Marcus Rashford’s stats without Cristiano Ronaldo prove axed legend was the problem as remarkable run continues

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Marcus Rashford’s stats without Cristiano Ronaldo prove axed legend was the problem as remarkable run continues

Garth Crooks made a controversial statement earlier this week suggesting that Marcus Rashford’s potential was unlocked by the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United. This statement might be seen as bold by some people, given Ronaldo’s reputation as one of the greatest players of all time in football.

Crooks’ assertion is supported by data, indicating that Rashford’s performance is significantly better when he is not playing alongside the Portuguese star.

In an interview with Piers Morgan, a columnist for The Sun, just before the World Cup, Ronaldo expressed his frustration about his poor club season, criticizing the club’s owners who are now being replaced, and stating that he does not hold the manager, Erik ten Hag, in high regard.

Following this, the 38-year-old’s contract was terminated, and he is now playing in Saudi Arabia, where he made two assists on Friday. He signed a £173 million per year contract to play in the Middle East.

In the meantime, at Old Trafford, Rashford’s performance has significantly improved, and he is currently the most productive forward in Europe since the conclusion of the World Cup.

When Ronaldo is not playing alongside Rashford, the English striker has scored 15 goals in 25 games, averaging a goal every 123 minutes. However, when he played alongside the former Real Madrid and Juventus forward, Rashford only managed 12 goals in 42 games, with a goal every 204 minutes.

Additionally, other significant offensive statistics have increased in the absence of Ronaldo.

Rashford’s performance without Ronaldo is reflected in his statistics, as he now registers 3.2 shots per 90 minutes, with 1.7 of them on target. In contrast, with Ronaldo in the team, he could only manage 2.9 shots per 90 minutes, with 1.2 on target.

Furthermore, Rashford’s role in the team has evolved since Ronaldo’s departure. With Ronaldo in the team, Rashford had to perform more defensive duties such as tracking and pressing, compensating for Ronaldo’s lack of these skills. However, without Ronaldo, Rashford has less defensive work to do, and his number of touches per 90 minutes has reduced significantly.

Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that Rashford now has more touches in the opposition’s penalty area. This implies that he is now more involved in the attacking third of the pitch, where he can be more dangerous. This increased involvement allows players such as Bruno Fernandes or the presently injured Christian Eriksen to focus on creating scoring opportunities.

The recent game against Barcelona exemplified how Ten Hag’s tactical changes benefited Rashford. In that game, Wout Weghorst played deeper to help in bringing the ball up the field, while Rashford played further up the pitch, away from the backline. This adjustment disrupted Barcelona’s anti-Rashford tactics and led to Rashford scoring a goal that beat goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

Manchester United will play Leicester on Sunday, at the start of what could be a crucial week for the team. The club has a chance to secure a Champions League spot this season, and with Newcastle and Tottenham playing against Liverpool and West Ham respectively, there is an opportunity to increase the gap to the teams below them. Additionally, the second leg of the Europa League against Barcelona promises to be an exciting game, following the thrilling match at Camp Nou on Thursday.

The week will culminate with a match against top-four rivals Newcastle at Wembley, where Manchester United will have the opportunity to win the Carabao Cup and claim their first trophy in more than five years. Rashford, who has been crucial throughout the season, will play a pivotal role in these crucial matches.

Marcus Rashford’s stats without Cristiano Ronaldo prove axed legend was the problem as remarkable run continues

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