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A brace from Marcus Rashford helped Manchester United move to within three points of the Premier League’s top four after they beat Arsenal 3-2 at Old Trafford.
Rashford, making his Premier League debut, was simply sensational in the first half as he struck twice in three minutes to follow up his Europa League heroics with another fine performance.
Danny Welbeck pulled a goal back for the Gunners before the break, but United made it 3-1 after 65 minutes and saw the game out for a vital three points, despite an Arsenal consolation from Mesut Ozil.
It was Arsenal who started the brighter as they dominated the early possession against an inexperienced United side and they really should have taken the lead after five minutes.
Danny Welbeck and Nacho Monreal exchanged passes, before Welbeck found Alexis Sanchez and the Chilean released Monreal who raced through, but his strike was well blocked by David de Gea.
The visitors continued to dominate after this, but United looked dangerous on the break and they had their first chance after 13 minutes.
Rashford collected on the left and skipped past two defenders, before being taken down on the edge of the box. Memphis Depay stepped up and hit a rasping strike that was superbly held by Petr Cech.
The 18-year-old seemed to inject some life into the United attack and the young striker turned the game on its head with two goals in three minutes.
The first arrived after 29 minutes when Arsenal failed to deal with Guilermo Valera’s cross and the ball fell to Rashford who smashed home from 10 yards to make it 1-0.
And it was two just minutes later when Rashford met a cross from Jesse Lingard and headed past Cech to send Old Trafford delirious and put his side in control.
However, the two goal lead didn’t last long as Arsenal grabbed a lifeline five minutes before the break.
Mesut Ozil whipped in a sensational free-kick that was met by Danny Welbeck who headed home to make it 2-1.
And the Gunners almost drew level on the stroke of half time when Ozil’s corner was deflected goalwards, but Morgan Schneiderlin was on hand to clear as United went in 2-1 up at the break.
The second half started much like the first with Arsenal dominating possession, but it was United who created the first chance after 12 minutes of the half.
Again the Arsenal defence failed to deal with a free-kick and the ball fell to an unmarked Schneiderlin at the backpost, but his effort was blocked by Francis Coquelin.
United were totally content to sit back and hit on the break and they caught Arsenal again to restore their two goal lead with 25 minutes left.
Juan Mata played a neat reverse ball into the path of Rashford, the striker held the ball up and teed up an onrushing Ander Herrera who curled home, via a big deflection off Laurent Koscielny.
Again, though, the two goal lead didn’t last long as Arsenal hit back three minutes later.
Hector Bellerin whipped in a good ball that was met by Danny Welbeck, his strike was brilliantly saved by De Gea, but the ball fell to Ozil who volleyed home to make it 3-2.
Arsenal threw men forward in the final 20 minutes as they looked for a way back into the game, but they failed to create a real chance and, in truth, they never looked like scoring as United held on to secure a huge three points.
At White Hart Lane, second half goals from Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose helped Tottenham come from a goal down to beat Swansea 2-1 at White Hart Lane.
After a nervy opening, Swansea opened the scoring after 19 minutes.
The visitors worked a short corner to Angel Rangel on the edge of the box. Rangel’s strike clipped the heels of Jack Cork and fell perfectly for Alberto Paloschi who fired home to make it 1-0.
Spurs, who played in the Europa League on Thursday, piled on the pressure after the break and they equalised after 70 minutes when Chadli diverted in Kyle Walkers low cross.
And the hosts turned the game on its head eight minutes later when Danny Rose fired home a fine strike from the edge of the box to move his side to within two points of Leicester at the top of the Premier League.