What a week it’s been for Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford.
Rashford, 22, came off the bench to score a hat-trick as the Red Devils ran riot over RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
Earlier this week the 39-cap England international pledged to continue the fight against the UK government’s refusal to extend the free school meals scheme to ensure the poorest children in the country do not go hungry during the school holidays and received backing from by both celebrities and politicians.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side took the lead after Paul Pogba slipped a sublime pass for Mason Greenwood to open the scoring with a clinical finish into the far corner, before Rashford’s first goal was initially ruled out for offside by the assistant referee.
But the best was yet to come, as he followed it up with a surging run into the box as he burst past Dayot Upamecano to finish in the bottom corner once again. He then added the fifth goal of the game after Anthony Martial dribbled into the box and played it to the England international, who finished with a bang.
Solskjaer heaped praise on Rashford for showing he can stay focused “on what’s important” on and off the pitch in an interview with the BBC.
SofaScore gave him a high grade of 9.3 – he took three shots on target, completed two out of four successful dribbles (50%), made seven out of eight passes at a pass accuracy rating of 88% and won three out of six ground duels (50%), whilst he took 19 touches of the ball and was fouled once. A look at his heatmap reveals a hub of activity in the opposing half, particularly inside the box, which shows that he caused Leipzig several problems by cutting in from the right wing.
Rashford, who’s market value is estimated at £180m via the Football Observatory, received a higher rating than his fellow substitute Bruno Fernandes from Sky Sports, as the outlet rated his performance at 9/10, whilst the Manchester Evening News gave him the same score, claiming he “kept his composure to make it 2-0 when others expected the offside to be upheld. Then scored again. And again.”
It’s not very often that the Portuguese magnifico gets upstaged but Rashford arguably stole the show on this occasion as Fernandes could only muster one assist from the bench, receiving a rating of 7.6 as per SofaScore in the process. In fact, it’s fair to say that his passing was pretty poor overall as he made just 11 out of 16 passes (69%) in total.
United seem to have bounced back from the humiliating 6-1 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur with a four-game unbeaten run, dating back to the 4-1 away win at Newcastle United earlier this month. One thing’s for sure, Solskjaer will need his side to continue their newfound momentum when they welcome Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
AND in other news, Manchester United must hire ideal Solskjaer replacement in Julian Nagelsmann…