Man United edge closer to top 4; Chelsea end slide

Sports Desk, Dec 27 (EFE).- Manchester United dominated Nottingham Forest 3-0 Tuesday to go just a point behind Tottenham Hotspur in the scrap for fourth place in the Premier League.

The Red Devils picked up where they left off before the World Cup and showed no signs of missing Cristiano Ronaldo in their first league contest since the club and the five-time Ballon d’Or agreed to part ways.

Playing in front of their supporters at Old Trafford, United had 66 percent possession and put 8 shots on target to 3 for promoted Forest.

United improved to 29 points and have a game in hand over Spurs, who had to come from behind Monday to secure a draw with Brentford. Nottingham Forest remain second-from-bottom on 13 points.

Both clubs came into the game fresh off victories last week that saw them advance to the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup, but Forest conceded twice in the space of three minutes to give themselves a steep mountain to climb.

Seconds after winning their first corner on a rainy night in Manchester, United took the lead in the 19th minute.

Executing what was clearly a prepared play, Christian Eriksen rolled the ball to Marcus Rashford on the 11-yard line and the England striker beat Forest keeper Wayne Hennessey with a fine one-touch shot.

Rashford followed up his 10th marker in 21 appearances this season with an assist on Anthony Martial’s goal in the 22nd minute.

Forest thought they had cut the deficit to 2-1 in the 42nd minute, but the VAR reviewed determined that the header from Ryan Yates hit the foot of teammate Willy Boly – who was offside – before going in to the net and the goal was disallowed.

Hennessey made three stops in the second half and Forest forced a save from United keeper David De Gea before Fred assured the hosts of all 3 points with a goal in the 87th minute.

Earlier Tuesday in London, Chelsea put together a solid performance against Bournemouth to win for only the second time in their last six matches in all competitions, a slump that included three straight losses in the Premier League.

The 2-0 triumph lifted the Blues to 24 points, the same as Brighton & Hove Albion, but the Seagulls are seventh – one better than Chelsea – in the table thanks to goal difference.

Bournemouth are 15th with 16 points.

Chelsea coach Graham Potter made eight changes to the lineup from the last league game before the break. Armando Broja, N’Golo Kante, Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell and Ruben Loftus-Cheek remain sidelined by injury, while Croatia’s Mateo Kovacevic and Hakim Ziyech of Morocco are still recuperating from their exertions at the World Cup.

The Blues seized the momentum early on and Kai Havertz put the hosts ahead in the 16th minute with an assist from Raheem Sterling.

The German striker set up Mason Mount to make it 2-0 in the 24th and US international Christian Pulisic added to Chelsea’s advantage late in the first half, only to see the goal disallowed for a foul in the buildup.

Cherries keeper Mark Travers made a pair of fine stops just before the break and would go on to deny Chelsea several more times in the second period as Kepa dealt easily with the few chances created by Bournemouth. EFE apa/dr

Related Articles

Back to top button