Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledged his decision to introduce Marcus Rashford as a substitute against Wolves "backfired" as the Manchester United star hobbled off to leave his involvement in Sunday's clash with Liverpool in doubt.

Rashford came off the bench three minutes before Juan Mata scored the only goal of Wednesday's FA Cup third-round replay win at Old Trafford.

But the England striker lasted little longer as he went down following a challenge with Matt Doherty, attempting to play on with an apparent back problem before he had to be taken off 10 minutes from time.

Solskjaer, who said there were "no updates" on a transfer breakthrough, confirmed Rashford had been dealing with a back problem, and the manager was hopeful his risky change would not cost United ahead of a trip to Anfield.

"Yeah, that backfired," Solskjaer told BT Sport. "But you've got to go for them once in a while.

"It seems like he's got a knock there and he couldn't run. Let's test him the next couple of days and hopefully he'll be okay for Sunday. I don't know.

"He's struggled a little bit with a couple of knocks with his back lately, and he got another one which didn't help."

Goalscorer Mata said of team-mate Rashford: "Hopefully it's not too bad and he can be ready [for Liverpool].

"He's on fire, scoring in every game. It was a shame that he couldn't be on the pitch for more minutes, but hopefully it's nothing."

The midfielder added on the cup win: "[Wolves] are a difficult team. They play in a certain way and they do it very well. They are very well organised and difficult to break down.

"But definitely today is a good result for us. It's been a good couple of days and now we have a big one coming, so hopefully we can keep it up."

Manchester United lost Marcus Rashford to injury as they beat Wolves 1-0 in an FA Cup third-round replay at Old Trafford.

Star striker Rashford started from the bench just four days before a crunch Premier League clash with leaders Liverpool, but he was introduced as a substitute three minutes before Juan Mata scored the only goal on Wednesday.

The England international appeared to be nursing his back and, after initially attempting to play on, had to be replaced with 10 minutes remaining.

The issue provided a disappointing end for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose side came through a replay after drawing the first clash 0-0 earlier this month against the opponent that knocked them out of the cup last year.

A lively opening saw John Ruddy crucially bat the ball to safety as Daniel James bore down on goal following Mata's gorgeous lofted pass, before Raul Jimenez twisted into space in the United area but shot straight at Sergio Romero.

United were fortunate to see a Wolves goal ruled out in the 10th minute, as Fred hopelessly hacked a clearance into the legs of Nemanja Matic, allowing Jimenez to challenge Harry Maguire and inadvertently control with his arm before Pedro Neto slid the ball into the net.

Ruddy saved low from Mata and blocked bravely from James either side of Matt Doherty heading against the base of the left-hand post after a short Wolves corner in an even first half.

James drilled across the face of goal early following the restart, but second-half chances were sporadic until the decisive goal.

United responded to their counter-attacking opponents with a break of their own, Anthony Martial timing his pass well to keep Mata onside and he produced a delicate dink over Ruddy.

However, then came the Rashford blow, the forward going down following a challenge with Doherty and never regaining full fitness, hobbling off for Jesse Lingard to provide Solskjaer with concern before the Liverpool clash.

Harry Kane may have suffered an untimely injury, but England boss Gareth Southgate could well be blessed with a wealth of attacking options heading into Euro 2020.

Kane's hamstring injury should not see him miss the European Championship, but it has handed plenty of England hopefuls the chance to prove their worth.

And it seems as though this season, the Premier League belongs to homegrown forwards.

Jamie Vardy – who has retired from international duty – leads the way with 17 goals, ahead of three players sharing second place in the scoring charts with 14: Danny Ings, Marcus Rashford and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Arsenal striker Aubameyang is one of only four non-English players to take their place in the Premier League's list of leading scorers as things stand, along with Sergio Aguero, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Raheem Sterling, Tammy Abraham and Kane complete the top 10 and, using Opta data, we assess whether the 2019-20 Premier League campaign is an anomaly or the start of something new.

SIX OF THE BEST

Vardy's incredible form has been key to propelling Leicester City up the league, with Brendan Rodgers' side currently sitting third. 

The 33-year-old has 17 league goals to his name this season, though it is another Englishman who has been making the headlines recently – one who downed the Foxes last time out. 

