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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho masterminded a brilliant and unexpected 2-0 home victory over former club Chelsea on Sunday to breathe new life into the Premier League title race.
Mourinho gambled by resting Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera’s goals gave United a win that leaves Chelsea just four points above Tottenham Hotspur with six games to play.
Victory at Old Trafford also lifted United to within four points of fourth-place Manchester City, on whom they have a game in hand, ahead of the derby at the Etihad Stadium on April 27.
It was a personal triumph for Mourinho, who saw his side thrashed 4-0 at Chelsea in October and was branded “Judas” by fans of his old club during last month’s FA Cup defeat at Stamford Bridge.
A wet, cold Manchester afternoon was the setting for United to end a run of 12 games without victory against Chelsea, stretching back to a 3-2 away win in October 2012.
Chelsea have now lost twice in four games, having gone down 2-1 at home to Crystal Palace earlier this month, which will give in-form Spurs fresh hope that the Blues may yet collapse as the finishing line nears.
The top two meet at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-finals next weekend in what now looks a significant test of Chelsea’s mettle.
United, meanwhile, will approach Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final second leg at home to Anderlecht, which is poised at 1-1, on the back of their best display under Mourinho.
Chelsea were without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois due to an ankle problem, while Marcos Alonso succumbed to a virus, bringing Asmir Begovic and Kurt Zouma into their usual first XI.
Mourinho set United up to stop Chelsea, with Herrera and Matteo Darmian tasked with the responsibility of tracking dangermen Eden Hazard and Pedro wherever they went.
But despite Herrera’s chief role as a stifler, he created United’s seventh-minute opener, albeit in contentious circumstances.
He seemed to block Nemanja Matic’s pass with his right hand, but referee Robert Madley played on, enabling Herrera to split the Chelsea defence with a sublime through ball for Rashford.
The 19-year-old raced in behind David Luiz before clipping a shot past Begovic for his ninth goal of the season.
Costa became embroiled in penalty-box tangles with United centre-backs Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo and was booked for a late challenge on Paul Pogba.
With the willing Jesse Lingard in support of Rashford, United looked far more lively going forward.
Ashley Young twice spurned presentable shooting opportunities from the edge of the box, while Rashford saw a cross headed onto the roof of the net by Gary Cahill.
Short of a 25-yard drive by Costa that flashed wide in stoppage time, the half-time whistle sounded without Chelsea having offered anything in attack.
Any hopes the visitors had of masterminding a turnaround vanished within four minutes of kick-off in the second half as Herrera doubled United’s lead.
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte sent on Cesc Fabregas for Victor Moses, with Pedro moving to wing-back, but still the league leaders toiled, Pedro twice curling shots over De Gea’s bar.
At the other end Rashford remained a constant menace, teeing up Lingard to bend a shot over and twice going close himself, ruffling the side-netting and testing Begovic at his near post.
When he departed in the 82nd minute, with Ibrahimovic taking his place, he was accorded a richly deserved standing ovation.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was sent off as his side lost more ground in the Premier League title race by drawing 1-1 with West Ham United on Sunday.
After Diafra Sakho’s second-minute opener was cancelled out by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho was sent to the stands for kicking a water bottle in protest at Paul Pogba’s booking for diving.
It was United’s fourth successive home draw in the league — a first since 1980 — and left them 11 points below leaders Chelsea in sixth place.
United assistant manager Rui Faria, filling in for Mourinho, told BBC Sport: “We all believe the results will appear.
“The referee explained it to Jose and there is nothing more to say. I think it was frustration from Jose after the yellow card for Pogba.
“It should be a foul for us, but the referee understood it in another way.”
Elsewhere, Alexis Sanchez scored twice as Arsenal kept pace within the leading pack by winning 3-1 at home to Bournemouth.
West Ham needed just 90 seconds to go ahead as Dimitri Payet’s free-kick from the right was headed in by Sakho.
In the 21st minute, Pogba’s deep cross was nodded in by Ibrahimovic, who has now scored seven league goals this season.
Moments later referee Jonathan Moss booked Pogba for diving after the France midfielder took evasive action as Mark Noble moved in to tackle him.
Mourinho reacted by furiously kicking a plastic bottle and was duly sent to the stands for the second time this season.
Wayne Rooney, whose next goal will equal Bobby Charlton’s 249-goal club scoring record, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan came on for United in the second half.
