Manchester United trio Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood enjoyed a terrific 2019/20 season.
But football does not allow you to rest on your laurels. Not at a club with intense demands like Manchester United.
The 62 goals scored by the trio last season was quite something. But this year only Marcus Rashford is coming close to bettering his tally.
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
This season Rashford is on 16 goals and nine assists, Martial on seven goals and five assists, and Greenwood four goals and four assists.
In terms of assists it is very healthy. But Martial and Greenwood lag behind on the goalscoring front.
This played out in midweek against West Ham as the front three which was so prolific last season, struggled to break down the opposing defence.
United ended up calling on Edinson Cavani to try and save the day.
Cavani has had a big impact since joining United. He has seven goals so far, equal to Martial, despite only starting his first league game in December after his arrival on a free on deadline day.
The Uruguayan is now up and running, and right now he has established himself as United’s first choice centre-forward.
Solskjaer is trying to manage Cavani’s minutes sensibly. While he plays like he is 24, Cavani turns 34 next week.
Ideally United would have been able to give Cavani the night off entirely in midweek.
But the failure of Rashford, Greenwood, and Martial to break West Ham down saw Cavani called upon as a rescue act to play the final 34 minutes including extra-time.
It was Scott McTominay who ended up scoring the winner, with Cavani himself struggling in the same way as his younger teammates.
United’s trio must do it without Cavani
Greenwood, Martial and Rashford showed last season they can win games without Edinson Cavani, plenty of them.
It’s great to have Cavani available, and he is a big part of this squad. But the younger trio cannot allow the team to become dependent on him.
If this happens then Cavani suffers as he does not get the breaks he needs, and United become more predictable.
At the start of January United had to play without Cavani and earned a hard fought win against Villa and a narrow one over Watford, while losing to City.
It is important for United long term that Greenwood, Martial and Rashford seize responsibility.
Any game in which United can rest Cavani entirely and let the young guns step up is a bonus from Solskjaer’s perspective as he delicately balances the squad’s fitness on a week to week basis.
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