How have Louis Van Gaal's young summer additions settled in at Manchester United?
With the Chelsea draw the fault of Memphis; according to many Manchester United fans, the opinion forming seems to be one writing off the Dutch winger. Having allowed a suitable amount of ‘settling in’ time, the difference in form of Memphis and Martial, who are both young, expensive summer buys, couldn’t differ more. In direct comparison, as they are both left wingers (Martial’s most common position in a United shirt), what impact have each of them had on The Red Devils?
After his record-breaking £36 million move to Old Trafford in the summer transfer window, Anthony Martial received possibly the most scepticism a transfer deal has ever seen. Numerous fans; even those supporting United, wondered why Louis Van Gaal had spent the amount of money he had on an unproven Frenchman who hadn’t even distinguished his best position. United’s manager was under scrutiny because of this deal and, although saying he wasn’t expecting an instant effect from Martial, Van Gaal sure would of been hoping for one.
Having just seen his team lose at Swansea, LVG decided Martial was ready to make the bench in the intense United-Liverpool fixture. Martial was introduced with 26 minutes to go. With the score finally poised at 2-1 in the 85th minute, a moment of pure genius next appeared with Martial taking Martin Skrtel for a run before cutting onto his left foot, shaping himself round the ball he slid his shot with his right foot into the bottom corner of the net. All this took place right in front of the Stretford End in possibly the biggest league game in United fans calendar.
The young Frenchman kicked on from his perfect induction with a trio of goals in as many games. Two came against Southampton, with the first being a fake shot and finish sending Van Dijk to his local chippy as he did, the second a brilliant showing of his awareness. A stray back pass from Yoshida was read by Martial who calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner. His composure in front of goal was mesmerizing football fans across the country.
Martial then suffered a goal drought in the league, with no goals in 13 appearances. His subdued performances brought back the pessimistic opposition fans with the common ‘what a waste of money’ tag associated with Martial. However, time is on his side and; like many, there will be bad patches that he goes through. Although unlike most, when he’s hot, he truly is in form. The Frenchman glides round players, creates chances and is deadly in front of goal. The statistics back him up also. Martial has created a chance a game so far this season and while his shooting accuracy may not be the best, six out of his 13 shots on target have found the back of the net. He’s missed the target 15 times, just as a reference. This 20-year-old is sure to be a star.
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