Anthony Martial endured some growing pains last season as he adjusted to the demands of Jose Mourinho, but the Manchester United attacker has hit the ground running this season.
The Frenchman, who scored only five goals across all competitions all of last season, has already matched that tally after grabbing United’s second on Wednesday night in their Champions League tie against CSKA Moscow.
This had the potential to be a banana-skin fixture for United, as trips to Russia are never easy, but Martial produced a stunning display to lead a United rout.
Along with his goal, he assisted two Romelu Lukaku goals, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored from a Martial shot that was saved.
Here’s an in-depth look at the United man’s stellar display in Moscow.
Goals – 1
Assists – 2
Shots – 2
Dribbles – 6
Passes – 31
Key passes – 5
Pass accuracy – 84%
Touches – 61
Martial is nearly unplayable when he’s in this form. He tormented the CSKA defence, largely from his berth on the left wing as he cut in from that flank time and again to devastating effect.
He popped up on the opposite wing as well on occasion, and even found himself in the centre of the attacking line at times. Martial was everywhere, and wherever he went he was unstoppable.
4th min: This is what’s expected of Martial when he plays on the wing. Always adept at cutting in from the left and dribbling past defenders, he did exactly that and then picked out Lukaku with a perfect cross to produce United’s opener.
19th min: It seems Martial has moved ahead of Lukaku in the pecking order when it comes to penalties. Having scored from the spot against Everton in the Premier League a couple of weeks ago, he was on penalty duty again and made no mistake
27th min: Similar to his first assist, albeit much more fortunate. Yet again, Martial cut in from the left and fashioned a cross. This one was underhit, but CSKA defender Vasili Berezutski completely missed the ball when trying to clear, leaving Lukaku with a tap-in.
Our verdict: 9/10
The only blot on Martial’s book on Wednesday was his failure to convert when through on goal in the second half. It goes to show how good a night he had, however, that even that resulted in a goal, as Mkhitaryan swept home the rebound. This was Martial at his best, continuing his strong start to the season.