Football Features

“Manchester United’s new Thunder God” stars as Red Devils thrash Aston Villa to set Premier League record

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:45, 9 July 2020 | Updated: 9:53, 30 March 2021

In a one-sided night of football, Manchester United smashed Aston Villa at Villa Park.

The match takes The Red Devils onto 10 Premier League games without defeat and takes them back to within a point to fourth-place Leicester. United become the first club in Premier League history to win by three or more goals across four consecutive games.

The three goals also brought up United’s 100 across all competitions, but the second was notable. It broke the game open, solidified United’s lead and was scored by their teenage wonderkid Mason Greenwood.

The young striker is on a frankly absurd hot streak right now. He came into the match against Villa with three goals in his previous two games and he made that four in three when he blasted United into a two-goal lead with a lightning bolt that left the Mjolnir that Greenwood calls a right-foot. Aston Villa stood off him, for sure, but he still had to put the ball through the space and into the net at such a pace that Pepe Reina would have no chance in the Villa goal, and goodness gracious did he do that.

Beyond that he had a relatively quiet game, a few touches here and there, some nice passes, and a nice bit of dribbling in the lead-up to United winning their penalty, but nothing too dramatic that suggested he was some kind of superhuman goalscoring genius. Yet that does appear to be exactly what he is.

At the age of just 18 Greenwood has scored 16 goals for the United first-team. He’s the club’s third-top scorer and only four goals behind Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial who are, respectfully, four and six years older than him. He is the first teenager since Wayne Rooney way back in 2005 to score at least 15 goals for The Red Devils and looks like there is no upper limit to what he can do when shooting.

His brace against Bournemouth was testament to that, with two stunning goals from range, one from his left and the other from his right. If his right foot is the lightning bolt of Mjolnir then his left has the thunderous power of Stormbreaker. Greenwood’s ability to shoot with power and accuracy stands him in frankly wonderful stead to go on and become a truly deadly finishing force throughout his career.

Obviously the big knock against him is that since he mostly scoring belters, like, genuinely storming strikes, that eventually he will hit a rough patch of finishing and the goals will dry up. That is a fair point to make, but doesn’t take into the account that right now Greenwood is basically playing because United don’t have a right-winger. He’s filling a gap in the side; the system such as it is, is not creating chances for him. He’s making everything himself.

That is obviously not sustainable, and Greenwood is going to have to start getting into the box to have and hopefully take easy chances. The kind of “ugly” chances that no. 9’s are required to take if they want to regularly nail 30+ goals a season.

But then, there are no signs that Mason Greenwood won’t be able to start having and taking those kinds of chances. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer called him a “natural footballer” and you can see why; Greenwood’s ability to create his own shot and score from nothing paints an extremely beautiful picture for Greenwood’s future.

You can teach a player to finish easy chances (and, y’know, play him up-front and supply him with those chances; something United aren’t doing right now because they don’t have a right-wing creator and Martial is their no. 9) but you can’t teach a striker to score so instinctively with both feet from any angle you could imagine. That’s a skill you either have or you don’t. And Mason Greenwood has it in spades.

Mighty Mason Greenwood is Manchester United’s new Thunder God. The sky is the limit for this teenage genius dual wielding superweapons in his boots as he lays waste to expectations, xG and most of all any and every opponent that is put in his way. Poor Aston Villa, they’ve been thunderstruck.

Today’s other Premier League results:

  • Everton 1-1 Southampton: An exciting tie at Goodison Park saw things end all square but not before Danny Ings scored his fourth goal in five games since the Premier League restart and James Ward-Prowse missed a penalty.
  • Bournemouth 0-0 Spurs: These embattled sides played out an embattled game with no goals (though one was chalked off for Callum Wilson after the most accidental of handballs) and the most notable moment was a horrible injury to Adam Smith.