What did the Man City win tell us about Anthony Martial’s Man Utd future?

Stefan Bienkowski
What did the Man City win tell us about Anthony Martial’s Man Utd future?

Anthony Martial was undoubtedly one of the most interesting players on the pitch on Sunday when Manchester United and Manchester City locked horns in the Premier League derby. 

Speculation had surrounded the French striker with regards to his fitness ahead of the match, but for 88 minutes Martial ran himself into the ground and led the line for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side brilliantly. 

Although Martial didn’t get his name on the scoresheet, it was the striker’s darting run into the City box that ultimately led to a clumsy tackle from Gabriel Jesus and offered Bruno Fernandes a fantastic opportunity to open the scoring for his side. 

Indeed, it was such an outstanding stand-out performance from Martial that it momentarily quelled the constant suggestions that Man Utd may actually need a new No.9 in the summer. So could the French talisman ultimately convince his club and their success-hungry fans that he’s their long-term solution to the striking situation at the club?

How good of a Man Utd striker is Martial? 

Although Martial was undoubtedly one of Solskjaer’s most important players in Sunday’s game, his performance was all the more pronounced because it stood in such contrast to what he’s largely offered this season: which isn’t much at all. 

To date the 25-year-old forward has managed just four goals and a further five assists in 22 Premier League appearances this season. That’s the same goal return as defensive midfielder Scott McTominay and just two more than central defender Harry Maguire. And it simply isn’t good enough. 

According to FootballCritic, Martial is currently averaging just 0.24 non-penalty goals per 90 minutes of Premier League football this season. Although that technically means the striker is the third most efficient goalscorer in Man Utd’s squad this season, it’s an average that’s just marginally better than Timo Werner’s at Chelsea – and the German international has been criticised by fans and critics alike for his lack of finishing this season. 

PlayersNon-penalty goals per 90 minutes in Premier League
Marcus Rashford0.35
Bruno Fernandes0.31
Anthony Martial0.24
Scott McTominay0.23
Paul Pogba0.20

Indeed, as energetic and useful as Martial was off the ball for much of the clash with City, one telling moment was undoubtedly the striker’s failure to finish a clear one-on-one opportunity against Ederson late on in the second half. That, perhaps more than anything else, is what will likely stick in the memory for most Man Utd fans. 

On his day Martial is capable of tremendous performances but the former Monaco prospect is no longer the young kid with bags of potential. If he wants that No.9 spot at Old Trafford he’ll have to show he’s capable of scoring important goals on a regular and consistent basis. If not, Man Utd can and likely will just sign a replacement.