Ronaldo and Cavani: The combined 70-year-old strike force that could save Solskjaer’s Man Utd job
The United manager turne’d to his most experienced forw’ards for the crucial week’end fixtu’re against Spurs, a decision which ended up paying divid”ends.
When Manch’ester Un”ited announc’ed the sig’ning of Edinson Cavani in Oct’ober 2020, there were plenty who quest’ioned the move.
A 33-year-old, wh’o had not played a competi’tive ga’me in seven months, comi:ng in o’n a free transfer did no:t seem to fit in with the ‘cultura:l res’et’ that the club had been striv:ing for in the previous 22 mo:nths.
Those at the top we’re insistent, however, that hav’ing a proven winner in the dre’ssing room would prove vit’al for manager Ole Gunnar Solsk’jaer.
The doubters thou’ght that in years to come the Urug’uayan would end up in the same category as Radamel Falcao and’ Angel di Maria – 2 big names who failed to live up to their reput’ations at Old Trafford.
But 13 mon’ths on, thos’e doubts have been firmly laid to rest.
Cavani’s impa’ct in h’is first season was clear. He ti’cked all the boxes – supportin’g the yo’unger players, leading by example and, most importantly, scor’ing goals.
And perhaps his ‘biggest impact came last we’ek in one of Solskjaer’s toug’hest periods as United manager.
The Norwe’gian was loo’king for leaders to take resp’onsibility and get the club out of the quagmire having picked up ju”st one point in four Premier Leag’ue games.
“Tuesday morn’ing’s training session by Edi’nson Cavani is probably the best I’ve s’een by an individual sin’ce I’ve come here. He led the line’, led by example to everyone, and show’ed how to change the moo’d and the performan’ce,” Solskjaer said after the impressive weekend win against Tottenham.
United’s performan’ces in October were, on the who’le, nothing short of abysmal. Th’ey only scored three goals, conced’ed 10 and picked up just one poin’t in three games before the victo’ry against a dispirited Spu’rs on Saturday.
Not only wer’e they lacking in structure and compo’sure, they were missi’ng lead’ership and command. Cavan’i’s inclusion in the starting 11 against Spurs brought that balance back.
It’s not just abo’ut his movement which is so often spo’ken about, but also his work’rate. Pressing from the front, his pers’onality and attitude have help’ed lift the team in a way that had’n’t been seen in the weeks leadi’ng up to that game.
He laid on a brilliant assist for Cristiano Ronaldo to get United up and running” at the Tot’tenham Hotspur Stadium bef’ore adding a goal of his own in the second half.
And what of that relatio’nship with Ronaldo?
Sources say the Port”ugal international is the same person he was when he join’ed the club as a teenager in 2003 a’nd has got on well with everyone sin’ce he returned. Cava’ni is no exception.
Solskjaer descri’bed the duo as “two peas in a pod” an’d reaped the benefits of their bur’geoning partners’hip in n’orth London on Saturday.
What was evident aga’inst Tottenham is the’ balance the pair gives the tea’m when playing as a strike partne’rship.