Assist numbers show Manchester United's stars have failed to find connection with Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 22nd goal of the season for Manchester United, his 16th in the Premier League this season.

The strike at the weekend took his career goals in Premier League up to 100, and for this, Manchester United’s club website did a break down of the teammates who provided him the most assists.

These were Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs, with eight each. 13 of Ronaldo’s 100 goals were penalties, with 12 free-kicks.

What the breakdown also showed, is that Ronaldo’s current United teammates have failed to find a winning connection with the iconic number 7.

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Ronaldo is on his own wavelength

United should thrive on good combinations in attacking play. This is what helped the team in 2019/20 when Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford scored 62 goals combined.

This season Ronaldo is the only player in the entire team who has scored into double figures. This shows a dysfunctional attack.

What’s more, is Ronaldo has been doing it with scant little help. It is not like there is one player who has struck up a connection with him and provided half of his goals.

Here is a look at who has provided the assists for Ronaldo’s Premier League goals, where there was an assist.

  • Alex Telles (2)
  • Bruno Fernandes (1)
  • Luke Shaw (1)
  • Jadon Sancho (1)
  • Marcus Rashford (1)
  • Anthony Elanga (1)
  • Fred (1)
  • Nemanja Matic (1)
  • Scott McTominay (1)

For context, Edwin van der Sar has as many Premier League assists for Ronaldo as Bruno Fernandes does (1).

United’s players should look at this list and be disappointed, embarrassed even. While perhaps it is a positive the assists are spread around, this would be more encouraging if two or three players had three each, rather than several with one.

It shows Ronaldo is doing what he can with what he gets, rather than finding a true connection with a teammate on his wavelength.

Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Off the pitch he is great pals with Diogo Dalot, but his fellow Portuguese has not provided him with a single league assist yet.

Fernandes will be most disappointed. While he has two more assists for Ronaldo in the Champions League, their connection just has not ignited in the Premier League, and this is frustrating, considering how they already knew each other from international level.

Luke Shaw’s assist came on Ronaldo’s season debut against Newcastle, and this showed some promise. But the pair have not been able to build on it.

Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho have just one assist each for Ronaldo. They will look back on that and be disappointed they have not struck up more of an on-pitch connection with one of the all-time greats.

This season the top scorer to assist combination in the league is five, with Harry Kane setting up Heung Min Son for five goals. They set an all-time league record with 37 goals and assists combined to each other, earlier this season. United and Ronaldo don’t have anything like this link-up.

Next manager Erik ten Hag will aim to make United more cohesive in attack, more functional, with combinations which work. If that involves Ronaldo, which it seems like it may for 2022/23, the players will need to strike up better partnerships than the non-existent ones we have seen this season.

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