Three goals scored, none conceded, a sixth place acquired and a great impression left in the game: Manchester United's Sunday could not be brighter, at the heart of a season which has not spared it in torments. The Red Devils have had a second success in the space of four days, after that acquired on Thursday in added time at Wolverhampton (4-3), which allows them to count 38 points, two more than West Ham and six more than less than Tottenham, fifth.
At home, the Mancuniens took the lead with a nice sequence from Rasmus Hojlund, left hook and right strike (23rd, 1-0). On his 21st birthday, the Danish striker became the youngest Manchester United player to score in four consecutive Premier League matches, a run which began on Boxing Day against Aston Villa.
Before this click on December 26, the center forward who arrived from Atlanta Bergamo this summer had failed to find the net during his first 14 matches in the English championship. At half-time, West Ham were forced to make a goalkeeper change. The Frenchman Alphonse Areola, touched by his partner Kurt Zouma in the first period, gave way to Lukasz Fabianski.
The Polish veteran, 38, was wrong-footed by a deflected shot from Alejandro Garnacho (49th, 2-0), then he lost again to the 19-year-old Argentine winger (84th, 3-0). “A month ago, there was a lot of talk about the two of us (with Garnacho, editor's note) not scoring enough, but we are both young and have grown every day. You can see the connection between us,” noted Hojlund on Sky Sports.
If Manchester United has found a smile again, it is the soup of grimaces on the side of Chelsea, another extremely wealthy Premier League club, stuck in a difficult season. The Londoners were knocked down 4-2 at home by Wolverhampton, who pushed them back to eleventh place, four days after having already suffered a defeat and four goals at leader Liverpool (4-1).
However, the meeting started well for the locals at Stamford Bridge, taking the lead thanks to Cole Palmer (19th), served by Moises Caicedo. Last summer's attacking signing scored his tenth league goal of the season, having scored none in a Manchester City shirt. He is the first player aged 21 or under, in the entire history of Chelsea, to reach this total in the same Premier League season.
But his performance was largely overshadowed by Matheus Cunha's hat-trick (22nd, 63rd, 82nd) and by a shot from Rayan Ait-Nouri deflected into his goal by French defender Axel Disasi (43rd). The Brazilian Thiago Silva (86th, 4-2) softened the blow a little at the end of the game.
In the other part of the afternoon, Bournemouth finished at ten and with only one point against Nottingham Forest (1-1), which keeps the Cherries in twelfth place with one point more than Fulham (but with one more match to replay against Luton). Former Strasbourg goalkeeper and captain Matz Sels conceded his first goal after less than five minutes in the Forest jersey, ahead of Justin Kluivert (5th, 1-0). Callum Hudson-Odoi equalized (45th, 1-1) for the 16th in the championship.