Seven scoring runs to rival Rashford's
It’s no secret that Marcus Rashford is the most in-form striker in European football right now.
No other attacker across the continent’s top-five leagues can match our no.10’s goal haul since the World Cup, with Marcus’s brace against Leicester City lifting him to 16 in 17 matches for United since returning from Qatar.
Rashford has failed to score in only three of those outings, but how does his recent run compare to the most fruitful periods of some of our most prolific former marksmen?
We’ve delved into the history books and found seven hot streaks to rival Rashford’s…
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TOMMY TAYLOR (1956/57)
16 goals in 15 games
The Barnsley-born forward can match Rashford’s tally of 16, although he achieved it in two fewer games as Matt Busby’s Babes retained the First Division title. Taylor’s streak began with our middle goal in a 3-1 victory over Luton Town on the first day of December 1956. The run continued at a steady pace, as Tommy bagged braces against Aston Villa, Chelsea and Wrexham over Christmas and the new year. He missed a league game with Portsmouth and failed to net on another three occasions in the sequence, before another two-goal haul, at Charlton Athletic in February 1957, brought the run to an end.
DENNIS VIOLLET (1959/60)
18 goals in 14 games
Viollet’s 1959/60 league campaign is still a high watermark in United’s history, with no other Red bettering his tally of 32 top-flight strikes. Over half of those came during an extraordinary two-month blitz before the turn of the year, with Viollet rattling home goal after goal in what was a relatively fallow season overall as the Reds finished seventh. The inside forward’s finest performance came as he scored a hat-trick at The City Ground, while he also netted twice against each of Leicester City, Sheffield Wednesday, Luton Town, Blackpool and Burnley, meaning Viollet had struck 25 times in the First Division before New Year’s Day.
DENIS LAW (1963/64)
22 goals in 14 games
Arguably the most supreme of all United’s goal-getters, Law was in his imperial phase in 1963/64, scoring a club-record 46 goals in 42 games on his way to the Ballon d’Or crown. No-one could keep the Scotsman quiet for long, but his most productive spell came in early 1964, as hat-tricks against Bristol Rovers, Sporting Club and Sunderland helped him to an incredible 22 goals across 14 games – and he failed to find the scoresheet in two of those! What’s perhaps most astounding is that United finished second at the end of that term, while Law didn’t even have the Golden Boot to console him, as Tottenham’s Jimmy Greaves took that particular prize.
RUUD VAN NISTELROOY (2001/02)
16 goals in 14 games
George Best, Brian McClair, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke all had memorable goalscoring spells but we have to fast-forward almost four decades for the next truly great United run. In his first season in English football, and after a year out with the knee injury that had postponed his move from PSV Eindhoven, Van Nistelrooy hit remarkable form before Christmas as United recovered from the early-season slump which would eventually see us fall short in the title race. Ruud found the net in 14 of the 15 games he played between 17 November and 19 January, including a treble versus Southampton and a run of eight straight scoring games in the Premier League – a record he wouldn’t take long to break...
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RUUD VAN NISTELROOY (2002/03)
15 goals in 10 games
A shorter sequence, but one worth mentioning as Ruud made it on to the scoresheet in every one of the last 10 games of 2002/03 as the Reds wrestled the title back from Arsenal. A goal in each leg of the Champions League quarter-final proved futile as we were eliminated by Real Madrid, but Ruud was relentless domestically, putting Fulham and Charlton Athletic to the sword with hat-tricks at Old Trafford and scoring at vitally important times in the away games at Arsenal and Tottenham. A final-day penalty at Goodison Park matched his landmark of eight-in-a-row in the league, which he’d extend to 10 early the following season.
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CRISTIANO RONALDO (2007/08)
17 goals in 13 games
The festive floodgates opened for Cristiano, as he struck 17 times across the 13 games he played between November 2007 and January 2008, including the only hat-trick he managed during his first United spell. The Portugal forward hadn’t exactly been quiet up until the start of the run, with 10 goals prior to 11 November, but the hot streak really began with his stunning late free-kick against former club Sporting. After doubles to beat Fulham, Everton and Tottenham, and the treble against Newcastle, Ronaldo’s burst fittingly ended with another sensational set-piece – the fizzing, 25-yarder in the 2-0 win over Portsmouth which was later crowned Goal of the Season.
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WAYNE ROONEY (2009/10)
19 goals in 15 games
Ronaldo’s departure ushered in Wayne Rooney’s magnum opus, as the shaven-headed striker embarked on a purple patch which could have extended further had it not been for the unfortunate ankle injury he suffered during our Champions League quarter-final with Bayern Munich. Rooney’s run saw him net in eight straight Old Trafford games – which Rashford topped last month, with nine – including a four-goal haul against hapless Hull City. Our future all-time leading scorer also came up clutch several times on the road, finishing a swift counter-attack at Arsenal, netting a League Cup final winner against Aston Villa at Wembley and scoring twice at the San Siro.