WHISPER it quietly but things are looking up for Manchester United in 2024.
The Red Devils remain unbeaten since the turn of the year having won four of their five fixtures in all competitions with the 2-2 draw against Tottenham their only minor blemish.
Erik ten Hag’s desperately side struggled to score goals throughout the first half of the season – even now they’ve scored fewer league goals than Wolves, Brentford and Luton – but things have improved in attack of late.
Dream TeamYouthful exuberance[/caption]
Man United have scored 19 goals in their last seven games with Rasmus Hojlund (£3.6m) and Alejandro Garnacho (£3.1m) shining brightest.
In fact, it may be time more Dream Team managers gave the pair due consideration.
The 21-year-old Danish striker enjoyed himself in the Champions League group stages but it took him a while to get going in domestic football under Ten Hag.
However, his goal against West Ham on Sunday made it four consecutive games in which he’s scored.
Going back a little further to the start of Gameweek 17 – when Man United came from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 on Boxing Day – Hojlund has scored five goals in his last six appearances.
This fruitful spell also includes two assists.
RexTen goal involvements this season and counting[/caption]
As for Garnacho, he’s not been as regular a goalscorer but his strikes seem to come in pairs.
The Argentine winger bagged a brace in that comeback win over the Villains and he did the same against the Hammers last time out.
The teenager has also ticked over nicely in the games in which he hasn’t scored.
He picked up four six-point hauls in a row between Gameweeks 19 and 21 via bonus points, shots on target and big chances created – he was very unlucky not to have registered at least one assist having created SIX big chances across those four fixtures.
Add everything together and the duo of Garnacho and Hojlund have combined for a whopping 109 points since the start of Gameweek 17.
This breaks down to 7.1 points-per-game for Hojlund and 7.4 points-per-game for Garnacho across United’s last eight fixtures.
Needless to say, this is the kind of form that should pique the interest of Dream Team gaffers at the very least.
GettyA glimpse into the future?[/caption]
The main blockade to Old Trafford’s young talents is the schedule.
Man United are due to play five fixtures between now and the end of Gameweek 26: Aston Villa (a), Luton (a), Fulham (h), Nottingham Forest/Bristol City (a) and Manchester City (a).
For comparison, Pep Guardiola’s side will fulfil EIGHT fixtures in the same time frame: Everton (h), Copenhagen (a), Chelsea (h), Brentford (h), Bournemouth (a), Luton (a), Man United (h) and Copenhagen (h).
It’s therefore hard to campaign for Hojlund and Garnacho over the likes of Julian Alvarez (£4.3m), Rodri (£3.6m), etc.
Although City assets generally don’t come cheap and it may be the case that many gaffers can only afford so many Etihad residents in the name of squeezing the schedule.
United’s progression to the FA Cup fifth round with a relatively favourable match (Forest or Bristol City) means they’re busier than the likes of Spurs and West Ham this month.
Keep an eye on Hojlund and Garnacho’s returns – they’re bubbling up nicely.
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