Manchester United ended the season with a 14-match unbeaten run to clinch a third place finish.
Along the way it was tough 38 game season which saw United net a total of 66 goals.
This was not prolific, City managed 102, yet it is notable that the build-from-the-back philosophy Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was trying to implement eventually came good.
United’s players linked up with each other effectively, and the goals scored column was still the fifth best in the Premier League.
It is notable that United’s players registered four of the top 20 assist to goalscorer combinations in the Premier League, according to WhoScored.
Four assist to goalscorer combinations which clicked
Marcus Rashford to Anthony Martial (5): United’s modern day answer to Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, Rashford and Martial have linked up with deadly combinations. Martial showed he can turn supplier too, setting up Rashford for a recent goal against Southampton.
Dan James to Marcus Rashford (4): A surprise name on this list if you watched him in 2020, Dan James was actually effective in the first half of the season. He linked up especially well with Rashford, with four of James’ six assists being scored by the forward.
Bruno Fernandes to Anthony Martial (3): Martial and Fernandes showed an instant connection after the mid-season signing joined up in late February. Martial benefitted from three of Fernandes’ seven assists, while this combination of pass to runner also won the crucial penalty against Leicester.
Andreas Pereira to Anthony Martial (3): Andreas Pereira has his limitations but linking up with Martial was not one of them. This was a connection which even showed up back in pre-season last year. It will have been frustrating for Pereira not to get a chance after lockdown, with Martial on fire.
Martial key to United’s link up play
What becomes very obvious here is the effectiveness of Anthony Martial in linking up with his teammates.
His clever movement, passing and pace makes him an ideal centre-forward for United and a player who teammates enjoy playing alongside.
Martial makes Marcus Rashford a better player, and helped Fernandes. He was even responsible for all three of Andreas Pereira’s assists.
Next season he will be just as important and United need to continue to surround him with top talent.
With six assists of his own spread around the team, Martial’s contribution works both ways too.
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