Watch out, Liverpool! In Martial, Greenwood & Rashford Man Utd have a lethal front three too
It was only earlier this week that Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warned his forwards he could look to strengthen his attack during the next transfer window.
If the Norwegian was looking for a reaction from his front three, he definitely got it on Saturday afternoon at Old Trafford.
Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood all scored in a 5-2 win over Bournemouth that extended United's unbeaten run to 16 games in all competitions and moved them above Chelsea, who playWatford later in the day, and into fourth place in the Premier League.
It may well have been forgotten by now but there was legitimate concern about how the Red Devils would cope without Romelu Lukaku, who was sold to Inter last summer.
Not since Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov in 2010-11 had United seen two players score 20 goals in all competitions but Martial and Rashford both broke through that barrier on Saturday– and with at least seven games left of the current campaign.
The pair scored one goal apiece against Bournemouth, while Greenwood netted twice to take his tally to 15 for the season in all competitions– a staggering haul for an 18-year-old.
Against Bournemouth, Solskjaer named an unchanged side for the third consecutive Premier League game– the last time United did that was in November 2006 – and it was clear to see why his line-up is so settled.
On an afternoon where numerous club records were rewritten, with United scoring five at Old Trafford for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, they produced the kind of lethal attackingdisplay that warranted comparison with any of the league's finest strikeforces.
Indeed, Rashford, Martial and Greenwood now have 55 goals between them in all competitions. For context, Liverpool’s formidable front line of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have 51.
Some suspect defendingmarred an all-but-perfect day for Solskjaer’s side.
Harry Maguire was nutmegged by Junior Stanislas for Bournemouth’s opener and David de Gea should have done better– again– as the winger beat him at his near post. It was the first goal the relegation-threatened Cherries had scored from openplay in the league for over six hours.
However, whereas United struggled earlier in the season after going behind, they came roaring back against Bournemouth, thanks to their wonderful attacking triumvirate.
The constant interchanging between Martial, Rashford and Greenwood is crucial to United's attacking play and it was a switch of position from the latter two which led to United’s opener.
A flick from Rashford to Fernandes released the Portuguese, who found Greenwood inside the area– and the teenager made no mistake as he blasted a shot past Aaron Ramsdale with his left foot.
Rashford scored from the penalty spot to give United the lead, after Adam Smith handled the ball in the area, before Martial, who scored his first career hat-trick in his last Old Trafford outing, got in on the action by finding the top corner with a superb curling effort just before the break.
Ramsdale swore as he pulled the ball out of the back of the net but there was nothing the Cherries’ keeper could have done about what was a beautifully-measured strike which drew a smile from Solskjaer on the bench.
In his programme notes, the United boss had praised the in-game management in the midweek win over Brighton but he must have frustrated as he watchedEric Bailly, subbed on for Victor Lindelof at half-time, giftBournemouth a penalty with a needless handball four minutes into the second half.
United academy graduate Josh King scored from the spot but Greenwood killed off the visitors' hopes of an unlikely fightback with his second of the game moments later.
It was another sublime strike from the versatile forward, with the young forwardthis time skipping past Diego Ricobefore firing his shotpast Ramsdale with his right foot. In this kind of form, the academy product is almost unplayable.
Fernandes, who has been key to United’s revival since January, curled in a perfectly-struck free-kick for United’s fifth, meaning the Portuguese has been involved in 10 goals in nine Premier League games since joining from Sporting CP.
Rashford thought he had made it six only for a tight VAR decision to deny the England international his second of the game but there was no disappointment at the full-time whistle.
Indeed, the last time United had scored five times at Old Trafford in the Premier League was against Wigan in 2011 – this result has been a long time coming.
However, with Solskjaer now in possession of one of the best front threes in the league, it's highly unlikely to be another nine years before United produce another five-star display.
Source : goal.com
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