Is a deadly duo the answer to Manchester United’s attacking woes?


The season’s end has not long passed but Manchester United fans will already be looking to next season to put an underwhelming finish behind them. Whilst Manchester United finished second, the highest finish since Sir Alex Ferguson left, it was the style in which the Emirates FA Cup and UEFA Champions League campaigns were ended that left a sour taste.

Many believe United could have and should have beat both Sevilla and Chelsea but it wasn’t to be and it was the manner of the defeat that hurt the most. There has been a clear lack of coherency in Manchester United’s attack an all too familiar sight throughout the season. United’s problems deteriorated even more when leading goal scorer Romelu Lukaku picked up and injury towards the end of the season with the team managing just one goal in the remaining four games.

As stated there has been a constant complaint in the lack of attacking prowess United have shown going forward this season from both fans and the media, even a few Manchester United legends have expressed their frustrations including Paul Scholes and Dwight Yorke. It is not a new issue, in fact, United have struggled to create fast-flowing attacks and score goals for the past few years managing just the fifth most goals this season, the eighth the year before and the tenth the season before that.

Another striking stat is that United have the joint most goalless draws in the Premier League over the past five seasons. Therefore, it is apparent for Manchester United to push on they need to start finding a rhythm and become a deadly force in front of goal. A debate has already begun over what will change over the summer, what new faces will arrive and whose time has come to an end.

However, perhaps it’s time for Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford or even a new face to prove their worth alongside Lukaku, an interesting prospect and although a strike partnership is a rare sight in the modern game it has proven success in the past at Old Trafford. Manchester United have seen many partnerships over the years, Sir Alex Ferguson was a strong promoter of having four first team strikers in the squad and this proved to be a deadly formula.

Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy managed 37 goals in 38 games in the 2005/06 Premier League campaign but United finished second eight points behind rivals Chelsea. However, the most notorious of partnerships at the Theatre of Dreams is certainly Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, they had a chemistry like no other and fired United to a ground-breaking treble in 1998/99, scoring a staggering 53 goals combined for the season.

Martial and Rashford have now had three seasons at the club and whilst they remain wonderful talents with endless potential it could be time for one of them to raise their game and force themselves into Jose Mourinho’s first team alongside Lukaku. Both have had underwhelming seasons and have mainly featured from the flanks but this isn’t their favoured position and they have produced inconsistent performances resulting in Mourinho favouring Lingard and Sanchez over the months of April and May.

They both undoubtedly have special talent, Martial elegantly moves with the ball at his feet and is ice-cold in front of goal. Rashford has that electric pace, direct attacking style and has already scored some big goals in big games. Nevertheless, as the pair become older and more experienced at Manchester United they need to begin to transfer their potential into consistent match-winning performances, United have been crying out for some attacking flair and it could possibly come from a partnership that rolls back the years.

However, it is a dated formation and Mourinho has never been keen on the idea in fact it is more likely for United to strengthen in other areas to benefit the team but change is needed and it would be nice to see another deadly due at Old Trafford.

Written by Josh Keifer

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