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Talking Tactics

Rashford form gives United shot at derby success

Adrian Clarke 10 Jan 2023

Adrian Clarke looks at how the forward has starred since returning from the FIFA World Cup 2022

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 20.

Marcus Rashford (MUN)

Ahead of the Manchester derby this Saturday, Rashford is in the most exhilarating form of his career.

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Scoring in all six matches since returning from the FIFA World Cup 2022, the Manchester United forward is a defender's nightmare.

Should he net against Manchester City, it will be the ninth consecutive match at Old Trafford in which he has scored; an incredible return.

Rashford's goal v AFC Bournemouth 

Although he has managed only one shot on target across his last five Premier League appearances against Man City, Rashford looks certain to be a different proposition this time around.

Return to form

The 25-year-old often cut a forlorn figure during the 2021/22 campaign, scoring just five goals in all competitions.

This term, his mindset and athleticism are on a different level.

Rashford is relishing his role as a key man in Erik ten Hag’s starting XI and is clearly benefiting from being part of a stronger United side. His goals speak for themselves.

Rashford mins/goals all comps 2022/23
  Minutes Goals
Premier League 1351 7
UEFA Europa League 212 3
EFL Cup 198 4
FIFA World Cup 137 3
FA Cup 90 1
Total 1988 18

For club and country, Rashford has struck 18 times this season, at a rate of one every 110.4 minutes.

That return improves to one goal every 105 minutes in league matches at Old Trafford, making him one of the most dangerous home players in the Premier League.

Considering Rashford has spent 61 per cent of his minutes as a wide forward (52 per cent on the left), this is a highly impressive record.

Best minutes home/goal 2022/23
Player Total
Erling Haaland 49.5
Phil Foden 78.3
Julian Alvarez 83.7
Roberto Firmino 92.0
Danny Ings 95.3
Marcus Rashford 105.0

*Min three goals

Ordinarily Kyle Walker would be the obvious pick to play at right-back for this derby.

The experienced defender is one of European football’s quickest full-backs, with a skill-set designed to cope with Rashford's pace and power.

However, Pep Guardiola’s recent selections cast some doubt over whether the England defender is guaranteed to start.

Rico Lewis has started two of the last three Premier League matches at right-back and the 18-year-old came on at half-time to fill that role last time out against Chelsea.

City have not settled on a regular player in that position all season, with John Stones, Joao Cancelo, Lewis and Walker all having been used there.

Rashford v team-mates 2022/23
Shots inside box Touches in opp box Dribbles completed
Rashford 31 Rashford 83 Rashford 21
Antony 14 Fernandes 53 Dalot 9
Ronaldo 14 Sancho 42 Fernandes 9

No one else pushes defenders back as effectively as Rashford, who has enjoyed 30 more touches inside the opposition box than any United player.

He has also fired off more than double the number of shots (31) from inside the box than nearest team-mate Antony (14).

In 2019/20 when Rashford scored a career-high 17 top-flight goals, 59 per cent of his shots were from inside the box.

This term, with more physical power evident in his play, 78 per cent of his efforts have originated from within the penalty area.

Most shot-ending ball carries 2022/23
Player Total
Darwin Nunez 19
Demarai Gray 18
Wilfried Zaha 18
Said Benrahma 17
Marcus Rashford 16

Rashford’s confidence with the ball is arguably the best it has ever been.

He has consistently tormented defenders since returning to from, producing great runs that led to assists for Anthony Martial against Nottingham Forest and Antony in their FA Cup win over Everton.

He also scored outstanding solo goals against Burnley and Wolverhampton Wanderers from eye-catching dribbles.

The Manchester derby stage is set for Rashford to continue his excellent form.

Also in this series

Part 1: Willian can be Fulham's talisman against former club Chelsea
Part 2: Gnonto's direct approach can trouble Villa
Part 4: Kane heads for 200 PL goals with Arsenal in his sights

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