Ronaldo and Cavani can bring out the best in each other in lethal pairing
With next to no margin for error, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer unleashed Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo upfront together from the start against Tottenham.
In the Manchester United games where the pair had been on the pitch together previously, it has looked disjointed and it has only happened when we were desperately chasing a goal.
But at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Solskjaer changed his system to a three at the back and went with experience.
In fact, against Spurs, the Norwegian picked his oldest Manchester United eleven since taking the reigns.
The switch to three at the back gave Ole the opportunity to select Ronaldo and Cavani as a starting partnership for the first time.
Ronaldo and Cavani didn’t disappoint
With Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka playing higher up the pitch and Bruno Fernandes in behind the pair, Ronaldo and Cavani were able to showcase their clinical finishing to devastating effect against Spurs.
The decision to go with three at the back meant that Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford dropped to the bench, but it didn’t result in United losing any attacking threat or potency.
Ronaldo and Cavani are two of football’s greatest ever goalscorers and no matter their ages, their ability to come alive in the penalty area with their explosive movements, makes them both individually a scary proposition for any defence.
But as a strike duo, Tottenham’s defence was constantly looking over their shoulders wondering who was going to make the run to the near post or who was making the late dart to the back post.
It was very much a case of double trouble. If it’s only one of them in the penalty area you can double up, but Spurs didn’t have that luxury.
They are two predators and if you give them half a chance of goal they will punish the opposition.
Ronaldo’s movement and volley from Fernandes’ inch perfect lofted pass was ridiculously good.
But what would have been even more satisfying for Solskjaer was the way Ronaldo and Cavani combined for our crucial second goal against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
After Fernandes robbed Oliver Skipp in possession, United showed that ruthless streak which has been glaringly missing in recent weeks.
Ronaldo skipped past Skipp like he wasn’t there and played a perfectly-weighted pass into his strike partner who dinked the ball over the onrushing Hugo Lloris.
Ronaldo and Cavani will score bags of goals, they just need the ammunition and Solskjaer’s radical formation change could prove to be a gamechanger in Manchester United’s season.
With crucial clashes against Atalanta and Manchester City still to come this week, Solskjaer did the right thing bringing Ronaldo and Cavani off for the younger Rashford and Jesse Lingard.
Cavani’s injury struggles at United will mean he won’t be able to play as many matches as Ronaldo, despite him being two years younger than his strike partner.
But Solskjaer may have stumbled upon a formation that he can use in the big games.
Ronaldo setting up Cavani in London, was the first time two players aged 34 and over have combined for a Premier League goal for Manchester United since Paul Scholes assisted Ryan Giggs vs Newcastle in August 2010 (Opta).
United went on to lift the Premier League title that season and if Solskjaer is going to have any chance of producing the ultimate turnaround, he’s going to need his world class duo leading from the front.
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