Marcus Rashford looks like a man on a mission and after hitting a purple patch of form, Manchester United’s number 10 is on track to produce his best goalscoring season since bursting on the scene.
It was all doom and gloom surrounding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side after the Newcastle United defeat, but since the international break, United and Rashford in particular look a completely different proposition.
Before the game against Liverpool, United looked like a team in crisis, struggling to cope with injuries to key players, a team drained of confidence and a striker leading their line that looked beaten before the match had even started.
Rashford was playing through the pain barrier and cut an isolated figure, he missed his striking partner Anthony Martial, but since that goal for England in Bulgaria, which broke his open play goal drought, Rashford who celebrates his 22nd birthday today looks arguably better than ever before.
His goals in the 2-1 victory in the Carabao Cup away to Chelsea show how much belief is running through his veins right now.
When Daniel James was clumsily fouled by Marcos Alonso, there was no doubt in Rashford’s mind about shying away from the responsibility, despite being up against one of the penalty savers around in Willy Caballero.
Rashford emphatically sent the Argentine stopper the wrong way after being thwarted by Tim Krul against Norwich. That took Rashford’s tally from the spot for the season to two scored and three missed.
After being pegged back by Chelsea and coming under increasing pressure, United had a free-kick a good 30 yards out, with 20 minutes left.
Rashford stood over the ball and a lot of fans were probably either expecting it to go straight into the wall or high into the crowd.
But Rashford caught it that sweetly that Caballero had no chance, it was dipping and swerving wickedly before ending up in the top corner.
The Ronaldo-esque technique drew comparisons with the Portuguese’s famous strike against Portsmouth 11 years ago.
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer told the clubs official website: “It’s Cristiano-like, isn’t it? The boy has got nerves of steel, he takes the penalty no problem.
“Then he steps up and hits the ball like he does, no problem, and wins us the game. Fantastic! He always scores great goals, Marcus. He practises and today he got his reward.”
How many goals will he end up with?
Rashford’s brace at Stamford Bridge took his career tally against Chelsea to 5, making the London club his most prolific opposition. It was his second double against Lampard’s side this season already.
In his last four starts for club and country, Rashford has four goals and one assist, he is loving his football right now and playing with real energy and confidence.
Solskjaer believes in Martial and Rashford to deliver the goalscoring goods, and that is why he parted ways with Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku.
Rashford’s best season in regards to goalscoring contributions came last season with 13 goals and 9 assists in 47 matches across all competitions.
The majority of those goals came when Solskjaer took the reigns on a temporary basis and brought the feel good factor back to the club, in the Norwegian’s first 8 Premier League games, Rashford scored 6 times and assisted twice.
So far this season, Rashford has 7 goals and 3 assists in 14 matches across all competitions.
If he continues at his current rate, he is well on his way to delivering his best goalscoring season.
Hopefully he continues his rich vein of form away to Bournemouth on Saturday.
- Predicted Manchester United XI v Watford
- Solskjaer needs to take another look at James Garner
- How do Manchester United avoid another shock against Watford?
- Three questions for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after Club Brugge draw
- Solskjaer says he had planned to start Greenwood over Martial