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Seven goals in the three Premier League games since the restart show Manchester United's attack has been been impressive.
With an Anthony Martial hat-trick against Sheffield United, more brilliance from Mason Greenwood, and Bruno Fernandes scoring again, there’s been plenty for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be pleased with.
However it isnot just the forwards who have contributed. There have been two clean sheets in the last three league games - 11 in all during the current 15-game unbeaten run - and key to their current fine form have been the full-backs.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw were bothinvolved in goals during United’s 3-0 win against Brighton on Tuesday night. Wan-Bissaka notched another assist, his fourth of the league season, when he fed Greenwood for the opener at the Amex, and Shaw’s cutback to Paul Pogba helped to set up Fernandes for the second.
The pair have undoubtedlyimproved the attacking side of their game as the season has gone on. Shaw’s overlapping and dovetailing with Rashford down the left provided problems for Graham Potter’s side from kick-off but it was Wan-Bissaka down the opposite flank who caught the eye.
There has never been any doubt over the 22-year-old’s defensive capabilities - he is top of the tackles table in the Premier League - but he has grown stronger in attack. He has already bettered his assist tally from last season with six league games still remaining.
The former Crystal Palace man spent part of lockdown watching videos of previous games of this campaign to identify where he could get better, and there’s been even more insistence from him to get forward since the restart.
The number of crosses he is attempting has increased, the number of chances he has created has more than doubled since before the lockdown, and he is attempting more dribbles.
Shaw’s statistics aren’t as impressive as Wan-Bissaka’s -he is still yet to register a leagueassist this season where his counterpart has four. However, Solskjaer has seen a consistency in the 24-year-old which has led to him featuring in every game of the current unbeaten run.
The England international still has more to add to his game, especially getting forward. However there has been progress, evident in the past couple of games, and he has credited Solskjaer for his development.
“He obviously believes in me, he tells me that. That’s the confidence you need as a player: to have the manager believe in you,” he said to the club's official websitein May.
Shaw now needs to take that confidence and match Wan-Bissaka’s attacking prowess down the other flank.
Wan-Bissakahas created 24 chances this season, already 10 more than he managed for the entirety of the last campaign, and his passing accuracy has increased to over 80 per cent.
He has playedmore passes into the box (80) than he managed last season (68) and winning back possession in the final third more regularly. Add that to his impressive defensive stats and he is quickly becoming the complete full-back.
Shaw’s passing accuracy is up in the league too to 87 per centfrom 83% during the last campaign and his crossing is also more accurate. He has shown vast improvement and while some could point towards Wan-Bissaka creating more chances, 24 to Shaw’s 17, the £50 million signinghas made eight more appearances than the left-back.
Solskjaeris hoping to name a similar side to face Bournemouth on Saturday to the side that beat Brighton on Tuesday and if both full-backs are fit they willstart at Old Trafford. Each has proven to be a valuable partof Solskjaer’s squad and integralto United's push for Champions League football.
Brandon Williams’ emergence added to Solskjaer’s guidance has enabled Shaw to push on while Wan-Bissaka has built on his Crystal Palace foundations to take his game to the next level.