Manchester United are seemingly on the right path.
“Martial scores”, “Martial scores again”, and “Martial scores a hattrick…” – this is how a curse that lasted for long-standing 7 years was put to bed by one of the Premier League’s most underrated No. 09, Anthony Martial.
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It was a sunny and warm Old Trafford atmosphere that saw Manchester United thrash an unexpectedly bleak Sheffield United by a 3-0 margin. Perhaps rather expectedly, Martial became the man of the match after scoring all three in three different manners – a near-post tap in, a steady but sharp right-footed smash, and a world-class chip at the end.
Moreover, it was the first hat-trick in the French international’s professional career and also the first Premier League hat-trick of the post-Ferguson era.
Robin Van Persie, who had the record of scoring the last hat-trick for the Mancunian club in a day when United secured their last Premier League title under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson, took to Twitter to congratulate Martial for breaking his long-lived feat.
Besides Anthony Martial, everyone played their part perfectly inside an empty ‘Theater of Dreams’. United were understandably favourites going into the game as Sheffield were without their reliable goalkeeper and defender in Dean Henderson and John Egan.
And considering the warm weather of Manchester, it was always going to be difficult to defend like they have done all season. Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, as mentioned in our pre-match predicted line-up piece, began the game as the starters.
Nemanja Matic again proved that he is not past his prime, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka recorded another assist, putting a firm finger on his critics’ lips and showing that he has worked really hard on his offensive traits.
On the other hand, United’s No. 1, David De Gea, who had been criticized heavily following his lack of concertation that led his team to concede a goal on Friday night against Tottenham Hotspur, registered his 9th Premier League clean-sheet of the season. He is now only 3 clean-sheets behind Liverpool’s goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who has got the most (12) in the league so far.
Finally, if we keep those two easy-on-the-bare-eyes misses from Marcus Rashford aside, it can be said that it was a perfect night for the United team and its devotees worldwide.
However, following the match, Ole Gunnar Solskajaer came with some shocking but unputdownable comments in his post-match interview, disclosing his ambitions for the ongoing 2019-20 campaign. He added:
“I’ve never said fourth is our aim. We want to go up to third but we have to focus on each game as it comes and there are two cups for us there as well. One game at a time and in the end we can count the points and maybe have only two teams in front of you.”
United have already mounted pressure back on Chelsea, who, as things stand, are only two points ahead of United, and Leicester City, who are six points clear of the fifth place.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will visit the Carrow Road to face Norwich City in FA Cup quarter-final tie and are still due to complete their Europa League tie against LASK next August.
While analyzing their upcoming fixtures, it is very obvious to predict that United have a chance to fulfil all their ambitions. However, it remains to be seen how they manage the pressure and keep up the momentum.
What are your thoughts on Ole’s goals for the season?