Anthony Martial showing record-breaking Manchester United teammate how it should be done


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If you invested £36 million of your hard-earned cash in a prized asset, you would be well within your rights to expect said purchase to be all signing, all dancing.

You would also expect it to be plated in 24 carat gold, dress you, clean your house and take out the bins, but there is no word as yet on whether Manchester United’s latest recruit has been asked to give Old Trafford a bit of a sprucing up.
Anthony Martial has, however, started to deliver an immediate return on the eye-watering investment made in his potential over the summer.

Aware of the need to speculate to accumulate, the Red Devils dusted off the cheque book again during the recent transfer window and gave it a good old-fashioned bashing – passing the £100m mark for the second successive year.

Martial was the most elaborate of those recruits, while also being the youngest at just 19 years of age.

Louis van Gaal admitted at the time of his arrival that the fee required to lure the talented Frenchman away from Monaco was ‘ridiculous’, while several media outlets jumped the gun in suggesting that United had seen their proverbial pants pulled down in the acquisition of a promising, but largely untested youngster. As has often been the case down the years, the Red Devils appear to be having the last laugh. Yes, their big-money signing is only three games into a four-year contract, but the signs are that United have some player on their hands – one that is capable of making a number of their detractors look like mugs. After a season spent wandering around midfield, with his versatility working against him as Van Gaal attempted to wedge square pegs into round holes, Wayne Rooney was supposed to be the go-to man this season on the goal-scoring front as he returned to his rightful role up top. It is, however, fair to say that the United skipper has made a rather inauspicious start to the 2015/16 campaign. He has delivered on the international front, re-writing the history books with England after passing the long-standing 49-goal record of World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton to reach a half century of efforts for his country, landed himself a Champions League match ball during the qualifying stages of that competition and was on target in the League Cup on Wednesday night against Ipswich Town. Rooney is yet to get off the mark in the Premier League, though, with 450 minutes of top-flight football having come and gone without troubling the scorers. In contrast, his new teammate has taken his tally to four in four games – with Martial having followed his memorable debut strike against Liverpool with a match-winning double in a 3-2 victory over Southampton and a late third against Ipswich. He is now the man making all of the headlines – with his early-season stats standing in stark contrast to those of his illustrious striking colleague. Martial has mustered just four efforts on goal since arriving in the English top-flight, and three of those have found the back of the net. Rooney, meanwhile, has fired in eight efforts, with only three of those troubling an opposition goalkeeper, and none ending up where they were intended – an on-target percentage of 37 per cent, and a big fat zero on the conversion front. Taking these performances into account, movement within Premier League top goalscorer markets, such as those at betfair, should perhaps come as no surprise. Rooney will have been fancied by many before a ball was kicked, given the aforementioned switch in role back to his most favoured, but he has been unceremoniously usurped by a man hoping to follow in his footsteps.

Martial is at the time of writing as short as 14/1 to claim the Golden Boot – third favourite behind only Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa – while Rooney has slipped out to 33/1.

Things are a little closer on the individual match front, though, with United’s next top-flight outing seeing them welcome rock-bottom Sunderland to the Theatre of Dreams on Saturday.
Goals are to be expected against a side that has already shipped 13 in the league this season, and United will fancy their chances of ensuring that a two-point gap which currently separates them from table-topping City is not widened this weekend – with it possible that they could even take to the summit should Manuel Pellegrini’s men slip up away at Tottenham Hotspur.

Martial and Rooney will be hoping to lead the charge, with it mooted that they will line up in number nine and number 10 roles respectively.

The former is considered a 16/5 shot to open the scoring against the Black Cats – as he endeavours to maintain his impressive strike rate and net in a third consecutive Premier League outing – while Rooney is only marginally shorter in the betting at 3/1.
It is not difficult to imagine one, if not both, getting on the scoresheet, and if Martial can extend his run in front of goal, then Van Gaal and his scouting team can once again indulge themselves in a spot of weekend back slapping.
He may not have come cheap, but the youngster is proving himself worthy of his inflated asking price and should not have to concern himself too much with providing value elsewhere – in the kitchen, boot room etc. Rooney, on the other hand…

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