Southampton's Ings has scored 10 goals in his past 11 top-flight appearances and is already the highest-scoring Southampton player in a single season since Jay Rodriguez in 2013-14. 

Level with Ings is Manchester United's Rashford, who seems to have finally taken up the mantle as the Red Devils' talisman and has scored 19 times across all competitions, one less than England team-mate Sterling, who has 11 league goals. 

Chelsea's transfer ban in the off season handed Abraham the chance to shine, and shine he has, scoring 13 times in the top flight, two more than England captain Kane. 

It should also be noted the six leading English scorers all represent different clubs, showing that homegrown talent is shared across the league. 

THE NEXT GENERATION

Of the English players leading the way this season, two – Rashford and Abraham – are 22, while City sensation Sterling is only just 25.  

Indeed, only Vardy, of the English forwards in the top 10, is above the age of 30. 

After overcoming a glut of injury issues, Ings is finally hitting his stride once more, with Southampton the benefactors.  

But, with the 27-year-old averaging a goal every 109.8 minutes in the league – a figure bettered only by Vardy among the other English players – Ings must be in serious contention for a place in Southgate's squad for the upcoming friendlies against Italy and Denmark. 

There is also plenty of potential for the future outside of the players in the top 10. After Sterling and Kane, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the highest-scoring English player and the 22-year-old seems to be coming into his own for Everton. 

He has scored eight league goals and 10 in total across all competitions, while United's Mason Greenwood is the highest-scoring teenager in the competition. 

Away from the Premier League, Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho has been lighting up the Bundesliga since his move from City in 2017.

HISTORY SAYS...

Only twice in the past nine Premier League seasons has an English forward won the Golden Boot, with Tottenham star Kane doing so in both 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Last season, the award was shared between Mane, Salah and Aubameyang, though each only managed 22 goals – the lowest amount since Carlos Teves finished top of the charts with 20 in 2010-11.

Since the start of the previous decade there has been a steady increase in the number of English players finishing in double figures for the season, with five last term being the most. But with six players inside the top 10 – and Calvert-Lewin not far away – this season, 2019-20 is proving the best season for homegrown strikers in that timeframe.

With Euro 2020 on the horizon, it appears this could well be the season that kick-starts a new wave of English talent starring in the big time.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tempered the excitement surrounding Manchester United talent Mason Greenwood, adamant it is too early to be thinking of potential England involvement at Euro 2020.

United academy product Greenwood has enjoyed a breakout season, making 17 Premier League appearances – all but two of them from the bench – after being introduced to the first-team fold by Solskjaer last term.

The 18-year-old has four goals in the league this season, plus another five across the EFL Cup and Europa League, in which only four players have scored more.

With Harry Kane a doubt for the Euros after suffering a torn hamstring that required surgery and Jamie Vardy unavailable for selection following his international retirement, Greenwood has emerged as an option for England manager Gareth Southgate.

Greenwood made four appearances for the England Under-21s last year and for the time being Solskjaer thinks he should be allowed to focus on United and Young Lions duty.

"I think Mason will have a top and long career," Solskjaer said ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup third-round replay with Wolves.

"Let the boy settle in now first, before we talk about England and the Euros.

"His focus has to be on playing more for us and improving, and when he plays more for us, that [and England call-up] will happen by itself.

"He's just been picked for the England Under-21s, so he's focusing on his football."

Greenwood is just one of three forward thriving at United this season, with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial also enjoying strong campaigns.

Rashford already has 19 goals from 30 matches across all competitions, while Martial has 11 in 22 outings – but Solskjaer does not think he deserves a pat on the back for their respective improvements.

"I don't want credit for getting more out of them," he said. "They're working hard to improve their game, I think they've all done well.

"Of course, Mason is in his first season, so to have nine goals is fantastic. Marcus is really growing and improving all the time, and Anthony has missed about six-to-eight weeks.

"I'm impressed by them. They're working well, working on their finishing patterns, we want consistency and I think we'll see more and more of them as they're still very young."

Liverpool continued their relentless march towards the Premier League title with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham while Sergio Aguero sent records tumbling in Manchester City's resounding win at Aston Villa.

