The Martial-Rashford conundrum: A tale of two strikers
Two absolutely fantastic youngsters with the world at their feet: one bought for a record fee for a teenager at the time, the other a product of the famed United academy. And to make matters interesting, when one starts a match, the other finds the back of the net, what an irony!
Manchester United has been blessed with a pair of footballers who were initially earmarked to lead the line in the long-run but are bringing back the famous days of wing-play at the club with their natural abilities for United lovers to savour.
Fast forward to the new season, they have started to take things to a new level with the growing habit of pushing each other to the limits. Despite having both in great form, Jose has yet to start the pair together in the same match in the Premier League, and he seems to be reaping dividends for this action.
Anthony Martial, who often found himself on the wrong end of the coach’s decisions last season owing much to his much-publicized attitudinal problem, has taken his game to new heights.
The much-maligned forward had a season to forget on a personal level, but has since turned things around. He has started to give the manager some headaches, albeit, in a good way. Blessed with pace and trickery, Martial has cultivated the habit of making life unbearable for fullbacks.
The season is already panning out well for the Frenchman, much like his debut season. While he failed to be totally focused due to personal issues in his first season under Mourinho, he is now roaring loudly.
Meanwhile, much hype has surrounded Marcus Rashford since he announced himself on the world stage, with a brace on his United debut in the UEFA Europa League two seasons ago, incidentally, replacing his injured counterpart in the build-up to that match.
The hype is justified though; you rarely see an eighteen-year-old storm the soccer world in such a high-profile manner. The following match, he hit another brace against Arsenal in the EPL. And from then on, he has held his head up high, remaining a living inspiration for those in the academy, an unending sweet song from their ever yielding dignified base at Carrington.
He has, again, hit the ground running with an undying attitude associated with Manchester United blood. Mourinho has always loved good work ethics and Rashford isn’t the one to relent on his efforts.
With both having an armoury full of different skill sets, they could yet prove to be world beaters in a few seasons. Mourinho recognizes this weapon and EPL teams have already started to buckle under pressure.
It remains to see how they respond. Fittingly, United’s opponents this season have all failed to curtail this trick. The trick looks simple on the eye- it’s not. The one that starts a game wears the opposition out and the substitute does the damage by finishing the job off.
Against Swansea, Rashford started and Martial’s introduction late in the match sparked a late flurry of goals and the same happened when Rashford scored after replacing Martial against Leicester City.
It has already become a theme and you can trust Mourinho to explore it to the fullest. It takes tactical ingenuity to spot such a weapon as loaded as this. Yet again, they were mesmerizing against Burton Albion in a rare start together, contributing goals and assists aplenty.
With 5 goals and as many assists between them in the league in just 7 weeks, one can only sit back and enjoy what promises to be an excellent season.
It will take utmost commitment from their opponents and total concentration on the part of the fullbacks to withstand the kind of continuous onslaught these tricky and able players have in store.
Whenever Manchester United is on song, it is either Martial or Rashford at the heart of the matter. United has since become unpredictable. The EPL will witness constant re-runs of this movie, as the two sought to write their own story in the club’s rich history.