Five-star Man Utd Thrash Bournemouth To Climb Into Top Four

Greenwood, Rashford from the penalty spot, and Martial's teenage phenomenon hit back half-time.
Marcus Rashford (centre) scored for the first time since January [Credits: Dave Thompson]

Manchester United started with another destructive attacking performance in the top four of the Premier League as they thrashed Bournemouth 5-2 with Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes doing the damage on Saturday.

Another poor day for Bournemouth brought the Cherries closer to returning to the Championship as they remain stuck in the bottom three after taking a shock lead by Junior Stanislas at Old Trafford.

Greenwood, Rashford from the penalty spot, and Martial's teenage phenomenon hit back half-time.

Former United forward Josh King's penalty gave visitors hope early in the second half, but for the first time since 2011 in a Premier League game, another thumping finish from Greenwood and a Fernandes trademark free-kick gave United five goals at Old Trafford.

The victory puts Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men in fourth position a point above Chelsea as they continued an undefeated streak that stretched back to 16 games in January.

United had kept 11 clean sheets without loss in their previous 15 matches, but defensive lapses have been the only blight for Solskjaer on another rewarding afternoon.

Harry Maguire and David de Gea were to blame for the only points the Red Devils lost after the beginning of the Premier League in a 1-1 draw at Tottenham.

Both were guilty as Stanislas nutmegged the world's most expensive defender and then fired in on De Gea 's near post entirely against the 16 minute run of play.

This time, the mistakes were not as costly as Greenwood, Martial and Rashford's blossoming front three quickly turned the game around.

Greenwood's star is rising rapidly and the 18-year-old blasted Fernandes' pass home to get United back on track.

The hosts were then gifted a second by handball inside the area from Adam Smith and Fernandes stepped aside to let Rashford net for the first time since January.

Martial completed the package with a spectacular shot from outside the box to go for the first time in his career to cross 20 goals in a season.

The game appeared to be over at the break but Bournemouth was presented with a path back into the game by a poor start from United.

At half-time, Eric Bailly substituted Victor Lindelof and the Ivorian managed a loose pass from Nemanja Matic as he sought charge.

Josh King, who was a United target in January when Solskjaer looked desperately for cover for the then-injured Rashford, dispatched the penalty and seconds later Bournemouth had the ball in the net again only for Arnaut Danjuma to be flagged offside.

Like in the first half, the response from United has been swift and emphatic. Greenwood smashed his 15th goal of the season at home with his reportedly weaker right foot to restore a two-goal lead.

"He's a fantastic goalscorer," added Solskjaer. "Especially the second one, you know he's got a left foot to come inside, now defenders will have to think about the outside as well because he can score with his right."

The signing of Fernandes has been the catalyst to United's turnaround before and after a three-month stoppage due to the coronavirus lockdown and the Portuguese midfielder took his tally to seven goals in 14 games by hooking a free-kick in at Aaron Ramsdale's near post.

Rashford also had another goal ruled out for offside, but United were happy to settle for five as they moved into the top four for the first time since September.

Bournemouth remain second bottom and without a point in four games since the Premier League's restart.