Anthony Martial’s three game Premier League ban was always going to be a blow.
We may have seen just how crucial he is in the past two matches he has been missing.
Against Newcastle, United coped well. Marcus Rashford led the line well, scoring one and assisting two as United won 4-1.
The two home games have been more tricky. United have failed to score and rarely looked like doing so.
While Martial himself is yet to score from open play this season, his hold up play is crucial to the team’s success.
Martial’s game has developed well over the past year in so much that he has adapted well to the centre forward role.
Even when he is not scoring he is usually contributing to the success of the team.
He has won three penalties this season, against Tottenham, PSG, and RB Leipzig with his tricky and unpredictable movement inside the box.
Martial did so last season in crucial games at the end, against Leicester and Copenhagen.
He provided an assist for Marcus Rashford late on against Leipzig and nearly set Mason Greenwood up for a goal in the first half after springing the defence open.
Martial takes some criticism for his lack of goals this season – just one so far, but it is his work off the ball which really sets him apart.
This is where Rashford and Greenwood still struggle up against top defenders and Martial is a key ingredient in making this team tick.
He has struck up a real connection with Bruno Fernandes, and it is no coincidence the Portuguese maestro has looked off his game against Chelsea and Arsenal without Martial to pass to.
Martial’s suspension is now over and he is available for the match away at Everton next weekend. Starting him is beginning to look like a must.
Martial absence a hot topic
Martial’s absence and the impact on the team has been a topic of discussion on social media…
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