The Reds moved 16 points clear at the top thanks to Leicester City's defeat to Southampton – as Danny Ings kept up his superb form – though the gap was reduced slightly when City thrashed Villa on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Manchester United ended a three-match winless streak with a resounding 4-0 triumph over lowly Norwich City.

We review the key top-flight matches with the help of Opta data.

 

CHAMPIONS-ELECT SET NEW BENCHMARKS AS TITLE TILT CONTINUES AT PACE

Barring a collapse of epic proportions, it seems certain that the Premier League title will be Liverpool's for the first time come the end of the season – or earlier, at this rate.

Roberto Firmino's fifth goal in his past six appearances handed Jurgen Klopp's side the points at Tottenham, who lost successive league matches for the first time this season, and have also conceded 20 goals in 13 matches under Jose Mourinho.

Liverpool sit on 61 points at the top of the pile, the most any side has ever registered after 21 matches in a single season across Europe's big five leagues.

Klopp's team have amassed 104 points across their past 38 Premier League games, winning 33 times and drawing on five occasions; this is a record total by any team across a 38-match run in the competition's history.

It is 38 league games since Liverpool last suffered a defeat. In the same amount of time, Spurs have lost 16 matches – including three defeats to the Reds.

AGUERO SMASHES RECORDS IN SIX-GOAL ROMP

It was a waltz in Villa Park for City on Sunday, as Aguero's hat-trick and a masterclass from Kevin De Bruyne propelled Pep Guardiola's side to a 6-1 win and up into second place.

With his second goal – which came early in the second half to put City 5-0 up – Aguero became the highest-scoring non-British player in Premier League history, moving ahead of Thierry Henry.

Aguero moved onto 177 top-flight goals when he thumped in his third, making the former Atletico Madrid forward the outright record holder for hat-tricks in the Premier League with 12 to his name – one ahead of Alan Shearer's tally of 11.

After his first-half double and assist for Aguero's hat-trick goal, Riyad Mahrez is the only Premier League player to both score and assist 20 goals or more since the start of last season in all competitions. 

De Bruyne, meanwhile, is now on 15 assists for this campaign after teeing up two of City's goals.

INGS KEEPS GETTING BETTER

Two of the Premier League's leading scorers went head-to-head at the King Power Stadium, but while Jamie Vardy failed to inspire Leicester City to victory, Southampton's Ings proved the match-winner as the Saints gained revenge for their 9-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.

Ings' effort nine minutes from time was his 14th of the season and his ninth goal in his past 10 top-flight appearances.

It means 40 per cent of Ings' 35 Premier League goals have come in this campaign, while he is also the highest-scoring Southampton player since Jay Rodriguez in 2013-14.

Dennis Praet put Leicester ahead and is the 14th different player to have scored for the Foxes in the Premier League this term, while Brendan Rodgers suffered successive home defeats for the first time since he took over.

UNITED'S FORWARDS RUN RIOT IN OLD TRAFFORD ROUT

Missing leading scorer Teemu Pukki, Norwich City never looked likely to trouble United, who cruised to a convincing win to lift themselves into fifth place.

It is the first time United have scored four goals in consecutive home games in the league since September 2017, while the Canaries have not won in nine Premier League matches.

Marcus Rashford scored twice and is now on 19 goals in all competitions this season – only Raheem Sterling, with 20, has more among Premier League players.

Juan Mata set up two goals, the first time he has provided two assists in a league match since October 2012 – also against Norwich – while Mason Greenwood has scored four top-flight goals this term, more than any other teenager in the competition.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer showed his support for Manchester United's owners and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward after supporters turned on them during Saturday's 4-0 win over Norwich City.

United produced arguably one of their most coherent performances of the season as they swept the Canaries aside at Old Trafford, with two-goal Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata leading the way – the latter claiming a pair of assists.

However, during the second half, fans in the 'atmospheric' area at Old Trafford began to engage in antagonistic chanting directed at Woodward and United's infamous owners, the Glazer family.

United fans have long been critical of the Glazers for plunging the club deep into debt when they became owners between 2003 and 2005, while Woodward's transfer dealings and apparent reluctance to hire a director of football have seen him frustrate supporters.

Solskjaer urged fans to show some togetherness, confirming he could hear the chants as he refused to duck the issue.

