A four-way title fight was looking likely in February 2016 as surprise packages Leicester City continued to lead the way. Giving chase were north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, plus pre-season title favourites Manchester City.
Leicester had beaten Norwich City the previous day with a late winner from Leonardo Ulloa. Arsenal had to respond when they went to Old Trafford to take on a young and inexperienced Manchester United. Decimated by injuries to main forwards, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay, United boss Louis van Gaal was forced to put his trust in the academy. He gave a Premier League debut to Marcus Rashford.
Rashford had only made his first-team bow three days earlier, scoring twice in a UEFA Europa League tie against FC Midtjylland of Denmark. His Premier League debut was simply stunning. He opened the scoring on 29 minutes, steering the ball past Petr Cech after Arsenal defender Gabriel failed to clear a cross. Three minutes later, the centre-backs went missing again as Rashford was given all the time in the world to guide Jesse Lingard’s cross into the net. In 35 minutes, he’d had just two touches in the opposition box and they had just produced a huge dent in Arsenal’s title aspirations.
Marcus’ brilliant day wasn’t done yet. He set-up the third goal for Ander Herrera in the second half as Van Gaal’s side put in one of their more rousing displays of the season to win 3-2.
A week earlier, only those seriously connected to Manchester United had heard of Marcus Rashford. By the end of February 2016, the whole world knew who he was after an incredible few days in his footballing career.