News From Manchester: Christian Eriksen has shown he can solve Manchester United issue Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t – Isaac Johnson

Fans will be able to see him in the flesh for the first time in Norway on Saturday when they take on quite different opposition in Atletico Madrid, and they are rightly excited about what he can bring to the team.

His link-up play and defence-cutting balls with Brentford last season reminded everyone of his quality. Eriksen managed to score his first Premier League goal since his January comeback in April, netting in the Bees 4-1 Stamford Bridge win.

But its the type of goal he scored against Wrexham for United this week which is promising. United were woeful at scoring from set-pieces last season, with just 10 goals coming from dead-ball situations, three of which came from the penalty spot. Only Norwich, Watford and Wolves had a worse return.

Just one of Uniteds goals came from a free-kick, Cristiano Ronaldo blasting home against Norwich in April. That was his first non-penalty set-piece goal since June 2020 and would be his only successful strike in eight free-kick attempts for United last term.

Eriksen managed to match Ronaldos homecoming free-kick tally in his debut on Wednesday, albeit against non-league opposition. Its a sign of things that may be to come.

When Ronaldo takes up his iconic stance for a direct free-kick, everyone in the stadium knows the ball will soon be goal-bound, whereas Eriksen also offers the ability to whip balls into the box for assists.

Two of the four assists the Dane registered last season came from set-pieces, while another was an open-play cross. For all the praise Ronaldo gets for being a goalscorer, providing assists is not high up on his agenda – unlike Eriksen.

Erik ten Hag will have noted this and will be confident that he will be covered in dead-ball situations should Ronaldo force through an exit, especially with Bruno Fernandes still around.

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