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Opinion

The curious case of Anthony Martial and what Saturday could mean for United

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Roar Rookie
30th October, 2019
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Anthony Martial quickly gained the attention of the biggest clubs in Europe after a spectacular rise to teenage stardom.

Martial was part of Monaco’s high-flying 2014-15 season, finishing second in Ligue 1 and achieving a successful UCL campaign, eliminated only by a star-studded Juventus side in the final eight.

During this campaign, the then-19-year-old Frenchman was able to bag himself 12 goals with five assists in the 48 appearances he made across all competitions for the club.

Alongside his clinical finishing and knack for goals came an incredible dribbling skill set where his speed and technicality quickly drew comparisons to countryman and EPL legend Thierry Henry.

Anthony Martial proved to be the real deal, and it didn’t take long for Martial to be swept up by a cash-splashing Manchester United for a record fee of €80m in 2015. This made him the most expensive teenager in the sport’s history.

Anthony Martial marked his debut as a 65th-minute substitute in emphatic fashion, sealing a 3-1 home win against fierce rivals Liverpool with a solo goal worthy of the highlight reel. Eight days later he was rewarded with his debut start and snatched a brace to guide United to a 3-2 win away at Southampton

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Martial finished the 2015/16 season with 17 goals across all competitions. Since his stellar debut season with United, things haven’t really gone to plan. Whether plagued by injury or not favoured by the manager, the number nine has not played enough minutes nor scored enough goals to justify his price tag.

However, when not sidelined by injury, the opportunity to display his brilliance has not been readily available to him. When fit and healthy he has often been used a substitute and a second option to the likes of Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Even with selection set-backs throughout his United tenure, the minutes he has been given have produced match-winning goals and displays of world-class attacking football.

Anthony Martial

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

With Rashford hot and cold, the departure of Lukaku to Italian side Inter Milan and a return from injury, Anthony Martial now needs the faith of his manager to be utilised each week at a time where the team needs confidence up top in a season where goals have been hard to come by.

On his return from injury, Anthony Martial has scored two goals in as many matches and broadcast to the world his attacking prowess. Against Norwich at the weekend, Martial unsurprisingly demonstrated his brilliance up front and most importantly how vital it is that the team’s line-up includes him in his natural number nine role… not to mention that goal!

Given he gets his expected start on Saturday against Bournemouth, it will be very interesting to see the impact he has.

Can Anthony Martial be part of the answer to revitalising United’s season and securing them top-flight European football next season?

Saturday night will be a big indicator.

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