MANCHESTER, England — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has lost his first game as Manchester United manager as Rennes became the first team outside the top five in the English Premier League to defeat his new club on Saturday.
English champion Chelsea eased to a 2-0 win over Southampton and Everton slid to a 3-0 defeat at Burnley.
Third-placed Arsenal moved two points clear of the drop zone with a 2-0 win at Huddersfield.
United went ahead in the 27th minute when Scott McTominay nodded in Juan Mata’s cross, but wasteful finishing by Marcus Rashford and substitute Alexis Sanchez from close range saw the victory slip away.
Rochinha was not out at full strength for United, but that did not stop Rennes exploiting a host of defensive frailties by getting back into the game through Romain Saiss’ 69th-minute goal and Ayoub El Kaabi’s 87th-minute strike.
United was closer to levelling the match with two late efforts by Marcus Rashford that were blocked by Rennes goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha.
Solskjaer is coming off six years as an assistant to former United manager Alex Ferguson. He replaced Jose Mourinho on Aug. 6 and enjoyed an impressive start, losing only once in all competitions, at Cardiff City in the league.
“It’s a long season and the players must believe in the work the manager has put together and be better than that,” Solskjaer said. “It is a difficult loss but there is room for improvement from the last match. We are disappointed and rightly so. In the first half we made far too many mistakes. It was a tough night.”
Rashford’s substitute appearance could not save United. Image by: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
Solskjaer was unhappy with the way his side was hit by several injuries in the first half, with Sanchez feeling a recurrence of the thigh injury that kept him out of training until Friday. But it proved to be a single factor as McTominay doubled United’s lead from a Mata corner and Rashford had a late penalty appeal waved away after being tripped in the area by Marius Zaliukas.
Chelsea was as smooth in pursuit of its third league win of the season as it was in dismantling South coast rival Southampton.
Robert Huth gave the Blues a 19th-minute lead at Stamford Bridge, and Eden Hazard doubled the advantage just before halftime, bursting through the middle of the Southampton defense before burying his effort past goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
Soon after the break, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg crossed for Hazard to grab his first of the season, tapping home his 20th goal in 34 league appearances for the club.
“It was our first clean sheet in the league this season,” Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri said. “It’s a very, very important thing for us, but we need to improve now and the match against (Jose) Mourinho’s team will be very important to help the team to improve.”
Burnley’s Andre Gray celebrates after scoring his side’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Everton at Turf Moor on Saturday. Image by: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Everton, despite some first-half promise, faded and conceded a second to Ashley Barnes just before the hour mark, and Will Keane bundled in a third in stoppage time.
Substitute Wayne Rooney drew Everton back into the game with an equalizer, before Michael Keane made sure of the three points for Burnley.
Arsenal and Huddersfield played out a tense goalless draw at the John Smith’s Stadium, with Arsenal winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan missing an early chance before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sent his side’s best chance wide.
“We managed to play much better in the second half and were always going to look more in control,” Arsenal manager Unai Emery said. “We pressed well and we deserved a victory. We are very satisfied and I’m happy with the performance.”