Anthony Martial has had a tough season. But amid a frustrating campaign, there have been a few occasional bright moments.
Martial’s last appearance saw him play with a bit of spark. In just 45 minutes against Southampton he looked highly motivated and scored two goals.
While he had just 20 touches in 45 minutes, five of them were shots. Martial also won a penalty. When he got into possession he had a clear target in mind, to try and score.
On reflection then, Martial was unfortunate not to get a single minute in United’s draw with Everton. Edinson Cavani’s excellent performance from start to finish made it difficult for United to bring the Frenchman on.
An opportunity could come tomorrow night when United host West Ham in the FA Cup.
A chance for Martial
United have to manage Cavani’s game time sensibly. He is 33 after all. And he is clearly first choice at present.
This could mean Cavani starts next weekend against West Bromwich Albion, with the Premier League United’s priority, even though City’s lead may make the FA Cup a more likely route to silverware.
Martial’s total rest at the weekend could put him in line to start against the Hammers.
He needs to use the confidence he built up against Southampton to kick on and continue scoring.
Martial has seven goals this season in total, plus a further five assists.
United would like this to be more, and Martial will steadily add to it. But he needs more than that.
Martial can be a streaky player who scores in bursts. It is important for him to get on target against West Ham and start building a case for himself.
While Luke Shaw has responded well to the challenge of Alex Telles, Martial has not done enough to keep out Cavani. It’s too easy right now for the Uruguayan.
Martial needs to start making it a real debate over who starts up front. He may get a chance against West Ham, but if there was a final tomorrow, as it stands he would be on the bench.
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