Marcus Rashford hit the last kick of the game to take Manchester United into the Premier League top four at the cost of West Ham in a 1-0 win on Saturday. United were dull as an attacking force for 93 minutes at Old Trafford, but success came to the death as all three options from Ralph Rangnick combined when Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani pierced Rashford to tap the back post. Victory lifts United one point above the Hammers and sees the Red Devils leapfrog Tottenham and Arsenal in a battle for Champions League football next season.
Rangnik has lost just one of his 10 matches since taking temporary charge until the end of the season, but once again the result was more impressive than the German’s performance.
Bruno Fernandes put up his best performance in the past week with two goals and two assists and the Portuguese almost made the opener with a thrashing blow that overtook Cristiano Ronaldo in the most dangerous moment of the first half.
Alphonse Arola was drafted for West Ham’s goal in Lukasz Fabianski’s absence due to a positive test for the coronavirus, but the Frenchman was forced to make just one serious save when he operated on Fred at the start of the second half. Shot back.
Fernandes widened another attempt from the edge of the box as United grappled with the frustration of the 75,000-strong crowd.
However, Rangnik’s changes made a difference.
Rashford has looked devoid of confidence in recent months, but his first goal since October’s 3-1 win at Brentford on Wednesday gave the England international a lift.
Rangnik claimed Anthony Martial refused to be part of his squad for last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Aston Villa as he is looking to move away from the club for more playing time.
The Frenchman publicly denied that allegation and was given his first minute under interim boss when he was presented with Cavani in the final 10 minutes.
David de Gea was nearly caught by a long-range effort from Declan Rice as play entered stoppage time.
But instead of snatching a winner, West Ham were punched a sucker in a counter-attack.
Marshall played into Cavani in the left side of the box and the Uruguay cross needed just a touch from Rashford at the back post.
Wild Fest escaped a VAR check against Cavani for offside and could be a fatal blow to their outlandish hopes of reaching the Champions League for the first time for West Ham.
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