"I'm not sure if the players will get [hear] it, but I noticed, yeah," Solskjaer told reporters. "As a club we've got to stick together, we've got to be united, we are a family.

"I can only say from when I've been here I've been backed by the owners, I've been backed by Ed and they're supporting me, so for me, make sure they stick together.

"We are in all competitions. We are still in the EFL Cup, FA Cup, we're fifth in the league, still challenging [for the top four], we've improved the position from last season, we've got Europa League – they [the fans] have just got to believe me when I say I feel we are doing loads of good things behind the scenes. We are going in the right direction.

"See the group today: the attitude, the work-rate, that's the core of the group that's going to go forward."

Rashford, 22, continued his fine season with another couple of goals against Norwich, as he became the third youngest player to reach 200 appearances for the club after George Best and Ryan Giggs.

Solskjaer saluted the striker's achievement, before paying tribute to him for his attitude and mentality.

"What an achievement to get to 200 games at his age," Solskjaer said. "I don't know how many he's scored [in total], but that's 19 this season.

"He's absolutely top class to work with, a great kid. He wants to learn, improve and he knows how to keep his feet on the ground.

"Today he was carrying a few knocks, but there was no chance he was going to say to me before the game he didn't want to play.

"He will become better, but he has everything to become a top-class player: attitude, skill, physique. I'm delighted I have three centre-forwards [Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood] scoring today [Saturday]."

Roberto Firmino scored the only goal of the game as relentless Liverpool won at Tottenham to go 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League following Leicester City's defeat to Southampton.

Firmino's first-half strike on Saturday took the runaway leaders to 61 points, a European record among the continent's big-five leagues after 21 games played.

Liverpool look unstoppable in their quest to be crowned champions of England for the first time in 30 years, with second-placed Leicester – who have played a game more than the Merseyside club – slumping to a 2-1 loss at home to Southampton.

The Foxes consigned the Saints to a record-equalling 9-0 drubbing in October, but had three goals ruled out for offside at the King Power Stadium and Danny Ings' 10th goal in his last 10 top-flight starts gave the south-coast club sweet revenge.

Manchester United replaced Sheffield United in fifth spot with a 4-0 drubbing of Norwich City at Old Trafford, Marcus Rashford claiming a brace, after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored and was sent off in Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Chelsea are five points better off than the Red Devils in fourth, having avoided a third successive Premier League home defeat with a 3-0 victory over Burnley.

Richarlison scored the only goal in Everton's win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Goodison Park, while Newcastle United and Wolves had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Molineux.

 

FIRMINO GIVES REDS CAPITAL GAINS

Jurgen Klopp's all-conquering side took another stride towards an elusive title by making it 20 wins out of 21 in the Premier League.

A clinical finish from Firmino eight minutes before half-time was enough to seal maximum points in north London.

Son Hueng-min and Giovani Lo Celso squandered great chances to level for Spurs and they proved to be costly as Jose Mourinho's side suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats to sit in eighth spot.

INGS KEEPS SAINTS MARCHING

Southampton pulled off a magnificent victory to leave high-flying Leicester stunned.

Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans had goals disallowed for offside and Southampton had a penalty decision overturned by VAR in an action-packed encounter.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's upwardly mobile side were not to be denied maximum points, though, courtesy of a deflected first-half strike from Stuart Armstrong and a 14th of the season in the league from Ings – who hit the crossbar twice – either side of Dennis Praet's first Leicester goal.

 

RUTHLESS UNITED HAMMER CANARIES

Manchester United responded to their 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City with a ruthless demolition of bottom side Norwich.

Rashford took his tally of league goals this season to 14 with one in each half and Anthony Martial scored United's third two minutes after the England striker helped himself to a double from the penalty spot.

Mason Greenwood was given far too much time to add a fourth soon after coming off the bench as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ran riot, leaving Norwich still seven points adrift of fourth-bottom Aston Villa.

AUBA AND OUT

Aubameyang's 15th top-flight goal of the campaign gave the Gunners a first-half advantage at Selhurst Park, but things turned sour for the striker after the break.

The Gabon international was initially booked by referee Paul Tierney for a challenge on Max Meyer, but a red card was brandished after a VAR review which took over two minutes. 

