Marcus Rashford was imperious against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, scoring a brace that secured a first victory in three games.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer elected to start him out wide, even though Mason Greenwood was preferred from the start instead of Anthony Martial and Rashford was the more senior figure. The Manchester United manager’s decision worked emphatically as the England international dominated the attacking half of the left channel for the hosts.
Serge Aurier, Spurs’ right back, had a particularly good game in an attacking sense himself. Still, his conquests forward left time and space for Rashford to exploit and he did just that, cutting inside on his favoured right foot to devastating effect.
Trouble for Spurs was on the cards just six minutes in as Rashford’s low drive squeezed inside the near post past Paulo Gazzaniga to put the Red Devils ahead early on. Not long after the Englishman was at it again, firing a free-kick just wide, and later on in the half Rashford’s rasping drive struck the crossbar after the Spurs goalkeeper fingertipped the ball onto the frame of the goal.
Tottenham did not sense the impending danger, or if they did, they failed to adjust to it, as Aurier was busy taking shots from tight angles, as with before Dele Alli’s equaliser, or delivering crosses, of which he attempted nine.
More often than not with his Ivorian teammate bombing forwards, Moussa Sissoko was the closest man to Marcus Rashford. It was he who brought the Manchester United player down for the decisive penalty, clumsily treading on the speedster’s foot in the area, for which Rashford cooly sent Gazzaniga the wrong way.
Marcus Rashford will get the spoils for what was a delightful performance on his former manager Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford, and he will probably take much delight in ending the Portuguese managers’ unbeaten start to life with Spurs. But the credit should also go to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who had presumably realised Aurier had played every game since Mourinho took charge, and elected to target his defensive lapses by playing Rashford on the left when he easily could have led the line.