Another stunning weekend of Premier League action. Leicester City continued their relentless march towards the title, but Tottenham Hotspur are hot on their heels.
The one good thing you can say about Manchester United’s much criticised Louis van Gaal is that he has never been afraid to blood youngsters. No less than 11 have stepped up from the academy during his tenure and this has always been part of the Dutch manager’s philosophy.
And that bravery has paid off big style with the emergence of teenager Marcus Rashford.
A week ago most football fans probably including most United fans wouldn’t have known who he was – they do now after two goals and an assist in the 3-2 weekend victory over Arsenal to follow a double on his debut against FC Midtjylland in the Europa Cup.
The Van Gaal regime was criticised at the start of the Premier League season for, despite the millions spent in the transfer market, failing to land a proven striker to back up Wayne Rooney while letting go the likes of Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez.
It is one reason they are only fifth in the division and in grave danger of missing out on a Champions League place.
But it gave Jesse Lingard an opportunity which he has largely taken and, with Rooney injured, Rashford has suddenly announced himself. Both look real prospects for the future.
For Arsenal, the reverse gives further ammunition for those who say the Emirates Stadium side always fold around this time, lacking the mental resolve to snatch the title.
Now five points behind leaders Leicester history seems to be repeating itself – it is all very good playing pretty football but you need to be able to put your foot on the throat of your rivals when it matters.
Rashford steered in a loose ball for the opener then headed in three minutes later. Danny Welbeck, once an Old Trafford favourite yet offloaded by United, nodded Arsenal back into the game, but Rashford picked out Ander Herrera whose shot was deflected in.
Mesut Ozil’s volley gave Arsenal hope, but United held on. It was the Red Devils’ first win in three Premier League games.
Tottenham Hotspur stay in the hunt for the Premier League title
Tottenham Hotspur, who have not won the league title since 1961, moved back to within two points of Leicester after battling back from behind at White Hart Lane to beat a dogged Swansea side.
Like Arsenal, Spurs flatter to deceive and typically are found wanting, but not this year, hope the faithful. Mauricio Pochettino has injected a tough streak into his young side and they have a great chance of glory.
Alberto Paloschi gave the visitors the lead after Angel Rangel’s shot fell to him via team-mate Jack Cork.
Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski made a series of superb saves, before Nacer Chadli deflected in Kyle Walker’s shot to equalise and then Danny Rose notched the winner after Swansea failed to clear a corner.
Tottenham have won 17 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, the most in the division.
Chelsea remain unbeaten in the Premier League under Gus Hiddink
The Chelsea revival continued with a 2-1 away victory over Southampton.
Stamford Bridge manager Guus Hiddink managed Southampton counterpart Ronald Koeman when the pair won the European Cup with PSV Eindhoven in 1988.
And the Old Master put one over his pupil. An impressive Chelsea comeback after conceding against a team who had not let in a goal in six games. The Blues remain unbeaten in Hiddink’s 11 league games since he took over from Jose Mourinho.
Shane Long pounced on a Baba Rahman blunder before clipping a shot over keeper Thibaut Courtois.
But the visitors equalised when a Cesc Fabregas cross deceived Fraser Forster, his first goal conceded in 708 minutes of Premier League action. And Chelsea finished strongly with Branislav Ivanovic heading in from a Willian corner.
It leaves Chelsea in 11th, 12 points off relegation and 11 from a Champion’s League place.
You would never have believed the 2014/15 champions would produce such an indifferent defence of their Premier League title.