There was a lot of talk regarding the return of Paul Pogba to the starting XI as Manchester United faced Sheffield United on Wednesday. However, another Frenchman was the hero for The Red Devils in their convincing win at Old Trafford: Anthony Martial.
The striker bagged an impressive hat-trick with goals at each side of halftime to lead Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men to a 3-0 win over The Blades. Martial found the back of the net at the 7th, 44th and 74th minutes, before departing in the 80th minute to make way for Odion Ighalo. Had Old Trafford been full, Martial would’ve probably left under a standing ovation.
The former Monaco striker only needed seven minutes to score the first goal of the game. Marcus Rashford won the ball after a throw-in from Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Martial was right inside the six-yard box to put the Englishman’s cross home. Martial hadn’t scored since United’s 2-0 win over Manchester City in early March. However, he was far from finished. The Frenchman had a couple more tricks under his sleeve.
Just before the break, Martial took advantage of another low cross from the right. This time, it was Wan-Bissaka who placed the ball near the penalty spot, and Martial was there again to net it past Sam Moore for his second goal of the contest. Moore was replacing Dean Henderson, who is unable to face Manchester United due to the loan agreement between both clubs.
Martial closed the deal midway through the second half, completing his hat-trick after another assist from Rashford. Martial now has four goals in his last three matches and seven in his last eight fixtures across all competitions. He has found the back of the net 14 times in 25 EPL appearances, making this his best goalscoring season in a United jersey.
As for Sheffield United, there’s not much to say about them. The Blades looked overmatched right from the start of the contest and struggled to get anything going. It was particularly noticeable that they were missing two key pieces on defence. Henderson was unavailable and John Egan was sent-off last week. Both players, however, should return to the starting XI for the team’s upcoming matchup against Tottenham on July 2.
As such, Sheffield have now lost back-to-back games without scoring for the second time during this EPL season. It previously happened when they faced Manchester City and Liverpool away from Bramall Lane on back-to-back contests.
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba (Andreas Pereira, 80’), Matic; Greenwood (Mata, 80’), Bruno Fernandes (McTominay, 80’), Rashford (James, 80’); Martial (Ighalo, 80’)
Sheffield United: Moore; Basham, Jagielka, Robinson; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood (Berge, 46’), Fleck, Stevens; McGoldrick (Zivkovic, 64’), Mousset (McBournie, 46’)
Goals: Martial (1-0, 7’), Martial (2-0, 44’), Martial (74’)
Yellow Cards: Shaw (MU)
Red Cards: None
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