Anthony Martial was Manchester United’s star man in a home draw with Southampton.
The result was disappointing, but if not for some poor defending, Martial’s impressive individual display would be receiving more positive attention.
So let’s give the Frenchman his due. His performance was impressive as he scored one and provided an assist.
This took his tally up to 21 goals and five assists for the season, 26 goal contributions in total in 40 appearances.
Martial touched the ball 40 times in 90 minutes and made the most of it every time he was involved.
He had four attempts on goal, two of which were on target. No United player had more shots.
Martial also created two chances, both for Marcus Rashford. Really, Rashford should have had two goals, instead he missed from close range in the second half.
Only Bruno Fernandes matched Martial, also creating two goalscoring chances.
In possession Martial was smart. He completed 94 per cent of his passes, and until late in the game this figure stood at 100 per cent.
Where Martial really caused problems was his intent to run with the ball at Southampton’s defence. This led to his goal, and so nearly a spectacular solo goal in the second half.
In total Martial had five successful dribbles in this game. The most any other United player had was two.
This was also far and above Martial’s season average of 1.6 dribbles per game in the Premier League.
Could have been better?
While Martial will be pleased with the way he set up a goal and then scored to haul United back from a goal down to lead 2-1, he did have an early opportunity to break the deadlock.
After winning the ball back after a Southampton mistake, Martial was through on goal, only to see his shot saved by the goalkeeper.
Match of the Day host Gary Lineker observed shortly afterwards, while not picking out Martial directly, that a more effective tactic would have been to go around the goalkeeper.
Moments like this will be analysed by United’s coaching staff and Martial, although given the form he is in, it is understandable he was confident he would score with a shot.
His overall impact against Southampton was excellent and he was the only United player to really stand out for positive reasons, without letting themselves down.
If he plays like this against Palace on Thursday night, United should get all three points.
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