Interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rewrote the Manchester United history books this week when his side made it eight straight wins on the road in all competitions with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace
The defeat of the Eagles was produced by a Romelu Lukaku brace and a rare strike from winger Ashley Young.
£75 million striker Lukaku has often come in for criticism from a large portion of the United fanbase thanks to the contrast in mobility and epitude to academy graduate Marcus Rashford but the big Belgian proved his worth with two world-class finishes passed Palace keeper Vincente Guaita.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent - from both the Palace game and his excellent display in the FA Cup against Arsenal in January - that, from being an unwelcome presence in a Jose Mourinho side, Lukaku offers a clear, potent threat in an alternative Solskjaer set-up.
A mark of the man’s quality that, despite his man-of-the-match performance in south London, Lukaku was quick to deflect praise onto a Man Utd teammate who he believes has been the standout player in his side this season.
Luke Shaw is arguably the most in-form left-back in the league, but both the football fan and pundit should have retrospectively known the Englishman was in for a stellar campaign after he kicked off 18/19 with the first goal of his professional career, coming against Leicester City at Old Trafford in the opening game.
Lukaku said on Shaw after the win against Palace (MEN):
He has the potential to become England’s left-back for many years and the same for Manchester United,
For me, he’s our player of the season. From the start of the season, the first game until now he’s been the most consistent.
Shaw was bought in a £27 million deal from Southampton as a teenager in 2014 in the Louis van Gaal regime, but a horror double fibula/ tibia break in a Champions League group game at the beginning of his second season severely setback his United career and he struggled to assert himself back into the first team over the next three years.
However, the 23-year-old has now already made the same amount of Premier League appearances in 2018/19 as the previous two seasons combined (22) and offers a viable threat on the left flank, as well as his strong defensive capabilities. Last week he was named Man of the Match against Liverpool.
It is also important to highlight his resurgence began pre-Ole, under Mourinho with whom - if one reads the tabloids - he had a fairly tempestuous relationship with.
What people don’t know about Luke is he’s mentally really tough. He’s one of the winners in training,
His preparation is why he has been so good this season. I was in touch with him all summer when I was in Russia. We have mutual friends and I used to get videos from him working out and stuff and I knew this year would be his year and I told him that at the end of last he season.
The two teammates may take to the field again this weekend when United welcome Shaw’s former side to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.
Manchester United versus Southampton kicks off at 15:00 (GMT) on March 2nd 2019.