Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku

Solskjaer's six of the best forwards

Friday 28 December 2018 16:58

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was famously rotated as part of an attacking quartet in Manchester United's Treble-winning squad and our caretaker manager is preparing to do the same with the club's current crop of forwards, as several recent absentees approach full fitness.

Anthony Martial missed the Boxing Day win over Huddersfield with illness, while Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez are yet to feature under the Norwegian. But the Reds' new boss is excited at the prospect of having a fully fit sextet at his disposal in attack.

"My thing now is Romelu, Alexis, Anthony, Marcus, Jesse, Juan – there are six forwards for you," gleamed Solskjaer. "Will we play with more than four at a time? I'm not sure, so the rotation and the communication between the players, so they know they're going to get chances, is important for me."

With that in mind, we assessed Ole's six stellar forwards and their seasons so far...

The match-winning hero of one of the most memorable games of the season so far – October's 3-2 comeback win over Newcastle - has been absent since November with a hamstring issue and, like Lukaku, he will be desperate to show Ole his undoubted class. The Chilean has already been described as a 'workaholic' by Solskjaer - any supporters who follow Alexis on Instagram will be familiar with his thirst for fitness work – and the former Arsenal man could yet be a key weapon for United, if he can rediscover the form that made him one of the Premier League's most feared attackers during recent seasons.
Highlights: United 3 Newcastle 2 Video

Highlights: United 3 Newcastle 2

Watch how the Reds came from behind to secure a dramatic victory over Newcastle at Old Trafford in October...

The Warrington-born star scored a personal best 13 goals last season, but he had to wait until December to open his account for the 2018/19 campaign with our equaliser against Arsenal at Old Trafford. That was actually his first strike since February but Jesse has been flourishing in the few weeks since he found the net against the Gunners, and he has registered four goals and two assists in his last five Premier League games. Memorably, he bagged a double in Ole's first win, at Cardiff, and was also named Man of the Match.

United's top scorer so far in the calendar year of 2018, with 18 strikes, Rom has not played since the defeat at Anfield, so he will be looking to impress the new boss when he returns. Solskjaer has already hinted at his enthusiasm for working with the club's talented forwards, and the prospect of helping one of the stars of the last World Cup reach new heights is an exciting thought for fans.
Lukaku was joint-second in the race for the Golden Boot at the World Cup in Russia.
The Reds' leading scorer this season, with nine goals, netted just once in the opening 10 games of the campaign – against Young Boys – but as soon as he grabbed a regular place in the starting line-up, he quickly hit top form. The Frenchman scored in six consecutive league matches through October and November, and he was a terrorising threat in Solskjaer's first fixture – the 5-1 thumping of Cardiff. Martial scored arguably the outstanding goal of the game – a sinuous team move involving Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard that climaxed with our no.11 sliding the ball home off the inside of the post.
All the Angles: Martial v Cardiff Video

All the Angles: Martial v Cardiff

Playing football the Sir Matt Busby way against Cardiff City! Watch all the angles of Martial's goal...

Superb in the win over Huddersfield, Mata's thoughtful link-play offers experience and calmness in attack. His free-kicks have grabbed vital goals for the team (the first in the comeback against Newcastle, the equaliser away to Juventus) and his style of play enables United to slow the game down and control the ball for periods, something Solskjaer has mentioned as important, despite the clear overall emphasis on speedy, direct attacking football.

The hard-running local hero has been directly involved in more goals than any other United forward this term - 10 so far, matching his five goals with the same number of assists; only midfielder Paul Pogba has a higher combined tally. Like Martial, Rashford's season began relatively slowly, but he kickstarted Solskjaer's tenure with a scorching free-kick at Cardiff and three goals in his last five appearances indicate that the England forward is back to his best, now that a busy World Cup summer is well behind him.
Whichever combination of forwards Ole opts for against Bournemouth on Sunday, the busy fixture schedule suggests we'll see all six players at some point in the coming weeks. Watch this space.
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Highlights: United 3 Huddersfield 1 Video

Highlights: United 3 Huddersfield 1

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