Manchester United moved into seventh in the Premier League on Sunday, after they overcame Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 at Old Trafford.
Andreas Pereira was on hand to open the scoring, with his shot deflecting past Mat Ryan in the 17th minute. Two minutes later, the hosts had doubled their lead, with Davy Propper turning into his own goal after the visitors failed to clear a free-kick.
On 64 minutes, Brighton gave themselves a lifeline when Lewis Dunk headed home from a corner. But Marcus Rashford quickly put United back in control of the contest, continuing his excellent recent goalscoring form.
United are now nine points off the top four ahead of Manchester City's trip to Liverpool later in the day.
It was clear from the way Brighton set up early on that they were ready to play an expansive game at Old Trafford. That gave United's attacking players more space to affect the game in the final third.
At the end of a surging counter-attack, the hosts were able to take the lead, as Pereira's shot struck Dale Stephens and flew past a hapless Ryan. Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News praised the fluidity of the move:
It didn't take long for the advantage to be doubled and once again it was a Brighton player who had the final touch before the ball crossed the line.
The Seagulls were unable to clear their box after a United set piece and under pressure from Scott McTominay, Propper bustled the ball into his own net.
Per Squawka, there was a nervous wait for some Red Devils fans due to a VAR review, although eventually the goal was awarded:
As OptaJoe noted, United have been the regular beneficiaries of own goals during the Premier League era:
It meant that without playing at their absolute best, United were in a comfortable position and had chances to extend their lead before the break.
There was a sleepy start to the second half from both sides, with the slumber around Old Trafford eventually enlivened after Ryan fumbled Fred's shot onto the bar. When Dunk thudded a header home with 26 minutes remaining, there was tension in the air among the home supporters.
However, the nervousness was quickly banished. The Red Devils were able to get back on the front foot quickly through Rashford, as he finished emphatically off the crossbar after smart work from Anthony Martial. Per Statman Dave, the United forward is in red-hot form at the moment:
Quickly after, Rashford somehow missed from four yards out to completely kill the game for the home side. Luckhurst summed up the frustration of the players and the supporters:
Nevertheless, Brighton's will had been broken at this point and United were able to conjure chances at will in the final stages of the contest, with the visitors getting desperate.
While they didn't extend their lead, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have been delighted with the manner in which his side played in the final third. After a torrid start to the season, his side appear to be slowly finding their groove.
When the Premier League returns after the international break, the Red Devils will visit high-flying Sheffield United on Sunday, November 24. A day earlier, Brighton welcome Leicester City to the Amex Stadium.