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Rashford header enough to earn Manchester United battling win over West Ham


A first-half header from Marcus Rashford, his 100th goal for Manchester United in all competitions, was enough to earn his side a 1-0 victory over West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday.

After making a slow start to the match, United burst into life in the 38th minute when Rashford powered a bullet header into the net on the end of Christian Eriksen’s sublime cross to give the home side the lead.

Veteran forward Cristiano Ronaldo, making just his third league start of the season, wasted a golden chance to double United’s lead early in the second half, firing wide from a good position, before West Ham upped the ante.

The visitors piled on the pressure as the match wore on, but found United goalkeeper David de Gea in inspired form, twice called into action to deny West Ham substitute Michail Antonio, producing superb stops on both occasions.

Another sensational save from the Spaniard to keep out Declan Rice’s strike right at the death preserved United’s win which takes them above Chelsea into fifth in the standings, one point behind fourth-placed Newcastle United. West Ham stay 13th.

David Moyes had never won at Old Trafford as an opposition manager in the Premier League, a run of 15 winless matches, prior to Sunday’s encounter, but his West Ham side more than held their own in the first half in the Manchester rain.

Other than a couple of scuffed efforts from Rashford and Anthony Elanga, the away goal was rarely troubled early on.

The game needed a quality delivery to help break the deadlock and that is what it got as Eriksen curled a perfect cross onto Rashford’s head, with the England striker showing great determination to get on the end of it.

Other than the Ronaldo chance early in the second half, after the break it was mostly one-way traffic in United’s direction, with De Gea taking a starring role in keeping the visitors at bay.

His stop to keep Antonio’s first attempt from range was acrobatic, while the second, from a flicked header, a contender for save of the season.

Rice thought he had snatched a point right at the death with a long-range effort of his own, but across sprung De Gea to secure a vital victory for an improving United, who are now unbeaten in eight in all competitions.

What’s more, for the first time in the Premier League this season, United will end a day in the standings with a positive goal difference.

Arsenal back on top but Saka limps off early in win over Forest

Arsenal thrashed Nottingham Forest 5-0 at the Emirates on Sunday to return to the top of the Premier League, but the win may have come at a cost after Bukayo Saka limped off midway through the first half.

Saka’s replacement Reiss Nelson scored a brace to go with goals from Gabriel Martinelli, Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard. But the injury to the winger will be a major concern for manager Mikel Arteta and his England counterpart Gareth Southgate three weeks ahead of the start of the World Cup in Qatar.

Arsenal move to 31 points from their 12 games, two ahead of Manchester City, while an outclassed Forest remain rooted to the bottom of the table with nine points having played a game more.

Saka was excellent in the opening minutes and it was his cross that was headed into the net by Martinelli for the opener, but he went down injured shortly afterwards after a challenge from Forest’s Renan Lodi. Saka tried to continue but came off after 27 minutes.

Arsenal should have been further ahead at halftime but made sure of the points within the first 15 minutes of the second period as Nelson scored twice in quick succession, before Partey netted a stunning fourth with a curling shot from outside the box. Odegaard later blasted into the top corner from close-range.
Arsenal’s next Premier League fixture is a trip across London to Chelsea next Sunday, while Forest host Brentford the day before.





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