super-sub Marcus Rashford scored a clinical second-half hat-trick as Manchester United ripped German league leaders RB Leipzig apart on Wednesday to seize control of their Champions League group with a 5-0 rout.

Mason Greenwood looked like grabbing the headlines with his first-half strike but Rashford came off the bench to remind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he is the main man at Old Trafford and Anthony Martial also got in on the act.

Rashford, who scored three times in an 18-minute blitz, is only the second United player to score a hat-trick as a substitute after Solskjaer himself performed the feat against Nottingham Forest in 1999.

United, who endured a torrid start to their season, have taken control of Group H after building on their impressive opening win against Paris Saint-Germain.

“Marcus Rashford came on and did well but the groundwork was there from the team, that’s what you want from the subs,” Solskjaer told BT Sport.

“What a shift they put in. Leipzig is a high press, the intensity, so we had to dig deep.

“We had to rest a few because the season is relentless, so we used the squad. This group is coming together. The more quality and spirit you have, the more you get the performance.”

Rashford, last week’s hero in the French capital, and Bruno Fernandes were surprisingly left on the bench as United went in search of their first home win of the season.

 

– Greenwood opener –

Greenwood, who last month was sent home in disgrace by England for breaking coronavirus protocols, started up front alongside Martial.

Julian Nagelsmann’s team started brightly, pinning the home side back but United soon settled, creating openings.

They broke the deadlock in the 21st minute when Paul Pogba drove forward from midfield and fed Greenwood, who stroked the ball with his left foot across Peter Gulacsi and into the far corner for his first Champions League goal.

United had a nervous wait as VAR looked at a potential off-side but the goal was allowed to stand.

Leipzig, last season’s semi-finalists, came back strongly, pinning United back for long spells of the rest of the first half.

Christopher Nkunku forced a smart save from David de Gea and Nemanja Matic reacted to stop Marcel Halstenberg getting on the end of the resulting corner.

United were only showing flashes in attack after the break but Leipzig were struggling to create clear-cut chances at the other end, although De Gea had to be alert to tip over a close-range Ibrahima Konate header.

Solskjaer threw on Rashford, Fernandes and Scott McTominay within the space of a few minutes to change the dynamic and United reaped the rewards.

Fernandes sent a superb first-time ball through to Rashford, who raced clear and slotted past Gulasci in the 74th minute.

The linesman had raised his flag for offside but VAR checked the decision, ruling that the forward started his run in his own half and awarded the goal.

Rashford rifled home again four minutes later to make the score 3-0 but then unselfishly allowed Martial to take a penalty after the Frenchman was brought down in the box.

But the England man completed his hat-trick in added time to cap a devastating display.

“I think the manager wanted me to up the tempo,” said Rashford.

“That for us means going forward. There were definitely spaces there. We got Bruno and Paul (Pogba) on the ball. We looked dangerous throughout and that we could score every time we went forward.”

A shell-shocked Nagelsmann, for whom this was the first defeat of the season said: “It was a bit crazy because after they scored the first goal we did well. The final 20 minutes were very bad.”

-AFP

‘Exciting Times’ As Five-Goal Man Utd Thrash Bournemouth To Climb Into Top Four

Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford (C) controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Bournemouth at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on July 4, 2020. (Photo by PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP) /
Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford (C) controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Bournemouth at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on July 4, 2020. (Photo by PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP) /

 

 

 

Marcus Rashford believes these are “exciting times” for Manchester United after the team scored five goals in a Premier League match at Old Trafford for the first time since 2011 to thrash Bournemouth 5-2 and move into the top four on Saturday.

Rashford and Anthony Martial took their tallies for the season to 20, but they were upstaged by two more stunning strikes by teenager Mason Greenwood.

The front three with an average age of 21 have now combined for 55 goals this season.

“It’s definitely an exciting time,” Rashford told BT Sport. “We are all in goalscoring form; Mason has been on fire, Anthony has been on fire. They’ve been brilliant all season and it’s important to push on now.”