Jesse Lingard saw a goal chalked off for offside after Mkhitaryan had hit the post, while United were indebted to goalkeeper David de Gea for a crucial late save to deny Ashley Fletcher.
United will hope their luck changes when West Ham return to Old Trafford in the League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.
With England midfielder Jack Wilshere watching from the stands due to the terms of his loan from Arsenal to Bournemouth, the home side took a 12th-minute lead courtesy of a horror moment from Simon Cook.
In seeking to play the ball back to goalkeeper Adam Federici from the right, he undercooked his pass horribly, giving Sanchez the time to pick his spot and put Arsenal ahead.
Bournemouth equalised in the 23rd minute when Callum Wilson netted from the penalty spot after Nacho Monreal was harshly adjudged to have fouled him.
But Arsenal equalised in the 53rd minute when Theo Walcott headed in Monreal’s masterful cross and Sanchez made the game safe in stoppage time by tapping in substitute Olivier Giroud’s cross.
“I felt we started well, but when they equalised we were nervous and that’s where having three consecutive draws played a little bit on our minds,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, whose team trail Chelsea by three points.
Everton manager Ronald Koeman made an unhappy return to former club Southampton as his current side fell 1-0 to his previous employers.
Charlie Austin scored the game’s only goal after just 41 seconds, heading in from close range after 19-year-old debutant Josh Sims helped on Cedric’s cross.
Stoke City climbed to 11th in the table with a 1-0 win at Watford.
A 29th-minute own goal from Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes settled the game, with Charlie Adam’s header hitting the post and bouncing into the net off the unfortunate Brazilian.
Manchester United dismantled Premier League champions Leicester in a ruthless 20-minute burst as Jose Mourinho’s decision to drop Wayne Rooney was rewarded with a 4-1 win at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Leicester imploded defensively as United racked up four goals between the 22nd and 42nd minutes.
It was a stylish display from a United side who had entered the game under pressure after losing their last two league games, against Manchester City and Watford, with Chris Smalling opening the scoring after replacing Rooney as captain.
Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba, with his first United goal following his world record £89 million ($115 million, 102 million euros) arrival from Juventus, were also on target after England captain Rooney was dropped to the substitutes’ bench.
But it was a chastening afternoon for Leicester despite an improved second-half display and a brilliant consolation goal from half-time substitute Demarai Gray.
It was the second successive Premier League away game in which Leicester had shipped four goals after doing so at Liverpool two weeks ago.
Leicester held their own early on with Robert Huth lashing a shot just over but it was United who edged in front in the 22nd minute after some neat play wide on the left had forced a corner.
It was delivered by Daley Blind and Smalling escaped the United defence to power home a header from six yards.
Rashford should have doubled United’s lead moments later when Leicester squandered possession and Zlatan Ibrahimovic galloped forwards and squared for the teenager.
But Rashford’s first touch was heavy and his shot flew over.
Ibrahimovic then went close to a goal after collecting a fabulous pass by Pogba, but the Swede’s effort on the turn just cleared the bar.
Next it was Pogba’s turn to let fly with an outrageous effort from 30 yards that bent towards the top corner but was forced away by Leicester goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler.
United finally added a second goal as they turned on the style eight minutes before half-time.
Ander Herrera started the move with a fine ball to Mata before a clever pass by Pogba and a fine flick by Jesse Lingard allowed Mata to blast past Zieler.
And the third goal arrived just two minutes later as Leicester handed a chance to Rashford which the youngster snapped up.
The visitors were caught napping as Blind took a quick corner and Mata was free to square for an unmarked Rashford to finish from close range.
It was 4-0 before half-time as another corner by Blind was headed in by Pogba as he leapt above Christian Fuchs.
Leicester made a double change at half-time with key duo Vardy and Riyad Mahrez withdrawn ahead of the Champions League meeting with FC Porto on Tuesday.
And they almost had some joy when David De Gea dived at the feet of Islam Slimani but gifted possession back to the visitors with a poor throw.
Fuchs wasted the chance, however, with a poor cross.
And at the other end Mata tried to add his second goal with a firm shot that Zieler parried well.
It was one of the half-time substitutes who salvaged a modicum of respectability for Leicester with a goal of real quality on the hour-mark.
Gray collected a crossfield pass from Daniel Amartey and cut inside Lingard before lashing a brilliant shot past a helpless De Gea from 25 yards.
