Manchester United need to unleash their best striker to arrest worrying trend
The goalless draw at Anfield was a more than respectable point for Manchester United, but it did continue one concerning trend this season for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
They have now played six games against fellow big six sides and have scored just once, a Bruno Fernandes penalty. In fact, since last season resumed in June United have gone eight games against Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal without scoring from open play. They have just three Bruno Fernandes penalties to show for their efforts.
Inevitably, none of those games have been won. Only Liverpool have scored more than United’s 34 goals in the Premier League this season, so it’s difficult to argue that this is an attack misfiring, but they are certainly having their fair share of off days.
That is the case for the two main men from last season. This should have been a time for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to kick on after breaking the 20-goal barrier last term, but both are out of form at the moment and the goals haven’t flowed freely.
Martial has just five goals all season and only two in the Premier League. Having scored at a rate of 0.58 goals per 90 minutes in the league last season, this time his goal output is just 0.18 per 90 minutes.
Rashford has drawn a blank in his last five games, although his haul of 14 this term suggests he can still better last season’s efforts. But only seven of those have come in the league and his scoring rate has dropped from 0.58 goals per 90 to 0.41 goals per 90.
Neither had a particularly good game at Anfield and while it was Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba who missed the late chances, Martial was ineffectual for an hour and Rashford’s outing was mostly
After scoring 13 goals in four games after the Premier League stalemate with Manchester City, United have now scored just five times in their last six games and some of the rhythm looks to have temporarily disappeared from their attack.
Changes are likely at Craven Cottage and Edinson Cavani is probably in line to start. It could be that the 33-year-old becomes one of United’s most important players in the second half of the season.
Cavani is the most natural centre forward in Solskjaer’s squad and right now the most likely to find the back of the net. United looked much better going forward at Anfield when the Uruguayan came on for the final half an hour, his movement threatening Liverpool in a way Rashford had struggled to do, while Martial had posed little threat to Trent Alexander-Arnold.