Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently celebrated the two year anniversary of being handed the Red Devils job on a permanent deal, the Norwegian having initially taken over on an interim basis in December 2018 following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
The club legend’s first full season in charge last term saw Manchester United finish in a respectable third place, while they also reached three cup semi-final’s, albeit without being able to progress in any of them.
The current campaign has also seen Solskjaer’s men slip up in the Champions League, Carabao Cup and most recently in the FA Cup, although they do still have a chance of a top-two finish in the Premier League and the possibility of silverware through the Europa League.
With the former forward having now reached an important milestone in his time at the helm, it appears a good time to contemplate just how much progress has been made during his stint.
Here are the top five goalscorers for Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer:
Paul Pogba – 17 Goals
While the Frenchman remains an at times controversial figure at the club, he’s arguably enjoyed the best spell of his United career under Solskjaer, after a turbulent relationship with former boss Mourinho.
Solskjaer’s appointment as interim boss saw a return to the starting XI for the World Cup winner and sparked new life into his Old Trafford career, the midfielder going on to end the 2018/19 season with 16 goals in all competitions, 11 of those having come after the change in manager.
Although an injury-hit 2019/20 campaign limited the former Juventus man to just one solitary strike all season, his impressive form following Project Restart looked to have raised hopes of a new deal for the player and the exciting potential of a Pogba-Fernandes midfield partnership.
After making an understandably slow start to the current campaign after testing positive for Covid-19, the 28-year-old became a key part of the side over the festive period, despite agent Mino Raiola insisting in early December that his future still lies away from the Theatre of Dreams.
Crucial goals against the likes of West Ham, Burnley and Fulham over the Christmas Period looked to have put United in with a shout of a first league title in eight years, before dropped points against the likes of Sheffield United, West Brom and Everton curtailed any such hopes.
That dip in form also coincided with Pogba picking up yet another injury, the player only recently making his return to action during the 1-0 win over AC Milan last week, a game in which he scored just a matter of minutes after coming on after the interval.
Paul Pogba put on a show for Manchester United at San Siro last week 🙌pic.twitter.com/Cu997hjxwT
— Goal Kenya (@GoalcomKenya) March 26, 2021
Mason Greenwood – 22 Goals
One of the great success stories of Solskjaer’s time in charge has been the rise of young Mason Greenwood, the academy graduate having become a key member of the first-team despite still being a teenager.
After the departure of Romelu Lukaku in the summer of 2019, many were expecting a high profile forward replacement, yet the Norwegian opted to hand greater responsibility to the young Englishman, who’d made his senior debut the previous season in that win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
The versatile forward netted his first United goal in September 2019 in the 1-0 win over Astana in the Europa League, becoming the club’s youngest ever goalscorer in European competition at 17 years, 353 days.
The youngster then hit his first Premier League goal in the thrilling 3-3 draw with Sheffield United in November, before going on to finish the season with an incredible 17 goals in all competitions, with ten of those having come in the league.
Despite having been handed ample opportunity again this term, it’s been a slight case of second season syndrome for the England international, with just five goals to his name thus far, the latest having come in the 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Leicester City.
Anthony Martial – 34 Goals
The France international is another enduring a somewhat underwhelming season to date, yet he had previously been one Solskjaer’s more reliable figures in his early tenure.
After having been linked with the exit door during Mourinho’s final season at Old Trafford, Martial was a huge beneficiary of the change in manager, with an extended run in the side paying dividends as he finished the 18/19 season with 12 goals in all competitions.
Reinstated as the club’s number nine the following season, the former AS Monaco man looked reborn playing through the middle, finishing the season with a career-best 23 goals in all competitions following an inspired run of form in the back end of the season.
The forward netted the first treble of his United career against Sheffield United in June, becoming the first man to have bagged a league hat-trick for the club since Robin van Persie did so to clinch the title against Aston Villa back in April 2013.
Since then, however, it’s been a frustrating period for the mercurial talent, with the arrival of Edinson Cavani – as well as his own poor form and injury – restricting his game time so far this season.
After the highs of last term, the 25-year-old has scored just seven times this season, with just four of those coming in the league, as talk of a new striking addition this summer continues to heat up.
Bruno Fernandes – 35 Goals
It’s a testament to the Portuguese’s genius that he finds himself so high up on this list, despite having been at the club for significantly less than his teammates, the midfielder only making the move to Manchester in January 2020.
In truth, however, it’s also little surprise that he does feature, after having made an incredible impact since his arrival from Sporting CP, a factor that has been key in taking the club back towards the top of the table.
Following his signing late in the winter transfer window, Fernandes spearheaded what seemed a previously unlikely push for a top-four spot, the playmaker netting 12 times in just 22 games in all competitions during the back end of last season.
Blistering pace from Manchester United on the counter-attack! 🔥
Bruno Fernandes finishes off a wonderful move! 💥
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) June 30, 2020
The current campaign has seen the 26-year-old continue to be just as impressive, with 36 goal involvements (23 goals and 13 assists) so far this term, including 26 goal involvements in the league, a record only bettered by Tottenham’s Harry Kane (30).
To have become the club’s most important player in such a short space of time is a marker of his quality, although his slight recent dip in form could be signs of a slight burnout, with him having featured in 45 of United’s 47 games so far this season.
In Solskjaer’s defence, however, the side appears to take a noticeable hit when Fernandes is not in it.
Where would Ole be without his main man? Probably not in a job.
Marcus Rashford – 49 Goals
While Fernandes has been the star man over the last 12 or so months, the most consistent goalscoring presence during Solskjaer’s tenure has undoubtedly been Marcus Rashford, the forward having been an almost everpresent since the former Molde boss walked through the door.
It was in fact the 23-year-old who netted the first goal of the Solskjaer interim era back in December 2018, the former youth team man firing in a third-minute free-kick against Cardiff City to get his new boss’ reign off to the best possible beginning.
Not only did he net the first goal of Solskjaer’s tenure, but also arguably the most iconic one too, the England international firing home a stoppage-time penalty to secure a famous victory against PSG at the Parc des Princes in March 2019, a game that effectively sealed the ‘Baby-faced assassin’s’ future on a permanent deal.
Marcus Rashford was the coolest man in the Parc des Princes standing over his penalty against PSG 😎
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 5, 2019
The pacy wideman then set the tone for the following season, hitting a brace on the opening day to condemn Frank Lampard’s Chelsea to a 4-0 thrashing at Old Trafford, while he would go on to end that season with a career-best 22 goals, including 17 in the league.
Although he’s currently nursing an ankle injury, Rashford has continued that fine form this season and looks set to surpass last term’s tally, with 18 goals already to his name across all competitions thus far, including netting another winner away in Paris, as well as a breathtaking European hat-trick against RB Leipzig.
Just over five years on from his Red Devils debut, Rashford now sits tied with David Beckham on 85 goals for the club following his most recent strike against Newcastle United, with more than half of those having come since Solskjaer’s appointment. He’s now just one goal shy of a milestone 50 strikes under the current United boss.