Manchester United face their biggest test yet under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when they face Tottenham Hotspur this weekend in the Premier League.
The Red Devils boss has seen his side win four Premier League games in a row, against Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town, Bournemouth and Newcastle United, while they also defeated Reading 2-0 in the FA Cup.
Spurs, meanwhile, are still involved in the title race – they sit third – and could prove to be the acid test for Solskjaer’s side; Rashford, though, may well prove to hold the key…
Rashford has been playing as a central striker under Solskjaer, and has scored three league goals in the four games the Norwegian has managed.
However, the 5ft 11in attacker’s most dangerous performance of the season came on the left flank under Jose Mourinho, as United thumped Fulham 4-1.
Rashford scored once and provided two assists in that game, for Ashley Young and Juan Mata.
The emergence of the England international has, naturally, led to Romelu Lukaku’s marginilisation up front, with the Belgium international failing to start a top-flight game under the Norwegian.
However, he has scored twice off the bench, against Bournemouth and Newcastle, and his performances deserve to be rewarded with 90 minutes.
But that does not mean that Solskjaer needs to drop Rashford; he should instead deploy him on the flank.
Tottenham’s full-backs were their greatest strength two seasons ago, when Kyle Walker and Danny Rose regularly bombed up and down the flanks.
However, they are now the Achilles’ heel for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, particularly on the right-hand side.
Kieran Trippier saw his stock rise exponentially in the summer, as he enjoyed a terrific World Cup with England, even scoring a world-class free-kick against Croatia in the semi-final.
But the fact remains that he is a below average defender, and he struggles against genuine pace on the flank.
Rashford is imaginative in possession and skilful in the dribble, and he routinely turns defenders inside out.
He is familiar with Trippier, too, having also featured in England’s World Cup squad, though there may be rotation from Pochettino after the right-back played against Chelsea on Tuesday.
Serge Aurier would be the second option, and he struggles immensely with the defensive side of the game.
Per WhoScored, he has made more fouls in the Premier League than tackles thus far this season, and it would not be a surprise to see Rashford draw the Ivorian into enough fouls to head for an early bath.
Regardless of which one starts, with Romelu Lukaku occupying Spurs’ centre-backs, Rashford should have the freedom to isolate either Trippier or Aurier, and make them suffer.
Not everyone was pleased with Mourinho’s sacking. Check out American Soccer Fan’s hilarious take on it in the video below…