Man Utd Star Edinson Cavani Tops Premier League Supersub Stats
When Manchester United signed free agent Edinson Cavani from Paris St-Germain on a one-year contract in October, it raised a few eyebrows.
Pundits asked, at 33, would Cavani be able to contribute much to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side as they tried to win their first Premier League title in eight seasons?
The Uruguayan, who was handed the number seven shirt, previously worn with distinction by the likes of Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, has silenced his doubters this season.
Indeed, Cavani became the first United player since Ronaldo to score 10 goals in a season wearing the iconic shirt after wrapping up his side's 3-1 win against Burnley at Old Trafford on Sunday to close the gap on leaders Manchester City to eight points with six games left to play.
It was also Cavani's third successive game in which he found the net after scoring against Tottenham in another 3-1 win last weekend and scoring an early opener to ensure their Europa League quarter-final, second leg at home to Granada went according to plan.
United are in talks to keep Cavani at Old Trafford beyond this season, and may well be wishing they had signed the prolific striker several years ago. However, the south American was busy scoring over 340 goals on a regular basis for Palermo, Napoli and most recently PSG.
Cavani is the latest striker to enjoy a move to Old Trafford in the twilight of his football career.
Henrik Larsson impressed in a brief loan spell in the colours of United during the 2006/07 season before Zlatan Ibrahimovic strengthened the bond between United and Sweden with a prolific spell during his two seasons from August 2016 to March 2018 when a knee injury brought an early end to his time in Manchester.
All three players joined United in their mid-30s and will be remembered fondly by the club’s supporters. Whatever happens with Cavani, his time at Old Trafford will be seen as a success.
No player has made more of an impact off the bench in the Premier League this season than Cavani.
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Most 2020/21 Premier League Goal Contributions as a Sub
His introduction as a half-time substitute against Burnley on Sunday provided a spark for United that was missing in the opening 45 minutes.
The game was locked at 0-0, but Cavani's movement in and around the box created space and opportunities for United to finally grind their opponents down.
His goal, United's third, moved him level with Diogo Jota on four goals from a substitute, but while the Liverpool forward has no assists, Cavani has two.
Cavani's biggest impact from the bench came at St Mary's on November 29. Trailing 2-0 to Southampton at half-time, Solskjaer replaced Mason Greenwood with Cavani and the change paid dividends.
After providing an assist for Bruno Fernandes to reduce the arrears, the south American equalised in the 74th minute before striking the winning goal in injury time.
Another pivotal moment came at Craven Cottage. Again, United trailed 1-0 on January 20, before their south American hero levelled in the 24th minute after being handed a place in the starting line-up. The goal turned the game around and United went on to win thanks to Paul Pogba's winner 25 minutes from time.
Cavani has scored eight times in 21 league games for United. Four have come as a substitute but he has his work cut out if he is to equal Adam Le Fondre's record of eight goals from the bench during Reading's relegation season of 2012/13.
Most Premier League Substitute Goals in a Single Season
|Adam Le Fondre||8||Reading||2012/13|
|Jermain Defoe||6||West Ham||2001/02|
|Tore Andre Flo||6||Chelsea||1997/98|
Cavani's strike rate of a goal every 2.6 games is second only to Bruno Fernandes (a goal every 2.0 games) among United's leading scorers this campaign. Having the Uruguayan in his ranks is a major boost for Solskjaer who also has his sights set on winning this season's Europa League.
Cavani is the third United player this season to have scored 10 goals or more in all competitions after Fernandes and Marcus Rashford.
United's success in the past has come when they have had four quality strikers to choose from.
When the Old Trafford club won their historic Treble in 1999, Solskjaer was one of four strikers along with Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and Teddy Sheringham that struck fear in their opponents.
If United are to land silverware this season, Cavani will have a big part to play and who knows, he might just match or beat Solskjaer's club record of five league goals as a substitute set in 1998/99 and equaled in 2010/11 by Javier Hernandez.
Winning a trophy might also help persuade the 34-year-old to stay at Old Trafford for another season at least.
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