Why is Anthony Martial struggling at Man United?

While Anthony Martial enjoyed a career-best 21 goal spell during the 2019/20 season, the forward has failed to live up to those levels since then. That is a major drop-off with many fans and critics alike concerned as to how the forward would react this season. But so far things haven’t gone according to plan for the 25-year-old. 

Image Credit: Forbes 

To date, Martial has made a total of 261 appearances in all competitions for United, scoring 78 goals and adding a further 50 assists which is not the numbers a forward with his ability should be achieving. He could have perhaps doubled his goal and assist output in the time he has been at the club if he wanted to. He is known as a player that sulks a lot, purely because he does not smile all that often and has been linked with more exits in the past few years than some of the major players in the game.

It is worrying that Martial is not performing to the levels that he is expected to perform and this season, with the likes of Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford (when he is fit), Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, it is likely that if his bad form continues, he will be left sulking once again. It was speculated that the Frenchman was linked to Paris Saint-Germain on the transfer deadline day but nothing materialised and rumours suggested he was not for sale – which seems weird considering his form.

That could change in January or at the end of the season though as his teammates will not be happy to settle with a player that is not pulling their weight. Martial had the world at his feet back in 2015 when he signed for United but as those six years have passed, he’s lucky to be where he is at this moment in time.

In Mourinho’s first season (2016/17), Martial scored eight goals and got eight assists in 42 appearances in all competitions. He also scored 11 goals, and got 9 assists during the 2017/18 season. During the 2018/19 season, in which Mourinho was sacked in December 2018 and Solskjaer was brought in as the caretaker manager, Martial managed 12 goals and added three assists in 38 appearances.

However, in the 2019/20 season, which saw the coronavirus pandemic arrive, Martial managed 23 goals and 12 assists in 48 appearances – the best he has achieved at the club so far. Last season (2020/21) he managed seven goals and nine assists in 36 appearances, which was terrible for him.

The way things are going, the most likely outcome for Martial is failure. If he is offering nothing for United this season, there is little point in him being at the club. There are many players who will be seeking to find their positions at the club this season and Elanga seems the most likely to push for a place in the first team based on his pre-season form and his debut Premier League against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the end of last season. He has pace, ability, an eye for a goal – everything that Martial seems to be lacking at this point in time.

OVERALL CAREER STATS

  • Apps (Subs): 370 (116)
  • Goals (P): 99 (10)
  • Assists: 34
  • Yellows: 18 (0)
  • Reds: 1
  • Min Played: 22870

The reality is that Martial has routinely struggled to live up to the expectations from a highly promising debut campaign as a 19 and 20-year-old and, even during his best goalscoring season in 2019/20, when he found the net 23 times. There were serious doubts about his ability to lead the line in the long-term at a club which desires of winning the Premier League and Champions League.

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