But United were soon back on the attack as Zieler made a smart save from Ibrahimovic.
Two more Leicester substitutes combined for what should have been a second goal but Andy King produced a tame shot from a Jeff Schlupp cross and De Gea saved easily.
Gray then went within a whisker of replicating his stunning goal with an almost identical effort which De Gea scrambled back to push over the bar.
Jesse Lingard’s extra-time thunderbolt earned Manchester United a record-equalling 12th FA Cup as Louis van Gaal’s side came from behind to defeat Crystal Palace 2-1 in Saturday’s final at Wembley.
In a rematch of the 1990 final, which United won after a replay, underdogs Palace took the lead in the 78th minute when Jason Puncheon slammed home, only for Juan Mata to equalise less than three minutes later.
With the tie heading towards penalties, substitute Lingard drilled a stunning volley past a motionlessWayne Hennessey in the 110th minute to end United’s 12-year wait to lift the FA Cup and give their supporters something to cheer about at the end of a tumultuous season.
“It is fantastic to win this title for the club, for the fans and also for me, because I now have won the cup in four countries, and not many managers have done that,” Van Gaal said.
“With 10 players, and we have played Tuesday evening also (beating Bournemouth 3-1), but we have deserved it, I think. It was a super goal, eh?”
Lingard told BT Sport: “I saw it come across and it landed nicely for me. All I had to do was hit it sweet, and luckily I did that. As a sub you always have to be ready. Thankfully I was.”
But while Van Gaal celebrated his first trophy in English football, and United’s first major honour since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, it may not be enough to keep him in a job following the club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League.
Instead United, who lost Marcus Rashford and Marcos Rojo to injury and Chris Smalling to an extra-time red card, will go into the Europa League, along with West Ham United, after United’s Wembley win freed up an additional qualifying berth.
Palace manager Alan Pardew, meanwhile, met with FA Cup heartbreak for the third time, having been on the losing side against United with the south London club in 1990 and overseen West Ham’s defeat on penalties by Liverpool in 2006.
“The players have given me everything,” Pardew said.
United enjoyed the best of the first half, but Pardew was infuriated when referee Mark Clattenburg brought play back for a free-kick despite Connor Wickham jumping to his feet and racing into the box after being dragged to the turf by Smalling, who was booked.
United’s control was even more pronounced after half-time as Van Gaal’s men succeeded in pinning Palace back and they hit the woodwork twice in the space of eight minutes through Marouane Fellaini’s drilled shot and Anthony Martial’s header.
Injuries then deprived United of Rojo and Rashford, with Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young coming on, while Puncheon replaced Yohan Cabaye.
Pardew celebrated with a touchline dance, but within three minutes Palace’s lead had vanished.
Rolling back the years, Rooney did superbly to reach the byline on the right before digging out a cross that was chested down at the back post by Fellaini for Mata to strike a volley that rattled between Ward’s feet and crept over the line.
United lost Smalling when the England centre-back received a second yellow card for haulingYannick Bolasie back by his ankle as he lay on the turf.
The teams exchanged chances in the second extra period — De Gea thwarting substitute Dwight Gayle with his feet, Carrick heading wide — before United academy graduate Lingard, a 90th-minute replacement for Mata, claimed a piece of FA Cup history.
Antonio Valencia’s drilled cross was cleared by Damien Delaney, but the ball popped up for Lingard, who sent a volley whistling into the top-left corner before tearing off his shirt and racing towards the United end in gleeful celebration.
Manchester United reminded their fans of the days when Old Trafford pulsated to thrilling attacking football as they produced a superb performance in a 3-0 home win over Stoke City in the Premier League on Tuesday.
Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial struck in the first half and Wayne Rooney was on target after the interval, keeping United in the hunt for a top-four finish and easing the pressure on manager Louis van Gaal.
“It was a great first half, we scored fantastic goals and we created more chances above that,” the 64-year old Dutchman, whose side had not managed a first-half goal in their previous 11 matches at old Trafford, told Sky Sports.
“In the second we controlled the game, scored the third goal. It was very good.”
“Three goals eh? In a row!”
In line with the adventurous philosophy which spurred United to win a huge haul of trophies under former manager Alex Ferguson, they finally reverted to the attacking football that had been missing under Van Gaal.
Having picked either one or the other for most of the season, the former Barcelona boss started with Lingard and Juan Mata after fielding them in Friday’s impressive 3-1 FA Cup fourth round win at Derby County.