Victory takes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men a point above Chelsea into fourth as they extended an unbeaten run stretching back to January to 16 games.

The Norwegian was delighted with another display of attacking football the sides he played in under Alex Ferguson would have been proud of, but was disappointed that no fans were inside Old Trafford to see it.

“The energy in the team, the goals we score, the will and intent to go forward, it’s just too bad we couldn’t get the fans inside,” said Solskjaer. “That’s a game for the fans definitely, it’s one that the Stretford End would enjoy.”

The only other concern for Solskjaer was a few defensive lapses from a side that had kept 11 clean sheets in their previous 15 matches without defeat.

Harry Maguire and David de Gea were at fault for the only points the Red Devils have dropped since the Premier League’s restart in a 1-1 draw at Tottenham.

Both were culpable again as Junior Stanislas nutmegged the world’s most expensive defender and then fired in at De Gea’s near post completely against the run of play on 16 minutes.

Those errors were not as costly this time as Greenwood, Martial and Rashford quickly turned the game around.

Greenwood’s star is rising fast and the 18-year-old blasted home from Fernandes’s pass to get United back on track.

The hosts were then gifted a second by Adam Smith’s handball inside the area and Fernandes stepped aside to let Rashford net for the first time since January.

Martial completed the set with a stunning strike from outside the box to reach the 20 goals mark for the first time in his career.

The game appeared to be over at the break, but a sloppy start from United presented Bournemouth with a route back into the game.

Eric Bailly replaced Victor Lindelof at half-time and the Ivorian handled as he tried to control a loose pass from Nemanja Matic.

Josh King, who was a United target in January as Solskjaer desperately looked for cover for the then-injured Rashford, dispatched the penalty and moments later Bournemouth had the ball in the net again only for Arnaut Danjuma to be flagged offside.

As in the first half, United’s response was quick and emphatic. Greenwood smashed home his 15th goal of the season on his supposedly weaker right foot to restore a two-goal lead.

“He’s a fantastic goalscorer,” added Solskjaer. “Especially the second one, you know he’s got a left foot to come inside, now defenders will have to think about the outside as well because he can score with his right.”

The signing of Fernandes has been the catalyst to United’s turnaround before and after a three-month stoppage due to the coronavirus lockdown and the Portuguese midfielder took his tally to seven goals in 14 games by hooking a free-kick in at Aaron Ramsdale’s near post.

Rashford also had another goal ruled out for offside, but United were happy to settle for five as they moved into the top four for the first time since September.

Bournemouth remain second bottom and without a point in four games since the Premier League’s restart.

 

 

 

-AFP

Rashford 1 UK Govt 0: Man Utd Star Forces Change On Child Poverty

In this file photo taken on December 01, 2019 Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 1, 2019.  Oli SCARFF / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 01, 2019 Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on December 1, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Britain’s government on Tuesday bowed to demands by Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford to change its policy on free school meals for the poorest children, amid growing concerns about the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on low-income families.

The England international drew on his own experience of growing up in poverty to lead an impassioned campaign for the programme to be extended through the summer holidays.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government had initially resisted making the change, which would see 1.3 million children in England receive vouchers for an extra six weeks.

But as the story dominated the headlines and opposition MPs and members of his own Conservative party backed Rashford, Johnson gave in.

“Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer,” his spokesman said.

“To reflect this we will be providing a Covid summer food fund. This will provide food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period.”

Rashford, 22, won widespread praise from politicians, charities and education leaders for his campaign. He said he was proud to have helped give a voice to “vulnerable parents”.

“There is still a long way to go but I am thankful to you all that we have given these families just one less thing to worry about tonight,” he added.

The striker had written to Johnson and MPs and on Tuesday wrote in The Times newspaper that he understood personally how much free school meals mattered to children receiving them.

“Ten years ago, I was one of them. I know what it feels like to be hungry,” he wrote.

