Marcus Rashford, after being axed from the starting line-up for oversleeping and missing a team meeting, stepped off the bench to score the winner with just under 15 minutes of normal time left on the clock. His 11th goal of the campaign was enough to lift the Reds into the top four for the first time this season.
It moved them into fourth place, two points clear of Tottenham Hotspur, and just four points behind cross-city rivals Manchester City, who dropped points at home to Everton later in the day. The Reds, however, will drop back out of the top four if Spurs beat Aston Villa on New Year&aposs Day afternoon.
Such is the nature of the busy and relentless festive period, United are back in action again as soon as Tuesday night, welcoming Bournemouth to Old Trafford. That will mark a run of three home matches in their next four Premier League fixtures.
With United continuing to make progress under Erik ten Hag, and the battle for Champions League qualification becoming tighter and tighter, MEN Sport has taken a close look at United&aposs next six league fixtures in comparison to those of the teams that are expected to challenge them for a place in Europe&aposs premier club competition come the end of the campaign.
VERDICT: With four home games in their next six, this upcoming period is one of opportunism for United. Aside from the clashes with City and Arsenal, they will enter four of their next six games as the favourites to scoop maximum points.
Old Trafford has been turned back into a fortress under Ten Hag, meaning United should have the confidence of getting maximum points from their clashes with Bournemouth, Palace and Leicester, while believing they can derail City&aposs title hopes. Ten points from those four home games would be acceptable, not that there is anything to suggest they could not scoop all 12, given they have already beaten Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at home this season.
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