Is Martial the man for ETH this season?
There’s a general feeling that Manchester United haven’t had the best preparations ahead of next season, and much of this will border on the uncertainty around Cristiano Ronaldo’s future as well as reserved involvement in the transfer market.
One of the main issues that United faced last season was that they didn’t score a lot of goals, though their defending was suspect on most occasions as well. As the Premier League nears resumption, one of the main transfer dealings for the club has been the acquisition of Dutchman Erik ten Hag, as the new manager, replacing Ralph Rangnick.
There have been a few additions in the playing unit as well as exits, which should balance out but the feeling that the team is still inadequate in preparations for next season. It will not be surprising at all to see unfavorable reviews for United on Wincomparator, as well as odds that do not place them really as favorites.
Looking at last season’s performance, one would feel a little tweaking in attack will do it for United, but with Ronaldo unsettled, perhaps Anthony Martial should be the man in focus, having spent time on loan at Sevilla last season.
He has been great in preseason and made a strong case for a central role in Manchester United’s attack, especially now that Mason Greenwood’s case remains unclear and Marcus Rashford also having low returns.
Martial has done well in attack when playing centrally and with the hiring of Benni McCarthy he may improve on his tally of 17 league goals in the 2019/20 season.
The case for low scoring returns has been a thorn for United and no manager coming after the iconic Alex Ferguson has seen a single player score 20 or more goals. The last United player to score at least 20 goals in the league was Robin van Persie, and that was in the 2012/13 season.
With Ronaldo clear that he wants a move away, this can be a good chance for Martial. The Frenchman has clearly benefited from the loan spell, and finds a new manager in charge, which gives him a chance to start anew.
With 56 league goals in 133 appearances for Manchester United, Martial really needs that fresh start under the new manager and having been trusted to lead the line in preseason should be a mark of trust from the coach.
Last season, Ronaldo was the team’s leading scorer with 18 goals, and it may go a long way in explaining why the club is keen on holding onto him even after stating that he’d prefer a move away from Old Trafford. The team generally had a tough task getting their targets right in attack, with their tally of 57 league goals making them the poorest in the top eight. The same was also the case in defence, Manchester United conceding the most goals in the top seven. In the end they had a goal difference of zero.