Jordan Ayew's deflected strike had brought injury-hit Palace level before Aubameyang was ordered off and neither side could force a derby winner.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Juan Mata applauded Marcus Rashford after the striker became the third youngest player to reach 200 matches for Manchester United in Saturday's win over Norwich City.

United cruised to a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford and Rashford got two of the goals, generally impressing as he tormented the Norwich defence until his second-half withdrawal.

The 22-year-old was representing the first team for the 200th time; only United greats George Best and Ryan Giggs have reached that landmark at a younger age than the England international.

Manager Solskjaer and team-mate Mata – the creator of two goals in the win – were full of praise for the United youth product, who has scored 19 times in all competitions this season.

Mata told BBC Sport: "He's our top-scorer, he's improving a lot. He's still 22 and has played 200 games.

"He's in a good run of performances and goals, and hopefully he can stay like that until the end of the season because he offers us so much."

"He's been exceptional," Solskjaer added. "He's a leader in the group and has 16, 17, 18, 19 goals - I don't know how many.

"He keeps producing, scoring goals and he was so composed with his finishes. It's a fantastic effort by Marcus to get 200 games so quickly at his age, and he got through most of the game.

"He was struggling a little bit, so we took him off, but two good goals. I'm very pleased with Marcus' performance."

Rashford reacted to his accomplishment after the match, as he struggled to comprehend emulating Best and Giggs.

"Beyond proud to become the third youngest player to hit 200 Man United games," he wrote on Twitter.

"[I] can't put into words what it means to follow Giggsy and George Best. Two goals and three points completes a perfect day."

Victory over Norwich keeps United fifth in the Premier League, five points behind Chelsea in the final Champions League spot.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Juan Mata applauded Marcus Rashford after the striker became the third youngest player to reach 200 matches for Manchester United in Saturday's win over Norwich City.

United cruised to a 4-0 victory at Old Trafford and Rashford got two of the goals, generally impressing as he tormented the Norwich defence until his second-half withdrawal.

The 22-year-old was representing the first team for the 200th time; only United greats George Best and Ryan Giggs have reached that landmark at a younger age than the England international.

Manager Solskjaer and team-mate Mata – the creator of two goals in the win – were full of praise for the United youth product, who has scored 19 times in all competitions this season.

Mata told BBC Sport: "He's our top-scorer, he's improving a lot. He's still 22 and has played 200 games.

"He's in a good run of performances and goals, and hopefully he can stay like that until the end of the season because he offers us so much."

"He's been exceptional," Solskjaer added. "He's a leader in the group and has 16, 17, 18, 19 goals - I don't know how many.

"He keeps producing, scoring goals and he was so composed with his finishes. It's a fantastic effort by Marcus to get 200 games so quickly at his age, and he got through most of the game.

"He was struggling a little bit, so we took him off, but two good goals. I'm very pleased with Marcus' performance."

Rashford reacted to his accomplishment after the match, as he struggled to comprehend emulating Best and Giggs.

"Beyond proud to become the third youngest player to hit 200 Man United games," he wrote on Twitter.

"[I] can't put into words what it means to follow Giggsy and George Best. Two goals and three points completes a perfect day."

Victory over Norwich keeps United fifth in the Premier League, five points behind Chelsea in the final Champions League spot.

Danny Ings gave in-form Southampton sweet revenge over Leicester City and Manchester United hammered bottom side Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday.

Leicester consigned the Saints to a record-equalling 9-0 defeat in October, but the second-placed Foxes – who had three goals ruled out – were beaten 2-1 at the King Power Stadium less than three months later.

Ings' 10th goal in his last 10 top-flight starts sealed all three points for a Southampton side who have now won three and drawn one of their last four Premier League matches.

Manchester United replaced Sheffield United in fifth spot with a 4-0 drubbing of Norwich at Old Trafford, Marcus Rashford scoring twice, after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored and was sent off in Arsenal's 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Chelsea are five points better off than the Red Devils in fourth, having avoided a third successive Premier League home defeat with a 3-0 victory over Burnley.

Richarlison scored the only goal in Everton's win over Brighton and Hove Albion at Goodison Park, while Newcastle United and Wolves had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Molineux.

