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Will Benni McCarthy inspire another Rashford masterclass in Arsenal-Man United?

19:40 EAT 21/01/2023
Marcus Rashford and Benni McCarthy, Manchester United
Can the Red Devil keep his run going in this Premier League blockbuster?

All eyes will be on Marcus Rashford on Sunday, as Manchester United travel to league leaders Arsenal.

Both of these two sides have been flying high in recent months, with the Red Devils—inspired by Rashford—turning the corner under Erik ten Hag.

All eyes in South Africa, meanwhile, will also be on Rashford, but for slightly different reasons.

Behind every great striker, it seems, is a great scoring trainer, and much of the praise for the England international Rashford's recent upturn in form has been lain at Benni McCarthy’s door…at least among South African fans.

He was praised by Patrice Evra ahead of United’s derby victory over Manchester City last weekend, and in the aftermath of that victory, was singled out for praise by Ten Hag for the influence he’s had on the Red Devils’ strikers.

“[Benni] is offensive [minded] as he is a former striker and that is also a really specific job task in the team,” Ten Hag told United’s official website. “Football is about scoring and you have a goalkeeping specialist, but you also have offensive specialists and, in particular, we have a specific scoring trainer.

"He has to add that, in details, working and for the rest of us, he has a relationship to all the players in our squad. He also has to work on the togetherness and he is doing a great job on that.”

McCarthy’s impact is there to be seen, both in Rashford’s improved mentality and maturity, and in the raw numbers of his goal return in recent months.

The striker now has eight goals and two assists in his last seven matches for the Red Devils. Since returning from World Cup duty with England, and being reunited with McCarthy, Rashford has been sensational.

He’s the first player since April 2008 to score in seven consecutive games for the Red Devils, and not since Teddy Sheringham, 23 years ago, has a player scored in nine successive matches at Old Trafford.

McCarthy has got Rashford playing to his potential, and proving to be a lethal asset for United.

However, now he and his teammates face their toughest assignment yet, as they travel away to league leaders Arsenal.

The Gunners have looked ominous under Mikel Arteta, worryingly controlled and effective, with the arrival of Leandro Trossard set to enhance their own attacking options.

Under Benni, however, it feels like anything is possible for Rashford at United right now, but will his outrageous scoring run continue against the Gunners?