Anthony Martial’s dream start in the Premier League continued as he scored a brace against Southampton to move Manchester United just two points behind Manchester City.
United were behind after David De Gea made a great save to deny Sadio Mane’s volley, only for Graziano Pelle to tuck the ball into the net and continue his fine goal scoring form.
Martial responded by slotting home United’s first shot on target, before he pounced onto a terrible back pass from Maya Yoshida to help United double their lead.
Juan Mata scored United’s third, before Pelle grabbed a brace of his own after coasting between Paddy McNair and Chris Smalling to head past a helpless De Gea.
Pelle could have stolen all of the headlines today, as he also hit the post after his initial opener. However, £36 million signing Martial proved to his critics that he is as lethal as any other striker in the Premier League. The Frenchman had two chances and buried both of them in the net to solidify his position in the starting eleven for another week.
United had a nightmare aside from the brilliance of Martial and the three points, as they looked shambolic in defence. Louis Van Gaal selected Marcos Rojo to replace the injured Luke Shaw, but the Argentine had a dreadful game before he was substituted for McNair. Daley Blind was physically bullied by Pelle all day and raised concern regarding his position in the heart of United’s central defence.
Van Gaal didn’t seem bothered at full-time as he applauded Martial’s excellent performance, he told the BBC: “Anthony Martial is already special because we paid a lot of money for him. A lot of people are thinking he is a great star but he is a boy of 19. In three matches he has shown a lot.
“I am very happy with him but we and we have to keep our feet on the ground.”
Martial has scored three goals in two Premier League appearances for United, but he still has a very long way to go before his ability can be truly measured. United can rejoice in Martial’s perfect start for now as they continue to inch closer towards City in the league table. Also, Martial has scored more than any City, Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal player in the league and will need to keep that statistic up if United are seriously challenging for the league title.