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Manchester United might have given up league title to their ‘noisy neighbours’ Manchester City but their chance of finishing second is now at stake following a shock 1-0 defeat against strugglers Newcastle United at St. James’ Park. Jose Mourinho, once again, was tactically outplayed by Rafael Benitez as their age-old rivalry (that originated during their time as Chelsea and Liverpool bosses respectively) got reignited on Sunday afternoon.
United paid the price for missing their opportunities as the likes of Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez wasted way too many opportunities that should have been converted, considering their standards. Martial, particularly, was slated by the supporters for his lack of finishing traits which was probably a bit harsh.
Martial’s game has been under the scanner ever since he completed a surprise move from AS Monaco as a teenager back in the summer of 2015. He was an unfamiliar name but made an immediate impact by scoring against bitter rivals Liverpool on his debut. The £65,000-a-week youngster was awarded the Golden boy award and netted 17 goals in his maiden campaign where he lifted the prestigious FA Cup title.
His game-time was limited last season under Jose Mourinho, yet he managed to net 8 goals and ended up winning the League Cup and UEFA Europa League titles. He lost his place to Marcus Rashford initially but made a massive impact from the bench which eventually handed him a regular slot in Mourinho’s starting XI. Martial has grabbed 11 goals and 6 assists in 35 club outings this term of which 13 have been substitute appearances.
Recently, the 22-year-old attacker has sacrificed his left-wing slot to mega signing Alexis Sanchez in spite of settling down so well and was preferred on the other flank against the Magpies. Yet, he created some glorious opportunities from an unfamiliar slot and was denied spectacularly by Newcastle’s debutant custodian Martin Dúbravka.
Martial failed to grab an equaliser later on and struck twice from close range where he should have done a lot better considering the time and space he had in order to put it into the back of the net.
He is technically gifted, agile and a great dribbler, but is still young and his decision making has let him down at times. He, however, has ample time to develop further and the fans should consider themselves fortunate to have such a gem in their squad. Martial is one of the very few promising youngsters the Red Devils have right now and deserves much more acknowledgement and appreciation from the fanbase.