There are not many players more exciting in the Premier League than an on song Anthony Martial.
But it’s time he and Jesse Lingard both showed signs of improvement, fast. Whether that be against Barcelona this week, or the remainder of the league campaign.
Martial may have won the second penalty against West Ham, but he wouldn’t have been fouled in the box if he wasn’t so indecisive.
A confident Martial would have taken the shot on and scored, before he had the chance to be fouled.
Since his strike against Fulham in early February he has only one goal to his name.
The game against the Hammers this weekend was a chance for Martial to send a message to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he should start against Barcelona.
Perhaps he gets the nod anyway, but the Frenchman didn’t really put forward a convincing case.
What’s up with Jesse?
Jesse Lingard managed just 37 touches in 90 minutes at the weekend
By comparison Juan Mata – who didn’t really impress either – managed 38 in 55 minutes
What’s going on Jesse?#mufc
— United In Focus (@UnitedInFocus) April 14, 2019
If Martial’s form was a worry, Lingard’s is cause for major concern.
He managed only 37 touches in the whole game at Old Trafford at the weekend, attempting only 20 passes.
Lingard didn’t have any shots at goal, created no chances, and was anonymous throughout, lucky to stay on the pitch.
This wasn’t a one off. His last goal came in the FA Cup win away to Arsenal in January.
Like Martial, his form has been impacted by injuries, but he returned away to Wolves a month ago and fitness should not be an excuse for his lack of impact.
At their best Martial and Lingard are matchwinners. They need to start playing like it.
United’s next four games are away to Barcelona, away to Everton, and then at home to Chelsea and Manchester City.
Martial and Lingard have to show a rapid return to form if United are to recapture the winning feeling which defined Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s start as manager.