Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did what we hoped for against Fulham. He gave Mason Greenwood a chance on the right, while Anthony Martial started on the left to support Edinson Cavani.
This gave a much needed rest to Marcus Rashford, who has earned it with 14 goals so far this season.
Martial and Greenwood have not been nearly as prolific. In fact it has been a struggle.
Between them they have only eight goals. Martial has five, and Greenwood three.
For context, Martial has the same number as only Paul Pogba, while Scott McTominay has one more than Greenwood.
It’s not ideal for two players who netted 40 goals combined last season, Martial with 23 and Greenwood 17.
How did they get on against Fulham?
Solskjaer gave both players time. He did not panic into an early change, only substituting the pair on 84 minutes.
Greenwood had only one shot at goal which was blocked as he cut inside. He is in danger of becoming a bit too predictable and he got crowded out.
Martial had three attempts, two of which were headers which landed off target, while another effort drew a save.
It’s easy to have sympathy with both players. It’s arguable both are better as central strikers than out wide, but they each have enjoyed some success there in the past. And they are out there because they have each struggled to seize their chances in the centre.
Martial did score a real striker’s goal at home to Villa at the start of the month, and to his credit he does have five assists this season on top of his five goals.
Greenwood is more of a concern. Together they did not offer United enough in a game where United needed a long range effort from Paul Pogba to get a win.
Good enough to bounce back
Again in their defence, Fulham’s three man back-line made it difficult for Martial and Greenwood to find space especially with their wing-backs tucking in to help out. In isolation you could put this down to a poor game, but we have seen a few too many of these from Greenwood and Martial this season.
Each week we hope one or both of them will show a spark which can jolt their campaigns into life and go on a run reminiscent of them at their best last season.
Perhaps it might come this weekend against Liverpool. United will be tempted to rest Marcus Rashford again, and also save Edinson Cavani for the Sheffield United match at Old Trafford next week.
United may be tempted to line up with a Greenwood and Martial front two. A goal or two against Liverpool might finally get their seasons up and running.
We believe in them because we have seen them do it just last season. But the longer their performances go on like this, the more concerning it becomes.
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- Charlie McNeill continues to make a name for himself with another winning goal
- Former United talent Largie Ramazani scores goal from his own half
- Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani react to Manchester United win
- Dean Henderson has now kept five clean sheets in a row
- Fernandes sends message to Dalot after first league goal for Milan
- Mike Phelan reacts to United’s derby win
- United loanee Tahith Chong provides assist in Club Brugge win
- Harry Maguire raves about Luke Shaw’s performance
- Manchester United fans react to Anthony Martial’s performance