Golden era: Rashford’s burden could be eased with revamped Man Utd midfielders

With Marcus Rashford’s outstanding goal-scoring performance thus far this season, Manchester United’s lackluster goal total has perhaps gone unpunished. The Reds are still dominating every competition despite having scored far less goals than the rest of their rivals.

Only Newcastle, who are currently in the top eight, have scored less than the Reds’ 41 goals in the Premier League thus far this season. Only 16 United players have scored goals in all competitions, with Rashford, who has 27 goals, accounting for the majority of the team’s 83 goals. The player with the most goals, Bruno Fernandes, who has 10 in 44 appearances, is the closest to the England international.

The Portuguese star’s goal total is more than respectable considering that he also recorded 12 assists. Several of his teammates, however, cannot be said to be in the same boat. Since joining from Ajax in the summer, Antony, for instance, has scored seven goals, while Fred and Anthony Martial have each scored six.

United and its rival Manchester City has a lot in common in that one player scores the majority of their goals. The Reds, on the other hand, have had trouble getting contributions from their supporting stars, unlike Pep Guardiola’s team. This season, Phil Foden has scored 13 goals, and Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez have each scored at least ten goals.

Ten Hag is not in denial about the fact that his team needs to find a way to lighten Rashford’s load, but he is encouraged by the way his midfielders performed over the recent international break. Marcel Sabitzer and Scott McTominay both scored hat tricks this week in the first round of Euro 2024 qualifying matches for their respective countries.

Austria defeated Azerbaijan 4-1 thanks in large part to a fantastic free kick and close-range goal from United loanee Sabitzer. The 29-year-old, who joined the team on loan from Bayern Munich in January, has made an impression at Old Trafford. He has made nine appearances for the Reds and last weekend’s FA Cup triumph over Fulham was his first goal for the team.

In the short months he has left at Old Trafford, Sabitzer will be eager to increase his goal total, and knowing that he has scored more than 100 goals in his professional career—as well as 14 goals for his country—the midfielder will feel confident about finding the back of the net more frequently.

McTominay, on the other hand, scored as many goals for Scotland in six minutes on Saturday as he had for the Reds all season. After the additions of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen in the summer, the 26-year-old has slipped down Ten Hag’s priority list, making just 13 starts across all competitions this season. He has nevertheless made 32 appearances despite this.

The midfielder, who came off the bench to open the Euro 2024 qualifier, scored close-range goals in the 87th and 67th minutes to give Scotland a 2-0 lead. In extra time, the Scotsman scored his second goal of the match against Cyprus.

Although McTominay has never been particularly good at scoring goals, his second and third international goals demonstrate that the United player can make a difference in front of goal. The academy graduate’s opportunities this season have been smaller than those of certain colleagues, but it is still critical that he can contribute when he is on the field.

Casemiro scored for Brazil in his debut game as the team’s new captain, according to some reports. On Saturday night, the South American team ultimately fell to Morocco 2-1, but the Reds midfielder still got to score his sixth goal for his nation, albeit rather favorably.

Nobody really expected the 31-year-old to score five goals in 38 outings for United. Though he only scored 31 goals for Real Madrid, he was primarily signed as a defensive midfielder. Nevertheless, since coming to Old Trafford, he has displayed a new side to his game.

Rashford will still be under intense pressure to carry on his remarkable goal-scoring performance with Ten Hag’s team potentially playing 19 more games this season (12 in the Premier League, 5 in the Europa League, and 2 in the FA Cup). The 25-year-old will almost certainly set a goal for himself, and if he succeeds, the Reds will likely finish the season with more than just the Carabao Cup.

Rashford will need the support of United’s wide players and midfielders, though. The ability to score has already been demonstrated by Casemiro, Sabitzer, and McTominay this week. They must continue to contribute when they return to Manchester toward the end of the season.

In the summer transfer window, the Reds will almost probably add a new striker, but for the time being, they must get goals from other sources. Although Rashford is doing a fantastic job, he will require assistance in the coming months.