EFL Cup: Rashford doubles propels United into quarterfinals

Marcus Rashford's two goals sent Manchester United into the last eight of the EFL Cup at the expense of Chelsea.

Marcus Rashford (L) leads Manchester United celebrations against Chelsea   -  Getty Images

Manchester United moved into the EFL Cup quarterfinals with a 2-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

A penalty and a spectacular free-kick from Marcus Rashford sealed a third away win in a row in all competitions for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

Michy Batshuayi had drawn Chelsea level but Rashford struck in sublime fashion just as the home side looked to be building momentum, inflicting a first defeat on Frank Lampard's side since the 2-1 loss to Liverpool on September 22.

Scott McTominay, booked for an early lunge on Mateo Kovacic, whistled a shot just wide from Daniel James' corner 13 minutes in.

United was growing in confidence and Rashford broke the deadlock with a firmly struck spot-kick in the 25th minute after Marcos Alonso had rather clumsily bundled into the back of Daniel James.

Callum Hudson-Odoi had a quiet first half but should have levelled the scores five minutes into the second, the winger failing to connect properly with Alonso's low cross with the goal at his mercy.

Hudson-Odoi fired over before Batshuayi showed him how it should be done, racing away from Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof and blasting a low shot past Sergio Romero from outside the box.

Solskjaer responded by bringing on Anthony Martial and Andreas Pereira in a tactical shift, but it was Rashford who settled the contest 73 minutes in with a sensational 30-yard free-kick that swerved beyond the helpless Willy Caballero.

 

What does it mean? Momentum building again under Solskjaer

Manchester United has found its groove back following the 1-1 draw against Liverpool.   -  Getty Images

 

This has been the most encouraging 10 days for Solskjaer since his stunning run of results midway through last season that landed him the post on a full-time basis. A draw with Liverpool and now three consecutive away wins have gone a long way towards restoring some confidence at Old Trafford.

It means United head into Thursday's quarter-final draw, while Chelsea will look to get back on track promptly in the Premier League, having seen a seven-game winning run in all competitions come to an end.

Rashford spot on

Manchester United celebrate a goal from Marcus Rashford (L)   -  Getty Images

 

Rashford scored twice in the 4-0 Premier League defeat of Chelsea in August and showed a clinical touch again at Stamford Bridge.

His first was a penalty taken with much more conviction than the one he saw saved against Norwich City, while his second was a quite stunning free-kick that will have evoked memories of Cristiano Ronaldo in a red shirt.

Pulisic back off the boil

Christian Pulisic could be overlooked by Frank Lampard during cruch fixtures.   -  Getty Images

 

Christian Pulisic fully deserved to start after his hat-trick against Burnley, but his 70 minutes on the pitch yielded little to trouble United's back line.

Key Opta facts

- Chelsea has lost three games at Stamford Bridge in all competitions in 2019-20, one more than it did in the whole of the 2018-19 campaign.
- Manchester United has recorded back-to-back away wins at Chelsea for the first time since February 1998 and won seven of its past eight EFL Cup matches against Premier League opposition.
- Rashford has scored five goals against Chelsea across all competitions; his most against a single opponent in his club career.
- Since Solskjaer's first game in charge on December 22nd, Manchester United has taken more penalties (17) and scored more penalties (12) than any other Premier League team in all competitions.
- Batshuayi equaled his longest scoring streak for Chelsea across all competitions, having netted in three consecutive games for the third time for the Blues, previously doing so in May and September 2017.
- Chelsea (24y 166d) named its youngest starting XI in an EFLCup fixture since October 2012, which was also against Manchester United (24y 7d).

What's next?

Chelsea travels to Watford in the Premier League on Saturday, with United heading to Bournemouth earlier on the same day.

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