Manchester United striker Anthony Martial’s barren run in front of goal stretched to three games as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could only muster a draw against Real Sociedad at Old Trafford on Thursday night.
The Red Devils may have earned an emphatic victory had Martial taken his chances, but the Frenchman had little influence on the game as his finishing let him down.
Was Martial poor against Real Sociedad?
But, he failed to do just that after blasting his shot wide from range, before watching in horror as Sociedad came close through Martin Merquelanz.
Fortunately for Solskjaer, his side still managed to book their place in the last 16 of the Europa League by beating Sociedad 4-0 on aggregate, but he will be disappointed that Martial was unable to convert any of his chances against the Spanish outfit after drawing yet another blank to compound his misery even further.
He was once again at fault as United could only manage four shots on target against the two-time La Liga champions at Old Trafford.
Although he accounted for at least one of those four efforts, he ranked as one of their worst players on the night, receiving a low 6.8 rating as per SofaScore.
While only Bruno Fernandes would attempt the same number of shots as Martial, he could only win three of six duels on the ground (50%), which was the third-lowest of any starter for United, via SofaScore.
By comparison, even Mason Greenwood still managed to win four out of his six ground duels, which shows he posed a greater counter-attacking threat than his older teammate.
If that weren’t bad enough, Martial also lost possession ten times, meaning he lost control of the ball every 4.3 touches, again proving to be a total liability at the top of the pitch. Greenwood, on the other hand, would only lose possession on two fewer occasions.
Reports claim the 25-year-old’s position is under serious threat with the club concerned by his recent poor run of form.
Writing in The Athletic, Alan Shearer recently criticised the Frenchman, noting ‘last season was his best in terms of numbers, but he’s never scored more than 20 league goals in a campaign and I just don’t see the desperation, the hunger, desire and know-how to be a No 9, to score as many goals as he should.’
Given Edinson Cavani’s recent injury, Solskjaer has been hard-pressed to find a like-for-like replacement for the Uruguayan international, but with a Premier League clash with Chelsea on the cards, he really ought to think twice before giving Martial another chance.
AND in other news, Man Utd’s Eric Bailly was superb against Real Sociedad in the Europa League…