Anthony Martial was the key behind Manchester United‘s victory over Burnley at Turf Moor this weekend. Grabbing the opener in his side’s 2-0 success, before assisting Wayne Rooney’s second, this was the first time in his Red Devils career, to date, that the Frenchman has both scored and assisted a goal in a Premier League away game
Following recent comments by Jose Mourinho, as reported by Goal, suggesting Martial must adapt to thrive at Old Trafford, this was the perfect return to first team action for the 21-year-old. Prior to Sunday’s win in Lancashire, the former Monaco wonderkind had completed 90 minutes just three times in the Premier League under the club’s Portuguese head coach.
Nonetheless, injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic provided Martial with the opportunity to play against the Clarets, and the Frenchman’s display proved a breath of fresh air. With pace and flair on the agenda, the Red Devils were able to attack a typically stubborn Burnley outfit with a very different threat to that which they usually pose. And, as Martial’s achievement suggests, he was involved in both of his side’s goals on the day.
Martial has scored eight times for United this season but the Burnley strike was just his fourth in the Premier League. Seemingly liberated in a central role, and having netted his first goal since February against the Clarets, this could be the confidence boost that the 21-year-old needed to push on over United’s final eight (potentially nine) games of the season.
Following his involvement in victory over Burnley, Mourinho was full or praise for his rejuvenated French striker, as quotes published by The Guardian suggest: “Yes, it was very good. With the ball, without the ball, in the middle of two strong central midfielders, without anyone behind him because we had no No.10.”
With question marks surrounding Ibrahimovic’s future – with the Swede’s contract set to expire this summer – we could see the establishment of a new order at Old Trafford. Martial’s impressive display at Turf Moor will have gone some way to proving to Jose Mourinho that the Frenchman is ready to fight for his place at Manchester United. Fans will be hoping he is now given further opportunity to impress.
At just 21 years of age, expect plenty more goals and assists from the future Red Devils star.[interaction id=”58fe2140240e61ee26bf439b”]
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Does Tottenham’s reported Alassane Plea swoop suggest Anthony Martial pursuit is over?
Does this new pursuit suggest Tottenham are finished with the Manchester United man?
Tottenham have opened negotiations for OGC Nice forward Alassane Plea with an offer of around 25 million euros (£21.9m), as Mauricio Pochettino looks to bolster the supply line to 41-goal man Harry Kane, according to reports from Foot Mercato.
The 25-year-old striker stood out this season for the Ligue 1 outfit, bagging an impressive 21 goals and seven assists in 49 appearances for a stuttering side, and the Spurs boss has decided he could be the man to diversify the attack at White Hart Lane next term.
Anthony Martial was originally touted as high on the list 0f the Argentine’s targets last month, according to London Evening Standard, but it appears that, after failing to gather any traction in negotiations for the Frenchman, the Lilywhites could have ended all hope of landing his signature.
Both players employ a similar play-style, using their speed and attacking intelligence to trouble defences with runs in-behind, and it seems unlikely Pochettino would try to land both this summer, given previous financial restrictions in recent years.
The most likely outcome is that Spurs have decided that financially, the pursuit of Martial isn’t worth what Manchester United are demanding – the Mirror having reported that the Red Devils have slapped a £75 million price-tag on the 22-year-old – and Alassane Plea is a secondary target.
Manchester United World Cup round-up: David De Gea bounces back for Spain
As one of the world’s biggest clubs, it is no surprise to see a host of names linked to Manchester United in action at the biggest stage in the form of the World Cup in Russia this summer.
Only one current player was in action on Wednesday, goalkeeper David de Gea, but he was joined in action by ex-players and transfer targets.
The Player: David de Gea (Spain)
After a humiliating mistake earned some harsh critics from Spain, David de Gea bounced back by getting his first clean sheet of the World Cup for the Spaniards against Iran in a 1-0 win.
It was perhaps not as quiet an evening as the goalkeeper may have been hoping for and he did look a little nervous early on, but he settled into the game and looked more like his composed and confident self as the game went on.
A clean sheet will give him renewed belief after two consecutive mistakes in a friendly against Switzerland and the World Cup opener against Portugal.
The Ex-Player: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
It was an ex-Red Devil who capitalised on De Gea’s error in the opening round of World Cup games, and Cristiano Ronaldo added a fourth World Cup goal to ensure he remains on top spot of the goalscoring charts.
That came in another 1-0 win, for Portugal against Morocco, as he powered home a powerful header in just the fourth minute to put his team into pole position and see out their first win of the campaign.
Whilst many of his team-mates struggled and looked lacklustre at times, no-one can question the unbelievable quality of the Real Madrid player.
The Transfer Target: Jose Gimenez (Uruguay)
It now looks unlikely that Jose Gimenez will move to Old Trafford after signing a new long-term deal with Atletico Madrid, but the Express reported that the club were considering a move for him this summer after months of links.
The young central defender lined up alongside club team-mate Diego Godin for Uruguay in the heart of defence against Saudi Arabia and enjoyed a comfortable afternoon as Saudi Arabia struggled to really threaten.
England must start Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek after Panama reveal tactics
England must opt for creativity after the Panama captain’s comments
Panama have revealed plans stifle England with a physical approach in their upcoming clash on Sunday, in quotes from captain Roman Torres on the Telegraph, and Gareth Southgate should ensure the Three Lions’ approach is suited to the style of opponent.
The Central Americans were beaten 3-0 by a star-studded Belgium outfit on Monday in their World Cup debut, meaning a win against England is pivotal in ensuring they remain in the competition beyond the group stages. And England will have a tough task taking the lion’s share of points on the day.
“England are a bit more direct than Belgium. They try to make use of the pace they have. We’ll need to be compact and limit their space,” revealed Torres told the Telegraph.
And as a result England must employ the right tactics. Creativity and bravery will be key, as they will undoubtedly have the majority of possession, and Southgate will want to make it count. Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added instant impetus to a languid outfit, after coming on late against Tunisia.
The team’s performance became full of purpose and directness in the last 20 minutes, with both taking the responsibility of carrying the ball forward and creating, and from that arrived the corner and subsequent winner from Harry Kane.
The end product from the likes of Rashford was missing in the opening stages of the game also, as team-mate Jesse Lingard squandered a number of key opportunities to put the game to bed early, and Southgate will not want a repeat this time around.