Manchester United continued their surge up the table with a derby day comeback against rivals Manchester City thanks to Marcus Rashford’s latest goal to add to his collection.
After beginning the season with back-to-back losses in Erik ten Hag’s first two games to sit bottom of the Premier League, United have won 12 of their last 16 games to close the gap on second place City to just a point.
While United would undoubtedly be happy with a top four finish, one eye will surely be on the top of the table after the derby win took United to six points behind leaders Arsenal, albeit with a game in hand for the Gunners.
The dramatic turnaround in form is largely down to the goals of Rashford as he scored for the seventh game running to take his tally to 16 for the season, having netted just five times in the previous campaign.
The 25-year-old’s form mirrors the reversal in United’s fortunes under Ten Hag, with United notching their 21st win of the campaign in their 27th game after only winning 20 times in 49 matches in the whole of last season.
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United have also picked up more points than any other Premier League side since their win over Liverpool in August and there is a genuine chance that they could pose a real threat to leaders Arsenal if their form continues into the second half of the season.
Rashford rewarded with new lease on life – and a new contract
Few would have predicted such a u-turn after United’s dismal start to the season and many suggested that Ten Hag would have been out of a job by now after the 4-0 defeat to Brentford in August.
But the Dutchman has inspired his players and changed the team’s culture in a short space of time, with the handling of the Cristiano Ronaldo saga proving the credentials of a manager who will stop at nothing to do the best for the club.
However, arguably no player has benefited more from Ten Hag’s arrival than Rashford and the England international has now become an integral star who United must build around, starting by handing him a new, long-term contract.
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United will take up their option to extend Rashford’s contract until 2024 but Paris Saint-Germain are among the sides monitoring the situation and the forward’s prolific form will have only increased the interest in his services.
Ten Hag’s side finally look competent and could even feasibly end the season as champions – the club now need to build on the positive atmosphere by rewarding a player who has become an embodiment of everything the club wishes to achieve.