Ahead of a parliamentary debate called by the main opposition Labour party, he urged MPs to put aside their political differences and back his campaign.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also announced Tuesday that she would extend the meals scheme to the summer holidays in Scotland, following a move already made by the devolved government in Wales.

Educational poverty

Johnson had highlighted how much his government has already done to help people hit by nationwide stay-at-home orders imposed in March to stem the spread of COVID-19.

When schools were shut, pupils eligible for free meals were offered vouchers instead, and the government has boosted welfare payments and provided targeted funds for the most vulnerable.

It has also paid the salaries of 9.1 million people in its furlough scheme as of June 14, although new figures show a surge in claims for out-of-work benefits to 2.8 million people in the three months to May.

With a deep recession looming however, fears are growing for how many people will cope when the furlough scheme ends in October.

Several Conservative MPs had called on Johnson to “do the right thing” and extend the school meal programme.

Commentators also questioned why the prime minister was picking such a fight when he was already on the back foot over his response to the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed more than 41,000 lives.

“@MarcusRashford is right. Public know it. Politicians know it,” tweeted Conservative MP Robert Halfon, the chairman of the Commons education committee.

“He’s lived food hunger and helps food charities,” he said, referring to Rashford’s help in raising £20 million ($25 million) for FareShare, a charity that fights hunger and food waste.

Halfon had previously warned about “an epidemic of educational poverty” after the government conceded most children would not return to school until September.

Earlier, Labour’s education spokeswoman, Rebecca Long-Bailey, said Rashford was “one of the best of us”, accusing the government of being “callous”.

Downing Street has said the cost of the scheme will come to £120 million in additional spending.

A new study from UCL’s Institute for Education found just 19 percent of children were spending more than four hours a day on school work, falling to 11 percent for those on free school meals.

Free Meals For Kids: Man United Star Rashford Writes British Govt

Manchester United's English forward Marcus Rashford plays a shot during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on March 6, 2019.  FRANCK FIFE / AFP
File: Manchester United’s English forward Marcus Rashford plays a shot during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on March 6, 2019.
FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has pleaded with the British government to continue to supply free meals for children in poorer families during the summer holidays in a letter “written from the heart”.

Children eligible for free school meals have received food during the coronavirus lockdown, often in the form of vouchers to spend at supermarkets.

About 1.3 million disadvantaged pupils are entitled to free school meals but the scheme in England will not run during the school holiday period, which starts in July.

England international Rashford, who has helped raise around £20 million ($25 million) for FareShare, a charity that fights hunger and food waste, received free meals as a child.

“The government has taken a ‘whatever it takes’ approach to the economy — I’m asking you today to extend that same thinking to protecting all vulnerable children across England,” he wrote in an open letter to lawmakers.

“I encourage you to hear their pleas and find your humanity. Please reconsider your decision to cancel the food voucher scheme over the summer holiday period and guarantee the extension.”

Rashford, 22, added: “As a black man from a low-income family in Wythenshawe, Manchester, I could have been just another statistic.

“Instead, due to the selfless actions of my mum, my family, my neighbours, and my coaches, the only stats I’m associated with are goals, appearances and caps.”

Rashford, last week named the fifth most valuable player in Europe, told the BBC the letter was “written from the heart”.

“What families are going through now, I’ve once had to go through that — and it’s very difficult to find a way out. It’s very important for me to help people who are struggling,” he said.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Johnson would respond to the letter.

“He (Rashford) has been using his profile in a positive way to highlight some very important issues,” the spokesman said.

“The prime minister understands the issues facing families across the UK, which is why last week the government announced an additional £63 million for local authorities to benefit all families who are struggling to afford food and other basic essentials.”

AFP

COVID-19: I’ll Keep Fighting Until No Child Is Hungry In UK – Rashford

File: Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford gestures at the final whistle during the English Leaguse Cup fourth round football match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in London on October 30, 2019. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Manchester United striker, Marcus Rashford has vowed to ensure that no child in the UK is hungry. 

