Wednesday 5 April 2017

Rashford's ten game goal drought not for the want of trying

Marcus Rashford extended his goal drought to a tenth game as he drew another blank on Tuesday.

Despite a lively and hard-working performance against Everton, Rashford failed to find the net and has now not scored in the league since the 4-1 win over Leicester in September.

Having burst on to the scene in spectacular style last term, going on to hit eight goals in 18 appearances, Rashford's 40 games this term have yielded just seven.

He threatened to continue his marvellous breakthrough campaign with a similarly explosive start this time around - scoring against Hull, Watford, Northampton and that aforementioned Leicester match. 

Since then, it's been a season of struggle for Rashford. 

His last goal was the equaliser in the FA Cup tie at Blackburn in February and before that you have to go back another ten games to find his name on the scoresheet. 

That also came in the FA Cup, as he scored twice in the 4-0 third round win over Reading in January. 

Rashford changed the game when he came on for England against Lithuania and his lack of goals certainly haven't been for the want of trying.

Despite the calls to send the teenager out on loan, Jose looks set to stick by his young striker having been impressed with his work rate, energy and industry.

It was always going to be a tough ask to expect a repeat of Rashford's exploits last season, when he scored four times in his first two United games.

He hit a double on his debut against Midtjylland and then followed that up with a breath-taking brace on his league bow in the frenetic win over Arsenal. 

Rashford played mostly as the the central striker under Louis van Gaal, occasionally deployed on the left wing when required.

This term, the roles have very much been reversed with Jose preferring to deploy Rashford wide on the left in his one-striker system.
A combination of playing out of his natural position, a lack of confidence due to his goal drought, and the burden of expectation to support Zlatan in the goalscoring stakes has taken the toll on Rashford. 

He was moved centrally to fit the void in Zlatan's suspension and was only denied against West Brom by two very good Ben Foster stops. 
Before that, he deserved a goal in an impressive display at Middlesbrough and rose from his sick bed to run himself into the ground in a valiant FA Cup effort at Chelsea.

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