Manchester United’s strikers showed the devastation they are capable of with a crushing win of RB Leipzig.
Marcus Rashford scored a 16 minute hat-trick from the bench, while Mason Greenwood netted his first ever Champions League goal, and Anthony Martial scored his first goal of the season.
Rashford has seven goals this season already, while Greenwood and Martial are just warming up.
What they did last season was pretty special, scoring 62 goals between them in all competitions. What made their figures even more impressive was that all three of them had spells out of the side, either through injury, or being held back in Greewood’s case at first.
Manchester United’s front three in 2019/20
- Marcus Rashford
22 goals and 7 assists
- Anthony Martial
23 goals and 6 assists
- Mason Greenwood
17 goals and 2 assists
Now add Edinson Cavani into the mix
Last season’s front three were prolific. The figures compared well but not quite well enough to United’s 2007/8 goalscorers.
Ronaldo scored 42, Carlos Tevez 19, and Wayne Rooney 18.
But there are parallels to the way United followed this up by signing Dimitar Berbatov, to adding Edinson Cavani into the mix.
Cavani has scored more than 300 goals across his career and is a lethal player to add into the mix.
He had the ball in the back of the net against Leipzig, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Even so, it showed how dangerous he is, with this coming from one of just three touches he had during his limited time on the pitch.
If all four forwards play their part, this has the potential to be United’s best quartet since 2009.
For reference, Ronaldo scored 26, Rooney 20, Tevez 15 and Berbatov 14.
This was 72 in total, seven fewer than the trio of Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez scored a year earlier, and you can make the case that this quartet underachieved numbers-wise, despite winning the league title.
Keeping all four happy was a delicate balancing act, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to bear this in mind with this current quartet.
So far United’s front four have netted 10 goals combined this season, with Cavani yet to really get started.
The surface has just been scratched on what this quartet are capable of, and it would not be a surprise to see them surpass the 72 netted by United’s 2008/09 quartet. The key too is also winning silverware to match individual and collective records.
Records in between
Having four strong strikers able to contribute has been the goal ever since United’s 1998/99 treble success. And it has been difficult to replicate.
Greenwood, Rashford and Martial became the first trio of strikers to all reach double figures last season since 2010/11.
This saw Wayne Rooney (16 goals) Dimitar Berbatov (21) and Javier Hernandez (20) all play their roles in a title win to score 57 combined, five fewer than United’s top trio last season.
The 2012/13 season saw Robin van Persie come in and inspire United, scoring 30 goals, to add to 18 from Wayne Rooney and 16 from Chicharito.
This was 64 in total, but United lacked a fourth goalscorer, with young prospect Danny Welbeck netting once. If making a direct comparison, then Edinson Cavani is a clear upgrade here.
On paper, United had the talent in 2014/15 to excel under Louis van Gaal, with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, and Radamel Falcao, but it did not work out, with the trio scoring just 28 goals combined.
United’s latest crop of strikers are at different stages of their careers.
Rashford, Greenwood and Martial are all young and on the rise, while Cavani is not coming off a major injury like Falcao, and has a point to prove.
This United team has serious strength up front and there is a wealth of creative talent behind them too, with Bruno Fernandes, Juan Mata, Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba. Odion Ighalo is also hanging around until January too and can chip in if required.
Considering the 62 goals scored by United’s young trio last season, and Cavani’s arrival, it is no exaggeration to say this is now United’s most dangerous frontline quartet in 11 years, before the 2009 side was broken up with Ronaldo and Tevez’s departures.
Now all four just need to stay fit and play up to their potential. If they can outscore the 72 goals combined in 2008/09, we may be on our way to winning silverware.
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