|Joy for United as Rashford and Martial celebrate after combining to get United 2-0 up on Tuesday. United beat Nottingham Forest 3-0. (Photo credit: ESPN)|
Manchester United and Chelsea made light work of their respective opponents on Tuesday to close the gaps on top four and top six respectively.
It’s amazing how none of the two big sides is in the title conversation as things stand and more interesting to note that Chelsea might even miss out of Europe altogether if they don’t start winning games consistently.
The Blues played first on Tuesday after watching most of the teams in front of them pick important points on Boxing Day and the visit of Bournemouth to the Stamford Bridge stadium couldn’t have been a better opportunity for them to rise from the ashes of consecutive losses they suffered before the break.
Mason Mount kept his place in the line up as the only player to have started all games under Graham Potter while Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling were picked to start with him upfront; Swiss star Dennis Zakaria earned his home debut in the league while Reece James returned after injury layoff.
It didn’t take long for Mason Mount to set up German forward Kai Havertz for the opener and Mount himself got on the end of a neat Havertz pass to fire past Mike Travers in the Cherries’ goal for a deserved second goal.
Both sides went for it in the second half and credit must be given to Gary O’Neil’s side for the way they stood toe-to-toe with Chelsea especially in the closing stages. The win was a welcome development for Chelsea but losing Reece James early in the second half was a pain to take.
For United at Old Trafford, Nottingham Forest didn’t offer much resistance and apart from a disallowed goal from Yates in the second half, United weren’t troubled for much of the game. Marcus Rashford had a game to remember as his goal and an assist helped United to a 3-0 win.
Rashford got on the end of a neat Christian Eriksen corner to open scoring and then set up Anthony Martial for a simple finish before the end of the first half. Jesse Lingard was returning to Old Trafford for the first time since leaving in the summer but he was anonymous to say the least.
United had Wayne Hennesy to contend with all game long, the Welsh international was deputizing for on loan goalkeeper Dean Henderson who can’t play against his parent club as he was loaned from Manchester United.
Casemiro had a game of his life as a deep lying playmaker, distributing passes and breaking opposition’s plays; the Brazilian set up a fellow Brazilian Fred in the closing stages to make sure of the points and hand United a healthy 3-0 win which takes them just within one point of Tottenham in fourth.