Stats show Man United forward line playing second-fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo causing negative goal return amongst club-mates
Few if any Manchester United supporters bemoaned the moment Cristiano Ronaldo made his return to Old Trafford this summer as Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s outfit looked to close the gap to rivals Manchester City after the Red Devil’s finished last season as runner-up behind Pep Guardiola’s Citizens.
Along with the acquisition of Borussia Dortmund’s English starlet – and former City academy prospect – Jadon Sancho, Ronaldo was meant to headline United’s continued resurgence as the club looked to keep their season-by-season climb up the Premier League table on track.
On paper, the current situation reads as more or less expected. United sit joint-second in the league on 13-points along with City, Chelsea, Everton, and *checks notes* Brighton. The goal return is also just about where many expect the Red Devil’s to reside, with the 13-goals to their name only bested by table-topping Liverpool (15).
But the reality of the attacking situation from the minute Ronaldo made his second Old Trafford debut – a match where he bagged a brace – paints a picture that may be familiar to Juventus fans at the very least.
As quipped by @FrenchGooner23 on Twitter, Mason Greenwood – who scored for three matches running to start the current Premier League season – has yet to score a goal since Ronaldo arrived on the scene.
Greenwood no goals since CR7 arrival, Bruno 1 goal and 1 penalty still in orbit, the curried GOAT scammed 4 tap ins lol it’s already a 1 man team
— French Gooner (@FrenchGooner23) September 29, 2021
Portuguese compatriot Bruno Fernandes started the season with a hat-trick on opening day against Everton and also found the back of the net against Newcastle during CR7’s debut, but has yet to score since and has only a rocketed effort from the penalty spot to his name; one that has yet to achieve atmospheric re-entry.
Sancho also has yet to find the back of the net, and the same can be said for Anthony Martial as well as Edinson Cavani.
At the minute, the current tactical picture being painted under OGS is one that is a similar issue seen at Juventus with sprinklings of Portugal and Real Madrid smattered in between; to build your approach around trying to get Ronaldo goals is not how you get the best out of an attacking unit with plenty of talent.
Assist record in Champions League a tell-tale sign
There is no denying how effective a goalscorer Ronaldo has become over the years starting from the second-half of his first United stint and through his spells at Real Madrid and Juventus.
But with is brilliant goals record has come a reliance on others while those same club mates rarely can look to the Portuguese man for chance creation.
Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Cristiano Ronaldo has five assists in the Champions League. Lionel Messi has 10. James Milner has 13.
— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) September 28, 2021
With just 5-assists to his name across the last three-combined seasons in Champions League, there is scope to suggest that United may struggle to spread goals across the entire forward line at the expense of making sure Ronaldo remains the key attacking threat.