Marcus Rashford was fairly lucky to be selected in Manchester United’s FA Cup third round tie, after a wretched cameo performance in the defeat at Wolves.
The match was an opportunity for Rashford to show what he is capable of, and also to show what some pundits have suggested – United can be better without Cristiano Ronaldo. But this did not really prove to be the case.
United won the game 1-0 thanks to an early Scott McTominay header, with the forwards failing to make an impact. Rashford in particular had an off day.
11 games without a goal
Rashford is now 11 games without scoring, last netting as a substitute in the win over Tottenham at the start of November.
There have been some theories put forward that Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence has contributed to Rashford becoming a shell of himself. But without Ronaldo last night, Rashford still struggled. So throw that theory in the bin.
Whatever is going on with Marcus Rashford right now, only Marcus Rashford knows. His injuries have cleared up and his problems seem to be in his head.
Rashford’s shoulders seem heavy as he moves around the pitch, his head bowed, lacking confidence. The £200,000 per week wages he earns are not easing whatever he is going through right now, on or off the pitch.
There was one incident in the second half where goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez spilled a shot, and Rashford was the nearest player to it. Instead of competing for the ball, he turned his back.
It was a bizarre decision not to try and get to the loose ball, and showed a player who either was not putting the effort in, or was simply not switched on.
Rashford was taken off soon after and it felt like a mercy substitution. When he got the ball he frequently gave it away.
BBC co-commentator Dion Dublin had also criticised Rashford in the first half for not being quick enough to get to a rebound after Edinson Cavani’s shot was spilled. He simply wasn’t alert.
Anthony Elanga put in a lively display in his cameo, like night and day with Rashford. The display the England international put in was arguably worse than some which Anthony Martial was slaughtered for last season.
Rashford’s form has gone from bad to worse and there is no clear light at the end of the tunnel.
Mason Greenwood also in question
Rashford was by far the worst culprit, but there was a big moment where Mason Greenwood was guilty of failing to help his team out in the second half too.
With 10 minutes to go, Bruno Fernandes received the ball on the edge of the box, and called on Greenwood in front of him to move to the right where there was acres of open space, from where he could pass the ball, and the youngster could deliver a cross.
Greenwood simply refused, and Fernandes had to turn behind him and pass the ball back to a defender.
Ralf Rangnick demands maximum effort from his players, and either his star forwards are too unfit to offer it over 90 minutes, or there is something deeper which is wrong with them. Greenwood himself has just 1 goal in his last 10 games.
United need to get to the bottom of it quickly, because if a VAR and offside call had gone the other way, the team would have been eliminated from another trophy at the first hurdle.
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