The pair’s crisp passing again created space for Rooney and Martial to exploit and allowed fit-again Michael Carrick to boss the centre of midfield.
United’s domination was rewarded when Cameron Borthwick-Jackson celebrated his 19th birthday by unleashing a teasing cross for Lingard to head home from close range.
Martial doubled their lead midway through the opening period with a delightful shot from the edge of the penalty area after Rooney found him with a clever crossfield pass.
The England striker had a goal disallowed for a foul on Glen Johnson shortly after the break but there was nothing wrong with his tap-in several minutes later, which came after United’s most impressive move of the match.
Mata, who probed the visiting defence all night, released Martial and the French youngster squared the ball to Rooney for a simple finish.
“We were on top, we were sharp and that’s what we needed to do today,” Lingard told BBC Sport.
“A result like that settles the nerves of the fans, the players, even the manager.”
Van Gaal’s and United’s credentials will come under scrutiny on Saturday when they visit champions Chelsea.
Jesse Lingard repaid Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal’s faith as his first goal for the club set them up for a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Van Gaal gave Lingard his first league start since the Dutchman’s inaugural game in charge at the start of last season, having used his column in the match-day programme to praise the progress being made by the 22-year-old.
The United manager also claimed that Lingard’s first goal would not be far away and he was proved right as the attacking midfielder, a product of United’s youth system, struck in the 52nd minute.
Lingard’s strike eased the growing frustration around Old Trafford and Juan Mata added a late penalty to seal a win that took United to within a point of Premier League co-leadersManchester City, Arsenal and Leicester City.
United’s impressive defensive record — which has now seen them keep five successive clean sheets — was further enhanced, but again they struggled to create chances.
Lingard’s goal, an assured right-foot finish from outside the box, remains the only one they have scored from open play in their last four domestic fixtures.
It had taken a late goal from Wayne Rooney in mid-week to end CSKA Moscow’s resistance in the Champions League and United were faced with a similar test as West Brom came to defend in numbers.
Albion had won on their previous two visits to Old Trafford, with their 1-0 success in May the last time United had lost at home.
That day the visitors had conceded 80 percent of possession and they again stuck to that blueprint as United were allowed to have the ball almost at will.
Only three times in the first half did United manage to gain a clear sight of the visitors’ goal, but from the first Mata was unable to curl the ball inside the far post after being played in by Rooney.
The second was self-inflicted as West Brom defender Craig Dawson gave the ball away to Anthony Martial, who released Lingard, only for ex-United defender Jonny Evans to slide in with an excellent block.
Albion goalkeeper Boaz Myhill was finally forced to make his first meaningful save a minute before the break, but it was no more than a routine parry to keep out Martial’s rasping shot from the edge of the penalty area.
The start of the second half threatened more of the same and the impatience of the United supporters was just starting to show when Lingard got off the mark in impressive style.
Martial’s cross was headed clear by Chris Brunt to the England Under-21 international, who showed great composure to take a touch and curl a low shot past Myhill from 22 yards.
West Brom’s response was not immediate, but after manager Tony Pulis made two substitutions in the 72nd minute and committed more men forward, his side should have equalised.
Dawson delivered a cross from the right that arrived perfectly for Saido Berahino, who scored the winner here two seasons ago, to meet six yards from goal with virtually his first touch after coming off the bench.
But he headed badly wide and United wrapped up victory in stoppage time through Mata’s penalty after Gareth McAuley had been sent off for tripping Martial.
(Reuters) – Second-half strikes from Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard earned Manchester United a morale boosting 3-1 win over Premier League rivals Liverpool in the final of the pre-season International Champions Cup in Miami on Monday.
Liverpool took the lead in the 14th minute when the lively Raheem Sterling was brought down in the area by United defender Phil Jones and skipper Steven Gerrard drilled home the penalty.
The Merseyside team should have doubled their advantage shortly after half-time but Rickie Lambert fluffed his shot after finding space inside the area.
United equalised in the 55th minute with Javier Hernandez delivering a cross deep to the back post and Rooney coolly side-footed home a cushioned volley from a tight angle.
Two minutes later, Mata’s well-struck effort from the edge of the box took a slight deflection off Mamadou Sakho and beat Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
United wrapped up the win in the eight-team tournament when substitute Jesse Lingard blasted home from 18 yards out two minutes from time.