Manchester United strengthened their grip on a spot in the Premier League’s top four as Marcus Rashford continued his fine run in a 3-0 win over Bournemouth.
Having scored the winner from the bench at Wolves on Saturday, Rashford returned to the starting line-up at Old Trafford and capped a dominant United performance with a late tap-in.
United had earlier taken the lead when Casemiro hammered Christian Eriksen’s excellent left-wing free-kick home before Luke Shaw doubled their advantage with a neat finish.
Victory moved Erik ten Hag’s side five points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham and level with Newcastle United, who drew against leaders Arsenal.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 3, 2023
United took advantage of a set piece to go ahead 23 minutes in – Casemiro volleying Eriksen’s delivery into the top-left corner.
Lloyd Kelly’s last-ditch tackle denied Rashford while Eriksen saw another free-kick deflect over as Bournemouth avoided further damage before the break.
Bournemouth’s luck ran out within four minutes of the restart as Shaw swept home a cut-back from Alejandro Garnacho, who had replaced the injured Donny van de Beek.
Anthony Martial nodded Casemiro’s whipped delivery wide at the far post, though David de Gea was called upon to make strong saves to keep out Philip Billing and Jaidon Anthony at the other end.
Garnacho clipped the outside of the post with a fine curling effort but United had their third when Rashford turned Bruno Fernandes’ cut-back home following an outstanding pass from Shaw.
What does it mean? United on a roll
United’s bid for Champions League qualification has gathered momentum over the festive period, with three relegation candidates – Nottingham Forest, Wolves and now Bournemouth – cast aside.
The victory represented the ideal start to 2023 for United, who have now won four home Premier League matches in a row without conceding for the first time since a run of six between May and October 2017.
Rashford’s run continues
Rashford responded brilliantly to being benched at Wolves on Saturday, entering the fray to fire United to victory with a well-taken solo goal, and the 25-year-old continued his fine form when restored to Ten Hag’s line-up on Tuesday.
As well as topping United’s scoring charts with seven Premier League goals, Rashford has now netted in three consecutive games in the competition.
10 – Since returning to the Premier League in February 2022, Christian Eriksen is one of only three players in double figures for assists (10), along with Kevin De Bruyne (15) and Dejan Kulusevski (12). Architect. pic.twitter.com/fb0j7ghkvl
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 3, 2023
Eriksen pulls the strings
Eriksen was at his creative best as he recorded his sixth Premier League assist of the season – more than any other United player.
Since returning to the Premier League with Brentford in February 2022, Christian Eriksen is one of just three players to hit double figures for assists (10), along with Kevin De Bruyne (15) and Dejan Kulusevski (12).
Key Opta Facts
– Bournemouth were unbeaten in their first six Premier League games under Gary O’Neil (W2 D4) but have since lost seven of their last eight games (W1).
– Bournemouth are now 19 away Premier League games without a clean sheet (W2 D2 L15), conceding 52 goals over these 19 games without a shutout.
– Casemiro has two Premier League goals in 14 appearances for Manchester United this season, one more than he managed in LaLiga last season for Real Madrid.
– Since his debut in the Premier League in September 2013, Christian Eriksen has assisted 28 Premier League goals from set plays, six more than any other player in that time.
– Aged 18 years and 186 days, Garnacho is the third-youngest player to provide an assist for United at Old Trafford.
Both teams will turn their attentions to the FA Cup third round later this week, with United welcoming struggling Everton to Old Trafford on Friday and Bournemouth hosting Burnley the following day.
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