 

INGS KEEPS SAINTS MARCHING

Southampton pulled off a magnificent victory to leave high-flying Leicester stunned.

Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans had goals disallowed for offside and Southampton had a penalty decision overturned by VAR in an action-packed encounter.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's upwardly mobile side were not to be denied maximum points, though, courtesy of a deflected first-half strike from Stuart Armstrong and a 14th of the season in the league from Ings – who hit the crossbar twice – either side of Dennis Praet's first Leicester goal.

 

RUTHLESS UNITED HAMMER CANARIES

Manchester United responded to their 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City with a ruthless demolition of bottom side Norwich.

Rashford took his tally of league goals this season to 14 with one in each half and Anthony Martial scored United's third two minutes after the England striker helped himself to a double from the penalty spot.

Mason Greenwood was given far too much time to add a fourth soon after coming off the bench as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ran riot, leaving Norwich still seven points adrift of fourth-bottom Aston Villa.

AUBA AND OUT

Aubameyang's 15th top-flight goal of the campaign gave the Gunners a first-half advantage at Selhurst Park, but things turned sour for the striker after the break.

The Gabon international was initially booked by referee Paul Tierney for a challenge on Max Meyer, but a red card was brandished after a VAR review which took over two minutes. 

Jordan Ayew's deflected strike had brought injury-hit Palace level before Aubameyang was ordered off and neither side could force a derby winner.

Manchester United bounced back from defeat to Manchester City in emphatic fashion, as Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata inspired a comfortable 4-0 win over rock-bottom Norwich City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men were woefully inept in the 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg loss at Etihad Stadium, but on Saturday they found their groove, playing some eye-catching football en route to a straightforward win.

Norwich, who were without injured talismanic forward Teemu Pukki, rarely troubled United in a first half dominated by the home side, who went into the interval 1-0 up after Mata teed up Rashford.

Rashford got his second from the penalty spot early in the second period, before Mata – starting only a third Premier League game since the start of October – set up Anthony Martial to extend the lead and Mason Greenwood finished Norwich off, as United held on to fifth place to stay five points adrift of Chelsea.

Despite establishing control almost immediately, United struggled to create clear chances during the early exchanges.

But Juan Mata carved the Canaries open in the 27th minute, cutting in off the right flank and playing a lofted pass towards the back post for Rashford to turn in.

Norwich highlighted the precariousness off United's slender lead just before the break, when David de Gea just about reached Todd Cantwell's curling effort.

Tim Krul was less impressive at the other end just after the break, however, rushing out and sending Brandon Williams tumbling in the box, allowing Rashford to sweep home the resulting penalty.

Martial got in on the act two minutes later, heading in Mata's right-wing cross after Norwich switched off at a corner.

Williams should have increased the lead when he blazed over from a couple of yards out, but there was to be another moment for United to savour, as Greenwood – Rashford's replacement – drilled into the bottom-right corner from 20 yards to wrap up the win in 76th minute.

What does it mean? Solskjaer can rest easy… For now

After the loss to Pep Guardiola's men, and the manner of the defeat, the pressure on Solskjaer was ramped up once again, as it was a third successive match across all competitions without a win.

There is no denying United were massively improved on Saturday, with the midfield trio of Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira and Fred using the ball much quicker than perhaps they have been known to, but with a trip to Anfield on the horizon, Solskjaer cannot assume he is completely safe.

Mata makes it happen

Given United's problems breaking many teams down this season, it is surprising Mata has only been afforded six Premier League starts. Against Norwich, he made two key passes and both lead to goals, making a decisive impact.

A day to forget for Krul

While there was not a great deal Krul could have done for most of the goals, his decision to rush out and foul Williams for the penalty was unnecessary and left Norwich with a mountain to climb.

What's next?

United return to FA Cup action on Wednesday, as they host Wolves in their third-round replay, before going to league leaders Liverpool four days later. Norwich host Bournemouth next Saturday.

Marcus Rashford has called on Manchester United to draw inspiration from last year's stunning Champions League comeback in Paris as they look to pull off a similar revival against Manchester City.

United were outplayed in a 3-1 defeat to their bitter rivals in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg at Old Trafford on Tuesday, leaving them with a mountain to climb at City in three weeks' time.

