Marcus Rashford shines on the wing - Seven deadly stats as Man United beat Crystal Palace 4-0

Aditya Devavrat 22:03 30/09/2017
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After their exertions midweek, when they travelled to Moscow for a Champions League fixture on Wednesday, the Premier League’s bottom side were just what the doctor ordered for Manchester United.

The Red Devils ended a hectic September with a fairly easy win, as Crystal Palace’s misery continued. Palace are only the second team to lose their opening seven games in a Premier League season, after Portsmouth in 2009/10, and they have yet to score a league goal this season. United, of course, have no such worries after heading into the international break with a 4-0 win.

Here are seven deadly stats from the game…

MATA’S LONG WAIT COMES TO AN END

For all of Juan Mata’s excellent play both this season and last, he has been criticised, along with his fellow attacking players at United, for not being enough of a goal threat.

With Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Maruoane Fellaini all showing increased potency in front of goal, it was only a matter of time before Mata would also benefit from United’s improved attacking play this season. The elusive goal finally came via a smart, simple finish after some excellent work on the left wing from Rashford.

RASHFORD THE CREATOR

Rashford has looked promising on the wing, often beating defenders with pure speed mixed with skill and trickery on the ball, but he’s never quite had a game like this. 

The youngster’s excellent play has not always been rewarded in ways that show up on the stat sheet, but on Saturday his contribution was clear. One flash of brilliance on the left to set up Mata’s opener, and a perfectly-delivered free-kick led to Fellaini’s second.

TEENAGER IN FINE FORM

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Rashford’s only 19. He’s been a first-team regular for nearly two seasons now, which is remarkable in itself, and it’s rare that he doesn’t contribute in some way. If it’s not via goals, assists, or just offering a threat to opposing defenders, Rashford will always provide the work rate that will endear him to managers when nothing is going for him.

At present, however, things are definitely going for him – the teenager is a man on top form right now.

FELLAINI’S TIME TO SHINE?

Fellaini arrived at Manchester United in 2013, in a much-derided transfer that looked even worse after he failed to score that entire season. He scored seven goals in 2014/15, Louis van Gaal’s first season at the club, and in the two seasons after that he’s scored four goals each.

This season, he’s already at four and thus is well on course to have his highest-scoring season for United. The prevailing opinion on the tall, physical Belgian is shifting, with fans recognising that Fellaini is not only an effective player, but is slowly becoming a vital one.

LUKAKU’S RUN CONTINUES

In all honesty, Lukaku should have more than seven Premier League goals. He’s missed a few presentable chances this season, and he could easily already be on double figures for the league campaign. 

As it is, he’s at 11 across 10 games in all competitions, and it’s hard to criticise anyone who has seven goals in seven league games. What a start he’s made. 

MARTIAL GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

There is no doubt that on his day, Anthony Martial is a truly brilliant player. He struggled to show that on a consistent basis last season, as Jose Mourinho was wary of using a player who can undermine his brilliance with a fair share of frustrating moments.

This season, however, Martial looks rejuvenated and full of confidence, and that’s translating to tangible returns on the pitch. His goal in United’s midweek Champions League tie put him atop the club’s total scoring charts for the period starting from the time he joined, and his assist numbers are just as good.

MANCHESTER UNITED’S GOALSCORING FORM

United weren’t at their free-flowing best on Saturday, with a fixture-packed month no doubt taking its toll. But yet again, they racked up a dominant scoreline without really moving through the gears.

Goals, especially in home games, were hard to come by last season, but that concern has been put to bed.

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