Anthony Martial made his second start of the season for Manchester United last night.
Unfortunately for him it did not go very well. At all. Martial blew his opportunity.
During Cristiano Ronaldo’s two league games for United he has averaged 6.5 shots at goal.
Last night Martial managed only three. In a game where United attempted 27. Ronaldo’s attempts likely would have been into double figures.
Never any urgency from Martial
This was Martial’s big chance to stake a claim for more game time. You would think that with this in mind, he would put in a bit more effort.
He ended the game with 36 touches. Goalkeeper Dean Henderson managed 27, as did Bruno Fernandes, who came on in the 71st minute.
The one big chance Martial did have in the first half, he attempted to square the ball to Diogo Dalot, and the chance went. It was unselfish from Martial, and you could say foolishly so.
He needed to take the shot on and be clinical, and it summed up his lack of urgency.
By the end of the game it was painful seeing Martial still out there. If only Edinson Cavani had been fit to call on.
When Cavani is eventually fit again, Martial will slip further down the pecking order. It was really important that he took this chance, and he failed to do so.
The best he can hope for now is a few substitute appearances to impact games. But this reinforced that Martial is not a striker United can rely on.
Martial wants the ball played into his feet and often either fails to anticipate the pass his teammates are making, or just decides it is not worth the effort. He looks unrecognisable to the player who was outstanding in 2019/20 and scored 23 goals.
£40 million? No way
A report from Eurosport this week claimed United would consider selling Martial in January.
That sounds logical enough. But what doesn’t add up is the line in the report which says United want £40 million for Martial.
After his performance last night United would get nowhere near that figure. And it was not an isolated performance. These are the types of displays Martial has been serving up since the 2020/21 season kicked off.
Martial has a lot of work to do to improve, and patience is running out.
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