When we started the season ending player reviews for the 2022-23 campaign, it was clear from the start some of the Manchester United players will be harder to analyse than others. But what is clear more than anything else is that analysing Marcus Rashford’s season is the easiest thing to do. The England international had such a good campaign that it is without a shadow of a doubt his best ever in professional career. Getting from there as the starting point, there are still plenty of things that need to be said.
Marcus Rashford made a total of 56 appearances in all competitions, 35 of which came in the Premier League, nine in Europa League and six in each of the two cup competitions. He racked up a tally of 30 goals and 11 assists, proving this to be his first ever campaign at the truly elite European level, among the very best on the continent. He scored 17 goals in the Premier League, six in the Europa League and six in the League Cup, with one in the FA Cup. Adding 11 assists to that, we get to Rashford’s average of 105 minutes spent on the pitch per goal contribution, that is, a goal or an assist. Such a ratio allowed United to finish third in the league and win the League Cup despite not having any other player with a distinctive attacking output, for example, at least 10 Premier League goals.
That fact made Rashford altogether more important to Erik Ten Hag and the rest of the team. When the goals are not spread so much around the whole squad, one player usually has to make up for it. And Rashford delivered big time. He was in the 99th percentile in on penalty goals per 90 minutes (0.60) and in non-penalty expected goals per 90 (0.54). He was even at the very top of European football in terms of total shots, which he made 3.67 per 90 minutes, which put him into 98th percentile in top five European leagues. All of that was made possible by Rashford clear quality in the final third and he managed to be on the end of United’s attacks so very often. For example, he was making 6.23 touches in the opposition’s penalty area, which put him in 92nd percentile. It is no wonder then that the players to which reputable website FBREF stastically compares him to the most are Ferran Torres of Barcelona and Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal.
On so many occasions, Rashford was United’s key man. His performance against Barcelona at Nou Camp (goal and assist in a 2-2 draw) will be remembered for a while, as well as his match-winning goals against Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Leicester and West Ham, just to name a handful. It is no wonder then that Man United will sign a new deal with the Manchester-born star and it is becoming clearer than ever that Erik Ten Hag will make him a central part of his new team in seasons to come. Hopefully Rashford himself will continue to build on this great campaign.