There are parallels with the situation Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side found themselves in last March, when they headed to face Paris Saint-Germain in a last-16 tie after losing 2-0 on home soil.

On that night in the French capital, Rashford's last-gasp penalty secured a 3-1 win and sealed progress on away goals.

And Rashford, who wore the captain's armband and scored against Pep Guardiola's City, wants United to rediscover that magic when they travel to the Etihad Stadium.

"It is a different game with different players, but what we found in Paris we have to find that within us again," he told the club's official website.

"We have to go there, score goals and win the game. I think we are capable of doing it. But let's just focus on [Saturday's Premier League game against] Norwich for now and hopefully we can put this result behind us to bring the positivity back."

Rashford was proud to lead his team out for the first time and is closing on a landmark 200th United appearance, with only one more needed to get there, but the England forward is only concerned with results.

"It is obviously a nice feeling [to be captain], but at the end of the day it is the result that matters and we didn't manage to get the win," Rashford said.

"We will look ahead now to the next game, put this one behind us and go again.

"To be honest, the games have all come thick and fast. You don't notice the numbers going up so much.

"It is my 200th game and obviously it is going to be a good night for me. It is definitely a proud moment to play 200 games for this club.

"But if we don't get the three points then for me it doesn't mean a thing. We have to make sure that we win the game and put on a positive performance."

Manchester City have one foot in a third consecutive EFL Cup final after dispatching Manchester United 3-1 in the first leg of the semi-final at Old Trafford.

Beaten 2-1 by their local rivals in the Premier League a month ago, Pep Guardiola sprung a tactical surprise by starting with no recognised striker in a strong-looking line-up.

The move proved inspired as City tore through a United defence that was missing the injured Harry Maguire, with Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an Andreas Pereira own goal putting them 3-0 up at the break.

Marcus Rashford got a goal back to give United a glimpse of hope ahead of the second leg in three weeks, but a first final since they won the competition in 2017 already looks beyond them.

After a cagey opening, Silva put City ahead in emphatic fashion, driving away from Fred and unleashing a ferocious strike from 25 yards that left David de Gea with no chance.

United had City on the ropes in the first half-hour of the league meeting at the Etihad Stadium, but Guardiola's side were firmly in control and largely untroubled by the threat of the counter-attack.

Their grip on the tie was strengthened 33 minutes in, when Victor Lindelof could not cut out Silva's throughball and Mahrez had time to round De Gea and finish.

A miserable first half for United got worse five minutes later, when the ball deflected off Pereira and into the net after Kevin De Bruyne left Phil Jones on the turf.

De Gea had to make a smart save with his right foot to stop Mahrez from adding a fourth, although City mostly eased off after the restart, and that relative complacency did allow United a lifeline.

De Bruyne's loose pass to Rodri was closed down by Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood raced forward and played in Rashford to slot the ball beneath Claudio Bravo, giving the Red Devils something to hold onto ahead of the second leg.

What does it mean? Final beckons for City, but there is only more scrutiny on Solskjaer

United were outthought and outplayed in the first half and only a minor miracle in the second leg will see them turn the tie around and reach the final.

The home fans stuck by their team admirably in the second half but, with arguably their best chance of a trophy this season all but gone and with performances in 2020 far from adequate, how much longer will Solskjaer be given to implement his long-term vision?

Bernardo sets tone with blockbuster

Silva's goal was spectacular, but his assist for Mahrez was of an equally high quality. United simply did not know how to keep him in check.

Pereira out of his depth

Injuries mean United's midfield options are down to the bare minimum, but Pereira may have played anyway given the trust he has been given by Solskjaer. Such was his display here, his manager's faith may not last much longer.

What's next?

These two meet in the second leg on January 29. More immediately, United host Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday, while City head to Aston Villa a day later.

Mikel Arteta tasted victory for the first time since taking charge of Arsenal after Nicolas Pepe's third league goal of the season put his side on course for a 2-0 victory over Manchester United at Emirates Stadium.

Ivory Coast international Pepe capitalised on a nervous start to the game by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, who lost for only the second time in 10 league games after failing to expose Arsenal's flaws in the way Chelsea had done in a 2-1 win on the same ground three days earlier.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos doubled Arsenal's lead just before half-time and the hosts' improvement was testament to Arteta's impact on a squad that has appeared disjointed for much of this season.

