Marcus Rashford.

Rashford stats highlight his growing influence

Friday 01 May 2020 15:00

There are few players who can claim to have enjoyed a more fruitful 2019/20 than Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford.

Having truly established himself as a key goalscoring presence on the left flank, the Academy graduate’s first full season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has certainly been one to remember, no matter how things ultimately pan out from here. 
As things stand, Marcus is the top-scoring player aged 25 or under in the Premier League this season - bagging 14 goals in just 22 league appearances. He also ranks first in accumulative xG (expected goals) among those players, with 15.11, suggesting he would expected to have netted slightly over 15 times, and indicating that his impressive output is sustainable over a longer period and isn’t rooted in good fortune.

Before we dig a bit deeper into Rashford’s statistics from the season so far, it’s worth contextualising the youngster’s season from a tactical perspective to better understand the data. Impressively, Ole has tutored his young side to be able to play various systems - comfortably switching from a back-four to a three. The Norwegian’s most frequent formation this season, though, has been 4-2-3-1.
Watch Marcus Rashford's goals for the Reds this term.

Rashford has generally been deployed as an inside-forward on the left flank, often cutting inside and looking for opportunities to shoot as either Brandon Williams or Luke Shaw overlap. Rashford has really established his role within the team with a greater clarity than ever before due to Solskjaer’s management, and, as a result, he has had - by almost every metric - the best season of his career to date.

In terms of specifics, he is having the best Premier League campaign of his career (1000+ minutes) in the following p90 (per 90 minutes) metrics: goals + assists (0.9), goals (0.7), shots (3.5), penalty-area shots (2), penalties won (0.19), xG (0.65) and xG+xA (expected goals plus expected assists) (0.79).

What this tells us really is that Marcus has really kicked on as a goalscorer and developed into a true inside-forward under Solskjaer. While his chances created and take-ons have decreased slightly, his shot volume and quality has improved significantly - which really paints a picture of his profile this season: a nominal left-winger who possesses the trickery and unpredictability to be effective from wide areas, yet often comes central to become a primary goal threat.

Rashford’s average of 134 minutes per league goal so far would project him scoring 20 in the league if - in theory - he was to play the rest of the season in full. That goes some way to contextualising how good the England international has been this season - his stock was already high and he was on track to double his previous best goal tally in the Premier League.

​ It has not just been a season of personal bests for Rashford, though. No left-forward in the league can better the no.10's total shots (74), shots on target (34), goals (14) or xG (15.11) so far in the Premier League campaign. What is most impressive about this is the fact that the forward is still in the infancy of his career.

If we look at the players closest to Marcus in terms of Premier League goals from a similar position this season, they are all significantly older. The other top scorers who have played at left-wing this season are Sadio Mane (28), Raheem Sterling (25), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (30) and Jack Grealish (24). Rashford is top of the class already and has plenty of room to develop!

It’s impossible to discuss the 22-year-old without talking about his frankly outrageous big-game record. The forward has always had a knack of stepping up to the occasion in those big games but, this term, he has taken it to another level. Marcus has, this season alone, scored four goals against Chelsea, two versus Manchester City, two past Tottenham and one to open the scoring in the draw with Liverpool. This is in addition to assisting a goal against Arsenal.

All told, the homegrown talent has been directly involved in 10 goals past the so-called ‘big six’ since the start of the season.

There's far more to Marcus too - watch him discuss his charity work.
The more underlying numbers are impressive, too. Rashford has averaged 3.5 shots per game against ‘big-six’ opposition in the Premier League in 2019/20.

Ole's United have been devastating against the top teams in the league this season, picking up 17 points against the ‘big six’ - a tally only bettered by Liverpool’s 19, and Marcus's ability to find high-quality chances on the counter attack and generally to rise to the big occasions is a big contributing factor to that.

The Reds' leading marksman turned 22 early on in the 2019/20 season, and the campaign, so far, has seen him push on from being one of the most exciting 21-or-under prospects in the world to one of the most effective forwards on the planet.

He has played in various systems and been tasked with much more than simply finishing moves. Yet, he has done exactly that much more than most. It’s easy to forget just how young the forward is given his senior role in the squad, but it’s worth remembering that we are still really only seeing the very start of Rashford’s United career - which is absolutely terrifying.

Statman Dave is a regular guest on MUTV offering detailed match analysis.

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