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Edinson Cavani may be the catalyst for Manchester United’s resurgence, according to former Everton star Tim Cahill.
The 33-year-old joined United on a cut-day free transfer in October, having left Paris Saint-Germain as the all-time top scorer of the Ligue 1 champions with 200.
Cavani has scored three Premier League goals for United after coming off the bench and scoring two goals against Southampton last Sunday, including scoring on goal in the 92nd minute.
The forward, who also groomed Bruno Fernandes to score at St. Mary’s Stadium, has an average goal participation rate every 32 minutes in the league and his cameo last week helped United set a club record for the eighth straight win as visitor.
However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team followed up the comeback victory with a loss to Cavani’s former club Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday to leave Champions League Group H in a good position in the absence of a game for the end.
United’s struggles in the Premier League have been more stark, ranking ninth ahead of Saturday’s trip to West Ham, but Cahill believes the Red Devils can prosper if they give Cavani the service he needs.
2 in @premierleague In history, only Kevin Phillips (36 years 197 days against Birmingham in February 2010) has scored more than once as a substitute at an older age than Edinson Cavani of Manchester United (33 years 289 days). Number. #SOUMNU pic.twitter.com/69EA6uFAfK
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 29, 2020
“He is a striker who can finish, but, at the same time, to overtake [against Southampton], assist, score two goals and have the skill that Manchester United needs; It practically turned the game around, ”Cahill told Sky Sports.
“He is a great and influential player. Has instincts, but it’s not always fair [to get onto] the first ball is the second ball. Even when you see him score on a shot that went wide, he was there to shoot.
“He is always proactive, not reactive, and focused on things. I love seeing that header because it’s awkward, the timing of the race and the way he looked at it; You don’t need to look at the goal because you know where it is.
“But even earlier, when he had a few flashes this season, you can see the danger [he poses] – now you only need the service.
“The influence he has so fast when he comes in, and you see that the defenders give him a little space, even though he’s bigger. I think it says a lot about his presence because of what he’s done before. He’s a great, great influence on that team. “
Cavani became the first United player since Solskjaer in 1999 to have at least three substitute goals in a single Premier League game in a 3-2 win over the Saints.
He was also the oldest player to make his United debut (at 33 years, 253 days) since Zlatan Ibrahimovic (34 years, 316 days) in 2016.