What we learned as Marcus Rashford ends open play goal drought
Marcus Rashford ended his open play goal drought with a confidence boosting strike for England against Bulgaria last night in 6-0 win.
United’s number 10 hadn’t scored in open play for club or country since the opening day win against Chelsea, in a game where Rashford caused the visitors nightmares with his runs from the left-wing.
Rashford hasn’t been at his best in recent weeks for United due to a number of reasons, lack of quality around him, key players missing, struggling to overcome injuries and negative body language.
With Anthony Martial injured, Rashford has been used by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as his number nine, but against Bulgaria, Rashford was at his influential best in the left-wing position.
Here is a break down of Rashford’s impressive evening in Sofia.
Point to prove
It has been difficult viewing seeing how downbeat Rashford has looked in recent appalling United performances. There have been too many occasions where he has been seen muttering away to himself on the pitch and voicing his disapproval to his team mates through hand gestures.
However, his attitude from the get go against Bulgaria was completely different, he looked up for it and eager to make an impression.
Rashford opened the scoring in the seventh minute after picking up the ball in the left channel and running at the Bulgarian defenders. He then jinked inside with a neat turn, which left the opposing full-back on the deck and then unleashed a wicked venomous shot, which was too hot to handle for the Bulgarian goalkeeper.
Despite a difficult start to the season, in 9 starts in the Premier League and Euro 2020 qualifying, Rashford has been directly involved in six goals.
Every time Rashford was in possession he was looking forward and was eager to conjure up goalscoring opportunities for either himself or his team mates.
His dribbling was a highlight throughout the night as he ran at the Bulgarian defenders and created space for the likes of Sterling, Kane and Barkley to exploit. He completed 5 dribbles in the match, the most on the pitch.
He seemed happy and comfortable being back on the left-hand side, the return of Martial could see him back in that position in Solskjaer’s side on a full-time basis.
It is becoming clearer and clearer that the left-wing position is where Rashford is at his most comfortable and dangerous, 75% of his goals this season have come from when he has started on the left.
Rashford has struggled to impose himself on matches when playing up front, he is at his most menacing when he has space to run into and makes darting runs off the touchline.
With Kane dropping deep, Rashford was eager to get in behind the Bulgarian defence and take advantage of the space to run into. It is movement like that has been missing in his game for United, he has been too static.
He had two shots on target and three shots from inside the area, which highlighted the threat he posed.
The 21-year-old could have added to his one goal, but it was encouraging to see him getting himself into so many goalscoring situations, hopefully this is a good omen ahead of the crunch clash against Liverpool.
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