Manchester - Teenage striker Marcus Rashford continued the dream start to his
Manchester United career, scoring two goals and setting up another in a 3-2 win
over title-chasing Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.
Only playing because of United's chronic injury crisis, the
18-year-old Rashford marked his league debut by scoring in the 29th and 32nd
minutes to put his team 2-0 ahead — three days after a double in the Europa
League against FC Midtjylland on his senior United debut.
After former United striker Danny Welbeck replied for Arsenal,
Rashford set up Ander Herrera for a shot from the edge of the area that
deflected in off Laurent Koscielny.
Mesut Ozil made it 3-2 in the 69th but fifth-place United held
on comfortably to move three points off the top four. Arsenal, which put in an off-colour
performance against a young and injury-hit United side, dropped five points
behind leader Leicester. The North London side hasn't won in the league at Old
Trafford since 2006.
United manager Louis van Gaal, under much pressure amid the
team's troubles this season, delivered some light relief when he fell to the
ground theatrically while remonstrating with the fourth official in the
technical area. The Old Trafford crowd roared with laughter, adding to an
atmosphere that was buoyant throughout the game as United's youngsters proved
too energetic for Arsenal.
Rashford must think professional soccer is easy. In his first
two games as a pro — both of them high-profile ones — in the space of three
days, the striker has scored as many goals as Radamel Falcao did in a whole
year for United last season.
He is showing no fear on the biggest stage and demonstrated to
Van Gaal that the Dutchman has had a goal poacher at his disposal all along
during the team's rough patch this season. Injured pair Wayne Rooney and
Anthony Martial are among the strikers unavailable to Van Gaal at present.
Rashford was given a standing ovation by United fans when he was
substituted after 80 minutes.
For his first goal, the young striker was lurking 12 meters out
as Gabriel failed to adequately clear Guillermo Varela's cross. A first-time
shot was too pacey for Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech as Rashford became United's
third-youngest Premier League scorer.
Three minutes later, Rashford was celebrating again after
heading home a clipped right-wing cross from Jesse Lingard from just outside
the six-yard box. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who said Friday that he hadn't
heard of Rashford, threw up his hands in disgust.
Arsenal was flat, strangely, and its passing lacked the usual
crispness. But the team managed to reduce the deficit before halftime when
Welbeck got behind marker Morgan Schneiderlin at a free kick and headed in
Rashford wasn't finished. In the 65th, with Arsenal's defence
backing off him in apparent panic, the teenager laid the ball off for the
inrushing Herrera to shoot first time. The ball was heading for the far corner
until it deflected off Koscielny's chest to wrong-foot Cech.
Ozil replied four minutes later, volleying in after David de Gea
saved from Welbeck, but Arsenal didn't threaten De Gea in the final 20 minutes.