This was after the player helped in raising about £20 million for charity amidst the coronavirus lockdown.

Rashford, 22, liaised with FareShare, an organisation that distributes food to about 11,000 charities and community associations.

READ ALSO: Bayern To Miss Mueller, Lewandowski In Potential Title-Clincher

“Guys, I have AMAZING news!!” he tweeted. “We had a goal that by end of June
@fareshareuk would be able to supply 3 million meals to vulnerable people across the UK.

“TODAY we have met the financial goal to provide these meals. Thank you all SO much for the support. And whilst I’m celebrating this, there is SO much more to do.”

The England star who is the fifth most valuable player in Europe as at now, said even though he is celebrating the milestone, does not want to stop.

“Trust me when I say, I will keep fighting until no child in the UK has to worry about where their next meal is coming from,” the forward added. “This is England in 2020 and families need help.”

 

I’m Not Expecting Rashford In Next Few Weeks, Says Solskjaer

 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not believe top scorer Marcus Rashford will be fit to return from a back injury for a number of weeks.

Rashford was forced off less than 15 minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute in an FA Cup third-round replay win over Wolves on Wednesday and was absent for United’s trip to Liverpool on Sunday.

However, Solskjaer revealed the England international is unlikely to return before United’s mid-season break at the start of February.

“He’s got a couple of knocks, jolts against Wolves,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports.

“He aggravated his back (and) had trouble before. (We need to) give him time to recover and rest before we put him back on the pitch.

“I wouldn’t expect him to be back in the next few weeks. We have a mid-season break and I’m not sure are going to see him before then, no.”

United face either Watford or Tranmere in the FA Cup fourth round, travel to Manchester City for the second leg of their League Cup semi-final — trailing 3-1 from the first leg — and host Wolves in the Premier League in the next two weeks.

Solskjaer’s men then have a 16-day period to rest and recuperate thanks to the Premier League’s first-ever winter break before travelling to Chelsea on February 17.

AFP

Solskjaer Hails Rashford After United Thrash Norwich

Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford (R) scores their second goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match against Norwich City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 11, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

 

Marcus Rashford marked his 200th appearance for Manchester United with two goals in a 4-0 win over Norwich on Saturday, leaving his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer predicting he can get even better.

Anthony Martial and impressive teenager Mason Greenwood were also on the mark as Solskjaer’s team maintained their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League through the league table.

But those prospects may depend on the continued fitness of Rashford, who was substituted after less than an hour and was declared doubtful for Wednesday’s FA third-round replay with Wolves due to injury problems.

Solskjaer admitted he will have to handle Rashford’s fitness carefully and little wonder given that the 22-year-old has now scored 19 times in his past 23 games for United and England.

“What an achievement, to get to 200 games at his age,” said the Norwegian boss. “I don’t know how many goals he has scored but he has 19 (for United) this season and he’s been absolutely top class to work with.

“He’s a great kid, great attitude, he wants to learn, wants to improve but knows he has to keep his feet on the ground but is always available even though today he is carrying quite a few knocks.

“He’s played many, many games, I might have to look at how we manage him but of course he can get so much better. He’s got everything to be a top-class player.”

– Rampant Rashford –

Rashford now has 64 goals in his United career, with the 63rd of those coming in the 27th minute after largely unrelenting home pressure, although the goal owed everything to a fantastic assist from Juan Mata.

The Spanish playmaker received a long pass from Victor Lindelof and, after Todd Cantwell backed off a little too far, had the space to float in a perfect cross which Rashford volleyed in at the far post.

David de Gea was required to make a superb save late in the first half to keep their lead intact, diving well to claw away a curling shot from Cantwell.

But that was a rare lapse from a United side that dominated for the bulk of the game and should have been enjoying a more comfortable cushion by the interval.

That finally came with two goals in quick succession early in the second half, with Rashford heavily involved in the first of those, playing a ball into the area for Brandon Williams to chase.

