Marcus Rashford's Post-Lockdown form: Rust on Gold?

Frustrated Rashford
Marcus Rashford yelling in frustration after being fouled sums up his post-lockdown performance

Marcus Rashford has been one of the best players for Manchester United this season, and if his on-field performances weren’t enough, his heroic efforts off the field won the hearts of every football fan out there. All these efforts gained him plaudits before, and during the lockdown. But today we are going to look at his post-lockdown form.

Before we get started, it should be noted that Rashford suffered a serious injury blow before the lockdown, which kept him away for all fixtures from the end of January, and with not a great idea of the amount of recovery he has made, it isn’t easy to rate his post-lockdown performances. With this article, I’ll be attempting to analyse his performance post-lockdown for the five matches he has played in till now and then sum up with a conclusion. Let’s get started -

A bumpy start:

Rashford made his return right from the first match post-lockdown, which was against former manager Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham. While the fans watching from home expected their Mancunian star to make an impact, it was not a match to remember for the English winger as he was poor on the ball and even missed a goalscoring chance in the first half at the near post as Lloris blocked his point-blank shot without much difficulty.

The rest of the match was not an easy ride either, and he instead ended up being a part of the mistake that lead to Spurs’ goal in opening minutes of the second half. Overall, it was a poor performance, and that shows up in his player ratings for Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United as well.

Sharp against the Blades:

After a disaster class against Spurs, fans expected Rashford to show up against Blades, and oh boy! He definitely started in style with a beautiful assist to Martial for the early goal. But assist was what all he got to offer in the first half as he went on missing two goalscoring chances after that. The second half was benevolent to him as he provided another assist to Martial that saw him completing his first hattrick. In all, it was quite a good performance from Rashford, and he got rated highly for the same.

Slow takeoff with The Canaries:

In the FA Cup tie against Norwich, Rashford came on as a substitute in 63rd minute and played a decent role where he performed no mistakes as expected and had better passing accuracy than previous matches. Nothing special but nothing awful either.

Successful flight against The Seagulls:

After a streak of mostly average performances, came another Premier League match for Marcus Rashford. It was visible that he was quite determined into the game, but those flashy runs and dribbles were still missing. This shows that maybe he hasn’t recovered from injury fully yet. But don’t let stats and ratings fool you into the fact that he had a bad day at the office. He created a lot of value for United’s second and third goal with his visionary passing and off the ball runs respectively, and Possession Value map conveys this effectively –



Cherry on the pie:

Finally comes the time for the Bournemouth game. The game might have been an excellent one for the United, but it was a night to forget for the cherries. This game saw Marcus Rashford taking the lead for the Red Devils (at 2-1) by calmly slotting the penalty into the bottom right-hand corner. Apart from that, Rashford also made some great off the ball runs, one of which nearly got him a goal in the second half, but VAR had other plans and ruined the party with a controversial decision. It was a decent night for him, and it might have got him some confidence back with the penalty goal that took his tally to the 20 for this season. 

Conclusion:

To conclude, Rashford has improved his through-ball vision, and off the ball runs during lockdown, adding a lot of possession value to the game. But he has also got rusty on the ball, which has seen him produce inconsistent performances. The overall verdict is that once he fully recovers from the injury, he’ll be an unstoppable force to deal with in the league. For now, let's cross our fingers and hope that our star shines again soon. 

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