OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER will be forced to turn to flops Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez against Crystal Palace.
Thanks to a worrying injury crisis at Old Trafford, the likes of Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are set to miss Wednesday’s trip to Selhurst Park.
How Man Utd’s strikers compare, according to the stats
Solskjaer – who moved out of the Lowry Hotel last week – has revealed this game will be a great chance for Sanchez and Lukaku to have a big game.
The Norwegian said: “It’s a chance for them to play to their potential, reputation is one thing, the potential is high.
“Because the two of them are good mates, they link up well together.
“So this might be a chance for them two together to find some form and give us a selection headache for when everyone gets fit again. It’s been coming.”
EPA Alexis Sanchez will be given a chance to start against Crystal Palace
But how do the pair stack up to the rest of Man Utd’s forward, stats-wise? We take a look…
Sanchez has mustered a goal every 622 minutes this season – a dangerously low rate of return compared to the rest of United’s attackers.
Lingard is the only other player above the 200-minute barrier – and even he has spent much of the season in a central midfield role.
Lukaku, 25, meanwhile has found the net once every 189 minutes, which is not too far behind Rashford (179) and Martial (142).
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Sanchez has barely taken a shot this season, with just 16, with a dreadful conversion rate of just 6 per cent.
However, while Sanchez’s goal-scoring record has been poor, his creativity hasn’t been half bad.
Despite playing far fewer minutes than his fellow forwards, the Chilean, 30, has created 20 chances – more than Lingard and Lukaku – while adding three assists.
His assist tally is only bettered by Rashford (6) – while Lukaku has a bagel (0).
While Sanchez is thriving on the creative end, Lukaku’s finishing has been somewhat underrated.
He has found the net with 22 per cent of his shots this season, while scoring eight – just one behind Martial and Rashford.
Where both Sanchez and Lukaku need to improve is in their passing, with both under the 75 per cent mark – with the Belgian dangerously low at 64 per cent.
AFP Romelu Lukaku will lead the line in South London in desperate search of a goal
EPA Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been left short-handed by a number of injuries
So perhaps Solskjaer is right. The pair may not have had the best of seasons so far, but they’ve had bright spots in fits and spurts.
Wednesday night in South London could be just the turning point Sanchez and Lukaku need – even if it is only thanks to an ever-growing injury list.
Going back to the pair, Solskjaer was quick to say Lukaku has it in his locker to be a creator, adding: “With Rom he created our two biggest chances against Liverpool.
“It’s a different position for him I know, because Marcus Rashford’s injury meant we had to rely on him just standing up there and running in behind.
“He couldn’t do too much defending work, so Rom’s attitude and work rate was fantastic.
“And the two chances, Jesse Lingard’s and Chris Smalling’s at the end, they were Rom’s doing.
“The link up between them against Arsenal in the cup [was good] so hopefully Alexis and Rom can step up.”
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