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Edinson Cavani must start every Manchester United game after Southampton salvo

Edinson Cavani was unstoppable against Southampton.
Edinson Cavani was unstoppable against Southampton.
Modified 30 Nov 2020, 22:39 IST

The celebrations were wild at St. Mary’s on Sunday but it was understandable. Manchester United came back from being down by two goals to beat Southampton 3-2.

At half time, the Red Devils were dead and buried, having put on a lacklustre performance against an in-form Southampton team. However, the introduction of one man changed everything.

Enter Edinson Cavani.

The Uruguayan striker came on at the start of the second half with Manchester United trailing by goals from Jan Bednarek and James Ward-Prowse. Cavani took some time to get going, first delaying while tying his boots and then putting in a failed tackle in an attempt to retrieve the ball.

Cavani inspires Manchester United to an entertaining comeback

However, once Cavani settled, he was totally unplayable. The 33-year-old took less than a quarter of an hour to make his presence felt, as he set up Bruno Fernandes to make it 2-1.

Cavani then went from provider to scorer when he headed a deflected shot from Fernandes past the hapless Alex McCarthy in the 74th minute. With 92 minutes on the clock, he popped up with the winner when he headed past McCarthy again.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was full of praise for the player after the game.

"He's got all the attributes of a top-class footballer and human being," Solskjaer said of Cavani, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News. "He's had a great career, he's scored goals wherever he's been."

The Manchester United manager also talked about the player's professionalism and the importance of having a goal poacher in the squad.

"He's so professional with and meticulous with his preparation. I was surprised he didn't have his boots ready when the second-half started. But also to have a focal point in the box, that's important for us. We've not really had that since Romelu left," said Solskjaer.

Cavani has now been involved in four goals (three goals and one assist) after playing just 127 minutes of football for Manchester United.

He is clearly the club’s best striker and, as Solskjaer rightly pointed out, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and Mason Greenwood are not as clinical as the Uruguayan in the box. His recent numbers also suggest he deserves to start in the club’s subsequent games.

As Manchester United prepare to face PSG in the Champions League in midweek, Cavani has done enough to earn a place in the starting line-up.

Published 30 Nov 2020, 22:39 IST
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