The young full-back won a penalty after a rash challenge from goalkeeper Tim Krul.

United had missed four of their previous eight penalties this season — two in their win at Norwich before Christmas — but Rashford made no mistake on this occasion with a firm strike into the bottom right-hand corner.

The Reds did not have long to wait for a third as Williams played a quick, short corner to Mata whose cross was headed in brilliantly by Martial, who rose powerfully amid a crowded six-yard area to head firmly past Krul.

It was the second assist of an impressive afternoon for Mata, with Norwich’s outplayed midfield and immobile defence having no answer to his skill-set.

“When you get Juan facing forward he can pick those passes and put crosses in, he was excellent,” said Solskjaer.

Williams himself should have continued the rout moments later, missing an open net from three yards, before substitute Greenwood finally produced that fourth after 75 minutes, driving a left-foot shot past Krul from the edge of the area.

AFP

Martial, Rashford Score For United In Burnley Win

Manchester United’s French striker Anthony Martial (C) puts the ball in the back of the net but is ruled to have fouled Burnley’s English defender James Tarkowski (L) ruling out the goal during the English Premier League football match at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on December 28, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

 

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford scored late in each half as Manchester United moved into fifth place in the Premier League with an impressive 2-0 win at Burnley.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have responded positively to disappointing 2-0 defeat to then bottom-of-the-table Watford less than a week ago to head into the new year with fresh belief they can secure a return to the Champions League next season.

If United are to achieve that goal, Martial and Rashford will be key and they again provided the goals for the Red Devils in a game of few clear-cut chances.

There were also positives for Solskjaer at the back as his side ended a club-record 14-match run without a Premier League clean sheet.

Burnley have not beaten United since 2009 and never looked likely to spring a surprise.

Rashford was first to threaten when he hit the outside of the post midway through the first half.

But Burnley were architects of their own downfall just before half-time when Charlie Taylor gifted possession to Andreas Perreira and he fed Martial to score his third goal in two games.

Phil Bardsley forced David De Gea into a fine save with Burnley’s only shot on target.

United finally got the second goal their performance deserved to add a shine to the scoreline deep into stoppage time.

Daniel James led a counter-attack down the right and Rashford slotted home his 16th goal of the season at the second attempt after slipping as he rounded Nick Pope.

Rashford Strikes Twice As United End Mourinho’s Perfect Start At Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga deflects the ball onto the bar from a shot by Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford (not pictured) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 4, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Marcus Rashford spoiled Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford on Wednesday, scoring twice as Manchester United beat Tottenham 2-1 to end their former manager’s perfect start to his tenure at his new club.

The England forward put United in front early in the first half and converted a second-half penalty to restore their lead after Dele Alli’s exquisite equaliser as United leapfrogged Spurs in the Premier League table.

Spurs went into the match two points ahead of United after their mini-revival under their new boss, who replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino at the London club last month.

Struggling United had made their worst start to a season in 31 years but started brightly against the visitors, playing with energy and adventure and cutting through the Spurs midfield with ease.

The home side deservedly took the lead when Rashford beat Paulo Gazzaniga at his near post in the sixth minute — the forward’s 11th goal in his past 13 games for United and England.

Man-of-the-match Rashford, attacking from the left, surprised the goalkeeper with the power of his shot but Gazzaniga may feel he should have done better.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could easily have stretched their lead but Gazzaniga made amends by touching a thunderous Rashford shot onto the crossbar.

 Rashford threat 

The Spurs goalkeeper made another smart stop minutes later, keeping out a curling effort from Rashford and Jesse Lingard also went close.

It was a far cry from recent disjointed performances against Sheffield United and Aston Villa. Both of those matches ended in draws after United had taken the lead.

But despite being a clear second best, Tottenham edged their way back into the game and were on level terms six minutes before half-time thanks to an audacious piece of skill from the in-form Alli.

