Anthony Martial has been one of the standout players for Manchester United this season and the young Frenchman has almost single-handedly led Louis van Gaal’s side to the top four. The Red Devils sit just one point behind Manchester City, who are currently occupying the final Champions League spot. However, United’s recent 1-0 victory over City at the Etihad has given the Old Trafford faithful renewed hope ahead of the run-in.
On Sunday, United snuck past Everton courtesy of a Martial strike in the second-half. The Reds were relatively uninspiring throughout until Timothy Fosu-Mensah, on as a substitute for the jet-lagged Marcus Rojo, produced a fine cross for Martial to slot home. Not for the first time this season, United were saved by their younger starlets – something that didn’t go unnoticed in the Sky Sports studios after the match.
At times, Martial has been as important as David de Gea at the other end. The 20-year-old has scored a number of vital goals to keep United’s top four hopes alive and his ability to commit defenders and create space for his team-mates is unrivalled across the Premier League. With the exception of West Ham United’s Dimitri Payet, Martial has probably been one of the best transfers into the top flight over the past 12 months.
But are United OVER-reliant on him? Well, he certainly has a big impact for the Red Devils in attack. Once again, Juan Mata – supposedly United’s most creative star – was non-existent and the likes of Jessie Lingard and Marcus Rashford were left to try and break down Everton’s defence. And it was in fact the latter who played a cheeky flick to the onrushing Fosu-Mensah in the build-up to Martial’s winner.
This summer, Martial will head back to France for the Euros on home soil. Didier Deschamps’ men are one of the leading candidates for success this summer and will be quietly confident of their chances on home soil. With that in mind, Bookies.com’s tip on Martial – 40/1 in the Euro 2016 odds – to finish as top scorer in the competition isn’t a bad shout – especially when you consider his current league form.
And while Wayne Rooney remains United’s top scorer in the 2015-16 campaign, Martial has shown that he is more than ready to lead the line for the Red Devils next season. Firstly, he must remain focused on helping United snatch the fourth and final Champions League place. According to Bookies.com, their odds are improving and City are the side under pressure despite thrashing Bournemouth 4-0 in their most recent Premier League game.
With United likely to invest heavily this summer, the weight of expectancy on Martial’s shoulders may be lifted slightly. And while France look a good bet to go all the way in the Euro 2016 odds this summer, United fans will be hoping they are eliminated from the competition to give Martial enough time to rest up ahead of what could be a pivotal season in the club’s history.
Right now, United aren’t over-reliant on Martial but they are desperate for more talent in attacking areas – that much is obvious. And with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic potentially available on a free transfer this summer, there’s no excuse for United as they look to challenge for the Premier League title in the 2016-17 campaign.