West Brom v Manchester United, Sunday 4.00pm, Sky Sports 1
Manchester United are level on points with Manchester City in fourth, and just 10 points off the top of the table.
How the f*** did that happen?!
Louis van Gaal might not have won an Oscar for his elaborate moves on the touchline against Arsenal, but he deserves something for hauling Manchester United back into contention for a Champions League spot. Whether it is by luck or judgement, the Dutch gaffer has stumbled upon a golden run of form which has seen the Red Devils navigate through the FA Cup, Europa League, beat Arsenal at home and scrape an unconvincing 1-0 win against Watford in the space of nine days.
And the poster boy for the upturn in form is 18-year-old striker Marcus Rashford.
Despite making just three appearances for the senior team, Rashford has banged in four goals from just nine shots. The youngster has discovered that uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time, and has shown a cool head each time with his finishing. While Memphis continues his unusual habit of shooting wildly from distance, Rashford’s composure in the box is a welcome sight for the Old Trafford faithful.
Whether he’s a flash in the pan (please see, Januzaj. A) or this is a start of a blossoming career (see, Rooney. W) Rashford is the man to side with when Manchester United travel to West Brom on Sunday. His conversion rate is skewed slightly by the fact he has had far less shots than his Man United counterparts – but since when has something like that stopped the Paddy Power Blog spinning a yarn. Whatever way you look at it, the boys on fire and well worth backing.
The Man United Player of the Month for February (we know, he only made his debut on the 25th!) is a shot to open the scoring away to the Baggies, and that looks a tempting price given his explosion onto our screens. Wayne Rooney is still out injured, while Anthony Martial () only made his return to the team in Wednesday’s win over Watford.
Memphis Depay () got the opener in this fixture earlier in the season, but he hasn’t scored in the league since and is on a goal drought dating back to November 21. Juan Mata () may have bagged the winner with a delightfully perfect free-kick against Watford in mid-week, but he hasn’t scored a league goal from open play since the end of September.
If West Brom’s attacking prowess concerns you then Rashford is still a punt at to be the first Manchester United player on the scoresheet, while it’s that he scores anytime in a United win. Rashers is on some streak and punters can take advantage of his sizzling form. We’ll close the door on the way out…