It took Edinson Cavani’s influence in the second half to turn Manchester United’s fortunes around at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton over the weekend.
The Red Devils took a devastating two-nil deficit in the first half, thanks to stunning set-piece deliveries from James Ward-Prowse.
The Englishman first whipped in a corner for Jan Bednarek to find the back of the net with a glancing header, to which Ward-Prowse then followed up with a magnificent free-kick that had David de Gea scrambling to make contact with and ultimately injuring himself.
Manchester United have a recurring history of conceding in away matches and having to mount comebacks, with Southampton being no different.
As Mason Greenwood departed the field at half time, it was time for Cavani, signed over the summer as a free transfer on a two-year deal, to make to the pitch.
Since having signed, the Uruguay international has had a relatively pedestrian start to life in the North West for his standards, having only been given cameo performances.
With an extended amount of time on the pitch, Cavani well and truly made his impact: two goals and one assist, which allowed United to come away from down south with the three points and push up the table in the Premier League.
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side now only sit five points away from top spot with a game-in-hand, which seems bizarre given the topsy-turvy nature of their performances and results.
In what is a relatively inexperienced front line, especially when it comes to delivering trophies, Cavani is the perfect stopgap centre forward. A player who has seen it all and been on Europe’s elite stage for nearly a decade.
Having achieved the all-time top goal scorer status at Paris Saint-Germain, it was time for something new. Plenty of offers came his way, but the Uruguayan opted for Manchester United and has now shown the fans exactly what he can do.
While he likes to drift out wide, which helped the first goal with his sublime curling crossed assist into Bruno Fernandes’ path, Cavani is most threatening down the middle. His two headed goals were exceptional and showed his flexibility and pure, natural range of motion in order to get himself on the end of them.
With Martial out through illness, Cavani should be awarded a starting position against his former club PSG during the week. It is another crucial Champions League fixture in which Manchester United need a point to qualify, which is why Cavani’s experience and general knowhow is invaluable.
Like Donny van de Beek, Cavani has remained patient and been ready when called upon by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The Uruguayan centre forward has shown his ability and what he can deliver, it is now down the Norwegian to stick with him and feed him with chances.
Source: Forbes – Business