Luiz sent off, 10-man Arsenal draw at Chelsea with late Bellerin goal
MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is offering no assurances that Marcus Rashford will return from a back injury before the end of the season and said only that the club will give the striker as much time as is necessary to recover.
Rashford has suffered a stress fracture in his back and predictions for his comeback have ranged from six weeks to three months. But asked directly at a news conference on Tuesday whether it was possible Rashford may not play again this season, Solskjaer did not rule it out.
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"Marcus is going to get as long as he needs to get fit," Solskjaer said. "We are not going to risk him when he has had an injury.
"I have got the best medical staff in the country and I am sure when Marcus comes back he will be 100 percent fit."
Solskjaer has faced criticism for the way he handled Rashford's injury with former Arsenal striker Ian Wright having said the United boss "thought about himself before the player" when deciding to field the 22-year-old against Wolves in the FA Cup third round replay.
Rashford was injured in a collision with Wolves defender Matt Doherty during the game which United won 1-0 but Solskjaer is adamant the forward wanted to play.
"I never put myself before the team," Solskjaer said when asked about Wright's comments. "I always put the team and the club before anything else.
"What we've discussed before here with Marcus, he's had minor discomfort in his back since the Burnley game. That's maybe three weeks before this game?
"We've had scans, we've monitored him. There's not been any injury there. He's had complaints, yeah. I had a discussion and conversation with him the day before or two days before. 'FA Cup, I'm going to rest you'.
"He felt fine. He was very, very adamant that if needed he could at least do half an hour because we want to go through in the cup because it's a big tournament for us. That just shows you Marcus's attitude.
"He looked very free and when I asked him if it was OK to be on the bench, no problem. He wanted to come on. It's just one of those unfortunate things."
Rashford's workload has increased this season after United sanctioned the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to Inter Milan without signing a replacement. It has left Rashford, Anthony Martial and 18-year-old Mason Greenwood as the only recognised strikers in the squad but Solskjaer stood by the decisions made in the summer, even in the wake of Rashford's inury.
"As I've said so many times before, we didn't find the right one for the right price," Solskjaer said. "Of course we knew we were a forward light when Romelu went and Alexis went, but you'll not see Anthony, Marcus and Mason do as well as they've done unless you give them the chance to play.
"Harry Hindsight, he's quite clever. That's the thing. We've got to make decisions there and then on what we believe in, and I still stick with that."
Chelsea and Arsenal shared the points in an enthralling London derby that ended 2-2 at Stamford Bridge.
The visitors went behind in disastrous fashion in the 28th minute when Shkodran Mustafi's poor backpass was pounced on by Tammy Abraham, before the Chelsea forward rounded Bernd Leno and was brought down by David Luiz.
Jorginho slotted home the resulting penalty after Luiz was shown a straight red card, but Arsenal rallied in the second half and got themselves level thanks to a superb Gabriel Martinelli goal. Then, after Chelsea thought they won it with a Cesar Azpilicueta tap-in, Hector Bellerin snatched a point in the 87th minute with a skidding effort from the edge of the box.
After going down to 10-men, Arsenal looked surprisingly solid defensively with Granit Xhaka as a makeshift centre-back and restricted their opponents to very little in the way of genuine goal scoring chances. Martinelli's stock looks set to rise even further following his excellent equaliser.
Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, Stamford Bridge was the scene for yet another instalment of the 'Mustafi Show,' and his calamitous error must surely be the final nail in the coffin for his Gunners career.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- It was a brave decision from Mikel Arteta not to directly replace the departed Luiz by bringing Rob Holding on for Martinelli, but he was rewarded with a brave second half display that will provide the coaching team with plenty of encouragement.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Bernd Leno, 6 -- The goalkeeper was well beaten by Jorginho's accurate penalty, but the German was excellent with almost everything else he faced, before being taken by surprise by an instinctive Azpilicueta finish.
DF Bukayo Saka, 6 -- The youngster looked set for a tough evening after a difficult early examination from Callum Hudson-Odoi, but stuck to his task at left-back and began to manage the threat, whilst looking to get forward and combine with Martinelli.
DF David Luiz, 5 -- His return to Stamford Bridge came to an early end after he bundled over Abraham in the box and was duly red-carded for stopping an obvious goal scoring opportunity as he was the last man.
DF Shkodran Mustafi, 4 -- The centre-back looked nervous in possession in the opening 25 minutes, before a total horror show saw him dreadfully underhit a back pass to let in Abraham on the way to Luiz's red card and Chelsea's penalty. He didn't let it get to him after that, but it was still a poor showing.
DF Hector Bellerin, 7 -- Arsenal's most reliable defender on the night and, just over a year after suffering a serious knee injury against the same opponents, the Spaniard struck a lovely left-footed shot into the far corner to scrape a point for his side.
MF Granit Xhaka, 7 -- Unable to get his foot on the ball and dictate play as Chelsea overcrowded him and poured forward in midfield, he dropped in at centre-back after Luiz's early dismissal and looked surprisingly accomplished.
MF Lucas Torreira, 6 -- The more effective of the Arsenal double midfield pivot when it came to breaking up Chelsea attacks, Torreira looked keen to instigate a high press in the second half as his side grew in belief.
MF Gabriel Martinelli, 7 -- It was an energetic display that has typified the 18-year-old's bright start to his Arsenal career and, following a stroke of luck when N'Golo Kante's slipped, the Brazilian showed great composure to sprint through on goal and place the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga to make the score 1-1. Replaced by Joe Willock in the closing stages.
MF Mesut Ozil, 5 -- It was another desperately disappointing showing from a player who is capable of so much more when he's in the mood. The Arsenal No. 10 never looked up for the fight and an anonymous performance came to an end in the 55th minute when he was replaced by Matteo Guendouzi
MF Nicolas Pepe, 6 -- Another one of those performances that saw the talented Ivorian show flashes of skill that gave you the impression that he could be about to do something special, but he didn't quite follow it up with a telling final ball. Replaced by Holding for the final nine minutes.
FW Alexandre Lacazette, 5 -- The former Lyon man cut an isolated figure as Chelsea dominated possession, and his evening became even more arduous after Luiz's red card. Outside of the penalty area it's difficult to see what the forward offers.
Matteo Guendouzi, 6 -- Yellow-carded for cynically bringing down Chelsea sub Mason Mount as he raced into the Arsenal half, but the Arsenal man helped give his side some much-needed composure and control in midfield.
Rob Holding, N/A -- Unable to keep Chelsea out in his short cameo, but helped secure the draw.
Joe Willock, N/A -- Not enough time to get into the game.