For all the talk about how Cristiano Ronaldo was meant to be the major problem at Manchester United this season, he’s fared well in front of goal.
Ronaldo’s Old Trafford homecoming was the stuff of dreams for a good portion of United fans, while others were critical about how he would fit into the team’s attack.
Having finished second in the Premier League in 2020/21 and reached the final of the Europa League, Ronaldo, along with new Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho, looked to be the perfect additions to take Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United one step further, despite plenty of critics suggesting that the five-time Ballon d’Or winning forward with the most goals in football history would actually present United with a major problem.
Look how that has turned out. After dragging them through the group stages of the Champions League with six goals from the five games he played, and a further 18 in the Premier League after 29 games, it’s fair to say that Ronaldo has actually been one of the only non-issues in a disastrous season for United, plagued with problems elsewhere.
Frankly, it’s terrifying to think of where they would be without the 37-year-old’s goals this season. His impact has never waned and, should United finish the year with any form of European football, they have their number seven to thank for keeping their heads above the water.
What is interesting to learn, though, is that there are actually players who have done an even bigger carry job than Ronaldo in the Premier League this season. Sort of.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MAY 02: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates scoring their side’s second goal, which is disallowed for offside, during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Brentford at Old Trafford on May 02, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
The Sun have produced a table which highlights the player who has scored the highest percentage of their side’s goals for each Premier League team this season. Astoundingly, Ronaldo, having scored 32% of United’s Premier League goals, comes in at third and not first.
By no means does that reflect badly on the carry job he has produced, because everyone can clearly see just how vital that has been to United. But what it does show is that actually, there are two clubs who have somehow been even more reliant on one singular player.
Coming in at second place, Son Heung-min, after scoring one more goal than Ronaldo so far with 19, has also bagged 32% of his side’s goals over at Tottenham. If Spurs can somehow leapfrog Arsenal for the final Champions League place, Son’s influence will be cemented as gargantuan.
Taking top spot, though, is Teemu Pukki who has scored an astounding 45% of Norwich’s goals this season. Seriously, 45%. Considering that only accounts for his ten strikes in the Premier League this season, too, it’s fair to say that it’s more of a reflection on just how poor a season the Canaries have had, having already been confirmed as relegated once again.
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For all of United’s woes this season, there’s a hideous amount of talent being left unfulfilled at the club. If Erik ten Hag can hit the ground running next season, one would assume Ronaldo would have no need to be that high up on a similar table once again.
The entire table makes for an interesting read and provides an insight into how each team has performed this season.
You can view it in full below.
Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) – 10 goals – 45%
2. Son Heung-min (Tottenham) – 19 goals – 32%
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd) – 18 goals – 32%
4. Emmanuel Dennis (Watford) – 10 goals – 31%
5. Ivan Toney (Brentford) – 12 goals – 29%
6. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace) – 12 goals – 27%
7. Raphinha (Leeds Utd) – 10 goals – 26%
8. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – 22 goals – 26%
9. Neal Maupay (Brighton) – 8 goals – 24%
10. Maxwel Cornet (Burnley) – 7 goals – 23%
11. Richarlison (Everton) – 8 goals – 23%
12. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) – 9 goals – 22%
13. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – 10 goals – 21%
14. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) – 11 goals – 20%
15. Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) – 9 goals – 20%
16. Jarrod Bowen (West Ham) – 10 goals – 19%
17. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – 6 goals – 18%
18. Mason Mount (Chelsea) – 10 goals – 15%
19. Callum Wilson (Newcastle) – 6 goals – 15%
20. Riyad Mahrez/Kevin de Bruyne (Man City) – 11 goals – 13%
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