Anthony Martial has 22 goals for Manchester United this past season and counting, with the potential to add more in the Europa League.
His goalscoring prowess has proved manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer right to show belief in him, hand him the number nine shirt, and make him United’s first choice striker.
Martial’s all round game has improved immeasurably too. He has six assists, the joint second highest in United’s squad.
He has been tenacious off the ball, and his smart runs constantly test defenders, paying off with the penalty he won against Leicester on the final day.
Even when Martial does not score, he find a way to influence games, as shown with his run at the King Power, and his crucial assist for Mason Greenwood against West Ham.
Player of the year contender
Martial’s early season injury cost him almost two months of action and United missed him badly.
When the season went into lockdown, Martial was beginning to find some form, inspired by new signing Bruno Fernandes.
But when drawing up player of the year contenders in March, Martial had not quite done enough.
Standout names included Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Marcus Rashford and Fred, but the latter has had such a slow post-lockdown period that his chances of winning the award may be gone.
Fernandes himself has catapulted himself into contention for the honour, having turned United’s season around.
Yet even Fernandes’ contribution would not have been possible without his link-up with Martial, who has thrived in 2020.
No Premier League player has more goals than Martial since January 1.
Martial even ended United’s hat-trick drought, with a treble in a win over Sheffield United in June.
Recognising his improvement
It is good this year that United have so many contenders for the player of the year award.
You could make a case for six or seven players, and unlike earlier in the season, Martial is one of them.
He has been a prominent part of United’s late season run, showing consistency throughout, without letting his performance levels drop.
This wasn’t the case earlier in the season. Now even if he is having a quiet game, he will have one or two moments which change everything.
His hold-up play lately has been excellent, and his change of pace has an explosiveness which opponents struggle to match.
Martial is on his way to becoming the complete striker, and while he has to still keep on improving, he deserves the praise and recognition which comes his way after reinventing himself in the role he always wanted to play.
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