Anthony Martial hit the 20 goal mark for Manchester United at the weekend. He is clearly hungry for more.
He was desperately unlucky not to score his 21st of the season, when he saw his second half shot crash back off the woodwork.
When he was substituted in the 78th minute, Martial clearly looked annoyed. He knew he had a goal in him against this Aston Villa side.
Unlike a fortnight ago when he sauntered off against Sheffield United after scoring a hat-trick, Martial looked visibly frustrated as he trudged off without a goal to his name at Villa Park.
Not even a smile and word from manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could gee him up as he took his place on the bench.
This was no big issue suggesting Martial is actually unhappy. He is thriving at United. This was simply Martial expressing himself, as all top strikers should in the same situation.
Solskjaer and his staff have worked hard with Martial to mould his rare talent and mix it with the mentality of an old-school, goal hungry centre-forward, and it is paying off.
Last night he chased down every ball, provided an assist, completed four dribbles, and made three interceptions, but it wasn’t enough. Without a goal, his night’s work felt incomplete.
This was a reaction which United fans loved to see. A number on social media used the word ‘elite mentality’ when describing Martial’s show of emotion as he was taken off.
There will be plenty more opportunities for Martial to add to his tally, and this show of passion for scoring goals, or failing to in this case, shows a bit of fire in his belly.
In the past Martial has been criticised for looking lackadaisical, and too casual. These criticisms are now well outdated.
Solskjaer told the club website: “I’d be more worried if he wanted to come off. Everyone wants to be a part of the team, be on the pitch and he’s put a shift in so that’s fine. It’s great for me to have him available to start every game.”
We have seen Martial really develop this season, and if not for a two-month lay-off with injury at the beginning of the campaign, he would have a lot more than 20 goals to his name by this point.
Next up come Premier League games at home to Southampton, and then away to Crystal Palace.
Both are likely to be trickier than last night’s match against Villa. But then the Sheffield United game looked that way too. And Martial walked away that day with a hat-trick. Lets hope for more of the same next week.
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