Manchester United striker Anthony Martial had a shocker in what was a rare defeat for the Red Devils at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were previously unbeaten in their past 13 Premier League games but suffered defeat at the hands of a spirited Sheffield United to put a major dent in their title challenge.
United had the chance to overtake Manchester City in the title race but now find themselves a point behind their arch rivals after a damaging 2-1 defeat at home.
Kean Bryan put the visitors ahead with a fine header from John Fleck’s corner but Harry Maguire scored his first goal at Old Trafford to bring both sides level before Oliver Burke’s strike careered off the underside of the bar after taking a deflection off the unfortunate Axel Tuanzebe.
Despite the level of opposition, Solskjaer fielded arguably his strongest starting line-up with David de Gea returning between the sticks and both Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes earning a recall after their brief cameos against Liverpool as well.
Martial’s struggles have been well-documented this season – the 25-year-old has scored just twice in 16 top-flight appearances – and his woes continued as these frankly astonishing numbers help to paint the full picture.
Unless you live under a rock, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the Frenchman has been out of form since the start of this season. He had bagged just three goals across all competitions for the club before the winter break, including a goal against the Blades at Bramall Lane, and the stats show just how far his form has continued to freefall since returning to the starting line-up.
It’s not like he’s not getting the chances, United had 16 shots on target and enjoyed the majority of the possession.
The problem is, he just can’t seem to find the back of the net as much as he was before, if at all.
Against the Blades, the £49m-rated ace offered little more than a damp squib. In fact, it’s fair to say that he was largely anonymous, evidenced by the fact he only won four out of his ten duels overall (40%).
On top of this, the France international took just 54 touches, which was the worst of any United starter besides Greenwood, and fewer than Marcus Rashford, as per SofaScore.
He even committed two fouls and was lucky to escape without a booking to sum up his frustrations on the night.
Valued at £49m via Transfermarkt, Martial simply can’t afford too many more displays like this with Cavani breathing down his neck. He let Solskjaer down badly after the club legend trusted him to start against Chris Wilder’s side and it may be quite a while before he’s given another opportunity to lead the line in the top flight after such a stinker.