Falcao is back, and Manchester United’s forward line looks terrifying
The rest of the league’s worst nightmare is coming true.
On Boxing Day, Radamel Falcao turned in his best performance in a Manchester United shirt, finally looking a player worth his massive wages. He may not have scored a goal, but he provided a great assist for his team’s first and won the ball to start the move for their second in the 3-1 win over Newcastle.
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Falcao’s biggest problem to date has seemingly been his fitness. It’s likely he rushed back from knee surgery too quickly in a bid to make Colombia’s World Cup squad and hasn’t been quite right since. Just three weeks ago, Louis van Gaal said that Falcao could only play for 20 minutes and came off as critical of his expensive forward.
Even when Falcao’s gotten on the pitch for United this season, his off-the-ball work wasn’t nearly as impressive as it had been in previous seasons, whether that was due to fitness issues or a lack of familiarity with his teammates. But Friday his movement was spectacular, and he appeared to have an excellent understanding with Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. The trio pulled Newcastle’s defense apart regularly, creating chances and a few easy goals.
This looked like the real Falcao, not the shell of a great player that’s been limping around since May. The conventional response to this signing was that it was a risk, but if he could get back to full fitness and discover his best form, it would be an absolute coup for United.
Friday’s game against Newcastle is a sample size of just one, but it may signal that United’s risk paid off. For the first time this season United’s formidable striking trio were all fit and looked like they had an excellent understanding of how to play with each other — a terrifying sight for the rest of the Premier League.