There has not been much to smile about at Manchester United this season. In truth, the start of the campaign has been a woeful one by previous high standards set in years gone by.
The Red Devils form has led to question marks over the future and ability of boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. However, a recent run of three straight wins in all competitions is a sign that United are not dead and buried just yet. The form of England youngster Marcus Rashford is one of the biggest encouraging factors from recent games.
On a scoring streak
He may not know what competition he is playing in (look it up if you don’t understand that reference), but he has certainly rediscovered the path to goal. The forward, who celebrates his 22nd birthday today has now scored four times in his last four appearances for United.
A brace on Wednesday night in a 2-1 win over Chelsea helped the Red Devils into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup. His second goal, a long-range free-kick was a spectacular strike that has led to comparisons with former United star Cristiano Ronaldo.
The current particular run of form is a familiar one for Rashford. As a young player, Rashford will go through peaks and troughs. People often forget he is still relatively young and still maturing as a top-level player. His record of a goal every other game in the top-flight this season is not a terrible one, especially playing in a struggling United team.
Can forge a good partnership with Martial
Rashford seems to have a good on-field relationship with French forward Anthony Martial. The pair both have the ability to play as central strikers or out wide, so they can interchange positions, which can cause defences massive headaches.
French international Martial has endured a stop-start season due to injury. He recently returned to the United team from injury and instantly his understanding with Rashford was evident.
The recent 3-1 win at Norwich could have been a far bigger win, with both players having penalty kicks saved by Canaries goalkeeper Tim Krul. However, the pair seemed to be a danger to the Norwich defence every time either had the ball.
Both players are quick, so when on form they can be devastating on the break. It seems Solskjaer prefers to play a counter-attacking style of play, which the pair ideal players to fit the Norwegian’s system. If Martial can stay injury-free, the partnership can flourish.
There has been talk of United needing a new striker. However, maybe if Rashford can stay consistent, then he could be United’s long-term striking solution.
Rashford’s form important to any potential revival
Manchester United have won just once in their last five top-flight matches. The run of form has seen the Red Devils slip to odds of 7/2 to clinch a place in the Champions League this season. United are currently six points outside the top-four, but there is still plenty of time left for Solskjaer’s team to rescue their season.
They would need a major improvement in displays and form to mount a realistic top-four challenge, though. More consistent displays from Rashford can only help the Red Devils chances of recover this season.
The fact that the men from Manchester are relying on a player who has just turned 22 to win them games illustrates how far the team has fallen in recent years. United are showing signs of turning the corner, but they will need to start winning league games, starting with their trip to Bournemouth on Saturday lunchtime.
Can Marcus Rashford help Manchester United revive their season?
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