Martial, deployed on the left hand side, was a direct and unstoppable force all game. His goal after 22 minutes – a gorgeous touch, promptly capped off by a stunning finish to round off a counterattacking move – was nothing short of sublime, and characterised his performance as a whole.
And, not for the first time, Man United fans were brimming with adulation for the young Frenchman:
Feel sorry for Phil Bardsley; has come on and been terrorised by Anthony Martial. Looks scared to even get close him.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) February 2, 2016
Imagine thinking Martial was a panic buy ffs
— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) February 2, 2016
Many not happy originally that Martial not played out and out striker but he is dangerous coming from left #mufc
— Stuart Mathieson (@StuMathieson7) February 2, 2016
Martial is absolutely incredible
— jack bamford (@TheJackBamf) February 2, 2016
Martial electric. Beautiful finish for his goal, sublime first time pass to set up Rooney. World class in whatever definition you choose
— No Question About That (@nqatpod) February 2, 2016
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Martial to this United team. In what has been a confidence stripped, uninventive side, the youngster oozes class and talent.
Even when Louis van Gaal‘s side look bereft of ideas, Martial is the kind of player to grab the initiative; perhaps through a mazy run through the heart of a defence, maybe a goal out of nowhere, or even just a slick piece of link up play. He makes things happen.
If United are to restore some credibility this season, it’s almost certainly going to come via this man, who continues to prove his doubters wrong.