The revived performances of Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka in the Gunners' midfield will have particularly pleased the coach, who delivered Arsenal's second victory in 13 gruelling Premier League games that had seen them drop into the bottom half of the table, this result lifting them back up to 10th and offering cause for optimism at the start of 2020.

Marcus Rashford sent a shot dipping into Bernd Leno's arms from 25 yards in the first minute as United showed their threat on the break.

But Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's trickery set Sead Kolasinac free in the United box after just eight minutes and his cross deflected into the path of Pepe, who swept into the net from 12 yards to get the hosts off to an excellent start.

Pepe went agonisingly close to doubling Arsenal's lead seven minutes before half-time when David de Gea's careless clearance fell to him 20 yards out and he curled a shot onto the post with the United goalkeeper flailing.

But Arsenal kept the pressure on an embattled United defence and got their reward when Alexandre Lacazette flicked a corner into a crowd of defenders before it bounced to Sokratis, who lashed it high into the net from close range.

Fred tied his luck with a rising shot from 25 yards 10 minutes into the second half, but Leno claimed it comfortably as United struggled to create the space they needed to trouble Arsenal.

Nemanja Matic did carve out an opportunity with a clever ball into the area a few moments later but substitute Andreas Pereira hit the side-netting with his angled effort.

A foot injury to Kolasinac was the only fly in the ointment for Arsenal, who will hope this victory marks the beginning of a push towards a place in the top six that only recently looked very much beyond them.

 

What does it mean? The end of a long wait at the Emirates

Arsenal's previous home victory in the Premier League came all the way back on October 6, when they beat Bournemouth 1-0, but the way Arteta's men stuck to their task and bettered United all over the pitch will have satisfied fans as much as the result.

Attack the best form of defence for Kolasinac

Kolasinac's surging runs gave United no rest as Arsenal attacked with an extra man throughout the first half, and he kept up his all-action display down the left flank to ensure Ozil always had an option out wide.

Martial goes missing

The service directed towards him was intermittent, but when Anthony Martial did receive the ball in dangerous areas he was too often slow to react and opted to isolate himself in an advanced position rather than dropping deep to help his toiling midfield colleagues.

What's next?

Arsenal are at home again on Monday when Leeds United visit in the FA Cup, following the Red Devils' trip to Wolves in the same competition on Saturday.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed his side's ability to "grind out results" after the Red Devils survived a flurry of late Burnley chances to triumph 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.

Anthony Martial scored his third goal in two games one minute before half-time to put United ahead in a game they dominated for long periods, but hosts Burnley heaped pressure on David De Gea's goal in the final 15 minutes at Turf Moor.

A late United break produced a second goal when Daniel James played in Marcus Rashford for his 12th Premier League strike of the season and clinched a result that moved the Red Devils up to fifth in the table, just a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Solskjaer admitted his players should have put the game to bed sooner but praised their performance following back-to-back victories, describing himself as "very happy".

"In the first half I thought we were very good," said Solskjaer. "We controlled it, dominated it, scored a nice goal. Second half of course there's going to be a couple of instances in your box because they're desperate to get a goal and throwing men forward.

"We could have finished the game off really, we had some great counter-attacking chances. We should have got the second goal earlier but there was some great defending.

"It's important for us to know that we can grind out results as well, even though when you score one you don't always win. If we can get clean sheets we've got a chance to move up the table."

United travel to Emirates Stadium to play Arsenal on New Year's Day and Solskjaer called for his players to maintain the momentum that has helped them go nine matches with just one defeat in all competitions – a 2-0 reverse at Watford on December 22.

With Martial and Rashford hitting form, United will be widely backed to get a result against an Arsenal side adapting to life with a new head coach Mikel Arteta at the helm.

Solskjaer said his forwards must be less wasteful than they were against Burnley, adding: "You're always kicking yourself when you don't take your chances. There were so many great counter-attacking opportunities, when we made wrong decisions or were a little bit too slow to get the finish off, but it was an excellent performance.

"Let's see what we do against Arsenal. We want to keep that momentum going. Two wins after a disappointing game against Watford. Happy with that. Good response. The boys are learning."

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