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Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, all wearing winter clothing, warm up during a training session

It's Lingard v Rashford v Martial for second place

Romelu Lukaku has rightly received plenty of acclaim for his goalscoring exploits in his maiden season with Manchester United.

Heading into the run-in after the final international break of the season, the burly Belgian has defied a dwindling number of critics to plunder 25 goals in all competitions. 

The striker has nine more games (and hopefully 10, with an Emirates FA Cup final) in which to surpass Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s tally of 28 goals from last term.

Lukaku will finish as our top scorer in 2017/18 but, just below him, there’s a three-way contest developing between three players who have each made significant contributions to the Reds’ goal haul.

Let's take a look at the triumvirate of contenders...

Jesse Lingard: 13 goals in 23(16) appearances
This is comfortably the most prolific season to date for the livewire forward, who got off the mark in September’s Carabao Cup win over Burton Albion and enjoyed a purple patch around the turn of the year. Jesse, who also bagged his first England goal during the break, disclosed after his super strike at Everton on New Year’s Day that he has a goals target for this season – but he's keeping it a secret!

Jesse Lingard wheels away in celebration after scoring for United at Everton, with Marcus Rashford in pursuit
How close is 13-goal Jesse Lingard to his target for 2017/18? You'll have to ask him!

Lingard: I have a goals targetVideo

Marcus Rashford: 12 goals in 22(20) appearances
Breathing down Lingard’s neck is his good pal and fellow England international, who is also enjoying his most productive goals campaign after surpassing his previous best mark of 11 with that thrilling early double in the recent win over Liverpool. The 20-year-old has the best spread of goals among the trio, having found the net in every competition in 2017/18, and has regularly been praised by Jose Mourinho over the last few months for his versatility and attitude.
Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring against Leicester City
Marcus Rashford has found the net in every competition for United this term.

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Anthony Martial: 11 goals in (24)16 appearances
The Frenchman is coming up on the rails behind his colleagues and, though he hasn’t found the net since scoring the winner at Burnley in January, the 22-year-old remains our second-highest scorer in the Premier League, with nine goals, including four off the substitutes’ bench. He’s already sailed past his 2016/17 return of eight strikes in all competitions; little wonder, then, that he’s picked up three Player of the Month awards this season – no other Red has won more than one.
Anthony Martial celebrates with his arms outstretched after scoring United's winning goal at Burnley
Anthony Martial's tally of 11 goals this season have included four off the bench.

Martial on a mission article

Anthony Martial's proud of his three Player of the Month trophies but he'll be pushing for more.

All three players hope to start on Saturday when United return to Premier League action against Swansea City at Old Trafford. Remember, MUTV's live build-up to the game begins at 13:00.