Most Manchester United fans would prefer it if Marcus Rashford was rested during this stretch of matches, to avoid him aggravating his existing injuries.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels Rashford is still needed to help United seal a top four spot, and so he was in the starting line-up against Aston Villa.
United had few other options to lead the line, to be fair. Edinson Cavani was on the bench after his efforts in Rome, and Mason Greenwood was wide on the right. With Dan James ruled out along with Anthony Martial, attacking options are depleted.
This meant Rashford started the game up front, and he did his bit, showing he can be effective in doing so even if he does not score. Rashford reverted to playing out wide when Edinson Cavani came on, and linked up excellently with the Uruguayan to set up his goal.
When Rashford received the ball wide on the right, you knew his eyes were on Cavani, who was planning to dart into the centre from the left of the box.
The execution of the move was stunningly simple and effective, with Rashford floating the ball in, and Cavani evading Villa’s defence to nod it into the net.
This is not the first time the two have combined like this. The move replicated a goal scored by Cavani from a Rashford assist in the 3-3 draw against Everton earlier this year.
It demonstrated the link up Cavani is building with his teammates as the campaign goes on.
Solskjaer told United’s website: “His movement, his desire to score goals, it’s a great cross from Marcus. We’re getting to learn [about] Edinson as well and hopefully we can use him more next season.”
United’s most creative player v Villa
Rashford’s assist was one of four goalscoring chances he created in the win at Villa Park.
No United player made more key passes, with Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes both managing three each.
Now Rashford is up to 12 assists for the season, an increase on his tally of nine from 2019/20.
With his fitness not at 100 per cent, it is good to see Rashford still influencing games like this, and that’s why Solskjaer keeps on picking him.
With 20 goals to his name too, Rashford is only behind Bruno Fernandes in terms of total goal contributions.
He should get a rest this week, on Tuesday night at least. When he looks back on his 90 minutes at Villa Park, Rashford will feel like he earned it.
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