Broja is eclipsed by Muniz at Fulham

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Although Rasmus Hojlund is anticipated to miss Manchester United’s match against Fulham, Old Trafford will still feature a striker who is playing brilliantly. Rodrigo Muniz has four goals in his last three games going into this one.

In the absence of the injured Raul Jimenez, the 22-year-old, who joined from Brazilian team Flamengo in 2021, is making the most of his opportunity, even with additional competition from new acquisition Armando Broja in January.

The Chelsea loanee, who was ruled out of last weekend’s 2-1 setback at home against Aston Villa due to sickness, is anticipated to be available once more at Old Trafford. However, he is yet to make his Fulham debut, and unseating Muniz won’t be simple.

It’s quite the turnaround considering that Muniz had only started three Premier League games this season until the 2-2 tie with Burnley earlier this month. He faced the same struggles to earn a spot in the team as he had during his loan at Middlesbrough the previous season.

After spending the previous season as Aleksandar Mitrovic’s backup, Marco Silva feels he “grew in a different way” during that loan period. He is now providing Fulham with many of the attributes that have been missing since the Serb left last summer.

That first and foremost means goals. Muniz, who has played half as many minutes as the 32-year-old in the Premier League, only needs one more to tie Jimenez’s season total.

His 0.59 open-play goals per ninety minutes average really trails only five players in the division, including Diogo Jota and Erling Haaland. Just three players—Haaland, Darwin Nunez, and Beto, the striker for Everton—are attempting more attempts.

Muniz’s goal against Aston Villa on Saturday demonstrated his predatory instincts and was almost exactly the same as his first goal against Bournemouth in Fulham’s last game. He nipped in ahead of the goalkeeper and center-back to direct the ball into the net.

He is also skilled at anticipating opportunities, as demonstrated by his ability to grab onto Andreas Pereira’s optimistic ball over the top for his second goal against the Cherries, and at finding space in the area.

He also reminds me of the late Mitrovic in his ability to win headers and serve as a focal point, using his strong physique to endure pressure on the ball and bring teammates into play.

Muniz is the only player in the Premier League this season with less aerial duels won than Olie McBurnie of Sheffield United and Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton. The only player pulling off more successful hold-ups is Jean-Philippe Mateta of Crystal Palace.

Put another way, he is bringing much more than just goals. The hope for Fulham is that it carries over to Old Trafford on Saturday. Meanwhile, Broja’s wait for his first start appears certain to go on.

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