Cristiano Ronaldo slotted two past Newcastle keeper Freddie Woodman on his second debut for Manchester United.
The first came just before half time when the Magpies’ keeper spilled Mason Greenwood’s shot into the path of Ronaldo, setting him up for an easy tap in.
Last season, only 18 of United’s 121 goals came from inside the six yard box; of Ronaldo’s 36 goals for Juventus, 12 came from this area.
In fact, last season, 11% of Ronaldo’s shots came from six yards or less.
The goal signifies more than just his first goal since returning to the club, but a gap that United may have plugged by Ronaldo’s presence!
With age comes experience and both Edinson Cavani and Ronaldo have become poachers in the box, It is a boost for United’s chances this season to have players with that drive and vision in front of goal.
He continued, “That was a typical goal. People will say it was just a tap-in, but there is more to it than that. The defenders were watching the ball but Cristiano was anticipating that rebound. It was a great goal.”
It wasn’t just the strikers’ goals that made an impact though, throughout the game he had 63 occasions on the ball, and upon each occasion he averaged around two touches.
It is hard to judge from just one game but these stats show he is more efficient with the ball than he was in his first stint at Old Trafford.
He is finding space, moving the ball quicker and making passes a lot more effectively than before.
Talking of passes, he had an 87% pass accuracy in his opening game on Saturday.
After starting out on the left for United, he has switched to leading the line in recent years but mapping the Portuguese’s movement throughout yesterday’s game shows that he adapts throughout and shows strength on the wing as well as through the middle.
After one game, Ronaldo is proving to be a big asset to this United side and his display against Newcastle surely keeps him on the team sheet when the Reds play Young Boys tomorrow in the Champions League group stages.