Serge Aurier’s shot was saved and the rebound landed to Alli, whose sweet first touch took the ball away from Ashley Young and Fred. He let it bounce before shooting past David de Gea into the far corner.

The England man looked a pale shadow of himself in the early weeks of the season but has bounced back in style, scoring four times in his past three matches.

United would have been disappointed to have been trailing at the break after their impressive first-half showing but they were back in front in the 49th minute when Rashford sent Gazzaniga the wrong way from the spot after being brought down by Moussa Sissoko.

The match then fell into a familiar pattern, with United surging forward in search of another goal, with Rashford a constant threat down the left and Daniel James also looking dangerous.

Mourinho threw on Christian Eriksen in search of an equaliser as the game remained in the balance but despite some late pressure against a nervy United, they left Old Trafford empty-handed.

Mourinho, sacked by United last December, won his first three matches in charge of Spurs, with his team scoring 10 goals in the process but he has problems to sort out at the back as he targets a Champions League spot.

United are also eyeing the top four despite a big gap to close.

AFP

Man United Beat Brighton 3-1, Climb To Seventh Position

Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford (R) celebrates scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on November 10, 2019.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Manchester United’s upturn in form continued as Andreas Pereira and Marcus Rashford struck in a 3-1 victory over Brighton at Old Trafford that was even more comfortable than the scoreline suggested.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side also benefitted from a first-half own goal from Davy Propper to recover from an unproductive spell that had seen them score just four times in their last four home league games.

United moved to within a point of the top five after scoring twice in two first-half minutes and, although both came after significant deflections off Brighton defenders, it was no more than Solskjaer’s side deserved.

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Fielding the youngest starting line-up of any team in the Premier League this season – 23 years, 350 days – United made an energetic opening with Rashford coming closest to a goal, with a committed run and powerful shot which Mat Ryan saved well.

But on 17 minutes a United counter-attack saw Fred find Anthony Martial. His link with Pereira, whose shot took an unkind deflection off Dale Stephens, wrong-footing Ryan on its way in.

United supporters were still celebrating that opener when they were handed double cause for celebration from a deep free-kick that Fred floated into the Brighton area.

Harry Maguire rose powerfully, causing panic for Ryan and his defence, and with Brighton slow to react, Scott McTominay forced the ball over the line, via a final touch by Davy Propper.

Not even the inevitably drawn-out delay for a VAR check, over whether Maguire had handled or Ryan fouled in the build-up to the goal, could dilute the joy of home supporters.

It was a scintillating spell of football from a side that, before Thursday’s Europa League win over Partizan Belgrade, had not scored two first-half goals at Old Trafford for nearly 10 months since Brighton’s last visit in mid-January.

After some low moments so far this season, including a dispiriting 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth last weekend, United were on their way to a fifth victory in their last six league and cup games.

This is United’s best run since Solskjaer first took over from Jose Mourinho at the turn of the year.

Brighton were looking for their first-ever victory at Old Trafford but rarely threatened in the first half beyond a couple of set-piece deliveries.

And if Fred had been more fortunate with a 61st-minute strike that Ryan fumbled onto his bar to catch at the second attempt, the afternoon could have been far more comfortable.

As it was, there was a worry for United on 64 minutes when Brighton halved arrears from a Pascal Gross corner, met by Lewis Dunk who headed in from six yards despite the close attention of Maguire.

United’s response was swift and clinical, however, with the Reds restoring their two-goal cushion just two minutes later.

It came from a blistering counter-attack and a beautifully-weighted through ball from Fred which Martial took in his stride, brushing off Shane Duffy and rounding Ryan before pulling back for Rashford to convert.

Rashford would follow that, moments later, with an astonishing miss as he failed to find the back of an open net from six yards after fine work and accurate cross from Dan James.

Teenage full-back Brandon Williams, making his first-ever league start, James and Rashford were all denied by Ryan as United threatened to make the victory even more emphatic, but settled for three goals and a very welcome three points.

AFP